Sunday, November 11, 2012

It’s a Miracle: それは奇跡だ

   IN LUKE, the word for MIRACLES come from the Greek word for act of power.  In John’s Gospel as sign.   In the synoptic (梗概の, 大意の) Gospel (Matthew, Mark and Luke) the miracles of Jesus show three important teachings:
   ~ The Power of God.   ~ The Power of Faith in God.  ~ The depth of God’s Love.
When Jesus speaks and heals the paralyzed man (5:18-25), Jesus shows that the man’s sins were forgiven as something that only God could do.  The witnesses also said so.  (Who can forgive sins but God alone?)  Jesus was teaching that the healing took place not only in his body but also dealt with his relationship with God Himself.  The spiritual mixed with the physical. The Power of God. 神の力This bothered those who followed the Greek falsehood that is still around today: flesh and spirit can’t co-mingle. 

   There is Power of Faith in God. 神への信仰による力 When the Roman military man known as the Centurion asked that his servant to be healed, it was central that the Foreigner believed with all that was in him that Jesus WAS the Son of God and being so, had the power to heal.  He had the authority!  When Jesus’ touch was needed, those people were helped to have faith and that strengthen their faith in the belief in the Kingdom of God. 

   When the Christ touched the dead son of the widow on the way to the grave, He offered a very real expression of the Power of God’s deep love for them.  神の愛の深さThis was a compassion that was evidenced throughout the Old Testament and now was seem by the crowds. They could see that the God of Israel was still in the business of showing His deep love to His People.

   Remember in last Sunday’s message, when we talked about the disciples of John asking if they were to be looking for another or was Jesus the promised One, Jesus had the answer for them.

     Luke 7: 22, Jesus answers with a question: 22 So He replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 23 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of Me.”

   All the Miracles in the Bible—and esp. the ones here in Luke—highlight some rather important truths.  The Gospel was to bring the Good News to the Poor, it was to heal the broken hearted, it was to proclaim liberty to the captives, it was to declare freedom for those bound by Satan’s chains and it was to make known that this was THE time for the Lord!

Luke 5    New International Version (NIV)   Jesus Heals a Man With Leprosy.
12 While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged Him, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”
13 Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” He said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him.
14 Then Jesus ordered him, “Don’t tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.”
15 Yet the news about Him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
     While Jesus was living His life out before the people, He saw a need and addressed it.  It was not to point to His Power.  It was to display His compassion for the people He healed. - Man with a skin disease (5:12-13)

   To the fishermen, Jesus said Don’t be afraid恐れることはありません!…He was tender toward those who do fear…. This shows us His Humanity. All throughout His ministry, He cared.  From the shepherds in the hills (Don’t be afraid) to the healing-teaching ministry of those three years in Judea, Don’t be afraid,  He cared. He even had time to talk with two men who were saddened on the Road to Emmaus: Don’t be afraid.  Time spent with people and words of comfort go together.  Phone calls, a note, an email, FB comment, a visit, all show this caring ministry.  You do that, Friends.  Keep it up and do not grow tired of doing good.  Move from doing good to doing GREAT things for Him. Even when the leaders asked Him to ‘do a miracle’, His intent was not one of being flashy, affected, or being flamboyant.  It was a SIGN pointing to the Power of God.

   According to J. Vernon McGee, Radio Bible teacher who died in 1988, leprosy is a type or shadow of sin in the following ways: 1. It begins small.  "a bright spot" 2. It progresses slowly, but surely. Leprosy will eventually be a living death, whereby the victim is consumed by the disease.3. Leprosy does not have sharp pain, but dull pain that keeps a person sad and restless. 4. Leprosy is thought to be hereditary. 5. Leprosy is a horrible condition.6. Leprosy becomes overtly obvious in loathsome ways.

Here is the miracle with the man with leprosy: ハンセン病を持つ男
   Jesus was walking thru a town when a man with this hideous disease saw Jesus and called out to Him.  He called out because he was not to even come near a clean person.  He would have to yell Unclean!”汚れたand or ring a bell to warn people. His smell would also be great as his flesh rots off his body as he is covered with leprosy. And he calls Jesus “LORD!”

   How did he know?  Was he in a crowd someplace else where he saw Jesus and from that knew that Jesus was indeed LORD?  Was he a prophet?  Was he one of the first to hear and understood the message? Don’t know.  The Scriptures (and the Holy Spirit) does not concern itself with those issues.  But having said that, the man KNEW that Jesus was LORD.  And that He could—if He wanted to—heal him of this socially exclusive disease.  He was completely cut off from his society.  He could not be with his family. He could not touch his children, his wife or even stay in their home.  He could not attend Temple services.  He could not offer his sin offerings.  He could not worship. He was as far gone as a Non-Jew.  Cut off from any blessings Jewish people enjoyed.  And yet, he took the advantage of asking for help—for cleansing from the One he called LORD.

   He said: “If You are willing, "あなた (キリスト) がいとわないのであれば..." You can make me clean.” "あなたは私をきよくすることができます." Being unclean, he knows that is not a good place to be.  Unclean was more than dirty. As I said before, it meant complete separation from ANYTHING social in his community.  And he would die that way.  Cut off--unless Jesus was willing to make him clean.

   Jesus was not taken back by the man’s comments or his illness.  It seems like Jesus was right there near the leper.  His response was not a surprise to us but maybe it was to those around Jesus. A leper was a social outcast.  Very few people had relationships with those kinds of people.  And yet Jesus speaks to him.  He considers him important. He answers the man’s request.  He reaches out His hand and TOUCHES彼に触れるthe man and says: “I am willing,” He said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him.

   Are You willing?  Are You able?  If You are, I know You can make me clean!  When is He not able? いつ彼は望んでいないのか? When is He not willing? いつ彼はできないのか?Only when you and I get in the way.  When we make issues our idol.  When we make our wants central to life.  When we allow our society to dictate how we are to live, what we give to, what we spend time doing, and what we have as our center, we are in trouble!  Where is your heart?  Are you willing to let Jesus touch that—your center?  Can you say—like the leper—“If You are willing—You can make me clean?”

   That, my friend is the issue here.  Not-- is Jesus able to cure this skin disease.  Not-- if He is even willing, but that the man who called Him Lord could be changed for all time.  The passage said that he was covered with this skin disease.  He was a hideous human being!  And yet, Jesus touched him!  He touched him and made him whole---because of a few factors.  One, it is part of the Gospel.  Two, it brings Glory to the Father.  Three, this is what Jesus does…and then, what does Jesus do?  Does He go on a healing spree?  No, 16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.  He wanted to be close to His Father. 

  Is that where you want to be?  Do you want to be close to your Father? After Jesus touched the man, Jesus told him to go to the Temple and what?  14 Then Jesus ordered him “Don’t tell anyone, but go, 誰にも話さないように、ただ行って・・・" show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.”  Keep this silent and go show your healed body to the administrators at the Temple and follow the Laws of Moses…per what his Faith would tell him. Do the right thing.  God did a good thing here so go back to Him and let the leaders know that: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, らい病人はきよまり、the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.  Our role becomes a simple task of telling other fellow lepers were the healing came from.  The Lord did it.  I asked Him for it and He touched me and I got cleaned up.

   What is your response to that kind of contact with Jesus? あなたは何と答えますか? What do you call Him? あなたは彼を何と呼びますか?Are there issues, things, and people in your life that you need Him to clean?  Maybe it is you, yourself.  Go to Him now, He can’t refuse. Take some time for prayer RIGHT now—before we offer prayer for people in Ethiopia.  Pray. 祈るために今しばらく時間を持ちましょう。reflective prayer/ задумчивый молитвы