Seven separate thoughts on this Monday.
• Jesus was “sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24 NET). During his ministry he forbade his disciples to go to any Gentile regions or enter any Samaritan towns, but sent them instead “to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 10:5-6). He narrowed his focus so that, later, “many” could be reached. Perhaps we often need to do like our Lord.
• Jesus disappointed people. Many of his disciples “quit following him and did not accompany him any longer” (John 6:66). He said things they thought were difficult. He offended others. All because he spoke the truth and did not hold back when the truth might distance himself from people. One of his favorite words is, “truly.” The NET Bible translates it, “I tell you the solemn truth” (see John 6:32, for example). Paul thought we should be like Jesus in this respect also, “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15 ESV).
• The NET Bible make use of the word “energize,” which brings quite a fresh take on some old verses. It renders Psalm 138:3, “When I cried out for help, you answered me. You made me bold and energized me.” I sure could use some energizing.
• Thoughts during the Lord’s Supper: The wicked say, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we will die” (Isaiah 22:13). The righteous say, “Let us eat and drink, for yesterday we died in Christ.” Because we eat and drink at the table of the Lord.
• We all suffer many things: bodily ailments, mental anguish, grief, disappointments, financial straits, to name a few. Some suffering we bring upon ourselves, some is hoisted upon us. I’m not telling you anything new. But Jesus came and made suffering the stuff of divine work material. Suffering can be redemptive, instructive, progressive. That, in the eyes of the world, is new.
• In Arkansas recently, a 20-year-old man and an 18-year-old woman died when a deer jumped in front of their vehicle and the driver swerved, hit the animal and rolled the truck. Their deaths seem senseless, like so many others. At every point, we find opportunity to confess our ignorance and finite understanding and to trust in the over-arching plan of God, who is, as Judge of all the Earth, just and righteous and good.
• The words, “Jesus entered Peter’s house” (Matthew 8:14), warm my soul. (We started by mentioned a “house,” we’ll end with the mention of several.) The Lord entered many a house, ate many a meal, slept in many a bed offered him by disciples, well-wishers and even the curious. He apparently was often in Mary, Martha, and Lazarus’ home. He ate at Simon’s, invited himself into Zacchaeus’s, stayed somewhere those two days in Sychar of Samaria. And I suspect he was never a guest, but made himself at home, brought peace, joy, healing, and love. And redemption. Which is what I want him to do in mine. Has he entered yours?