No Power Can Stop Faith
Posted by adventbiblestudy on August 30, 2013
No Power Can Stop Faith
Written by Dennis Herman
Copyright © 2013 Dennis Herman
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NLTse New Living. Translation®. SECOND EDITION Tyndale House Publishers, Inc
KJV King James Version
MKJV Modern King James Version Sovereign Grace Publishers
GNB Good News Bible Thomas Nelson Publishers
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) (NLTse) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Scriptures marked GNB are taken from the GOOD NEWS BIBLE (GNB): Scriptures taken
from the Good News Bible © 1994 published by the Bible Societies/HarperCollins Publishers
Ltd UK, Good News Bible© American Bible Society 1966, 1971, 1976, 1992. Used with
This book is a collection of some of my favorite stories from my books on the Gospels of Matthew and Mark. I couldn’t believe the series of experiences and trials I had to go through to write some of these stories. It took a lot for God’s Spirit to get me into a position to understand some of the messages Jesus wanted to get across when He pointed out how this world takes advantage of widows, orphans, and strangers. Looking back, the things I lost are nothing compared to what I gained when looked at these stories in the Bible with new insight. Some of the stories are adaptations of real life experiences from stories pastors and friends who told me about how people were led to a closer relationship with Christ.
It was a joy studying the stories in Matthew’s Gospel. I looked at each character on a personal basis, asking what led them to Jesus. Some times it was a physical ailment Jesus looked beyond as He looked at the spiritual well being of everyone He healed. Other people came to Jesus so He could heal their friends or family. People from all walks of life came to Jesus. That tells us a lot about how we’re supposed to conduct our personal ministries. Jesus ministered to Roman soldiers, priests and other religious leaders, misunderstood Samaritans, people living among pig farmers, lepers, other people the world classified as unclean, His disciples and their families.
Few people know, and many religious leaders deny the fact, Jesus also taught how to study and understand scripture. This is a skill He equipped His disciples with to conduct and fulfill their personal ministries. Stories from Mark’s Gospel explain each step Jesus used to instruct His disciples.
The stories with the deepest emotional level are those leading up to Jesus’ sacrifice. Its difficult to comprehend why the disciples were unable to support Jesus in His hour of need. There is a profound spiritual lesson waiting to be explored as you learn how Jesus pleaded for support while maintaining His role as their spiritual leader. There was a reason God’s Spirit led Jesus back to His disciples as they slept. This spiritual lesson provides an unexpected view of God’s plan of salvation. Jesus’ life, ministry, sacrifice, death, and resurrection reached far beyond this dismal world.
Chapter 10 Matthew 8:5-13 The Centurion
Matthew 8:5-13 KJV And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, (6) And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. (7) And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. (8) The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. (9) For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. (10) When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. (11) And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. (12) But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (13) And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.
Riding home after a long week of military maneuvers under the relenting middle eastern sun and cold lonely nights, Marcus lingered for a moment to experience the scene before him. He marveled at the sight of the setting sun which seemed to pause, resting upon the horizon. His first thought was the fact he was glad it was going down, as he looked forward to the coolness of the night. Slowly his mind drifted to the wonders of the world and the sun that rose every morning, and its setting every evening. He admired the perfect form, and the vivid colors highlighted by the red hue of the setting sun, Marcus let out a deep soothing sigh as he thought of being in the arms of his wife and the greeting he was about to receive from his son. It’s been the same routine every time he returned home, but one that he would not give up for anything.
Riding up to the stable Marcus dismounted, wondering why Lucas was not there to greet him. Assuming Lucas had more important business to attend to, Marcus tied his horse to the fence post, and headed for the house looking forward to a quick bath, then social activities and company of the evening meal. Opening the door Marcus was not met by the usual happy smile and embrace of his wife, or the excited greeting of his son. Instead his ears heard the sound of weeping. Marcus walked in. As he turned the corner, he saw the family and a few servants gathered around his son’s bed. Looking up, his wife Anna, leaped forward, wrapping her arms around him for comfort. Marcus felt her tears upon his neck and shoulder. Looking at the bed he saw Lucas lying there. With both arms Marcus gently moved his wife to one side so he could make his way to the bed. Kneeling, he put the back of his hand on Lucius’ forehead asking, “what’s wrong?” Anna informed him of the days events. “About noon time Lucas suddenly fainted. We tried to revive him. I thought it was heat stroke, so we placed wet towels on his forehead and tried to get him to drink. There was no response, so we carried him in and placed him on Cato’s bed.” Marcus inquired, “have you called the doctor?” Anna replied, “yes.” Handing Marcus a small clay bottle she continued, “he provided this to administer to him, but we cannot get him drink the medicine.” Taking the bottle Marcus gave it a sniff. Not that smelling it would reveal anything, but give the impression he was actively pursuing a resolution. At this point Marcus’ anticipated homecoming turned into a time of grief and reflection.
Marcus never looked at Lucas as a servant. Years ago Lucas was purchased as a slave by Marcus’ father. His dedicated service and sincere concern for the family quickly gained him his freedom. When Marcus was transferred to serve Rome in Judea, his father asked Lucas to accompany his son. Recognizing this was a sign of trust and respect, Lucas accepted the awesome responsibility. Lucas was more than a dedicated and free servant, he was in fact a father figure for Marcus.
Dinner was a solemn experience. Conversation centered around Lucas and ideas of what to do about the situation. After commanding a legion all week, Marcus felt unsure, bewildered, and powerless. He tried his best to give the impression he was still in control of the situation, and everything would turn out fine. However, doubts filled his mind and heart like an enemy who had been planning his demise for years.
The heat of the day captured within the house did not escape into the darkness of the night. Worries of Lucas kept Marcus awake. Anna sensed Marcus’ concern. Turning along side of him, she placed a hand on his chest. Her intuition told her to wait a moment. Before speaking, Marcus’ mind must first grow to realize, she was there to comfort him. When she heard Marcus’ sigh, she knew he was ready to listen. “Are you still thinking about Lucas?” Marcus sighed, “yes.” Anna whispered so not to wake anyone, “we have done all we could for him.” Marcus whispered back, “there must be something we can do, I cannot lie here and do nothing.” In the silence of the night Anna drew circles along Marcus’ chest, then placed her hand flat upon it. Feeling the pattern of his deep silent breathing and pace of his heart, she felt her husband’s concern. Finally she added, “you know there is one thing. You may not believe this, but the other day a man visited. He claimed he was a leper, and was healed. The way he was dressed, I believed his story. It was so touching. I gave him a change of clothes to go along with his change of life and heart.” Anna paused a moment, waiting for a response. Receiving none she continued with her story. “The man claims he was healed by a man named Jesus.” Marcus chimed in, “I have heard of Him. He is one of the reasons for the increased activity, my longer hours, and our heightened state of alert.” Anna viewed this as a typical response based on his position and responsibility. She continued. “Some claim this man Jesus is a prophet with the ability to heal.” Marcus responded, “I am familiar with the stories. That is one reason for the governor’s concern.” Anna asked, “do you think they are true?” Marcus answered in a bewildered tone, “reports would indicate yes, the stories are true.” Anna could sense a lingering faith by the tone in his voice. She asked, “should we find out if these stories are true? If they are, could this Jesus help Lucas?”
Worry robbed Marcus of sleep that night. Rising early he walked to the door in time to watch the sun rise, his thoughts immersed in the stillness of the morning, and the beauty of the scene. The sun cast a multitude of red, pink, orange and yellow highlights upon the contour of the clouds. The sky transcended the talent of every artist, changing from the deepest purple in the west to the brightest blue in the east, highlighted by a yellow horizon, and the blazing red of the rising sun. The scene painted a glimmer of hope in Marcus’ heart.
Calling his servants together he inquired if anyone had any information about this mysterious man Jesus. Much to his surprise, almost all his servants shared a story about his teaching, and the miracles He performed. Marcus asked if anyone knew where to find Him. He received as many stories on where Jesus had been, and where He was going, as those about His miracles. Marcus gave his servants instructions to find this Jesus, and beg Him to come to the aid of Lucas. He reminded them of the contributions he had made in building the local synagogue. He dispatched his servants in teams of two, and sent them off in three directions. Marcus decided to travel to Capernaum himself, based on updated reports he had been given yesterday.
Upon entering Capernaum, Marcus first visited the synagogue he helped finance, donating the funds in the names of his servants. After he was warmly greeted by a number of elders, and asking them for help he explained the situation. After learning of Lucas’ condition, which melted away the prejudice they held towards Jesus, the elders were more than happy to help. They informed Marcus of the latest reports received about Jesus, indicating He was on his way to Capernaum. Marcus divided the elders into small groups, assigning each to the main roads leading into Capernaum. Marcus would wait outside the synagogue to receive reports.
The instant one group of elders reached the edge of the city, they saw a large group traveling along the road. As soon as they confirmed Jesus was leading the group, the elders sent a messenger to Marcus. The elders waited for Jesus to enter the city, and sought an audience with Him. Sensing their need, Jesus granted their request.
The scene seemed rather odd, considering the background of the characters. A few hours before, these Jewish elders were actively looking for faults in Jesus, but now they were seeking His favor. Even more strange was the fact, they had relayed the request of a Roman centurion. When Marcus arrived, the three groups were not only represented, but working together to save one person. Only God could bring these three, Jesus, Jewish elders, and a Roman centurion together under a common cause. When people are facing a trial it creates a situation for God to show His wondrous powers.
Jesus’ heart, always filled with love, may have reached an even higher level when viewing the scene of cooperation between the Jewish elders and a Roman centurion. In this miracle He recognized the work of His Father.
After listening to the elders praising Marcus, Jesus waited for his request. Finally Marcus spoke up. “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant will be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, Go! And he goes; and to another, Come! And he comes; and to my servant, Do this! And he does it.”
Jesus paused for a moment while silently praying that the elders understood the message Marcus had just delivered. It was a message and claim they would not receive if Jesus had offered it.
Finally Jesus answered Marcus’ request. “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say to you that many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of Heaven. But the sons of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And Jesus said to the centurion, Go. And as you have believed, so let it be to you.”
As quickly as Lucas fell sick, he recovered. The moment Jesus spoke His blessing, Lucas opened his eyes, sat up in bed asking for something to drink. Instantly the servants gathered around his bed began rejoicing, praising God, and the name of Jesus. Tears filled Anna’s eyes as she joined in praising Jesus, and dedicating her life to learning more about this mysterious man she had heard so much about.
Matthew 15:21-28 Bread to Dogs
Matthew 15:21-28 MKJV And going out from there, Jesus withdrew to the parts of Tyre and Sidon. (22) And behold, a woman of Canaan coming out of these borders cried to Him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is grievously vexed with a demon. (23) But He did not answer her a word. And His disciples came and begged Him, saying, Send her away, for she cries after us. (24) But He answered and said, I am not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. (25) Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, Lord, help me! (26) But He answered and said, It is not good to take the children’s bread and to throw it to dogs. (27) And she said, True, O Lord; but even the little dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ tables. (28) Then Jesus answered and said to her, O woman, great is your faith! So be it to you even as you wish. And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
Miriam watched her baby brother drifting down the river. The tiny boat drifted along, bumping reed after reed as she silently prayed to God to protect her little brother. As the words went through her mind, she received assurance her prayers would be answered. She could see how her parents loved God so much, they would not even consider offending Him by disobeying Pharaoh. He commanded every male child born must be thrown into the river, and so they put him in the water, and God’s loving hands.
It was not long before she saw the answer to her prayer. The small boat drifted into a quite pool, a depression in the river where Pharaoh’s daughter and her servants were bathing. A servant waded out to retrieve the strange craft. To their surprise they found a baby inside. Pharaoh’s daughter considered this a blessing. Miriam listened to their conversation. It seemed they didn’t have a clue of what to do with the small child. Recognizing an opening, Miriam stepped in and suggested, “I could have one of the Hebrew maidens nurse the baby for you.” Knowing there were a number of Hebrew mothers missing their sons, it seemed like a very logical suggestion. Marian offered to quickly return with a Hebrew mother who lost her son to Pharaoh’s command.
When Miriam returned with a nursing Hebrew, Pharaoh’s daughter had no idea she was the child’s real mother. God worked out a plan no one would have considered. After discussing the arrangements Pharaoh’s daughter said her to, “Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages.” And the woman took the child, and nursed it.
The mother had only a few years with her son, so she made the most of every moment. From that day she taught the child everything she knew about God. She told him about creation, the flood, how Abraham was called by God, and much more. She had no idea if the child understood, or how much he would remember. In faith she taught her child everything she knew about their family history. The child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water. (Exodus 2:10 GNG)
Moses grew up in the Pharaoh’s royal courts. He was accepted as the son of his daughter, but in many ways felt like a son to Pharaoh. Moses was instructed in all the religious, political, social, and military skills required by a member of the royal family. Despite all the rigorous training, the stories his mother told him as a tiny child still flourished in his heart.
And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren. And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand. (Exodus 2:11-12 GNB)
This was the end of his relationship and position in the royal family. Pharaoh could not tolerate a family member breaking such an important law. Moses had no choice but to give up his life of luxury in the royal palace, and flee for his life.
As Moses traveled through the wilderness he contemplated his decision. He wondered why one race felt justified to enslave another. Time alone brought more memories to the surface. He had always felt a strong pull to his Hebrews brothers, but it took the solitude of the wilderness for Moses to finally realize, he was really one of them. Not only in heart, but in blood.
It did not take long for Moses to recognize God was leading him. Not only on the physical journey before him, but his journey through life since his birth. Meeting Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses knew He had been saved from the influences in Egypt. What seemed like a sacrifice and trail turned out to be a blessing. Not only did Moses find answers to the faith he had in his heart since birth, he was also blessed with a loving, caring, and understanding wife. More than a man could hope for. Moses learned that finding God’s love and receiving His blessing was worth more than all the gold in Egypt’s courts and palaces.
Moses was blessed by a mentor in Jethro, but this was only the beginning. The little pieces of God’s words he received from his mother were enough for him to over come the temptations of the Egyptian courts. Jethro the priest of Midian could only take him so far. There comes a time in everyone’s life when a personal relationship with God is essential. The life of Moses illustrated the relationship required to make it from the slavery of Egypt, both physical and spiritual, to the promised land. God personally met Moses at the burning bush, provided him with the spiritual gifts he needed, exactly when he needed them, and guided him along every step of his journey. It was not by mistake, Moses finally set foot in the promised land in the presence of Jesus.
Hiram king of Tyre dealt with an enormous amount of responsibility everyday. Tyre had become the gateway between the sea and land. Ships daily arrived to unload and load merchandise. Hiram recognized the benefits of becoming the world center of trade. He invested large amounts of money to build the most efficient harbor in the world. Obstacles were cleared, docks constructed and improved, and a navy assembled and trained to protect the waters from all possible threats.
People came to Hiram from all over the world. This fascinated Hiram, who welcomed every opportunity to learn. Many people came to him with ideas of how to improve efficiency. He took time to listen to every suggestion. Wisely he experimented with many of the inventions, proving them, and making adjustments before initiating them on an expanded level. This method helped to contain costs with minimal interruption to the flow of merchandise. Hiram gained the respect of people from many regions and nations.
He also paid close attention to the conflicts in Palestine. When news of a new king in Judah reached his ears, he saw it as a new opportunity to gain an important ally. Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers, and cedar trees, and carpenters, and masons to David. And they built David a house. (2 Samuel 5:11 GNB)
There were many things he admired about king David, who shared many stories about his flight from king Saul, and how God guided every step. King Hiram was more than impressed with David’s dedication to his God. Hiram wanted to learn more about how David communicated directly with God.
Years passed without receiving an official invitation for an audience with king David. Without notice king Hiram heard of king David’s death. Hiram king of Tyre sent his servants to Solomon, for he had heard that they had anointed him king instead of his father. For Hiram was always a lover of David. (1 Kings 5:1 GNB).
It did not take long to receive a response. Solomon sent back this message to Hiram: “You know that because of the constant wars my father David had to fight against the enemy countries all around him, he could not build a temple for the worship of the LORD his God until the LORD had given him victory over all his enemies. But now the LORD my God has given me peace on all my borders. I have no enemies, and there is no danger of attack. The LORD promised my father David, ‘Your son, whom I will make king after you, will build a temple for me.’ And I have now decided to build that temple for the worship of the LORD my God. So send your men to Lebanon to cut down cedars for me. My men will work with them, and I will pay your men whatever you decide. As you well know, my men don’t know how to cut down trees as well as yours do.” Hiram was extremely pleased when he received Solomon’s message, and he said, “Praise the LORD today for giving David such a wise son to succeed him as king of that great nation!” (1 Kings 5:2-7 GNB)
Was this the opportunity Hiram was waiting for? Was Hiram finally getting a chance to learn first hand about the God who delivered Israel from Egypt, Goliath into David’s hand, and kept him safe from Saul? Surely David’s son, the new king of Israel talked with their God.
Hiram kept his word and supplied Solomon with all the cedar and pine logs he needed. He did not expect any payment in return, but Solomon provided Hiram with 100,000 bushels of wheat and 110,000 gallons of pure olive oil every year to feed his men. (1 Kings 5:10-11 GNB) This surprised Hiram. He also heard news of how the LORD kept his promise and gave Solomon wisdom. Eventually the invitation arrived. Hiram personally met with Solomon, and they made a treaty with each other. (1 Kings 5:12 GNB)
For years Hiram had heard King Solomon was richer and wiser than any other king, and the whole world wanted to come and listen to the wisdom God had given him. Everyone who came brought him a gift—articles of silver and gold, robes, weapons, spices, horses, and mules. This continued year after year. (1 Kings 10:23-25 GNB) Hiram was not disappointed with the things he learned from Solomon.
King Hiram of Tyre had provided him with all the cedar and pine and with all the gold he wanted for this work. After it was finished, King Solomon gave Hiram twenty towns in the region of Galilee. Hiram went to see them, and he did not like them. So he said to Solomon, “So these, my brother, are the towns you have given me!” For this reason the area is still called Cabul. (1 Kings 9:11-13 GNB)
With most kings such an insult may have resulted in war. But this was not Hiram’s way. This was not how he treated other people, or nations, and it was not what he had learned from David and Solomon. Hiram waited a while to see what Solomon’s response would be. When he did not receive one, he decided to take the next step in the relationship. Hiram sent Solomon almost five tons of gold. (1 Kings 9:14 GNB)
Hiram once again waited for an official response from Solomon. Time passed and none came. Soon Hiram began to hear unusual stories coming out of Israel. He heard how King Solomon used forced labor to build the Temple and the palace, to fill in land on the east side of the city, and to build the city wall. He also used it to rebuild the cities of Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer. (1 Kings 9:15 GNB)
This did not sound right to king Hiram. Instead of accepting the reports, he rejected them. He suspected they may have been spread through jealousy. This did not sound like the king Solomon he had come to respect. This did not dampen Hiram’s desire to continue a friendship with Solomon. Hiram ordered his navy to deliver gold from Ophir, and a great abundance of almug trees and precious stones. (1 Kings 10:11 GNB)
King Hiram learned only a small portion about God from king David, and only a sample of king Solomon’s wisdom. What he heard he took to heart. Both David and Solomon had opportunities to share with Hiram. What may have been accomplished if their actions matched their words?
Jesus’ disciples wondered why Jesus was traveling to Tyre. Thomas asked Philip, “do you remember what the prophet Ezekiel wrote about Tyre?” Philip responded, “are you referring to the king of Tyre who lifted his heart up, thinking he was god?” “Yes that is the one,” Thomas answered as they walked through the large gate. The tall walls and bulwarks were impressive enough, but the inside of the city was much more than they had imagined. Next to the gate were tall stately homes made of expensive stones of every imaginable type. Many of them boasted pillars of grand size, with ornate detailing. Windows framed with decorative carvings added a flair of elegance. Doors were designed as main focal points, each competing with the others in detail and extravagance.
Thomas commented, “can you imagine the money it took to build such homes? These must of cost a fortune. I can see why Ezekiel wrote in his vision, “By your great wisdom and by your trade you have multiplied your riches, and your heart is lifted up because of your riches.” (Ezekiel 28:5). Philip reminded him, “how many times has Tyre fallen because of her riches? It seems riches and glory attract their share of burdens and trials. Wars have been fought, people slain and enslaved, families separated. Riches may be grand, but they are always temporary.”
Philip agreed and added, “that must have been why God spoke to Ezekiel and compared the king of Tyre to Satan. “Son of man, lift up a lament over the king of Tyre, and say to him, So says the Lord Jehovah: You seal the measure, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were the anointed cherub that covers, and I had put you in the holy height of God where you were; you have walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. You were perfect in your ways from the day that you were created, until iniquity was found in you.” (Ezekiel 28:12, 14, 15 GNB). He added, “this shows how riches can change a heart, to bring out the worst in men.”
As they were passing through the residential quarter they could hear the familiar sounds of a market. The scene changed as they passed under a large victory arch erected by the Romans in commemoration of their defeat of Tyre, and entered a large open square where dozens of vendors displayed merchandise from all corners of the world. Their minds were so fixed on the spectacle before them, they had not noticed, no one there recognized Jesus, except for one Canaanite woman. Suddenly their attention shifted to a single woman crying after Jesus. “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is grievously vexed with a demon.”
Jesus did not immediately acknowledge her, so she went from disciple to disciple, showing she was not certain which one was Jesus. It was evident she was attracting attention, based on the hushed tone of the market. Everyone was watching them, so the disciples asked Jesus to send her away. This disclosed Jesus’ identity to her. As she rushed over to fall at His feet, He answered His disciples, “I am not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
Ignoring the women Jesus looked at the faces of His disciple to discern their reaction to the His comment. He wanted them to see how the truth can be distorted when blurred by riches. The disciples had not yet learned, spiritual Israel included all those who believed in Him. A sense of sadness filled His heart as He gazed upon the expressions on the faces of His disciples. Not one of them showed any concern, or questioned Him on the subject.
Jesus turned His attention to the woman clinging to His legs crying out, “Lord, help me!” He knew what she wanted, and took a moment to pray his disciples would not miss the lesson He was about to teach. Looking over at the villa attached to the market, He saw a group of children seated at a table about to eat lunch. A pair of faithful dogs trained to protect the household lay nearby. He said to her, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and to throw it to dogs.” Jesus insulted the woman to test His disciples. He wanted to see how much the vision of riches distracted them. Also to test their prejudice. Eventually they had to understand the woman represented the people they were being sent to save.
When Jesus spoke, she looked up at His eyes, her own still filed with tears. She wiped them away with her hand, noticing Jesus was gazing at something. She turned to look at what may be drawing His attention. Taking in the scene, she turned back to Jesus and answered, “True, O Lord; but even the little dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ tables.”
Surely this woman understood Jesus was referring to her faith. Jesus prayed the disciples remembered the spiritual connection He had taught them between bread, and God’s Word. Jesus knew, even though the woman heard little about Him, and was not taught about God like the Jews, her faith was strong, and her heart willing to learn. He said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! So be it to you even as you wish.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
Mark 14:27-42 Watch With Me
Mark 14:27-42 NLTse On the way, Jesus told them, “All of you will desert me. For the Scriptures say, ‘God will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ (28) But after I am raised from the dead, I will go ahead of you to Galilee and meet you there.” (29) Peter said to him, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I never will.” (30) Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, Peter–this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny three times that you even know me.” (31) “No!” Peter declared emphatically. “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!” And all the others vowed the same. (32) They went to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and Jesus said, “Sit here while I go andpray.” (33) He took Peter, James, and John with him, and he became deeply troubled and distressed. (34) He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” (35) He went on a little farther and fell to the ground. He prayed that, if it were possible, the awful hour awaiting him might pass him by. (36) “Abba, Father,” he cried out, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” (37) Then he returnedand found the disciples asleep. He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? (38) Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” (39) Then Jesus left them again and prayed the same prayer as before. (40) When he returned to them again, he found them sleeping, for they couldn’t keep their eyes open. And they didn’t know what to say. (41) When he returned to them the third time, he said, “Go ahead and sleep. Have yourrest. But no–the time has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. (42) Up, let’s be going. Look, my betrayer is here!”
Once the key words are highlighted, we clearly see Jesus’ grief. This is Jesus’ greatest time of need. Are the disciples ready to provide the support He needs? We also notice how Peter is singled out. One other key word to pay attention to is the forms of sleep used. What does a group of sleeping disciples represent? Why were they sleeping when Jesus needed them most?
While Jesus shared His last supper with His disciples, He once again tried to explain symbols He talked about years ago. It was back near the beginning of His ministry when He told them and the religious leaders He was the Bread from Heaven. “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life. Yes, I am the bread of life! (John 6:47-48 NLTse). Jesus took the bread at the table, broke it into pieces, passed it to each disciples and told them to eat. With a cup of wine, Jesus showed them a symbol of His blood. Years ago Jesus told them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you cannot have eternal life within you. (John 6:53 NLTse).
After all those years, parables and miracles, the disciples still didn’t understand. Only hours from His death, Jesus told them, “All of you will desert me. For the Scriptures say, ‘God will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.” They all wondered what Jesus meant by deserting Him. The disciples had as much understanding of what Jesus meant by saying, “For the Scriptures say, ‘God will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered,” as they had about the bread and blood. Jesus knew how dull their understanding was, still He faced the fulfillment of all the prophecies with the faith that carried Him this far.
What Jesus needed most was a friend, someone to listen as He faced what was in the prophecies about Himself. He attempted to reveal those prophecies during the Passover supper, but once again they changed the subject. “Dear children, I will be with you only a little longer. And as I told the Jewish leaders, you will search for me, but you can’t come where I am going. So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” Then they began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them. (John 13:33-35, Luke 22:24 NLTse).
Nothing hurt Jesus more then going to the cross alone. He knew His sacrifice was the only way to save this world. Jesus knew, one day His disciples would understand, not only what was about to happen, but all the lessons He taught them through personal experience, parables, and or course — how to see and understand scripture and the plan of salvation. Jesus and His Spirit worked generations, influencing one prophet after another, giving each a little glimpse of the plan of salvation. It began in Eden, extended through the fall of Jerusalem, and past Israel’s release from Babylon. Hundreds of prophecies revealed over thousands of years — all pointing to this day. Jesus gained strength as He reviewed a number of them in His mind. Suddenly they became too graphic for Him to bear alone. As the walked up the mountain to the garden Jesus stopped, turned to His disciples and tried one last time to share His grief with them. “After I am raised from the dead, I will go ahead of you to Galilee and meet you there.” Jesus thought about a Psalm to give Himself a measure of comfort.
I cry out to the LORD; I plead for the LORD’s mercy. I pour out my complaints before him and tell him all my troubles. When I am overwhelmed, you alone know the way I should turn. Wherever I go, my enemies have set traps for me. I look for someone to come and help me, but no one gives me a passing thought! No one will help me; no onecares a bit what happens to me. Then I pray to you, O LORD. I say, “You are my place of refuge. You are all I really want in life. Hear my cry, for I am very low. Rescue me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me. Bring me out of prison so I can thank you. The godly will crowd around me, for you are good to me.”
(Psalms 142:1-7 NLTse)
Something told Jesus, if His grief was too much for Him to bear, it would be far too much for His disciples to comprehend. Peter completely missed Jesus’ statement about His death. Peter was still thinking how others would desert Jesus, so Peter stepped forward and said, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I never will.” It made Jesus feel a little better for a moment, until He realized Peter missed the spiritual meaning of the scene. Jesus knew there was still a lot Peter needed to learn. Jesus also knew the Spirit was not going to give up on Peter who was about to learn the importance of looking back on every detail. It was only a matter of establishing the proper sequence of events so Peter could not help but see the pattern. To begin the lesson Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, Peter–this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny three times that you even know me.” Not only the clear, concise words, the tone in Jesus’ voice and the look on His face cut Peter like a knife. Without thinking, Peter answered. “No!” Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!” And all the others vowed the same.
Hearing the others follow his lead by adding their own declarations calmed Peter’s fears for the moment. It made him feel like a leader again. As far as Peter was concerned, His quick thinking once again brought everything back in order.
They went to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and Jesus said, “Sit here while I go and pray.” He took Peter, James, and John with him, and he became deeply troubled anddistressed. Jesus took the same three disciples with Him to the garden that went up on the mountain to see Moses and Elijah. There Jesus showed them an example of relationships He wanted them to learn from. He wanted them to remember the lessons taught when they saw Moses and Elijah come down from Heaven to comfort Him. The lesson was supposed to stay with them, so they could comfort Jesus in His hour of need. How could they forget the time a cloud overshadowed them, with a voice from the cloud saying, “This is my dearly loved Son. Listen to him.” (Mark 9:7 NLTse). How could they forget hearing God’s voice? Jesus told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” It seemed dinner and the events of the evening were getting the best of the three. After Peter’s latest grasp at leadership, James and John had nothing more to say to him.
The competition between His disciples did not go unnoticed. Jesus looked at them for a moment. They could tell by the look on Jesus’ face, He knew what they were thinking. Once again Jesus turned to the only One He knew would listen and understand. Jesus went on a little farther and fell to the ground. He prayed that, if it were possible, the awfulhour awaiting him might pass him by. A million texts went through Jesus’ mind. He saw the prophecies about His life – now only hours away from being fulfilled. His mind moved from one text to another. “Abba, Father,” he cried out, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me.” Suddenly other scripture came to mind. Jesus remembered His relationship with Adam, bending down to take out a rib to form Eve, His relationship with the two of them, and the world as He created it. Jesus also thought about parting the Red Sea, watching David grow up as a boy, and listening to the long prayers Daniel offered. Jesus heard His Father’s answer in a million words that seemed to come in a second. At last Jesus added, “Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”
Jesus began His short journey back to the disciples. He held His hands out in front of His face to protect His eyes from the leaves and branches along the dark path. Branches, twigs and thorns pulled at His garment along with the occasional burr that clung to His cloak, hitching a ride to spread a new crop of seeds where ever they eventually landed. Through tear stained eyes Jesus made out the image of the three disciples sleeping. God’s Spirit wanted Jesus to see the state of the world He was about to die for. Only a few were alert when He was born. Only a few cared to spend enough time to read the scriptures with an open heart. Only a few paid any attention to His parables and miracles. Yes many came to listen to Him, but forgot most of the lessons soon after leaving. Still there were a few – the woman with the issue of blood along with the young ruler who saw Jesus raise His daughter to life – the man freed from thousands of demons, the foreign woman, the woman at the well, and of course Mary. Then he returned and found the disciplesasleep. He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour?”
Jesus singled out Peter because He knew Peter considered himself their leader for the moment. Jesus gave Peter a taste of what it is to be a leader. Jesus told Peter the most important lesson he needed to learn if he wanted a leadership role. “Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”
Once again Jesus repeated one of the most important lessons He gave to His disciples, how to pray and rely on the Spirit. Without these traits Peter would be unfit for the role in front of him. Jesus looked at the surprised look on Peter’s face wondering why he was singled out. Jesus saw no need to explain. Looking back on past events, praying about them and listening for answers was all part of the process and qualifications of leadership.
Then Jesus left them again and prayed the same prayer as before. Once again scripture after scripture come to mind. They came at such a fast pace Jesus found it difficult to comprehend how all of them applied to the circumstance. This made Jesus remember His Father promised to be with Him throughout His life. The Sovereign LORD has given me his words of wisdom, so that I know how to comfort the weary. Morning by morning he wakens me and opens my understanding to his will. The Sovereign LORD has spoken to me, and I have listened. I have not rebelled or turned away. I offered my back to those who beat me and my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard. I did not hide my face from mockery and spitting. Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore, I have set my face like a stone, determined to do his will. And I know that I will not be put to shame. (Isaiah 50:4-7 NLTse)
At last Jesus saw the answer. It was His decision. His Father left the final decision up to Jesus. Then one scripture rested on Jesus’ mind. Give to the LORD the glory he deserves! Bring your offering and come into his presence. Worship the LORD in all his holy splendor. (1 Chronicles 16:29 NLTse). Jesus clearly discerned the message. His sacrifice was not only to save people with true faith in Him, but to honor the name of His Father. What would become of His Kingdom if the prophecies were not fulfilled? His Father’s reputation was at stake. Suddenly Jesus saw how small He was. It now seemed like such a small thing to do — sacrifice Himself for His Farther. What better way to show His love for His Farther? There was no better way. Jesus realized His life meant nothing without love for His Farther. Unfailing love and faithfulness make atonement for sin. (Proverbs 16:6 NLTse). Looking back, Jesus realized His sacrifice served many purposes. His entire ministry was based upon showing this world how much God loved them, and how to return that love. Jesus’ sacrifice was a symbol of that love. His sacrifice will also cover the sins of this world. Without it the world would perish. Jesus’ love for this world was also a reflection of God’s love for His creation throughout His Kingdom.
When he returned to them again, he found them sleeping, for they couldn’t keep their eyes open. And they didn’t know what to say. Then Jesus left them again and prayed, “My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done.” (Matthew 26:42 NLTse). Jesus found the courage and dedication He needed. There was no doubt in His mind the three disciples feet away relied on Him — His other disciples relied on Him — the world relied in Him — the host of Heaven watched with interest as God’s plan of salvation unfolded, and His Father deserved His sacrifice. Jesus was ready to fulfill prophecy.
When he returned to them the third time, he said, “Go ahead and sleep. Have your rest. But no–the time has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Up, let’s be going. Look, my betrayer is here!”
What kind of emotions do you think Jesus is going through when it is time for Him to judge the living? What kind of support is Jesus asking from us in the last moments of the harvest? It seems the world is sleeping like the disciples in the garden. The spiritual symbol of the disciples sleeping in a garden while the plan of salvation is unfolding is a warning we cannot ignore. Another point which cannot not be ignored in this message is the fact the disciples could not understand God’s plan of salvation because they did not listen to Jesus when He tried to explain the prophecies He was about to fulfill. Today Christians of every faith throughout the world are asleep, unaware of God’s plan of salvation and ignoring the Holy Spirit’s pleas to learn details about the prophecies Jesus fulfilled. It is the message Satan fears the most. Like the disciples, every Christian denomination changes the subject when the Spirit tries to reveal the prophecies about Jesus. They all change the subject to who is the greatest. Christians love to argue about who is the greatest — who knows future prophecy better than any other denomination. Jesus knew this would happen and warned against it. Christians also love to argue about what to eat, wear, even how and what day to worship. All of these arguments are meaningless to God, because everyone ignored His Son in His hour of need.
No Power Can Stop Faith
Matthew 3:13-17 Jesus Baptized
Matthew 8:1-4 Jesus Heals a Leper
Matthew 8:5-13 The Centurion
Matthew 8:23-27 Jesus Calms the Sea
Matthew 8:28-34 Demonics
Matthew 9:18-26 Issue of Blood
Matthew 9:35-38 Jesus and the Harvest
Matthew 12:9-14 Jesus Heals a Withered Hand
Matthew 13:1-23 Parable of the Sower
Matthew 13:24-51 Wheat and Tares
Matthew 13:44 Hidden Treasure
Matthew 14:15-21 Jesus Feed Five Thousand
Matthew 14:22-33 Jesus Walks on Water
Matthew 15:21-28 Bread to Dogs
Matthew 17:1-9 Vision of Heaven
Matthew 17:24-27 Who Do We Pay Tribute To
Matthew 18:1-6 Humble Yourself as a Little Child
Matthew 19:16-30 What Must I Do
Matthew 20:1-16 Workers for His Vineyard
Matthew 20:29-34 Jesus Heals Two Blind Men
Matthew 21:23-27 Jesus Teaches in the Temple
Matthew 22:1-14 Wedding Garment
Matthew 22:33-46 Which is the Greatest Commandment
Matthew 24:1-2 Not One Stone
Matthew 24:9-14 The Good News Will Be Preached
Matthew 24:32-36 Parable of the Fig Tree
Matthew 25:1-13 Ten Virgins Story
Matthew 26:6-13 Jesus Anointed
Matthew 26:31-46 Watch With Me
Matthew 26:58-75 Peter Denies Jesus
Matthew 27:32-37 Jesus Nailed to the Cross
Matthew 27:51-54 Truly the Son of God
Matthew 28:1-10 Mary Sees Jesus
Matthew 28:16-20 Jesus Reveals Himself to His Disciples
Mark 1:12 13 Jesus Goes to the Wilderness
Mark 1:21 28 Possessed Man in a Synagogue
Mark 1:40 45 Jesus Heals a Leper
Mark 2:18-22 Fasting, Old and New
Mark 3:7-12 Jesus Teaches At The Lake
Mark 4:1-20 Parable of the Sower
Mark 4:26-29 The Seed Sprouts and Grows
Mark 5:1-20 Jesus Faces a Legion of Demons
Mark 6:30-44 Jesus Feeds 5000
Mark 7:24-30 Bread to Dogs
Mark 8:1-9 Jesus Feeds 4000
Mark 8:27-38 Who Do You Say I Am
Mark 9:30-39 Be Like a Little Child
Mark 10:17-31 Inherit Eternal Life
Mark 11:15-19 Jesus Cleanses The Temple
Mark 12:1-12 Ungrateful Tenants
Mark 12:28-34 Greatest Commandment
Mark 13:28-31 Lesson From A Fig Tree
Mark 14:1-11 Anointed Jesus For Burial
Mark 14:27-42 Watch With Me
Mark 14:66-72 Peter Denies Jesus
Mark 15:21-39 Jesus Is Crucified
Mark 16:1-8 Mary Gathers Spices For Jesus