Four ‘Yea Lord’s’ in the Gospels
Howard Coles, Coleford, England
There are four occasions in the gospels where people replied to a question or statement of the Lord with the words, 'Yea, Lord'.
'Yea, Lord' - Out of Darkness, Matt 9. 27-31
These two seem to have had great faith! They acknowledge Him as Messiah, 'Thou son of David'. In Matthew's gospel this title occurs nine times; appropriate to the One who is presented by Matthew as King. Initially the Lord seems to pass them by; maybe to test their faith. For similar instances see:- The Syrophenician Woman, 15. 23; Blind Bartimaeus, 20. 30.
The Lord asks them a question, 'Believe ye that I am able to do this?' v. 28. They answer from the darkness, 'Yea, Lord'. It is good to be able to reply in like manner to the Lord from the very darkest of circumstances! Job answered in similar vein; when confronted by personal disaster he said, 'The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord', Job. 1. 21.
Yea, Lord' - Out of Dust, Matt. 15. 21-28
In Mark 7. 26 this woman is described as a Syrophenician belonging to a district of Syria. It appears that the Lord comes near to the borders of that land, the woman having 'come out of the same borders', v. 22, into the neighbourhood of Tyre and Sidon. Though her country was under a curse she sought help from the Lord whose fame had gone before Him, see Mark 7. 24. Her daughter was completely dominated by satanic power; only divine grace could reach her.
The disciples appear to be more concerned with their own circumstances and comfort than with those in need around them and they request that she be sent away, however the Lord has other plans.
She addresses Him as 'Son of David', v. 26, but He does not answer. Two reasons would explain this:- 1) He is seeking to draw out and strengthen her faith, and 2) she had addressed Him as 'Son of David'. Throughout the Old Testament no Canaanite had ever received anything from a Son of David; she had no claim on Him as Son of David. A similar position today is where many who do not know God address Him as Father in the so called Lord's prayer. However they cannot receive spiritual blessings until there is an acknowledgement of their sinnership and of Christ as Saviour.
The Lord answers her through the disciples, v. 24. He gives the reason for His silence, as His ministry at that stage was exclusively for Israel. However she doesn't become discouraged; the Lord has held out hope for her as He refers to those 'lost'. If these existed in 'the House of Israel' how much more was she and her family 'lost'?
In verses 25 and 26 the Lord takes her further in her acknowledgement of her position and this she now admits. She is down now in the dust of humility under the children's table. 'Truth (Yea), Lord'; only then when in this position may the Lord come out in blessing and healing power.
'Yea, Lord' - Out of Death, John 11. 1-27
What a test this was for this beloved family and yet the Lord says, 'This sickness is for the glory of God', v. 4. Has this not been true down through to this day with many a saint bringing glory to God through sickness? The Lord comes to Bethany and the two sisters meet Him. Martha still seems not to appreciate who the Lord is, for she says, 'I know that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee', v. 22. The word 'ask' here is the request of an inferior to a superior. She had not yet grasped the truth of His deity! See John 17. 15 where the word 'pray' is a different word meaning the request of one who is equal. However in verse 27 after the great 'I AM' statement of the Lord she says out of circumstances of death 'Yea, Lord'.
An acknowledgement of the Lordship of Christ in circumstances which to us seem altogether mysterious and hard, is surely where the Lord wants us all to arrive.
'Yea lord' - Out of Devotion, John 21. 15-28
On the first two occasions the Lord asks Peter, 'Lovest thou me?' He uses the word agape, vv. 15, 16, but the third time He uses the word phileo, v. 17. Although usually agape is the stronger word it would appear that in this context phileo is stronger as the Lord reserves it till last. Peter really answers out of a heart filled with devotion for the Lord. Nothing was going to be too much trouble for him now; he would go anywhere; do anything in the Lord's service. He obeys the Lord's command, Feed my sheep', as fully as he knows how. At the end it becomes true of Him as the Lord had predicted, v. 18b, 'when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee and carry thee whither thou wouldest not'. He does not deliberately seek martyrdom but is quite prepared to, and eventually does, die for the Lord.
Only with hearts motivated and filled with love for Christ will we be able to go on for Him.