THE POWER OF JESUS’ COMMANDS

Jesus said, “Go home to your people and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, how you received mercy” (Eyewitness Mark 5:19).

Eyewitness: PP. 89-91
In Your Bible: Matthew 8:23-34; Mark 4:35-5:20; Luke 8:22-39

The disciples and Jesus had just sailed across the lake (where Jesus rebuked the storm with 3 words – “Peace be still” [Eyewitness Mark 4:9]). They landed their boat at Gardarenes, near Galilee. Immediately two men possessed with evil spirits, ran up to Jesus as he climbed out of the boat.

One of these two possessed men was homeless, naked, and lived in the graveyard away from everyone in the nearby town. Chains could not restrain this violent man who cut himself with stones and cried out in torment. When he came to Jesus he knelt and worshipped him. Jesus commanded the many evil spirits to leave this man.

A discussion arose between the evil spirits in this man and Jesus. There were so many in this man that they called themselves “Legion.” They begged Jesus not to send them into the bottomless pit. They desired to remain in some kind of body form and asked to inhabit the herd of pigs. Jesus allowed it with a simple word “Go.”

The evil spirits entered the pigs, who quickly ran into the sea and drowned. Those tending the pigs, saw what happened and hurried to tell the townspeople. They too saw the tormented man sitting at Jesus’ feet, clothed, calm and in his right mind. Overcome with fear, the crowd begged Jesus to leave.

The man delivered from these many evil spirits appealed to Jesus to let him go with him. Instead, Jesus gave the man a task in his town – spread the good news. “No,” Jesus said, “Go home to your people and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, how you have received mercy” (Eyewitness Mark 5:19).

TELLING OF JESUS’ MERCY

The man obeyed Jesus and gave his testimony in Decapolis (the ten cities nearby) telling what Jesus had done for him. He had heard the evil spirits proclaim that Jesus was the Son of the most High God. He knew he’d received not only healing but also mercy. What an eyewitness to the Master this man became! He was one of the first to proclaim Jesus’ mercy.

Application: Even evil spirits knew Jesus to be the Son of God and obeyed the Master. The man delivered couldn’t wait to spread the good news of what Jesus did for him. What has Jesus done for you? Are you spreading the Good News?

Prayer: Father, you have the power to overcome evil and to change lives. Your words are the strength we live by.

God’s Attitude Toward Material Things

“…..Your heavenly Father already knows what you need. Seek first his Kingdom, and he will give you everything you need” (Eyewitness Luke 12:30b).

Eyewitness: p. 152,153
In Your Bible: Luke 12:13-34

Maybe it has always been that man believes “more is better” especially when it comes to wealth. This includes bank accounts no one else sees and things people do see like clothes, cars, and homes. Jesus warned those with much and comforted those with little – to take God’s attitude on material things.

THOSE WITH MUCH

When asked to settle a dispute between two brothers concerning a family inheritance, Jesus avoided giving personal advice, instead he taught how possessions effect people. Jesus said, “Look, do not be greedy. Satisfaction in life does not come from having an abundance of possessions” (Eyewitness Luke 12:15).

Jesus told a story about a rich farmer whose land produced a terrific crop one season, which made him richer. The farmer reasoned, I’ll build bigger barns to store it, take it easy, eat, drink, and have the time of my life.

The farmer’s thinking was far off target, so Jesus pointedly put it into perspective. “But God said, ‘You Fool! Tonight you will die, so what good is all the wealth you have accumulated?’ This is what happens to all who store treasure for themselves and are not rich toward God in their giving” (Eyewitness Luke 12:20,21).

Jesus challenges those with much to see God wants his people to be benevolent givers. He desires selflessness not selfishness – sharing and giving, not hoarding or keeping excess.

THOSE WITH LITTLE

Jesus encourages his followers, using examples of God’s provision in nature. See how God, our source, looks after and provides for the birds and flowers. They don’t possess anything. If that is so, and it is, why should a believer worry or be anxious? He challenges those with little not to be weak in faith.

“Your heavenly Father knows what you need. Seek first his Kingdom, and he will give you everything you need” (Eyewitness Luke 12:30b). These comforting words apply to mankind and nature alike. Jesus makes sure that listeners hear the Father delights in believers’ seeking the Kingdom.

Application: Jesus sums it all up with this comment: “If you sell what you have and give to those in need, you will store up for yourselves treasure…..For wherever your treasure is, your heart will be there also” (Eyewitness Luke 12:33,34). This is not a command. Selling some of our “stuff” and giving to the poor may be something we need to do. God is our source. The aim is to stay Kingdom focused, seek God and be generous.

Prayer: Father, keep me balanced, not distracted by material things. Show me daily how to keep you first in my life.

A Glimpse of God’s Compassion

…….”Today, God has visited us” (Eyewitness Luke 7:16)

Eyewitness: pp. 75,76
In Your Bible: Luke 7:11-23

The disciples and increasing crowds followed Jesus to Nain. They eagerly listened to every word he spoke and expectantly watched everything he did. At the town gate, they met a large funeral procession. The sorrowful scene centered on a widow, who lost her only son, funeral musicians, and many wailing townspeople.

FUNERAL PROCESSION MEETS JESUS

Luke emphasizes Jesus’ overwhelming compassion, as he came upon this mourning widow. Many Bible commentators say this may be the most touching story in the Gospels.

When Jesus saw the widow, he was filled with compassion and said to her, “Do not cry” (Eyewitness Luke 7:13). Then he walked over to the bier, a flat stretcher bearing the corpse, and touched it. Immediately, the men carrying the bier stopped walking. Then Jesus commanded the corpse to get up.

IMG_0192Amazingly, the widow’s dead son came alive again. He sat up and began to speak. Jesus presented him with new life, back to his mother. Jesus showed his deep compassion for the widow and the power of God to raise her son to life.

Now, the very large crowd stood in awe of what Jesus had done. They knew what they witnessed – God in their midst. They praised God saying, “A great prophet has risen among us,” and “Today, God has visited us” (Eyewitness Luke 7:17).

JOHN WANTS TO KNOW ABOUT JESUS

Word of Jesus raising the widow’s son from the dead spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee and Judea. John the Baptist heard of it from his disciples while in prison at Machaerus, east of the Dead Sea. And he sent two of his disciples to ask Jesus if he was the One to come.

“Go tell John what you have seen and heard,” Jesus replied. “The blind see, the lame walk, and lepers are cleansed. The deaf can hear, the dead are raised, and the needy receive words of hope. Tell him a man is blessed when he puts his faith in me” (Eyewitness Luke 7:22,23).

John the Baptist received verification of who Jesus was. Great testimony of what Jesus did – people knew it must have been God!

Application: Jesus’ compassion continues today. He is aware, he cares, and he wants God’s best for you.

Prayer: Father, thank you. Your compassion overcomes our sorrow and grief. Yes, your lovingkindness is everlasting and your faithfulness touches us deeply in times of need.

Photo of young boy healed by Jesus from: Jesus His Life and Times, Fleming H. Revell Company, Old Tappan, New Jersey, 1979, The Genesis Project.

Jesus Visits Samaria – They Got It

Jesus answered, “If you knew the generosity of God and who I am, you would be asking me for a drink, and I would give you fresh, living water” (The Message John 4:10).

THE MESSAGE: John 4:4-44
In Your Bible: John 4:4-44

On their walk to Galilee, Jesus had to go through Samaria. This choice seems odd, since the Jews had no respect for these people, avoided them, considered them half-breeds and did not associate with them. Apparently the disciples did not object.

Was it merely the shortest route to Galilee? Did Jesus choose this route because he wanted to stop at Jacob’s well? Or did the Father lead him to people the Jews had written off as second class citizens? Reason unknown, but it may be something to ponder.

JESUS OFFERS FRESH, LIVING WATER

Jesus watched a woman come to draw water from Jacob’s well. He asked her for a drink. Incredible! A Jew spoke to me, she probably thought. Then Jesus guided the conversation to the spiritual realm, but this confused her. Perceiving it, he said, “If you knew the generosity of God and who I am, you would be asking me for a drink, and I would give you fresh, living water (THE MESSAGE John 4:10).

Vichanya Klating-AngsuleeJesus and the woman talked for quite a while. She asked for this living water. Then Jesus revealed he knew a lot about her that she chose not to divulge. She confessed her many transgressions. Jesus did not focus on how awful this woman was. No, instead he explained what the Father looks for – those who truly seek him.

When the disciples returned with food, he said something they did not understand. No need to eat. Jesus said, “The food that keeps me going is that I do the will of the One who sent me, finishing the work he started” (THE MESSAGE John 4:34). Instead of food for eating, Jesus referred to showing people all that the Father freely offers.

GOD CHANGES LIVES

This encounter with Jesus encouraged the Samaritan woman. He guided her to seek God sincerely. Jesus told her directly, he was the Messiah. She ran to tell her entire village about Jesus. He didn’t condemn her, he gave her a chance to receive life, eternal life, just by asking! She got it and her village got it too.

Jesus stayed with the Samaritans two days. Many more trusted Jesus as he spoke to them. They said to the woman, “We’re no longer taking this on your say-so. We’ve heard it for ourselves and know it for sure. He’s the Savior of the world” (THE MESSAGE John 4:42).

Application: Jesus revealed the mission God had for him. We as believers must seek the Father in spirit and truth – that is what God wants. Lives will be changed, eternal life can be found, and Kingdom lifestyle can begin. The Father is interested in anyone who earnestly seeks him.

Prayer: Father, thank you for giving believers living water. Glory.

Photo Courtesy of Vichanya Klating-Angsulee freedigitalphotos.net