Out of the ordinary

 

Do you ever wonder why Jesus performed certain miracles for certain people? I don’t think it was so much that he was selective about whom he did things for, I think he performed miracles for those who went to the trouble of getting his attention.

Once Jesus’ ministry took off, he was in high demand. People followed him everywhere he went. And, let’s face it, if you knew he was going to feed you, you’d probably show up, too. There were always crowds around him. He healed a lot of people. I’m sure the Gospels only list a small portion of what he really did. But the ones that stand out are those who took the extra effort.

In Luke 18, there’s a blind man. He discovers Jesus is nearby.

He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Luke 18:38-39 (NIV)

There was no way this man was going to let Jesus go without getting his miracle. And he did. All his hollering got Jesus attention.

Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.”

Luke 18:42 (NIV)

This blind man wasn’t the only one to take extra effort in getting Jesus’ attention. Remember those four crazy friends who tore a hole in a roof to lower their paralysed friend down in front of Jesus (Luke 5:19)? What about the sinful woman who came into the Pharisee’s house and dumped a bottle of expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet (Luke 7:38)? Or the woman with the issue of blood who crawled through a crowd just to touch the hem of Jesus’ cloak (Luke 8:44)? Then there were the ten lepers who stood at a distance yelling at Jesus to heal them (Luke 17:13).

It seems to me that those who want something from the Lord, really want something, will do whatever it takes to get it. And here we sit and pray a little prayer once and assume it’s not God’s will if it doesn’t happen immediately. Have we really done all we can to get Heaven’s attention? Have we, like the blind man, called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” until he has no other choice but to acknowledge our cry?

Those who received the most from Jesus are the ones who couldn’t care less what society thought of them. They were the ones who shoved social and cultural norms aside and said to themselves, if Jesus is able to do this, I’m going to make sure he does.

Maybe, just maybe, we don’t see the signs and wonders we want to see because we’re not really asking for them. What have you done lately to capture Jesus’ attention? Have you done anything unusual or out of the ordinary?

Read: 2 Samuel 4-6, Luke 18:18-43

Just…

Read: Numbers 11-13, Mark 5:21-43

Just is a big word. I just need more time. It was just a little. If I could just… A lot of weight can rest on those four letters. Other words associated with it include: nearly, almost, merely, barely, or close. It gives a feeling of reaching. A last effort before giving in to failure.

The latter portion of Mark 5 talks about two people who just.

…because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.”

Mark 5:28 (NIV)

These words were spoken by a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years. She’d spent all of her money on doctors and, instead of getting better, only got worse. Her last ditch effort was to just touch Jesus’ clothing.

Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

Mark 5:36 (NIV)

Just believe? The man’s daughter had been declared dead. What was he supposed to believe? He’d come to Jesus for healing, but to bring his little girl back to life? Already, going to see Jesus would have been his last ditch effort. As a ruler in the synagogue, he would have been a learned man, well-acquainted with the law. He would have known process over promise. Yet here was Jesus very matter-of-factly telling him to just believe.

I think that we too often wait too long to get Jesus’ attention. We believe that we must have all of his attention to get our miracle. Our just is desperate, like the woman. We’re straining and reaching, hoping to get just enough to get by. We have nothing more but that last push. It works, but it doesn’t have to be like that.

But, we have Jesus’ full attention, like the synagogue ruler. Jairus had more of Jesus’ attention than anyone else. It was to his home that Jesus was going to. The just he needed, according to Jesus, was simple. A meh, don’t worry about it, I got this.

You get to pick what you just want to do. Do you just want to reach out and brush the hem, fighting your own battle, pushing against the crowd, crawling toward Jesus? Or to you just want to believe, walking beside Jesus, trusting everything is alright no matter what the facts say?

The good news is, that no matter where you find yourself, both ways work. If you can do nothing more than just touch, that’s okay. Or if you’re in a place where you can just believe, that’s okay, too.

Take note. Take courage.

Many have tried, but no one has been able to accurately predict Jesus’ return. A quick internet search will return with lists of dates that have been predicted by the insane, the well-respected, and everyone in between. They all have one thing in common though—they were all wrong.

Take note: I will come unexpectedly as a thief! Blessed are all who are watching for me, who keep their robes ready so they will not need to walk naked and ashamed.

Revelation 16:15 (NLT)

No one wants to get caught with their pants down. Preparedness is key if we want to save ourselves much embarrassment and ridicule.

According to the Mishna (Jewish oral traditions), the captain of the temple in Jerusalem went his round of the precincts by night, and if a member of the temple police was caught asleep at his post, his clothes were taken off and burned, and he was sent away naked in disgrace.

International Bible Commentary

All through the Bible, believers are told to keep watch, be prepared, stay alert. Yet here, at the very end of the book, Jesus is still telling us to pay attention.

It’s difficult to wait when you don’t know how long the wait will be. Most of us have spent time in a waiting room. Whether it be at a doctor’s office, the department of motor vehicles, the lawyer, the financial advisor, or any other assortment of places where we may required to wait. Usually, we have an estimate of how long our wait will be, but as that time stretches, we become impatient and restless. Most of us have even entertained thoughts of giving up all together. But what’s the point in that? We’ve already spent all that time waiting, why not make it productive?

Take courage, all you people still left in the land, says the Lord. Take courage and work, for I am with you, says the Lord. My Spirit remains among you, just as I promised when you came out of Egypt, so do not be afraid.

Haggai 2:4b-5 (NLT)

God, through the prophet Haggai, got the remaining Israelites to rebuild the Temple. Their focus had long been on getting the things they needed to survive, but they were barely getting by. It wasn’t until that remnant began to work together with the common purpose of preparing a place for the Lord that their natural harvest suddenly increased.

What are you doing with your wait? We have no guarantee that Jesus will return in our lifetime. Are we just going to be grateful that we have our ticket to Heaven and leave it at that? Or are we going to get to work? Are we going to be content with barely getting by and risk being caught off guard? Or are we going to work together to prepare the bride, the Church that Jesus is returning for?

Daily Bible reading: Haggai 1-2, Revelation 16

We need more lerts

If you haven’t read my post from Saturday, go back and read it first or much of what is to follow won’t make any sense at all.

You need to be a lert. I need to be a lert. We all need to be lerts.

Now, you may be shaking your head thinking this is the dumbest thing you’ve read in a long time, but tell the truth—how likely are you to forget about this?

Keep alert and pray. Otherwise temptation will overpower you. For though the spirit is willing enough, the body is weak.

Mark 14:38 (NLT)

Jesus is nearing the end of his ministry on earth. He’s taken a select few disciples into the Garden of Gethsemane with him to pray through the night. While Jesus is in such great distress to the point of sweating blood, the buddies he’s brought with him fell asleep—three times.

They lost their focus. They lost their sense of purpose. It seems as though the disciples were always one step behind. How do we feed these people? Weren’t you with me a short while back when I fed 5000 men plus women and children? Keep these kids away! Hey! Bring them here. The kingdom of Heaven belongs to the children. She’s dead. She’s not dead, she’s just asleep.

Over and over again, even the disciples forgot who they were with. When we forget who we’re with, we forget what they can do. When we forget what they can do, we rely too much on ourselves.

Prayer is meant to be a deep, intimate communion with our Creator. Not a hardship or a task forced upon us by religious leaders. When we seek after the heart of God, we get to know Him better. The better we know Him, the better we know what He is capable of. The more we know what He is capable of the more we can rely on Him.

The more time we spend with God, the less likely we are to allow ourselves to be lead away by the things of the world. Jesus is calling us to him. He wants to speak to us. He wants to guide us. All we have to do is stay still and pay attention long enough to hear him.

Pray! Be a lert!

Daily Bible reading: Deuteronomy 20-22, Mark 14:26-50