His Father’s Work

Bible:

Now that day was the Sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to take up your bed.” But he answered them, “The man who healed me, that man said to me, ‘Take up your bed, and walk.’ They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?” Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place. Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him. And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath. But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.” John 5:9b-17 ESV

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Colossians 1:15-17 ESV

Reflection:

When you get a serious cut in your skin, your body responds to it in a wonderful way so that you can be healed. First of all, the blood vessels near the cut start to close tightly, so that more blood won’t spill out of the area of the cut. Then, the area will become swollen, or inflamed. This means that healthy new cells are rushing to the area. This movement is coordinated, which means that the healthy new cells come to the area of the wound in just the right order. After the bleeding is under control, your body starts to make new tissue to replace the tissue that has been damaged or destroyed. First the underlying tissue, such as blood vessels, are healed, and then new skin is formed to replace what is torn. Your skin comes in several layers, and each layer is remade in just the right way. While all this is going on, proteins form blood clots to prevent the loss of blood while new tissue is put together. God is at work in this amazing healing process, and he never takes a break from his work of holding his creation together and bringing healing and new life.

When Jesus healed the man who had been very sick for 38 years and the man picked up his mat and started walking, the religious leaders were upset because all this had happened on the Sabbath. They asked the man why he was breaking the Sabbath by carrying his mat, and he told them about Jesus, although he didn’t know who the kind stranger had been. When Jesus saw him again, he warned him about the bigger trouble in his life–sin. Being under the power of sin was worse than the terrible sickness he had had. The man went and told the religious leaders that it was Jesus who had healed him, and they were angry with Jesus. But Jesus knew that his Heavenly Father is always working to heal and restore and hold his creation together, and he told the religious leaders that he also was always busy doing the work of his Heavenly Father. He wouldn’t take a break from helping and healing on the Sabbath.

Our Heavenly Father is always available to help us and to hear our prayers–every day of the week. And Jesus died so that our sins could be forgiven, and his forgiveness is there for us each and every day. We can always go to the Lord in prayer and know that he will hear us and answer us in the best way. He brings us healing and help and forgiveness every day and always.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the way you hold your creation together and bring new life and healing every day. Thank you for your daily forgiveness through Jesus, our Savior. In His Name, Amen.

Source:

https://www.advancedtissue.com/the-6-steps-of-the-wound-healing-process/

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Alone and Helpless

Bible:

Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. John 5:2-9a ESV

For he delivers the needy when he calls,
the poor and him who has no helper.
He has pity on the weak and the needy,
and saves the lives of the needy.
From oppression and violence he redeems their life,
and precious is their blood in his sight. Psalm 72:12-14 ESV

Reflection:

Some years ago I had a friend that I enjoyed visiting with sometimes. She was old, and she lived alone in her apartment. One day she fell and hurt herself, and no one was there to help her. She had to lay on the floor for several hours before someone came by to see her and found her on the floor. She was helpless to get up by herself or to call anyone for help. She could only wait until someone came by who was able to help her. I was very thankful that someone found her and was able to make her comfortable and get her to the hospital so that she could heal from her fall!

The man in the Bible story was also alone and helpless. He had been sick for 38 years, and he spent all his time lying on a mat beside the healing waters of a pool called Bethesda. These waters sometimes bubbled, and when that happened, people believed that an angel was stirring them up, and that whoever got into the pool first would be healed of his or her illness. But this poor man didn’t have any friends or family to stay with him and help him into the pool. He had been waiting for 38 years, and someone always got into the water before he was able to. One day Jesus came by, and after he had listened to the man’s story, he healed him with a word. The man picked up his mat and started walking. When Jesus came by, he at last had a friend who cared about him and could help him.

We were all completely helpless to deal with the sin in our lives, and we could only hope that someone would see our trouble and care about us and help us. God saw our trouble and cared, and he came to us in Jesus to heal us of all our sins. Jesus took our sins on himself and paid for them at the cross. Because of what Jesus did for us, we have new life in him, and he stays with us every day with his help and forgiveness and love.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for being with us every day with your healing and help. Amen.

New Wine in Old Wineskins

Bible:

And they said to him, “The disciples of John fast often and offer prayers, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours eat and drink.” And Jesus said to them, “Can you make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.” He also told them a parable: “No one tears a piece from a new garment and puts it on an old garment. If he does, he will tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine desires new, for he says, ‘The old is good.’” Luke 5:33-39 ESV

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
to proclaim the year of the Lord‘s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified. Isaiah 61:1-3 ESV

Reflection:

Wine is made in a process called fermentation. If someone wants to make grape wine, the first thing that a winemaker needs to do is to crush the grapes into grape juice. Then the juice is allowed to sit at the right temperature–not too cold and not too hot– while the sugar in the grape juice is eaten by yeast. The yeast changes the sugar to half of its weight, and the other half of the sugar becomes carbon dioxide. While this is happening, the grape juice gets very bubbly, and a lot of carbon dioxide gas escapes from it. Nowadays wine is usually made in some kind of barrel or vat, but in Jesus’ time new wine might have been put into a wineskin, which would have been made of some kind of stretchy animal skin like leather. If the wineskin was old and starting to wear out, the bubbling of the carbon dioxide would make the skin break or even burst open.

When people asked Jesus why his disciples didn’t fast the way John the Baptist’s and the Pharisees’ disciples did, he used three pictures to explain why. He talked about himself as a bridegroom. No one should go hungry or feel sad at a wedding, because it is a time of celebration and happiness. Jesus’ disciples were happy because they had Jesus with them. Then he used the picture of new clothes and old clothes, and how silly it would be to tear some cloth off brand new clothes to patch a hole in some old clothes. It would probably make the old clothes tear even more, and it wouldn’t match. Then Jesus used the picture of what would happen if new wine was put into old wineskins. Jesus was trying to make the point that he had come to give new life and joy. It was very sad that the religious leaders couldn’t see who he was or what he had to offer them. They would rather stay with their old ways and not receive all the good things Jesus had come to bring them.

Sometimes we are like that too. We want to please God by doing good things and following rules. We might think that being sad and not enjoying God’s gifts is a way to make up for the sin in our lives. But there’s nothing we can do to pay for our sins, and the good news is that we don’t have to! Jesus came to die on the cross and to pay the penalty for all our sins, and because of him we have forgiveness and new life. Having Jesus in our lives brings us joy and freedom to enjoy the good things God has for us. While we live in this broken world, we sometimes know sadness because of our sins or the sins of others. We feel the sadness that Jesus’ disciples knew when Jesus was taken away from them and put on the cross. But we always remember that Jesus didn’t stay on the cross, but came back to life on the first Easter Sunday. When we have Jesus, we can always return to joy.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for the forgiveness and the new life you came to bring us. Amen.

Source:

https://eckraus.com/wine-making-101/

Jesus Calls Matthew

Bible:

As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.

And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:9-13 ESV

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin! Psalm 51:1-2 ESV

For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice,
the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. Hosea 6:6 ESV

Reflection:

Quasimodo was a very ugly, deformed man who had been abandoned as a baby in Paris. He had a huge wart over one eye that made him half-blind, his back was hunched, and he had a large lump on his chest. Everyone hated him and was afraid of him except for the archdeacon of the Notre Dame cathedral, Claude Frollo. The archdeacon had taken Quasimodo into his home at the cathedral when he was young and taken care of him and given him the job of ringing the bells. Quasimodo was completely devoted to Claude Frollo and would do anything he asked, because the archdeacon had loved him and taken him when no one else wanted him.

This is only a story, and unfortunately in the story the archdeacon was not a good man. But this story is a picture of the way Jesus called Matthew. Matthew was a tax collector. He worked for the Roman government, and all the religious leaders and many of the people hated him because they thought he was a traitor. But Jesus loved Matthew and called him to become his follower. Matthew left everything behind and followed Jesus. That day Jesus ate dinner with Matthew, and many tax collectors and other people who were considered to be bad sinners were eating with Jesus. The religious leaders didn’t like this at all. They thought that a teacher like Jesus should only spend time with good people. But Jesus said that people who aren’t sick don’t need a doctor. He also said that they should learn that God is more interested in showing mercy than in having people follow all the laws of sacrifices and of being clean.

Jesus is like a doctor who came to cure us from the terrible sickness of sin. He took our sins onto himself and went to the cross with them to pay for them there. Jesus welcomes everyone to him who wants to receive his love and mercy. Some people don’t think they need any help or forgiveness from the Lord. They believe they are good enough for God all by themselves, and this is a serious mistake. People who think that way cut themselves off from the forgiveness Jesus has to offer them, and they also feel angry and upset when they see other people coming to the Lord whom they don’t think deserve his love and help. Jesus came for sinners, and he makes us righteous by covering our sins with his forgiveness. He warns and pleads with all people to see their need for him and to come to him for the mercy they need.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for showing mercy to sinners and making us righteous by your forgiveness. Amen.

Source:

Hugo, Victor The Hunchback of Notre Dame 1831.

Here’s the Proof!

Bible:

Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic—“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!” Mark 2:6-12 ESV

Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. I Corinthians 15:12-22 ESV

Reflection:

There’s a story about a man who had traveled to many foreign countries, and when he came home to his own town again, he started bragging about all the wonderful things he had done in other places in the world. For example, he said that when he had been in Rhodes, which is part of Greece, he had been in some kind of long jump contest, and had taken such a long, flying leap that no one else was able to even come near what he had done. He told his fellow townspeople that there were witnesses in Rhodes who would support his story. But one of the townspeople said, “Why don’t you just pretend that you are in Rhodes right now and show us how you can jump!”

When Jesus told the paralyzed man that his sins were forgiven, the religious leaders who were there thought he was just bragging. They got angry and started muttering that only God can forgive sins. Who did Jesus think he was, they wondered. But Jesus knew their thoughts, and he said that he could prove that he was able to forgive sins. It’s easy to say that someone’s sins are forgiven by God, but how can anyone see if it’s the truth? It’s easy to tell a paralyzed man to get up and walk, and it’s also easy to see if it really happens. Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “Rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” That’s just what the man did, and everyone was amazed. They thanked God and said that they’d never seen anything like it.

We can see the proof that God forgives our sins by looking at the price Jesus paid on the cross for us. And Jesus showed that he has power over sin and death by rising again from the dead. This is the greatest miracle of all, and we don’t need any other miracle to know that God forgives our sins and that we have life with him. Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we know that someday, when Jesus comes again, he will bring our dead bodies out of the grave, and we will be completely healthy and strong.  We can be sure that we will live with Jesus forever in his heavenly kingdom.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for dying to win our forgiveness, and for rising again to give us life forever. Amen.

Your Sins are Forgiven

Bible:

And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Mark 2:1-5 ESV

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. Psalm 103:1-5 ESV

Reflection:

Some people get bad headaches, and when they go to the doctor, what they usually want is to get relief from their pain. But doctors don’t just want to fix the headaches without treating the problem that is causing them. They will usually do some tests to try to find out what is making a patient’s head hurt so much. There might be something seriously wrong, like a brain tumor, or some bleeding inside near the brain, or a stroke. There might be a small problem, too, like the flu, or not drinking enough water, or even eating ice cream! But before doctors will treat the headaches, they will want to treat the problem that’s causing them if there is one and they can find it.

When Jesus was teaching in a house, some friends brought a man who couldn’t move his arms or legs. He could only lie or sit all the time, and he needed people to move him and take care of him. His friends put him on a mat and carried him to Jesus so that Jesus would heal him. There were so many people in the house that they took the man up to the roof, took away some tiles from the roof, and lowered the man down to Jesus! We don’t know why this man was paralyzed. Maybe he’d had an accident, or maybe he’d had a sickness that took away his ability to move, or maybe he was born that way. Jesus knew, and he knew an even more basic reason for the man’s illness. Jesus knew that all the pain and sickness in the world is caused by sin, and he knew that this man was worried about the sin in his life. So Jesus went to the root of the problem and took care of that first. He told the man these beautiful words: “Your sins are forgiven.”

Our world has been troubled by sickness and pain and death ever since our first parents fell into sin. We all rebel against God and go our own way, and we are all under the sentence of death because of it. Sickness of any kind is a reminder of the death that waits for us. That doesn’t mean that when we get sick, God is punishing us for some sin that we’ve done, or that people who are very sick are also very sinful. We know that sin and sickness were not God’s plan in the beginning, and when he came to us in Jesus he healed all kinds if illness and disease. But Jesus came to take care of the worst problems of all, sin and death. He did that by taking all our sins to the cross and dying a painful death for them there. Because of what Jesus has done, we are free from sin and death. He forgives our sins every day, and even our death will bring us to his heavenly kingdom to live with him forever.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for dying on the cross for us and for forgiving our sins. Amen.

Source:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/73936.php

Tell No One

Bible:

And he charged him to tell no one, but “go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray. Luke 5:14-16 ESV

 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 18:18-20 ESV

Reflection:

In 1964, a popular band from England called the Beatles came to the United States for the first time. They caused a huge amount of excitement among their young fans, who came out to see them in huge crowds, pushing and shoving and screaming. In the United States, back in England, and in other parts of the world where they toured, many police officers had to hold the crowds back to keep them from overrunning the Beatles. It was a tough time for the four young men–John, Paul, George, and Ringo. They had a hard time even leaving their hotel rooms, or having any peace and quiet, or having any kind of normal life. Everywhere they went they were followed by screaming crowds of people who wanted to see them and get close to them.

When Jesus healed the man with leprosy, he told him something that seems a little strange to us. He told him not to tell anyone what he had done, but just to go to the priest and make the right offering to become clean. Why didn’t Jesus want the man to tell others what had happened? Doesn’t Jesus want all of his followers to tell everyone the good news about him? It’s important to remember that when God came to us in Jesus, he took on our limits as a human person. Jesus was only in one place at a time. He got tired and hungry and thirsty. The more people told others about his amazing miracles, the more the crowds followed him and pushed and shoved to get close to him. They wanted to be healed of their sicknesses, and they sometimes saw Jesus more as a wonder-worker than as a teacher sent from God. Sometimes Jesus didn’t have time to even eat or to get any rest, and he got worn out. He often went out into the desert, into lonely places, so he could have some peace and talk to his Heavenly Father in prayer. Even then, people found out where he was and came to him in crowds.

Since Jesus has died for us and risen again from the dead so that we can be God’s people forever, he no longer limits himself. He can be with all his people all over the world, and we don’t have to wait to get his help. He can hear everyone’s prayers at the same time. He promises to be with us always, and invites us to come to him in prayer to get his help and to rest and have peace with him. He’s given his people the big job of sharing the good news of what he’s done for us on the cross, but we don’t have to do it alone. We have all our brothers and sisters in Christ to work with us, and most importantly, we have his help every day and to the end of this world.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for dying and rising for us, and for being with us always and hearing our prayers and helping us. Amen.

Source:

https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2014/05/1964-beatlemania/100745/

Made Clean

Bible:

And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. Mark 1:40-42 ESV

The leprous person who has the disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head hang loose, and he shall cover his upper lip and cry out, ‘Unclean, unclean.’ He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease. He is unclean. He shall live alone. His dwelling shall be outside the camp. Leviticus 13:45-46 ESV

So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. Hebrews 13:12-13 ESV

Reflection:

In the 1300s a horrible epidemic called the black death swept through Asia and Europe. Millions of people died of this terrible disease, and no one knew how to stop its spread or how to cure it. People tried to keep away from those who had the plague. For example, ships entering Venice were searched and were burned if there were any foreigners or dead bodies on board. In a town called Pistoia, the Council made it a law that no one could travel to a place where there was the plague, or return home if they had been there. In Milan, people who were sick with the plague were walled up in their houses so that they couldn’t get out, and food was thrown to them over the top of the wall. In the French port of Marseille, men chased a ship out of the harbor when they realized it carried the plague. All these things tried to put a distance between sick people and well people.

God’s people had laws of separation if someone had a skin disease. What the Bible calls leprosy can also mean other skin diseases, and the law was the same. The sick person had to leave other people and live alone outside the town or the camp. People with these diseases had to wear torn clothes and wear their hair loose so others could see that they were sick and stay away from them. If anyone came near, they had to shout, “Unclean, unclean!” to warn them to stay away. It was a sad and lonely life.

A man who was unclean broke this law when he saw that Jesus was near. He believed that Jesus could help him, and so he went right up to Jesus and begged him to heal him. The man was very humble and said that Jesus could make him clean if he wanted to. He would let Jesus decide whether to help him or not. Jesus also broke the law. He felt so sorry for the man that he reached out and touched him. Probably no one had come close to this sick man or touched him for a long time. Jesus said that he wanted to make him clean, and his touch made him well instantly.

We were all unclean with sin, and Jesus took all our uncleanness on himself. When he died on the cross for us, he died a shameful death outside the city, a death meant for terrible criminals. Jesus took our place in this shameful death, and he is not afraid to touch us with his love and forgiveness to make us clean. We can always come to Jesus with the shame of uncleanness and sin in our lives, and know that he will reach out to us and forgive us and make us clean in God’s eyes once again.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for touching us and making us clean from sin. Amen.

Source:

http://www.blackdeath.info/facts.html

Leaving Their Boats

Bible:

On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him. Luke 4:1-11 ESV

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:7-11 ESV

Reflection:

There’s a story that when the conqueror Hernan Cortes and his men arrived on their ships at the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico to conquer it, Cortes found out that some of his men found out how outnumbered they were, and talked about turning back. Cortes gave the order that the ships they had come on should be burned. This meant that everyone understood there would be no turning back. They would have to press forward and conquer and make their life in the new land, because it would be impossible for them to return to Cuba, the place they had come from. This actually didn’t happen, although something similar did. When Cortes wanted to press on to the city of Tenochtitlan in Mexico, some of his men grumbled and decided to mutiny, and Cortes had his ships sunk so that they couldn’t turn back.

Peter had been following Jesus for awhile, but he also continued to work in his fishing business on the lake. In fact, Jesus used his boat to teach from one day because the crowd was pressing on him so hard. After Jesus finished teaching the people, he told Peter to go out into the deep part of the lake and put down his nets for a catch. Fishermen usually worked at night, when fish are closer to the surface, and they also usually worked closer to the shore where it is easier to catch fish. Peter hadn’t caught any fish the night before, and he thought Jesus’ idea sounded a little strange, but he had been with Jesus long enough to trust him and to do what he said. When he did, he caught a huge number of fish right away, so many that the nets started breaking. He and his brother Andrew waved their arms to get help from James and John, who were their partners and in another boat. When Peter saw this miracle, he suddenly faced the fact that Jesus was the Son of God, and it frightened him. He knew that he was a sinner and deserved God’s punishment, and he begged Jesus to go away and leave him alone. But Jesus told him not to be afraid. He wanted to give Peter a new job, a job of catching people for God’s kingdom instead of fish for his own business. The four men left their boats and their fishing nets and everything they had behind and started following Jesus for good. There would be no turning back now.

Jesus also calls us to follow him. Sometimes he calls people to leave behind the life they had before, and more often he calls people to use the life they have to follow him and to serve others and share his good news with them. But he calls everyone to leave behind their sins and their pride and selfishness. He died on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven and that we could have a new life in him, and the things that keep us from following him are the things we need to leave behind. He sends us his Holy Spirit to help us to trust him instead of our own hard work, and to live our lives in his way instead of our own. Everything is different for people who follow Jesus, and he is with his people every day with his love and help and forgiveness.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, help us to follow you every day. Amen.

Source:

https://www.pbs.org/conquistadors/cortes/cortes_d00.html

The Healing Savior

Bible:

Now when the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various diseases brought them to him, and he laid his hands on every one of them and healed them. Luke 4:40 ESV

I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up
and have not let my foes rejoice over me.
Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
and you have healed me.
Lord, you have brought up my soul from Sheol;
you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit. Psalm 30:1-3 ESV

Reflection:

The Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minnesota, is famous all over  the world for its top-notch medical staff and facilities. When people have illnesses that no one else seems to be able to cure, they sometimes go to the Mayo Clinic to get help. Through the years people have been brought to the clinic in different ways. The first ambulance used by the clinic was a carriage drawn by two horses in 1905. Seven years later the first automobile was used. In the 1940s, ambulances started meeting the trains that came to Rochester to hurry people to the clinic. In the 1950s, squads of ambulances would go to disasters to transport people quickly, and in the 1960s, small ambulance planes started to transport people from farther away to Rochester. Today, planes and helicopters very quickly bring people, even from far away, to the Mayo Clinic.

The Mayo clinic can’t cure everybody that is brought to them, but Jesus could. After Jesus made Peter’s mother-in-law well, in the evening, people from all over town brought their sick family members and friends to Jesus. They didn’t have helicopters or planes, but they would have carried their loves ones, or put them on donkeys or in carts to bring them. Jesus looked at these suffering people with love and compassion. He laid his hands on every one of them and healed each one.

Jesus shows the same love and compassion to people today. We can carry the people we love to Jesus in our prayers, and be sure that he will answer us in the way that is the best. He doesn’t promise to always make sick people well, but he does promise healing from the worst trouble we have, sin. Jesus took all our sins to the cross and paid for them there, and the Holy Spirit brings us to Jesus so that we can be healed of our sins. Everyone who believes in Jesus is free from the worst of all sicknesses, death. When we die, we will be with Jesus forever, and someday he will bring our bodies out of the grave and into his new world, where there will be no pain or sickness or death, forever.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for letting us come to you in prayer for the people we love. Thank you for forgiving our sins and for bringing us healing and life. Amen.

Source:

http://history.mayoclinic.org/timelines/swiftly-safely.php