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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Cry Out To Jesus

This has been a terrifying week of explosions in this country. Likely you have seen the video dozens of times of the two blasts near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday. Then late Wednesday night came the news of the horrific blast at the fertilizer plant in Texas. Most of us only hear about bombings in places far away, but in these two instances, especially in Boston, we have video evidence that puts us at the scene. It’s not difficult to imagine being right there on the side walk watching those runners. We can nearly feel the elderly man collapse at the moment of the blast. That video makes it real and greatly increases our awareness of how terrifying it would be to experience such an explosion. 

Kat and I noted that as people were running away from the site of the bombing, the first responders in the bright yellow vests were running toward the sound of the blast. It fills me with gratitude for the people who choose to work in those fields, who run toward danger rather than away from it and seek to rescue people in the midst of terrific pain. They show up ready to do whatever is needed and there they see and hear and even smell horrendous things. Some of these likely suffer with images in their minds they will never shake. 

We also have a Rescuer who enters our pain and sees all that any first responder will ever see and far more. He knows the private carnage that many suffer in their own hearts and minds, whether due to their own sin or the sin of others. But Jesus is not like the first responders who keep themselves in close proximity to where there might be danger so that they can quickly react. Rather Jesus is already there before it happens. And of course Jesus accomplished the ultimate Rescue when he experienced all the carnage for himself physically, emotionally, and spiritually on the cross in our place. 

Recently I’ve been thinking hard about what it means for our faith that Jesus can order around the wind and the sea (Mark 4:35-41) and that he holds authority over the most dangerous people and circumstances on the planet (Mark 5:1-21). This week I’ve been looking at how a desperate woman and a desperate man, who on the slimmest of information they had heard of Jesus, ran to him, taking great risks to pour out their deepest grief and fears to him. (Mark 5:21-43)

We have truckloads more evidence about the faithfulness of God and the trustworthiness of Jesus than those biblical characters had. Jesus is worthy to be trusted. Sunday at Bethany Place I will wrap up the series called, What Do You Fear? with a message titled, The Fear of Sickness & Death. You can see the outline for that message below.

You can listen to/watch the first two messages in the Fear series by following the links below: 

Fear of Sickness and Death
Mark 5:21-43
What Are You Afraid Of? Part 3

1.    Pour out your fear and grief to Jesus
Mark 5:21–24 (ESV) 21 And when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him, and he was beside the sea. 22 Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet 23 and implored him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” 24 And he went with him.
And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him.

2.    Allow Jesus to draw you into community
Mark 5:24–34 (ESV) 24 And he went with him. And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. 25 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, 26 and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. 28 For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” 29 And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30 And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” 31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’ ” 32 And he looked around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. 34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

3.    Trust Jesus’ timing
Mark 5:35–43 (ESV) 35 While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” 36 But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” 37 And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. 38 They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and Jesus saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 And when he had entered, he said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.” 40 And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was. 41 Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” 42 And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. 43 And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat. 

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