“And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center.” John 19:17-18 (NKJV)
“For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.” 2 Corinthians 1:5 (NIV)
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, understands our pain. He IS our friend and blessed Redeemer. When He left His heavenly throne and took on human form (for our sakes), He endured all the frailty found in our fleshly bodies. Not one abuse, sorrow, trouble, struggle or upset we experience was absent from His life. He lived them all. He is a Lord full of great compassion and understanding when it comes to mankind.
Jesus had siblings and is well aware of the ins and outs of family life. There were bound to be jealousies and misunderstandings within His earthly family. Although He was without sin, He experienced the sting of insults from those closest to Him. He understands family dynamics.
He knew the pain of a friend’s betrayal. Disappointment was no stranger to our Savior. Emotional ties are often entangled with some sort of sin and can cause great pain, for love is a tender feeling. Surely Judas broke His heart.
If you have had to suffer through a desperate and painful time without the support of friends and family, Jesus understands your struggle. Did He not face His death with only His mother, His Aunt, Mary Magdalene, and the apostle John? Where were the rest of the apostles? Where were His earthly siblings?
When Christ carried His cross to Golgotha, He did so in a weakened state. His 40 lashes and beatings had weakened Him to the point of utter exhaustion. Here comes a wondrous concept. Jesus, of the holy Trinity and God in flesh, could not physically carry His cross. It was too much for Him to bear. He experienced human weakness and the Roman soldiers compelled a Simon a Cyrenian to bear His cross.
“Then they compelled a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, the father of Alexander and Rufus, as he was coming out of the country and passing by, to bear His cross. And they brought Him to the place Golgotha, which is translated, Place of a Skull.” Mark 15:21-22 (NKJV)
We are all expected to carry our own burdens in life but when a strain comes our way that is beyond our ability to withstand, God will send us help. He will provide ways to endure and carry on with the task He has assigned.
By showing kindness to those suffering, we share in their sufferings. Just as Simon helped to carry the same cross of Jesus, we are to carry the same cross of others when they are too worn to move forward. God permits us the blessing of sharing in His sufferings. This is a gift worth rejoicing over!
Praise the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! He knows our weaknesses and understands our limitations. He calls on and provides others to share in our anguish. In love, they willingly take on burdens we cannot shoulder or sustain. Through prayers, acts of love, and physical acts of assistance we can all share in each others trouble and connect as one church and one body, through the blood of our Savior.….. Jesus Christ.
Certainly it is by His wounds that we are all healed.
“But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5 (NKJV)
“Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” Romans 8:17 (NIV)
“Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold your son!’ Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold your mother!’ And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.” John 19:25-17 (NKJV)
“No healthy Christian ever chooses suffering; he chooses God’s will, as Jesus did, whether it means suffering or not.”
― Oswald Chambers
I sang at church two weeks ago, less than twenty-four hours after receiving the news that a second pathology review of my mammogram and biopsy determined that the abnormal mass in my body was not good after all. It needed to be removed. The sweet monotone voice on the other end of the phone told me I needed to see a surgeon for a consultation. That was on Friday. She made the appointment for Monday.
In between those two wonderful days, I was set to sing one of my all-time favorite worship songs at church that weekend, one I’d been dying to sing for months. And all I kept thinking was, Really? This weekend?
Everything in me wanted to cancel. I didn’t think I’d be able to make it through the song without bawling like a baby. I wanted it to be awesome. I wanted to sing my little heart out without my voice cracking and causing everybody to squirm in their seats, unable to focus on worship.
But as much as I wanted to, I couldn’t back out. It simply would have been the wrong thing to do. So, I sang my heart out anyway, fighting back tears each service, praying that the audience didn’t notice all of my “off” notes or worn-out vocals. Oh, there were some great vocal moments, but there were some not-so-great ones too.
Which is why it happened. That’s what finally did me in and prompted me to use the word. It was after Saturday night’s service when my husband asked me how it went, that the word came out of me with a surprising confidence and deep-felt conviction I didn’t realize had been growing inside of me over the past few years. I was so depleted, so tired, so worn out, so done trying to do and be all things to all people, in all ways… that I finally had had enough. And gave in. And said the four-letter “f” word:
It was glorious.
Instead of describing in detail, like I usually do, which note I hit, missed, where I did great or didn’t do so great, how I felt, what people said, what people didn’t say – I simply said to my wonderful man, It was fine. And smiled a big, fat smile. And ate my dinner.
I’d forgotten what a great word “fine” is. You see, I always strive for awesome. Excellent. Incredible. But that night, that weekend, something snapped. I no longer wanted to care if things were awesome or not. I just wanted to be able to live with “fine” and be really, really good with it.
How freeing! Instead of wallowing in anxiety about upcoming singing and speaking engagements, I have been preparing my best and then letting myself rest, knowing that the outcome will be good enough – no matter what that turns out to be. Yes. Do my best and then rest. It will be just fine.
There is so much freedom in wrapping our efforts in the blanket of God’s grace. And self-grace. I’ve noticed myself daring a bit more, saying “yes” to more engagements, and living a bit more courageously.
How about you? Where could you use a little more “fine”? Maybe you need to be fine with not being able to exercise as much as you want to right now, or fine with some relationship you’ve been waiting to turn into “awesome” someday.
I know for me, I’m going to give myself permission to write a little more often, unrefined, just-because-I-want-to, blogs. I need to practice being fine. I hope you start using the “fine” word a little more often too, allowing yourself to be exactly who you are without any apologies or unnecessary descriptives.
Oh, and just to keep you up to speed, I saw the surgeon and will be having surgery sometime in May to remove this mass. I’ll keep you updated and would appreciate your prayers. I’m counting on everything being fine. :)
I received a request to post a written copy of the sermon I preached tonight! God completely took over this sermon! People were literally healed, set free, and slain in the Spirit. What I got to witness tonight was incredible and I can’t express how happy I am that God allowed me to participate in this. He is a God of awesome power. And as I witnessed so powerfully tonight, miracles still happen. We just have to believe!
Mark 5:21- 43:
“When Jesus had crossed over again in the boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered around Him; and so He stayed by the seashore. 22 One of the synagogue officials named Jairus came up, and on seeing Him, fell at His feet 23 and implored Him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death; please come and lay Your hands on her, so that she will get well and live.” 24 And He went off with him; and a large crowd was following Him and pressing in on Him. 25 A woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years, 26 and had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but rather had grown worse – 27 after hearing about Jesus, she came up in the crowd behind Him and touched His cloak. 28 For she thought, “If I just touch His garments, I will get well.” 29 Immediately the flow of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. 30 Immediately Jesus, perceiving in Himself that the power proceeding from Him had gone forth, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My garments?” 31 And His disciples said to Him, “You see the crowd pressing in on You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’ ” 32 And He looked around to see the woman who had done this. 33 But the woman fearing and trembling, aware of what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. 34 And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your affliction.” 35 While He was still speaking, they came from the house of the synagogue official, saying, “Your daughter has died; why trouble the Teacher anymore?” 36 But Jesus, overhearing what was being spoken, said to the synagogue official, “Do not be afraid any longer, only believe.” 37 And He allowed no one to accompany Him, except Peter and James and John the brother of James. 38 They came to the house of the synagogue official; and He saw a commotion, and people loudly weeping and wailing. 39 And entering in, He said to them, “Why make a commotion and weep? The child has not died, but is asleep.” 40 They began laughing at Him. But putting them all out, He took along the child’s father and mother and His own companions, and entered the room where the child was. 41 Taking the child by the hand, He said to her, “Talitha kum!” (which translated means, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). 42 Immediately the girl got up and began to walk, for she was twelve years old. And immediately they were completely astounded. 43 And He gave them strict orders that no one should know about this, and He said that something should be given her to eat.”
Note that the woman should have been outside the city. She was unclean and should not have been around anyone. During this whole 12 years that she had the issue, she was unclean according to the Law. Actually, when she pushed through the crowd, everyone that she even slightly brushed against became unclean. So, she didn’t care about what the law said or what might happen to her if she were to get caught. All she wanted is to act on her faith that Jesus could heal her. She was convinced that even coming into contact with Jesus’ clothes could heal her.
She had also seen many doctors who couldn’t do anything for her. She tried putting her trust in man, but they failed her. Sometimes doctors can’t help with our ailments. If you put your stock in other people, they will fail you. This goes for all circumstances. You can’t rely on other people to bring you happiness. But God knows every cell in our body. He created us. God can heal anything from a common cold to cancer. Jesus can heal what man can’t even touch. Nothing is impossible with Him.
What I want to focus on however is the statement Jesus makes in verse 34. Jesus says, “Daughter, your faith has healed you.” He could have told her that it was his power that healed her. That’s certainly true, but there’s something deeper here that Jesus is getting at. The woman’s faith is what made the difference. She came in a terrible state. She had had this hemorrhage for 12 long years. She was in pain. Suffering for 12 years with the same constant, nagging problem was probably getting unbearable. Just look at her. She had spent all that she had on doctors and had only gotten worse. She was feeling completely hopeless. Then, she heard about Jesus. It seems likely to me that she had heard from the people around the area she was in what Jesus has done for many others and what he had been teaching (Man with the 5,000 demon spirits). That’s what her faith was built upon. She knew that Jesus had worked miracles. At this point, talk had to be getting around at what Jesus of Nazareth was doing. She knew Jesus was her last hope at healing. And she truly believed Jesus could heal her. Not only did she believe it, but also she expected it. She expected to be healed of her affliction. That’s the faith Jesus wants from us. When you come wanting and expecting the power of God, His power will fall. That’s when the miracles happen. I think it’s incredible that she didn’t want Jesus to touch her with his hands. All she wanted was to simply touch his garments. That’s knowing the power of Christ!
She was immediately healed! She didn’t have to wait or do any special ritual. It happened at that very instant! Mark use “immediately” several times in the passage we just read. It’s also a key word throughout the whole book. He repeats this style throughout his account of the Gospel to emphasize the fact that when Jesus worked miracles, the manifestation occurred at that instant. They didn’t have to wait. Because they had faith of healing for that moment, that’s what happened.
In verses 30-32 how did Jesus know who touched his clothes? This is so cool. I talked to Pastor about this. At first, I didn’t think he knew who did it. Verse 30 indicates that he knew power had gone from him, but I was failing to see how or even if he knew who touched him. Then Pastor showed me the Greek word used for “perceiving” in verse 30. That word is epiginōskō. The meaning of epiginōskō is to recognize. But not only that it means to perceive who a person is. With the crowd surrounding him, Jesus couldn’t have possibly seen at first who touched him, so he had to be seeing something in the spiritual realm. For example, have you ever seen someone who was hopeless? They have no faith in Jesus and they’re at rock bottom. You can see the deadness and the hollowness in their eyes. But, when you see someone who was made alive through the power of Christ, you see an abundance of life in their eyes. In verse 31, his disciples question him like he’s gone completely off his rocker. I think the King James Version has a better translation of verse 32: “And he looked around to see the woman who had done this.” Now it doesn’t seem like Jesus was looking around aimlessly. Pastor helped me see what the text was saying here. Jesus seems to look directly at that woman and waits for her to present herself to him. At that point she came forward and fell to ground in fear. This is the same way people responded to the presence of God in the Old Testament. The woman acknowledged the divinity of Jesus. She knew he was the Christ!
Let’s look at the second part of this passage again because it ties directly in with what I’m trying to get across here (pickup in verse 35): While He was still speaking, they came from the house of the synagogue official, saying, “Your daughter has died; why trouble the Teacher anymore?”
Many will come along and try to discourage your faith. Those who came telling Jairus that his daughter was dead were actually just saying, “This man doesn’t have the power to anything anymore.” They lacked the faith Jairus had. Sometimes what you are seeking seems impossible. The world likes to tell us it is too. The Enemy loves nothing more than to cause us to lose faith in God and His promise. But verse 36 tells us that Jesus says not to fear! Just believe. Now skip down to verse 39:
39 And entering in, He said to them, “Why make a commotion and weep? The child has not died, but is asleep.” 40 They began laughing at Him.
Again here are people trying to make a fool out of Jesus. They are faithless. Jesus was trying to teach them something here. You see, for Jesus death isn’t final. Those who are without faith view death as the end of existence. Death is it. The end. But for the people of faith, death is really just the beginning because Jesus conquered death. For us, we have faith that when we die, we immediately wake up in the presence of God.
I want to look at another miracle that Jesus performed that has similar circumstances.
“When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering.” 7 Jesus said to him, “I will go and heal him.” 8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 10 When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that very hour.”
Again Jesus talks about faith as playing a key role in the healing that was taking place. The centurion was Roman, first of all. That’s what’s so incredible about his faith. The Jews were God’s chosen people (and that still hasn’t changed, it’s just the Gentiles like us are now included in God’s Promise). However, most Jews did not believe Jesus. They didn’t have the faith this Roman did. Actually the other Romans didn’t share this faith either. Jesus rewarded the centurion with what he believed and expected to happen. His servant was set free from his suffering. And again, this miracle occurred immediately.
Jesus says in Matthew 7:7: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
“He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. “
Church, faith is not only the fact that we believe in Christ. That’s an important part, but that’s not all. The Greek word for faith used in Mark 5 is the word pistis. Pistis not only means a belief, it’s a belief that causes action The woman with the issue of blood had faith that Jesus could heal her. That faith caused her to push through the crowd even when she wasn’t supposed to be in contact with others! In the same way, our faith had better cause action. It should cause us to worship God at any given moment, whether we feel like it or not. Everything we do should be done in a way that pleases God.
A Christian’s entire life begins at the point of faith. Our faith is what saves us; it’s our ticket to Heaven. Much of today’s church has lost faith. Pressure from the world has deflated our spiritual balloon. Many people no longer believe in miracles, the gifts of the spirit, or that God still moves in His people today. We know that’s false. It seems that week after week, God has been telling this particular church to reach out and He will move. He always fulfills His promises. We have had powerful services here when we reach out and leave all we are before God. When we put all of the faith we have, God moves.
When we finally started doing that God has moved in ways I’ve never seen before. But guess what? That’s not all He has for us. If we continue to reach out to God, He will move in an even more powerful and unique way. Miracles will begin to just flow again. Will you reach out? Isaiah tells us that if we don’t stand firm in our faith we won’t stand at all. Will you have faith? Church, Jesus will meet you at the level of your faith. Are you willing to push through the crowd to get to him?
1 John 4:6