Mark 5 is filled with stories of unimaginable chaos.
Consider the demon-possessed man in verses 1-20. Look at life from his perspective, and try to get a sense of what it felt like to be tormented by a legion of demons. The inner rage must have been overwhelming for this man, who was cutting himself and crying out day and night (v. 5). Consider the degree of loneliness and resentment you would feel after being abandoned by those closest to you — your family that had determined your life was hopelessly out of control. Who knows how long it had been since this man had a meal or an embrace from anyone who cared!
Consider the man in verses 21-24. He was a leader in the community with a reputation of being deeply religious, yet his daughter lie at the point of death. Imagine the sheer agony of a parent facing the real possibility of burying his child.
Consider the woman in verses 25-28. She had suffered with an infirmity for twelve years and had been told by doctors her condition was incurable. Mark does not mention her husband or family, so we may assume she was trying to deal with all this by herself.
Now consider the role Jesus played in their lives. Notice how He went out of His way to minister to the demoniac. He sailed through the night in a small boat across the Sea of Galilee during such a severe storm that experienced sailors like Peter feared for their lives. Notice when Jesus met the father of the sick girl and the woman with the issue of blood, He did not panic but calmly and confidently took care of their needs.
My friend, we can rest assured the Lord will go to any means to minister to the hurting.
Let’s sing: “You may be down and feel like God has somehow forgotten that you are faced with circumstances you can’t get through. But now it seems that there’s no way out and you’re going under; God’s proven time and time again He’ll take care of you. And He’ll do it again, He’ll do it again. If you’ll just take a look at where you are now and where you have been. Hasn’t He always come through for you? He’s the same now as then. You may not know how, you may not know when, but He’ll do it again.” (HE’LL DO IT AGAIN, by Shirley Caesar)
The first few chapters in the book of Leviticus contain instructions for presenting sacrifices to the Lord as an act of worship. Two things stand out to me in these chapters. First, the worshipper is called on to present his very best to the Lord. Notice in chapters 1 and 4 the Lord repeated the instruction that the sacrifice presented was to be without blemish. Second, whatever was presented at the altar stayed at the altar.
1 Peter 1:19 teaches that we no longer need to present animal sacrifices to the Lord because our redemption is secured through the precious blood of Jesus Christ. Praise the Lord! Though we do not present animal sacrifices today, there are principles we can apply to our relationship with the Lord. First, God deserves our very best. Second, what we give to the Lord we release to Him without expectation of retaining partial ownership of what was given.
Our praise and worship belong to Him. Our property, finances, time, talents, family, dreams and our future all belong to Him. Whatever we keep is limited only to what we can do with it. Whatever we give to Him is subject to His authority and power. Give Him your very best today.
Let’s sing: “Lord I give you my heart, I give you my soul, I live for you alone. Every breath that I take, every moment I’m awake, Lord, have your way in me.” (I Give You My Heart, by Reuben Morgan)
Religious leaders heard that Peter and John healed a man of paralysis (see Acts 3). In their investigation of the matter they asked Peter & John: “By what power or by what name have you done this?” (Acts 4:7). We learn a great deal from Peter’s timeless and powerful response that begins in verse 8.
The One whose power healed the man was Jesus. There are over 100 names of Jesus recorded in scripture, and if you don’t mind I would like to share a few of those names with you here. He is Advocate (1 John 2:1), Almighty (Rev. 1:8), Arm of the Lord (Isa. 51:9; 53:1), Author and Perfecter of our faith (Heb. 12:2), Source of eternal salvation (Heb. 5:9), Beloved Son of God (Matt. 12:18), Blessed and only Ruler (1 Tim. 6:15), Bread of life (Jn. 6:32), Author of salvation (Heb. 2:10), Chief Shepherd (1 Pet. 5:4), Christ of God (Lk. 9:20), Cornerstone (Ps. 118:22), Counselor (Isa. 9:6), Creator (Jn. 1:3), Deliverer (Rom. 11:26), Faithful Witness (Rev. 1:5), First and Last (Rev. 1:17), God (Isa. 30:3; Jn. 20:28), Good Shepherd (Jn. 10:11), Great High Priest (Heb. 4:14), Holy One (Acts 3:14), I Am (Jn. 8:58), Immanuel (Isa. 7:14), King Eternal (1 Tim. 1:17), King of kings (1 Tim. 6:15), Lawgiver (Isa. 33:22), Lamb of God (Jn. 1:29), Light of the World (Jn. 8:12), Man of Sorrows (Isa. 53:3), Mediator (1 Tim. 2:5), Messiah (Jn. 1:41), Prince of peace (Isa. 9:6), Redeemer (Job 19:26).
He was the One who healed the lame man in Acts 3, and is the same One whose authority and power we invite into our circumstances.
Let’s sing: “His name is Wonderful, His name is Wonder, His name is Wonderful, Jesus my Lord. He is the Mighty King, Master of everything, His name is Wonderful, Jesus my Lord…”
Acts 2:41 “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.” Acts 2:47 “…And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. Acts 4:4 …many of those who heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.
In Acts 1:8 Jesus said a Christian who has been baptized with the Holy Spirit will become an active and effective witness of the Christian faith. Jesus taught this truth and His followers demonstrated it.
We don’t know for certain how many people considered themselves followers of Christ at the time of His death, but we know He appeared to over 500 of them between his resurrection and ascension (1 Corinthians 15:5). On the Day of Pentecost 120 of them were baptized in the Holy Spirit and over the course of a few months the number grew from a few hundred to over 5,000
I long to see thousands of sinners come to Christ. I am not interested in numbers but I am interested in people. I want to see sinners set free from the addiction to alcohol and drugs. I want to see sinners living in bondage to pornography, gambling, gluttony, gossip, pride, jealousy, and unforgiveness come to Christ. I want to see people who have been complacent about Church, the Bible and eternity get saved, filled with the Holy Spirit and become active in leading their friends to Christ. I pray for a revival to sweep through our community — a revival characterized by sinners being set free from sin and Christians being empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Let’s sing: “There shall be showers of blessings, oh, that today they mighty fall. Now as to God we’re confessing, now as on Jesus we call. Showers of blessing, showers of blessing we need. Mercy drops round us are falling, but for the showers we plead.”
Acts 2:42 “They continued steadfastly…”
The man who continues steadfastly quietly and faithfully goes about his business and gets the job done; he is the type of employee you want to hire because you know you can count on him. Acts 2:42 states the early believers continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine, in fellowship, in breaking bread and in prayer. In verse 46 it states the church enjoyed perpetual growth.
In Acts 2:1-4, we read of the initial outpouring of the Holy Spirit on a group of people who were steadfast in their commitment to prayer. The rest of the book of Acts shows that the Holy Spirit continued to be outpoured upon the Church. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit was not a one-time event, but rather became a characteristic of the early church. In fact, it became a focal point of the Church. As the apostles continued steadfastly in their spiritual disciplines the Holy Spirit continued steadfastly convicting sinners and empowering believers.
Someone one asked me why Christians tend to receive more from a revival or church conference than a typical Sunday service. My response: “expectation”. Many in our congregation spent weeks fasting and praying for the revival services with evangelist Randy Ruiz last weekend. As the days drew closer to the weekend a sense of expectation began to grow. In our Saturday evening and Sunday services, we were blessed by the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the altars because we prepared our hearts and expected to receive.
Let me encourage you to continue steadfastly in prayer and cultivating a spirit of expectation to receive from the Lord. Remember, what the Lord has done before, He is doing again!