Sunday, March 31, 2019

Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.    

Then He told John’s disciples, “Go back to John and tell him what you have seen and heard—the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor. (Luke 7:22)

Jesus went through towns and villages, and preached the Word of God.   He truly comforted the hearts of the hearers, and those who heard His message tasted Heaven even on earth.  John the Baptist sent his disciples to Jesus.   The disciples of John asked Jesus,

“Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?’”    (Luke 7:20b)

Then He told John’s disciples, “Go back to John and tell him what you have seen and heard—the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor. And tell him, ‘God blesses those who do not turn away because of me.”   (Luke 7:22-23)

Jesus cured many people of their diseases, illnesses, and evil spirits, and He restored sight to those who were blind.  Jesus was the healer and the preacher of the Good News to the poor and those were suffering so that they have the hope and the riches of the God’s kingdom.

As Jesus was walking along, He saw a man who had been blind from birth.   The disciples saw the blind man with Jesus.   For years, they saw Jesus’ miracles, healings, blessings and comforts that Jesus gave to the people.   They learned many things from Jesus, but they hearts were not fully open to the truth and the mercy and the love of God.   They were still of the world, because they were still work-in-progress under Jesus.   One part of their hearts was with Jesus, but the other part still followed the worldly teachings and wisdoms that they received before meeting Jesus.   As a result, they were still thinking like the people who did not know Jesus, and used the wisdom of the world to discern the cause of the blindness of the man.   In some sense, what they reflect what we often do.   We still think like those who don’t know Jesus and get to a conclusion using the wisdom of the world.   Of course, the disciples were not perfect and we are not either.  We are learning Jesus, but we are still of the world, which is the fact as long as we are on this world.   Thus, sometimes we think and judge like those who do not know Jesus, as the disciples did.  The amazing fact is that the disciples were with Jesus, which did not make little difference in their hearts and minds.   Here is the question that was raised to Jesus by the disciples.

 “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?”  (John 9:2)

The initial reaction of the disciples to the blind man from his birth was to figure out why he was blind.   As the disciples of Jesus, they should have showed a compassion, mercy and love toward him.  In fact, in their hearts, they thought, “Here is a blind man.  He must have done something wrong.    We must be more righteous than the blind man because we are not blind.    Wait a minute.   It is something odd.    He has been blind from his birth.   Hmmm.  He could not have sinned before he was born, but he was born as blind.   His blindness must have come from sins, and if he could not have sinned, then where did the sins come from?   The next person who can impact on his blindness is, then, his parents.   If so, the blindness should have been caused by the parents’ sins.    However, we are not sure whether his parents’ sins can really cause his blindness or not.   It is a hard problem.   We cannot find a clear answer.   We put together all our knowledge and wisdom, but we cannot tell.  Ok.  Let’s ask Jesus.   Before getting Jesus, let’s summarize.   There are only two reasons why he is blind:
1.      His own sins have made him blind  -- it is less likely that he has actually sinned before birth.
2.      His parents’ sins have caused him blind –  we are not sure through whether parents sins really made him blind or not.
They decided to present the two choices as above.  Then Jesus would pick one of and  

Upon hearing the disciples’ question, Jesus did not hesitate even one moment before responding to them.   However, Jesus’ response was not what the disciples expected.   His focus was the misery and suffering of the blind person and God (especially, God’s plan in the person.

How many times do we do the same thing?   When a person suffers from sickness, financial hardship, or broken relationships.    What’s the first thought popping up in our heats or minds?    Do we see the person’s sufferings with the loving eyes of Jesus?    Our eyes are quick to judge and label the person suffering with sins.  Then we think we are more righteous before God because we are not suffering like the person.    In reality, it is not.   Judging others through our own eyes is an even bigger sin.  The Bible warns us:

“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. (Matthew 7:1-2)

Yes, we are not much different from those who are suffering.    We are doing the same things bad before God.  But God has spared us with His love.   This is the only reason why we are not suffering or sick.  His love and mercy trump over everything in our lives including our sins.   As long as we humbly come back to God, and confess our sins, God forgives us all.    This is the reason why we give thanks to God, and we praise His name.   Let’s go back to the today’s Bible verses, and see how Jesus responded to the disciples’ question.

Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”   (John 9:3)

Jesus quickly homed into the very center of their reasoning, and explained.    The man’s blindness was, on the contrary, not caused by the sins of either himself or his parents.   The real reason was to display the works of God in him.   Have we thought about all sufferings of others in this way as Jesus explained?  If not, now is the time to change our hearts and minds by sifting our focus on God, and to look at the person with the loving eyes of Jesus.  If not, we are the judge of the person.   Remember that we are not the judge to the person, but God.   If we judge, then we effectively dethrone our God from the center of our heart and put ourselves above the God.   The Bible tells:

No, O people, the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God  (Micah 6:8)

We do the right in the eyes of God with love and mercy toward others as God did to us.   Then walk humbly with our God to continue hearing His will and understand what He wants from us.    Where are we?   Are we humbly walking with God while loving others with the mercy that was given to us?  Or still are we living like those who belong to this world?   

Jesus continued:

We must work the works of Him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”  (John 9:4-5)

Yes, we must work the works of God.   This means that whenever there is an opportunity, we show our love and mercy to others as we received His love and mercy from God.   We walk with Jesus throughout our lives, who is the light, while reflecting the light of Jesus to the people in the darkening world.   Yes, we are not the light, but He is the light.   In Him and through Him, we can be a light for Him, when we humbly walk with God sharing His love and mercy with others, especially those who are suffering.

Jesus, who was merciful and full of compassion, spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva.   Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him,

“Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent).  (John 9:8p)

Jesus loved the blind man, while the disciples were discussing whose sins made him blind.   Jesus cured the blind man, while the disciples wanted to be theologically right before Jesus.  What the blind man needed was healing and love.   Jesus lovingly told him to go and wash his eyes in the pool of Siloam.   Jesus could have cured him at the very place, but Jesus didn’t.   Why?   The blind man should have not remained where he used to be.   Instead, he had to go to the place where he could wash his eyes and be cleansed.   The blind man followed what was told.  He left his place although he could not see because he was blind, but he believed.  Then he went, and washed.  He came back seeing!   The miserable blindness in him was gone forever.

What’s the message that we get from the blind man and Jesus’ miracle of curing his blindness?   First, we have to listen to Jesus, and believe Him.    Then as Jesus tells, we go away from the old-self, which is always our center of love of our own while judging others from there (i.e., our own standards).   This is the place that we should not stay any longer.  As soon as hearing Him, we immediately leave this miserable old-self.   Then we come to Jesus and wash ourselves by the blood of Jesus t be renewed in Him.

What does mean being washed by the blood of Jesus?   We confess our sins before Jesus, and receive His forgiveness, which was purchased by the blood of Jesus on the cross.   That is, Jesus was sacrificed for our sins on the cross although He was no sin at all.   Washing our hearts in the blood of Jesus is not onetime event for one’s life either.   We have to wash our hearts in His blood as often as possible because we always get contaminated by the world.  The world tenaciously clings to us so tightly, and If there is even a slightest glimpse of our own old-self, then Satan quickly wedges into our hearts in order to make us his prey falling from the grace of Jesus.   Of course, later we realize our fall being deceived by Satan and our own old-self full of ego.   Then we have to remember the most important fact that even when we fall again and again, Jesus is always waiting us with wide open arms to embrace us with His love.  When we reach out to Jesus and grab His hands with our repenting hearts, Jesus lovingly embrace us and restore us.   This is the love of Jesus, and the love is so strong that nothing  can separate us from His love, whether it is something that we know and fear, or we even cannot know now and till the days that we will see Jesus face to face.   What an assurance!   Thus, we have confidence in Him in every situation and anytime.  This is our hope and our faith in Jesus Christ.  Praise the Lord!   We heartfully present  the song of our heart to Him so that His name be glorified from now and forevermore.

 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  (John 8:12)

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Jesus Asked, "Do You Want To Get Well?"

Good Morning!
Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.    

“Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6b)

Jesus went on to Galilee. He himself had said that a prophet is not honored in his own hometown.  Yet the Galileans welcomed him.  As he traveled through Galilee, he came to Cana, where he had turned the water into wine. There was a government official in nearby Capernaum whose son was very sick.  When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged Jesus to come to Capernaum to heal his son, who was about to die.  Jesus also heal the official’s son.   Healing and mercies always followed Jesus. Those who welcomed Jesus received His mercy, healing and His teaching of love.   They were comforted, and experienced love and miracles of healing.

Jesus returned to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish holy days.  Inside the city, near the Sheep Gate, was the pool of Bethesda, with five covered porches.  Crowds of sick people—blind, lame, or paralyzed—lay on the porches.   One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years.   

When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him,

“Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6b)

“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” (John 5:7)

For many years, the man had been waiting for the water bubbles up because he heard that whoever got to the bubbling water first would be healed.  However, he was lame.   He could not get to the water by himself.  He needed someone to take him to the water before another person got to the pool ahead of him.   Many of the sick gathered around the pool were waiting for the miraculous moment, and nobody wanted to be the second person to the pool.   The lame man waited for his chance to get to the pool, but the opportunity had never come to him.  Year after year he was there, but the end result was always same.  He helplessly watched others rushing to the pool.   His heart was crushed every time that he saw others rushing to the pool, but he could not do anything at all but watching them.  He really hated himself because he was lame and he could get up and run to the pool.   His inability to move himself was the cold reality that he had to face everyday.  Increasingly, his frustration went up, but nobody helped him.  It was the 38th year of his lame.   He was still on the porch.  Yes, he knew that he would not be the first person to the water as he had experienced so many years, but he was there because it was the only hope for him to be healed.  

The lame man clearly knew what to do – getting someone who could take him the pool first.  He always searched for such a person taking him to the water.  But nobody was there to help him.   The bubbling moment was so precious to all of the sick at the porch, and all were waiting for the miraculous moment.  All wanted serve themselves, not him.

How many time do we have such an experience that the lame man had?   We know exactly what has to be done to get out of our life problem, but we could not make that happen.  Our effort to search is always evasive, and never gets us to anywhere.    What a frustration!   What we want had never materialized, which was heartbreaking.   I’d like to share one story that I read many years back:

One brother was making noise and running around.  His older brother saw him who was busily moving.    His older brother asked, “What are you doing?”  The younger brother answered, “I need a chair, and am searching now.”   His older brother, who always cared for his younger brother, immediately stopped what he was doing, and he joined his brother to search for a chair.   Both looked in room and room in the house.   The older brother soon shouted, “I’ve found a chair.”    The younger brother joyfully ran to the older brother, and gave thanks to his older brother.    Then he quickly snatched the chair from his brother’s hand, and with the chair, he briskly walked away to his own room upstairs.     His older brother followed him.   As soon as he get into his room, he put the chair in front of a tall bookcase in the room.    Then he climbed up the chair, and reached out his hand on the top of the bookcase.  Then he grabbed the banana on the top of the bookcase.  The younger brother wanted to have the banana because he was hungry.   He quickly peeled off the banana, and had a big bite.    His older brother silently watched his younger brother for a while. Then he asked, “Why didn’t you ask me to grab the banana on top of the bookcase?”    In fact, his older brother was much taller than the younger brother so that he could easily reach the banana without climbing up the chair as his younger brother had to.

Instead of asking for a chair, the younger brother could have told his older brother what he really wanted -- the banana on top of the bookcase in his room that he could not reach because he was too short for the bookcase.  Then his older brother would have told him, “Sure.  I will grab the banana for you.”   The older brother just came down to the younger brother’s room, grab the banana, and gave to the younger brother.   

What can we learn from the above story about two brothers?   Are we really different from the younger brother?   Do we demand God in our prayers that what we want do has to be done in the way what we think?

Most importantly, the lame man did not know to whom he was talking?   He did not know who Jesus was and what Jesus could do for him.  His mind and heart had been fixating to one thing – someone who could carry him to the bubbling water.  And he have not found such a person so far.   Before Jesus, he unloaded his frustration and told the way that needed to be done so that he could be healed.  Of course, we cannot blame the lame man, who hurt so many years.  Out of his misery, he shared his frustration and the one thing that was in the way between him and his healing.   His heart was bitter.   Let’s see again how he responded to Jesus:

“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” (John 5:7)

He did not mention one single word about his real needs of healing.  He poured out his frustration of inability to move and asked Jesus his immediate needs (i.e., he own solution.)   As matter of fact, it is not clear that the water was actually bubbling up at a special moment so that a first person who got to the water be healed regardless of the person’s sickness.   Let’s say, Jesus actually gave what the lame man wanted – i.e., somebody who could actually carry him to the bubbling water.   After all, the healing power of the bubbling water was an urban legend.   The helper could have put him in the water first before anybody else.  He, then, realized that the water didn’t do anything to him.  He was still lame.  

How many of us are like the lame man?  We pray to God what we think what we need or the way should be done rather than asking for His mercy and grace that specifically prepared for us.   Praise God!  Jesus is not like the older brother in the story, who blindly helped his younger brother.  Jesus exactly knew what the lame man needed at the very moment.    Let’s see how Jesus actually responded to the lame man.

Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”   (John 5:8)

Jesus did not answer to the lame man’s wish – having someone to carry him first to the water.  Instead, Jesus dealt with the root cause of his misery:  not being able to walk.  Jesus knew every pain and every heartache that the lame man had.    With His loving compassion, Jesus said, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”   The two words that the lame man really wanted to do for the last 38 years – “get up” and “walk.”   Jesus at once removed the terrible source that caused all of the lame man’s pains, heartaches, and disappointments.    Surely, what the lame man needed was not what we thought that he needed -- a person who carry him to the bubbling water first, but Jesus, who cured him completely.

As soon as hearing Jesus’ command, the lame man got up immediately.   He carried his mat with him, and walked out of the porch with his own two feet!   Today, even at this moment, Jesus knows all our problems, issues and challenges.    How many times do we ask Jesus for what Jesus should do us in our prayers?   Let’s not forget.  If Jesus exactly answered the lame man’s wish, then he could have never been cured.   Our God truly love us (actually He madly loves us.)   God, who loves us and knows what we really needs, answers to us with what we really have to have, not what we want.   If Our God blindly answered to our all desires like the older brother in the story, then we would have been suffered more.  Why?  Soon we would have had realized that the way of our desires in most of cases would lead us to another empty victory of getting what we want to have by just filling up our own illusive desire manufactured by our own mind. 

One thing that never changes is God and His love.   With His infinitely unfathomable love, He lays out our reality on earth to love us even more.   Thus, in our lives, His love is getting stronger, deeper and wider every moment and in every situation.   What can we say?  In His love, confidently, we can take rest, and in Him, we can have a true peace of Heaven.    The greatest blessing is we can come to God, Our Ever-Loving God, at any time under any circumstances through Jesus Christ on the cross.   Even at this moment, Jesus is standing and waiting for us with His widely open arms to embrace us, and saying to us, “Do you want to get well in the world of suffering and pain?”    Our response should be “Yes, My Lord.   You know everything of me.  Do your will on me.  Even through me who are sinful, your will be done, and the name of God will be glorified.”    Then, for the rest of our lives, fix our eyes on Jesus.  We will be surrounded by His love and hearing His loving voice in our hearts, and feeling His mighty and loving hand from now till we see Him face to face.   This is the promise of our God, and this is our hope and faith.   Give praise to God for His mercy, grace and love!  Sing praises to Him with all our hearts and minds forever and ever!

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  (Romans 8:38-39)

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Come, Come to Jesus, and Cast our pains and heartaches!

Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.    

But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.  (James 1:6-7)

Jesus was always full of mercy and compassion.  He went through towns and villages, and healed the sick, gave the hope to the people suffering, and touched them with His heavenly comfort and peace.   Wherever Jesus went, there was healing and comfort among the people gathered around Jesus.   Jesus was the source of peace and grace in the love of God from heaven.   Jesus also continued preaching the Gospel, and taught them with the truth and love, which was His mission on earth.   However, His greatest mission was to take up the sins for the world, and to be sacrificed on the cross.  Through Him, all of our sins are forgiven, and by Him, we have become God’s children.  Now we can come to God without fear and call Him our Ever-Loving Father. 

Jesus knew His time had come.   From the region of Galilee, He went down to Jerusalem, where He was eventually sacrificed as the perfect and sinless lamb for the sins of the world.   Yes, He had no sin at all, and He died on the cross for us.   He had just started His last journey to Jerusalem with His love for His people.    Jesus even told to His disciples,

There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends.  (John 15:13)

He called His disciples as His friends.  In reality, none of them was faithful as Jesus did to them, but Jesus chose them in His Love.   Soon, all the disciples fled or even one disciple disowned and cursed at Jesus before a servant girl.   When Jesus was dragged to the infamous court that was set up to condemn Him, no one, even one single disciple was with Him.  The twelve disciples lived together with Jesus for three years, ministering together to proclaim God’s message and increase His kingdom.  They all eye-witnessed numerous miracles performed by Jesus.  They even could not count how many time they heard Jesus’ loving, comforting and peaceful messages because they heard too many.  However, when a trial came, all left.   Jesus knew what His disciples would do ahead of the time, but He loved His disciples till the end.   This is the Love of Jesus.  Then after His resurrection, He came to the disciples who failed miserably before the trail.   First Jesus mended their pains and shames in their hearts with His love.   Jesus never asked why they disowned Him.  Instead, He asked, “do you love me?”   Not just once.  He asked three times to restore His beloved disciples.   Jesus’ love washed away their shame, pains and sins in their hearts.   Jesus showed example how to love each other and how to forgive and restore brothers and sisters in Christ.  Today, the same Jesus touches our hearts with His love.  Why? He is love.   He just wants to love you because we are His children. He is always ready to embrace us and forgive us in His love.   He just wants for us to come to Him, where His unfathomable love is abound.  What a blessing to all of us, how believe in Jesus!

As Jesus continued His journey south toward Jerusalem to fulfill His ultimate mission on earth.   He reached the border between Galilee and Samaria.  There were ten lepers.  Because of the leprosy, they had to separate from their families and had to live outside of the town.  At that time, it was strictly prohibited for lepers to come to contact with any people without leprosy according to the Jewish law.   Thus, they moved out and lived outside of the town.  Nobody welcomed them because of the leprosy.   The leprosy’s initial symptom was just a discolored patches of skin, usually flat, that may be numb and look faded (deeper than the skin around).   As it progresses, the damage on nerves is getting severe, which leads to muscle weakness and paralysis, even to blindness and the disfigurement of nose, and shortening of toes and fingers.   Nobody wanted to get closed to lepers, and lepers lived together.  

The ten lepers, who were lived outside of the town, heard about Jesus, who healed the sick and lepers.    This gave them hope, and they waited to see Jesus.  Their dream was always to go back to their families and have their lives back.   One day they heard that Jesus was actually come to their town.  They ran out to the road where the Jesus was coming so that they could catch Jesus before He was getting into the town.  If so, then it became too late, because they could not follow Jesus by entering the town, which was not allowed.   They were eagerly watching out for Jesus outside the town.   As they saw Jesus coming at a distance, they cried out.   They could not get close Jesus and the people accompanying Him due to the leprosy, and they just cried out to Jesus from a distance.

They truly worried.  If Jesus did not hear them, and went into the town, then the lifetime opportunity would be over.   Thus, with an even louder voice, they cried out so that they could get Jesus’ attention,

“Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”  (Luke 17:13 b)

At a distance, Jesus heard their cry and stopped.    Then Jesus looked at them, and said,

“Go show yourselves to the priests.”  (Luke 17:14p)

Jesus’ answer seems a completely non-sense.  It is not.   In the Old Testament, one whole chapter of Leviticus 13 is dedicated to leprosy.   A priest is the only person who can examine and pronounce a leper is clean.  Then the leper can go back to his home and live with his family.   Only is the issue that showing off a priest is the last step.   Before showing to a priest, one’s leprosy should be healed first.  

Let’s be in the shoes of the ten lepers.   We really want to be healed by Jesus.   We cried out to Jesus for His mercy of healing of leprosy.   Then Jesus suddenly tells us to go to the priests to show ourselves.  Wait a minute.  Jesus did nothing on our leprosy.  He did not say anything about healing of the leprosy, which was the main reason why we had to live outside of the town.    We looked at our bodies, but nothing was changed.    Then what will we do?   Should we ask Jesus again to heal our leprosy first before sending us to the priests?    If not, what’s the point to go to the priests with the same body with the hateful leprosy?  

Here is what the ten lepers did.   They blindly followed what was told by Jesus.   They went to the priest although their bodies were still suffering from leprosy.   Even so, they walked to the temple where the priests were.  However, on the way, they suddenly realized that their bodies started healing!   Soon their bodies were completely healed from the leprosy.   They could not believe what was happening.   It was a truly miracle, and they were truly in joy.   Soon there were pronounced by the priests “clean.”   How long did they dream about this moment since being isolated from their families?    Without knowing, they were already running to the priests.   It was the most joyful moment in their lives.

One of the ten lepers suddenly stood still, while the others continued running to the priests.   As the nine lepers were disappearing from the eye sights of the one leper, he gave a thought on what to do.   The town was on the border between Galilee and Samaria, both the nine Jewish lepers and one Samaritan leper lived together.   (At that time, the Jews did not associated with non-Jews such as Samaritans.)   When they were healed, one Samaritan realized that he would not no longer associated with the rest nine Jewish lepers.   He was no longer part of the rest.   He turned back and saw Jesus, who was so merciful to heal himself although he a Samaritan.  Yes, Jesus loved both Jews and Samaritans not like the other Jews at that time.   As the Samaritan Jew was looking at Jesus’ face, his heart was filled up with Jesus’ love and compassion.    

He knew what to do.   Instead of following the other nine Jewish lepers, he ran back to Jesus shouting, “Praise God!”    Then, he fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done.   He knew he was not worthy like the other nine lepers to get Jesus’ healing, but Jesus equally loved him.  His   heart started being overflown by the love of Jesus.   From the deepest part of his heart, he gave thanks to Jesus for His healing in His mercy and love.

Jesus saw the Samaritan lovingly for a while.

Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?”  (Luke 17:17)

Yes, there was nobody except the Samaritan, who came back to Jesus.   He was the foreigner and a gentile, who was looked down on by Jews.  

How about us?   When we got what we have prayed for, what was our first response?    Were we in joy calling family to tell what happened?   Or immediately going back to God and humbly bowing down to God to give our thanks to Him?   The Samaritan was the only one out of the ten, and who was the least expected non-Jew Samaritan.    The nine Jewish lepers were in joy for themselves while focusing on their return to families.   What a contrast between the least expected Samaritan and the nine Jews after being healed from the miserable leprosy!

And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.”   (Luke 17:19)

Jesus, who was full of mercy and grace, gave His unfathomable blessing on the Samaritan, who was a foreigner and a gentile.   Indeed, the Samaritan was only one who got both Jesus’ physical healing and blessings of Jesus of healing of His heart too. 

Do we have a problem that we cannot deal with any more in our life?    Come to Jesus, and cry out to Jesus for His mercy.    He will answer to you in His mercy and grace.  Then let’s not forget to come back to Jesus and give our genuine thanksgiving from the deepest part of our hearts.     

Jesus is always waiting for us with His open arms, and He loves to hear our life story – our pains, desires and burdens.   Then He will loving answer to us with His heavenly comfort, peace and blessings.   Yes, what we need is to come to Jesus.   He welcomes all of us regardless who we are, what we are, and what we have done because He loves us.   He carefully hears our heart’s cry – “Jesus, Our Lord, have mercy on me.”   Then He will answer to us as He did to the Samaritan leper.   Let’s continue having faith in Jesus, and fix our eyes on Jesus on cross.  We will find His mercy in our lives, which is our faith and hope.   After all, our faith is the last frontier in our heart where we have never gone before, and is the engine powering our hope in Jesus.    Come, come to Jesus!

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”   (Matthew 11:28-30)

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Look Up and Fix Eyes On Jesus In Faith And Be Persistent, He Will Answer You!

Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.    

But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. (James 1:6-7)

 With Jesus, the disciples landed at Gennesaret.   When the people recognized Jesus, the news of his arrival spread quickly throughout the whole area, and soon people were bringing all their sick to be healed.  They begged him to let the sick touch at least the fringe of his robe, and all who touched him were healed.    This was what Jesus did with His compassion and love.   The same Jesus is always watching over us, and stretching His hand toward us with His love.   What we need is to put all our trust in Him, and hold on tight His loving hand under all circumstances.  Then He will take us to the safe harbor that He prepared for us.   This is our faith and hope. 

Then Jesus took the His disciples, and went up to Tyre and Sidon, the port located in modern Lebanon on the Mediterranean coast.   They were about 20 miles (or about 36 Km) away from the Gennesaret at the edge of the north-west side of the sea of Galilee.   Before Jesus left the Gennesaret region, He was confronted by some Pharisees and teachers of religious law, who came from Jerusalem. They challenged, “Why do your disciples disobey our age-old transition?  For they ignore our tradition of ceremonial hand washing before they eat.”   

Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “Listen,” he said, “and try to understand. It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.”   (Matthew 15:10-11)

Peter said to Jesus, “Explain to us the parable that says people aren’t defiled by what they eat.”

And then he added, “It is what comes from inside that defiles you.  For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.”  (Mark 7:20-23)

It is absolutely true that what defines us is what come out of us.   Jesus listed 13 different evil things coming out of a person’s heart.   Nobody can say “I am absolutely free from these vile things from within.”   Our hearts are equally capable of spewing out these vile things, when a condition is right and a situation allows.    Only is the safe harbor Jesus.  Although we are not capable, Jesus is stronger than all evil temptations approaching to us like the night storm that tossed around Jesus’ disciples.  Yes, Jesus.  Jesus is the only name that we can hold on when strong temptations are approaching to us.   There is no other name than Jesus, who protects us and leads to the safe harbor, where we can take Heavenly rest in Him.
When Jesus with His disciples arrived at the region of Tyre and Sidon, a Gentile woman who lived there came to Jesus.    She had a very heavy heart because of her daughter who had been demon-possessed long time.  She did everything that she could to heal her beloved daughter.   Nothing worked.   Her daughter continued suffering daily.  This put her heart in great pain day after day.   She too heard about Jesus, who healed the sick, and gave hope to those who were suffering.    She also heard Jesus was coming to her region.   She determined to see Jesus to ask for Jesus to heal her demon-possessed daughter.  One big problem lied between her and Jesus.   She was not a Jew, but Jesus was a Jew.  So far Jesus healed Jews.   She was not completely sure whether Jesus would even listen to her plea of healing her daughter because she and her daughter were not Jews.   Even so, it was such a small matter because for her, Jesus was only hope, who could heal her demon-possessed daughter. 
She came to where Jesus and His disciples were.   As soon as she saw Jesus, and she ran into Him pleading,

 “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! For my daughter is possessed by a demon that torments her severely.”    (Matthew 15:22b)

She really hoped Jesus would hear her plea, because there was no other way to heal her daughter.   She heard many stories about Jesus, who were always compassionate and full of mercy.    To her surprise, Jesus gave her no attention at all, not even a word.   Jesus was so cold to her, and she was bewildered.   With courage, she looked up Jesus, but Jesus continue walking while ignoring her.    Her heart was broken, and she did not know what to do.   Even that moment, her heart continued saying Jesus was the only hope to heal her daughter.   Surely, she could not give up this only opportunity that she found to heal her daughter.   She continued pleading to Jesus by being in the way of Jesus’ path.

His disciples saw her, a Gentile woman, who blocked their way, and pleading healing of her daughter.   They knew she was not a Jew, but a Gentile.  (At that time, the Jews treated Gentiles very poorly.)   Thus, His disciples could not stand anymore.  

“Tell her to go away,” they said. “She is bothering us with all her begging.”  (Matthew 15:22b)

Even so, the mother of the sick daughter was persistent.   She continued begging and pleading.   Only was in her mind her sick daughter.    It was the power and strength of the love of the mother in faith that Jesus would heal her daughter.

Then Jesus said to the woman, “I was sent only to help God’s lost sheep—the people of Israel.” (Matthew 15:24)

What a devastating response of Jesus!   Jesus refused to heal her daughter because of one simple reason that her daughter was not a Jew.   That was exactly what she concerned from the beginning.  This was not a matter of how to do or what to do or whet to believe.   There was no way to make her daughter a Jew because she, a Gentile, gave birth of her daughter as a Gentile.   It was not her daughter’s fault, but she bore her daughter as a Gentile.   This made her truly sorrowful about herself being a Gentile.   Even so, she could not stop begging.   For her, Jesus was the only hope to heal her daughter.  She desperately clang to Him while begging Jesus’ mercy on her daughter.  Nothing could change her.  She believed Jesus could heal her daughter. 

But she came and worshiped him, pleading again, “Lord, help me!”  (Matthew 15:25) 

She was really persistent in her absolute faith in Jesus.    Jesus intently saw her, and He was silent for a while.   The crowd silently watched on her and Jesus. 

Jesus responded, “It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.”  (Matthew 15:25) 

Jesus again responded harshly.  Jesus equated her to a dog.   What a humiliation!   So far, she believed, pleaded, worshipped, begged, but Jesus treated her like a dog.  How many people would continue pleading to someone who says “It is not right to give food of my children to a dog like you.”?     She endured.  Why?   Her love for her sick daughter was greater than all kinds of humiliations that she took.   She loved her sick daughter more than anything else.  Her humiliation and rejection before the people was nothing to her as long as her daughter was healed.   She had an absolute faith in Jesus who would surely heal her daughter.  

The Jesus’ answer silenced her.    All felt that it was the end of the discussion between Jesus and her.  It was not the case.  She was carefully preparing her response over Jesus’ humiliating and ice-cold response.   In fact, even the last humiliation could not make her faith diminished -- Jesus would surely heal her daughter.  She did not care whether she was treated like a dog or not as long as her daughter was healed by Jesus.   

She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even dogs are allowed to eat the scraps that fall beneath their masters’ table.” (Matthew 15:27)

She humbly accepted her being treated like a dog, but she continued pleading that she, even as a dog, was allowed to eat the scraps falling beneath the mater’s table.   Then she looked up Jesus and begging for Jesus’ mercy while waiting silently.

 “Dear woman,” Jesus said to her, “your faith is great. Your request is granted.” And her daughter was instantly healed. (Matthew 15:28)

Jesus suddenly changed His voice and walked up to the mother of the demon-possessed daughter.   Finally, Jesus acknowledge her absolute faith in Him and her never-ceasing love to the sick daughter.  Jesus answered her plea by telling “Your faith is great.”    Her faith was great, which could not be quenched by any means.    Since she came to Jesus for her daughter, her eyes had never left from fixing on Jesus in faith of healing her sick daughter.   She had a truly strong faith.  As we read, for her, it was terribly difficult to continue having faith in Jesus.    When she pleaded, Jesus’s response was really cold.   The Jesus’ disciples were another obstacle.   They actually tried to get rid of her.   Eventually, she was treated like a dog by Jesus.   But in her absolute faith, she was persistent.  She even responded that even a dog ate a crumb falling beneath the master’s table.    Although she was a Gentile, she believed, believed and believed in Jesus.   Jesus saw her faith, and Jesus healed her daughter. 

Yes, her faith was absolutely immovable, which made her demon-possessed daughter healed.   Do we have such a faith before God?   Is it really difficult for us to hold on tight Jesus in faith?    Are all things against us although we continue believing in Him?   Let’s not be discouraged.    Instead remember the Gentile woman.    No matter what happened in the course of her belief, she endured.   The Gentile woman was even treated like a dog, but she believed.    She was pushed away by His disciples because of only one reason that she was a Gentile, but she believed.    Whenever she got a cold response from Jesus, she was not discouraged, but she believed.    How about our faith in Jesus?    Are we getting a cold response by the people around or even our fellow believers because of our faith?     Again, please remember the Gentile woman.     Are we pushed around because of our faith?   Remember the Gentile woman did.    Are we treated like a dog?   Remember the Gentile woman an how she responded in faith.

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. (Hebrews 11:1)