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Tag Archives: Jesus

Exorcisms and Healings

23Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people. 24So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought to him all the sick, those who were afflicted with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, and paralytics, and he cured them. 25And great crowds followed him from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and from beyond the Jordan. (Matthew 4:23-25, NRSV)

Why were people following Jesus or flocking to where he was?

Did they enjoy his teaching?

Or was it because of what he was doing?

Why do you worship Jesus?

Do you expect a simple carefree life and all your worries taken away?

Or do you follow his promises and share his love for all the world?

Why do we follow Jesus?

 

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Calling the Fishermen

18As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. 19And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” 20Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. 22Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him. (Matthew 4:18-22, NRSV)

Jesus was walking on the shore and saw Simon and Andrew and said Follow me. ορισο μου. Literally get behind me. Also the words Jesus uses for Peter when Peter tries to stop Jesus from going to Jerusalem after Jesus tells them he will be killed.

Know your place is to follow behind me. If you can’t see the back of Jesus’ head you might want to reevaluate your position.

Get behind me and go where I go.

Are you ready to get behind Jesus?

 

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Temptation in the Wilderness

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. 3The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4But he answered, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” 5Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’” 7Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”8Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; 9and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! for it is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’” 11Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him. 12Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. 13He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14so that what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: 15“Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali, on the road by the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— 16the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.”17From that time Jesus began to proclaim, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” (Matthew 4:1-17, NRSV)

I have a love for this passage of scripture that is found in the misrepresentation of the translation above.

In most of our modern translations the devil asked Jesus, “If you are the son of God…” well that is one translation for what the Greek says but there is another.

The Greek word is ιε. Which does mean if. However it also means something which make much more sense theologically. You see with if it could be construed that the devil is questioning whether Jesus is the Son of God or not. But the devil knows who Jesus is. ιε also means since. I believe the devil is saying, “since you are the son of God…”

Both Jesus and the devil quote scripture and know about what scripture has and does say about God and God’s chosen.

Do we question who Jesus is?

Do we question who we are in Jesus?

Since you are a child of God, go in faith and proclaim God’s love.

 
 

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John’s Teaching, part 2

15As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, 16John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” 18So, with many other exhortations, he proclaimed the good news to the people. 19But Herod the ruler, who had been rebuked by him because of Herodias, his brother’s wife, and because of all the evil things that Herod had done, 20added to them all by shutting up John in prison. (Luke 3:15-20, NRSV)

John is not the Messiah, but he is proclaiming the coming of the Messiah.

The Messiah will baptize with fire and the Holy Spirit. And the Messiah will clear the threshing floor and separate what goes to the granary and what is burned away.

We too can be like John, preparing the way and telling others about the Messiah and the relationships they can have, but know in doing so that we might wind up where John did. John here in the reading is in prison because of his speaking out against Herod and Herodias. Sometimes proclaim the good news does not sit well with others. But that did not stop John.

Will it stop you?

 

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Jesus and John the Baptist

In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, 2“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”3This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’” 4Now John wore clothing of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey.5Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him, and all the region along the Jordan, 6and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 7But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8Bear fruit worthy of repentance. 9Do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. 10Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 11“I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” 13Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. 14John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. 16And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:1-17, NRSV)

“This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”

Most parents I know are always bragging on their kids. I am so overwhelmingly proud of my three girls. I am so amazed every day at what they do. I am glad and honored to be blessed with them. But as much pride I have in them doesn’t even compare to the pride and love that God has for Jesus, or me or my daughters.

You see the version of Jesus’ baptism we have above is God bragging on Jesus, Luke’s version says You are my Son, my beloved. God is speaking directly to Jesus, and I know as a parent I don’t do that enough to my girls. I brag on them and love them, but I forget to tell them.  Bragging on them and telling them they are loved it so important.

So hear it today that you are loved by God. You are God’s beloved and God is pleased with you!

 

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The Boy Jesus in the Temple

41Now every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. 42And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival. 43When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it.44Assuming that he was in the group of travelers, they went a day’s journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. 45When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. 46After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.48When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.” 49He said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” 50But they did not understand what he said to them.51Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor. (Luke 2:41-52, NRSV)

If you ever thought you were a bad parent, then this is your verse. Here Mary and Joseph leave Jesus in the Temple for three days!

They assumed he was with their family somewhere in the group as they traveled and only after a days journey did they start to worry. But Jesus was where he should have been, in his Father’s house.

And isn’t that really where all of us should be?

 

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A Great Cloud of Witnesses

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3, NRSV)

Fix your eyes upon Jesus the author and perfector of our faith is how I remember learning this verse, back when I was 17. Jesus was the one who created our faith and he perfected it in the man who walked this earth and showed us how to love and live the law of God. Jesus went to the cross for each for us. So we should follow his example.

If you can’t see the back of Jesus’ head, your focus is off and you aren’t looking the right way.

Fix your eyes on the cross and know He will never lead you astray.

 

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