Objection 

Luke 13:12
“Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity.”

I imagine what the scene must have been like in the Synagogue that day. The crowd had gathered like they did every Sabbath. For some it was no more than a religious duty, for others, it was how they expressed their devotion to God. The scene suddenly shifts from the normal activities of prayer and Bible reading to a woman with a serious medical condition. She had been suffering for eighteen years and nothing could be done for her. Without hesitation, Jesus called her to Himself, and when she responded to the call, He healed her. Imagine being there! Imagine the joy that would fill her, perhaps like the lame man in Acts 3, she leaped with joy, celebrating what Jesus had done for her. I would expect to read that the service changed that morning, as the people broke out in unrestrained praise. Sadly however, rather than hearing praise, we hear the sound of objection.

“There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath day.”

Sometimes the only response I can muster is WOW! I am amazed. Jesus changed the life of a woman in agony, but instead of people flocking to Him with praise, they objected to what He had done. Why were they so angry? I think it was because He violated the culture of the day. The religious leaders had developed a whole system of what was allowed on the Sabbath. Healing of the sick was not included. They might have been happy with Jesus making people’s lives better, but when He began to mess with the culture, they were infuriated. We read later, it was his changing of the cultural norm that motivated the religious leaders to make a deal with Rome and have Him crucified.

Things are not so different today.

For the past 2000 years the earth has been filled with people like this woman, who have responded to Jesus and have been transformed by Him. He has taken those who society has neglected, even rejected, and has made them heroes of faith. Yet, many still object to Him. Jesus is not rejected because He has not changed lives, but because He changes culture, because He dares to declare what man tolerates is often abominable to God. Much of what Jesus said and did is contrary to our culture. Rather than falling down before Him in worship for who He is and what He does, many raise up their fists in objection. “How can He say He is the only way?” “How can He say that my lifestyle is wrong, I was born this way, it’s hereditary, we are in love…”

Let us not object to His ways, but praise Him for the lives He has changed, and will change.

Pastor Jim

 

Called And Equipped 

Luke 9:1 “Then He called His twelve disciples . . .”

When the Lord calls us to serve Him there seems to be a universal response. Our hearts cry out, “I can’t.” This was the same response of Moses, Saul and Gideon. We feel this way because the Lord always seems to call us to do what is beyond our capacities. A young woman with small children senses a call to teach in children’s church, or a retired couple hears the call to the mission field, or a young man has a burning in his heart to become a pastor, and the voice in our head cries out, “I can’t.”

I think there is something encouraging here as Jesus calls the twelve. He is sending them out to serve Him. They will encounter many with needs beyond their capabilities to handle. They will cross paths with the sick, who will look to them for the answer, the demoniacs, who are held under by the powers of the devil, and some will oppose the work of God. For their journey they are told to take nothing: no money, no provisions, no extra stuff, for these things will not equip them for the ministry. Jesus wants them to understand, those are not the things that enable them, nor will a lack of those things restrict them. Instead, Jesus provides everything that is necessary. We read,

“. . . He gave them power and authority. . . “

All of their objections, and ours, should be silenced by these six words. Whatever reasons they had for objecting to the call, whatever lack they may have felt, must be silenced when Jesus declares, “I have given you power and authority.” Just as their objections are silenced by His promise, so must ours be silenced. Whatever objections you have to the call of God on your life, understand that what He calls us to, He equips us for. As He said to Gideon (Judges 6:12, 14), He says to you “Mighty man of valor… Go in this might of yours.”

Will you go?

Pastor Jim

Seek Him

Luke 24:1
“Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning…”

Crucifixion was a violent and public form of execution. The display was designed not only to punish the condemned, but to dissuade others from violating the law of Rome. It is difficult for me to comprehend the emotions that would flood those who watched, as Jesus was beaten and crucified.

These women were not casual observers, they did not watch the events as spectators or journalists, they were some of Jesus closest friends, and Mary was His mother. Watching the events of the cross must have filled her with fear, confusion, sorrow, anger and even hate. Her own Son had been betrayed by one of His close friends, He had been falsely accused, condemned, beaten and violently killed. It would be reasonable for us to read that Mary shut down, or she was filled with sorrow, wept, and questioned the love of God. Instead, we read she rose early, went seeking, and found Christ was risen from the dead.

What pains are you enduring today? Are you struggling with the emotions caused by loss, confusion, or disappointment? Are you allowing your emotions to keep you from God, or like Mary, are you willing to rise early and seek Him? I wonder what we are missing out on when we fail to take time to seek Christ.

Pastor Jim


The Veil Was Torn 

Luke 23:45
“The veil of the temple was torn in two.”

veil-torn.jpgThe veil of the Temple was designed by God; and it was beautiful. Moses describes it for us in Exodus 26:31

“You shall make a veil woven of blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen. It shall be woven with an artistic design of cherubim.”

As beautiful as this curtain was, its beauty would be overshadowed by its purpose. The veil was not designed as a work of art to be gawked at, but as a symbol of the separation between man and God. Even the angels portrayed on the veil spoke not of accessibility, but of separation. Remember the angels that were posted outside the garden? They carried flaming swords and were set as guards to keep Adam and Eve from entering the garden (Genesis 3:24). What about the angels around God’s throne? We read, they constantly sing of His holiness; a character trait of God making it impossible for sin to remain in His presence. As much as man needs God, and as much as God loves man, our sin stands in the way. Access to God is barred by sin, and the veil was a constant reminder of that.

As a result of the cross, all that would change. Jesus was not dying for Himself, He was dying as a sacrifice. By doing so, He was paving a way for sinful man to come to a Holy God. The tearing down of the veil represents the access that is available to all mankind through Christ. While it remains true that we are all sinners, it is also true that there is now a way to God. What a joy must have filled the heart of Luke as He penned these words,

“ . . . and the veil of the temple was torn in two.”

He took advantage of the access. What about you? The cross is not the end, it is the beginning. Through it, we have access to the throne, and to the presence of God.

Hebrews 10:19-22

“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”

Pastor Jim

 

In Remembrance 

Luke 22:19
“This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”

Everything in the life of Christ was working toward His final hour. A moment in time when He, through His death, would provide life for all who believe. Prior to the events of the cross unfolding, Jesus took time to have a last meal with His closest followers. It was at this meal that He established the sacrament of communion. He told his disciples the bread was to represent His body which would be broken to provide healing, and the fruit of the vine would represent His blood, that would be shed for the removal of sin.

A few conditions are given to those who partake of communion. First, communion is for those who believe. The sacrament has its value in what it represents. The religious activity is of no value unless you are one who has received Christ as your Savior. Second, Paul spoke of partaking in an unworthy manner, meaning, if we have sin that has not been confessed and repented of, we should deal with it before we partake (1 Corinthians 11:27-29). Finally, Jesus tells us, the primary purpose of communion is remembrance. It is a time to focus on the Lord. As we hold the bread and the cup, we should be looking back to the cross, looking up to the Lord, looking forward to His return, and looking out at those who have not yet received Christ. Remember, Christ saved you through His work on the cross, and the day is coming when He will call you home.

Let’s be ready…

Pastor Jim

Maybe tonight around the dinner table you, as a family, should partake in communion together. Simply read through this passage, pass the elements, and pray.

 

Speak Up

Luke 21:13 
“But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony.”

As the world approaches the end times, difficulties will increase. The believer is reminded that these difficult situations are the perfect backdrop in which to share Christ with the world. This is a principle to live by. We do not need to wait until the end to have an impact upon the lives around us. The present circumstances which you face have been designed by God as the best conditions for you to grow as a Christian, and have an impact upon others for the kingdom of Heaven. In addition to reminding the disciples of the opportunities He will provide for them, Jesus also gives a promise of success:

“I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist.
” (Luke 21:15)

We often find ourselves face to face with an opportunity to share Christ with someone. Perhaps the door begins to open while watching a sporting event together, having a coffee during a break at work, or hanging together as our kids play at the park. Whatever the setting, as we see the door opening, we immediately feel as though we do not know what to say. What a wonderful promise Jesus gives. He promises to give us irresistible wisdom. This is a wisdom you will not find until you open your mouth and begin to testify of Christ.

Pastor Jim

 

They Marveled

Luke 20:26
“And they marveled at His answer and kept silent.

We are introduced to a group of men who are examining Jesus. They have taken the time to carefully observe Him in action, dissect His teachings, and even quiz Him on a variety of difficult subjects. Their conclusion is worth noting. We read, “they marveled.” The word “marveled” means to be amazed by, and even to admire. It is a word that would commonly be used of a person standing in a museum observing a beautiful work of art. In that case, the proper response would be to admire the work and protect it from being harmed.

These men are acting like curators and treating Jesus like a museum piece. They knew a lot about Him. They could give His opinion on a variety of subjects. They could explain how He treated the sick, blind, lame and sinners. But rather than receiving Christ and watching as He transformed their lives, they simply “marveled and remained silent.” They were content with treating Him like a museum piece.

What about you? Are you an expert on the things of Christ, or a follower of Jesus? Are you only interested in learning about the things He did, or are you determined to see Him do those same things in and through your life?

All that Jesus is and does is marvelous. We are right to be in awe of Him; but awe alone is not what He desires of us. Let’s be sure that we are following after Him.

Pastor Jim