A Touch and a Few Words

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“When he touched them and spoke a few simple words, he healed each one” (Eyewitness Luke 4:40).

Eyewitness: p. 52.
In Your Bible: Luke 4:33-44; John 14:12-14; Matthew chapters 5-7

Jesus Touches and Heals Each One

He healed with a touch and a few words

He healed with a touch and a few words

As Jesus traveled throughout Galilee, people got a close look at this wonder-working man. Many with diseases and some tormented by evil spirits came to him. Jesus’ actions fulfilled what the prophet Isaiah wrote long ago: Truly he has taken our infirmities and carried our pain (Eyewitness Isaiah 53:4).

Words With Authority

On a Sabbath when Jesus was teaching in the synagogue, a man possessed with an evil spirit came up and screamed in torment. The evil spirits spoke through this man. “I know who you are, the Holy One sent from God.” Because they knew he was the Anointed One, he did not allow them to say more. (Eyewitness Luke 4:33-35).

“Silence!” Jesus commanded, “Come out of him!” The evil spirits left the man without harming him. Word of this encounter quickly spread throughout Galilee. The powerful Son of God works day and night to meet peoples’ needs.

The Kingdom of God

The people begged Jesus to stay longer. But he replied, “I must preach the Kingdom of God in other towns also.” He added, “That is why I came.” So he continued to preach in the synagogues of Galilee (Eyewitness Luke 4:43,44).

In the Gospel of Luke, this is the first time Jesus mentions the Kingdom. Commentators * write that the Kingdom meant three things at the same time:

  • The past, where Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were in the Kingdom centuries ago.
  • The present, when Jesus said, “The Kingdom of God is within you [believers] (Luke 17:21b).
  • The future, where it meant, that is something that God will give believers.

This must seem a bit confusing to the believer. However, I feel we believers must focus on the present – the Kingdom of God is within you.

Review what Jesus says about Kingdom living. He taught about it several times is in the gospels, but an excellent summary is seen in the Sermon on the Mount – Matthew chapters 5-7. Read over these chapters and see how Jesus clarifies Kingdom Living for the believer.

Prayer: Father, I want to keep my words simple, directed at what you want me to say, and live in Kingdom Living. Thank you for wanting this for me.

Questions: What spiritual things do you see happening around you? After reading Matthew chapters 5-7, what do you see differently about how God wants you to live?

*The Daily Study Bible, The Gospel of Luke, William Barclay, The Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1956, 50,51.

Jesus in Samaria – Part Two

. . . .My food, Jesus said, is to do the will of him, who sent me, and to complete his work” (John 4:32,34 Eyewitness).

Eyewitness: pp. 45,46
In your Bible: John 4:20-44

In Samaria, at Jacob’s well, Jesus spoke with a woman while all of the disciples except John went to buy food. Jesus’ encounter with this woman changed her life and her entire village.

Worship

The Samaritan woman mentioned that her people worship at Mount Gerizim and Jews at Jerusalem. Jesus commented, the place believers worship won’t be restricted to these two mountains. He continued… “The Father looks for true worship that is an expression from your spirit. God is Spirit, so those people who truly worship must do so in spirit” (John 4:23b, 24 Eyewitness).

[We know now, the Father is worshipped wherever the believer is—he is with us. Emmanuel.]

Savior of the World

Stunned by this statement, she needed more. The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming — the one who is called Anointed. When he comes, he will explain everything.” Then Jesus told her, “I am the Messiah!” (John 4:25,26 Eyewitness). Again surprised by this, she could hardly speak. But she retired to her village and told them she’d met the Messiah! The villagers were very intrigued and anxious to meet Jesus.

The disciples returned with food and asked Jesus to eat. But he explained, “I have food that you know nothing about. “My food,” Jesus said, “is to do the will of him, who sent me, and to complete his work” (John 4:32,34 Eyewitness).

The villagers begged Jesus to stay with them and he did for two days. The people exclaimed, “Now we believe, not just because of what you {the woman] told us, but because we have heard him ourselves. Now we know that he is indeed the Savior of the world” (John 4:42 Eyewitness).

Prayer: Father, you have known me since I was conceived. Thank you for living water so I can worship you in spirit and in truth. Amazing. Selah.

Questions: What is the connection between living water (water of life) and spiritual worship? How does congregating in a church for worship relate to personal worship with God anytime and anywhere you want.

This time of year we celebrate the coming of Immanuel. I wish for you a Very Merry Christmas.

Jesus in Samaria – Part One

“If you understood God’s generosity and who is asking for a drink . .. (Eyewitness John 4:10a).

Eyewitness: p. 44
In Your Bible: John 4:4-15

On his way from Jerusalem to Galilee, Jesus took the road through Samaria. This route would include an encounter that would change a woman and a village.

Jesus Breaks Down Barriers

Jesus sat down at Jacob’s well to rest. Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw from the well. He asked her for a drink of water. (By custom a rabbi could not talk to a woman in public – even his wife or daughter. That would be the end of his reputation.) *

She questioned, “Why would you talk to me?” Jesus disarmed her with this statement, “If you understood God’s generosity and who is asking for a drink, you would ask me for a drink. I would give you living water” (Eyewitness John 4:10).

Water Jesus Gives

She was shaken by what Jesus said next, “Everyone who drinks this water will thirst again. But those who drink the water I give them will never become thirsty” (Eyewitness John 4:13,14).

The Samaritan woman was confused. First she thought it was about why would a Jew speak to her? What about the generosity of God? Who is this man? What water would he give her? For some reason she said, “Sir, give me this water so I will not get thirsty anymore and have to come to this well anymore” (Eyewitness John 4:15).

This day, barriers came down. Jesus talked to a Samaritan woman—for an extended time. She found kindness in his eyes. Jesus was about to change her life.

End of Part One

Prayer: Father, you know all about me, my thoughts, wants and needs…yet you still want me to talk with you. Thank you. Selah.

Questions: What would you list as things God is generous with? What do you and Jesus talk about? What don’t you want to talk to Jesus about?

*The Daily Study Bible, The Gospel of John, Vol 1, William Barcklay, The Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1956, p. 142.

Spiritual Birth

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Eyewitness: pp. 40, 41
In your Bible: Numbers 21:8,9; Ezekiel 36:25-27; John 3

Early in Jesus’ ministry he explained spiritual birth. This appears only in the Gospel of John.

Born Again—Really?

During Passover week in Jerusalem, many were captivated by what Jesus said. However, Nicodemus was the only member of the Jewish ruling council who met alone with Jesus. Later he defends Jesus (John 7:50-52), and he is the one who brings spices to anoint Jesus for burial after his crucifixion (John 19:38,39). *

“I can guarantee,” Jesus said, ”you will never see the Kingdom of God unless you are born again” (Eyewitness John 3:3). Nicodemus still didn’t understand.

Nicodemus knew what Ezekiel had spoken of a new spirit within. But he did not understand the connection when Jesus said, “You must be born again.” He questioned Jesus, “What do you mean? A grown man cannot enter his mother’s womb a second time” (John 3:4 Eyewitness).

Jesus explained, “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. Do not be surprised at my saying. You must be born again” (John 3:5,6).

Jesus explanation may be understandable to us today, but it was difficult for Nicodemus to grasp. Truly, Nicodemus and Jesus had a heart to heart conversation. Yes, he did get it.

Be Lifted Up

Jesus goes on with a hint of his own crucifixion. He tells how God interceded for his children, wandering in the desert. Moses attached a bronze serpent on a pole and lifted it up, to heal his people from fiery serpents that threatened them. Then Jesus compares that with his coming death. “In the same way,” Jesus said, ”the Son of Man must be lifted up so everyone who believes in him may live” (Eyewitness John 3:14b).

Jesus continued to speak to Nicodemas, with a well-known verse for believers today. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, so that everyone who believes in him will not die but live forever” (Eyewitness John 3:16).

That encouragement helps us today. God will not condemn whoever believes in Him. Jesus continues… ”Those who love truth and desire to do right will come to the light so others can see they are doing what God wants” (Eyewitness John 3:21).

Prayer: Father, thank you for spiritual birth and loving me before I was even born. Thank you that Jesus provided for all of mankind not only to be born of the flesh but also of Your Spirit.

Questions: Why do you think Nicodemus bravely asked questions of Jesus? Have you asked Jesus to give you spiritual birth? How would you tell a friend about this?

* McGarvy and Pendleton Commentary, Classic Bible Commentaries, christianitybible.com.

Jesus Gets Angry

Eyewitness: p. 39
In Your Bible: Jeremiah 7:11; Matthew 21:12,13; Mark 11:17; Luke 19:15-18; John 2:13-22

It was nearly time for the Passover celebration in Jerusalem. Jesus and his disciples went to the Temple to celebrate, give thanks and pray. When Jesus arrived at the Court of the Gentiles, He saw the exploitation of the people. This portion of the Temple had become almost entirely secularized and commercialized. *

Violation of God’s House

What Jesus saw broke his heart:

  • His Fathers’ house of prayer was insulted.
  • Gentiles and poor Jews were exploited buy greed of the money-changers, priests and merchants.
  • This disturbance in the Court of the Gentiles hampered worship in God’s house.

Jesus Anger in the Temple

Jesus, knowing God was insulted, acted quickly. He made a whip from small cords drove out sheep and cattle, scattered the money-changers coins and turned over their tables. Yes, Jesus was angry. He divulged why he did this quoting the prophet Jeremiah, “The Scriptures say the Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations, but you have turned it into a hangout for robbers” (Eyewitness Mark 11:17).

Prayer: Father, guide me daily to honor you in my worship, in my church, and in hearing your voice.

Question: Today, do we lose our sense of the ‘presence’ of God as we worship or pray? Why are we not more offended at ungodly things around us?

* William Barclay, The Daily Bible Study Series, The Gospel of Mark, Revised Edition, The Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1956, pp. 272-275.