No Longer Hurting (Matthew 9:22)

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Matthew’s Gospel records what happened when the woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years touched Jesus; “Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed from that moment.”

There is such a thing as divine healing, and we all want to access it – either for ourselves or for those we care about. So when we read the story of this particular woman, we tend to focus on Jesus’ statement, “Your faith has healed you.” We then assume that if we have faith we will be healed, and we get frustrated and despondent if we are not immediately healed. It would be wiser to take Scripture in its full context. 

First of all, it is not just any faith that heals. 

The woman had a faith that caused her to rise from her home and go to where Jesus was. For her, that was uncomfortable. Her condition would’ve meant that excessive movement would result in an embarrassing predicament. Still she goes. Moreover, she pursues Jesus even though there was a crowd of people around Him. She even reaches through the crowd to touch Him. She knew that such close contact with all those pressing around Jesus would mean that her condition will be noticed. She risked being called out as unclean in front of a large group of people. That would make her would be even more of a pariah than she already was, and now the synagogue ruler was there too! Yet she persisted, because she believed that Jesus could and would heal her. 

She had faith that prompted her to action – and that is the only kind of faith that really matters. Faith that doesn’t result in action cannot heal, because that isn’t really faith. As James said, faith is made complete by what we do (see James 2:22, 24).

Yet many have faith that does prompt them to action and it still cannot heal (or save) them. They have faith in Allah or faith in Mohammed or faith in Bhudda or faith in themselves or faith in something else. That kind of faith cannot heal either. It is faith, but it is a mere faith. It is faith put in someone or something that has no spiritual power over circumstance or condition. 

Faith in Jesus is different. Faith in Jesus can heal, because it is faith in the One who actually does heal. As Matthew has already recorded, “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. […] people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them.” It is Jesus that actually does the healing, not anything within ourselves. And it is our faith in Him, acted upon, that connects us with Him who heals.

Yet that doesn’t mean that He who heals is obligated to heal us instantly. It doesn’t mean He is obligated every time we cry out to Him for healing. And this is something else to consider, even as we act in faith.

For His own reasons, Jesus may by circumstance and providence delay our healing. He may use that time to lead us through a journey to be a witness to others of their inability to heal, just as the woman He healed in Matthew chapter 9 wound up waiting twelve years and speaking to many along the way. Each one she spoke to found themselves unable to truly help. They are all shown to be less than Jesus, and likewise the long lasting effect of her illness is also shown to be less than Jesus. But the world wouldn’t know that if she was healed earlier. 

Faith sometimes has to wait. Nevertheless, the day is coming when every prayer for healing will be positively answered.  “For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.”  Amen.

The road you travel as you follow Christ leads to the cross before it leads to the resurrection.

anonymous

APPLICATION: Thankfulness

If God has healed you, be thankful. If God has not yet healed you, be thankful. He surely will in His time, and meantime He will not waste your suffering. 

No Longer Hiding (Matthew 9:20-22)

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A woman has just approached Jesus from behind while He was walking to another appointment. In spite of the crowd of people all around Jesus, she somehow manages to get her hand in close to Him, and she reaches for His garment. “Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed from that moment.”

We see this story as a story of faith in action, and it is. But it is also a story of a woman who really did not want to get noticed. A woman who wanted to stay in the background. A woman who was not actually intending to become the center of attention, however briefly. Luke tells the rest of the story, “She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.  “Who touched me?” Jesus asked. 

When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.” But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.” Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet.”

Of course, if Jesus knew that power had gone out from Him, He also knew to whom it had gone. He does not ask who touched Him for His own sake. He asks, and then insists on an answer, so that the one who did might come forward. He wants her to testify, and in the end, that is exactly what happens, “In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed.” 

Our encounters with the Lord are not for our own sake only. They are times of blessing, times of healing, times of hearing His Voice. Surely they are for our blessing – but they are also for the blessing of others. Perhaps not immediately, but somehow and somewhere we must testify of what He did for us. For this is to God’s glory – that He spoke to us in our need, and that He ministered to us in our need. How could it be that we should then keep His glory to ourselves?

God knows our fear. He knows that we may not want to tell people we have never met before, or speak to a group of people – some of which are rulers over us. He also know it gives Him little glory when we hear His Voice and know His touch ministering to us, and we hide it from others. 

Every believer needs to testify. Every believer must testify. Fortunately, God knows how to put those of us who are uncomfortable with doing so in situations where we can do little else but overcome our fear of witnessing. That might not be perceived as particularly welcome, but it is a whole lot more comfortable than the situation we were in before He ministered to us. Besides, the result of our testimony is that others find courage to exercise faith. Effectively, our tentative and hesitant voice becomes a catalyst for others, and God is lifted up in a chorus of praise. 

If the Saviour had permitted this woman to retire in silence, many cowardly believers would have said that the Saviour’s silence gave consent to her retiring without a word, and that they might safely imitate her. […] The Saviour would not allow us to find in this case an apology for an evil course, and so he called out the woman whom he had cured.

Charles Spurgeon

APPLICATION: Intentionality

Faith hidden forever is not faith, but a mere wish. Faith becomes faith when it is acted upon. Today, ask the Lord to give you strength and courage to testify of Him and His grace to you! 

Faith (Matthew 9:20-21)

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What is faith? Often when we are asked that question, we turn to Hebrews 11:1, which   defines it for us. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” From that, we can gather that faith consists of surety, hope and certainty. All very true, yet often the person asking the question is seeking a more practical example. They might better have asked, “What does faith look like?” For this very reason, the rest of Hebrews 11 goes on to give example after example of what faith looks like in the life of the disciple of God. All of those examples demonstrate that faith has a practical outcome – the life of the person of faith is marked by their acting on it. 

On that thought, Hebrews 11 is hardly unique. The Scripture is packed with examples of faith in action. In Matthew 9, we read two such examples right next to each other. Firstly of Jesus responding to a synagogue ruler, who has left his daughter on her death-bed so he could – in faith – ask Jesus to help. As Jesus begins to walk to the ruler’s house to see the girl, He is interrupted by a touch. A lady in the crowd is also exercising faith! “Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” 

In his Gospel, Mark adds the fuller background on the woman’s story – “She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.” To be ‘subject to bleeding’ is an euphemism for an uterine hemorrhage. She was having a period that just did not stop, which meant she would’ve been treated as unclean by her society and limited in outdoor movement for fear of public embarrassment. This woman’s humiliating condition had driven her to increasing desperation for freedom from it, including the exhaustion of her resources on accessible care. Sadly, all to no avail.

The woman hears of Jesus. She’s heard that wherever He goes, people are healed. So she takes it upon herself to make whatever effort is necessary. 

Knowing that many will also seek His attention, it may even be that she was waiting outside Matthew’s house in the hope that He would see her when He exited the building. Perhaps the arrival of the synagogue ruler disrupted her plans as well as His, so she follows Jesus. Her condition does not really allow for long walks, and desperate to encounter Him in however small a fashion, she pushes forward, reaches through the crowd and touches His garment. 

Hers is a textbook definition of faith. 

Better yet, hers is an act of faith in Jesus. Faith in Jesus never lets us down, because He is not limited as others are limited. His is the fullness of God. His is the authority of God and the sovereignty of God. Faith in Jesus always works, because Jesus is God. And from old, we have been told who God is: “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.”

The woman in this story is acting on faith because she believes God. Her believe is not tentative or with hesitation. It is faith that calls to action because it is based on God;’s revealed character. The result of such an act of faith – an act of surety, hope and certainty, is never in doubt. Or as the Scripture says, “the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” Amen.

Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible.

Corrie Ten Boom

APPLICATION: Intentionality

God does not disappoint those who come to Him in faith. So exercise your faith and come to Him this day in full confidence. He is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love and faithfulness! 

Go With It (Matthew 9:18-19)

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The writer of the Gospel of Mark skips over the calling of Matthew, the feast at   Matthew’s house and questions the Pharisees and John’s disciples ask. But Mark gives us a better picture of what happened next, “Then one of the synagogue rulers, named Jairus, came there. Seeing Jesus, he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.”

Matthew had only referred to Jairus as ἄρχων <archōn>, a Greek word meaning a ruler/leader. Mark adds not only the man’s name, but that he was the leader of a synagogue. As such, Jarius is understood as a man of influence among the Jewish people group that Jesus is primarily ministering to. What follows then appears to be a very logical and natural response, “Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples.”

What is most unnatural about Jesus’ response is that what the man just asked for is nothing short of the most astonishing miracle. For while Mark’s Gospel makes it clear that the girl is at death’s door, Matthew makes clear what everyone hearing the story understood, “My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.”  We can know she was not merely sick. She was almost dead when Jarius left, and expected to be dead by the time Jarius returned. Jarius is asking that Jesus raise the dead!  

This is something Jesus has not yet done to this point in His ministry. Yet He shows no discomfort, no exasperation or even hesitation. 

There are times when we are asked to minister in ways that are clearly beyond how we have historically worked, and sometimes those occasions arise with little warning and/or with more than a degree of urgency. Think of the when you were first asked to pray for healing, or first asked to witness to a large group! That may have been scary, but in Jesus’ case, one such time was when He was first asked to raise the dead! 

Such times call upon us to exercise our faith. They are not occasions to sit down and think about it, or have a pro-vs-con conversation about whether or not to engage. A decision is called for on the spot. It really is a scary moment. But once that first step is taken to act, our faith rises. The Christian experience is truly as the song Oceans says;

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders. 

Let me walk upon the waters.

Wherever You would call me.

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander

And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior…

Like Jesus, we must be willing to be used of the Father as the Spirit leads, even though we know that the Spirit delights in leading us further into ministry and deeper into the Father’s care than we’ve ever purposed for ourselves. Walking by faith is sometimes scary, but it is always worthwhile!

There are many of us that are willing to do great things for the Lord, but few of us are willing to do little things.

D.L. Moody

APPLICATION: Intentionality

Sometimes we have to act on our faith. Sometimes we don’t have enough faith of ourselves, so we have to act by faith on the faith of others. And sometimes we have to act by the faith of the Holy Spirit who leads us, because He is the only one with enough faith for the moment. 

Interruptions (Matthew 9:18)

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“While he was saying this, a ruler came and knelt before him and said, “My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.”

The context of this request is that Jesus has recently exited Matthew’ house, where Matthew and his friends were celebrating Matthew’s new decision to follow Jesus. No doubt much worthwhile conversation had been happening with Matthew’s invited guests, but at some point Jesus was interrupted by a question about the value of eating with ‘sinners’. The Pharisees had asked that question – unwilling to enter a house of feasting during a fast day, they had asked it through His disciples. Consequently, Jesus addressed the question to those present. 

When Jesus exited the house (possibly to look for the Pharisees so He could respond to their faces), John’s disciples came and also asked Him a question. Their question was along the same lines – that is, why Jesus and His band were feasting while the rest of religious society was fasting? Jesus had begun His explanation by means of a couple of parables. Like all His parables, they are deep, full of meaning and application. 

But before He can expound on what He meant, and before they can ask further questions about what it means, they are interrupted by a man of some importance. This man – a local ruler -makes his interruption into a bigger scene by bowing down before Jesus in front of all gathered there. Jesus will have to respond. 

Three interruptions, back to back. 

Ministry is often a series of interruptions arising from a single act of obedience. Jesus called Matthew, then went to one place (Matthew’s house) expecting something (a party), but while He was there another thing happened (the Pharisees’ question), and He had to respond. While He was responding to that, something else happened (John’s disciples’ question), and now He must respond to that. Yet while He responds to that, something else happens (the ruler’s request). 

Jesus’ composure through it all is a sight to behold. He doesn’t seem perturbed or flustered by the compounding of intrusions. He takes each disruption as a signal to move on to the next thing instead of a frustration to His own timeline. He knows that each interruption is another opportunity for the Kingdom of God to grow. They all build on each other – some who were there for the last ministry moment will carry on to the next, and in this way many are ministered to. He also knows that each opportunity – each interruption – is timed by the Father. Timed to demonstrate not only His wisdom, but His patience and His grace. As He takes each with patience and grace, the Father is revealed to the every growing crowd of those watching and listening to Him.

He does this all because Jesus is about the Father’s business in the Father’s timing. So there is nothing to be upset about, though from a human viewpoint frustration and exasperation would be the order of the day.

Every intrusion is an opportunity to bless those made in His image. Such is the life we are called to. It is a wonderful life, because every interruption we encounter for His sake is another opportunity to see His wisdom and His grace and His power working through us. It is an opportunity to see His Kingdom expand. It is an opportunity to remember that God is in control and sovereign over all things, and we are not.

Amen.

Interruptions are not irritants; they are part of the rhythm of life. Rigid adherence to schedules is not valued, because it reduces people to little more than blocks of time.

A. Scott Moreau

APPLICATION: Intentionality

In all likelihood, today at some point you will be interrupted. Remember how Jesus responded. 

To Celebrate or to Fast? (Matthew 9:16-17)

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Jesus has just come from Matthew’s place, where Matthew and many  ‘sinners’ were  feasting. Those outside were observing a day of fasting. When they questioned Him about what He and His disciples are doing, 

Jesus responded with an analogy of a bridegroom being with friends. 

A wedding celebration – the fulfillment of a long time of preparation – is not an appropriate time for mourning. It is a celebration, a time consistent with spending and feasting and enjoyment. The time of saving toward the event, of setting aside for the event and the busy work of preparation is over. One has to celebrate. In fact, it is absurd to think that the way one acts during a time of preparation would be consistent with the way one should act during a time of fulfillment. 

Jesus now drives home the application of that point through two parables, “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” 

Jesus knows that weddings involve new clothes and wine, so He uses those two touch-points in His parable. In His time garments were very expensive and rare purchases – you used them until they were nothing but patches. Further, no one had glass bottles, but everyone had a wineskin. Of course, in modern Western society most just buy new garments when the old wears out, and no one uses wineskins anymore. But Jesus knows that John’s disciples (who asked Him the question to start with) will innately know what He is saying: Just as a celebration is in order, so also new believers cannot be expected to act as long-time believers. 

It is just wrong to expect a brand new Christ-follower to immediately be mature, and it is also wildly inappropriate to not celebrate their first step of faith with them. 

Imagine leading someone to Christ, and then instead of rejoicing with them that they are now forgiven, you immediately insist they begin observing a day of fasting just because all of the very religious of society are doing so that day. They will immediately connect the two events, and conclude that being forgiven is not enough. Effectively, you will have taught them legalism instead of relationship, and led them into mortal error. Expecting instantaneous maturity actually damages the fabric of their being – just as force-feeding meat to a newborn endangers the baby’s life. 

To make disciples for God is to lead people into a new relationship with Him, and then walk with them toward maturity. We cannot lead them into making a decision for God and then demand maturity. Leading people requires that we start where they are at, not where we want them to be. That means giving them both time and space to grow. It means celebrating when celebrating is appropriate, and fasting when fasting is appropriate. 

When we live like that, both we and those we lead are blessed. 

Amen.

God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.

John Piper

APPLICATION: Thankfulness

Jesus does not want religious timekeeping as much as He wants relationship. We can know that because His Word says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”  – Romans 12:15

Snooze Alarm (Matthew 9:15)

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John’s disciples have come to Jesus right after the feast at Matthew’s house.  They’ve noted that while they were fasting, Jesus and His group were having a party. Seeking enlightenment about the discrepancy, they ask Jesus about it. He replies, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them?”

Jesus’ question is sometimes used as a reason to never practice fasting. After all, Jesus specifically said that His disciples would fast when He was taken from them, and we know that time is over. He rose from the grave. He appeared to His disciples again, and He promised, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  Indeed, His Word promises that He pours Himself into each believer through the Holy Spirit; “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” 

These precious statements affirm that Jesus is with us by His Spirit. For Jesus and the Spirit are One just as Jesus and the Father are One. Somehow, omnipresent God is always with us and in us in a way and manner which we cannot understand. It is therefore logical to ask that if the bridegroom is with us, why should we fast? Yet while it is absolutely true that omnipresent God is always with us and in us in a way and manner which we cannot understand, it is also true that He is with us in a way we sometimes cannot even perceive. 

The pace of modern life, the business of work and tyranny of the urgent can often drown out His voice. Some seasons, the clouds of grief hide His presence. Regularly, our own sin hides His face from our prayers. What a grief it is that He seems so distant! What anguish of spirit to walk through the desert, seemingly alone! But it is these seasons of mourning – short or long – that must drive us to fast. They are the built-in snooze alarms of our lives, sounding off every time the dullness of the world or the appearance of evil threatens to cloud over our eyes of faith. They call us to stop – to interrupt our normal routine, so that we can come before the Lord in repentance for ourselves, in repentance for others and in sorrowfulness of spirit.

Fasting is an expression of lament. Though it is not often practiced in our days, the Scripture is full of lament. It is a very legitimate, even necessary practice. A practice that is always fruitful, because praise God, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” 

It is because God answers the heartfelt cries of His people that fasting is useful. Not because it is a magic key to unlock answers to prayer (it is not), but because it resets the eyes of our hearts on Him who does answer prayer. 

Amen. 

Father, open my eyes to the reality that Christ’s righteousness is mine. May I, despite my struggles with sin, rejoice that Jesus represents me to You. Though I mourn over my sins, may I not be disheartened. Help me to look to Jesus, and not my own performance, as a basis of my acceptance.

Erwin Lutzer

APPLICATION: Worship

After looking at yourself through the lens of God’s Word, set your eyes on Jesus.

Know the Reason (Matthew 9:14-15)

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That Jesus practiced fasting is illustrated for us in Matthew chapter 4, where  He fasts 40  days and nights in the desert prior to the temptation. It is also expected that He fasted on the Day of Atonement as Lev 16:29 commands. 

That Jesus taught fasting is obvious from His Sermon on the Mount (Matt 6:16-18). 

Yet in spite of personal practice and appreciation for it, Jesus and His disciples were clearly not known for fasting. 

One particular day, the contrast could not have been greater. “Jesus and his disciples had just come from the feast in Matthew’s house; and this seems to have occurred on a day when the disciples of John and the Pharisees likewise thought they had to fast (Mark 2:18). Here they were fasting, and the disciples of Jesus were feasting!”  

Matthew records, “Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?”  Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.”

It was Pharisaic practice to fast on Mondays and Thursdays. Such a regular practice (which John’s disciples apparently emulated in some fashion) is impossible to keep secret. But if one is not careful, it becomes a signpost of personal piety to all who look on. Indeed, that others notice can easily become the whole point of the fast if one’s fleshly desire for recognition and importance has not been thoroughly replaced by humility and an overwhelming desire to hear from God. Like everything we do for the Lord, it can become a point of personal pride – a statement of the flesh that we are better and more deserving than others. More deserving to have our prayers answered. More deserving of favor. More deserving of honor for self-sacrifice. More deserving than the others around us, who are not achieving the same level of piety. 

Such thoughts occur naturally when the eyes of our heart have moved from attention on God to attention on self. But these sentiments are worse than foolish. They are diametrically opposed to what the practice is supposed to be for. 

Jesus equated fasting with mourning. Fasting is meant to be driven by a hunger for God so great that we deprive ourselves – the thought of feeding one’s stomach gets completely lost as we mourn our own brokenness and long to be reunited with Him in spirit and in body. As one commentator noted, “Fasting accompanies mourning and is not to be a mechanical arrangement that is followed merely on fixed days. When the heart is bowed down, fasting is a proper expression of its feelings.”

Fasting is not primarily a tool of self-expression or self-discipline. It must be understood as an expression of lament. Like a friend of the bridegroom who finds out the bridegroom is taken just before the wedding day, we mourn for what is lost, and we grieve that all is not as it should be.

Fasting prepares us for the deepest and richest spiritual communion possible. It clears and liberates our minds to understand and grasp what God is saying to our spirits, and conditions our bodies to carry out His perfect will which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Julio Ruibal

APPLICATION: Intentionality

Why and when do you fast?

Joy in His Service (Matthew 9:13)

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“For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”  

Hanging around godly people is a blessing. They are worshipful people, and worship of God Most High is what we were created for. It is a special kind of blessing to stand with others who know Christ and sing songs of praise, because enjoying God together is something only the godly can experience. Godly people are also hospitable, kind, gracious and generous. So being with them means we are generally treated well. More than that – they are at peace with God, at peace with themselves and at peace with others. That means they are safe. We can be ourselves and know that our rougher edges are not building walls. These things mean godly people are generally a lot of fun to be around. 

Besides which, God’s people are commanded to gather together. Gathering together gives us opportunities to praise Him, to testify of His glory and power, to fellowship with each other and to practice the sacraments. As Hebrews 10:25 says, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” 

That commandment, together with how enjoyable it is to be around each other, makes it easy for the believer to assume that the Kingdom of God consists entirely of surrounding oneself with other believers. But the Kingdom of God does not consist of trying to live in glory while we are still in a fallen world. The joys of being with godly people are only one part of the Kingdom. There is another joy to be had – to physically see God taking new ground in expanding His Kingdom. 

Of course, if you want to see that, you have to look for where it is happening. That’s primarily in the lives, and in the work, and in the family life of sinners. For when His Kingdom invades those places, they become altogether different places; Peace replaces fear, love replaces apathy, grace replaces vengeance. It truly is a sight to behold. 

You can of course see the Kingdom of God expand when the godly get together too; Some have been healed while worshipping, others have been visibly affected through teaching and preaching. But those are – in great honestly – rarities. Mostly, our experience of the Kingdom when we are with godly people is the Spirit’s witness that it (the Kingdom of God) is expanding in their (and our own) hearts and minds. 

But when we are with those who recognize their own sin, we can hear it expand in their confessions and testimonies. We can see it expand in both the loss of old habits and in newfound thirst for God’s Word. Being with those who are being transformed into disciples of Christ is a visceral experience of the Kingdom of God for us, as well as them! 

This is a particular joy that all disciples of God are called to experience – the joy of making other disciples. It is this work that Christ came to do, and it is the joy He calls all of us to experience. As often and as much as we can!

Friendship can be a bridge for bringing people to Christ. Many times we try to influence people without first making them our friends. It seldom works.

Robert Shannon

APPLICATION: Thankfulness

The wonder of the Kingdom of God is that doing the hard things God asks us to do brings  far more joy into our lives than doing the say things our selfishness desires.