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Lent 2020 Message #2

The season of Lent. The time each year we think about the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus. His sacrifice of dying on a cross as the payment for our sins so we can be saved from our sins. The sacrifice that, when accepted, results in us being blessed here on earth and having the privilege of looking forward to being in Heaven.

Jesus’ death was the ultimate sacrifice. It is worth being thought about and celebrated. However, there are other examples of Jesus suffering. It is some of those other examples we are studying in this year’s Lenten sermons.

Including suffering that is described by Mark in chapter 5 of his New Testament book.

In last week’s Lenten sermon, the suffering highlighted was caused by the slowness of Jesus’ disciples to learn and understand His power and His love. How frustrating that must have been for Jesus.

Yet the hope expressed last week was that despite the struggles of the disciples, Jesus continued to work with them. That is a hopeful point because, if or when we struggle with our understanding of Jesus, that same willingness is still present with Jesus. He will continue to work with us.

The suffering in today’s passage is that of Jesus having such a busy schedule, with so many demands on Him. It is important to note Jesus never complained. He was always ready to help anyone and everyone. That is certainly displayed in Mark 5. But remember Jesus, while completely divine, was in human form. His body had to have become tired with all the demands He faced.

Mark 5 begins with Jesus being on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee. He and His disciples had sailed there overnight.

During the night, a huge storm had hit the boat. It was in danger of capsizing until Jesus ordered the wind to cease, which calmed the sea. What a great miracle that was.

Sometime after that, Jesus and His disciples reached the eastern shore. As soon as they got out of the boat, there was suddenly another problem that met Jesus. The problem was a man who began running toward Him. Not an ordinary man. A man with an unclean spirit in him. Many unclean spirits.

Because of the demon-possession, the man was very scary. He wore no clothes. He was dirty and unkempt. He had sores and bruises on his arms and legs caused by him breaking chains and fetters people had used to try to restrain him. He cried out with wild rants. He did that constantly as  he roamed around the graveyard where he lived.

The man was a total mess. A scary mess. When Jesus got to shore, that man started running toward Him. 

How would you have reacted? I think my reaction would have been to get back in the boat as fast I could and head back from where I had come. 

Jesus did not react that way. He stood His ground. Which was very fortunate for that man. Listen. As soon as the man got to Jesus, he began to worship the Lord. Wow. That was certainly not what would have been expected.

When the man arrived, Jesus, knowing the problem was not the man, but the demons in him, opened the conversation, talking to the demons, ordering them out of the man.

The demons knew who Jesus was. They called Him “Jesus, the Son of the Most High God.” And they were afraid of Him. Afraid of what He would do to them. In fact, they begged to not be destroyed. Instead, they wanted to be sent to a herd of swine that was nearby.

Jesus agreed. The demons left the man and entered the swine. By the way, the herd numbered about 2000. That is how many unclean spirits had been in the man. No wonder he was such a mess.

The demons entered the swine, which is what the demons had asked. However, they did not survive. The swine were so troubled, they rushed down the hill where they were. They ran right into the Sea of Galilee and were all drowned.

The herdsmen who had been watching the swine fled. Everyone they met, they told what had happened. The result was that many others left what they were doing and ran to that spot.

Imagine the surprise of the people when they saw the man who had earlier been crazy. He was completely changed. He had clothes on. He was sitting, having a conversation with Jesus, not ranting, but speaking in his right mind.

What a great miracle Jesus had performed. That was certainly a life-changing miracle for the man. However, the people had a very strange reaction. They were afraid. Of what, I do not know, but they were afraid, and they began to beg Jesus to leave. 

How amazing is that. Jesus had just helped a man beyond anything those people could have imagined. If Jesus helped him, how many others could be helped? Yet they asked Jesus to leave.

How disappointing that was for Jesus. That was suffering caused by rejection. But we know Jesus will not force His will on anyone, so He honored the request of the people. He got back into the boat. He and His disciples set sail west, back across the Sea of Galilee.

In an interesting addition to the report, the man who had been healed begged Jesus to be allowed to go with Jesus, which Jesus refused, instead giving the healed man a ministry. A ministry of staying in the area, showing and telling what the Lord had done for him. A ministry the man accepted, causing those who saw and heard the man to marvel.

Back on the west side of the Sea of Galilee, it turned out there was no time to rest. Rest would have been nice after calming a storm the night before, then healing a demon-possessed man, then being asked to leave the area, then sailing back across the Sea of Galilee. Rest would have been welcome, but as soon as Jesus again got out of the boat, immediately another great crowd gathered around Him.

Again, Jesus never hesitated to help people, but as stated earlier, I think the human part of Him suffered because of the constant demands on Him. Here is another example as another great crowd gathered around Him.

One person in the crowd came with a special request. That person, named Jairus, was important. His importance was that he was one of the rulers of the local synagogue. 

That is interesting. Many if not most religious leaders were already against Jesus, yet this one went to Jesus.

He went to Jesus with a special request. His daughter, who was 12 years old, was very ill. She was at the point of death, which is why he went to Jesus. Despite what other leaders were saying about Him, the Lord had a reputation of being able to heal people. When it was his daughter who was ill, Jairus did not care what others said. He went to who he knew could heal.

Jairus fell at Jesus’ feet and prayed, asking Jesus to come to his house and lay hands on his daughter. He expressed the faith that if Jesus would do that, his daughter would be made well and live.

Remember Jesus was tired. Remember there was a great crowd of people around Him. He could have tried to break away and rest. Short of that, He could have decided to spend the day teaching the crowd of people. But a specific need had been brought to His attention. Jesus went with Jairus toward the leader’s home.

The great crowd followed along. The way I read it, the people jostled Him as He walked. That is how large the crowd was.

Then something happened. In the crowd was a woman who had a bleeding problem. A problem she had had for twelve years. She had suffered greatly. Think how weak she was. And she was poor. She had spent all her money on doctors, none of whom had been able to even help with the problem.

It is important to note the woman should not have been in the crowd that day. Her bleeding problem caused her to be considered unclean. She was not, according to religious law, to have been with people.

But she, too, knew Jesus’ reputation of having the power to heal, so she worked her way into the crowd, no doubt slouching and hiding her face to keep from being recognized.

She moved close to Jesus. She came up behind Him. She then knelt down, ignoring the danger of being trampled. She knelt down, knowing that if should just touch the fringe of His garment, she would be healed.

The woman knelt. She did touch the fringe of Jesus’ garment. Immediately, the bleeding stopped. Immediately she felt healthy. 

Have you ever had an illness during which you go to sleep, knowing that the next morning you will feel better, then the next morning you wake up and feel just as lousy as you did the night before? And on and on it goes? 

How discouraging that can be. That is what the woman had experienced for twelve years. But now she not only was healthy. She felt healthy. What a wonderful miracle that was.

Jesus stopped and asked who had touched His garment.

“Really?” His disciples responded. “You are being pushed and shoved by a great crowd. Lots of people have touched Your garment. What do You mean, who touched You?”

Jesus persisted. It had not been a normal touch. This one had been special. In fact, He had felt healing power go from Him.

Jesus asked, “Who touched Me?” The woman, fearful and trembling, probably because of what the reaction of the crowd might be and also because she had not asked Jesus for permission to be healed, admitted it was she who had touched Him.

Jesus’ reaction? No anger? No correction. No expression of being put upon. Instead, some wonderful words. “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace and be healed of your disease.”

Such love. Such compassion. Such power. But then a reminder. The reminder of where Jesus had been headed, which was to Jairus’ house to heal the leader’s daughter.

The reminder came in the form of bad news. The daughter had died. There was no disappointment expressed that Jesus had not been in more of hurry to get to where He was going. The news was just that there was no need for Jesus to continue on since the girl had died.

With that news, maybe Jesus could get some rest. Instead, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear. Only believe.” He then continued to Jairus’ house.

Jesus was somehow able to dismiss the crowd around Him. He allowed only Peter, James, and John to go with Him to the house.

When they arrived at the house, Jesus saw and heard the tumult caused by people weeping and wailing loudly. It was common for professional weepers and wailers to attend a death. It was a way to announce and death. It was kind of an honor to have a very public display when a person died.

When Jesus entered the house, He asked those people why they were making such a scene. He added that the child was not dead, but only sleeping.

The people laughed at Jesus, which is the expected reaction. I mean, those people had seen death before. They knew when someone was dead. The girl was dead. And she indeed was dead. Jesus use of the word “sleeping” was in fact a prediction the girl would be raised from death.

Jesus took all those who were weeping and wailing outside. He then took the child's father and mother, along with Peter, James, and John back inside to where the child was. Jesus took the dead girl by the hand he said to her, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.”

Immediately the girl - who had been dead - arose. She got up and started walking around, which was proof she was indeed alive. That was further proved when she was given food and she ate.

*       *       *       *       *

Jesus went on from Mark 5 to continue to have a very, very busy ministry. And yes, Jesus did find times to rest. Rest that included times of prayer. But over and over and over again, when there were needs brought to His attention, He willingly took care of them.

What hope that is for us. Hope that whenever we face a problem, Jesus is still willing to take the time and the energy and the power and the love to help us. In fact, that is even more the case now because Jesus now has no humanity to tire Him. He is always available to help us, willing to do so whenever and wherever. 

Including when we have needs associated with our faith in Jesus. Throughout this season of Lent, as we consider the sufferings of Jesus, we are also thinking about what the Bible teaches about Jesus’ followers suffering. 

It is important to remember that while we can, do, and will have a wonderful relationship with Jesus, now and in Heaven, His followers are promised suffering at the hands of those who do not accept Jesus as the Savior, that said not to discourage, but to prepare us spiritually.

For today, here are words recorded in Matthew 16. Jesus said that if any man [or any woman] would come after Him [Jesus is worthy of being followed, one proof being that He is never too tired to help us] let him deny himself [which refers to denying our human nature, of which Jesus is an example] and take up his cross [which refers to suffering for the cause of Christ] and follow Him [not the world or necessarily our wants and wishes, but Jesus and His teachings].

Yes, there may be - there are and there will be - difficult days mixed in with our good days. As discussed today, how good to know that when the troubled times come, Jesus never has been and never will be too tired or too busy to help us.

Knowing that, let’s be willing to ask for and accept His help. What a privilege that is for those who are followers of Jesus.

Today’s closing song is a challenge to tell others how Jesus has helped you - and me. It is Tell What He’s Done for You. We will sing verses 1, 2, and 4. Let’s celebrate the times Jesus has helped us with peace, with giving us His light for our lives, and with joy.

Have you found rest and peace within,

Rolled far away your load of sin,

Stepped from the old life to the new?

Tell what the Lord has done for you.

O tell what He’s done for you,

Of His love so strong and true;

O tell what He’s done, what He’s done for you;

Others may need Him, too.

Have you a Friend 

whose wondrous grace

Lights up with joy the darkest place,

Who to the end will still prove true?

Tell what the Lord has done for you.

O tell what He’s done for you,

Of His love so strong and true;

O tell what He’s done, what He’s done for you;

Others may need Him, too.

Have you a joy that ne’er shall fail

E’en when you walk through death’s dark vale,

Some One whose pow’r great things can do?

Tell what the Lord has done for you.

O tell what He’s done for you,

Of His love so strong and true;

O tell what He’s done, what He’s done for you;

Others may need Him, too.

Some One whose pow’r great things can do?

Verse 3 of the hymn.

Have you been saved? 

Then His love you should show.

Is He by your side each day? 

Do you look to Him to help you through?

Then tell what the Lord has done for you.

Together, let’s tell what the Lord has done for us.

Let’s tell of His love that is so strong and true.

Let’s tell what He has done 

Because others do need Him, too.


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