Jesus is everything to us. Few verses in the Bible state it more clearly than John 6:35, Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” While Jesus can provide for our physical needs, when we have a personal relationship with Him, He satisfies our spiritual needs completely. For this reason Jesus called Himself “the bread of life”.
When Jesus visited each of these towns, the people flocked to see Him. These people were not only looking to be healed, but they were looking for hope as well. Mark 6:34 says, When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things. Jesus became their shepherd who was able to teach, guide, and give hope to them. When we need guidance, the only place we need to look is to Jesus. He provides all we could ever need.
Today we read about Matthew’s account of Jesus walking on the water. What stood out to me was how much faith Peter had in order to step out and join Jesus and then how quickly he loses faith and starts to sink. Matthew 14:28-31, 28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” 29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” We are just like Peter. We have moments of faith where we feel we can move mountains and other moments when even the simplest requests seem impossible. For God, nothing is impossible if we just have faith.
The more we love this life and cling to the rewards it gives to us, the more we come to realize how empty those rewards really are. In Matthew 10:39 Jesus tells His disciples, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” When we cling to the things of this world, we risk forfeiting all that God has promised to us in this life and the next. The best way to enjoy this life is to loosen our grasp on it and turn over control to Christ. The quicker we realize it is all for His glory, the happier we will be.
Sometimes we forget that the church is meant to be a hospital for the sick and not a country club for the elite. Jesus made this clear in Matthew 9:12, On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” We must be accepting of everyone in the church no matter how much we may not agree with their choices in life. There is a difference between tolerance and acceptance. We are called to accept everyone who needs our help while not tolerating their sin. This does not mean to shun or shame them, but we love them even when we don’t agree with their choices. In the end, it is God’s job to judge or not.
People can deny the existence of God, but the truth is apparent even to the demons. In today’s reading Jesus encounters a legion of demons who have possessed a man and even they know who Jesus is. Mark 5:6-7, 6 When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. 7 He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won’t torture me!” Later on in the New Testament in James 2:19, James states, You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder. Belief in God or the denial of His existence does not matter. We can intellectualize reality all we want, but the truth will never change; God exists today and He is working all around us through Jesus Christ His Son and the Holy Spirit in our lives.
I love reading how Jesus always brought out the least of those in His society. In today’s reading, Jesus made it a point to lift women up from their low status in their society to the point of experiencing joy in fellowship and service with other believers. In today’s reading, Luke even mentions some of them by name. Luke 8:2-3 2 and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; 3 Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means. By allowing these women to travel with Him and be a part of His ministry, Jesus showed that all people are equal under God. These women owed a great debt of gratitude to Jesus because he had healed many and even drove out demons from many of them.
Much of the time when Jesus spoke he spoke in parables. This was often confusing to everyone around Him including His disciples. When asked why, Jesus replied in Matthew 13:13, This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.” Like much of the people of our present day, the people around Jesus heard the truth. They also had knowledge of what was coming from the prophets. We can look at them and wonder why they could not see the truth, but the reality is nothing has changed since the days when Jesus was physically here. We all know the truth and have plenty of examples of the existence of God, yet many choose to simply ignore what they see and hear.
When we choose to follow Jesus, everything else is less important. Jesus explains this at the end of today’s reading in Matthew 12:48-50 when someone tells Him that His mother and brothers are there to see him, 48 He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who is my brothers?” 49 Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” While the people in our lives, including family and friends, are important, the work of the kingdom of God is what is really important. For this reason it is important to surround ourselves with people who share our beliefs and a burden for serving God to further the work of His kingdom.