The Crowd

Re:Verse passage – Matthew 20:29-34 (day six)

The crowd rebuked them… Matthew 20:31

The question of this series is a personal one, “Jesus’ kingdom or ours? Which one will it be?”

The crowd clearly had a different agenda. They wanted to hurry things along to their end, which for them meant Jesus sitting on a political throne. There was no time for Jesus to stop and heal two blind men.

They had Jesus pegged; neatly fitted into their own ambitions and plans, their own kingdoms. But He wouldn’t have it. He wouldn’t be bullied or cajoled. With compassion he stopped and healed the men; he was about His Kingdom.

So, what will it be, Jesus’ Kingdom? Or will you try to force Him into your own? You can try, but Jesus won’t have it.

Going Fishing

Re:Verse passage – Matthew 17:24-27 (day six)

“But go ahead, and cast a hook….,” Jesus said.

I imagine Jesus paused there, for effect.

Didn’t he just tell me, “the sons are free.”? And now he wants me to go work to pay both our taxes, four days wages. Impossible. And all so we don’t offend them.

“…catch just one fish, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel. Use that to pay both our taxes.”

Once again, when Peter thought there was no way, Jesus made a way. Peter was under no obligation to pay the tax (in Jesus’ new Kingdom), nor did he have the means, but was instructed now, to freely and lovingly give out of the providential abundance Jesus alone provides.

Here’s the promise Christian, Jesus is always our benefactor. When we sacrificially and freely love, serve, and give to others, Jesus will provide the necessary resources, energy, and strength the moment demands. That’s the miracle. Do you believe Him?


Re:Verse passage – Matthew 17:14-21 (day six)

There are echos in this story, with Jesus coming down the mountain. Echos of God’s frustration with the wickedness of men and women in before he sent the flood, “How long will I strive with men?!” Echos of Moses coming down the mountain after meeting with God, and seeing the people bowing down to a golden calf. And echos of Elijah rebuking the faithlessness of the people who had put their faith in Baal, a figment of their own corrupt imaginations.

This is intentional of course. It is as if God is saying, “This is my son, who will be the ultimate display of my glory.”(Think Mt. Carmel) As if he is saying, “My son is the everlasting intercessor.”(Think of Moses interceding for the people.) And as if God is saying, “Jesus is the everlasting ark.” (Of course, think of the flood.) The redeemer of the world. Jesus is God’s answer to his question, “How long will I strive with men?”


Re:Verse passage – Matthew 15:21-28 (day six)

Jesus did everything they expected, even wanted him to do, up until the very end. Maybe that was the point after all.

The greatest lessons learned in the Gospels, were learned by the disciples themselves. The Gospels tell their journey of growing into the knowledge of the Kingdom of God as revealed through Jesus’ life. This encounter with this woman was no different.

Up until the very last moment, they thought Jesus was in full agreement with the status quo; God’s Kingdom doesn’t belong to Canaanite women. But in an amazing turn of events, Jesus did the unexpected, He celebrates her faith and heals her daughter.

It was then they were exposed to a greater reality, that for God so loved the WORLD He sent his only Son.


Re:Verse passage – Matthew 14:22-33 (day six)

He came to them. Matthew 14:25

Mark writes, “He meant to pass by them.” (Mark 6:48) Mark didn’t mean that Jesus was walking past them. That’s not the right meaning at all. What Mark meant, as is confirmed by Matthew, is that Jesus intended the disciples to see him walking on the water.

Walking on water was miraculous, but greater still is Jesus’ will to be seen. To be known, perceived, understood. Jesus has no need to be seen, but we have no greater need than to see (and know) Jesus, the one who came to us.

That’s what Jesus was doing after all. It wasn’t just an amazing display of divine power, but an appeal to our spiritual senses to wake up and see the Son of Man who takes away the sins of the world.

Their seeing Jesus would change everything. Jesus was counting on it.

Have you seen Him too?


Re:Verse passage – Matthew 14:14-21 (day six)

Man does not live by bread alone, but by every Word that comes out of God’s mouth. Deuteronomy 8:3

Bread is good and needed, but it can’t sustain you. That’s the lesson they would learn a little later. Jesus would say in the days following the miracle with the loaves and fishes, “I am the bread from heaven…whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood will have eternal life.” Striking words. Most were bothered by them, but Jesus’ message was clear. In the same way that bread sustains your physical body, so you must be sustained by me to have eternal life.

Real sustaining life (or a whole life, both physical and spiritual) can only be had by consuming the Word, believing in and following Jesus. This is why Jesus told Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life.” He wasn’t only talking about his own physical resurrection, but Martha’s too, and ours.

So the truest life, whether physical or spiritual (they aren’t separate) can only be known in Jesus. He is our sustenance in the truest sense of the word.

Lost in Translation

Re:Verse passage – Matthew 12:9-13 (day six)

Of course it is not unlawful to heal on the Sabbath. Many Pharisees were so self-absorbed, and self-righteous they could not see the truth standing right in front of them. Too concerned with adding to their list of Sabbath successes, they had little time to observe the first and second greatest commandments (love God, and love your neighbor).

There is no law against loving your neighbor, doing good, healing a man’s hand, no matter the day.

The irony is, the aim of the Sabbath was always to be still and know [He] is God; to behold him, and love your neighbor. All the Pharisees were interested in doing was being still and beholding themselves.

It’s a matter of interpretation really. If your view of the Kingdom of God prohibits you from doing good for one reason or another, your interpretation is just as blind and self-absorbed as the Pharisees’.


Re:Verse passage – Matthew 9:20-22(day six)

Truth is, she had no intention of being noticed. For all the reasons already offered (Scott and Aaron), the last thing she wanted was for Jesus, much less the crowd, to become aware of her presence. She needed to stop dying, to stop the bleeding, and be made clean. What she didn’t want were glares thrown like stones reminding her of her disconnectedness.

If I could only touch the hem of his prayer shawl, then I would be healed. No one has to know.

But Jesus did take notice.

“Daughter, take courage; your faith has saved you.”

He called me… daughter. 

She had hope for healing, and He healed her. She had hoped to be unnoticed,  but he noticed her. But something else happened that day she did not expect.


No Laughing Matter

Re:Verse passage – Matthew 9:18-19; 23-26 (day six) 

Matthew 8:24, “And they laughed at him.”

I suppose they didn’t know any better at the time, but they were laughing at the Son of Man who had calmed the storm. Regardless, this miracle, in particular,  points to the coming Kingdom of God, reminding us that its coming will not be pleasant for all.

Every miracle is a call to repentance and surrender, but for those who delay or refuse will only face judgment when Jesus comes into His Kingdom.

With the resurrection of this little girl, I imagine many of Jesus’ scoffers were silenced. Many of them likely believed, but for some their laughter was a sign of judgment to come.

God is not to be mocked.-Paul, Galatians 6:7

Seek the Lord while he may be found. –Isaiah the Prophet, Isaiah 55:6

Prince of Peace

I once was told,  you only need to worry if the flight attendants are afraid. I’ve been on some harrowing flights, at least ones I thought were harrowing, but I have never been on a flight when the attendant was afraid. That was always the clue that we were going to be okay. I might throw up, but we will be okay.

That’s part of the message Jesus provides in this practical lesson. Don’t watch the storm, keep your eyes on me. When we keep Jesus in view, we find him unflinchingly steadfast, like an anchor. No worry or fear crosses his face; you would only need to worry if it does.

Which is never. He’s the Prince of Peace.

Merry Christmas!