Oh, so this is what He meant when He said the narrow way is difficult…
- V18 – At this point, Matthew’s mentioned that Jesus has basically had a constant “great crowd” around Him since He left the wilderness back in chapter 4. That had to be physically and mentally exhausting!
- V19 – Scribes were generally associated with Pharisees, but this one seems to be truly moved by Jesus. Jesus doesn’t candy-coat anything. This also seems like a funny follow-up to 6:25-33. I wonder if the scribe followed anyway or if that statement took all the wind out of his sails.
◊ Am I easily deterred from following Jesus wherever He’s leading me?
V21-22 – This one is a toughy. Jesus’ reply seems kind of rude. Luke mentions that Jesus called to the man first and said “Follow me.” (Luke 9:59-60) The man’s excuse seems pretty legitimate, but I think the point Jesus is trying to make is, “There’s always an excuse. I’m calling you to Life. Don’t put off following Me!”
◊ What excuses do I use most often for not obeying right away? Do I put conditions on my obedience to God? (If You _______ for me, then I’ll obey.)
- V23 – They’re going across the lake to get away from the crowds for a bit (see v18)
- V24 – Matthew says “check it out” again – the boat was being swamped with waves but Jesus was sleeping through it! My observation about v18 must have been right; He must have been exhausted!
- V25-26 – They said “Save us” so they must have thought He could do something for them but He still calls them “Little Faiths” and asks them why they were afraid. Jesus has the big picture in mind and knows that their mission isn’t accomplished and they’re not going to die. The disciples (and us), of course, couldn’t know that. Maybe they didn’t bother praying to ask God (in heaven) to save them thinking that Jesus could do that better than they could.
◊ When I’m in trouble, do I ask Jesus to save me? Do I trust that God’s in control, even when it looks like things are out of control?
- V27 – I’m marveling at that too! What an outrageous experience! Jesus communicates with all of creation!
- V28 – Never a dull moment! They pull up and two super scary guys come running up. I wonder how the disciples reacted.
- V29 – The demons instantly recognize Jesus as the Son of God and they’re afraid of Him. They know there’s a time coming when their time will be up. Somehow, they also knew their time wasn’t up yet.
◊ Alert! Alert! Jesus wasn’t kidding when He taught us to pray “deliver us from evil!” This evil is real and it’s scary!
- V32 – I don’t know why Jesus let the demons go into the pigs. The pigs were someone’s livelihood. On the other hand, the lives of the men who were freed from the demons were much more valuable than the pigs.
◊ Which do I value more, my stuff or people’s lives and souls? Am I willing to sacrifice my stuff to see people get saved? (This makes me think of a church I attended once that kicked an entire youth group out because the kids were scuffing the handrails out front with their skateboards.)
- V34 – These people did not want Jesus to mess with their status quo! Having Jesus around means things are going to be different.
◊ Do I prefer the “safety” of the familiar over the radical change and adventure life Jesus is calling me to?
- At the beginning of this section, Jesus set out to get away from the crowds. So much for quiet time!
◊ Do I obey and glorify God even when I’m tired and things aren’t going my way?
Wrap up your quiet time by praying through the following questions:
- Based on this passage of Scripture, what can I thank God for?
- What do these verses tell me about God and His character?
- Based on this passage, is there anything I need to confess to God and ask forgiveness for?
- What do these verses remind me to pray for others?
- What do these verses move me to pray for myself?