A Reason for the Hope in You

14 When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. 15 He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him.

16 When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:

“He took up our infirmities
and bore our diseases.” Matthew 8:13-17

Jesus healed all those he touched. It’s natural for people to flock to a man who was touching them and healing them.

People both good and bad watched his every move.

Every word counted. People wanted someone to believe in.

Yes, they were coming for the healing and the exorcisms but they, like many of us, wanted something deeper. They were looking for that person to believe in.

As followers of Jesus, we have unique opportunities to the light that lights the darkness. People are hurting and struggling. You and I have the ability to introduce them to this same Jesus, the one who looked so many in the eyes and could read their souls.

Keep doing what you’re doing in the ministry you have in your neighborhood. People are watching; people notice.

Then be ready, as the Scriptures say, “to always give an answer to every man who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you,” 1 Peter 3:15

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The Road Less Traveled

5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”

7 Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”

8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 8:5-12

It had to be a great insult to the people Israel that Jesus called out a Roman centurion as one with great faith. It must have shocked them to know that God would accept the faith of a Gentile as well as that of a Jew.

Nothing’s changed.

Jesus accepts the sincere faith of anyone who calls on His name, no matter the color, ethnicity, political affiliation, gender, nationality, denomination, or religion.

Jesus has been drawing people to Himself who have been devout Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and atheists since he lived on Earth. So do not be surprised when you see people of other religions who join the ranks of Bible-believing Christians.

In fact, as the Day of His Return approaches, we can expect more and more people to drawn unto Himself.

**Just to be clear, all religions do not lead to heaven, but Jesus calls many out to follow Him.

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Reach Out, Reach Out and Touch Someone

When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. 2 A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
3 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. 4 Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” Matthew 8:1-6

A second post is in order for this short passage. Yesterday I referred to the physical touch but today is a little different.

We have the ability to “touch lives” in a lot of different ways.

When you care about people, you touch them.
When you pray over them, you touch them.
When you listen to them spill their guts late at night, you are touching them – even if you said little in response.

We have as many ways of touching others as there are people. While the physical touch is important, in this hyper-vigilant society we find ourselves in, touching others in non-physical ways makes even more sense.

Touching them in your own way is how you love that person.

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Jesus Touched the Man

When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. 2 A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”

3 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. 4 Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” Matthew 8:1-6

The leper was healed, but the bigger story within this story was that Jesus actually touched him to do it. The religious leaders of the day would have lambasted his irresponsibility. How could a mere man touch a leper and not be “unclean” himself.

Jesus touched this man before there were plastic gloves and anti-bacterial soap or alcohol wipes.

Jesus touched the man when no one else would.

Jesus touched a man who would otherwise have been considered a lost cause.

His example for us is clear.

Jesus was not fearful of diseases, leprosy, or sickness. He was not afraid to get into people’s space and actually touch them, to physically touch them.

Unfortunately the worldwide coronavirus pandemic has put physical touch on the back burner to the extreme. That’s sad because everyone needs to be touched.

This leper certainly needed it.

You will have opportunity to touch people this week. Do it. Go out of your way to do it. You need it; others you know need it.

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Your Current Foundation

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law. Matthew 7:24-29

The last few verses of chapter 7 is a story often told to children. It teaches a powerful lesson for children and adults alike.

Certainly we considered the question when we first believed, but it applies to us today as well.

We have a foundation, but what now?

  • What are we building in our lives?
  • Are we content to put in 8 at work, veg in front of the TV or computer at night and do it all over again the next day?
  • What are you building into other people’s lives?
  • Are you going out of your way to help others when you’re tired and would rather be doing something else?
  • Are you making the most of each moment of every day in this short life you have?

These questions I ask are pointed my way first.

We have a solid foundation and reason to build our “houses” to be great and beautiful structures, so what are we waiting for?

We’re not getting any younger.

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