Reading: Isaiah 61:1-3
Sunday 11th December 2016
So far on our ADVENTURE, Mark has spoken on “The Spirit of the sovereign Lord is upon me” – the symbol of the dove and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Matt spoke last week on “Good News’ and the crown of beauty instead of ashes and receiving the gift of Salvation. Today we explore “to bind up the broken-hearted and the oil of joy and receive the gift of healing”
A while back, when the ministry team were discussing the Christmas message and theme, my heart leapt at the opportunity to speak on “To bind up the broken-hearted”- initially I thought “Really Lord-me??” and I toyed with the idea of staying quiet and not putting my hand up. Once, I started to explore the theme more, I realised that it is exactly what the Lord has done in my life over the course of this year. On the 3rd January, I shared with this congregation my testimony on my journey with depression through most of 2015. Over this year, the Lord has gently bound up my wounds and offered me the opportunity to heal. One of the words, the Lord gave me this year was “restoration” and this I realised is what happens when a wound heals – the area is restored but perhaps a scar is left as a reminder. Healing is a process and takes time but it is something that Jesus offers to all who will receive – He declares it here in God’s Word that He has come to bind up the broken-hearted. Jesus is KEY to the healing process.
Jesus himself, was left with wounds or marks – He did that for you and for me. Have you ever thought about the scars that Jesus wears? – what would come to mind first :the scars on his feet and his hands where He was nailed to the Cross. What about His side where the sword was shoved in by the Roman soldier to discover if He was still alive? How about across His forehead?
To quote a favourite author of mine Mark Batterson: “That day is coming where we will see our Saviour face to face. The first thing we’ll notice, I think, will be the scars spanning His forehead. Like a barbed wire tattoo, the crown of thorns left its hallmark. It also erased any question mark about His love for us. Jesus wore that crown of injustice so that we could be crowned with righteousness”
Jesus wears His scars with love! He offers us the gift of righteousness
He was beaten and flogged with horrific tools of torture prior to the Cross to the point that He was beyond recognition to the human eye- His back is whiplashed and crisscrossed with scars. Why? So that He might “bind up the broken-hearted”. So that He can say that He has experienced our pain – physical pain yes, physical suffering!
But can you imagine the mental and emotional pain that Jesus went through before the Cross- knowing that He would have to experience it and knowing all that it entailed. And He did it anyway – He was obedient to His Father’s Will. We see in Mark 14:36 -He cried out in anguish “Abba, Father! Everything is possible for You. Take this cup from Me. Yet not what I will, but what You will”
Jesus knows what it is like to suffer, not only the time just before the Cross but prior to His time of Ministry, He was tempted by the Devil after fasting for 40 days and 40 nights .Going from a high point, of being baptised and hearing His Fathers voice- “this is my beloved son I take delight in him” to being totally alone, fasting and having the Devil tempt Him the whole time. Jesus has gone through times of emotional suffering – been at such a low point that He cried out to His Father just before the Cross, being at a high point of being baptised and heaven opening in response. Heaven is still open, as the curtain was torn from top to bottom and enabled man to once again be intimate with God.
If you could look into Jesus’ eyes, you would see the hurt He has suffered on behalf of you and me. Yes- there are laughter lines too but His compassion and love are paramount to His ministry, His mission for eternity.
Another quote from Mark Batterson “ when we gaze into His eternal eyes for the first time. We’ll see that our Saviour’s scars are the most beautiful thing about Him because they reveal the physical pain He was willing to endure for our eternal gain. We’ll also see the smile lines and laugh lines. He carried the weight of the world on His shoulders, shouldering the cross to Calvary, but it didn’t rob His joy or diminish the sparkle in His eye”
Jesus wears His emotional scars with love, He suffered much in His life. Jesus experienced rejection, persecution, betrayal, abandonment during His lifetime. His own Disciples wanted to use Him to gain places of honour in Heaven, even they did not understand Him fully. He is described as a man of sorrows.
As a baby, the King Herod wanted to kill Him and His family had to flee becoming refugees in another country. His whole life, He lived under an oppressive government that was extremely corrupt. In His time of ministry the religious leaders falsely accused Him, threatened by His teachings. Even His trial just before the Cross was a sham. He knows what it is like to suffer!
Yes this is Christmas, a time where we celebrate the birth of Jesus and Easter is the time when we talk about the journey to the Cross. But that journey started at His birth and carries on past His resurrection -to today where He intercedes on our behalf daily – He knew His destiny and He knew He would have to suffer. He is a relational God, willing to enter into relationships knowing the heart ache and joy that those relationships would bring. Why say all of this – because Jesus knows our broken-heartedness and He can relate or empathise with us. He knows you!
Back to Isaiah 61: 1 and “To bind up the broken-hearted” – let’s explore this a little more:-
- Bind :-According to the Strong’s concordance – the Hebrew word for bind in this verse is Chabash [khaw-bash] :-means to wrap firmly especially a turban, to compress. Other translations of the Bible use the word “comfort” or “help”.
What do we do to a new born baby – bind them up so that they feel secure. The parents instinctively wrap the baby in a blanket so that the baby feels loved, warm and secure.
Do you want to experience that feeling?
- Broken – hearted – we can use words such as unhappy, despairing, crushed, despondent, miserable, grief-stricken
How have you been broken – hearted? torn apart ? : in other words : destroyed, pierced, shattered, fractured . Where have you felt crushed? Where have you felt grief-stricken?
Just know today that:-
- There is no addiction so strong that God’s power cannot deliver
- There is no failure so final that God’s grace cannot forgive
- There is no wound so deep that God’s love cannot heal.
- There is no scar beyond God’s restoration.
Hardship has one of two effects: it either hardens or softens our hearts. And it is the hardening or softening that makes us or breaks us. You can be torn apart at the seams by your circumstances or grow stronger in your relationship with the Lord. When we are at our worst- God is at His best.
- Jesus’ offers love that is bound by blood, sweat and tears
- It is love that has endured a miscarriage, the death of a parent or even an affair
- It’s a love that has been knocked down –but gotten back up every time
Jesus states that this is what He will do -His mission –sole reason for coming is Isaiah 61:1-3 it is the work to which He was appointed. Recorded in Luke Chapter 4 at the start of Jesus’ time of Ministry “ He [ Jesus] went up to Nazareth, where He had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day He went into the synagogue as was his custom. As He stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. Unrolling the scroll, He found the place where it was written: The Spirit of the Lord is on me because He has anointed me” and reads the rest of the Scripture. He then rolled up the scroll and verse 21 He says “today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing”
Jesus offers spiritual, emotional and physical healing – to be restored from a place of suffering to a place of healing. Do not miss the gifts Jesus has to offer this Christmas. We are reminded in :-
- Psalm 147:3 “He heals the broken hearted, and bandages their wounds”
Our hearts have to be ready to receive, we have to come to a place of Repentance – a time of softening our hearts to allow the healing that Jesus offers. Jesus identifies with you, do not hide in the garden like Adam and Eve did- call out- allow yourself to be healed. Adam and Eve hid in the garden because they were naked – Jesus hung naked on the Cross – He did that to honour the Father. He suffered every kind of evil just to save us.
Jesus is the comforter – seek Him for comfort and not worldly things – we tend to look to things we can see, touch things of this world to heal and comfort us. Jesus stands at the door of your heart and knocks – it is up to you to open the door to what He offers. This Christmas, Jesus offers you gifts, it is up to you if you receive them and open them – today it is the gift of the “oil of joy”
Why Oil? Oil was used in Biblical times as a healing balm for wounds which were then bound with a cloth or bandage and oil was also used as a way of anointing or setting apart.
God’s Word shows us in the Parable of the Good Samaritan- oil was used to treat wounds in Luke 10: 33-34 – a man was injured and left lying half dead on the side of the road. A priest and a Levite [upstanding men of society] passed him by “ but a Samaritan, as he travelled, came where the man was; and when he saw him , he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine”
Oil of joy or oil of gladness in Isaiah 61: 1-3 that is how we have chosen to link up the verses in this series. To bind up the broken hearted with the oil symbolising joy or gladness. A reversal – from suffering to restoration! The deeper the scars that sorrow carves into your being the more joy you can contain. Christmas is not something we do, but something we need.
Oil washes away impurities – what impurities in your life do you want washed away. Where do you need to go from a place of suffering to restoration? Where can Jesus bind up your broken-heartedness and offer you the oil of joy instead of mourning? Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father interceding on your behalf and the Holy Spirit is your constant companion –heaven is open and awaiting your response.
Prayer helped me on my journey of healing and as it says in the Scriptures:
James 5:13-16 says “ Is any of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”
The Gospels are full of stories of Jesus healing those who came to Him – the blind, the lame, filled with leprosy, crippled, spiritually unwell. Jesus did not use oil as He did not have to – Jesus is key. As we read in James- the Elders are told to pray and anoint with oil.
We would like to give you an opportunity to respond this morning. Do not go home the same way you came to church. Accept Jesus’ gift of healing. Healing can be a process- if that is the journey God has chosen for you or healing can be instantaneous – receive what Jesus has to offer you today.
If your heart is pounding and you feel Jesus tapping you on the shoulder , focus on Him and not on the people around you. Come forward and receive prayer.
Today- receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, receive the Good News, wear the crown of beauty and receive the oil of joy wearing the garment of praise so that you can be an oak of righteousness for the splendour of the Lord.
call elders to pray and anoint. Time of ministry – healing and anointing with oil
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon you, you are anointed by the Holy Spirit to preach the Good News, you are to comfort the broken –hearted and proclaim freedom for the captives. Today receive the gifts Jesus has for you: the Holy Spirit, the crown of beauty, the oil of joy and the wear the garment of praise so that you may display the splendour of the Lord and be called an oak of righteousness.