The question that is sticking with me today is: How can I throw a “Come Meet Jesus” party? When I figure it out, this picture is going to be on the front of the invitations.
- V1 – He’s heading home, back to the crowds after His relaxing getaway. Oh wait…
- V2 – Another verse that starts with “behold.” Check it out, the people brought a lame man, but instead of healing him, Jesus forgave his sins! Jesus says “Feel better, your sins are forgiven.” That’s a great reason to feel better!
◊ Do I sometimes want Jesus to take care of my physical needs but am reluctant to let Him address my spiritual faults?
- V2 – Jesus saw the faith of the friends and healed the man!
◊ Can I bring someone before God like this – having faith that He will meet their needs and forgive their sins?
- V3 – “Check it out, that made some people maaaaaad!” The scribes say “This man talks like He is God!” Uh…yeah. He is. Great observation. Their eyes are open but they cannot see.
- V4 – God know our thoughts – comforting or disturbing? It’s only comforting if you believe He is a loving God who loves you so much He would die so that He could spend eternity with you. (See Psalm 139:1-4 for more on this. Also, shameless plug, listen to the song my husband wrote to help us memorize these verses.)
◊ Father, thank You for Your intimate love. Guide our thoughts so they will bring You glory.
- V4-7 – Only God can forgive sins, but it’s easy to say “your sins are forgiven” because no one but God can verify that. Jesus proves He is God by healing him too, so everyone can see. Jesus walked His talk.
◊ Do I?
- V7 – Why were they afraid? They saw Jesus read minds, forgive sins, and heal a paralytic. I guess that can be a little overwhelming. The glory always goes to God.
- V9 – Matthew was an unlikely pick for Jesus to add to His group. Matthew probably collected taxes from the fishermen. Ha! That group of disciples had to be awkward for the first couple of weeks!
◊ Am I reluctant to befriend and work with people in God’s family that aren’t like me?
- V9 – No excuses like the other guy (8:21), he just gets up and goes.
◊ The question again – am I willing to leave everything?
- V10 – As soon as Matthew “found Jesus” he invited all his friends to meet Him too. He threw a “come meet Jesus” party.
◊ Could I throw a party with Jesus as the guest of honor to celebrate the new life I’m starting on?! What would that look like?
- V11 – They are under constant scrutiny and observation.
◊ Do I complain about the way others invite people to Jesus?
- V12-13 – “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” The Pharisees were also “sick” and sinners, but they didn’t recognize their sins for what they were. We’re all sinners, only Jesus is righteous. Some of us just don’t like to admit that we’re sinners. My study Bible says “Those who are sure that they’re good enough can’t be saved because the first step in following Jesus is acknowledging our need and admitting that we don’t have all the answers.”
◊ Do I recognize that I’m in the “sinner” category, not “reghteous?” As a sinner am I led to repentance?
- V13 – “Go and learn the meaning of this Scripture….” Here’s a little something for you to chew on…
◊ Am I understanding the Scriptures better now that I’m taking time to chew on them and figure out how they apply to me?
- V13 – “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” More than God wants us to offer sacrifices to Him (giving things up for Him), He wants us to love other people and love Him. He’s telling them “You guys are all in the same boat. Don’t pretend like you’re better off than these people.” I think this ties in to 7:21-23.
- V14 – Were John’s disciples missing the boat since Jesus, the real deal, was right there?! When we’re disciples of people, we should follow them as they follow Christ, realizing too that they’re people and they will screw up on occasion.
◊ Do I complain that other people or groups aren’t doing it right?
- V15 – This is a time for celebration – I’m here!
◊ What’s the season now? Fast and pray that He will return soon; that many will turn to Him? Celebrate His good works?
- V16-17 – If you try to put the new life I’m calling you to in your old pattern of doing things, it won’t work. You won’t get the new life right and things wouldn’t be the way you remembered them either.
◊ Am I trying to cram New Life into an old lifestyle? In what ways?
- V17 – Old wineskins were rigid while new ones were pliable and could accommodate the wine as it fermented. I think He’s saying this to John’s disciples because they’re confronting Him with a “we’ve always done it this way” kind of question. He’s saying it’s time to expand your minds and let God out of the box you’ve been keeping Him in.
◊ How pliable is my heart/spirituality and how pliable should it be? Not so much that it can stretch to happily incorporate false teaching. Not so little that I can’t allow God to work in unexpected ways. God, keep my heart in your hands!
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?