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Monday, February 19, 2018

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.


Sunday, February 18, 2018

Leaving it all behind

Luke 5:1-11…

The crowd was pressing in to hear the word of God, but the vision of just how glorious was the Teacher came to Peter. The word of Christ goes out, it teaches, but then Jesus calls someone to see what they were hearing.

Jesus announced good news to Peter. He wasn’t saying, “You’ve tried that, now try this”. He was saying, “Do this because I have already ordained its success”. Jesus knows where the fish are, He is the one who sets up the catch. Jesus is God, and God is the one who brings the fish into the net. Peter is learning the lesson of listening, and he obeys the word. Upon seeing with obedient eyes, the word of the Word reaches him, and then he reaches out, for help. In the light of Jesus, Peter goes from confidence to contrition (Isaiah 6:5).

Too often we cannot get a holy handle on temporal wealth, because we are spoiled with our own ideas of success. It is not wrong to do well, and it is right to be excellent about your work. But we must remember the real work. If I’m looking for the wrong sort of success, and I find Jesus, I find out I’m sinful. Jesus can bust the nets and sink the boats, but if you think that is what He is about, well, you haven’t actually heard Him. What He is about is getting you to listen to Him, not for your success, as you would define it, but for your obedience, which is success as He defines it. Jesus was telling Peter, “I could make you the most successful person ever at your current profession, but now you are to be my possession, and so on to new work you go.” He will show us what He wants, and He will give us what we need, if we will do it (Matthew 6:33).

It is not for fear; the other things you think you want are what bring the fear when you can’t, don’t, or won’t have them. Instead, the perfect love of Jesus drives out fear (1 John 4:18). He is transforming your whole essence, how you think, how you hear, how you see, what you say, how you behave, what you believe, what you do. If you follow His way, you will see His fish, they are right there for the catching.

He is the catch: be willing to leave everything else behind.


Saturday, February 17, 2018

Faces in the crowd

Matthew 4:23-25 / Mark 1:39 / Luke 4:44…

Today, very few have never heard the name of Jesus. He’s not physically with us, but mentioning His name still draws attention, and most of the time, if spoken of in truth, it will not be a positive reaction. Oh, there may be smiles, but let Him press His claims, and those smiles will turn to scorn. It has always been so (John 6:53-67). People are comfortable with a distant Jesus; they will even follow Him in somewhat veiled admiration. But bring Him near, on His terms, rather than rushing to Him on their terms, and then the truth of their hearts will arise.

People may rush upon the Master, and may follow along for a while, but when truly tested, we see that some only tasted (Hebrews 6:4-6), they didn’t really swallow. People want His deliverance, but they do not want His divinity, for that would mean their subjection. People want to touch His hand, but they do not want to bow the knee. People will freely follow along as long as they can freely turn around. Those captured by Christ, however, are part of the triumphal procession of God’s slaves (2 Corinthians 2:14-16).

People are helped, healed, delivered, and crowds follow. We may want great open displays of deliverance, but what we fail to realize is that every single person who is not a part of the kingdom of God is under the power of the devil (1 John 5:19), and everyone who has been saved has had to be delivered from demonic powers. That is what salvation is, being delivered, and we cannot do it ourselves, but when we believe the gospel of Jesus Christ it delivers us.

Are you being delivered, or are you just one of the crowds following along?