Vs. 45, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” And Jesus did exactly that…He came to serve. Many of us remember these events from the Gospel of Matthew that transpired in this chapter. The hardened hearts of those who wanted to justify divorce in their lives (vs. 1-12), the joy and beauty of little children (vs. 13-16), the desires for the riches of this world (vs. 17-31), The reaffirmation of Jesus’ obedience on the road to the cross (vs. 32-34), the selfish & ignorant request of James & John (vs. 35-44) and lastly, the healing of Bartimaeus (vs. 46-52).
Regarding application…Do You Need Mercy? Vs. 48, “Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” To understand this scene, what we want to realize is as Jesus was making his way through the cities…many crowds began to increase. Among all the loud cries for help and people seeking out interest in Jesus, we see Bartimaeus. Some scholar’s say, “Son of David” caught Jesus’ attention because not many addressed him with such a title. Notice how others in the crowd tried to silence Bartimaeus, but that would not discourage him. In our own lives, we have those who try to discourage us from crying out to God. But don’t let that stop you! A sinner needs mercy, a righteous person pats themselves on the back….Which one are you? Do you need mercy? If so, take the time to cry out to Jesus today! Mercy triumphs over judgement because of the blood!
Vs. 3, “Like a scarecrow in a melon patch, their idols cannot speak; they must be carried because they cannot walk. Do not fear them; they can do no harm nor can they do any good.” We see how foolish it is to worship things made by humans. Abraham himself was once a worshipper of idols before he trusted in God. By this point, God’s people had no excuse, for they were instructed quite cleary from the Mosaic Law not to worship idols. If only they would comprehend the glory & majesty of the true Living God! Theologian A.W. Tozer, “…the essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of Him.” Our temporary idols of today may not be made of wood, but they bring just as much competition as the wooden & golden idols of yesterday
Regarding application…Our Way & God’s Way. Vs. 23, “I know, O LORD, that a man’s life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps.” We are on the road of life and the moment we turn from God…we take a major wrong turn. It would be like witnessing a car go down the wrong side of the street. Most people would think or call out to them about how incredibly foolish & dangerous it is to drive in the wrong direction. Yet that is exactly what we do when we direct our own steps. Verse 23 is reminds me of what the Apostle Paul would say to the Corinthians, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” (I Corinthians 6:19-21)
Our lives once belonged to us…but now we are slaves to righteousness. On the road of life, we have only “One Way…Jesus!” By the Grace of God He gave us intellect & will…but we are not meant to fathom the ways of God. In our endeavor to live a life for Him…sometimes I think we as Christians overanalyze ourselves more often than we should. We analyze the “why’s” of our Christians lives…when all God said was to have faith & obey. Sometimes we make life more difficult than it should be. It’s almost refreshing to know that it is not up to “US” to figure it all out! Let’s truly thank God that we simply have to follow the directions. The next step you take…ask yourself…is it my way or God’s way?
Vs. 24, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.” Suffering. Not a very pleasant word to think about, huh? Yet, Peter would address this topic and show us that we are not the only ones who would suffer…Jesus set the example for us. We must desire to grow and the only way to do that is taking the spiritual food so that we can endure the sufferings in this world (Vs. 2-3). We are also reminded as Peter quotes both Isaiah & Pslams how Jesus is our conerstone (Vs. 4-8). As Christians, we may think that the only one we need to obey is God, but Peter reminds us as people who bear Jesus’ name, it our duty to respect and obey the law of the land that we live in. If we don’t we could lose our testimony…so long as it does not go directly against the Bible (example: Sharing Christ).
Regarding application…Declaring God. Vs. 9, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you maydeclare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” Question: How do we delcare the praises of Him? By being a living “testimony” of how God worked and works and will work in your life! When we obey & show our testimony of living for Jesus, we can teach someone by how we live in a very effective & perhaps even faster way if they simply just learned about God on their own. The power of declaring God and what He has done for us can change peoples lives! You are all teachers for God simply by the way you live for Him!
Vs. 14, “because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” Lastly, we see that Jesus’ sacrifice is superior over all other sacrifices. The old sacrifices had their place for they reminded the people of their sins (vs. 3) But they were ineffective because they needed to be done year by year and day by day while Jesus’ sacrifice needed only to be done once to conquer sin. Before Jesus, the Levitical priests (High Priest) could only go behind the veil in the temple once a year…but we can have access anytime of the day! Yet at the same time, we are gravely reminded of the healthy fear of the Lord (vs. 31).
Regarding application…Encouragers. Vs. 25, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Question: When was the last time you were a Barnabas to someone? We live in a day where there is constant bad news. Japanese earthquake, Joplin tornando, Israeli/Palestinian conflict, etc… Now more than ever we need to encourage our brothers & sisters to love & serve the Lord. We need to take time out of our day to place a phone call to someone we haven’t talked to in awhile, email a friend who needs encouragment, pray for our pastor’s, let our parent(s) know how much we love them, etc.