Are We Looking Up To Jesus?
Good Morning Friends,
The Book of Hebrews is all about Jesus. From chapter one all the way through even in the puzzling parts of chapter thirteen there is ultimately a focus on Jesus. Hebrews is a study of Jesus. And one of the key messages is that when we invite Jesus to be in our field of vison, in worship, work and witness, some amazing things will happen. Things like receiving new insights and knowledge and emotions. It is all about this wisdom but also commitment, sacrifice and submission to God and their related return for us individually and collectively. Friends, today with this thought in mind we look at scripture about casting out unclean spirits and of the dream of a woman to have a child set aside for a holy purpose. And we are motivated given the scripture to think about God’s authority and redemption as a means of helping us to set our sights on the important things in life. And so, we ask, Are We Looking Up To Jesus?
Scripture: After they had eaten and drunk at Shiloh, Hannah rose and presented herself before the Lord. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the Lord. She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord, and wept bitterly. She made this vow: “O Lord of hosts, if only you will look on the misery of your servant, and remember me, and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a male child, then I will set him before you as a nazirite until the day of his death. He shall drink neither wine nor intoxicants, and no razor shall touch his head.” As she continued praying before the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was praying silently; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard; therefore Eli thought she was drunk. So Eli said to her, “How long will you make a drunken spectacle of yourself? Put away your wine.” But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman deeply troubled; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation all this time.” Then Eli answered, “Go in peace; the God of Israel grant the petition you have made to him.” And she said, “Let your servant find favor in your sight.” Then the woman went to her quarters, ate and drank with her husband, and her countenance was sad no longer. They rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord; then they went back to their house at Ramah. Elkanah knew his wife Hannah, and the Lord remembered her. In due time Hannah conceived and bore a son. She named him Samuel, for she said, “I have asked him of the Lord.”
1 Samuel 1:9-20 (NRSV)
They went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, and he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, “What is this? A new teaching—with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.
Mark 1:21-28 (NRSV)
Now God did not subject the coming world, about which we are speaking, to angels. But someone has testified somewhere, “What are human beings that you are mindful of them, or mortals, that you care for them? You have made them for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned them with glory and honor, subjecting all things under their feet.” Now in subjecting all things to them, God left nothing outside their control. As it is, we do not yet see everything in subjection to them, but we do see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. It was fitting that God, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For the one who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father. For this reason Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters, saying, “I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters, in the midst of the congregation I will praise you.”
Hebrews 2:5-12 (NRSV)
Message: Today we look at Jesus teaching in the synagogue and showing authority over demons and Hannah in desperation praying so that the restriction on her spirit and body might be lifted. This is about all in worship. It is about the importance of commitment but also having the right perspective. You see, looking up to Jesus means leaning on God’s word and the Power of the Holy Spirit. Looking up to Jesus means focusing and fixing our eyes with a gaze of confidence while looking away from other distractions. Looking up to Jesus means loving in a way where the joy and reward of the vison is of a finish line with Jesus as the goal. Looking up to Jesus mean being all in. Hannan had such an all-in focus when she goes to the LORD and says in effect, “Lord, I want a child. In fact, Lord I want a son to honor you. I want you to use me.” This prayer led to surrender and sacrifice. And that surrender, and sacrifice led to celebration. The connection with the child Jesus and Mary is clear. Though Samuel was the child asked for by Hannah. The destiny of the faithful was wrapped up in the birth of another child that would grow up to set the captives free as Hannah’s spirit was set free. When Hannah was used by God for the purposes of God it allowed her to rejoice. So too when Jesus uses us and takes away the demons of sin we too can be used for a purpose greater than ourselves that glorifies God. Man is out of control, but we see Jesus. We see Him, who became a little lower than the angels, just like us! We see that Man crowned with glory and honor. So if you want to find any real significance in life, then don’t look to yourself… Look up to Jesus who became a man. Pay attention to Christ, who became fully human. Focus on the Lord, who became lower than the angels for a little while, so He could be our Sovereign Savior. Jesus became one of us, so He could become the Crowned Sovereign of the world. He became one of us, so He could regain control where we lost control. Humankind’s war against God started in the garden but needs to end if we are ever to have peace. Thankfully, as a human, Jesus never submitted to Satan like Adam and Eve and as we do. Thankfully Jesus never lost control. So as a man, Jesus elevates all people who align themselves with Him with a declaration of peace and a freeing of the captives of sin. You see, when you submit to Christ, we regain our position, because we are no longer slaves to Satan. Instead, we are under Christ’s rule, who conquered Satan on the cross for us.
Pray we find God’s favor. Pray
we are ready for God to save, sanctify, heal and free us. Pray we believe that the LORD wants to give us our deepest and purest desires. Pray we believe that God wants to bring new life into our lives. Pray we realize that it might take surrender and sacrifice to succeed. Pray we celebrate the casting out of demons. Pray we do something definite about those dark areas in our lives. Pray we let Jesus into our homes and hearts. Pray we have a continual, deliberate, and intimate experience of God. Pray that when we seek to see God we also realize this means to inspect, protect, feel, understand, enjoy, discover attend to, investigate and learn. Pray Jesus enable us to continue in faith, to carry on despite suffering. Pray we finish strong. Pray we look up to Jesus believing the war with God has ended.