“Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed. And He strictly warned him and sent him away at once, and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing those things which Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” However, he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the matter, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter the city, but was outside in deserted places; and they came to Him from every direction.: – Mark 1:40-45 (NKJV)
I hope everyone’s work week is off to a good start. I don’t start my work week until tomorrow, and that’s good because it gives me an opportunity to get today’s message written. I work the late shift tomorrow which means tomorrow’s message is going to be posted fairly late, but I’m going to get it written and posted. It’s important to me that I stay on track so that we finish this series on time mainly because I gave my word that’s what I was going to do. So, it’s important to me to keep us from getting behind.
So, today’s message is titled “More Than A Miracle Worker”, and the back drop is the scene in the Bible when Jesus heals the leper. I believe that we’re going to get some really good stuff out of today’s message, and so I’m not going to spend a whole lot of time on the introduction.
More Than A Miracle Worker:
When you think about all the people who witnessed Jesus walking the earth it’s amazing to me that there were only a few people who recognized that He was more than just a carpenter’s son. I mean, you’d think that with the way He taught and the miracles He performed that more people would realize that He’s more than what they thought He was, and then some. Then again, I remember when I didn’t really know who Jesus was either. I knew of Him, I knew about Him, but I didn’t really know Him. Then there was a day when He revealed Himself to me and I really began to start to KNOW Him…and from that moment my life has never been the same.
Think about the people Jesus touched and healed. Think of the man Jesus healed that was blind from birth. All those people wanted to know if he was really blind, if he was really healed, and his response was I don’t know anything about the man that healed me all I know is I was once blind and now I can see. The lepers I imagine were the same way as I’ve heard and read about how terrible the disease of leprosy really is I can imagine them saying the same that all they knew is they were in this terrible condition, but one touch from the Master completely changed their lives. Those who were demon possessed, the woman who had the issue with blood, as I think about them I realize that we all had the same encounter with Jesus. The one that completely changed our lives forever.
So, as Jesus was growing in popularity and stature the thing that people were focusing on was the performance of all those works and miracles. They completely missed the message that He was there to share with the world, and that’s why I suspect so many missed that He was truly more than this miracle worker. He was there to wipe away their sin, their sickness, and make them whole people. Not just physically, but spiritually as well. He came to bring all of us back to life. We were all dead in our trespasses and sins and on our way to eternity in hell, and that was the real reason He was here…to redeem us to Himself.
However, folk got so caught up in the shock and awe and wow of what He was doing they completely missed the real purpose for His coming. I imagine that is what it would be like if Jesus were here today. I wonder if the things He was doing would go as viral today as they did when He was first walking the earth. I wonder if the healing and casting out of unclean spirits would even make our Twitter feeds. Would it make the six o’clock news? Would it be analyzed to death? Have you ever wondered what the world would do if Jesus were to be walking among us today like He did before He went to the Cross? I do.
I know that people wouldn’t be able to handle what He preached because they can’t handle what He preached then now. So, I know there would be a lot of people out there saying that what Jesus was preaching isn’t really what Jesus was preaching. So many of us try to interpret what He did preach in a way that makes us feel better about who we are, and how we are living…but the fact is what Jesus said is just as valid today as it was when He actually preached it. The Word of God has never changed. The interpretation of the Word of God has never changed. What has changed is people’s ability to receive the truth as the truth whether they like it, believe it, or not. And the reason for that is they want the Bible to condone how they’re living instead of making sure that how they’re living lines up with the Word of God.
Do you want to know what else I find amazing about this story? Jesus healed the leper, and then He told him not to tell anyone what He just did. That’s the equivalent of dining at a restaurant, and privately slipping a really nice tip in with the check for the person that was waiting on you. You know…doing things for the simple reason of blessing people instead of doing them to be recognized for being such a good person. Many “good” people are currently awaiting their eternal resting place in hell, and let me add that being a good person doesn’t guarantee you eternity in Heaven. There’s only one thing that can guarantee you that, and that one thing is to make sure that you are a whosoever that’s called upon the Lord to be saved. Remember Jesus said that if you do things to be seen by men then the only reward you’ll receive is the pats on the back. He also said if you bless people in secret only allowing God to see what you’re doing the reward you receive will be much greater because it’ll be God that gives the reward…not man.
How many of you know that God’s rewards are greater than man’s no matter what the award is or how much it cost? Listen, there are some rewards that come from God that are absolutely priceless, Amen!?! The Bible says that children are a reward, does it not!?! Go back and read the Be-Attitudes…and take note of the rewards for having the correct heart and motive.
You see, the things that we can do to attract the world to Jesus isn’t preaching at them, but reaching out to them with love. We need to be good tippers. We need to be people who do things out of a heart of simply wanting to bless and love on people. When we do those things. When we treat the world with the love that Jesus treated the world with when He was here…that’s what will attract people to the church. However, when we don’t treat people in the church any better than they’re treated in the world…it’s no wonder that the world isn’t attracted to Jesus…we haven’t made Him attractive to the world. We’ve made ourselves and our mega churches become these big, gorgeous buildings…but as Jesus says many of those are beautiful on the outside, but filthy and empty on the inside because they left out the most important thing…they left out Jesus.
People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care, and if we want to make the church attractive to the world once again we have to start with making it a better place for the body of Christ. Anyone who has followed me for any length of time knows that I believe that we should never be able to find things in the world that we should be able to find in the church. The world (and the church) needs real, true, authentic love…the love that Jesus displayed when He was here. That’s how we attract the world to the church, Amen!?!
As I close this message today, I can’t help thinking about what a wonderful message God just preached to us. It’s easy to get caught up in doing things for people to say “look at me”, but that’s not the right here and motive for us to serve people with, is it? You see, this is when the question what would Jesus do really applies because Jesus healed people, but He never did it so people would see Him. He didn’t do it for the pats on the back…He did it simply to love and bless those He encountered. As I said many of them left those encounters never being the same again. That’s what Jesus does…and that’s why these questions really need to be taken into our secret place and meditated upon.
- What attracts you to Jesus now?
- Why do you pray to Jesus? Is it for what he can do for you, or for who he is?
Lord Jesus, reveal yourself more and more through your Word. I am attracted to your blessings and your promises. But now, reveal your glory and majesty so fully to me, that I would be attracted only to you. In Jesus name, Amen!
Final Word from Pastor B:
As I was working to close this message a song that I love by Jason Upton “It Ain’t Easy” was on, and one of the lines in the song is that we turn the tables by giving it all expecting nothing in return. So many of us today do things asking the question what’s in it for me, but that’s not the attitude the church is supposed to have. We’re to give without the expectation of receiving either from those we are serving or from God. You see, when I bless people I don’t do it thinking about what God’s going to bless me with or what I can get in return…I just do it because I want to bless the person I’m serving. It does no good to serve expecting to be repaid because then it’s not serving it’s work that we expect to be compensated for. I don’t know about anyone else, but I want to start building up currency in Heaven.
Soon and very soon this world is going to pass away. All the money in the world will suddenly be worthless. All the houses, all the cars, and money will all be left behind because in Heaven our currency here is no good. You know what is good? Doing things for people with no thought for what we’ll get in return. Blessing people just to bless them. That’s the kind of currency that will be worth something in Heaven…and that’s the kind of currency I want to start earning, Amen!?!
Well, friends, we’re almost a full week into this journey with Jesus through Lent. So far, I think these messages have really been good. I hope y’all are enjoying reading this series as much as I’m enjoying writing it. I hope they’re challenging us, and that we’re really taking the time to ask God to help us discover things about Him and ourselves that will allow us to be more like Him…and enjoy a greater relationship with Him.
Have a blessed day in the Lord!
Blessings & Grace ~ Pastor B