Walking Through Ephesians

Walking Through Ephesians

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Raising Of The Widows Son

Thursday, February 17, 2022

All of Jesus’ miracles go beyond the literal fact in that there are great spiritual lessons to be learned from them.  John referred to them as “signs,” meaning that they have significance beyond the outward.  They point us to something deeper.  Spurgeon said, “They are sermons to the eye just as His spoken discourses were sermons to the ear”.  Even so, this account of Jesus raising this young man to life and giving him back to his mother is saying something beyond the actual facts of the matter. It shows us that the life-giving word of Christ is a message of hope and power in a world of despair and weakness.

This woman who had lost her husband was now in despair over the loss of her only son (Luke 7:11-17).  Of course, she was powerless in the face of death. But Christ’s life-giving word brought hope and power into that dismal scene.

The Lord felt compassion for her (Luke 7:13).  He felt deeply for this hurting woman. She did not ask the Lord to raise her son it. This miracle came totally from Christ’s great compassion and love. It was all of grace. Just as then, today He is our sympathetic High Priest. That kind of compassion brings hope.  In our despair, we are prone to feel like nobody understands. Our loneliness intensifies the despair.  But to know that someone else feels with us brings a ray of hope.  We are not alone!  Jesus understands and cares!

Jesus’ words, “Do not weep,” would have been insensitive if He had not been able to do something about her problem. He is lovingly calling upon this woman for a spark of trust in Himself.  He is tenderly saying, “Look to Me!  I can do something about the cause of your grief.”

Also, there is the hope that comes through His Word. It was His word that brought this young boy back to life. The power of God’s Word gives us great hope, because it is able to bring change to our hopeless situations.  

The gospel is a message of compassion and great hope. It has the power to raise a sinner from death toile just as Jesus raised this young man. The life-giving word of Christy is a message of hope and power in a world of despair and weakness. Jesus is Lord over death When He spoke His life-giving word the dead arose, sat up, and began to speak. Christ delights to give new life.

Prayer: Lord there is power in Your word. We want the compassion that you had toward those who need the life You provide. We want to share the hope that delivers others from despair. May we be instruments of Your peace by sharing by Your word.

Healing on the Sabbath

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Luke 14:1-6

There’s more than meets the eye. On this day Jesus is invited to the house of a ruler of the Pharisees for dinner. People who before expressed great disdain towards the Lord are now having Him to their home for a meal. That seems like a kind gesture at face value - but there’s more than meets the eyes. Luke records that they were “watching him carefully.” This “kind gesture” was nothing more than a trap. 

There was a man at the dinner who was sick. He had dropsy - a buildup of fluid in one’s tissues. Can you see the scene? It’s the Sabbath, here’s a man who is sick, and here is Jesus. Isn’t it sad that they knew Jesus enough to try and exploit Him. They knew His heart for hurting people. They knew He had worked wonders on the Sabbath before. They knew Jesus enough to create a trap. 

What is Jesus to do? He does what He always does - unafraid, unashamed, Jesus addressed their hypocrisy, and healed the man who was sick. Were they truly watching Him carefully they would see His love for His Father, and His faithfulness to the laws He spoke into existence those thousands of years before. They’d see His compassion and kindness. They’d see His power, the clear evidence that He is not merely a man, but the Son of Man - the Son of God. 

Why would Jesus go to a dinner knowing it was a trap? Because there’s more than meets the eye with Jesus. He didn’t go to the dinner for just the man drowning in fluid. He went for those who invited Him, those drowning in sin. He came to reach the hard hearts with His compassion and correction. He came because He cared. 

It’s easy to claim that we “know” God without really knowing Him. “I can’t come back to church, I can’t come back to God - I know God. I know what He would say.” Those words often spoken or felt comes from one who knows God is holy and righteous, that He has expectations for our lives. But with God there is more than meets the eyes. We often look at God through the lens of our relationships with others on Earth. But no one loves like God loves. The psalmist says He is, 

“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭103:8

Merciful, forgiving, willing to give a second chance, will always love me? That’s our God. And those laws which seem so restricting and controlling change their appearance when we realize they are gifts of a loving God, designed to help us live the best like possible - like guardrails keeping us on the road, away from serious danger. 

When we “watch God closely” do we only see anger, disappointment, cold laws from a distant law-giver? Do we see His love? Do we see His desire for our best? Do we see His daily help, His constant care, how interested and invested He is in our lives? It could be time for me to admit that with God there’s more than meets the eyes! 

Lord of glory, to You I bring praise. You are above all, know all, and see all. Thank you for seeing the potential in every heart, even those who only saw You as a threat and an enemy. Thank you for seeing a man who was hurting, a man who was in need of grace and compassion, rather than an object to be used, a decoy for the people’s deception. I pray you open my eyes to see You as you truly are. Overcome my bias and my preconceived judgments with Your true image revealed through Your words. And in seeing You, help me to strive ever more to pursue You in my heart and in my life”

Healing Of The Lepers

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Jesus is headed toward Jerusalem where He will meet with His appointed destiny.  He is traveling somewhere along the border between Samaria and Galilee, where He enters a village and encounters ten leprous men.  According to the Law, they keep their distance, but they recognize Jesus and cry out to Him for mercy.  

Leprosy is a dreaded disease that is a picture of sin. This is alluded to by the fact that the lepers are cleansed (17:14, 17). Leprosy rendered a man ceremonially defiled, so that if he was healed, he still had to go to the priest and carry out an extensive ritual of cleansing before he could be accepted back into the religious community and worship (Lev. 14).

While the physical disease was horrible, the terrible social consequences in ancient Israel only added to the misery.  According to Josephus, lepers were treated “as if they were, in effect, dead men.” The Mosaic Law prescribed that the person be cut off from society, including his family.  He had to wear torn clothing, have his head uncovered, cover his lips and shout “Unclean!  Unclean!” wherever he went to warn others to keep their distance (Lev. 13:45).

Jesus simply instructs them to go and show themselves to the priests.  As they were going, they were cleansed. But only one of the ten, a Samaritan, turns back to glorify God and give thanks to Jesus for His great mercy and power. Thankfulness is an act of humility.  It acknowledges our debt to the other person. Clearly, Jesus was pleased with the expression of thanks from the one and grieved at the absence of the other nine. 

Now, here’s the kicker: The Bible wants all of us to see ourselves before Christ as spiritual lepers in His sight.  God wants us all to see that our hearts are deceitful and desperately sick (Jer. 17:9), sick with sin, unclean before the holy God.  Furthermore, just as this awful disease of leprosy separated the leper from the community, so sin causes distance and rupture in human relationships, often among family members. Just as only God could heal this dreaded disease, so only God can heal and cleanse the human heart from the awful disease of sin. Every day we should be filled with gratitude for all that the Savior did for us when we were spiritual lepers before Him.

Lord:  We want to be people filled with gratitude. The cleaning You provided is more than we could ever expect.  We are drawn by Your mercy. By Your mercy you cleansed us of our sins. Ho dare we fail to say, “Thank you!? We bow before You because we owe everything to You and can claim nothing from ourselves.

An Abundance of Fish

Monday, February 14, 2022

Imagine not knowing anything about cars, coming into a car shop and telling the mechanics what’s wrong with the car they’re working on. Imagine telling Peyton Manning how to throw a football, or Michael Jordan how to shoot a basketball, or Tiger Woods how to swing a golf club. Imagine telling Dave Ramsey how to save money. Imagine telling Paul McCartney how to write a song. 

We get the idea, there are some areas of life where people have proven themselves knowledgeable or experienced. It could be a talent they honed, or a skill they developed. It would seem unwise for one who doesn’t have the training, the knowledge, or experience, to give advice to one who has devoted their life on the subject. 

That must have been what these fishermen were thinking. They know fishing. They eat, sleep, and breathe fish. Their livelihood depends on it. Jesus wasn’t a fisherman. He was the son of a carpenter. H was a wise teacher. But He wasn’t a fisherman. 

They had spent all night on the sea and come away with nothing - a tough part of the profession. To some of us Jesus’ words would have seemed insulting. But these fishermen knew enough about Jesus to trust what He said, even if they felt like they knew better. 

What resulted was an amazing display of power and wisdom. By His command the fish were all in one place - enough fish to fill a ship. This was no man - only God could create an abundance from nothing. The miracle proved to the men there that not only did Jesus know more than they did, it proved that they should listen to Him. 

There comes a time in our lives when we realize that we don’t always know what is best. On our own we try to live and lead successful lives and end up empty, frustrated, in great need of help and grace. But then we look to Jesus who offers another way to live. At first His way may seem restrictive, constraining, even demanding. It requires great changes to meet His expectations. Some stop there, not interested in listening to the Lord. But when we see the cross, when we gaze into the empty tomb, we realize that not only does Jesus know more about life than we, but that listening to Him would bring about a better life than one we could ever hope to achieve on our own. 

An abundance of fish was the result of the fishermen who listened to Jesus. Just as those who listen and follow His words today are promised abundant life (JOHN 10:10). The question is, “Are you listening to Jesus?”

Loving and forgiving Lord, You are Master of all. Every being, every beast, every created thing was made by Your will. You speak and the fish obey, the demons listen, the storms submit. This miracle we considered provides such a wonderful reminder that You offer far more than we could possible comprehended or imagine. Through examples like these, help to broaden our faith, deepen our trust, that You can truly do all things. Like the fishermen, we too believe You are Lord, and You are God. To You be all honor and glory and praise, Creator and Savior of all.

Jairus’ Daughter

Friday, February 11, 2022

Jairus’ Daughter

The story of Jesus healing Jairus’ daughter and the woman with an issue of blood, give us a wonderful picture of God’s character and grace. Jesus has just left the shores of Capernaum to escape the crowds and in the interval had calmed the raging storm and delivered a man from the grasp of a legion of demons. As he returned, a large crowd swarmed the shore to greet Him and seewhat other miracles He might do. The crowd was loud, but it was silenced immediately by an extraordinary scene. Bowing before Jesus, the leader of the synagogue came and pled with Jesus to come with him and heal his dying daughter. 

Jairus had not been known to be friendly toward Jesus. Jesuswas an outsider and even accused of heresy. Jairus’ bowing before Jesus was truly amazing!

That’s not to suppose that Jairus suddenly became a follower of Jesus. Emergencies and urgency often move us to do things we would not otherwise do.  The fact is, Jairus is desperate. He had heard of Jesus healing, and he sees Jesus as his only chance to save his daughter. Jairus is like so many who came to Jesus. They do not come out of love or faith. It was out of desperation and a glimmer of hope. Despair commonly is the prelude to grace. Jairus incipient faith would bring him great rewards.

Jesus is interrupted by a woman who had been hemorrhaging for 12 years.  She touches the hem of the garment of Jesus and Jesusfeels the power go out of Him. He begins to look around and asked, “Who touched me?” This woman was at her wits end. She had spent all she had going from doctor to doctor, test after test and no results.  When she saw that she could not hide, she fell before Him claiming she had been healed.  Immediately,Jesus praised her for her faith. Jairus sees Jesus heal this woman and he has a flicker of hope for his daughter. Then came the shock: “While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from thehouse of Jairus, the synagogue ruler, ‘Your daughter is dead,’ he said. ‘Don’t bother the teacher anymore.’ Hearing this, Jesussaid to Jairus, ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.’”

When Jesus reaches the house of Jairus, He went into the house with James and John and took the girl by the hand and said, “Little girl, arise.” She did! Her parents rejoiced and all wereastonished. 

The whole story is a vast tale of divine providence - a desperate father, a dying girl, a desperate woman, a delayed Jesus, a believing woman, a dead girl, a living girl, a believing man. The choreography of Heaven is awesome! Jesus can do anything! He is sovereign! Nothing is too great for Him. He can save our soul! He can restore our soul! He can supply our most desperate need!

I want you to notice what Jesus did in verse 36. Ignoring what they said, Jesus said to Jairus, “Do not be afraid any longer, only believe” (5:36).  We’ve got to ask ourselves if our faith rests on God’s word or the words of faithless men.  Who are you going to believe in the darkest hour?  God or men. It’s interesting to me that I don’t find that Jesus ever said anything to Jairus until verse 36.  But, in the moment when the need was the greatest, God will give the person of faith that which he needs to hear—if He’s the one you desire to listen to. Who do you listen to?  Sometimes you need to ignore the words of men and just go on believing the promises of God, the word of God.  

Again, put yourself in Jairus’ place.  When they told you your little girl was dead, Jesus said, “You just ignore what they said and go on believing.”  And you get to your house, and He does it again, “She’s not dead, she’s just asleep.”  And a whole house full of people start laughing.  What are you going to do?  Who are you going to believe then?  

You’d better answer that question because I want to tell you something. If you are a Christian, you may or may not know it, but you are supposed to believe a lot of things that the world laughs about!  

In fact, the message of the cross is foolishness to people that are perishing (1 Cor. 1:18).  Most of the things that we believe as Christians are laughable to the world!  And if we don’t realize that yet, it is because we just haven’t told too many people what we believe.  What are you going to do when people laugh?

Prayer: Lord, we praise You for Your great power and desire to have compassion on us in our great time of need. We know nothing is impossible for You! Like Jairus, we come bowing before you, pleading for healing of our sin sick souls. Like the woman with an issue of blood that man cannot heal, we come to You pleading to heal our hearts, souls, and minds which no man can heal. And, when all laugh at Your great power to save, we pray we will believe!

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