When You’ve Had Enough


Mark 1:40-45 is a story early on in Jesus’ ministry. It’s a story shared in somewhat the same manner in Luke 5 – a leper being healed or cleansed.

Leprosy is a disease where your body is literally rotting while you are alive. Many lepers end up with missing fingers, ears, toes and oozing soars with the smell of rotten flesh.

There was no treatment for it and the control of it was as bad as the disease itself. Lepers had to be isolated into their own little communities. Just imagine having a family that you would not be able to touch, hold or kiss ever again. Those who were closest to you would not be allowed to console you while you suffered.

Therefore, when Jesus touched this man and he was healed he received his whole life back.

But, there is a detail that Dr Luke shares that Mark misses. It is worth noting. Luke said that the man was “FULL” of leprosy.

He was not just sick but what we would think in terms of someone in stage 4 cancer. He was very bad off when he got his life back.

How about you? Are you FULL of anything? Full of frustration? Full of anger? Full of hurt? Full of disappointment? Full of bad news? Full of anxiety?

First, the man left his community, his comfort zone, and went to Jesus.

Second, what the man did was against the law. The leper was to yell “unclean” when someone came near so that they would keep their distance. This man come so close to Jesus that Jesus was able to touch him. Sometimes I feel that many of the rules that come from our churches end up keeping people from God. Forget the rules! Pursue after Him hard!

Third, maybe out of desperation, the man declared that he knew that Jesus could heal him.

Did he really believe it. For at least that moment he did.

When you are FULL of crud it is time to believe in someone better than other humans that have to deal with their own crap when they go home too.

Lord, empty me so that I can be filled with You!

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It’s Not The Wine Talking


John 2:1-10

This is the story that is known for Jesus turning water into wine. But, do you realize that Jesus gained no popularity from this event? The wedding was on a Tuesday, a popular day for Jewish weddings because it was the day that God blessed twice in Genesis 1 on the third day of creation.

By that Saturday morning Jesus was in Capernaum teaching and ends up casting a demon out of a man in the meeting. Now, that got him popularity. By that evening a crowd had gathered around Peter and Andrew’s house wanting prayer. A second wave of needy came to the house a few hours later but Jesus was off praying.

The point is, the wine was not the focus of John’s story as he tells it. So, what was?

John 2:4 Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.”

Let’s investigate this verse:

1. WOMAN – in the original this is not a word of disrespect but a general word in the respectful sense. We would say “madam” or “maim.” Jesus, not calling her mother, has set the stage for a conversation with Mary as just another woman.

2. WHAT DOES YOUR CONCERN HAVE TO DO WITH ME? This is a phrase too Jewish for us to understand it well in the English. It occurs several times in the Bible.

David used this phrase with some of his cousins in 2 Samuel 2:10 distinguishing the major difference in thought between he and his cousins. They wanted to punish a man and David did not. They were of two different understandings, not on the same page.

Elisha uses this phrase in 2 Kings 3 in speaking to the King of Israel and then told him to go back to his own prophets, the false ones. He was expressing a major difference between him and the wicked king. They were of two different understandings, not on the same page.

The very Sabbath, following this wedding, He was teaching in Capernaum in the synagogue when a demon possessed man says,

“Let us alone? What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are — the Holy One of God!”

Understand, this phrase was one of comparison. Mary was asking Jesus to do something in the natural, something materialistic, something to save a families cultural reputation. But, all through Jesus ministry, from this point on, was a battle against customs that really didn’t matter. They were of two different understandings, not on the same page.

    • Jesus was baptized just two months earlier and spent 40 days fasting and praying and being tempted by Satan.
    • Now, full of the Holy Spirit, He acknowledged in Nazarath that He had been anointed to preach the good news as He read the first few verses of Isaiah 61.
    • He met John, Andrew, Peter, Philip and Nathaniel in John 1.
    • He invited John, James, Andrew, and Peter to spend more time with Him, to follow Him in Mark 1 while they were mending their nets.
    • And now He is at a wedding just outside of Capernaum getting ready for His first day of healing ministry scheduled for that weekend where his three year campaign begins.
    • He will confront demons, heal those who have never known what a healthy life was, raise the dead, preach to crowds of thousands, stir up the religious society enough that in three years they will kill Him on a cross and then He will rise again.

And Mary wants Him to go to the store and get more wine.

Keep in mind that there is no hint that Mary thought that Jesus would do a miracle. It is more likely that Mary gathered servants up to assist Jesus to find and carry wine. What Jesus did saved the host from embarrassment and added joy to the party soon to be forgotten.

Talk about a contrast. Compare this story the story John writes in chapter 11 of a brother of two sisters who has been dead for four days and He raises him from the dead. Now, that is true celebration and one not soon forgotten.

Which story do you think falls into where Jesus’ heart was?

3. MY HOUR HAS NOT YET COME – This phrase is just as important in understanding the whole of what Jesus was saying.

Keep in mind that Mary had the inside scoop that Jesus was the Messiah. Therefore, any prophecies in the Old Testament about the Messiah was like her photo album.

What Jesus did next, I believe, was not what John was shooting for in this story. Water was turned into wine but he did it discreetly where only a small handful knew what had happen.

To understand this you have to go to a prophecy by Jacob on his death bed in Genesis 49:10-11

The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; And to Him  shall be  the obedience of the people.  Binding his donkey to the vine, and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine, He washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes.

Here Jacob is prophesying over his son Judah. He prophesies that the line of kings would come from the tribe of Judah until the Messiah comes.

Just after the birth of Jesus the Roman Empire took away the title and authority of the office of the king in Israel and Josephus wrote that many of the priests ripped their robes, sprinkled ashes on their heads and cried that scripture had not been fulfilled.

In their eyes, for the first time, scripture had failed and a prophecy had been found wrong. The Messiah was to have come before the kingship would stop.

They did not know that the Messiah had already been born. Scripture was still correct. God DID get it right again.

But, notice the picture that is painted. When the Messiah comes something else will happen. There will be prosperity seen in the abundance of wine. Grapevines will be plentiful that they will be used as hitching posts.

Could Mary have understood this and thought that this wedding could be the beginning of that fulfillment? But, Jesus said that His hour had not yet come.

It’s not about the wine. It’s about the fact that Jesus and Mary were on two different pages. Jesus was not about the customs and traditions, to save a families reputation. He was about healing hurts and He still is about that. He has an itch that can not be scratched unless He is impacting lives!

When traditions become more important than healing hurts then we have lost focus of the heart of Jesus.

Temptation


Have you ever placed a magnet on a piece of metal, expecting it to stick just to find out that it was actually plastic? Temptations are only those things that are attractive to our desires, differing from person to person.

Therefore, Jesus must have had desires too. Otherwise, how could the “temptations” of Satan in Matthew 4 have been temptations?

There are three things of importance to note about these temptations:

1. Matthew and Luke write about them in detail and yet they were not there. It is not hard to believe that Luke received much of his information from Matthew and other disciples. But where did Matthew receive his information? He wasn’t there.

Do you really believe that every detail about Jesus’ time with the disciples is recorded? Therefore, isn’t it possible that Jesus shared a heart to heart with his disciples one day to share about His struggles and victories. In sharing this story with them He was sharing a very vulnerable time with them.

2. These temptations assure us that Jesus understands our temptations. When you put them in light of what John defined temptations in 1 John 2:16 you understand that all temptations fall into one of three categories and Jesus faced each one at the close of not eating for over a month. He can relate.

3. Matthew had his own message in Matthew 4. The next thing that Matthew records Jesus saying is “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

We all face temptations. But, if we fail the simple message is “turn around!” To what? Temptations is all about us. The last words that Jesus said in Matthew 4 were “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

Matthew did not throw together what we find in chapter four. It had a purpose – Repentance moves us from our desires (temptations) to focusing on others.

The vaccination for temptation? Be others focused. The cure for temptation if you do fail? Turn around, repent.