I grew up in a family of three boys. As you can imagine we often had moments of messes and broken things. We wrestled on more than one occasion, and to be honest I am not sure how my brothers and I didn’t break more things. One day when I was probably 9 my older brother and I were playing with a large stuffed animal my younger brother brought home. We did our best WWF style moves and smashed around the family room. While doing this, one of us (I really can’t remember who) smashed into my moms lamp. You know the lamp. The one that was old and had a long family connection. As you can imagine the lamp was in many pieces. In fact so many pieces that we did what any boys do when they have broken something. We ran and hid. We pretended like we didn’t do it. Well mom came home and was upset. No amount of super glue could put it back together. She was disappointed in her boys and quite angry.
Then it happened. You know who came home next. It was Dad. Dad came in the room. He saw what happened and sat all three of us on the couch. I really thought I wasn’t going to make it to my next birthday. He looked at us and said boys this cant be fixed. He didn’t yell in fact he had a large amount of calm. I really was surprised because dad could fix anything. Even he couldn’t get out enough glue and fix it, it would never be right. Instead he did something shocking to us. He went to a special store to buy a new piece. It was quite expensive. For the time over $200 to fix and for our family it was a lot. As a parent I think about how I might have had my boys chip in and help pay for it, but he didn’t. He went and just paid for it himself and mad the lamp new.
As we begin Lent I was reminded of this story. Today is ash Wednesday. It is a day we have ashes put on our forehead to remind us we are dust and to dust we shall return. It is a day to remember the mess we have made of our lives. It has been a mess made from the beginning of time and we as God’s people continue to move and make a bigger and bigger mess. We are marked as people who are a mess. God didn’t leave us in this broken mess. He didn’t just take out some super glue to put us back together. He did something far better. He sent His Son Jesus to be with us and to pay our price. If you go to service today you will have ashes on your forehead to remind you of both these facts. You are broken beyond repair. You are Dust…and to Dust you shall return. The cross reminds us Jesus doesn’t leave us that way. He pays the price and makes us completely new. So on this Ash Wednesday as we consider our sin and brokenness may we be reminded that Jesus has paid through the cross to make us new.
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring[a] and hers; he will crush[b] your head, and you will strike his heel.”
16 To the woman he said,
“I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”
17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’
“Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. 18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”
20 Adam[c] named his wife Eve,[d] because she would become the mother of all the living.
21 The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. 22 And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” 23 So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side[e] of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
I will be honest I have struggled to stay up on my reading of the Gospels through Lent. I knew that I would at some point fall behind, but I was committed to try and read during Lent. Yesterday I realized I was almost a week behind. I had about an hour drive for something yesterday by myself and thought I should catch up. I am sure you all are thinking while you drive you shouldn’t be reading your bible. And you are right. Driving and reading is not a good a idea unless you want to really meet Jesus face to face.
Instead of reading I got on my Bible app (before driving) and had it read to me. I would not say it is my favorite way to read the scripture. I like to highlight and take notes but it is what I needed. So there I was in the car by myself and I got to the gospel of Mark. Over and over in the first few chapters where those words:
And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Mark 4:9(ESV)
We don’t always like to listen. I don’t like to listen. Life can get so busy that I forget to be in the word or prayer. I can get caught up in all the memes, social media, and life drama and miss Jesus speaking to me.
So are you listening to Jesus? As we make our way to the cross are we listening to Jesus. I hope as we journey toward the cross I don’t get this far behind again. My prayer for all of us is that we take the time to listen and hear through the power of the Holy Spirit what Jesus is saying to us today and always.
So I have made it a couple of days through my reading of the Gospels. I will be honest I have never been very good and being consistent with reading the scripture on a daily basis. So as I keep reading I pray God will continue to speak in these words to you and me. If you would like to journey by reading in this way don’t be afraid to start up.
If she could only touch his garment. Those words from Matthew 9:21-22 touched me this week.
Matthew 9:21-22 English Standard Version (ESV)
21 for she said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.” 22 Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well.
This story has always been one that gets to me. Here is a women who has no hope in anything but Jesus. As a women who bleeds she couldn’t go to the temple or be with God. She would have been an outcast in her community. She would have been an outcast and no one would have had any compassion on Her. All she had left was Jesus. In her head she says those words. If only I could touch him. Then I will be healed. Then I will be made well
I had two questions for us this week. Do you and I long for Jesus in this way? Do you and I think if I could just get to Jesus then my life might be different. I know for myself I try to fix it all on my own most of the time. I trust I can fix everything but when things get out of hand and things get beyond my skills and abilities I don’t always do this. I want to be someone to thinks, if I could only get to Jesus!
The second question to ponder this week is are you alone. Do you feel like no one has any compassion on your or care that you are here. Where are you on your journey? Are you at the point in your life where you just need Jesus. Are you at the point in your life where you feel you are an outcast or lost and it seems no one sees you are can help?
If you are in this place come to my friend Jesus. He has compassion on you and He can make you well.
As we read more over the coming weeks I pray we all see Jesus bring us who are outcasts and lost closer to Jesus. My prayer for all of you this week is that you will get to touch Jesus who has compassion on you.
Matthew 9:36 English Standard Version (ESV)
36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
I have neglecting my time of reading God’s word far too much lately. This Lenten season I want to be in the Word and today I decided to read through the Gospels as part of my Lenten Journey. If you want to join me I will be sharing some thoughts through the week about what I am seeing and learning. You can also print off this PDF I made based on the break up of the readings. I pray you all can hold me accountable for reading God’s Word this Lenten season. Have a great day and may your Lenten Journey to the cross remind you of the great love Jesus has for you and me.