My first post this year was about Jesus, who is the way, the truth, and the life. And no one—NO ONE!—comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). I'm not sure when I decided this biblical truth did not apply to me, but I did. Of course, this is not a subject to be taken lightly, but I can't help but write this with a bit of humor because of how silly (in a foolish sort of way) I have been.
Recently, this happened [internal dialogue begins here]:
J1: If you desire a relationship with the Father, J, then you need a relationship with the Son. You can't just use His name at the end of your prayers and expect that to constitute having a relationship with Him.
J2: But, but… but. Yeah. *hangs head in defeat*
This year I have mapped out a Bible reading plan that consists entirely of the four gospel accounts because I need to get reacquainted with my Savior, Jesus Christ. I am currently reading Matthew's account and I truly enjoy it. A friend and I have been sending facebook messages back and forth about our daily Bible readings, and I thought I'd share some of mine here. I hope you gain some enjoyment from my enjoyment as well!
I am cutting these chapters in half so that I can focus more on what the words are really saying… .1 = first part of a chapter and .2 = last part of a chapter.
Matt 8.1: Jesus wrapped up his sermon and came down from the mountain. Now he is going to work healing many. What struck me this time was how much of a people person Christ must have been while here on earth (and still is in heaven?). If I had crowds following me around and constantly asking me to do this or that for them, I would lose my cool for sure. But it seems that Jesus welcomed and encouraged the masses to come to him and ask him to heal them or others they knew. Just blows me away.
Matt 9.2: Wow did Christ exhibit patience and kindness when he was on earth! The last half of Matt 9 records several accounts of Christ being approached by people who believed he could heal them or someone they knew. Everywhere he went it seems he was surrounded by a crowd of people! How annoying! But if he ever got tired of constantly being followed around by people who wanted him to do stuff for them, it seems that he didn't show it. This makes me think of a mom who has a bunch of kids who are following her around because they need her to do something for them because they are hungry or tired or thirsty or sick or need a diaper change, etc. The last few verses give us Christ's emotional response to the crowd that followed him: he had compassion! He was not annoyed or angry or disgusted. He saw them as helpless and in need of a caretaker, guide, and protector (ie, they were sheep w/o a shepherd). Wow! I would probably just be annoyed by the whole situation. Christ was and is amazing.
I got Matt 14.2 here for us: Jesus has just learned of John the Baptist's death, so he goes out to a desolate place for some alone time. But the crowds follow him. Instead of being irritated that they are encroaching on his desired solitude, he has compassion on them and heals the sick who came after him. At the end of the day, Christ performs yet another miracle and feeds this huge crowd of thousands of people. [C]an you imagine being followed by thousands of people when you just want to be alone? Christ is so patient, kind, and compassionate! After he feeds the thousands he sends the disciples away on a boat but he stays to dismiss the crowd. Finally, after a long day of healing the sick, feeding thousands of people, and whatever else he did that is not recorded, he was able to spend time alone… alone but with his father. He prayed alone there in the middle of the night. Next we see him taking a stroll across the stormy seas to catch up with his disciples. At the close of the chapter he once again heals many sick. Jam packed full of Christ's miracles!
See a theme running through all of these recaps? I do. Jesus is approachable.
And now, if you'll excuse me, I haven't done my reading yet for the day.