Jesus, Rebuilder of Broken Lives
Jesus in the book of Nehemiah
Facilitated by Pastor Joedy
But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them.Nehemiah 9:17c
(1) God is faithful to His covenant.“O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments” Nehemiah 1:5
(2) God is the Rebuilder of Broken Lives.And I told them of the hand of my God that had been upon me for good, and also of the words that the king had spoken to me. And they said, “Let us rise up and build.” So they strengthened their hands for the good work. Nehemiah 2:18
No matter what sort of flaws and immaturities we see in the church, we need to remember that it’s not up to us, but it is primarily up to Jesus Christ, and the power of His Holy Spirit, to establish and to build up the church.
(3) Grace is released through the Words of God.
And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was above all the people, and as he opened it all the people stood.Nehemiah 8:5
And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them. Nehemiah 8:12
The word to them was celebrated, and in our case, Christ was the word given and poured out to us, and we also enjoy… naturally.
At this point Pastor Joedy wanted to point out the 5 C’s of Christlike Leadership in Nehemiah.
God’s intentions and original plan for Man were to make him blessed, and blessed to take dominion over all the earth through the guidance, empowerment and mentorship of no less than the Holy Spirit. Regarding guidance, He does want us to learn, but suffering is not the primary tool of His mentorship. Pastor Joedy believes, before the fall Adam and Eve were in no sort of suffering, but were still learning.
Another portion of our God’s intention is to extend His Kingdom on earth, as it is in heaven. It’s for this reason that we have been encouraged to seek His Kingdom first, and also His righteousness. It’s certainly available and overflowing for all who seek.
We can see Nehemiah as a type of Christ; Nehemiah was instrumental in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, which is a symbol of restoration. Jesus Christ Himself came to repair broken lives and to restore man to God’s kingdom.
Now it happened in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Susa the citadel, that Hanani, one of my brothers, came with certain men from Judah. And I asked them concerning the Jews who escaped, who had survived the exile, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said to me, “The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire.”Nehemiah 1:1-3
The wall of Jerusalem represents the life of man – broken down with its gates destroyed by fire. The broken walls can be seen as broken lives, made broken because of the sin-broken relationship with God. The broken walls of Jerusalem (which means Peace), speaks of the consequence of the fall of Man. In the fall, in the book of Corinthians, Adam lost his position and his authority, and he also lost the Spirit who will help him in dominion.
Because our walls have been broken, the enemy, Satan took over and wreaked havoc; He stole, killed and destroyed, completely opposite from God’s plan for man.
Nehemiah came to rebuild the walls, and Christ came to repair and restore our lives – how? By His finished work He took us back to original favor and place with God, practicing dominion. Jesus Christ came to restore man’s authority here on earth to extend God’s kingdom. It was one of His first words spoken in his ministry – ‘Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand!’ – speaking of the arrival of the Kingdom, the return of the Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. It was as it was spoken by John the Baptist, and was further confirmed by Christ – only Christ went further to demonstrate His own Authority and Power; Speaking command over the seas to be still, speaking to the fig trees, speaking to the legion of spirits.
Christ had the authority. What Adam failed to do, Christ succeeded. But He went even further. He did not only bring the Kingdom of God on earth, but more importantly, He brings all who believe to the Kingdom of God – He established restoration and the residence of the Holy Spirit.
What a great reminder we are getting, simply by looking at the move of Nehemiah in rebuilding the Walls!
But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.Acts 20:24
We testify to the Gospel of the grace of God to bring people to the knowledge of Jesus Christ, who, by His grace, would connect one and all back to the Kingdom of God. It’s time for us to testify, it’s time for us to represent the Kingdom!
Christ’s words to Paul:
But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
Let us accept the gracious call of God like Paul, and Nehemiah. Let us be His instruments in ushering people (walls) into His Kingdom.
The first ‘C’ would be discussed this evening. The first of the 5 c’s is Concern – We see Christ as our Intercessor.
Now it happened in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Susa the citadel, that Hanani, one of my brothers, came with certain men from Judah. And I asked them concerning the Jews who escaped, who had survived the exile, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said to me, “The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire.”
As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven Nehemiah 1:1-4
Upon hearing the state of Jerusalem, Nehemiah could not help but to sit down, and to weep and mourn. In response to his grief he fasted and prayed to the Lord.
Pastor Joedy testified that upon hearing the Gospel and believing in Christ, he felt it for himself – what he called a heavenly concern for souls. Personally I see my mom feeling the same concern, but I don’t know why I feel indifferent. But perhaps I ought to think about my position – for see, Jesus Himself? He literally wept, and not just before Lazarus, but He wept for Jerusalem with the same concern, and He prayed as well.
This concern of Nehemiah led to heartfelt, humble prayer and petition to God for favor. His words in verses 10-11 are as follows:
They are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by your great power and by your strong hand. O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name, and give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.”Nehemiah 1:10-11
Now, concern is defined as to regard something as important or interesting to do something. It means to have a specific connection with or responsibility for – not just a nice feeling. Therefore, a great leader is concerned about the welfare of his people, and his community. Nehemiah and Jesus demonstrated how leaders ought to be oriented towards others, to feel the situations where other people are in.
Politicians are only concerned about winning the elections, but political leaders have genuine concern for the people. The difference is in their concern.
Going back to v10-11, from praying to his people, Nehemiah prayed for mercy before the sight of the King he was serving. He suddenly felt responsible for his people to do something, thus his prayer to find favor n the sight of the King.
Jesus was moved with compassion, but not only did He pray but He encouraged His disciples to pray:
And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”Matthew 9:35-38
There is no ministry without a minister. God raises the men and women first, but note that these men and women are filled with concern from the Holy Spirit. As leaders we need a greater awareness of favor with God, and there we have concern.. but this also works the other way around.
Nehemiah was concerned, and it seems as if the King was the one who gave his concern AND favor to him:
In the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence. And the king said to me, “Why is your face sad, seeing you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of the heart.” Then I was very much afraid. I said to the king, “Let the king live forever! Why should not my face be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ graves, lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?” Then the king said to me, “What are you requesting?”
So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ graves, that I may rebuild it.” And the king said to me (the queen sitting beside him), “How long will you be gone, and when will you return?” So it pleased the king to send me when I had given him a time. And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, let letters be given me to the governors of the province Beyond the River, that they may let me pass through until I come to Judah, and a letter to Asaph, the keeper of the king’s forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the fortress of the temple, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall occupy.” And the king granted me what I asked, for the good hand of my God was upon me.Nehemiah 2:1-8
The cupbearer was given favor. The moment we move, the favor follows. I suppose it works the other way around as well – when we are overwhelmed by the favor, the concern follows.
There are so many whose walls are broken by poverty, broken relationships, addictions, sicknesses, hopelessness, sorrows, pains, sufferings, and vulnerabilities. Leaders with concern see them as broken walls that need to be rebuilt, and rebuilt immediately.
-To be continued-
I love the depth and wisdom of the book of Nehemiah. Great words for today!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Hello Mike, sorry for getting back to this just now. Yes, just going through the Old Testament through the lens of Christ opens our eyes to the depths. Wonderful stuff. Be blessed always!
LikeLiked by 1 person