Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Feeding People and Walking on Water

This morning I read Matthew chapter 14 and again was blown away at how awesome Jesus is. In this chapter he feeds over 5000 people with a few pieces of bread and fish, walks on water and gives the disciples a heart attack, and heals people just by them touching his garments! Pretty awesome stuff.

At the beginning of this chapter there is a story about how Herod beheads John the Baptist. John had spoken out against the sketchy relationship Herod had with his brother's wife and since Herod didn't like that he got thrown in jail. Herodias (Herod's sketchy wife) convinces Herod to behead John and then John's disciples bury him.

In verse 13 it kind of shows how Jesus was affected by this news. Obviously John was important and special to Jesus because he had tried to withdraw and process this by himself. But a few people followed him....5000 or so!! And he teaches them and then they get hungry. I love how Jesus tells his disciples, "you give them something to eat." Like its no big deal to feed 5000 people. But Jesus performs an awesome miracle (the only one recorded in all 4 gospels).

After this Jesus again goes away to spend some time alone in prayer. Want to see some proof for the importance of connecting with God on a regular basis? Well here it is....Jesus did it! So many times we see Jesus going off on his own to connect with God the Father. A great example for us. If Jesus, the Son of God, needed time to connect and recharge with God how much more do we need that?

The last part of this chapter talks about Jesus healing people just by them touching the fringes of his garment! I love that that is how much power Jesus has. People who have faith in him only need to touch the edge of his clothes to be healed! Once again reading this morning has made me realize how amazing it must have been to come into contact with Jesus. And one day all of us will!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Say What Jesus? (Parables)

Today I read in Matthew 13 which is a chapter where Jesus sits down again and teaches the crowds and disciples. But the neat thing this time is that Jesus speaks in parables. Parables are stories that teach some moral or spiritual truth but in a "story-like" way. Same kind of thing that preachers may do today when they tell stories about their life and connect it to their sermon.

The first thing I asked this morning was why did Jesus teach in all these riddles and stories? Why not just come right out with it and say what he wanted to say. And Jesus kind of answers this in chapter 13: "To you has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given." (vs. 11)

Here is what my Bible commentary says about this whole idea of Jesus speaking in parables. Jesus spoke in stories and parables as a way to see if people's hearts were responsive to the kingdom of God. We can see the disciples were because they constantly asked Jesus for explanation or clarification as they sat and listened to him. But for other people it would have hardened their hearts and they didn't respond to Jesus' teaching.

That made sense in my head when I read it. Jesus gave out little nuggets of truth in his stories and waited for people to come to him. I love that about Jesus! Too often we think as Christians we need to shove truth down people's throats but I don't think that is the model Jesus gave us. He even let the rich young ruler walk away when he couldn't follow Jesus by selling all he had. AND Jesus let him walk away!

Maybe as Christians we have got to give nuggets of truth to people and wait for them to accept the truth of Jesus. That way when they are ready to hear it, they will ask. Not to say we give up evangelizing but maybe we need to not be so harsh with how we do it. It seems thats what Jesus did.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Jesus and the Pharisees!

So this morning I was looking at Matthew 12. I have been going through the book of Matthew and each day read one chapter then write out my thoughts, questions, or ideas that come to mind. And so far my mind has been blown apart seeing who Jesus was. My perspective of Jesus when I was younger was this meek, tiny man who had blonde hair (always perfectly curled) and sat holding baby sheep in his arms. But over the past years that view of Jesus has been replaced by one that I see when I read Scripture. Chapter 12 of Matthew helped show a view of Jesus that did not back down from religious fanatics like the Pharisees but showed them the error of their ways.

All throughout this chapter Jesus is constantly bombarded by the Pharisees looking for a way to trap him. But Jesus does not get trapped or back down from their bad interpretation of the law and the reason it exists. They try to get him cornered for picking grain on the Sabbath (vss. 1-8) but Jesus shows them that even David ate the bread intended for priests and nothing happened to him.

Because chapter 12 is huge and I dont want to make this post pages long I want to look at one verse that really stuck out to me. "I tell you, on the day of judgement people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." (vss. 36-37) Pretty intense words from Jesus, right? I thought about all the words I use in a day. What do I say when someone cuts me off? What do I say when I get overcharged for something? How am I representing Jesus to the world? I really wrestled with this. Do my outward actions reflect my heart? Because according to this, if I misrepresent Jesus I will have to give an account for that when I stand in front of God. I need to be really careful about the words I say because they aren't just words. We all account for everything we say.

Time to Blog!

Well it's time to jump on another bandwagon. Recently I have seen lots of people start blogs and I thought why not start one of my own? I have tried in the past to do this and have failed because honestly I dont have any drive to talk about interesting things I see or how much I love art or music. So those blogs never lasted long. But today I thought of an amazing idea to blog about. Are you ready for it?........Ready?

I love the Bible. I love reading it, learning from it, and seeing how God worked in the past and how he is working today. So this blog will serve as my quiet time journal. As I read and study the Bible I am going to be putting my thoughts on here about what I read. This is a way for me to process what I am reading and maybe get something out of it. So this blog was kind of created for selfish reasons. A place for me to get all of these thoughts out of my brain! Enjoy!!