A soldier’s faith! — Matthew 8:5-13
By Pastor Lee Hemen
July 7, 2019
What kind of discipline do you display in life? I have a sister who never saw a shoe store she couldn’t pass by or for that matter a jewelry display she would not stop for. For me it used to be bookstores. However self-discipline is a good thing and is why the military focuses on it so much. They want soldiers who will follow orders and are disciplined enough to be able to handle anything that is thrown their way during a conflict. In fact they are trained to act as a team and to depend on one another.
Jesus desired that his followers learn how to not only have faith in him but also to have faith in one another because he knew their future was going to be tough. And here in this depiction of an incident that Jesus has with a Roman centurion teaches about what it means to have faith in him and to have the willingness to follow Jesus wherever he leads. Let’s take a look at a soldier’s faith…
READ: Matthew 8:5-13
The way Jesus handles the Roman centurion’s faith teaches us that…
I. We have to be willing to see beyond a person’s exterior! (Vv. 5-7)
When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering.” Jesus said to him, “I will go and heal him.”
1. It is interesting but first it is a leper who comes to Jesus for healing and now it is a Roman centurion! The Jewish people hated the Romans and there were constant uprisings against them and constant repercussions by the ruling Roman authority. And it occurred “When Jesus had entered Capernaum” a major Jewish town where Jesus lived and went out from to do his ministry that “a centurion came to him, asking for help.” We know that Pontius Pilate used extreme measures to quell any threat to Roman authority. In describing Pilate’s personality, Philo (a first century Greek historian) writes that Pilate had “vindictiveness and furious temper”, and was “naturally inflexible, a blend of self-will and relentlessness”. Referring to Pilate’s governance, Philo further describes “his corruption, and his acts of insolence, and his rapine (taking other’s property by force), and his habit of insulting people, and his cruelty, and his continual murders of people untried and uncondemned, and his never ending, and gratuitous, and most grievous inhumanity”. So we understand that the Hebrew people did not like the Romans who occupied their nation. And here this Roman commander comes to Jesus! “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering.” Now wait a minute, you mean to tell me that a Roman soldier who is in command of 100 men is coming to an itinerant Jewish rabbi for help? And we learn it is for a servant no less? In his actions and words we learn a few things about this Roman: 1) He was compassionate (his servant was in “terrible suffering”), 2) He fully understood who he needed to go to for help (Jesus), and 3) he was humble enough that went himself into a major Jewish town and did not send an underling! I believe Jesus saw all of this in this man as well and responds to him by immediately telling him, “I will go and heal him.” Like Jesus, we have to be willing to see beyond a person’s exterior!
EXAMPLE: The tough question here is: Can I see beyond the outward appearance of the person? George Washington seems cold and aloof. Yet he served without pay as General of a ragtag Army against the might of the British military. Fiery in temper, he rarely displayed it; he held everyone in high regard with honor and wept over his soldiers. Kids today are likely to spend school time listing “10 things I like about myself” while young Washington, in contrast, diligently copied 110 “Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior” into his lesson book! Washington was known to pray often. Here Jesus teaches us that we have to be willing to see beyond a person’s exterior!
What we may see on the outside is not the actual person inside and here Jesus teaches us that…
II. We have to be willing to understand a person’s interior! (Vv. 8-9)
The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
1. Gauging what’s in a person’s heart is often hard to do but God never asks us to do that. Rather, we can listen and be attentive and deduce by why a person does what they do or says what they say and come to a pretty good conclusion. And further we can ask the Holy Spirit for guidance! Jesus promised “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. (John 16:13 NIV)” Far too often we rely on our “intuition” when we need to learn from God’s interaction! And in his humanity Jesus does just that! Jesus listens to the Centurion’s words and looks closely at his actions. Notice what Jesus hears: “The centurion replied, ‘Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.’” This army commander calls Jesus “Lord” meaning here “master”. He recognizes what some people never do: That Jesus is in complete control and in perfect power to do what he desires! Jesus is either the master of our lives or he is not. If he isn’t then he cannot and will not work in our lives until we are willing to become his servant. The Centurion understood all Jesus had to do was “say the word” and his “servant” would “be healed”! A Roman army officer was willing to become a servant in order for his slave to be healed! And notice he tells Jesus exactly why he believes this to be true: “For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” You see, there it is, Jesus sees that this man understood the command structure and because he does he understood how God works in the lives of those who willingly place themselves under his command! This rugged Roman Centurion was fully exposed to Jesus from his inside out! Jesus understood what made him tick because he listened and was attentive to the Centurion’s need. Like Jesus, we have to be willing to understand a person’s interior!
EXAMPLE: The tough question here is: Who controls my life? We all have comfort zones we do not like to leave. Benjamin Franklin drew up a list of 13 virtues he wished to acquire, and a program for practicing them. “I was surprised,” Franklin wrote later, “to find myself so much fuller of faults than I had imagined; but I had the satisfaction of seeing them diminish.” It is safe to stay inside our self-built walls. Yet if we are going to reach this generation with the good news of Jesus we must be willing to take a hard look at ourselves. Like Jesus, we have to be willing to understand a person’s interior!
Who controls our lives says a lot about who we follow and taking a hard look at one’s self can be tough. But here we learn from Jesus that…
III. We may need to give ourselves a kick in the posterior! (Vv. 10-13)
When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that very hour.
1. Can you imagine what Jesus’ disciple thought? What about the crowd who now followed his every move, I wonder how they responded to Jesus’ willingness to hear and act on the behalf of a Roman? Yet we also discover that Jesus in his humanity could be surprised and “When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, ‘I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.’” Say what? Jesus is delightfully surprised by the man’s explanation. How cool is that! So much so he admits he had not seen the same kind of faith out of his own people! And Jesus bluntly tells the crowd and his followers, “I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.” The promised feast that all Jews longed for and looked forward to! “But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Say it isn’t so! Basically Jesus is kicking them in the pants with is words! He is telling them that this hated Roman Soldier has more faith than any of them and that “many” of them “will come from the east and the west” to take their “places at the [future] feast with [their Father] Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” [Patriarchs all] but they the “subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside”! They will be punished for their unbelief! For their unwillingness to become Jesus’ servants! Remember Jesus had just gotten through telling the crowd “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 7:21 NIV)” In fact he would never know them but he would know this Roman centurion! Jesus teaches us that we may need to give ourselves a kick in the posterior!
EXAMPLE: The tough question here is: Do I need a swift kick in my bottom to get me to do what I know I need to do? Habeas corpus is recourse in law whereby a person can report an unlawful detention or imprisonment before a court. President Lincoln suspended it during the Civil War. John Merryman, a state legislator from Maryland, incurred Lincoln’s wrath and was arrested for attempting to hinder Union troops from moving from Baltimore to Washington during the Civil War and was held by Union troops. He immediately sought a writ of habeas corpus. However, President Lincoln decided not allow it because he felt state legislators were trying to hinder his ability to effectively fight the war. Lincoln decided to give them a “swift kick” to gain their attention. It worked even though five years later the Supreme Court ruled that only Congress could suspend habeas corpus. Here in Matthew’s account we learn that we may need to give ourselves a kick in the posterior!
We have to be willing to see beyond a person’s exterior! We have to be willing to understand a person’s interior! We may need to give ourselves a kick in the posterior!
This article is copyrighted © 2019 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.
Tag Archives: suffering
A soldier’s faith! — Matthew 8:5-13
The crucifixion foretold! — Psalm 22: 1-3, 6-8; 14-19; 27-31
By Pastor Lee Hemen
April 9, 2017
What was the most memorable event in your life? What historical event do you remember more than anything else in your life; the one moment in time that will always impact you that you will always remember? Several thousand years ago something occurred that so impacted the lives of those who witnessed it that they had to write down exactly what they had witnessed and how it impacted them. It was the crucifixion of an itinerant teacher known as Yeshua Ben Yoseph; Jesus son of Joseph.
Many churches around the world will celebrate Palm Sunday when Jesus rode into Jerusalem and was greeted by crowds of people proclaiming him the messiah. Jesus would die within a few short days on a cross, crucified by the Romans because of the lust for power by Jewish leadership. However did you know that this event was predicted nearly a thousand years earlier by King David? Jesus’ crucifixion was foretold, let’s discover what David wrote and how it impacts our lives today…
In his life David was not perfect and in fact had sinned against the Lord with Bathsheba. I believe that perhaps this Psalm reflects how God was dealing with his sin. In our deepest trials God can often speak his clearest and in this moment I believe…
I. God used David’s predicament to predict the suffering of his Messiah! (Vv. 1-3, 6-8)
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent. Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel. But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads: “He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.” Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you even at my mother’s breast. From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.
1. During King David’s time if one sinned they suffered the consequences of their sin and one of them was that God would remove his presence from them immediately. So we find David, a man after God’s heart, crying out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” because this is the way he felt! When we sin as believers God’s grace is sufficient and we never lose his presence! Yet we discover David did and not only felt “forsaken” but realized just how far removed God was because of his sin. He therefore asks in dismay, “Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent.” He has been in distress evidently for days and nights but God had not answered. The salvation David desired was not eternal but rather from his present condition! Yet David understood that God was “enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel.” God was in control. Here in David’s words is eerily reflected what Jesus may have gone through as he was hanging on the cross. As David goes through his distress he begins to recognize, “But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people.” He understands just how far he has sunken in his sin. And in fact he sees that “All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads: ‘He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.’” David, apparently feeling forsaken by God and ridiculed by his enemies, was confident that God would not fully abandon him. I believe that God used David’s predicament to predict the suffering of his Messiah!
EXAMPLE: David’s confidence came from his past experience and we learn that he knew God from his mother’s “womb”; that God had made him “trust in you even at my mother’s breast” (v. 9); and that “From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.” Interestingly we know that Jesus was God before, during, and after his birth. And Mark’s Gospel reminds us that “Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, ‘So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself!’ In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. ‘He saved others,’ they said, ‘but he can’t save himself!’” (Mark 15:29-31 NIV) I believe God used David’s predicament to predict the suffering of his Messiah!
There is nothing worse than the feeling of helplessness when one is accused of something, you want to make it right, and yet those who falsely accuse you will not listen. David knew his sin was wrong and he desired to confess it and…
II. In David’s words we find the prophetic picture of the suffering Messiah! (Vv. 14-19)
I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death. Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing. But you, O LORD, be not far off; O my Strength, come quickly to help me.
1. David’s despair brought him to the point where he felt as if he were “poured out like water” and he cries that “all my bones are out of joint.” Perhaps in his anguish God allow this forefather of Jesus to see his descendant’s death. David had been promised by God that “He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever… Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.” (2 Samuel 7:13, 16 NIV) But also within God’s promise to David there are words of punishment for mankind’s sins: “I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with the rod of men, with floggings inflicted by men. But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you.” (2 Samuel 7:14-15 NIV) The Messiah, David’s descendant Jesus would suffer for mankind. And like David when he cries out “My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me” so would Jesus’. In fact as David continues in his anguish his words are used by the Lord to show the kind of death Jesus would die: “My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death.” And just as the Pharisees, Romans, and the dregs of Jerusalem surrounded Jesus as he hung on the cross David remarkably prophesies, “Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet.” Just as the Gospels share that Jesus’ legs were not broken by his captors and how the Roman squad assigned to crucify him gambled over his clothes David whimpers, “I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.” And yet again in the poetic words of Jesus’ ancestor we hear the sweet melody of hope: “But you, O LORD, be not far off; O my Strength, come quickly to help me.” Luke reminds us that “Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’ When he had said this, he breathed his last.” (Luke 23:46 NIV) How amazing to know that the words of David are remarkably fulfilled in the death of Jesus. In David’s words we find the prophetic picture of the suffering Messiah!
EXAMPLE: Isaiah longed for what David sang about; namely the Messiah who would come to rescue his people. Isaiah declared the Messiah would be “pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” And that “He was assigned a grave with the wicked and with the rich in his death” and “Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering”. However, “After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities… because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:5, 9-12 NIV) And like with Isaiah in David’s words we find the prophetic picture of the suffering Messiah!
Could David have understood the entire impact that his words would have? I do not believe so and yet this makes it even more remarkable. Yes he knew God’s promise and he knew God always fulfilled his promises, but David could not have completely understood how God’s promise would be fulfilled and how his own words of despair would bring such hope. And so finally we discover that…
III. David’s words end with a wonderful promise concerning the suffering Messiah! (Vv. 27-31)
All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, for dominion belongs to the LORD and he rules over the nations. All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before him– those who cannot keep themselves alive. Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn– for he has done it.
1. When Jesus rode into Jerusalem and was greeted by palm branch waving crowds two thousand years ago no one but him actually understood what would occur. Jesus’ birth, life, and death were foretold by God because it was about him and how he would redeem mankind. David’s poetic prophecy reinforces what God had planned all along. And now we hear David as he declares, “All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, for dominion belongs to the LORD and he rules over the nations.” Some think that David was declaring that future generations would worship God because they remembered how David was rescued; I do not think so. I believe that when God’s people truly give themselves over to the Lord’s will and confess their sin as David did here and as God works in the lives of those he uses for his purposes as David was he gives them special insight into his predetermined will. God through his Holy Spirit is giving David these words and insight: “All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before him– those who cannot keep themselves alive.” Only the Messiah Jesus can do that! And now they will know it to be true because “Posterity will serve him (the future Messiah); future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn– for he has done it.” I am reminded of the words God spoke to Moses concerning his promise, “I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the LORD, will do for you.” (Exodus 34:10 NIV) David began his poem with words of his own personal despair but now that has turned to worldwide rejoicing! As God spoke through the prophet Isaiah, “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.” (Isaiah 46:10 NIV) David’s words end with a wonderful promise concerning the suffering Messiah!
EXAMPLE: Again on that Palm Sunday so long ago the crowds had no full idea as to who Jesus was exactly, for if they did they would have done even more! The plan of God that began with the words of a messenger of God telling a young frightened virgin she would give birth to the Messiah was coming to fruition. Each plodding step that the donkey took brought the Messiah, the Lamb of God, God himself closer to his predetermined sacrifice. While the process would be horrifying, the outcome would be marvelous. David’s words end with a wonderful promise concerning the suffering Messiah!
God used David’s predicament to predict the suffering of his Messiah! In David’s words we find the prophetic picture of the suffering Messiah! David’s words end with a wonderful promise concerning the suffering Messiah!
This article is copyrighted © 2017 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.
I was just wondering what you thought about a cross. You know what I mean, not the talisman you wear around your neck to make you feel good about yourself. Nor the emblem you had tattooed to your buttocks. Perhaps you did not realize that it represents a horrendous torture device that slowly and painfully suffocated its victims over days of agony. It was used to murder the one who willingly died for you and loves you. Perhaps you wear a crucifix that continually keeps him nailed and suffering for your pleasure. I know some will say that it reminds them of what he did for all mankind, but really. Perhaps rather than wearing a cross or crucifix outside around your neck or emblazoned on your ornery hide, maybe you should seriously think about placing the one who died on it inside you instead. Those who truly have do not need graphic reminders of murder and torture, they have the one who died on the cross living in them through his presence. Which is more important, the cross or the empty tomb? Of course, it would hard to wear a tomb around one’s neck, but it makes one wonder…
Pastor Lee Hemen has been the outspoken pastor of the same church for 27 years in Vancouver, WA. He writes regularly on spirituality and conservative causes and maintains several web blogs. This article is copyrighted © 2012 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.
Weak In Christ, But Not A Wimp! – Today’s Thoughts…
By Pastor Lee Hemen
November 5, 2008
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
Sadly, there are Christians who actually think that by their suffering, they are better Christians. Then, they quote these verses and add as an excuse: “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13) However, this is not only a perversion of the text, it is a misrepresentation of what Paul was writing about. The later verse, 1 Corinthians 10:13, deals with temptations and not suffering, and the verses, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, deals with Paul’s “weaknesses,” and not our convoluted empathy in thinking he is writing about what suffering we are going through at the moment.
So, what then is Paul actually speaking to us about in the above verses and what can we garner from them? Namely, the fact that God’s “grace is sufficient for you.” The trial or “suffering” you may be going through could be your personal thorn, but be careful in thinking so. (See yesterday’s thoughts on the subject.) The “way out” that most believers forget about in their “temptations” or trials is found in Jesus Christ, whose “grace is sufficient!” Therefore, stop right now in your self-pitying thought practice and despicable wallowing in your personal pain and trouble, thinking that God has given this “struggle” to you to, make you “stronger!” (Well, boohoo!) You cannot be made strong spiritually if you do not understand the spiritual truth found here. God’s strength, his grace, and his power is what is important here and not you. (The last time I looked, the Bible was about God working his grace in the world, and not about you!) God’s power can only rest on those who have come to the understanding that their life in the Lord is all there is, nothing else matters. Not their “suffering,” their “temptations,” or their trying to bear up under personal tragedy. Now, least you mistakenly think that I am saying that God does not care about us, you are wrong again! God after all did send his Son to die for us and to extend his grace to us. But get a clue here folks!
Paul was not some sadomasochist who delighted in God actually hurting him! And he never viewed God as a personal protagonist that just waited to smack him around to get his attention either. God was God and he is in control. He has provided Jesus as our means of grace. It is this grace that is sufficient for us in any circumstance we may face in this life. Sadly, I have encountered Christians who were actually happiest when they were in the midst of their personal misery, thinking they were being made stronger simply by wallowing in their own wretchedness! Hogwash! Jesus came to set the captives free from the slavery of sin, to bind up our wounds created from sin, and to give us a life more abundant in him, not to save us from the struggles of life! Paul wrote, “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” Paul did not look for pain and suffering to make him stronger in God, instead he was well aware of how God was working in his life as he enjoyed God’s grace in Jesus. Paul needed to learn personal strength in the Lord. Therefore Paul was “delighted” in learning he was weak without Jesus. He could not have faced the insults, hardships, persecutions, and difficulties he did if he did not know that God’s grace was more than sufficient for him. Paul was not asking for a bigger beating from God, he was excited that he could face any circumstance, not in himself because he was weak, but in Jesus who made him strong in his grace! And dear child of the Lord, so can you!
Never delight in the false assumption that what you are going through is a “test” from God to see if you will respond by asking for more of the same. God does not want us to become spiritual self-flagellationists. He desires that we grow in his grace. God’s grace is sufficient for you every moment of every day no matter what your life may bring your way.
This article is copyrighted © 2008 by Lee Hemen and if you reprint it, reproduce it, or want to use it in any way, you must do so in its entirety or get the written permission of its author.
March 21, 2008
By Pastor Lee Hemen
“But a time is coming, and has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:32-33)
I find it really amazing that Jesus took the time to relate to His disciples that they would not only disown Him, but they would run for their lives as well. In fact, they would get so distressed and depressed over the situation that they would head home instead of relying on His words that He had related to them over and over again. Looking back we can think, “Man, were these guys dense or what?” However the same is perfectly true for many Christians in our day and age. Here’s what I mean: We come to Christ because we need Him to sooth us, comfort us, or pat us on the head and say to our weary souls, “There, there, everything is going to be all right.” And it is for a few days, but then life comes crashing back into our lives and we quickly go our separate ways. We head back to the comfort of our “home,” where justified sin and self-reliance dwell.
When the first missiles of hardship, doubt, or spiritual warfare shoot their fiery darts across our bow, we head for the hills forgetting that Jesus also promised, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may know peace.” It is only in Jesus Christ we find and discover what real peace is all about. It is not the peace that does away with hardship, pain, or spiritual suffering. “In this world you will have trouble. But [we are to] take heart! [Jesus has] overcome the world!” We quickly forget that Jesus taught, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) Apart from Jesus we will run sacred, we will head home when troubles come our way, we will scatter when faced with tough times.
Just as Jesus did not depend on His fair-weather-friends, because He knew His Father was with Him no matter what happened, we can depend on Him. The world would soon beat, berate, and batter Him physically, emotionally, and spiritually but He took heart. Why? He had overcome the world and anything it could throw at Him. He did not rely on others, but on what He knew about God to be true! Herein is the truth that Jesus wants all of us to understand today, on this “Good Friday,” that we may face all kinds of temptations, sorrow, and suffering but we can take heart because He has overcome the world! And, because Jesus has overcome we can as well.
Therefore take heart little tired sin-sorrowful soul, you do not need to run away, Jesus your Redeemer has overcome the world so that you can too!
NOTE: This article is copyrighted by Pastor Lee Hemen © 2008 and the property of Pastor Lee Hemen. You are welcome to copy it, email it, or use it but please if you copy it, email it, or use it you must do so in its entirety. This devotional will follow Morning by Morning by C H Spurgeon. You may use it however you desire.