Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant..
The media has the power to sway the people toward a certain philosophy, CEOs have power to manipulate large corporations, the President has the power to take our country to war, even in our own jobs we may have power over people who are under our direction.This kind of power over people can lead us to feel that we are very important, sometimes even feared.
Christ calls us to another way. We are to see the needs of others, recognize their sorrow, acknowledge the pain in their lives and celebrate their joys. This may call for sacrifice of self. To serve others is not a path the world would necessarily follow, but definitely the path to which our Saviour calls us.
Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
This may be one of the most profound pleas in Scripture. “I believe, help me over come my unbelief.” When we struggle – physically, emotionally, spiritually – when we know the truth of God and Scripture, but we are having trouble believing God more than we believe our circumstances, this is the prayer to remember. ” I do believe, Lord, but my circumstances are threatening to overcome my faith. Help me, Lord, be my Overcomer. Heal me of my unbelief!”
NOTE: Encouragement Vitamins is one year old this week. Thanks to all who have participated, and for your encouraging comments.
“But what about you:” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Christ.” Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him. He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
After the acknowledgment that He is the Christ, Jesus begins to prepare them for His death. What a short-lived jubilation – Messiah is revealed, the long-awaited One is here, and what??? He’s going to die?!?!?!?!?
They had seen the miracles and not understood. They had waited for their physical King and Saviour for hundreds of years. He is about to show them that His kingdom is spiritual and not physical. From His death will come an immeasurably huge kingdom filled with uncountable numbers of sinners saved by grace. They couldn’t know that now. Now is full of sadness, but resurrection joy is very close!
So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disiples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with ‘unclean’ hands?”
“You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.”
These spiritual leaders of the Jewish community were not concerned with the state of a man’s heart, or their relationship to the Lord. They wanted adherence to the traditions of the elders.
It is so easy even today to fall into this judgmental attitude. This person’s hair is too long; they wear jeans to church; they listen to the wrong kind of music, etc. God’s perspective is different. “Do they love me with their whole soul mind and stength? Do they love their neighbor as they love themselves? ”
God looks at the heart set in Christ, which is motivated by the love and wisdom of the Holy Spirit. So then, should we.
The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
Jesus knew they needed time alone with Him. So do we. Without that quiet connection between God and us each day, we wear out, the spiritual man is starved, and everyday life becomes a chore instead of a gift from God.
He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
In this case, Jesus freed the woman from her suffering. Other times in Scripture, we read that He will deliver us in the midst of suffering. He, Who has suffered pain and humiliation beyond what we will suffer in this world, knows how to give us comfort. He will not always take our suffering away, but He will always meet us there, in our suffering, and bring hope, compassion and strength.
“Consider carefully What you hear,” he continued, “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you – and even more.”
This really struck me: be careful what measure you use, because the same will be measured to you.
If you can be generous, do so. If you are unable to be generous, ask God. If generosity is truly your desire, He will bless you so that you can be generous. I think this applies to money, to forgiveness, to kindness, to grace.
TESTIMONY: I was a single mom for many years. Most of the time, what I made for wages barely covered our living expenses. One time, there were missionaries visiting our church, and they were taking a special offering for them. I really waned to give, but had nothing extra. I prayed and asked God to provide so I could give. That night, I was called to the cafe where I worked as a cook to fill in as an emergency waitress for someone who was sick. I made $14.00 in tips, and was delighted to place that gift in the offering.
Another time he went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.” Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath; to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent.
Here is the Sabbath issue again. Even in the original Law, there was provision for helping your neighbor’s ox out of a ditch if it fell in on a Sabbath. This is a human being with a need. Jesus heals the man’s hand. For this, they go out to plot how to kill Jesus. (vs.6)
Jesus is teaching that love and mercy rise above the following of the letter of the law, especially if following the letter of the law prohibits us from sharing God’s love and mercy with a person in need.
One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”
The Sabbath was a gift from God to His people – a sign of the covenant between them. “Here is a day of rest, do no work, and don’t feel guilty about it.” A gift indeed. By the time of the Pharisees, they were so concerned about breaking the Sabbath, that they could not rest because of all the rules that were attached to its observance.
When was the last time we took a real day of rest, thanked God for it, and just enjoyed it?