As we read Matthew 9, we find numerous accounts of Jesus healing people. One of the narratives describes Jesus visiting a synagogue leader’s home where a daughter “just died.” People were gathered around this home mourning. We read the crowd was noisy and the pipes were being played—this is something we all can imagine. Funeral music. Sorrowful moment. But then laughter?!?
When Jesus arrives on the scene, He tells everyone to stop the funeral. “Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep,” He says (v. 24 NIV). The crowd laughs. No way. How can that be possible? Indeed, she is dead.
We get to see the story in context. We read often of the healings done by Jesus so it’s possible that we don’t get the reason for the laughter. Of course, Jesus is the great Healer. Why are you laughing? This chapter alone contains numerous stories of healing. But when we take a moment, when we evaluate our own lives, we laugh too. We have many “no way” moments. When the world is crashing down upon us and the Spirit speaks the Truth—we respond with a doubtful “no way.” When we look at the facts, when we see what is in front of us, we respond with the faith lacking “no way.”
Today, be reminded that our God is God of the impossible. He says “yes way” in response to our doubts. He says, “Take heart.” Remember what He says to the two blind men—“According to your faith let it be done to you” (v. 29 NIV). They believed the “yes way.” Friends, He knows your needs. He knows your heart. He knows your struggles. Have faith. Take heart. Yes way.
“Jesus replied, ‘What is impossible with man is possible with God.’” – Luke 18:27 [NIV]
We often keep our Father waiting. We don’t spend time with Him. We go through our entire day and don’t even speak to Him or even think of Him. Sometimes we walk away. And as the father in the story of the Prodigal Son, our Father waits. He’s always reaching out, always wanting us to just speak to Him—to have a relationship with Him.
In Psalm 90:12, Moses said, “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (ESV). He understood time was our most valuable possession. As such, we must always be reviewing how we spend our time because that’s our priority in life. Is God your top priority—your number one priority?
Matthew 13:45-46 speaks of the pearl of great value. This pearl was found and because of the great value, the merchant sold ALL that he had just so he could buy it. But what do we do? Sometimes we do not consider our pearl of great value – Jesus, our prized possession. Instead we choose lesser pearls in life (possessions, power, pleasures).
You need to make room for God’s presence. In 2 Kings 4:8 we read about Elisha going to Shunem. A wealthy woman there fed Elisha when he passed through. She spoke with her husband about building a room for him—she wanted that man of God to come whenever he passed through and stay at her place. Do you have a place where you go to read your Bible or pray? A special place to push away the noise of the world and fix your eyes on Him? In Matthew 6:6, before Jesus tells the disciples how to pray, he tells them to “go into your room and shut the door” (ESV). Why? To shut out the worldly noise.
Routine – Not Routine
Routines are great. They help you to get a better night’s sleep. They help you to have less stress in life. But the issue is that sometimes routines are like traditions. The Bible doesn’t speak about too many traditions we are to keep. Most of the traditions we have are man-made traditions. I love traditions but sometimes we find our hearts not ii them because it’s simply routine. Like this man I met once. He sang the words, “Jesus loves me, the silo.” Yes, that’s not how the song goes, but he didn’t know that. He heard it wrong and continued to sing it wrong for over a decade. He didn’t know the truth—his life was built around tradition. Only when he was an adult did he learn what those words truly were and what the song truly meant.
In Luke 18, we read of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. The Pharisee was all about tradition. He was going to the Temple to pray. He was fasting twice a week. He was tithing from all that he got. Yes, he was going through the motions, but his heart was proud. He didn’t have his heart fixed on God. The Tax Collector, he stood before God as a humble man, emotionally beating his chest. He recognized his need for God. He truly was baring his heart before God. That’s what God wants. He wants honest, raw, truth. He wants you to open up and pour out your heart. And He wants your ears to listen when He responds.
Today’s passage can teach us so much. Jesus knew that this man was clinging too tightly to his money. He tried to show the man that He could offer him something greater than temporal riches, true riches in heaven. The rich man found this difficult to hear and he could not do as Jesus commanded.
Notice what happens next. You do not read about Jesus changing what was demanded of this fellow. He didn’t say, “Yeah, I know that money means a lot to you so you go ahead and keep half. You don’t have to give everything away. Just give half.” Jesus did not do that. There were no negotiations. He did not change or adapt to give someone a more appealing offer to accept. That is never the case.
So then the question is why do we try to glamorize Jesus and change His Word so that people will make the choice to accept Him? Why do we try to lure people to be Christians with half truths and PowerPoint Presentations that entertain while misrepresenting? At the end of the day, what they are accepting is not Jesus. They are accepting the comfortable; cake-on-a-plate Christianity you show them, that will be so cherry picked the truth cannot be recognized. Jesus does not need you to make Him appealing. There should be no negotiations. Just show them Jesus.
“One day one of the local officials asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to deserve eternal life?’ Jesus said, ‘Why are you calling me good? No one is good—only God. You know the commandments, don’t you? No illicit sex, no killing, no stealing, no lying, honor your father and mother.’ He said, ‘I’ve kept them all for as long as I can remember.’ When Jesus heard that, he said, ‘Then there’s only one thing left to do: Sell everything you own and give it away to the poor. You will have riches in heaven. Then come, follow me.’ This was the last thing the official expected to hear. He was very rich and became terribly sad. He was holding on tight to a lot of things and not about to let them go. Seeing his reaction, Jesus said, ‘Do you have any idea how difficult it is for people who have it all to enter God’s kingdom? I’d say it’s easier to thread a camel through a needle’s eye than get a rich person into God’s kingdom.’”
-Luke 18:18-25 [MSG]