During His ministry on earth, Jesus had the habit of retreating to be with His Heavenly Father. He made the time to get away and enjoy fellowship with God the Father to receive instruction, encouragement, and strength for the battles that would come His way.
If Jesus needed regular times of retreat, how much more do we? For most of us, making this time for fellowship with God is difficult—but why?
Maybe pride prevents you from retreating with the Lord. You want to do great things for Him, so you don’t have the time just to be with Him. Or maybe you don’t think that God would want to be with you. You might feel like you’re bothering Him with your ordinary and unimportant problems.
Nothing could be further from the truth!
God wants to be with you more than anything! God wants you—that’s what this is all about. It’s never primarily about the fight and battle. It’s always primarily about the fellowship He wants to enjoy with you. It’s not just about what God can do through you, it’s mainly about what He’s doing in you.
First, foremost, and forever—He wants to be with you…He wants you!
During His ministry on earth, Jesus regularly withdrew from the busyness of life and ministry to ask His Father what He should do. Fellowship with His Father was so essential to Jesus that He prioritized His time so He could just be with His Heavenly Father. If Jesus needed to do this, how much more so us?
Watch or listen to our study of the Gospel of Mark 3:7-19 as we unpack the importance of regular times of withdrawing and retreating with God so that we might enjoy what He saved us for—fellowship with Him.
tHurting people hurt people.
This is an important truth to remember as a servant of Jesus. Jesus loves people—that includes people who are bound by sin, struggling with sin, or weary or heavily burdened. And since Jesus wants to heal hurting people, He sends His followers to hurting people to minister to them.
So when you are helping a hurting person, they just might criticize you, oppose you, or fight against you. When this happens, remember it’s not really about you—so don’t take things personally.
Instead, follow Jesus’ example. Gently lead them to Him—the Healer for their hurt. Show and tell them what His word has to say about the real root issue they are dealing with. And love them as He has loved you.
If you are hurting, there is hope and healing in Jesus. Come to Him—not as His adversary, but with humility and He will lift you up (James 4:10). Ask a brother or sister in Jesus for help and be ready and willing to talk about the real root issue that is causing you pain so He can heal you.
The Herodians, the Scribes, the Pharisees, the Saducees…there were many groups who saw Jesus as their enemy. In Mark 2:18-3:6, we observe three interactions Jesus had with these people, who weren’t really enemies from Jesus’ point of view. Although they came at Him in the craziest and pettiest of ways, Jesus didn’t consider them His enemies. To Him, they were hurting people who hadn’t yet found the courage to confront what was really going on in their hearts. Jesus didn’t take it personally. Instead, He gently led them again and again to God’s word and to God’s work.
Watch or listen to other messages in our series from the Gospel of Mark.
“I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
Did Jesus come to call you?
Depending on your understanding of your own sinfulness or self-righteousness, this verse either comforts you or disturbs you.
You see, everyone needs to realize that everyone has sinned and every single one of us has fallen short of God’s glorious standard…which means all have been called by Him to be saved!
But something has to happen in your heart first. You need to realize that you are a sinner in need of a Savior. And then realize (and be greatly comforted by this fact) that Jesus came for you—to help you and forgive you; to heal you and to make you whole.
Yes, Jesus is calling YOU into His service as one of His followers.
Have you answered His call? Has something happened in your heart so that you realize your condition and your need for Him? Self-righteousness can’t save you. Despite how good you try to be, it will never be good enough. But God, in His love has made a way for you to be reconciled with Him through His son, Jesus.
Turn away from self-righteousness and let it go. Ask Jesus to forgive you and receive what He has been longing to give you—His righteousness!
Jesus once said, “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” This statement confounded and upset the religious leaders of His day. Jesus was eating with sinners, ministering to sinners, forgiving sinners, healing sinners, and (worst of all) calling sinners to be His followers. In short—Jesus was getting into trouble…for all the right reasons!
So why were the religious leaders bothered with Jesus’ statement? They thought they were already righteous. They couldn’t compute in their self-righteous hearts how the Messiah would come for sinners, but not for them.
But what they had failed to see is that Jesus really had come for them too. But something needed to happen in their hearts first. They weren’t really righteous—they only thought they were.
Watch or listen to our study from the Gospel of Mark 2:1-17 and hear how Jesus comforts the disturbed and disturbs the comfortable.
One day, God told Abraham, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”
So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together. With knife raised over his son, God stopped Abraham because He saw that Abraham did not withhold his only son from Him.
In the book of Hebrews, we read why Abraham was willing and ready to obey the Lord: “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,” concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.” (Hebrews 11:17-19)
Abraham (the father) had faith God would raise Isaac (the son) from the dead. 2,000 years later, there was another Father and another Son. The two of them went together to the same hill. But this time, no one stopped the knife. Jesus, the Son, was crucified. This had to happen this—there was no other way to accomplish the purposes of God:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17)
God (the Father) gave His son (Jesus) so that you could enjoy life with Him—forever! Have you received this free gift He offers you? You can, right now. Ask God to forgive you & fill you with His Spirit. He is willing and wanting to save you!
"God will provide," the Patriarch said,
And faith gives every doubt away;
Fearless he climbs Moriah's mound,
And sees afar Christ Jesus' day:
Yes! God provides, and God accepts
His sacrifice, and his alone:
No blood of beasts, not Abraham's son,
Nor ought, save Christ, can ever atone.
We remember the details of what occurred between Palm Sunday and Good Friday, but we must recall the heart of it all: “God [the Father] loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.”
The Son and the Father—the two of them went together. Often, we look at this week called Passion only from the perspective of the Son and rarely from the perspective of the Father—and almost never from the perspective of both.
But don’t forget that the Son and the Father—the two of them—went together. This is the reason we turned to the book of Genesis on Resurrection Sunday. The scene in Genesis 22 vividly paints the picture of what God the Son and God the Father did together.
From Pastor Dom...
When I first gave my life to Jesus, there were friends in my life who helped me to grow in my understanding of God, through His word, and for those friends