April 6, 2017
After warning his disciples about the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, Jesus warned that ultimately all things that people have sought to cover up or hide, will be exposed. Our public persona will have its mask removed. As the Lord warned the Israelites before they entered the Promised Land, “Be sure your sin will find you out” (Num.32:23).
Better to confess and repent of all sin, willingly exposing it to the light of Christ, so that you no longer walk in darkness. As the apostle John taught, “If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
April 5, 2017
Hearing the words that Jesus taught, a woman in the crowd shouted out that the mother of such a son must surely be blessed. Jesus did not correct her, but he did redirect her to the true source of blessing, namely, the Word of God. Rather than visualizing what a blessing it would be to have been the mother of such a son, Jesus wanted the woman to hear and believe the Word of God that he was teaching. In other words, Jesus told the woman that she didn’t have to be his mother to be blessed, she, and all those present, could experience God’s blessing by hearing and keeping the Word.
Many today tend to focus on secondary details of the gospel. They recognize the goodness of Jesus and the excellence of his words and work. Perhaps they even imagine what it would have been like to be one of his disciples. Yet, they do not believe and receive his Word. If only they would “hear” and “keep” it, then they would become, as the woman in the crowd seemed to desire, Christ’s “brother and sister and mother” (Mark 3:35).
April 4, 2017
Does God give good gifts when we ask? Can we trust His response to our prayers? If we give ourselves fully to Him in prayer, will He test us with things we don’t want and take away things that we do?
Jesus answered these implied questions by asking His own, “If a son asks any father among you for bread, or fish, or eggs, will he give a rock for bread, a serpent for fish, or a scorpion for an egg?”
I’m sure His hearers must’ve responded with laughter at the ridiculous imagery of His rhetorical questions. “Certainly not!” They no doubt replied.
Jesus taught us to ask, seek, and knock in prayer expecting the Father to answer. We need not worry whether such persistence might cause the Father to give us hurtful or undesirable gifts. For if a sinful, mortal father knows how to give good, certainly the righteous God will give not only good gifts, but even the “Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”
Never doubt the Father’s love and care for you. You can depend on Him to meet your needs when you ask. More than that, He knows your deepest need, namely, the Holy Spirit. For God has sent His Son to reconcile us to Himself, so that we might be adopted into His family by the Spirit of adoption, that we might truly be called children of God.
April 2, 2017
When Jesus sent out the Seventy to preach, he gave them instructions concerning whom they should look for as they entered a new town. He called this person, a “son of peace.” Today, missionaries refer to this as the “Person of Peace Principle.”
Pastor and seminary professor, Dr. Tom Wolf, has described this principle. He says that the missionary entering a new country or town should prayerfully look for a person identified by three “R”s. These three “R”s are:
– Receptivity (A person who is receptive to the gospel).
– Reputation (A person well-known in the community).
– Referral (A person who is ready to refer you to others).
When a person of peace is found, stay with them. Focus your ministry on them. God will use them to reach their community with the gospel.
March 23, 2017
This was Christ’s response to those who questioned why he associated with sinners, even eating and drinking with them. He had come to call sinners to repentance. Those who thought themselves righteous, as the Pharisees did, would not answer the call. Only those who admitted their sin would hear and obey his call.
This is still Christ’s ministry. As the Father sent him, he sends us (John 20:21). Having repented of our sins and believed in Jesus, we are sent to call sinners to repentance too.
March 21, 2017
The city of Capernaum embraced the ministry of Jesus. He made this fishing and marketplace crossroads, located on the northern end of the Sea of Galilee, His base of operations. The ruins of the synagogue in Capernaum still remain to this day, a testimony to the Word of Jesus which went out from there, and across the world. Those who heard His teaching were “astonished,” or as literally stated in the Greek, “thunderstruck.” Today, we might say, “blown away.”
There are still people groups and cities today that are ready to receive the Word of Christ and be astonished by it. All that is needed is for someone to go in the authority of Christ and preach there (Matt. 28:18-20).
March 18, 2017
Do you skip over names and places in your Bible reading? If so, you’re missing one of the richest parts of the Bible, namely, its historical and geographical rootedness. In these two verses, we see Luke’s careful research and historical accuracy on display. Wherever skeptics have cast doubt at the Bible’s historicity, it has stood the test of comparison to extra-biblical sources and to archaeological discoveries. The gospel of Luke is a historical masterpiece of its time.
Here’s an assignment for today: Look up all of the names, titles and places found in these two verses. Let your own research give color and shape to the time and setting of John the Baptist’s appearance on the scene. As you do this, ask the Lord to speak to you in your study and deepen your faith and understanding. The Word of God is true and powerful!
March 17, 2017
After a frantic, three day search, Mary and Joseph found twelve year old Jesus with the teachers in the temple. Mary asked why He had done this to them, causing them such worry, searching for Him. They didn’t understand Jesus’ reply at the time, but Mary continued to ponder such things in her heart.
Mary and Joseph and their entourage hadn’t even noticed that Jesus was missing from their company until they had gone well down the road to Nazareth. They went a whole day’s journey before they missed His presence. Then, they panicked as they looked for Him.
How many times have you headed out without Jesus? How many times have you gone a whole day without even missing Him? Where can we find Jesus? Where do we seek? Look to the Father’s business. You will find Him there. Wherever the Father is at work, Jesus will be at work with Him. Those who would be with Jesus, will follow Him in the Father’s work.
March 16, 2017
Two “beholds.” The “behold” of old Simeon pointed to the “behold” of Jesus on the cross.
When Joseph and Mary took eight-day old Jesus up from Bethlehem to Jerusalem to be circumcised, they were met in the temple by a man who was diligently waiting for the Christ. It had been revealed to him by the Spirit that he would not die before seeing the Messiah. As soon as he saw the Child, he took him into his arms and blessed him. Then, he turned to Mary and said, “Behold… a sword will pierce through you own soul.” Now, that’s a strange thing to say to the mother at a bris! “He’s a beautiful baby, but he will cause you to feel like a sword pierced your heart!”
Surely, the “behold” of Simeon must have flashed across her memory as she stood at the cross and heard her crucified Son say to her, “Woman, behold your son.” Jesus said this to Mary as he turned her care over to his disciple John. And to John he said, “Behold your mother.”
The Spirit had revealed this day to old Simeon and now Mary saw it with her own eyes, “Behold, the Christ who dies on a cross for the sins of humanity.”