10 September 2021 Speaker: Pr Barnabas Chong
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I speak. I thank the Lord Jesus for giving us this opportunity that I am able to share with you on the topic “Jesus Cares For You”.
Indeed, within these two years we would have experienced a very big change in our lives. We might have heard of a similar situation or predicament elsewhere but now we are right in the middle of it. And perhaps there are many of us here who have not found much peace or rest during this period. To put it simply, it is when we are all locked up at home. While it is an opportunity for us to spend more time with our family, there are many quarrels that arose. Because this is a very big change from the past where we would go to the office and work but right now we are working and living in the same house. Last year, there was a period where students did not go to school to have lessons. With the children all at home will only contribute to the difficulties while working at home. So just from this perspective alone you can truly see how difficult these two years have been. However, if that is all the problems you have, it is not too bad. There might be others among us who have met with some financial difficulties. Some people have to take no-paid leave. Some have also lost their jobs. It isn’t the case that the employers do not like them but it is the fact that the employer is unable to allow them to be employed. Hence, this becomes an additional burden financially. If we were to stop here, it is still not to bad. What is worse is that people among us who have contracted Covid-19, or a family member who have contracted Covid-19, worse if the family member is not in Singapore. After all, we have many workers from overseas so are here with us, or we might have migrated from other countries to Singapore, or we have family members in neighboring countries like Malaysia, Indonesia etc.
In the past, if our family members have contracted a disease, we can buy an air ticket and just fly over and visit. But now, because of the current pandemic, if we have a loved one who has passed away we are not able to go over to mourn with the family. Therefore, this pandemic has truly had a huge impact on our livelihood. Especially so, in Singapore where it seems that things are taking a little turn for the worse. The Government has its policy and so, it is still not too bad. But as we take a look at the number of people who have contracted Covid-19 daily, we might feel panicky. So, it is during such moments where we need help, and we did receive help. If we talk about it in terms of finance, the government has several assistance scheme or subsidies to aid us. The government has also came up with job schemes for those who are unemployed. Many charitable organizations provide support for those of you who might have fallen under the “Low Income’ category. Therefore, we are still able to receive some form of help. We see now that the Singapore Government is also advocating all of us to go for vaccination. Whether you are a citizen or not, as long as you are in Singapore you would have the opportunity to go for vaccination. If you were to have a cold or flu and you were to visit a doctor, the medical fees are actually subsidized. Therefore, we can see how the government is supporting us in this manner.In truth, all these support that we receive is beneficial. But how much truly has all these helped us? Although during this pandemic all these support have been of much help. But, we also understand that the pandemic will come to an end. Then, we would go back to our lives as it was before the pandemic. We would continue to meet with the same pressure and stress. For example, you have contracted the Covid-19 virus and then you have recovered. This does not mean that you would not contract any other disease and to even meet the threat of death.
When we meet with such a situation, whom can we receive help from? Often, we would require people who are more capable to help us. When we are pushed to a corner at such a critical juncture, we would often turn to the Heavens for help. We would lift our heads up to Heaven and cry out, asking for anyone to help us or to save us. While it does not seem to be a very rational way of doing things. It might even seem as if you have been defeated. This is because people would say that this is not logical, there is no one in Heaven that can help you. Let’s take a step back and consider that we have this mindset where we want to cry out to someone above for help. When all human beings are born, it seems that we have this ‘button’ where we want to press so that we are able to receive help. This seems to be wired in our deoxyribonucleic acid(DNA). Don’t you agree that we are all like this?If you were to not agree, this would be because you have not reached such a state yet. But still, everyone has this ‘button’ that they would press when they need help from above. That is why we want to discuss whether the Heavens are able to help us. When we talk about the Heavens, who does it refer to? When we talk about the Heavens, it doesn’t’ turn seem to be related to our lives. There are some people who try to find immortality. The way they find immortality is that they would become like hermits and go to the mountains to cultivate themselves. When they have transcended, they would no longer be part of the world. They have completely cut off all ties with the world and they do not think about the matters of the world. This overlaps with our understandings of deities. Our understanding of deities is that the deities are more concerned whether if you have honored them or given them respect. We also hear of some stories regarding some deities who come into the mortal realm to cause trouble. As if we are their play things and we are oppressed as the deities are more powerful. Is this truly the Heavens we are referring to? Is this really the Heavens that I want to talk about? Today, it is not so. When we turn to the Heavens for help, there is one who can truly help us. Who is he? That person is Jesus. Why does Jesus want to care for us? Are we so special that Jesus cares for us? Let us look at the what the Bible tells us.
2 Corinthians 6:18
I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.
So the Bible here records this. So that we who might be reaching out to the Heavens would adopt a new mentality. What is this mentality? The Heavens actually wants to be our father, and He us be His Children. We see that this is a completely different relationship. A relationship between a father and a child is very intimate. Their relationship is one that is self-sacrificial. Especially, when we see how a father is willing to sacrifice everything for his child. Why? Because the father cares about his children. Today, if we are parents ourselves, we can truly understand what this means. At a point of time, we may be very angry and scold our child until the child cries. But if something were to happen to the child, as parents we would put aside all of our anger and only show all of our care and concern for them. Such is a relationship between a father and his child. This also reflects the relationship between us and the Heavens. When we talk about the Heavens, the Heavens refers to God which is also Jesus. Jesus Christ is compassionate towards us just as how a father shows his compassion towards his own children.
29 Now as they went out of Jericho, a great multitude followed Him. 30 And behold, two blind men sitting by the road, when they heard that Jesus was passing by, cried out, saying, “Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!”
31 Then the multitude warned them that they should be quiet; but they cried out all the more, saying, “Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!”
32 So Jesus stood still and called them, and said, “What do you want Me to do for you?”
33 They said to Him, “Lord, that our eyes may be opened.”
34 So Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him
Here, it records of a miracle that Jesus preformed while Jesus was still on Earth. Jesus encountered two blind man. These two blind men were asking for healing. They cried out continually louder and louder for the Lord Jesus to stop. The other people on the streets were not concerned about them.
Verse 31 tells us that the multitude warned them that they should be quiet. While it is true that these two blind men are very pitiful, people around them were not bothered. No one cared for these two blind men. The Bible here records that Jesus stood still and called the two blind men over and asked them what they wanted.
Verse 34 records how Jesus felt. Jesus had compassion. When He saw the two blind men and what they had to go through in life He knew that it was going to be difficult. For example, when we have presbyopia, we feel that it is quite a challenge to go about our daily lives. Why do I use this example it is because I myself is experiencing this. Right now, my vision is starting to blur. Imagine how difficult life would be for someone who is blind. But to the multitude, perhaps these two blind men are just among the huge amount of blind people. However, Jesus was moved with compassion and specially healed them of their blindness. Even though they were blind, Jesus cared for them. Were these two blind men wealthy? If they were wealthy they wont need to be on the streets crying out. If they were wealthy, they would order people to bring Jesus over to him. IF not, they would even get Jesus arrested to be brought over to them. If you have money and power, you can do all of that. Would Jesus feel that because they are so powerful and wealthy that He had to heal them. However, these two blind men were poor and even after Jesus healed them they would still continue to be poor. Perhaps, there is nothing to be compassionate about. However, Jesus here was moved with compassion to heal these two blind men who the multitude did not show any concern to. This is the heart of compassion of Jesus. Jesus cares for us. Let’s take a look at another story recorded in
1 Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes.
2 And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,
3 who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains,
4 because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him.
5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones.
6 When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him.
7 And he cried out with a loud voice and said, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me.”
8 For He said to him, “Come out of the man, unclean spirit!”
9 Then He asked him, “What is your name?”
And he answered, saying, “My name is Legion; for we are many.”
10 Also he begged Him earnestly that He would not send them out of the country.
11 Now a large herd of swine was feeding there near the mountains.
12 So all the demons begged Him, saying, “Send us to the swine, that we may enter them.”
13 And at once Jesus gave them permission. Then the unclean spirits went out and entered the swine (there were about two thousand); and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and drowned in the sea.
14 So those who fed the swine fled, and they told it in the city and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that had happened.
15 Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demon-possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid.
16 And those who saw it told them how it happened to him who had been demon-possessed, and about the swine.
17 Then they began to plead with Him to depart from their region.
18 And when He got into the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might be with Him.
19 However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.”
Here describes a story of a man who had been demon-possessed. I wonder if you have seen a person who has been demon-possessed. In this passage, it describes of the man that even though the man was bounded by shackles , he was still able to break free. He could only live among the tombs, cutting himself with stones. If you have truly seen one who have been demon-possessed, you know that this is not an exaggeration. This man who is living in tragedy, you may wonder where are his friends and family. It doesn’t seem like they are there with him. As in verse 19, Jesus tells him to go home and tell his friends what Jesus has done. So here he was all by himself living among the tomb. His friends and family were unable to help him that is why they could only ostracize him so that he would not harm others. During this time, who was the one who showed compassion to him? It is Jesus. Jesus Christ specially went to this place to find this man who have been demon-possessed. This man who had been abandoned by everyone else. If he had a wife, his wife would have left him. If he had children, his children would have left him. Everyone had left him, but only Jesus did not leave him. Why did Jesus not leave him? Being demon-possessed is no a good thing. Even today, modern science modern medicine is not able to heal because it is not even an illness in the first place. At most, we would say that he has gone insane and is mentally unstable and we can hospitalized him. Who can truly help him? Jesus can help him. Jesus told him to go back home to his friends to tell them the great things the Lord has done for him. It was only by the compassion of Jesus that he was released. Why did Jesus had so much compassion on him? Because Jesus cared for him. Even though he was all alone and forsaken among the tombs. Yet, Jesus came specially to find him to show him compassion. Let’s take a look at another story which is recorded in
1 In those days, the multitude being very great and having nothing to eat, Jesus called His disciples to Him and said to them,
2 “I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat.
3 And if I send them away hungry to their own houses, they will faint on the way; for some of them have come from afar.”
4 Then His disciples answered Him, “How can one satisfy these people with bread here in the wilderness?”
5 He asked them, “How many loaves do you have?”
And they said, “Seven.”
6 So He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. And He took the seven loaves and gave thanks, broke them and gave them to His disciples to set before them; and they set them before the multitude.
7 They also had a few small fish; and having blessed them, He said to set them also before them.
8 So they ate and were filled, and they took up seven large baskets of leftover fragments.
9 Now those who had eaten were about four thousand. And He sent them away
Over here, Jesus was with a multitude and these people followed Jesus for three days and they were famished. Here Jesus say, “ I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat” Jesus was preaching the gospel so that the people would know about the Message. That was his most important mission. Whether you eat for not, that is not important, but what is important is that you listen. Should it not be like that. An analogy would be that if you were to attend a seminar today, the organizers would not be concerned about whether you were to have food to eat as long as you are there physically to attend. But here, Jesus is different. Jesus knows our needs.
Here, we see how Jesus expressed his compassion by wanting to find food for the multitude to eat. Jesus will not only show compassion to the blind or the ill or only when you are demon-possessed and no one this there that Jesus will have compassion on you. But over here, even with regards to our meals and our nutrition, Jesus had compassion on us. For such is our Lord Jesus. He can help us because He cares for us. But the question is whether we want to approach Jesus. Can this god truly help us? Truly, this almighty God is able to help us. But He doesn’t just want to help us in this matter alone. Do you know what Jesus want to show us the most compassion towards? Let’s look at
34 And Jesus, when He came out, saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd. So He began to teach them many things.
Here, Jesus saw a great multitude. If Jesus was just a typical speaker, then to Him it would be a great opportunity to earn money because He has many listeners. However, what did Jesus felt? When He saw so many people, Jesus wasn’t thinking about how He could stand to benefit. rather, Jesus was moved with compassion as there were so many people who were like sheep not having a shepherd. What do it mean by sheep having in shepherd to look after them? These sheep are ‘lost’ with no one to guide them. They are wandering all over the place. What would happen if they were to wander all over? They might fall into a ditch or they might be eaten by a wild Beast. This is because they do not have a shepherd to care for them and protect them. So when Jesus saw the multitude, He saw that they were like ‘lost’ sheep with no one to guide them. This is the heart of Jesus when He sees the multitude. When he sees us, he sees us as a ‘lost’ sheep and also Jesus sees Himself as the shepherd. The reason Jesus wants to step up and take on the role of being a shepherd to bring back all the ‘lost’ sheep is because He has compassion on us. How have we become ‘lost’ ? Why do we need a shepherd? This is because all of us are originally the children of God.
Earlier on, in 2 Corinthians 6:18
18 “I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.”
We are God’s children. However, because we have departed from Jesus that we have now become like this roaming sheep, without protection. Like a prodigal child who have left home and doesn’t want to come back. Therefore, under what circumstances have we left Jesus? It is because of sin that we have left Jesus and became a wanderer. n the world today there are good things. We see many people doing many good deeds. We would feel very comforted as we see that there is love in the world and there is justice. These are the good things we see in the world and we want it to increase. Why do we have such a feeling? Because we have seen the other side of humanity. There is a lot of wickedness in the world. There is a lot of greed. this affects not only themselves bu also affects others including us. As we recall, the 2007 financial crisis. It happened in the United States of America(USA) and it has got nothing to do with Singapore as Singapore did nothing. It was all out of the heart of greed that caused a great economic upheaval. As a result, we who are living in Singapore which is very far from the USA is affected. Not only Singapore, but also the rest of the world is affected. It was because of greed that caused everyone to be affected and this is a fact. Such is the evil that man harbours. This is the extent that the evil of man can attain. While on one hand we see many good and virtuous things yet we know that there is still wickedness and evil. Hence, due to this evil we humans left God. As much as we want to be good people, we know that in our heart we have evil. How many times have we insisted that we should not lie? How many times have we insisted that we should not be greedy. We may not have harmed others but it doesn’t mean that we do not have greed in our hearts. Though it is just a small greed yet that itself is not good. We wont tell our children that they are allows to say small lies but not big lies. We would tell them that they should not lie at all. Yet we ourselves are unable to meet that standard.
But that is how we teach, isn’t it? We are aware that there is evil in us. Therefore, are we not just like this prodigal son who has left his father? That is why when Jesus sees all of us, this great multitude, He sees us as ‘lost; sheep and wants to bring us home.
1 Peter 2:24-25
24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.
25 For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
So the author here tells us that we were once like sheep going astray but have now returned to the shepherd and Overseer of our souls. How were we able to return? In verse 24, ‘He’ refers to Jesus. His body was on the tree which signifies His crucifixion. So Jesus was crucified. Why did Jesus have to be crucified? Here it say, it was to bear our sins. So that we would die to sins so that we would live for righteousness. So this means that Jesus died on the cross so that we can be released from the judgement of our sins. When a person does something wrong, he has to be punished. This is what we teach our children.
Today, throughout our lives we have done many things which is erroneous, should we not also be punished? We should because this is reasonable. What kind of punishment should we receive? Death. This is the reason we die because of our sins. Therefore the solution is for someone to die on our behalf and to bear this judgement on our behalf so that we would not be judged. And so this verse is talking about this matter. Jesus died on the cross in order to bear our sins so that we will be able to be free from the judgement of our sins. If we were to believe in Jesus, we would be able to receive this release and we will be able to go back to Jesus. As in verse 25, we as sheep who is going astray would be able to return to the shepherd. This is the area where Jesus wants to show care for us. He wants our souls to be able to return to the shepherd. Therefore, would you really want to receive this true care and help from Jesus? We ask the Lord Jesus to continue to guide us and move our hearts