Monday – February 18th

Matthew 9:18-22

18 While he was saying this, a synagogue leader came and knelt before him and said, “My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.” 19 Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples. 20 Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. 21 She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” 22 Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.

Matthew lays out three stories of the power of faith in sequence. Today we look at the first two.  Within these first two, we read that the synagogue leader demonstrated his faith by his belief in the power of Jesus’ healing touch to bring his daughter back to life and a woman demonstrated her faith in the power of Jesus by reaching out to touch his cloak. Both demonstrated faith and both received what they needed through the power of touch. I too found myself in a place of need this past week – a place that tested my faith. I wanted to have the faith of these two individuals, but instead I found myself bargaining with God. Where did my faith go when I was faced with a scary situation? It took me several days of prayer before I found peace and I still don’t know what the outcome will be, but I am trusting that Jesus will walk with me, providing that needed touch. Perhaps you find yourself needing the touch of our Savior today, but you, like me, find yourself in a place of fear instead of faith. If you do, find a quiet place, open your heart to Jesus, talk with Him, and let His touch calm your troubled spirit.

Tuesday – February 19th

Matthew 9:27-30a

 

27 As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, calling out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” 28 When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” “Yes, Lord,” they replied. 29 Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you”, 30 and their sight was restored.

Today we have the third story of faith once again demonstrated by the touch of Jesus. Both of these men recognized Jesus as the Son of David, even though they could not see. Had they heard stories? How did they know and how, in the face of the impossible, did they believe? At times, this is my struggle – believing in what I cannot see which makes a story like this all the more wondrous in the depth of faith demonstrated by these blind men.  Science has proven that touch has the power to aid in healing – both physically and spiritually. Maybe today someone you know needs to feel the healing power of touch yet hesitates – needing to believe but fearing to do the same. And maybe God has called you to be the hands of Jesus – to show of the love of Jesus through your touch.  Think about these three stories of healing, three stories of faith, and three stories of touch this week and ask yourself if you or someone you know needs to feel this touch? If that answer is yes, then reach out and trust in the power of touch.

 

Wednesday – February 20th

Matthew 10:5-8

These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.’

 

In the previous two days, we have read about the healing touch of Jesus. Now Jesus is sending out His disciples, charging them to continue and prolong Jesus’ mission of healing, proclaiming that Jesus is the “ kingdom of heaven come near.” This proclamation is as true now as it was then. God’s kingdom came down to earth in the person of Jesus. Because of this, we are called to surrender to the will of God, to proclaim the will of God, and claim the healing, peace, victory, and salvation from God. We are called to do all of these things without expecting a thank you, an acknowledgment, or any other type of “pay”. Christ gave to us freely and as Christ’s disciples, we are charged to do the same.We all have a role to play in the Kingdom of God, and when we embrace our role, healing can occur at all levels – physical, emotional, and spiritual.

 

Thursday – February 21st

Matthew 10:40-42

40 “Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. 42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”

Jesus, continuing his instruction to his disciples, moves on to how they should be received. The question here is to what degree is hospitality an indication of discipleship? I think Jesus is saying that the rewards of discipleship are not just for those we think of as prophets, pastors, and those called to ministry, but also for those people who labor behind the scenes. The divine mission is as much about the unnamed as it is about the familiar names that dot the pages of history. We may not always know whom we are serving, and who is a disciple, but hospitality offered in the name of Jesus, will not soon be forgotten.

Friday – February 22nd

Matthew 11:16-19

16 “To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others: 17 ‘We played the pipe for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’ 18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”

Our culture seems to be influenced by what is popular which is often evidenced by public opinion polls. Jesus and John were not doing well in the opinion polls of the day. They were counter-cultural and as such unpopular, particularly with most of the Jewish leadership. Jesus’ statement about wisdom is telling us to look at a person’s actions as proof of their character rather than relying on the opinion of others. We might say, “The proof is in the pudding”. What matters to you? Does popular opinion take precedent over what you know to be wise and true? Pick carefully which wisdom you choose – God’s or the worlds. Ask yourself if God and your relationship with Him, is at the center of your wisdom or is it some other thing? What defines reality for you? Wisdom will be proved right by her deeds – which wisdom will you follow?

 

Saturday – February 23rd

Matthew 12:33-37

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 things, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 The good person brings good things out of a good treasure, and the evil person brings evil things out of an evil treasure. 36 I tell you, on the day of judgment you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter; 37 for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Yesterday we read about Jesus’ continuing conflicts with the Pharisees and his admonition to them about wisdom. Today Jesus condemns them for their hypocritical words. They followed the letter of the law without understanding or applying the principles that lay under the law and as such, their hearts had become hardened to the truth of God. Jesus clearly condemns them for their folly and gives them a stern warning. We should pay heed to this short paragraph. Careless words can do great harm to others. James 3:8-10 says this, but no one can tame the tongue—a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so.”  We began this week with wonderful stories of faith and healing and end this week with warnings about human folly. All of this points to our continued need for God’s presence in our daily lives – in our thoughts, our choices, our actions, and our words. Walk closely with God and don’t be afraid to ask Him for guidance in every area of your life.