17. Jesus predicted His own death!

A Bible Study by Paula Yingst …

The number THREE is very important in God’s revealing of prophetic events. For example, Jesus told His disciples THREE TIMES that he was going to be killed and rise on the THIRD DAY following His death. . . .

Testimony from Matthew, one of the Twelve closest disciples of Jesus:

#1:  [Jesus speaking to Peter]  “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.   (Matthew 16:15-21, NIV)

*   *   *

#2:  When they came together in Galilee, he said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised to life.” And the disciples were filled with grief.  (Matthew 17:22-23, NIV)

*   *   *

#3: Now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem. On the way, he took the Twelve aside and said to them, We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!” (Matthew 20 :17-19, NIV)

 

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT: If Jesus knew in advance that He would be crucified, why didn’t He take his fate in hand and choose NOT to go through with it? (Find the answer in Matthew 26:36-42.)

“Very truly I tell you,

you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices.

You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.”

— Jesus (John 16:20, NIV)

16. Faith in the military

A Bible Study by Paula Yingst …

Several years ago, I clipped a newspaper photo of a group of soldiers huddled in a prayer circle. I treasure that picture because it not only encourages me to pray for believers in military units around the world, it brings to mind something amazing that happened as Jesus journeyed to the cross …

“When Yeshua [Jesus] had finished speaking to the people, he went back to K’far-Nachum [Capernaum].

A Roman army officer [a centurion] there had a servant he regarded highly, who was sick to the point of death. Hearing about Yeshua, the officer sent some Jewish elders to him with the request that he come and heal his servant. They came to Yeshua and pleaded earnestly with him, ‘He really deserves to have you do this, for he loves our people — in fact, he built the synagogue for us!’

“So Yeshua went with them. He had not gone far from the house, when the officer sent friends who said to him, ‘Sir, don’t trouble yourself. I’m not worthy to have you come under my roof — this is why I didn’t presume to approach you myself. Instead, just give a command and let my servant recover. For I too am a man set under authority. I have soldiers under me; and I say to this one, “Go!” and he goes; and to another, “Come!” and he comes; and to my slave, “Do this!” and he does it.’

Yeshua was astonished at him when he heard this; and he turned and said to the crowd following him, ‘I tell you, not even in Isra’el have I found such trust!’

“When the messengers got back to the officer’s house, they found the servant in good health.

(Luke 7:1-10, The Complete Jewish Bible)

In this passage lies an important fact that I don’t remember being taught in Sunday school — the Roman soldier did not meet with Jesus face-to-face! Sincere humility discouraged him from personally approaching the Jewish Son of God with his request. The centurion didn’t touch Jesus’ robe or plead with Him for a miracle. He simply communicated that there was a desperate need — not for his own benefit, but on behalf of his very ill servant.

 

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT:  When comparing the New International Version with The Complete Jewish Bible translation of this passage into English, two words are used to describe the centurion’s state of mind in that moment: “faith” and “trust.” Is one easier to comprehend than the other?

 

 

15. Jesus’ end times time line!

A Bible Study by Paula Yingst …

Jesus foretold the fall of the temple in Jerusalem …

Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. “Do you see all these things?” he asked. Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”(Matthew 24:1-2, New International Version)

In 70 A.D. Roman legions destroyed the Second Temple. EVERY STONE WAS “THROWN DOWN” in an effort to plunder the gold that had melted in between the cracks after they set the building on fire!

It is not clear how long it was between Jesus’ prophecy concerning the temple and the disciples’ next question, but the issue apparently weighed heavily upon their minds.

As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?

Jesus gave them a non-specific timeline (Mt. 24:4-14), ending with this statement:  “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

Then Jesus got down to business! Here is what the Son of God foretold will happen JUST BEFORE HIS SECOND COMING …

“SO WHEN YOU SEE standing in the holy place [THE TEMPLE] ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniellet the reader understand* — THEN let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers!

“Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.

“If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but  for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.

“At that time if anyone says to you, “Look, here is the Messiah!” or, “There he is!” do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.

“See, I have told you ahead of time.

Immediately after the distress of those days

‘the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ [Prophesied by both  Isaiah and Joel.]

Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.  And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.’  [THE RAPTURE?]” (Matthew 24:3-31)

*   *   *

*”Let the reader understand”

The words of Daniel that Jesus was referring to can be found in Daniel 9.

They are passionately debated, so I will let my readers decide what you think Jesus was saying when He specifically added them into His “end of days” prophecy

And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him. (Daniel 9:27, NIV)

*   *   *

Then Jesus added this commentary …

“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it [the end of days] is near, right at the door. Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.

Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left.  Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.   [THE “RAPTURE”]

“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. (Matthew 24:32-44)

Letting YOU decide  …

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT: Seriously, I don’t believe you need anything more to think about.  ;  )

14. Demons fear Him!

A Bible Study by Paula  Yingst …

I’m not going to say much about this — though there is MUCH that I could write on the subject! Instead I’ll let the Scriptures (New International Version) speak for themselves …

LUKE 4:40-41“At sunset, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them.  Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God! But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Messiah.”

*   *   *

MARK 5:1-20 — “They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes.  When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an impure spirit came from the tombs to meet him. This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.

“When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. ‘He shouted at the top of his voice, ‘What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!’ For Jesus had said to him, ‘Come out of this man, you impure spirit!’

“Then Jesus asked him, ‘What is your name?’

‘My name is Legion,’ he replied, ‘for we are many.’ And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.

“A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside.  The demons begged Jesus, ‘Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.’ He gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.

“Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened.  When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.

“As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. Jesus did not let him, but said, ‘Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.  So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.”

*   *   *

LUKE 8:1-3 — “After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; …”

*   *   *

LUKE 9:1-6 — “When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He told them: ‘Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.’ So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere.”

*   *   *

MARK 9:30-32, 38-40  “They left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were,  because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, ‘The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.’  But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it. …

“‘Teacher,’ said John, ‘we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.’

“’Do not stop him,’ Jesus said. ‘For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us.

*   *   *

MARK 9:14-29 — “When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them.  As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him.

“’What are you arguing with them about?’ he asked.

“A man in the crowd answered, ‘Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech.  Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.’

“’You unbelieving generation,’ Jesus replied, ‘how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.’

“So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.

“Jesus asked the boy’s father, ‘How long has he been like this?’

“’From childhood,’ he answered.  ‘It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.’

“‘”If you can”?’ said Jesus. ‘Everything is possible for one who believes.’

“Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!’

“When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. ‘You deaf and mute spirit,’ he said, ‘I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.’

“The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, ‘He’s dead.’  But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.

“After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, ‘Why couldn’t we drive it out?

“He replied, ‘This kind can come out only by prayer.’”

*   *   *

MATTHEW 12:28 — “[Jesus speaking] ‘But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.‘”

*   *   *

MATTHEW 7:21-23 — “[Jesus speaking] ‘Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'”

 

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT: James, Jesus’ brother and leader of the Jerusalem council (Acts 15) wrote, “But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?” (James 2:18-20, NIV)

Do you believe it?

13. Whoever has ears, let him hear!

A Bible Study by Paula  Yingst …

My mother-in-law gave birth to a son and a daughter who are deaf. She is a woman of incredibly strong faith. As her children were growing up, she often prayed for healing, but to this day, their hearing has not been restored.

What’s up with that? 

Sometimes we talked about the amazing adults the two have become and how their lives have inspired and influenced so many, despite (and because of) their “special needs.” Mom and I agree: God had a divine reason and purpose for saying ‘no’ to those specific prayers.

When Jesus wanted to emphasize a point that may not have seemed clear to his audience, He sometimes used a phrase similar to this one: “If you have ears, then hear!” In retrospect, it’s apparent that He wasn’t speaking so much about the ability to “hear” spiritual truth as He was about making an effort to understand it.

Here is an example (my personal favorite) …

While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable:  “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture.  Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants.  Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.”

When he said this, he called out, Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”

His disciples asked him what this parable meant. He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that,

 ‘though seeing, they may not see;
though hearing, they may not understand.’  [Isaiah 6:9]

This is the meaning of the parable:  The seed is the word of God. Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.  Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.  The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.  But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”

(Luke 8:4-15, New International Version, 2010)

 

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT: After Jesus told the parable the first time, even His closest friends and followers didn’t ‘get it.’  So He gave them a “prophecy connection” to the prophet Isaiah, who had foretold that the coming Messiah would speak in parables, and most individuals would fail to understand their deep layers of meaning. THEN Jesus patiently explained what God wanted them to realize and how they should respond to produce the most profitable ‘crop.’   Which ‘seed’ best describes you?

12. He makes the blind to see!

A Bible Study by Paula Yingst …

Blindness. It’s a dark and frightening concept for most people. It terrifies me. Not in the physical sense — though if my sight were taken away, I’m sure I would struggle mightily. It’s “blindness” to what’s going on in the spiritual realm that is really scary to me. 

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s look at one situation (documented in John 9) in which Jesus not only healed physical blindness, he addressed spiritual blindness as well, as he journeyed to the cross

As [Jesus] went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” [Jesus] told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?”  Some claimed that he was.

Others said, “No, he only looks like him.”

But he himself insisted, “I am the man.”

“How then were your eyes opened?” they asked.

He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.” …

They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind.  Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath. [Work was not allowed on the Sabbath.] Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. “He put mud on my eyes,” the man replied, “I washed, and now I see.

Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.

But others asked, “How can a sinner perform such signs?” So they were divided. Then they turned again to the blind man, “What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened.”

The man replied, “He is a prophet.” …

They still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man’s parents. “Is this your son?” they asked. “Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?”

“We know he is our son,” the parents answered, “and we know he was born blind. But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don’t know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself.”  His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. That was why his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”

A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God by telling the truth,” they said. “We know this man [Jesus] is a sinner.”

He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!

Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.”

The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will.  Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.

To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.

Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, [Jesus] said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”

“Who is he, sir”‘ the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.”

Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.”

Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.

Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”

Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?”

Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.”

*   *   *
 
Jesus had some very important things to say about blindness. Some of them seem pretty obvious, but a lot of what he said held deeper meaning for those he was speaking to. Hear the words of the Lord, and dare to ponder what lies below the surface of his statements …
 
Jesus said:
  • “If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15:14)
  • Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are. Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gold of the temple is bound by that oath.’  You blind fools! … “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?” (Matthew 23:13-33)
  • “Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.” (Matthew 23:26)

I’ve always found it interesting that Jesus never seemed upset with common people — everyday lay people with little education concerning the Scriptures. But he often laid into the teachers of the Law and the designated religious representatives. Why did he do that? Consider this:

Jesus quoted the prophet Isaiah, saying:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

(Luke 4:18-19 and Isaiah 61:1,2)

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT: How did the rabbi (teacher) Jesus differ from those who had been declared by other men to be worthy teachers of that day? Why do you think people looked up to those elevated men as the ultimate authorities on God’s will? How did Jesus’ words to the Pharisees move him closer to death by crucifixion?

11. Good enough?

A Bible Study by Paula Yingst … 

“As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.  ‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people.’  At once they left their nets and followed him.” (Matthew 4:18-20, New International Version)

Awhile back, I heard an enlightening sermon by Pastor Dale Jagger. Dale is passionate about Bible history — the why’s and how’s of the culture represented in Scripture.

Here are a few amazing facts that I did not know about Jewish tradition regarding rabbis and their disciples:

  • Jewish children learned from and memorized the Torah (the 5 books of Moses, 613 commandments detailed in Leviticus, and the Ten Commandments) from the ages of 6 to 10. Psalm 119:103 says that God’s words are “sweeter than honey to my mouth.” So to encourage their students, rabbis would put a drop of honey on their tongue when they did well.
  • From ages 10 through 13, boys were required to memorize Genesis through Malachi — the entire Old Testament of the Bible! And at the age of 13, their success and “manhood” was celebrated with a Bar Mitzvah.” 99% of all boys achieved this!
  • Next came Bet Midrash, which was entered into by invitation only. This was an apprenticeship to become a rabbi. This year-long period of teaching focused on understanding the scriptures they had memorized. At the end of the year, those who were accepted heard the words, “Lech Acharai”, which means “Come follow me.” And they committed to follow the rabbi who called them. For 15 years, they did everything that the rabbi did, imitating his ways and his interpretation of Scripture. They followed so closely that they became covered by their rabbi’s dust, which was a great honor! Then they would be released to wear a seamless robe and be called “Rabbi.”

But not every boy was successful. Those who were not quick enough to learn everything that was required were released at the end of the year-long training period. At that point, the dream of becoming a rabbi was forfeited, and the young men received a blessing before going out into the world to make a living.

Dale Jagger explained that Jesus, at age 30, had no “talmudines” — men who were waiting to be called as his disciples. So it came as a great surprise to each of the “drop-outs” who had not been accepted to Bet Midrash when the rabbi, Jesus, called out to them to follow him. It was so unexpected and welcome an honor that the flabbergasted individuals did not hesitate to abandon their livelihoods and do as Jesus commanded them!

All together, Jesus chose 12 disciples — and one of them would have a specific purpose. To fulfill the prophecy written by David about the identity of the Messiah: “Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.” (Psalm 41:9, NIV)

 

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT: Do you ever wonder if you’re good enough to be a follower of Jesus? At times like that, remember: Jesus taught that two things were of greater importance than memorizing the Torah — Love God. Love others.

His grace is sufficient, because  “his power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).