Monday, February 28, 2011


How do you value something?

Mostly it is supply and demand.
Sometimes it is value that is perceived.

Prince Andrew gave an engagement ring to Katie. It was said to have cost around $40,000 when his father, Prince Philip gave it to his mother Lady Diana. However, now it should be worth at least twice that, and given the love of Lady Di around the world, and the controversy around her life, her marriage and her death, it is probably priceless.

Today Jesus talks about value.

44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

This real estate had value. It had value as a piece of land. It had more value depending on the orchards that were already planted, or the water rights it enjoyed, or the possibility of growing crops on it. Maybe it had value for some buildings on it.

But the man who found the abandoned treasure suddenly valued it far above all of that. It had supremely high value to him.
Jesus is saying that the Kingdom of Heaven is like that.

45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it."

This is much like the blood diamond in Africa, or the Star of India jewel. They are unusually beautiful, and big, and valuable.

Jesus is saying that the kingdom of heaven is like that.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Matthew 13
The Parables of the Mustard Seed and the Yeast
31 "He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32 Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”

33 He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds[a] of flour until it worked all through the dough.”

34 Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable. 35 So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet:

“I will open my mouth in parables,
I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world.”[b]

The Parable of the Weeds Explained
36 Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”

37 He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.

40 “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear."

Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom...

This is good news, or bad news, depending on your choices right now!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Who Decides?

Jesus is telling stories.
Stories with a purpose.

The Kingdom of Heaven, he says, is like a field in some ways. There may be weeds in with the good seed.

Who decides which ones are weeds and which ones are wheat?
Well - their look and function make them pretty obvious. They aren't interested in what God is interested in. They don't act like people of the kingdom.

So, who should decide which ones are wheat, and which ones are weeds? Read on...

Matthew 13:24 "Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.

27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’

28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.

“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”

Let God decide.
He is the only one who knows the inside of a person. He knows the heart. He knows true motivations. He is the only righteous judge of good and evil.

Let Him decide...

Friday, February 25, 2011

Teaching from a boat

Lots of people wanted to see and hear Jesus at this point. Today he got in a boat, and taught from there...

Matthew 13:1 "That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore."

Sound carries very well over water. There is a natural carrying and even amplifying effect. He taught a long time...

3 "Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

This is a very natural story. Understood both visually and practically by everyone that heard it. We still understand it today. The miracle of the seed. A kernel of corn will grow a hundred or more kernels, when sowed and planted.

10 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”

11 He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables:

“Though seeing, they do not see;
though hearing, they do not hear or understand.

14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:

“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
15 For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them."

As always, Jesus was dealing in more than one plane. Both the physical, earthly plane; but also in the spiritual, supernatural plane.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign!

A seemingly simple request to Jesus brings a very hard response!

Matthew 12:38 Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.”
39 He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here. 42 The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now something greater than Solomon is here."

This question, this request, came after Jesus drove a demon out of a man who was both blind and mute. The demon left, and the man was healed. He had just given them an amazing sign.

The people were astonished, and began to wonder, out loud, if this Jesus really was the Messiah, the Anointed One, the long promised redeemer of Israel.

After this astonishing miracle, the religious leaders ask for a sign. Jesus said to them, "You have more than enough signs, but you have hard hearts and do not believe..."

Then Jesus gives us some fascinating insight into the unseen world.

43 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”

So - A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Do you let your critics define you?

Do you let your critics define you?

There was only one perfect man in the entire history of the world.

So, of course, he did not have any critics, right?

Wrong. Today he is accused of working by the power of the devil. Do you have critics? Do you define yourself by what they say? Jesus most definately DID NOT!!

Matthew 12:24 "But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.”

25 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? 27 And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

29 “Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can plunder his house.

30 “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. 31 And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

33 “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 35 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Thursday, February 17, 2011

All the people were astonished!

After leaving the place where the religious leaders had started to plot to kill him, Jesus withdrew and healed everybody who was ill.

Matthew 12:15 "Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. A large crowd followed him, and he healed all who were ill. 16 He warned them not to tell others about him. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:

18 “Here is my servant whom I have chosen,
the one I love, in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
19 He will not quarrel or cry out;
no one will hear his voice in the streets.
20 A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out,
till he has brought justice through to victory.
21 In his name the nations will put their hope.”[b]

Jesus and Beelzebul
22 Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see. 23 All the people were astonished and said, “Could this be the Son of David?”

Apparently people had gotten somewhat used to Jesus healing people. However, healing and casting a demon out of a man created astonishment.

Who is this man? Might he really be the long awaited Messiah? Might he be the Christ??

Monday, February 14, 2011

What, or Who is the Final Authority?

Today there is a story that revolves around a debate.
The debate is:

What, or Who is the Final Authority?

That debate is still raging today.
The Bible says - sex before, or outside of marriage - is sin.
Culture says - we will have sex whenever, and with whomever, we want. And you cannot tell us otherwise!

The Bible says - Thou shalt not murder!
Culture says - if we have sex but don't want the baby, we have full right to kill it - right to the time it will be born!

In Jesus day, the debate was a little more simple.
Who was the final arbiter of God's will on earth? The LAW, which they had had for thousands of years, or some itenerant preacher who could do miracles?

Matthew 12:1 "At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them. 2 When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.”

3 He answered, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? 4 He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread—which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests. 5 Or haven’t you read in the Law that the priests on Sabbath duty in the temple desecrate the Sabbath and yet are innocent? 6 I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. 7 If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’[a] you would not have condemned the innocent. 8 For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

9 Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue, 10 and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to bring charges against Jesus, they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”

11 He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? 12 How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”

13 Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other. 14 But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus."

The argument that Jesus, as God in human flesh, was the Lord - was blasphemous to the religious leaders.

Even though he was doing miracles, and healing people and doing good, they decided they had to find a way to kill him!

Today the same debate. Who decides what is right and what is wrong?

And the reaction is equally hard and even violent!!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Come to me - if you are weary or burdened

We live in the richest country in the world.
Our society, with its freedom and abundant opportunity, is the envy of the entire world.

Why, then, would we be weary? Or burdened?
Oh, but we are...

Jesus words, spoken to downtrodden peasants in Palestine 2000 years ago, still resonate today!

Matthew 11:27 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Come to me, says Jesus.

Who WAS he, to make such an offer?

I will give you rest. You WILL find rest for your souls.

Only God could speak that way. Only God could deliver on that promise. Especially 2000 years later. Only God...

Friday, February 11, 2011

Jesus and John

Jesus and John
One of the most enigmatic parts of Jesus' life was his cousin John. John was a true prophet. Totally dedicated to the message God had given him. Not at all concerned about his personal life, or hygene, or even health. Never married. With his appearance and radical lifestyle, probably never even came close.

He had a strong message, and a good group of followers.

His bold statements against a political leader had landed him in jail. With time to think, he was wondering about Jesus...

Matthew 11:1 "After Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee.[a]

2 When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples 3 to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”

4 Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy[b] are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 6 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”

7 As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? 8 If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. 9 Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10 This is the one about whom it is written:

“‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way before you.’[c]

11 Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence,[d] and violent people have been raiding it. 13 For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. 14 And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come. 15 Whoever has ears, let them hear.

16 “To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others:

17 “‘We played the pipe for you,
and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge,
and you did not mourn.’

18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Hard Message

You couldn't accuse Jesus of softpedaling.
Today He teaches what I would call the Hard Message.
I would entitle it:

What Will Happen to My Followers. Are You Up For It?
Matthew 10:21 “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 22 You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 23 When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. Truly I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

24 “The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household!

26 “So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. 28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.[a] 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

32 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.

34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn

“‘a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’[b]

37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.

40 “Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. 42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”

The hard message. Everything He spoke about has happened to His followers over the years. Only if His kingdom truly was not of this world would it all be worth it.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

From the masses to the few

From the masses to the few

Jesus' miracles had attracted masses of people following him wherever he went. He now directs his attention to the few:

Matthew 10:1 "Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.

2 These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

5 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6 Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. 7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy,[a] drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.

9 “Do not get any gold or silver or copper to take with you in your belts— 10 no bag for the journey or extra shirt or sandals or a staff, for the worker is worth his keep. 11 Whatever town or village you enter, search there for some worthy person and stay at their house until you leave. 12 As you enter the home, give it your greeting. 13 If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. 14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. 15 Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.

16 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. 17 Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. 18 On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you."

Although Jesus' instructions had application to the immediate time, He was also giving a commentary on what would happen to all disciples down through the ages.

More Christians are beaten, abused and killed today than ever before in history. A pastor in India last month was accosted by three men and beaten. He was told to never come back to that village. A pastor in a closed Muslim country left a pastors reunion two months ago that was held in a safe country. He went back home and was never heard of again. Presumed tortured and killed.

Jesus went from the masses to the few.
And He told them clearly what would happen to them...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

This is unique in all of history!

This event was not orchestrated.

Jesus was just going about his business.

This man was brought to Jesus. The man was demon possessed. He was mute. Jesus, can you help him?

32 "While they were going out, a man who was demon-possessed and could not talk was brought to Jesus."

Jesus drove the demon out. The man who was mute, was able to speak.

33 And when the demon was driven out, the man who had been mute spoke."

The people around were amazed. (I would have been as well!)

The crowd was amazed and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.”

The religious leaders were at a loss to explain this. A demon cast out, and a mute man speaking. How to comprehend?

34 "But the Pharisees said, “It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons.”

Ahhhhhh! It is by the devil's power that he casts out devils! (That didn't square even with their own theology)

The crowd was right. This is unique in all of history!

Monday, February 7, 2011

You and your buddy are blind. What to do?

You and your buddy are blind. What to do?

We don't know much about them. These two blind men.
Probably had not been able to get married.
Almost for sure they did not have jobs.
They were a drain on their families.
Relegating to begging for a living.
They had banded together. Maybe for protection. Maybe they took turns begging.

They heard there was a man - Jesus - who could heal people. Maybe?
Jesus came by where they lived. They were not going to let this chance go...

27 "As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, calling out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!”

Nothing! Jesus didn't stop. He didn't heal them. He apparently didn't even notice them... They follow him.
28 "When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”

“Yes, Lord,” they replied.

29 Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you”; 30 and their sight was restored. Jesus warned them sternly, “See that no one knows about this.” 31 But they went out and spread the news about him all over that region."

They believed. They were healed.
Although told to keep quiet, they couldn't help it. They told everyone they met!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Can Jesus live up to His reputation?

Two regular folks had heard of Jesus' reputation.

They were each confronted with tragedy in their life. All hope was gone. They had tried everything. Nothing had worked.

They each had heard about Jesus.

Could He live up to His reputation?

The first one is a dad. He had a 12 year old girl. Any parent who has had a child for 12 years knows the love you have for your girl. She got sick. They tried everything to save her.

She died.

There was no hope. But Jesus was doing amazing things. Do you suppose...?

Matthew 9:18 "While he was saying this, a synagogue leader came and knelt before him and said, “My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.” 19 Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples."

Jesus didn't laugh at this desperate, broken, humble man. He didn't show embarassment. (You want me to do WHAT?)

No. He listened to him, and he and his disciples followed him home.

Meanwhile another desperate person was nearby. Her story becomes huge. But right now it is just a sideline to the main story.

She has gone through the entire medical gauntlet. Doctors. Tests. Medicines. None of them worked. (How many people are in that same place today?)

20 Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. 21 She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.”

She didn't want to make a scene. She didn't even ask Jesus anything. If only I touch Him, she thought to herself. If only I touch Him. Nothing more. If only I touch Him.

22 "Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment."

A miraculous healing! No scandal! No headlines! Jesus quietly healed her and moved on. It sure changed HER life!!!

23 When Jesus entered the synagogue leader’s house and saw the noisy crowd and people playing pipes, 24 he said, “Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him."

Here things are not quiet. The professional mourners are in full force. This rowdy approach to mourning in community seems strange to us. However, psychology is showing that grief work needs to be done with others, in community. The stoic quiet individualized approach to mourning that we do is psychologically damaging. So this society long ago had that one figured out. Friends, neighbors, family - all wailing loudly!

Jesus says something very cruel. Very calloused.

The girl is not dead, she is asleep! Some of the folks laugh. That is SO ridiculous!! Who does this guy think he is? He is not family...

The dad bids the crowd be quiet. Sends people scurrying.

25 "After the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took the girl by the hand, and she got up. 26 News of this spread through all that region."

Did THAT cause a commotion!

This dad's world was rocked. His little girl came back to life.

Jesus lived up to His reputation.

Who WAS He, really? Who WAS this man who could do things no one else on earth could do???

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven

We have heard it said that Jesus can forgive sins so many times that it is not shocking to us.

But in fact, it IS shocking!
Scandalous, even!

Matthew 9:1 Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. 2 Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.”

3 At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!”

They were entirely right!
Here was this man - this ordinary if interesting man - claiming to have the power, the ability, to forgive sins.

And he said it so nonchalantly. Like it was an every day occurence.

But what they said is true. NO ONE has the power to forgive sins but God alone!

4 Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? 5 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 6 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” 7 Then the man got up and went home. 8 When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to man."

So - just to prove that I AM INDEED GOD ALMIGHTY IN THE FLESH - be healed.

And the man was healed. He got up after being paralyzed. And he walked home.

What does that tell us about Jesus?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Jesus is Lord of All; or Jesus is not Lord AT All

Jesus is Lord of All; or Jesus is not Lord AT All

This is a harsh reality. Lotta people don't like it.

Here is the story. It comes in three parts:

1. The prosperous and established have to be willing to give everything up.

Matthew 8:18 When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. 19 Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”

20 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

The teacher of the law had worked hard. He had studied long and achieved a lot. Had a nice house, good reputation - a place in life.

Jesus said to him, I am either Lord of All; or I am not Lord AT All.
If you follow me, you have to be willing to lose what you have. Put me above all the achievement, the place in society, the financial security. I am glad that you are attracted to my message. Are you willing to make me Lord of all?

2. Good people with good priorities have to be willing to put Jesus first.
21 Another disciple said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”

22 But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

The next guy is a good guy. He is connected to his family. He is a dutiful son. His father is older, and the son must fulfill his obligation. Later, when dad passes on and the financial affairs are all in order. Later, Jesus. You are important, but you have to fit into my life. You should understand that, right?

Jesus says to him, I am either Lord of All; or I am not Lord AT All.

Harsh message, but true.

3. The folks who have pledged their lives to Jesus have to learn to grow in thier faith and trust in Jesus. Is he really Lord of All?
23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

Who is Jesus?

He is lord of all.

In fact, He is either Lord of All; or or He is not Lord AT All