Every Last Word
How often have you heard someone say “if God would just give me a sign, then I would believe in him”? Perhaps you’ve said it yourself. People have been asking for a sign to prove God’s existence for centuries. When skeptics asked Jesus to prove that he was God, he said their only sign would be the sign of Jonah.
It may look great to other people when we clean up our lives and live morally. But self-help methods end up hurting us in the end. The truth is we can’t help ourselves. When we try, we open ourselves to the attacks of the devil who loves to take possession of our souls. What we need is for Jesus Christ to take possession instead.
It’s easy to give up on praying when we don’t see immediate answers. In a culture where instant gratification is the norm, persevering in prayer is a strange concept. But God calls us to continually come before him with boldness. We can have confidence that when we pray according to God’s promises, he will be faithful and delighted to answer them.
Lord, teach us how to pray. The plea that resounds through history started with the disciples. So Jesus taught them. The one who was in constant communication with his Father, showed his disciples how they could have the same relationship.
They say if you want to get something done, give it to someone who’s already busy. Martha was that person. She knew how to get it done, and was great at serving. But somehow in her preparation for Jesus’ visit she forgot the most important thing: the person she was serving.
Everyone knows the story of the Good Samaritan. It shows how we need to be more compassionate to those around us. We need to love others in tangible ways, even across social and religious barriers. But when Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan, he wasn’t just trying to inspire us to be better people. There was a lot more to it.
Jesus’ followers came to Him full of excitement because they where able to cast out demons. Jesus responds that they should instead be even more joyful because their names are written in the book of life. What does Jesus mean by this? Why shouldn’t his followers rejoice in casting out demons?
Jesus sends 72 of his followers ahead of Him to the towns he’ll soon visit. He tells them to take nothing with them – not even a change of underwear! This is a strange move for a King: to have his ambassadors rely on people’s hospitality while having nothing tangible to give in return. Jesus gives his followers some other rather strange instructions as well.
The demands of Christ may be more than we think. We want to pencil Jesus into our schedules. But Jesus refuses to be squeezed in. He wants to have our whole lives. Today we’ll wrestle with what it means to follow Christ – and not look back.
One of our primary jobs as Christians is to represent Christ. But instead of showing people who he is, we often get in the way. Today we will examine our own lives and see how well we represent our Savior.
Sometimes we envy the disciples who actually walked and talked with Jesus. We think if we could just touch him, we’d have a greater faith. Or if we could only see Jesus face to face, following him would be a lot easier.