Finding Our Purpose- 2 Chronicles 1:7-8, 10-12; Mark 10:49-52

In that night did God appear unto Solomon, and said unto him, Ask what I shall give thee.
And Solomon said unto God, Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people: for who can judge this thy people, that is so great?
And God said to Solomon, Wisdom and knowledge is granted unto thee;

And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee.
And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus.
And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight.
And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.

COMMENTARY

Give me wisdom, for who can judge this thy people, that is so great?
And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.
Sometimes we want to follow the vocation God has for us, but we have some blocker in our way. Consider Solomon, called to lead the nation of Israel, but lacking the requisite wisdom to do so. Or Bartimaeus, who had the heart of a disciple, but lacked the ability to even see which way he walked. These men were transformed so that they could answer the call in their hearts.
It is the same for us. When Jesus comes to heal or strengthen us, it empowers us to answer our calling. I once felt blocked in my own discipleship by a misguided fear. I’ll explain more of that later, but that confusion was corrected in me so that I could fully commit to my discipleship.
If you feel like there is a purpose that you are meant to fill, but that you just can’t for some reason, you may not be wrong. Perhaps you truly are being blocked. But then ask God to deliver you from your constraint. Why wouldn’t He help you to perform the very task for which He made you?

The Family of God- Luke 22:24-26, Romans 12:3-6

And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.
And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors.
But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us.

COMMENTARY

And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest
We have a common insecurity. We all want to be the best, the smartest, the favorite. We want to be the hero of the story, and have everyone else be the supporting characters. We fight for the love of parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors. We don’t just want them to approve of us, we want them to choose us above all others.
To be clear, our individuality is not a sin. There is nothing wrong in wanting to be a distinct person, in fact that uniqueness is a wondrous gift from God. But we do not need to convolute that beauty by making it into a competition.
Perhaps this insecurity is part of our nature, or maybe it is inflicted on us by life’s disappointments. Whatever the cause, at some point or another we grow uncertain either that we are unique, or that our uniqueness is good. So what does one do with this insecurity?

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us
The scriptures might not support us in trying to be better than one another, but this one does give us permission to be better at some things. You can honestly and proudly acknowledge that you really do have your own strengths. Your special abilities distinguish you from the rest of the world in wonderful ways.
It is not God’s intention for you to live crippled by your insecurities. He wants to give you have a one-of-a-kind role to play, one suited to your unique and precious talents. Then, by acknowledging your divine individuality, you will finally be able to let go of your insecurities and allow that everyone else can have their own individuality as well.

Service to Others- Luke 10:34-37

And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.
Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?
And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

COMMENTARY

And went to him, and bound up his wounds
Go, and do thou likewise

What was it that the Samaritan did for the wounded man? Binding wounds, healing and anointing him, carrying his burden, placing him in safety…he gave him the sustenance of life.
When Jesus told us to “go and do likewise” I don’t think his injunction was only to watch out for men dying on the side of the road. I mean, yeah, if we ever see that we should do something about it! But more generally I believe he is asking us to give the sustenance of life to others.
And as we do so, we should remember that not all wounds are visible and not all hungers make a noise. Just as people need food and drink, they also need to feel seen, appreciated, heard, and wanted. And these are the needs that people are usually the most starved for, because these are the ones they cannot give to themselves.
We have an epidemic of emotionally dehydrated people. Every now and again one of them will cry for help, but more often they stay quiet, walking around and looking “perfectly fine” on the outside.
When you give service to others it isn’t just “doing something nice,” it is literally preserving life.

The Lord Sees You- Mark 5:25, 27-34

And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years,
When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.
For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.
And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.
And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?
And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?
And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing.
But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.
And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.

COMMENTARY

And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?
I’ve always been impressed how this story illustrates the Savior’s ability to tell the difference between those that brush by him and those that touch him. To the disciples it was impossible to distinguish between the multitude and the one, but to the Savior the distinction was entirely clear.
To this day many people throng around Jesus, but our desire is to be one of the ones that reach out and actually connect with him, and our hope is that he will recognize us when we do.
Personally I can attest that there is a real difference between the two. I’ve been the individual who meanders around Jesus, thoughtlessly going to church and saying my prayers only because it is “what I’m supposed to do.” But I’ve also been the one that desperately needed healing and reached out in hope that he was really there for me. Having felt the sweet reassurance of the latter, I never want to go back to the first.

The Resurrecting and Enabling Power of Jesus- Summary

As with all gospel studies it is the life experience that matters more than the cognitive understanding. Knowing that Jesus can heal and even resurrect our broken hearts, minds, and bodies is valuable, but far more important is to actually feel this revitalizing influence in our lives. I have certainly felt him lift my weary spirit, restore my broken innocence, and embolden me to become more than I ever was before. While reading stories of how Jesus did the same for others in his day, I find myself seeing myself in their faces.

Jesus Can Heal Anyone of Anything

The scriptures “are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (John 20:31). Accordingly we have examples of Jesus healing the feverish, the blind, the lame, the possessed, and the dead. He encourages the brokenhearted, and restores guilty soul. He is not limited by the type of anguish, he is not limited by the magnitude of anguish.
In a world filled with people that cannot meet our every need it can be difficult to wholly trust in anyone. It is not surprising that it might go against our cynicism to believe that the Savior can save us. And that is why the first requirement of the gospel is simply to have faith.
Mark 9:18, 27- I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not. Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose.

All That is Required is Our Faith and His Will

Time and time again Jesus assured the recently-healed that it was their faith which set them free. Certainly he possessed the healing power, but because he respects his children he doesn’t force his healing on those who cannot accept it. He illustrated this centuries earlier when he instructed Moses to raise a bronze serpent and instruct the sick Israelites to look to it for healing. The bronze serpent is already there, it’s just up to us to reach to it.
Mark 5:34- Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.
Mark 1:40-41- If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.

The Healing Will be Fitted to the Individual

If you read through the miracles of Jesus to find a specific formula to them you are going to be disappointed. Well, as we just said in the previous section there’s the necessity of him authorizing the healing of the individual, and the individual having faith in that healing, but after those criteria are met there’s no telling what the rest of the method will be.
The woman with an issue of blood believed she would be healed if she touched the robes of Jesus…and she was right. The centurion believed Jesus could just say the word and his servant would be healed…and he was right. Jairus felt that if Jesus came and laid hands on his daughter then she would be healed…and he was right.
In the ending being healed is a very personal thing. Our wounds are individual, and our restoration should be as well. I don’t hurt the same way you hurt, and I don’t want your healing. I’m so very grateful for a Savior that administers to me personally.
Matthew 14:28-29- And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come.
Mark 5:28-29- For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.

The Resurrecting and Enabling Power of Jesus- John 11:39-41, 43-44; Matthew 14:25, 27-31

Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.
Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?
Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.
And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.
And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.

And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.
Straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

COMMENTARY

And he that was dead came forth.
And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water.
Jesus is empowered to do the impossible and the improbable. As I mentioned yesterday, no matter what your own individual situation is, you are not so removed that his power cannot reach you.
Lazarus was dead. He was not sick, he was not wounded, he was not mostly gone but still holding onto a shred of life still. He was dead. Maybe you feel like parts of you have died as well. Not just parts that have been hurt, or parts are weak, but ones that are actually dead. No light and no life in them. Jesus can work with that, after all he is the life and the light.
Peter had never walked on water before. This wasn’t some skill that he had been struggling with and wanted to do better at. Maybe you feel at times like you are asked to do something you simply cannot do. It isn’t something that you are just weak or unskilled at, it is literally something you have never done before because for you it is impossible. Jesus can work with that, too. So long as you have the faith, he will empower you to do the things that couldn’t be done.

The Resurrecting and Enabling Power of Jesus- John 9:1-3, 6-7; John 5:5-6, 8-9, 14

And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.
And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,
And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.

And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.
When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?
Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.
And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked…
Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.

COMMENTARY

Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
Sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.
Jesus is not confined to only healing the innocent, Jesus is not limited to only rescuing the sinner. When we are made the victim of circumstance or another’s cruelty it might be easy to assume this is just our lot in life and we have to bear it. When our suffering is due to our own guilty actions it might be easy to assume we have forfeited the right to be healed.
The simple truth is that no one is outside of the healing power of the Savior. The reasons for your anguish do not matter, the depth of that anguish does not matter. The Savior is not the Savior of some, he is the Savior of all.

He saw a man which was blind from his birth.
And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.
When reading of so many miracles it can be easy to feel forgotten when we have endured our own afflictions without relief. Perhaps we have even asked for healing and still it has not come.
Perhaps it is that lack of healing that has leads us to those thoughts of “well I deserve this punishment” or “this is just my cross to bear.” It is helpful in these moments to remember that those Jesus healed had often been oppressed for a very long while, too. It does seem that God lets us bear our burdens for a time, lets us experience the natural consequences of our actions for a time.
But that doesn’t mean the Savior is either unwilling or unable to heal us. Indeed, we know that in the Resurrection every remaining burden will be unfettered by his miraculous resurrecting and healing power.
One of my favorite scriptures is one full of remarkable pathos, and it beautifully attests to exactly this. From Revelation 21:4 “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”