Tuesday, July 02, 2013

CP 214 "Broken" is not the last word...



CP 214 “Broken” is not the last word…

On Good Friday this year the pew bulletin had a little piece about ‘broken’ which caught my eye. Here it is with minor amendments. (I don’t know who its author was. If you do, let me know and I shall acknowledge him/her.)

Broken – the jar of perfume,
broken – the adulation of the crowds,
broken – the faithfulness of Israel,
broken – the Passover bread,
broken – the resolve of the disciples,
and Jesus is left alone to face his death sentence.

Broken – through trashed skin and speared heart,
broken – crying out in anguish,
broken – the dream of the kingdom,
broken – and forsaken,
broken – and surrendering his Spirit,
and Jesus dies, with soldiers and weeping friends as witness.

Broken – the veil in the Temple,
broken – the power of oppression,
broken – the power of sin and death,
broken – the power of the devil and darkness,
broken – the sealed entrance to the tomb,
and in all the brokenness of Adam’s kin new life can rise and sing.
Hallelujah.

Some texts:
  • “By his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53
  • “The Lord is near to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18
  • “He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3
  • “The sovereign Lord has sent me… to bind up the broken-hearted… Isaiah 61:1
  • “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out. Matthew 12:20
  • “He has broken down the dividing wall of hostility… Ephesians 2:14
Old Luther was right, was he not, when he said that God loves broken things? If you look at the texts you have to see that our healing for ‘brokenness’, in whatever form, can only happen because he was ‘broken’ on our behalf.

So here’s another thing that ‘arrived’ on my desk this week. It’s good, and it relates to the brokenness... (Once again, the author is not known.)

“Is there no balm in Gilead?” (Jeremiah 8:22).
In three different places the Old Testament mentions the “balm” or healing ointment that comes from Gilead, the mountainous region east of the Jordan River. When Joseph’s brothers conspired against him in Genesis 37, they sold him to a caravan of Ishmaelites from the region of Gilead carrying a load of gum, balm, and myrrh (v. 25). Jeremiah 46:11 mentions the healing balm of Gilead. Jeremiah 8:22 poses a question to the sinning people of Judah.

Is there no balm in Gilead?
Is there no physician there?

A well-known African-American spiritual applies the words of the text this way:
There is a balm in Gilead
To make the wounded whole;
There is a balm in Gilead
To heal the sin-sick soul.

Jesus the Christ is truly the “balm of Gilead” for all the hurting people of the world. When J. C. Philpot preached on Jeremiah 8:22 in 1852, he pointed out that God’s grace is always greater than our sin:
‘There is more in the balm to heal than there is in guilt to wound; for there is more in grace to save than there is in sin to destroy’. 
If we know Jesus, we’re going to heaven because his grace is far greater than our sin. His blood is the balm that heals the deepest wounds of sin. When we have fallen hard, he lifts us up and restores our soul.

Is there no Balm in Gilead? Yes, there is. Jesus is the name that makes the wounded whole”.

Blessed Lord, you specialize in healing the broken places of life. Speak your healing word today and we will be made whole. Amen. 

Be blessed in Him
Fred

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