Children, Temptation, Sheep, And Forgiveness
on January 27th, 2023
The family of faith ought to safeguard and support one another. As pointed out by Jesus, these little ones are precious to the shepherd, who makes every effort to find them and rejoices when they're returned. Likewise, we should be mindful of the family of God and take care of the little ones. The shepherd is diligent in keeping his sheep safe.
Like The Sun
on January 26th, 2023
Just six days after Jesus predicted his death, he took Peter, James, and John to the top of a mountain in Galilee. This is a familiar scenario in the Bible—mountains are often where the Lord meets people. It happened with Moses, who encountered a burning bush on Mt. Sinai (Ex. 3-4). After the Israelites were freed from Egypt, they again met God on the same mountain (Ex. 19). Moses was full of awe and reverence—in response, the Lord showed mercy and established a covenant to be their God. Elijah and the prophets of Baal also had a conflict on Mt. Carmel. Both asked their respective gods to answer them - while Baal was silent, the Lord spoke and sent fire and rain (1 Kings 18). The disciples had a life-changing experience on a mountain in the Bible, an event they never forgot.
Dying To Find Life
on January 25th, 2023
For the Greeks, a crucifixion was indicative of extreme shame. Crucifixion was seen as a sign of wickedness and helplessness by the Romans. The Jews viewed a crucified man as cursed by God. However, Jesus proclaimed that the cross and its aftermath held God's message of life and served as an example for those who followed Him. For disciples, following Jesus means taking up their cross and denying themselves daily to find true satisfaction both in this life and in the life to come. Jesus explained that by dying, a person can find their life in Christ.
Real Issues And The Power Of God
on January 24th, 2023
The crowds are relentless, but Jesus is compassionate and wants to feed them. The disciples are puzzled and question, "Where would we find enough bread in such an isolated location to feed everyone?" (15:33). Even though teachers often say you cannot ask a bad question, this one appears to come close. Only a few chapters before, they faced the same issue—a horde of people with no food—and Jesus provided sustenance. The disciples often seem inclined to ignore individuals with needs and make requests, but Jesus does not. Jesus' example is the official guidelines for Jesus' followers and his church: We don't turn away "those people." We take their needs seriously regardless of whether they are irritating or struggling. If it is within our capacity, we help.
Fame, Food, Fear, Faith, and Fringe
on January 23rd, 2023
Jesus had just lost his friend and forerunner, John the Baptist, as well as a member of his family. He withdrew to be alone, but the crowds followed him on foot and were waiting for him when he arrived on shore. Despite his loss, Jesus showed compassion for the people and healed their sick. As night fell and the area was desolate, the disciples suggested sending the crowd away in search of food. Jesus challenged their advice and told them to feed the hungry crowd. With only five loaves and two fish, they were skeptical, but Jesus took the meal, blessed it, and gave it to the disciples to distribute. After everyone had eaten, twelve baskets of leftovers were collected, showing that thousands had been fed from a humble meal.
Parables, Hidden Treasure, and Rejection
on January 20th, 2023
The ancients had no way to secure their valuables, so when they had to flee due to brigands or war, they buried their treasures in clay jars. The behavior of the laborer who finds the treasure and buries it again may seem confusing to us, but it was in line with the customs of the time. According to the laws of the day, anyone who found something in a field was entitled to keep it, and if the treasure had great value, it was best to keep it hidden and purchase the field. Jesus is making the point that the kingdom is so valuable that we should be willing to give up all we have to obtain it.
Stories, Sowers, and Soils
on January 19th, 2023
Imagine the scene: Jesus steps outside and makes his way to the sea. A crowd quickly gathers around him. He then boards a boat on the water's edge and begins telling stories that convey profound messages about God's kingdom. These parables captivate everyone on shore—some are confused by them, others frustrated, but many find clarity in these illustrative tales of faith.
Blasphemy, Bad Trees, Signs, and Family
on January 18th, 2023
Jesus' unparalleled power over the fallen angels and the remarkable healing of a man who was both blind and mute left those in attendance absolutely astonished. The Pharisees rashly suggested that Jesus had called upon the power of Satan for this feat. Still, He quickly refuted their accusation by using a comparison - how could a kingdom function if it was split against itself?
The Lord of the Sabbath
on January 17th, 2023
Jesus understands that people can be overwhelmed and offers rest for those weary and burdened. He invites us to take up his yoke, which is easy and the burden light (v. 30). The metaphor of a yoke is associated with agricultural life, where animals wear them to utilize their strength for plowing fields or carrying loads. When Jesus tells us, "Take my yoke," he's asking us to place it on our shoulders with trust as we learn from him, who has gentleness and humility. This does not mean discipleship lacks its challenges, but that following Jesus gives rest to the soul.
Swords, Rewards, and Messengers
on January 16th, 2023
Jesus does not disparage John for his questions. Instead, he speaks words of grace over him and describes the significance of John's ministry. Jesus quotes Malachi 3:1 to explain that John is the messenger preparing the way for the Messiah. Jesus honored John as the greatest person ever born yet emphasized that even the least of those under Christ's authority surpasses John.
His Eye Is On The Sparrow
on January 13th, 2023
God's servants are of great worth to the Almighty, and if He is so devoted to His creatures—not even one can fall unnoticed—how much more will He care for them? Jesus commands the disciples to boldly proclaim what they have learned from Him without fear of men. Moreover, Jesus emphasizes that those who obey His warning not to be afraid and declare this truth will gain acknowledgment before God at the final judgment; conversely, if one denies Christ's teachings, it will result in a denial from Jesus Himself.
Jesus Is Compassionate
on January 12th, 2023
Matthew's call is critically significant because it demonstrates how Jesus can save even the most despised individuals. Matthew was a local tax collector who worked for the Romans and had made himself hated in doing so, yet; he still received an unexpected invitation from Jesus to follow Him. This exemplifies that no one is beyond redemption or too far gone for God's salvation. The religious leaders were taken aback upon witnessing Jesus breaking bread with those they believed to be the 'outcasts.' Listening in on their dialogue, Jesus clarified that it is not only the sinners who are unwell but also those who rely on performing religious deeds; for it is these very people He was sent here to summon.
Happy New Year!He Will Save His People From Their SinsMy Beloved SonTemptation And MinistryThe SermonLeaving, Lying, Limits, Love, Largesse, and The Lord's PrayerTreasure, Anxiety, and JudgmentAstonishing AuthorityStorms, Demons, and HealingJesus Is CompassionateHis Eye Is On The SparrowSwords, Rewards, and MessengersThe Lord of the SabbathBlasphemy, Bad Trees, Signs, and FamilyStories, Sowers, and SoilsParables, Hidden Treasure, and RejectionFame, Food, Fear, Faith, and FringeReal Issues And The Power Of GodDying To Find LifeLike The SunChildren, Temptation, Sheep, And Forgiveness