Jesus brings Jairus’s daughter back to life

The Miracles of Jesus

March 6, 2021

Jesus brings Jairus’s daughter back to life

Mark 5:21—24; 35-43

If you’ve ever visited someone in a hospital ward or had a stay in the hospital, it’s not uncommon to hear the words, “Code Blue, Code Blue, Room #___, Stat!” Code blue indicates a medical emergency such as cardiac or respiratory arrest.

Doctors and nurses rush to the patient’s room and try to get them breathing or heart pumping again. Sometimes they succeed, and other times they don’t.

The Synagogue leader, Jairus, came to Jesus asking for his little daughter’s healing, who was near death. Here’s what happened:

“Jesus got into the boat again and went back to the other side of the lake, where a large crowd gathered around him on the shore. Then a leader of the local synagogue, whose name was Jairus, arrived. When he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet, pleading fervently with him. “My little daughter is dying,” he said. “Please come and lay your hands on her; heal her so she can live.”

Jesus went with him, and all the people followed, crowding around him.

While he was still speaking to her, messengers arrived from the home of Jairus, the leader of the synagogue. They told him, “Your daughter is dead. There’s no use troubling the Teacher now.”

But Jesus overheard them and said to Jairus, 

 “Do not fear, only believe.”

Then Jesus stopped the crowd and wouldn’t let anyone go with him except Peter, James, and John (the brother of James). When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw much commotion and weeping and wailing. 

He went inside and asked, “Why all this commotion and weeping? The child isn’t dead; she’s only asleep.”

The crowd laughed at him. But he made them all leave, and he took the girl’s father and mother and his three disciples into the room where the girl was lying.

 Holding her hand, he said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means “Little girl, get up!” 

And the girl, who was twelve years old, immediately stood up and walked around! They were overwhelmed and totally amazed. Jesus gave them strict orders not to tell anyone what had happened, and then he told them to give her something to eat.”

Here is another story of Faith and healing. Jairus had just witnessed the healing of a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years. (Yesterday’s devotion) Jesus healed her based upon her Faith. Now Jairus needed a firm faith for what was to come next that day.

  1. Messengers arrive and tell Jairus that his daughter is dead. They told Him not to bother the master anymore; it was too late for Him to do anything.
    1. How would you feel at this point if you were Jairus?
  • Before Jairus can even say anything to Jesus, Jesus says to him, “Don’t be afraid. Just have Faith.”
    • How strong would your Faith be, based on the healing you just witnessed and the words of reassurance from Jesus?
  • The group arrives at Jairus’s home. There’s a crowd of people mourning his daughter’s death. Jesus says, “Why all this commotion and weeping? The child isn’t dead; she’s only asleep.” The crowd just laughs at Jesus.
    • You are full of mixed emotions. Your daughter is dead. Jesus says she’s asleep. Yet, you maintain your Faith. Jesus has a plan. Why else would He have come home with you? You have put your Faith entirely in this man who claims to be the Son of God.
  • Jesus enters the house and takes the girl’s hand, saying, “Talitha koum,” which means “Little girl, get up!” And, she does just that. The twelve-year-old girl is alive and well.
    • For the first time, we see that Jesus is more than a healer. He has the power over life and death. He is truly the Son of God.

This story is just the prelude to the big event to come just a couple of years later. Jesus would die on a cross, be buried, and rise again three days later. Jesus overcame death so that you and I might be saved.

Someday, unless we live till Christ’s second coming, we all will die. But because of Christ’s death on the cross, we will be resuscitated; we too shall rise from the dead and live eternally with Him.

Dear Jesus. You showed your mighty power over death when you healed Jairus’s daughter. Help us to have strong Faith, and never stop believing that one day we too will rise and join you in eternity. Amen

Jesus heals a sick woman

The Miracles of Jesus

March 5, 2021

Jesus heals a sick woman

Mark 5:24b-34

When I was about nine years old, I contracted the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), otherwise known as infectious mononucleosis. In laymen’s terms, it’s just called mono.

Mono is highly contagious and causes symptoms of exhaustion, sore throat, and swollen glands. I actually ended up in the hospital’s infectious disease ward for two weeks until they figured out what I had. Then I was sent home and slept a lot. All in all, I was down for about a month.

Not a fun time for a nine-year-old who liked to ride bikes and hang with his neighborhood friends. By the way, did I mention it’s also known as “The Kissing disease” because mono is most common amongst teens?

Having mono was a rough month for me. Having mono was nothing compared to the pain and agony the woman in today’s devotion went through for twelve years.

“and all the people followed, crowding around him. A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding. She had suffered a great deal from many doctors, and over the years, she had spent everything she had to pay them, but she had gotten no better. In fact, she had gotten worse. She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his robe. For she thought to herself, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.” Immediately, the bleeding stopped, and she could feel in her body that she had been healed of her terrible condition.

Jesus realized at once that healing power had gone out from him, so he turned around in the crowd and asked, 

“Who touched my robe?”

His disciples said to him, “Look at this crowd pressing around you. How can you ask, ‘Who touched me?'”

But he kept on looking around to see who had done it. Then the frightened woman, trembling at the realization of what had happened to her, came and fell to her knees in front of him and told him what she had done. And he said to her, 

“Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.”

This is another story of faith and healing.

Let me cover a few critical points in this passage:

  1. This woman was probably caught in her menstrual cycle. I’m a male, and I can remember my wife’s discomfort when going through it each month. I can’t even imagine the pain discomfort of going through that every day for twelve years.
  2. According to Levitical law, the woman was unclean. When a woman was going through her cycle, she could not touch or be touched by anyone. If she did touch someone, they too were considered unclean.
  3. She touched Jesus’ clothes. He would be considered unclean too.
  4.  Let’s remember something. Jesus was God and man. He knew who touched Him, and He knew why.
  5. When Jesus called out and said, “Who touched my robe?” it wasn’t because He didn’t know who did it. He called the woman out because He wanted people to see and understand what had happened because of her faith. When the woman came forward and acknowledged what she did, she was afraid Jesus might take back the healing. Instead, He tells her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.”
  6. By acknowledging that she was healed and no longer unclean, this response also made Jesus clean in the eyes of the law.
  7.  So, did her faith heal the woman? No, Jesus healed the woman because of her faith.
  8. Finally, even though this woman was probably older than Jesus, He called her daughter. Daughter is an endearing term. She was a daughter of the Kingdome of God. For years she had been shunned and looked down upon. But now, Jesus states publicly that this woman is healed, loved, and has a strong faith.

There are times in our lives when we go through tremendous physical and or emotional difficulties. Then more than ever, you and I need to touch Jesus and ask for healing. How do we touch Him? We connect to Jesus with our words of prayer, devotion, praise, and thanksgiving.

Are you hurting? Take some time right now and touch Him.

Dear Jesus, you are The Great Physician. I believe that You still perform miracles today. I know you are always listening. Please, allow me to touch you through prayer, devotion, praise, and thanksgiving, as I ask for healing from my emotional and physical disorders. Amen.

         

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

Jesus casts demons into a herd of pigs

The miracles Jesus

March 4, 2021

Jesus casts demons into a herd of pigs

Mark 5:1-20

I guess my brain works a little differently than most. Whenever I read the story of Jesus casting out demons into a herd of pigs, I think of the 1950s movie, “Beginning of the End.”

The movie was released in 1957. At the time, I was six years old and living in Chicago. “Beginning of the End” is what we used to call a B-class movie. It was made on a meager budget, you didn’t know many of the actors, the acting was horrible, and many of those movies were sci-fi in nature.

“Beginning of the End” was no different. It was the story of giant locusts (made gigantic by all the nuclear testing done back then) that invaded Chicago. People died, people got eaten, and someone figured out how to destroy them. Scientists put sound equipment on boats and Lake Michigan that attracted the locusts. The locust followed the sound, went into the lake, and drowned—the End.

In Mark’s Gospel, we see a “Legion” of demons enter into 2000 pigs. They run over a cliff into the lake and drown.

So, they arrived at the other side of the lake, in the region of the Gerasenes. When Jesus climbed out of the boat, a man possessed by an evil spirit came out from the tombs to meet him. This man lived in the burial caves and could no longer be restrained, even with a chain. Whenever he was put into chains and shackles—as he often was—he snapped the chains from his wrists and smashed the shackles. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Day and night, he wandered among the burial caves and in the hills, howling and cutting himself with sharp stones.

When Jesus was still some distance away, the man saw him, ran to meet him, and bowed low before him. With a shriek, he screamed, “Why are you interfering with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In the name of God, I beg you, don’t torture me!” For Jesus had already said to the spirit, “Come out of the man, you evil spirit.”

Then Jesus demanded, “What is your name?”

And he replied, “My name is Legion because there are many of us inside this man.” Then the evil spirits begged him again and again not to send them to some distant place.

There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding on the hillside nearby. “Send us into those pigs,” the spirits begged. “Let us enter them.”

So, Jesus gave them permission. The evil spirits came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the entire herd of about 2,000 pigs plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned in the water.

The herdsmen fled to the nearby town and the surrounding countryside, spreading the news as they ran. People rushed out to see what had happened. A crowd soon gathered around Jesus, and they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons. He was sitting there fully clothed and perfectly sane, and they were all afraid. Then those who had seen what happened told the others about the demon-possessed man and the pigs. And the crowd began pleading with Jesus to go away and leave them alone.

As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. But Jesus said, “No, go home to your family, and tell them everything the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been.” So, the man started off to visit the Ten Towns  of that region and began to proclaim the great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed at what he told them.”

(A lot is going on in the passage you just read. As this is a devotion and not a Bible study, I would encourage you to read up on this miracle passage in a Bible commentary. You’ll get a much deeper understanding of the nuances of these verses.)

Let’s look at a few things in these verses:

  1. Jesus didn’t approach the demon-possessed man; he approached Jesus.

We should approach Jesus regularly with praise, penitent hearts, asking for our needs, and yielding to His will. We should always follow the direction and path He wants us to in life.

  • The man was demon-possessed, not by one, but by many.

We are not all demon-possessed, but the devil is continually working on our minds and hearts to follow the world and not Christ.

  • Jesus healed this tortured man by ordering the demons out of him.

When we turn to Jesus in prayer, He is there for us. We all have problems. Some are small, while some difficulties torture us for long periods. Turn to Jesus, as Him for help and healing.

  •  The cleansed man wanted to come with Jesus, but He told him no. He wanted the man to stay in the ten cities and be a witness.

We are Christ’s witnesses to the world:

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere-in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8

Here are a couple of questions for you to ponder:

  1. Why were there so many demons in one man?
  2. When the demons entered the pigs, and the pigs drowned in the lake, did they die too?

Lord Jesus, you are the great healer. You can heal our bodies, our minds, and our souls. Help us to be strong and fend off the attacks of Satan that make us weak. Thank you for being with us always. Amen

Jesus calms a storm on the Sea of Galilee

The Miracles of Jesus

March 3, 2021

Jesus calms a storm on the sea of Galilee

Mark 4:35-41

In 1983 I was a manager for Albertson’s supermarkets in Lake Worth, Fl. That year I won a contest through Progresso foods for best display. The prize was a four-day, three-night cruise to the Bahamas.

I had never been on a cruise, but I did know that I get motion sick pretty quickly. So, before we left, I purchased one of those patches you put behind your ear, as well as some Dramamine.

The day we left the port of Miami, it was a chilly and dismal day in March. We would be sailing on the SS Sunward II. Everything was fine until the ship got out onto the gulf stream. Then the boat began to rock back and forth and up and down. At one point, we hit 20-30-foot swells. I thought we were going sink and drown for sure.

Needless to say, I got sick, as did most of the people on the ship that day. I haven’t been on a cruise since or any other kind of boat except a canoe.

In the Gospel of Mark 4:35-41, Jesus and His disciples have quite the adventure on the Sea of Galilee:

“As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” So, they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). But soon, a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water.

Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”

When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!”

The type of storm that is described in this story is not unusual for the sea of Galilee. I’ve had two different pastors tell stories of their experiences with squalls while on a boat in the Sea of Galilee when they were on a tour of Israel. I have also read about signs that are posted in the car parking lots on the western shore. They post a warning that when a storm comes up that the waves can swap your car. The windstorms seem to come out of no

where, and will toss a boat on the water around like a kid’s toy.

So here we are. Jesus gets on a boat with His disciples after a long day of teaching. His goal? To get to Geresenes, where He knew someone needed help. Jesus was exhausted. He went to the back of the boat, laid on a pillow, and fell asleep.

Suddenly one of those crazy Sea of Galilee storms comes up. The boat is filling up with water and tossing around like nothing most of the disciples had seen before. They thought they were going to die.

Where was Jesus? In the back of the boat, sleeping. I don’t know about you, but I’m a very light sleeper. I wake up when a train goes by on the other side of the Intracoastal, two miles away.

Jesus knew who He was and was not worried about a storm. But, His disciples were. They came to the back of the boat and awakened Him. They were probably screaming at the top of their lungs, “Lord, don’t You care if we die?”

Of course, Jesus cares. Jesus cares about everyone. So, He gets up and tells the raging waters and hurricane-force winds to SHUT UP! And that’s precisely what they do—no storm, no waves, just calm.

Jesus shows us His power at yet another level. Just like when God created the seas, the wind, and everything else, Jesus shows who He is by commanding them to stop. Not only can Jesus heal and drive out demons, but now He shows His disciples that He also has command over the elements.

They are in awe yet still don’t quite understand the full meaning of who Jesus is.

Once again, let’s take a quick trip to the other side of history. You’re there, I’m there, and this miraculous thing happens. What is your reaction? What questions do you ask? Who do you tell about the experience? Take some time and ponder those questions.

Dear Jesus. You are in complete control of everything. You heal people, you make the sunshine as well as give us rainy days. You are everywhere and involved in every aspect of our lives. Thank you for always being with us. Amen

Jesus raises a widows son from the dead

The Miracles of Jesus

March 2, 2021

Jesus raises a widow’s son from the dead

Luke 7:11-17

Funerals and memorial services are never fun. I’ve been to many of them over my lifetime, and I always find them very depressing. People try to say comforting words to those who have lost a family member or friend. Relatives get up in front of the church a reminisce about what a great person a mother, father, or other family member was. The pastor talks about eternal life and a life well-lived and how this service is a celebration of the deceased’s life.

Even though I am a Christian and believe in eternal life, I never feel like celebrating.

One thing remains. The person is dead. Neither you nor I will see them again this side of eternity. A mother who has lost her child is devastated and never fully recovers from the loss. She mourns; she remembers her child every day. Her heart is heavy and broken.

In the Gospel of Luke 7:11-17, Jesus turns a funeral into a celebration:

“Soon afterward, Jesus went with his disciples to the village of Nain, and a large crowd followed him. A funeral procession was coming out as he approached the village gate. The young man who had died was a widow’s only son, and a large crowd from the village was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart overflowed with compassion. 

“Don’t cry!” he said. 

Then he walked over to the coffin and touched it, and the bearers stopped. 

“Young man,” he said, “I tell you, get up.” 

Then the dead boy sat up and began to talk! And Jesus gave him back to his mother.

Great fear swept the crowd, and they praised God, saying, “A mighty prophet has risen among us,” and “God has visited his people today.” And the news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding countryside.”

In previous devotions, I wrote about the miracles of Jesus; the healed person’s faith was evident. In this story, we don’t see that. This time, we see Jesus’ faith and compassion on a widow who has lost her young son.

Jesus takes His healing power to a whole new level in this story. He does something no one had ever seen done before. Jesus walks over to the coffin and touches it. Not only was this not allowed, but if you touched the casket or body, you were considered unclean.

But, Jesus showed the love He has for everyone. Even women (who were held in low esteem at the time), and in Jesus’ previous miracle when He healed a gentile’s (Centurion’s) servant. Jesus is showing He came for everyone, not just Jews.

In your most trying times, when your heart and mind feel desolate because of a loss. Turn to Jesus. Loss is not always found in death. You may lose your job, turn to Jesus. A marriage may end, turn to Jesus. You may lose your trust in someone who you thought you could. Turn to Jesus.

Ask Christ to help you to fill the emptiness and feelings of loss in your life. Remember, He is with you always.

Dear Jesus. You are amazing. You healed and heal. You spoke and speak, and people listened and listen. You are always there for us. Help us remember to come to you when we feel empty and need refueling, and in thanks for your many blessings each day. Amen

Living on the other side of history

The Miracles of Jesus

March 1, 2021

“Living on the other side of history.”

(Jesus heals a mans withered hand on the Sabbath)

Mark 3:1-6

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Hannah Barbera (Producers of cartoons such as Yogi Bear, The Flintstones, Jetsons) came out with a Biblically-based series of cartoons. This animated series was called “The Greatest Adventure: Stories from the Bible.”

The series was an ‘animated direct-to-video series that tells of three young adventurers who travel back in time to watch biblical events take place.’ In the series, the three main characters traveled to Old and New Testament locations experiencing the Bible stories from a Christian perspective.

What do you think it would be like to be sent back in time to observe some of the Biblical stories we’ve all learned over the years? Right now, we live on this side of history. So, we know the stories; in many cases, we know and understand the stories’ hows and whys.

What if you were sent back to the other side of history with no memory of your Biblical knowledge. No opinions, no perspectives; you would just be seeing everything for the first time. What would your viewpoint be on David and Goliath, witnessing the birth of Jesus, watching Him die on the cross, or Christ’s healing of a man’s withered hand on the Sabbath?

“Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.”

Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent.

He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.”

This story is pretty straightforward. Jesus is teaching at the synagogue on the Sabbath. The Jewish Sabbath had many laws, disallowing people from doing pretty much anything. No working in the fields, cooking, baking, and kindling of a fire, are just a handful of the no-nos during the Sabbath in Jesus day.

“Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day, no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. For in six days, the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day, he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy. Exodus 10:8-11

The Pharisees were just waiting for Jesus to perform a miracle on the Sabbath because they felt it would be work. Thus, if Jesus healed the man with the withered hand, Jesus would be breaking one of God’s commandments, and they could rightly accuse Him.

Jesus knew what the Pharisee’s thoughts were. Jesus told the man to stand up and then simply said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” Jesus never said you, “You are healed,” or, “Your sins are forgiven.” Technically He had not broken the law.

But the Pharisees saw it differently and hated Him even more. So, along with the Herodians (Jews who followed Herod and the Roman Empire), they began plotting a way to kill Him.

Wow! It’s Saturday (The Jewish Sabbath), Jesus is in the synagogue preaching, heals a man with a withered hand without so much a word of healing. And now, they want to kill Jesus.

Let’s go back to what I said in the beginning. You and I are living on this side of time. We have the entire Bible to help us understand God’s purpose, goals, love, plan, and forgiveness.

But what if you and I were on the other side of time. We’re sent back in Mr. Peabody’s “Way Back” machine to the time of Jesus. But we no longer have the whole story; we no longer understand God’s plan fully. As a Jew, what would your reaction be to Jesus’ teaching and miracles? Would you be a follower or a Pharisee, teacher of the law, or Herodian? Would you be in awe of Jesus? Or would you want to put Him to death because of His teachings?

These are questions to think about that can help us read and understand the Bible objectively. Ponder these thoughts today.

Dear Jesus. On this side of history, I am a believer. I believe in your miracles, we believe Your teachings, and I believe you died for our sins. I pray that no matter what comes my way, that I will always be a believer. Amen

Who do you say I am?

The Miracles of Jesus

 February 28, 2021

The Second Sunday in Lent

Mark 8:27-30

Have you ever played the game of “Heads Up?”

It’s available as a box game, or you can use your cell phone to play it too. It’s a pretty simple game that is along the lines of charades. You either have a headband around your head with a card facing out towards your partner(s), or you can download the app for the game on your phone. Then you place your phone facing outward against your forehead.

The card or phone can have the name of a person, place, thing, song, etc. My favorite is when the name of a famous person comes up, and your partner has to give you clues about who the person is. You have a certain amount of time to guess the famous person’s name from their hints.

It’s a pretty hilarious game, as you try to give the person holding the card or phone clues without saying the person’s name.

In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus asks His disciples two questions. In this case, it’s not a game; it’s a test.

“Jesus and his disciples left Galilee and went up to the villages near Caesarea Philippi. As they were walking along, he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”

“Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say you are one of the other prophets.”

Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?”

Peter replied, “You are the Messiah.”

But Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.”

At this still-early point in Jesus’ ministry, His disciples had witnessed many things. They had seen Jesus heal the sick and lame, drive out evil spirits, show love, and empathize with others. They also heard Him speak with authority concerning God, heaven, hell, and what was right and wrong.

So, we find the disciples walking with Jesus near Caesarea Philippi when He turns to them and asks question number one.

“Who do people say I am?”

Don’t think for an instant that they gave Jesus a quick reply. He had caught them off guard with this question, quite out of the blue. I’m sure they all looked at each other to say, “Well, we’ve talked about this amongst ourselves, but we never expected Jesus to ask us about it.”

The passage gives the impression that the question was asked for anyone to answer. It seems that’s what happened. Several of the disciples responded:

“some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say you are one of the other prophets.”

Fair enough, they were all right answers. But then came the million-dollar question. This was a one-question test Jesus was administering. Had the disciples been paying attention? Over their many months together, had they realized who He was?

“But who do you say I am?”

The first question was easy. This one was loaded. Can you see all of the disciple’s mouths slightly opening as their eyes turn toward each other, with all of them finally falling on the most outspoken person in the group?

Peter replied, “You are the Messiah.”

Bam! Bells go off, a buzzer rings, and confetti falls from above, Heads Up, they won. The disciples got it. Jesus’ time with them had paid off.

Messiah and the word Jesus are both defined as “The anointed one.” Jesus was consecrated and appointed by God. Although the disciples understood who he was, they had yet to fully realize that He was indeed a King and Priest. Jesus was here not to rule but to offer Himself as a sacrifice for everyone.

Dear Lord. Please open our eyes, minds, and hearts to who your Son Jesus is. Help us to share the Good News of the Gospel with everyone, so they may know that because of your Grace and through our (their)Faith, they are saved and now can live eternally with you. Amen 

Jesus heals a paralytic let down through the roof

The Miracles of Jesus

 February 27, 2021

Jesus heals a paralytic let down through the roof

Luke 5:17-26

One of the many favorite songs of Sunday school children is, “I don’t wanna be a sheep” One of the verses goes like this:

Don’t wanna be a Pharisee
Don’t wanna be a Pharisee
‘Cause they’re not fair you see
Don’t wanna be a Pharisee

It’s a fun kid’s song, yet it also hits the nail of the head. The Pharisees were not fair men. There was only one way, their way. A loose interpretation of the word Pharisee is “separated ones.”

“The Pharisees were non-priestly interpreters of the law and advocated a rigorous practice of all the commandments, both those written and those handed down (as they believed) by oral tradition from the fathers of Israel. They separated themselves from the society of people whose observance of the law they considered too lax.” (People’s Bible Commentary, Luke; Victor H. Prange. Pp. 58.)

Let’s take a few moments to look at the Gospel of Luke 5:17:26:

“One day while Jesus was teaching, some Pharisees and teachers of religious law were sitting nearby. (It seemed that these men showed up from every village in all Galilee and Judea, as well as from Jerusalem.) And the Lord’s healing power was strongly with Jesus.

Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a sleeping mat. They tried to take him inside to Jesus, but they couldn’t reach him because of the crowd. So, they went up to the roof and took off some tiles. Then they lowered the sick man on his mat down into the crowd, right in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man, “Young man, your sins are forgiven.”

But the Pharisees and teachers of religious law said to themselves, “Who does he think he is? That’s blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!”

Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? Is it easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up and walk’? So, I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!”

And immediately, as everyone watched, the man jumped up, picked up his mat, and went home praising God. Everyone was gripped with great wonder and awe, and they praised God, exclaiming, “We have seen amazing things today!”

Here is another story of Jesus that is just as much about faith as it is about healing. We find Jesus teaching in a house in Capernaum. We also know there are Pharisees and teachers of the law (also called scribes or lawyers in some texts), and they are there to check this “Jesus guy” out.

People have begun following Jesus wherever He goes. In this particular case, the house is jammed full of people. And, there are so many people outside you can’t get near the door.

So, four men, whose friend is a paralytic, use their own ingenuity to get to Jesus. They climbed onto the roof of the house, taking tiles out of the ceiling. They then lowered their sick friend down into the room in front of Jesus.

Think about these actions from the perspective of faith. The paralytic had been this way for a long time, and he had a lot of time to think about his illness. He believed that Jesus had the power to heal him. The man’s friends, too, had faith. They didn’t give up because the door of the house was blocked. They climbed the roof of the home while carrying their friend! That takes strong faith.

Jesus saw the faith they all had and said, “Young man, your sins are forgiven.”

Hold on! This paralyzed man wanted to be healed of his illness, and Jesus tells him that his sins are forgiven? Let’s look at this in two ways. First, in Jesus’, many Jews believed that your illnesses were a manifestation of your sins. So many people may have looked at this man as a sinner because of his ailment. Second, Jesus did heal the man of his sins.

Now comes the part when we find something new about Jesus, He can read minds and what is upon your heart. (Jesus is Omniscient, all-knowing) Jesus knew what the Pharisees and teachers of the law were thinking. In their minds, Jesus was not God, so He could not forgive sins. They saw Jesus as a blasphemer. But Jesus knew what they were thinking. Jesus says, alright, guys, let’s try it this way since you don’t believe I can forgive sins.

So, Jesus told the paralytic to get up, take his mat, and go home. And that’s precisely what he did.

Can you imagine the room at that moment? There was somewhere between dead silence with some saying, “Oh my.” I suppose there were a lot of jaws dropping to the floor. Although the Pharisees and teachers of the law were still unconvinced by what had occurred, the others who we in the room said it was “remarkable.”

Have faith; it was remarkable because He is remarkable. He is the Christ, the Son of God.

Lord Jesus. Your priorities are many times different than ours. When we ask for healing, you offer forgiveness. Sometimes you heal our physical ailments. Other times you don’t, reminding everyone that Your Grace is sufficient for us.

Amen

Jesus heals a Centurion’s servant

The Miracles of Jesus

 February 26, 2021

Jesus heals a Centurion’s servant

Luke 7:1-10

Forty years ago, I was a grocery manager for Alberton’s supermarkets. Albertson’s management philosophy was aggressive. The style came out of WWII. You gave orders, and you expected to be followed to the letter. In a few short years, this style of management was embedded in my values. If I said, “Jump,” all I wanted to hear as a reply was, “How high?”

It’s sad because I utilized that management style at home with my family. It took me several years after I left Albertson’s to realize something.  I was not loving and caring for my family; instead, I was managing them.

Early on, I found out that this working style with people didn’t work at all in the church. As a church worker, you cannot boss around and tell volunteers what to do as if they were soldiers. Church ministry takes teamwork, love, and empathy between staff and congregation.

In Matthew and Luke’s Gospels, we find the story of Jesus’ healing of the Centurions servant.

“When Jesus had finished saying all this to the people, he returned to Capernaum. At that time, the highly valued slave of a Roman officer was sick and near death. When the officer heard about Jesus, he sent some respected Jewish elders to ask him to come and heal his slave. So, they earnestly begged Jesus to help the man. “If anyone deserves your help, he does,” they said, “for he loves the Jewish people and even built a synagogue for us.”

So, Jesus went with them. But just before they arrived at the house, the officer sent some friends to say, “Lord, don’t trouble yourself by coming to my home, for I am not worthy of such an honor. I am not even worthy to come and meet you. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed. I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come. And if I say to my slaves, ‘Do this,’ they do it.”

When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to the crowd that was following him, he said, “I tell you, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel!” And when the officer’s friends returned to his house, they found the slave completely healed.”

The Centurion was a captain in the Roman army. As his title depicts, he was in charge of 100 soldiers. This story is indeed about remote healing by Jesus, but it is even more important as a story of faith.

Not unlike my experience as a manager at Albertson’s supermarkets, the Centurion tells people what to do. “I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come. And if I say to my slaves, ‘Do this,’ they do it.”

The passage above tells us that the Centurion understood that Jesus was a man of authority. He had either heard about Christ’s healing powers or had seen them himself.

The Centurion felt that he, as a gentile was unworthy of having Jesus step into his home. Yet, he had faith that Jesus could heal his servant even from afar. So first, the Centurion sent Jewish leaders who respected him to ask Jesus to heal his servant. Later, he sent friends to avoid the embarrassment of Jesus coming into his home, as well as any for Jesus, by entering a gentile’s home.

Jesus felt the Centurions faith was stronger than any He had ever seen before. So, He healed his servant as asked.

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For, everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7:8.

The Centurion asked, which Jesus tells us to do. Through the church elders, he sought after Jesus, and he knocked by sending his friends to Jesus.

Think about what happened for a moment. Jesus was not in the presence of the servant when He healed him. Why? Because of his master’s (the Centurions) faith.

We do the same thing every time we pray. Yes, Jesus is with us always, but He does not have a physical presence with us like He did when so many of His healings were accomplished. We are asking Jesus to heal, bless and provide for us from afar.

We do so. We believe that Jesus can heal, provide for us, and bless us because we have faith in Him. Why else pray? We pray because we have faith like the Centurion did.

Dear Jesus. Help us to every day have faith like the Centurion. We will always ask, seek, and knock at your door with our petitions. We do this because we have faith in you as our Savior, who loves us and provides for us. Amen

Jesus heals a man with leprosy

The Miracles of Jesus

 February 25, 2021

Jesus heals a man with leprosy

Luke 5:12-16

Our country and the world are overrun by a very infectious and deadly disease, Covid 19. If we test positive for the virus, we are asked to stay in isolation for at least two weeks, even if we are not symptomatic. We’re asked to wear masks when we are out in public, and not with our immediate household, and to stay socially distant from others. Difficult times when we as humans crave the touch of others.

In Jesus’ time, one of many infectious diseases was leprosy. The word leprosy covered many different skin diseases, such as psoriasis, lupus, and ringworm. Today leprosy is considered a specific bacterial infection, Hansen’s disease. While antibiotics can cure the disease, they can’t reverse the damage already done by leprosy.

2000 years ago, Levitical law required lepers to let people know that they were sick by calling out to them, “unclean, unclean.” This way, people learned to stay away from the leper.

In the story of Jesus healing the leper, this man did not follow that Levitical law:

“In one of the villages, Jesus met a man with an advanced case of leprosy. When the man saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground, begging to be healed. “Lord,” he said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.”

Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly, the leprosy disappeared. Then Jesus instructed him not to tell anyone what had happened. He said, “Go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy. This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.”

But despite Jesus’ instructions, the report of his power spread even faster, and vast crowds came to hear him preach and to be healed of their diseases. But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.”

You’ll notice in the passage above that the man with leprosy did not yell out, “unclean, unclean.” Do you know why?

Because he was afraid that if he did, he would be stopped from approaching Jesus. The man believed in Christ’s healing powers and wasn’t about to let anyone stand in his way, even if it meant breaking the law. (If we’re honest with ourselves, if we were in the same condition, we’d probably do the same thing.)

In fact, Jesus, too, broke a Levitical law just by touching the man. He would have been considered unclean also. But instead of Jesus catching the disease because He touched the man, His mere touch healed him.

Jesus knew the power He was endowed with. And once again, He was willing to heal anyone who came to Him and asked.

Unfortunately, the cleansed man did not follow all of Jesus’ instructions. He went out and started telling everyone what Jesus had done (Mark 1:45). This caused even more people to want to come to Jesus to be healed. Because of this, Jesus had to slip away to remote places to get away from the crowds and pray.

This story has a couple of points. First, Jesus continues to heal anyone He comes upon. Second, we need to follow Christ’s instructions to the letter. If Jesus tells us to do help and give to others in secret, that’s what we should do. When Jesus instructs us to pray a certain way, that’s how we should pray. Not explicitly following His instructions can cause problems for ourselves and others.

Take some time today to ask for your needs in prayer. Lift them up to the heavens. And, when He responds, follow His instruction to the letter.

Yes, Jesus is a healer. But His and our number one purpose is to share the Gospel message with the world.

Dear Jesus. You know of all the suffering, death, and heartbreak that exists in our world. Please send your healing powers to us. And help us to follow you through your word and examples. Amen