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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.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Scumbags and sickos

Matthew 9:9-13 / Mark 2:13-17 / Luke 5:27-32…

Jesus calls people who others think He has no right to. But the Great Physician knows those who know they are sick. Those who think they are well, without any need of a remedy, or without any ongoing, managed care, these are those who scoff at the services of the Divine Doctor. They don’t think they need Him, and they don’t like who He helps and heals, and who He hangs out with (1 Corinthians 4:11-13). These types need to learn a lesson (Hosea 6:6). Jesus answered their question of “why would you?” with “why wouldn’t you?”

The tax collectors were treated like traitors, but all who are not with Christ are traitors to God. A doctor doesn’t come to call on your home and berate you for being sick; he prescribes a course of action to get well. There are sick people everywhere, and they are more than sick, they are spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1-3). Anywhere and everywhere is where the devil has his children, and anywhere and everywhere is where the battle rages, and so anywhere and everywhere is where we need ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20-21). The gospel is for all nations, tribes, and tongues (Matthew 28:19-20 / Acts 1:8 / Revelation 7:9), for all people groups, social groups, genders, and ages (Acts 2:17-18 / 1 Timothy 2:1-4), but most of the time it comes to those who aren’t regarded well by the world (1 Corinthians 1:26-29).

The modern cliché is that a church is not a showcase for saints, but a hospital for sinners. That is good as far as it goes, but it does not go far enough. The truth is that yes, the church is a hospital for sinners, but it is for those who know they are sinners. Those who come to a hospital are not there to stay sick, but to get well. Those that seem to want to stay sick are perhaps those who think that they are already well, just by virtue of being at the hospital. The church is a hospital, but it is also to be a holy habitation, a place for those who have gotten well, and these also know they need to provide hospice care for one another while we are on the way to heaven.

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Monday, February 20, 2017

Down and determined

Matthew 9:1-8 / Mark 2:1-12 / Luke 5:17-26…

Sometimes what Jesus is doing is not supposed to be a secret, and indeed, it can become quite a spectacle. This is when we have to give our prayers legs, and put our faith in action. Sometimes we have to be someone else’s legs in order to get them to Jesus. Even then, it may take more than one of us, and it may take extraordinary measures to bring someone close to Jesus.

Oh, be sure that there will be people who think you are just making a mockery of God and a fool of yourself. It is always that way when the “regular folks” are going hard after God. It may cause a ruckus, and it may be “out of order”, but these are the very situations where Jesus proves His authority over both sickness and sin. The religious crowd always takes umbrage, but Jesus is looking for faith, not finger pointing. In this scenario, Jesus perceives their thoughts, and He further challenges the sanctimonious scoffers by linking His healing power to His ultimate authority. He is no mere miracle worker, He is the Son of God, and not a blasphemer at all.

The crowds felt the fear of the Lord, and marveled that a man could have such power invested in them. It is always worth it to go the extra mile, and climb wherever we need to go, and take the steps someone else can’t take to get them to Jesus. That is the place where others can stand amazed and say, “We have seen extraordinary things today.”

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Sunday, February 19, 2017

Show and tell

Matthew 8:1-4 / Mark 1:40-45 / Luke 5:12-16…

People want to be healed and helped, and Jesus is indeed willing, but there is a greater purpose than the mere ministry of the body. The crowds were filled with enthusiasm but not filled with comprehension. They understand in the temporal sense, but the greater healing, the deeper meaning, the eternal reality, that God in the flesh was among them, was apparently escaping some of them. Healing of infirmity is wonderful but healing for eternity is greater, and Jesus was much more than a healer of the body, He was and is the only true healer of souls.

Sometimes, when Jesus helps and heals us, it is not yet time to tell the whole world about it. Rather, it is time to be obedient, and get back into those things that are expected of whole people. Just because Jesus breaks the patterns of sin doesn’t mean we are free to break the patterns of life. You need to let your life show that you have been healed, and its purpose, being obedient, rather than just trying to go and tell everyone about it, without the obedience. If we want to be mature, we won’t let our zeal make our announcements premature. When we are healed the first place to go is not the public square, but into the secret place, for the sacred giving of thanks.

Jesus could no longer openly enter a town. The man went out to tell everyone, in spite of Jesus’ command, and the movement of God was redirected, in spite of the man’s zeal. Can Jesus openly be on the move through your life, or do you limit the move of God by your disobedience? When they would press, He would pray. Jesus intercedes for you (Romans 8:34 / Hebrews 7:25), but do you go along and show the deeper meaning of healing by your obedience?

Because of our disobedient enthusiasm, people may come to Jesus for the wrong reasons, not that it is wrong to come to Him to be helped and healed, but that then all people are looking for is their Jesus fix, instead of being Jesus’ followers. They want to come and then go on their way instead of following His way. People want to get healed and helped without having to then be obedient, and oh how it is like this in our churches today, more especially for those who won’t even go to church! We approach Jesus when we want our fix, but our hearts are not fixed on Him. Jesus wants us to be devoted, not just when we think we need Him, but realizing that we are always in need, and therefore we obediently follow Him all along the way.

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