August 20, 2009
The life of Jesus. Read Today:
Jesus pays Temple tax with a miracle; Matthew 17:24-27
Matthew 17:24-27 NET
(24) The Temple Tax
After they arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the temple tax came to Peter and said, "Your teacher pays the double drachma tax, doesn't he?"
(25) He said, "Yes." When Peter came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, "What do you think, Simon? From whom do earthly kings collect tolls or taxes — from their sons or from foreigners?"
(26) After he said, "From foreigners," Jesus said to him, "Then the sons are free.
(27) But so that we don't offend them, go to the lake and throw out a hook. Take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth, you will find a four drachma coin. Take that and give it to them for me and you."
the tax talked about here was not a tax laid down by a king but by God through the written word. It was to pay for the upkeep of the temple. It was quite clear what Jesus was saying here. Hey, God is my dad. Does the son of the king pay a tax? For anyone that dares say that Jesus never claimed He was God, well Jesus says it here.
But Jesus makes it clear that he does not want to offend anybody. He was willing to pay the tax to not offend anybody and God approved of it by the fish giving a coin in his mouth, a clear miracle.
If Jesus does not want to offend, then why should we. In a Sunday school class recently, the teacher mentioned that he has a hard time talking to some people about Jesus. Why? Because they have been offended by the tactics of well meaning Christians trying to lead them to Christ. There is no one size fits all in salvation. Jesus used many different ways. One needs to take time and listen to the Holy Spirit and be guided in how to tell others about Jesus.
Read for next time: Disciples argue about who is the greatest; Matthew 18:1-6; Mark 9:33-37; Luke 9:46-48
Thursday, August 20, 2009
August 20, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
August 19, 2009
The life of Jesus. Read Today: Jesus discusses his death; Matthew 17:22-23; Mark 9:30-32; Luke 9:44-45
Luke 9:44-45 ESV
(44) "Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men."
(45) But they did not understand this saying, and it was concealed from them, so that they might not perceive it. And they were afraid to ask him about this saying.
How much is God willing to give us if we just ask? Here Jesus is on His way to die and tells the disciples what is going to happen. They could have been a comfort to Him in His time of need. They were afraid to ask, it was hidden from them. I am sure that they could see Jesus needed them but fear is a powerful enemy.
How often do we not help people that we know need help but do not because we are afraid to help?
Read for next time: Jesus pays Temple tax with a miracle; Matthew 17:24-27
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
August 18, 2009
The life of Jesus. Read Today: Disciples ask about the miracle; Matthew 17:19-21; Mark 9:28-29
Matthew 17:19-20 BBE
19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately, and said, Why were we not able to send it out?
20 And he says to them, Because of your little faith: for truly I say to you, If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, Be moved from this place to that; and it will be moved; and nothing will be impossible to you.
I bought for my daughter years ago a necklace. She loved it so much. In a little glass ball was a mustard seed. To her it represented the faith that Jesus talks about here. How one small seed can be such a big plant. And for years that is what I have read, heard taught, and taught my children as well. One small seed, one big tree, have faith and things will changed, if only you had that little bit of faith.
A new thought came to me recently. What if Jesus was not saying the quantity of the faith but the quality. A mustard seed does not know anything, just that it is a plant and it will grow. Day by day that is all it does is grow. It is that blind, childlike faith that keeps it pushing on.
The disciples were trying to logic and reason out the way to healing the child like so many of us do. What we need is faith that says when we say it will happen, it will.
Read for next time: Jesus discusses his death; Matthew 17:22-23; Mark 9:30-32; Luke 9:44-45
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
August 11, 2009
August 7, 2009
The life of Jesus. Read Today: Demon is cast out of boy; Matthew 17:14-18; Mark 9:14-27; Luke 9:37-43
Mark 9:19 BBE
19 And he said to them in answer, O generation without faith, how long will I have to be with you? how long will I put up with you? let him come to me.
Jesus seems to be really angry here. He is chewing out a man for wanting his son to be healed. If that is the case, then why should I ask for healing for my children or even for me. But that is not what is really happening here. The disciples could not get the child healed and Jesus is upset that they are expecting Him to be there forever and do this. By this time, Jesus knows the path that is set before Him. He know that He will die and that they will have to carry on where He left off. He wants them to learn.
As a younger Christian, I saw many great miracles happen in my life. Bills met, bodies healed, they were all common. But as I get older in the faith, these miracles do not seem to take place as often. God expects me to use my faith to get them, along with the faith of others. What was granted when I was younger I have to work for now. Just like I could ask my parents for some money when I was a kid and do little or no work, now, as an adult I have to work for every once of it.
Jesus was not yelling at the dad, He was yelling at the lack of faith. Do you need a little yelling in your life to get your faith going again.
Read for next time: Disciples ask about the miracle; Matthew 17:19-21; Mark 9:28-29
Friday, August 7, 2009
August 7, 2009
The life of Jesus. Read Today: Elijah discussed while descending; Matthew 17:9-13; Mark 9:9-13
While receiving council from a man of God recently we talked about how people will often look for things and see them the way they want to. For example, if I think my boss is out to get me, then I will see those things in him that help mu opinion and disregard all the rest. It does not matter that the reality is that he may be trying to help me, I see the other. This was true in Jesus time as well. The Jewish people expected the Messiah to come and it said that Elijah must come first.
Matthew 17:10-13 CEV
(10) The disciples asked Jesus, "Don't the teachers of the Law of Moses say that Elijah must come before the Messiah does?"
(11) Jesus told them, "Elijah certainly will come and get everything ready.
(12) In fact, he has already come. But the people did not recognize him and treated him just as they wanted to. They will soon make the Son of Man suffer in the same way."
(13) Then the disciples understood that Jesus was talking to them about John the Baptist.
The people had it in their hearts that Elijah's return was to be the real return of Elijah, not a person acting like Elijah.
In how much of our own lives do we sin like the Jewish people did, in wanting to see God the way that we want to see Him, and not how He is?
Read for next time: Demon is cast out of boy; Matthew 17:14-18; Mark 9:14-27; Luke 9:37-43
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
August 5, 2009
The life of Jesus. Read Today: The Transfiguration; Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-8; Luke 9:28-36
Matthew 17:4-5 ISV
4 Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it's good that we're here! If you want, I will set up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
5 He was still speaking when a bright cloud suddenly overshadowed them. A voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love. I am pleased with him. Keep on listening to him!”
To often, like Peter, we want to live in the high points of our lives. Peter saw Jesus and what appeared to be Moses and Elijah. He was ready to set up camp there. What could be better than this? Think about it, what could be better than this? Jesus, if He had stayed put, would not have gone to the cross and there would be no salvation for us.
God knew this was not the time or place for Jesus to rule. So he did the next best thing, He told Peter to shut up and listen to Jesus.
Next time you want to live for the high point in your life, shut up and listen to Jesus.
Read for next time: Elijah discussed while descending; Matthew 17:9-13; Mark 9:9-13
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
August 4, 2009
The life of Jesus. Read Today: Jesus rebukes Peter; Matthew 16:21-28; Mark 8:31-9:1; Luke 9:18-27
Peter goes from hero to zero real fast. One moment Jesus is telling Peter that Jesus will build His church on Peter. The next moment:
Matthew 16:23 MKJV
(23) But He turned and said to Peter, Go, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you do not savor the things that are of God, but those that are of men.
Why the change? We often like to live in the praise of the moment. It puffs us up to think that we can do no wrong. Peter was in that mood. When Jesus talks about his death and how soon it will be. Peter jumps in and tells Him no! I am sure Peter is thinking, Jesus is testing me, I will protect Him so He will not die. Jesus knew what was before Him and rejected Peter and his promises.
In my personal life I got a letter the other day. The old fashioned kind that uses paper and ink. My kids had come home from summer camp and had a great time. I thought typical youngsters, had fun now back to work. But in this letter one of the camp councilors told me what a treat it was to minister to my kids. They had blessed him with the way they lived and how they reacted to others. I was on cloud nine. I think I felt like Peter felt when Christ said He would build his church on Peter. If I was not careful I could try to live in that moment. But like Peter I would not be doing God's plan for my life. I have years more of training for those kids.
Do not allow yourself to live long in the moment of glory. Enjoy it, realize that there is more work to do for the kingdom.
Read for next time: The Transfiguration; Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-8; Luke 9:28-36