Luke 8:22 ~ Luke 9:17
Perhaps I should be bringing you a message of hope – but bear with me today as I share with you the truth – “It’s Hopeless!” Just looking at a short period of time recorded in Luke 8:22 ~ Luke 9:17 shows a number of situations that were utterly hopeless. We have:
· a storm that frightens tough fishermen,
· a mad man out of control,
· a dead girl,
· a sick woman and just to finish
· 5000 people to feed on virtually nothing!
Pretty hopeless don’t you think? And 2000 years later in spite of all our learning and technology those situations would similarly, be utterly hopeless today.
2. I’m drowning ~ Don’t you care?
Don’t we often feel like we are drowning in situations that threaten to overwhelm us? It can seem that God is far off, almost unaware of what’s happening to us. Just like the disciples in great danger of capsizing in that awful storm we are afraid – everything seems Hopeless. Yet meanwhile Jesus is asleep! They cried out and woke Him up telling Him they were going to drown. He stilled the storm immediately but He asks them and perhaps us:
“Why can’t you trust Me?”
Jesus had already decided that they were going to the other side of the lake – that plan had not changed because of the storm. Nor will His plans change for us. With Jesus there is always hope – we will make it to the other side.
3. The Madman ~ Who cares?
No one could do anything – it was Hopeless. It could easily remind of you of care in the community as it is today. We are sadly all too familiar with people with severe mental disorders who cannot cope alone, without proper care or medication they are at risk, and present a danger to others. The poor families left responsible for these people are all too often left wringing their hands and hearts begging for someone to help before the inevitable tragedy occurs.
Perhaps our “Madman” was no different. Any attempts at rehabilitation or restraint was impossible ~ although:
“He was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places”.
This man clearly had insurmountable problems. And the situation had been going on for a long time. This human being, made in the image of God, led a wretched subhuman life isolated from his community and without any dignity.
It seems to me that Jesus deliberately came to him to help him. His mission being to restore this man to his right mind and undo the heart-rending work of the Enemy. Quite frankly in this utterly hopeless situation no one else but Jesus could help this man. No one else but Jesus can help those with similar problems today.
4. A Dead Girl ~ It’s too late
We had been praying for a girl in a coma, more or less unconscious since Remembrance Day. Imagine the anxiety her parents have been through these past months in this hopeless situation. The doctors and nurses have provided the best medical care possible but there are limits to their expertise and skill. It seemed one awful weekend, when the family was summoned urgently to the Hospital that this little girl’s life was in the balance. Those who knew cried – literally – to God to spare her life. In fact the words “little girl, get up” was a repeated prayer, often uttered aloud and silently. Today, she is only able to speak a few words, and after a short break home with her family for Christmas, is back in Hospital. I urge you to pray with us “Little girl, get up”.
We knew that in this utterly hopeless situation that only Jesus can help. It was to Him we cried. It is to Jesus, that Jarius came for help. But for Jarius the situation if anything had became even more hopeless. As he pleaded with Jesus to come to his house a massage came to say,
“Your daughter is dead” ~ “don’t bother the teacher any more”.
It’s Hopeless. For this poor father, and dare I say its no different for us 2000 years later, no one can do anything. Death is the final boundary beyond which even today’s medical knowledge and technology cannot break through.
But Jesus is the answer. He told Jarius “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed”. Do you know they laughed at Jesus when he told the mourners “She is not dead but asleep”? Maybe they will laugh at us too. I love how Jesus addresses this dead girl ~ “My child, get up!” She is His.
I am so glad with Jesus there is hope. Jesus tells us in Revelation Chapter 1:18:
“I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.”
I don’t know of any safer or kinder Hands that could hold those keys.
5. I’m sick and no one can help
This unnamed woman had been “subject to bleeding for twelve years.” Worse still she had spent every penny she had on doctors but not one had been able to help her. It’s a long time to be so ill, and I can’t imagine the pain and suffering she went through trying hopelessly to be made well again. Even today, if you have a long-term chronic illness there are no guarantees modern medicine will be able to cure you. You may have tried every form of treatment and medication available to you ~ but to no avail. It’s hopeless.
I am amazed that this woman had not given up; some last shred of hope remained, so that even after twelve years of suffering she takes the risk of trusting Jesus. She believes if only she could touch the edge of His cloak she would be well again. In our hopeless situations and, when interceding for others, lets go to Jesus – and seek His touch where all else has utterly failed. For with Jesus there is always hope.
6. We’re Hungry ~ Feed Us
The disciples were horrified that Jesus expected them to feed five thousand on only five loaves of bread and a couple of fish. Pretty hopeless I would say. Today, if we have unexpected visitors it would not be such a problem to feed them. After all some of the supermarkets are open 24 hours, we have freezers full of food to rustle up some instant meals and I guess most of us have enough supplies in the cupboards to feed an army or two.
But for some it can be hopeless today too. Who can forget the images of millions starving in Southern Africa after three years of drought and failed crops? Those pictures of children with swollen bellies, always seemingly covered in flies, and the expressions of desperation on their mother’s faces convey some of the hopelessness faced by countless multitudes of feeding themselves and their children.
What can we do in the face of such need? Surely we are like those disciples with insufficient supplies to even begin to meet the overwhelming need. Like those first disciples we can give our small contributions to Jesus, ask Him to bless them richly and pass them onto those who are able to help.
Our little can go a very long way in Africa; there are organisations trained and experienced in meeting such overwhelming needs with integrity and wisdom. We can also pray for peace and hope in these countries where often civil war and political instability only increase the misery of millions. Jesus can feed five thousand. Jesus can feed the millions. We need to give Him what we have and trust Him to make it enough for those who have nothing.
7. Can We Help?
Its interesting that in the middle of all these hopeless situations we have talked about, Jesus gave His disciples authority and power to deal with all demons and to cure diseases. He commissioned them to preach the news of God’s kingdom, and heal the sick. And that’s exactly what they did. Commissioned, they left, going from village to village, preaching the gospel and healing people everywhere.
Are we not similarly commissioned? Do we need His power and authority any less than those first disciples in order to preach the good news, to heal the sick, yes and to raise the dead? Lets stand together in prayer and ask God to send a fresh outpouring of His Holy Spirit so that we who are so powerless, are empowered to help and bring healing to those God sends us ~ even where the problems seem absolutely hopeless. For with God nothing is impossible.
8. It’s Hopeless for me ~ Is it Hopeless for You?
And The Gospel
I have to admit that some of the situations in my life seem utterly hopeless. Perhaps it is the same for you. If you do not have a close personal relationship with Jesus can I urge you to make that your first priority to sort out today?
Without Jesus you truly are in a hopeless situation. He invites you to come to Him and promises He will never, ever turn away anyone, no matter what you have done. “Whoever comes to Me I will never drive away.” John 6:37
You see with Jesus you always have Hope, for His mercies are new every morning. He can calm any storm. He can deliver you from the power of the enemy. He can speak life into every hopeless situation. He can heal even when all other avenues of hope have long since disappeared. He can feed the starving millions. For with our God nothing is impossible.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may over flow with hope by the power of the Holy Sprit. Romans 15:13