(photo of Ronald Davis from video 2 below)
Watch Video 1: Sabrina Benaim – “Explaining My Depression to My Mother”
-In this poem Sabrina explains her depression to a well-meaning mother who has difficulty grasping the concept of the thing that has a grip on her daughter. It is a powerful eye-opener for those who will truly listen to what she has to say.
Watch Video 2: Ronald Davis
-In this video, Ronald Davis explains what it is like to live as a homeless man in the city.
-Although some panhandlers are simply scam artists, Ronald seems to be a legitimate homeless gentleman that is scraping by from one day to the next to survive. The most interesting point to me is his focus on respect. Although he asks people for money all day long outside the Metro station, something he desires more is the respect of the people he encounters. He says he’s not a bum, he’s a human being. It goes to show you that no matter where you are in life, you desire and even crave respect. You wanted to be treated as a person. Every person on this earth is a creation of the Living God and He loves ALL of them. As such we should always view every person we encounter as a person of value, a child of God. We must remember that we are no better than anyone else, regardless of outward appearances. God’s top two commandments are: first, love Him with all of your heart, soul and mind; and second, love others as yourself. If we truly love others, they will see it.
Watch Video 3: Charlotte’s Senior Speech
-This video is of a speech given by a young lady named Charlotte in which she describes how terrible her life has been for the past few years as she is not like most of her classmates. This is an example of how easily confusion sets in. It seems as if today it has become the thing to do to accept ourselves as who we really are. The problem is that if we believe the negative lies the enemy puts into our heads about who we really are, then those cause us to become trapped in those lies and those lies become our new reality. An example being: if we believe that depression is just a part of who we are, then we will be trapped in that prison to the end of our life. The truth is: depression was not a part of who you were when you were created and you don’t have to claim it and accept it as “who you are.”
Let’s continue to examine how Jesus did ministry in the book of Luke
7:2-10 Jesus heals a centurion’s slave
1 When He had completed all His discourse in the hearing of the people, He went to Capernaum.
-Notice that Jesus completed His discourse in the hearing of the people, including the scribes, the Pharisees and the Sadducees. He never tried to hide His message from anyone…even those who were trying to destroy Him.
2 And a centurion’s slave, who was highly regarded by him, was sick and about to die. 3 When he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders asking Him to come and save the life of his slave.
-It is important to note that this centurion (and likely his slave as well) was not a Jew. Jesus came first for the house of Israel (the Jews) yet He didn’t deny this roman centurion. Since this is the case, the centurion sent Jewish elders to request Jesus’ help on his behalf.
4 When they came to Jesus, they earnestly implored Him, saying, “He is worthy for You to grant this to him; 5 for he loves our nation and it was he who built us our synagogue.”
-These Jewish leaders, not surprisingly, employed Man’s tactics in their attempt to persuade Jesus to heal the centurion’s slave. They talked him up and told Jesus how well he had treated the Jewish people of the city. In short, they were trying to convince Jesus that the centurion was worthy based on his own good works, good attitudes, etc. We do the very same thing today. We try to tell God how He should grant our request on the basis of our good work. Btw, that never works. We can never do enough to earn anything from God. We are by nature, flawed and sinful people. What some fail to understand is that Jesus, that God, grants our request on the basis of His mercy and grace. God had His Son pay the price for our sins, our healing, our peace, etc. Everything God does for us is because He wants to, not because we convince Him that we deserve it. As you will see in the next verses, the centurion seems to understand this principle. He didn’t try to persuade Jesus by proclaiming his good works, but instead threw himself on Jesus’ mercy…and Jesus granted his request!
6 Now Jesus started on His way with them; and when He was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to Him, “Lord, do not trouble Yourself further, for I am not worthy for You to come under my roof; 7 for this reason I did not even consider myself worthy to come to You, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8 “For I also am a man placed under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.” 9 Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled at him, and turned and said to the crowd that was following Him, “I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such great faith.” 10 When those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave in good health.
-First, the centurion is humble. The centurion approaches (or has his friends approach, rather) Jesus in a respectful manner acknowledging Jesus’ great authority not only over him but also over sickness and even death as well. How often do we come to Jesus with a request and fail to humble ourselves before Him and acknowledge His greatness, prior to asking for Him to do something for us? Probably more often than we would care to admit.
-Second, the centurion really understands the concept of chain of command. Not only does he understand chain of command, but he understands that there is a definite chain of command in both God’s kingdom as well as in Satan’s kingdom. Most Christians today don’t at all understand the organization of these two kingdoms or why it is even important to know that. This centurion realized that the sickness with which his slave was suffering was caused by an entity, a living being, a spirit, a demon if you will. This demon was a low-ranking soldier in Satan’s kingdom and as such was under the authority of higher-ranking demonic spirits, so like any solder, it understood authority. Since Jesus has ultimate authority both over angels and demons, this demon had to go when it was ordered to go by Jesus.
-Third, Jesus marveled at the faith of the centurion. The Jews at that time considered themselves, as the chosen ones, to be closer to God than any Gentile (non-Jew). They believed they were the most faithful people to God on the entire earth. That is why is was so shocking to this crowd of Jews to hear Jesus say that this centurion had greater faith than the people of Israel (the Jews). Why did Jesus marvel at the centurion’s faith? Why did He consider it such great faith? It is because the centurion had a simple, yet deep faith. He simply believed that Jesus unequivocally possessed the power and authority to drive out this demon of sickness and to heal the slave. The centurion didn’t have any doubt. He knew that if Jesus would command it, the spirit would go, healing the slave. His belief, his faith, was “spot on” if you will. No wavering, no hesitating. The centurion’s faith wasn’t in the Law, nor was it in a complicated set of rules or rituals. It was simply faith that Jesus could do what the man was requesting of Him. His simple (yet great) faith paid off and his slave was healed.
7:11-17 – Jesus gives a widow her only son back to his mother by raising him from the dead
11 Soon afterwards He went to a city called Nain; and His disciples were going along with Him, accompanied by a large crowd.
-Isn’t is amazing that in very short order Jesus was able to draw huge crowds to hear Him speak from the surrounding region. He did this completely without the use of social media: no FaceBook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc., only by word of mouth. This tells me that His message was very powerful and must have resonated in the hearts and minds of the people! The miracles and healings were part of the reason as well.
12 Now as He approached the gate of the city, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; and a sizeable crowd from the city was with her.
-It is very significant both that this woman was a widow and that she had only one son, which had just died. In the culture in which she lived, it was her husband’s responsibility to provide for her. When he die, that responsibility fell to her sons. In this case she had only the one son to support her. Now that her only son had died, she would be without support and end up destitute. She was now facing not only the loss of a child but also the loss of a means of support. Her future looked bleak at best. Her grief was overwhelming.
13 When the Lord saw her, He felt compassion for her, and said to her, “Do not weep.”
-As soon as Jesus happened upon the funeral procession, He understood what was happening. He knew what lay ahead of this poor widow. He could also sense the gut-wrenching grief that consumed her. His reaction? Compassion. He hurt because she hurt. When is the last time you hurt because someone else was hurting?
14 And He came up and touched the coffin; and the bearers came to a halt. And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise!”
-I have to stop here and wonder what was going through the mind of the pall bearers. “What is He doing?” “Should we stop, or keep moving and try to ignore Him? What is He thinking?” “This could be end very embarrassingly for Jesus.” “You don’t suppose He is actually going to raise this man from the dead… do you?” Regardless of their thoughts, they stopped and listened to the words Jesus spoke as He put His hand on the coffin.
15 The dead man sat up and began to speak. And Jesus gave him back to his mother.
-I love how this little nine-word sentence is just sort of dropped into the narrative: “The dead man sat up and began to speak.” Excuse me but the man was DEAD! Dead guys don’t sit up and they certainly don’t speak! Which brings me to my next little ponderation: “What did the guy in the casket say?” The possibilities are endless and I will leave that for you to ponder on your own. Jesus really performed three miracles here: first, He raised the man from the dead; second, He healed the man of whatever caused him to die in the first place (if He didn’t, the man would just turn right around and die again); third, He gave the son back to his mother. In one fell swoop, Jesus relieved her of her suffering!
16 Fear gripped them all, and they began glorifying God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and, “God has visited His people!” 17 This report concerning Him went out all over Judea and in all the surrounding district.
-“Fear gripped them all.” Isn’t it amazing how people are gripped by fear when they are in the presence of God? And isn’t it also amazing how people naturally glorify God when they witness the power of God through a miracle? In His ministry Jesus was never looking to lift Himself up or glorify Himself, but instead to point people to the Heavenly Father and to have them glorify God. Once again, mission accomplished!