Re:Verse passage – Matthew 20:29-34 (day seven)
Every time I read a passage about Jesus healing the blind (the Gospels show us that He does this more than once), I am immediately taken to the great Hymn “Amazing Grace”: I once was blind, but now I see.
Through these scriptures of healing the blind, Jesus communicates to us a sense of spiritual blindness that is inherently in us all. The fact that this happens multiple times in the Bible has me wondering; did the Gospel writers understand this metaphor too? Did they associate the literal healing of blindness with the miracle that happens in us when we realize how spiritually blind we are? There is a profound message to be said in this metaphor when you realize the men asked for their “eyes to be opened” and the very next thing that happens after they regain their sight is the Triumphal Entry. God is opening our eyes to see the plan He had from before time began: Amazing Grace.
Re:Verse passage – Matthew 17:24-27 (day seven)
Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free.”
Today we concluded a huge event for our Youth Ministry: Freedom Weekend. This retreat is a time for our students to get away from the distractions of their day-to-day lives and fix their eyes on Jesus. We have fun and games, but the most important thing is we center the weekend around Scripture showing our students that we find true Freedom when we shape our lives through the Word of God. This year we focused specifically on 1 John 4. Love comes from God! We can only know love because He loves us. What a great message for our students to hear!
Today, our students (and volunteers) will rest. Later this week, they will go back to school and have to go back to their day-to-day routine. Pray as they reflect on this weekend that they will challenge themselves to let this message permeate everything they do. Pray that they will walk back into their schools knowing they are loved. Pray that they will share about this love to others. Pray that this weekend doesn’t stop here!
Re:Verse passage – Matthew 17:14-21 (day seven)
There are moments that arise that seem larger than life; crises that we feel are impossible to overcome. We feel that in our humanity, we could not possibly handle something like this. We feel as if this is only something God can handle. Our crime and that of the disciples is that we do not believe Jesus when He says, “he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do.” (John 14:12). The disciples thought they needed Jesus to perform this miracle. God performs the miracles, but what the disciples failed to realize is that the Power of the Spirit is available to us to facilitate miracles. All it takes is the faith the size of a mustard seed and we can do “greater works” too.
“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory. ” – Ephesians 3:20-21a
Re:Verse passage – Matthew 15:21-28 (day seven)
“But He did not answer her a word.” -23a
This woman’s initial request was met with silence. Her child was in turmoil and she had no where else to go. Now this man, the only man that could heal her daughter, is silent. Have you ever felt this before? Have you come before the Lord with boldness and faith only to be met with silence? The perception is that the one person who could help in this time doesn’t seem to care about your needs, but that could not be further from the truth. Charles Spurgeon once said, “Answers to prayers may be delayed; but delays are not always denials.”
Jesus was not denying this woman her petition. He just had a different plan. It was bigger than her. He knew He was going to heal her daughter, but His delay allowed for a teaching opportunity to His disciples that would shape their theology. His silence provided healing for so many more people than just this one gentile family. His silence is always precisely planned.
Re:Verse passage – Matthew 14:22-33 (day seven)
When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. vs 32
The question I have always found myself asking when I study this passage is “How did they get back in the boat?” Did Jesus pick Peter up like a child and carry him back to safety? Did the disciples throw a rope from the boat and drag Peter back in as Jesus walked by his side and coached his faith? Or did Jesus pull Peter up and walk with Him back to boat hand in hand on top of the water again? No matter how this played out, Peter called for Jesus to help, and Jesus personally took action. Jesus helped Peter get back in the boat.
When we fall down, Jesus is always there to pick us back up. When we call for help in the middle of a storm, Jesus always has His hand outstretched to pull us back to safety. He will help us get back in the boat, and the storm will pass.
Re:Verse passage – Matthew 14:14-21 (day seven)
Thousands upon thousands of Israelites are seen wandering in the desert, hungry and asking for food. Have you heard this story before? What happened then? God provided. What happens here? God provided.
Jesus is clearly making a BOLD statement. He is the one they have been waiting for. He is their provider! He even leaves 12 baskets of leftovers; the same amount as the number tribes of Israel. God has provided in abundance once again for Israel.
The people still miss something. Jesus is not just the provider, He is the provision. “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” This provision was so much greater than anything God had ever done before. He provided Himself to us! It was more than physical; it was spiritual!
“What is the deepest root of your joy? What God gives to you? Or what God is to you?” -John Piper
Re:Verse passage – Matthew 12:9-13 (day seven)
“How much more valuable then is a man than a sheep!”
These Pharisees would have definitely provided help to a stranded sheep on the Sabbath. Sheep were property. It would have been a personal loss for them if they had not intervened. This was the problem. They saw their stranded sheep as more valuable investments than their own people that were stranded and hurting right in front of them. Truth is, they probably enjoyed having hurting people around, because it made them feel more holy. They believed God had blessed them with health and prosperity over these others.
Then Jesus (the Good Shepherd) sees this man (one of his sheep) in need and intervenes. Jesus gave this man more than a hand; He gave him his life back. It would have been more than a personal loss if Jesus would have let this man slip by on a mere nuance. He was able to change this man’s life expectancy and trajectory. This was a much more valuable investment!
Re:Verse passage – Matthew 9:20-22(day seven)
“At once the woman was made well.”
This last phrase “was made well” comes from the Greek word sozo meaning “to save.”
This passage could read, “Immediately the woman was saved.”
The miracle here was just as much spiritual as it was physical. Her faith made her medically healed but it also eternally set her apart. Yesterday, Danny pointed us to the phrase “Daughter.” When Jesus called her His daughter, it gave her belonging. She became a daughter of the King through her faith. She suffered in isolation for 12 years, but now she belongs for eternity. Saved by grace through faith.
Jesus calls us all out of our isolation and suffering and into His family. He calls us into healing. Sometimes it is physical, but always it is spiritual. He calls us to step out in faith and trust Him. He calls us sons and daughters. He saves us by grace through faith.
Re:Verse passage – Matthew 9:18-19; 23-26 (day seven)
“a synagogue official came and bowed down before Him”
Outsiders, gentiles, and the neglected are the type of stories we are used to hearing when Jesus is healing people. This story is different. Here we find an insider, a jew, and a highly respected individual coming to Jesus. He doesn’t lack faith. He doesn’t hide his belief that Jesus can heal his daughter. He bows before Jesus and asks Him to lay hands on his dying daughter knowing that she would be healed. Even this man’s family and friends laughed at Jesus when He told them the girl was sleeping. This man didn’t care what people thought. I imagine the people laughed at him when he left to go get Jesus. I imagine he probably lost some clout in the synagogue. He didn’t care about these things. He knew there was only One who could change this outcome. This man put his faith in Jesus. Where is your faith?
Re:Verse passage – Matthew 8:23-27 and Matthew 1:18-25 (day seven)
In Matthew 1, we see an angel speak to Joseph with the words, “Do not be afraid.” In Matthew 8, we see Jesus speak to his disciples on the boat saying, “Why are you afraid?” The angel and Jesus both understood something that Joseph and the disciples were having trouble seeing in their moments of despair: God is always in control. God always has a plan.
Fear is our inherent response to losing control over a situation. As humans, we like to be the one who holds the reins. That is why faith becomes so difficult for some people. Faith means that you may not see the means to the end, but you must hand the reins over to someone who does. What we need to realize is that God had the reins the whole time. He was in the boat. He was working in Joseph’s life. He had a plan. He was in control. Stepping out in faith may seem to be a blind move, but it is actually the most perceptive decision we can make. What step of faith do you need to take?