1) BRIAN MASON MESSAGE 28 03 13
And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.
St Luke chapter 7 verse 13
What a word we have before us for this takes us to the very heart of our Lord. A word so gracious , so loving, so kind. Words impregnated with the breathe of heaven for they were uttered by the Lord of life Himself. There has never been anyone like Jesus for He reaches the exact point of our need no matter what that need may be. He knows our need even before we bring this before him. What confidence we have in the one in whom we can live and move and have our being. This is because we have the invitation to be partakers of the divine nature.
Christianity is unlike any other religion because it is centred in a person not a philosophy. When we meet Jesus He has the solution to every situation in life no matter how impossible this may appear.
It is hard to think of a more desperate situation than that which Jesus encountered as He was about to go into the city of Nain. Being carried out of that city was the body of a dead man on its way for burial. There was a finality here. There was no hope humanly speaking.
This was a young man, the only son of his mother and his mother to make matters worse was a widow. Jesus, though, was not taken unawares. Although this man was dead the timing of his burial was perfect. Had the burial procession not been met by Jesus this dear widow would have faced an awful prospect for the rest of her life.
Her husband had died; her son had died. What a dreadful existence was before her as she would have been dependent upon the help of others just to survive. This was no chance encounter with Jesus. Without any doubt He knew of her and her need and had timed His arrival at Nain to be able to meet this dear woman at the point of her need.
Can we find a more compelling word than that of compassion. Our Lord showed here not just sympathy or pity but entered right into the widow’s plight. He knew her every thought and fear. Unlike those who would have been in the procession wending its way to the grave He could do that which none of the others could do. Others could offer sympathy and pity.
They would have wept along with this dear woman. Our Lord had a compassion which could transform that which was before Him. A body had no hope of further life. Yet there stood one before the body who is life. Is this not the very one of whom Saint John declared:
In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
St John chapter 1 verse 4
What a wonderful word we have here. The very one who it is said is life came into this situation to bring life out of death. What a depth the words “ weep not” instil into the soul when they come from the Master Himself. These were not empty words but those which arrested the attention of this woman and galvanised her thoughts upon someone who was different to anyone else that she knew.
Jesus spoke with authority because He is authority. The creator of heaven and earth is also the preserver. Jesus said the words of life and they brought back to life the one who was about to be lowered into the grave and would have just become a memory to his mother.
When Jesus speaks life into a situation however hopeless this may appear it cannot be hopeless for He said “ Young man, I say unto thee. Arise.” Jesus said arise and the man did arise for he sat up and began to speak. No wonder the people in that procession glorified God for they had not seen anything like that in their lives.
What has changed in our own day is that there is a fear to believe. Our Lord spoke words which should ignite a holy fire within us to believe and act. It is as if the following scriptures have been cast aside as irrelevant to our day. These are:
But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
St Matthew chapter 19 verse 26
And Be not afraid, only believe
St Mark chapter 5 verse 36
The one thing that has changed in our day is that it is the human mind which rules over the spirit. The mind says situations are impossible and belief no longer exists. There is one before us, though, who is unchangeable for the Word declares that this is so:
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
Hebrews chapter 13 verse 8
All may change but Jesus never, Jesus is the same. It is this same Jesus who is waiting to transform lives today just as He did for the widow of Nain and her son. Lives which are bound by sin.
Lives which are broken by disease and sickness of all kinds. Lives which are ensnared by drugs and alcohol abuse and every sin imaginable. There is an answer though if we will only but reach out to Him.
Not the hollow answers of human solutions to spiritual needs which can never avail but the living solution through the Lord of life Himself.
One of the most challenging words for today should be:
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
St Matthew chapter 5 verse 6
People today are being filled with the wrong things for they are seeking those which are not from God and therefore not wholesome. Righteousness means to be made right with God and live to do only that which is pleasing to God. In a world where God has been pushed to the periphery even within the Church there needs to be a fresh seeking after God.
Does the fire of the Holy Spirit so burn within us that we are prepared to be different and declare the Lord He is God in the face of all the unbelief of modern day Christianity? Lord Jesus, Lord of life, may you not only be enthroned in heavenly splendour but also doing that which is marvellous in our eyes just like you did in the eyes of the widow of Nain. O to be on fire for you Lord as the Holy Spirit is on fire through us when He manifests a life like yours.
This life like yours as seen during your earthly ministry dares to fly in the face of current unbelief and expects to see all things become possible with God and the words only believe triumphant in every so called impossible situation. Lord Jesus the expectation is for numerous lives to be transformed through your life. Sinners once more will repent and find faith and be made righteous with God.
Lord Jesus too there is an expectation through your name the diseased, the sick, and those lives ruined by drugs and alcohol and every device of the devil will be healed and made whole for the Word of God declares:
I am the Lord that healeth thee.
Exodus chapter 15 verse 26
2) Message: 25 December 2013
Jesus, moved with compassion
St Mark chapter 1 verse 41
What a lovely word we have here in the word compassion. The Master Himself is the very essence of compassion. There was never one who had a sympathy, a pity, like Jesus showed during the time of His ministry whilst He was on earth. He entered right into whatever the need may have been of those who came to Him who humanly speaking were at the end of themselves.
Where ever Jesus went crowds gathered. People in their desperate need came to Him for word had reached them of a man who was different from any other in that He healed the sick and set free the demon possessed.
And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils. And all the city was gathered together at the door.
St Mark chapter 1 verses 32 and 33
What rejoicing there was when the word came to those who had no hope could come themselves or be brought by others to someone who cared about them no matter their physical or mental condition. Even more amazing to them was a man who unlike the Pharisees and other representatives of religion accepted all who came no matter who they were. None were excluded because of where they came from or what they had done or whether society had rejected them.
Jesus was so different. There was no human thinking with Him with its exclusion zones and a dead religion which only said “Thou shalt not.” What a new way of thinking shown by Jesus for here there was action which was in line with both thinking and His spoke words. The religion of the day kept the people at arms- length for those who ministered in the religion of that time had no idea of what compassion meant let alone put this into practice. Jesus, though, was all compassion for as God He brought to those who came to Him the loving heart of God. He showed that God is a living person and not a remote being who could not enter into the deepest need of His creatures.
Jesus had been actively engaged in Galilee amongst crowds when we are told a leper came to Him. Now lepers were outcasts in society. Their very condition demanded their exclusion from mixing with those who were not lepers. To Jesus there were no exclusions and this man was accepted as someone who was made in the image of God and had the capacity to live a life pleasing to God. O how this man came to Jesus with a hope in his heart for we are told he came “beseeching him” (1:30). How many are there today who have needs every bit as desperate as those of this man?
The man came expectantly. He had heard that this Man never rejected any who came to Him in faith. O how the man kneeled before the Master pleading with all his heart to be made whole. He knew as he looked up into that lovely face that here was someone who loved him and accepted him without any pre conditions to him having his need met. The man knew in the eyes of society he was unclean so this is why he said to Jesus “If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean” (1:40). There was no if with Jesus only divine possibility which was manifested into divine activity.
O how Jesus reached out in compassion to this man. Jesus heart ached with the suffering of those who were rejected. Jesus went right against the rules of society and “put forth his hand, and touched him” (1:41). We are told “immediately the leprosy departed from him” (1:42). The leprosy had to go for it had been commanded to go by the Master. Jesus was always in control and nothing took Him unawares. The fact that a leper had cast himself at His feet was a joy to Jesus for He had come to bring the life of God into human life.
There has never been anyone like Jesus. Here was someone who had come into the world of His own creation to bring life, His own Life to transform lives by bringing them into contact with God Himself. Jesus changed many lives during His earthly ministry. However, through His redeeming love when He died on Calvary’s cross He is able to reconcile repentant sinners with a holy, righteous and pure God. All who come to Jesus in their need can now have that need met no matter who they are, where they live or whether they are rejected by society just like the leper had been from his society.
Whosoever may come for all have the same condition, that of sin.
For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.
Romans chapter 3 verse 23
There are no exclusions here for whoever we may be we are all sinners in need of a Savior. Jesus is that Savior, yet just like the leper there is a need to take action and come to Jesus in faith. Jesus said:
I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
St John chapter 14 verse 6
Jesus gave His life so that all who come and repent of their sin and receive Him as Savior can receive eternal life. Have you understood why Jesus had to die on the wooden cross to which He was nailed a cross with only one outcome, that of death. It was for my sin and your sin. Sin will drag us down to hell unless it is dealt with and removed. When we see the filthy rags of our sin which sent Jesus to the cross we will want His cleansing and to give Him our all for He gave His all for us. Religion, no matter what it might say is dead without a Living Jesus at its center. Lives without Jesus enthroned on the heart are dead for this is saying I not Jesus has my life. Have you decided whether you will let Jesus meet your need for the forgiveness of your sin? Once your sin is forgiven and Jesus is your life all other needs can be brought before Him for then they will be those which will seek to please Him. Is it possible for us too to believe that the leper was a transformed man who went away from Jesus rejoicing and shared his new life with whoever he might have seen this his transformed way of life. It is when we have no way out and realize we have no- where to go but God that we are in the most wonderful place it is possible to be. When we reach this place where we have been born of God then all things whatever they may be are overcome victoriously. Those things which are not of God will fall away so that we will move forward with God, ever upward, ever seeing Him change us to be more like Himself, expressing His glory to all we meet.