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Let the Healing Balm Pour Down!

Read: Jeremiah 8:22; Mark 14:3-9; John 9:35-38


Now that we are about a month into autumn, I have noticed a sharp decline in the amount of antiseptic ointment that I need. During the summer, I often get small cuts in my hands as I'm weeding, trimming and gardening. That little bit of medicated ointment both soothes and protects against infections so healing can come.


It is certainly true that it is not only physical wounds that need a healing balm. No, each of us is vulnerable to be hurt through the words and rejection that are too often a part of living in a sin-soaked world. Here is a simple every-day example that I heard about this week, and it resulted in pain and hurt to someone who means a great deal to me. This wounding came from another person's words. I won't mention a name or give the context since I don't have permission to do so. My friend was going about her work very diligently when she heard a person who was nearby speak disparagingly of her and what she was doing. What was said was short and cutting, and then the speaker simply went back into her own home. Sometimes when people hear about small incidents like this one, they simply brush it aside with the advice to simply "not let it bother you."


Although the scripture does say that it is to our glory to overlook and offense, Proverbs 19:11, even in doing so, there still might be a wounding. That wound might then be followed by another. So, where can we find healing balm so our wounds won't fester? Jesus, the Good Shepherd is the healing balm. Before looking into today's scriptures, let's think of the shepherd and how he lovingly brings healing to his wounded sheep, Psalm 23:3. One of the very beautiful pictures we read about in Psalm 23 is that the shepherd anointed the sheep's head with oil. As he examined them at the end of the day, he might notice that some had been cut and that some had marred places in their fleece caused by biting flies. Therefore, the shepherd would put oil on to those wounds, bringing relief to the sheep so they would be able to rest. He cared for each of them individually. When wounds come into our lives, the Good Shepherd wants to soothe us with His love and His truth. Regardless of the cruel words or actions of others, Jesus stands with us and lives in and through us, Galatians 2:20. With that in mind, let's watch as our Shepherd demonstrated His love to two very different people who experienced harsh words and rejection.


Mark 14:3-9: In John's account of this same incident, we are told that it was only six days before Passover, and Jesus was spending time with His friends Mary, Martha and Lazarus. They were having a special dinner, and Martha was once again, serving. Then it happened. Mary poured a lavish gift of love on Jesus. Special perfumed ointment that was worth around a year's wages. Mark tells us that this beautiful act brought Mary not commendation but scolding from the disciples. Now I don't know how Mary felt in that moment, but those words would have made me want to hide. Here is where we see the Shepherd get out the balm. He admonished those who were scolding Mary to leave her alone and to stop bothering her. In addition to that, He spoke highly of what she had done. He even said that throughout the generations, this action of hers would continue to be told. How true. We are talking about it even now.


To be commended by the Master. What healing balm. Is anything sweeter than knowing that Someone you love is standing with you? That same balm is available to us today. When the words of others hurt, Let's look at what the Master says. If He says there is some validity in what others say, let's receive it and continue to walk faithfully, making any change that is necessary. However, if the words spoken against us are, as was the case with Mary, not founded on truth, let's walk in confidence, enjoying God's favor and love. We have a choice. Will we choose to believe the One Who cannot lie and His assessment or will we take the word that comes from the world's way of thinking? Will we allow Jesus' love for us to bring comfort where words have brought brokenness?


John 9:35-38. These short verses are the end of this amazing story that only John gives us. The part that most folks remember has already been completed. A man who never had seen anything had been healed by Jesus. Again, I can't know what he was thinking, but surely there were two very different things going on in his life. A new world of beauty and movement had replaced what he had always known; even so, this wondrous gift that he had received was wrapped in disagreement and antagonism. Who would have thought that receiving this gift from Jesus would have ushered in such turmoil? His parents didn't want to make much of the healing because the religious leaders had said that anyone who confessed Jesus as Messiah would be thrown out of the synagogue. In John 9:35, we are told that this is exactly what happened. The man whom Jesus healed had indeed been thrown out of the synagogue, and his life would be radically different without the every-day times of joy and fellowship that he had known. Then it happened. Jesus found this man and introduced Himself to him.

Talk about having your head anointed with oil. The Messiah Himself made Himself known to this one whom the leadership had thrown out.


Jesus has done that for us too. Each of us who has received Jesus, John 1:11-12 has personally been found by the Savior. The same Jesus Who sought out and found the formerly blind man also did that for us, Jeremiah 31:3. In this world, people might reject us or exclude us for any number of reasons. Yet, Almighty God Who knows everything, both good and bad about us, has anointed our heads with oil and adopted us into His forever family. However, do these truths that Jesus stands up for us, lives through us and has sought us out for salvation make us impervious to the pain of unkind words and rejection? No, words and rejection are painful. Just as physical wounds hurt a Christian, wounding words and rejection also sting. Satan would like this pain to discourage and hinder Jesus' work in our lives. That's where the balm of God's love and truth come in. These are what soothes us. When the wounds come again, the balm is there to bring comfort. Jesus will never stop finding those places that need His soothing, and He will not stop holding out the balm of His grace, truth and love. There is a balm wherever Jesus' blood bought children are, and there is a Shepherd Who loves His sheep.


Father, please remind us when the wounds of this world sting, that we are very precious to You. and that You are our sympathetic High Priest, Hebrews 4:14-16.

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