As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take it, for this is my body.” And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. And he said to them, “This is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice for many.” Mark 14:22-25 NLT
This is such a familiar scene that I can miss the significance of it. Images of paintings come to mind of Jesus sharing an intimate meal with the disciples before his death. He is inviting me to the table as well. To sit in His presence and remember His sacrifice. To feast on His goodness.
“And the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. When the Roman officer who stood facing him saw how he had died, he exclaimed, “This man truly was the Son of God!” Mark 15:37-39 NLT
Dear Father, thank you for making a way for me to enter your presence. You love me with an everlasting love. I pray that I would live from the place of being your Beloved. Amen.
Jesus said, “I Am.” And you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Mark 14:62 NLT
I have experienced personal physical healing in my life, I have seen healing take place when I have prayed at least on one occasion and I have prayed a thousand prayers for healing that I never saw take place. I am fairly certain that the gift of faith, healing or miracles are not for me. I am fascinated though with how Jesus demonstrates so much wonder when He heals, He is so personal, so life-changing.
They arrived at Bethsaida. Some people brought a sightless man and begged Jesus to give him a healing touch. Taking him by the hand, he led him out of the village. He put spit in the man’s eyes, laid hands on him, and asked, “Do you see anything?”
He looked up. “I see men. They look like walking trees.” So Jesus laid hands on his eyes again. The man looked hard and realized that he had recovered perfect sight, saw everything in bright, twenty-twenty focus. – Mark 8:22-25 MSG
I have read many times how Jesus rebukes weakness of faith and how He honours faith. Here are some takeaways that I want to follow in my life.
- I love how the blind man is willing to allow Jesus to lead him – I mean it was a walk out of the village. I need to give my life to Jesus and let Him lead me – it can only mean good things
- People asked for sight and Jesus gave it. I need to keep going with my praying faith believing full well that Jesus can keep pace with it
- The confidence of the people and the blind man, whatever their expectations were, received. I want to give my confidence to Jesus knowing that I will receive what I need as opposed to what I want.
- The healing is always perfect and the method is always creative. I cannot forget that I will receive perfect gifts to my imperfect faith.
It is my faith that honours Jesus, and therefore Jesus will honour it. I know that even though my prayers may not have seen healing, the fact that I prayed in faith means that I was not dishonouring Him. I cannot tell Jesus how, why and when. Jesus will heal and I know that He will because I believe in Him. He knows the best method and I trust Him without reservation.
Father, forgive me when there are moments of doubts of my own relationship with You because a prayer of faith produced no results when it comes to healing. Thank You that You have given me the opportunity of praying for so many and I know that somewhere in their lives You were present because of that prayer. I look forward to continuing to pray for others to be healed and trust You to be the one who knows the how, why and when.
If you assume that Christianity means satisfaction in this life of all your desires, including the ones that lie deepest in your heart, then you live as no person was meant to live. You demand satisfaction. You live for it. You feel entitled to it. You become incapable of real love, only self-centered passion. – Dr. Larry Crabb
I thought of Joseph’s brothers and just how much they wanted their father’s love, and they wanted it desperately.
Now Israel loved Joseph more than his other sons because Joseph was a son born to him in his old age, and he made a robe of many colors[o] for him. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not bring themselves to speak peaceably to him. – Genesis 37:3-4 HCSB
It reminds me of an important general lesson – being satisfied in love cannot be received from a father or mother, by friends or even monetary things. To be fully satisfied and content I must look to Jesus. That emptiness in my heart is reserved there as the only place He can fill. Everything else will fail, but God’s love will never fail.
Lord, help me to be more faithful. (Psalm 12:1)
I walk away from reading Mark chapter fourteen with this invitation. If I would receive the life-changing love of Jesus and respond with extravagant devotion, I will never be the same again.
Father, the word love can be messy – it crosses healthy boundaries and makes things that are a hindrance in my life, like co-dependency, look like a good thing. In the pursuit of love, sometimes I even use manipulation, deception, coercion and even bribery to make things happen. But there is something wrong with this foundation – it is all about what I want. I am tired of the pursuit of wanting anything other than You. Everything else comes up empty, hollow, even baseless. Teach me how to invite You into my life. Teach me how to love like You. I look at what happened to Peter and know that he followed You from a distance. I want to make the decision to follow You as close as I can. I desperately want to be more faithful. May I find myself seeking only You – Your love will never fail – and that is the love I want.
Many of my friends, who have families, have immigrated with an arranged marriage. All the questions I have about what that looks like in real life have been answered. So when I read of arranged marriages like the one of Isaac, I have a better picture of what it means.
And Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah and took Rebekah to be his wife. Isaac loved her, and he was comforted after his mother’s death. – Genesis 24:67 HCSB
A new home has begun and it is filled with love. I am sure that Rebekah loved Isaac too. Not in a romantic or sentimental kind of way but the kind of love that deepends and strengthens. The kind that stands the strain of trial, nor falters in the times of sickness or trouble.
For me and my wife it was “love at first sight.” Our love has been genuine in the sense that it has become more hallowed and more tender as the thirty-six years have gone by. As much as the arrangements were in place for their marriage, I believe that Isaac and Rebekah also experienced a “love at first sight.” I love the testimony that comes with a marriage that maintains a moral and life-long unity. A unity that proves to be a mutual blessing and represents that of the relationship between Jesus and His Church.
How quickly am I reminded how the Church is so messy in this arena. When there is no unity there is arguing. Where there is arguing there is no healing.
Then He asked them, “What are you arguing with them about?” – Mark 9:16 HCSB
What Jesus is really asking is – what is this big tear all about? He used the expression two other times in order to shed a unique light on the problem with the absence of unity.
Father, I am thankful for Your love for me that I can so graciously give the same to my wife. A home filled with You and filled with love is definitely a blessing. It is amazing to see love live, grow, be more in awe of, yield and so much more easily shared as our marriage matures. Love within the body of Christ also becomes a testimony of the relationship of Jesus and Your Church and those who see it, get it. How terrible it is when we cannot provide that testimony to the world who are looking at us. So many churches closing down, splitting, dwindling in numbers. They all have their story. I pray that our love does not become lukewarm. I pray that the Holy Spirit will spur us on to love one another, to honour each other. I pray that our testimony will be a light to a world who has lost hope. Amen
Thus says the Lord:Jeremiah 31:2,3 ESV
“The people who survived the sword
found grace in the wilderness;
when Israel sought for rest,
3 the Lord appeared to him from far away.
I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
God has a plan. Not only is He sovereign and holy and omniscient and loving, but he acts with intentionality. He knows where we have come from and what we have yet to go through and has planned for the times we need to be stretched and the times we need grace.
For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish.” Jeremiah 31:25 ESV
God knows exactly what we need. What is best. He has already marked that path that will shape us as needed and heal us as needed. What a hope we possess!
Recently I read a book by Niall Williams called This is Happiness and a quote stood out to me as incredibly revealing about the peace that Christianity brings. He presses the point that each life is a story worth telling and any story worth telling must have ups and downs. Therefore, “Story was the stuff of life, and to realise you were inside one allowed you to sometimes surrender to the plot, to bear a little easier the griefs and sufferings and to enjoy more fully the twists that came along the way.”
While our life is not just determined by a “storyline,” the point carries over. If God is at the helm and knows that in this sinful world there will come tragedy and joy, and He guides with the clearest perspective and control, we can weather storms with a little more perseverance, manage grief with surrender, and sometimes enjoy the small twists, knowing that He planned our lives for optimum impact.
. . . for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. Mark 16:8b ESV
We will have those seasons of struggle, and then there are those pivotal moments when we look up and remember that God has a plan and that miracles and beauty are included in it along with the pain and darkness. We might even be struck speechless by the evidence of His moving in our lives and world.
Lord God, help me to remember that You hold all of it. Help me remember to hope in times of struggle and to keep acting with intentionality in times of joy. Thank you for planning and purposing each life for Your glory and the matchless peace I can rest in because of that truth. In Jesus name, Amen.