Daily Devotion for April 23, 2016
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Saturday is “Oldies Day”, and I bet a fair number of people will remember these boys.
the emblem of suffering and shame;
and I love that old cross where the dearest and best
for a world of lost sinners was slain.
So I'll cherish the old rugged cross,
till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
and exchange it some day for a crown.
O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
has a wondrous attraction for me;
for the dear Lamb of God left his glory above
to bear it to dark Calvary.
In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
a wondrous beauty I see,
for 'twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
to pardon and sanctify me.
To that old rugged cross I will ever be true,
its shame and reproach gladly bear;
then he'll call me some day to my home far away,
where his glory forever I'll share.
Music and Lyrics by George Bennard, 1910
Prayer for the Day
Holy God, you have given me another day. Bring your Holy Spirit into my mind and my life, so that I may walk this day in your presence. Let me feel your presence throughout the day, remembering always that you sent your Spirit that you might be a living force in all I see and all I do. When I feel temptation or begin to stray, show me your path. Correct me, comfort me, let me live your will; that I may be happy in this life and blessed in the life to come. This I pray in the name of Christ, my Lord.
Prayer for Physical Renewal
Lord, I come before you today in need of your healing hand. In you all things are possible. Hold my heart within yours, and renew my mind, body, and soul.
I am lost, but I am singing. You gave me life, and you also give me the gift of infinite joy. Give me the strength to move forward on the path you've laid out for me. Guide me towards better health, and give me the wisdom to identify those you've placed around me to help me get better. In your name I pray,
[Fellowship means among other things that we are ready to receive of Christ from others.]
Now to him who by his power within us is able to do far more than we ever dare to ask or imagine — to him be glory in the Church through Jesus Christ for ever and ever,
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
The Year’s At The Spring
And day’s at the morn;
Morning’s at seven;
The hill-side’s dew-pearled;
The lark’s on the wing;
The snail’s on the thorn;
God’s in his Heaven —
All’s right with the world!
~ Robert Browning
Matthew 4:23-25 (ESV)
Jesus Ministers to Great Crowds
And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them.
And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.
Notes on the Scripture
Matthew's great strength lay in recording Jesus' words. Without him, we would live in a different world, for a majority of Jesus' teachings would be lost, especially his direct instructions on how we should live. But as a history of the life of Jesus, it lacks some of the details of the other gospels.
In today's lesson, we are given no details at all. The passage must cover a goodly period of time and distance, for enough time passed that word of Christ spread at least as far south as Jerusalem, east into the Greek cities on the other side of the Jordan (the “Decapolis”), and north into Syria, and allowed people from there to travel to Galilee. (See Map.) This would have taken time in an era when both travel and communications were primitive.
hree activities are named. First, Jesus taught in synagogues. These were numerous, for it took only ten Jewish men to form a synagogue. Sacrifices were made only at the Temple in Jerusalem, so synagogues were strictly educational in nature. They were almost like Quaker meeting-houses, for there was no designated preacher. At a meeting, a portion of the Torah would be read, prayers would be said, and one or more members of the congregation would teach. Learned visitors were most welcome to speak, since they would bring new knowledge and fresh viewpoints.
As we will see in later chapters, Jesus might have had a fresher viewpoint than most synagogues had counted on; he would, in fact, cause a furor with his revolutionary and even heretical teachings.
Secondly, he “proclaimed the gospel”. That is, he told them the good news, that the Kingdom of God had arrived. Whether he lay claim to divinity during this period, we do not know. But he surely attacked the Pharisees for their hypocrisy and laid the foundation that salvation would require a change within, not simply compliance with the law of Moses.
Third, he healed. Generally, healing by Christ and his apostles would occur only in a person who had faith in him and his word. This was not some reward, not a method to manipulate people into outward protestations of faith. It was rather a sign that Christ could remit sin, and not just personal sin, but the sin of Adam which had engendered all human misery.