Saturday, February 5, 2011

Can Jesus live up to His reputation?

Two regular folks had heard of Jesus' reputation.

They were each confronted with tragedy in their life. All hope was gone. They had tried everything. Nothing had worked.

They each had heard about Jesus.

Could He live up to His reputation?

The first one is a dad. He had a 12 year old girl. Any parent who has had a child for 12 years knows the love you have for your girl. She got sick. They tried everything to save her.

She died.

There was no hope. But Jesus was doing amazing things. Do you suppose...?

Matthew 9:18 "While he was saying this, a synagogue leader came and knelt before him and said, “My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.” 19 Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples."

Jesus didn't laugh at this desperate, broken, humble man. He didn't show embarassment. (You want me to do WHAT?)

No. He listened to him, and he and his disciples followed him home.

Meanwhile another desperate person was nearby. Her story becomes huge. But right now it is just a sideline to the main story.

She has gone through the entire medical gauntlet. Doctors. Tests. Medicines. None of them worked. (How many people are in that same place today?)

20 Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. 21 She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.”

She didn't want to make a scene. She didn't even ask Jesus anything. If only I touch Him, she thought to herself. If only I touch Him. Nothing more. If only I touch Him.

22 "Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment."

A miraculous healing! No scandal! No headlines! Jesus quietly healed her and moved on. It sure changed HER life!!!

23 When Jesus entered the synagogue leader’s house and saw the noisy crowd and people playing pipes, 24 he said, “Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him."

Here things are not quiet. The professional mourners are in full force. This rowdy approach to mourning in community seems strange to us. However, psychology is showing that grief work needs to be done with others, in community. The stoic quiet individualized approach to mourning that we do is psychologically damaging. So this society long ago had that one figured out. Friends, neighbors, family - all wailing loudly!

Jesus says something very cruel. Very calloused.

The girl is not dead, she is asleep! Some of the folks laugh. That is SO ridiculous!! Who does this guy think he is? He is not family...

The dad bids the crowd be quiet. Sends people scurrying.

25 "After the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took the girl by the hand, and she got up. 26 News of this spread through all that region."

Did THAT cause a commotion!

This dad's world was rocked. His little girl came back to life.

Jesus lived up to His reputation.

Who WAS He, really? Who WAS this man who could do things no one else on earth could do???

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven

We have heard it said that Jesus can forgive sins so many times that it is not shocking to us.

But in fact, it IS shocking!
Scandalous, even!

Matthew 9:1 Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. 2 Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.”

3 At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!”

They were entirely right!
Here was this man - this ordinary if interesting man - claiming to have the power, the ability, to forgive sins.

And he said it so nonchalantly. Like it was an every day occurence.

But what they said is true. NO ONE has the power to forgive sins but God alone!

4 Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? 5 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 6 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” 7 Then the man got up and went home. 8 When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to man."

So - just to prove that I AM INDEED GOD ALMIGHTY IN THE FLESH - be healed.

And the man was healed. He got up after being paralyzed. And he walked home.

What does that tell us about Jesus?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Jesus is Lord of All; or Jesus is not Lord AT All

Jesus is Lord of All; or Jesus is not Lord AT All

This is a harsh reality. Lotta people don't like it.

Here is the story. It comes in three parts:

1. The prosperous and established have to be willing to give everything up.

Matthew 8:18 When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. 19 Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”

20 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

The teacher of the law had worked hard. He had studied long and achieved a lot. Had a nice house, good reputation - a place in life.

Jesus said to him, I am either Lord of All; or I am not Lord AT All.
If you follow me, you have to be willing to lose what you have. Put me above all the achievement, the place in society, the financial security. I am glad that you are attracted to my message. Are you willing to make me Lord of all?

2. Good people with good priorities have to be willing to put Jesus first.
21 Another disciple said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”

22 But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

The next guy is a good guy. He is connected to his family. He is a dutiful son. His father is older, and the son must fulfill his obligation. Later, when dad passes on and the financial affairs are all in order. Later, Jesus. You are important, but you have to fit into my life. You should understand that, right?

Jesus says to him, I am either Lord of All; or I am not Lord AT All.

Harsh message, but true.

3. The folks who have pledged their lives to Jesus have to learn to grow in thier faith and trust in Jesus. Is he really Lord of All?
23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

Who is Jesus?

He is lord of all.

In fact, He is either Lord of All; or or He is not Lord AT All