Filled With Grief

Thursday, February 28, 2013, 6:26 a.m. – the Lord Jesus woke me with the song “Not Be Silent” playing in my mind. Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening. I read Matthew 17:14-23 (NIV 1984):

When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.”

“O unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment.

Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”

He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

When they came together in Galilee, he said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised to life.” And the disciples were filled with grief.

The father was grieved

When the disciples, and Jesus, too, it appears, came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus regarding his son who had seizures. The man knelt before Jesus, and he asked the Lord Jesus to have mercy on his son, for his son would often fall into fire or water when he had these seizures. The man had brought the boy to Jesus’ disciples, but they could not heal him. The man was first of all grieved over the physical condition of his son, and the dangers that often brought upon him, and then he was grieved over the fact that those he thought could help him were unable to help. The Lord Jesus had compassion on the man and he healed his son.

The Lord Jesus is giving me a picture here, not only of physical healing, but of the parallels to our salvation and to our need to call upon Jesus in our times of need, and to not put our hope and trust in mankind, but to make Jesus our only Savior and Lord.

As humans, we often look to humans for our salvation and healing, i.e. we look to politicians and governments to protect us, to lead us, to provide for us, to do right by us, to make laws for our good, and to keep the economy from sinking, etc. Yet, they are human, and they will fail, just like the disciples failed that father. We look to lawyers to help us solve our legal issues, and to doctors to heal our diseases, and to employers to keep us hired and to keep our pay checks coming, etc. We look to spouses to remain faithful, and to children to always love and honor us, and to parents to always be there for us and to take care of us. But, we are all human, and thus we are subject to failure. We also look to preachers to tell us the truth, and to church groups to give us love and support and to provide us with fellowship. But, even they are human, and even the godliest among us is still bound to fail us.

The man took the correct approach. He humbled himself before Jesus, recognizing that man was not able to help and that Jesus/God was his only hope for his son. And, he called out to Jesus/God for mercy.

Nothing of this life - no man or woman, politician or preacher, husband or wife, parent or child - will be able to meet our deepest needs and the longings of our souls. They are all bound to disappoint us at some time or another. So, that is why we must humble ourselves before God, call on Jesus to be our only hope and our only salvation, repent of our sins, especially those of putting our hope and trust in human beings, and then surrender our lives into Jesus’ capable hands for him to do with our lives what he chooses for us. He chooses that we not perish, but that we all come to repentance.

Jesus was grieved

Jesus was grieved, I believe, for this hurting father and for this child who was possessed by a demon which threw him into these convulsions. He had compassion on the father and son, and he healed the boy. He was also grieved that his disciples still were weak in faith, and they still were not getting it. They, evidently, were trying to heal this boy in their own power and strength, and they found out just how unreliable that was. This was not the first time Jesus had chided them for their lack of faith or their dullness of hearing. They did believe in Jesus some or they would not have been following him, though I don’t know if Judas ever truly believed. Yet, even after they would see Jesus’ miracles, they would ask such questions as to indicate that they still weren’t getting it.

Yet, Jesus’ chastisement here was not to them alone, for he included the whole generation of those who were on this earth when he lived upon the earth. Many were truly completely unbelieving and (headstrongly and stubbornly) refused to accept that Jesus Christ was who he said he was. Others believed, but their faith (daily) was lacking and was in need of strengthening and maturity. In other words, we can have faith to accept Jesus Christ’s invitation to salvation by grace, through faith, and we can demonstrate our faith through repentance and choosing to walk in obedience to our Lord, and we can be in genuine relationship with Jesus Christ, but yet daily struggle to truly understand and to demonstrate that we believe he is who he says he is and that he will do all that he said he would do.

I believe with all my heart that Jesus is speaking these same words to our generation of people on this earth today, i.e. to all people on this earth who either are stubbornly refusing to believe in him at all, or who have believed in him as Savior and Lord but who, by their actions and reactions, demonstrate a level of unbelief in who Jesus says he is and in the fact that he will do all that he said he would do. Many who are lacking in faith in Jesus/God are looking to humans, jobs, bank accounts, politicians, preachers, church congregations, marketing schemes, man-made religion, and human relationships to meet needs within them meant to be met totally by God alone. And, Jesus is grieved because they are struggling through life, worried, depressed, feeling lonely and without purpose and direction, even though they have made a commitment to Jesus or perhaps they only did so in form. He longs to have us come underneath his wings and to trust him with our lives.

The disciples were grieved

Jesus prepared his disciples ahead of time for his coming death, which he knew must take place for the salvation of souls. He told them that he was going to be betrayed, that men would kill him, but that on the third day he would rise again. The disciples were filled with grief at this news.

I love how Jesus/God, even in warning us of coming judgments because of our stubbornness and unrepentant hearts, will so often follow up his warnings with promises of restoration, revival and salvations (resurrection) and healing. Yet, a lot of people will skip over that part of scripture, because it grieves them to hear about anything negative. They don’t want to hear bad news. They only want to hear the happy stuff that makes them feel good. They want the resurrection without the cross; life without death first.

Peter even told Jesus, “Never, Lord! This shall never happen to you!” We as humans resist so strongly what we don’t want to accept. So, Jesus rebuked Peter by saying, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Isn’t that true of all of us at times? Or, have you ever been convinced of something in scripture through which God is speaking, and you know it is the Holy Spirit’s voice, and yet someone will come along and be (knowingly or unknowingly) Satan’s voice to you telling you that God did not really say that?

Yet, the reality is that Jesus Christ had to die on the cross for our sins so that we could be free from bondage (slavery) to sin, so we could be free from eternity in hell, and so we could have restored fellowship with the Father and could walk with him in holiness and in righteousness. And, the reality is that we must die to our lives of sin and self, we must be transformed into new creatures in Christ Jesus via the working of the Holy Spirit within us, and we must put on our new lives in Christ Jesus, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness,” for this is how we come to Christ (see Eph. 4:17-24; Luke 9:23-25). There is no other way. The reality may grieve us, and we may want to avoid that reality, but that will never change it from being true.

As well, the reality is that one day Jesus Christ is coming as judge of this earth, and he is going to bring upon mankind a time of tribulation like the world has never known before. Evil will reign supreme for a short period of time. Satan, the beast and the false prophet will control the world’s natural resources, the banks, the grocery stores, the housing market, etc. This is already happening. And, there isn’t anything we can do to stop it from happening, for the Bible has prophesied that these things will take place. We can grieve over that reality, and we can run from it and say “It ain’t so!” but that will not change it. All of us one day will have to give an account to God for what we did with Jesus. Many will think they knew Jesus and he will say he never knew them, “Depart from me.”

Yet, when we repent of our sins, and we turn to faith in Jesus Christ, and we choose to follow (obey) Jesus, our grief will be turned to joy. When Jesus visits us in judgment in order to bring his rebellious church back to him and to bring the people of the earth to saving grace, our wailing will be turned into dancing when we see so many lives transformed by the power and working of the Holy Spirit of God in regeneration. And, we will forever praise the name of the Lord.

Not Be Silent / An Original Work / December 3, 2012

Based off Psalm 30

O Lord my God, I’ll exalt You.
I called for help, and You healed me.
O Lord my God,
You brought me from the grave.
You spared me from hell.
Sing to the Lord, you saints of His;
Praise His holy name today.
Weeping may remain for a night;
Joy at break of day. Our debt He did pay!

O Lord my God, I said,
“I will ne’er be shaken.”
Secure, I felt. O Lord my God,
You forgave me. Confident I stand in You.
When I could not see your face
I was dismayed. I called to You.
O Lord, You are my help.
You were merciful to me;
By Your grace set free!

O Lord my God, I’m so thankful
For salvation through my Jesus.
You turned wailing into dancing;
Clothed me with your joy today,
That my heart may sing
To You and not be silent.
Praise Your name. O Lord my God,
I will give you thanks forevermore.
My Lord, I adore!