Monday, March 23, 2020

Arise and Go Home

Not to long after the birth of Jesus, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and says, "Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him." (Matthew 2:13) So Joseph takes Mary and Jesus to Egypt. After the death of Herod the king the angel of the Lord appears again to Joseph in a dream saying, "Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child's life are dead." (Matthew 2:20) and so he arose, took the young Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel. Luke adds something that is interesting to this account, "And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him." (Luke 2:40)

Next, Luke tells us that Joseph and Mary take Jesus, who was twelve at the time, to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of the Passover. (Luke 2:41-42), and again we see something very interesting concerning Jesus,  He was " the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers." (Luke 46-47) Luke records once again, "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men." (Luke 2:52) Point being, we see that from childhood Jesus increased in wisdom.

 As we look through the Gospels, we see that the religious leaders who were in office during the time that Jesus walked the earth as the Son of Man were always looking for a way to discredit Jesus. Every time they did so, the wisdom of God in Jesus defused the entire situation and put the religious leaders to shame. Jesus certainly did not respond to their evil with any malice in His heart. His responses to them was because He was "...grieved due to the hardness of their hearts..." (Mark 3:5)  One particular time, Jesus got into a boat and went into His own city, "Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, "Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you." And at once some of the scribes said within themselves, "This Man blasphemes!" But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, "Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven you,' or to say, 'Arise and walk'? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins" — then He said to the paralytic, "Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house." And he arose and departed to his house." (Matthew 9:1-7)

There are a few lessons that we can learn from this situation. One is believing that God has not changed nor has His Word changed. What He did through Jesus and the early church still applies today. Jesus tells the scribes that their hearts think evil. But look at the wisdom of God in operation. Of course it would be easier to say to someone "Your sins are forgiven you" because things are "easier said then done." But are they? Although the scribes do not respond to His question, Jesus says to the paralytic, "Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house." The paralytic responds to Jesus' Word, "And he arose and departed to his house." 

Jesus tells us, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes." (Mark 9:23) Today, as it was for Jesus then, it should be no more difficult for believer's today to say, "Your sins are forgiven you,' or to say, 'Arise and walk." The only thing that can prevent this is simply a lack of faith in the integrity of God's Word. Although the disciples that Jesus chose and named apostles observed His ministry for over three years, they too dealt with the same issue prior to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. They did not believe. Not only did Thomas need tangible evidence of the resurrection (John 20:24-25) but Jesus rebuked all the disciples after His resurrection due to the unbelief and hardness of heart. (Mark 16:14) Even though Jesus foretold the apostles of His death and resurrection (Matthew 16:21); even though Mary Magdalene and the two disciples that Jesus met on the Emmaus Road told the apostles that Jesus was alive (Mark 16:9-13); it was a lack of faith in God's Word (Jesus' Words to them) that caused them to easily dismiss the word or will of God.

Sadly, enough in many sections of the church today the same thing happens. There is an unpersuadableness, a lack of true Bible faith in the Word of God. Look at how the multitude responded to what Jesus did for the paralytic, "Now when the multitudes saw it, they marveled and glorified God, who had given such power to men." (Matthew 9:8) What a drawing card for those who do not know the Lord. Letting God perform the supernatural through His children as evidence of His great love and all that Jesus did for humanity. However, the only way that these things can be a part of the church today, is to rid ourselves of doubt, fear and unbelief and be filled with the revelation knowledge of the Word of God which builds faith (Romans 10:17). Let us pray the prayer that Paul prayed for the church and believe, "That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened..." (Ephesians 1:17-18) and then be a doer of the Word...

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