I love reading about Jesus’ interventions in people’s lives! But there was a word I found in Mark’s gospel reading that I had never really noticed before. In 7:34 it says that, “He looked into heaven, he sighed …” Then in 8:12 it says, “But he sighed deeply in his Spirit”. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never pictured Jesus sighing. When do we tend to sigh? For me, it’s my response to sadness, confusion or frustration. Why did Jesus sigh? Perhaps because he saw things we don’t see – things below the surface. When he looked into the eyes of the deaf and mute man, he saw what should have been, before brokenness and sin entered our world through Satan’s influence. Mark tells us in v12 that Jesus sighed deeply in his Spirit. He knew the Pharisee’s had been blinded by Satan, and that this was not a friendly encounter. The word “test” in this text could also be translated as “tempt.” Jesus refused this demand as he only did miracles to show the power of God in the context of mercy, not in the intention of convincing hardened and unbelieving hearts.
Sadly, the Pharisees in their arrogance (not unlike our own responses at times,) were blind to what was happening right in front of them. This can happen all too easily when we take our eyes off of God and place them onto ourselves and our circumstances.
The reading from Exodus reveals some of the plans for the construction of the temple. Once again, God’s plan was for his wisdom and power to be revealed in this ambitious building project. The materials needed were donated by “those who had a willing heart.” The artisans were those whose hearts had been stirred by the Spirit, and were gifted with skills of workmanship. As I read this passage, it really hit me that this tabernacle was being constructed by God’s power that he instilled into the men and woman he had called for this purpose. Is this not what he is still doing today?
God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.
He will fill each of us with the gifts, talents and abilities he needs to accomplish his work in and through us. I don’t know about you, but personally I am so thankful that ministry is not what I do for God, but rather what he does through me. My own strength and resources are so limited! As we hear often at Foothills, “there is a God and we’re not him!” If we obediently trust in what he is doing in our lives, and believe that he has a greater purpose, he will enable us, by his might and power, to do all that he has prepared for us to do for him.
Prayer Team at Foothills, recently returned from Australia where she served as a rapid response chaplain with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association