Food for the Soul
Food for the Soul
24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? 26 Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
27 “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.”
What does a “sold out for Jesus” life looks like? What does it look like to not live for ourselves?
I think it is a life that has boundaries, however, is known by key “fruit”.
How does this work itself out?
Lord, help us become more like you and live like you. Help us to walk in rhythm to your Holy Spirit. Help us to deeply engage and connect with others. Jesus, shine through me.
In Jesus name. Amen
Written by Ps. Sue Botta
23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? 26 Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
27 “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.”
This passage is so rich with images. Crosses, and life, denying ourselves and saving ourselves. It is clear that the life we have in Christ is a life sold to Him, given to Him and He now owns us. We are no longer free agents, not that we ever were as we were slaves previously to sin, our lives are hidden in Christ. Now we live a life conformed to the cross, choosing daily to live as Jesus would have us live – not by our whim or emotion, not by our preference or arrogance – but a life devoted to Jesus and His cause and kingdom!
Father, give me the courage to live as You would have me to live.
Written by Ps. Richard Botta
18 Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?”
19 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.”
20 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Peter answered, “God’s Messiah.”
21 Jesus strictly warned them not to tell this to anyone. 22 And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”
This is a pivotal moment in Jesus’s training of the disciples. They have walked closely with Him, heard Him teach the crowds and speak to them privately. Now it is time for their final exam.
He asks, “Who do the crowds say that I am?”. It’s interesting to hear their thoughts on this, but their answers are not what is important to Jesus.
There is really only one question that matters to Jesus – “Who do you say that I am?”
This is a question that each one of us must face. What is your confession regarding the identity of Jesus Christ? The multitudes have differing opinions – and in this instance the speculations are actually quite positive but still fall short of understanding the true identity of Jesus.
It’s interesting to note that Jesus does not seek to proclaim Himself openly. He draws from the disciples their confession, rather than putting it into their mouth.
Jesus does not force His way into our lives. Knowledge of His true nature rests on revelation and faith.
Just last night I was speaking with someone who is genuinely still trying to figure out if Jesus is the true revelation of God. In the past I would have felt anxious to try and convince that person about who Jesus is, but I have come to realise that this is not Jesus’s way. He gently and patiently waits for us receive this revelation and respond with faith.
Lord, thank You for how kindly and patiently You interact with us. I pray for those in my world who have not yet had the revelation of who Jesus is, that their eyes will be opened to see the truth and respond in faith. Declaring you as my Lord and Saviour is the best decision that I have ever made.
Written by Shelley Witt
10 When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done. Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida, 11 but the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing.
12 Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to him and said, “Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here.”
13 He replied, “You give them something to eat.”
They answered, “We have only five loaves of bread and two fish—unless we go and buy food for all this crowd.” 14 (About five thousand men were there.)
But he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” 15 The disciples did so, and everyone sat down. 16 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to distribute to the people. 17 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.
I can relate to feeding people- it’s what I love to do! I wish I could have seen the look on the disciples faces when Jesus said, ‘you feed them’. But of course, there is more to this passage than that. The disciples had just been ‘on mission’ seeing God heal people and evangelising. No doubt they were tired and wanted to debrief with Jesus. But this is a timely reminder that God is ‘on’ 24/7. There was no private space, no green room, just crowds of hungry people- both spiritually and physically. Jesus shows us that God understands that meeting physical needs will speak to the spirit as well. God revealed himself to be the God of the miraculous and the abundant. God shows us there is no time that is too ‘inconvenient’ for him. Everyone there would have remembered the great feed. Perhaps only the disciples saw the miracle of provision here, and if they didn’t get the message then 12 baskets of leftovers would drive the message home. So, two questions: am I prepared to invite the Presence and Power of God into all parts of my life- convenient and inconvenient, planned and unplanned? And am I expecting God to turn up miraculously or do my expectations limit my and other’s experience of God? Of course, for the miracle to occur there was a step of trust and obedience required- they had to start handing out food not knowing what would happen. Do I position myself likewise- always prepared to trust God and share His generosity with others?
Lord Jesus, help me to keep an open and soft heart. Help me to minister to those around me with love and grace. Help me to give you space for the miraculous so that others might experience your great love too. In your mighty name I pray. Amen
Written by Christine Knight
7 Now Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was going on. And he was perplexed because some were saying that John had been raised from the dead, 8 others that Elijah had appeared, and still others that one of the prophets of long ago had come back to life. 9 But Herod said, “I beheaded John. Who, then, is this I hear such things about?” And he tried to see him.
In this passage we discover that Herod Antipas, the ruler of the region, hears about the ministry of Jesus and the disciples. He didn’t have an explanation for the events, and according to the passage those around him didn’t seem to be able to explain what was happening either. It would seem that Herod was mostly curious about what was occurring in his territory. In Luke 23:8 it says that Herod was pleased when Jesus was brought before him, as he wanted to see Jesus and he wanted Jesus to perform a sign.
What strikes me about this passage is the way that people sit up and take notice when God moves in power. I am made hungry by this passage, that God would use me to move in power in the lives of those around me, whether it be provision, wisdom or a miraculous healing. It’s hard to argue with an event. God may you show me and teach me to live a life that impacts those around me and draws people to you.
Written by Beth Waugh
1 When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. 3 He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt. 4 Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. 5 If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” 6 So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere.
Jesus gives very specific instructions to his disciples as they step out to undertake his ministry for the first time. The mode of operation is radical: lightweight, high-speed, dependant on hospitality and the Holy Spirit. Also, it is very direct: if you are rejected, just walk away. If you and the message are accepted, don’t hop around looking for the best deal (like an Airbnb), just go with what you get given, until you are done in that place.
This was the beginning of Jesus’ Church evangelistic operations – operations that have continued in the same Spirit and power until now, 2000 years later. Whilst this passage’s particular techniques are very specialised and not commonly recommended, the style and spirit present in this instruction is still the same and we can use it in our daily lives. For example: If people reject you or the message of Jesus, no need to fuss, turn around and leave them be. Similarly, wherever you go, be reliant on the Holy Spirit to open doors and provide for you. Also, whomever accepts and listens, particularly the first to listen, don’t abandon them and trade up when someone more popular or approachable comes along. This is actionable: don’t ‘hotel shop’ when sharing the good news with people, don’t take rejection personally, don’t think you can artificially gear up for sharing the good news, just go!
Jesus, I want to speak your good news to the world. I will listen to your Spirit’s voice for guidance, I will trust in your spirit to open doors, and I will accept whoever listens. For your glory! Amen.
Written by Sam Stewart
40 Now when Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him, for they were all expecting him. 41 Then a man named Jairus, a synagogue leader, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come to his house 42 because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying.
As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. 43 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. 44 She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.
45 “Who touched me?” Jesus asked.
When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.”
46 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.”
47 Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. 48 Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”
49 While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” he said. “Don’t bother the teacher anymore.”
50 Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.”
51 When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John and James, and the child’s father and mother. 52 Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. “Stop wailing,” Jesus said. “She is not dead but asleep.”
53 They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. 54 But he took her by the hand and said, “My child, get up!” 55 Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat.
Two very different women are helped by Jesus. The contrast between the two shows us Jesus’ loving care for both, but also his preference for the most vulnerable in society. It also reveals to us (as it did to the disciples and peoples who were with him at the time) that Jesus is God and powerful and able to accomplish miracles of incredible healing and resurrection.
The first woman had been sick with bleeding for 12 years. In the culture of her day and age she would have been outcast due to her sickness. People who were bleeding were unclean and unable to enter the temple, the place around which community revolved. You get the idea that she was alone and desperately poor – out alone seeking help, no family member has come to seek out help for her! She has heard of Jesus and the miracles he has been performing and she determinedly pushes in to touch him. Jesus heals her, it would seem, without even consciously intending too. It appears to tell us that Jesus heals her from his very being. It is simply his nature to heal those around him who are hurting and vulnerable, and who have sought help from him wholeheartedly (have faith in him). This is so beautiful! It is a keen reminder that Jesus is the embodiment of love and goodness.
Jesus is being hurried to an important household to attend to a Roman soldier’s daughter. But social status is not what concerns him. He stops when he feels the power go from him to heal the lady. He seeks her out and makes an example of her. His seeking out of the lady and making her an example of faith to others reveals the upside-down nature of the Kingdom of God that Jesus has come to pronounce. Jesus’ preference for this hurting lady does not lessen his ability to care for Jarius’ daughter. Luke records this miracle with such tenderness and kindness – Jesus simply calls her back to life and instructs them to feed her
Jesus, we thank you that you are loving and powerful! We thank you that you announced your upside-down kingdom here on earth. Help us your people to live with your priorities and preference the care of the vulnerable around us. Empower us to reveal your love and goodness today. Amen
Written by Ps. Zoe Stewart
26 They sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee. 27 When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs. 28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!” 29 For Jesus had commanded the impure spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places.
30 Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”
“Legion,” he replied, because many demons had gone into him. 31 And they begged Jesus repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss.
32 A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into the pigs, and he gave them permission. 33 When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.
34 When those tending the pigs saw what had happened, they ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, 35 and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus’ feet, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 36 Those who had seen it told the people how the demon-possessed man had been cured. 37 Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left.
38 The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 “Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.
This passage is a demonstration of the ultimate authority Jesus has. Legion was afraid of Jesus due to the presence of God in their midst, that Jesus would command them to come out of the man. The man’s deliverance resulted in such an evident change, and when Jesus sent him away, he followed Jesus’ instructions and “told all over town how much Jesus had done for him”.
This passage reminds us that salvation is something that only Jesus can do – He is the one who delivers each of us from sin and death. Romans 5:10 reminds us; “For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!”.
Thank you, Lord, that while we were still sinners, Jesus died for us. Thank you that we are reconciled to you, that we have peace with God through the work of Jesus. Amen.
Written by Ps. Andrea Molteno
22 One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out. 23 As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.
24 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”
He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. 25 “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples.
In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”
The disciples were on the lake with Jesus when they were caught in a life threatening storm. Jesus rebuked the storm, it stopped and the disciples were filled with a sense of complete awe and wonder regarding Jesus authority over the natural elements. After the storm had eased Jesus asked his disciples, “Where is your faith?”
It’s always interesting when Jesus asks a question! It is a rather hard hitting question to ask a believer too. It could be said that the disciples showed their faith when they woke Jesus up to get him to do something about the imminent peril they faced. I think it is important to acknowledge they knew who to go to in times of trouble – Jesus! So what was Jesus getting at “Where is your faith?” Thinking about this today I go back to the fact that it was Jesus who said, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake” and they obeyed. They headed in the direction the Lord wanted them to go but it was not smooth sailing. If things get difficult it does not mean you are not fulfilling God’s will. In other words don’t let circumstances put you off your path but rather trust that the Lord will bring you through, somehow, some way. He is faithful, kind and can be trusted.
Dear Lord thank you that your words can calm storms in my world and bring peace. Help me to trust you as I follow you. Amen
Written by Ps. Ainslie Woods
19 Now Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd. 20 Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.”
21 He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”
This passage makes it sound like Jesus was too focused on the teaching He was providing to care about His family visiting. I don’t think that is what He was saying. I think He was trying to remind us we are all connected. We are all part of one big family. God’s family. Jesus paid attention to everyone around Him. It is easy to pay attention to the people you like and not notice others; to disconnect from someone because someone more important has arrived. How do we look after each other well? By caring for all those around us – paying attention to all, listening to all, treating everyone like family. Jesus’ love was for all of us and for each of us. Let’s join in sharing that love throughout God’s family.
Dear Lord Thank you so much for the love you showed through Jesus dying on the cross for our salvation. Thank you that this love is for each of us and for all of us. Help us to feel that love and to then share that love each and every day to all those we encounter. Amen.
Written by Therese Manning
4 While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: 5 “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up. 6 Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.”
When he said this, he called out, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”
9 His disciples asked him what this parable meant. 10 He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that,
“ ‘though seeing, they may not see;
though hearing, they may not understand.’
11 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. 14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. 15 But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.
16 “No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. 17 For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. 18 Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they think they have will be taken from them.”
I often think of this passage from the perspective of the soil. Is my heart good soil – the kind of soil that on hearing the Word will retain it and by persevering produce a crop? Is my heart the kind of soil God can work with? Am I taking care how I hear (v. 18)?
But today I started thinking about this passage from the perspective of the farmer. Serving regularly in church can sometimes feel fruitless. I regularly serve in kids church, and there are weeks when none of our prepared activities go to plan, it feels like no one is listening to the story, and it seems all we’ve done is entertain the kids for a morning! But then a child will say something weeks later that makes me realise some tiny seed of what we talked about has stuck! We cannot control the soil of other’ hearts. That’s between them and God. But we can faithfully keep throwing seed, praying that some of that seed will hit the right place at the right time and grow to produce a crop.
Thank you, Lord, that you involve us in your work. Help us to continue to work faithfully with you, even when we can’t see the direct fruit of what we’re doing. Help us to obey you and trust, you will do the rest.
Written by Rhiannon Mellor
1 After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, 2 and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; 3 Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.
There are always ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders’ in society and within social groups. I myself know that I have both inadvertently and deliberately perpetuated this reality by my own desire to be ‘on the inside’. In Israelite society at the time of Jesus’ ministry, women were outsiders in most aspects of society.
In Luke 7, Jesus surprises the society of his day by welcoming ‘outsiders’ into the ‘inside’. A gentile Centurion is commended for having more faith than the people of God, a Widow has her son restored to life and a woman (who has probably worked as a prostitute) is forgiven by Jesus and welcomed as one who has blessed him.
In Luke 8:1-3, Luke takes expensive parchment space to record that women were a key part of Jesus’ ministry, supporting he and the disciples. Luke wants his readers to know that Jesus does not favour the insiders. He welcomes the outsiders and gives them a role in His Kingdom.
Lord, teach me not to look to be an insider in social groups and society, but to embrace being ‘inside’ your Kingdom and your love. Amen.
Written by Andrew Mellor
36 When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”
40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.
41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
Luke has just told us about John the Baptist sending disciples to ask who Jesus is: ‘Are you the one who is to come?’ Jesus tells them to look at the things he is doing that only God can do (verses 18-23).
This story begins with Simon saying to himself that Jesus is no prophet. Jesus isn’t rejecting this woman and her display of gratitude, so he thinks he must have no idea who she is. But Jesus clearly sees who she is and why she’s doing this. And he clearly sees Simon and his heart too. The story ends with Jesus doing what only God could do: he forgives her sin. Simon and his guests are confronted with the question, “Who is this who does what only God can do: forgive sins?” (There’s only one answer.)
After Jesus’ parable about how people should respond to an unrepayable debt being forgiven, they should be asking “How should I respond to Jesus, the source of God’s forgiveness and peace?”
How should I respond? Perhaps I should copy this woman.
Jesus, the only appropriate response is to come to you. I reject everything in my life that is a rejection of you. Thank you for the forgiveness that only you could give me. I love you with all my heart. I want to honour you as extravagantly as this woman did. I pour my heart out to you – you know it better than I do. Please transform my heart today. Amen.
Written by David Cornell
18 John’s disciples told him about all these things. Calling two of them, 19 he sent them to the Lord to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”
20 When the men came to Jesus, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?’ ”
21 At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind. 22 So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 23 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”
24 After John’s messengers left, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? 25 If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear expensive clothes and indulge in luxury are in palaces. 26 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 27 This is the one about whom it is written:
“ ‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way before you.’
28 I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”
29 (All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus’ words, acknowledged that God’s way was right, because they had been baptized by John. 30 But the Pharisees and the experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.)
31 Jesus went on to say, “To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? 32 They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other:
“ ‘We played the pipe for you,
and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge,
and you did not cry.’
33 For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ 34 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ 35 But wisdom is proved right by all her children.”
This passage is all about evidence. In Luke 4:18-19 Jesus announced the beginning of his ministry by reading from Isaiah 61:1-2b, a passage all about the coming of God’s kingdom (the year of the Lord’s favour). This passage was widely recognised as talking about the Saviour who was to come.
Now, in response to John’s question, Jesus uses similar language to the Isaiah 61 passage as he points to the miracles he has been performing. As he languishes in prison, John may be doubting that he heard God correctly about who Jesus is. After all, the popular expectation of the Messiah was that he would conquer Roman rule, which is not what he hears Jesus is doing. However, Jesus directs John’s thoughts and expectations towards the Isaiah passage instead. His miraculous actions are evidence that he is God on earth.
Jesus then talks about John and how he also fulfils a prophecy in Israel’s scriptures. So, both Jesus’ and John’s identities are revealed by the evidence of their lives.
This prompts me to ask myself, what does the evidence of my life show? In Galatians 5, we are told that the fruit that the Spirit will produce in my life as I grow in Jesus is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. The more this fruit is displayed in my life, the more evidence there is that Jesus is alive and active today and that I belong to him.
Jesus, your life showed that you were Saviour God, and showed your character of kindness, compassion and love. Please forgive me for the times when the evidence of my life does not point to you. Please fill me with your Spirit today to produce good fruit in my life, which can be evidence to help others find you. Amen
Written by Megan Cornell
11 Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. 12 As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.”
14 Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” 15 The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.
16 They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.” 17 This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country.
Jesus continues to travel through towns and villages and everywhere he goes he brings life. In this village, Nain, he brings life back to a widow’s son. We’re told that Jesus’s ‘heart broke’ (Msg) or ‘his heart went out to her’ (NIV) when he saw the widow.
Historically, the death of her son now meant her life would be one of poverty, with no husband or sons she would have no means of income, no protection, no security, a society cast out.
Jesus’ breaking heart shows me he is a God who cares, a God of unmerited grace, a God of great mercy, compassion, care, and provision. It was nothing that they had done, no faith is mentioned, (mother or son) just Jesus’ heart toward her.
As a single woman, I understand the vulnerability of this widow. I too count on the same heart of Jesus, even in our culture today, being single, not married or partnered and no children, can be an oddity and disadvantage. As I’ve meditated on this passage the Holy Spirit has strengthened me in my assurance that Jesus indeed is my provider, security, protector, he loves and cares for me, he brings life and has my future in his hands.
Lord, I pray that all who read this today, will know without a doubt that Jesus’s compassion and heart for them and every aspect of their life is certain. Amen.
Written by Suzie Hodgson
1 When Jesus had finished saying all this to the people who were listening, he entered Capernaum. 2 There a centurion’s servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. 3 The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. 4 When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, “This man deserves to have you do this, 5 because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.” 6 So Jesus went with them.
He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. 7 That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
9 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” 10 Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.
What an incredible account of recognition of the authority of Jesus, of friends who stood in the gap and of faith in action.
The centurion was a person who recognised authority when he saw it. We don’t know if he had seen Jesus doing miracles or not, but he nevertheless recognised Jesus’ authority over sickness.
The Bible tells us Jesus has “all authority in heaven and earth” (Matthew 28:18) and has been exalted to the highest place by God. Everyone will ultimately bow before him (Philippians 2:10). God the Father has given Jesus his authority and put everything under his power ( John 13:3). Jesus has all authority – that means his powerful name can accomplish much more than we can ever contemplate. His authority brings hope (just like it did for the centurion) knowing that he has defeated Satan. Ultimately, we know Jesus’ authority is not something he claims for himself but comes from God.
I hope that one day the centurion got to know the full extent of Jesus’ authority.
I also noticed the wonderful friends who stood in the gap for the centurion who knew that a Gentile could not have direct contact with a Jewish Rabbi. They took the message to Jesus which demonstrated the man’s amazing faith – even amazing Jesus! Their action is challenges me.
Lastly there is the impact Jesus’ authority has on my faith. The centurion had to exercise his faith in Jesus by putting it into action. He had to act on what he knew Jesus could do. He had to break through cultural barriers to access Jesus, and he had to ask for help. He acted in faith out of desperation. How am I acting in faith? Is it only when I’m desperate? Faith “muscles” need to be flexed to develop, to be ready to hold us when things are tough. Knowing Jesus has all authority builds my faith – I know he is in control, his power is unshakeable, his name moves mountains. Like the centurion, I need to call on him today, every day.
Written by Claire Moore
46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? 47 As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. 48 They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”
What stands out in this parable is that both builders recognized Jesus as their Lord, and they embarked on constructing their lives, symbolized by the houses, with the purpose of being in His service. Nevertheless, the impact of their actions far outweighed their words.
The first builder puts Jesus’ teachings into practice. This person’s faith is not merely lip service or a Sunday event, but a commitment to live out the principles and values Jesus teaches. When the storms of life come, as they always do, this person’s life stands firm. The foundation of faith in Christ supports them through difficulties and trials.
The second builder represents those who may call Jesus their ‘Lord’ but fail to align their lives with His teachings. Their faith remains superficial, grounded in words rather than action. They haven’t allowed Jesus to fill their hearts and provide them with new life. When the storms of life come, their foundation proves weak, and their lives crumble.
I am challenged to consider the authenticity of my faith. Am I actively living in obedience to His word? True faith, as Jesus reveals, involves more than words; it encompasses a life built upon His teachings, a life with a deep, unwavering foundation in Him.
Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you for the overwhelming love of our Lord Jesus. Help us to build our lives on the solid foundation of His words. Grant us the wisdom and courage to put His teachings into practice daily, so that our faith may be authentic and reflect Your glory.
In your precious name, Jesus. Amen
Written by Sven Bessesen
37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
39 He also told them this parable: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.
41 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
43 “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. 45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
Nelson Mandela was arrested in the 1960s in South Africa for protesting and campaigning against the Government. At the time, there was an institutional, legislated form of racial segregation and discrimination in place in South Africa called apartheid.
Mandela served 27 years in prison, and during that time, while he was not tortured, he was treated as badly as you could imagine. One guard, Christo Brand, recalled that Mandela was described to him as “a terrorist who is trying to overthrow your country.”
Just 4 years after his release, Mandela was made president of South Africa, and within a few months of his appointment, he invited a group of his former prison guards to a private meeting at the presidential residence.
During that meeting, Mandela is reported to extend forgiveness and friendship to the guards. Christo Brand and Mandela became close friends.
In my personal experience, few people, including myself, have the capacity to extend grace and forgiveness at this level. However, this is what Jesus is calling us to do in this passage, which is similar to the “Golden Rule” passage in Matthew 7:12 where it says “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.”
Lord, I recognise that it is part of being human to hold on to hurt, but to forgive is a divine attribute that you encourage through your Word, you show through Jesus, and you empower through your Holy Spirit. Help me to grow in grace and forgiveness, especially towards those who do the greatest wrongs against me.
Written by Ps Justin Ware
24 “But woe to you who are rich,
for you have already received your comfort.
25 Woe to you who are well fed now,
for you will go hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now,
for you will mourn and weep.
26 Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you,
for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.
27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.
32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Recently, I had the opportunity to show mercy when I really didn’t want to. Someone had wronged me and I found myself at a crossroads. I had the choice of either getting mad, getting even, and potentially getting this person sacked under the company’s HR policy, or I could show mercy. God loves mercy! (See Psalm 145:9) He loves to give it to us – the undeserving, but he also loves when we do the same for others. I realised, fortunately just in time, that my other workmates were watching – looking on to see what I would do. The stakes were so, so high. If I blew it and let my anger bury this guy who wronged me, how would my workmates see what God is like and know His mercy for them? I HAD to show mercy. We MUST show mercy. We must be merciful as our God is merciful (see verse 36). How else will those around us know this wonderfully, generous, gracious God who, “is kind to the ungrateful and wicked”?
Thanks Lord, for being merciful to me. Help me to show mercy to those who hurt me so that they will come to know you.
Written by B van Noppen
20 Looking at his disciples, he said:
“Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.
21 Blessed are you who hunger now,
for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.
22 Blessed are you when people hate you,
when they exclude you and insult you
and reject your name as evil,
because of the Son of Man.
23 “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.
Poor, hungry, weeping and mocked. Jesus addresses the Beatitudes to people who find themselves in places where life is not what they wanted or expected.
He is offering them/us, the Kingdom of God and all it has to offer, He offers others that they will be satisfied when they are hungry, He offers joy for those who weep, He offers a future of welcome and celebration beyond persecution for your faith.
These verses remind me that we live to a different tune than the world. We live with a different focus of our lives.
One day – Judgment Day – will reveal all.
Father, help us to live in the world but not of this world. Keep our hearts soft towards you and aware of the schemes of the enemy to distract us from your Kingdom’s purpose.
In Jesus name, Amen
Written by Ps. Sue Botta
12 One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. 13 When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: 14 Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, 15 Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, 16 Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
17 He went down with them and stood on a level place. A large crowd of his disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coastal region around Tyre and Sidon, 18 who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by impure spirits were cured, 19 and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.
There is power in prayer and Jesus knew it. In fact, Jesus was diligent in prayer. He went to a specific place to pray, and He spent all night in prayer we read here in verse 12. It occurs to me that I do not have the diligence of Jesus in prayer. He was committed to prayer, and He was the Son of God. I am caught with the thought that Jesus, who was fully man and fully God was committed to prayer at a level I am not, and I am only fully man.
Father, help me to be diligent in prayer, not making excuses – simply choosing to pray – when it is convenient and when it is not!
Written by Ps. Richard Botta
1 One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and his disciples began to pick some heads of grain, rub them in their hands and eat the kernels. 2 Some of the Pharisees asked, “Why are you doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”
3 Jesus answered them, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? 4 He entered the house of God, and taking the consecrated bread, he ate what is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.” 5 Then Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”
6 On another Sabbath he went into the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was shriveled. 7 The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal on the Sabbath. 8 But Jesus knew what they were thinking and said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Get up and stand in front of everyone.” So he got up and stood there.
9 Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?”
10 He looked around at them all, and then said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He did so, and his hand was completely restored. 11 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law were furious and began to discuss with one another what they might do to Jesus.
There is a lot we could talk about it this passage, but I want to focus on the phrase where Jesus says that He is “Lord of the Sabbath”.
Clearly the Pharisees had taken the concept of the Sabbath to the extreme and demanded that no one should lift a finger on the Sabbath. However, it occurs to me that in our efforts to get away from such legalism perhaps many of us (myself included) have neglected to actually make Jesus Lord of our Sabbath.
Since there are no restrictions on what we can do on our Sabbath day, we may use that day to squeeze in multiple activities such as shopping, household chores, kids’ events, etc., etc. …. instead of setting the day aside for worship, rest and renewal.
God made the Sabbath for us because He knows that we need it to thrive in this world. It is meant to be life-giving, not life-draining. It is meant to be a gift, a time apart from the relentless demands of daily life, a time to rest in God’s presence and be refreshed and restored by Him.
The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath. I am challenged to look afresh as what might our Sabbaths look like under His gracious rule?
Lord Jesus, help us to keep your Sabbath in a way that honours You. Not out of legalism but out of the knowledge that You have designed it as a blessing for us to worship and to rest in You.
Written by Shelley Witt
33 They said to him, “John’s disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking.”
34 Jesus answered, “Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? 35 But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast.”
36 He told them this parable: “No one tears a piece out of a new garment to patch an old one. Otherwise, they will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. 37 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. 38 No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. 39 And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for they say, ‘The old is better.’ ”
It can be hard to remain faithful to what God has said and done, and, at the same time, to not miss the new things he’s doing.
When Solomon’s temple was dedicated, God’s glory visibly filled the temple (2 Chronicles 7:1-3). Ezekiel describes a vision of God’s presence leaving the temple before the Babylonians destroyed it and took the people into exile (Ezekiel 10:18-19; 11:23). Twice a week, the Pharisees fasted in mourning and longed for God to return to his people like he had before. (They wanted the old wine again.)
Now God has come to his people. But its not like last time. It’s much more wonderful: he’s come as one of his people, in the person of Jesus. He’s healing people excluded from the community by unclean diseases like leprosy (5:12-16). He’s forgiving sins and freeing people from paralysis (5:17-26). He’s seeking the outcasts, like Levi and his tax collector friends, transforming them and inviting them in (5:27-31).
‘16 This is what the Lord says – … 18 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?”’ (Isaiah 43:16,18-19).
Jesus’ response that fasting isn’t appropriate when the bridegroom is present might have reminded them of Isaiah likening God to a bridegroom coming to his beloved but unfaithful bride, Jerusalem (61:10-62:5, 11). It might remind us of John’s vision of Jesus returning and the marriage feast of the lamb (Jesus) and the new Jerusalem (Revelation 19:6-8), where God’s people dwell with him forever. I’m looking forward to Jesus continuing to do new and better things.
Jesus, I want to be part of the brilliantly new things that you are doing today and will continue to do tomorrow. Please give me the wisdom to recognise the new things you’re doing, and not be confused by things that aren’t you. Thank you for how the things you have done point to the things you’re going to do.
Written by David Cornell
27 After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, 28 and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.
29 Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. 30 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
31 Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
When I think of Jesus being compassionate and inclusive, my mind goes to the poor, refugees, the sick and the disabled, and to women – especially widows. In the culture of the time, all these people would be doing it tough and would be marginalised in society. My mind approves of my saviour and Lord having compassion on such people.
This story is also about someone marginalised – but in this case, it is someone whom society then loved to hate and who would probably be similarly unpopular in our own society. Calling Levi is equivalent to Jesus calling a rich tax cheat today.
A common narrative in our society demonises very wealthy people who exploit the tax system to their advantage. We feel justified in putting them down when the ‘Mums and Dads’ in our world are paying their taxes and struggling to make ends meet. Faced with a notorious tax cheat, in the company of his tax cheat friends, sumptuously entertaining Jesus, most people today would probably cheer these Pharisees on and complain bitterly with them.
But Jesus loves everyone. He wants everyone to be saved. He didn’t come for us to feel self-justified. He didn’t come to affirm our biases. He came to “those who know they are sinners and need to repent”, no matter who they are or what they have done. As always, Jesus is looking at our hearts.
Lord, I bring my heart before you again today and ask that you cleanse and change it. Thank you for forgiving my sin and accepting me as your disciple. Help me to see where I have biases and submit those to you. Help me to love others like you love them. Thank you for every single person who repents and is saved. Amen
Written by Megan Cornell
17 One day Jesus was teaching, and Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there. They had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick. 18 Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. 19 When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.
20 When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”
21 The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
22 Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? 23 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 24 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 25 Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. 26 Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”
Jesus is teaching the teachers and others. They wanted to hear and learn. And then a teaching moment literally breaks through the roof of the home he was in.
Jesus, seeing faith in action, immediately forgives the paralysed man of his sin and the man is healed. Everyone is astounded. A visual physical teaching moment of forgiveness of sin and the healing it brings with an unspoken declaration that Jesus is God. Sin. Such a small word but with so many tentacles in our lives, like small veins travelling through us invisible to all but God. Jesus saw the man’s real need was forgiveness of sin. In this instance, it was sin that paralysed him. Jesus demonstrated that he only could forgive our sin, he does it quickly, asks no questions, does it completely.
This passage has made me ask, what parts of my life are paralysed by sin? Maybe not seen by others or even by me, but God can see.
Lord Jesus, I ask today that you show me any area of my life that has been paralysed by sin. I know this is a big ask but show me where I need to ask your forgiveness, so that your healing to come and restore. AMEN
Written by Suzie Hodgson
12 While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
13 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him.
14 Then Jesus ordered him, “Don’t tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.”
15 Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
It doesn’t matter how many times I read this passage, I always stumble over Jesus’ reply to the man with leprosy. The man asks, “Lord if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus has the power to heal, to provide, to comfort… But how often do we fail to ask, under the impression somehow that He is unwilling to involve Himself in our daily lives? I need to meditate on Jesus’ words, let them ring in my ears, “I am willing.”
Written by Beth Waugh
1 One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. 2 He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.
4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”
5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” 9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.
Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
This profound moment in Peter’s life, a seasoned fisherman who had toiled tirelessly all night and caught nothing, echoes into our own lives. Regardless of the work we do, we should regard it as part of our called ministry that fulfils God’s larger purpose.
Jesus calls us from diverse backgrounds, blessing us with an array of skills, gifts, and talents. Our work isn’t merely for worldly recognition but is carried out as an offering to Him. In moments of weariness, discouragement, or when your proverbial nets hang bare, we must remember that our trust is solely upon and for Jesus! Our work, once marked by fruitless endeavours, are given new purpose when Jesus stepped into our lives.
Whatever your calling may be and those you need to work with, this passage teachers us humility, obedience, and unwavering trust in God. We are to remain humble, recognizing that our talents, expertise, intellect, and strength are ultimately a gift from God. We are to be obedient because God’s plan for us is greater than any of our own aspirations. We are to trust in God, casting aside our fear and live in the unshakable faith of His divine plan.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters”.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift and talents You have blessed us with. When we feel like we have made no headway, help us to remember that You have placed us there for a reason. May we be Your hands and feet in this world, loving those around us because of Your great love!
In Your precious name, Jesus. Amen.
Written by Sven Bessesen
38 Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Simon. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her. 39 So he bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them.
40 At sunset, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them. 41 Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Messiah.
42 At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. 43 But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” 44 And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
Earlier in Luke chapter 4, Jesus reads from a passage of ancient scripture that was written about 500 years before he walked the earth:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”
And Luke goes straight into recording how focussed on this mission Jesus is – He starts casting out demons and healing the sick.
Here though we see that the people just want him to keep doing this for them, but he says that he needs to also get on with the proclaiming part of his mission, and he needs to travel all over the countryside to proclaim the good news to the poor and the freedom for prisoners and the year of the Lord’s favour.
As I read this passage today and reflect on what it is saying to me, I realise that as a Christian, I can get very focussed on doing the “Christian stuff” that I am good at, but lose sight of the bigger picture.
I feel like God has reminded me through this scripture that I need to continue to be responsive to people’s felt needs, but I also need to be good at recognising the deeper afflictions and challenges within a person’s world and learn how to speak God’s life into those things with a sense of hope.
Lord, give me the wisdom and discernment to better know how to respond to the needs of the people around me so that Your life can become more active in them.
Written By Ps. Justin Ware
Phone: +61 2 9875 0300
PO Box 2744,
Carlingford NSW 2118
7.00PM - Fridays in school term,
for students in Years 6-12
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.