Giving…whether it be money, time or talents is a real stumbling block for many Christians. We tend to be a selfish, self-centered people…when the Lord wants us to be generous. We want to be recognized and honored for anything we do…when the Lord requires discretion. (Matthew 6:1-4) We give the Lord left-overs…rather than, like the poor widow, giving all we have.
Jesus was back in His hometown of Nazareth…the place where He had been brought up, and where everyone knew Him and His family. We find Him on the Sabbath in the Synagogue where someone handed Him the scroll of Isaiah to read from. He read from Isaiah 61:1-2 …( Which was Jesus’ exact job description here on earth) and then sat down. Everyone spoke well of Him until He uttered 8 words, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” No wonder the people were furious! All they could see was Mary and Joseph’s little boy…and now He’s daring to claim to be the Messiah! Their minds refused to believe…their hearts were hardened by pride…their eyes were blinded to His Deity. Their long-awaited Messiah had come and was in their midst…yet they rejected Him.
Jairus was the President of the Jewish Synagogue in Capernaum, but at this moment in time all his power and authority meant nothing to him… for he had a little daughter dying. He was desperate enough to actually plead with Jesus to come to his house and heal her. But it would get worse. While they were headed there, someone from Jairus’s household ran up to tell him his daughter had just died…but it would get worse. When they got to the house the scene was utter chaos with people weeping, wailing and milling around. That’s when Jesus took control of the situation…moving all the people out except for the parents, Peter, James, and John. He then took a hold of the child’s hand and said, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!” And she did. So what practical application can we take from this story? When you’re going through tough times, position strong people of faith around you…people that can believe for breakthrough and won’t give up or become discouraged. It’s friends that will gather around you and pray when you may not have the strength or ability to. Finally, realize it may get worse before it gets better. But through it all Jesus is saying to you, “Don’t be frightened, just trust in Me.”
The Jewish leaders thought they had the upper hand…that they were in control of the situation. But little did they realize just who they were up against. And there were many times that angry crowds threatened to stone Jesus…but He slipped away from their grasp. (John 11:8, John 10:31, John 8:59) In the human mind, the Crucifixion was the Lord at His lowest point of defenselessness and helplessness…but it was quite the opposite. Jesus Christ came to earth with one mission…to atone for our sins on the Cross. And during those three years of His ministry…He was in complete control of every situation…every moment…for He was in control of time. Several times He told His disciples, “My time has not yet come.” But later, He told them, “My time has come.” Whatever you may be going through today, remember, Jesus is in complete control of the situation…including time.
From the moment Jesus beckoned that rag-tag group of fishermen with, “Come, follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”… there has been the decision of whether we follow Jesus or not. For many, it’s a sacrificial decision…knowing that they are at risk of losing everything. Following Jesus sacrificially means accepting the potential loss of family, employment, and even freedom. But Jesus assured the disciples, and all of us, that this sacrifice isn’t without great reward…for in Luke 18: 29-30 He goes on to promise them, “I tell you the truth,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the Kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life.”
You can’t quell the glory of God. In Luke 19 the people had begun joyfully to praise God in loud voices when the Pharisees ordered Jesus to rebuke them. Verse 40 says, “I tell you, He replied, “If they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” Rejoicing in the Lord can not be contained…it must burst forth in worship of our Heavenly Father and what He’s done for us. Just like Jesus couldn’t keep His presence secret in that house, our praise and worship of God can’t be silenced or suppressed either.
Jesus summed up best how we should conduct ourselves when it comes to the people in our lives that are unappreciative, ungrateful, and just plain mean. In Luke 6:35-36 Jesus tells us, “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” Doing the right thing for someone who is critical and inconsiderate goes against everything we’re made of…but Christ reminds us that He shows mercy to all, and we should also.
God is mighty and strong on our behalf. There is nothing that God can’t do. In addressing the Lord, Jeremiah stated, “Nothing is too hard for You.” (Jeremiah 32:17) The Creator of heaven and earth is not confined to time, place or our limited reasoning. For our mighty God can attain the unattainable…make the impossible possible, and take the out of the question and answer it with a miracle.
Why did God choose to proclaim the coming Messiah to the shepherds? They were far from the politically elite…and at the other end of the spectrum from the powerful religious circle. So what did God see in that rag-tag group of blue-collar workers in that field outside of Bethlehem to warrant such a grand and glorious display to announce the coming of His Son? In a word, He saw us. He didn’t wish to address the political or religious bigwigs…He chose rather to tell the working class…people like you and me the good news of Jesus Christ. And this holds true today…the Lord Jesus Christ has come for you and me… common, ordinary people who need a Savior.