Israel 2016

Israel 2016
Roman architectural influence in Bet Sean, Israel

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for Oct 6, Mt 8, Mk 2

Today's readings are Mt 8, Mk 2. Tomorrow's is Jn 5.

In Mt 8, by cleansing a leper, Jesus demonstrates that He is capable of cleansing the most profound filth from anyone's life. Leprosy was highly contagious and reviled as evidence of sin. There's a subtle signal here regarding forgiveness of sins. But it will not remain subtle for long.

Christ rewards the faith of a Centurion, a Gentile, saying to those around Him that He has found no one in Israel with this type of faith. It's a shocking statement made about a man most Jews would consider as lost and unworthy of faith, more so considering His followers are standing right there. They, who are God’s chosen people, should understand faith better than most. They have much to learn, particularly about how the Messiah will minister to Gentiles.

While it would be easy to focus on the healing and the casting out of demons in Mt 8:14-17, most miss the reason for those miracles, "To fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah."  The signs are the evidence of who Jesus is, not a guarantee that all will be healed. If that were so, He would have healed all the people at the Pool of Bethesda, not just one (Jn 5:2-9).

Likewise, the lesson about calming the storm. Authority over the weather is not the issue nor are the "stormy seas of life" as many have learned about this passage. His presence is the primary point. He is with them in the boat. His faithfulness is another significant point. He told them they were going to the other side. When the waters got rough, they forgot the promise. They made the error of allowing the circumstances to overwhelm the promise. Their fear became greater than their comfort in knowing that Jesus was with them.

We see a similar situation with the casting of the demons into the pigs. Jesus sees the man as important and worth any sacrifice needed to deliver him. All the people see is the loss of their pigs, a primary source of income for them. They are unwilling to sacrifice everything, perhaps even anything, to see the man made well. Furthermore, we see that the presence of the Lord can mean sacrifice. Even though He has proven His authority over the spirit world, the people would rather He leave than they lose their earthly possessions.

​In Mk 2, Jesus makes it perfectly clear that His power and authority to heal extends to the ultimate healing, the forgiveness of sins. This is another vitally important point. Jesus can certainly heal whenever and wherever He likes. Yet, we are not promised physical healing all the time. Paul had a thorn in the side that was never healed and he was the greatest theologian of all time, a man totally transformed who never received healing for his ailment. We all know good, strong Christian people who are ill, some even die. We know, from practical experience that healing does not always come to faithful Christians.

Ultimately, there is a healing that is promised by God, that of our sins. We will be made new and clean and pure. Physical healing may happen here on earth. God may use us to show His power and glory. But, if the healing doesn't come, as with Paul, we are guaranteed a complete, spiritual healing in eternity if Jesus is our Savior and Lord. 

This way we know that the prayer of faith will bring healing. Faith is evidence of belief. Belief brings eternal life. Eternal life trumps any mortal sickness or suffering we may endure. The healing we all so desperately need is from the consequences of sin. Jesus tells us, right here, that healing can be found in Him. 

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