Food for the Soul
Food for the Soul
42 “What if someone leads one of these little ones who believe in me to sin? If they do, it would be better if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea. 43-44 If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It would be better for you to enter God’s kingdom with only one hand than to go into hell with two hands. In hell the fire never goes out. 45-46 If your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It would be better to enter God’s kingdom with only one foot than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. 47 If your eye causes you to sin, poke it out. It would be better for you to enter God’s kingdom with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell. 48 In hell, “ ‘The worms that eat them do not die. The fire is not put out.’ (Isaiah 66:24) 49 Everyone will be salted with fire. 50 “Salt is good. But suppose it loses its saltiness. How can you make it salty again? Have salt among yourselves. And be at peace with each other.”
Jesus is giving some pretty heavy warnings to his disciples about the eternal cost of sin.
As a new Christian this passage used to scare me as I’d heard story’s where people had actually mutilated themselves so that they would no longer sin. Now I see that loosing an eye, or a hand or a foot is actually not going to change my heart, where sin is birthed. Only God’s grace, my humility and repentant heart before him is the only way that my heart & therefore my desire to sin is changed.
My life is to reflect Jesus – that is what discipleship is about – so that in time others too will reflect Jesus. I need to make sure how I live, my attitudes, actions, decision, lifestyle, will not lead another Christian into sin, that they will not follow a wrong example.
Lord help me to always be aware of who it is that I represent as a follower of Jesus, You – that others will rightly see You through my life.
Written by Suzie Hodgson
38 “Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name. We told him to stop, because he was not one of us.” 39 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me. 40 Anyone who is not against us is for us. 41 What I’m about to tell you is true. Suppose someone gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah. That person will certainly not go without a reward.
“He’s not of our group!”
The passage before these verses reveals the heart of the disciples at this time, arguing about their status. Self importance was the focus, not the purpose and work of Jesus.
When quizzed by Jesus about these discussions, John seems to highlight their elite status as Jesus’ chosen disciples by mentioning someone outside their group performing exorcisms in Jesus name. Surely Jesus would condemn this activity?
Rather, Jesus points to the validity of this healing from demon possession because the man is “on our side”. God is acting through this man of faith. By his actions, the man is bringing honour to God. That is why Jesus does not want the disciples to stop him. Even the smallest actions in helping God’s people are something which bring honour to God (v41). Giving myself for God to use me is what it is about. I may be behind the scenes or up front, but do my actions honour him and support those doing his will.
Dear Jesus, use me today to bring you honour, by the way I think, speak and give my time. Help me to testify of your transforming power in my life. Amen
Written by Claire Moore
33 Jesus and his disciples came to a house in Capernaum. There he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?” 34 But they kept quiet. On the way, they had argued about which one of them was the most important person. 35 Jesus sat down and called for the 12 disciples to come to him. Then he said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last. They must be the servant of everyone.” 36 Jesus took a little child and had the child stand among them. Then he took the child in his arms. He said to them, 37 “Anyone who welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me. And anyone who welcomes me also welcomes the one who sent me.”
It’s not about me.
The life of being a Jesus follower is the life of letting go of worrying about making sure I get what I want and what I think I deserve. It is amazing how frequently my mind turns to this kind of worry:
Jesus is teaching me here that these questions are irrelevant. He is instead calling me to welcome Him in every opportunity in life. And to welcome Jesus is to live a life that welcomes others.
I am even more amazed how stress seems to vanish as I let go of these personal and internal demands and expectations I have. Realising it is not about me is very freeing!
Lord may my life be open to welcoming others so that you would be welcome in the very centre of my life. Amen
Written by Andrew Mellor
30 They left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were. 31 That was because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be handed over to men. They will kill him. After three days he will rise from the dead.” 32 But they didn’t understand what he meant. And they were afraid to ask him about it.
So hands up those who have felt they don’t understand what God is saying, or where He is taking us?! I thought so! It is comforting to me that the disciples who had spent time with Jesus in person still didn’t get it and were afraid to ask.
Someone once said to me to stop seeking the will of God, instead seek the face of God. It has been good advice and I see it reflected here. Maybe it is Ok to leave the details to God, and instead just focus on spending time with God.
It turns out God is pretty good with what’s ahead, He will tell us what we need to know when we need to know it. In our science based culture where we need to know what, where and why, we need to learn to relax and let God run things. The closer we are to God, it’s not that we will Know more, but maybe it’s that our faith and experience will let us Trust more.
Lord, help me put aside all the distractions around me. Help me to keep my eyes on you no matter what and help me to trust you enough to walk in your footsteps. Grow my faith Lord. In Jesus name. Amen
Written by Christine Knight
14 When Jesus and those who were with him came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them. The teachers of the law were arguing with them. 15 When all the people saw Jesus, they were filled with wonder. And they ran to greet him. 16 “What are you arguing with them about?” Jesus asked. 17 A man in the crowd answered. “Teacher,” he said, “I brought you my son. He is controlled by an evil spirit. Because of this, my son can’t speak anymore. 18 When the spirit takes hold of him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth. He grinds his teeth. And his body becomes stiff. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit. But they couldn’t do it.” 19 “You unbelieving people!” Jesus replied. “How long do I have to stay with you? How long do I have to put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” 20 So they brought him. As soon as the spirit saw Jesus, it threw the boy into a fit. He fell to the ground. He rolled around and foamed at the mouth. 21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “Since he was a child,” he answered. 22 “The spirit has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us. Please help us.” 23 “ ‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for the one who believes.” 24 Right away the boy’s father cried out, “I do believe! Help me overcome my unbelief!” 25 Jesus saw that a crowd was running over to see what was happening. Then he ordered the evil spirit to leave the boy. “You spirit that makes him unable to hear and speak!” he said. “I command you, come out of him. Never enter him again.” 26 The spirit screamed. It shook the boy wildly. Then it came out of him. The boy looked so lifeless that many people said, “He’s dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand. He lifted the boy to his feet, and the boy stood up. 28 Jesus went indoors. Then his disciples asked him in private, “Why couldn’t we drive out the evil spirit?” 29 He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”
What was it that frustrated Jesus? In this passage we see that it was unbelief – on the part of the disciples, and the father – that frustrated Him. Frustration is defined as the feeling of being annoyed or upset as a result of being unable to change or achieve something.
Jesus had power over the wind and the waves, He could command demons to flee, He could feed thousands with a few pieces of bread and fish, and He could even raise the dead… and the crowds and disciples had seen all this! Yet they still struggled to believe in Jesus. His consistent demonstration of power and integrity had not changed the state of unbelief in many hearts, and Jesus was exasperated by this.
God governs the whole universe, yet He respects the freedom He has given us and does not force us to have faith. What patience Jesus has, that He continues to walk amongst foolish people, showing compassion and grace, when we struggle with unbelief.
God, I acknowledge that I struggle with unbelief. Please help me to be expectant and to look with eyes of faith. Help me to recall to mind how great you are and the miracles you have done. I do not want to cause you frustration Jesus, I want to live each day with bold faith. Amen.
Written by Bethany Waugh
2 After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him. He led them up a high mountain. They were all alone. There in front of them his appearance was changed. 3 His clothes became so white they shone. They were whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. 4 Elijah and Moses appeared in front of Jesus and his disciples. The two of them were talking with Jesus. 5 Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters. One will be for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 6 Peter didn’t really know what to say, because they were so afraid. 7 Then a cloud appeared and covered them. A voice came from the cloud. It said, “This is my Son, and I love him. Listen to him!” 8 They looked around. Suddenly they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus. 9 They came down the mountain. On the way down, Jesus ordered them not to tell anyone what they had seen. He told them to wait until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. 10 So they kept the matter to themselves. But they asked each other what “rising from the dead” meant. 11 Then they asked Jesus, “Why do the teachers of the law say that Elijah has to come first?” 12 Jesus replied, “That’s right. Elijah does come first. He makes all things new again. So why is it written that the Son of Man must suffer much and not be accepted? 13 I tell you, Elijah has come. They have done to him everything they wanted to do. They did it just as it is written about him.”
I gotta say it – I love this passage of the Bible! Two legends of the old testament meeting with Jesus, dazzling white, Peter calling out and interrupting them, God getting involved in real time affirming His son and telling the disciples to listen to him. Wow! It blows my mind.
I’m going to be busy when I die. I should say when my body dies because in Christ, because he has defeated death, I have a purpose that goes beyond this life just like Moses and Elijah had. What an honour for them! To talk to Jesus just before the cross – his death in my place and glorious resurrection victory over my sin and death. Why were they chosen? Was it to encourage Jesus? Did Jesus ask for them especially? What will Jesus especially ask of me when I’m on the other side of eternity? I know it will be a joy and privilege beyond anything I could possibly imagine. That verse in 1 Corinthians 2:9 is so true – no mind has seen and no ear has heard and no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him!
Written by Boudy Van Noppen
34 Jesus called the crowd to him along with his disciples. He said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must say no to themselves. They must pick up their cross and follow me. 35 Whoever wants to save their life will lose it. But whoever loses their life for me and for the good news will save it. 36 What good is it if someone gains the whole world but loses their soul? 37 Or what can anyone trade for their soul? 38 Suppose anyone is ashamed of me and my words among these adulterous and sinful people. Then the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” 9 Jesus said to them, “What I’m about to tell you is true. Some who are standing here will not die before they see that God’s kingdom has come with power.”
This is probably one of the most challenging passages in the Bible for me, and I am sure for others too. When I read it with deep consideration, the conviction is strong.
What does it mean to deny oneself and take up the cross?
What does it mean to “lose your life for Jesus and for the gospel?”
What does “being ashamed of Jesus and his words” look like?”
I am afraid to admit that I have failed in all three accounts, during times in my life. I have put myself before Christ, and therefore have not denied myself. I have not been in a position where I could lose my life for the sake of the gospel, but I have been in a position where I could be outcast or ridiculed by friends or colleagues?
There are times when I have not spoken up to proclaim the gospel, and this sadly, can be due to fear, which is a form of shame. Fear of man more than fear of God.
What an awful thought to imagine the Son of Man being ashamed of me, when he arrives in his Father’s glory! I certainly do not want that.
And so my prayer this morning, Father, is that you will forgive me for the times I have not put you in the forefront of my life, and that I have expressed shame by my actions or inactions. Help me to be stronger and more faithful in You, and to be prepared to lay down all of my life for you, even to the point of losing my life. Amen.
Written by Steve Fell
31 Jesus then began to teach his disciples. He taught them that the Son of Man must suffer many things. He taught them that the elders would not accept him. The chief priests and the teachers of the law would not accept him either. He must be killed and after three days rise again. 32 He spoke clearly about this. Peter took Jesus to one side and began to scold him. 33 Jesus turned and looked at his disciples. He scolded Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You are not thinking about the things God cares about. Instead, you are thinking only about the things humans care about.”
Just a few verses before this passage, we read of the pivotal moment where Jesus asks Peter the well known question “Who do you say that I am?” and Peter responds with the correct and profound answer – “You are the Messiah (God’s chosen anointed one)”.
How is it then, that a couple of verses later we see Peter rebuking Jesus after He reveals to Peter the plan of His future suffering, death and resurrection? Telling God’s Chosen One that He is wrong! Really?!?
Clearly, God’s plans are not always so palatable to us poor mortals. We squirm and recoil and complain at the thought of suffering and trials, and sometimes even have the audacity to tell God He is wrong.
But Jesus’ response to Peter is firm – if you try to stand in the way of God’s plans, you are not on God’s side (ouch!). If you judge situations only from your own perspective, you will find it difficult to accept that God may have a different plan to what you had in mind.
As I read Jesus’ rebuke, “you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns”, I am asking myself where this statement might apply to my life?
I can’t help but have human concerns – I am after all, human! But I can ask God to help me see and understand things from His perspective, which gives me the ability to frame my human concerns with an eternal perspective.
Father God, may I stand with Your plans even when they are uncomfortable to me, and may You help me to set my mind on the things above and not on the things of this earth.
Written by Shelley Witt
27 Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?” 28 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist. Others say Elijah. Still others say one of the prophets.” 29 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.” 30 Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.
In this passage, Jesus asks his disciples (including us) two important questions.
The first question refers to the voices, the people who surround us and influence us. But, the most important question is who do you say that Jesus is?
Peter had a revelation that the man standing before him was the Christ, the Messiah, and he spoke it out loud. More than believe it, he spoke it.
So, who do I say that Jesus is? Not just what I have been taught, but who has Jesus revealed himself to me as? Jesus usually reveals himself at our point of need. Our greatest need is salvation, so Jesus is our saviour. But that is not our only need.
Maybe the need is for healing, or of provision. It is important for us to say who Jesus is to us.
Jesus, thank you for revealing yourself to us, in ways that are meaningful and relevant to our need. Jesus, you are my restorer.
Written by Andrew Martin
22 Jesus and his disciples came to Bethsaida. Some people brought a blind man to him. They begged Jesus to touch him. 23 He took the blind man by the hand. Then he led him outside the village. He spit on the man’s eyes and placed his hands on him. “Do you see anything?” Jesus asked. 24 The man looked up. He said, “I see people. They look like trees walking around.” 25 Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened so that he could see again. He saw everything clearly. 26 Jesus sent him home. He told him, “Don’t even go into the village.”
I love how physical this healing is. There is nothing neat about this process.
Jesus, the Son of God, spits on this man’s eyes… Really? Almighty God doesn’t pick a cleaner or more clinical option? Perhaps a more spiritual alternative? Why?
It says Jesus lays hands on the man’s eyes more than once, and even asks him part way through, “do you see anything?” It’s so everyday, so grounded… Yet the results are miraculous. No sight. Sight. Dependent. Independent. Isolated. Connected. Wow!
Am I trusting God, that He can move in the everyday and the ordinary, to do the miraculous? Am I looking for God to turn up in the mess and mundane of life? Do I dare to believe that God is more than comfortable in humble circumstances?
God, help me to expect more of you and to trust that you are the one who brings the super to my natural. Help me to step out in the everyday and trust that you will bring the extraordinary. Amen!
Written by Beth Waugh
11 The Pharisees came and began to ask Jesus questions. They wanted to test him. So they asked him for a sign from heaven. 12 He sighed deeply. He said, “Why do you people ask for a sign? What I’m about to tell you is true. No sign will be given to you.” 13 Then he left them. He got back into the boat and crossed to the other side of the lake. 14 The disciples had forgotten to bring bread. They had only one loaf with them in the boat. 15 “Be careful,” Jesus warned them. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees. And watch out for the yeast of Herod.” 16 They talked about this with each other. They said, “He must be saying this because we don’t have any bread.” 17 Jesus knew what they were saying. So he asked them, “Why are you talking about having no bread? Why can’t you see or understand? Are you stubborn? 18 Do you have eyes and still don’t see? Do you have ears and still don’t hear? And don’t you remember? 19 Earlier I broke five loaves for the 5,000. How many baskets of pieces did you pick up?” “Twelve,” they replied. 20 “Later I broke seven loaves for the 4,000. How many baskets of pieces did you pick up?” “Seven,” they answered. 21 He said to them, “Can’t you understand yet?”
Yesterday’s Daily Digest covered Jesus performing a miracle of the provision of food to feed 4000 people.
From that event word of the miracle spread fast and the Pharisees came to confronted Jesus demanding another miracle to prove to them he had authority from Heaven.
Jesus seems to have been deeply affected by their demands but instead of proving to them his authority to perform miracles he declined saying ‘they would not be given a sign’.
Later he said to his disciples “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees.” If you are wondering what Jesus meant by this, it is clearly defined in Luke 12:1 as “hypocrisy”.
The word ‘hypocrisy’ in Jesus’s time meant to wear a mask and referred to a ‘stage actor’. Simply put hypocrisy is when your words and actions don’t match.
This has left me thinking, what things am I saying that don’t match my actions. – For me the big one is making promises I don’t keep.
So, take the opportunity today to listen to what you are saying and judge for yourself, are you being true to your words. Are you being deceptive in a way that hurts other people.
Lord, reveal to me today at least one way in which I am being hypocritical and given me the grace to change my life in this area.
Written by David Newton
8 During those days another large crowd gathered. They had nothing to eat. So Jesus called for his disciples to come to him. He said, 2 “I feel deep concern for these people. They have already been with me three days. They don’t have anything to eat. 3 If I send them away hungry, they will become too weak on their way home. Some of them have come from far away.” 4 His disciples answered him. “There is nothing here,” they said. “Where can anyone get enough bread to feed them?” 5 “How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked. “Seven,” they replied. 6 He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. He took the seven loaves and gave thanks to God. Then he broke them and gave them to his disciples. They passed the pieces of bread around to the people. 7 The disciples also had a few small fish. Jesus gave thanks for them too. He told the disciples to pass them around. 8 The people ate and were satisfied. After that, the disciples picked up seven baskets of leftover pieces. 9 About 4,000 people were there. After Jesus sent them away, 10 he got into a boat with his disciples. He went to the area of Dalmanutha.
I was talking with someone recently about the Old Testament name for God ‘Jehovah Jireh’. This name translates to mean ‘God will provide’ or ‘God will see to it.’ Not even just that God can provide, but that He will.
We see this characteristic of God in this passage through the actions of Jesus. When Jesus was surrounded by the disciples and the people who were following Him, He was already aware of their hunger & their need for food to eat. He knew before they even got to that point that they would be in this situation, stomachs grumbling. He knew that the need was great – that there would be lots of mouths to feed – but that His ability to see to it & provide was greater. In this instance, Jesus met the hunger of these people in a very real, tangible, and miraculous way, and showed both His incredible power & deep compassion for them at the same time. I wonder what it would have been like to taste and eat the food that Jesus had multiplied? To know that the bread you were eating, in the natural sense, should not have been able to exist?
This is what is so great about the fact that God will provide. It’s not just that He did provide for people in the Bible, like in this passage. He will, and does, continue to see to it for each of us. He knows the situations we will face before we even get there. We too can ‘taste that bread’ when we see what God is able to provide – what God will provide – even when we feel that the situation is too big, too hard, or even impossible.
God, I am so grateful that you are in control, that you are already aware of all the situations I will ever face in life. I thank you that your desire is to see to it, and that you use your incredible power and compassion to provide for me every day. Help me to continue to place my faith in your goodness & provision for my life. Amen.
Written by Madelaine Tarasenko
31 Then Jesus left the area of Tyre and went through Sidon. He went down to the Sea of Galilee and into the area known as the Ten Cities. 32 There some people brought a man to Jesus. The man was deaf and could hardly speak. They begged Jesus to place his hand on the man. 33 Jesus took the man to one side, away from the crowd. He put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. 34 Jesus looked up to heaven. With a deep sigh, he said to the man, “Ephphatha!” That means “Be opened!” 35 The man’s ears were opened. His tongue was freed up, and he began to speak clearly. 36 Jesus ordered the people not to tell anyone. But the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it. 37 People were really amazed. “He has done everything well,” they said. “He even makes deaf people able to hear. And he makes those who can’t speak able to talk.”
Jesus took the man who was deaf and could hardly speak aside, and simply healed him. Then he (Jesus) told the man and his friends, not to tell anyone. What? I think people might notice that there has been a change…
And asked them not to tell others… really he can now hear and speak… healed to hear and to speak …what else would he want to do with his new found voice then talk about this miracle that has completely transformed him…and to hear what others are saying about the man who has done so for him…what else has he done? Who is he? What will he do next? Jesus, is by far the most amazing thing happening to talk about… He has done all things well… He has even made the deaf hear and mute speak.
The irony of this story makes me reflect on the miracle of what Jesus has done for me, he has done all things well, I too should not be able to suppress my enthusiasm for him.
Jesus, you are the best thing that has ever happened to me! You have done all things well. Please help me to know this afresh today. May I not be able to stop thinking and talking about you. Amen
Written by Zoe Stewart
24 Jesus went from there to a place near Tyre. He entered a house. He did not want anyone to know where he was. But he could not keep it a secret. 25 Soon a woman heard about him. An evil spirit controlled her little daughter. The woman came to Jesus and fell at his feet. 26 She was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter. 27 “First let the children eat all they want,” he told her. “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 28 “Lord,” she replied, “even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” 29 Then he told her, “That was a good reply. You may go. The demon has left your daughter.” 30 So she went home and found her child lying on the bed. And the demon was gone.
It is evident from this passage that Jesus was clear on where and to whom he was called to minister. We also see some tenacious faith from the woman from Syrian Phoenicia which results in her daughter being set free from demonic power.
I find myself re-reading verse 27 – Did Jesus just refer to this woman as a dog? Yes he did. No meek and mild Jesus here! No doubt driven by desperation and sheer love for her daughter this woman ignores the insult and respectfully persists. She believes Jesus has the power to set her daughter free from demonic influence once and for all. She is not going to give up hope easily. This woman has had to track Jesus down, he was trying to keep a low profile and then she has to summon the courage to ask him to heal her little girl. Then Jesus knocks her back so she asks again and it’s this faith that ultimately gets her a miracle. Faith made a way!
Two things emerge here: opportunity and not giving up. Jesus was not in Tyre to minister to this woman or her family but she saw the chance of an encounter with Jesus and she took it. Nor was she going to back down easily. Her story is a reminder to us to look for opportunities that are outside the square and to believe. God came through for this woman and her daughter and he can come through for us too.
Dear God, help us to see opportunities and to step out in faith and trust you, Amen.
Written by Ps. Ainslie Woods
17 Then he left the crowd and entered the house. His disciples asked him about this teaching. 18 “Don’t you understand?” Jesus asked. “Don’t you see? Nothing that enters a person from the outside can make them ‘unclean.’ 19 It doesn’t go into their heart. It goes into their stomach. Then it goes out of the body.” In saying this, Jesus was calling all foods “clean.” 20 He went on to say, “What comes out of a person is what makes them ‘unclean.’ 21 Evil thoughts come from the inside, from a person’s heart. So do sexual sins, stealing and murder. 22 Adultery, greed, hate and cheating come from a person’s heart too. So do desires that are not pure, and wanting what belongs to others. And so do telling lies about others and being proud and being foolish. 23 All these evil things come from inside a person and make them ‘unclean.’ ”
I love how these verses speak about the state of our hearts and how that relates to living a life of holiness. Jesus says that it’s not what goes in to us that defiles us, but what comes out. What comes out is determined by the state of our hearts, and so the state of our heart should be a priority for each of us.
In seeking to live a life of holiness, I need to realise that it’s not just external actions that need to be addressed – it is just as much the internal condition of my heart. Changing behaviours without changing what’s within will result in dried up religion. I need to pay attention to my inner life – I need to guard my heart as Proverbs 4:23 encourages – and ultimately I need to submit to Jesus each day so that I am kept in a place of humility and surrender to Him. From this place, goodness can flow from my heart, and I can live a life that honours God.
Lord, thank You that You know me better than I know myself. I pray the prayer of David in Psalm 139 – search me and know my anxious thoughts; reveal in me anything that offends You, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
Written by Matt Samperi
7 The Pharisees gathered around Jesus. So did some of the teachers of the law. All of them had come from Jerusalem. 2 They saw some of his disciples eating food with “unclean” hands. That means they were not washed. 3 The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands to make them “clean.” That’s what the elders teach. 4 When they come from the market, they do not eat unless they wash. And they follow many other teachings. For example, they wash cups, pitchers, and kettles in a special way. 5 So the Pharisees and the teachers of the law questioned Jesus. “Why don’t your disciples live by what the elders teach?” they asked. “Why do they eat their food with ‘unclean’ hands?” 6 He replied, “Isaiah was right. He prophesied about you people who pretend to be good. He said, “ ‘These people honor me by what they say. But their hearts are far away from me. 7 Their worship doesn’t mean anything to me. They teach nothing but human rules.’ (Isaiah 29:13) 8 You have let go of God’s commands. And you are holding on to teachings that people have made up.” 9 Jesus continued speaking, “You have a fine way of setting aside God’s commands! You do this so you can follow your own teachings. 10 Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother.’ (Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16) He also said, ‘Anyone who asks for bad things to happen to their father or mother must be put to death.’ (Exodus 21:17; Leviticus 20:9) 11 But you allow people to say that what might have been used to help their parents is Corban. Corban means A Gift Set Apart for God. 12 So you no longer let them do anything for their parents. 13 You make the word of God useless by putting your own teachings in its place. And you do many things like this.” 14 Again Jesus called the crowd to him. He said, “Listen to me, everyone. Understand this. 15-16 Nothing outside of a person can make them ‘unclean’ by going into them. It is what comes out of them that makes them ‘unclean.’ ”
Jesus does an amazing job in this passage reminding us that our attitudes and the way we think matter just as much as what we actually do. It’s not just what we say but what we think about saying that God hears. The disciples were focused on Jesus and what He was saying and doing so they didn’t do the traditional things that were expected of them. The Pharisees were watching just waiting to catch every little thing they did that wasn’t in line with what was expected of them as the disciples of a teacher. Who would you like to be more like – amazed, fascinated by Jesus or taking a critical eye to everyone and everything around you? I know what means I am a nicer person to be around.
Becoming more like Jesus each day includes Jesus changing the way we think, a little each day, so that our first response in a situation is the loving response. Engaging with God in that process helps us to see the changes, to be more receptive to change, to notice when our first reaction is not what we would like it to be so that we can keep working on our values, beliefs and attitudes. Ask God today to show you one thing where your attitudes need to adjust to become more like His.
Lord thank You that You care about us so much that You want us to understand love – how much You love us and how we should love others and ourselves. Thank You that You want to help us make use of that understanding of love to treat others and ourselves well and that to understand what is important to You. Help us to keep learning throughout our lives to respond how You would like us to in every situation.
Written by Therese Manning
53 They went across the lake and landed at Gennesaret. There they tied up the boat. 54 As soon as Jesus and his disciples got out, people recognized him. 55 They ran through that whole area to bring to him those who were sick. They carried them on mats to where they heard he was. 56 He went into the villages, the towns and the countryside. Everywhere he went, the people brought the sick to the market areas. Those who were sick begged him to let them touch just the edge of his clothes. And all who touched his clothes were healed.
This passage provokes the awe and wonder I have for Jesus. As I read these verses, I can only imagine the scenes of people being immediately drawn to Jesus, seeking healing and a touch from Him. The presence of our Saviour brings an attraction like no other, to those that know of His power and grace.
It wasn’t only this that brought people to Him, but the faithfulness of the people. They knew Who Jesus was, and knew His ability to bring healing. Verse 54 says, “they ran throughout the whole area, carrying sick people on mats to wherever they heard He was”, and this highlights the anticipation and desperation they had to encountering Christ. They knew His abilities, and ran towards Him.
I am encouraged by this, to run to God in all that I face, knowing that He is with me and for me. Jesus brought people in and directed them to Himself. This challenges me to ‘be’ Jesus to those around me and lead them to our King.
God, thank You for the miracles You do in my world every day. Please help me to run towards You in all that I do. May I have complete faith in Your power, and may the way I live proclaim Your faithfulness.
Written by Laura Samperi
45 Right away Jesus made his disciples get into the boat. He had them go on ahead of him to Bethsaida. Then he sent the crowd away. 46 After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray. 47 Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus was alone on land. 48 He saw the disciples pulling hard on the oars. The wind was blowing against them. Shortly before dawn, he went out to them. He walked on the lake. When he was about to pass by them, 49 they saw him walking on the lake. They thought he was a ghost, so they cried out. 50 They all saw him and were terrified. Right away Jesus said to them, “Be brave! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 51 Then he climbed into the boat with them. The wind died down. And they were completely amazed. 52 They had not understood about the loaves. They were stubborn.
Oh the difficulty with our hearts! The disciples could not understand what Jesus was doing, and who He was, because of their hard hearts. Faith could not rise in them, because of their hard hearts. How often do I pray – God make your ways, your will, your plan more obvious to me – without even beginning to think, ‘Lord, first, soften my heart towards you, where it may be hard.’
These disciples had Jesus with them, every day; here He was, walking on the water, calming a raging sea. And still they did not understand him. Perhaps my inability to see God’s ways, will, and plan is more to do with the state of my heart than it is to do with the state of His activity on my behalf!
Lord, soften my heart towards you, where it may be hard. Show me where hardness of heart is preventing me from hearing from you, seeing you at work, understanding what you’re doing, and knowing what I must do in response. Amen.
Written by Ps. Rob Waugh
30 The apostles gathered around Jesus. They told him all they had done and taught. 31 But many people were coming and going. So they did not even have a chance to eat. Then Jesus said to his apostles, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place. You need to get some rest.” 32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to a quiet place. 33 But many people who saw them leaving recognized them. They ran from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When Jesus came ashore, he saw a large crowd. He felt deep concern for them. They were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things. 35 By that time it was late in the day. His disciples came to him. “There is nothing here,” they said. “It’s already very late. 36 Send the people away. Then they can go to the nearby countryside and villages to buy something to eat.” 37 But Jesus answered, “You give them something to eat.” They said to him, “That would take more than half a year’s pay! Should we go and spend that much on bread? Are we supposed to feed them?” 38 “How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked. “Go and see.” When they found out, they said, “Five loaves and two fish.” 39 Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of 100s and 50s. 41 Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish. He looked up to heaven and gave thanks. He broke the loaves into pieces. Then he gave them to his disciples to pass around to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. 42 All of them ate and were satisfied. 43 The disciples picked up 12 baskets of broken pieces of bread and fish. 44 The number of men who had eaten was 5,000.
Jesus has a following – a somewhat reckless following of men, women, children. The crowd’s enthusiasm for Jesus causes them to neglect their own basic needs. The disciples notice this and suggest to Jesus that he pull the plug. “Tell them to pack it up and go feed themselves elsewhere” (paraphrase of verse 35 & 36). “…they don’t have to go home but they can’t stay here.” The suggestion is not only dismissed, but mocked. A window of opportunity presents itself and a miracle occurs.
Jesus was seen as a prophet, in this story we see him at his most profoundly prophetic. Not simply speaking God’s will, but acting it out in front of everybody – like Moses facilitating heavenly manna during the exodus (Exodus 16), the miracle heartily feeds the people. Jesus is the leader that will not only care for them, but the leader who will lead them out of captivity. Imagine the people, all sitting on the grass, eating the miracle food, thinking about how Moses miraculously fed the people in his day.
Jesus’ miracles are not just abstract wonder stories – they have powerful meaning built into them, inviting the witness to not only believe in the miracle, but also in the source of the miracle. Jesus directs us to believe in God’s power to provide for our every need. Hunger? God provides. Sickness? Jesus can make a way. Lack? God satisfies. Death? Jesus has pioneered a new, hopeful future for those that follow him.
Jesus, thank you for your provision. Thank you for your care and concern. Thank you for your love. Help me to rest in confidence knowing the reality of your friendship. Amen.
Written by Sam Stewart
14 King Herod heard about this. Jesus’ name had become well known. Some were saying, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead! That is why he has the power to do miracles.” 15 Others said, “He is Elijah.” Still others claimed, “He is a prophet. He is like one of the prophets of long ago.” 16 But when Herod heard this, he said, “I had John’s head cut off. And now he has been raised from the dead!” 17 In fact, it was Herod himself who had given orders to arrest John. He had him tied up and put in prison. He did this because of Herodias. She was the wife of Herod’s brother Philip. But now Herod was married to her. 18 John had been saying to Herod, “It is against the Law for you to be married to your brother’s wife.” 19 Herodias couldn’t forgive John for saying that. She wanted to kill him. But she could not, 20 because Herod was afraid of John. So he kept John safe. Herod knew John was a holy man who did what was right. When Herod heard him, he was very puzzled. But he liked to listen to John. 21 Finally the right time came. Herod gave a banquet on his birthday. He invited his high officials and military leaders. He also invited the most important men in Galilee. 22 Then the daughter of Herodias came in and danced. She pleased Herod and his dinner guests. The king said to the girl, “Ask me for anything you want. I’ll give it to you.” 23 And he gave her his promise. He said to her, “Anything you ask for I will give you. I’ll give you up to half my kingdom.” 24 She went out and said to her mother, “What should I ask for?” “The head of John the Baptist,” she answered. 25 At once the girl hurried to ask the king. She said, “I want you to give me the head of John the Baptist on a big plate right now.” 26 The king was very upset. But he thought about his promise and his dinner guests. So he did not want to say no to the girl. 27 He sent a man right away to bring John’s head. The man went to the prison and cut off John’s head. 28 He brought it back on a big plate. He gave it to the girl, and she gave it to her mother. 29 John’s disciples heard about this. So they came and took his body. Then they placed it in a tomb.
John the Baptist was undoubtedly a good man. In Matthew 11:11, Jesus states that there has not been a man greater than him!
So what do I do to be like John the Baptist?
– Eat Locusts and Honey
– Wear camel hair clothing
– Be homeless
– Be very outspoken against the religious majority
– Get beheaded
I don’t know about you, but this list doesn’t seem to be all that desirable. As I think about it, I ask myself a few questions:
1) Do I conform to social norms to just fit-in and avoid standing out in society? Is that God’s plan for me?
2) Have I judged others and categorised them as nutters, when really they were a lot more like John the Baptist than I am?
Lord, thankyou for the revelation that I need to be prepared to grow in ways that I sometimes might not expect.
Written by Ps. Justin Ware
Jesus went around teaching from village to village. 7 He called the 12 disciples to him. Then he began to send them out two by two. He gave them authority to drive out evil spirits. 8 Here is what he told them to do. “Take only a walking stick for your trip. Do not take bread or a bag. Take no money in your belts. 9 Wear sandals. But do not take extra clothes. 10 When you are invited into a house, stay there until you leave town. 11 Some places may not welcome you or listen to you. If they don’t, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet. That will be a witness against the people living there.” 12 They went out. And they preached that people should turn away from their sins. 13 They drove out many demons. They poured olive oil on many sick people and healed them.
Shake it off!
A series of episodes where faith releases dramatic miracles (the woman healed of bleeding and Jairus’ daughter raised from the dead), and then in Nazareth Jesus meets such a refusal to believe that it prevented him performing miracles. This is his home town. This is where he should have expected a sympathetic reception. But the level of their unbelief shocks him.
I’d be having a bit of self-doubt at this point.
His disciples were there and saw it all. I’m guessing the experience would have left them feeling discouraged, perhaps less certain about Jesus.
But Jesus moves on to teach in other towns.
And he has a lesson for his disciples. He sends them out with authority to do what he has been doing: teaching and healing. He sends them in their most vulnerable: no food, no money, not even a change of clothes. They will be totally dependent on the reception they receive.
And he tells them what to do when they and their message are not welcome: Shake it off! Literally shake the dust off as a symbol that those people are left in the separation they asked for. And shake it off spiritually and emotionally: Go on to those who will welcome them.
When I get a bad reaction to the something I say about Jesus, I tend to get stuck at Nazareth. The dirt sticks. And I get stuck.
I need to hear the next bit. I need to not put my faith in the judgement of those who reject God. I need to put my faith in Jesus, and the overwhelming, life changing, life giving blessing that he is. I need to shake off that dirt and take him to whoever will welcome him.
That’s not often easy. But the disciples saw the miracles that happen when you do.
Written by David Cornell
6 Jesus left there and went to his hometown of Nazareth. His disciples went with him. 2 When the Sabbath day came, he began to teach in the synagogue. Many who heard him were amazed. “Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given to him? What are these remarkable miracles he is doing? 3 Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son? Isn’t this the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” They were not pleased with him at all. 4 Jesus said to them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own town. He doesn’t receive any honor among his relatives or in his own home.” 5 Jesus placed his hands on a few sick people and healed them. But he could not do any other miracles there. 6 He was amazed because they had no faith.
There is an interesting interplay here between Honour and Power. Jesus, who normally had considerable power to perform miracles found it difficult because of the lack of faith expressed by the people. How was this lack of faith expressed, it was expressed in familiarity to the person, rather than recognition of the authority of the teaching. The gathered people recognised that the teaching was ‘out of the box’ but the person who taught them was familiar and this, at least for some, perhaps many of the crowd impacted the ability of the truth to drive deeply in to the souls of the men and women. They did not honour the person bringing the truth nor did they honour the truth for being the truth.
Where are the times when the ‘packaging’ of something has interrupted my reception of it? Where have I limited my faith expression based on the person or situation a God given opportunity presented itself to me?
Father, help me keep a soft heart to you and in so doing not be more concerned with the wrapping as with the present within.
Written by Ps. Richard Botta
35 While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus. He was the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?” 36 Jesus heard what they were saying. He told the synagogue leader, “Don’t be afraid. Just believe.” 37 He let only Peter, James, and John, the brother of James, follow him. 38 They came to the home of the synagogue leader. There Jesus saw a lot of confusion. People were crying and sobbing loudly. 39 He went inside. Then he said to them, “Why all this confusion and sobbing? The child is not dead. She is only sleeping.” 40 But they laughed at him. He made them all go outside. He took only the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him. And he went in where the child was. 41 He took her by the hand. Then he said to her, “Talitha koum!” This means, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!” 42 The girl was 12 years old. Right away she stood up and began to walk around. They were totally amazed at this. 43 Jesus gave strict orders not to let anyone know what had happened. And he told them to give her something to eat.
This chapter is all about Jesus’ authority. Authority over demons, disease & death. What has caught my attention as I’ve been thinking on these verses is that Jesus knew what he intended to do back at V24, and more determinedly from the moment he heard the messengers tell the father his young daughter was dead V35. Jesus continued to go to the house, taking only 3 of his disciples with him even though there were more travelling with him (why?), He took only the mother and father with the 3 into the room, even though there were more people at the house (why?). He raises the girl from the dead! Then more puzzling, he gives ‘strict’ orders not to let anyone know what happened, V43. Why?
Clearly the girl was up and around and eating & all those who laughed at him would see this. Did Jesus say this to the 5 who were in the room so that they wouldn’t disclose exactly how he raised her from the dead? or was it because he didn’t want what he so clearly did to become a “novelty show”? I don’t have definitive answers, but I do know that Jesus wants people to believe v36 and have faith v34 in him and his authority. First and foremost when I believe and trust Jesus, I open myself for Him to do the most astounding things in my life.
Lord increase my faith.
Written by Suzie Hodgson
24 So Jesus went with him. A large group of people followed. They crowded around him. 25 A woman was there who had a sickness that made her bleed. It had lasted for 12 years. 26 She had suffered a great deal, even though she had gone to many doctors. She had spent all the money she had. But she was getting worse, not better. 27 Then she heard about Jesus. She came up behind him in the crowd and touched his clothes. 28 She thought, “I just need to touch his clothes. Then I will be healed.” 29 Right away her bleeding stopped. She felt in her body that her suffering was over. 30 At once Jesus knew that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd. He asked, “Who touched my clothes?” 31 “You see the people,” his disciples answered. “They are crowding against you. And you still ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ” 32 But Jesus kept looking around. He wanted to see who had touched him. 33 Then the woman came and fell at his feet. She knew what had happened to her. She was shaking with fear. But she told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Dear woman, your faith has healed you. Go in peace. You are free from your suffering.”
I love this well known story of life changing miraculous healing. It speaks to me on so many levels – courage, faith, God’s power and forgiveness.
Forgiveness? Yes. My NIV study bible says the Greek word for “healed’ actually means “saved”. She is blessed by Jesus to “Go in peace (spiritual healing) and be freed from your suffering “(physical healing). God wants us to be fully restored.
I am challenged by the vulnerability displayed by the sick woman. Her public display of faith meant she was vulnerable to religious and cultural condemnation, at a time when it was believed she was ceremonially “unclean” and therefore those in contact with her were likewise. This is why she was trembling with fear when Jesus sought her out (v33). She risked much when she reached out in faith to touch Jesus’s cloak.
Through her faithful actions the power of God is displayed – for all those present and the generations afterwards who have read her story. God’s power was flowing through Jesus for her, right at that moment, in her moment of need and faith.
Her example makes me reflect on my attitude when I face seemingly insurmountable problems. My options are my own strength or activating my faith. Self reliance or reliance on God. Acknowledging I need God’s power to transform my situation may make me feel vulnerable, others may see I don’t have all the answers. That is a great moment when God comes alongside and restores me, and my relationship with him.
Thank you God that when I am vulnerable in my faith your power is displayed. I want to testify to your power in my life whenever I can. Give me the words to say. Amen
Written by Claire Moore
21 Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee in a boat. It landed at the other side. There a large crowd gathered around him. 22 Then a man named Jairus came. He was a synagogue leader. When he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. 23 He begged Jesus, “Please come. My little daughter is dying. Place your hands on her to heal her. Then she will live.” 24 So Jesus went with him. A large group of people followed. They crowded around him.
As I have been reading through Mark I have been stunned by how hard it was for Jesus to do anything in private, the crowds could not get enough of him! But Jesus keeps his mind set on what his Father would have him do. He doesn’t get caught up with the celebrity status of it all. Here again, I see Jesus needing to make a decision in the midst of a massive and demanding crowd.
Lord, you show me by your life that it is possible to remain in the centre of God’s will even while being in the midst of demands, pressures and tumult. Lord you were guided by the Holy Spirit in everything and took opportunities to talk with your Heavenly Father.
Thank you Father that you hear me even when life abounds with demands! Let me hear your clear guiding voice, that I continue to do your will. Amen
Written by Andrew Mellor
5 They went across the Sea of Galilee to the area of the Gerasenes. 2 Jesus got out of the boat. A man controlled by an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him. 3 The man lived in the tombs. No one could keep him tied up anymore. Not even a chain could hold him. 4 His hands and feet had often been chained. But he tore the chains apart. And he broke the iron cuffs on his ankles. No one was strong enough to control him. 5 Night and day he screamed among the tombs and in the hills. He cut himself with stones. 6 When he saw Jesus a long way off, he ran to him. He fell on his knees in front of him. 7 He shouted at the top of his voice, “Jesus, Son of the Most High God, what do you want with me? Swear to God that you won’t hurt me!” 8 This was because Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you evil spirit!” 9 Then Jesus asked the demon, “What is your name?” “My name is Legion,” he replied. “There are many of us.” 10 And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area. 11 A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. 12 The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs. Let us go into them.” 13 Jesus allowed it. The evil spirits came out of the man and went into the pigs. There were about 2,000 pigs in the herd. The whole herd rushed down the steep bank. They ran into the lake and drowned. 14 Those who were tending the pigs ran off. They told the people in the town and countryside what had happened. The people went out to see for themselves. 15 Then they came to Jesus. They saw the man who had been controlled by many demons. He was sitting there. He was now dressed and thinking clearly. All this made the people afraid. 16 Those who had seen it told them what had happened to the man. They told about the pigs as well. 17 Then the people began to beg Jesus to leave their area. 18 Jesus was getting into the boat. The man who had been controlled by demons begged to go with him. 19 Jesus did not let him. He said, “Go home to your own people. Tell them how much the Lord has done for you. Tell them how kind he has been to you.” 20 So the man went away. In the area known as the Ten Cities, he began to tell how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.
It is clear from this passage that an encounter with Jesus is powerful and life changing. This man had tried everything he knew, even the people around him had tried everything worldly wisdom provided to help relieve him of his problems but nothing had worked. The man was destined for destruction. But the encounter with Jesus changed everything. What no man could do was more than possible for the Son of God.
What can I learn? No matter how strong a grip something has on my life or how desperate my situation can be, bringing it to Jesus can completely turn things around and set me free. Secondly, an encounter with Christ does not necessarily mean a call to separate myself from the world. The possessed man in his freedom was called to service in the same area he had experienced his greatest bondage. The call of God on our lives looks different for each one of us.
Heavenly Father, I give my life to you. Help me to surrender everything to you. Help me to be obedient to all that you have called me to. May you be glorified by the way I live. In Jesus Name Amen.
Written by Christine Knight
35 When evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s go over to the other side of the lake.” 36 They left the crowd behind. And they took him along in a boat, just as he was. There were also other boats with him. 37 A wild storm came up. Waves crashed over the boat. It was about to sink. 38 Jesus was in the back, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him up. They said, “Teacher! Don’t you care if we drown?” 39 He got up and ordered the wind to stop. He said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down. And it was completely calm. 40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Don’t you have any faith at all yet?” 41 They were terrified. They asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
Jesus told the disciples to cross over to the other side of the lake. His purpose was to move from one part of the country to another, in order to minister to a different group of people. The storm was an interruption to that journey and it was not Jesus’ purpose, or the purpose of the disciples, to drown in the lake.
I find it interesting that Jesus is described as rebuking the wind and the waves… the dictionary describes the term as to express sharp disapproval or criticism. Historically, it has also meant beating or forcing something back. The picture we get is of Jesus beating or forcing back the waves with His command, and it would seem that He expressed some sort of disapproval of the waves. Jesus was on a mission and He disapproved of the wind and the waves getting in the way.
How do I respond to opposition? What do I do when things rise up and get in the way of what God has called me to? Do I shrink back in fear like the disciples, or do I force back the opposition with the authority of Jesus? Do I express sharp disapproval of that which would get in the way of God’s mission? God, please help me to have a healthy dose of Jesus’ attitude and be prepared to rebuke that which opposes what you’ve called me to. Amen.
Written by Bethany Waugh
26 Jesus also said, “Here is what God’s kingdom is like. A farmer scatters seed on the ground. 27 Night and day the seed comes up and grows. It happens whether the farmer sleeps or gets up. He doesn’t know how it happens. 28 All by itself the soil produces grain. First the stalk comes up. Then the head appears. Finally, the full grain appears in the head. 29 Before long the grain ripens. So the farmer cuts it down, because the harvest is ready.” 30 Again Jesus said, “What can we say God’s kingdom is like? What story can we use to explain it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. 32 But when you plant the seed, it grows. It becomes the largest of all garden plants. Its branches are so big that birds can rest in its shade.” 33 Using many stories like these, Jesus spoke the word to them. He told them as much as they could understand. 34 He did not say anything to them without using a story. But when he was alone with his disciples, he explained everything.
What kind of farmer sows seeds and then is surprised when it grows? Surely every farmer knows that what you put into the ground and care for will grow?
Yet this is not the case with the “kingdom farmers” Jesus is talking about. Jesus describes them as sowers that don’t understand what’s happening underground.
Sometimes I don’t feel very effective for Jesus. You share your faith where you can, openly declare that you’re a follower of Jesus and try to conduct your life to honour him but somehow that “sowing” doesn’t seem to be very effective. What an encouraging passage this is from Jesus! When we think our tiny efforts for God’s kingdom are insignificant and useless, God will make it grow. He will miraculously take the “seeds” of our lives and the conversations we have about the gospel and use them to slowly grow faith in others.
I need to keep sowing in faith! God will make something grow in others whether I’m aware of it or not.
Jesus, thanks so much for this encouragement. Please take my “mustard seed” efforts and turn them into something great – for your glory and pleasure. Amen
Written by Boudy Van Noppen
Phone: +61 2 9875 0300
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