Food for the Soul
Food for the Soul
1 During those days another large crowd gathered. Since they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to him and said, 2 “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. 3 If I send them home hungry, they will collapse on the way, because some of them have come a long distance.” 4 His disciples answered, “But where in this remote place 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. When he had taken the seven loaves and given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people, and they did so. 7 They had a few small fish as well; he gave thanks for them also and told the disciples to distribute them. 8 The people ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 9 About four thousand were present. After he had sent them away, 10 he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the region 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 and 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 vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis. 32 There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged Jesus to place his hand on him. 33 After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. 34 He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means “Be opened!”). 35 At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly. 36 Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone. But the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it. 37 People were overwhelmed with amazement. “He has done everything well,” they said. “He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
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 left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret. 25 In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an impure spirit came and fell at his feet. 26 The woman 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, “for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” 28 “Lord,” she replied, “even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” 29 Then he told her, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.” 30 She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.
What a strange passage, and one of many examples where Jesus responds in a way that I do not expect.
This woman has come to Jesus desperate for His help, and yet He seems to be putting her off in what may sound like rudeness to us. His reference to taking the “children’s bread and toss it to the dogs” reflects the belief of the Jews at the time that gentiles were not worthy to receive from God. Perhaps Jesus was testing her to see how she would respond to this?
Well done to her – this woman passed the test! I think the key to the outcome in this passage is that she displayed two things that Jesus loves – humility and faith.
The woman did not argue with Jesus about whether she was worthy to receive from Him. She just humbly asked again in faith. And Jesus makes it clear that the response that she gets from Him is directly related to the way that she replied to His challenge.
Which makes me think, how do I respond when I am challenged? Do I get angry and demand my rights, or do I respond in humility and faith?
Today I choose to come back to these two basics in my relationship with God – humility and faith. None of us actually deserves anything from Jesus, but He loves to give grace to the humble, and faith is the key to receiving from Him.
Written by Shelley Witt
17 After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. 18 “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? 19 For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.) 20 He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. 21 For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”
The covenant with God was always about our hearts (for example, Deuteronomy 6:5), but a lot of the Law talks about what we should do to live in that covenant. These Pharisees and teachers of the Law have a clear focus on doing the Law, but it seems to have bypassed their hearts. Holiness seems to have become something you do, rather than something you are.
It’s certainly easier to do the actions than to change my heart. But Jesus saw through that: the expression of a sinful heart is sinful actions. The cover up inevitably fails. The purpose of the Law was to reveal the true state of my heart, to show me that I needed rescuing (Rom 2:28-9), to show me that I need a new heart.
That’s one of the cool things about the new covenant Jesus was bringing: “I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take away their stony, stubborn heart and give them a tender, responsive heart” (Ezekiel 11:19-20). When I accepted Jesus’ rescue, my new heart has a different expression: the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-3) … so long as I consciously go on choosing to make that heart mine.
Father, I choose your heart today … and tomorrow … and the next …
Written by David Cornell
1 The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus 2 and saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. 3 (The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders. 4 When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and kettles.) 5 So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?” 6 He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “ ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 7 They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’ 8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.” 9 And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ 11 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God)—12 then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother. 13 Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.” 14 Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. 15 Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.”
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 When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret and anchored there. 54 As soon as they got out of the boat, people recognized Jesus. 55 They ran throughout that whole region and carried the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. 56 And wherever he went—into villages, towns or countryside—they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.
Oh Lord Jesus, please fill me with your power today. Open my eyes to the “greater things” that you have planned for me to do before the world was even created.
Call me higher and deeper into your very presence that I’m soaked by your love – that I’m unable to stop the flow of blessing reaching everyone around me. May the thought of you not existing, not loving them, not calling them feel absolutely ridiculous because you are so clearly in me.
May you call me ever higher up and further in with you that even my clothes and drenched with your unexplainable healing power, your soul-cleansing mercy and your breath-taking love for the eternal sake of those around me that you love so much. Amen!
Written by Boudy Van Noppen
45 Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray. 47 Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. 48 He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, 50 because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 51 Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, 52 for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.
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 and reported to him all they had done and taught. 31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” 32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. 33 But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things. 35 By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. 36 Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” 37 But he answered, “You give them something to eat.” They said to him, “That would take more than half a year’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?” 38 “How many loaves do you have?” he asked. “Go and see.” When they found out, they said, “Five—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 hundreds and fifties. 41 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. 42 They all ate and were satisfied, 43 and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. 44 The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.
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 and 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, for Jesus’ name had become well known. Some were saying, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.” 15 Others said, “He is Elijah.” And still others claimed, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of long ago.” 16 But when Herod heard this, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised from the dead!” 17 For Herod himself had given orders to have John arrested, and he had him bound and put in prison. He did this because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, whom he had married. 18 For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19 So Herodias nursed a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But she was not able to, 20 because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled; yet he liked to listen to him. 21 Finally the opportune time came. On his birthday Herod gave a banquet for his high officials and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. 22 When 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, and I’ll give it to you.” 23 And he promised her with an oath, “Whatever you ask I will give you, up to half my kingdom.” 24 She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” “The head of John the Baptist,” she answered. 25 At once the girl hurried in to the king with the request: “I want you to give me right now the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” 26 The king was greatly distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he did not want to refuse her. 27 So he immediately sent an executioner with orders to bring John’s head. The man went, beheaded John in the prison, 28 and brought back his head on a platter. He presented it to the girl, and she gave it to her mother. 29 On hearing of this, John’s disciples came and took his body and laid 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
6b Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. 7 Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits. 8 These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. 9 Wear sandals but not an extra shirt. 10 Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. 11 And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” 12 They went out and preached that people should repent. 13 They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil 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 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 is 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
1 Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. 2 When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. “Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? 3 Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. 4 Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” 5 He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. 6a He was amazed at their lack of 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, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?” 36 Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” 37 He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. 38 When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. 39 He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” 40 But they laughed at him. After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). 42 Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. 43 He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.
Jairus is told that his daughter has passed away and therefore not to bother Jesus in seeking his help. Jesus then tells Jairus not to be afraid but to have faith and they continue on to Jairus’s home. There is weeping and wailing at Jairus home because his little girl has died. Jesus asks everyone bar his three disciples and the girl’s parents to leave. Jesus then tells the girl to arise and she does much to the amazement of those looking on.
Through the eyes of faith Jesus sees the little girl merely sleeping. Everyone else saw death. God’s perspective on a problem is often different to our own. We are encouraged to believe. Jesus speaks directly to the problem ie.”Little girl get up!” Jesus words are powerful they literally speak life. This encourages me to speak the words of Christ over my life, my family and my church.
I also notice that Jesus was particular about those who accompanied him to Jairus’s house. It was only Peter, James and John. Men of faith. When they arrived at Jairus house the crowd laughed at Jesus when he said the girl was not dead but sleeping. This laughing and scoffing was not conducive to faith so they were asked to leave. Consequently they missed out on witnessing a miracle – the little girl coming back to life! How awesome would it have been to see her respond to Jesus words and take that first breath then sit up! I am encouraged to believe and to be among the ones the Lord asks to be present rather than be in the way and asked to leave.
Dear Lord thank you that the words of Jesus bring life. Help me to not be afraid but to have faith. Amen.
Written by Ps. Ainslie Woods
24b A large crowd followed and pressed around him. 25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. 30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” 31 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ” 32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed 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’ 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 When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered round him while he was by the lake. 22 Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. 23 He pleaded earnestly with him, ‘My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.’ 24a So Jesus went with him.
Mark is a book focused on and jam-packed with recounts of Jesus’ ministry: Jesus teaching, Jesus healing, Jesus delivering people from demons, Jesus feeding thousands, etc. Jesus’ radical teaching and miraculous works bring into question the traditional understanding and observance of the Sabbath, of fasting, of family, of a woman’s role and so on and so forth. By the time we get to this story in Mark the Synagogue leaders of the time are already opposed to Jesus radical ways and are looking for ways to confront him and to “bring him down”.
It is in this context that Jairus, a local Synagogue leader, throws himself down, in front of a large crowd, at Jesus feet and fervently pleaded with him to come and lay his hands on his daughter so that she may be healed and she may live. In his asking of Jesus to do this Jairus declares his belief in Jesus ability to do this miracle.
He humbles himself, he believes and he acts. And he does so in the midst of opposition, knowing he risks ridicule, and risks losing his job, his position, his livelihood and maybe even jail for such behaviour.
Jairus’ story encourages me to humble myself and come to Jesus, no matter what the circumstances and no matter who is looking.
Jesus, I am sorry for the times I have let my pride stop me from coming to you. I humble myself now and declare that you are my Lord and that I want to come to you wherever I am, in any circumstance, no matter who is looking.
Written by Ps. Zoe Stewart
1 They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. 2 When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an impure spirit came from the tombs to meet him. 3 This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. 4 For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 5 Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones. 6 When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. 7 He shouted at the top of his voice, ‘What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!’ 8 For Jesus had said to him, ‘Come out of this man, you impure spirit!’ 9 Then Jesus asked him, ‘What is your name?’ ‘My name is Legion,’ he replied, ‘for we are many.’ 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; allow us to go into them.’ 13 He gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned. 14 Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. 15 When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 16 Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. 17 Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region. 18 As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19 Jesus did not let him, but said, ‘Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.’ 20 So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis 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 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, ‘Let us go over to the other side.’ 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?’ 39 He got up, rebuked the wind and 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? Do you still have no faith?’ 41 They were terrified and asked each other, ‘Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!’
Jesus is moving to another ministry location – this time by boat. While travelling, a severe storm blows up. The disciples fear for their lives as the boat is about to sink but Jesus speaks to the storm to be still, and it does, to a “dead calm”.
My favourite song at the moment has words that echo this event – “the waves and wind still know His name”. This has been such an encouragement to hang on to – as we often read these stories and events in Jesus’ ministry and forget that this was an incredible supernatural event that left the disciples dumbfounded – but it is still a truth for us today. The storms in our lives still respond to the name of Jesus. “Through it all my eyes are on you and it is well with my soul”.
Lord Jesus, thank you that you are the same yesterday, today and tomorrow – and that the waves and wind still know your name!
Written by Suzie Hodgson
26 He also said, ‘This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. 27 Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. 28 All by itself the soil produces corn—first the stalk, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. 29 As soon as the corn is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.’ 30 Again he said, ‘What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. 32 Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.’ 33 With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand. 34 He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own 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
21 He said to them, ‘Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand? 22 For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. 23 If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear.’ 24 ‘Consider carefully what you hear,’ he continued. ‘With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more. 25 Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.’
Jesus said of Himself in John 8:12, “Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” When Jesus comes into our lives, we also become a light to the world. We are not supposed to be people who live in darkness or walk in darkness but walk in His light and His truth. Therefore, we become ‘beacons’ to others who are searching for light and truth.
I think sometimes the world throws some mud on our lantern; or maybe have put it there and we don’t shine so brightly. Fortunately Jesus is the best cleaner I know. Ask Jesus to clear the muck away, confess, repent and continue to walk in His ways. Ask Him to show you how to stop the mud sticking in your world, so your lantern can shine brightly.
The second part of this scripture reminds me of 1 Peter 3:15 where we must always be ready to give an answer for the hope that we have. We must be hearers AND doers of the Word of God. I think at times we hear but are we listening? Listening requires action.
Lord Jesus, today I come to you and ask that you would reveal to me where I might be dirty from the world. Cleanse me; Jesus with your blood. Help me to be the light of hope to my friends and family. Lord am I stuck? Have I become someone who hears but doesn’t really listen? Lord show me how to listen more carefully. Show me how to enhance the understanding in my life.
Written by Ps. Sue Botta
10 When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. 11 He told them, ‘The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables 12 so that, ‘ “they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!”’ 13 Then Jesus said to them, ‘Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? 14 The farmer sows the word. 15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.’
Upon first reading, it can seem a bit hard to understand Jesus’ explanation of why he spoke in parables. It can sound like Jesus is trying to keep the truth from people by hiding it in parables “lest they should be converted and their sins be should be forgiven”.
But if we think a bit harder about human nature and our own experiences, we realise that often people (including myself!) are resistant to hearing the truth.
So when Jesus used parables, He didn’t start by stating a truth. Instead, the parable was like a doorway. Jesus’ listeners stood at the doorway and heard Him. If they were not interested, they stayed on the outside. But if they were interested, they could walk through the doorway and think about the truth behind the parable and what it meant to their lives.
As one commentator puts it: “Jesus didn’t use parables to blind people, but because they were blind. Therefore Jesus used the parabolic method, not in order to blind them, but in order to make them look again; not in order to prevent them from coming to forgiveness, but in order to lure them toward a new attention.” (Morgan)
I want to be one who is open and willing to hearing truth – even when it reveals something in me that I’d rather not see or acknowledge.
God help me embrace Your words and to walk through the door to dig deeper to find Your truth.
Written by Shelley Witt
Mark 4:1-9 (Message)
1 He went back to teaching by the sea. A crowd built up to such a great size that he had to get into an offshore boat, using the boat as a pulpit as the people pushed to the water’s edge. 2 He taught by using stories, many stories. 3 “Listen. What do you make of this? A farmer planted seed. 4 As he scattered the seed, some of it fell on the road and birds ate it. 5 Some fell in the gravel; it sprouted quickly but didn’t put down roots, 6 so when the sun came up it withered just as quickly. 7 Some fell in the weeds; as it came up, it was strangled among the weeds and nothing came of it. 8 Some fell on good earth and came up with a flourish, producing a harvest exceeding his wildest dreams. 9 “Are you listening to this? Really listening?”
The Message translation writes that Jesus asked the crowd, what do you make of this?
And Jesus tells a story about a farmer who scattered seed on four types of ground. Hard, Rocky, shallow and fertile.
What do I make of this?
What kind of a farmer scatters seed on hard, rocky and shallow ground?
That seems to me like a waste. This farmer is careless. The farmer should have been more careful so that the seed had a better chance of producing a crop. But the seed being scattered by this farmer is not a grain of wheat that is in limited supply. The seed being sown here is the gospel which never runs out.
It doesn’t matter that it lands on rocky soil, or hard soil, the farmer scatters the seed anyway.
What do I make of this? Don’t worry about the condition of the heart, scatter the seed, scatter the Word anyway. We don’t make the seed grow anyway, it is God who makes it grow.
Father, thank you that you make the seed grow. You can also change the condition of the heart, so I pray that those who appear to have a hard heart towards your word, will have a soft heart, ready to receive your word.
Written by Andrew Martin
31 Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. 32 A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.” 33 “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked. 34 Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”
It was hard for the disciples to understand who Jesus was. It must have been even harder for his family – they had seen him growing up as the first-born son in their family. But he is also the first-born son of God’s family.
Clearly his human family is worried about him. I’m not sure if they really thought he was out of his mind (3:21) or if they were trying to protect him from the accusation that he was demon possessed (3:22-30). Now they have come to take him back to the safety of his family, and away from all this.
When they lost him as a boy in Jerusalem (Luke 2:36-52), Jesus couldn’t understand where they would expect him to be other than his Father’s (God’s) house, immersed in his Father’s word. But he obediently went home with Joseph and Mary. Now he’s immersed in his Father’s works, speaking his Father’s word. How could any of God’s children do anything else? Especially God’s first-born son.
Mark just leaves the tension hanging. How will it be resolved? (Spoiler alert!) We know that this time Mary and his brothers followed Jesus (and James became a leader in the Jerusalem church).
But the question hangs there for me, too. I’m also a member of my human family and a member of God’s family. The only safe place for my human family is in God’s family. I need to allow God to be the father in my family too. He’s a much better father to my sons than I will ever be. I will be best father I can be when I do it in partnership with him.
Father, I give my family to you. Speak your truth into our lives. Do your works in our hearts, today and every day.
Written by David Cornell
20 Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. 21 When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” 22 And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.” 23 So Jesus called them over to him and began to speak to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26 And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. 27 In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house without first tying him up. Then he can plunder the strong man’s house. 28 Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.” 30 He said this because they were saying, “He has an impure spirit.”
Verse 20 is interesting to try and imagine, the crowd was so thick that they could not even stop and eat! What was it that so captured their attention, and made being near Jesus more important than their jobs, chores, responsibilities and usual routine? … Was it His ability to heal the sick? Was it His ability to raise the dead? Was it His ability to deliver people from demons? Was it His teaching? Was it His love and compassion? Was it because in a world that demanded of them – taxes, hard work, family responsibility, following Jewish law – Jesus offered them something deep and satisfying?
I can draw near to Jesus at anytime, free entry and no crowds. But do I? Do I expect to encounter His power to heal and set free? Do I expect to encounter His wisdom and life-giving teaching? Do I expect to receive His love and compassion? Perhaps I do not draw near because I do not feel worthy, and I do not expect to receive anything …
The crowd did not deserve Jesus, and yet He freely gave. If I have accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour, and trust that He makes me acceptable to God, what is holding me back from running to Jesus? God, please help me to come to Jesus with expectancy. Help me to put aside my responsibilities and demands for a time, such that I can rest with Jesus and enjoy His presence. May my love of Jesus be infectious and lead others to find rest with Him. Amen.
Written by Bethany Waugh
13 Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. 14 He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach 15 and to have authority to drive out demons. 16 These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter), 17 James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means “sons of thunder”), 18 Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot 19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
When I’ve read this passage before, I focussed on the twelve appointed to preach and cast out demons, but I missed the significance of what comes first.
It begins with Jesus calling some of his followers and them coming to him. He appoints them, first of all, to be with him, and then, second, to do the things that he was doing. Doing what Jesus was doing is the natural consequence of doing life with him.
I like that Jesus gave so many of them nicknames. They knew each other well. Jesus saw who they could become, but not on their own. “The Rock” (Peter) crumbled when Jesus was arrested. The “sons of thunder” were silent at the cross (John) or absent (James). The other Simon was zealous at running when they came for Jesus.
When he sends them to the ends of the earth to be witnesses for everything that he’s doing, he tells them to wait for the Holy Spirit to come first (Acts 1:4-8). He promises to be with them “to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:16-20). Being with Jesus remains the core of speaking out the truth about him. Working in partnership with him remains key to acting with his authority. They could only achieve their destiny when walking with God.
Jesus, it’s easy to slip into doing things for you, instead of doing things with you. I’m sorry that I slip into asking you to be part of what I’m doing rather than being part of what you’re doing. What are you doing today? I want to go with you. Can we do it together?
Written by David Cornell
7 Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lake, and a large crowd from Galilee followed. 8 When they heard about all he was doing, many people came to him from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, and the regions across the Jordan and around Tyre and Sidon. 9 Because of the crowd he told his disciples to have a small boat ready for him, to keep the people from crowding him. 10 For he had healed many, so that those with diseases were pushing forward to touch him. 11 Whenever the impure spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” 12 But he gave them strict orders not to tell others about him.
“Whenever the impure spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” But he gave them strict orders not to tell others about him.” [Mark 3:11-12]
Jesus will not have the truth of who He is declared by impure spirits. Why not? They’re telling people the truth – Jesus is the Son of God! I think it’s due to the fact that, if these impure sources become perceived to be authorities for the truth, they could really go to town on deceiving people.
Truth must come from truthful lips. Truth must come from lives lived in pursuit of finding and living the truth. Jesus wouldn’t have deceptive and destructive spirits speaking for him, and it’s a call to us – to both be wary in who we listen to for truth and to be called to account for our own lives as sources for truth.
I need to look at the lives of those who are telling me about truth – are their lives pursuing “purity” or “impurity.” Impure spirits would, I am sure, create impure and sickly lives. But further, I need to heed the subtext in this moment – Jesus is looking for people who will declare who He is from lives that reflect who He is. Does my life reflect the truth that Jesus is the Son of God?
Lord, I continue to ask you to help me live a life that reflects the truth of who you are, so that my words and actions align! Amen
Written by Ps. Rob Waugh
1 Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. 2 Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. 3 Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.” 4 Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent. 5 He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. 6 Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.
Jesus is continuing to change the mindset/worldview of those following him – in this case the Pharisees and those in the Synagogue – ones who knew the scriptures, ones who were supposed to know God. Jesus is re-framing their understanding of the Sabbath and God. The questions Jesus asks only have one answer – answers that the Pharisees knew to be right but have become so restricted & rigid in keeping rules and trying to be right, they couldn’t bring themselves to respond … sadly, they miss the heart of God, miss the humanity of helping another in need.
The challenge afresh to me is: am I still open to Jesus showing me where my thinking, understanding or life has become narrow or restricted in the ‘way’ my faith is lived? Do I miss the heart of God for others because of my need to be right? Am I really following Jesus in the way He would have me go?
Lord, I want to keep my heart soft to your ways and your heart and not restricted to legalism. Help me not miss ways in which I can help others into your presence, healing and rest.
Written by Suzie Hodgson
23 One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. 24 The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?” 25 He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? 26 In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.” 27 Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
When I have read this passage in the past, I had pictured a group of middle-aged men, wandering through the countryside on foot, whimsically pulling off a head of grain as they followed their leader wherever he may go.
But today I thought about this passage.
I asked some questions I had never asked myself before – why would they pull off heads of grain on a Sabbath? Why are they not accused of stealing? What does their action have to do with David eating the bread of the Presence in verse 26?
When I looked at all this, I realised that the answer to all these questions is because they were starving hungry! In Jewish law, people who were poor and hungry were allowed to glean from the corners of a field to ensure they didn’t starve. David’s men were forced into the situation where they had to eat the forbidden bread because they were in dire need of food.
In the gospel of Mark, it also appears that Jesus may not have even finished calling all his 12 disciples together at the time that this happened. I realised today afresh that Jesus’ followers have literally left EVERYTHING behind to follow him. Now they are dirt poor and hungry and the religious administration is criticising them!
Lord, help me be more like the disciples and truly, really, lay everything down as I follow you.
Also, God, help me to be less like the religious administration of Christ’s day. Don’t let me enforce the wrong rules for people to the point where I am contrary to your heart.
Written by Ps Justin Ware
18 Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. Some people came and asked Jesus, “How is it that John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees are fasting, but yours are not?” 19 Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? They cannot, so long as they have him with them. 20 But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast. 21 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. Otherwise, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. 22 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.”
Here we read two different scenarios where Jesus is being questioned – why aren’t your disciples fasting (the way they’re supposed to) and why aren’t your disciples keeping the Sabbath (the way they are supposed to)? Jesus was ushering in a new way of following the Spirit rather than the law, and it was uncomfortable for the religious people of the day.
Sometimes we too can find ourselves (especially as we get older) wanting to do things the way that we have always done it in the past. Staying with what we know and with what we are comfortable with can feel like a safer option.
Following God’s Spirit involves being willing to do things His way and in new ways- not playing it “safe” by doing what we have always done.
Accepting challenges and change is a choice that we need to continually make if we are going to keep in step with Jesus. It’s my goal and dream to live all the days of my life right to the very end as a person who is always willing to say ‘yes’ to the new thing that the Holy Spirit is asking me to do.
I encourage you today to join me in asking God what is the “new thing” he is asking me (you) to do and being willing to say yes to Him!
Written by Shelley Witt
13 Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. 14 As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him. 15 While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
I love Jesus’ words in verse 17…
I have come to call not those who THINK they are righteous, but those who KNOW they are sinners. (Capitals mine)
It makes me think of poor Matthew sitting in his tax booth; being shunned and hated by the Jews. Or the disreputable “scum” that Jesus had dinner with that night. They knew they were sinners but Jesus accepted them and offered them forgiveness and a new life.
I wonder if I’m connecting with the wrong sort I people. Maybe I’m spending all my efforts trying to reach people who think they don’t need reaching. Maybe I need to move; to reposition to a new “harvest field” where the people are hurting and broken and sick. To a field where if they hear of the wonderful hope and peace and joy and love that could be theirs, they will receive it immediately. To a field of people who would love to meet Jesus.
Lord Jesus please help me find these people that know they are sick and need saving and share with them the love you’ve poured into my life. Grant me the courage and conviction to move in different circles – to “go and make disciples”. Amen
Written by Boudy Van Noppen
Phone: +61 2 9875 0300
PO Box 2744,
Carlingford NSW 2118
7.00PM - Fridays in school term,
for years 6-12 students
Carlingford High School Hall,
547 North Rocks Rd, Carlingford 2120
9.30AM and 5.30PM
Carlingford High School Hall,
547 North Rocks Rd, Carlingford 2120
Best access for the 5.30pm service is via Roselea Way
We gather worship and work, on the lands of the Darug and Guringai people and wish to acknowledge them as the traditional custodians. We pay our respects to first nations elders past and present.