Monday, February 09, 2009

Sunday Sermon Notes - 02.08.09


That's still the word for me lately. And for Anchor.

Listen and Understand.

Listen to Advice.

And now: Listen to the Cry.

It's clear from the Scriptures that God listens to the Cry. The Psalms are full of the Cry:
For he will deliver the needy who cry out,
the afflicted who have no one to help.
He will take pity on the weak and the needy
and save the needy from death.

[Psalm 72v12-13]

The Exodus was initiated by God as a response to the cry of the Israelites in bondage. God listens to the cry.
The LORD said, "I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians.... And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them.
[Exodus 3v7-8a, 9]

We know that Jesus listens to the cry. And because Jesus listens to the cry, we ought to as well. Out of all the stories in Luke about Jesus listening to the cry, there is one that stands out for it's tenderness and compassion: The Widow of Nain.
Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him.
As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her.
When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, "Don't cry."
Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, "Young man, I say to you, get up!"
The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.
They were all filled with awe and praised God. "A great prophet has appeared among us," they said. "God has come to help his people." This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country.

[Luke 7v11-17]

Jesus listened to the cry of the widow, and he did something about it. When we listen to the cry of those around us, we are to do something about it. Though we are not Jesus, we can still turn to Jesus for wisdom and direction for what to do with the cry. The question is not centered on what do we do with the cry that we listened to, but what does Jesus want to do with the cry that we listened to; what does Jesus want to do through us?

We have a hard enough time crying out to the LORD on behalf of ourselves and those we love; how much more harder to listen to the cries of even more people. Yet...the world is full of pain, of cries, and of Christians who won't listen. Don't be a follower of Jesus who refuses to listen to the cry.

If you are a follower who doesn't cry out to the LORD for mercy and wisdom, start crying out.

If you are a follower who doesn't listen to the cries of others, start listening. And then start crying out to the LORD on their behalf.

God has come to help his people indeed (the new Exodus)! He came through the human Jesus of Nazareth (the new Moses), and now he comes through the human Church (the new Israel)! We are the body of Christ, we are his hands and ears in this pain-wracked world. If we won't hold others and listen to their cry as Jesus, how will they know that God hears their cry?

Consider the power of listening; consider the healing power of listening to the cry.

You want to make a difference in this jaded world? Listen to the cry.

You want to see God do more miracles? Listen to the cry. And then cry out to the LORD.

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