Jesus gives us an extensive teaching using seven parable that all deal with the kingdom of heaven..
Jesus enters into further controversy, this time starting with what is or is not allowed on the Sabbath. He adds teaching about his own resurrection and who his true family is.
Matthew 12.mp3 (Jake Medlong)
33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.
I deeply desire that my life would bear good fruit, the kind that would please you in every way. For that to happen I ask first that you would make the the kind of person that might be comparable to a good tree, so that good fruit would naturally appear.
Since it is true that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, I ask you first to purify my heart. Let my heart be filled with an abundance of good. Then let my mouth speak good things that would impact others for good purposes.
Let me be a good person in your eyes because I allow you make me good. There is no possible way for me to be good on my own. Then let my life bring forth good out of my good treasure.
One way or another, I am going to leave a legacy. Let what I leave behind be good. Once again, Father, I desire that my life would bring forth good fruit. For that to happen I ask you to change me from within, so that good would be the natural outcome of all that I say and do.
And I ask this for Jesus’ sake and for his glory.
My thought today is a simple one, but still always relevant: Jesus cares. This occurred to me while reading the following passage.
9 He went on from there and entered their synagogue. 10 And a man was there with a withered hand. And they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—so that they might accuse him. 11 He said to them, “Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out? 12 Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” 13 Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy like the other. 14 But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him.
It seems the observers were more concerned about their questions pertaining to the Sabbath than they were with the poor guy who needed to be healed. Afterward, the Pharisees who witnessed the healing confirm this by going out and conspiring how to destroy Jesus. Their additions to or interpretations of the law took priority over helping someone in need.
Jesus, as we know, was willing to be their victim. He would not, however, hold back from doing good to the man with the withered hand. Admittedly the man’s hand was no life-threatening injury. He may have lived with his problem for years. During that time, however, his frustration may have grown. His discouragement may have increased.
We have reason to be encouraged when we see ourselves as someone comparable to the man with this disability, We cannot do as much good as we would like. We are not as capable as we often feel we need to be. Our inadequacy is constantly glaring at us in the mirror and laughing. And Jesus cares.
Christ is happy to renew our strength. He is not too busy nor overly concerned with Sabbath requirements that were mere legal additions or interpretations to begin with. He cares. Jesus simply and personally cares. And he wants us to know that.
Like most others I was appalled when I heard about the bombings of churches and hotels in Sri Lanka. It is difficult to quantify cruelty, but the hundreds killed seem to make it harder to even know how to respond.
At least one Sri Lankan Christian has taken the time to do so. I can’t do any better than share what Ajith Fernando said. His thoroughly biblical response illustrate why he is deservedly among the most respected Christians anywhere. Read what he had to say on the website of Christianity Today.
28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Today I am feeling especially weak in my labors and I sense that I need your rest. It is not merely a physical rest that I am in need of, but a spiritual rest for my soul. Help me not to let my burdens get the best of me, but rather help me to share them with you. Help me to experience your rest, the spiritual rest that only you can give.
I desire to learn from you, Lord Jesus. Teach me what it is to be gentle and lowly in heart just as you are. It is precisely in this lowliness that I am reminded I was not meant to bear these burdens alone. You invite me to serve alongside you. Just as two oxen were joined by their yoke, I desire to be joined with you. It is then and only then that I will not be heavy laden in my service. Again, help me to experience your rest, the rest that only you can give.
Your yoke is easy and your burden is light. How different this is from the yoke and the burden of the world. Elsewhere you said that apart from you, we can do nothing. How true that is, and how clear it is that laboring alone, without you, is foolish. Please take my work, my labors, my heavy burdens upon yourself and place your yoke upon me.
Help me, Jesus, to experience the work that is actually rest when I labor together with you. There is really no other way for me to effectively serve.