Amazing Grace

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.

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.

Freedom

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

“and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him.”

For many years (as a Youth Pastor) I had the privilege of watching High School Seniors graduate and enter into a new chapter of their lives- filled with opportunities for learning and growth as well as freedom (socially, spiritually, and academically). It is always telling how these recent high school graduates react and respond to their newly found freedom. Much in their lives was recalibrated. Freedom is a “funny thing”- freedom is life changing.

Make no mistake, the blind men were asking for freedom. Freedom from their physical condition.  Freedom from their social condition. All kinds of implications. New opportunities would come their way upon being healed. Yet, it’s very telling how they immediately used their freedom. They followed Jesus.  Whom the Son sets free is free indeed. How will you use the freedom Christ gives?  Any recalibration needed?

It’s the Heart

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

It is easy to compare our situation or circumstances with someone else’s.  Why did they get what they asked for and I didn’t?  Why did this good happen to them and this bad happened to me?  We easily fall into the trap of envy.

Our passage this week immediately follows an encounter when Jesus asked the mother of the sons of Zebedee what she wanted Him to do.  Jesus’ response was not what she wanted to hear.  Now, Jesus asks these blind men, who were complete strangers, what they want Him to do.  This time, Jesus restores their sight.  What’s the difference?

It’s the heart!  Jesus sees past the words to the hearts.  Our hearts are open to Him and He responds to our requests according to the motivation of our heart.  Jesus looks for a heart that is humble and contrite before Him.  A heart of selfishness or envy will not be heard.  How’s your heart?

We Want to See

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

And Jesus stopped and called them, and said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” vs. 32

I find this exchange so compelling. It would seem obvious when the blind men sought the assistance of Jesus that they would want their sight restored, but I think we miss a great opportunity to lay our hearts out to the Lord on a consistent basis. He is standing over us wanting to know the desires of our hearts. We are told to ask, seek, and knock, so it shouldn’t surprise me to read Jesus asking this question of these blind men. Maybe it was their quick, honest response that moved Jesus, but I think it was their choice of words. When Jesus heard them say “we want our eyes to be opened,” I think he must have thought ‘if you only knew the kind of sight that I can truly bring.’ It caused him to smile, and he granted their plea. Jesus isn’t always going to give you what you want, but he is interested in you seeing as he sees. When they were healed, they followed him. Isn’t that our testimony too?

Monday Re:Verse Blog Post – 2/17/20

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

Join us as Senior Pastor Chris Johnson, Associate Pastor Aaron Hufty and Associate Pastor Bryan Richardson walk us through Matthew 20:29-34 in our Winter Sermon Series: “Miracles” The Gospel of Matthew.

Freedom Weekend

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!

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?

A Word for Me

Re:Verse passage – Matthew 17:24-27 (day five). “However, so that we do not offend them…Take that and give it to them for you and Me.”

I love how God communicates to different kinds of people. As you read through the scriptures there will be truths and wisdom that may jump off the pages to you- because of your experiences, or profession, or interests, or personality.  Remember how God communicated the birth of His son to the Magi (astrologers)? He placed a star in the East to grab their attention and guide them to Jesus. The text we read this week (paying taxes) is only found in Matthew (former tax collector). Matthew remembers this experience and teaching decades later when He writes His gospel. Not a coincidence. God can and will use the scriptures to teach and guide each of us (because He knows us) to learn more about Jesus and love Him better. Isn’t that good news?

Personal Rights

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

Jesus is providing an example for us to follow.  If there was ever a person who should be exempt from a Temple tax, it would be Jesus.  After all, the Temple was built to worship and honor His Father.  The example He set was not just whether or not to pay taxes.  He showed us that our personal rights should always take a back seat to our being in a position to share the gospel.

Jesus left His throne in heaven to humble Himself and come to earth.  He came to give His life so that we can have forgiveness of our sin and eternal life in heaven.  If we offend someone, why would they ever listen to our witness?  When we go to another nation on mission, we try not to offend their cultural norms so that they will hear what we have to say.  If we offend our neighbor over some petty action, how can we turn around and tell them about the love of God?  Our obedience and usefulness to God is much more important than our personal rights!