Friday, August 2, 2013

August 2 - Matthew 8

Today's reading in our daily plan is Matthew 8. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • In this chapter we see the power of Jesus. Jesus had the power and authority of God (because He was God) over sickness and even over nature (verses 23-27).
  • The stories about people who were "demon possessed" may seem curious, but the Bible is clear that there are unseen spirits (good and bad) who we can unknowingly interact with or be influenced by.
  • The two stories of people who say they want to follow Jesus (verses 18-22) may make Jesus seem uncaring, but that's not the case. Jesus was incredibly compassionate, but He was also God. And the only way we can have Him in our lives is if we make Him God in our lives. He won't settle for a secondary spot. It would demean Him, and it wouldn't work for us.
  • With the man who asks if he can bury his father first, it's not likely that the father is already dead. Instead, the man was probably asking if he could go home and care for his father until he died. Basically, he wanted to put off following and serving Jesus until a more convenient time. But, again, Jesus is not something we fit into our lives. He has to become our lives, of first importance, or we cannot have Him in our lives.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • In several of these stories, such as when Jesus puts His hand on the leper, we see that Jesus touched the untouchable. That is great news for us, because it means that Jesus reaches out to us and invites us into relationship with Him despite that which makes us ugly or unworthy.
  • The disciples in the storm freak out, despite the fact that Jesus is with them. They still don't realize that because they have Jesus, they don't have to worry. The same is true with the storms that hit our lives. If we have Jesus, we don't have to worry.
  • Jesus demands, and deserves, the role of prominence in our lives. If we try to give Him anything less we are treating Him as if He weren't God. And if we give Him anything less our priorities will be out of whack and our lives will be messed up as a result.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • Is there an area of your life where you're being hit by a storm and it feels like Jesus is asleep? How could you focus on Jesus and His power in a way that keeps you calm even in the storm?
  • What place have you given Jesus in your life? Are you trying to fit Him into a busy life at convenient times? Do you only follow Him when it works for you? Spend some time praying, asking God to reveal to you the treasure that He truly is, and to help you to live your life accordingly.