YEAR 2, WEEK 13, Day 1, Monday, 27 March 2023

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Monday, 27 March 2023:

Job 16:1-6 – …miserable comforters are you all. Shall windy words have an end? Or what provokes you that you answer? I also could speak as you do, if you were in my place; I could join words together against you and shake my head at you. I could strengthen you with my mouth, and the solace of my lips would assuage your pain.

In his suffering, Job needed comfort, not a condemning sermon. Condemning other people seldom helps them.

Job 16:10 – Men have gaped at me with their mouth; they have struck me insolently on the cheek; they mass themselves together against me.

Insecurity causes people to attack others who remind them of their own vulnerabilities.

Job 16:19-21 – Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and he who testifies for me is on high.

Job understood that he had and advocate in Heaven though he did not know the name Jesus.

Mark 5:14 – The herdsmen fled and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened.

The herdsmen were witnesses who personally experienced the power of God and, therefore, could not help but tell everyone. Witnesses testify to what they have personally experienced, not simply what they have heard about. The herdsmen’s story would have been hard to believe, but they were not worried about what others might say. Witnessing is only hard when the experience isn’t real, personal, and powerful.

Mark 5:17-18 – And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region. As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him.

Ultimately, people will seek either to draw closer to Jesus or further away. Those, like the man in today’s story, who have received God’s grace and healing in a life-changing way naturally desire only to remain in Jesus’ presence, enjoying fellowship with Him. How about you? Do you beg to be with your Savior, ever closer to Him with each day? Is that your heart’s desire?

  • Psalm 84:10 — For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
  • Psalm 63:1-4 — O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands.
  • Psalm 105:4 — Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!
  • Genesis 4:16 — Then Cain went away from the presence of the Lord and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.

The formerly demon possessed man begged to stay with Jesus, but Jesus said, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” (Matthew 5:19) So, the man “went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.” (Matthew 5:20) Later, as a result of the man’s testimony, large crowds from the Decapolis would seek Jesus when He returned to the region (Mark 7:31-36 and Matt. 15:30). God doesn’t want us to simply enjoy fellowship with Him, He wants us to share Him with others, which requires getting out of our comfort zones. For the formerly demon possessed man, a new life didn’t mean moving away to a new place and starting over. He was charged with going back into his community and displaying a new life and sharing a new message with those who had already known him for a long time. Sharing Christ with people you know is often more uncomfortable than sharing Christ with people you really don’t know. However, the reality of the new you will be more apparent to those who knew the old you than to those who didn’t. Many of your old friends, perhaps even some family, won’t accept the new you, but others will be blessed by your ministry and message of reconciliation. At the heart of a new life in Christ is a heart desperate to share with others Jesus Christ, the greatest gift of love anyone could offer another.

  • Philippians 1:21-26 — For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.
  • 2 Kings 7:9 — Then they said to one another, “We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news. If we are silent and wait until the morning light, punishment will overtake us. Now therefore come; let us go and tell the king’s household.”

Mark 5:23-35 — 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.

And he went with him…. And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years…. and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment…. And he looked around to see who had done it. 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. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” 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?”

In context with what we have read in the Old Testament, this is an especially amazing account. Jesus, a rabbi, was called to the home of Jarius to save his dying daughter. Along the way he was touched by a bleeding woman. After her act of faith, the women was afraid, likely, in part, because she had just made the Rabbi unclean (preventing him from entering anyone’s home according to the Law). This would have placed Jesus in a predicament as he journeyed to Jarius’ home (and I suspect the crowd was none too pleased with the woman); however, along the way, Jarius’ daughter dies (a corpse is also unclean). Jesus could now enter house without risk of rendering the house unclean (it was already unclean) and without concern of choosing to become unclean (the woman has already made him unclean). Now Jesus could enter the home without breaking the law. Interesting.

Mark 5:30 – And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him.

This is a fascinating verse – Jesus didn’t at first see the woman in the crowd who touched Him but perceived internally that power had gone out from Him. This is hard to understand, but what can be understood is that this physical healing was the result of a transfer of spiritual power from Jesus to the woman, which cost Jesus something but was given to the woman freely, strictly upon her faith. We also see that Jesus was aware of the cost of this healing to Himself and His response was to affirm the woman’s faith – “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” (v. 24) Healing was a gift to the woman, but, in a sense, it did cost her something: the willingness to defy ‘common sense’ and social norms and standards to reach out to rabbi though unclean and unworthy. Though this may seem to be a small thing, after living with her disease for 12 years, she could have easily given up, convinced herself that change wasn’t possible, considered the rabbi to be unapproachable, and failed to make the effort to push through the crowds to touch Him. Yet, she made the effort and took the risk of doing what no one would have suggested she do. Do you have the faith to believe the same power which healed the woman of her disease is available to you and powerful enough to cure you of your inner maladies such as fear, pride, anxiety, bitterness, anger, resentment, hopelessness, guilt, etc., even though you may have struggled with these things your whole life? Are you willing to press through the crowd of popular opinions and self-help philosophies to take hold of Jesus, from where true power for change comes? Are you willing to disregard your own feelings of inadequacy to trust Jesus to accept you just as you are, believing that He will freely restore you to who He always intended for you to be? Are you ready to connect with Jesus so that His power can flow through you so that you can finally live a fruitful life?

  • John 15:1-11 — “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

Mark 5:37 – And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James.

Among the 12, Jesus had an inner circle of three. These three had greater opportunity to see the wonders of Jesus. Are you fulfilling the Great Commission of making disciples? Who are your three and twelve? Are you one of the three and twelve of a more senior Christian who is personally discipling you?

Mark 5:43 — And he… told them to give her something to eat.

Jesus is concerned with your most basic needs.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 27 March 2023: Get out of your comfort zone and share Jesus with someone today.

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