Broken and Crushed

Dilapidated farm house. Photo by Carlye Burk.

The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. (Psalms 34:18).

David knew all too well what it’s like to be heartbroken and crushed in spirit. He felt the stings of rejection from his father, his brothers, his king, his men, his people, his children, and his wife. He knew that sometimes a man can strive to be his best, and yet still be rejected by those for whom he cares most. Jesus referred to this when He said:

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3)

“Poor in spirit” is not about physical poverty, but speaks of man’s impoverished soul crying out for God’s help. Those who live in this reality, Jesus said, accede to the kingdom of heaven.

John the Baptist was chosen to be the forerunner of Jesus Christ. Like Jesus, John’s ministry was foretold through the mouth of the prophets. He was given the task to baptize Jesus, thus inaugurating Jesus’ earthly ministry. John’s life was anointed of God, and yet toward the close of his calling, he was plagued with rejection and doubt. While in prison, John began to question his life’s calling. Fears and doubts began to gnaw at his mind. He might have wondered whether he spent his time preaching about the correct man. He might have thought he had the right man but believed that Jesus was not doing enough. Maybe he wondered if Jesus was the One, or was there yet to be another one to come. Regardless, in desperation, he sent his disciples to ask Jesus whether He was the one to which they awaited. Jesus never questioned John’s inquiry. He did not rebuke John for his doubt. What He did do was answer John’s question and heal his doubt by saying:

Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me. (Luke 7:22-23)

Notice that Jesus’ care for the broken and crushed of this world are the evidence used to prove that He is mankind’s savior. Jesus told John’s disciples to go back and tell John that Jesus not only notices men’s needs, but He also takes action that brings them change. Jesus then did something to embolden John. He told those men to tell John that there is a blessing that comes with not being offended by Jesus. In context, Jesus was saying that there is a blessing awaiting those who won’t allow the distress of a test or tribulation to turn them away from Jesus.

Jesus knows what it is like to be broken and crushed. Isaiah prophesied:

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:3-5)

Jesus experienced the distresses of life firsthand. He felt rejection and the stinging comments some men ignorantly make against those who are tested and tried. Yet during Jesus’ times of brokenness and crushing, He showed men and women the way in which they should maintain their faith in God.

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)

Once a year the High Priest approached God with man’s sin offering. Jesus also took care of man’s sin offering, but what’s more He ministers to man’s weakness and brokenness with a sympathy birthed from experiences He had like their own. Therefore, we can trust Jesus because He has not only “been there and done that,” but He also has the ripped and bloodied tee shirt to prove it!

Often an apple tree will produce sweeter fruit after suffering violence. Farmers know this and will sometimes beat a tree’s trunk with a baseball bat or scar it with a chainsaw so it will produce a better harvest the next year. Christians are like that as well—they often produce sweeter Fruit of the Spirit after suffering a time of physical or spiritual distress. In God’s kingdom, tests and tribulations are used to strengthen a believer’s faith. Therefore, the assembly of believers are called to embrace their brokenness and their crushed spirits, for such pain and suffering is the conduit that leads to being complete in Jesus.

Jesus said if those who suffer will look to Him, He will there in their time of need. After all, Jesus promises to be near the brokenhearted. He also promises to save the crushed in spirit. Thus, if you are a Born Again son or daughter of Jesus Christ, and find yourself in a time of physical, emotional, financial, or religious distress, don’t allow such things to deprive you of the blessings that await those who unconditionally trust Jesus Christ.


Copyright © 2017 TK Burk. All Rights Reserved.

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