CUP OF HORRORS What was in that cup that Jesus found to be so unpleasant? To drink a cup means to go through an experience. Inside that cup Jesus knew there was terrible physical pain. He knew over the next few hours He would be tortured and crucified. Also inside that cup was isolation. All His disciples would forsake Him, and He would face the cross alone. Even on the cross, He endured isolation from His Father. But I think the most horrifying content of that cup were sins of all the world. He would bear all the sins in His body on the cross. All the lies, murders, rapes, and hatred of the world would stain His sinless soul. John 18:1-11.
There are all different kinds of sighs. There’s a sigh of relief when the doctor tells us that the tumor is benign. There’s a sigh of fatigue after we’ve finished a long, hard job. And there is the sigh of anguish and grief when someone we care about is longer with us. This past week, we had to put our 12-year-old Boxer, Boomer, down because she had gotten too sick to function. A day afterwards, I was driving in my car, and found myself just going, “Sigh…poor old Boomer. I’m going to miss her greeting me every afternoon.” Life is one long bridge of sighs.
Jairus was desperate to get Jesus to his dying daughter in time, but Jesus stopped along the way to heal a sick woman. A day is a like a thousand years and a thousand years is like one day with the Lord. And when you get in a hurry for God to answer your prayer, don’t be surprised if God isn’t in a hurry. Jairus had to learn that lesson, and it’s a lesson for all of us.
When the woman suffering from bleeding grasped Jesus’ robe, the Bible says, “At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him.” I studied this miracle for many years before I picked up on this amazing nugget of truth. There were dozens of people crowding around Jesus. How did Jesus know someone touched Him in faith? He told Peter He literally felt healing power flow out of His body. That really opened my eyes to the fact that every time Jesus performed a miracle, power flowed out of him.
Some people think all anger is sinful, and they have a hard time justifying that Jesus got angry, because Jesus was supposed to be sinless. He was. The Bible talks about different kinds of anger. Some anger is harmful and destructive. But there is a kind of anger that is holy and just.
What is the unforgivable sin? Let me tell you what it is NOT. It is not murder. Moses was a murderer and he’ll be in heaven. It is not adultery. King David committed adultery and God forgave him. It is not divorce. The woman at the well had multiple divorces and she was forgiven. It is not suicide. Although the Catholic Church teaches suicide is an unforgivable sin, you don’t find it in the Bible. Suicide is self-murder and it is no different from homicide—both are forgivable. If you think a person who commits suicide can’t repent of that sin because they’re dead and that’s your attitude, then you don’t understand salvation. Once you are a Christian, you don’t have to confess every single sin you commit in order to go to heaven. We confess our sins to stay in fellowship with God, but when you surrender your life to Christ, every past sin you’ve committed and every future sin you will ever commit is covered by the blood of Jesus Christ.
Have you noticed in many of Jesus’ miracles He simply told the person to DO the very thing they couldn’t do? When the four men brought the paralyzed man to Jesus and lowered him through a hole in the ceiling, Jesus didn’t touch the paralyzed man. He simply said, “Stand up, pick up your bed and walk home.” Jesus told Peter to walk on water, which was totally impossible. But it wasn’t until Peter stepped out onto the impossibility that he found he could stand on Jesus’ Word! It is only when we trust the Word of Jesus to believe we experience His healing power. Salvation is impossible for us, but God’s power makes it possible.
It requires both faith and persistence to bring someone to Jesus. Do you REALLY believe Jesus can forgive and change even the most hardened person? Then start working on them. And don’t give up. The paralytic’s four friends didn’t give up. When they found the way blocked, they didn’t quit, they tried a creative approach! God wants you to be a persistent roof-ripper and do whatever it takes to bring your friends to Jesus.
Today when Jesus’ disciples gather here Sunday after Sunday, it’s a mountaintop experience as we praise Him and study His Word. And sadly, for some, that is the pinnacle of their faith. When they leave church they just look forward to the next spiritual high point of worship and fellowship the next Sunday. But you can’t just stay on the mountaintop with Jesus. Monday through Saturday, you’ve got to go into the valley where the people are hurting and in need of Jesus.