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Sunday, May 21, 2017

posted May 21, 2017, 3:52 PM by Site Administrator

 

DON’T BE AFRAID; JUST BELIEVE

 

Luke 8:40-56

Key Verse 8:50

 

Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, "Don't be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed."

 

First, "Your faith has healed you" (40-48). Now after saving one demon-possessed man, Jesus returned to the other side of the lake. Then, as a usual, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. There was one synagogue ruler, named Jairus, whose daughter was laid sick. When he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him to come to his house. At this, Jesus went with him. But while Jesus was going to Jairus house, an unexpected event happened. A large crowd followed him and pressed around him. Among them was a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She came up behind Jesus, touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately, her bleeding stopped. The description in verse 44 is very plain, but what she did and what happened to her was really amazing. 12 years are long time to suffer from a chronic disease. When people have this kind of problem, and after trying this and that to solve it, but failing all the way, they despair and give up. But she did not give up; she hoped for healing, and once she found the possibility of healing in Jesus, she rose, and sought him wholeheartedly. Those who have faith in God can rise from despair in any circumstances. The prophet Micah shouts, "Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I shall rise. Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light." (Mic 7:8)

 

The woman's struggle to come to Jesus was really great. Even though she was weak and feeble, even though there was a thick barrier of muscular people, she wouldn't be afraid; even though she would touch so many people and make them ceremonially unclean, she would not care; like the Incredible hulk, or like an aggressive NLF football player, she jumped onto these people, threw them up one by one, or knocked them down with body check, and made her way all the way to Jesus.

 

People have various chronic sin problems - lust, smoking, drinking,... repeated failures. Many people give up after trying this and that, and failing repeatedly. Such people live in defeat, shame and misery. But those who find the hope of healing in God, the hope of victory in God because they believe in God, keep struggling, looking for a way, asking God for help. They seek God wholeheartedly like this woman. Such people eventually rise in victory by God's help. They come to have a testimony to tell the whole world about what God has done for them. 

 

Then, after such a heroic struggle, once she came behind Jesus, she just touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately, her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. All the people there even including the woman considered Jesus as a great man of God. In that sense, there was no difference between the crowd and the woman. There were many people who were pressing on him; some people were holding him tightly, but nothing happened to them; they were enthusiastic to touch him; they welcomed him greatly; yet, nothing happened to them. 

 

Then, how come such a great miracle happened to her through just one touch, while nothing happened to the crowd? The difference is that she had something she really hoped for, something she really wanted - healing from her bleeding, and thereby, having a normal, sound and healthy life. In Jesus, her faith had become concrete because she had something she really hoped; her faith had substance - a real and tangible goal. And she had absolute faith that Jesus was a great man of God  and that God's power was working in and through him and that, only if she touched him, she would be healed. Because of this confidence, she could seek Jesus wholeheartedly, making such a heroic struggle to come to Jesus despite so many obstacles. Later, Jesus said to her, "Your faith has healed you." That was Jesus' explanation of how she was healed.

 

Faith is being sure of what we hope for. The real problem for Christians is that they become like the crowd in the passage, so enthusiastic to shake hands with Jesus, but not having anything they really want in him, and thereby, their faith is dead; they have no reason to use their faith in their practical life; instead, they are just content that they are identified as Christians or they have some comfort that they will go to heaven when they die; such faith is dead, and it has no real value. At that time, even if they honor Jesus highly as the Christ, even if they happily shake hands with him, and get his autography, still nothing happens. That's why their Christian life is very boring. We must really approach him with real faith in him: He can save you from your chronic sin problem; he can send you many sheep; he can bless you to establish many disciples; he can give you a good career job; he can heal you of your sickness... But we must really mean it. When we have something we really hope for, then, our faith comes to have real substance; when we have something we really hope for, our faith is not theological or conceptual any longer, but we really mean it; at that time, our Christian life is no longer just being religious or adding more knowledge of the Bible; instead, our faith has a clear goal, and thereby, we can seek God really wholeheartedly just like the woman in the passage, because we know that only He can help us in those things. There was one man born blind; he shouted at Jesus, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me." He made so much noise that the disciples rebuked him to be quiet; but he didn't stop; instead, he shouted all the louder. Finally, Jesus asked him, "What do you want me to do for you?" The man answered, "I want to see." Jesus said to him, "Go, your faith has healed you." (Mk 10:47-52) When we have something we really hope for, our faith becomes real. Then, in our pursuit of God for such matters, we come to have a chance to do an act of faith. Then, that act of faith even if it is as small as a touch on the edge of Jesus' cloak, it becomes the channel through which God can launch his power on our case and God's glory can be revealed in our life. When we experience God's power, when we have real victory in our lives through God's power, our eyes are truly opened to God and our life will never be the same. 

 

Look at verse 45. When she was healed, she was ready to disappear pretending nothing had happened. But things did not go as she had planned. At once Jesus recognized that power had gone out from him. He must have been surprised! While he was going to Jairus house, someone used his power by absolute faith even without his permission. The power was his power, and it was in his body, but someone secretly acquired the PIN, and was using it right behind him. It was somewhat amazing and at the same time, somewhat embarrassing. Jesus wanted to see the person. So he turned around and asked, "Who touched my clothes?" His disciples did not know whats going on or what Jesus was talking about. They thought that Jesus said this because so many people were crowding against him. But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then, the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told the whole truth. Originally, her strategy was "hit-and-run," but now she was caught. She was trembling for stealing Jesus power. But Jesus said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.

 

It seems that so many people worldwide, are enthusiastic to welcome Jesus and meet him every Sunday; it seems that so many people try to do God's work. But God's kingdom advances through the work of faith - our fishing, our one to one Bible study should be the expression of our faith; in a very limited condition, we come out with our heart's resolution that we will do God's work by any means; in a very hectic schedule, we decide to serve God's kingdom work first. Through the acts of faith, people tap into God's power; through the acts of faith, God's power is launched in this world, and God's kingdom advances powerfully. And Jesus is sensitive to the work of faith. Even though he is in heaven, once someone does an act of faith on earth, Jesus senses that something great has been done, and he wants to see who did it. If you do an act of faith, Jesus wants to see who you are and what happened. When you do anything by real faith in God, Jesus is amazed; he wants to see who did it, so he asks, "Who touched me?" To Jesus, such people are real VIPs.

 

Second, "Don't be afraid; just believe" (49-56). Look at verse 49. While he was still speaking, someone came from thehouse of Jairus"Your daughter is dead," he said. "Don’t bother the teacher any more." What terrible news it was! At this, Jairuswas about to collapse and cry out bitterly or just simply pass out so that he might be excluded from the present pain momentarily. Once Jairus had faith in Jesus, but now when he heard that his daughter died, his faith was being destroyed and he was terrified and shaky. It seemed that the person who delivered this news was concerned about Jairus and even Jesus. But when he just said things based on the facts alone, when he relied on his logic and understanding without faithhe became an instrument of Satan in destroying Jairus faith and hindering God's work Jesus was going to doCertainly, it was not his intention, but that's what happened when he said things based on the facts alone without faith. We must be very careful; with our words, we can build up many people in faith; at the same time, by saying words carelessly without faith, we can be instruments of Satan in destroying many people's faith. That's why we must strive to say words of faith, saying, "Yes, we can." "Yes, you can. God will help you."

 

Jairus almost lost his faith. But Jesus sensed what's going on and quickly intervened into the situation. He said to him, "Dont be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed." When the situation got worse, and it seemed that the hope was already gone. When it seemed that the situation was already over, Jesus still encouraged him not to lose his heart, but believe in him no matter what. What did Jesus mean by saying, "Don’t be afraid; just believe"? He meant him to go on despite the visible reality. Jesus encouraged Jairus to hold onto his faith in him continually beyond death. Jairus faced the most difficult challenge from the enemy, the devil, but by Jesus’ help, he did not lose his heart; he did not faint, but continued on his journey to his house togetherwith Jesus. 

 

When we try to do God's work, or when we try to see God's glory, or when we try to overcome our miserable life in Jesus Christ, often, our faith is really challenged by difficulties and obstacles. People want to experience God's glory, but because of such challenges and obstacles, many people give up, thus, failing to see God's glory in their life. When people stop believing because of challenging reality, there they stop, so they never come to experience God's power. Only those who keep their faith continually despite hardships come to experience God's power in their life, and thereby, their life changes completely. This is the nature of the battle we are engaged in - the battle of faith: if we believe despite challenging circumstances, we keep on going, but if our faith is destroyed due to challenging circumstances, we stop there - that is the end of the story. The present reality is always challenging. And God encourages us to believe despite the challenging reality, saying, "Don't be afraid; just believe." If anything is worth getting, it is difficult and there are challenges and obstacles. But our tendency is that, whenever some challenges come, we think of the worst scenario possible - in the career matter, in the marriage matter, and in the fruit matter,..., and we become so fearful. But Jesus says, "Don't be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed." Things will not go in the way you anticipate. The worst scenario possible will not occur. Instead, things will get better and better, and you will enjoy a wonderful life, because God is with you, and God will help you. The reality is challenging, but we don't live by the reality; we don't live by sight; instead, we live by faith in God as the Bible says, "The righteous will live by faith from first to last." Despite challenging circumstances, we still believe that God will make us fathers and mothers of many nations. By faith, we entrust all the matters in God's hands and do what He wants us to do. "Don't be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed."

  

Look at verse 51. When Jesus arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John and James, and the child's father and mother. The twelve apostles were with Jesus, but until this time, they were kind of onlookers, wondering what would happen; they were spectators, wanting to see how Jesus would solve this critical challenge. But when Jesus chose only three of them, things changed; these three were now no longer spectators in this matter, but they were to fight together with Jesus; they became partners and coworkers of Jesus for this matter. We do God's work, but often, people take spectator's attitude; instead of taking God's vision as their own vision and tackling it down to fulfill it, they just fold their arms and sit back, and say, "Let's see it will come true or not." When people take that kind of attitude, they cannot be blessed by God. God wants us to be his partners and coworkers; Jesus wants us to be his friends who know his business very well and take it as our own. When Jesus took only three of them, how did the other nine apostles feel? Of course, they felt so bad; it seemed that Jesus favored only the three, and that they were the second class disciples; they could entertain all kinds of humanistic thinking about Jesus and God's work. It was dangerous. But Jesus still did not take them in, because it was absolutely necessary. What he needed was not a whole bunch of spectators, but real partners who would take a real sense of responsibility for God's work. 

 

 Look at verse 52. Jairus' house was full of a funeral mood. Professional mourners were already there and were promoting the sorrowful environment very well, crying out and wailing so professionally. Jesus said to those who were wailing and mourning for her, "Stop wailing. She is not dead but asleep." Jesus wanted his people who believed in him including his disciples and Jairus, not to be overwhelmed by the unbelieving environment, but have the vision that the child was not dead, but asleep. It was not a dead end, but she was just sleeping only to wake up refreshed. Jesus did not want his believing people to think about a child lying dead, so sorrowful and dark, but a child sleeping so peacefully. The work of faith starts from having this kind of very positive visions and imageries in our hearts. One time, father Abraham suffered from the sense of loss about his life of faith, because he didn't have any son yet, despite his dedication to God. Then, God took him out of his dark tent and said to him, "Look up at the heavens and count the stars-if indeed you can. So shall your offspring be." God planted in him such a positive and daring vision. When this vision was planted in him, Abraham was happy and excited and continued on his life of faith. "Stop wailing; she is not dead but asleep." Jesus wants us to think of amazing and glorious things that can be done by the power of God. Our campuses will be filled with disciples and sheep studying the Bible together; 50 churches will be established in California and all Californian students will have a chance to study the Bible with us. Through our one to one Bible studies, America will be established as a missionary sending country to the whole world once again. 

 

Look at verses 54 and 55. Jesus took her by the hand and said, "My child, get up!" As if a mother wakes up her children in the morning, Jesus said, "My child, get up!" At this, her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat. Look at verse 56. Her parents were astonished, but he ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened. It seemed that the parents should tell people about what Jesus had done so that many more people would come to him. But Jesus ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened. How come? Jesus did not want people to come to him because he had raised the child from the dead; instead, he wanted people to come to him because of the word of God he preached. This was the very direction he had had at the beginning of his ministry. In the next chapter, we see Peter's confession of faith as the conclusion of Jesus' public ministry; so, it was almost at the end of his public ministry. Yet, still he had the same direction for his ministry - he did not want people to come to him because of some miracles he had done; instead, he wanted them to come to him because of the word of God he preached. This was how Jesus served God's work. And this is how we must serve God's work. Instead of trying to attract people to the church with many exciting programs, we would teach them the Bible and they would come to our church because of the word of God we teach them. For this, our whole struggle is to dig out the word of God and sharpen our Bible study notes so that once they study the Bible with us, they may be greatly amazed, inspired and encouraged. Through the word of God we teach them, they would find the meaning and purpose of their life, joy and happiness of learning God's love and plan for them. Then, they would say, "To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."

 

One Word:Don't Be Afraid; Just Believe!

 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

posted May 15, 2017, 8:58 AM by Site Administrator

WHAT IS YOUR NAME?

 

Luke 8:22-39

Key Verse 8:30

 

Jesus asked him, "What is your name?" "Legion" he replied, because many demons had gone into him.

 

First, "Where is your faith?" (22-25) One day Jesus said to his disciples, "Let us go over to the other side." It meant to the disciples that they would have a picnic without the crowd. "Yahoo! Hurray!" They shouted for joy. They got into the boat and began their voyage. For a while, it was pleasant. But suddenly, a furious squall came down on the lake. The word "squall" means "to scream or cry loudly and harshly." This shows how dangerous the storm was. The waves broke over the boat and very soon, it was nearly swamped. Their skill as experienced fishermen did not help them at all. At that time, what was Jesus doing? Verse 23 shows that he fell asleep. Jesus is really cool! The furious and harsh sound of the wind was attacking the boat and the waters broke over the boat! But still he was sleeping! All his twelve disciples were shouting frantically trying to keep the control of the boat! But neither noise nor water splashing on him could wake him up. In the middle of all this terrible situation, Jesus was sleeping! This shows us how wholeheartedly Jesus had served God's work - to his complete exhaustion. After serving God that way, now he was enjoying sweet sleep even in the storm; as a result, the storm was not a storm to him at all. When we serve God wholeheartedly in the same way, we are so concerned about God's work alone that, even if storms attack us, we do not recognize them; they simply pass by, and we enjoy sweet sleep. Let's follow Jesus' example and serve God's work wholeheartedly.

 

Finally, when the disciples realized that it was beyond their control, they came to Jesus and woke him up saying, "Master, Master, we are going to drown!" Their words show that they were a little sorry to Jesus because while they were in great danger, Jesus was just sleeping. Mark’s gospel describes their sentiment very well. Mark 4:38 reads: "The disciples woke him up and said to him, "Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?" Jesus was resting very well for the new work he was going to serve, and because of God’s peace in him, he was enjoying good time in the boat. But in the eyes of the disciples who thought they were about to die, Jesus looked indifferent to their sufferings. They felt a little sorry that even though they were about to drown, Jesus didn’t care but was sleeping all the way.

 

How did Jesus respond? Look at verses 24 and 25. Jesus simply got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was clam. Then, he turned to his disciples and rebuked them, saying, "Where is your faith?" It seemed that Jesus had to apologize for sleeping too deeply while his weak disciples were suffering so much for the storm. It seemed that the disciples suffered terribly only because Jesus did not care about them quickly. But Jesus did not apologize nor show sympathy on them. Instead, he rebuked them, saying, "Where is your faith?" It meant, "I thought that you believed in God." Jesus expected that his disciples should have come up with a different response when the storm came, thanks to their faith in God. Then, what kind of response? Perhaps, sleeping together with him in the boat while the storm attacked them, thanks to their absolute trust in God's goodness, protection and guidance, entrusting their life in God's hands completely, then, soon, after having enjoyed sweet sleep in the storm, they would find themselves on the other side of the lake safe and secure. Or like Jesus, when they felt bothered by the storm too much, they would simply get up, rebuke the wind and the raising waters, and all would be completely calm. But instead, even though they were his disciples, at the attack of the storm, they panicked, screaming to each other, trembling with the fear of death. Simply, not good! So, he rebuked them, saying, "Where is your faith?"

 

When we think about this passage, we see that this kind of dangerous storms, maybe, financially, or in health mater, or family matter, can come to us even when we are fully dedicated to God's work, and even when we are with Jesus, enjoying good relationship with him. At that time, if we panic, if we freak out, Jesus challenges us, saying, "Where is your faith?" In the time of storm, Jesus challenges us, "Where is your faith?" How should we respond when storms come to us? We must strive to show the response that are caused by our absolute faith in God. That way, we impress him. Don't freak out.

 

          When the disciples saw how Jesus calmed everything, they were shocked. In fear and amazement they asked one another, "Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him." Through this experience, they came to see Jesus differently; their eyes were being opened to who Jesus really was. Through this kind of practical challenges and struggles, we come to meet and experience God personally and, thereby, we grow up in Him. So, don't just panic when such challenges come. You will not die because of storms. There is God's good purpose and plan in all those storms you have in your life.

 

Second, "What is your name?" (26-39). After the voyage, they came to the other side of the lake, the region of the Gerasenes. Gerasa was one of the ten cities of the Decapolis; it was a Gentile area. There, another venture was waiting for them. Look at verse 27. "When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs." What a spooky scene it must have been! The disciples were tired from their struggle against the furious storm. Then, as soon as they came out of the boat, soaked to the bones, a man came out to greet them from the tombs, saying, "Hello! How’re you doing?" At this, their hair stood up. He didn’t wear any clothes, and his eyes looked very scary. What kind of a person was he? He was a demon-possessed man.

 

Some people may laugh at this topic, "Demon-possession," thinking that it is a nonsense, or it is found only in fantasy novels. But demon possession is real; 2,000 years ago, many people were possessed by demons and Jesus helped them by setting them free from demons; he sent his disciples to the world with a direction to drive out demons from people. Today, Jesus still sends his disciples to go to the world and set many people free from demons. The concept of demon-possession is that several persons live in one body - the owner of the body and demons, so they show a split mentality. In today's passage, when Jesus commanded the demons to come out of the man, the man ran to Jesus as if he was happy with him, and once he came to him, he fell at his feet as if he respected Jesus highly. But then, he shouted at the top of his voice, saying, "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don't torture me!" He was rebellious. His actions and words simply didn't match - this split mentality is the expression of demon possession. Maybe, the owner of the body really wanted to come to Jesus and receive help from him, but the demons in him did not want to do anything with Jesus; fundamentally, demons, even though they know who Jesus is, don't want to do anything with him; they are enemies of God.  

 

When several persons live together in one body, soon all these persons fuse together that later, there is no distinction between the owner's person and the demon's person, so that the owner of the body does not know whether it is he feeling and doing all these things or the demons are doing them. The demon-possessed man in the passage had not worn clothes or lived in a house. Wearing clothes or living in a house is what everyone does and desires; that's the most general code of conduct for all humans. But this man refused to do that most general code of conduct for humans, forgetting what he was, and what he was supposed to do - he was lost. That's one symptom of demon-possession - forgetting what they are, and refusing to do what they are supposed to do as humans. In the passage, the demon-possessed man was living in the tombs. Tombs are the symbol of death, and we all feel burdened about them. No one wants to live in the tombs. But when this person was possessed by demons, he felt very comfortable with the tombs, so he was living in the tombs. This is another symptom of demon-possession. When people are possessed by demons, they feel comfortable with the things of death such as bones, sculls, blood, knife, the Grim Reapers,... So, they collect those items or wear clothes with those things printed, or cover their bodies with tattoos of such things. When I visited one of my students at his house, he showed me his drawings - demonic figures in fine arts - the Grim Reapers, hellfire, bones and skulls all in fine arts - he had spent tons of time for each of them, drawing each line so carefully. No wonder he was suffering from Paranoia. That day, we burned them all.

 

       When people have a demon problem, often, isolation follows, because, now as their persons are fused with demons, their words and actions are bizarre; these people refuse to go by any rules and regulations and do many bizarre things; eventually, they are driven to solitary places of their own such as their apartment room with a thick curtain; they develop their own tombs, feeling very angry at the society, blaming others for all the problems they have. In the passage, the man didn't wear any clothes, refusing to live by the general consensus of the society; he also broke off the chains, refusing any rules or regulations for his life; instead, he wanted to do whatever he wanted without any restrictions - he was rebellious, but he didn't think that way; instead, he thought that people were restricting him or bothering him. Now as he moved to the tombs and did whatever he wanted to do, running through all the tombs, jumping from one tomb to the next, was he happy? No. Mark’s gospel 5:5 reads that night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones. It seemed that he was not happy at all; he was crying out day and night, shouting and screaming, bursting with anger, still thinking that it was all because of others' problems - he blamed his family, his classmates who were smarter than he was, his coworkers at work who had worked harder than he did, and he was angry with them all the more. Also, the fact that he cut himself with stones showed that he didn't like himself at all; he hated who he had become and how he was living; demon-possession leads people to self-destruction. Demons are the direct cause of high suicide rate in the society. People had given up on him long time ago. Now, it seemed that he would finish his life this way, so miserably, as a demon-possessed man. But how lucky and blessed he was that Jesus was living in his time. Jesus even visited him at his place - the tombs in a Gentile area.

 

As soon as Jesus saw this man, he commanded the demons to come out of him. But they rebelliously talked back, saying, "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don't torture me!" Once they occupied the man's body, they did not want to come out of it easily, even at the command of Jesus, the Son of God; they were really rebellious. At this, Jesus asked the man, "What is your name?" Right then the man was going crazy - being naked, shouting at the top of his voice, being rebellious. In that way, the demons were controlling him. In this situation, Jesus asked the man this question, which he could think of and answer - in this way, with this question, Jesus gave him a chance to be of his own person.

 

At this, the man answered, "My name is Legion." The man's own person did not answer, but the demons answered, showing that his condition was really bad; he even did not have power or control to answer that kind of most basic and personal question. He was really lost. By the way, where was his own person? Certainly, in his body, but together with 6,000 evil spirits. Legion was the Roman army consisted of 6,000 soldiers. The number of demons that crept into him was equivalent to the number of soldiers in a Roman legion—6,000! Maybe, among 6,000 demons that were so aggressive and intimidating, his own person was pushed back all the way in the shadow that he had no chance to claim or control himself. That was his condition - really lost. Only when several events that were very personal and important to him happened consecutively, as if they were perfectly arranged, maybe then, he would have a chance to come to his senses, saying, "Why am I here?" But in reality, things would never happen that way. Maybe, normally, he would never come back to his own senses, but die this way, eternally lost.

 

What if he had only 4 demons instead of 6,000 demons? Most likely, he would have a better chance to be himself; maybe, for about 5 hours a day, he was his own person, while the rest of the day, demons were in control. But now as 6,000 demons were in him, he had no chance to be his own - in this way, his own person was lost among so many demons; he was lost. This is what demon-possession is about - one's own person is lost, because of demons.  

 

 So many people are lost because of demons. They don't live their own life, but the life of demons, desiring and doing what demons want them to do. Some people live as angry people, doing crazy things because of demons; some people live in excessive sorrows because of demons; some people are captured by a suicidal desire because of demons; some people do terrible things in the society because of demons. While they do everything demons desire, their own self is lost, and they do not live their own life, but the life of demons. That's really sad.

 

Many young people think of demons or spiritual world a joke, saying, "Cool!" So, they do many terrible things that can invite demons to their life. A sinful life is one direct cause to invite demons; doing occult practices such as wiz board or witchcraft is just another; when people do such practices, they are open to the evil spiritual world and demons come to them. Once they are exposed to the evil spiritual world, when they realize that demons are real, they are dead scared. They never want to have anything to do with demons. But once demons come to them, they don't want to leave them until these people are really destroyed. Eventually, these people do not live their own life, but the life of demons, while they themselves are lost. Demons are evil spirits. Don't live in a way that can invite evil spirits into your life. Instead, live your life in a way that can invite the Holy Spirit by living a holy life that is really set apart for God.

 

 Look at verses 31 through 33. At Jesus' command, these demons were not submissive; instead, they pleaded with him not to send them to the Abyss, but to the pigs nearby. Jesus gave them permission. They came out and went into the pigs. The herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned. It was a lot of money, but Jesus was willing to sacrifice all these pigs for the sake of saving this one poor soul. When the townspeople saw that the man was out of control, and that he refused to listen to them, they gave him up and left him alone so that he might die sometime soon. He was useless and worthless to them. Maybe, if they knew that they had to pay 2,000 pigs as a ransom for him, surely they would not be willing to have that deal.

 

But Jesus had deep concern about him. It seemed that the reason Jesus had left Capernaum and came to the other side of the lake, the region of the Gerasenes, a Gentile area, was only because of this man. This man, with a little strength that still remained in him, cried inwardly, "What’s going on in my life? Where am I going? Help me." Jesus heard this man’s feeble cry on the other side of the lake. So he quickly canceled all his schedules, and decided to come to the region of the Gerasenes, the Gentile area. Leaving a whole bunch of crowd that were there in Capernaum who wanted to hear his message, Jesus came to the other side of the lake even through the storm only to meet this helplessly demon-possessed man and to save him from the demons. When the demons were not willing to give him up, but asked for a high ransom, 2,000 pigs, the ruin of the pig industry of the region, Jesus willingly accepted that deal and saved him. To him, this man was far more valuable than a whole bunch of money. Jesus was the good shepherd for this demon-possessed man – he was the only person who did not give him up, but cared for him to the end even paying such high price. No one valued him highly, but Jesus valued him so highly, more than a whole bunch of crowd, more than his precious time, and more than a lot of money.

 

Who is this Jesus? He is the one who pays attention to the slightest sigh of the least important person in the world. When we cry out for help from the ends of the earth, he hears us and comes to save us. The demons came to him to steal, kill and destroy his talents, character and life, but Jesus came to him to restore him to the original status as God had created him to be. Jesus came to him so that he might have life, and have it to the full. He is the shepherd for all peoples on earth. Nowadays, even close family members abandon those who have demon-problems, because their way of thinking is weird, their lifestyle is bizarre, and their words and actions are rough - simply it is not easy to bear with them. So, they dump their sons or daughters, or their fathers or mothers to the psychiatric hospitals or convalescent hospitals where they are chained hand and foot. But Jesus is the shepherd for even these people who have been tortured by demons and abandoned by others. Jesus has given his disciples the authority to drive out demons and sent them to the world. Jesus wants us to be shepherds and shepherdesses even for the demon-possessed people – while they are at school, they laugh freely, but when they go home, they are so scared of demons that torture them day and night. Let’s pray that through our prayers and one to one Bible studies, we may drive out demons from them and let them have a new life in Christ Jesus.

 

Look at verses 34 through 39. The people of the town felt a great sense of loss because Jesus exchanged 2,000 pigs for the man’s life. They were afraid that all the pigs in the town would die if Jesus remained in their territory just a few more days. So they asked Jesus to leave their region. Because of their love of money, they rejected their good shepherd, their Messiah. As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. But Jesus gave him a different direction, saying, "Return home and tell how much God has done for you." The man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all people were amazed.

 

One Word:      What Is Your Name?

 

 

Sunday, May 7, 2017

posted May 8, 2017, 4:39 PM by Site Administrator

THE SECRETS OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD

 

Luke 8:1-21

Key Verse 8:15

 

15 But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

 

First, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear" (1-8).  Look at verse 1.  In those days, there were no cars or bicycles.  So, Jesus traveled on foot from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God.  It was not easy to travel everyday on foot and deliver his message everywhere without the help of technology, like microphones.  But Jesus struggled hard to do the work of God in every town and village, day after day.  And the key theme of his messages… “the good news of the kingdom of God.”  Life comes with a lot of bad news; in the world we find it everywhere.  But the news of the kingdom of God is good news; it makes people find rest and peace; it brings joy and happiness, meaning and purpose.  But people must hear the news of the kingdom of God, because it is the good news they have been looking for.  On the day of Jesus' birth, the angel shouted, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people (Lk 2:10).”

 

Look at verses 1 through 3.  We see the Twelve and some women.  The expression, “The twelve were with him, and also some women,” indicates that they were those who were Jesus’ people, partners and coworkers.  Others just came, were blessed by his messages and great teachings, and then, went home; they did not make any commitment to Jesus, but just enjoyed his grace.  But the Twelve and these women, after experiencing Jesus’ grace, stayed with him; worked together, ate together, literally lived together, having life with him, everyday.  Wherever Jesus was, there you would find the Twelve and these women.  They were the fruit of Jesus’ ministry.  And surely as a shepherd, Jesus was comforted as he struggled hard to serve the work of G, with them.

 

Not only so, but this passage talks about how these women, after experiencing Jesus' grace, supported Jesus' ministry out of their own means.  Even his own mother didn't believe in him yet, but these women, young and old, happily followed all the way from Galilee and took care of the needs of Jesus and his disciples.  Because of these women and their support, Jesus and his disciples must have been greatly encouraged to do God's work.

 

Look at verses 4 through 7. While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. Some fell on rocks, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.”

 

Here, Jesus categorized all of his audience into four groups – 1st, hearts like a path; 2nd, hearts like rocky places; 3rd, hearts among thorns; and 4th, hearts of good soil.  Remember that these four groups of people are not those who ignore the word of God or say that there is no God.  But these are the ones who actually come to Jesus’ Bible study, setting aside their own time to study with Him.  Such are Jesus’ audience in today’s passage.

 

But according to Jesus words there are many who come to him, they believe, and are excited about what he is saying.  Some will even grow up, even a lot, but most, 75%, will fail to produce good fruit in their lives.  Many see Jesus coming to his own people in John chapter one and cannot understand why they did not receive him.  So, they believe that if they were there and attended Jesus Bible study, they would be Jesus’ disciple, because they agree with everything Jesus says.  But Jesus does not want the people to agree but for each person to become good soil that produces fruit, even 100 times more than was sown.  Otherwise they would not follow Jesus to the end, and as a result their lives would not be fruitful.  Do you see why Jesus gave this parable?  It was so that all groups would become good hearts and come to have a fruitful life in the kingdom of G.

 

After giving his audience the Parable of the Sower, Jesus said, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."  The possibility of becoming good hearts that bear great fruit is open to everyone.  Anyone who can see what Jesus is talking about - let him/her hear and be blessed. Let him/her bear great fruit, even a hundred times more than was sown.

 

Second, "With a noble and good heart" (9-15).  Look at verse 9.  It seemed that Jesus’ message was simple.  When you scatter seed on bad soil, no plants can grow; no crops at harvest time.  But the seed planted in good soil will produce many crops.  Is there anyone here who does not understand this parable?  Good!  You scatter the seed.  If there is good soil the harvest will be good, if it is bad there is no harvest; it’s very simple.  Jesus was not trying to trick anyone; He told them plainly.

 

So after his message, the huge crowd of people left and went to Starbucks to get a latte for the long walk home.  But, some were different.  They sensed that there was something more profound in Jesus’ parable, but, unlike the crowd they remained to figure it out.  So, they came to Jesus and asked him about it.  What was Jesus’ reply to them?  Look at verse 10.  Let’s read this verse together:

 

10 He said, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that, "'though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.'

 

The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of G has been given to you!!!  It was sad for Jesus to see that so many did not pay attention and left.  These people, who remained, must have made Jesus so happy, but they were in the minority.  Jesus was saying that those who listened to him physically heard every one of his words, but they didn’t learn anything; everything was said in parables.  Most come, think they understand everything but never really understand anything.  So many came, listened to Jesus intently, but they did not hear or see the secrets of the kingdom of G.  Why?  We are shocked that this occurred when they World’s Greatest Bible teacher gave his message.  We are alarmed and want to know why, why did this happen even to Jesus?  People came but they thought they quickly understood.  They thought what Jesus said was good, it was amazing, they said, “Amen.”  But what Jesus said did not change their lives, and so they ended up going back to their lives.  To Jesus – they saw, but never perceived.  They thought they were spiritual for attending Bible study with a great man of G, like Jesus.  They heard, but they never understood that the word of G was actually talking about them.  They message was good, but it was talking about their sin problems, which in Jesus eyes, kept them from being fruitful.  The words – ‘ever seeing’ or ‘ever hearing’ – means that they heard or saw many times, over and over, but their lives did not change to bear fruit for G.  In that way they missed the whole point.  They understood so they simply left.  So Jesus said, they ever see, but never perceive.  They ever hear but never understand.  So, the majority, 75%, think they are good to go, but they never learn from Jesus, they never bear fruit; they are deceived, and Jesus gave this parable so that they would, not just agree with him, but really repent.

 

       After the majority left, Jesus said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you.” Let’s check out the secrets, so listen very carefully, ok.

 

       The farmer is God’s servant, and the seed is the Word of God.  The kingdom of God starts with a servant going out, scattering the seed in the hearts of people.  Then, in accepting the Word of God, there are different responses.  Some are like the seed sown along the path.  What happened to these people?  They hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts; no chance to be rooted and grow; G cannot influence their heart and life.  People come to Bible study and worship service.  They hear the Word of God and think about it, but something comes up; there is a lot of traffic, like: politics, Hollywood scandals, technological developments.  They read many articles and search through the internet for many hours.  They talk about Iran, North Korea, Syria, smart phones, snap chat,...  Even during worship service, they check out Facebook.  Their interests go after many things and their hearts are preoccupied so that the word of God has no chance to be planted in them.  They are actually not sincere; they are thoughtless.  What is the secret of the kingdom of God?  Secret number one – DO NOT BE PATH-LIKE PEOPLE (Get rid of the traffic)!!!

 

       Secret number two: people are like the seed sown on rocky places.  Different from path-like people they hear the Word of God with great joy, saying things like, “Hallelujah.  God loves me!”  But the problem is: they have no root.  Look at verse 13; Jesus says, “13 Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.”  The person has a rock, so the roots remain shallow.  In the time of testing, when the sun grows hot, they simply fall away.  Col 2:6-7; 6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.  ‘Rooted’ and ‘built up in him,’ shows that we must continue to live in Him.  The world and Satan work hard with persecutions and temptations to uproot and pull up young believers who come to Jesus Christ.  It is inevitable that any person who wants to remain in Jesus, must take down deep root in the Word of God until their value system, way of thinking, hope, future, and all of their life is lined up with God’s word.  When they take down deep root in the Word of God they will not be shaken or uprooted by anything; neither poverty nor success; neither hallow philosophies of the world nor pleasures of the flesh keep them from remaining in Jesus.

 

In our efforts to take down deep root in Christ, there is a rock that has been embedded in our hearts for so long.  To some this rock problem is their secret desire or love.  They do not want to let it go, so even if they hear the Word of God it cannot take down deep root.  To the rich young man in Mark’s gospel it was the love of money.  To others it is their doubt about God’s will because they have had some painful experiences.  It is not easy to take away this rock.  We have carried it so long, it’s natural.  It must be removed so the Word of God can take down deep root in our hearts and lives.  Secret number two – REMOVE THE ROCKS!!!

 

       Secret number three: seed sown among thorns.  These people receive the Word of God and they even grow up.  They are far better than those sown on rocky places.  Rocky-place people grow for one or two years, but quickly wither due to persecutions or hardships over the Word of God.  However, people who are like the seed sown among the thorns, receive the Word, enjoy it, grow up, and produce many leaves.  They look like good Christians, dedicated to God, who know the Word of God very well, and love God.  Their words and actions are very spiritual, even becoming leaders.  But the problem is thorns have grown together with the Word of God; the thorns will eventually choke their spirituality.  In this passage Jesus talks about three kinds of thorns that grow with them: life’s worries, riches, and pleasures.  These thorns begin to grow faster and bigger and choke out the plants; choking out the Word of God.  Practically it chokes their spirituality, they stop growing and, later, wither and die.  We have seen many who were zealous for God become strange because of life’s worries.  They worry about their rent, job, future after graduation; so many things.  With so many concerns they do not know how they can serve God.  For this reason eventually they are choked out and fall away.

 

Also, riches are thorns.  In Mark’s gospel Jesus calls this the deceitfulness of wealth.  Money can never make you happy.  And never believe money will allow you to serve God and be fruitful.  This never happens.  Do not be deceived.   In Mark’s gospel Jesus talks about the desire for other things or pleasures!  There are so many ways that people pursue pleasures, but there is no need to talk about them.  In the last days Paul says – People will be lovers of pleasures rather than God (2 Tim 3:2-4).  Now, today, society advertises fun and more pleasures, with less sufferings and hardships.  As a result all people are pursuing pleasures.  This is also the trend of God’s people; Christians, so they are choked and fail to produce any good fruit.  So, secret number three – REMOVE THE THORNS.  The secrets of the kingdom of God have been given to you.  Jesus said - For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  So, instead, trust in God.  Instead of worrying about such things seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well (Matt 6:32-33).  Do you understand secret number three?  What is it – remove the thorns?

 

Look at verse 15. Let's read this verse together:

 

15 “But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”

 

The last group is characterized by good soil; those whose hearts are noble and good.  Everything is about the heart, not about understanding, excellent skills or talents.  What kind of heart is a noble and good heart?  The Bible says - The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it (Jer 17:9)?  So, what kind of heart is a noble and good heart?  The passage shows that the noble and good heart retains the Word of God.  Those who hear the Word, retain it, and by persevering, produce a crop.  The word ‘retain’ implies a certain period of time during which there may be many difficulties and challenges, like wind, cold weather, or sometimes bugs - Ouch!  But after bearing and going through these difficulties a person still remains to produce a crop.  This means perseverance.  Some people remain in God when things go very well, or are exciting, but when things do not go well they simply go away.  They do not retain the Word of God, but live by feelings and ever changing emotions.  Surely you do not call these – noble and good-hearted.  Some run away when they are asked to make certain sacrifices, so you wouldn’t call them noble.  But some people struggle to live by the Word of God even if it means sufferings, sacrifices, and persecutions.  Even if they have to offer Isaac to God as a burnt offering, like Abraham, they still retain the Word of God.  They may suffer financially, but still they hold onto God’s Word, and are identified as Jesus’ people, people of God; like ‘the Twelve and also some women.’  Surely, when you see these people, you can say they have noble and good hearts.  Those faithful to live according to the Word of God through persevering have a noble and good heart.  They render glory to God by producing much fruit.  Secret number four – HAVE A NOBLE AND GOOD HEART BY PERSEVERING!!!

 

Third, "Consider carefully how you listen" (16-21).  Look at verses 16 and 17.  “No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.”  In those days, there was no electricity; no light bulbs.  At night, it was very dark, so people kindled lamps to light the house. Then, where did they put the lamp?  Everyone put it on its stand so that the light might shine to the four corners of the house.  No one put the lamp in a jar or under a bed.  If they did so, then, the light would be hidden and the room would still be in darkness.  It would be nonsense to put the lamp in a jar or under a bed.

 

What is Jesus talking about?  Jesus is talking about the reason why he used the parables. Jesus’ teaching was given to the crowd in parable form.  It seemed that because Jesus taught the crowd in a parable or because he had not given the explanation of his parable immediately, the majority of the people lost a chance to be blessed; they ever heard, but never understood.  Why did Jesus teach them in parables instead of using plain language?  Was it to hide the secrets of the kingdom of God so that the majority of people might not be blessed, but only a small number of people?  No way!  Here, he tells us that his method of teaching people in parables was like putting a lamp on its stand to enlighten the room.  Jesus knew the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God - how it grows, what is necessary for its growth, and he knew peoples’ problems.  His concern was how to help these people effectively so that they could recognize their problems, remove them from their hearts and grow in God continually to bear fruit.  If Jesus called people to him one by one and pointed out their problems, that kind of method wouldn’t be effective.  So, Jesus chose to use the parables in teaching them the word of God; the parables sound plain, easy to understand, but they contain deep truth behind the natural phenomena they seem to explain.  So, if anyone finds the real message, it is like finding secret treasure in a field – it provides an eye-opening moment, then, so inspired by the truth, people can accept the message and turn to God decisively.  Jesus’ parable was like the lamp to people who come in that shines through the darkness, giving them clear direction for life, and showing them the secret to live a fruitful life, a truly meaningful and fulfilling life.  It was the best way to enlighten their dark hearts and help them turn to God in repentance, be forgiven, and bear fruit.

 

In conclusion, Jesus says, "Consider carefully how you listen."  Look at verse 18.  Let’s read this verse together:

 

18 Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him."

 

       “Consider carefully how you listen.”  In other words we must have a good attitude toward God’s words.  Then we will not just agree with what Jesus says, but we will spend many hours with his words.  Then we will grasp something, the light will turn on, and our perspective will change.  Then when you hear another message, you will come to see a little more.  Then you make more efforts and more is revealed.  Then our life really changes and Jesus says, “whoever has will be given more,” and our hope, desires, vision, and life changes.  But Jesus also says, whoever does not have, even what he think he has will be taken from him.  Later such people have no confidence in Jesus’ grace.  At that time they have no reason to hold on to their superficial Bible knowledge, and so they fall away, losing everything.  When you have the right attitude toward G and his words, you grow as real children of G.

 

Look at verses 19 through 21. While Jesus was teaching, his mother and brothers came to see him, but they could not come in because of the crowd. Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.”  What was Jesus’ response?  Look at verse 21.  Let’s read this verse together.

 

21 Jesus said, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”

 

To Jesus, those who have a good heart, in whose hearts the word of God is planted, they are his family members; they are so precious and important, because they are the children of God.  When his physical family members wanted to talk with him, he refused to see them so that he could focus on his disciples.  When we hear God’s word, and put them into practice, to Jesus, we are VIPs; we are those with a noble and good heart.

 

As I worked on this message I came to see more about what Jesus meant when he talked about good soil or a good and noble heart.  My heart or in other words my character has some good parts.  But lately, at home, when things do not go the way I desire, my character unwinds, I am not under control, and my person is no longer pleasant or encouraging.  This realization is what initially brought me to Jesus.  But it is hard and embarrassing that after more than 12 years serving Jesus, this part has not changed much.  It just takes the right set of circumstances to show that my heart is not good and noble.  When I get upset with me wife or children, you would not say that I have a good and noble heart.  But Jesus wanted, not crowd members, but dedicated disciples.  Why?  So he could spend real time with them, reveal the secrets of the kingdom of G; so I might see the deep truth and receive healing from Jesus.  I see Jesus’ grace, through this passage.  He wants to spend time with someone like me, someone who is terrible and does not deserve his attention.  This is very touching to me and so I want to remain like “The Twelve and also some women.”  I want to remain close to Jesus so he can help me to be healed completely, so that I may come to have a lovely character, a truly noble and good heart, so that nothing will overflow that will not be good and righteous in Jesus eyes.

 

But, for this to happen, I must remain with Jesus, no matter what.  Times are more complicated and difficult now with work, a sick daughter, dwindling finances, and bad character traits that come up even as I am trying to prepare the Sunday message.  But I see Jesus’ amazing grace.  He loves me so he wants me to cultivate my heart, to be good soil, which will remain with him, deeply learn the secrets of the kingdom of G, and grow up as a child of G, whose life will yield good fruit, even a hundred times more than was sown.  Jesus wants me to listen more carefully, then before, so that I will not miss the secrets of the kingdom of G, which will heal my heart and change me into a faithful and useful employee, and not only so but a tender father and helper at home.  A man changed from an Apostle of Thunder (Boanerges - Mk 3:17), to the Apostle of love.  I see that this can only happen when I am committed like “The Twelve and also some women.”  I can see that Christian history is not about the crowds.  Rather it is about the few with good and noble hearts.  Those who accepted the Word of God, retained it, and by persevering produced a crop 100 times more than was sown.  Jesus welcomes all of us and wants to bless us by making our lives fruitful.  So He gives us this message.  Let’s accept Jesus’ Word for us, and let’s produce fruit so that He may be pleased.

 

One Word: But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop, even 100 times more than was sown.

 

 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

posted May 1, 2017, 2:41 PM by Site Administrator

7

 

FOR SHE LOVED MUCH 

 

Luke 7:36-50

Key Verse 7:47

 

Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.

 

First, "Standing behind him, weeping" (36-38). In the previous passages, we learned about Jesus’ powerful ministry: he healed the sick, and raised the dead. The news about him spread throughout Judea and even other countries. People were wandering who he might be, probably, the Messiah. One of the Pharisees, named Simon, wanted to see for himself who Jesus was, so he invited him to dinner. Even though Jesus was very busy, he graciously accepted Simon’s invitation and went to his house. In those days, people would eat at low tables, reclining on cushions, with their feet stretched out away from the table. When Jesus arrived at Simon’s house, he, too, stretched out his feet and reclined at the table along with the other guests.

 

As they waited for dinner to be served, Simon was telling Jesus all about his impressive education—how he had studied under the most prominent Rabbis, received Ph.D.’s in Theology, History, and Literature, and also a law degree from the prestigious Torah Law School in Jerusalem. Everything was getting along wonderfully, and the servants were just beginning to bring out the food, when suddenly, the music stopped, and, all at once, the party guests made a collective gasp, "Huhhh!" Every one stared with wide eyes and open jaws as a suspicious-looking woman entered the room. Her blue dress was cut much lower than was comfortable for the conservative sensibilities of the other party guests. Also, her blue eye shadow, long, dangling earrings, and many silver and gold bracelets made her look even more suspicious. Who was this party-crasher?

 

Verse 37 says that she had lived a sinful life in that town.In those days, the label, "a sinful woman," meant, especially, that she lived a sexually promiscuous life. That she lived such a life "in that town" tells us that, over the years, she had built up a reputation in that town as an exceptional sinner.Normally, this kind of woman would not visit a Pharisee's house where she would be despised and condemned. Simply, she didn't belong there. But this woman, despite the possibility of ridicules and rejection, visited; when we think about this, we see that she was almost compelled to visit; why? It was all because of Jesus. The Pharisee's house was very burdensome for her, but she came to that burdensome place, because Jesus was there. If Jesus was there, she was willing to go any place. 

 

She carried perfume in an alabaster jar, showing that the reason why she visited the Pharisee's house was to express her thanks and respect to Jesus by pouring perfume on his feet. So, as she entered the Pharisee's house, she quickly glanced atthe party guests, noticed where Jesus was reclining, and came and stood behind him. Now the only thing left was to pour perfume on Jesus' feet. But things didn't go as she had planned. 

 

Verse 38 reads: "and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears." This must not be something she had planned. But as she stood behind Jesus at his feet, deep emotion welled up in her heart and tears began to flow down on her cheeks. As she stood there weeping, tears fell down on Jesus' feet, drop by drop, until his feet got wet. It requires a lot of tears to wet someone's feet. Probably, it was the tears of thanks; but also, it was the tears of true repentance, recognizing her sin as sin, combined with thanks that God had not condemned her, but given her another chance as if she had done nothing wrong. When she was touched by God's grace through Jesus' message, she was thankful for giving her another chance; she was happy that God was not angry with her despite her many sins; God's grace made her happy and thankful. But now as she came to express her thanks to Jesus, she could truly recognize her sin as sin, something really ugly, shameful and terrible - all her wickedness, all her immoral life, wayward life flashed into her mind as something really wicked, something that could not be accepted; it was indeed marvelous grace that, despite her terrible sins, despicable sins, God was not condemning her. This recognition of her sins combined with God's marvelous grace upon her made her really weep endlessly, until her tears wet Jesus' feet; all her sins were really melting in her with her tears, and with these tears, her inner soul was being purified. 

 

I am not sure if animals shed a lot of tears; I have never seen any animal cry so much like we humans do; it seems that God created humans to cry. Some people had research about the purpose and content of tears. One person compared tears induced from sadness with tears caused by cutting a raw onion. He found that the tears caused by emotional stimuli contained more total protein than those that resulted from irritation. He proposed that the emotionally based tears contained high levels of cortisol, which is the primary hormone released during stressful situations. This suggests that we may be literally releasing toxins from our system when we cry, and that crying itself may support our overall wellbeing, physically and even spiritually. Try to cry a lot - cry because of God's grace upon you; cry for your sheep; cry for your family members' salvation; cry for your own sins; as you cry a lot, shedding a lot of tears, you grow healthy and sound as spiritual people. When we cry a lot, we are spiritually healthy and our relationship with God is sound; surely, blessed are you when you weep and mourn. Maybe, crying is the evidence of sound growth in Jesus Christ. When was the last time when you shed tears so much like this woman?

 

While she was weeping, all the people there held their breath, without being able to say anything. They were wondering, "What's going on? What is she doing?" Then, something more amazing happened. While she was weeping and wetting Jesus' feet with her tears, she grabbed her long silky black hair, and she wiped Jesus' feet with her hair. Woman's hair represents her glory. That's why they spend so much time and effort for their hair. No woman wants to wipe someone's feet with her hair. But she did it, and it was her expression of true submission to Jesus - in her eyes, Jesus was so precious and great and she was so unworthy, and even her best part, her hair was not worthy of Jesus, so she wiped his feet with her hair; she honored Jesus as a servant of God so highly, deserving her complete submission, for he was God's messenger to her. Then, she kissed his feet again and again. No one wants to kiss someone's feet, but at least, hand or cheek. But she didn't think that she was worthy to touch Jesus' hand or cheek, but only his feet. 

 

Then, taking the alabaster jar in her hands, she broke its seal. Immediately, the entire room was filled with the fragrant aroma of expensive perfume. This kind of perfume was worth a year’s wages—today, it would cost about $40,000 dollars!Every drop was so valuable, but she did not hesitate to pour out every drop of the precious perfume on Jesus’ feet. Perfume is not to be poured; instead, people use it drop by drop or spray it just a little; that way, they want to keep it as long as possible. But she poured it on Jesus' feet. Just as she poured out her tears, she poured out the entire perfume of the jar on Jesus’ feet. This expensive perfume touched Jesus’ feet, fell, fell to the ground and was gone in about two minutes. Once the perfume was gone, her marriage dream was gone; she sacrificed her marriage dream to express her thanks to him, to adorn his feet for two minutes. She would never use that much money for her mom; maybe, for her mom, $50.00 steak dinner on the mother's day. For her dad, maybe, another steak dinner, but definitely not $40,000.00. But she was happy to spend $40,000.00 to decorate Jesus for 2 minutes; Jesus was special.

 

Here, the three items she used - hair, kiss, and perfume - represent her best treasures, her most valuable possessions, and she used them all for Jesus' feet, showing how highly she considered him, and how undeserving and unworthy she considered herself. Even her best treasure, her best expression of honor still was not enough in her eyes that she didn't stop kissing his feet, and just poured out the perfume on them freely. When she truly appreciated what Jesus had done for her, she was so happy to express her thanks to him by pouring our all her best treasures. She was a happy person. In the same way, when you know Jesus' love for you really, when you truly appreciate what he has done for you, you come to express your thanks and love for him really, by pouring out all your best treasures for him freely - by pouring out your time and energy, your youth and money. At that time, your Christian life is passionate and powerful, so action-packed that many amazing things occur, and as you live that kind of powerful and action-packed Christian life, you are happy and satisfied. You live a wonderful Christian life.

 

Second, "For she loved much" (39-50). Look at verse 39. At this, Simon was shocked and entertained doubt in his heart. He said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner." Simon judged Jesus in his heart, but Jesus still heard him. Look at verses 40 through 4240Jesus answered him, "Simon, I have something to tell you." "Tell me, teacher," he said. 41"Two men owed money to a certain money lender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?"

 

In Jesus’ parable, we find two debtors who owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. A denarius was a Roman soldier's day's wage. In today’s terms, we can say that one owed one hundred thousand dollars, and the other owed ten thousand dollars. But the problem was that neither of them could pay the money lender back. Here, the one who owed five hundred denarii refers to those who are obviously sinful like the woman in the passage, those party animals, simply unrighteous people, and the one who owed fifty denarii refers to those who look moral or righteous like Simon the Pharisee. Even though they look different in human eyes - moralistic and immoral, righteous-looking and unrighteous-looking, in God's eyes, they are the same - neither of them is capable to pay the price of their sins. Both of them are sinful, deserving God's judgment. In God's eyes, there is no one who is righteous; whether moralistic or immoral, all mankind fall short of the glory of God, deserving God's eternal judgment; even if some people may look good, but in God's eyes, who sees everything hidden, man's heart is corrupt beyond cure; all our righteousness is like filthy rags in God's eyes. Thereby, no one can brag about himself.

 

Then, the only way to solve our sin problem is to be forgiven of, and God is willing to, God is pleased to forgive our sins. The money lender cancelled the debts of both of them freely. In the same way, God is willing to forgive the sins of people freely. That's why God established the sacrifice system in the Old Testament so that by seeing the blood of animals, He would forgive the sins of the Israel people freely.What relationship is there between man's sin and animal blood? Nothing! But, in that system, when God saw the blood of animals, He forgave those sinners freely, because He wanted to forgive. Then, in the New Testament God sacrificed his One and Only Son so that He would forgive anyone who believes in him. Jesus died on the cross 2,000 years ago, but even today, if anyone believes in him as the Christ, God is happy to forgive his or her sins freely. It is indeed God's willing desire to forgive people of their sins. This is the expression of God's love for all mankind. 

 

Then, Jesus asks, "Now which of them will love him more?" This question of Jesus shows what God wants when He forgives us of our sins freely: He wants us to love Him, even love Him much! What does it mean here to "love" him? It means to show him our true appreciation, even much, for forgiving our sins just like the woman did in the passage. God forgave you in Jesus Christ freely; God cancelled your debt freely. How should you respond to this favor of God? God wants us to love Him back, by appreciating his favor for us really, by passionately loving Him with tears, with hairs, with kisses, and with perfume - with all our best treasures. How is your Christian life? Is it with a lot of tears, hairs, kisses, and perfume? Or just about doing some Christian things? Do you love God much? God wants us to truly appreciate what He has done for us by pouring out our perfume on his feet; that's what it means to love God. When you love God much like this, your Christian life is really wonderful. 

 

So many Christians live a very boring Christian life - there is no zealous passion; there is no true excitement; there is no true wholeheartedness toward God; they really hate such a boring Christian life. What's their problem? Their problem is that they do not love God much; they do not truly appreciate what God has done for them. Instead, they take everything for granted, saying, "I am forgiven, because I believe in Jesus. God loves all peoples on earth." They take everything casually. As a result, they fail to truly appreciate what God has done for them, even if their terrible sins are forgiven. Instead of struggling hard to truly grasp God's grace upon their life, they just quickly go by theology they have heard about from their pastors and come up with all kinds of Bible knowledge and theological expressions. At that time, indeed, they cannot appreciate what God has done for them, because they do not know it really; so they love God little; as a result, at best they just go through the motion, or they just do basic Christian things; or at best, they become moralistic or nice people, doing some philanthropic works. This is how so many Christians live their life - boring. The kind of relationship they have with Jesus is just official, not personal, a kind of deal - they do these Christian things and expect that Jesus would give them a ticket to heaven.

 

Do you want to have a wonderful Christian life? Then, count what God has done for you and really grasp his love for you. God has done great things for you in and through Jesus Christ - God forgave all your sins and gave you this new life in Jesus Christ. When you truly appreciate it, you will love God really passionately willing to pour out your perfume on Jesus freely. At that time, your Christian life will be really wonderful and powerful, and you will be truly happy and satisfied with your Christian life.

 

At this question, Simon answered that the one who had the bigger debt canceled would love the moneylender more.Jesus agreed with Simon, saying, "You have judged correctly." Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I came into your house.You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet."

 

Jesus’ words, "I came into your house," show how much he loved Simon. No one likes to be around a self-righteous person. But, amazingly, Jesus did not despise a self-absorbed and self-righteous Pharisee. Instead, he came into Simon’s house and reclined at Simon’s table. It was such amazing grace that the Son of God would come into the house of one proud sinner. As a result, Simon had a chance to know Jesus and enjoy personally fellowship with him—what a wonderful chance! But, Simon did not appreciate this love and grace of Jesus. Jesus said to Simon, "I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet,... You did not give me a kiss,... You did not put oil on my head."

 

Jesus was so sorrowful that Simon, who knew the Bible did not treat him well. But, instead, it was the woman who had lived such a shameful and dirty life who showed him suchburning and passionate love. Jesus expects that those who have been Christian for many years should love him the most.But, in many cases, their love for Jesus is so tasteless and stale; instead, we have heard the testimonies of people who spent their lives partying uncontrollably, doing drugs, and indulging in sexual immorality, but who now love Jesus so passionately—they are the ones who are now pouring out their lives for Jesus day after day. But, those who have been Christians all their lives have such little love for Jesus - maybe, barely 2.0 GPA by doing minimum activities so that they can go to heaven. They diligently work to secure theirlives in this world pouring their time and energy freely, but when it comes to Jesus, they excuse themselves, saying, "I go to worship service; later I will serve him." They must hearwhat Jesus says today. "I came into your house. But you did not give me any water for my feet. You did not give me a kiss. You did not put oil on my head."

 

Jesus says, "I came into your house." This is the expression of his love for us. While we were sinners, Jesus visited us in our lowly place; while we didn't care about God at all, Jesus wrestled with us, struggling hard to turn our eyes from things of this world to God; and only by his grace, now we are growing up as children of God. Jesus has done so much, going extra miles for us. Yet, how painful he must be when he has to say, "I came into your house. You didn't give me any water,... You didn't give me a kiss,... You didn't put oil on my head." Also, how painful it is for us to hear him say such words - we never want Jesus say such disturbing words to us. Thus, it is the responsibility of all the believers to show hot and passionate love for Jesus. Those who truly appreciate God's love for them love God so dearly, pouring out everything they have for himToday, Jesus visits you expecting such warm welcome. He expects you to show such great hospitality to him, wetting and washing his feetwith tears of repentance and thanks, kissing them unceasingly, and pouring perfume on them. Today, Jesus visits our houses, and knocks at the door, saying, "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me."(Rev 3:20) How are you going to treat him today?

 

Look at verse 47Let’s read this verse together: 

 

47Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little. 

 

When Jesus saw how she loved him, he could understand very clearly that her many sins had been forgiven. In Jesus’ eyes, those who love much are those who have been forgiven much, and those who love little are those who have been forgiven little. Are you forgiven much? Then, now you love Jesus much by pouring out all your best treasures for him. The reason why modern day church-going people are not passionate in loving God is because simply their sins have not been forgiven much, even if they have been in the church environment for many years. 1 John 4:19 says, "We love because he first loved us."

 

Jesus said to the woman, "Your sins are forgiven."Already, it was obvious to him that her many sins had been forgiven, and now for her sake, he simply proclaimed that her sins were forgiven. At this, the guests at the party, understood it as a theological matter. Yet, Jesus simply ignored them. Instead, he turned to the woman and said, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace." The woman, when she had come to Jesus' meeting and heard his message, she was deeply touched by his message. She experienced God's love through him. At that time, she came to honor and respect Jesus highly, because in her eyes, it was obvious that Jesus was God's servant, God's messenger. So, she could show such passionate love and devotion to him, because it was the expression of her thanks to God. About this, Jesus said to her, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."

 

One Word: For She Loved Much. 

 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

posted Apr 24, 2017, 10:09 AM by Site Administrator   [ updated Apr 24, 2017, 10:35 AM ]

THE GOOD NEWS IS PREACHED TO THE POOR

 

Luke 7:18-35

Key Verse 7:22

 

So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.”

 

       First, “Good news to the poor” (18-23). In the previous passage, we studied about how Jesus healed the centurion’s servant, and how he raised the dead young man, by saying, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” When people saw this, they were amazed, and the news about him spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country. When the disciples of John the Baptist heard this, they told him who was in the prison about all these things. Then, John sent two of his disciples to Jesus to ask, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” Once, at seeing Jesus coming to him, John shouted, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” (Jn 1:29) Another time, he testified to Jesus, saying, “I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” (Lk 3:16,17) He even testified to Jesus’ deity, by saying, “He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.” (Jn 1:15) John the Baptist was the forerunner of the Messiah, and fulfilled his mission successfully. But now, at the end part of his mission, he was confused about Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” Why? It was because things did not go as he had expected. Even though his understanding of the Messiah was not political as in the case with all other Jews, still he expected the great messianic kingdom established by Jesus – all injustice removed, evil destroyed, and the society being restored into holiness and righteousness. Because the Messiah came, he expected that things would get better and better, heading toward the complete establishment of the Messianic kingdom where all sins were taken away, and where all people enjoyed peace and happiness. He expected that the desert and the parched land would turn into the rosy gardens. But, on the contrary to his expectation, Jesus was quiet, and it seemed that there was no change even after Jesus started his mission. Moreover, as he struggled to fight against the evil of the society, by challenging king Herod to repent of his immoral life, he was put in prison, and he was not sure what’s going to happen to him. Things, instead of getting better, got worse. He was confused. He asked himself, “Why?” So he sent his disciples to Jesus and asked, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”

 

What was Jesus’ reply to his question? Look at verse 22. Let’s read this verse together:

 

So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.”

 

       Here, Jesus showed John the Baptist the work of the Messiah based on the Scriptures. Jesus’ quotation was from Isaiah 35:5,6, which reads: 5Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. 6Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.” How happy they will be when the blind can see, when the lame walk and when the deaf hear – their parched, sour and dried hearts will be nourished with grace of God so much that they will shout for joy, and render glory to God; water will gush out in the wilderness, and streams in the desert and roses will blossom in their hearts and lives. This is what the Messiah does. What the Scriptures suggest is that God’s salvation, God’s blessing in and through the Messiah is very personal and individual.

 

Many of us were blind, without knowing who we were, where we came from and where we were going; we didn’t know what to do with our lives. Many of us were deaf that we couldn’t hear; we didn’t receive any information from God at all, but just remained in our own world. At that time, we pursued worthless things wholeheartedly while many servants of God shouted not to do so. Many of us were crippled mentally, physically, and spiritually that we were very dysfunctional. But Jesus came to us as our Messiah, and opened our eyes to see who we are – children of God who were sent into the world to do the business of our Father. So now we know how we must live our lives, and what we ought to do as children of God. Now our eyes are opened to see the glory of the eternal kingdom of God, so we wait for it to appear so earnestly. We now hear the word of God, so the word of God in the Bible is like beautiful music like the “New World symphony.” Sometimes, as we read the Bible, we pant for joy. We are not deaf any longer. God does not need to shout to us to teach us any longer, but just a gentle instruction or even a gentle whisper is enough; now we live the life of obeying God’s will. This is the work of the Messiah as described in Isaiah 35:5,6. This was what Jesus was doing, and this is what Jesus is doing today.

 

Modern day, people reject Jesus as the Messiah, as a result, they remain blind, without knowing what to do with their lives – they change their major continually, and cry out, “What shall I do?” They don’t know who they are and where they came from, so they end up saying, “Monkey is my cousin, and Gorilla is my uncle.” They don’t know where they are going, so at the death bed, they are dead-scared. These days, so many people live in sin, as a result, their souls are so unclean like leprosy. The sense of uncleanness really bothers them that they become so excessive in taking a shower or hygiene that they wash their hands over and over; they come to hate themselves, become self-destructive, and eventually, suicidal. To these poor people, the good news is preached - this is the work of the Messiah. As the body of the Christ, we must do his work on our campuses, preaching the good news to the poor. Then, as we ourselves have experienced, many blind people will receive sight; many deaf will hear; many mute will praise God, and the spiritually dead people will cross over from death to life. 

 

Look at verse 23. Jesus says, “Blessed is he who does not fall away on account of me.” This statement is really shocking. People never imagine that anyone can fall away because of Jesus. But Jesus’ statement shows that we must be very careful not to fall away because of him. John the Baptist was confused and he almost fell away from his faith in Jesus, because Jesus did not do the things he had expected him to do. The way God worked was different from John’s way, John’s expectation. Many people have some vague, but fantastic ideas about serving God, so they try hard at first, expecting fantastic results. Then, when things do not go as they expected, but instead, persecution comes to them, or they suffer financially, they doubt about God, and give up their faith and mission. Some people when they believe in Jesus, think that everything will go very well - they will get all As at school, they will get good jobs, and have a wonderful family. But when things do not go as they have expected, they doubt about God’s love for them, and even end up losing their faith. We must not be like them. Blessed is he who does not fall away because of Jesus. How can we avoid this danger? Our Christian life must be real, not fantasy, based on the word of God, not on our own expectation. Our life must be rooted and built up in the word of God.

 

Second, “What do you go out into the desert to see?” (24-28). After John’s messengers left, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John. He said, “What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear expensive clothes and indulge in luxury are in palaces.” When John was put in prison, it seemed that he was a failure. Even now he was confused, wondering if Jesus was really the promised Messiah or not. At this, some people may say, "Man, he was even confused about the most basic thing - Jesus' Messiahship?! What's wrong with him?" But Jesus recognized his greatness fully. He says, “What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind?” Of, they did not go out into the desert to see a reed; if it were so, they would have gone to the beach. What is Jesus talking about? Jesus talks about John the Baptist that he was not a person like a reed that is swayed by the wind easily; instead, John was a man of integrity with a strong backbone, standing firm on God’s side, withstanding all kinds of difficulties, threats, persecutions and temptations. John was that kind of person – a man of integrity with strong backbone for God and God’s mission. How great it was for John that his Master Jesus recognized him this way. Some people live as God’s servants when things go well; but when difficulties rise and challenges come, when persecution comes, when they have to suffer for God, they are blown away and are not found in God’s work any longer – they are like a reed that is swayed away by the wind. Some people serve God’s work during college period when there is nothing to hold on. But after graduation when temptation for money and success comes, they are blown away – they are like a reed that is swayed away so easily. How do you want Jesus your Master describe you? We must be strong in Jesus Christ, taking down deep root in His grace, in his calling, and in his mission so that we can remain in him as faithful servants, standing firm for Him in any circumstances.

 

       Jesus also says, “If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear expensive clothes and indulge in luxury are in palaces.” Certainly, you don’t go out into the desert to see a man dressed in fine clothes; you don’t expect that the man staying in the desert would be dressed in fine clothes. If you were looking for such a person, then, instead of going into the desert, you should have gone into the palaces, looking for a famous TV evangelist who drives Porsche Super Car. What is Jesus talking about? He is saying that John was not the kind of person pursuing money, success and luxury in serving God’s kingdom work. In serving God’s work, John did not give his heart to money or luxury, but pursued God’s will and purpose alone. Jesus indeed fully recognized how wholeheartedly John had served God’s work. When we serve God wholeheartedly, Jesus recognizes us this way. How sad it will be if Jesus says of us, “This man looked like serving God, but actually, he was secretly pursuing money.” If Jesus says of us this way, we will be utterly ashamed in heaven. We must serve God alone with our single-hearted devotion.

 

John was the prophet who was to come ahead of the Messiah to prepare the way for him. Look at verse 28. Let’s read this verse together:

 

“I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”

 

Jesus says that John was the greatest among those born of women; simply, the greatest man among all peoples on earth. Jesus says, “Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he,” showing that basically, each and everyone in the kingdom of God is at least as great as John the Baptist. So, John’s greatness is the standard for anyone who wants to enter the kingdom of God. If you want to enter the kingdom of God, you must be at least as great as John the Baptist. This is really shocking and amazing. This shows us what kind of people enter the kingdom of God - not everyone who calls Jesus “Lord,” “Lord,” but truly great people, not wishy-washy. Jesus says, “Not everyone who calls me “Lord,” “Lord” will enter the kingdom of God, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Mt 7:21). One time, the disciples asked Jesus a very important question, saying, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” Then, Jesus answered, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because, many, I tell you, try to enter and will not be able to.” (Lk 13:23-24) They want and try, but they fail to enter the kingdom of God. This is really shocking. Then, who enters the kingdom of God? Only those who are completely determined to enter it, and thereby, make every effort to enter it can make it; such people are not wishy-washy; they are not swayed by challenges or temptation; rather, with a heart’s complete determination, they seek the kingdom of God - these people enter the kingdom of God - they are great. What about those who wanted to enter the kingdom of God, but failed? When they are rejected to enter at the gate of the kingdom of God, they weep for sorrow of not entering it, and gnash their teeth angrily, for not seeking God’s kingdom wholeheartedly, but for being swayed away by temptations and difficulties. Those who make their journey to the kingdom of God are great, because they are the ones whose hearts and lives are completely dedicated to God’s kingdom; they are the ones who value things of God most highly and thereby, they serve God’s kingdom work with a single-hearted devotion.

 

If you make your entry to the kingdom of God, you are recognized at least greater than John the Baptist who is the greatest among all peoples on earth. So, John’s greatness is the standard for anyone who wants to enter the kingdom of God. By the way, all these great people, who are greater than John the Baptist gather in the kingdom of God and form a community there. What kind of society is it? The society of really great people - so great society. What about living among those great people in such a great society? Imagine that all your classmates are so great like John the Baptist; when you gather together to discuss something of the society, all those who gather there are so great, awesome, fully dedicated to God, pursuing God’s kingdom only in one mind and heart. It will be such a wonderful society and living among those great people will be such great experience - nothing to worry about; you will be truly satisfied. Let’s pray that our church may be such a great community - the kingdom of God here on earth. Let’s pray that we all may become truly great in God’s eyes, with our heart’s complete determination to serve God’s mission in any circumstances, and with our single-hearted love and devotion to God.

 

       Third, “Like children sitting in the marketplace” (29-35). Look at verses 29 and 30. Let’s read these verses together:

 

29(All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus’ words, acknowledged that God’s way was right, because they had been baptized by John. 30But the Pharisees and experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.)

 

       This passage describes the two responses of people when Jesus came and delivered his message. One group of people, when they heard his words, acknowledged that God’s way was right. When they heard his message, they agreed to what he had said, recognizing him as a servant of God. Based on his words, they acknowledged that God’s way was right, and their way was wrong, and thereby, they would live according to God’s way; thus, their life changed. The other group of people – the Pharisees and experts in the law – rejected God’s purpose for themselves. Wait a minute! They were Pharisees and teachers of the law - Bible scholars, theologians and seminary professors. They had degrees and certificates in theology; they had religious and spiritual titles and positions in Israel; they were considered most devout. But the author writes, “They rejected God’s purpose for themselves.” Weren’t they already living according to God’s purpose for their lives, since they lived a religious life? This passage shows that becoming a Pharisee or a teacher of the law, having such degrees and certificates in theology, having such religious and spiritual titles and positions is one thing, and living according to God’s purpose for their life is quite another. They lived a religious life, pursued degrees and certificates in theology; they had jobs in religion; yet, they were the very ones who had rejected God’s purpose for their life. When they heard Jesus’ words, they did not him as God’s messenger for them; instead of acknowledging God’s way was right, they rejected Jesus and his message, insisting their own way.

 

       Both of these two groups heard the same message from the same messenger, Jesus, yet, how come their responses were so different? The author comes up with only one reason, saying, “because they had been baptized by John,” and “because they had not been baptized by John.” The first group of people responded to John’s message, acknowledging their sin as sin, and repented through the baptism. At that time, their eyes were opened to what was really right and what was really wrong, and how they must live their life before God. Then, when another servant of God, Jesus came and delivered his message, they could recognize it as a message from God also, so they responded to Jesus’ message as well. But the second group of people did not respond to John’s message; they did not acknowledge him as God’s messenger, insisting that there was nothing wrong in their life. Then, another servant, Jesus came and delivered his message to them, they still did not recognize him or his message; instead, they still thought that their way was right; so, they did not respond to God’s servants, nor to God’s messengers; in this way, they had rejected God’s purpose for their life, even if they had lived a religious life.

 

       These two groups’ responses to Jesus show us the importance of true repentance. When people really repent and turn to God by responding to God’s message, there, their eyes are opened to see what is truly right and what is truly wrong; they come to acknowledge that God’s way is right; thus, they live according to God’s will and purpose upon their life. But when people do not have this true repentance, real turning to God, there is no fundamental change in their life at all; at best they become religious; at best they become moralistic with tons of Bible knowledge. All these people reject God’s purpose for themselves even though they go to church, or even though they have a PhD in theology. How sad it is that so many people say, “I believe in Jesus,” or even, “I love God,” but reject God’s purpose for their life. How sad it is that even though people memorize John 3:16 perfectly, they reject God’s purpose for their life! How sad it is that people have been in church for ten or twenty years doing all religious activities such as, communion, baptism, Bible reading and praying, but have been rejecting God’s purpose for their life! At their death bad, they are empty, and full of regret. To whom can we compare these people? What are they like? Look at verses 31 and 32. Let’s read these verses together:

 

31“To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? 32They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other: “‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not cry.’

 

       “The people of this generation” refer to the Jews who believed in God, but they were the very ones who had rejected God’s purpose for them; instead of accepting God’s purpose for them and living accordingly, they were just religious. God tried to help them by sending his messengers, but they were not responsive to God’s efforts at all, just like the children in the marketplace. Sadly, this is how so many God-believing people live their lives - just being religious, but rejecting God’s purpose for them. Jesus was not happy with these people.

 

       In Jesus’ time, God established two servants - John the Baptist and Jesus the Savior - the two opposite styled ministries. John’s ministry was very strict, holding onto the virtue of discipline - memorizing Bible verses extensively, praying 3 or 5 times a day absolutely, fasting 2 days or 3 days or even 4 days a week. Jesus described John’s ministry as the ministry of singing a dirge - a funeral song. If you visit his ministry - a big ministry with many people in a big building - you will be surprised because the whole building is so quiet - no one laughs, no one shouts, but everyone is so serious, and no one makes a mistake in anything; they are all super-holy. No one drinks, no one smokes, no one dances,... Modern day, there is a debate among Christians in regard to drinking wine, but what would John say about it? Absolutely no way! In our terms, John’s ministry was very conservative - an extreme right wing. His ministry was powerful, but at this, the Pharisees and the experts in the law criticized him, saying, “He has a demon,” and rejected him and his ministry. Then, God operated Jesus’ ministry. Jesus described his ministry as the ministry of playing the flute - always joyful and exciting. In his ministry, his disciples enjoyed a lot of fun; while John’s disciples fasted, Jesus’ disciples had a feast, eating and drinking. It seemed sometimes that Jesus was drunk - that’s why they called him, “a drunkard.” While John’s disciples were so serious, Jesus’ disciples had a lot of fun, maybe, often, having street evangelism with hip hop dance and raps. In our terms, Jesus’ ministry was an extreme left wing. Some people liked John’s ministry style, while others liked Jesus’ ministry style. God operated his kingdom work with these two ministries - one extreme right wing and one extreme left wing; with these two wings widely stretched, God was trying to catch even the last person. This was God’s effort - with his two wings widely stretched out, God tried to save all kinds of people.

 

       Yet, how was people’s response? When they came to John’s ministry, they said, “He has a demon,” meaning “He is too extreme,” or “He is too legalistic.” Then, when Jesus’ ministry came to them, they said, “Here is a glutton and a drunkard.” Thus, they rejected both of God’s ministries. This is how people, especially, God-believing respond to God’s efforts to help them repent.

 

       Today God operates all kinds of ministries, literally several hundred or even several thousand ministries in the world, with different focuses, styles and methods, even with some different theological approaches so that He can reach out to the last person in the world. Indeed, God is working hard for the salvation of many, willing to go extra miles. But people are not responsive. They come to one church where everyone is zealous for God, and they say, “This church is so legalistic.” So they go to another church where they enjoy rock band, but they say, “This church has no word of God.” Their problem is, simply they are not responsive to God’s efforts for them, and thereby, they reject God’s purpose for themselves. So, they never make true commitment to any church, and thereby, to God at all - they do just some religious things. God sings a dirge for them, but they do not weep; God plays the flute for them, but they do not dance. This is how modern day so many Christians live their life in God’s eyes. They reject God’s purpose for themselves, because fundamentally they have not received the true baptism yet - their acknowledgment that the way they have lived was wrong and that God’s way, God’s will for them is right. They must repent of their wrong way of life and accept God’s will for their lives, acknowledging that God’s way is right. They should not rely on their own righteousness of perfect church attendance, or their great Bible knowledge, or their spiritual legacy of attending a church with a famous pastor. Then, they will be able to see that God’s way is right.

 

One Word:      The Blind Receive Sight, The Lame Walk, and The Deaf Hear - This Is The Work Of The Messiah

 

Easter Sunday, April 16, 2017

posted Apr 16, 2017, 8:58 PM by Site Administrator

I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE

 

John 11:1-44

Key Verses 11:25, 26

 

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies and, whoever lives and believes in me will never die do you believe this?”

 

       First, “This sickness will not end in death” (1-16). Look at verses 1 through 7. Mary and Martha’s brother Lazarus lay sick. They knew that Jesus loved them and would have dropped everything to come and help them. So they sent word to Jesus that the one He loved lay sick. But Jesus responded differently. He said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Wow! Jesus had a really optimistic view of everything. Instead of being sad, He saw it as an opportunity to reveal Gods glory. Jesus always saw the perfect chance to reveal the glory of God. Jesus had a single hearts devotion for God and to God that even through this deadly sickness, it was the perfect chance to reveal Gods glory. I pray that we all may have a single-hearted devotion to God so that we too may be optimistic in seeing the glory of God in our lives.

 

       Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days. Mary and Martha both thought, that in love, Jesus would come to them right away, but He didn't. He waited two more days. During that time, it must have been very difficult to watch Lazarus suffering in pain. They kept waiting until, finally Lazarus died. Their hope that Lazarus could have been saved was gone. Lazarus died and was buried. Jesus love is different, even though Lazarus died, HE wanted them to see the glory of God. Jesus wanted those whom He loved to see something great, to see how great God truly is. Jesus did this in love. It is the same for us. Often, we too get discouraged; we too go through difficult and painful challenges. Even though we pray a lot still the problem is there. Jesus does not want to give us a comfortable life or to make problems just go away but, in love, ultimately He wants us to see the glory of God in our life. To see this Jesus is willing to let us go through difficult and painful times, maybe even to the extreme, but in love Jesus wants us to experience and see the glory of God in our life. Then we will be amazed at how great our God truly is.

 

       “No, it is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it.” Here, God's Son, of course, refers to Jesus Himself. Jesus being glorified through it means that, through this event, Jesus would be revealed as who He truly was - God's Son. Jesus wanted to show those whom HE loved who He truly was. Recognizing as God would be indeed, glorious. Once they saw who Jesus was their attitude towards Him would never be the same. They would truly worship Him as their God and their King. Their life would change forever. For this reason, Jesus stayed behind two more days. Maybe they misunderstood His love for them but for their sake, because He loved them He was willing to be misunderstood. Jesus was willing to go through that battle for the sake of His beloved ones.

 

       Jesus loves us. He is concerned for our happiness and wellbeing, He wants to give us the best. He wants to reveal the glory of God in our life too. How? In our real life, problems and difficulties. Maybe we expect Jesus to give us a smooth path, or just a comfortable life, but in this way, we become complacent and naïve, we never come to see who God truly is; but God wants us to really know Him, to be mature and full of integrity having a real knowing of Him; He wants us to experience His glory – and when we do, we are never the same. We can understand just how great He truly is. When we do, we will truly worship Him, HE will be the most valuable thing in our life; all other things lose their value and we can really purse Him with all our heart and strength. Jesus loves you. So, he wants to reveal his glory to you in your real life.

 

       After the two days had passed, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” The disciples responded, “But Rabbi, a short while ago the Jews tried to stone you, and yet you are going back there?” At this, Jesus gave them a very important teaching. Look at verses 9 and 10. Let's read these verses together.

 

Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world’s light. It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light.”

 

       There are 12 hours of daylight, and then the night comes. We don't have to worry that night will come at 1pm or 11am, but once the 12 hours of daylight are over, the night comes. In the same way, God has granted everyone a certain span of life. Until that span is complete we will not die. So as you serve Gods mission your life will not end by some random drive by shooting, or a terrorist attack but only when you complete the mission God has given you. Jesus encouraged his disciples to walk by day so that they will not stumble, only when they walk by night will they stumble. Right now, the disciples were walking by night because they were afraid of the Jews and wanted to avoid any danger. Because of the fear of death, they didn't know what to do. Death controlled their every decision. In this way, they would eventually fall. ON the contrary Jesus was walking by day. His decision to go back to Jerusalem was because of His absolute trust and faith in Gods absolute sovereignty. He knew that His life was in God's hands – not at the hands of some angry Jews. At that time, he knew what to do and how to live his life very clearly - he must do the work of God and reveal God's glory and a perfect chance was waiting for him in Judea. We must not walk by night but by day – by trusting in Gods absolute sovereignty of our life. The decisions in our life must be by faith and trust in God, not by fear or uncertainty.

 

       Jesus said to the disciples, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.” The disciples were scared of death so Jesus reaffirmed that death is just sleep, like taking a good nap. Death is the transition of this earthly body to our heavenly body where we will be refreshed and start a new chapter in our lives. So there is no reason to be afraid of death. The disciples took Jesus words literally and said “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” The disciples were really trying to get out of going back to Judea, they were saying “let him sleep, he will get better, so see? There is no reason to back to Judea.” But Jesus answered them: “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” Not only did Jesus want to help Mary and Martha but also his disciples in overcoming their fear of death. Jesus knows our limits and weaknesses and wants to help us overcome them so that we may serve Him freely, powerfully and limitless.

 

       At this Thomas said to the rest of the disciples “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” To Thomas being Jesus disciple was like being a Japanese Kamikaze pilot in WW2. But we must understand that Jesus is our Good Shepherd who is concerned for our well-being and wants us to enjoy a happy and fulfilling life. Jesus wants to help us overcome our fear of death and our weaknesses and character flaws and really put our trust in Him - so that our faith in God may be sound and healthy and that we may enjoy our life as real children of God.

 

       In this passage, I can see that God truly wants me to see who He is. Like the disciples, I have a lot of fear. As I started out being a disciple of Jesus I still had a lot of fear and anxiety of life. I get nervous in situations, I get anxiety when I can't figure things out and things are confusing, I am afraid when I am uncertain of my future, but because of this I cannot serve God freely and trust in God freely. But living as Jesus disciple, Jesus has taken care of me step by step. God has given me a job, God has taken care of my family, I haven’t had to worry, Jesus has taken care of all of my practical things, now I have a career job with upward mobility. When my wife lost her job, that real fear and anxiety came back, but soon enough she got a job with the Redondo Beach Unified School District, God has taken care of my family and myself, God is taking care of my son, and I am learning that as I trust in God really, He will take care of me. Nothing will happen to me until I fulfill Gods purpose in my life. I am learning to walk by day by real trust in Him and relying on Him for all things. It is only when I don't trust Him that fear and anxiety takes control over me and in that way, I walk in darkness. God is really good, God is really loving to His people, Jesus is my Good Shepherd who is guiding me continually and I have seen the glory of God in my life. Because of this I have been free to take care of sheep and to serve His mission, I am becoming more and more free to love God and to be myself around my brothers and sisters. I am being more open to others so that I can freely love my brothers and sisters instead of being anxious all the time. Because of Jesus guidance in my life I am becoming free to love God and serve God freely. That is the glory of God in my life. Jesus is helping me to overcome my weaknesses and character flaws and I can only thank Him. I pray that I may really believe in Jesus that I would really trust Him in all things so that I may love Him and serve Him freely and unlimitedly. I pray that as I learn to trust in Jesus and follow His guidance I may change into a beautiful child of God and reveal Gods glory.

 

One Word: It is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it

 

       Second, “I am the resurrection and the life.” (17-27). When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. There were professional mourners, mourning so professionally, and everyone there in the house looked so sad and depressed. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” She was so sad and upset that Jesus had not been there when she needed him the most. But after blaming him that way, she felt bad and added, “But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” What was Martha talking about? She herself did not even know.

 

       At this, Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Amazingly this is what Jesus was planning the entire time. But she understood Jesus' words as a theological expression and said, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” That's what she had heard about from others and it was better than nothing, but practically, it did not help her at all in the given situation. As a result, she was still utterly sorrowful; it was because that theology was nothing but head knowledge - not real to her yet.

 

Look at verses 25 and 26. Let’s read these verses together:

 

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

 

       Jesus was not satisfied at all with her head knowledge of the Bible. Instead, he showed her who he was. “I am the resurrection and the life.” Jesus is the resurrection and the life. This is an amazing proclamation. But what does it mean that Jesus is the resurrection and the life? As the resurrection, it means that Jesus is everything of the resurrection: it is about Jesus, for Jesus and by Jesus. Jesus is the Giver of the resurrection, Originator of the resurrection, Author of the resurrection, and Owner of the resurrection. Simply, the resurrection happens because he does it! Jesus also says, “I am the life.” The expression, “the life,” shows that Jesus is everything of life. He is the Giver of life, Cause of life, Creator of life, and Owner of life. The resurrection and the life go side by side; the resurrection can be there only because there is life. So who might this person be? Who can be the resurrection and the life? He is God! “I am the resurrection and the life.” This is Jesus' proclamation as God.

 

       Jesus then says, “He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.” Often, due to our own sins, or doubt, or because of life's challenges and burdens, we lose all our strength, vision, and passion for God; simply we die feeling like flat tires or worn out batteries with no life in us. But things do not end there for those who believe in Jesus, because he revives us; he gives us life power through our faith over and over. This is what all of us have experienced in our life of faith and mission. So many challenges have been there, academically, financially, and even spiritually. But by faith in Jesus, we rose again over and over. So with Jesus as the resurrection and the life, what do you have to be afraid of? There is nothing to be afraid of in this life when you believe in Jesus, because even though you die, you will live. Then you will live the life that that knows no limits, you will not be bothered or controlled by anything in this world. Instead, you can do what God wants you to do freely with no fear or worry. How come things happen this way for those who believe in Jesus? It is because he is the resurrection and the life. When you believe, you live and rise above all challenges, even death.

 

       Jesus also says, “And whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” This is what we all desire in our spiritual life. We don't want to go through death and resurrection, or go through many spiritual ups and downs continually. Instead, we want to continually enjoy this new life in Jesus to the full, never experiencing spiritual death again. Then, how? Now Jesus gives us his answer, saying, “He who lives and believes in me will never die.” By believing in him, we live. The Bible says that the righteous will live by faith from first to last. So we started our new life by believing in him, we maintain this new life by believing in him, and we serve God’s work continually by believing in him trusting in Jesus’ love, his goodness for us, his great vision for us, and his guidance for us. That way we live our life, and when we do we will never die. Challenges might be there; you may have persecutions and sufferings; you may be poor financially; you may have some health issues. But your spirit is never bothered; you are never discouraged, but you always have such fervor for Jesus; you always love Jesus, and even in extreme challenges you enjoy such deep consolation in your heart that you are always with God – you never die. This is the kind of life Jesus wanted Martha to live instead of uttering some Biblical or theological expression, and this is the kind of life He wants us to live - the life of resurrection, and the life that never dies. Again, how? By believing in him - by believing in his goodness and love for you. Through the word of God, or prayer or singing hymns, our faith in Jesus is renewed - we become confident of his love for us, his leading and guidance, his provision and blessing, and his good plan for us; when our faith is renewed like this, we live again, and we even never die.

 

       After this, Jesus challenged Martha personally, saying, “Do you believe this?” Do you believe that Jesus is the resurrection and the life? Do you believe that you can enjoy this kind of glorious life of resurrection by faith in him? Do you believe that you can live and never die by believing in him? After showing us what a glorious life we can enjoy in him by faith, he challenges us personally, “Do you believe this?” What is your answer?

 

       Martha answered, “Yes, Lord. I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.” She should have stopped after saying, “Yes, Lord.” But by adding a little more commentary, she showed that she had totally missed the point. When she did not know Jesus as the resurrection and the life, when she didn't truly know Jesus as her God, her attitude toward Jesus was limited. Her service to Jesus was limited. That's why Jesus wanted to reveal his glory to her so that her eyes might be truly opened to him, and thereby, she would really worship him.

 

       Through mediating on this passage, I learned that those who know Jesus as their true God, the resurrection and the life, are the ones who enjoy a glorious life of resurrection. I am reminded that I started this Christian life by believing in Jesus, and now the key to continually enjoying this new life is by continually believing in Him as the resurrection and the life. When I moved out to college in 2006, I did not know what I should really live for or pursue. I had changed my major 5 times in the course of one year and when I could not find anything worthy of my life, I turned to a pleasure seeking lifestyle, only to become more empty and miserable. But amazingly God saw me and had great mercy on me by sending me a Bible teacher. And through The Parable of the Lost Sheep in Luke’s gospel, God’s love for one lost sinner touched my heart that I broke down in tears and repented before God. It was at that moment, when Jesus’ love became real and I believed that I could cross over from death to life and start my Christian life. I began to dedicate myself to God’s work on the CSULB campus, looking for lost sheep and teaching them the words of God, and eventually by God’s grace I could even experience the great joy of seeing disciples grow under my care.

 

       Now that I am married and have two energetic boys, there have been a lot of challenges and difficulties where I reached my limit. Sometimes it was very hard and scary especially when my children’s well-being was involved and as God was challenging me, “Do you believe this?” But each time, by God’s help through his word and servants I could trust in God’s love and good plan for my life and children’s life, and thereby seek God first continually. At that time, God always helped me and revived my soul.

 

       At the beginning 2015, I got my new boss and in our first conversation he told me was that I was replaceable. I was shocked and scared after that because I thought that if I did not work as much as the other employees then I would not seem as committed, and be the first to go. That year we struggled a lot with our budget and some people from our group had to go on a domestic temporary assignment in Seattle for 6 months minimum. My boss asked several times if I would go, but each time I declined, then it came to the point where he told me, “Johnny, you are going.” I was so scared to answer him and when I told him that I would not go because of my commitment to God, he was frustrated with me. I thought that surely my career at Boeing was over and I was utterly defeated. But as these things happened so many times, I learned that I needed to really have faith in God and entrust my career, security and future into God’s hands. After that, the burden was gone and I could entrust my job security into God’s hands. Amazingly, God intervened into the situation allowed me to find favor in my manger’s eyes and he promoted me that year. Hallelujah!

 

       Also, when I was having great burden about my financial security, God provided me with several cash awards for my patents! Because of God’s provision and love for me, I could pick up new spirit and vision.

 

       Lately, it has been really challenging to find new sheep with very limited time and limited energy. Because of this, I am often discouraged. But Jesus now challenges me through this passage, saying, “Do believe that you can find new sheep with your limited time and energy?” I see that it has nothing to do with having more time or more energy, but about me having faith in Jesus. I started my life of faith by believing and it was glorious, now as I continually go that way by believing in him in everything, I will not be defeated but will rise above all challenges and difficulties living the life that never dies With faith in Jesus, I do not settle down with anything in this world nor am gripped with fears, health issues, or security matters, but invest all I have in serving God’s kingdom work on my campus. I pray that my life may be used for God’s purpose alone and by continually believing I may enjoy that powerful and dynamic life of serving God’s mission always and find many new sheep.

 

One Word: Jesus says, “I am the resurrection and the life.”

 

       Third, “Lazarus, Come out” (28-44). Look at verses 28 and 29. As soon as Mary heard that Jesus came home, she quickly ran out to him. She fell to his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” She was upset with him for allowing her brother to die, and for not coming to help her when she needed his help in the most difficult time of her life. Jesus asked, “Where have you laid him?” “Come and see,” they replied. When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. Jesus was aware of how much they had been overwhelmed by sorrow and death. This made him troubled in spirit. They needed to see the glory of God for only then, their sorrows could be taken away from them. Driving them to the corner when they were overwhelmed was not easy for Jesus to do. This had made him cry. Seeing how much pain they were in also made him cry. Some of his critics were also at the same location: some saw his love for them when he cried in front of them. Other people entertained the fact that it was Jesus’ fault for allowing Lazarus to die and for making Mary and Martha suffer.

 

       Sometimes in our practical lives, Jesus allows us to go through difficult times even to the point we are overwhelmed with pains and sorrows. This is not easy for him to do. Sometimes we cry when Jesus does not answer our prayers. Sometimes we have a hard time pressing on. We hope for some measure of comfort from him, yet he gives us no response. Still, he leads us this way so that we could see the glory of God. Only by witnessing the glory of God in our situation, our spirits could be revived and rejuvenated. We will not be controlled even by our present circumstances.

 

       Look at verses 38 and 39. Jesus deeply moved again and went to the entrance of the tomb. He said, “take away the stone.” What Jesus said was shocking and beyond common sense, so Martha said, “But Lord, by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” In response, Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” Let’s read verse 40 together:

 

Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”

 

       After four days in the tomb, Lazarus’ eyes were decomposed. His organs and muscles liquefied. His skin was pale. His body was covered with maggots. Martha did not want to see her brother’s decomposed, maggot filled flesh. She would rather not have the last memory of him be his decayed body. She wanted the tomb to be covered. Jesus did not accept her sentiments. In fact, he challenged her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” Only by faith in Jesus she should expose her brother’s decayed, maggot-filled body. She would remove the stone by faith rather than in fearing of the worse possible outcome. She would see the glory of God and not experience an embarrassing moment. Things would turn out glorious for her-- far beyond what she could imagine: she would see her brother come back to life! Wow. Jesus challenged her to believe his power over death. This challenge was new for her. She never thought that Jesus had power over death. She knew that Jesus had power over sickness, diseases, including demons. But she never thought that Jesus had power over the Grim-Reaper—death. Death is a mighty champion and has been so for thousands of years. No one could outdo him. But Jesus, in today’s passage, tells Martha that he could defeat death by raising Lazarus back from the dead, and He wanted her to believe that he could do it. She must put her faith in Jesus as the resurrection and the life.

 

       Today, Jesus encourages us to remove our stones from the tomb. Many people have something that they do not want to expose publicly. They fear that if they expose that embarrassing part or ugly part, they would be shamed. However, as they hide behind that problem or issue, they are actually like a decaying corpse inside a tomb. They make excuses saying, “Lord, it’s so bad.” Or they say, “People will think I am a weirdo. There’s no hope for me.” Jesus challenges us that if we believe in him as the resurrection and the life, we will see the glory of God. If we expose our ugly and disgusting and decomposing part, we will witness something marvelous. Like what? A weird person becomes sound; a sexually immoral person becomes clean in heart and in deed; a hateful person becomes loving and thoughtful; a traitor becomes sincere and faithful; if we believe in Jesus as the resurrection and the life, we remove the stone of doubt, the stone of fear, and then we will experience the glory of God. Jesus says to us, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”

 

       After Jesus’ challenge, they picked up faith and rolled the stone away, then he called out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” And lo and behold, Lazarus walked out of the tomb, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus told them to remove the grave clothes. All the maggots from Lazarus’ body were gone. His skin color was restored, and his eyes were bright. He looked like a healthy young man. Everyone else was amazed and put their faith in Jesus. They experienced Jesus as the resurrection and the life.

                              

       In 2010, God gave me vision through Mark’s gospel that I would be sharp and effective man of God when I reach 30 years old. God’s words to me at that time was alive to me, because I kept Psalm 1:2, 3 very seriously which says, “But his delight is in the law of the Lord and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prosper.” During that time, I worked yet had no car and rode the bus two hours to get to campus and two hours to get home. I was not burdened at those times because I was meditating on God’s words and completing my testimonies on the bus. The word of God was refreshing; I felt like a tree planted by the streams of water. Surprisingly I became a fellowship leader because I did not think that I could be a leader. I also was inspired to start the Narnia symposium at a New Year’s conference in 2011. That same year God helped Herman received God’s words personally and he also became a dedicated servant of God as well. In December 2011, I married Sarah, a woman of God. Later, God also raised up Darius from under my care. He too has been growing. God blessed me to be a fellowship leader to be an encouragement to my fellowship every week.

 

       As time went on in 2014-2016, many of my fellowship members left the ministry. I was very bothered by this because each person in my fellowship was very dear and precious in my eyes, and we all worked together closely like a family. During the time my daughter Sylvia was born, and I came to have many more things to take care of. Seeing all of this was like seeing Lazarus die in front of me. Although I tried to build my fellowship up, and I tried to find and teach sheep the Bible, I did not see sheep grow well. It was like my vision even to be effective and sharp bible teacher would not come true. If Jesus made things go well, like heal Lazarus’ sickness, I would be happy just as Mary and Martha would be. But since Jesus let my fellowship diminished and not given me any new sheep to teach, I was confused and bothered.

 

       In November 2016, I began working at a Chrysler dealership in Signal Hill and am working 9 to 10 hours a day five days a week. I only have one day to serve campus mission. Even though I struggled hard to teach sheep I had no success. Although I pursued God’s vision, things seemed not becoming true. What if Jesus allowed his vision in my life to die? Jesus wanted me to learn something about him. Despite how things go in my life—good or bad—many sheep or no sheep, would I believe in him? Would I look to him and remain in the love relationship with him? It’s Jesus who has provided me vision and it is Jesus who has given me his blessings—not because I worked hard or I earned some reward. He gives me the vision and allows it to happen. At first my reaction at seeing his vision not come true was, “What! Oh NOOOOO!!!” But He is the resurrection and the life so he decides what lives and what dies. Jesus wants me to concentrate on him and not be so concerned about his vision coming true or not, because ultimately that decision belongs to him. Jesus waits two more days where he is, or he even lets Lazarus die, all for my sake, so that I may know him really. My idea was that the glory was witnessing the vision coming true and seeing disciples grow powerfully under my care. But real glory is Jesus himself. Learning about him more and more is true glory. Getting closer to him is my reward. Therefore, I will choose to love him and be faithful to what he asks me to do, despite the outcome because he is the resurrection and the life. Then I will see him more and be happy with him all the days of my life. I will laugh and cry because of him. He will be my joy and my song. He is the glory that I will see.

 

One Word: Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?

 

 

 

 

Sunday, April 9, 2017

posted Apr 10, 2017, 9:30 AM by Site Administrator

YOUNG MAN, GET UP!

 

Luke 7:1-17

Key Verse 7:14

 

Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!”

 

First, “Such great faith” (1-10). When Jesus entered Capernaum, some elders of the Jews came to him and begged to help one centurion, for his servant was sick and about to die. They pleaded, saying, “This man deserves to have you do this, for he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.” Wow! This was not a usual case – the Jewish elders were pleading for the Roman Centurion! The Jews hated the Romans, and especially, the Roman centurions were the very ones who imposed the rules and regulations of the Roman Empire on the Jews in their practical life. They were enemies to each other. But this Roman centurion purchased the hearts of the Jews completely so that now the Jewish leaders were pleading with Jesus for him. How could he possibly purchase his so-called enemies’ hearts completely like this? When we check out the passage, we see that this Roman centurion was not a cold-blooded killing machine; instead, he was a noble man, valuing his servant highly and struggling hard to heal him. Also, they said that he loved the nation of Israel. This was very remarkable because in those days, Roman citizens considered themselves special and superior; they were proud of their nationality and despised all others. But amazingly, this Roman centurion, a ruler, loved the nation of Israel; it seemed that he recognized the God of Israel as the true God. Also, they said that the Centurion had built the synagogue for them, most likely, out of his own pocket. He was very concerned about their wellbeing, figured out what they needed, and supported them, even sacrificing his own money and time. He had sincere love for them. Probably, at first, when he was kind to them, they were suspicious of his motives. But when his attitude and concern for them remained the same, when his loving affection for them was shown continually in words and actions over and over, these Jews began to open their hearts toward him, and accepted his love, until they too came to love him from their hearts. The Roman centurion purchased the hearts of the Jews. It was really a shocking thing. But that’s just the beginning. The more amazing thing happened on the way.

 

Look at verses 6 through 8. So Jesus went with them. But he was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. That is why I did not consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed.” “I do not deserve to have you come under my roof.” “I do not consider myself worthy to come to you.” “But say the word, and my servant will be healed.” Indeed, he was the opposite of many people who say, “Only if God appears to me, and tells me what to do, I will accept it as God’s will,” or “Show me God, and I will believe.” No one deserves such honor from God, but they think that they deserve such treatment of honor from God. They are groundlessly proud, thinking of themselves too highly. But this centurion did not think that he deserved such honor. Certainly, he would not dare to have the Roman Emperor under his roof – he understood Jesus in the same way, so highly that a lowly person like himself was not worthy to have him under his roof. Also, he considered Jesus as the commander in chief in the chain of order and himself as a private soldier; a private soldier trying to talk to the four-star general is certainly not acceptable; so he dared not come to Jesus and ask him for favor directly. Indeed, his understanding of Jesus was so great, and he understood himself worth nothing before Jesus; from this understanding of Jesus’ greatness and his unworthiness came such a sincere and humble attitude toward Jesus. True humility, true sincerity comes from knowing the greatness of Jesus.

 

He said, “But say the word, and my servant will be healed.” He had absolute faith in the power of Jesus’ word. What was the secret of the Centurion’s great faith? In verse 8, he explains how he came to have such great faith. He had lived in the military. The military is the society of order. He lived by the order, meaning, whether he liked it or not, he obeyed the orders. Sometimes, it was painful; sometimes, it was dangerous; his life was at risk. But through that, he came to understand the power of the words of the authorized person. The words of the centurion had the power to control the lives of one hundred soldiers under him. The words of a tribune had power over one thousand soldiers. The words of the Roman Emperor had the power to affect the lives of all people in the Roman Empire. When the centurion heard about Jesus who healed the sick, opened the eyes of a man born blind, stopped the wind, and drove out demons, all by his words, he applied the same principle he had learned in the military and drew a conclusion that Jesus was the authorized person not only in the physical world but also in the spiritual world. In his eyes, Jesus was the ruler of both physical and spiritual worlds. He would not dare to come to the Roman Emperor directly; he would not bear even the Emperor coming under his roof either. Then, how much more toward Jesus, the ruler of physical and spiritual world! When he checked out what Jesus had done and said, this was his only logical conclusion. He came to grasp that Jesus’ word had absolute power to control.

 

Faith is not blind, but it comes from realizing and figuring out who Jesus is. We need to be logical in living for God. Many things happen in our daily life; when we see them casually, they are just events that happen without any purpose or meaning; but when we think about them logically and sincerely with faith in God, often we find God’s divine work in them, and our faith in God becomes concrete. Nothing happens by accident. Even a sparrow in the air cannot fall to the ground without God’s approval. God has taken care of us so closely, providing us with everything we need and raising us up as his servants. Now we need to find God in our daily life so that we can confess that we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good work, which He prepared for us to do in advance. Brothers and sisters, if Jesus is the Creator God, how should our attitude be toward him? If it is Jesus who is in control of our life, why should we be worried about our future? If Jesus comes again with his reward in his hands, how should we live our life until he comes? Be logical, and be real to God! Show your great faith with your deeds, with your life, and impress God greatly.

 

Look at verse 9. When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” Jesus was amazed; he was shocked; he was happily impressed. It is not easy to surprise Jesus because He has all, and He is Almighty; simply, he is all sufficient. But when we have faith in him, we can please Him. Hebrews 11:6 says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” In which area do you need to have faith in Jesus? In the matter of your future security? In the matter of your academic grades? In establishing disciples? Just, give your complete trust in Him, and say, “This time, I will surprise him by faith!”

 

Second, “Young man, get up!” (11-17). Look at verses 11 and 12. One day, Jesus went to a town called “Nain,” and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. As they approached the town, they met a funeral procession of the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. In those days, widows had no means to support themselves; no job was available for them. So, the word the word, “widow” was disturbing. The widow’s son died – that’s more disturbing. And he was the widow’s only son – this is really disturbing. Triple tragedy. The son had been a source of comfort and encouragement, a source of hope for her life, a source of joy and happiness, the meaning and purpose of her life; indeed, he was her everything. When he died, the widow lost everything; she was utterly sorrowful; it seemed that her life was over. Who could comfort her? Who could make her smile again? No one! 

 

In the coffin, was lying a “young man.” If an old man were lying in a coffin, it’s not so tragic; it’s okay. But, a “young man in a coffin” is so disturbing. Why? Because simply, a young man should not be lying in a coffin. The key characteristic of a young man is vitality – full of life power, full of potential and possibilities; life power is full in them, and thereby, they can be very powerful; once they find something worthy of their life, they can devote themselves to it completely, pouring out their time and strength, struggling to do something great for their nation, for the world; at that time, they are passionate and zealous; their life becomes very dynamic and action-packed. That’s what young men are about. Young men living such a vital life with passion, zeal, with a challenging spirit, pursuing something great wholeheartedly is just normal; that’s natural. Such young people are the hope of the society, of the whole world. They will change the world. But the young man in a coffin has become void of life completely. His youth, his passion and his potential are gone. He has become only a heavy weight in the bottom of a wooden coffin. He has become a source of sorrow to his mother and townspeople. Instead of bringing great hope and joy, he is a burden to the people around him. Thus, a young man in a coffin is a great tragedy – perhaps the most tragic thing imaginable. Yet, today, there are so many young people who are like this young man lying in a coffin.

 

There was a young nominal Christian. Growing up as a Christian, he didn’t mess up. But when he thought about his life, he could not find any meaning. So, he gave his time and strength to reading the books, especially, fantasy books, because while he was in fantasy, he could forget about the reality. He was a dead young man. Another student was so depressed because of his broken family. So, he only watched TV to forget his pain and sorrow – when he woke up, he watched TV; when he went to school, he thought about TV programs; when he came back home, he watched TV until he fell asleep. He was a dead young man. Another student just did Video game all night long and didn’t care about anything – his school work or his future. When young students are like this, they bring sheer burden to people around them – to their family, to the school, to the society and even to the government. “Young man” does not refer to just young people in age, but when people have such passion and zeal for their future, when they are active, when they bring such great hope and inspiration to the society, they can be called “young man,” in the true sense. When young people are soaked with alcohol or drugs, staggering on the street hallucinated, we do not call them “young men,” but “zombies.” Modern day, young people are fearful, instead of being powerful, because of their concern for their security. Because of their fear of not being able to pay the bills, the fear of being a loser, they do not live as young men any more – no daring life of challenge or even ambition. Instead, despite their young age, their lifestyle is like that of senior citizens, seeking for a comfortable life. They are like young people, struggling and competing with each other to secure their spot in a coffin.

 

Look at verse 13. “When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.” When Jesus saw this woman crying, he was deeply touched; he sensed her pains and sorrows; he understood her, and wanted to comfort her. So, he said to her, “Don’t cry.” Usually, in this kind of situation, trying to comfort such a person, people say, “I am sorry.” Yes, that’s what they can do – they are sorry because, even if he or she suffers to terribly, there is nothing they can do; they are sorry because, while the other person has such pains, they do not have that much pains. Or they hug such a person, saying, “Cry more,” hoping that he or she may let it out. Maybe, psychology professors may say some sophisticated words to such a person. But eventually, it is still for some psychological comfort. That’s what humans can do in such a situation. But Jesus said to her, “Don’t cry,” because he was going to help her; he would change the whole situation so that she would not have any reason to cry. That’s the difference between Jesus and all others; that’s the difference between God and humans. When we think about this, we understand that eventually, the real solution to our problems is from Jesus, our God alone. We humans may help and support each other emotionally and psychologically to soothe our pains and sorrows a little bit, but the real solution comes only from Jesus our God. So, eventually, we encourage everyone to come to Jesus and seek him, because he is the solution, and he is the answer. When you meet Jesus, when you secure Jesus’ help, your problems will be gone really, and you will have no reason to be sorrowful or cry any longer. So, seek him!

 

Let us read verse 14 together:

 

Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” “

 

Amazingly, Jesus didn’t call the dead person, “You dead man,” but called him, “Young man,” and gave him a clear direction, “Get up!” There are so many young zombies on the streets, at work and at schools, but amazingly, Jesus still calls them, “Young men.” In Jesus’ eyes, they have potential; they can be somebody and do something great as young men, and he commands them, “Get up!”

 

“Young man, I say to you, get up!” Jesus’ command reveals that young men should not be lying in coffins. Young men should not throw away their youths in mud chasing after pleasures; young men should not be couch potatoes, wasting their life in worthless things; they must not be like senior citizens only hoping for success, or a comfortable life, or any other perishing thing in this world. Rather, young men must get up and live real life – life of spirit and vision. A young man’s vision should be to secure his place in the kingdom of God, not his coffin. John 5:25 says, “I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.” Unless young people hear Jesus’ voice, “Get up,” they will spend their whole lives like a dead young man in his coffin. Jesus calls out to all the dead young men in this world, “Get up!”

 

Acts 2:17 says, “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.’ “God wants all young men to have His vision for their lives, so he pours out his Spirit on people and fills young men with His glorious vision. Jesus says to his disciples, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea, and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.” What a thrilling vision Jesus has for his disciples – they will do God’s work to the ends of the earth, and for this, He will support them by pouring out the Holy Spirit upon them. William Carey (1761-1834) said, “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.” The Apostle Paul was a young man from a small Roman colony whose only vision was for success in a small Jewish society. Yet, after meeting Jesus personally, he was filled with God’s great vision for his life. He saw a great vision of conquering the Roman Empire with the gospel. He said, “I must see Rome also.” God also called one young man named Jeremiah. Jeremiah responded saying, “I am only a child.” But God said to him in Jeremiah 1:10, “See today, I appoint you over kingdoms and nations to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to plant and build up.” God’s vision upon Jeremiah was to destroy many sinful nations and change them into holy and righteous countries through him. This was God’s vision upon one person, who said, “I am only a child.”

 

When we check out the Christian history, we can tell how preciously God used young people; we can tell that it was the young men’s history. Jesus’ 12 apostles were not old men, but young men. In the 18th century, seven Cambridge students in England decided to give their lives to God for God’s world mission purpose. Their devotion to God’s world mission command brought such great inspiration to Christians in England that the dead England church was revived through them. John Wesley (1703-1791) and his brother Charles Wesley (1707-1788) decided to live a non-compromising, holy life before God. They formed a campus club, called “the holy club” in Oxford; this club became the foundation for the Methodist church that has covered the entire world. John Wesley once said, “Give me a hundred men who fear nothing but God, hate nothing but sin and are determined to know nothing among men but Jesus Christ and Him crucified, and I will set the world on fire with them.” About 200 years ago, College students in America, accepted God’s mission for the lost world that they volunteered to become missionaries after their graduation. At that time, these college students’ dream was not to build their career successfully so that they could pay the bills faithfully and live a comfortable life; instead, it was to be a missionary, bringing God’s salvation to the ends of the earth. They offered their life to God’s mission under the slogan, “The Evangelization of the World in This Generation.” It was called, “Student Volunteer Movement.” God used these young college students so preciously to bring the gospel of salvation to the ends of the earth, including Mainland China and Korea. In those days, those who did not know Jesus just pursued their own desires and plans for success and a comfortable life. What happened to all these people? No one cares, because, whether they paid the bills very well or they suffered terribly because of ‘Great Depression,’ their life carried no value at all; just they struggled hard to survive, and then, perished, and no one remembers them. But these young college students who accepted Jesus and offered their life to God for his world mission purpose as missionaries, became history makers; they brought real changes to many people and they changed the course of many nations. They were the ones who did something really beautiful, something really praiseworthy. Ruby Rachael Kendrick went to Korea as a Methodist missionary in 1907, at the age of 20, and she died there in less than a year and was buried in Korea. On her tombstone is the inscription, “If I had a thousand life to give, Korea should have them all.” She was a 20 year old young girl, and that’s what she did and said. At the memorial service held in her home conference alone, twelve young women volunteered to take the place of the fallen missionary, and from all parts of the State came reports of the significant influence, which the sacrifice of this young life had brought to bear upon the hearts and lives of the young people of the Methodist church. And the Texas Methodist churches raised about $120,000.00 in her memory as a mission project. She lived a short life. Yet, indeed, she lived a beautiful life, bringing great inspiration to the human world and glory to God. Young people, when they respond to Jesus’ words, when they respond to Jesus’ love, rise and they are the ones who do something really beautiful, something really astounding. Their life carries real value, real meaning.

 

“Young man, I say to you, get up!” Jesus commands dead young men to get up from their coffins. Jesus is the one who restores dead young men to life. When dead young men hear Jesus’ voice, they are filled with God’s vision for their lives. No longer do they live like senior citizens whose youthful energy, passion, and hope is gone. Rather, they expect great things from God, and their vision is to do great things for God. When one young man hears Jesus’ voice and gets up from his coffin, that young man becomes so powerful-he becomes more than a conqueror. Such a young man changes the world. Jesus calls young people today to get up and live powerful lives. Jesus calls young people to uproot, tear down, overthrow, and destroy the godless lifestyles built up in this world, and to plant and build up the kingdom of God in every town and village in every country. Jesus is the hope for young people today, but we must hear and obey his words, “Young man, I say to you, get up!”

 

Look at verses 16 and 17. They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.” This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country.” When they saw that Jesus had brought the dead young man to life, both companies of people were filled with awe, and they began to praise God together. It was an amazing and wonderful thing to see one young man brought back to life. They said, “A great prophet has appeared among us, God has come to help his people.” Actually, the people were all living under Roman rule, and none of their problems were really solved. But when they saw one young man brought back to life, they were filled with vision and hope in what God would do. Whenever one young man is raised from the dead, the greatness of God is revealed, and all God’s people are filled with awe and vision to expect great things from God. Surely, God has come to help the fallen mankind.

 

In this passage, we learned the faith that surprises Jesus. By his absolute confidence in the power of Jesus’ word, the Roman centurion shocked Jesus.  Jesus was very pleased with him and granted his wish immediately. We also learned the power of Jesus’ words, when he said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” Those who hear this word of Jesus get up and live a powerful life. Once they get up from the coffin by hearing the voice of Jesus, their life never becomes the same. “Young man, I say to you, get up!” This is what Jesus wants young people to hear, and live by.

 

One Word:       Young Man, I Say To You, Get Up!

 

Sunday, April 2, 2017

posted Apr 2, 2017, 8:27 PM by Site Administrator

HOUSE ON THE ROCK

 

Luke 6:27-49 

Key Verses 6:47,48

 

I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.

 

            First, "Love your enemies" (27-36). In the previous passage, we studied about the disciples' blessed life; they were poor, because nothing gave them meaning or purpose in the world; these poor people, when they found meaning and purpose, joy and happiness in Jesus, left everything behind and followed him. Jesus encouraged them to live as poor people in the world continually, putting their hope in God and pursuing God all the way; when they hunger and when they weep as poor people, they are truly blessed. Otherwise, if they find happiness and meaning in anything else, it is a warning sign. After this teaching, Jesus now gives them a detailed instruction of how they should conduct themselves as his disciples. Look at verses 28 and 29. Let's read these verses together:

 

"But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

 

            Jesus commands his disciples to love their enemies. "Love your enemies." Enemies are those who have done wrong and evil to you that when you think about them, your blood surges and you are angry. How can we love them when we are angry with them? We cannot love our enemies with our emotions because we are angry with them. Jesus does not ask us to love them in that way either. Then, how? Here, love Jesus talks about is agape, God's love, not humanistic love or emotional love. Jesus shows us how we can love our enemies, by saying, "Do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you." With our emotions and feelings, we cannot love them, but we can do what Jesus asks here, maybe, painfully, denying our ill-feelings and emotions against them. Sometimes, we are angry at our enemies; we feel like devouring them and swallowing them up alive in anger, but controlling our anger, we grab their shoulder, and say, "God bless you." Someone has done something wrong against you and as a result, you suffer a lot - that person is your enemy. It is hard to say a good word to him. But controlling your anger, even though it is hard, you say, "I forgive you," because Jesus commands you to do so. Maybe, at that time, your whole body trembles, due to the difficulty of controlling and denying your anger. Surely, it is not easy to love our enemies in this way, but surely, it is not impossible; even though it is really hard, we can do it, maybe, shedding tears due to the pain and sorrow of denying our own emotions and feelings; maybe, holding your fist so tight, you say some good words to your enemies or wish something good for them.

 

            Many people dwell in their anger all the way and do crazy things; or they perish in anger; they are controlled and conquered by their ill-emotions and feelings. But Jesus teaches us, instead of cursing and retaliating, to do something good to our enemies, or say good words to them, wish something good for them, and even pray for them. By doing so, we are not controlled by our ill-feelings and emotions; instead, despite our anger or pains inside, we still do good to them. This is how we can overcome evil by doing good. This is the way Jesus wants us to live our life as his disciples. When we do so, a miracle happens. When we love our enemies despite our ill-emotions and feelings, we come to experience that love for even our enemies grows in us that we come to love them even with our hearts - this is mysterious. By loving our enemies in the way Jesus describes, our inner person is being beautified and sanctified. This is indeed a mysterious miracle. Then, we can really wish good for them and pray for their souls sincerely.

 

Look at verses 29 through 31. Let's read these verses together:

 

29  If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30  Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31  Do to others as you would have them do to you.

 

            Now the disciples' expression of love for their enemies grows more practical, strong and direct. Before, it was about doing good to them, or blessing them or praying for them, denying our own ill-feelings. But now, it is more direct, practical and personal - someone slaps on your cheek - such a sense of humiliation, but instead of retaliating, you give in; money is concerned, yet you are not so materialistic, instead, you are willing to taste loss in love. In that way, as you practice love, as you struggle to do good to your enemies, bless them and pray for them instead of retaliating, your inner person is being beautified in love and you grow as real men and women of love.

 

            Loving our enemies is not easy; it is painful; with deep pains and sorrows of not expressing our anger to our enemies, we struggle to love our enemies, because this is Jesus' command for us; it is indeed painful. But amazingly, when we obey this command enduring all inner pains, sorrows and anger, we begin to grow as beautiful men and women of love, being able to really love our enemies - shocking the world. Such people are Jesus' disciples. Christianity is full of such an amazing and wonderful story of love - how one woman missionary in India forgave those who killed her husband and her two sons in fire, how a Korean pastor saved from execution and adopted a North Korean communist soldier who had killed his two sons, as his own son. Jesus commands us, "Love your enemies." This is not a suggestion; this is not optional; this is Jesus' command for us. We must obey it whether we feel like doing it or not. When you obey, a miracle happens. Eventually, loving our enemies is for ourselves - our inner person is being beautified.

 

            Look at verses 32 through 34. Jesus says, "If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' lend to 'sinners,' expecting to be repaid in full." Loving those who love you and hating those who hate you is what everyone does; as a result, there is no change in human life, and there is no hope in the world. Now, the disciples are to be leaders for them, bringing beautiful influence to the world. How? By loving their enemies. Look at verses 35 and 36. Let's read these verses together:

 

35  But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36  Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

 

            Here the expression, "You will be "sons of the Most High,"" means that as people see how you behave, how you even love your enemies, by seeing your good and beautiful behaviors, they come to recognize you as children of God. This is the title all church going people like to talk about. But in most cases, what they talk about is not the reality, but theology. Maybe, theologically, what they say is right, but practically, they are not recognized by people in the world as children of God. Instead, actually, the opposite is true - they give bad influence to the people of the world. Many people refuse to believe in Jesus, because they don't like the way Christians live their life. That's not what Jesus intended; but this is the reality because Christians don't pay attention to Jesus' words and don't obey Jesus' command, 'Love your enemies.' How can we be recognized as sons and daughters of God? By becoming beautiful people in words and actions in our practical life! Then, how? By obeying Jesus' command: 'Love your enemies.' Obey this command, and a miracle will happen to you and you will become a beautiful person.

 

            Jesus says, "You will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful." There are many ungrateful people; even though God has given them everything, they do not show any gratitude to Him; instead, in most cases, they live as his enemies, mocking him, and attacking his kingdom. But amazingly, God does not wipe them out; instead, He still takes care of them and provides them with necessary things for them to survive and even flourish, by giving them the rain and sunlight. That's God's character. And the disciples of Jesus do the same thing by loving their enemies, being merciful to their enemies; like the Father, like the son. When you obey Jesus' command, 'Love your enemies,' you become beautiful people, and people come to recognize you as real children of God.  

 

            Second, "But first take the plank out of your eye" (37-42). Look at verses 37 and 38. Let's read these verses together:

 

37  "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38  Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

 

            "Do not judge; do not condemn." Instead, "Forgive; give." The reason why you judge people is because they have done something terrible; just think about your enemy; just think about some bullies who bothered you in your middle school or high school; you see their wrongdoings and in your eyes, they are blameworthy; you have a reason to judge them and condemn them as terrible sinners. But Jesus says, "Do not judge." "Do not condemn." It means that even though you see others doing something wrong, don't judge them quickly. What Jesus suggests is that, when you see people doing terrible things, or even they become your enemies, bothering you and insulting you and pushing you to the corner at work, at school, or at home, instead of judging them and condemning them quickly based on their acts, you try to think that there may be some reason for them to do so such as they are stressed out by the burden of the finals, or of job search, or they have some terrible relationship problem with their spouse at home, or their business does not go well and thereby, they are in terrible financial jeopardy. Instead of judging them quickly based on their outward appearance, you try to see things from their point of view - there may be a reason, or they may have an excuse. In this way, about others' sins, character flaws and mistakes, you use a generous measure, giving them room for excuse. Your sheep fails over and over in their fight against sin, and each time, they come up with a lame excuse, yet you accept their excuse and go on continually, giving them another chance. You are generous to them. Jesus commands us, "Forgive." When you have this kind of generous measure toward others, God will deal with you in the same way, very generously. You make a lame excuse to him, saying, "I am so weak," God accepts you and says, "I know. Be strong." You make a lame excuse to him, "I am sinned. My environment is too sinful." God accepts your lame excuse and forgives you and encourages you to start all over again. Because you have forgiven others of their sins, because you have been generous to others, God will forgive you and be generous to you also. Jesus says, "With the measure you use, it will be measured to you." So, ultimately, your generous attitude toward others is for you: "Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven." We are all sinners; we cannot stand before God with our Bible knowledge. Ultimately, even all Jesus' disciples need God's mercy. How can we secure God's mercy for ourselves? By being merciful to others; by being generous to others' sin problems.

 

            In verse 39, Jesus says, "Can a blind man lead a blind man?" No way! Surely, both of them will fall into a pit. In verse 40, Jesus says, "A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher." What is he talking about? Jesus mentioned about how generous they should be in dealing with others' problems. Now in these verses, Jesus is talking about how the disciples should struggle with their own sins. Look at verses 41 and 42. Let's read these verses together:

 

41  "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 42  How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.

 

            Here, Jesus describes people's sins as "the speck of sawdust in their eyes" and the disciples' own sin problems as "the plank in their eyes." The speck of sawdust is so tiny that it can be ignored so easily. But the plank is a huge lumber, used for frames and posts for the construction like a telephone pole. Such a thing cannot be in one's eyes; but we must see our sins as a plank in our eyes - so big, obvious and serious, something that must be removed absolutely right now by any means - no excuse is accepted. And thereby, we must deal with our own sins so seriously and absolutely. You consider your own sin problem as a plank in your eye. Is there any excuse for you to have a plank in your eye? Can you say, "I am different than others"? Or "Later, I will deal with it"? No way! Instead, you will scream and shout, and you will go to an emergency room right away! No excuse, no delay is accepted. In that way, you deal with your own sin problem, your own character flaws, or your mistakes absolutely and immediately, never allowing any excuse for such things. In dealing with your sheep's sin problem, you are generous, willing to accept even their lame excuses, and to forgive; you have room for them to play around and enjoy good time. But in dealing with your own sin problem, you are so strict that you don't show any mercy, and you don't accept any excuse, but consider any sin, even any hint of sin as something so disturbing, something absolutely wicked and terrible that you are so bothered until you remove it. When you fight against your own sin so wholeheartedly like this, you will really mourn and weep a lot. When we have this kind of attitude, we can understand what Paul, the great man of God, said of himself, "I am the worst." When we have this kind of absolute attitude toward our own sin problems and have such a rigorous struggle to fight against it, we come to see everything clearly. We come to understand how terrible sin is, what sin does, how sin affects every aspect of human life, how people live under sin, what God has done for all sinners, God's love and grace shown through Jesus' death on the cross, and how we must live our life. Our understanding changes; our perspectives change; we come to develop godly value system, hope and vision. At that time, we can see how we must lead people under our care. Otherwise, if we take a casual attitude toward our sins, that is our perspectives, and that's our value system, and that's what we teach our sheep. What will happen? Indeed, both of we and our sheep will fall into a pit; when difficulties rise, when temptation comes, we will be really blown away. Why? Because no real absoluteness toward the things of God. A student is not above his teacher. Then, under such a teacher, no great student rises.

 

            Jesus says, "First take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." This is the prerequisite for all disciples of Jesus Christ - an absolute struggle against our own sin problems. Remove all sinful, worldly and humanistic elements from our hearts and life, and build godly and spiritual value system, then, being able to see all things from God's point of view, we can help and guide people in the way God desires. As a result, under our care, so many powerful people, fully dedicated to God's purpose, will be established.

 

            Third, "Wise builders and foolish builders" (43-49). Look at verse 43. "No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit." It is really true that people do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. What Jesus is talking about here is that we must become good people so that we can produce good fruit in our life. Jesus' disciples' struggle is not to be nice or look good by doing some good looking things or by being nice to others. Instead, as Jesus' disciples, we must become really good people - with godly and spiritual value system, beautiful and godly characters, with hope in the kingdom of God, loving and pursuing Jesus Christ alone. When we become really good people, we say good words out of the good stored up in our hearts, and just as a good tree bears good fruit, we come to bear good fruit in our life. We must become good trees in God so that we can bear good fruit according to God's will and purpose. Then, how? By obeying Jesus' commands in today's passage! That's what Jesus has been talking about in today's passage. Love your enemies, and your inner person will become beautified as children of God; do not judge, do not condemn, but forgive and give, and first remove the plank from your own eye, and through this struggle, you will become truly sanctified with godly and spiritual value system. You will become good.

 

Look at verse 46. Let's read this verse together:

 

46  "Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?

 

            Think about Jesus saying this to his disciples! You never want Jesus say these words to you. But alas! Sadly, this statement of Jesus describes the attitude and life of most Christian today very well; the absolute majority of God-believing people live this way. They call Jesus, "Lord, Lord." They say, "Glory goes to Him alone!" Or they say, "For his glory." They identify themselves as Christians; they pray before eating their food. They are proud that they don't believe evolution, but they believe Genesis 1. There are so many people who profess themselves as believers of Jesus Christ. But it is really hard to find even one person who does what Jesus says; it is really hard to find even one person who lives according to God's will and purpose. Indeed, the love for God is on their lips, but their hearts are far from God. Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say? Again, you never want Jesus says to you like this. Then, what should we do as his disciples? We must really do what he says! We must really struggle to live according to His will and purpose, instead of just doing some Christian things. Then, on that day, Jesus will say to us, "Well done, good and faithful servants!"

 

Look at verses 47 through 49. Let's read these verses together:

 

47  I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. 48  He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49  But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete."

 

            This is the conclusion of Jesus' sermon on the mountain - the conclusion of Jesus' teaching for his disciples. Who are wise builders and who are foolish builders? At this, many naive Christians says, "Believer are wise builders and unbelievers are foolish builders." That's not right. Again, this teaching is not for the unbelievers, but for the disciples who come to him and hear his words, even calling him, "Lord, Lord." Jesus here divides all his disciples into two groups - wise builders and foolish builders. All other things of these two groups are same - they both come to him, hear his words, and call him, 'Lord, Lord." But one thing is different. Wise builders put what they learned into practice - they obey Jesus' teaching. They struggle to love their enemies even though it is painful and difficult; they are generous to others, but strict to themselves, struggling hard to remove the planks from their own eyes; as a result, their inner person is being beautified. And through this kind of real struggles, they come to develop godly and spiritual value system, and they are being truly sanctified. As a result, their life, hope, future direction, and their desire and value system are being built up on the rock foundation of God's words. Then, later, when the rain comes, when life's challenges come, when terrible temptations come, they are not shaken; instead, they stand firm as Jesus' disciples whose life and hearts are fully dedicated to him, and what they have worked for as Jesus' disciples stands firm. Thus, they come to produce good fruit as Jesus' disciples. 

 

             Foolish builders do not put what they learned into practice, even if they call Jesus, "Lord, Lord," and even though they come to him, study the Bible and understand his words; they say many Amens, but they don't live according to Jesus' teaching. They may develop a lot of the knowledge of the Bible, and have the form of Jesus' disciples in their words and actions, but they do not become godly people, but still with worldly or fleshly value system with their hope in this life. Since they don't have the struggle of laying down the foundation, they build their house so quickly. While others have hunger and sorrows and pains in their disciples' life, these people laugh freely. But later, when life's challenges come, when real difficulties rise, and real temptations come, since their value system has not changed, since their real hope is still in this life, they are blown away, and what they have worked for as Jesus' disciples crumbles down. Thus, they fail to produce good fruit as Jesus' disciples. In Jesus' eyes, such people are foolish builders who build their house without laying down the foundation. The Bible proclaims, "If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work." (1Co 3:12-13) As Jesus' disciples, we come to him, study the Bible and hear his words; we respond to Bible's teaching with many Amens. Now we have two choices - either we become like wise builders or foolish builders. What is your choice? Of course, wise builders. Then, what should you do? Do what Jesus says! Love your enemies and struggle to remove the plank from your eyes first; be generous to others, but be very strict to your sins. Don't just have a lot of Bible knowledge, but obey God's words and you will become really good people as sons and daughters of God.

 

One Word:       Be Good People By Obeying Jesus' Commands!

 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

posted Mar 27, 2017, 3:48 AM by Site Administrator

BLESSED ARE YOU WHO ARE POOR


Luke 6:12-26

Key Verse 6:20


Looking at his disciples, he said: "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.


First, "The Twelve Apostles" (12-19). Verses 12 through 19 talk about Jesus choosing the Twelve and designating them as apostles. This event is not unrelated to the previous passage - the two events that happened on the Sabbath. The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were supposed to be the leaders and shepherds for God's people Israel. But the events happened on the Sabbath showed that they were not like shepherds at all. Jesus prayed about this all night long, and had a direction to establish a new batch of leadership - the Twelve apostles. With this new batch of leadership, God's kingdom work would go continually. Also, when we check out verses 17 and 18, we see the practical reason to establish leaders. Verse 17 shows that there was a large crowd of his disciples, not just onlookers, but the disciples who had a heart's decision to follow Jesus; they were committed to Jesus, maybe, several hundred or even several thousand. Also, there was a great number of the crowd who came to hear his message and solve their problems; they did not know Jesus personally yet, but they considered him as a great man of God and wanted to solve their practical problems such as diseases or demon-problems. Surely, Jesus' ministry was now so big that simply he needed helping hands. So, at this moment, he organized his ministry by establishing the Twelve of them as leaders and designating them as apostles. These twelve apostles would be his inner circle members who would serve God's kingdom work together with him; they would discuss the things of the ministry with Jesus, make plans, and launch them to advance God's kingdom work. Simply, they would be his partners who would serve God's work together with him in one mind and heart.  


The word, "designate" means, "to nominate, or select for a duty, office, purpose etc." And the word, "apostle," means "the one who is sent." This was the title given to the ambassadors of the Roman Empire; they represented the Roman Empire in other countries. Jesus assigned them as his ambassadors to have the authority to represent himself to others. They would serve God's kingdom work in his name. In the passage, we see two words standing out - disciples and apostles. The disciples are those who learn: they learn from him who God is and what God is doing; they learn what God is talking about in the Bible, and mostly, they learn of Jesus himself. Then, they are assigned as apostles to be sent out to the world for Jesus' purpose. Our Christian life can be summarized with these two words: once we are disciples, learning of the Bible, coming to know God's will and purpose, and enjoying fellowship with Jesus; then, we are assigned as apostles to go into the world for God's kingdom purpose; then, when our mission is done, God will simply take us away from this world to be with Him for ever and ever. The event of choosing his Twelve apostles was a universal event that has changed the world history forever. When God establishes our church, we too will organize our church with new leaders; I pray that such a blessed time may come quickly, and that it may be a universal event that will change the course of human history completely.


The chosen Twelve apostles were: Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. There were two sets of brothers - Simon and Andrew, John and James, a very pure-hearted person - Bartholomew (Nathanael), a very smart person - Philip, a very pragmatic person - Thomas, an excellent mathematician - Matthew the former tax collector, a nationalistic patriot - Simon the Zealot, and James son of Alphaeus, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot the traitor. An interesting person is Simon the Zealot; actually, he was more than a nationalistic patriot; the zealots were extreme, willing to take the course of violence for the nation. Whenever a national issue came up, he would raise his voice. But still Jesus chose him. Matthew was a tax collector, despised as a public sinner; having that kind of known public sinner as one of the top leaders would not look so good for his ministry, but Jesus chose him. There is no record about James son of Alphaeus and Judas son of James, indicating that they were not so outgoing, not playing a leadership role among the disciples, yet Jesus still chose them as his apostles. When we think about the Twelve, we can see that Jesus' choice was not based on functionality for the ministry or based on their performance either. Instead, it was based on Jesus' own sovereignty. After praying for this matter all night long, he chose those whom he wanted. We are called to be his disciples not because we had performed well; we are called to be his apostles not because we have performed well. Jesus chose us and now he is establishing us as useful, effective and influential leaders for His kingdom work.


Second, "Blessed are you who are poor" (20-26). Look at verse 20. Let's read this verse together:


Looking at his disciples, he said: "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.


This is the sermon on the mountain. The author Luke specifies that this message was addressed directly to "his disciples." There were so many disciples, and now through this sermon on the mountain, Jesus showed them how blessed they were, how they should live their life as his disciples, and what would happen to them; and at the same time, he gave them warnings. So, the sermon on the Mountain is like the manual for the disciples. You are Jesus' disciples, so now you need to know the manual and live by it - so this is for you.


The first words in his address to the disciples were: "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God." Looking at them, Jesus said to them, "Blessed are you,..." Jesus was so happy to see his disciples and showed them that they were really blessed to be his disciples. "Blessed are you,..." He was saying, "Congratulations! You made the right choice to follow me; now you are really blessed; you will be happy and your life will be beautiful." When you applied for schools, you receive a letter that says, "Congratulations!" That's what Jesus was saying. His heart was full of joy and the desire to bless them - they looked so precious and lovely.


"Blessed are you who are poor." In Jesus' eyes, they could leave everything behind and follow him because they were poor. They were poor, meaning that they had nothing valuable in their life. Matthew - even his high paying job did not give him any meaning; it had no value to him, so when Jesus called him, he could leave it freely and follow him; John and James - their family business, even if it was successful, did not mean anything to them - no value at all; so, they could leave it behind and follow Jesus freely; Simon - he even did not ask his wife about Jesus' calling; even his family matter did not give him any meaning. They had nothing to hold on in this world - nothing gave them any meaning or purpose or fulfillment; surely, they were poor in this world; they had nothing valuable in this life. These poor people accept Jesus' calling and follow him. What about rich people? They have things valuable to them - their career dream, their desire for a romantic marriage life, their desire for a happy family; they pursue what they value in this world; they find meaning, purpose and fulfillment in these things, so they turn down even God's calling so that they can pursue and secure what they desire. Only the poor are blessed because they can accept God's calling and pursue Jesus.


How are they blessed? Jesus says, "For yours is the kingdom of God." The kingdom of God belongs to those who are poor, those who have nothing to hold onto in this world and thereby, follow Jesus as his disciples. They come to possess and enjoy the kingdom of God. The real essence of the kingdom of God is not abundance, or beautiful scenery, but "fellowship with God," or simply, "life together with God." When Adam was in the fellowship with God, the Garden of Eden was the Garden of Delight, in which he could enjoy a truly fulfilling life; but once he lost that fellowship with God due to his sinning, the Garden of Eden was not the Paradise any longer, but a hiding place. But when you are in the fellowship with God, you are so overjoyed and happy; your life is so fulfilling and wonderful that even in extreme poverty, you say, "I have all I need." "My cup overflows." When you have life together with God, you say, "Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life." Possessing the kingdom of God is all people's dream. "Yours is the kingdom of God." This means that you are the ones who come to enjoy beautiful fellowship with God and thereby, enjoy a truly beautiful and fulfilling life. The kingdom of God is actually what all peoples on earth have looked for - a truly fulfilling and happy life. The kingdom of God cannot be found in money, or in boyfriends or girlfriends; it cannot be found in family, or in fulfilling your most rosy dream, but it is found only in the fellowship with God; it is found in following Jesus Christ as his disciples. Those poor people who have nothing to hold on in this life, and thereby, follow Jesus are really blessed, because they are the ones who find the kingdom of God and enjoy it. This is what Jesus proclaims. When you make a decision to follow Jesus, he welcomes and blesses you, saying, "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God." You live as Jesus' disciples. Then, Jesus confirms with you, saying, "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God."


Look at verse 21. Let's read this verse together:

Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.


Jesus describes his disciples' present struggles with the words, "hunger" and "weep," and their future blessings with the words, "satisfied" and "laugh." With these, Jesus shows what kind of struggles the disciples have now, and what kind of blessings they will enjoy later.


When you hunger and weep in your Christian life, you are blessed. This is totally the opposite of general consensus of modern day believers. They think that Christians must be satisfied, and happy, and they pretend to be happy, behaving as if everything goes well with them and that they have nothing to bother them at all, saying, "God will take care of that," "God will help me." As a result, they are not sincere about their Christian life; they are not so serious about their practical struggles. But Jesus shows that you are blessed when you hunger and weep. In other words, when you hunger and weep, you are living the blessed life of Jesus' disciples in the right way. How come, "hunger" and "weep"?


The word, "hunger" implies their desperate attitude. Nothing - money, pleasures, relationships, any success - satisfies them; no meaning or purpose or fulfillment in anything. They are hungry for a true meaning and purpose of life - a truly fulfilling life. And the only solution for their hunger problem is in Jesus alone. So, they follow Jesus alone desperately and wholeheartedly. When you have such hunger for a true meaning and purpose of your life in following Jesus, you are blessed. And Jesus' promise for you is that you will find what you have looked for - a truly fulfilling life - in him. As you pursue Jesus that way, you will find yourself so satisfied and happy in such a beautiful fellowship with Jesus, your Lord. You will be satisfied. Those who put their trust in God will never be put to shame.


The word, "weep" shows the disciples' sorrows and pains now. Why? Because following Jesus is hard and challenging; you have to deny yourself, and there is deep pains and sorrows. Sometimes, your family members whom you love so much misunderstand you saying that you don't care about them any longer; even they persecute you. Sometimes, you have to let go of a dream job offer only for the sake of following Jesus, and you have to see your colleagues get it. Sometimes, your sin hinders you in pursuing Jesus. So, you weep a lot. While bearing such pains and sorrows in heart, you live as Jesus' disciples. This is a real Christian life. Jesus shows that, if you have this kind of struggle, if you weep as his disciples, you are really blessed, because you will laugh. If you follow Jesus with such pains and sorrows in your heart, eventually, you will have the laughter of victory, the laughter of thanks and happiness. How come? Because God will make you laugh. This is what real Christian life is about.

What verse 21 suggests - hunger and weep - is directly the opposite of verse 25. Some people are well fed, having so many good looking things; they post on the Facebook and brag about what they have - good career, boyfriends or girlfriends, beautiful looking marriage partner, and they make big smiles in their pictures, and you don't have anything like that; it seems that they have freedom and fun, and you don't have; instead, your Christian life is with painful self-denial and sorrows; you envy them and wish that you may have what they have - you have hunger, and for the sake of serving God, you deny yourself and struggle, but still sorrows are there in your heart, so you cry out to God in prayer at night, you shed tears, saying, "I am lonely. Help me." When you have this kind of struggle, when you have hunger and sorrows only to follow Jesus, Jesus says, "Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh." This is Jesus' confirmation that you are living your Christian life in a right way. And also, this is Jesus' promise of blessing that you will be happy and satisfied. How? Because God will satisfy you, and God will make you laugh. At that time, your conscience will be really free to laugh and enjoy God's blessing. You will find yourself in Christ, and everyone who hears about you will laugh together with you. Happiness not through securing what we have desired by ourselves, but through receiving what God gives. Meanwhile, until that time, we patiently endure hunger and sorrow so that we can pursue and serve God's kingdom work as Jesus' disciples. This is what Christian life is about.

But that's not all. In addition to "hunger and weep," there is one more thing you come to have if you live your Christian life in a right way - hatred and persecution from others. Look at verse 22. Let's read this verse together:

Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.


When we check out verse 22, their hatred intensifies - they hate you - ill feelings toward you, - exclude you, meaning, single you out in discrimination, insult you, meaning now personally attack you, and reject your name as evil, meaning, they blend you as an evil man publicly alarming others about you to have no association with you. Their hatred against the disciples is  personal as if the disciples are their real enemies. In this individualistic society, no one wants to care about anything of others. Even wicked people say, "You eat your bread, and I eat mine; don't bother me." Then, how come these people hate the disciples and attack them? All these ill treatments show how wholeheartedly and persistently the disciples have struggled to challenge them to repent, disallowing how they have lived, not giving them any credit. Just delivering one general message, even though it may be harsh, will not cause so many people to hate you this much. Just giving them some indirect message of repentance will not create so many haters, but when you personally challenge them to repent, when you personally point out their sins, and disallow what they desire - such as success, job matter, marriage matter,.. - they will really hate you. When you really try to serve God's work this way, you will have only two groups of people - those who accept your challenge and repent will honor and respect you highly as true servants of God, but those who do not accept your challenge and refuse to repent will hate you personally and become your enemies.


At that time, how should you respond? Look at verse 23. Let's read this verse together:

"Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their fathers treated the prophets.


Jesus says, "Rejoice in that day and leap for joy." What does it mean to "leap for joy"? It means to jump into the air and shout for joy, saying, "Hurray! At the last!" It is like college students at their graduation, throwing their caps into the air, and shouting - a lot of struggles so far, but finally, they are done with their school and graduate; they have done all the requirements and they have proved themselves worthy of graduation. When you have this kind of ill-treatment from people, rejoice and leap for joy, shouting, "Hurray! At the last!" Why? Jesus says, "for great is your reward in heaven." Not because of some other reason, but because of this practical reason that you have secured great reward in heaven that you must leap for joy. Reward in heaven must be great. But Jesus emphasizes the greatness of your reward in heaven, saying, "Great is your reward in heaven." So, the reward you have secured in heaven by being hated and persecuted for Jesus must be really great. Because of this great reward, you leap for joy, "Hurray! At the last!" When you are hated and persecuted for Jesus, then, you are like a person who wins the California Lotto. How will you respond that you win $30,000,000.00 lottery? Indeed, you leap for joy, shouting, "Hurray!" You know that such a big amount of money is there waiting for you to come and collect. In the same, when you are hated and persecuted for Jesus, you know that such great reward is waiting for you in heaven. So, you shout and leap for joy, "Hurray!"


Jesus says, "For that is how their fathers treated the prophets." When you are hated and persecuted for Jesus, God sees you in the same level with the prophets in the Old Testament. We all honor the prophets - the prophet Isaiah, the prophet Jeremiah, the prophet Jonah, the prophet Elijah and the prophet Elisha. Indeed, they are holy prophets. But when you are hated and persecuted for Jesus, you are in the same level with them. You are so great in God's eyes deserving such great reward. By being persecuted for Jesus, you have proved yourself worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name of Jesus Christ; you have proved yourself truly loyal and dedicated to God's kingdom work. Such hatred from people is like the seal of God's approval on you as his true servants. You are recognized by God for your love and service to Him. So, you shout and leap for joy. When people hate you and discriminate you, when people attack you and give you evil names, don't be discouraged; don't be confused. Instead, shout and leap for joy, for great is your reward in heaven.

Look at verses 24 through 26. Let's read these verses together:


24  "But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. 25  Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep. 26  Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets.


Remember Jesus was not talking to other people, but to his disciples - so verses 24 through 26 is about Jesus' warning for the disciples. When they show the symptoms and signs Jesus mentions here, when they live the kind of life Jesus describes in these verses, a red flag is up - these symptoms and signs are evidences that they are living a wrong Christian life, and as a result, unless they really repent right away, sooner or later terrible things are going to happen in their lives. In verses 20 through 23, Jesus talks about their blessed life as his disciples - if you hunger, if you weep, if you are hated, you are blessed and you are living your Christian life really wonderfully. Now in verses 24 through 26, Jesus talks about a wrong way of life as his disciples - if you are rich, if you are well fed now, if you laugh, if everyone speaks well of you, you are living your Christian life as his disciples in a wrong way, and sooner or later, something terrible is going to happen; so you must repent right away.


Originally, we were poor, having nothing valuable in this life; we were looking for something real, something truly valuable; that's why we could turn to Jesus and follow him as his disciples, leaving everything behind. In this new life, now we must be careful that we will not give our hearts to the things of this life such as comfortable and pleasant life, or happy family life, or titles and positions, and pursue them. Jesus must be the source of our joy, comfort and fulfillment all the time. But the minute something else becomes the source of our joy and happiness, the minute we pursue them, a red flag is up. And Jesus warns us, saying, "Woe to you who are rich." "Woe to you who are well fed now." "Woe to you who laugh now." You never want Jesus says to you this way. So, don't give your heart to such things at all. Otherwise, sooner or later, something terrible will happen to you. What the Bible says is really true. The Bible says, "Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.   16   For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world.   17   The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever." (1Jn 2:15-17)

Jesus says, "Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets." When I heard the expression, "false prophets," many years ago, I thought that these people were really evil like Satan worshipers. But when I read the Bible and learned about them, I found that they were not with two horns or with divided tongues like snakes; instead, they were Bible teachers who taught others the word of God and prophesied in the name of God. But the only thing was that they said good words - words of peace and blessing, which God believing Israel people liked to hear, giving them their approval of the way they were living, proclaiming God's blessings on them; while God's judgment was coming due to their sinning, these messengers, Bible teachers proclaimed peace and God's blessings on them, saying that they were God's chosen people and God would help them. As a result, people liked them and honored them as God's servants; they spoke well of them; these false prophets were popular in Israel.


As Jesus' disciples, as Bible teachers, we must not become false prophets. How? By serving God's work really, by challenging people to really repent and dedicate themselves to God, instead of saying words they want to hear all the time. Actually, it is really burdensome to say words that would offend them; proclaiming the message of judgment generally is not hard at all; if you do that, they will like you more, saying that you are cool. But in dealing with their practical matters such as job matter, or boyfriends or girlfriends matter, or marriage matter or their family gathering matter, it is really burdensome to say, "Don't go to your family gathering; instead, come to our church worship service absolutely." It is really burdensome to challenge people personally to cut off sinful relationships or to not get that job they like. So, often, when that kind of challenge comes, I call John Boos. How easy it is to try to maintain good relationship with people instead of serving God's will! How easy it is to just enjoy honor and respect from others as a servant of God! Sadly, this is the trend nowadays, and it is a sign of the last days. The apostle Paul warns about it, saying, "For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear." (2Tim 4:3) We should not follow the way of false prophets. With a heart's determination, we must pursue Jesus' will and purpose as his disciples. Let's not be afraid to be hated by others; let's not be afraid to be rejected by people. Our praise is not from people, but from God alone. Let's be zealous for God and serve his work wholeheartedly, then, surely not all people will speak well of us, but only those who accept our challenge; then, other people who refuse our challenge will hate us.


One Word: Blessed Are You Who Are Poor, For Yours Is The Kingdom Of God.


Sunday, March 19, 2017

posted Mar 19, 2017, 6:55 PM by Site Administrator

THE SON OF MAN IS LORD OF THE SABBATH

 

Luke 6:1-11

Key Verse 6:5

 

Then Jesus said to them, "The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath."

 

       Today’s passage is about the law of the Sabbath. The Pharisees thought that they were keeping the Sabbath law very well by not doing anything on the Sabbath; they accused others who seemed not keeping it. But Jesus told them how they must keep the Sabbath, by saying, "The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath." May God bless us to grasp what Jesus is talking about so that we can keep the Sabbath in the way Jesus desires.

 

       First, "The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath" (1-5). Look at verse 1. One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grain fields, and his disciples began to pick some heads of grain, rub them in their hands and eat the kernels. We can imagine how the disciples acted when they were going through the grain field. They were hungry because they did not have any regular meal time due to their busy life as the disciples of Jesus. Probably, it was after the 11 am Sabbath worship service was over. They knew very well that it was forbidden for them to harvest some heads of grain on the Sabbath and eat them. But because they were so hungry, and because they were not bothered by that kind of religious regulations any more, they shouted for joy when they saw the harvest filed of grain. So without having any hesitation, all of them, like one man, attacked the heads of grain, rubbed them in their hands, blew the chaff away, and ate them. It was really delicious, a little chewy and sweet. Levi had lived as a selfish and rich tax collector; Simon Peter was already married. But they were like little children who rejoiced over some free heads of grain in the field. The rich can buy fancy and comfortable beds, but they cannot buy sweet sleep. The rich can have all kind of delicious and gourmet food, but it does not mean that they really enjoy it. But the disciples of Jesus are different. They do not have anything in the world, but they act as if they have everything. When the disciples followed Jesus, even the raw grain in the fields was so sweet to their taste, and they were satisfied. To their mouths, even one crunch taco bell taco is so sweet. The disciples of Jesus were enjoying their new life in him fully. When you live as Jesus’ disciples, I can tell you two things guaranteed – sleep will be sweet and food will be sweet.

 

But the Pharisees did not see this point. They challenged the disciples, saying, "Why are you doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?" According to Deuteronomy 23:24,25, it is okay to enter others’ vineyard and eat all the grapes you want, but you must not put any grapes in your basket – it is stealing. It is okay to enter your neighbor’s grain fields, and pick kernels with your hands, but you must not put a sickle to the standing grain. God is a merciful God that he is so concerned about the poor people; also by exercising this law, those who had fields and vineyards could learn God’s merciful heart for the poor. Our God is a merciful God. But now, the Pharisees’ point was that the disciples did this on the Sabbath and accused them as the lawbreakers.

 

When the disciples ate the kernels of grain, the Pharisees were right next to them. As the Jews themselves, the disciples had been trained about the Sabbath laws and they knew that such activities were prohibited on the Sabbath. Then, how come, they did such activities on the Sabbath, even while the religious cops were watching them? It was all because, as they had been dedicated to God by following Jesus and having life together with him, they came to understand what was really important and what God really wanted, that was, loving God really and serving God's work wholeheartedly, not tedious observation of all kinds of rules and regulations. When they saw it, they were free to love God and serve Him in any circumstances, and as they really obeyed God's will and purpose upon their life, they were not bothered by any rituals. Again, what was their secret of such great revelation of what God really wanted? What was the secret of freedom they enjoyed? It was their true dedication to God by following Jesus, by having life together with Jesus. This is what those whose hearts and lives are truly dedicated to God come to know and enjoy. Jesus said to his disciples, "The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables 12  so that, "'they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!'" (Mar 4:11-12) This is what Jesus said in John 8:31,32. He said to those who believed in him, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free." Be real disciples of Jesus by holding on to his teaching, by really living according his will and purpose, by really dedicating yourself to God. Then, because of such life of devotion to God, eventually you will come to know the truth. Then, there, you enjoy freedom.

 

Look at verses 3 and 4. Let’s read these verses together:

 

3Jesus answered, "Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? 4He entered the house of God, and taking the consecrated bread, he ate what is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions."

 

Actually, it was the disciples’ mistake; only because they did what was unlawful on the Sabbath, Jesus was blamed. He could have been angry with them and rebuked them, saying, "Why couldn’t you endure your hunger?" But he did not do that. It was an obvious violation of the Sabbath law, but Jesus defended his disciples, saying that they had not violated the Sabbath law and that they were innocent and thereby, the Pharisees should not accuse them as law-breakers. He came up with an episode based on 1Samuel.

 

When David was fleeing from Saul, the situation was really urgent that he had no chance to eat or prepare some food. He came to Nob and asked the priest there if he had anything to eat. The priest had nothing but the consecrated bread and gave it to him. David ate it, and gave it to his soldiers. According to the Pharisees' view, David violated the law by eating the consecrated bread, but the Bible never talked about it; God never made an issue of it; it was not a problem at all in God's eyes. Why? Jesus said to them, "Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry?" His point was, "when he and his companions were hungry." When God gave them the laws and regulations, his purpose was not to restrict them, but to teach them the way of God so that by obeying his laws and regulations, they might live an abundant life. They were living their lives however way they desired - very sinful, violent, and wicked; as a result, they were terrible, and their life was miserable, and their society was barbaric. Now God wanted to show them how they must live their lives as humans, and how they could become holy and righteous as children of God, and how they would live a truly beautiful and fulfilling life. Surely, by giving them the laws, he showed them the way of life - it was God's way; God revealed his heart's desire and good intention for them. David loved God and God's law; he meditated on it day and night; he struggled hard to keep the laws, saying, "I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is flawless." (Ps 40:8) But he did not become legalistic, because he knew God's heart; he understood why God gave the laws - he said, ""Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,... burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require." (Ps 40:6)

 

The Pharisees' challenge was about the Sabbath laws. But in his answer, Jesus came up with an episode that was not related to the Sabbath. What was Jesus showing them through David's episode? Jesus was showing them God's real intention, God's heart's real desire in giving them the laws, that was, for their wellbeing, for their flourishing life.

 

"Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry?" The Pharisees missed what God was really talking about, even if they read the passage and even studied it many times; maybe, they passed the written test, but they would never pass an interview with God. Even if they memorized the Sabbath laws and kept them absolutely, they missed the real point of God's laws; as a result, instead of growing up in maturity, humility and beauty, the more they knew and kept the laws, the more legalistic, proud and self-righteous they became - simply, they became mean and evil people. Through all our struggles to serve God's work, and through all our knowledge of the Bible, we must come to know God more and more, and we must grow to be beautiful children of God, so humble, so obedient, and so holy, not mean, legalistic and stubborn people.

 

As a conclusion, Jesus said to them, "The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath." At their challenge about the Sabbath laws, Jesus answered them with an episode that was not related to the Sabbath laws. Then, he concluded his answer with the Sabbath, showing that actually he had been talking about the Sabbath laws. "The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath." This is Jesus' proclamation that he is the purpose and focal point of all the Sabbath laws. The expression, "The Son of Man," shows who Jesus is: He is God in flesh who came into the world to die on the cross as a ransom sacrifice for people. That person, the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath. The Sabbath is about him and for him - the Sabbath is there for us to remember him, what he has done for us, how much he sacrificed for us, how much he loved us; the Sabbath is for us to praise and thank him and worship him, by remembering all these things. Keeping the Sabbath is not the matter of doing nothing on Sunday, but coming to him, thanking him, and worshiping him by remembering his love and grace for us. When you keep the Sabbath this way, there, you are overjoyed, and your heart is refreshed and your spirit is renewed; there in keeping the Sabbath with Lord of the Sabbath and worshiping him, you find true rest for your souls. Then you are ready to go and do God's work continually. For this, we make wholehearted struggle to keep the Sabbath absolutely, because Jesus, Lord of the Sabbath, is the most important figure in our life - the lover of our soul. Without him, no one can keep the Sabbath properly.

 

Who can keep the Sabbath with him this way? Only Jesus' disciples who live with him, and who do God's work together with him. Only those whose hearts and lives are fully dedicated to God as Jesus' disciples can keep the Sabbath this way. And others cannot, even if they are determined not to study on Sunday for finals on Monday. The Pharisees failed to keep the Sabbath even though they kept all the laws and regulations meticulously according to the word of God. Only Jesus' disciples, even though they harvested and threshed on the Sabbath, kept the Sabbath properly, because they were with Jesus. As they were with Jesus, even such harvesting and threshing and eating carried real divine value and meaning - they needed to do so to do God's work continually. This is how we can keep the Sabbath really. Be with Jesus as his disciples, and you will keep the Sabbath very well.  

 

       Second, "Stretch out your hand" (6-11). Look at verses 6 and 7. On another Sabbath, Jesus was teaching in a synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was sitting there. According to the Jewish tradition, this man’s occupation was a stone cutter, but because of an accident, his right hand was wounded, and then, shriveled. When he could not use his right hand, he became limited greatly – he could not keep his occupation any longer; he could not play basketball any longer; he even had to figure out how to do his signature with the other hand. Moreover, when his right hand was shriveled, he became very self-conscious. He did not want his badly shriveled hand exposed to others; so even during hot summer, he wore long sleeves; when people wanted to shake hands with him, he quickly stretched out his left hand. He was always conscious of it; he was afraid if people would talk about it; because of this shriveled hand problem, he was always self-conscious. His way of thinking, his words, and actions were so bothered and influenced. It was just his hand that had a problem and the rest of his body was sound. But this shriveled hand problem was now controlling his entire life, making him so nervous, fearful and self-conscious. Because of his shriveled hand, his heart was shriveled, and his life was shriveled. This man, a poor soul, now was sitting in the synagogue, perhaps vaguely hoping some help from God.

 

       Many people have this shriveled hand problem. They carry this shriveled hand problem secretly, so that it may not be seen by anyone. To some people, it is their secret immoral sin they committed long time ago. To some others, it is their gloomy and fatalistic childhood they never want to talk about. To one student, it was his illegal residential status. To some others, it is their physique. Usually, it is just a small matter that no one will concern about, once it is exposed. But they are self-conscious of this shriveled hand problem all the time and try to hide it. As a result, this shriveled hand problem influences and controls every aspect of their day to day life. It is a local problem, but it becomes a universal problem to them.

 

       The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were waiting for Jesus to heal him so that they would be able to find fault with him and accuse him as a law breaker. They were supposed to be good shepherds for God's flock. But they were not interested in God's will or God's mission; they were not concerned about this poor man either; they were only concerned about their tiles, positions and reputation as leaders in Israel. Then, when Jesus was rising as a spiritual leader in Israel doing God's work powerfully, they considered him as a threat, as their enemy and hoped to find fault with him so that they damage his reputation, even by utilizing this poor man; they were really evil, not like God's servants at all. When they lost God's mission, they became evil.

 

       Verse 8 says, "Jesus knew what they were thinking." When he sent his disciples two by two on their mission journey, he said to them, "Be as shrewd as snakes," so that they might not suffer unnecessary persecution. So he could have dealt with the situation wisely, such as waiting for the evening to come and then, healing him, or tell him to come to his place later. But instead, he chose to deal with them openly; he said to the man, "Get up and stand in front of everyone." Then, Jesus asked the Pharisees, "I ask you, which is lawful: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?" Outwardly, it seemed that they were not doing any work on the Sabbath; they did not use their muscles at all; they did not sweat at all, but just sat down and watched what Jesus was going to do. So they thought that they were keeping the Sabbath very well, not working at all. But Jesus showed them that they were doing evil positively on the Sabbath.

 

Looking for a reason to accuse someone on the Sabbath was evil. Moreover, their intention was to kill someone, and it was really unthinkable for God’s chosen people to do. They thought that they were keeping the Sabbath Law very well, but Jesus showed them that they became law breakers by doing what was evil positively. Moreover, Jesus showed them the true purpose or meaning of the Sabbath. The Sabbath is the day when we must do good positively and save souls. What should we do on the Sabbath? How can we keep the Sabbath right or lawfully? Instead of talking about whether we can do our homework or not on Sunday, we must think about doing good and saving souls positively. God gave us the Sabbath law not so that we become lazy or unproductive, but so that we can do what is good and save souls positively. When we accept this will of God and offer our life to saving souls, we can enjoy true rest in Jesus Christ on the Sabbath even while being so busy to do God’s work on Sundays.

 

       Look at verse 10. Jesus looked around at them all, and then said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He did so, and his hand was completely restored. For this man with the shriveled hand, Jesus' instructions were: "Stand in front of everyone," and "stretch out your hand." Mainly, his instruction for him was to expose his shriveled hand to others. That's the beginning of his healing for him. Ephesians 5:13-14 says, "But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: "Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you."" Whatever is exposed belongs to the light because in the light, everything is visible. But whatever is hidden belongs to darkness because in darkness nothing is visible. When people try to hide their shriveled hand problem, it has power to control their minds, words and actions; ultimately, their life is controlled by it. But when people expose it openly, it loses its power to control; moreover, they find that actually, no one cares about whether they had that kind of shriveled hand problem or not. Then, their shriveled hand becomes just a local problem that gives them just some inconvenience, which they can overcome easily.

 

       Jesus encourages us to stretch out our shriveled hand of selfishness, the shriveled hand of lust, and the shriveled hand of fatalism, so that we can be healed and become sound.

 

In conclusion, Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath. He is the reason and purpose why we have the Sabbath, and the Sabbath laws. People wonder how they should the Sabbath. But without having life together with Jesus, no one can keep the Sabbath really, even if they do all the things the Sabbath laws require. When we love Jesus with all our hearts and strength, when we follow Jesus with all our hearts and strength, we are already keeping all the laws he has given us. May God bless us to have life together with Jesus as his disciples all the days of our life.

One Word:      Jesus Is Lord Of The Sabbath 

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