Daily Devotion for May 12, 2022
From left to right, Luke, Matthew, Mark, and John.
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.
The second verse of this hymn is one of the most wonderful prayers in the English language. Sing along!
with heart and hands and voices,
who wondrous things has done,
in whom this world rejoices;
who from our mothers' arms
has blessed us on our way
with countless gifts of love,
and still is ours today.
2. O may this bounteous God
through all our life be near us,
with ever joyful hearts
and blessed peace to cheer us;
and keep us still in grace,
and guide us when perplexed;
and free us from all ills,
in this world and the next.
3. All praise and thanks to God
the Father now be given;
the Son, and him who reigns
with them in highest heaven;
the one eternal God,
whom earth and heaven adore;
for thus it was, is now,
and shall be evermore.
Music by Johann Crüger (1647)
Lyrics by Martin Rinkart (1663), tr. Catherine Winkworth (1858)
Prayer for the Morning
May all I do today begin with you, O Lord. Plant dreams and hopes within my soul and revive my tired spirit: be with me today. Be at my side and walk with me; be my support, that your hand may be seen in every action I take, that your goodness may be in every word I speak, and that your spirit may inhabit my every thought. Make my thoughts, my work, and my very life blessings for your kingdom. In Christ’s name I pray,
For Protection of Body and Soul
Heavenly Father, I give you thanks for the protection you give me. You protect my body from the mighty forces of the universe that would kill me in an instant, with your good earth you have freely given me. You sustain my life with air, food, water, the shining sun and the gentle rain, the rich earth that grows my food. You protect my body from disease and trauma by the miracle of healing and the wonders of science.
Most of all, I thank you for preserving me from evil, the preservation of my soul; for the enemies of my soul abound on this earth, and often, I would do the damage myself. I pray that I have wisdom sufficient to allow you to do your will, and enter me, and protect my soul from dangers within and without by your infinite power. Let me put on your armor every day, and with your help and the forgiving grace of my savior, Jesus Christ, be kept pure, so that I may one day come before you in perfect joy.
In the name of the same Jesus Christ, I pray,
“Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.”
~ 1 Peter 2:11
Oh God who has made me, oh God who keeps me, oh God who will be my Lord through all eternity, shine down Your blessings and wisdom upon me like the sun upon a field; and may I keep You in the forefront of my every thought and deed, throughout this day, and evermore.
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.
Who Will We Imitate?
“We are most like beasts when we kill, most like men when we judge, most like God when we forgive.”
~ William A. Ward
Matthew 15:29-39 (J.B. Phillips NT)
Jesus Heals Crowds and Feeds 4,000
esus left there, walked along the shore of the lake of Galilee, then climbed the hill and sat down. And great crowds came to him, bringing with them people who were lame, crippled, blind, dumb and many others. They simply put them down at his feet and he healed them. The result was that the people were astonished at seeing dumb men speak, crippled men healed, lame men walking about and blind men having recovered their sight. And they praised the God of Israel.
But Jesus quietly called his disciples to him. “My heart goes out to this crowd,” he said. “They’ve stayed with me three days now and have no more food. I don’t want to send them home without anything or they will collapse on the way.”
“Where could we find enough food to feed such a crowd in this deserted spot?” said the disciples.
“How many loaves have you?” asked Jesus. “Seven, and a few small fish,” they replied.
Then Jesus told the crowd to sit down comfortably on the ground. And when he had taken the seven loaves and the fish into his hands, he broke them with a prayer of thanksgiving and gave them to the disciples to pass on to the people. Everybody ate and was satisfied, and they picked up seven baskets full of the pieces left over. Those who ate numbered four thousand men apart from women and children. Then Jesus sent the crowds home, boarded the boat and arrived at the district of Magadan.
Notes on the Scripture
Think back to the first time we saw Jesus climbing onto a hill by Lake Galilee; it was in Chapter 5, the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount. There, we were treated to three full chapters of discourse. (If you have a red letter Bible, notice that Chapters 5-7 are solid red, except for the first and last sentences. If you don't have one and want to see this, here you go!)
More than two years have passed since then. The Biblical narrative of those years is sporadic. In fact, by combining the timelines of the four Gospels, we can tell that roughly six months have passed since Jesus healed the Canaanite woman’s daughter in the preceding verse! We can see, however, how Jesus’ ministry has matured by comparing these verses to Chapter 5.
In today’s lesson, Matthew describes Christ’s love, exhibited in physical action. Christ heals countless severely disabled among the faithful. After three days of solid work, He realizes that they are hungry and will be distressed when the meeting is over, and so He performs the second miracle of feeding.
Matthew, a careful taker of notes when Christ taught, records no discourse during the event. Christ has taught — often sternly — but now, there are a cadre of believers who have already heard and accepted his teachings. Then was the time for teaching; now is the time for those who have heard and accepted the teaching to reap a benefit.
One can see a very broad lesson by stepping back to “see the big picture.” Christ teaches; those who have learned his teaching are now able to accept his love. As He promises in John 14:23, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” So in today’s passage, He demonstrates the second part of his promise.
We have mentioned several times that Christ’s miracles, during his life, were most often signs to the faithful. It doesn’t seem that they were generally performed to convince people to follow him but as signs of his divinity for those who had already taken him into their hearts. (In fact, He says that He did little healing in Nazareth because of the lack of believers. Mark 6:5) They were a physical demonstration of the power of his love for those who would follow him; ultimately, He will show his power over death itself by his greatest sign, the Resurrection.
The miracles of physical healing He performed here and throughout his short ministry were preliminary or temporary in nature, for it was not the physical body God sent Christ to perfect. He will show a degree of disregard for earthly existence by giving his own body over to torture and execution. Healing bodies and minds is, one might say, the warm-up act, for He has something infinitely more important to give us: the healing of our very souls, which will give us eternal life.
Matthew does continue with discourse over the next few chapters, but nevertheless, we can follow the specific pattern of Christ’s teaching by the general pattern of Matthew: Teaching, believing, repentance, obedience, love, salvation.