02-12-17 Jesus on the Move: Twelve Years of Preparation

I am going to take a vacation for a week, and I’m really looking forward to it.  I think I’ll go to Borneo, or maybe Cleveland, or some other exotic locale.  But no matter what I do, I’m gonna make sure that I take a couple of good books, some good movies, my pretty wife, and lose myself for a while.

But we had a great discussion in our Sunday School class (I only got about half-way through our notes), talking about the Nag Hammadi library and the beginnings of the Cold War.  If you can’t see how the genuine danger of world communism and our nation’s fearfully inappropriate reactions to that genuine threat eerily mirror our modern context in America right now, then you’re probably not really trying.  I’d say that you ought to read the notes online, but the real interesting bits are on the recorded podcast discussion.

In our service, we provided Paul Larson the opportunity to share about his nascent ministry, Credible Faith.  It’s a joy to have a new FCCer who’s also a missionary, using the intellectual and spiritual gifts that God has blessed him with to try to express and defend the rationality and reliability of our belief in Christ in a global context.  Please talk with Paul the next time you see him (and/or check out his website at www.crediblefaith.org) and please keep him in prayer as he tries to get this worthwhile ministry off the ground.

As we picked up where we left off in our sermon series looking through the Gospel of Mark, we saw Jesus crossing back over the lake again to the Jewish side.  If you’ll remember, He’d been preaching there in chapter 4 until He was exhausted and needed a break, so He crossed to the Jordanian side only to immediately meet with and heal a demoniac scrambling through the tombs there.  But now He was back amongst His own people, only to be immediately met by the needs of a synagogue ruler named Jairus.  It was a very busy day for Jesus.

Jairus was desperate for Christ’s help in healing his little girl, who was at home and near death.  So Jesus went off with Him to help, only to stop and deal with a woman who’d been dealing with an “issue of blood” that had left her ritually and socially unclean for over a decade.  Even as He was finishing up dealing with her, men came from Jairus’ house to tell him that his daughter had already died, and that it wasn’t worth bothering Jesus any more.  Of course, Jesus utterly ignored these men -- and He called Jairus to utterly ignore them as well -- and healed the dead daughter anyway.

Nice story.

Except the point of the story wasn’t that Jesus healed the little girl, or even that He healed the woman in the crowd.  The point of the story was that the girl’s life and the woman’s pain had both lasted twelve years -- that with all of the timetables and “bother” that people perceived going on, God has already planned for all of this.  God had shot two arrows into the air twelve years earlier, and both had hit the bullseye at exactly the same moment, just as God had intended all along.

I dunno what fearful situations you find yourself facing right now, or what timetables you’re getting stressed over... but if God can do that -- if God can shoot an arrow from the cross two thousand years ago that saves your soul today -- then is anything going to be too big or too scary or too complex or too time-sensitive for God to handle in your life right now?

See, because another crucial element of this string of events is that God’s sovereignty goes hand-in-hand with His compassion.  He and His disciples took the time to apparently give the demoniac some of their own clothes so that he was no longer naked when his neighbors came to see him -- He healed the man, then protected his dignity.  He took the time to ask the woman to tell her story to everyone so that He could publicly tell her that she was clean, and that she was beloved -- He healed the woman, then gave her her humanity back.  He took the time to not only bring a little girl back from the dead, but to tell her parents to make sure that she got something to eat, because she had to be famished -- He healed the girl, then showed her a paternal tenderness. 

So if God’s sovereignty walks hand-in-hand with His love... and if He loves you so personally, so genuinely... and if His sovereignty is so consistent and so faithful... then I ask again, is there anything that you can’t hand over to Him and trust Him with today?

This week, trust God rather than your own ability to accomplish things.

Trust God rather than your timetables.

Trust God rather than your fears. 

Trust God.