(My notes and thoughts from the Sunday sermon)
Jesus, on his first sermon in the synagogue in his public ministry quoted the first two verses from Isaiah 61 – (in reference to Him as the Messiah) declaring the Year of the Lord’s favor. In my traditional blog entry every 31st of December, this was what I have declared as we ushered in 2013. The year 2012 was a year of bondage for us – in finances of our former business endeavor, health and to some extent, to our relationships. Two more months and we end the year, and God has been miraculously restoring what was lost, rebuilding the ruins, renewing bonds of faithfulness. We have yet to see the end but as we wait expectantly, we receive a double portion of joy indeed!
Yesterday, in the sermon of the pastor in “The God Nobody Wants ” preaching series (know more about God’s attributes and some resources, here) , he noted that Jesus stopped at the 1st half of the 2nd verse in Isaiah 61. Yes, we have a just God who judges impartially and correctly . He is also the one who brings justice in behalf of His people. Jesus, when he started talking in that pulpit, proclaimed the year of the Lord’s favor but didn’t declare vengeance because He took it upon Himself to be the vengeance for us. The justice of God was satisfied, once and for all, when He was hung on the cross and bled for us and for all our sins to be forgiven. Here is a Just God whom nobody wants, yet offers His life selflessly for the love of mankind.
Declare the jubilee!
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor”
“How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”
It is noteworthy that Nathanael could have found shelter from the tremendous heat of the sun under the fig tree which was common in Israel, being called the land of the vines and fig trees. Perhaps to Nathanael and many others like me, to be under the shade of the tree is refreshing. I can smell the scent of the tree, see the leaves sway when winds move in different directions and perhaps occasionally see birds perched on branches, humming their songs. Picture that, and you can doze off easily to dreamland! Such is the comfort under the shade of the tree. When Jesus told Nathanael he has seen him under the tree, it’s like telling him, ” You’d get a far better shade than that, my friend Nat. Not only will your unbelief be removed, you’d see far greater things, for you have Me!”
We may not understand what we’re feeling but God knows far more than what we desire or our deepest longing. We may be going to many places, running to people, looking for a shade of comfort , but He knows exactly where we have been, what we’re going through and the things that are about to happen in our lives.
Times when we are weary, we know that we can go to Him and draw Living water from the well. He is the Rock that provides safety – even the shadow of His mighty wings will be our refuge! What a powerful God we have!
Weary human, He even said, ” Come to me and I will give you rest.” What an assurance. We don’t need to go to our own “fig trees” and seek temporary shelter. We have Jesus, who forever is our shelter.
Blessed Sunday, friends!
photo via commons.wikimedia.org
Amazing – (adjective) – Defined by Merriam-Webster as:
- Causing great surprise or wonder; astonishing.
- Startlingly impressive.
My husband is an NBA fan. I do watch with him occasionally when the iconic Lakers are playing. To NBA fans, we know NBA owns that tagline “where amazing things happen” but little do we know that amazing things also happened some thousand years ago, not in a basketball arena but in Galilee and Judea.
The story goes that wherever Jesus of Nazareth went, preaching the Good News and healing the sick, everyone who watched were awestruck by such power and authority (read all accounts in the Gospels). In fact, “they praised God, saying over and over again, “We have seen amazing things today.” (Luke 5:26b)
Fast forward to modern times, here’s my encouragement for all of us. Let it be that not a day passes us by without us seeing the power of the Living God in our lives. It can be provision for school’s allowance for our children this week, a cab to bring us to our important meeting because the car broke down in the middle of the road, healing and provision for medical expenses for a sick family member, or simply a conversation with a friend to lift up one’s weary soul. Amazing things can be found in the grandest or the most mundane of things.
Tonight, I pray as we go to sleep, we can look back at what happened and we can say ,
“We have seen amazing things today!”
photo via wordpress