Called to Serve

The Healing of Peter's Mother-in-law

The Healing of Peter’s Mother-in-Law (Public Domain)

Reading the Word

Mark 1:29–31 (ESV)

29 And immediately he left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30 Now Simon’s mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her. 31 And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them.

Parallel Texts: Matthew 8:14-15; Luke 4:38-39

Understanding and Applying the Word

We read here that Jesus went to the home of Simon and Andrew. He withdrew from the public eye and was in a private setting. We are told that Simon’s mother-in-law was sick with a fever. There are two things to note here. Simon is Peter. Jesus will change his name to Peter later, but that is the name we usually know him by. Also, Peter must have been married, given that he had a mother-in-law.

Jesus went to Peter’s mother-in-law and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Presumably, she was lying down and he helped her to her feet. Immediately, her fever was gone. Jesus had healed her and once again showed his great power and authority.

Notice the response of Peter’s mother-in-law. We are told that she “began to serve them.” The word “serve” in this text is the word that we get “deacon” from, which simply speaks of one who serves. Throughout the New Testament, we read of the great importance of serving others as a response to what God has done for us through Jesus Christ. Peter’s mother-in-law gives us a glowing example of the proper response to God’s grace in our lives. We are called to serve.

**Read through the Life of Christ in 2019 by following along with Shaped by the Word. Just subscribe to this page and be sure to read along every day!

Advertisements

The Authority of Jesus

matthew28185bwidescreen5d

Reading the Word

Mark 1:21–28 (ESV)

21 And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching. 22 And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes. 23 And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, 24 “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.” 25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” 26 And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him. 27 And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” 28 And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.

Parallel Text: Luke 4:31-37

Understanding and Applying the Word

The people were amazed at Jesus’ teaching. They commented on the “authority” behind his teaching. Teachers usually quoted rabbis who were known and well-regarded to give credence to what they were saying, but Jesus did no such thing. He taught under his own authority and the people were amazed!  Who does Jesus think he is?

Well, to show his authority, Jesus healed a man suffering from demonic possession. The demon recognized Jesus and referred to him as “the Holy One of God.” The demon also showed that he was under Jesus’ authority because when Jesus told him to “come out of him”, that is exactly what the unclean spirit did. Once again, the people remarked about Jesus’ authority. Even the unclean spirits obey him!

Who was Jesus? This is an important question that every person must answer. Was he simply a good teacher? The people recognized that Jesus was unlike other teachers. He claimed his own superior authority over all other teachers. They also saw how Jesus had power over even the cosmic forces of evil by just speaking. He made commands and the demons listened! No, Jesus was not just a teacher. He was more than that. Jesus is the Holy One of God who came into the world with all authority. God has spoken. Let us not think otherwise and let us recognize his authority by obeying all he has said.

**Read through the Life of Christ in 2019 by following along with Shaped by the Word. Just subscribe to this page and be sure to read along every day!

The Kingdom for All People

jesus teaches the people by the sea

Jesus Teaches People by the Sea (Public Domain)

Reading the Word

Matthew 4:12–17 (ESV)

12 Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee. 13 And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:

15 “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—
16 the people dwelling in darkness
have seen a great light,
and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death,
on them a light has dawned.”

17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Parallel Texts: Mark 1:14-15; Luke 4:14-15

Understanding and Applying the Word

After John the Baptist was arrested, we are told that Jesus withdrew into Galilee. He went there to avoid confrontation since John had been pointing his followers to Jesus. The fact that Jesus went into this region was a fulfillment of prophecy from Isaiah 9:1-2, as Matthew made clear in his writing.

Galilee was a place where many Gentiles resided, as is mentioned in Isaiah’s prophecy when it is called “Galilee of the Gentiles.” Jesus went there and brought light to people who were living in darkness. He went there and taught those who had not heard by declaring, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Jesus’ ministry to Gentiles is a major theme throughout the Gospel of Matthew. In fact, the ending of Matthew stresses an ongoing ministry to both Jew and Gentile as Jesus told his disciples to go into the world and make disciples of all nations. Again, we see that Jesus came into the world not just for a select group, but for all people. If you will place your faith in him, you will be saved, no matter where you are from or what you have done. You can enter into the kingdom of heaven because Jesus came to save all people.

**Read through the Life of Christ in 2019 by following along with Shaped by the Word. Just subscribe to this page and be sure to read along every day!

He Must Increase

increase

Shaped by the Word is a daily, Bible-reading devotional. I do not publish extra material on Sundays, but I do include a suggested Scripture reading. Please be sure to subscribe to this page so you can follow along each day. We are reading through the life of Christ in 2019 as recorded in the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John).

Reading the Word

John 3:22–36 (ESV)

22 After this Jesus and his disciples went into the Judean countryside, and he remained there with them and was baptizing. 23 John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because water was plentiful there, and people were coming and being baptized 24 (for John had not yet been put in prison).

25 Now a discussion arose between some of John’s disciples and a Jew over purification. 26 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” 27 John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. 28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ 29 The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”

31 He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony. 33 Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. 34 For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. 35 The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

John 3:16

john 316 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

John 2:23–3:21 (ESV)

2:23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. 24 But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people 25 and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.

3:1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

9 Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? 11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

Understanding and Applying the Word

A Pharisee, Nicodemus, goes to Jesus under the cover of night to speak to him. Nicodemus knows that Jesus is a teacher from God so he desires to learn from him. Jesus tells him, “Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” This seems to have confused Nicodemus because he wonders how one can be born a second time. Jesus explains that the birth he is referring to is one that comes through the Spirit. Those who have been born again will have eternal life.

We are not told what Nicodemus does with this teaching. However, we are told what one must do to have eternal life. Jesus tells us in John 3:16 that, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Those who believe (i.e. trust / put their faith) in Jesus Christ are born again through the Spirit and receive eternal life. This means we believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that he came to save us from our sins by going to the cross and paying our debt. Through Jesus, we find forgiveness and reconciliation with God. And through him we have the promise of life in a new world where sin and death is no more. Do you believe in Jesus?

**Read through the Life of Christ in 2019 by following along with Shaped by the Word. Just subscribe to this page and be sure to read along every day!

Thieves in the Temple

the merchants chased from the temple

The Merchants Chased from the Temple (Public Domain)

Reading the Word

John 2:12–25 (ESV)

12 After this he went down to Capernaum, with his mother and his brothers and his disciples, and they stayed there for a few days.

13 The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. 15 And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

18 So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” 21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.

23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. 24 But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people 25 and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Jesus, his mother, and his disciples went to Jerusalem for the Passover. As he went into the temple, he encountered those who were engaged in the sale of oxen, sheep, and pigeons. He also found “money-changers” there. These services were actually quite practical for the Jewish people who visited the temple. Many came from many miles away and it was much easier to bring money to purchase an animal for a sacrifice than it was to bring an animal from home. Also, since most everyday commerce was done in Roman currency, it was a needed service to exchange Roman currency for the temple currency, which was all that was accepted for the temple tax.

Many have understood this passage to say that Jesus was upset because of the buying and selling of goods that was transpiring. However, that was not the issue. The issue was that the sellers and money-changers were taking advantage of the people. They were selling at inflated prices and exchanging the people’s money at unfair rates. This is especially clear when Matthew, Mark, and Luke are also consulted.

The people were amazed that Jesus would enter the temple and act with such authority. In response, they wanted to see a sign that would prove he had authority to do these things. After all, the temple was ruled by the priests. Jesus tells the people that his resurrection would serve as the sign that he had all authority (though they did not understand what he meant). It is Jesus’ resurrection even today that tells us that Jesus had the authority to say the things he said. And it is the resurrection that assures us that the things he said are true. May we seek to learn and obey the words of the Lord.

**Read through the Life of Christ in 2019 by following along with Shaped by the Word. Just subscribe to this page and be sure to read along every day!

 

Water to Wine

jars

Reading the Word

John 2:1–11 (ESV)

1 On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. 3 When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

6 Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. 9 When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Jesus was attending a wedding in Cana. At some point during the celebration, Jesus’ mother went to him to tell him that the wine had run out. We are not told what Mary expected Jesus to do, but to run out of wine was a potential problem for the groom. It would have been an extreme embarrassment. In response, Jesus has the servants fill the jars with water and then serve it to the master of the feast. At that point, the water had been turned into wine of superior quality.

What are we to make of this episode? Some will scoff and say such a thing is not possible. However, the writer tells us that this was the “first of his signs.” Jesus turned the water into wine, but he also did many other things that we will soon read about. He did all of these things to prove to us that he was who he claimed to be. Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God. Skeptics often say, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” Jesus turned water into wine and his disciples believed in him. What will you do?

**Read through the Life of Christ in 2019 by following along with Shaped by the Word. Just subscribe to this page and be sure to read along every day!

Fishers of Men

matthew 419 [widescreen]

Reading the Bible

Matthew 4:12–22 (ESV)

12 Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee. 13 And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:

15 “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—
16 the people dwelling in darkness
have seen a great light,
and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death,
on them a light has dawned.”

17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

18 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

Parallel Texts: Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5:1-11; John 1:35-51

Understanding and Applying the Word

After his baptism and temptation, Jesus begin his ministry to the world. As he begin to preach, he calls on fishermen to leave their nets behind and follow him. Jesus’ words to these men were “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” We are told that they immediately left fishing to follow Jesus.

Imagine being called to leave your job and security behind to follow Jesus. The first disciples did just that. They left fishing, which was their livelihood, to follow a man they knew little about, but they were trusting he was someone special. Of course, they would soon realize that he was the long-awaited Messiah and the Son of God (Matthew 16:15-16). And these disciples were going to spend the rest of their days telling the world about Jesus, the One who died and rose again to give life to all who would believe. It is the same message and the same task that all believers have been given. Jesus truly is someone very special!

**Read through the Life of Christ in 2019 by following along with Shaped by the Word. Just subscribe to this page and be sure to read along every day!

The Temptation of Jesus

matthew 42–3 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Matthew 4:1–11 (ESV)

1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written,

“ ‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”

5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple 6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,

“ ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’

and

“ ‘On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.’ ”

7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ” 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written,

“ ‘You shall worship the Lord your God
and him only shall you serve.’ ”

11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.

Parallel Texts: Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13

Understanding and Applying the Word

After Jesus was baptized and anointed by the Holy Spirit, we read that he was lead into the wilderness (i.e. desert) where he was tempted by the devil. He was in the wilderness for forty days and was fasting during his time there. It was after forty days, when he was hungry, that Satan came to him to tempt him.

Jesus’ temptation reminds us of another temptation in the Bible, that of Adam and Eve, the first man and woman. In Genesis 3, Satan temps the first humans in the garden of Eden and they fall into sin. Jesus, the Savior of mankind, is also tempted, but resists the devil and proves that he is worthy to be a sacrifice for the sins of humanity. Jesus, the second Adam, did what we could not. He lived a perfect, sinless life. Adam’s sin brought condemnation and death into the world. Jesus’ obedience and death brought life and hope (1 Corinthians 15:21-22). Let us praise our Savior, who was tempted in every way, but remained sinless for us (Hebrews 4:15).

**Read through the Life of Christ in 2019 by following along with Shaped by the Word. Just subscribe to this page and be sure to read along every day!

The Baptism of Jesus

john 129 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

John 1:29–34 (ESV)

29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”

Parallel Texts: Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22

Understanding and Applying the Word

As John the Baptist fulfills his role as the one who would prepare the way for the coming Messiah, Jesus shows up to be baptized by John. John tells us that when he baptized Jesus, he saw the Spirit descend upon Jesus and remain on him. God had previously revealed to John that this would be a sign of who was the chosen one of God. In the parallel texts, a voice from heaven calls out, “This is my Son with whom I am well pleased.” So John now bears witness that Jesus is the Son of God.

As Jesus approaches, John refers to him as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” This is an amazing statement that connects Jesus to the Old Testament Passover. When God brought the people out of Egypt, he commanded that the people slaughter a lamb and put its blood on their doorposts. When they did this, they would be safe from the angel that had been sent to kill the firstborn of every family. The blood of the lamb would protect them from the judgment of God. As the Lamb of God, Jesus is our Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7). When we trust in him, his blood is applied to us and protects us from God’s judgment on the world for sin. He takes away our sin and gives us life through his sacrifice for us. What a great Savior!

**Read through the Life of Christ in 2019 by following along with Shaped by the Word. Just subscribe to this page and be sure to read along every day!