Faith and Results

…… “Mercy, Son of David! Mercy on us” (THE MESSAGE Matthew 9:27).

THE MESSAGE: Matthew 9:27-30
In Your Bible: Matthew 9:27-30

Why should we be surprised? Jesus often didn’t say many words when he met peoples needs, healing, deliverance and more. He used phrases like, “be opened,” “come out” (for demons), or in Matthew 9, “Become what you believe.” Simple, powerful words from the Master, bring results including healing.

God in Action

We may call them stories, but they are indeed accounts of miraculous intervention – God/Jesus at work. Faith is a theme found throughout the Bible – with many wonderful and yes, amazing results. A few highlights found In the Old Testament:

  • Noah built an ark with God’s directions – to save people and animals
  • Moses parting the Red sea with his staff
  • Abram and Sara believing God for their own child
  • Joshua and God won the battle at Jericho
  • Daniel in the lion’s den
  • Elijah the prophet saving the widow’s son

The Gospels are loaded with wonders/miracles and many examples of Jesus’ healing touch. The point made is faith in God is intimately attached to results – including healing. Here are three in Matthew Chapter 9:18-29!

  • Ruler’s daughter healed
  • A woman with bleeding for 12 years
  • Two blind men on the road ask for sight from Jesus

Jesus Simple Healing Words

Let’s look at these two blind men (Matthew 9), who followed Jesus, on the road. This is one account of many who encountered Jesus, probably daily. So, why are they mentioned in Scripture? I believe it’s to emphasize the faith of the believer is a hidden key to action with God.

These two men cried out to, “Mercy, Son of David! Mercy on us” (Eyewitness Matthew 9:27). Then they went into the house where Jesus was. Jesus asked a direct question, “Do you really believe I can do this?” Their answer in unison was Why yes, Master” (THE MESSAGE Matthew 9:28). Jesus reached out and touched each man’s eyes, “Become what you believe. It happened. They saw” (THE MESSAGE Matthew 9:28-30).

Bible scholars comment, * these two blind men were deprived of their sight but had eyes of understanding and discernment of the great things of God they requested – they believed Jesus could heal them. Jesus credited them with that discernment.

As Jesus demanded the recipients not tell anyone, they were healed! However, they did tell everyone they saw throughout the area! Wouldn’t you? Jesus saw and knew the faith of the believer enabled healing by just few words by him, The Master.

Application: Jesus pointed out that believers have the faith needed, the challenge is the strength of our belief. He says even faith as small as a mustard seed – will grow. Believers need to exercise faith, be confident in what Jesus can do, and not doubt (another subject altogether).

Prayer: Father, help me exercise the gift of faith you’ve given me. You bless me so much….thank you. I want to grow in faith.

Question: Why do believers struggle with faith? How much is enough faith? Do these examples of exercising faith, help you grow?

* Matthew Henry’s Commentary In One Volume, Matthew Henry, Regency Reference Library, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1961, p. 1248.

(We’ve been out of town from April 18 through May 2, so I’ll post two intended/scheduled but not sent for April 25th and May 3rd from England. Sorry.)

JESUS – SAVIOR

“Here begins the wonderful news about Jesus the Messiah, the Lamb who was slain since the founding of the world” (Eyewitness 1 John 1:1)

THE MESSAGE: Matthew 2:1-4; 3:13-17; 4:23-25; 28:16-20 and Hebrews 12:1-3
Eyewitness: 1 John 1:1
In Your Bible: Matthew 2:1-4; 3:13-17; 4:23-25; 28:16-20 and Hebrews 12:1-3 and 1 John 1:1

The resurrection of Jesus the Christ is amazing, wonderful, and so life giving for the believer. Resurrection Sunday is something for believers to praise God for.

IMG_0243After Jesus was born in Bethlehem village….. Judah territory – a band of scholars [wise men] arrived in Jerusalem from the East. The asked around, “Where can we find and pay homage to the newborn King of the Jews? We observed a star in the eastern sky that signaled his birth. We’re on pilgrimage to worship him (THE MESSAGE Matthew 2:1-4).

Jesus’ Ministry
OXYGEN VOLUME 13So John did it [baptized Jesus]. The moment Jesus came out of the baptismal waters, the skies opened up and he saw God’s Spirit – it looked like a dove – descending and landing up on him. And along with the Spirit, a voice: “This is my Son, chosen and marked by my love, delight of my life” (THE MESSAGE Matthew 3:16,17.
IMG_0242From there [the Jordan River] he went all over Galilee. He used synagogues for meeting places and taught people the truth of God. God’s kingdom was his theme – that beginning right now they were under God’s government, a good government! IMG_0236He also healed people of their diseases and of the effects of bad in their lives. Word got around the entire Roman province of Syria. People brought anybody with an ailment, whether mental, emotional, or physical. Jesus healed them, one and all (THE MESSAGE Matthew 4:23,24).

Jesus the Example

 
IMG_0240Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God – he could put up with anything along the way; Cross, shame, whatever. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenalin into your souls! (THE MESSAGE Hebrews 12:2,3).

Prayer: Father, thank you for the life you give me in Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior.

Photos from: Jesus Life and Times, Flemming H. Revell Company Publishers, Old Tappan, New Jersey, 1979, p.106.

What Defiles a Man?

Jesus said, “Listen and understand what I am saying. You are not defiled by what goes into your mouth. It is what comes out that makes you unclean” (Eyewitness Matthew 15:10,11).

Eyewitness: pp. 110,111
In Your Bible: Matthew 15:1-20

Rules and traditions were central to Jewish religion and culture. It seems as though Jesus didn’t obey many of these rules and traditions of man, because most were not of God at all! After the Pharisees challenged him, Jesus defined what truly defiles a man – evil things that you think and say.

Some Traditions Deviated

The Pharisees asked Jesus, “Why do your disciples violate the rules of behavior established by our ancestors? When they ate bread, they do not wash their hands?” (Eyewitness Matthew 15:2). I had always thought of this as God’s health precautions, but according to William Barclay (see below), it was of the oral Law.*

The Pharisees violated and ignored God’s commandments by following their own traditions. They nullified the commandments, to have their own way. He called them hypocrites. Eugene Peterson in THE MESSAGE, calls the Pharisees frauds in this passage!

Jesus Spoke to the Heart of the Problem

Jesus called the people closer. “Listen and understand what I am saying. You are not defiled by what goes into your mouth. It is what comes out of you that makes you unclean. If you have ears to hear, pay attention to what I am saying” (Eyewitness Matthew 15;10,11).

Simon Peter said, “How is it that the people are not defiled by what they eat? Explain your analogy to us” (Eyewitness Matthew 15:15).

Jesus said, “You still don’t understand? You should know that anything going into a man from the outside cannot make him unclean. What you eat simply passes through the stomach and out. But what comes out of a person [their mouth] is from the heart, revealing filth that exists inside” (Eyewitness Matthew 15:16-18). Your speech reveals what is in your heart.

Application: The Pharisees and teachers of the Law relied on rules and tradition as the basis for their religiosity. Jesus went straight to the point exposing that their speech or talk showed whether their heart was right with God.

Prayer: Father, let my words be ones you give. I want to please you. Your words are what I want to live.

Question: Have you ever been with people who fill the air with useless words? What do you do, when you are lost for appropriate positive words to say?

* Bible commentator William Barclay says this about traditions of the elders: To the Jew the Law had two sections. There was the written Law, which was contained in the scripture itself; and there was the oral Law, which consisted of the developments, such as those in hand-washing, which the Scribes and the experts had worked out through the generations; and all these developments were tradition of the elders, and were regarded just as much, if not more, binding than the written Law. From: The Daily Bible Study, The Gospel of Matthew, Westminster Press, Philadelphia. 1953, 1956, p.114.

The Kingdom of God

“If you grasp and cling to life on your terms, you’ll lose it, but let go, and you’ll get life on God’s terms” (THE MESSAGE Luke 17:33).

THE MESSAGE: Luke 17:20,21 and 33
In Your Bible: Luke 17:20,21 and 33

Chapter 17 of Luke provides many of Jesus’ difficult teachings:

  • Relationships – the need to forgive one another
  • Faith – believers have enough faith
  • Servanthood – do what you are told to do
  • Miraculous healings – the ten lepers
  • Confrontation by confused Pharisees – about signs when the Messiah would return

But maybe most important, Jesus talked about “the Kingdom of God” – in Luke 33 times

Kingdom Is Among You

The Pharisees didn’t understand the signs of the Messiah’s return. Jesus told them the Kingdom was not an external one, but an internal and spiritual Kingdom for the believer!* Jesus said, “The Kingdom of God doesn’t come by counting days on the calendar. Nor when someone says, ‘Look here, or there it is! Why? Because God’s Kingdom is already among you'” (THE MESSAGE Luke 17:20,21).

Kingdom Living

This new teaching by Jesus changed man’s thinking from his own desires to living as the Messiah inspires! That’s an amazing concept. Jesus spent about three years speaking, preaching, teaching and doing Kingdom of God things.

Application: Jesus taught and emphasized the Kingdom of God as a critical theme throughout Luke. Jesus declared it as Life on God’s terms.

Prayer: Father, thank you for this teaching on the Kingdom of God. Help me let go of my life so I can live life your way.

Question: As you read through Luke, notice how many times Jesus explains the Kingdom of God. Is “living your life on God’s terms” new thinking to you? How can you implement it?