January 5, 2017

Today you should read: Matthew 15:21-39

Jesus is the Lord of the Impossible.

In today’s reading, we encounter 3 stories: (1) Jesus heals the daughter of a Canaanite woman, (2) Jesus heals many people through His journey, and (3) Jesus feeds the 4,000. All three of these narratives remind us of the power that Jesus had even in His earthly form.

The Canaanite woman had a daughter who was demon-possessed. She was following Jesus and the disciples, mourning over the state of her child. And what did the disciples do? Did they minister to her? Did they pray for her? Did they ask Jesus for help concerning this woman? Nope, they missed the boat again. The very thing they were being taught to do by Jesus was the thing they were trying to avoid in this moment: ministry. Jesus rebuked them by saying, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” In response to the woman’s faith, Jesus healed her daughter and gave the disciples renewed perspective. I think many of us can learn from this today.

Don’t be too busy or wrapped up in your “religion” to meet the needs of people around you.

I do want to address Jesus’ use of the word “dog” in this passage. Many Jews derogatorily referred to Gentiles as dogs, but I don’t believe that this is what Jesus was doing here. Here’s a study note that was helpful for me:

Jews frequently insulted Gentiles by calling them dogs, which in ancient Palestine were wild, homeless scavengers. But the form Jesus uses here (Gk. kynarion, “little dog”) suggests a more affectionate term for domestic pets. Jesus is not insulting the woman but testing her faith. ESV Study Bible

Now regarding the second mass-feeding of Jesus’ ministry…

I had the opportunity to teach on the feeding of the 5,000 a few summers back, which is found one chapter earlier. Today’s story is the feeding of 4,000 men, but if you include women and children, a better count would be between 7,000-10,000 people. Many of us forget that this is a different account than the one found in Matthew 14 (I did, until my first year of seminary). Jesus was so powerful that He did this twice!

The main thrust of my message was this: “Jesus used humble means to do a supernatural miracle.” He used fish and bread — enough for maybe one family — to feed thousands of people. While this is a great Bible story, the application is clear for us today. Some of you reading this may feel like you can’t be used by God, that God can’t possibly make much of your life. Maybe you think that you’ve made too many mistakes, you’re a screw up, your untalented, you’re too young, too old, your washed up, you have nothing to offer.

If God can use a few fish and a little bread to feed thousands, He can definitely use you. BELIEVE IT. Humble yourself as clay in the Potter’s hands and watch what He will do.

You can listen to my message on the feeding of the 5,000 here.

By: Todd Thomas

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Author: cpclexington

Lexington & Richmond KY

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