THE CASE OF A MAN NAMED LEGION | Mark 5:1-20

images-3This text sits in the middle of several hopeless situations. Just prior to the events we just read, Jesus and His disciples were sailing the Sea of Galilee when a tremendous storm overwhelmed their boat. The disciples were certain that they were going to die, Mark 4:38. Those men were seasoned fishermen, but they were helpless to solve their problem. In their minds, they were in a hopeless situation. While that storm far exceeded their own abilities, it posed no problem for the Master of the Sea. He calmed the storm and He calmed His men.

In this chapter, Jesus moves into a new set of impossible situations. He encounters a man possessed by thousands of demons. This poor, demon possessed man is in a desperate situation, he is unable help himself, and the people around him are powerless to help him as well. After this incident, Jesus will deal with a diseased woman and a dead girl. All four of these situations were hopeless from a human perspective. Yet, in each of these cases, Jesus proved that He was the Master of them all.

If that demon possessed man were alive today, he would be sent to live in a mental institution. That diseased woman would be sent to terminal care ward. The dead girl would be sent to the cemetery. This passage teaches us that whether He is faced with demons, disease, or death, Jesus is able to handle whatever comes His way.

This case really is hopeless. Everyone around him have done everything they possibly could to help him, but no one could reach him. He lived his life in isolation, desperation, and devastation. His only companions were the dead bodies in the cemetery and the demons that dwelt within him. When Jesus Christ walked into this hopeless case, He changed everything.

As we watch the Lord Jesus work in this hopeless case, we need to keep in mind that He can move in our lives with the same power. He can break the chains that bind us and He can set us free! I would like for us to examine The Case of a Man Named Legion. Notice the facts of this hopeless case with me today.

v. 1-5 LET’S TALK ABOUT A SAVAGE MAN

v. 2 His Problem – This passage opens, with a description of a man who is firmly held in Satan’s grasp. The devil is his master, and this man is in a state of utter hopelessness and absolute helplessness.

We are told that he has “an unclean spirit”! Then, we find out that he is not just the home to one foul spirit, but he is possessed by “a legion” of demons, v. 9. A legion in the Roman army could be anywhere from 2,000 to 6,000 men. This man was the host for thousands of evil spirits. In v. 13, we are told that when the demons were forced to leave this man’s body, they entered into a herd of swine that numbered around 2,000! This poor, pitiful individual was totally under the control of the devil!

I would just remind you that this man’s situation is no different from that of every lost soul in the world today, Eph. 2:1-3; John 8:44.

This man was in a pitiful shape, and so are the lost. They are all in a state of defilement.

 

v. 3-4 His Pain – Two words describe this man’s condition. Those words are “tombs” and “chains.” Those words reveal the truth that this man had his dwelling among the dead. The demons that controlled him drove him away from the living and he spent his life in the cemetery.

We are told in verse 4 that the people around him tried their best to restrain him. They would catch him and bind him with “fetters and chains”. “Fetters” would have been attached to his feet. “Chains” would have bound his hands, his arms and his torso. But, these manmade devices could not hold him.

When we look at this poor soul, it isn’t hard to make the leap from his condition to the condition of the lost around us. They are trapped in the same state of pitiful depravity. The sin that possesses the heart of the lost sinner drives him to spend his days and waste his years with the dead. Those who are lost in sin have no desire to be around the living. Death and the works of deadness are all they care about!

The lost hate things that pertain to life. They hate things that pertain to light. They hate everything that has to do with God and His work in the world. They shun the light. They shun the things of God. They shun those who know God, preferring rather to live their lives in the relentless, merciless grip of death and darkness.

Let me add that a professing believer needs to examine his or her heart when they begin to desire the works of darkness. You need to look at your spiritual condition when you find reasons for avoiding the light!

When you can’t sit through a preaching service, you have a spiritual problem!

When you find reasons to avoid the house of God, you have a spiritual problem!

When you find yourself longing for the ways of the world, you have a spiritual problem!

You are beginning to revert back to the ways of death and darkness.

 

v. 5 His Powerlessness – Can you imagine the terror this man caused?

We do not know why this man cut himself. Perhaps it was an effort to find relief from his demons. Perhaps the demons forced him to do it, causing him to walk a path of self-destruction.

We do not know why he shrieked, screamed and cried in those tombs. Perhaps he did these things because he was desperate to be free. Perhaps he did them because he was compelled to do them.

We don’t why he did the things he did, but his actions reveal that he is in a desperate situation and he needs help!

Whether you are lost and bound in sin or whether you are saved and out of God’s will there is only one cure for your condition!

You do not need a pill.
You do not need a psychiatrist.
You do not need a priest.
You do not need a twelve step program.
You need Jesus

v. 6-13 LET’S TALK ABOUT A SAVING MAN

v. 6 His Compassion – Everyone in that region feared this man. Everyone avoided this man. Everyone, that is, but Jesus!

Jesus Christ did not avoid this man; He made a special trip across the sea and braved a storm simply because He wanted to deliver this one man from the grip of Satan, Mark 4:35.

This man wasn’t even a Jew! He was a Gentile and still the Lord reached out to him!

We see people and sometimes we think that some are a lost cause. We may wonder if they can or will be saved. Well, I can’t tell you for sure that they will be, but I can look around this very room and I see case after case of men and women that others had written off as a lost cause. You are here and saved today because the Savior had compassion on you!

He loved you in spite of your sins and He came to where you were to deliver you from the bondage that gripped your heart and life. He loved you enough to die for you on the cross, Rom. 5:6-8, and He loved you enough to come and set you free.

No one is beyond the compassionate touch of the Master!
Not Zaccheaus in his tree.
Not Saul of Tarsus with his agenda of hate and destruction.
Not the Ethiopian eunuch with his religious confusion.
And not even you with all the baggage you carry.
There is a compassionate Savior waiting to set you free!

Jesus sees people with a different set of eyes than we do! We see their sins, He sees what He can make of their lives!

We see a drunk, He sees a deacon!
We see a drug addict, He sees a preacher!
We see a harlot, He sees a choir member!

That is how lives are changed when they come to Jesus! He will take what you give Him and He will give you something much more precious in return!

Give Jesus your Jacob, the schemer; He’ll give you back an Israel, a prince with God.
Give Jesus your Simon, the cursing fisherman; He’ll give you back Simon Peter, a mighty preacher.
Give Jesus your Saul, persecutor of the church, He’ll give you back Paul, militant missionary apostle. Give Jesus your self, and you will be amazed at what He can do with you.
It is amazing what Jesus can do when a life is placed in His hands, 2 Cor. 5:17! That is the power of the new birth, John 3:3, 7.

v. 6-13 His Confrontation – This man, who ran from everyone else, ran to the Lord Jesus and fell at His feet. The demons that drove this man away from all human relationships drove him to the feet of Jesus.

They fell down in acknowledgement of His deity. They were bowing in subjection to the Lord of Lords!

The demons acknowledge the deity and authority of Jesus, v. 7, and they beg Him not to “torment” them. That is, they beg Him not to send them to Hell, Luke 8:31.

Jesus confronts the demons, ordering them to release their captive, v. 8.

The demons then request that they might be allowed to enter into a heard of swine that was feeding nearby, v. 11-12.

Jesus gives them permission and they leave the body of the man and enter the swine, v. 13.

When they do, the swine cannot tolerate the demons and kill themselves by running in to the sea, v. 13.

This is a strange passage, but it teaches us some important truths.

It teaches us that all spirits are subject to the Lord’s authority. They recognize His position and His authority, v. 7. They know they must have His permission to do the things they do, v. 10-13.

It often looks like the devil is walking off with the victory.

v. 13 His Command – Every human effort had failed to deliver this poor soul from his bondage. Everything that had been tried to help him regain a grip on his own sanity had proven useless. But, one word from Jesus and He was free!

One word from Him and death is swallowed up in life!
One word from Him and darkness is driven away by the light!

v. 14-20 LET’S TALK ABOUT A SALVATION MIRACLE

v. 14-16 This Man Was Changed – When the pigs ran down the mountain and killed themselves, the servants who were tending the herd went to town and told their masters what had happened. The townsfolk came to see for themselves. When they arrived, they heard all the details and they could see the evidence of a changed life right before their eyes.

V. 15 Jesus Changed Him – He is no longer running about, crying, and cutting himself. Now, he is calm and seated beside Jesus! What a change!

You cannot meet Jesus and remain the same. He changes all those who come to Him, John 3:3, 5; Gal. 6:15; Eph. 2:10!

V. 15 Jesus Clothed Him – No longer is this man naked, now he has clothes!

Jesus changed him from the inside out! What we need to notice here is that what Jesus does in the heart of a man is ALWAYS worked out on the outside of a man, Matt. 12:35!

V. 15 Jesus Calmed Him – We are told that he is in his right mind! Where there has been turmoil and agitation, there is now perfect peace! He has been changed spiritually, physically and mentally!

THE CASE OF THE DYING THIEF |Luke 23:32-43

thiefoncrossThis text presents three men. It speaks of three men who have been nailed to three crosses, dying three terrible deaths. The differences in their suffering were minimal. The differences in the men were enormous.

First, on one side there is a thief dying in his sins. He has lived a life of crime, broken the laws of Rome, and has been sentenced to die. The sentence is being carried out, and this man is dying a horrible death. This man is rude, arrogant, and proud. He is in a hopeless situation. He is dying in his sins.

Secondly, on the other side, another thief is dying for his crimes. He is just as guilty as the first man. He has committed the same crimes, offended the same government, and has received the same sentence. He is paying the same price, feeling the same pain, and dying the same death. Yet, he is different from the first man. While the first man is dying in his sins, this man is dying for his sins. This man is well aware of what he is facing. His eyes are opened to his condition and he is willing to do what it takes to get God’s help. Yet, he is still in a hopeless condition.

Third, in the middle another man hangs on a cross. He has offended some very powerful people. This man has spent the past three years traveling around the country preaching and teaching. This man has healed the sick, fed the hungry, and raised the dead. He has done nothing wrong except expose the corruption of the religious leaders of the nation of Israel.

The man in the middle is very different from the other two men. He is so different from others because that He has never done anything wrong. He has never sinned. He has never committed a crime. He has never treated anyone badly. Yet, He is feeling the same pain, paying the same price, and dying the same death as the guilty men on either side of Him. This man, the man in the middle, is dying for sin. That is what makes Him different.

From every appearance this text details a hopeless situation:

  • Three men are nailed to three crosses.
  • Three men are dying terrible deaths.
  • Three men dying deaths so horrible that we cannot imagine how bad they were.

By the time the sun goes down, all three of these men will be dead and in eternity. It really is a hopeless case.

I would like for us to spend some time at Calvary today considering this terrible scene. I want to show you once again how the Lord Jesus is able to bring hope to the hopeless. Our Lord is able, by His power, to transform any hopeless situation into a time of hope and blessing.

Let’s examine The Case of the Dying Thief and note the ways this passage teaches us that there is Hope For Hopeless Cases.

VERSE 32-38 HIS HOPELESS SITUATION

The description here clearly declares that this man is in terrible trouble. He is in a hopeless situation. Notice why:

Verse 32-33 The Thief and His Sin – This man is called a “malefactor.” This word means, “evil doer.” Matt. 27:38 says that he was “a thief.” He is guilty of breaking the laws of men.

His problem is far more serious than that because he is also guilty of breaking the law of God. He was a “thief.” That means that, among other things, he is guilty of breaking the 8th Commandment, which says, “Thou shalt not steal,” Ex. 20:15. Beyond that he is guilty of committing blasphemy in that he openly joined the Jews and the other thief in mocking Jesus Christ. Matt. 27:39 says the crowds “reviled” Jesus. Then, Matt. 27:44 says, “The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.” Which means that the thieves “reviled” and “mocked” Jesus just like the crowd did. What is tragic is that the word “reviled” means “to blaspheme.” In other words, the crowd and the thieves were guilty of speaking evil, wicked things against the Lord. They committed a serious offense, and they sinned against the Lord.

This is a reminder to us all that we are sinners before God. We may not be guilty of things like theft or murder, but we are sinners. One day, we will face His wrath. The only possibility of escape for us is Jesus Christ.

In Verse 33  we see “The Thief And His Sentence” – Verse 33 tells us that this poor thief suffered the worst possible sentence for his crime. He was “crucified!” Crucifixion was a means of execution perfected by the Romans.

We see also in Verse 33 “The Thief And His Sorrow” – What is truly tragic is that two of the men dying that day are facing something far worse than the cross when they died. These two thieves were sinners, who are not prepared to face death. They are both headed to Hell. Hell is a place far worse than any cruelty devised by man.

This man, who was dying so difficult a death, is not going to a place of peace and rest. Death for him would not be a sweet release from the pains and problems of life. He is not going to a place of rest and safety. He was headed to a place called Hell. He is headed to a place of eternal fire, eternal torment, eternal damnation, and eternal separation from God. This thief is in a hopeless situation. He is nailed to a cross! He will die there! At this moment in time, he is lost and headed to Hell!

And, in this condition, He is a picture of every lost sinner in the world. Keep listening! There is hope for you, and His name is Jesus!

VERSE 39-42 HIS HONEST SUPPLICATION

Sometime, somehow, during those hours on the cross, this man became aware of just how much trouble he was in. When his eyes were opened to his situation, he did the only thing he could do: he reached out to Jesus.

In Verse 39-40 we see His Rebuke – Earlier in the day, both thieves had mocked the Lord Jesus, Matt. 27:44.

  • Unrepentant Thief – Sometime later in the day, one of the thieves began to verbally assault Jesus once again. In effect, he says, “If you really are who you claim to be, save yourself, and save us too! If you really are the Son of God, if you really are the Messiah, prove it!” The thief who said that is in pain. He is angry. He wants off the cross. He sees Jesus nearby and he knows who Jesus claims to be, so he unleashes his fury against the Lord.
  • The Repentant Thief – the one we have been talking about, he hears his companion mocking Jesus, and he comes to the Lord’s defense. In response, he says, “Do you have no fear of God? You are dying the same death He is!” What he means is that death is coming for all three of them. Now is not the time to attack one another. Now is a time to prepare to meet God.

This gives us a glimpse into this man’s heart. He is dealing with his mortality. He is dealing with the fact that he is going to die. I don’t know what was in his heart, but it seems to me that he is looking back over a wasted life. He is keenly aware that he is where he is because of the path he has chosen in life.

He is also very aware that he is facing an eternity for which he is not prepared. So, he rebukes the other thief for his cold-hearted treatment of the dying Christ. His rebuke is evidence that God has opened his heart and has allowed him to see his condition.

Verse 41 we see His Revelation – The thief we are considering rebukes his fellow thief, then in the very next breath, he confesses his own guilt. He says, “We are guilty, and we are getting just what we deserve.” Then, he confesses how he really feels about the Lord Jesus. He says, “This man has done nothing wrong!”

In his words here, we see two essential components of salvation.

  • The confession of sin – Pro. 28:13; 1 John 1:9
  • An understanding of who Jesus is – Rom. 10:9

In Verse 42 we find His Request – In the midst of his personal agony; in the midst of his own death, this man looks to Jesus and calls on Him in simple faith. This is amazing! After all, Jesus is dying too!

Jesus must have presented a tragic figure that day. He has been beaten so badly that Isaiah said, “But many were amazed when they saw him. His face was so disfigured he seemed hardly human, and from his appearance, one would scarcely know he was a man.” 52:14. Jesus is nailed to a cross, and He is going to die. Yet, this man is able to see in Jesus the truth that Jesus is more than a man.

This man looks at the dying Lord and he sees more than nearly anyone else saw that day.

Based on what he understands about Jesus, he makes an incredible request. He asks another dying man to remember him when He comes into His kingdom. That is incredible! When this man looked at Jesus Christ, he did not see a dying victim of the Roman system. Everyone else, for the most part, saw nothing more than just another poor man hanging, battered and bleeding on a cross.

  • This man looked at Jesus and he saw God, verse 40.
  • He looked at Jesus and he saw perfect righteousness, verse 41.
  • He looked at Jesus and he saw One Who was going to somehow conquer death; rise again; rule in power and glory and extend grace to the undeserving, verse 42!
  • He looked at Jesus, wearing that cruel, mocking crown of thorns and he saw Jesus wearing three crowns.
  • He placed Jesus on the throne of the universe by calling Him “Lord.”
  • He placed Jesus on the throne of his own heart by saying “remember me.”
  • He placed Jesus on the throne of David by saying, “When Thou comest into Thy kingdom.”

VERSE 43  WE SEE HIS HEAVENLY SALVATION

“And Jesus said unto Him…” Jesus reached out to a man who did not deserve anything but judgment.

  • This man could not do anything for God.
  • This man could not give anything to God.
  • This thief did not deserve salvation.
  • He did not deserve the attention of the Savior.
  • He did not deserve for Jesus to speak to him, to help him, much less to save him.
  • He did not deserve for Jesus to do anything at all for him, especially to remember him at some future date in the kingdom.
  • When Jesus responds, He says, “To day shalt thou be with Me in Paradise!” Oh what words of love! Oh what words of grace! Oh what words of joy!
  • How those words must have comforted and thrilled this poor dying man.
  • He had nothing to commend himself to God.
  • He would never be able to read God’s Word.
  • He would never have the opportunity to repay his victims.
  • He would never have the chance to live a productive life.
  • He would never go to the synagogue.
  • He would never be baptized.
  • He would never give his tithe.
  • He would never personally tell anyone else about the Lord.

Yet, the Lord spoke to him and promised to give him everything! He promised it all without any strings attached. He promised salvation, hope, grace, joy, and glory and Jesus asked nothing in return! Hallelujah! What a Savior!

 

THE CASE OF THE GUILTY WOMAN | John 8:1-11

guilty_alshepmcrOur text tells us about a guilty woman. She is brought trembling into the presence of Jesus, she knows in her heart that she is about to be stoned to death.

When this woman met Jesus, her life changed forever. Her sin was forgiven. Her guilt was removed. Her fear was turned to peace. What appeared to be a hopeless case suddenly became a time of forgiveness, salvation and joy. I want to examine The Case of the Guilty Woman today.

Let’s imagine the scene. It is very early in the morning. Jesus is sitting in the Temple. A crowd has gathered around Him as He teaches them the word of God. It is a scene of peace and tranquility.

Suddenly, the quiet is shattered by an approaching crowd. Angry voices are shouting. There is the sound of a struggle. With a trembling voice, a woman cries out for mercy.

In the next moment the crowd reaches Jesus, and a disheveled, weeping woman is thrown at His feet. Her accusers launch into their attack against her. They claim to have caught her engaged in a vile sin. They bring her to Jesus and they demand that He answer a simple question: “We caught this woman in the act of committing adultery. The Law of God says this woman should be stoned to death. What do you say about this woman and her sin?”

  • This poor woman’s story speaks to us today.
  • This story teaches us that no sinner is too far gone.
  • It teaches us that no one’s guilt is too deep.
  • It teaches us that no one is beyond the reach of the grace of God.
  • This is a story of hope in the midst of hopelessness.

Notice with me the facts of her story that teach us about the marvelous grace of God as we consider The Case Of The Guilty Woman.

THE SINNER AND HER GUILT

The Woman and Her Sin – Verse 4 This woman was caught in “the very act” of adultery. Evidently, this is woman was betrothed to be married. I say that because betrothed women who were found guilty of adultery were stoned, while married women were strangled. She was caught having sexual relations with a man to whom she was not engaged. She was guilty of a terrible sin, of that there was no doubt. Her guilt is beyond question.

  • Yet, as horrible as the sin of adultery is; it is no worse, in the eyes of God, than any other sin,James 2:10. All sin is evil in His sight.
  • Certainly, some sins carry greater consequences than others.
  • Sin, regardless of how large or how small we think that sin is, is just a reflection of the depravity that exists within the human heart. In fact, even if we could somehow live our whole lives without committing a single sin with our bodies or in our minds, we would still stand guilty as sinners before the Lord!
  • Each of us is just as guilty as this adulterous woman, our problem is that we simply won’t admit to it. And, admitting that we are sinner is the first step toward finding forgiveness.

The Woman And Her Shame – This poor woman was grabbed up from the place where she was engaged in adultery. She is exposed physically. She is humiliated.

  • Beyond that, her true spiritual condition is exposed for all to see. Everyone knows what she is and what she has done. She is brought to public shame. I wonder if she saw just how shameful her sin was in the eyes of the Lord?
  • Sin is a shameful thing!
  • The sinner will always be brought to shame, if not before other people, surely before the Lord.
  • “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good,” 15:3.
  • “Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops,”Luke 12:3.
  • “…and be sure your sin will find you out,” 32:23.

The Woman And Her Sentence – This woman was guilty, and the men who accused her were correct; she deserved to die. The Law of God said so:

  • Leviticus 20:10 “And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death,”
  • Deuteronomy 22:22 “If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel,”.
  • Adulterous women who were betrothed were stoned to death, married women were strangled, and if the woman was the daughter of a priest, she was to be burned to death.
  • Of course, there was a little problem with their accusation: Where was her partner?Both were supposed to die for this sin! The man may have been part of this scheme to attack Jesus. He may have been allowed to slip away. Regardless of where the man was, this woman was guilty and she deserved to die.
  • Again, there is a lesson here for us: nobody gets away with sin!
  • Sin demands a price, and that payment always come due
  • This woman is trapped! What can she do? She can’t deny her sin; she was caught in the very act of adultery.
  • To whom could she plead her case?
    • The Law condemned her.
    • The crowd condemned her.
    • The religious establishment condemned her.No one would speak for this woman, but while she didn’t know it yet, she had found One Who would stoop for her!
  • Oh the foolishness of these scribes and Pharisees! In their effort to humiliate this woman, and to discredit the Lord, they brought her to the best possible place. They brought her to the very man who could deal with her sins in grace and forgiveness. They brought her to the one man who could save her soul!
  • Let me just remind all the guilty sinners in this room, Jesus loves you, and He cares about you. He is the sinner’s Friend! In His day, Jesus was known to hang out with notorious sinners,Luke 7:34; Luke 15:2; Luke 19:7. Jesus isn’t concerned about His reputation, He is only concerned with your eternal soul!

THE SOLICITORS AND THEIR GUILE

Verse 6 Their Shameful Scheme – These religious legalists were attempting to pin Jesus on the horns of a dilemma.

  • If Jesus let the woman go without condemning her sin, He would be seen as being easy on sin. He could be labeled a compromiser, and could He have been arrested for violating the Law.
  • If, on the other hand, He endorsed the stoning on this woman, He could then be accused before Rome as an upstart and a seditionist, and He would have destroyed His reputation as being the “friend of publicans and sinners.”
  • They felt that no matter what Jesus said, He had no wiggle room.
  • We know this was a setup. It was an attempt to trap Jesus in an effort to get rid of Him. Either they could discredit Him with the people, with Rome, or in His relationship to the Law. This brings to mind a couple of questions. How did they accomplish this?
    • Did they witness a suggestive glance between two people and follow them to try and catch them in adultery?
    • Did they orchestrate the adultery simply as a means to destroy Jesus? If so, this would explain the lack of an accused male. The man could very well have been one of their number.
    • How were so many men able to witness such a lurid and obscene situation?
    • Where was their compassion for this sinful woman?
    • It’s sad that they would use this woman to achieve their own selfish ends with no regard for the condition of her soul. Its obvious that she needed help. They didn’t care. All they cared about was destroying Jesus and His ministry.
  • This just reminds us that religious legalists never change. They cared nothing about this woman, her sin, her soul, or her eternal destiny. They cared nothing about right and wrong. All they cared about was pressing their agenda, attacking their enemy, and promoting their brand of righteousness. Thing haven’t changed! All Pharisees are the same!

Their Shocking Setback– Their scheme might have succeeded had they tried it with someone else, but they were dealing with the Lord Jesus Christ, and He refused to play by their rules! When they attacked Jesus they came against a man Who knew what was in their hearts. Notice how He responded to their accusations.

  • Verse 6 How Jesus Reacted To Them – While they were talking to the Lord, asking Him His opinion about the woman, her adultery, and the demands of the Law, Jesus did something very strange. He knelt down and began to write on the ground. This is the only time we have a record of our Savior writing anything during His earthly life.
  • The question that has plagued the minds of Bible students for 2,000 years is this:What did Jesus write when He wrote with His finger on the ground? As I said, many people have put forth many possible answers to that question.
  • Today, I am going to give you a deep theological answer:I don’t know, and neither does anyone else!
  • While I can’t tell you with certainty what Jesus wrote, I can give you some things to think about. Let’s speculate for a moment.
    • Perhaps He was reliving the moment when His finger first touched the dirt.On that occasion, He formed a man from the dirt and breathed into Him the breath of life. Perhaps He was reflecting on how far the human race had fallen from that lofty beginning. A woman guilty of adultery. A crowd of men who claimed to love God, but who had no love for a sinner. It must have broken His heart. It still does!
    • Perhaps He wrote the Ten Commandments. After all, it was his finger that wrote them in stone when He gave them to Moses.
    • Perhaps He wrote the names of their girlfriends in the sand.
    • Perhaps He was simply ignoring them.
  • Whatever the Lord wrote on the ground that day, it arrested their attention. They were all convicted by His words, and they dropped their rocks, their demands for justice, and they left. By the way, He knows how to speak to our hearts as well, doesn’t He?

Verse 7-9 What Jesus Revealed About Them – When Jesus did speak, He said, “He that is without sin among, let him first cast a stone at her.” He stood back up and He said, “Stone her! But let the man without sin be the one to cast the first stone.” Jesus wasn’t requiring that these accusers be sinless. If that was the case then no human would ever be able to render judgment in any matter, even in a court of law.

  • Jesus spoke, then He stooped again.

THE SAVIOR AND HIS GRACE

If you will allow me, I want to backtrack for a moment. As I mentioned a moment ago, we will never know, this side of Heaven, just what Jesus wrote on the ground that day. And guess what? It doesn’t matter! What matters is this statement in verse 6, “But Jesus stooped down…”

When Jesus stooped that day:

  • He descended below the scribes and the Pharisees.
  • He descended below His disciples.
  • He descended below the crowds that had gathered in the Temple.
  • He even descended below the guilty woman standing before Him.
  • Her accusers had to look down to see her, now they had to look even lower to see Him!

Stooping was not a new thing for Jesus! He often stopped during His ministry.

  • He stooped to wash the feet of His disciples.
  • He stooped to touch a poor leper.
  • He stooped to embrace little children.
  • He stooped to catch Peter when He was sinking in the waves.
  • He stooped to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane.
  • He stooped to allow the Roman soldiers to beat Him with a cat o’ nine tails.
  • He stooped to carry His cross to Calvary.
  • He stooped here to write in the dirt.

His stooping is a picture of His grace. Let’s notice how the Lord extended grace to this sinful woman. When Jesus stooped here, He stooped for this woman. When He stood up, He stood up for her too!

Verse 9b-10  How Jesus Confronted Her – When the last rock had hit the Temple floor, Jesus stood up and faced this sinful woman. Standing there before her, He was the only One the world has ever known Who was qualified to take up those stones, and execute her for her sins. When she faced Jesus, she was facing the ultimate judge!

She came to a place where life came down to just Jesus and her. By the way, it always comes down to that! Eventually, somewhere, someday you are going to have to face Jesus. Eventually, somewhere, someday you are going to have to bow to Jesus!

I am sure that He has given you many opportunities in this life to come to Him. What have you done with those opportunities? You will either bow to Jesus Christ here, when you come facet o face with Him, or you will bow to Him when you face Him on judgment day. Which would you rather it be? In the end, it always comes down to just you and Jesus. And, what you do with Him will determine where and how you spend eternity, 1 John 5:12.

Verse 10-11  How Jesus Cleansed Her – The only One qualified to throw a stone refused to! Jesus dealt with her on the basis of mercy and grace. She deserved judgment, but He gave her forgiveness! Those religious men condemned her and said she was worthy of death. Jesus saw someone who was worthy of His love. He saw someone worth saving.

Jesus looked at that guilty woman and said, “Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?”

His question is this, “Are there any witnesses against you? Has anyone passed sentence on you?”

Her answer is simple, “No man, Lord.”

His forgiveness is instant, “Neither do I condemn thee.”

When this woman looked to Jesus by faith and received the grace He offered to her, her salvation was instantaneous. That’s how it works for all of us! Rom. 10:9 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God has raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved!” It doesn’t get any easier than that! Even small children can comprehend that truth and make it real in their lives. What about you? Have you taken this step of faith?

Everyone who comes to Jesus by faith receives forgiveness for all their sins and absolute liberation from all condemnation, Rom. 8:1, 1 Cor. 6:9-11. Beloved, that is shouting ground!

How Jesus Completed Her – When Jesus cleansed her, He said, “Go and sin no more.” All of her life, this woman had been subject to Satan. She had been a prisoner of her own lusts and desires, Eph. 2:1-3. Jesus came to her and unlocked the shackles that bound her to her sin, and He set her free!

How her life must have changed! Think of her years later as she looks at her children and her husband. A family she would have never had if she hadn’t met Jesus. Think of the other families that were spared the pain of her adulteries.

Jesus specializes in taking wasted, ruined lives and saving them by His grace and restoring them to usefulness. Every person who comes to Jesus for salvation receives a new life, 2 Cor. 5:17.

In verse 10 Jesus called her “Woman”. He only used this term twice in the Gospel of John. Once in chapter 2 and again in chapter 19. Both times it was a title of honor applied to His mother Mary. It would be equivalent to the term “lady”. It was a term of honor given to a woman worthy of honor.

This woman was anything but a “lady”. Jesus has a way of seeing things that are not as though they were. In other words, He did not see this woman as she was, He saw her as she could become through Him! Jesus took a wicked, godless, carnal, sinful woman and turned her into a lady!

When Jesus looks at a life, He sees a person as they can become through faith in Him. Just so you know, your life doesn’t have to remain like it is right now. It can be better, it can be new, it can be pleasing to the Lord, but only if you will come to Jesus!

How was all this made possible? Why did the accusers drop their stones and leave the Temple? Why was the Lord able to forgive this sinful woman? Why is He able to offer people like us His grace and His salvation?

He is able to do all that and more because He stooped. Think about it!

  • He stooped to be born in a manger! Phil 2:5-8
  • He stooped to live in poverty! 2 Cor. 8:9
  • He stooped to work as a carpenter!
  • He stooped to eat with sinners!
  • He stooped to be hungry, tired and thirsty!
  • He stooped to sleep in a boat!
  • He stooped to sit on a well!
  • He stooped to spend time with tax collectors!
  • He stooped to touch lepers!
  • He stopped to be beaten!
  • He stooped to be spit upon!
  • He stooped to be ridiculed and mocked!
  • He stooped to be nailed to a cross!
  • He stooped to be crucified!
  • He stooped to bear our sins in His Own body!
  • He stooped to die!
  • He stooped to be buried!

Three days later, Hallelujah, He stood up!

When He did, everything changed!

When He stooped and stood up, sin, death, Hell, Satan, and the grave were all defeated!

Praise the Lord! Our God is the God Who stoops, and then stands again!

  •  When Jesus stopped and stood up in the Temple, a woman was set free from sin and certain death.
  • When Jesus stooped to die and stood up three days later, He delivered His people from their sins!
  • I say, Hallelujah!

 

THE CASE OF THE GALILEAN SUPERSTORM | Mark 4:35-41

storm-boatThis text finds the Lord Jesus at the end of a long, difficult day. During the long hours of this day, Jesus had a confrontation with the Pharisees, 22-30. Some of His friends and family thought He had lost His mind and tried to kidnap Him, 21; 31-35. During the latter part of the day Jesus sat in a little boat just off the shore of the Sea of Galilee. He used that boat as a pulpit from which He preached to the multitudes that gathered to hear Him,4:1. When the day ended, He called His disciples into the boat and commanded them to set sail for the other side of the lake.

Nighttime found the disciples rowing across that little lake. While they guided the boat, an exhausted Jesus lay fast asleep in the rear of the boat. The Lord was weary from the business of the day. By the way, this passage clearly presents the humanity of the Lord. I praise the Lord that He understands our weakness. He is able to sympathize with us when we grow weary, Psa. 103:14.

The Lord’s disciples were accustomed to being on the Sea of Galilee at night, they were fishermen after all. While they rowed for the other side, a tremendous storm engulfed their boat. They found themselves in a fight for their very lives. The storm that threatened the disciples was a “superstorm.” It was a storm of unusual power and intensity. It terrified the disciples and caused them to fear for their lives.

As I studied this passage, I was reminded of Super Storm Sandy that struck the northeast in October, 2012. Sandy was an immense Atlantic hurricane that collided with two other storms to create what meteorologists dubbed a “Superstorm.”

That’s the kind of storm the disciples faced that night. Their storm didn’t have the size of Superstorm Sandy, but it was just as intense. In that storm, on that dark, terrifying night, they experienced the Lord’s power to deliver them from the storm that threatened to kill them. I would like for us to join the Lord and His men as they face the storm of their lives. They found themselves in a hopeless situation, from which there seemed to be no escape. What they experienced that night has much to teach us today.

The disciples found themselves in a powerful, overwhelming storm. It was so intense that they feared for their lives. To them, it was a hard case from which there was no escape. They learned that night that there is Hope for the Hard Cases. That is the lesson I want you to learn as well.

We all find ourselves in storms from time to time. Everyone here is on a journey. As we sail, storms will arise and threaten our vessels. Often, like the disciples, we come to believe that the storms will destroy us. I want to remind you that your storm was not sent to destroy you, but to develop you. The storms of life may grind you at times, but the Lord will use them to grow you for His glory.

No matter how severe and intense your storm may be, it is not hopeless. There is hope and Hope’s name is Jesus. I want to talk to you about The Case of the Galilean Superstorm.

V. 37 THE REALITIES OF THIS STORM

 

This Storm Was Unexpected – Mark tells us “there arose a great storm of wind.” Storms like this are very common on the Sea of Galilee. The Sea of Galilee is a most unusual body of water. It is relatively small, only thirteen miles long, and seven miles wide, but it is 150 feet deep, and the shoreline is 680 feet below sea level. Because the Sea of Galilee is below sea level and is surrounded by mountains, it is susceptible to sudden storms. Winds sweeping across the land come up and over the mountains, creating downdrafts over the lake. Combine those conditions with a thunderstorm that appearing suddenly over the surrounding mountains, the water of Galilee can instantly stir up into violent twenty-foot waves. The sea can be calm one minute and savage the next.

Storms like this one did not usually occur at night. So, the disciples did not set out in a storm, and they did not expect to encounter a storm, but a storm came anyway!

  • That’s life isn’t it? It can be calm sailing on minute, and the next, you are fighting for your life! One minute you can be enjoying fair weather and the next, you find yourself in the middle of a terrible and horrible storm. One phone call, one twenty-four hour period of time, one doctor visit, one tick of the clock, and you are in the storm of your life.
  • This shouldn’t surprise us. The Bible says that the storms will come our way,Job 14:1; John 16:33. In fact, you are in one of three places today. You are either in a storm, just coming out of a storm, or headed into a storm.  Sudden storms are a part of our lives. As I said, it shouldn’t surprise us, but it always does!

This Storm Was Unrelenting– The storm continued its assault on that little boat until Mark tells us “the ship was now full”. Mark also tells us that this was a “great” storm. The words means, “Exceeding, loud, large, mighty.” It refers to a storm of extraordinary ferocity. Matthew calls this same storm “a great tempest,”Matt. 8:24. The word “tempest” refers to “a violent upheaval like and earthquake.” The sea rose and fell under the disciple’s boat. The waves were “beating” the ship, v. 37.

  • The disciples felt no stability, no safety, and no security. These men are terrified by the severity of this storm. They are fishermen, and they are used to storms, but this storm was so intensely violent that it filled them with terror for their lives.
  • The ship is rocking and reeling; it is full of water and they are afraid it will sink. It was a violent storm, it was the middle of the night.
    • They could not see where they were.
    • They could not determine their proximity to the shore.
    • They could not see the other ships around them, 36.
    • They were in terrible danger, and they knew it. Inverse 38, they said, “we perish.” The phrase literally means, “we are being destroyed.” They awoke the sleeping Savior and they cried, “Help us Lord! This thing is killing us!

When our storms come, very often they are severe and they terrify us. They fill us with fear and worry. The storms blow in without warning and they increase in their intensity until it seems that they will never end.

  • The storms of suffering come. They devastate us with heartache, heartbreak and turmoil.
  • The storms of sorrow toss your vessel. Someone you love is taken away in death and it leaves you broken, grief stricken and shaken by your loss. Sorrow touches every life, even the lives of the saints of God! It even touches those who walk close to the Lord. Jesus was in their boat and they were still afflicted by a storm of sorrow.
  • The storms of sin arise. It rages within us and around us. When sin enters our hearts, it always comes in as a pleasant, calm breeze. It promises us the best, but it soon displays its darker side.

So, the storms come and they bring with them fear, anxiety and pain. I just want you to know that there is no storm on earth that Heaven cannot calm!

This Storm Was Unusual – Where did this storm come from? It may have been natural, after all, the Sea of Galilee was susceptible to storms of this nature. Yet, it did come at night and that was extremely rare. There is a strong possibility that this storm was supernatural in nature. Let me show you why I say that.

When Jesus calmed the storm in verse 39, and said “be still”; it is the same word that is translated “hold thy peace” in Mark 1:25. The word means “to be muzzled”. It has the idea of muzzling a violent animal. When Jesus used that word in Mark 1:25, He was speaking to demons, commanding them to be quiet. This storm was an attempt by Satan to destroy the Lord Jesus.

The Bible does not reveal the source of this storm, but there was something unusual about this storm.

The storms that arise in our own lives come from various sources as well.

  • Sometimes we cause the storms. We act foolishly and get into trouble, when we do, we have to pay the price. Jonah discovered that truth. We always reap what we sow, 6:7.
  • Sometimes God sends the storms. Why would He do that? Sometimes He does it to discipline us and draw us closer to Him. This was the case with David after he had sinned with Bathsheba,2 Sam. 11-12. Sometimes He does it to teach us to trust Him more deeply. When God sends the storm it is always to draw us closer.
  • Sometimes Satan is behind the storms. Satan will whip up a storm in your life to defeat you, discourage you, and drive you away from the Lord. He will do everything in His power to destroy you and your faith in God.

Regardless of the source, the storms of life come, and we are forced to deal with them.

Vs. 35, 38  THE REALM OF THIS STORM

 

The Storm Was In Their Face– I say this for the sake of repetition: this storm was real! It was right there in their faces. They could feel the wind. They could feel the waves as they battered the boat. They were soaked to the skin as the waves broke over the boat and filled the vessel with water. They were tired and overcome with weariness from struggling with the oars. There was nothing pretend about this storm.

  • When our storms come, we can feel them too. They shake our world. Sometimes they touch our flesh and we feel it. They touch our heart and we feel it. They rock our minds and we feel it. They storms are very real. They batter our lives. They wear us down. They leave us broken and wounded. They storms of life are like the storm the disciples faced on Galilee that night; they hit us in the face and they wear us out.
  • Yet, the greatest danger the disciples faced that night was not physical. The real storm was not the storm that battered their boat. The real storm they faced that night was the storm that struck them at the very heart of their walk with Jesus.

The Storm Was In Their Faith – Vs. 38 carest thou not” – They accused the Lord of not caring about what they were facing. Why this doubt? After all, they had already seen His compassion and goodness in action.

Now, they are faced with a storm and they are afraid. They should have known that a puff of wind on a little pond could not thwart sovereign omnipotence! Do you know what their problem was? They were looking at their situation and not at their Savior. They had their eyes on the problem and not on the Problem-solver.

We are just like that, aren’t we? Have there been times, when the storms are raging in your life, that you have questioned God’s concern for you? You might not have said it out loud, but I am sure there have been times when your flesh has cried, “Lord, don’t you care about what is happening to me?” Or, “If the Lord really loves me, then why is this happening?” We’ve all been there!

The Storm Was In Their Fears– While the storm is raging about them, Jesus is fast asleep in the back of the boat. They run to Him and wake Him up. The word “awaken” means “to rouse from sleep”. It was used to speak of “a calm sea that was just beginning to be agitated.” They went to where Jesus was sleeping and they began to shake Him to wake Him up. These men are terrified and have lost all hope of ever surviving this storm. Let’s examine the doubts of these men today.

They ran to Him and they cried “we perish”. Remember, it was Jesus Who had sent them out onto the sea in the first place. These men had left everything to follow Jesus and now He has led them into an impossibly dangerous situation. They are afraid the Jesus is just going to let them all die.

Jesus did not save you just to abandon you when times get tough.

They need not have feared. They had His promise, “Let us pass over unto the other side,” v. 35. Jesus had already told these men what was going to happen. He told them before the journey started that they were headed to the other side of the lake. If they had believed His words, they could have laughed in the face of the storm.

Of course, this is just like us, isn’t it?

  • The Lord has promised us that everything is going to be all right too, 8:28.
  • He has promised us that He will take care of us, 6:25-34; Luke 12:32.

If we could just learn to take Him at His Word, then we could face the storms of life without fear. We would understand who controls the storms and we would enjoy His peace, even while the winds blow and the waves beat against us.

When Jesus calmed the sea, they were amazed and said, “What manner of man is this?” They learned that He is the One who is in control of every puff of wind; every angry wave and every storm. He is a good man to know! He can corral the waves; lasso the winds and hog tie the storm.

 

THE CASE OF THE RUINED WOMAN

hem-of-the-garment-imagesIntro: The Bible is filled with impossible, hopeless cases. Situations and circumstances appear in the Word of God, and so very many of them appear impossible. There seems to be no solution. Storms, needs, deaths, sicknesses, and many other situations, that to the human mind are impossible, yet they are handled with ease by the power of a sovereign God.

This section of Mark’s Gospel is filled with several of those impossible situations. There is a storm, then a man filled with demons, and then a dead little girl. Jesus steps into every single one of these unimaginable situations and proves that He is more than capable of handling whatever happens.

One truth that demonstrates itself over and over in the pages of the Bible is the truth that God is more than adequate for every situation. There are no impossible situations with Him. There are no hopeless predicaments with the Lord! Your situation is not hopeless! Your storm is not hopeless! Your sin is not hopeless! Your sickness is not hopeless! Your lost loved ones are not hopeless! Nothing is hopeless with the Lord!

Our text describes yet another hopeless situation. Jesus is on His way to heal the daughter of a man by the name of Jairus. On the way there, He is surrounded by a great crowd of people. They throng Him and jostle against Him from every side. In the crowd that day there was a poor, weak, timid, dying woman who reached out and touched Jesus Christ. When she touched the Lord, her life was instantly, completely and permanently transformed.

There are people in this room today who need life transformations. You need someone to radically change the situations you face in your life. Those transformations can happen. One touch from the Lord can change everything! Let’s take a few minutes to consider this poor woman and her situation.

The facts of this story can help us when we face the hopeless situations in our own lives. Let me point out these facts as I preach about The Case of the Ruined Woman.

  1.   v. 24-26   HER SUFFERING
  2. v. 25  Her Affliction – We are told that she suffered from “an issue of blood”. This literally means that she was hemorrhaging, or bleeding, from some place in her body. The word “issue” means “a flowing of blood”. The verb tense indicates that it was a continual flow of blood.
  3.  v. 26  Her Anguish – A constant flow of blood would have caused her unbelievable suffering. Let’s take a moment to examine some of the areas in which she suffered.
  4. Her Physical Anguish – From the constant blood loss, this poor woman would have been weak and anemic. She would have been pale. She would have had no energy at all. The least of efforts would have worn her out. The word “plague” is the same word that is translated “whip” elsewhere. Her disease was like a scourge, constantly beating her down, day by day!
  5.  Her Medical Anguish – We are also told that she had tried all the remedies of all the physicians of her day. We are told that she “suffered” under their care.
  6. Her Social Anguish – She was almost certainly not married, because through simple physical contact, she would have defiled her husband. If she had ever been married, her husband would have been probably divorced her. She could not work around others because of the danger of defilement. This reduced her to a life of begging scraps of food from a distance. Her condition left her on the fringes of society. In the eyes of those around her, she was no better than a leper.
  7.  Her Emotional Anguish – Since the Bible says that she had been this way for 12 years, She has lived her life moving from one rejection to another. She is lonely, isolated and desperate!
  8.  Her Religious Anguish – Under the Law, Lev. 15:19; 25-27, this poor woman was to be considered unclean. Anything or anyone that she touched was also considered unclean. As a result, she could not mingle with other people. Anyone who came in contact with her would be considered ceremonially defiled. She could not worship in the Women’s Court of the Temple, because she was unclean.
  9.  Her Financial Anguish – The Bible tells us that she “spent all she had”. The doctors and their useless remedies had not helped her. All they had done was drain her bank account dry. She has been left penniless and destitute, with no husband or children to look after her.
  10.  v. 26  Her Agony – After years of pain, worthless doctors, useless remedies, and shattered dreams, she has reached the place where she knows she is living under a death sentence. She will not get better. She knows that she will die from this disease. Her life is literally draining out of her body little by little, day by day, Lev. 19:11.

I wonder how many people can identify with this poor woman. Maybe you don’t have the same kind of illness, but like her, you are filled with suffering and sorrow. This nameless, suffering woman pictures two types of people:

  1. This woman pictures every person who does not know Jesus Christ as Savior. The lost are defiled by a blood disease. They inherited this disease from Adam, Rom. 5:12. This condition has plagued the lost person since they were born, Rom. 3:10; 23; Gal. 3:22. It is a condition the sinner can’t make better or change on their own.
  2.  She is also a picture of that believer who is laboring under a heavy burden. Many of God’s children are discouraged and defeated today. You have tried everything in your power to get better. You have tried everything you know to fix your situation. You’ve read all the books, listened to all the preachers, and gotten advice from the best of sources, but you are no better. Your life is as messed up as it ever was. If that describes you, keep on listening, it may just be that the Lord has some help for your heart today.
  3.  v. 27-28  HER SCHEME

Our text tells us about how this woman came to Jesus. This hopeless, broken woman devised a plan to meet the Lord.

  1. v. 27  Her Reasons – Somewhere, this poor woman heard about Jesus.
  2.  v. 28  Her Resolve – She heard about Jesus, and she knew she had to get to Him. She came to realize that Jesus was her only hope! She believed with all her heart that if she could just get to Him, she would be healed.

She displayed her determination to get to Jesus by approaching Him in that crowd. As she elbowed her way through the people, she was causing ceremonial defilement for everyone she touched.

She showed desperation  was taking a great risk, for if she had been recognized, she would have been subjected to public humiliation and ridicule.

She showed drive, because by the very nature of her disease, it would have taken all the energy she had to drag herself out of her bed to struggle through that crowd to get to Jesus. She was desperate!

Have you reached that place in your life yet? Have you come to understand that Jesus is the only hope you have? If you are in this building lost today, you need to get to Jesus!

There are some who are saved, but like this woman are burdened and defeated, need to touch Him as well. The sooner you come to realize that Jesus is the only person Who can help you, the sooner you can get the help you need! Listen what He says to you: Matt. 11:28; Heb. 4:15-16; 1 Pet. 5:7. Why should you carry that burden one more step? Why should you fight your battle even for one more minute? Why should you live defeated for another day? You don’t have to! Get to Jesus, He can and will help you!

III. v. 29-34  HER SALVATION

  1. 29 It Was Powerful – When she was near enough to Him, she reached out a trembling hand and touched His garment.
  2. Then, in that very instant, she received what none of the doctors or their costly and painful remedies could give her; she was healed! Instantly, she felt the change in her body. She knew she was a different woman!
  3. 30-33 It Was Personal – As soon as this woman touches Him, Jesus knows what has happened. He knows that “virtue” has gone out of Him. This is a word that means “power”. We get our modern words “dynamite” and “dynamic” from it. Jesus knows what has happened and He asks the question in verse 30, “Who touched My clothes?

Of course, there were dozens of people touching Him and bumping into Him that day, a fact pointed out by the disciples, v. 31, but her touch was different; it was a touch accompanied by faith. Many touched Him, but only one touched Him with the fingers of faith!

Jesus could have let her walk away with physical healing, but He called her out because He wanted to give her more than physical healing. He wanted to move her beyond her superstitious faith. He wanted to save her soul.

When Jesus spoke to this woman, you will notice that she fell before Him in fear. This was the very reason she came silently from behind Him to touch Him. This was why she did not come to Him openly. She was afraid she would be rejected!

She needn’t have feared that! Jesus was not interested in humiliating her. He was not interested in driving her away from His presence. He was not interested in preaching her a sermon on uncleanness from the Law. He was interested in helping her with her problem! He was interested in saving her soul.

Jesus was on His way to heal the young daughter of a man named Jairus, v. 22-24. This little girl is at the point of death! As Jesus makes His way to this man’s house, He is surrounded by the surging crowd. Yet, in spite of the seriousness of His mission, Jesus takes the time to stop for this woman!

At this moment, the crowd might as well not even be there. The business of the universe was put on hold as Jesus turned His full attention on this poor, needy woman. To Him, the woman and her need were more important than anything else. She was the sole focus and center of His world and attention! This woman, cast out, uncared for, and unwanted, had caught the eye of God because she exercised simple, childlike faith!

Isn’t that a blessing? I believe that God, Who controls the path of every atom in every molecule in this universe, has time for you when you call on Him in faith.

Never fear that He doesn’t care about you. Never fear that He won’t receive you.

  1. v. 34  It Was Profound – His words confirmed what she already knew had happened! Notice that He calls her “daughter”. This is the only time Jesus ever calls a female by this name. The word signifies the fact that they are in a different relationship now. It is a word of tenderness; a word of peace; a word of acceptance.

She got more than physical healing that day. All her adult life, she has been an outcast, a nobody, dwelling in isolation and loneliness, living in the shadows of society, but now, she hears that she has been taken in by God! Her faith brought her into a soul saving relationship with Jesus Christ. One minute she was an outcast, the next she was in the family of God!

The word “whole” is the same word translated “saved” throughout the New Testament. It means “to be rescued from all harm and danger. To be kept safe and sound”. She got a whole lot more than she bargained for that day!

All those who come to Jesus get far more than they ever bargained for.

  • We are children of God, 1 John 3:1-2.
  • We have a home in Heaven, John 14:1-3.
  • We are heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus, Rom. 8:17.
  • We have a new life, 2 Cor. 5:17.
  • We are free from the power of sin to control and dominate them, Rom. 6:14.
  • We are no longer God’s enemies, Rom. 8:7.
  • We have been reconciled to Him, Eph. 2:12-19.
  • We have been fully and forever forgiven, Col. 2:13-14.
  1. v. 34  It Was Permanent – He tells her to “go in peace”. His words let her know that she has done the right thing in coming to Him and touching Him.

She was well and she knew it, but these final words of Jesus, “thy faith hath made thee whole”, drive home the fact that she was finally and fully free from her plague. She was healed and life would never be the same again! Her battle with this dread disease was forever finished! She had received a brand new life from the hand of the Master.

FROM THE DEATHBED TO THE MASTER’S TABLE | Gospel of John 11:32-44; 12:1

"I Am the Resurrection and the Life"
“I Am the Resurrection and the Life”

From the  Gospel of John 11:32-44; 12:1 this is one of the most amazing passages in the entire Bible! Here we are allowed to see the glory, power and majesty of the Christ’s power in display. Here we see a man named Lazarus go from the sickbed to the Master’s table!

In this text, we see what Jesus did for Lazarus. But, we can also see what He can do for the person who is still lost and in sin today. This passage shows us how Jesus can take you from your deathbed to His table. If you don’t know the Lord, this would be a great day to come to Him by faith. If you do know Him, it would be a great time to remember what He did for you when He saved you by His grace. Let’s notice the truths contained here as we watch Him take Lazarus from the Deathbed to the Master’s Table.

 Verse 32-42 THE CONDITION OF LAZARUS

Verse 32, 39 He Was Dead – Poor old Lazarus wasn’t just sick any longer, he was dead! He was in a tomb surrounded by mourning family and friends, but he couldn’t hear them. Even the Lord Jesus showed up at his grave, but he was unaware of the presence of the Lord. Lazarus was a dead man! He was unable to respond to his surroundings. (Note: In his condition, he is a picture of every person who does not know the Lord Jesus. Ephesians 2:1 says that the sinner is lost in trespasses and sins. In that lost condition, the sinner cannot sense the presence of the Lord. He cannot respond to the things of God. He cannot enjoy fellowship with God. He is dead and he is in a pitiful condition.)

Verse 39 He Was Decayed – According to Martha, Lazarus has been dead long enough for the decay process to have set in on his body. When Jesus arrived at his tomb, he had been dead for 4 days. He had been dead long enough to stink. There aren’t degrees of dead, just degrees of decay!

Verse 21, 32, 36 He Was Doomed – As you listen Martha, Mary and the crowd talk about Lazarus, you get the idea that they have given up on him. In their minds, he is dead and gone and nothing more can be done about it. Had this been any other cemetery, I might have agreed with them, but there was one subtle difference that day: Jesus Christ was there! The others may have been ready to leave Lazarus in the grave, but Jesus wasn’t!

 Verse 43-44 THE CALL OF LAZARUS

It Was A Personal Call – When the Lord Jesus called out at that tomb, He issued a very personal call. He called specifically for Lazarus to come out of that tomb! That call was for no one else that day, but it was for Lazarus alone. It was a call designed for one man and one man alone!

It Was A Precise Call – The call was very clear that day “Come forth!” Jesus told Lazarus exactly what he was supposed to do! (Note: When He comes calling, there will be no doubt as to what He wants you to do! When He comes calling, His call will be for you to come to Him. His call will be for you to believe on Him by faith. His call will be a call to repent of your sins and to turn to Jesus for salvation,

It Was A Powerful Call – This call was a powerful call for Lazarus. It brought him out of death and darkness into light and life! It changed everything for this man forever.

 Verse 44, 12:1 THE CHANGE OF LAZARUS

(Ill. When the call of the Lord came to this man in that tomb, and when that call was heard and heeded by Lazarus, everything changed for him.)

It Brought Life – Here is a man who has been dead for four days, but at the command of Jesus, He is alive! (Note: when a sinner comes to Jesus for salvation, that sinner is brought out of death and is made alive,

It Brought Liberty – When Lazarus come out of that tomb, he was still bound up in the graveclothes in which they had buried him. Jesus issues the command in verse 44 “loose him and let him go.”

It Brought Light – The Bible says that the face of Lazarus was covered with a napkin. Because of that covering, Lazarus was in darkness. When Lazarus was brought to life, Jesus commanded that all the things that were binding him be removed.

It Brought Luxury – Lazarus had spent four days sealed up in a tomb, totally oblivious to his condition. Now that he is alive, he is seen sitting at a table, fellowshipping with the Lord Jesus Christ! Everything has changed for this man!

 

Conc: Has Jesus Christ ever showed up at the tomb of your life and called you to come to Him? Did you go when He called? Or, are you still trapped in the darkness, lost and waiting? If you need salvation, and Jesus is calling you, please come to Him. If your relationship with Him needs work, then please come before Him and do what He is speaking to your heart about. He can and will move you from the deathbed to the Master’s Table!

 

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Twelve Ordinary Men|Book Review

John MacArthur
Twelve Ordinary Men

The Twelve Ordinary Men by John MacArthur is a great book. Contrary to popular belief, we do not have to be perfect to do God’s work. Look no further than the twelve disciples whose many weaknesses are forever preserved throughout the pages of the New Testament. Jesus chose ordinary men – fisherman, tax collectors, political zealots – and turned their weakness into strength, producing greatness from utter uselessness.

1 Corinthians 1:20-29

20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:

23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;

24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:

27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring time in to nought things that are:

29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.

Christ personally chose the twelve and invested a lot of time in them.

He chose them before they chose him (John 15:16). 16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

The process of choosing and calling them happened in distinct stages. Careless readers of Scripture sometimes imagine that John 1:35-51, Luke 5:3-11, and the formal calling of the Twelve in Luke 6:12-16 are contradictory accounts of how Christ called His apostles. But there is no contradiction. The passages are only describing different stages of the apostles calling.

In John 1:35-51:

35 Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples;

36 And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!

37 And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.

38 Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou?

39 He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour.

40 One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.

41 He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.

42 And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.

43 The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me.

44 Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.

45 Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.

46 And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.

47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!

48 Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.

49 Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.

50 Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these.

51 And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.

For example Andrew, John, Peter, Phillip, and Nathaniel encounter Jesus for the first time.

This event occurs near the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, in the wilderness near the Jordan River, where John the Baptist was ministering. Andrew, John and the others were there because they were already disciples of John the Baptist.

But when they heard their teacher single out Jesus and say, “Behold the Lamb of God!” they followed Jesus.

This was phase one of their calling. It was a Call to conversion

  • It illustrates how every disciple is called first to salvation.
  • We must Recognized Jesus as the true Lamb of God and Lord of all, and embrace Him by faith.
  • That stage of the disciples call did not involve full-time discipleship. They became followers, but they remained at their jobs and their normal day today life.

I am currently walking our Church through this study of Twelve Ordinary men. It is a great lesson to share with the body of Christ. It speaks to God choosing the simple and ordinary to accomplish great things in His Kingdom.