October 11, 2022
In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), Jesus outlines an entirely different orientation to life than people had known. "You have heard it said ... but I say" was the teaching device He used to communicate this contrast. "The world's kingdom is like this (this is your normal way of operating), but my Kingdom is exactly the opposite."
THE WAY OF FAITH
Matthew Chapter 9 illustrates this. There are, in essence, three players we watch: Jesus, needy, faith-filled, seeking people, and proud, disbelieving Pharisees. The word "faith" jumps out at you as you read this chapter, for it is repeated multiple times in multiple lives. In the first blush of His new Kingdom, Christ is illustrating that everything in His Kingdom operates by FAITH ... depending on God for everything.
1.Faith for a Friend (vs. 2).
Some men bring a friend who is a paralytic to Jesus. "Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, "Take courage, son, your sins are forgiven." To illustrate His authority, he heals him. This is repeated later in some friends bringing a mute man to Jesus, believing He will heal (vs. 32-34).
2. Faith to Follow (vs. 9)
At a simple two-word invitation, "Follow Me!" Matthew responds in faith. His faith leads to his salvation.
3. Faith of a Father (vs. 18-26).
A father went counter to his religious colleagues and, in faith proclaimed "Come and lay Your hand on (my daughter), and she will live." The people laughed at Jesus, but He ignored their unbelief as the girl was raised from the dead. This miracle began with the father’s faith.
4. Faith for Yourself (vs. 20-22)
A hemorrhaging woman believed a simple connection with Jesus would heal her. She reached out and touched Jesus' outer cloak in faith, and Jesus said, "your faith has made you well, "... and she was healed.
5. Faith to See (vs. 27-31)
Jesus' question to them was about their faith: "Do you believe that I am able to do this" and they responded in the affirmative. Jesus answered, "It shall be done to you according to your faith.”
We do not know the level of faith each of these people had. But great faith or little faith does not seem to matter. When their faith was placed in Jesus enough that they would approach Him, they were wonderfully rewarded.
Alongside these beautiful stories of people's faith and Christ's faithfulness is the nagging, whining responses at every turn of the religious people who were unbelievers. They said He was blaspheming (vs. 3), berated him for eating with sinners (vs. 11), laughed at Him (vs. 24...what a horrible response that they will regret in eternity), and attributed his work to Satan (vs. 34).
The contrast is stunning: humble, needy people who believed and reaped the glorious results of their faith and proud, disbelieving people who stood right in the presence of the Son of God and received nothing but further condemned themselves to a Christless life and eternity.
Where are we in our faith right now? Are we coming in humble faith or standing apart in calloused unbelief and missing the moments of God's activity?
Father, help me believe You today at every turn. Give me the eyes to see where You are moving and what You desire to do if I will believe You. Remind me that every act of the common day is always about my faith and His faithfulness.
September 20, 2023
September 19, 2023
When you’re lifted up in pride or bowed down in discouragement, look at the stars. Every bright light reminds us that He is God and there is no other. The One who made the stars and knows them by name, made you. And you are of infinite worth to our Sovereign Creator.
“He made the stars also.”
August 31, 2023