Saturday, March 08, 2008

Matthew 9:36-38


36 Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, ``The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. 38 ``Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.''

This is one of the most powerful and insightful statements Jesus ever made. It is challenging to me! Jesus wants us to allow Him to lead out, especially when it comes to fulfilling the primary mission of spreading the message of the kingdom.

Check out the words of Oswald Chambers on this matter as it relates to a "missionary": 'The key to the missionary's difficult task is in the hand of God, and that key is prayer, not work- that is, not work as the word is commonly used today, which often results in the shifting of our focus away from God. The key to the missionary's difficult task is also not the key of common sense, nor is it the key of medicine, civilization, education, or even evangelization. The key is in following the Master's orders- the key is prayer.

"Pray the Lord of the harvest." In the natural realm, prayer is not practical but absurd. We have to realize that prayer is foolish from the commonsense point of view.

From Jesus' perspective, there are no nations, but only the world. How many of us pray without regard to the persons, but with regard to only one Person- Jesus? He owns the harvest that is produced through distress and through conviction of sin. This is the harvest for which we have to pray that laborers be sent out to reap. We stay busy at work, while people all around us are ripe and ready to be harvested; we do not reap even one of them, but simply waste our Lord's time in over-energized activities and programs. Suppose a crisis were to come into your father's or your brother's life- are you there as a laborer to reap the harvest for Jesus Christ? Is your response, "Oh, but I have a special work to do!" No 'believer' has a special work to do. A 'believer' is called to be Jesus Christ's own, "a servant [who] is not greater than his master" ( John 13:16 ), and someone who does not dictate to Jesus Christ what he intends to do. Our Lord calls us to no special work- He calls us to Himself. "Pray the Lord of the harvest," and He will engineer your circumstances to send you out as His laborer.'

So our primary responsibility is to pray-to be fully aware and to follow the direction of Jesus-to get our orders from Him. This is what it means to trust Him.

Matthew 9:27-35


27 As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out, ``Have mercy on us, Son of David!'' 28 When He entered the house, the blind men came up to Him, and Jesus said* to them, ``Do you believe that I am able to do this?'' They said* to Him, ``Yes, Lord.'' 29 Then He touched their eyes, saying, ``It shall be done to you according to your faith.'' 30 And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them: ``See that no one knows about this!'' 31 But they went out and spread the news about Him throughout all that land.

32 As they were going out, a mute, demon-possessed man was brought to Him. 33 After the demon was cast out, the mute man spoke; and the crowds were amazed, and were saying, ``Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.'' 34 But the Pharisees were saying, ``He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons.''

35 Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.

Each incident offers an additional picture of faith, simple, yet real faith-personal trust in Jesus and what He can do.

TWO BLIND MEN. It's interesting to note that these blind men came to Jesus with an obvious request-to be able to see again! Jesus directly asks them if they really believe He is able to make them see. As soon as He got their answer, He immediately touched their eyes saying, "It shall be done to you according to your faith."

I wonder how much of our blindness has to do with our lack of belief-faith and trust. I must admit that I have not been one who ruthlessly trusts in Jesus. My spiritual stance has been to trust Jesus and do all I can do to make things happen. We are learning-slowly-to trust Jesus with everything. I want to be able to see again. How about you?

A MUTE MAN-DEMON-POSSESSED. Then a mute man (caused that way by demonic oppression) was brought to Jesus. Jesus immediately went to work and healed the man so that he could talk again.

There are two definite responses regarding this particular miracle. 1. Never seen anything like this before. They were amazed!

2. His power is from the ruler of the demons. They were annoyed!

This is one of the 3 miracles the Jewish people had always believed the Messiah would be able to perform when He showed up. The 3 miracles were: 1-The healing of a leper. 2-The healing of a man born blind. 3-The healing of a man who was not able to hear and speak.

To be amazed by this miracle was to be receptive to the possibility that Jesus might indeed be the Messiah. To be annoyed by this miracle was to be threatened by the possibility that this radical Jesus might indeed be the Messiah.

What if Jesus were to do something outside your box of expectations? How might you respond? Would you be threatened or would you simply trust Him.