The Walk of Pressure
Sermon Summary
This message examines the way Jesus responded to the difficult pressures He faced in His life in order to avoid becoming stressed out! People were constantly looking for Him to perform a miracle, explain something or to meet some need they had. On the other hand, Jesus faced constant pressure from the religious leaders of His day. Jesus also felt the pressure of needing to spread the good news of his message to all of Israel. Jesus responded to the pressure by seeking to get away to a solitary place to pray and meditate. He also took the time to get away and rest, even if it was only for a short time. It seems obvious that Jesus maintained good physical conditioning. Modern science has confirmed the benefits of exercise to the overall emotional and mental health of individuals. The message ends with a look at how Jesus focused more on the objectives of His goals and the outcome of His mission than He did on the pressure. As a result, Jesus was able to maximize the benefits of the pressure and minimize the effects of stress!

Community Group Discussion Guide

1. What are some ways you have responded to the pressures of life you face? Good and bad!

2. Do you agree that finding time alone with God is as beneficial as was stated in the message, and what are some reasons we need to find a solitary place.
Mark 1:35  Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
Psa 130:5  I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.
Psa 130:6  My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.

3. While we don’t have a particular Bible verse that states what kind of physical shape Jesus was in, we certainly know He had to have been physically fit to do many of the things He did. Do you agree or disagree that our physical condition plays a role in our ability to handle pressure? Why or why not? Regardless, the following passage seems to indicate we should take good care of our bodies. Why?
1 Cor 6:19  Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;
1 Cor 6:20  you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

4. Jesus focused on His goals and His mission in life. As a result, He was able to handle the pressure because He knew it would be beneficial in the long term. This gave Him added strength to handle the pressure without becoming stressed about things. How could this kind of attitude be beneficial to our lives?

Hebrews 12:2 (NIV) Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:3 (NIV) Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Hebrews 12:4 (NIV) In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.


The Walk of Pressure

Good morning!! I think everyone of us in this room will be able to relate to our message! Let me go ahead and give you our text so you can turn there in your Bibles…Luke 4:38-44
While you're turning there, let me ask you a question or two...

Anybody here ever feel stressed out?
Ever feel the weight of the world is on your shoulders?
Every feel the pressures of life are coming at you from every direction?

Ever feel like you just want to run away from it all?
Ever want to just close the door and crawl back into bed and hope it'll be better when you wake up?
Ever wonder if Jesus could ever understand how you feel?

It's so important you not only hear the message today, but that you apply the principles. For some of you, your life literally depends on it.

Did you know stress can be a killer? Dr. Kenneth R. Pelletier clinical professor of Medicine at the University of Arizona School of Medicine made the following statement in his book, "Mind as Healer, Mind as Slayer"...

"For the first time in history the major causes of death and disease are stress related disorders."

So I urge you to pay attention to the message today.
Let's pray and ask God to teach us by His Word and let His Spirit inspire us through the example of Christ!!


 Today's passage of Scripture amazes me. Until I began preparing for this series, I had never noticed what we're going talk about this morning.

 Last week we talked about the rejection of Jesus in Nazareth, the place where He was brought up. He was run out of the synagogue. They tried to kill Him, but He walked through the crowd and went on His way!

Undeterred from His mission, Jesus traveled to Capernaum and once again spoke at the synagogue. He refocused on His calling to free the captives by driving an evil spirit out of a man! He then left the synagogue. That's where our story picks up today… Luke 4:38...

38Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Simon. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her.
Luke 4:38 (NIV)

39So he bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them.
Luke 4:39 (NIV)

40When the sun was setting, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them.
Luke 4:40 (NIV)

41Moreover, 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 Christ.
Luke 4:41 (NIV)

42At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them.
Luke 4:42 (NIV)

43But he said, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.”
Luke 4:43 (NIV)

44And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
Luke 4:44 (NIV)

Talk about pressure, Jesus was under pressure every day and every where He went! He preached in the synagogue and healed a demon possessed man and then went to Simon's house. Simon's mother was sick, so He heals her.

Remember it was still the Sabbath, but as soon as evening came, the Sabbath ended, so the people were no longer afraid of the religious leaders and they started bringing all of their sick to Jesus to be healed. Even more demon possessed people were set free.   

What a day it had been for Jesus!! He really didn't get much of a break. Very early the next morning He got up and went out to a solitary place, but the people eventually found Him and began putting pressure on Him to stay in their village.

But Jesus, knowing others needed His message, was immediately reminded of His responsibility to preach the good news to as many towns as He could. And talk about pressure…He knew His ministry time was very limited.

As it ended up, He would only have about 3 1/2 years to accomplish all the ministry He was supposed to accomplish.

How in the world did Jesus respond to all this pressure without becoming overcome by stress? Let's take a look...

He responded by getting away to a Solitary Place!!

42At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place...
Luke 4:42 (NIV)

Now we know He didn't have long before the people found Him, but whatever time He had, was absolutely necessary for Jesus to keep the pressure from stressing Him out!

Why did He seek out a solitary place? He needed time to be alone with The Father! He needed time to Pray! I'm sure He meditated on Scripture during this time as well. And sometimes He just needed to regroup and get His thoughts together.

When Jesus received the terrible news of John the Baptist being beheaded by King Herod, Jesus responded by getting away...
Mat 14:13  When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns.

Listen to what happened right after He had fed over five thousand folks with two fish and five loaves of bread...

22Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd.
Matthew 14:22 (NIV)

23After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone,
Matthew 14:23 (NIV)

If Jesus needed alone time, do you think you can survive without it? You can't. I don't care how social you are or how much you love people, God created us with a need to be alone with no one else but God!

It is a real need for each of us. Without it, stress will build to the breaking point. Why does it need to be a solitary place?
Why do you need to be alone?

We need time with God absent of distractions. We need to focus our attention on God alone and sharing our heart with Him in concentrated and meditative prayer!

6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Philippians 4:6 (NIV)

7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7 (NIV)

Once again we ask the question, How in the world did Jesus respond to all this pressure without becoming overcome by stress?

He responded by finding time to Rest!!

Everyone needs a break at times. Everyone! Even Jesus needed to rest. When I was just beginning in ministry, I was trying to win the whole world to Jesus right now!!

My very wise Dad pulled me aside one day and told me he was very worried about me because I was burning the candle at both ends. I think I told him I'd rather burn out than fizzle out!

He told me even Jesus rested at times and reminded me of the following passage...

22One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out.
Luke 8:22 (NIV)

23As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.
Luke 8:23 (NIV)

24The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm.
Luke 8:24 (NIV)

25“Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”
Luke 8:25 (NIV)

26They sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee.
Luke 8:26 (NIV)

27When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. ...Luke 8:27 (NIV)

 I said, "See there, as soon as they got to where they were going, He was right back in the thick of ministry!!"
To which my Dad replied...

 "At least He had the boat ride!"

 He had me there!!!
I read something really impressive while preparing for this message.
Dr. John Edmund Haggai wrote the following in a book first published July 1959, the year I was born...

 "Learn how to work under pressure without working under tension. This you do as you have periodic 'breaks' in your activities…It is only by this procedure that your heart continues to work for seventy years or so...

 And believe me it works. It pumps enough blood through your body every twenty-four hours to fill a railway tanker…The reason it can do this incredible amount of work is because when it is beating moderately it works only nine hours out of twenty-four!"

 Jesus once said this to His disciples…

31Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
Mark 6:31 (NIV)

32So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.
Mark 6:32 (NIV)

 Is there any other teaching about resting in Scripture? How about the Old Testament teaching to have a day of rest?

2By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.
Genesis 2:2 (NIV)

3And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
Genesis 2:3 (NIV)

 Now I want to say something here…I'm not a legalist when it comes to working on Sunday. However, I deeply respect Chic-Filet and the fact they give their people a chance to rest and to worship. Everyone needs a day of rest and if you don't have to work on Sunday, rest.

 If you do have to work on Sunday, then pick another day as your Sabbath and rest and worship. I work on Sundays, so I try to take Tuesday as my day off. It's the day I rest from ministry and spend time with family and sometimes just walk my trails and take pictures.

 I've finally learned I'm not superman and need rest!
One more Scripture on this concept of rest. Jesus summed it up beautifully...

28“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:28 (NIV)

29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Matthew 11:29 (NIV)

30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:30 (NIV)

Life is hard and sometimes ministry is hard, but when you come to Jesus for rest, you'll find His yoke is easy and His burden is light. In other words, He won't put more pressure on you, He will help you carry your load!!! That's what He does. He serves, He helps, He cares!!

Now I know some folks may think I'm stetting it a little bit on this next point, but I hope you'll see my reasoning.

Once again we ask the question, How in the world did Jesus respond to all this pressure without becoming overcome by stress?

Jesus responded to pressure by staying in Good Physical Condition!

I don't have a particular verse of Scripture that states how physically strong Jesus was. However, I want to point out several things to you...

He faced Satan in the desert for 40 days and at the same time fasted. Very few people are strong enough for that!

And Jesus single handedly ran the money changers out of the Temple!!

As I thought about Jesus' ministry, I realized something. He didn't set up a church office and have people come to Him! He went to the people and most of the time He walked! In fact the only time we see Him riding a donkey was when He borrowed one for His triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

Jesus walked by the sea, He walked in the mountains, He walked in the deserts. We know Jesus was very strong physically when we see look at the details of His crucifixion.

Many people would have died after the beating, but Jesus endured that and still carried His Cross much of the distance and remained alive for hours on the Cross even after being nailed to the tree, crown of thorns and all!

During Jesus' life, He faced many pressures, but His physical shape helped Him have strength to endure the pressures without being stressed out!

Okay, here's what the world's experts at the Mayo Clinic say about physical exercise. Let me remind you, that while we've only figured some of these things out in our modern world of medicine, God has known about them because He created us with these traits!

"Exercise increases your overall health and your sense of well-being, which puts more pep in your step every day. But exercise also has some direct stress-busting benefits…

It pumps up your endorphins. Physical activity helps to bump up the production of your brain's feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins.

Although this function is often referred to as a runner's high, a…game of tennis or a nature hike also can contribute to this same feeling.

It's meditation in motion. After a fast-paced game of racquetball or several laps in the pool you'll often find that you've forgotten the day's irritations and concentrated only on your body's movements.

As you begin to regularly shed your daily tensions through movement and physical activity, you may find that this focus on a single task, and the resulting energy and optimism,  can help you remain calm and clear in everything that you do.

 It improves your mood. Regular exercise can increase self-confidence and lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety.

Exercise also can improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress, depression and anxiety. All this can ease your stress levels and give you a sense of command over your body and your life."

Here's what God's Word has to say...

19Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;
1 Corinthians 6:19 (NIV)

20you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
1 Corinthians 6:20 (NIV)

Take care of your body. Exercise and eat right. I don't have time this morning to get into the eat right thing, so I'll just let the Holy Spirit deal with your heart on that one!
Shall we move quickly to my last point before I get into big trouble...

 And last, but definitely not least...

 Jesus responded to pressure by focusing on His Goals!

46I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.
John 12:46 (NIV)

Jesus felt the pressure of being the light of the world. I can't imagine the pressure of knowing your the world's only hope! But rather than despise the pressure, Jesus embraced it and became the light of the world!

Pressure is not all bad. The pressure to meet a deadline, to achieve a goal, to take care of an obligation, to provide for your family, to live a Godly life, to achieve a dream, to save a life, to save a soul, these are all good pressures to have.

When you feel the pressures of life, don't focus on the pressure, or the level of difficulty of the challenge, rather, focus on the outcome, the benefit, the goal, the achievement, the blessing!
It's what Jesus did...

2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:2 (NIV)

3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Hebrews 12:3 (NIV)

4In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
Hebrews 12:4 (NIV)

And listen to Peter's advice to each of us...

6In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
1 Peter 1:6 (NIV)

7These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire —may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
1 Peter 1:7 (NIV)

8Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,
1 Peter 1:8 (NIV)

9for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
1 Peter 1:9 (NIV)

And then there was Paul's amazing words to the Philippian Church...  

10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,
Philippians 3:10 (NIV)

11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Philippians 3:11 (NIV)

12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
Philippians 3:12 (NIV)

13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,
Philippians 3:13 (NIV)

14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:14 (NIV)

 When you know God is working His plans in your life and has you in His hands, you prevent stress because your faith helps you see beyond your circumstances.

 No matter how severe, you realize God's working something greater in your life. Jesus gave us a perfect example of this when He was on trial before Pilate...

10“Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”
John 19:10 (NIV)

11Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”
John 19:11 (NIV)

Jesus had such confidence because He knew nothing could take place in His life without The Father's permission and if it was His time to make the sacrifice, then it was His time and Pilate really didn't have the power he thought he had.

Do you realize what strength this kind of faith response to pressure can bring into your life? What ability to handle pressure and stave off stress?

Let's say your boss brings you bad news…Washington can't get its act together so you're going to be laid off.
Your faith tells you God's got your back! He will provide for me so I can provide for my family!

Your health report comes back with some sobering news. Your faith responds by saying, "I'll take the steps my doctor tells me to take, but ultimately my life is in His hands!"
That kind of attitude right there may add years to your life!

 Or you don't get accepted into the school or program you wanted. Your faith response says, "Wow, I wonder what God's up to? He must have something much better for me and I can't wait to find out what it is!"

 You see, no matter what kind of pressure life throws at you, just keep your eyes on Jesus and know He has a plan for your life and respond accordingly to the pressures and you will overcome!

 Brother Larry, how can I learn to respond to pressure like Jesus did?

1. Find a solitary place to commune with God through prayer and meditation on His Word!

2. Don't forget to make time to rest! Even Jesus had to rest, and don't forget, God rested on the seventh day!

3. Don't forget to take care of your body by eating right and getting exercise! Remember, It is the temple of the Holy Spirit.

4. Focus on God's goals and plans for your life!

11For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

12Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
Jeremiah 29:12 (NIV)

13You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:13 (NIV)

 End of sermon

Preparation Work
ETS: The pressures of ministry followed Jesus even when He left the synagogue!
ESS: The way in which Jesus responded to pressure allowed Him to handle it without becoming stressed out!
OSS: I want my hearers to learn from Jesus how to respond to the pressures of life so they don't become stressed out!
Probing Question: How did Jesus respond to the pressures of life without becoming stressed out!
Unifying Word: Response
Transitional Sentence: Let's look at the ways Jesus responded to the pressures He faced!