Shipwrecked

In Your Bible: Acts 28:1-11

The large grain ship from Alexandria ran aground on the island of Malta. Miraculously all 276 onboard survived. Paul, Luke and others were guests of the island chief. In God’s hands and safekeeping Paul ministered in Malta for more than three months.

Hospitality with a Surprise

The natives on Malta showed extraordinary kindness. They built a fire for the visitors due the rain and cold weather. But, when Paul added wood to the fire, a venomous snake bit him, Paul shook it off unconcerned. The natives watched to see if he would instantly die, he didn’t! They were amazed—Paul must be a god.

Hospitality and Healing

Publius, the Island’s Chie Official, was likely a Roman representative. * He revealed to Paul that his father was seriously ill. So . . . Paul went to him, and after he had prayed, he laid his hands on him and healed him. After this occurred, the rest of the people on the island who had diseases were coming to him and being healed (Acts 28:8b,9 AMP).

Luke says more about the generosity they received in Malta: They also gave us many honors [gifts and courtesies expressing respect]; and when we were setting sail, they supplied us with all the things we needed (Acts 28:10 AMP). In God’s hands and safekeeping Paul ministered in Malta for more than three months.

Prayer: Father, thank you for turning shipwrecks in my life into times of ministry. Help me see opportunity when I face difficulties.

Questions: Have you faced situations that looked extremely dangerous? What results came from your response from the way God carried you through it?

* The Daily Bible Study Series, The Acts of the Apostles, William Barclay, Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1955, p. 207.

Tell What God Has Done In You

The Message: Luke 8:26-39
In your Bible: Luke 8:26-39

This fascinating account is better known for the pigs and demons than the main message. It presents us with a challenge and a guide as to what Jesus wants us to do – tell what God has done in you.

The Confrontation

Jesus arrived in Gerasenes, opposite Galilee, and met a man who was a victim of demons. When he saw Jesus . . . the unclean spirits screamed [from inside him] . . . “What business do you have messing with me? You’re Jesus, Son of the High God, but don’t give me a hard time!” The man said this because Jesus had started to order many unclean [6,000] unclean spirits out of him (Luke 8:28,29 The Message).

Changed Life

The witnesses to this event were scared and departed to their town. They reported this amazing but troubling story. When they came back to Jesus they found the man delivered and sitting at Jesus’ feet, clothed, and in his right mind. It was a holy moment, and for a short time they were more reverent than curious (Luke 8:36 The Message).

Then the people of the village they saw only the loss of their commerce – pigs. They asked Jesus to leave – it was too much change, too fast, and they were scared.

Command to Tell Others

The man seeing the change Jesus made in him immediately wanted to go with his deliverer. Jesus commanded this man . . . “Go home and tell everything God did in you.” So he went back and preached all over town everything Jesus had done in him (Luke 8:39 The Message).

Prayer: Father, It’s often it’s not easy to tell people about what you have done for me. Many don’t care or are not concerned about your love. Help me find a way.

Question: How do you think the people who were mad at Jesus reacted to the man he had delivered?

Blind Men See

“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked (Luke 18:41a Eyewitness).

Eyewitness: p. 186
In Your Bible: Matthew 20:29-34; Mark 10:46-52; and Luke 18:35-43

Often, crowds gathered around Jesus as he walked and ministered. He healed many from diseases, cast out devils, and changed the lives of everyone he spoke to in one way or another. As we look closer, the accounts recorded in Matthew, Mark and Luke differ slightly.

Crowds Followed – Few Stopped Jesus

A large crowd followed Jesus as he walked near Jericho. They passed two blind men who were beggars. These two men cried out loudly to Jesus. Those closest to Jesus in the crowd told the beggars to be quiet.

But they shouted louder, …“Sir, Son of David, have mercy on us” (Matthew 20:30b Eyewitness). Then something different happened, Jesus stopped walking and commanded the beggars to come to him! Jesus often did the opposite of what those around him expected.

What Do You Want?

These two had a physical need – blindness. They knew Jesus could help, if he wanted to. They simply requested, “Heal our eyes so we can see” (Matthew 20:33 Eyewitness).
IMG_0274 Here’s what happened:

  • Jesus, moved with compassion, touched their eyes.
  • They received their eyesight.
  • They immediately followed.

One Gospel writer gives additional insight. Jesus spoke to the beggars he healed, “Look around. Because you believed, now you can see” (Mark 10:52a). These two not only followed Jesus, but glorified and praised God. The crowd joined in!

Application: These two beggars seemed to have been ignored by the throng around Jesus and possibly even Jesus himself! But as soon as Jesus heard their plea, he simply asked what they wanted. Jesus wants believers to talk with him about our needs. We can talk to him today. Simply ask, believe, and keep on asking.

Prayer:  Father, thank you that you hear all believers. Even when the crowd shouts loudly, you hear our prayer. Glory to Your Name.

Question: Does it seem that your problems are too difficult to solve?  Do you believe Jesus can answer them? How often do you ask Jesus for needs you have?

Photo: Jesus His Life and Times, Fleming H. Revell Company, Old Tappan Road, New Jersey, 1979, p.81.

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.)

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.