Locations

Our Blog

Filter By:

Matthew 8

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 5

 

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 8

Chapters 8 and 9 really are a single unit in this Gospel.  The two chapters provide a record of ten different miracles.  Have you ever wondered why Jesus performed miracles?  One reason is Jesus really cares about people.  So, He often used His power to bring incredible benefit to others even while He was doing without.  Another reason is Jesus’ miracles is one of the ways He proved His identity.  Miracles are not the only evidence of His divine identity.  There are others in the Bible who performed miracles.  2 Thessalonians 2:9 suggests that even Satan can perform “miracles”.  But Jesus’ ability to perform miracles coupled with His character and conduct are inarguable evidence of who He is.  


Let’s look at some of the miracles He performed.

The first one in chapter 8 involved a man who was a leper.  Since we are not real familiar with leprosy, it might be helpful to give you a little background.  Leprosy was a horribly contagious, usually incurable, fatal disease.  It was so feared in the days that Jesus walked on the earth, that there were leper colonies for lepers to live in away from others.  And if a leper ever “came to town”, he had to continually shout “Unclean” to give others the opportunity to create a lot of space between them and the infected one.

In this story, the leper violates that rule.  He walks right up to Jesus, kneels, and asks for healing.  Then Jesus violated a huge rule.  He touched that leper.  Nobody did that.  Ever.  That was a sure fire way to catch leprosy.  Now Jesus was ceremonially unclean.  But the man was miraculously clean.  

In Isaiah 1, the Bible uses leprosy as an illustration for sin.  So, if you apply that illustration to this story, Jesus comes to take away the sin of this man.  That’s pretty cool.

The next miracle had to do with a Centurion’s servant who was paralyzed.  A Centurion was a Roman army officer with responsibilities for at least 100 people.  For the religiously elite folk in Israel, having anything to do with a Roman soldier was almost as bad as intentionally touching a leper.  But that didn’t hinder Jesus.  After an interesting conversation with the Centurion, Jesus simply spoke the word and servant was healed.

The third miracle had to do with Peter’s mother-in-law.  She was sick with a fever.  Here’s a little reminder for you.  The religiously elite folks in Israel didn’t have a lot to do with women either.  In fact, women were second class citizens at best.  And no self-respecting Jew would physically touch a woman he was wasn’t married to.  But Jesus touched this woman and she was immediately healed.

So, what are we to learn from these three miracles?  Obviously, we are to learn that Jesus can indeed perform miracles.  Secondly, we are to learn that Jesus can perform miracles however He wants to (speaking and touching are two examples here).  Third, Jesus was not about to allow a misguided, self-righteous religion stop Him from meeting people at the point of their need.

Jesus came to this earth to seek and to save.  But He is also the Great Physician come to put the broken back together, to give sight to the blind, to give hearing to the deaf, to give liberty to the oppressed, to breathe life back into the dead.

Praise God that Jesus was unwilling to let unnecessary religious ritual stop Him from doing what needed to be done.  May we always hold the needs of people above any restrictions of man-made religion.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

Matthew 7

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

TUESDAY, APRIL 4

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 7

Today we have the third and final chapter that makes up The Sermon on the Mount.  Jesus has had much to say to us about a lot of different things in the three chapters that make up this famous sermon.  But if you look over the entire sermon one more time, you might discover that Jesus really had just one topic throughout the entire message.  I am quite convinced this entire sermon is about how we are to live life in a righteous or right way.

This chapter is no exception.  It begins with a section about judging others and being judged.  We are reminded how easy it is for us to see the smallest flaws in others while we ignore the most grievous flaws in ourselves.  So, you have to be careful about trying to remove a speck from someone else’s eye if you have a two by four sticking out of yours.  You could actually poke someone’s eye out just trying to remove one, tiny, little speck.

From there Jesus talks again about prayer.  We should talk about this for a second.  I think a lot of folks have the notion that God is just a big candy machine producing whatever it is you think you want at the moment you want it.  Then if we don’t get it, we slump away convincing ourselves that God is either unloving or uncaring or incapable of doing what we asked. Yet, in verse 11 we read where God gives good things to those who ask Him.

But did you notice that in this section on prayer, Jesus talked about how a parent might respond to the request of a child?  We should slow down here just a bit and wrestle around with this.  For example, if you had a four year old child asking you for a real gun, I doubt seriously any of you would give that child a gun.  If you had a teenager asking you for methamphetamine, I know none of you would give that teenager that drug.  Here’s my point.  A gun is not necessarily bad but the best thing would be not to give one to a child.  Methamphetamine is always bad and no one should ever give any of that to anyone.

When it comes to prayer and our asking God for stuff, we really need to learn to trust the wisdom and goodness of God.  We may have asked for something it would just be better us not to have at the moment (like a kid wanting a gun).  If God knows that and gives it to us anyway, He is not a good God.  We may have asked for something that it would be better if we never had (like methamphetamine).  If God knows that and gives it to us anyway, He is not a good God.

So, when we are praying and telling God all of the things that we want and think we need, we need to trust the goodness of God.  If we get those things, then Woo Hoo!  If we don’t get those things, then it still should be Woo Hoo because we serve a God who loves us enough to do what is always best for us.

The chapter ends with a story that Jesus tells about two houses: one built on the sand; the other built on the rock.  By the way, these houses aren’t really houses.  They represent lives, yours and mine.

Jesus described exactly identical storms hitting those two houses.  The one built on the sand collapsed.  The one built on the rock withstood the onslaught.  

Since none of us are exempt from the certain storms of life, we really need to think about how we could survive.  In verse 24, Jesus said the way we do that is we listen to and do what He said.  It is not enough just to hear the Word of God.  Doing what God says is most important.  That doesn’t storm proof our lives.  But it does make surviving the storms a real possibility.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

12...8182838485868788899091