Hebrews: Open Heart Surgery

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“The Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

Yes, we’re still here – but I have a reason. Last devotional we saw the Word of God as a mighty sword. Today I want you to see it as a surgical scalpel. A surgeon wants to help people get well. But he first has to cut through skin and tissues to get to the problem.

The Word of God penetrates and divides “soul and spirit, joints and marrow . . .” The soul (psyche) is the immaterial and eternal part of the inner person – it is translated in the scriptures by personal pronouns – me, myself, I, mine. The spirit (pneumo) is the immaterial part of the inner person that can respond to God. While the soul is fixed on self, the spirit is the part of man that hears that still, small voice and follows – or turns away. The Word also divides “joints and marrow.” Joints are connective parts of the skeletal system and marrow sits deep within the bones producing blood cells that keep us alive. Consider that the root word for marrow speaks of “hidden or concealed things.” Hang in here with me, this is all going to make sense.

The Word of God also “judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” It goes right to the heart – the seat of our thoughts and emotions. But not just the random thoughts that flit through our minds. God’s Word is judging our deliberate thoughts – the ones we draw up from those deep places where we think they are safely hidden. But, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.  Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (v. 13).

You and I cannot hide our hearts from God. His Word penetrates, divides, and judges the state of our hearts. It digs into the deepest parts of us. It exposes our thoughts, especially the ones we try to hide, the ones that are feeding our emotions. Surgeons go after the things in our bodies that make us sick. The Word of God goes after our thoughts that make us sick. Beloved, God wants you to be well and whole. Will you let His Word do the work of healing your heart?

Jesus – Lord over Your Mess



My granddaughter is sick this morning. She is all stuffed up and her nose is running. I held her while her mommy got ready to take her to the doctor. She wallowed and turned and squirmed. She spat out her medicine all over me. She wiped her snotty nose on my blouse. And I didn’t mind one bit.

It reminded me of the account in Matthew of a man with leprosy who came to Jesus for healing. He knelt before Him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean” (8:2). Matthew says that “Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ He said. ‘Be clean.’ (8:3). Don’t run past that. Jesus reached out His hand – and touched – the- man – with – leprosy. Leprosy was a very contagious disease that ate away at the flesh. A leper was ostracized from the rest of the community as their nose, fingers, toes, and ears fell off their body. It was a nasty, gross disease. If they wandered into public places they must shout out “Unclean! Unclean!” to warn others to keep their distance. (That sounds familiar in 2020). When Jesus said, “I am willing,” and reached out his hand, He was saying, “I am willing to touch your disease and filth.”

Matthew noted what the prophet Isaiah said about the suffering Messiah: “He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases” (Matthew 8:17/Isaiah 53:4). Coupled with the story of the leper and you can hear Jesus saying, “I am willing to take your disease and your filth upon myself.” He reached out His hand and touched all of humanity’s filth and took it all to the cross. Without flinching.

I’m going to change my shirt before I head to work, but I don’t mind. She needed Nana’s comfort – and it got messy. By the way, have you noticed the name “Messiah?” The “ah” is transcribed as “Lord.” Beloved, won’t you let Jesus be Lord over your mess?