Day Nineteen with Mark: Mark 5:21-43

In Mark there are “sandwich stories.”  Those are stories that have a beginning, then something else happens in the middle, and then the thing that is started in the beginning is finished.  In this way, the stories are linked, Mark is trying to say something, not just about the individual story, but about the combination of the two stories together.

Today we see that in Mark 9:21-43:

A Girl Restored to Life and a Woman Healed

21 When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him; and he was by the sea. 22 Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet 23 and begged him repeatedly, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.” 24 So he went with him.

And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. 25 Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. 26 She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” 29 Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30 Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” 31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?’” 32 He looked all around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

35 While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” 36 But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” 37 He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. 38 When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 When he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” 40 And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha cum,” which means, “Little girl, get up!” 42 And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. 43 He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.

image-717467Ok, so we see two stories.  We see Jesus healing Jarius’ daughter.  Then we see Him heal a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years.  Why does Mark tell these two stories in combination?

Well, in the first one story we see that He is going to heal the daughter of a leader of the synagogue.  Notice, we don’t know the daughter’s name.  We only know her as Jarius’ daughter.  Now, Jarius was important, he was a leader of the synagogue, that’s a big deal.  But in that culture, children were not important.  They were simply a step of property.  They didn’t have the same softness towards children that we do today in our world.

But not so with Jesus.  Even though this child would not have been seen as significant, Jesus goes out of His way to heal her.  This child is worthy of His grace and His healing.  All are worthy of His grace and His healing.  No one is insignificant or unworthy.  All are loved, all are valued, and Jesus died for them all.

All.  That’s a big word for Jesus.  All.

And we see that in the middle portion of this text, we don’t so much see Jesus heal a woman as we see a woman have faith that simply touching Jesus would heal her.  And so she takes this leap, takes this risk, and touches Jesus.  And in this, she is healed.

But, just like the child, she would not have been seen as important in the culture. And a woman, much less a woman who had been bleeding (making her unclean) would never dare reach out and touch a religious leader (making Him unclean), but she was desperate.  And she had faith.

And you can’t make Jesus unclean.  Because light drives out darkness.  And good is stronger that evil.  And life is stronger than death.  And Jesus triumphs overall.

Today, we see two “unworthy” receive healing.  So, in that, know that you are worthy of knowing and seeing God’s grace, no matter what.

And let us not look past those today that may be seen as unworthy.  May we seek to love them as Jesus does.

Friday we’ll look at the specifics in Mark 5:21-43.

What questions do you have?  How does this strike you?  Shoot me an email, comment below, or connect with me through social media.

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Worthy is the Lamb

There was a babe born in Bethlehem.  A simple child, born into a simple family, in a simple part of the world.

Common people.  Common place.  Common time.

And many people missed it.  Yes, there were angels in the sky, and they told the shepherds. And yes, people knew.  There was the town, and a eventually the wise men showed up.  But, for the vast majority of the world, no one knew.

King Herod had to have his scribes tell him what had happened and where it happened when the Wise Men showed up, looking for Him.  So many missed it.

I want to show you, this morning, who this babe is.  He is the King of Kings, Lord of Lords.  He is Jesus.  Listen to how He is described in Revelation 5: 11-13:

Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”

3496835915_c691158dfb_zWorthy is the Lamb, who was slain.  Worthy is He.

It’s all about Jesus.  He is life.  He is peace.  He is everything.  Nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing will satisfy but Jesus.

Not your job.

Not your hobbies.

Not your money. . . or success. . . . or home. . . . or children. . . . or fame. . . . or toys. . . nothing.  Nothing will satisfy but Jesus.

Nothing.

Nothing.

For He alone is worthy.  Please, live in that today.  Worthy is the Lamb.

It’s all about Jesus. Everything.

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He Will Rejoice

We often think of us rejoicing in the Lord.  We think about each of us, giving praise to God through our songs, through our music, through our actions, through all that we are.

We think of so often of us, truly rejoicing and worshiping the goodness of our God, the greatness of our king. We think of all that we want to bring to God, all that we want to give to God. For He is worthy of everything that we could possible ever give to Him.

Everything.

But, today, let’s think on that concept a little different.  Listen to what is says today in Zephaniah 3:16-17:

On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: “Fear not, O Zion; let not your hands grow weak. The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

imagesThe Lord will sing over us.  He will love us.  He will quiet us with His love.

It isn’t just that that we will sing our praises to God.  It’s that He will sing over us.  Think about that for just a moment. God loves us so much that He will lift up His voice and sing over us.  What a powerful image.

Seriously. Stop right now and think about just how much it is that He loves you.  He does.  He loves you more than your human brain can understand.  Man oh man, He just loves and adores you.

Don’t forget. Don’t forget that.  He loves you. He will sing over you.  You are His.

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Worthy

There is nothing better, after a long day of work, or a hard day of a play, than to take a good, long bath. Nothing like the feeling of going from being just filthy, to being clean.

That’s one of the things that God wants to do for us. He wants to make us clean. In our lives, we have a way of getting dirty. Some it comes from our own choices. Some of it comes from the stuff of life. Some it comes from just life.

And when we are dirty, we don’t fill worthy. We feel like we can’t come into the presence of God. We feel like we just can’t do it.

Listen to what God says today through Malachi 3:2-4:

But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.

The Lord will be like a refiner’s fire. He will be like a fuller’s soap. He will make us clean. He will purify us.

He will make us worthy. He will.

You won’t. You will never “make” yourself worthy of God. You will never be “good” enough. It’s not something you can do.

God will do it. He will purify you. He will clean you. Now, yes, this may be tough at time.

A refiner’s fire may be really hot. It may even hurt. A fuller’s soap may be a little painful at times. Yeah, bath time might not be a lot of fun.

But, it’s worth it. This test you are facing, this trial, whatever ever it is, it will give you two choices.

Run to God, or run away from God. If you cause whatever you are facing to make you run to God, He will use it.

He will use this time to purify you. Clean you. Make you better. Make you holy.

Make you worthy.

Today, God’s desire, His hope, His plan, is to refine you. Make you better. Make you like He created you to be.

Today, may we find our life, our hope, our purity, our worth, in the goodness of God.

May He wash us clean today!

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones.

It’s a New Day

Today in the text we read, Isaiah encounters God. He is in Temple praying and God shows up. He is there, and the Lord God Almighty decides to make an appearance.

And one of the things that I love about this passage is what Isaiah says when God shows up.

Listen to what happens in Isaiah 6:4-7:

And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”

Paraphrasing he says – “Uh oh.”

He realizes how big, how awesome, how mighty God is. God is holy. God is other. God is different than we are. He is the creator of all this, both seen and unseen. He is the author of life. He is the sustainer of everything. His the very reason and purpose of life.

He’s kind of a big deal.

And Isaiah realizes how imperfect, unholy, and unworthy he is. That’s how we can feel when we really encounter God, huh?

Unholy. Imperfect. Unworthy.

We quite often in our faith feel unworthy of God’s love. We can feel like we don’t deserve that God. In light of God’s perfection, we see our mistakes.

And so, look what God does for Isaiah. He makes him clean. He restores him. He allows him to start over. He gives him a fresh start.

Have you done everything right? No? Are you perfect? No. But you are forgiven. Through what Jesus Christ has done, you are forgiven.

Before God sent Isaiah out for the mission He had for him, he restored him. God started over. He let Isaiah begin again.

Today, God has something for you. He has a great mission for you. Something awesome. Something great. Something you may feel unworthy of.

It’s ok. Today, through Jesus, you are restored. It’s a new day. You are forgiven. Today, live in this new life given to by Jesus.

Today, no matter what has happened in the past, it’s  new day. You are restored.

Live in that grace.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones.

What is a Worthy Life?

One of the most powerful scenes I’ve ever seen in a movie was near the end of Saving Private Ryan. Many of you have seen the movie, but for those of you that haven’t, the movie is about a unit of soliders in World War 2 that is sent to save Private Ryan, the only remaining brother of a family that has lost all the other children in war.

Ryan is saved, and in the end of the movie he is standing before the graves of the fallen men that saved him, and he stands up crying. He turns to his wife and says – tell me I’ve been a good man.

That scene always gives me a lump in my throat every time I see it. What a powerful moment, to realize all that he had been given and that desire to life a worthy life.

Listen to what Paul writes in Philippians 1:27-28:

Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God.

We ask Christians have the same burden in lives. We are called to live a worthy life.  So much has been given for our sake. Christ was betrayed, suffered, and died for our sake. He endured the shame, the agony, and the pain of the cross for us.

For me.

For you.

So much has been given for us. Let us remember that.

So, then, what is a worthy life? What does that look like?

I’ll sum it up in one word – grace. Christ suffered to give us grace, mercy, and forgiveness. He desires to see us give that same grace, mercy, and forgiveness to each other.

A worthy life is not a perfect life. A worthy life is a life of grace. Today, and each day, with the grace given to us, may we seek to live a life worthy of the gospel!

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones.