Jesus said to His disciples in Mark 6:31 ‘"Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.’" For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.” In ministry and life you need to remember that you may have a plan but the Father may have a different one. When Jesus saw the multitudes, the first plan was scrapped because of the desire of the people; He had compassion on them and began to teach them. When the hour became late, the disciples urged Jesus to tell the people to do the rational thing; go and get something to eat. But Jesus told His disciples to do the supernatural thing; “you give them something to eat.” How often have we opted for the plan that made sense instead of doing what we should have done as sons of God and citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven? After the Lord Jesus multiplies the 5 loaves and 2 fish to feed the multitude He sends His disciples to row their boat into the wind all night. I think He was trying to give them an example of living in their own strength verses living in the supernatural Kingdom of God by faith. Doing things in our own thinking and strength is hard and fruitless. The disciples rowed into the wind through the night while Jesus spent time in prayer. Mark 6:48 says, “Then He saw them straining at rowing, for the wind was against them. Now about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea, and would have passed them by.” Why would He walk to them, yet determine to pass them by? He was demonstrating to them how He wanted them to live; how He wanted them to “walk” in life. You will always overpass those striving and straining when you walk in God’s ability; when you walk in the Kingdom.
The parable of the sower recorded in both Gospels in today’s reading is a foundational parable. Jesus said to His disciples in Mark 4:13 "Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?” How we “hear” and respond to God’s Word means everything! Jesus said in Luke 8:18, “Take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him." When Jesus says “whoever has, to him more will be given,” He is refereeing to having “ears to hear.” If we have ears to hear God’s word, we will receive light, revelation, and the manifestation of God’s Word in our life. If we don’t have ears to hear, even what we seem to know will be “taken away;” it will produce nothing in our life. Jesus speaks in Luke 8:16 of how we can light a lamp and put it on a lamp stand to light the room or we could cover it. Either way the light is in the room, but the one way lights the room, and the other does not. His Word must be honored to the highest place in our life; a casual approach to God’s Word will not produce the fruit God desires in our life.
Luke 11:1 says, “Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples."” The Lord Jesus initiated teachings on so many things to His disciples; I find it interesting that the Lord waited until He was asked to teach them on prayer. Maybe He was waiting until there was a hunger in their heart to really have a life of prayer. What good is it to have 50 books on prayer if we don’t pray? We need to understand the great privilege we have been given to be able to stand before the throne of God to know Him and make petitions that change nations. After He gives them different areas to be prayed about, the Lord relays to them how willing Father God is to answer our prayers. We should “give Him no rest” (Isaiah 62:7) in prayer until we see the fulfillment of His promises manifested in the earth. He desires to hear and answer prayer to change people, situations, families and nations.
Jesus said in Luke 11:35, “take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness.” It’s very possible to know what the Word of God says, believe we believe it, but not really believe it. To have “darkness” in an area isn't good, but it’s much worse to think we have “light” (truth) in area but don’t. We need to be honest about what we don’t know, seek the truth with a right heart, and be quick to believe what we see in God’s Word.
Faith pleases the Lord; He doesn’t want us trying to work out everything in our life, trying to depend on our own ability. He doesn’t want us worrying about things; He wants us to learn to trust Him. He wants us to receive His grace through faith. Matthew 9:20-22 tells of a woman who knew how to receive the grace of God. It says, “A woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years came from behind and touched the hem of His garment. For she said to herself, "If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well." But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, "Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well." And the woman was made well from that hour.” The Scripture is clear; it wasn’t because it was God’s will (it’s always God will to heal), it was because of her faith. Jesus wanted to teach people to live in the kingdom through faith. In Matthew 9:27-29 we see how Jesus teaches two blind men to receive their healing through their faith. Jesus says in verse 28, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" They (the blind men) said to Him, "Yes, Lord." Then He touched their eyes, saying, "According to your faith let it be to you."” Notice the emphasis of Jesus when He says “according to your faith.” The Lord gives us license to believe Him for great things!
Sometimes demons are directly the source of sickness. In the account in Matthew 9:32-33, the demon is cast out of the man and healing came as a direct result. It says, “they brought to Him a man, mute and demon-possessed. And when the demon was cast out, the mute spoke. And the multitudes marveled, saying, "It was never seen like this in Israel!"
In Luke 7:36-50 Jesus is invited to a Pharisee’s house named Simon. When a woman began to wash Jesus’ feet with fragrant oil and her tears, Simon saw a sinner because of her past, but Jesus saw a woman full of love because she knew she had been forgiven. This story is a beautiful example of the Gospel. After Jesus said her sins were forgiven, He said, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.” It is through faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ that we are saved; it isn’t by our works
Mark 3:10-11 tells of some of the success of the ministry of Jesus: “For He healed many, so that as many as had afflictions pressed about Him to touch Him. And the unclean spirits, whenever they saw Him, fell down before Him and cried out, saying, "You are the Son of God."” As great as this was, Jesus couldn’t just focus on what was happening at the moment; He needed to multiply Himself into other disciples and Apostles. Jesus couldn’t do it alone, nor did He desire to; it’s His desire to work through all of us as His body. Luke 6:12-13 says, “Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles” It was His desire that these disciples spent time with Him so they would begin to know His teachings, walk in His ways, and begin to do the same and greater works than Him. Mark 3:14 &15 makes this point clear: “He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons.” The plan of Jesus has not changed in our day; He first wants us to “be with Him,” then He can send us into our call.
The will of God concerning healing
Here in Luke 5:12-13, Jesus makes the will of God clear concerning healing. It says, “…a man who was full of leprosy saw Jesus; and he fell on his face and implored Him, saying, "Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean." Then He put out His hand and touched him, saying, "I am willing; be cleansed." Immediately the leprosy left him.” Jesus is a perfect reflection of the Father and Jesus healed all that came to Him for healing.
Under the Old Covenant, people tried to follow God’s Laws that were written on stone. Under the New Covenant, the Holy Spirit writes God Laws on our hearts. Under the Old Covenant people taught others about God. Under the New, we can all know God in a real living relationship. Jesus was trying to transition people into abundant Life He had for them as they abided in Him when He answered their question, "Why do the disciples of John fast often and make prayers, and likewise those of the Pharisees, but Yours eat and drink?" (Luke 5:33) He tells them there will be a day they will fast to draw close to Him, “the Bridegroom,” when He is taken from them physically, but during that season He was with them in person so it was not time for them to fast. He wanted to give them the “new wine” of His abiding presence, but it wouldn't work if they were stuck in their old way of thinking and didn't recognize what was available to them.
Through the ages, Kings and priests were anointed with oil to consecrate them into their place. When Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan, the heavens were open and He was anointed as Holy Spirit came upon Him. What happened to Jesus was the reality of the Old Testament “shadows.” When the Holy Spirit came upon Jesus, the voice of His Father said, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." This was more than a “FYI;” the Father was saying this is the One who can rightfully take the throne by saying He was His “Son.” Psalms 2:7-8 is a Psalm of David that contains the prophetic words of Jesus. It says, "I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession.”
Mark 1:15 says that Jesus began His ministry by preaching, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel." Is repentance just a “good suggestion” for those who believe on Jesus Christ? Repentance goes hand in hand with believing. If we truly believe, it will change our thinking and our actions and this is repentance. I’m not saying that perfect obedience is necessary for salvation; (we are saved by grace through faith), but there must be a real decision to pursue righteousness, or we don't have real faith in Christ. Jesus will say to many, “'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!' (Matt 7:23). Our righteousness and our salvation is by the blood that Jesus shed on the cross alone, but true faith to receive this salvation is accompanied by a decision to change (repentance).
The LORD said in Jeremiah 33:17, “David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel.” When you read through the lineage in Matthew chapter 1, we see the family Jesus was born into was of the line of David and this would fulfill His word to David. When we get to chapter 3 will see God (His true Father) anoint Him as King with the Holy Spirit and proclaim, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." The Anointed One, the Son of Man, and Son of God, has received all authority in heaven and in earth (Matt 28:18).
In Luke 2 we see how Mary and Joseph had to go to Bethlehem to be registered while she was pregnant; while in Bethlehem, there was no room for them in the Inn. The circumstances didn’t seem to line up with the glorious prophecies they received from Gabriel and through the dream, but God was getting His will accomplished. If God makes you a promise, don’t predetermine in your mind that it’s going to happen your ideal way. Remain in faith; walk by faith and not by what you see.
So much could be written from these chapters, but I am just going to bring a few points across. Please feel share in the comments box anything that stuck out to you.
From the womb John the Baptist was set apart to his call, filled with the Holy Spirit (See Luke 1:15), and when Mary the mother of Jesus spoke John leaped for joy in the womb (See Luke 1:44). I bring up these points to show how much God can do in a person even before they are born. There is a generation coming up that will prepare the way for Jesus Christ’s second coming just as John prepared the way for His first. We shouldn’t wait till this generation is older to equip them for their call; the LORD wants to start from the womb. Luke 1:80 says that John, “grew and became strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his manifestation to Israel.” John’s call was to speak to multitudes, but it was in the secluded deserts that he became strong in spirit to walk out his call.
Andrew and another disciple of John the Baptist asked Jesus, "where are You staying?” and Jesus replied, “come and see” (John 1:38-39). Andrew must have like what he saw because he went and found Simon his brother and brought him to Jesus (vs. 42). Then after Jesus found Philip, Philip found Nathaniel and brought him to Jesus. When Nathaniel questioned if the Messiah could come from Nazareth, Philip’s response was, “come and see” (vs. 46). God has a plan to use all His people to lead others to Jesus Christ; it’s not just the job of a few. It’s our job to share the message and invite them to come to Jesus. It’s the Holy Sprit’s job to make them “see;” He will open their eyes just as He did with these men.
Read through the Bible with us in 2012! The reading plan can be downloaded below; we are reading in chronological order. Check back often to read the blog posts on the Bible readings and discuss things in the "comments" section.
2012 Bible Plan