Manna for Today

 

Jesus Heals Unclean People (Luke 5:12-16)

While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy.  When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”

13 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him.

14 Then Jesus ordered him, “Don’t tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.”

15 Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.  (Luke 5:12-16)

Learn it:

            When you read this story do you know how scandalous it was?  This leper, an outcast, considered unclean, was not welcome in society came before a respected holy teacher and asked to be healed.  People present would have been shocked and religious leaders would be getting ready to condemn this man.  Yet Jesus’ first response was to reach out and touch this man.  A man who probably has not felt physical contact in a long time.  Jesus showed great compassion and healed this man. 

            Then Jesus told this man to follow the Old Testament law.  Jesus did not want to show disrespect to the priestly order.  He wanted this man to be fully welcomed back into society by following the proper procedures.  Jesus was showing great humility.  After the healing, his popularity increased, and more people were coming to hear his teaching and to be healed.  Any other person would have loved the attention and used it to spread their message.  Jesus is no normal person.  He decided to retreat, pray and find satisfaction in his relationship with God the Father. 

 Live it:

             In this story, we should relate to the leper.  Before we came to Christ, we were unclean.  Not worthy to be in his presence and did not deserve his grace.  Just like Jesus touched the leper before he was clean, like Romans 5:8 says, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  This act of love should make us fall on our faces every morning and praise God.  A perfect God sent his son to the earth to redeem the human race.  This should boggle our minds, it does mine!  Why would the creator of the universe do this?  He does it because he is full of compassion, mercy, and grace.  This should lead us to worship him and tell others, just like the leper.  Praise God!  


Read more...

Jesus is a Good Fisher of Men (Luke 5:1:11)

4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” 9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.

Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.  (Luke 5:4-11)

Learn it:

            Jesus is out on a lake in a boat with Simon and his partners, teaching to a crowd on shore.  We don’t know his message but after his message, he tells Simon to put his nets down into the deep water.  This would have been a very strange request.  Simon is a very skilled fisherman and the best time to fish is at night and you also fish in the shallow waters.  Jesus is asking them to do the opposite of what makes sense.   Whatever Jesus said during his teaching made an impact in Simon and he did what Jesus said.  When they pull up the nets they are almost bursting because they are so full!  It was amazing!

            Simon at seeing this is filled with awe of who Jesus is and tells him to get away because he is so sinful!  Simon recognizes Jesus as some holy person that he is not worthy to be around.  This was common because Simon was probably a Jew.  Being a fisherman who would have been considered unclean and should not be around people, especially teachers like Jesus!  That is why he has this strong response to Jesus.  Yet what does Jesus do?  Jesus draws Simon closer.  Tells him to come, follow me.

Live it:

            Jesus came to flip things on their head.  In Judaism, if you were sinful, you are unclean and should be kept away from people.  According to Christ, if you are sinful, you need to repent and draw close to him.  Wow!  He is merciful and when we feel unworthy, he wants to pour his love on us.  We need to take the posture that Simon had of humility.  Tell God that we are unworthy of his love but then we can run towards him.  How can you experience the love of God today?  What sins do you need to trust him with?  


Read more...

Jesus Heals People and Takes a Break (Luke 4:38-44)

Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Simon. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her. 39 So he bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them.

40 At sunset, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them. 41 Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Messiah.

42 At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. 43 But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” 44 And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.  (Luke 4:38-44)

Learn it:

            After Jesus was teaching in the synagogue he went to Simon’s, the soon to be a disciple of Jesus, house.  While he was there, he performed a miracle by healing her from her sickness.  Jesus gives evidence of the fullness of her healing by saying that she was then able to wait on them.  While Jesus was in the town people then began to bring people to him one by one.  We see Jesus did not do a mass healing but showed compassion by laying hands on each one. 

            Just like in the previous story where Jesus cast out a demon, demons were shouting, “You are the Son of God!”  Demons knew who Jesus was and he did now want people to hear that.  One reason may have been that if people heard demons saying this it could mean that Jesus was a servant of an evil god.  He did not want people to be confused and he would reveal his identity at the proper time.

            Then, just like any other person Jesus needed to take a break.  He needed solitude.  Even the Son of God needed time to breathe and, probably, reconnect with God the Father.  Jesus then needed to move on to another town.  A big theme in Luke is the kingdom of God.  Jesus was going around telling people about his kingdom and it was open to everyone. 

Live it:

            This story reminds us again of the power of Jesus.  The reason Jesus was healing people was to authenticate His teachings.  When he was teaching that he is the fulfillment of the prophecies in the Old Testament people may not have truly believed him.  When he then went on to heal people and cast out demons it gives more weight to his words.  We love Jesus not because he is a healer, we love Jesus because he is the Son of God. 

 

            We also learn in this passage the importance of rest.  Reconnecting with God the Father is important for everyone.  How are you doing at spending time with God?  Do you pray and rely on him throughout your day?  While it’s great to be able to spend 30 minutes in the morning praying and talking with God, I know it’s not always possible.  But praying even short prayers throughout the day can be very powerful as well.  That means he is always on your mind and you are dependent on him.  


Read more...

Jesus is Strong in Word and Power (Luke 4:31-37)

Then he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath he taught the people. 32 They were amazed at his teaching, because his words had authority.

33 In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an impure spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, 34 “Go away! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”

35 “Be quiet!” Jesus said sternly. “Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him.

36 All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What words these are! With authority and power he gives orders to impure spirits and they come out!” 37 And the news about him spread throughout the surrounding area.  (Luke 4:31-37)

Learn it:

            On Wednesday we read about how Jesus was rejected at his hometown in Nazareth.  Luke now tells us of Jesus going down to Capernaum.  Jesus is seen teaching in a synagogue and people are amazed by what he says.  Not only were they amazed but they saw that he spoke with authority.  In the midst of Jesus teaching a demon-possessed man begins to yell at Jesus to go away!  Can you imagine the strange looks this man received?  Good thing it was Jesus teaching if it were me, I probably would have told the man to leave, because he was disrupting my sermon.  The demon not only told Jesus to go away but it knew Jesus’ true identity, he was “the Holy One of God!” 

            Jesus responds to this man with great mercy and grace.  First, he tells him to “be quiet.”  Jesus does not want his full identity known quite yet, he is still at the beginning of his public ministry and has a lot of work left to do.  Then Jesus shows this man compassion by casting the demon out.  Now the crowd was not only amazed by his teachings but by his power as well!

Live it: 

          As we read through Scripture, we need to understand that Jesus has the ultimate authority over all things.  His word’s give us guidance for life and while his way may be difficult it will be life-giving.  Not only does his word have authority but it is powerful!  It can change people lives.  We have access to the same power that Jesus did, and it lives within all who believe in him.  How often do we utilize that power in our daily lives? 

          When we read the Bible, we need to not just keep it for ourselves.  We should be like the crowd after they saw Jesus cast out a demon, spreading the good news to the people we know.  The goodness of Jesus should always be on our lips and we should talk about him all the time.  He has done so much for us!  He paid the price for our sins, we are forgiven, we have the power to overcome temptation, and we have eternal life!  We have good reasons to talk about Jesus all the time!


Read more...

Pastor’s Corner