Welcome to ReCreate Ministry. Our mission is making and growing authentic followers of Christ. Have you ever gotten involved in something, and it cost you more than you expected? Several years ago, on Christmas Eve, I was coming home from work when I ended up stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire. I was living in Carrolton at the time, and driving back from downtown Dallas when it happened. Thankfully, I was off the highway, because I ended up having a harder than normal time getting the flat tire to come off. My tire iron had warped, and wouldn’t grasp the bolts that held the tire on, so I had to call a tow truck to come and help me. The problem wasn’t that I had to call the tow truck, but that I didn’t have the cash on hand to pay the guy for helping me, so he had to follow me to my house so that I could give him the rest of the money. The man was very nice, but I’m sure it was quite a bit more than he anticipated having to do that night.
This week, we are continuing our Love Does series by talking about getting messy. I’m not talking about the kind of messy that washes off with a shower or a load of laundry. I’m talking about the kind of messy that happens when you get involved in people’s lives. Most of us have a friend or friends who are going through something, and depending on how close you are to that person, chances are that you will get involved in some way. It’s just what happens when we develop close relationships with people. Bob Goff says “It has always seemed to me that broken things, just like broken people, get used more; it’s probably because God has more pieces to work with.” We all have a mess of some kind, but the good news is, we’re all still capable of being used.
Our scripture for this week is in Luke 8:40 – 56 (NIV). It says “Now when Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him, for they were all expecting him. Then a man named Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come to his house because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying. As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped. ‘Who touched me?’ Jesus asked. When they all denied it, Peter said, ‘Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.’ But Jesus said, ‘Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.’ Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. Then he said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.’ While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. ‘Your daughter is dead,’ he said. ‘Don’t bother the teacher any more.’ Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.’ When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John, and James, and the child’s father and mother. Meanwhile, the people were wailing and mourning for her. ‘Stop wailing,’ Jesus said. ‘She is not dead but asleep.’ They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. But he took her by the hand and said, ‘My child, get up!’ Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat. Her parents were astonished, but he ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened.” My first point is this:
The woman in the crowd had been bleeding for twelve years, which in those days meant that she would not be a welcome guest at most social gatherings. She was not someone that most people wanted to be around. I can imagine that she had probably lost hope. The Bible doesn’t tell us the exact cause of her condition, but it does tell us that no one had been able to heal her, and that she had had this condition for a long time. Look at the way Jesus talks to her, though. He calls her daughter, which is the only time in the Bible that He calls someone that, and He tells her that her faith has healed her. She was the definition of messy, but Jesus loved her enough to join with her in her mess to help her be healed. When we love people the way Jesus loves them, we’re willing to get into the mess with them.
One of the things that we want you to know is that this is a place where it’s okay to not be okay. We realize that people are messy, but I want you to know that you are loved, right where you are, and exactly how you are. Romans 5:8 (NIV) says “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Jesus doesn’t ask us to get cleaned up before we come to Him. Instead, He asks us to come to Him and let Him clean us up. That actually brings me to my second point.
Notice that Jesus does not send the woman away or tell her that she’s unworthy. While everyone else treated her as an outcast because of her condition, Jesus calls her daughter. He shows her that she matters to Him, so much so that He stops to point her out. Jesus didn’t need to know where she came from, or what she had done in her past. All that mattered to Him was that she believed enough to reach out to Him. Do you know that’s the same way He feels about you, and about me? It doesn’t matter what we’ve done in the past. It doesn’t matter who you’ve hurt, who’s hurt you, what you’ve done, or what’s been done to you. None of those things can change the way He feels about you.
Imagine that you’re dating someone, and they tell you that they will only date you if you maintain a certain weight, or a certain body fat percentage. Chances are that you’re constantly going to be worried about what you eat or how often you exercise in order to keep that person in your life. Either that, or you will grow apathetic and not want them in your life at all, but that’s not the way Jesus looks at us. Colossians 3:13 (NLT) says “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” Jesus’ love is not an “if you” kind of love. It’s not dependent on circumstances. It’s a “no matter what” love. That brings me to my last point.
Did you notice that Jesus doesn’t treat Jairus any differently because of who he is. Here is a man who might have considered himself more important than anyone else. He was a religious ruler of that day, and he probably thought that, because of that, he deserved special treatment from Jesus. He might have even gotten upset when Jesus stopped to talk to the woman who had touched Him, but Jesus just reminds him to have faith. It doesn’t matter if you’ve grown up in church or been to prison, Jesus still loves you just the same, and He’s still willing to get into your mess with you.
In his book Messy Grace, my friend Caleb says “Messiness is what happens when you try to live out God’s perfect grace as a flawed person in a flawed world.” We are all flawed people. It doesn’t matter how much money you have or don’t have, how many weeks in a row you’ve been to church or how many you’ve missed, or whether or not you think you have your life together, we’re all broken. The good news is that God still uses broken people. Let’s thank Him for that.
Thank You for being willing to get messy to help clean us up. Lord, some of us are dealing with a mess that is more than we can handle on our own, and I pray that You would be with anyone who that might be the story for today. Give them peace, but also put someone in their path who will love them through their mess. Father, most of all, we thank You for Jesus, and it’s in His Name we pray.
Next week, we will be continuing our Love Does series by talking about celebrating with people in their joy. If you are in a messy place right now, we want you to know that this is a safe place, and that you are welcome to reach out to us. We would love to pray with you and partner with you in whatever place you’re in. Have a blessed week!!!!!