In one of our leadership meetings a couple months ago, I was sharing from my time alone with God from the previous week. I had been reading a familiar story again; the story of Zacchaeus. One of my favorite passages in the New Testament is found in this story: In Luke 19:10, Jesus said: “And I, the Son of Man, have come to seek and save those like him who are lost.” Jesus was intentional in seeking out inviduals who were lost (had no relationship with God) so they could be saved (enter a personal relationship with God).
We discussed the truth that Jesus’ purpose is to be our purpose and that we must remain focused on the “main thing” of helping men and women, boys & girls discover a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
As we talked about this, Marc Moore shared a challenging thought from a passage he had read that week in 2 Kings. Check it out and as you read pay careful attention to the four lepers!
2 Kings 6:26 26 One day as the king of Israel was walking along the wall of the city, a woman called to him, “Please help me, my lord the king!” 27 “If the LORD doesn’t help you, what can I do?” he retorted. “I have neither food nor wine to give you.” 28 But then the king asked, “What is the matter?” She replied, “This woman proposed that we eat my son one day and her son the next. 29 So we cooked my son and ate him. Then the next day I said, ‘Kill your son so we can eat him,’ but she had hidden him.” 30 When the king heard this, he tore his clothes in despair. And as the king walked along the wall, the people could see that he was wearing sackcloth underneath next to his skin. 31 “May God kill me if I don’t execute Elisha son of Shaphat this very day,” the king vowed. 32 Elisha was sitting in his house at a meeting with the leaders of Israel when the king sent a messenger to summon him. But before the messenger arrived, Elisha said to the leaders, “A murderer has sent a man to kill me. When he arrives, shut the door and keep him out. His master will soon follow him.” 33 While Elisha was still saying this, the messenger arrived. And the king said, “It is the LORD who has brought this trouble on us! Why should I wait any longer for the LORD?”
2 Kings 7 7:1 Elisha replied, “Hear this message from the LORD! This is what the LORD says: By this time tomorrow in the markets of Samaria, five quarts of fine flour will cost only half an ounce of silver, and ten quarts of barley grain will cost only half an ounce of silver.” 2 The officer assisting the king said to the man of God, “That couldn’t happen even if the LORD opened the windows of heaven!” But Elisha replied, “You will see it happen, but you won’t be able to eat any of it!” 3 Now there were four men with leprosy sitting at the entrance of the city gates. “Why should we sit here waiting to die?” they asked each other. 4 “We will starve if we stay here, and we will starve if we go back into the city. So we might as well go out and surrender to the Aramean army. If they let us live, so much the better. But if they kill us, we would have died anyway.” 5 So that evening they went out to the camp of the Arameans, but no one was there! 6 For the Lord had caused the whole army of Aram to hear the clatter of speeding chariots and the galloping of horses and the sounds of a great army approaching. “The king of Israel has hired the Hittites and Egyptians to attack us!” they cried out. 7 So they panicked and fled into the night, abandoning their tents, horses, donkeys, and everything else, and they fled for their lives. 8 When the lepers arrived at the edge of the camp, they went into one tent after another, eating, drinking wine, and carrying out silver and gold and clothing and hiding it. 9 Finally, they said to each other, “This is not right. This is wonderful news, and we aren’t sharing it with anyone! If we wait until morning, some terrible calamity will certainly fall upon us. Come on, let’s go back and tell the people at the palace.” 10 So they went back to the city and told the gatekeepers what had happened — that they had gone out to the Aramean camp and no one was there! The horses and donkeys were tethered and the tents were all in order, but there was not a single person around. 11 Then the gatekeepers shouted the news to the people in the palace.
12 The king got out of bed in the middle of the night and told his officers, “I know what has happened. The Arameans know we are starving, so they have left their camp and have hidden in the fields. They are expecting us to leave the city, and then they will take us alive and capture the city.” 13 One of his officers replied, “We had better send out scouts to check into this. Let them take five of the remaining horses. If something happens to them, it won’t be a greater loss than if they stay here and die with the rest of us.” 14 So two chariots with horses were prepared, and the king sent scouts to see what had happened to the Aramean army. 15 They went all the way to the Jordan River, following a trail of clothing and equipment that the Arameans had thrown away in their mad rush to escape. The scouts returned and told the king about it. 16 Then the people of Samaria rushed out and plundered the Aramean camp. So it was true that five quarts of fine flour were sold that day for half an ounce of silver, and ten quarts of barley grain were sold for half an ounce of silver, just as the LORD had promised. 17 The king appointed his officer to control the traffic at the gate, but he was knocked down and trampled to death as the people rushed out. So everything happened exactly as the man of God had predicted when the king came to his house. 18 The man of God had said to the king, “By this time tomorrow in the markets of Samaria, five quarts of fine flour will cost half an ounce of silver, and ten quarts of barley grain will cost half an ounce of silver.” 19 The king’s officer had replied, “That couldn’t happen even if the LORD opened the windows of heaven!” And the man of God had said, “You will see it happen, but you won’t be able to eat any of it!” 20 And so it was, for the people trampled him to death at the gate!
The first part of 2 Kings 7:9 says: Finally, they said to each other, “This is not right. This is wonderful news, and we aren’t sharing it with anyone!”
Many of us just celebrated the birth of our Savior, but He never asked us to celebrate His birth. He did ask us to remember His death and the fact that He will return. At Christmas we should remember His purpose as shared with Joseph by an Angel prior to Christ’s birth: She (Mary) will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Mt. 1:21
The wonderful news of Christmas is that Jesus came to save us from our sins and by His grace we can all be saved. Romans 3:22 says – We are all made right with God the same way; by trusting Jesus Christ to take away our sins, and we can all be saved in the same way – no matter who we are or what we’ve done. THIS IS GOOD NEWS THAT WE SHOULD NEVER KEEP TO OURSELVES!
As we enter a new year, will you do what the lepers did? Will you have the wisdom to understand if you’ve not been doing anything to share the good news of Christ that – This is not right. This is wonderful news, and we aren’t sharing it with anyone!
We’re not responsible for how people respond, but we are responsible to tell people about Jesus. If you’re a Christian – you’ve got a story to share, and we’ll partner with you at Grace Fellowship in sharing the truth of Christ with our world. If you’re not a follower of Christ – I hope you’ll become one. If you have questions, Grace is a safe place to ask them.