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Archive for October, 2011

October 19.11 ethot

Matthew 9:3 (1–8) “This fellow blasphemes.

It was interesting to note that there were two groups of people present when Jesus performed this miracle of healing the paralytic. There were those who brought the man and there were those who came to criticize Jesus. That is that there were those who came with their minds open and expecting something amazing and those who came with their minds closed and suspicious of everything.

Of course there’s nothing wrong with being suspicious when it is warranted. If someone is trying to sell me something I’ll tend to be suspicious, but Jesus wasn’t selling anything. Jesus was trying to warn everyone of something that is going to happen that they all needed to be ready for, Matthew 7:21–23.

One group came looking for God to do something and found the Son of God ready to forgive them of their sins with a power that He rightfully held, Daniel 7:13–14. The other group came looking for just a man like them, selling something for themselves to a crowd of fools. Both groups found a man. But only one praised God for the man they found, 9:8.

Wisdom involves recognizing and rejecting my natural inclination to explain away what I know to be true.

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October 18.11 ethot

Matthew 8:24 (23–27) “And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts.

Now here’s an interesting reaction to a miracle of Jesus. Everywhere else Jesus went people gathered round and wanted more from Him. They couldn’t get enough of Him. But here the people came out to tell Jesus to get lost, thanks but no thanks!

Well, I guess I can understand how they felt. Apparently the herd of pigs was their livelihood and Jesus had just destroyed that (the Gadarenes were probably mixed Jews). Yet, Jesus had not. This was done by the demons. Demons are naturally destructive as proved by their treatment of the two possessed men. Now previously we had seen demons producing disease (8:14–17) and now physical violence on those they possess. There is nothing wonderful about falling under the influence of the demons.

But, I guess as long as the demons hadn’t personally bothered them they could live with them even though, the demons, were destroying the lives of two of there own. The few would suffer for the sake of the many. How noble?!

Jesus is not like that. When He comes into a life things can get very disruptive. The old way of doing things (the broad way) is no longer good enough; things must change (the narrow way).

Courage involves being willing to stand alone on the side of right even when it requires personal sacrifice.

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October 17.11 ethot

Matthew 8:24 (23–27) “but Jesus Himself was asleep.

This is another one of those passages where the point of the story is really about your perspective on life now that you’re a believer. See while the disciples were all stressed out because of the storm, understanding it to be their last moments on earth, Jesus had no such delusion.

Yes, delusion! See Jesus was totally aware of the fact that God had sent Him to earth with a specific purpose, to save sinners from that final judgment day. In that moment Jesus did not see His death the storm. Dying there would not fulfill God’s purposes of a sacrificial offering. So there was no reason to worry, God had a different purpose for the storm.

Too many times, as believers, we forget our purpose here on earth, we forget our place and assume too much or not enough. There was nothing wrong with the disciples doing their best to keep the boat afloat and saving every life on board, but assuming they were going to die and that that would be terrible was too much.

Look at your life as a believer right now and ask yourself if God is finished with you yet. If as I suspect He is not then you need to stop worrying about death and start working on life. We are not Jesus, but just as He was focused on His mission we should be on ours.

Diligence involves applying the right amount of energy and concentration to the mission God has called us to do.

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October 14.11 ethot

Matthew 8:22 (18–22) “Follow Me and allow the dead to bury their own dead.

In this passage Jesus emphasizes His authority over His followers. That is that if they were making a commitment to follow Him it had to be a complete rejection of their former way of living (the broad way) for a completely new way of living (the narrow way).

So Jesus gave orders, not a suggestion or request for a simple majority, this was a command. As you go through the four Gospels you can pick out where Jesus gave specific commands for all of us to follow. Some have specified 48 commands.

We also find one of Jesus’ titles in v. 8:20, “Son of Man”. This is a reference to Daniel 7:13–14 where Daniel see Jesus in a vision hundreds of years before the Lords birth. Among His other names are: “Son of David” His Jewish title and “Son of God” His divine title. But Jesus issues His commands as the Son of Man because not only is it the title that links Him to the earth, it is His title of authority over it.

Obedience involves doing what God wants me to do when He wants it done, in the way He wants it done and because He wants it done.

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October 13.11 ethot

Matthew 8:15 (14–17) “He touched her hand, and the fever left her; and she got up…

When Jesus touched the leper He showed us that He had power or authority over that which was unclean. When He spoke the healing word He showed power over space and time. Now Jesus demonstrates how complete His healing power was.

This story also tells us something about Peter that we may not have realized. Peter (the apostle, one of the twelve founders of the church) was a married man and taking care of his Mother-in-law (and may even have had children). There was a sensitive, family man, caring side to Peter.

Right now we’re entering flu season (don’t forget your shots). When most of us have a fever it usually takes time for us to fully recover and get back to work. But Jesus healing power was so complete that as soon as He touched her she was able to get up and back to her duties in the house.

Matthew tells us that this healing power echoes that power Jesus will exhibit over sin at His death and resurrection, Isaiah 53:4. Jesus takes away our debilitating sin completely. Peter’s mother-in-law’s fever was real, all those people who came to Jesus for healing had real illnesses and sin is just as real, too. It is good to know the One who has power over both facts of life.

Faith involves acting on the knowledge that our trust on His name will keep us on the Day of Judgment.

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October 11.11 ethot

Matthew 8:3 (1–4) “Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him,

According to Leviticus 13 & 14 if the priest verifies that a person has leprosy it is through the priest he must go and get verification that it is gone. That is because said priest has declared you unclean and you must warn others that you have been classified unclean.

At the same time these laws said that if you touch a person that is declared unclean you too become unclean and need to follow the Seven Day procedure to become clean again. This is why in the story of the Good Samaritan the levy and the priest stayed away from the robbery victim.

What is interesting about this account is that not only was the man ready to accept Jesus as Lord over his life, Jesus Himself was waiting, ready to heal him. But what we should really find interesting is that Jesus, knowing the man was a leper, didn’t just heal him. Jesus waited to hear from the man. God wants to act on our behalf, but only upon our request.

No matter what our condition Jesus is always waiting and ready to take us in. Your condition is not relevant to Him, because Jesus is the God/Man. There was no priest for Jesus to go to, He is the High Priest.

Humility involves understanding how easy it is to deceive yourself into thinking that you don’t need any help.

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October 11.11 ethot

Matthew 8:3 (1–4) “Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him,

According to Leviticus 13 & 14 if the priest verifies that a person has leprosy it is through the priest he must go and get verification that it is gone. That is because said priest has declared you unclean and you must warn others that you have been classified unclean.

At the same time these laws said that if you touch a person that is declared unclean you too become unclean and need to follow the Seven Day procedure to become clean again. This is why in the story of the Good Samaritan the levy and the priest stayed away from the robbery victim.

What is interesting about this account is that not only was the man ready to accept Jesus as Lord over his life, Jesus Himself was waiting, ready to heal him. But what we should really find interesting is that Jesus, knowing the man was a leper, didn’t just heal him. Jesus waited to hear from the man. God wants to act on our behalf, but only upon our request.

No matter what our condition Jesus is always waiting and ready to take us in. Your condition is not relevant to Him, because Jesus is the God/Man. There was no priest for Jesus to go to, He is the High Priest.

Humility involves understanding how easy it is to deceive yourself into thinking that you don’t need any help.

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