Acts 9: 1-6
Several years ago there appeared in the newspaper a story with a traumatic picture with the heading: “Daddy, Daddy, Son, Son!” It showed a ten year old boy leaping into the arms of his father who held him tightly as he disembarked from an airplane. Date line: Kansas City. Ten year old Sturdivant, whose death was considered almost certain last June after he was burned over 65% of his body in the flash of a paint thinner with which he had been attempting to fire a back yard barbeque, joyfully leaps into the arms of his father, A.D. Sturdivant of Kansas City. A miracle had been performed at Brook Medical Center, Fort Sam, Houston, TX. Special medical techniques and plastic surgery not only snatched him from the jaws of death, but restored him to a normal and active life.
You see, it is dramatic for us to call one another by name, even as Jesus on many occasions called by name, Mary and John. Even in the parable of the good shepherd in John 10:3 Jesus said, “The Good Shepherd calls his own sheep by name.” Certainly we believe that Jesus knows us by name. God knows your name. God knows my name. And God calls your name and calls my name. Yes, it is meaningful to call someone by name!
But it is immensely more meaningful when someone calls us by a double name. The depth of emotion, the flow of feeling, the arresting voice that says, “Daddy, Daddy, Son, Son.” A boy has been snatched from the jaws of death and the only way to greet him is, “Son, Son.”
On three different occasions Jesus used this same technique. And I think he used it for the specific purpose of trying to plunge into the depth of human emotion and reach out his arm and his heart and his voice to call us to a special significant situation where he has something very special to say to us. Three times we find Jesus using the double name. I think he is calling to you and to me the same way. Son, Son. Daughter, Daughter. Listen!
And Jesus answered and said unto her, “Martha, Martha, you are careful and troubled about many things.”
The setting is in Bethany. Jesus has come to visit on the slopes of the Mount of Olives in the home of the family he dearly loves. There were two sisters and a brother, Mary, Martha and Lazarus. Jesus has stopped in unexpectedly.
The two sisters are at home. It is almost lunch time, and immediately Martha says, “Sit down, Lord, and I will go to the kitchen and fix a meal for us.” Mary sits at the feet of Jesus and listens to Jesus talk. The golden words warm her heart as they talk about spiritual things. Martha is in the kitchen rattling the pots and pans and with frustration says, “Why doesn’t Mary come in here and help me!” Why doesn’t she get in here and do her share, her part. I’ll never get this dinner on the table for the Lord and fix those special dishes without her!
Finally, she erupts like a volcano and bursts into the room, “Lord, Lord, make Mary come in here and do her part and help me!” And it is then that the Lord, I think, lifts his finger and with those arresting words, “Martha, Martha!” Isn’t that startling? He doesn’t say, now, Martha, calm down. He says, Martha! Martha! Stop! Think of what you are doing. What is happening to you!
Martha, Martha, you have let your life get so mixed up that you are putting emphasis on the wrong things! Why, a big spread on the table is not important, a sandwich will do. Mary, has chosen the better thing to do. She has a better sense of values.
I wonder if the Lord, in the same way, is calling out to a man, woman, or some young person right now and saying, Son, Son, Daughter, Daughter! Stop a minute, and look at your life. What are your priorities? What are your frustrations? Are you all up tight and upset thinking that you have so much to do that you can’t take it anymore?
Everybody has a lot on them. Everybody is busy. Life always makes more demands on us than we think we can meet. Don’t think you are the exception because you have to make choices in life as to what is important and what is not, as to what you do and what you don’t do. You cannot do everything that everybody asks you to do and everybody expects you to do. There is no way you can live up to that expectation.
It is not just peculiar to the times in which we live. It has always been this way. God made us in his image and God said you are going to be put into a complex life and in that complex life you are going to make choices. You are going to have to choose the better part. You will have to choose what the priorities in your life will be. You will have to choose what the emphasis will be.
What is your problem! The problem is, you have the emphasis on the wrong things in life. Is this true in your marriage? What is really important? Sit down and analyze it, husband and wife. What about your children, what is really important? Young person, where is your emphasis? What is of lasting importance and significance?
Oh, the demands of all the organizations we join or are asked to join. The demands of business in our jobs and what is expected of us. All the complications of modern living and we have to choose.
Jesus is standing here with His arresting voice to say to every one of us. Stop, Stop! Sit down and determine your values. Set your goals and decide what you are really going to do with your life that is really important. Then begin to sift some things out, cast them off. You don’t need to worry about a few secondary things.
You know, the people I have known through life who have made really great contributions and who have found real joy and peace in their hearts, who have found what I consider the success in life, have been those who have been able to get their priorities right and get the emphasis right.
Early in life one needs to ask, “What am I going to do with my life, in addition to making a living, and raising a family, and caring for a lawn, and going fishing, etc – the things I want to do for recreation – am I going to do anything with my life that is really important?”
That is what Jesus is saying right now: Son, Son, Daughter, Daughter! You are just frittering it all away on non essentials. Decide to make your life count for important things. Cast aside the nonessentials.
Is he saying that to you this morning? Martha, Martha! Get the emphasis in the right place in your life and get it re-organized.
And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan desires to have you, that he may sift you as wheat.
It is the last supper. Jesus has his beloved disciples gathered around Him. These dear ones that He has been with all this time. He is getting things ready to leave them. As He looks them in the eye, there is a great strain of emotion in His heart for He knows what they know not. In a few hours He will be arrested, he will be taken to the cross, He will die. He has told them this but they do not quite realize it.
Jesus looks around and suddenly His eyes fall on Simon Peter. With these prophetic words, emotion stirs in His heart and He says, “Simon, Simon!” He had just spoken to the others, calling them by name, but when He gets to Simon Peter – Simon! Simon! That arresting double name and the tone of His voice. I think Simon speaks, “Lord, Lord, Yes! Why are you so excited?”
Simon, Satan has desired you and Satan wants you. The Devil is going to try to get you. I warn you, Simon.
Remember, Simon, you are a stone and remember when I called you. I said you are weak and wavering like a reed and that is what your name means. But, also remember I said you will be a stone, a rock.
Now when Satan comes in the hour of trial and testing, stand fast. Remember I am with you so stand fast! Simon, Simon! Satan has desired you and he will rock your world and he will destroy you if he can. He will take away every promise that you want to claim in me. Stand fast and I will be with you. Stand fast!
I wonder today if the voice of Jesus Christ does not ring down here to some young person. Son, Son! Daughter, Daughter! You do not have to do that to be popular. Satan wants to destroy the most precious things you have in life. He wants to rock your world. Stand fast! I will stand with you.
Or He is saying to some business man, Fellow, stand fast, you don’t have to compromise and you don’t have to cut corners. Be a Christian. Practice your business like a Christian. Be open and honest in dealing. Stand fast and I am with you! You will be a rock. Satan would like to destroy your life, wreck your influence. Or the Lord is saying to some women, careful, daughter, daughter, watch out! Satan wants to get into your heart, into your mind and destroy you, destroy your home, destroy peace, destroy your happiness.
A pastor in another state recently relayed that a young man sat in his study, his face ashen white. He told the pastor that something terrible almost happened to him. He was having a lot of financial problems and had bought more than he could pay for and was in a lot of debt. The bills just piled and piled up. He had worried so about his financial state that he lost his job. He then got a second rate job but couldn’t focus his attention on that job and didn’t see anyway out.
Then he had an idea and thought he knew a way out. He put a revolver in a brown paper bag and walked into the bank. He said he was going to rob that bank and just knew he could get away and solve all his problems.
He was standing at the counter where they write out checks and deposit slips waiting for it to clear at the teller’s cage. As he waited there, he said he heard his name and just knew it was God! God called him and said, Son, Son! He called his name and said, don’t do it – don’t do it! You know it is wrong. Don’t do it and wreck your life. He picked up that brown sack and came out.
He said with great tears in his eyes, Thank God, He stopped me. Thank God I heard him! He laid the sack on the table and pulled out the gun saying, I never want to see this thing again. I believe the Lord God looked down to this young man and said, as he said to Simon Peter, don’t, don’t, Satan wants you.
He wants you and you and me and he wants to destroy everything good that God wants to give us today. God calls us and tells us, I will stand by you. I will stand by you.
Then He calls again –
Acts 9:4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?
On the Damascus road is Saul, the young rabbi, brilliant, competent, capable, personable, and trained under Gamaliel. So much to give, so much to offer for the cause of Christ. But he is on the road with documents authorizing him to go to Damascus to the synagogue, and to arrest and bring about the murder of any Christian he shall find there.
Paul tells this story. On the road as I was nearing Damascus, suddenly a great light seemed to appear and I was struck to the ground. I was blinded. Then a voice said, Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting? I said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he answered, “I am Jesus of Nazareth.”
He spoke to me. Saul, Saul, you are going in the wrong direction in life. Turn around and go in the other direction. And I did. I gave my life to Jesus Christ. The persecutor became a preacher. The one who was murdering the Christians became the martyr who was willing to die for the cause of Christ by Nero’s headsmen.
I think in the same way the Lord is calling today to someone here: Saul, Saul, you are on the wrong road. You are going in the wrong direction. Your life is committed to the wrong ends, the wrong purposes. Turn around! Turn around!
That is the voice of Jesus Christ calling today. Oh, what is He saying to a young person or to a man, to a woman, to a boy, to a girl, or a father or mother or to a family?
Martha, Martha. Simon, Simon. Saul, Saul. You have the wrong priorities in your life. Straighten it out. Re-dedicate your life, re-new your vows to the Lord and the church. Get things back in order, today.
You are tried. You are tested today. Satan wants to sift you – he wants to steal from you everything God wants to give you.
Come on and say, Oh, God let me be a rock. Give me strength today. Help me to turn around and come back today.
When God calls your name, and He has called not once, but again and again, Son, Son, Daughter, Daughter, will you answer? Will you come?