March 17, 2018
THREE DAYS WITHOUT JESUS
Twelve year old Jesus traveled with his family to Jerusalem for the Passover festival as they did every year. They traveled with a large entourage of friends and family from Nazareth. It was a wonderfully joyous annual holiday. Yet, after traveling a day’s journey on the way back home, they realized that Jesus wasn’t with them. Can you imagine the frantic one day journey back to Jerusalem to look for him? If they would’ve had “Amber Alerts” in those days, The search for Jesus would’ve been broadcast throughout Judea. Finally, on the third day (One day out, one day back, discovered on the third day), they found him in the Temple courts with the religious teachers.
I wonder, have you ever lost track of Jesus? How many days did you go before you noticed that you were traveling without Him? Were you frantic to find Him when you realized how long you’d gone without Him?
March 15, 2018
FROM MUTE DONKEY TO ARTICULATE PROPHET
In today’s OT reading, the Lord opened the mouth of Balaam’s donkey to speak. And in the NT reading, the Lord made Zechariah mute for nine months before restoring his voice. Zechariah praised God and prophesied over his newborn son, John. All that the angel Gabriel predicted had come to pass. I suppose he had plenty of time to contemplate the angel’s words, since he had no words of his own during his wife’s pregnancy. Awe fell over the entire neighborhood as the tongue-tied priest became an articulate prophet, blessing his son. What if every child was so anticipated? What if every child had a father speaking such prophetic blessing over him?
God asked Moses, “Who gave man his mouth?” (Ex. 4:11). The Lord can make a faithless man mute or a speechless donkey talk. So, we must be careful concerning our speech.
April 22, 2017
As Jesus watched the people putting their gifts into the Temple offering, he offered several insights into how God sees our giving. One insight is that God sees our giving. He watches over our giving, looking to see who is generous and who is not. Another insight is that God sees the proportion of our giving. He knows whether we give sacrificially or not. He cares less about the amount of our giving and more about the motivation and proportion of our giving.
That Jesus sat near the place where he could watch those giving their offerings, and that he used it to teach his disciples about giving, should not surprise us. He wants us to understand that God cares more for the heart of the giver than the amount of the gift. Love and giving are connected. “For God so loved the world that he gave…” (John 3:16).
April 17, 2017
Many come to Jesus, attracted to His person, but unwilling to admit their own spiritual bankruptcy. So it was for the RYR (“Rich Young Ruler”). He thought to add Jesus to his portfolio of good works. Yet, Jesus saw his heart. Jesus challenged him to die to his former life and leave everything behind to follow Him. This filled the RYR with sorrow, for he had great worldly wealth. It also revealed his failure to keep even the first of the ten commandments, putting his love of money ahead of his love of God.
The invitation to follow Christ is not a call to religious effort (i.e. “What shall I do?”), but a call to come and die, that you might be born again in newness of life in Christ Jesus (Rom. 6:4, 11).
April 11, 2017
Jesus taught this timeless spiritual principle promoting humility over self-promotion. He illustrated the principle with a parable concerning seat selection at a wedding banquet. He observed that it would be better to take a “lowly” seat at the table and have the master elevate you to a better one, than vice versa. A corollary to this principle is “Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth” (Prov. 27:2).
April 9, 2017
The planting and growth of the gospel is like the small, yet ultimately great growth of the mustard seed. The gospel seed was planted by Jesus into His small band of followers. It went unseen and unnoticed by most of the world at that time. Yet, before even a generation had passed, the apostles had carried the gospel throughout the Roman empire and beyond. Today, even many nations rest like birds on the branches of the gospel, supported by its work in men.
Have you received the mustard seed of the gospel? Have you planted it in your family and in your city? It always starts out small and barely seen, but it grows to have huge results!
April 8, 2017
At least four spiritual principles were taught in this parable. 1. The Lord will come again.
2. The Lord might return unexpectantly at any time.
3. Faithfulness means being dependable to fulfill the responsibilities to which the Master has called you.
4. Faithfulness is based on what you do with the gifts God has given you. “To whom much is given, much is required.”
As the Lord asked Moses from the burning bush, “What’s that in your hand?” So, He asks you, “What are you doing with the calling and gifts I have given you?”
Will you be found to be a faithful and wise steward?