The Beautiful Gate or Eastern Gate where the lame beggar sat was the largest gate to the temple and the most beautiful. In Hebrew, the name of the gate means “Gate of Mercy.” It took 20 men to move the gate. The gate faces the Mount of Olives across the Kidron Valley. It was sealed shut, and a cemetery was placed before its entrance to render anyone who walked through the cemetery unclean. Jewish tradition says that the Messiah will come through the Eastern Gate when He comes to reign. Ezekiel writes of the glory of God entering the temple through the Eastern Gate.
Look at him! He’s walking. He’s jumping. He’s prancing around and praising God. Wait … he’s going into the temple with those men. He can’t do that; he’s unclean. Hasn’t he been lame since birth? I’ve seen him begging every day for decades. What happened?
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth Does not become weary or tired. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly, Yet those who wait for the Lord Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.Isaiah 40:28-31
Six years ago, I suffered from fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. I was to the point of resigning from the job of my dreams. I believed that God had placed me there to make a difference. But the pills and alternative therapies no longer worked. My doctor wanted to put me on disability, but I refused, so he reduced my days of work. I was devastated. Continue reading 6 Years Healed!
We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless perhaps we go and buy food for all these people. Luke 9:12-13
Jesus and His disciples had tried to withdraw from the crowds after learning of the beheading of John the Baptist, but the crowds followed.
Jesus had compassion on the crowd and turned His focus on the crowd of 5,000 men; the women and children were not numbered. All day, He spoke to them about the kingdom of God and healed all who needed healing.
Late in the day, the disciples urged Jesus to send the people away to get something to eat and find a place to sleep.
You give them something to eat!
We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless perhaps we go and buy food for all these people. Luke 9:13
Have them sit down in groups of about 50 each. Luke 9:14
Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed them, and broke them, and kept giving them to the disciples to set before the people.
And they all ate and were satisfied; and the broken pieces which they had left over were picked up, twelve baskets full. Luke 9:16-17
This is the only miracle of Jesus that is recorded in all four Gospels. We see Jesus in all the Godhead and in all His humanity. In this miracle, we see the walk, emotion, the power, the seasons, and the impact of those in ministry.
Time for renewal. There is a time to minister and a time to be renewed. Jesus is our Sabbath, our rest, and we need time alone with Him. Do you know a person in ministry who takes time to be alone?
Time for compassion.Although Jesus and His disciples wanted to be alone, the people looked like sheep with no Shepherd,and Jesus had compassion on them. He put aside His desires to be alone. Compassion, for Jesus, had priority. Jesus later withdrew to pray. Have you put aside your weariness, your grief, to minister?
Time for teaching and healing.Everywhere Jesus went, He taught and He healed. Miracles and teaching. That’s the way Jesus taught His disciples to reach out to people. The church teaches. What if today’s church believed that it was empowered to couple miracles with teaching on the massive scale that Jesus, His disciples, and the early church did?
Time for preparation.The disciples had seen miracles before; they had even performed miracles … healing sicknesses and casting out demons. God always prepares us for the next lesson. Jesus asked the disciples to feed the 5,000. Do you suppose that Jesus would have empowered them to multiply the five loaves and two fish if they had chosen to do what He told them to do?
Time for blessing.Jesus looked up to heaven, He blessed the bread and fish, He broke it, and gave it to the disciples to distribute to the people. Jesus pointed the people to God. Jesus said that “I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me.” John 8:28 What if today’s Christians looked toward heaven and did everything on God’s initiative?
My prayer for you:
Father in heaven, we look to You as our Provider, our Shepherd, and our Teacher. Drench our every thought with the knowledge of You. Pour out Your Spirit on us. Give us the wisdom that only You can provide. Nudge us to step out in Your power and possess the world for You. We give you the glory. In the name of our compassionate Lord and Savior, Jesus. Amen
He entered again into a synagogue; and a man was there whose hand was withered. They were watching Him to see if He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him. He said to the man with the withered hand, “Get up and come forward!” And He said to them, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath to save a life or to kill?” But they kept silent. After looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored. Mark 3:1-5
Jesus had a reputation of showing compassion to the people He taught. When He encountered someone in need, He acted. Many times, though, He asked a person who would be healed to do the impossible.
Imagine being the focus of religious leaders intent on catching this famous Teacher and Healer doing good if He chooses to heal you.
Jesus looks at the man and commands, “Get up and come forward!”
He gasps, “Me?” Jesus nods.
Head down, withered hand shoved behind the folds in his robe, he shuffles through the crowd to Jesus.
“Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath to save a life or to kill?” Silence.
Angry and grieved, Jesus looks around the room, catching the eye of some who quickly look away.
“Stretch out your hand.”
“Doesn’t He know that’s impossible? … Maybe He will heal my hand.”
The withered hand appears from the folds in his robe. The thumb quivers and breaks away from the rest of the hand. His fingers begin to move apart.
Smiling, the man raises his hand toward heaven as his fingers wildly dance back and forth.
His hand is healed!
On November 21, 2010, the Lord healed me. The next day, Jesus asked me to do the impossible, go back to work and act as if I were healed from fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome even though the doctor had placed me on reduced work and was encouraging me to think about disability or another job.
I told my doctor, and he said, “This could be good. What do you want to do?”
I said that I wanted to go back to work full time and begin weaning myself off my fibromyalgia medications. He agreed to test me for a month. A month later, he confirmed that I was healed.
Some asked me if I was afraid to tell people that I was healed.
“That’s why it’s important that I tell people that I am healed.”
I took Jesus at His word that He had healed me, and He gave me the power to be healed.
On the edge of the Promised Land, God also asked the Israelites to do the impossible … possess the Promised Land, a land filled with fortified cities and strong armies. They refused to obey God. God is a gentleman and gave them their wish. He provided for His people while they wandered in the wilderness until all had died who had refused to go into the land, except for Caleb and Joshua, who had encouraged them to possess the land.
Again, God asked them to possess the Promised Land. This time, Joshua led the people into the land, and God fought the battle for them. He empowered them to take possession.
Has God asked you to step from the side of the possible to the side of the impossible? He will empower you to take possession. Take the first step towards obedience, and He will fight the battle.
My prayer for you:
Father in Heaven, give us the faith and courage to step into the possible, so that we can take full possession of the promises and abundant life You have set before us. We’ll give You the glory and praise for the great and mighty works You will accomplish.