Friday, January 24, 2014

Epiphany 3

January 26, 2014
Epiphany 3
Matthew 4:12-25
Witness and Mercy

Almighty and everlasting God, mercifully look upon our infirmities and stretch forth the hand of Your majesty to heal and defend us; through Jesus Christ Your Son, our Lord; who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever. Amen

The message of Epiphany is this – Jesus demonstrates His authority with His words and His actions. Do you believe this?  Many have grown weary of empty words and failed promises. Words can be deceiving.

Actions can make us just as skeptical. Actions can be deceiving. What’s the motivation behind certain actions? What’s the reason? What’s the rationale behinds these actions? Can we trust this Jesus by His words and actions today? Or is He too just another con man?
Jesus Demonstrates the Father's Reign with Power
  1. Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in the synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom. “News about him spread all over Syria. Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis,[b] Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed Him.”
Jesus taught the truth about the kingdom. In fact, Christ’s power to heal proves His words are true. And what is His message? In a word, repent!

Truth be told, people who say, “God never gives you more than you can handle” are lying to you. They are giving you yet another list of things to do so that God will somehow stand up and take notice. Nonsense! You’re more than a puppy who gets a treat every time you behave or act nicely. Truth be told – your sin condemns you. You can’t handle it! It’s too much!

So stop trying! Get over yourself! Repent; that is, believe Jesus’ promises! He did what you could never do. He lived a perfect life. He exchanged His perfect life for your poor miserable, imperfect life. He offered Himself on the cruel and bloody cross as a payment for your sin.  Now, His perfection is handed over to you. It is now your own. The Father looks at you as if you had never sinned. You are flawlessness because, and only because, you are in Christ. Cling to Jesus and His promises. He makes you a new person. You are His. He will not leave you. He loves you more than you will ever know. And in Him, your sin is no more. There is no more guilt. All that is left is His redeeming love.   

Jesus speaks the truth then backs up this truth with healing. Jesus’ words alone should be sufficient to believe in Him.  The Father gave no possible reason for doubt when He sent His Son into the world! But if these words of Jesus seem too good to be true consider His acts of healing.
  1. Healing every disease and sickness among the people  People brought to Jesus all who were ill with various diseases. “Those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, the paralyzed. He healed them.”  

 The religious elite attributed Christ’s power to the devil.  “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.” -Matthew 12:24, Jesus proclaimed boldly that it was the work of the Holy Spirit.  “And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges”. -Matthew 12:27

The “healing” (Gr. - therapeuo) ministry of Jesus was only in support of His teaching and preaching. He validated His message and authority by the healing and other miracles that He performed. It’s one thing to say, “I forgive you!” But to back up those words with actions of power is quite another thing. It would only be an act of cruelty to say to a crippled man, “get up and walk” unless you had the power to heal.

Jesus never performed miracles simply to display His power. He never performed miracles to draw attention to Himself.  It was always to authenticate His message. He healed to identify Himself as the Savior the Father had promised.

The miraculous works of Christ that came in the form of healing the sick and demon-possessed were undeniable marks of His identity.

What are the marks of your identity dear Christian? You share the same changeless Christ to an ever-changing world looking for light, life and hope. Our life together is a clear witness of the wounded, crucified and risen Christ coupled with acts mercy and care.  You back up those words of redemption with actions of compassion that prove you really do care! 

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