STILL STRESSING STILL BLESSING
In recent studies about the effects of Covid on our culture:
- Youth anxiety and depression is surging at an alarming rate
- Reading skills stalled out, and developmental skills slowed down.
- Marriage and divorce rates are declining
- Studies show that marriages are stressed out,
- Domestic violence is up by nearly 8%
- Now, we are dealing with a Ukrainian war and the economic impact of 7%+ inflation.
We are stressing out.
How many of you want to know what Jesus would do? I know I do.
John 6: 1 - 13 1 After this, Jesus crossed over to the far side of the Sea of Galilee, also known as the Sea of Tiberias. 2 A huge crowd kept following him wherever he went because they saw his miraculous signs as he healed the sick. 3 Then Jesus climbed a hill and sat down with his disciples around him. 4 (It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration.) 5 Jesus soon saw a huge crowd of people coming to look for him. Turning to Philip, he asked, "Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?" 6 He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do. 7 Philip replied, "Even if we worked for months, we wouldn't have enough money to feed them!" 8 Then Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, spoke up. 9 "There's a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?" 10 "Tell everyone to sit down," Jesus said. So they all sat down on the grassy slopes. (The men alone numbered about 5,000.) 11 Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks to God, and distributed them to the people. Afterward he did the same with the fish. And they all ate as much as they wanted. 12 After everyone was full, Jesus told his disciples, "Now gather the leftovers, so that nothing is wasted." 13 So they picked up the pieces and filled twelve baskets with scraps left by the people who had eaten from the five barley loaves. NLT
In verses 1 - 3, we can see the stress. A huge crowd kept following Jesus. How would you like to have thousands of people follow you to the store, home, the bathroom? Annoying right?
But why are they following Him?
First of all, they were coming to hear His teachings. He taught them how to live their lives and connect to their Heavenly Father by faith. Something that no one else in the religious sector of their culture was either willing or able to do.
Secondly, they were there to be healed or watch people be healed of their diseases. There was someone who could do something that no one else could do. Love them the way they were created to be loved.
Jesus saw people as sheep without a shepherd (Mark 6:34). They were lost with no one to lead them. Matthew 9:36 says that Jesus saw people as being harassed and helpless. Who was harassing them? Satan. Hell was having a field day, and Jesus was there to reverse the curse of sin on their lives.
Understand that Satans' plan is to stress you out. He wants you to implode or explode. He doesn't care which one. He wants you to give up hope and abandon all thoughts of living a life under Jesus' care. He wants your finances to be a mess, your personal life to be fruitless, your professional life to be mediocre, and your thoughts filled with depression and fear. He wants your vision of your future and the world to use words like failure and fear.
Jesus didn't come to you could live like that.
He felt stress, and He felt the stress of the people around Him. He accepted their stress so He could be near them, teach them and love them. The value of these relationships was so great that He would schedule His private time with God while everyone else was asleep.
He was going to do something about it.
Pray: Dear Jesus, You care about what I am going through, and I worship You, love You for that. Teach me as you taught the people that follow You. Heal me as you healed them. Show me Your ways because they are better than anything else this world offers. In Jesus' Name, I pray - AMEN.