1. He Looked Round About
I finished proof reading the last devotional of things that do "Good Like A Medicine" and still did not know what direction the Lord would lead for the next theme. So I prayed that God would lead me and opened my Bible to continue where I left off yesterday in my reading, the third chapter of Mark. I was searching the scriptures as I read to see what the Lord would show me. I came to verse 5 and thought about how the Lord looked on the Pharisees in anger, while being grieved for their hardness at the same time. "And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other." I continued and several verses later I saw a different look. "And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!" (Mark 3:34) When I came to Mark 5:32 I saw yet another look. "And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing." For the next few weeks let's try to see what Jesus saw as we look into the scriptures "Through The Eyes Of The Savior."
2. A Look Of Anger And Heartbreak
"1 And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand.
2 And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him.
3 And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth.
4 And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.
5 And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.
6 And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him." (Mark 3:1-6)
As a parent it is not hard for me to imagine a look of anger and heartbreak simultaneously. It would probably come with the words, "You know better." The tone would carry the anger and the tears would convey the grief. Jesus had some harsh words for the religious leaders of His day. But He was also heartbroken at how far from the truth they had strayed. We see this in Matthew 23:37. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!"
3. Jesus' Family
"31 There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him.
32 And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee.
33 And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren?
34 And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!
35 For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother." Mark 3:31-35
I am so thankful for my family! We had a wonderful time of fellowship with several who came to lunch Sunday afternoon. But that is not the only family I have. The members of my church are also my brothers and sisters in Christ. They are just like family to me and I enjoy the fellowship I have with them at church. In these scriptures we see the family of Jesus. Jesus had begun His ministry and many people followed Him as He walked from place to place teaching and healing those who were sick. His close friends thought He had lost His mind. "And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself." (Mark 3:21) His mother and brothers must have heard about the things that were happening and they decided to go see for themselves, but there were so many people they could not get in the door. They called to Jesus to come out so they could talk to Him. Jesus looked around at those who believed and said, "Behold my mother and my brethren!" He felt closer to those who believed in Him than He did to His own brothers. "For neither did his brethren believe in him." (John 7:5) When we continue in the book of Mark we see that those who knew Him were offended at His teaching. "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house." (Mark 6:3-4) Jesus knew that those of His country did not honor Him. He knew that there were those among His kin who did not believe. He even narrowered it down to those who lived in His house, His own family did not recognize who He was. Don't think Jesus was cold and hard hearted toward His mother. As He died on the cross He asked John to take care of her. (John 19:26-27) We also see her after the resurrection "with his brethren." "These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren." (Acts 1:14) Since He called those who believe "His brethren" we can't be sure, but I think some of His family came to know Him as the Son of God. I am so glad I came to know Him as the Son of God, my Lord and my Savior!
4. "What Shall A Man Give In Exchange For His Soul?"
"And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time." (Luke 4:5)
Before beginning His ministry, Jesus was baptized by John and was then tempted (yet without sin) in the wilderness. After forty days of not eating He was hungry and the devil told Him to turn the stone into bread. "And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." (Luke 4:4-8) It took only a "moment of time" for the Lord to see all that the devil had to offer. Anything satan offers is only momentarily. The writer of Hebrews tells us this in his description of Moses, "By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;" (Hebrews 11:24-25) Our lives are just a short season in comparison with eternity. As Jesus looked at all the devil had to offer, He knew it was not worth the cost. He refused to give in to the temptation, and gave His life to save ours. We all have a choice. In closing I give you these thoughts from our Lord... "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works." (Matthew 16:26-27) "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." (John 3:36)
5. Jesus Saw Their Potential
"16 Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
17 And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.
18 And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him.
19 And when he had gone a little further thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets.
20 And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him." Mark 1:16-20
We have read this story many times, Jesus walked along the shore, saw these four fishermen, and said, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." (Matthew 4:19) These may have been rough and tough sailors. Peter said, "Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord." (Luke 5:8) A little later we read, "And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him." (Matthew 9:9) Matthew was a tax collector, hated among his people. He made Him a great feast and invited a great number of publicans. Luke 5:30 tells us that the scribes and Pharisees murmured against the disciples because they ate with publicans and sinners. Our thought today is simple. Jesus saw people for what they could become. He called to them and they followed Him. His invitation still calls today. "And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." (Mark 8:34) It is open to "whosoever will." Just as we read in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." The Lord sees our potential and the Holy Spirit calls to us to follow Him. He knows what we can be through His grace, through His righteousness, and through His power. As we witness to others it would be great if we could look at the lost through the eyes of the Savior and see what they can be, and not just what they are today.
6. Jesus Saw Him From Afar
"43 The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me.
44 Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.
45 Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.
46 And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.
47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!
48 Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.
49 Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.
50 Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these.
51 And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man." John 1:43-51
There are two things I want to look at that took place when Jesus saw Nathanael. First, Jesus saw him before He came to him. Jesus knew us before He came to save us. The Lord told Jeremiah, "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations." (Jeremiah 1:5) We also see in John 10:16, "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd." I am one of His other sheep. He came to die and give His life for me, long before I was ever born! The next thing I want to notice is found in what Jesus said to Nathanael. "Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!" Jesus saw what was good about Nathanael. Many of the things that we do for the Lord seem to go unnoticed. But, keep on serving the Lord. Proverbs 15:3 tells us "The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good." When we are tempted we may escape the temptation when we remember that God sees us. That thought can also give us strength and encourage us to keep on working for the Lord. The work we are called to do may seem so small, but the Lord sees what we do for Him.
7. Jesus Saw Their Faith
"1 And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house.
2 And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them.
3 And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four.
4 And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.
5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee." Mark 2:1-5
I have always liked this story. Imagine putting a person on a blanket or sheet and four people carrying him, each holding on to a corner. That would be a hard task. When these men finally got the sick man to Jesus, they could not get into the house because of the crowd of people. So, they decided to take him up to the roof. I have moved enough furniture up and down stairs and I know how difficult it is with large, heavy pieces. With a person, you would have to be extra careful that you didn't hurt him. But, they were persistent. After they got him up on the roof they took up part of the roof and lowered him down through the hole. Jesus saw their persistence. Jesus saw their faith! We see that in verse 5, "When Jesus saw their faith..." This man was healed because his friends had enough faith to get him to Jesus. We need to follow this example and be faithful in leading others to Christ.
8. Looking Up To Heaven
"And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full. And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children." Matthew 14:19-21
The miracle of feeding the 5,000 with five loaves and two fish is found in all four of the gospels. In looking "Through The Eyes Of The Savior" I wonder what Jesus saw when He looked up to heaven. Do you think He saw God the Father on the throne? Did He see the angels or prophets who had gone on before? I believe that He saw beyond the clouds. And in a sense we can see beyond the clouds when we look up in thanksgiving. We see our blessed provider, who supplies all our needs. There are other times we look up. Have you ever felt like David when he wrote Psalms 124?
"1 I cried unto the LORD with my voice; with my voice unto the LORD did I make my supplication.
2 I poured out my complaint before him; I shewed before him my trouble.
3 When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path. In the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me.
4 I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul.
5 I cried unto thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living.
6 Attend unto my cry; for I am brought very low: deliver me from my persecutors; for they are stronger than I.
7 Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me."
I think the saddest part of the Psalm is found in verse 4, "...no man cared for my soul." When we are "brought very low", and we feel like no one cares, the only way to look is up. Because Jesus cares! We can find hope, when all seems lost. We can find a refuge from the storm, peace when troubles overwhelm our soul, a light to shine in the darkness, and love... oh what love... love beyond measure. When the cares of this life get you down, look up. The Lord is there, waiting to help you when you call.
9. A Look Of Compassion
"31 And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.
32 And they departed into a desert place by ship privately.
33 And the people saw them departing, and many knew him, and ran afoot thither out of all cities, and outwent them, and came together unto him.
34 And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.
35 And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came unto him, and said, This is a desert place, and now the time is far passed:
36 Send them away, that they may go into the country round about, and into the villages, and buy themselves bread: for they have nothing to eat.
37 He answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat?
38 He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go and see. And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes.
39 And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass." Mark 6:31-39
Yesterday we looked at the miracle of feeding 5,000 with just two fish and five loaves of bread. I think it would be good to look at the beginning of this story. Jesus had been so busy teaching the people and healing those that were sick it was hard for Him and the disciples to even find time to eat. The multitudes thronged Him as He went from town to town. He knew they needed time to rest and be restored. I once heard a sermon on Mark 6:31 titled, "Come Apart, Before You Come Apart." Vacations are nice! It is so refreshing to get away for a little while. We get tired and weary and it can renew our bodies and minds to take a break from the daily tasks. It is like recharging our batteries. Jesus took the disciples privately by ship to a desert place so they could rest. The people saw them get onto the ship and gathered to meet them when they landed. Can you imagine the look on the disciples' faces when they thought they were going to have some restful time with the Lord and instead they were met by 5,000 people? I like verse 34. "And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things." Jesus did not get angry. He was "moved with compassion." He saw their needs. Not only the sick, but He saw those who were poor and hungry. He saw the lonely and broken hearted. He saw them all "as sheep not having a shepherd." Being the Good Shepherd, what did He do? He taught them. He healed them. And after a long day when the disciples wanted to send them away, He fed them. We are so blessed to be able to serve such a compassionate Lord and Savior!
10. Jesus Sees Us In The Midst Of The Storms
"45 And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent away the people.
46 And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray.
47 And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land.
48 And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them.
49 But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out:
50 For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.
51 And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered." Mark 6:45-51
After Jesus fed the multitude He sent the disciples across the sea in a ship. He sent the people back to their homes and then "departed into a mountain to pray." That brings us to verse 48, "And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them..." Jesus was on the mountain, and He saw the disciples in the storm. They were right where He told them to be. Sometimes storms in our lives come up even when we are in the midst of God's will. Distance does not keep the Lord from seeing us, because He is the One that said, "I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world" (Matthew 28:20) Darkness does not keep the Lord from seeing us, because He said, "I am the light of the world." (John 9:5) The Lord sees us in the midst of the storms. He is the One who comes walking on the troubled seas of our life and calls to us, "Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid." There is no safer place to be, than right in the center of His will.
11. The Lord Sees Those Who Look For Him
"1 And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho.
2 And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich.
3 And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature.
4 And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way.
5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house.
6 And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.
7 And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.
8 And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.
9 And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.
10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." Luke 19:1-10
I learned this story as a child because we sang the song...
Zacchaeus was a wee little man and a wee little man was he.
He climbed up into a sycomore tree for the Lord he wanted to see.
And as the Savior passed that way He looked up in the tree.
And He said, "Zacchaeus, you come down, for I'm going to your house today, I'm going to your house today."
It is a simple little story filled with great truth. As Jesus passed through Jericho He saw that Zacchaeus made a great effort to see Him, and He rewarded that effort. Acts 8:26-30 tells of the Ethiopian eunuch who sought the Lord and God sent Philip to explain the scriptures to him. The Bible is filled with promises to those that seek the Lord. Are you seeking the Lord and the things of God?
"Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." (Isaiah 55:6-7)
"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33)
"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." (Hebrews 11:6)
"Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD. Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore." (Psalms 105:3-4)
12. The Lord Wept Over The Destruction Of Sinful Man
"41 And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,
42 Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.
43 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side,
44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.
45 And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought;
46 Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves." Luke 19:41-46
The Lord knew the destruction that would come to Jerusalem and He wept over it. Today the world seems to get deeper and deeper in sin and destructive behavior. We may rant and rave, but how often do we weep and pray? It should bring us to our knees to hear and see how low mankind has fallen. I am reminded of times past when people in the scriptures wept over sin.
"And David went up by the ascent of mount Olivet, and wept as he went up, and had his head covered, and he went barefoot: and all the people that was with him covered every man his head, and they went up, weeping as they went up." (II Samuel 15:30)
"Then all the children of Israel, and all the people, went up, and came unto the house of God, and wept, and sat there before the LORD, and fasted that day until even, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD." (Judges 20:26)
"Now when Ezra had prayed, and when he had confessed, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, there assembled unto him out of Israel a very great congregation of men and women and children: for the people wept very sore." (Ezra 10:1)
How long has it been since we wept over sin?
13. Jesus Opened Blinded Eyes
"And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth." John 9:1
There are several accounts in the New Testament that tell how Jesus opened blinded eyes. Today I just want to praise the Lord for passing by my way when I was only eight years old! My Grandfather was preaching on Lazarus and the rich man. "And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame." (Luke 16:22-24) He explained that Jesus is the only way to escape the torments of hell. Jesus, God's precious Son, came down from heaven and gave His life to pay for my sin. That Sunday morning the Holy Spirit convicted my heart and my eyes were opened. I saw that I was lost and I asked the Lord to save me. "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." (John 8:12) Praise the Lord He can still open blinded eyes!
14. Jesus Saw The Little Children And Blessed Them
"13 And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them.
14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.
16 And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them." Mark 10:13-16
I suppose the disciples thought Jesus was too busy or too important to be bothered by children. I am so glad that it was no bother to Jesus. He took them up in His arms and blessed them! It breaks my heart today to see parents who seem to be too busy to be bothered by their children. Everywhere I go I see adults, and children alike, with phones or ipads, too busy to be personal with those around them. It seems that people have more pleasure in the number of "friends" they have online than they have conversing with those sitting next to them. The children growing up today may gain more knowledge with their links to technology, but they need wisdom and I don't think they can get that from the internet. As parents and grandparents, teachers and leaders, we need to take time for the little children. We need to teach them of the love of God, and not leave out His holiness. We need to impress on them the importance of the scriptures by our own example of reading God's Word. It blesses me to hear my two year old granddaughter repeat the prayers of her six year old brother. I know that she is too young to understand the words she is saying, but she is learning to pray. I have had the joy of singing, "Jesus Loves Me" to each of my grandchildren, and I pray that they will always remember that Jesus really does love them.
15. Jesus Also Blessed The Poor And Hungry
"And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh." Luke 6:20-21
When we see great leaders of our time, we see them surrounded by well-dressed, important men and women. These rich followers help lift up their image and raise their popularity. When Jesus called the disciples to follow Him, He did not call the rich and important leaders of His day. He called the poor fishermen. We can remember from the Christmas story in Luke 2 that He left the glory and splendor of heaven to be born in a stable. The first visitors at His birth were the lowly shepherds. "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich." (II Corinthians 8:9) As Jesus looked at the multitudes who followed Him, He saw the poor and meek, and He blessed them. And I believe those listening that day saw the look of love in His eyes and were comforted by His words.
"1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:
2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you." (Matthew 5:1-12)
16. She Gave Her All To The Lord
"41 And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.
42 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.
43 And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:
44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living." Mark 12:41-44
Have we given our "all" to the Lord? Jesus told a parable about servants that were given five talents, two talents, and one. I know that this is talking about money, but let's view it in terms of our talents or abilities. The servant with five talents gained five more, the servant with two talents gained two more, but the servant with one talent hid his in the ground. I am not making excuses for the one with only one talent, but I do realize that sometimes it is hard for those to give, who have been given less. From my own personal experience, I play the piano a little and I feel like hiding my talent when I hear others who play so well. But I have come to the realization that God knows my ability and my heart and He understands that I do the best I can. The poor widow in our scriptures above may have been embarrassed that she only had two mites to give, but Jesus commended her for giving "all that she had." Whether it is our talents, our tithes, or our time, we need to give our "all" to the Lord. I believe the Lord is coming back soon and it would bless me to hear Him say, "...Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord." (Matthew 25:21)
17. Only One Gave Thanks
"11 And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.
12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:
13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.
14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.
15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,
16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.
17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?
18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.
19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole." Luke 17:11-19
Yesterday we talked about giving our all to the Lord, whether it's our talents, our tithes, or our time. Today we see that we should also give our thanks to the Lord. Jesus saw ten lepers who cried, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us." Jesus had compassion on them and heard their cries. Only one of the ten returned to give Him thanks. Jesus has heard and answered my prayers many, many times. I hope that I have been faithful in giving Him thanks. We try to teach our children to say, "Thank you." It is important that we remember to thank the Lord for His blessings on us. And it is more than just saying, "Thank you"; it is a whole attitude of thankful living to a God who is most worthy!
"1 Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.
2 Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
3 Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
5 For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations." (Psalms 100:1-5)
18. What Does Jesus See At Church?
"And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out unto Bethany with the twelve." Mark 11:11
What do you think Jesus saw when He went into the temple and "looked round about upon all things"? When we go to a new church and look all around we are usually admiring the building, the furnishings, and how it is decorated. I don't think Jesus focused on the material beauty of the temple for just a short while later we read, "And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here! And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down." (Mark 13:1-2) Another thing I notice about visiting a different church is the people. I confess that I notice how they are dressed, how friendly they are, and whether or not they seem to have a respect for the house of God. We can tell that Jesus noticed those who did not respect the house of God because of His actions on the following day. "And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple. And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves." (Mark 11:15-17) Jesus also saw those who gave just to be seen of men. "Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward." (Matthew 6:1-2) In the same way, He warned about praying just to be seen of others. "And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward." (Matthew 6:5) Maybe the most important thing Jesus saw in the temple was the need of the people. The scribes and Pharisees became more and more angry with Jesus each time He healed someone on the Sabbath, but Jesus looked on those hurting with compassion. I am thankful that the Lord still looks on His people with love and compassion. He sees our needs and hears our prayers. And He still has saving power to save those who confess their sin and seek Him.
19. The Lord Sees His Faithful Laborers
"But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest." Matthew 9:36-38
I went to church one morning to look for some keys that someone thought he left there. When I drove up I saw one of our members spraying the weeds coming up in the cracks of the pavement. He and his wife are faithful in many ways as they work in and around the church. The Lord sees their labor. The Lord sees the dedication of the women who faithfully send out "Get Well" and "Birthday" cards as a way to bring joy to their church family. He also sees those who pray daily for the needs of their brothers and sisters in Christ. When the men go on visitation and can't see the fruits of their labors, the Lord sees the seeds that are sown. He also sees the tracts that are given out, some on stoney ground, but hopefully some on good ground. The Lord knows the time and prayer that goes into each Sunday School lesson that is taught, and each song that is sung. And the Lord sees our faithful Pastor, feeding the flock like a gentle shepherd. Leading and guiding through God's Word. Today I want to say a special "Thank You!" to my Pastor and each member of our congregation for their faithful labor in the Lord's work. Keep the faith! "For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works." (Matthew 16:27)
20. Jesus Sees Our Heart
"Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest. And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a child, and set him by him, And said unto them, Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great." (Luke 9:46-48)
If I knew that a friend of mine could read my mind, I would either not spend time with that person, or I would try to be very careful of my thoughts. The disciples travelled with Jesus and several times in the scriptures we are told that He knew what they were thinking. This would have been embarassing, especially when they were discussing things like which of them was the greatest. Maybe because we can't see Jesus in body form as the disciples did, we sometimes forget that He knows our every thought. We sit quietly during our church services, but Jesus knows if we are really listening to the sermon, or thinking about what we will eat for lunch. We tell people we will pray for them, but Jesus knows if we are really concerned for others. When we sing Jesus knows if we are praising Him, or singing to be praised by others. David was referred to as a man after God's own heart in I Samuel 13:14 and he had a great understanding of how God knew his heart.
"1 <<To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.>> O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me.
2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.
3 Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.
4 For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.
5 Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it...
14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.
17 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee...
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:
24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." (Psalms 139)
21. The Most Sorrowful Look
"And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew. And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly." Luke 22:60-62
I had trouble with the title today. I could have called it "A Look Of Remembrance." When Peter denied the Lord and the Lord looked at him, he remembered the word of the Lord. I believe that Peter never forgot that look. I think every morning when the rooster crowed he remembered. There are times in our lives when we are reminded of our failures and it is very painful. I also thought of "A Painful Look." The Lord was in great pain, and I am sure Peter saw the pain in His face. He had pain inflicted upon Him by the Roman soldiers, but He also carried the pain of the sin of the world on His shoulders. And the pain of knowing that He carried the load all alone, deserted by His friends, even God the Father could not look on the sin He carried for you and me. "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46) The Lord knew Peter would deny Him, and He tried to prepare him for it, but I don't think it was an "I Told You So" look. No, I don't believe there was any remorse or anger at Peter. I believe Peter could see the hurt in the Lord's eyes. I know when I let someone down I can see the disappointment in their eyes and it brings me great sadness. We know Peter experienced this heartbreak as he "went out, and wept bitterly." I chose, "The Most Sorrowful Look." That might not be the best title, but I believe the look was filled with sorrow. Jesus was God's Son, holy and righteous. He walked among men healing their sick and forgiving their sin. He lived in sinless perfection, and fully demonstrated God's perfect love, yet His own people turned against Him. We see this in John 1:11, "He came unto his own, and his own received him not." Also foretold in Zechariah 13:6, "And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends." We can often be strong and take a lot of grief from strangers, but the hurt from a close friend causes great sorrow. If you are struggling with pain and sorrow today remember that you are not alone. We have this promise in Hebrews 13:5, "... for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." Jesus "is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother." (Proverbs 18:24)
I close with His parting words, "... lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." (Matthew 28:20)
22. Jesus Saw His Mother
"26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!
27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.
28 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.
29 Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.
30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost." John 19:26-30
It is so appropriate to close our series, "Through The Eyes Of The Savior" with this scripture. Tomorrow is Mother's Day, a special day to show our love for Mom. Jesus had the weight of the world on His shoulders, yet He wanted to make sure His mother was taken care of. We know from Mark 6:3 that Mary had other sons and daughters. "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him." We don't know anything about them and I have often wondered why neither of them took care of Mary. We do know about John, who referred to himself as "the disciple who Jesus loved" not only in this scripture, but also in John 20:2 and 21:7 & 20. I believe the Lord knew John would love and care for His mother as long as she lived. Remember to show your Mom some extra love for Mother's Day. And if there are grandmothers or other women who loved and cared for you take time to thank them and let them know you appreciate them. Happy Mother's Day to all you Moms!