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Our DAILY GOSPEL DEVOTIONAL is the story of Jesus from Incarnation to Ascension. This is a chronology and harmony of the gospel accounts in which the ongoing narrative and doctrinal context are carefully considered. In one year we reflect on every passage of every gospel.
May God bless you as we follow the disciples on the journey through the earthly life of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Touching the Master

Matthew 14:34-36 / Mark 6:53-56…

These people recognized who Jesus was. They knew He was powerful, and they knew He was compassionate. They also recognized that they had needs, needs only He could meet.

So they ran to Jesus and for Jesus. They ran to tell others and they ran to catch Him wherever He went to. They finally had something worth chasing.

Then they reached out for Him. Some of these people knew who He was, but many still needed a personal encounter. You can know who Jesus is, but you must have a personal encounter to actually know Him as He is.

Having taken all these steps, they received – Jesus never failed any miracle that He attempted. There were no incurable diseases, cases, or problems that Jesus couldn’t and didn’t deal with (Acts 10:38). In the presence of Jesus is where change happens. But if they did not recognize, run to, and reach out for Him, it was because they did not believe, and so they were not healed. You have to follow along.

Now Jesus isn’t trying to get you to be busy. He isn’t commanding us to follow Him just so that we will lose all our energy. Jesus is not looking to drain you; He is looking to develop you (John 12:26). You lose your life, you stop chasing things that don’t matter, and start reorienting your life to be moving with Him. Then you will have His energy (1 Corinthians 15:10 / Galatians 2:20 / Philippians 2:12-13 / Colossians 1:27-29).

He can be touched; the question is, will we reach out and try (Hebrews 4:14-16)?


Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Focus on Jesus, not on Peter

Matthew 14:22-33 / Mark 6:45-52 / John 6:16-21…

Don’t take this passage and focus on what Peter could have done, or what you think we can do, focus on Jesus and what He is doing and has done. Moses (Exodus 14), Joshua (Joshua 3:14-17), Elijah (2 Kings 2:8), and Elisha (2 Kings 2:13-14) were able to part the waters, but Jesus could walk right on top of them, a testimony to His divinity (Job 9:8). This is not about our faith giving us water walking ability but our faith in a water walking God.

Jesus isn’t calling us to walk on the water; He is calling us to Himself. Sometimes we can seem to do the impossible, but our faith, our trust must finally be in Him alone, for only He cannot fail. I’m not saying don’t attempt great things, I’m saying DO attempt great things, but even if we fail to walk on water, Jesus won’t. Yes, use what God has given you, yes, develop whatever skills you can and use them for the glory of God. Enjoy the good graces that have been bestowed upon you. But walking on water is not our role, and it is not some matter of stirring up our faith so that we can. It is about calling on Jesus who did and who can.

Peter called out to Jesus twice. Like him, we start out by saying, “God help me to rise above my stormy circumstances”, but then sometimes we need to cry out “Lord, save me from the storm, I can’t do it”. Peter cried out, and the Lord saved him. It is not the strength of our faith, but the power of God that saves us.

You don’t have to walk on water, you just walk by faith, and if you do, the waves may get high and the wind might get strong but you will never sink without being able to call on Christ, who will never leave us nor forsake us.  We walk by faith, not by sight, and we walk by the Spirit, not by the flesh. It is not that Jesus gives us the power to save ourselves; it is that Jesus is the power to save us, and He does save us. That is the essence of the gospel message.   


Monday, May 02, 2016

Grasping for God

Matthew 14:13-21 / Mark 6:30-44 / Luke 9:10-17 / John 6:1-15…

The setting to this passage is important. John the Baptist was beheaded, and so things were getting tough. Jesus had been speaking in parables, healing and delivering people. Now He was going to widen the scope in displaying His power. He was not just the King of the Jews, but Lord over all creation (Colossians 1:16-17 / Hebrews 1:2-3). Jesus was extending His reach, in public. Yes, His reach was infinite, but His current grasp was focused on individuals. Now He would extend that public reach to grasp out groups for the display of His glory. 

The disciples were part of the grasp, and the hand that would reach out. Jesus had given them a measure of power and sent them out. They came back wore out. He tells them to find rest, yet suddenly He asks them to go beyond the power He had given before and to reach out for more than they had previously known. 

He does the same with us. He calls on us to reach out further than we have. Often, like the disciples, we come with the same report; we don’t have the power, or the provision. But it is because we don’t have the proper person in mind. We think of ourselves or the size of the situation, but Jesus calls us to think of Him, and to bring the thing His way.

We feel like we have no provision, but the provision is always Jesus Himself. He is what we are to feed others on, whether or not we have physical bread. He is the True Bread, and if people eat of Him, they will be satisfied. He will always bring enough to the table, no matter how large the crowd or how little the means.

Jesus gives to us so that we might give to the people. He wants to amaze us, not for us to amaze others. Jesus wants us to be portraits of His grace, not trophies of our own greatness. Knowing that, will you extend the hand and grasp what God is reaching for?