Are we listening?

Luke 9:37-45

On the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, a great crowd met him. And behold, a man from the crowd cried out, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. And behold, a spirit seizes him, and he suddenly cries out. It convulses him so that he foams at the mouth, and shatters him, and will hardly leave him. And I begged your disciples to cast it out, but they could not.”  Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here.” While he was coming, the demon threw him to the ground and convulsed him. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit and healed the boy, and gave him back to his father. And all were astonished at the majesty of God.

But while they were all marveling at everything he was doing, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men.” But they did not understand this saying, and it was concealed from them, so that they might not perceive it. And they were afraid to ask him about this saying.

 Two things; one, it would soon be up to them to carry the burden of the message, to be the light, the means God would use to bring His message of faith and hope to mankind.  These men were placed in a unique position in God’s plan for mankind.  Two, after the experience on the mountain and now his statement of impending betrayal, they do not speak of it, nor do they ask about any of what has been said and done.  Curious for a group of men who often displayed behavior that was impulsive and full of the desire to know what others could not grasp.

 Today’s generation is no different, a perverse, unbelieving generation as one translation puts it.  Today’s believers can still be guilty of playing the part of the ostrich; head in the sand and not desiring to know the truth in the Word.

 God said, “Listen to Him”; and Jesus said, ” Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you.”  The questions remain; do we desire to know, are we listening?  Let these words sink into your ears, Jesus talks to us about betrayal, are we surprised that His message today is still despised in many places?  It did not stop Him.  He continued to the cross for us, for mankind, for any who would receive.  Can we do any less?  Adversity will not stop our desire to know Him and our determination to continue the work of God, the spread of His message.  We will rise above the adversity we face each day and show His love to those who cross our paths.

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Listen to him!…

Luke 9:28-36

 Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray.  And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white. And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah,  who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, but when they became fully awake they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him.  And as the men were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah”—not knowing what he said. As he was saying these things, a cloud came and overshadowed them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One;  listen to him!” And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen.

“Listen to him!”  This is reinforced more than once.  Do we truly listen?  Is listening a mystery?  What does it require on our part?  Can we ask this of ourselves too often?

 Prayer time calls forth the presence of God.  Jesus often goes to the mountain to pray and it is during this time renewal, regeneration, revelation is given.  What is prayer? We are drawn to God during prayer and He is drawn to us.  It is not just a time for requests to be made known, this time it included a Word from Him.  Can we hear him when he speaks?  Are we listening?

Who do you say I am…?

Luke 9:18-27

Now it happened that as he was praying alone, the disciples were with him. And he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?”  And they answered, “John the Baptist. But others say, Elijah, and others, that one of the prophets of old has risen.”  Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, “The Christ of God.”
 And he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one,  saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.  For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.  But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.”

 He was shamed, rejected, tortured, killed but…rose victorious over death and all that he endured.  We have his promise we will experience the same… if we pick up our cross, deny our self, follow Him.  We have the promise that when we give up our life for him we find it, or save it.  So we face the same issue; how will we answer the question.

 That is the question;  Who do you say I am?  Jesus asks, “But what about you?”  Who do we say he is?  Are we willing to follow–if the cares of this daily life drag us down,  how can we rise above suffering as he suffered? And yet we know it is possible, because He did we can.

You feed them…

Luke 9:10-17

On their return the apostles told him all that they had done. And he took them and withdrew apart to a town called Bethsaida. When the crowds learned it, they followed him, and he welcomed them and spoke to them of the kingdom of God and cured those who had need of healing. Now the day began to wear away, and the twelve came and said to him, “Send the crowd away to go into the surrounding villages and countryside to find lodging and get provisions, for we are here in a desolate place.” But he said to them, “You give them something to eat.” They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.” For there were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” And they did so, and had them all sit down. And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing over them. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd.  And they all ate and were satisfied. And what was left over was picked up, twelve baskets of broken pieces.

 He is our provider and yet he also expects us to have the faith to provide.  The Twelve showed concern for the people and would have provided for them according to a world mind-set.  Send them to find food, give them time to get something since they are in a remote area.  All are suggestions indicating kindness and concern.  Jesus is stretching the faith of the twelve when he says; you feed them.  The twelve had just returned from a trip of ministry for God, provided for by God and His people, they knew what He could do.  However, now they are being told to exercise that knowledge into action, to put faith to the test.  When the need arose they turned to one who could supply the need but in their humanity would have turned the people away.

 He is our provider…he met the need, they acted on what he instructed them to do and they saw once again the power of God at work.  We turn to the one who can…if we are obedient to follow His instructions, we too will experience His power, see Him once again at work.

Deliver the message…

Luke 9:1-9

 And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases,  and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. And he said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics.  And whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart. And wherever they do not receive you, when you leave that town shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them.” And they departed and went through the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.

 Now Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was happening, and he was perplexed, because it was said by some that John had been raised from the dead, by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the prophets of old had risen.  Herod said, “John I beheaded, but who is this about whom I hear such things?” And he sought to see him.

 Totally dependent upon God to provide through His people, they go out to preach and heal and do so.  Jesus commissioned them and they were obedient.  It had such impact that the ruler of the day hears and wants to know what is going on?

 Can we repeat this scenario?  Can we be obedient to the commission we have received depending solely upon God to provide the words and power for us to share what we have received with all who cross our path each day?  God is good, His mercies are forever.  Nothing has changed but the time frame.  Mankind continues to need the same message delivered to them.  Will we be found faithful?

Go in peace…

Luke 8:40-56

Now when Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him.  And there came a man named Jairus, who was a ruler of the synagogue. And falling at Jesus’ feet, he implored him to come to his house,  for he had an only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she was dying.

As Jesus went, the people pressed around him. And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone.  She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased. And Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” When all denied it, Peter  said, “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!”  But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.”And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”

While he was still speaking, someone from the ruler’s house came and said, “Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the Teacher any more.” But Jesus on hearing this answered him, “Do not fear; only believe, and she will be well.”  And when he came to the house, he allowed no one to enter with him, except Peter and John and James, and the father and mother of the child.  And all were weeping and mourning for her, but he said, “Do not weep, for she is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. But taking her by the hand he called, saying, “Child, arise.”And her spirit returned, and she got up at once. And he directed that something should be given her to eat. And her parents were amazed, but he charged them to tell no one what had happened.

 One comes believing Jesus can heal his daughter.  As they make their way to his daughter he is provided with evidence of the healing power within  Jesus.  And then that faith and belief is tested when told his daughter is dead.  Continuing on, encouraged to not falter but to continue to believe, they witness the raising of the daughter.  Then they are instructed to not tell what has happened.  Do not sensationalize what God provides, rather give thanks.

 We believe, we are tested, we have evidence of His power and we continue to believe.  When we receive we give thanks, give glory to God.  It should not become a tale for a tabloid.

 Jesus told the woman who was healed to go in peace.  End of story.  When something as spectacular as a raising from death occurs we want to tell and retell and the story tends to grow.  Rather, as Jesus said, give thanks and go in peace.

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Luke 8:26-39

  Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. When Jesus  had stepped out on land, there met him a man from the city who had demons. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he had not lived in a house but among the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before him and said with a loud voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me.” For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many a time it had seized him. He was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert.)  Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion,” for many demons had entered him.  And they begged him not to command them to depart into the abyss. Now a large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. Then the demons came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.

When the herdsmen saw what had happened, they fled and told it in the city and in the country.  Then people went out to see what had happened, and they came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid.  And those who had seen it told them how the demon-possessed  man had been healed. Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned. The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him.

 they were seized with great fear…. Can we explain how it is that the deliverance of a man who had terrorized the town and the surrounding countryside should generate fear?  Enough fear was generated to ask Jesus, the one responsible for the deliverance, to leave.  Are we so desensitized to what is right and good that we actually are more comfortable with what is not?  Do we see something akin to this played out in our nation, society, world today?

This one who was delivered is the only one mentioned who wanted to remain with Jesus.  And now we see the expansive power of God and the message Jesus brings.  Jesus told him: …Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.”…  In other words or word; share.  Share what God has done for you.  Share with all those with whom you cross paths.  And he did.  The power of one transforms into many. 

 Today, we are left with the same message; share. Share what we receive from the Lord.  Each one who receives, shares, and the one becomes many.  We sit at His feet, by His side with the Word of God opened to us and we are fed what we are to share.  We do not stay there; neither do we walk away hugging it to ourselves.  We are instructed and then told over and over, time and again to share it.  In that sharing one becomes many and our world is changed.