Only believe – Mark 5:36

These words that Jesus spoke to Jairus regarding his daughter can easily apply in any number of situations that we face.  Here is how they appear in context.

35 While He was still speaking, some came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?”

36 As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not be afraid; only believe.” 

The context in this case is vital to understanding what Jesus is saying.  

Jairus came to Jesus as his daughter was dying, asking for help.  Before they got home, however, the daughter had died.  When all was lost, Jesus encouraged Jairus with the words, “Do not be afraid; only believe.”  As it happened, Jesus raised her back to life.

Why does God so often wait until all hope is lost?  Perhaps it is so we are more focused upon hoping in him.  There is something spiritually healthy about being brought to the end of ourselves.  Self-sufficiency can be an enormous obstacle to faith.  Hope in anything or anyone but Jesus can redirect us away from trusting him.

When it is obvious that we cannot do anything to fix our situations, and neither can anyone else, God has the opportunity to intervene without interference.  He must like that, because he puts us in that place of helplessness pretty often.

What hopeless situation are you facing right now?  I am facing a few of them, but I won’t clutter this post with their tedious descriptions.  Christ’s message to us might be the same as his message to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; only believe.”

A Prayer Prompted by Matthew 28

Heavenly Father,

You are the Source of all life and the Creator of all things. And we understand that you gave your Son to suffer death in our place so that our sins would be forgiven.

We thank you for Jesus, who died, but was always planning to rise from the dead. He is now risen, just as he said.

He has conquered the grave and the gates of hell cannot prevail against his church.

Though we may feel sinful, dirty and lost, we trust that our sins are forgiven through faith in Jesus Christ.

Though we may feel forgotten and alone, we understand that he is Immanuel, God with us, and he has promised to be with us always.

Help us to constantly keep that in mind as we wait for his soon return.

Thank you in Christ’s name,

Amen.

 

Ultimate victory – Matthew 28

The resurrection turns the ultimate defeat into the ultimate victory.  Sin, death and Satan have now been dealt with forever because the Son of God has risen from the grave.  The consequences of humanity’s fall into sin are reversed, never to take control of us again.  

Just before issuing his Great Commission to the disciples, Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”  That means the sin, death and Satan combined have approximately zero authority.  

Since this deals once and for all with our biggest problem, lesser problems also come into a proper perspective.  All of the hurts, problems and defeats that I have experienced or that I have caused are reduced to times that my team and I have fallen behind in a winning game.  It may look bad for the moment but our final victory is ultimately assured.

There is never a reason big enough to give up hope.  Christ is risen and someday we too will be resurrected into a completely new life in him.

A Prayer Prompted by Matthew 22

Heavenly Father,

We say yes to your invitation to come to marriage supper of the Lamb, our Lord Jesus Christ. As we do, however, we admit that it is only by your grace and his shed blood that we can come.  It is not on the basis of our own righteousness.

We then confess our belief in Jesus as both our human Savior and our divine Lord.

We acknowledge our belief in the resurrection of the dead, and to that end we cry, “Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus,” as we await his soon return.

We also pray that you would help us to be model citizens while here on this earth, obeying those in authority and faithfully paying what we owe. At the same time help us to remember that all earthly authority is still subject to you.

Finally, we ask your help in doing all that we do in love, first of all in love for you, but also in love for others – a love that no one could deny in both our attitudes and our behavior.

And we pray all of this in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Amen.

Matthew 20 Verse by Verse

Matt photoJesus tells a parable about rewards which leads to some surprises.  Then he once again foretells his death and resurrection.  He also gives his disciples a lesson on greatness.

Matthew 20.mp3     (Kenny Washington)

Matthew 12 Verse By Verse

Matt photoJesus 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)