“Just then some men brought to Him a paralytic lying on a mat. Seeing their faith, Jesus told the paralytic, “Have courage, son, your sins are forgiven.”
But Jesus turned and saw her. “Have courage, daughter,” He said. “Your faith has made you well.” And the woman was made well from that moment.”
Matthew 9:2, 22 HCSB
Two verses regarding faith, and one thing that stood out to me: faith and courage go hand in hand. To have faith is to have courage. Courage that your sins are forgiven. Courage that I am healed. Courage that the Lord God of the Universe has heard my prayer. Courage that Jesus has truly forgiven me of my sins and that He has prepared a place for me! Courage to go out in the world with this knowledge and not be afraid of anything!!
“But Jesus told him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.””
Matthew 8:22 HCSB
I have read this verse countless times and have either not been able to get my head around it, or not paid it much attention. Today it stood out to me what Jesus was saying, though. When He said “let the dead bury their own dead,” I believe He is referring to those who were NOT following Him. They were the dead, because He was the Life!
““Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on the rock. The rain fell, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and pounded that house. Yet it didn’t collapse, because its foundation was on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of Mine and doesn’t act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, the rivers rose, the winds blew and pounded that house, and it collapsed. And its collapse was great! ””
Matthew 7:24-27 HCSB
Jesus’ teaching is like the building materials. What we do with the teaching is the foundation. In both cases, they start with the same thing, the difference is what we do when we hear the word.
“so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
But when you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
so that you don’t show your fasting to people but to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
Matthew 6:4, 6, 18 HCSB
These three verses each relate to a different subject: giving to the poor, fasting and prayer, but they all have one thing in common – do them in private/ secret, so that the Lord will be the only one to know. He sees all, but often we just focus on the bad things He sees, but doing good out of sight of others is even better. When we do stuff for people to see, that is why we are truly doing it: we want the bragging rights. When we do something without anyone seeing, we are doing it from our hearts.
“Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are blessed, for they will be filled.”
Matthew 5:6 HCSB
There is so much here in the Sermon on the Mount, but as I force myself to focus on one thing, it is this beatitude. Here Jesus tells us that if we seek after righteousness, we will be filled. He tells us repeatedly to seek and we shall find, and I, for one, always focus on finding what I want, not necessarily what He wants. Looking at this I think He is telling me “Yes, seek and you will find, but are you seeking righteousness??? That is what you should be seeking. Are you seeking the Kingdom of Heaven? If that is what you are seeking, you will definitely find it.”
“Again, the Devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. And he said to Him, “I will give You all these things if You will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus told him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve only Him.””
Matthew 4:8-10 HCSB
Of the three temptations, this is what seems to have upset Jesus. The other two He simply responded with scripture, but this temptation He not only responded with scripture, but also told the Devil to scram!
Note to self: If you want to get Jesus riled up – put other things ahead of His Father.
“And don’t presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that God is able to raise up children for Abraham from these stones!”
Matthew 3:9 HCSB
A theme I am hearing a lot lately is that God doesn’t recognize our past anymore, whether it is our ancestors and who He chooses to use for His earthly lineage (see Matthew 1 note) or even His chosen people. He only favors those who choose to follow Christ, and those who follow Christ truly FOLLOW Him.
“After they were gone, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Get up! Take the child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. For Herod is about to search for the child to destroy Him.”
After Herod died, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, “Get up! Take the child and His mother and go to the land of Israel, because those who sought the child’s life are dead.””
Matthew 2:13, 19-20 HCSB
Not a lot is said about Joseph, though we know that he was a good man. A righteous man. He was obviously well regarded by the Lord as he is visited repeatedly by angels with instruction as to what to do with regard to young Jesus’ safety.
“Salmon fathered Boaz by Rahab, Boaz fathered Obed by Ruth, Obed fathered Jesse, and Jesse fathered King David. Then David fathered Solomon by Uriah’s wife,”
Matthew 1:5-6 HCSB
These two verses stand out to me out of the lineage of Jesus because it points out Jesus’ earthly lineage had some less than ideal circumstances. First, Boaz was fathered through Rahab, who was a prostitute. Second, Solomon was fathered by Uriah’s wife. In other words, not the most ideal of situations, especially considering that David essentially had Uriah killed so he could be with Bathsheba.
Proof that God is above our past, our history. God Himself used a less than perfect lineage to manifest Himself in the world!
“Every tenth animal from the herd or flock, which passes under the shepherd’s rod, will be holy to the Lord. He is not to inspect whether it is good or bad, and he is not to make a substitution for it. But if he does make a substitution, both the animal and its substitute will be holy; they cannot be redeemed.””
Leviticus 27:32-33 HCSB
I read this as an act of obedience. In this case, the Lord doesn’t care what the animal looks like, He only cares that we give over our tithe. In other parts of the scripture, the Lord lays out what can and cannot be sacrificed to Him, but in these instances I believe it is because He did not want to essentially be a “scrap yard” for the less desirable livestock, which is what would have happened because of our nature. Here – He doesn’t want us to start messing with all that, but rather to just give Him a tenth. Period.