Food for the Soul
Food for the Soul
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 rock, 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 rock 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. Those who have will be given more; as for those who do not have, even what they think they have will be taken from them.”
Jesus tells a story to a large crowd that is superficially about a farmer. Then he gives them a challenge: “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” (NLT) I’m guessing that nobody said “That Jesus knows so much about farming. I’ve really heard and understood that.” And yet amongst that large crowd, only his disciples ask what the story meant.
As Jesus explains it, the various reactions to the story perfectly illustrate what the story was about: the word of God has been given and most in that large crowd were too hard of heart to even ask what it meant, too distracted by other things, perhaps a little bit interested but not enough to pursue what God was saying. (God had already warned them through Isaiah, but they hadn’t heard that either.) But some (the disciples) received the word and sought out its meaning, and it would bear fruit in them.
God isn’t hard to find, but he wants us to want him enough to look. “You will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 4:29, Luke 11:9 and many more).
Jesus’ Challenge is for me too. What kind of “soil” will I be? Will I seek out not only his word but also understanding? Will I receive it and cling to it?
But there is another part to the challenge: How will I produce a huge harvest?
The next parable gives a hint: any fool knows that if you have a lamp you put it where it gives light to everyone. If God gives me understanding, it is not to quietly possess. It’s to share with all who will receive it, by words and the evidence of my life.
Father, replace my foolishness with your wisdom, my ignorance with your understanding, and give me boldness to share it with others.
Written by David Cornell
8 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.
I think these three verses are easy to skim over: Jesus was preaching, his disciples and some women were with him, it’s easy to think ‘that’s nice’, and keep reading.
The reality is though, in these three verses we see how Jesus went about his ministry, and we are given an important model to follow.
Jesus was not a one-man band. Jesus had his twelve disciples with him, and we see throughout the gospel of Luke that the disciples were there not only to be taught by Jesus, but also to support him and to partner with him in the work he was doing.
I think ahead and these disciples were going to let him down big time at the moment when he most needed them. These disciples were going to fall asleep in the Garden of Gethsemane, just before Jesus’ arrest. These disciples were going to run away when he was arrested. These disciples were not perfect, but Jesus was still committed to teaching them, and having them in his world.
I’m challenged by that, to invite people into my world, to share the journey, to ask for support, when I know that people aren’t perfect, people will let me down at my hour of greatest need. Am I prepared to invest in relationships anyway? When I fail others will I continue to be a friend anyway?
If the Son of God had a team of people with him as he lived out God’s calling on his life, how much more do I need people around me for this walk of faith?
Written by Beth Waugh
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.”
Simon, the Pharisee, a religious leader, is testing Jesus. He is critical and disrespectful and self-righteous. He relates to Jesus via the law, and in his head, passing judgement on all. He is unaware of his sin and pride. Jesus knows his thoughts.
The woman, a local renowned sinner, found out that Jesus would be at Simon’s house. She took a risk and breached cultural boundaries as a woman and as a sinner to enter the male only space and to touch him. She sought him out and came prepared, intent on doing something generous to honour him. She knew that he did not condemn her like the others in the town. She was overwhelmed by his love. Perhaps she wasn’t prepared for her own emotional response? Jesus says she showed great love. She held nothing back and responded with everything. Physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and socially giving it all away in worship.
“But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” Simon probably thought that his sin was little. I think he missed Jesus point. And blindly missed the opportunity to be forgiven much.
Lord, You cancelled my debt and I am no longer condemned. Don’t let familiarity or pride limit my response to you. Increase my love for you.
Written by Lyndall Gourlay
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 was 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 was 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.”
John (cousin of Jesus) asks a question “Are You the One who is coming, or do we look for someone else?” John’s disciples had reported to him all the words and deeds of Jesus. John is not questioning if the Messiah will come, he is questioning if Jesus is the Messiah.
At this time, Jesus didn’t want people to believe he was the Messiah just because He claimed He was, but He wanted people to believe because of the things he did – the evidence.
John had the great privilege of identifying Jesus as Messiah when he baptised Him, but he now he is questioning.
There could be many reasons why John questioned. John had had little contact with Jesus as he was mainly in the wilderness. Jesus had not publicly identified himself as the Messiah. Up until this point John had been Israel’s great prophet but now it now appears that Jesus was taking his place. What was Jesus’ response to John’s question? He simply said to John’s followers to go back and tell John what they witnessed … “The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor”.
Who do we say Jesus is? If we have any doubts, go back to the Bible; never forget it is truth inspired by the Holy Spirit. Only Jesus fulfills the promises and prophecies of the Bible. Jesus encourages John not to stumble over Him: “Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me”.
Don’t allow anything or anyone to bring doubt and uncertainty into your relationship with Jesus.
Written by Cathy Croft
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.
This story is about two distinct crowds of people coming together from different places. One crowd is led by Jesus the life giver while the other is led by a widow followed by her dead son and grieving relatives. One crowd is about life while the other is about death. The widows’ crowd were without hope as her son was dead and his future gone. Jesus restored both with his touch. News of the miracle spread far and wide.
Guess what crowd I want to be part of? Following Jesus brings life to those around us. If we continue to follow Jesus we will see miracles. I am encouraged that God can restore families when all seems lost. Jesus help us to bring your touch into the lives of those around us, Amen.
Written by Ainslie Woods
7 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.
A Roman soldier, a centurion, surprises Jesus. The Message version says Jesus was “taken aback”, saying to the crowd, “I’ve yet to come across this kind of simple trust anywhere in Israel, the very people who are supposed to know about God and how he works.” Jesus is surrounded by Jews, people of “faith” – and yet it is an “outsider” who has perceived who Jesus is and the power that He has. The unnamed Roman soldier – demonstrates the simple faith that Jesus is looking for.
Do I understand the authority that is given to Jesus to “speak” to situations and bring life? Do I grasp the concept that simple faith is understanding who I am placing my faith in and confidently trusting Him to be all that He is?
Written by Ps. Linda Quinn
46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? 47 As for those who come to me and hear my words and put 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 those who hear my words and do not put them into practice are 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.”
The wise and foolish builders are the last part (the conclusion) of Jesus’ longest sermon, the Sermon on the Mount.
Everyone in Palestine knew that floods came quickly during winter time. If a house was built without foundation, it would be washed away quickly. That’s why Jesus used it as the conclusion of His Sermon.
The foundation of a Christian is not just “bible knowledge” or “religious rituals”, but also a doer of the Words of Jesus.
How many times does Jesus say: do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink … But I still worry for many things.
Jesus said: love your enemies, do good to them … But I still don’t like them and won’t do anything good for them.
No wonder Jesus said: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
Lord help me to truly build a strong foundation and put your words into practice in my life.
Written by Allen Leu
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 Students are not above their teacher, but all who are fully trained will be like their teacher. 41 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in someone else’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 42 How can you say, ‘Friend, 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 the other person’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 thorn bushes, or grapes from briers. 45 Good people bring good things out of the good stored up in their heart, and evil people bring evil things out of the evil stored up in their heart. For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.
The clear theme for this section of scripture is Jesus calling us to be fair in the way we see and treat others and not be hypocritical. He calls us to treat others the way that we would like to be treated, take care that we are not “blind” before we lead others and to be careful when we criticise others that we are not guilty of the same thing that we are being critical of.
I love the way that Jesus teaches these popular moral principles by starting with a serious supposition “judge not, otherwise you will be judged” and then moving to a slightly silly example of 2 blind people moving one another. The intention of humour then becomes blatant when Jesus paints a picture of a man with a piece of construction-grade timber sticking out of his eye.
There are two things that this passage stirs in me. The first is the importance to remind myself that Jesus was an amazing teacher, but he was also much much more. How often do we emphasise the “moral teaching” of the bible and inadvertently water down its salvation message?
The second and equally important point is that Jesus and God have a sense of humour. History seems to have taught that religion is serious business, and as a result, we can miss the opportunity to laugh with God when it is clearly part of his nature to enjoy jokes, satire and the ridiculous.
Written by 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 the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt. 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.
If you are willing to listen…
Jesus then says some difficult things to live.
The manner of life of the Christian is such that we live for others. The measure of this life is to love our enemies. Are we willing to hear this? When people are rude, slanderous, thieving and lying toward us what is our response? Do we engage them with love or hatred? Do we give them place in our lives, do we reach out to them?
To lend without expectation of repayment to someone who hates us is an extreme measure. Yet this is what Jesus asks of us, citing that God is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked.
I need to truly identify those who are enemies to me, people I do not get along with and look at how I am treating them. Do I respond with indifference, which is what I think I do and instead engage them, not simply tolerate them and then ignore them. I need to deal with the hurt in my heart and forgive and engage them.
Father give me grace and courage to love my enemies.
Written by Ps. Richard Botta
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.
Jesus begins to teach the disciples, which no doubt included the Apostles who had just been appointed.
He teaches them a series of sayings which go to the heart of life, wealth, food, emotional state. He moves on to describe a time of persecution insisting it is a time for rejoicing because of the forward view to heaven not the present persecution. He reminds them that prophets have always been treated poorly.
Jesus is trying to lift the eyes of the disciples off their current circumstances and things that surround them to a forward view of heaven and eternity. Encouraging them to view life from a perspective of eternity more than time.
What ensnares me to limit my view to time and not eternity? I need to lift my eyes to see life on earth from God’s perspective not simply in time.
Written by Ps. Richard Botta
Luke 6:12 – 19
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 evil spirits were cured, 19 and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.
Wow! What power, wisdom and discernment Jesus had after spending the night with His Father in prayer. We are frequently reminded that Jesus only did what He saw His Father doing.
I am challenged by this passage to listen more to God when praying for others, so that I can pray in His will all the time. Choosing his disciples was a very big decision for Jesus. I also need to make sure I spend time with God and listen to Him before making big decisions. The more I am ‘in contact’ with God – in a conversation with Him throughout the day, the more practised I will be in hearing Him, and the easier it will be to hear Him when there are big decisions to make and people to pray for.
Written by Megan Cornell
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.
Jesus’ passion for people is amazing – helping the man was more important to Him than sticking to “the rules”. When the rules got in the way He went back to God’s purpose for the instruction. Good vs evil, healing vs not healing, work vs not work – what would God want in that situation? Jesus cared so much for the man with the deformed hand that he decided to challenge the way the authorities saw the world and help the man to do life better.
And what about the man with the deformed hand? Can you imagine the situation? He was in the congregation in church when Jesus was teaching. Jesus saw him and his hand and called him to stand in front of everyone. So imagine how that would have felt. He could have just stayed where he was or walked out or pretended Jesus wasn’t talking to him but he did walk out and stand in front. That was pretty brave. He could probably feel the eyes of the Pharisees on him and Jesus – their anger and their rules. Not the most friendly place.
How do I react in unfriendly situations? I need to remember why I am there and keep my eyes on Jesus.
Written by Therese Manning
6 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.”
Jesus, and his disciples, the good guys, getting about changing people’s lives, are taken to task over a handful of grains of wheat! According to the letter of the law as described in the scriptures, their accusers are in the position of strength – they are correct. So how does Jesus deal with them – He takes them back to the basis of their accusations – the scriptures and says [paraphrased , “Don’t you remember the part where it says how David did the same thing?….The Son of man is Lord of the Sabbath – not the other way around!”
I need to ask: Who is accusing me and what is my response? I want my response to be: “Jesus – the son of Man, is the Lord (the boss) of me – I answer to Him. It’s easy for me to get caught up in what I’m supposed to do or what I’m expected to do, but really – what does Jesus want me to do? That’s the question I need to make sure I answer. Lord help me to hear you speaking so I follow you, not rules.
Written by Linda Quinn
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. If they do, they will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. 37 And people do not pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, 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 none of you, after drinking old wine, wants the new, for you say, ‘The old is better.’”
Jesus is challenged about the devotional life of the disciples, especially in regard to fasting. Of course fasting is not meant to be on display, but then again we are speaking of the religious people. Jesus simply makes plain that the disciples will fast. When He has gone. This is an encouragement to us to fast.
He also makes plain that the old and new do not mix well.
Written by Ps.Richard Botta
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.”
Jesus goes against cultural stigmas and invites Levi a tax collector to follow him. Although Levi was rich, he was viewed as a traitor; he had made his wealth by betraying his Jewish people, heritage, and religion. Levi was probably following Jesus, because when the crowds came to listen, he could set up his booth, collect taxes and get richer. While taxing the people, Levi would have seen the miracles, and heard Jesus teach. Jesus would have noticed him & instead of telling him to leave, He said, ‘Follow Me’ He invites Levi to become one of his followers. Jesus doesn’t care that society hates Levi or that he’s a sinner, He just wants Levi to follow Him. Jesus chose the outcast, despised, and rejected – Levi certainly fit that description.
Levi leaves his tax gathering booth, all the money, rose up, and followed Jesus. He invites Jesus to a great feast in his own house, the only people he knew were outcasts like him, so they were invited. Am I prepared to befriend the socially outcast, go to their home for a meal? Will I worry what people will think about me if I mix with the outcasts of society?
In these days of political correctness, will the outcast listen to me & come to a place of knowing they are sick and in need of a doctor. I don’t need to convince them, the Holy Spirit will do that, I just need to be a place where they can see Gods love, grace, mercy and forgiveness.
Written by Cathy Croft
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, inside a large group of religious people were gathered. In fact it seems that there was a larger than normal group there.
Luke records that the power of God was present to heal in a stronger than normal manner. Is this a reference to the gift of healing?
Some men had a friend on a stretcher and they wanted to see him healed. Unable to get in via the door, they go to the roof and make a hole and lower him down to Jesus. Now this is an act of desperation! It shows the great love the men had for the paralysed guy, and how strong their expectation and faith in Jesus was.
Jesus sees their faith. What did He see? He saw them carry this guy onto the roof, make a hole, and lower Him down. He sees their faith and perseverance.
Jesus, clearly realizing one assumes, that the man needs healing, and that the friends had brought him to be healed doesn’t go there. He says, “Your sins are forgiven”.
Now the expectations of the man and his friends are dashed, and Jesus has managed to insight the displeasure of the religious men. A classic lose, lose!
The religious guys claim He is blaspheming, knowing that God alone can forgive sins.
Jesus however had not created a lose lose. He knew what their response would be and used it as an object lesson to show who He was, the Son of Man. It was a question of authority, and to show that He had the authority He healed the man.
The man now gets what he came for his healing and leaves rejoicing. The crowd saw a miracle, and more, great authority, and they too praised God.
So it is clear that God’s power to heal can be ‘more present’ at some times to heal then others.
It’s clear that faith can be seen and Jesus responded to that faith.
It is clear that authority to forgive was seen as the domain of God and Jesus equated Himself with God.
I need to be more aware of when Jesus is present to heal and to ensure my faith can be seen!
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
5 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.
These 11 verses tell us about when Jesus met His first group of disciples – a group of fisherman.
The verses that have struck me are 4 – 6. Jesus asks Peter to go deeper and then he will definitely catch fish – even though he had been fishing all night without catching anything… Peter isn’t keen at first as he is obviously tired, but follows Jesus request. The outcome = nets full of fish!!
For me, there have been times when I get caught up in disappointment, distractions, sickness, the world, … things that take my eyes off Jesus. What if at these times, I chose to “go deeper” with Jesus, to trust His voice – what if a mighty breakthrough was waiting on the other side of the disappointment? My”net full of fish” outcome.
There are times where I need to take myself out of my comfort zone and push further into the deep with Jesus, where I can’t stand, but I can rely on HIM! He knows the next part of my plan A & that’s the road I want to travel on – even when I can’t see what’s coming up. Scary but exciting, giving Jesus the control!
Written by Ps. Mandy Miller
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.
Jesus attended the synagogue and it was after this that he performed many miracles ie. healing the sick and casting out demons. Theory first and then the practical outworking of God’s purposes.
People begged Jesus to heal Simon’s mother in-law. They knew Jesus could make her well. There was faith in that room and ultimately that village because they were all healed. Once Simon’s mother in-law was healed she immediately went on to do what God called her to – serve!
Jesus pleased his heavenly Father above pleasing men and women. This is evident in his deciding to move onto the next town to preach. It would have been easy to stay in a place where you are so wanted and needed. He chose to be obedient and move on not knowing how he would be received in the next town.
A desire for the supernatural is stirred by the reading of this passage. To see people set free and God’s awesome power displayed. Get clued up first though ie get understanding on the topic first. This understanding will help build faith. We see Jesus attended the Synagogue where knowledge was obtained from Scripture. Jesus also shows us the importance of getting away from it all and seeking God’s will as opposed to what is popular or reasonable. Jesus intentionally went somewhere isolated where he could hear God clearly, free from distraction. We need to do the same.
Written by Ainslie Woods
31 Then he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath he taught the people. 32 They were amazed at his teaching, because his words had authority. 33 In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an impure spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, 34 “Go away! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are —the Holy One of God!” 35 “Be quiet!” Jesus said sternly. “Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him. 36 All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What words these are! With authority and power he gives orders to impure spirits and they come out!” 37 And the news about him spread throughout the surrounding area.
The passage in Luke 31-37 describes an intriguing account of a man who is possessed by a demon. When encountering demon possession in the bible, it is useful to bear in mind CS Lewis’s accurate analysis of our tendency to take the wrong approach when we reflect on the role that demons play in life:
‘There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They (demons) themselves are equally pleased by both errors.’
I myself have made both errors in the past, so it is helpful for me to be mindful of my beliefs regarding demons, who are very real and active in the world, without getting carried away.
The intrigue in the biblical passage for me initially is that this demon, although speaking against Jesus, is openly and publicly acknowledging him as the “Holy One of God”
On deeper reflection, it is noteworthy that this man is “in Church” despite being possessed. If you met someone whom you suspected was under demonic influence, how would you respond? Would you invite them to Church?
Do you hold a view of demons that is compatible with the bible, or do you base your beliefs on film and television?
Written by Justin Ware
23 Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ And you will tell me, ‘Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’” 24 “Truly I tell you,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. 25 I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. 26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. 27 And there were many in Israel with leprosy[a] in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.” 28 All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. 29 They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. 30 But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.
Today’s bible story is about Jesus’ work in Nazareth.
In Nazareth people were amazed at the gracious words that came out from Jesus and said: “Is this not Joseph’s son?”
Jesus challenged their attitude because He knew what was in their minds?
No matter what Jesus had done in Capernaum, Nazareth’s people were unwilling to accept His words because of His low identity – “the son of Joseph” (similarly Nathanael said: Can any good thing come out of Nazareth? John1:46)
But, Jesus still preached the gospel first to His own town; even though He knew “no prophet is accepted in his own country”
Also, Jesus warned them that if Nazareth/Jewish people did not accept Him, God’s salvation would go to the Gentiles who are originally unrelated to God – like Elijah was sent only to a widow in Zarephath in Sidon and Elisha cleansed only the Naaman the Syrian.
Today, how do I see/identify other people in Church? By their outside or inside?
How do I see/treat God’s warning in my life? How do I respond to the voice of the Holy Spirit that has spoken to me?
Written by Allen Leu
14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15 He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. 16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: 18 “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, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”[a] 20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” 22 All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked. 23 Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ And you will tell me, ‘Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’” 24 “Truly I tell you,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. 25 I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. 26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. 27 And there were many in Israel with leprosy[b] in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.” 28 All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. 29 They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. 30 But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.
What an extraordinary story.
Luke has described Jesus origins: the Son of God, announced by angels, conceived of the Holy Spirit, promised to Abraham, foretold by the prophets; and Jesus called the Son of Joseph, descended from David (and heir of his promises), but also the son of Adam, the second Adam who would put right what Adam made wrong. It’s essential that he is both. But the people of his home town can’t see how can he be the fulfilment of prophesy and the son of Joseph they think they know.
They’ve heard of his teachings and the miracles he has done in Capernaum. Jesus reads from Isaiah and tells them that the law (“year of Jubilee” from Leviticus when slaves are set free and debts cancelled) and the prophets are fulfilled in their presence. This is one of those times when the threads of God’s plans coming together in a way that sends a tingle down my spine. And yet these people think they know Jesus. They can’t see past their preconceptions that he’s just Joseph’s son.
Jesus sees into their hearts (as he often does) and sees their disbelief: they want to see proof, they want to see a miracle. They are wrong on so many levels. God is not subject to our judgement, we are subject to His. God gives blessing where He chooses, not where we demand.
They are so outraged at his suggestion that they would reject him that they not only reject him, they try to kill him: an extraordinary reaction.
So do I rush off with what I think I know and fail to hear what God is saying? Do I expect God to support my expectations, or do I change my thinking (repent) to align with his?
Written by David Cornell
4 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 where for forty days he was tempted[a] by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. 3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” 4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’[b]” 5 The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7 If you worship me, it will all be yours.” 8 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’[c]” 9 The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. 10 For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; 11 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’[d]” 12 Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’[e]” 13 When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.
Jesus interaction with the devil is one that is instructive in spiritual warfare.
The conditions Jesus finds Himself are these. He is full of the Spirit, He is led by the Spirit, He is tempted by the devil for 40 days, He eats nothing for 40 days, and He is very hungry.
Then come the 3 known temptations, although the Scripture tells us there were more.
The Devil delivers the temptations each one with a clear quotation from Scripture, each with a clear challenge to prove Himself. Identity is the challenge for two temptations; “if you are the Son of God” something that would not have been proved by Jesus doing what He was being tempted with. The other is a direct temptation to serve Himself, to live for Himself.
Jesus meets the temptations with a clear quotation from Scripture for each. This suggests that Scripture is a necessary ingredient to withstand the temptations of the enemy, but a closer look reveals there’s more.
However the devil decides to tempt us, we clearly need the Scripture, but it’s not our only weapon. Of the other ‘conditions’ that Jesus has here the ones surrounding the place and his physical condition are probably least important.
Rather it’s that He is full of the Spirit and being lead of the Spirit that are most critical, plus His understanding of Himself (He didn’t try to prove who He was) and He understood how God had created things in order.
For us to withstand the temptations of the devil we need to ensure that we are full of the Holy Spirit and are being obedient to Him in that we are being lead by Him, in addition to knowing God’s Word, which is how we become obedient to God.
It also matters that we understand God’s created order and His calling and identity in us.
Written by Richard Botta
23 Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli, 24 the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melki, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, 25 the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai, 26 the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josek, the son of Joda, 27 the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, 28 the son of Melki, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er, 29 the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, 30 the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim, 31 the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David, 32 the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Salmon,[a] the son of Nahshon, 33 the son of Amminadab, the son of Ram,[b] the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, 34 the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, 35 the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, 36 the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, 37 the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel, the son of Kenan, 38 the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.
What strikes me most about this passage is not the list of names, impressive or famous as some of them are. Instead, I am struck by the last four words of this passage, “the son of God”. All these people show a family lineage back to Adam and therefore to God, but I too am a child of God! John 1:12-13 says, “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”
Because of my salvation through Jesus Christ, I am now considered “part of the family” – a child of God. How truly awesome is that! What an inheritance!
“Thank you, Lord, that through your Son, Jesus Christ, I am your child. Thank you, that as a father, you love me, you care for me, you encourage me, you strengthen me, you discipline me, you walk beside me and you are forever “for me”. Praise you!”
Written By Jen Irving
21 When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
The ministry of Jesus begins in these verses. Luke has already told us that John was baptising ‘for the forgiveness of sins’. Jesus – who was sinless – chose to be baptised identifying Himself with us. While praying, after His baptism, the Holy Spirit comes upon Him and not only that but heaven opens & the voice of the Father confirms His love, favour and presence completely upon Him for His ministry ahead.
There are a lot of theological points in these verses … but the simplicity of Jesus identifying so completely in who I am, is actually overwhelming as I think about. No one person has ever so completely identified with me ever. Many have identified with me in certain aspects of my life, but not so completely. This one act, identifying with me through baptism – displays a love for me that brings security, comfort, acceptance, safety, courage …. I pray that I will never loose sight of the fact that Jesus is the only one who can truly & so completely walk through life with me. He ‘gets’ me.
Written by Suzie Hodgson
15 The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah. 16 John answered them all, “I baptize you with[a] water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with[b] the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” 18 And with many other words John exhorted the people and proclaimed the good news to them. 19 But when John rebuked Herod the tetrarch because of his marriage to Herodias, his brother’s wife, and all the other evil things he had done, 20 Herod added this to them all: He locked John up in prison.
John answered peoples’ questions about the coming Messiah. John had a clear understanding of his role and the far, far superior role of Jesus. He also warns people that their lives will come under scrutiny when Jesus comes. John doesn’t hold back with his warnings about the way people live their lives and will ultimately be judged. It’s important to note that people came to John with their questions about Jesus. He did not shy away from telling the truth but boldly declared what was to happen to the point where he was jailed.
John answered peoples’ questions about Jesus. It made me wonder if I was answering peoples’ questions about Jesus in my own life. One step further, were people asking me questions in the first place? John clearly had a relationship with Jesus (they were cousins) and it is out of this relationship that he gave answers to people in such a bold and direct manner. It encourages me to know Jesus better so I can answer questions and even start conversations about Jesus. It also suggests that some answers aren’t what people want to hear but shouldn’t be left out of the conversation because I feel uncomfortable.
God make me bold so I can warn our generation like John the Baptist warned his!
Written by Ainslie Woods
7 John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 9 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” 10 “What should we do then?” the crowd asked. 11 John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.” 12 Even tax collectors came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?” 13 “Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them. 14 Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?” He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely —be content with your pay.”
John uses some strong language speaking to the crowd; it’s never complimentary when you’re referred to as a poisonous snake! John shocks the people out of their comfort zone; he confronts them in regards to their reliance on ritual, and their identity as sons of Abraham. The main issue here is the state of these people’s hearts. John challenges them that if they are sincere in repenting from sin and turning to God there should be clear evidence in their lives. Selfless generosity, integrity and compassion, these should be the fruit in our lives.
John’s voice challenges me, how deep does my repentance go? Is there evidence in my life day by day that I have turned from a life of sin and am pursuing Christ? I desire that the fruit of my life draw people closer to God.
Written by Beth Waugh
3 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene— 2 during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. 3 He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 4 As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. 5 Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. 6 And all people will see God’s salvation.’”
John is in the wilderness at about 26-29AD at a time of political chaos & religious barrenness. In the midst of this chaos, “the word of God came to John”. It did not come to the politically powerful, or to the religious leaders, but to John, alone in the wilderness.
The wilderness is a place of uncharted territory, and there are no maps or guides. It is a place of barrenness and beauty; it can be in drought or have flash floods, unpredictable and irregular rain. However, in this wild and uncharted place, God spoke to John. Some think the way of the world is a way of life that will satisfy, and remember, the world will not hesitate to impose its belief on us. Some believe to only following God’s law will make us right with God. However, our hearts will always be restless until we find rest in God. We need to make a choice to prepare the way of the Lord in our heart. When in the wilderness, we must live by faith and be aware of our total dependence on God. We cannot be self sufficient; we must rely on God alone. We must shift from self-reliance to total reliance on God. Do not despise the wilderness, it is a call to surrender everything and in the surrender is the joy of knowing we can hear His word and be assured we can depend upon God.
Written by Cathy Croft
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