"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
October 16, 2013
"One day while Jesus was teaching, some Pharisees and teachers of religious law were sitting nearby. (It seemed that these men showed up from every village in all Galilee and Judea, as well as from Jerusalem.) And the Lord's healing power was strongly on Jesus.
"Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a sleeping mat. They tried to take him inside to Jesus, but couldn't reach Him because of the crowd. So they went up to the roof and took off some tiles. Then they lowered the sick man on his mat down into the crowd, right in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man, 'Young man, your sins are forgiven.'
"But the Pharisees and teachers of religious law said to themselves, 'Who does He think He is? That's blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!'
"Jesus knew what they were thinking, so He asked them, 'Why do you question this in your hearts? Is it easier to say 'Your sins are forgiven,' or 'Stand up and walk'? So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.' Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, 'Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!'
"And immediately, as everyone watched, the man jumped up, picked up his mat, and went home praising God. Every was gripped with great wonder and awe, and they praised God, exclaiming, 'We have seen amazing things today!'" (Luke 5:17-25 NLT)
In Mark 5:24-34 (NLT) we read another example of someone willing to do what was necessary to get to Jesus. "Jesus went with him, and all the people followed, crowding around Him. A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding. She had suffered a great deal from many doctors, and over the years she had spent everything she had to pay them, but she had gotten no better. In fact, she had gotten worse. She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind Him through the crowd and touched His robe. For she thought to herself, 'If I can just touch His robe, I will be healed.' Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel in her body that she had been healed of her terrible condition. Jesus realized at once that healing power had gone out from Him, so He turned around in the crowd and asked, 'Who touched My robe?' His disciples said to Him, 'Look at this crowd pressing around You. How can You ask, 'Who touched Me?' But He kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the frightened woman, trembling at the realization of what had happened to her, came and fell to her knees in front of Him and told Him what she had done. And He said to her, 'Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.'"
What stands out to me in both of these stories is the determination these people had to get to Jesus. They had a need and were willing to do whatever they had to do in order to reach Jesus. There is just one main difference in the two stories that I'd like to point out.
In the story of the woman who had suffered for twelve long years with constant bleeding, she was desperate for help. She had done everything she knew to do to get some relief from her suffering. In fact, she had spent everything she had paying off all the various doctor bills. At this point, she apparently had no more money and perhaps had already visited every doctor in town. She may have been facing poverty. So in addition to having suffered for twelve years, she now had no money. I'm sure she felt like she had hit rock bottom and like she had no hope.
You women will likely be able to relate a bit to what she was dealing with. She was likely feeling weak and had no energy. If it were me, I would be mighty cranky after twelve years of constant bleeding! This woman was suffering and in spite of all her doctor visits, she was getting worse instead of better.
The Bible doesn't say when or how she had heard about Jesus. I don't know if she perhaps had heard of His reputation of being able to heal all manner of sicknesses and diseases before He showed up in her village, or if she heard reports of neighbors being healed after His arrival, or if she grew up in the temple and was a believer.
When she heard about Jesus, she had the faith to believe if she could only touch His robe, then she would be healed. That's a lot of faith! She didn't think, "If only I can get the attention of Jesus and have Him lay His hands on me and speak words of healing over me, then I will be made whole;" but she knew in her heart that she would receive healing if she could just get close enough to touch His garment. I don't know how long it took her to press through the crowd, but she was determined that someway, somehow she was going to get to Jesus. She may have realized that this was her only chance. If she didn't take advantage of doing what she had to do to get close to Jesus, then this opportunity would be lost and she would continue in her suffering.
Immediately when she touched Jesus' garment, the bleeding stopped and she could feel healing flow through her. She must have been estatic! I'm sure she was rejoicing in her healing, and her intention was to quietly make her way out of the crowd and go back home. But Jesus had felt healing flow from Him when she touched Him and asked who had touched Him. Perhaps He already knew, but wanted her to acknowledge her act of faith.
The woman was frightened. Perhaps she thought that Jesus would be angry that she had pressed in and touched His garment. But realizing that she had been healed, she came forward and fell on her knees at the feet of Jesus and told Him what she had done. Jesus told her that her faith had made her whole and to go in peace.
She acted on her own behalf in her perseverance in doing what was necessary to receive her miracle and touch Jesus. She may have been embarrassed of her condition and hadn't told anyone, other than the doctors she had visited. After suffering for that many years, it likely took great effort on her part to press through the crowd and make her way to Jesus. But she stepped out in faith and put forth the effort to reach Jesus, in spite of how she felt.
In the other example found in Luke, the man was paralyzed, so he had no way to reach Jesus on his own. He was dependent on his friends to carry him to where Jesus was. When they got to the house where Jesus was, the crowd was so large that they couldn't get inside. Perhaps they realized that this was the one and only opportunity their friend had of receiving his healing and being able to walk. If they turned around and left, then Jesus might have journeyed to another village, and this opportunity would be lost to their friend.
This story shows what true friendship looks like. These men didn't say, "Sorry, but the crowd is so huge! There is no way we'll ever get inside. Maybe Jesus will come back through another time and we can get to Him earlier and He can heal you."
That is often our attitude. If it requires a lot of work or effort or time, then we give up and "go home". Instead of persevering in prayer and intercession, if our prayers aren't answered quickly, we give up and think perhaps God is saying no or not going to come through for us. And that is often our attitude when praying on behalf of others.
But these men were focused on reaching Jesus and weren't going to let anything deter them from their goal. They were determined and willing to persevere until they found a solution. If they couldn't get through the door, then they decided to go through the roof! I don't know how long it took them to take the tiles off the roof to make a big enough opening to lower the mat their friend was lying on through. That had to have been a fairly large opening which would have taken them some time. Remember that their friend was paralyzed so they had to make an opening in the roof large enough to lower the mat with the man lying on it through; then they had to carry him up to the rooftop.
Can you imagine what the people in the house thought when they heard someone on the roof pounding and making noise; then when daylight started showing through and they realized that someone was up there tearing away the tiles to make a hole? I wonder what the homeowners were thinking when they saw the hole getting bigger and bigger?
But when the men lowered down their friend, he was right in front of Jesus. Jesus forgave the man of his sins; then told him to rise, pick up his mat, and go home. Upon hearing those words, the man jumped up and walked out of the house, to the amazement of the crowd.
In this instance, the man couldn't act on his own behalf. He had to rely on his friends to carry him to Jesus. Had they chosen to turn away when they saw the size of the crowd, there was nothing this parlytic could have done. But his friends didn't let anything prevent them from getting him to Jesus.
Whether we are coming to God on our own behalf or on the behalf of a friend, we need to be like the persistent woman found in Luke 18:1-8 (NLT):
"One day Jesus told His disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up. 'There was a judge in a certain city,' He said, 'who neither feared God nor cared about people. A widow of that city came to him repeatedly, saying, 'Give me justice in this dispute with my enemy.' The judge ignored her for a while, but finally he said to himself, 'I don't fear God or care about people, but this woman is driving me crazy. I'm going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!'
"Then the Lord said, 'Learn a lesson from this unjust judge. Even he rendered a just decision in the end. So don't you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to Him day and night? Will He keep putting them off? I tell you, He will grant justice to them quickly! But when the Son of Man returns, how many will He find on the earth who have faith?'"
The woman in the story probably had faith that the first doctor she saw could help her. When he failed, she may have still had faith the second doctor could help her. But after so many doctors, and who knows what kinds of attempts at remedies, she surely didn't have much faith left.
But she did have faith in Jesus. She had so much faith that she just knew that she didn't need to pay Him, or do anything humiliating, but she just needed to touch His robe. Jesus knew her real need. He made others go wash in a certain stream, or carry their beds away, or other things to receive their healing. But this woman only needed to prove her faith. Jesus offers us so much, asking for nothing more than our faith and devotion to Him.
1/2 lb. ground beef
2 (16 oz.) cans pork 'n beans, drained
1/2 lb. bacon
2 Tbsp. Molasses
1 medium onion, chopped
1/3 cup brown sugar
salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1 can dark kidney beans
Brown the ground beef with the onion, salt and pepper; drain. In a separate pan cook the bacon, dice. Add all ingredients together in a baking pan. Cook on 350 for 1 hour.
My niece and niece-in-law are both expecting babies. Their favorite burp cloths are the cotton tri-fold cloth diapers, because they are thicker and more absorbant. The package says, "Multi-Purpose Use -- Ideal for diapering, burping, nursing". At a recent baby shower for the two of them a couple different people got those as gifts and sewed on applicaques and/or ribbon or patterned material down the sides to decorate them; which made really cute burp cloths. Probably not a good idea to use buttons or bows that the baby could chew on or pull off, so you don't have to have concerns for them possibly putting such things in their mouth and choking.
"A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need." Proverbs 17:17
We love you!
Loretta & Jon