A Compassionate Centurion and Contradictory Crowds

May 21, 2018 at 12:58 pm | Posted in Luke | 1 Comment
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Compassion has been defined as YOUR pain in MY heart. We can learn some lessons about compassion in Luke Chapter 7.

Now when he had ended all his sayings in the audience of the people, he entered into Capernaum. And a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die. And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant.

Luke 7:1-3

This centurion had compassion for his servant.

And when they came to Jesus, they besought him instantly, saying, That he was worthy for whom he should do this: For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue.

Luke 7:4-5

It was unusual for a Roman soldier to be favorable to the Jews, but this one had even built a synagogue at his own expense.

Then Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof: Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed.

Luke 7:6-7

Humility was not a characteristically “Roman” attribute, but this centurion did not feel worthy to have Jesus in his house.

For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

Luke 7:8-9

The centurion had both compassion and humility, but Jesus was impressed by his FAITH.

And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.

Mark 6:5-6

Jesus MARVELED at the faith of this gentile, and at the unbelief of the Jews in Nazareth. Also, the centurion identified with Jesus’s right and power to command. The centurion commanded soldiers, but Jesus commanded diseases. Alexander the Great had once ruled the world, but had been killed by a virus.

And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people. Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her.

Luke 7:11-12

Two crowds met: Jesus and His followers, and the widow of Nain and the mourners of her son. In which “crowd” would you place yourself? Are you mourning what has been lost? Or are you cheerfully on your way to enjoy what has been gained, and to tell others what can be gained?

Next, two sons met: The widow’s son was dead but was destined to live; the Son of God was alive but was destined to die.

And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.

Luke 7:13-14

Jesus experienced the widow’s pain in His heart.

Finally, two enemies met: Jesus, the Life, and our “final enemy,” death.

And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother. And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people.

Luke 7:15-16

The boy sat up (salvation) and spoke (profession). These are symbols of the two signs of new life which true Christians have received in Christ: awakening and speaking.

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

Romans 10:9-11

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The Direction of True Faith

March 1, 2017 at 4:28 pm | Posted in Mark | 3 Comments
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If you are familiar with modern television or movie tropes, then you might call this passage in Mark 6 a “flashback sequence” where we learn what happened to John the Baptist.

For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.

Mark 6:20

Herod feared John the Baptist, but not enough to repent and “believe” his message. He had John the Baptist killed for his wife’s sake.

And the king was exceeding sorry; yet for his oath’s sake, and for their sakes which sat with him, he would not reject her.

Mark 6:26

Herod feared God a little, but he feared men more. He loved God’s messenger a little, but he loved himself more. This is unbelief, and this was the first step on the way to the unpardonable sin, which the Jewish leaders committed, and into which they led many of their people. They rejected God (John the Baptist, His prophet). They rejected Jesus, God’s Son (consenting to, and helping to instigate, His Crucifixion). And they blasphemed (rejected, always resisting) the Holy Ghost – God’s final witness – when they stoned Stephen.

Even the Disciples – Jesus’s closest followers – had trouble with unbelief.

And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things. And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came unto him, and said, This is a desert place, and now the time is far passed: Send them away, that they may go into the country round about, and into the villages, and buy themselves bread: for they have nothing to eat.

Mark 6:34-36

Jesus was moved with compassion for people. Do we, as followers of Jesus, have genuine compassion? If we do, we will move toward, not away from, people who are suffering. The Disciples saw only the problem. Seeing only the problem is a symptom of unbelief. Jesus saw the potential. Seeing the potential is evidence of faith. False faith sees only problems for God to solve; true faith sees opportunities to minister IN problems. False faith sees only obstacles to be removed, and calls on God only to move us over, past, or around the obstacles without having to deal with them; true faith sees opportunities to stand on the obstacles and get close to God. True faith calls us to stand on the obstacles and proclaim His worth to others.

And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent away the people.

Mark 6:45

Jesus did not send away people who were needy; He sent away people who were greedy. For His Disciples’ sake, He also He sent them away to help them avoid a false “spiritual high.” We often want the excitement of religion. We call it God “moving” or we say we are “experiencing the presence of God” when things tend to get hyped up and emotional during a corporate worship service, but sometimes the best place to experience the presence of God is alone in a quiet place AFTER serving Him publicly, and with the intention of going back to serve Him again.

And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray.

Mark 6:46

Jesus, the Divine Servant, came to serve men – but only as He served God. We must never forget why we’re serving others. It’s because we serve HIM.

Faith in Service

January 11, 2017 at 2:55 pm | Posted in Mark | 5 Comments
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And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him.

Mark 6:1

Jesus returned to “His own country,” meaning Nazareth. It had one been one year since He had been there.

And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands?

Mark 6:2

Jesus, returning to His home synagogue, was now famous. The people must have known about His miracles through word of mouth, since He had not done them in Nazareth.

Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.

Mark 6:3-6

So, here we find the Servant encountering unbelief – a lack of faith. People “stumbled over Him” – they were scandalized by Him. They knew Him, so they should not have feared Him, but they could not explain Him, so they did fear Him. He didn’t fit into their framework. Sometimes we say that people fear the unknown, but what people really fear is the inexplicable.

In this episode from Mark 6 we also see the difference between today’s fictional version of faith as a mystical force which activates God and somehow “enables” Him to work – to do what WE want Him to do, such as heal us or give us money or get us out of trouble – and real faith.

Remember, in the Book of Mark, we are studying Jesus in the role of Servant. We would expect a servant to serve (and He does), but we would also expect a servant to bring us what we want (and He does not always do this). Jesus is a better Servant – the greatest Servant of all time. So, as He serves us, He brings us what we really NEED – what is BEST for us. Since He is the greatest Servant, He brings the greatest service: forgiveness, freedom, and fulfillment.

Faith is not believing for what we want. Faith is believing that Jesus will bring us what we really need, and it is shown by active belief – acting in accord with Him supplying our needs, not our wants.

And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits; And commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse: But be shod with sandals; and not put on two coats.

Mark 6:7-9

A House Built for a King

February 17, 2010 at 10:37 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 13 Comments
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We may never know for sure until we get to Heaven, but it seems plausible that, in the councils of eternity, God the Father decreed that Christ the Son, during His time on earth, would have the sort of occupation which would remind Him of what He had been at the foundation of the world.

Jesus, during the time leading up to his public ministry, was a carpenter (Mark 6:3). In Bible times, a carpenter was chiefly a builder. We know from Scripture that Christ built the heavens and the earth (Hebrews 11:3; John 1:1 and 1:14; Psalm 104).

It may surprise some, but Jesus Christ is still building today. What is He building? He is building His Church (Matthew 16:18). What material is He using? His materials are born-again believers, who have received Him as Savior by faith (I Peter 2:5).

If you have been saved by grace through faith – and that is the only way TO BE saved (Ephesians 2:8-9) – then there are some pre-ordained good works for you – as hand-fashioned material in the hands of the Master Builder – to get busy doing. Christians are not saved BY good works; they are saved UNTO good works, and the best work for a Christian to be involved in is the building of his Lord’s Church.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:10


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