One on One With Jesus!

What do all these people have in common?

The leper cleansed by Jesus in Matthew chapter 8 and in the parallel accounts in Mark chapter 1 and Luke chapter 5

The centurion who asked Jesus to heal his servant in Matthew chapter 8 and Luke chapter 7

The paralytic who Jesus healed in Matthew chapter 9, Mark chapter 2, and Luke chapter 5

The synagogue leader whose deceased daughter was brought back to life, and the woman who was cured of severe bleeding in Matthew chapter 9, Mark chapter 5, and Luke chapter 8

The mute man from whom Jesus cast out a demon in Matthew chapter 9

The man with the withered hand who Jesus healed in Matthew chapter 12, Mark chapter 3, and Luke chapter 6

The Canaanite woman whose daughter was healed by Jesus in Matthew chapter 15

The demon possessed young boy who Jesus healed in Matthew chapter 17, Mark chapter 9, and Luke chapter 9

The rich young man in Matthew chapter 19, Mark chapter 10, and Luke chapter 18

The man with the unclean spirit who was made well by Jesus in Mark chapter 1 and Luke chapter 4

The demon possessed man in the country of  Gerasenes whose sanity was restored by Jesus in Mark chapter 5 and Luke chapter 8

The deaf man who Jesus healed in Mark chapter 7

The blind man at Bethsaida whose sight was restored by Jesus in Mark chapter 8

Bartimaeus the blind beggar whose sight was restored by Jesus in Mark chapter 10 and Luke 18 (only Mark gives us his name)

The widow in the town of Nain whose dead son was brought back to life by Jesus in Luke chapter 7

The sinful woman who was forgiven by Jesus in Luke chapter 7

The woman with the disabling spirit who was healed by Jesus in Luke chapter 13

The man who Jesus healed from dropsy in Luke chapter 14

Zacchaeus the tax collector who was brought to repentance by Jesus in Luke 19

The thief on the cross who was forgiven and assured of being in paradise with Jesus in Luke chapter 23

The Pharisee Nicodemus who Jesus taught about spiritual rebirth in John chapter 3

The woman at the well who found new life through faith in Jesus, and the official’s son who was healed by Jesus in John chapter 4

The paralyzed man at the pool of Bethesda in John chapter 5

The woman caught in adultery in John chapter 8

The man born blind in John chapter 9

Lazarus, from John chapter 11

So what do they have in common? For starters, they were all healed of some affliction or ministered to in some way by Jesus. And in a few of those instances, a dead person was brought back to life. That’s obvious. What may not be as obvious is that all of them, 28 in all, were healed or ministered to by Jesus….one on one. Even though Jesus was, in most cases, in the midst of crowds of people when he met these 28 persons, He still responded to their needs individually and in a way that was very personal.

And that’s the very thing those 28 encounters reveal to us about God and our relationship with Him. It’s a personal relationship. Our faith is personal. Our salvation in Christ is personal. Even though there were times when Jesus healed multiple numbers of people at once and taught and preached and ministered to large crowds, it’s those one on one encounters with Jesus that remind us of God’s great love for His people. Jesus was moved by their suffering. He was moved by the troubles those people were struggling with. And God has not changed. Jesus is moved by our suffering. He is moved by the troubles we deal with. He is every bit as as personal to us as He was to the 28 people in those gospel accounts

John wrote in the last chapter of his gospel that if everything Jesus did was written down, the world could not contain the books that would be written. And that’s true because the 28 people in those gospels weren’t the only ones who had one on one encounters with Jesus. Jesus has touched millions upon millions in the exact same way, one on one. How so? Think about where you were and what you were doing the moment you decided to follow Jesus Christ. You may have been all alone in one of the rooms of your home. Maybe you were in the company of a pastor or minister like I was. Or perhaps you were sitting in a church surrounded by hundreds of other people. Maybe something in the pastor’s message pierced your heart. Maybe the small still voice of the Holy Spirit said, “It’s time”. Regardless of where you were or how many people were around when you accepted Jesus Christ, it did not matter if you were alone or surrounded by hundreds. Jesus spoke to you and ministered to you one on one, just as He did for those 28. That’s true for all of us, and it’s true for all who have been saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

Our one on one encounter with Jesus was not just a one-and-done experience. Jesus continues to minister to us one on one. Of course, it’s a two way relationship which is why our prayer life and our time in God’s word are so vital. Our prayer time is our alone time with God; our one one one time with God and we need to commit ourselves to regular prayer time. As James wrote in his epistle: Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.  Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.  And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

We also need to maintain our one on one relationship with Christ through the study of scripture. God cannot minister to us one on one if we don’t know what He’s saying to us. The Psalmist who wrote the 119th Psalm understood the importance of God’s word as well as the nature of our one on one relationship with God. Here are just a few examples:

Psalm 119 Verse 16 – I delight in your decrees, I will not neglect your word.

Verse 28 – My soul is weary with sorrow, strengthen me with your word.

Verse 42 – then I can answer anyone who taunts me, for I trust in your word.

Verse 57 – You are my portion Lord, I have promised to obey your words.

Verse 89 – Your word, Lord, is eternal. it stands firm in the heavens.

Verse 105 – Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

Verse 114 – You are my refuge and my shield, I have put my hope in your word.

Those verses emphasize the importance of drawing close to God through his word and at the same time they depict the Psalmist’s personal relationship with God. Those words do not depict a God who is an impersonal, far off God. They depict a very personal God. They don’t describe a God who wants us kept at arm’s length. They depict a God who draws us near. The Pharisees in Jesus’ time believed God to be this impersonal, distant, and unapproachable figure who was even somewhat hostile, and it was reflected in their conduct and in the way they treated people. On the other hand, God the Son, Jesus, showed us who God the Father really is. He is a God so personal that, as Paul wrote in his letters to Timothy, “He desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” and  “The Lord knows those who are his.”

Think about that last quote from 2 Timothy, “The Lord knows those who are his.” The book of Revelation tells us that the names of all believers are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. That means Jesus Christ Himself recorded each of our names in that book. I don’t know about you, but that ministers to me and I hope it ministers to you too. We know Jesus, and He knows us…by name. That’s about as one on one with Jesus as you can be!

 

 

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2 thoughts on “One on One With Jesus!

  1. Does that mean if a Baby is born with an incurable condition Jesus or God didn’t care? There were many killed in the concentration camps in Germany and Russia during World War 2 despite the numerous prayers. Do we take your article to mean that it was lack of faith?

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    • The answer to the first question:

      “Let the children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” from Matthew 19, paralleled in Mark 10 and Luke 18.

      And to the second question:

      “But know this, that in the last days, perilous times will come.” 2 Timothy. These are the last days, and have been since Jesus ascended into Heaven.

      God is well aware of all atrocities. He cares very deeply about everyone affected. He cares about those who were persecuted in the first century church at Jerusalem. He cares about the victims of the holocaust more than we can know. He cares about the victims of ISIS. We have to keep in mind that God did say that the last days would be times of peril.

      Your questions do provoke further thought. But first, I must correct you on one point. Let’s be clear. Jesus is God. When He was alive, He was God in the flesh, the image of the invisible God as stated in Hebrews. Jesus and God are not two separate beings. They are one and the same. It’s difficult for me to discern your motives and your reasons for asking questions that have no bearing on the point I brought out in my devotional. I don’t know you and have never met you. Anyone can take a message board or blog comment out of context and twist the words to try and make it sound like I said something I didn’t say. I never said anything about the faith of persecuted Jews or parents of children born with incurable diseases being so weak that God would not hear or answer their prayers. In the study of political science, that’s called redirection, and typically one redirects discussions in an effort to steer the topic in a direction that suites his agenda. I see that all the time.

      But I will give you the benefit of the doubt, for now, and further address the questions you raised from the position that your interest is genuine and the questions are legitimate. However, if I get the sense that you’re a skeptic, a non-believer, an opponent, or an internet troll who’s just looking to stir the pot for his own kicks and grins, I’ll shut down the discussion and remove the comments. Like I said, I just don’t have time for that because those types of discussions never end. If you’re just an antagonist (and I’m not saying that you are, I just don’t know), then no answer I give will suffice anyway and I won’t waste my time with you.

      The purpose of that article was to draw attention to the nature of our relationship with God and I used those 28 examples as illustrations. It is a very personal and intimate relationship. The Bible says that God cares so much about us that He knows the very number of hairs on our head. That’s not a cold and distant God. That says He cares very much about us, so much so that He knows even the most minute details about us. He cares about us and about those children born with incurable conditions. He cares very much about everyone who has suffered at the hands of evil, not just those who were killed in World War II concentration camps, but everyone who has suffered at the hands of evil since the fall of Adam. But as Solomon wrote under the inspiration of God, none of this is new. It’s been going on since the fall.

      I feel it necessary to point out that I’m not charismatic. I do not subscribe to the health and wealth prosperity gospel message of the charismatic movement which declares that people suffer because they don’t have enough faith. This might come as surprise, but healing and deliverance from troubles and suffering is independent of one’s faith. A lot of those people in those accounts I referenced didn’t even know who Jesus was before He came into their lives. In many instances, Jesus reached out to THEM.

      Also, it should be mentioned here that Christians are not immune to illness and trouble and suffering. Jesus said, “In this world, you will have trouble.” which goes hand in hand with that earlier passage from 2 Timothy. Bad things happen in this world and guess what? As we draw closer to the end times, it will get worse. But know that God uses our trials and tribulations and sufferings to draw us closer to Him. He uses them to build Godly character in us. Sometimes He’ll use those things to get the attention of a person who’s living apart from Him. Rest assured, God can use any of life’s circumstances, any trial or tragedy or suffering, even those you inquired about, to accomplish His will. In all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose. All means all.

      Now just so any Christian reading this reply does not misunderstand, faith IS absolutely essential for salvation. I alluded to that truth in my commentary, and that might be where you misunderstood what I was communicating. (Saved by grace THROUGH faith, just so we’re clear) But to say that God does not prevent a child from being born with illness or that He does not prevent suffering and persecution due to lack of faith would be the same as saying that God’s mercy and grace are irrelevant. When it comes to healing and deliverance, God’s mercy and grace are what we rely on, not our own faith.

      As I previously stated, we live in a fallen world where children are born with incurable illnesses and evil people like Hitler and Stalin and Mao and Pol Pot herd people into concentration camps and commit mass murder. To suggest that I was implying even in the slightest way God does not care about any of that is totally absurd. God absolutely cares. That should have been evident in the message. That devotional was all about God’s love and how the one on one ministry of Christ in our lives is continual. It’s been ongoing since He walked on the earth and in fact, it was going on before He walked the earth.

      Last, none of us enjoy suffering and we certainly don’t like to see little children who are suffering from illness or injury. I cringe when I read about the atrocities that were committed in WW2, just like I cringe and feel anger when I read about the atrocities being committed by ISIS. But you see, that’s God’s image imprinted on us. They bother us BECAUSE they bother God. We were created in His image. But from an eternal perspective, our time here on earth in these physical bodies is a barely a blip. Our physical health and well being is important, but more important than our physical bodies is our eternal soul. God cares so much about our souls that He sent Jesus to suffer and die for us on the cross. Those things you mentioned break God’s heart, but they are temporal. A time is coming when God is going to deal with the evil in the world once and for all. There will be no more pain and suffering, and no more illness. The Bible says a time is coming when children will no longer die prematurely, but will live out their lives. As a grandfather who had to bury his three year old grandson, that is especially comforting to know. So if that question about babies being born with incurable conditions was meant as a taunt or a challenge, or if it’s an attempt to goad me or poke me in the ribs, be very careful. Like I said at the outset, I don’t know you or your motives. But I know very well how much God cares. I know that right at this moment, my grandson is walking with the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, I’m a bit envious because his one on one relationship with Jesus is at this moment far more personal and intimate than my relation with Jesus, as good as it is, can ever be in this physical body and in this life.

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