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Gifted and Lifted

How one man used status to show Jesus his love...

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Hi, welcome to the podcast. I’m mark mabry.

Today i’d like to read and elaborate a little bit on a recent instagram post where I introduced a new piece of art that depicts the raising of a 12 year old girl from the dead.

We’ll pick up with Jesus preaching in Capernaum.

Jesus was getting huge in Capernaum.

One day a packed crowd was waiting for Jesus to speak, when an ‘important’ man interrupted the moment. The man was ‘a ruler of the synagogue’.

The interruption was Nothing new. (Jumping ahead of the crowd is the timeless privilege of people with status)

Pharisees and scribes always did this…

and it was fun to watch how Jesus dispatched them by exploiting their pride.

Anyway, The well dressed man came forward. His name was Jarius.

Jarius walked closer to Jesus, and in An Unexpected twist…

FELL AT Jesus FEET AND WEPT.

He cried, ’My daughter is dying. Please Master, come and save her.’

Jesus was never moved by status, but always moved by humility, so He went with Jarius.

The curious crowd followed.

Jarius made way for Jesus through the streets. With each step, The pace of his Jarius’s walk seemed to say ’Hold on sweetie, dad’s coming,’

But Jesus took His time along the way to heal a woman who touched His robe. Then he paused even longer to hear her voice look into her eyes. “Your faith has made you whole.”

Jarius’ daughter’s clock was ticking. Then the bomb dropped.

A servant found Jarius, he said “Thy daughter is dead, trouble not the Master.”

What? It can’t end like this… Jarius had brought Jesus his lowest…. most broken self…

He had nothing left to give.

Jesus, touched him, “fear not, believe only, and she shall be made whole.”

Believe. Only. As if to say, ‘Son, this next part is too heavy for you. I got it from here. You’ve shown me enough… just believe.”

At home, Jarius’ friends and neighbors laughed at Jesus when he said ‘the maiden is sleeping’. So Jesus excused them all.

Believers only beyond this point.

Jarius was wrung out. I see him kneeling by a little bed with his wife… maybe some brothers and sisters.

Jesus raised her.

But was that the only miracle?

Jesus THE GREATEST AMONG US descended BELOW EVERYONE… to lift us up from The Cross. To draw all of us to Him.

Excluding Jesus, is there anyone more powerful among us than the popular person who willingly breaks before the Lord? Who loves Jesus and all that goes with it. The charity. The kindness. The selflessness.

She who falls on her face in front of a crowd and brings Jesus home to skeptical friends… like Jarius.

That kind of condescension is Christlike.

That is the person who see’s miracle after miracle.

I felt like Jarius’ status in the community was important in this story… because status is a set up.

We have seem to have less sympathy for rich people, good looking people, gifted people, or successful people.

I mean, it’s definitely a little funnier when sunglasses-guy backs his new Beemer into the light pole at Costco, than when a struggling mom with 3 little kids in a used mini van does it.

The Jarius story challenges those among us who are prone to judge popular or rich people… more harshly.

Think it was easy for Jarius to fall at Jesus’ feet and basically beg in front of that huge multitude of people that knew him as the powerful guy in the Synagogue?

The scribes and pharisees and hypocrites… those are Jarius’s people. What will they say when they find out Jarius was bowing to Jesus of Nazareth? Could it cost him his ruler of the synagogue gig? What about that house that was big enough to have a bunch of people at it in a few verses?

Think it was easy for Jarius to patiently wait as Jesus took his time walking through town healing someone else’s, non emergency blood issue, while his own daughter was critical…

Jarius was used to people jumping when he said jump. How about keeping it together when he finds out that she had died while he was stuck in the crowd…?

Yeah, status is a set up, a set up for Jarius… Because status Is a trojan horse full of pride.

Status ads degrees of difficulty to a humble Christian approach to life.

(That’s my best line and a big part of my point, so let me repeat it)

Status ads degrees of difficulty to a humble Christian approach to life.

Let’s look at Jesus Himself.

How did Jesus win the hearts of women and men starting with Adam and Eve all the way down to you and me.

Hint. It wasn’t because God gave Him Authority or a title, which He most certainly did… it’s all we read about in the Old Testament and the first few chapters of each of the Gospels. It’s God saying, “This is my Son” “your savior” - to Mary, then Joseph, to Simeon and Anna, to the Shepherds, to the Wisemen, To John the Baptist and the people who watched him baptize Jesus and heard the voice and saw the dove. But so what?

Imagine if God had said all that and Jesus didn’t end up being, well… perfect.

A title by itself only gathers brown-nosers, not sincere followers. Authority and power are not the same thing at all.

Jesus has power because he won our hearts.

JESUS won OUR HEARTS BECAUSE HE DESCENDED waaaaayyyyy BELOW his birthright as a god…

GIVING EVERYTHING HE HAD TO CLAIM OUR OUTCLASSED, less popular, LESS BEAUTIFUL, GUILTY SOULS FROM HELL.

HE WENT LOW- TO UNBREAK OUR GREEDY, LUSTFUL, JEALOUS HEARTS… EVEN THOUGH HIS HEART IS PERFECT.

HE HUNG ON THE CROSS BRUISED AND NAKED AND BLOODY TO save ME AND YOU-

WHO IN TURN DO ALL WE CAN TO PRETEND LIKE WE’RE NOT BRUISED AND NAKED AND BLOODY TOO.

THAT’S WHY JESUS IS THE MOST POWERFUL BEING EVER…

We love him, BECAUSE HE FIRST LOVED US.

I LOVE HIM.

BECAUSE HE gets low TO LOVE ME FIRST… AND ASKS QUESTIONS LATER.

Back to status for a moment.

When someone throws off the glory of the world at risk of losing it all, like Jarius… Jesus seems to notice.

Sometimes there are actual real life consequences… watch how the world tolerates acceptance speeches that vaguely say, “I’d like to thank God”

but notice how awkward it gets when someone famous says, “I follow Jesus Christ”.

Just ask the actor Chris Pratt, or boxing champs Manny Pacheo or Tyson Fury, or Heisman trophy winner Tim Tebow or drew breeze.

I have a front row seat to see what happens to Lifestyle, Fashion, and Fitness influencers on Instagram when they ‘come out’ as practicing Christians…

Often they do it on the same day they are sharing a piece of my art that hangs in their home.

Almost Immediately their follower count drops,

then the comments start.

“Stay in your lane”

“I used to respect you…”

“How can you be so intolerant?” “Ignorant” “Naive”.

Other Christians will even dig back into their feeds and criticize them for previous posts that, in their minds, don’t live up to a “Christian” standard.

Are you serious?

I’m not famous, but You don’t have to dig to deep to realize that I mark mabry, am a christian hypocrite many times over… especially when you consider that I write about Jesus every day. Just ask my wife and kids.

That’s my set up!

So I’m inspired by the humility and faith of popular people who, like Jarius, fall at Jesus feet in front of the crowd. Because, on the flip side, supporters that stick by them end up loving them more than before. The connection is deeper… and frankly, it gives God another opportunity to bless their enterprise.

People with status don’t have an obligation to be public about their faith any more than our mailman does.

And that’s what makes it so powerful when they do it.

AIt’s proactive humility. They’re not compelled to be humble.

And so it is with you and me in our own successes…

the more we can redirect the glory of the world toward our God and be the servant of all, the more we can identify with Jesus….

Because that’s what Jesus did.

I’m Mark Mabry

Thank you