Daily Discipline #122
By Colleen Donahue
For two studies we have been criss-crossing our way through the stories and events that Jesus was involved with. Each person that He helped and guided brought a fresh opportunity to teach, not only by his words but by his actions. We saw Christ's skillful use of questions, and his patience in getting to the real cause of a problem. There was no single method that He used for helping people. Each person was an individual and he treated them as a unique soul.
Now, in the third study of this series we want to read these stories again. But this time let's notice the response of the healed person or the other people that were around. This is important because whatever Jesus said or did man was always divided in their response to him. If the Son of God received such reaction to truth and good works can we as his servants expect any less? Lets look at....
Jesus Teaches By Example and the Responses of Those Involved -- Part 3
Man's Response to Christ and What We Can Learn From Them
Let's start with those responses that were right and pleasing to God:
Day 1-When Jesus healed two blind men by the roadside they received their sight and followed him.
Bartimaeus did the same
Another blind beggar not only followed Jesus but praised God. What did this lead to?
Day 2- In Mark 10:52 and Luke 18:42 we read a startling phrase spoken by Christ. He said "Your faith has healed you." In this short phrase we learn God's response to man's faith. The blind men in calling Jesus "the Son of David" were expressing their belief that He was the Messiah but they were thinking of messiahship in an earthly sense of kingdom and power. Their belief was only partly correct and yet they acted on what they knew. This is the essence of faith - that we take action on what we know to be true. If we don't act on what we know and believe, what can be said about our faith?
Day 3-In Christ's first miracle at the Wedding Feast of Cana, the disciples watched as they saw great jars filled with water and then served out as the finest of wine. How did this miracle affect His disciples?
When you think about this story (John 2:1-10) only Christ's mother, the disciples and the servants knew what had really happened. I think this miracle was especially for the disciples. They had been following Christ for a little while and yet still half wondering who He was. This shows us one of the reasons for miracles or good works. They can be used to prove and testify to Jesus Christ as the Son of God and thus lead men to true faith in God.
Day 4- In the story of the royal official begging Jesus to come and heal his son, we see someone in desperation. There is no sense of great faith. Rather, here in Jesus was a last resort effort. Jesus is not pleased with this approach but helps the man anyway. Now notice what the official does when Christ tells him he can go because his son will live.
Here's a man that isn't even sure that Jesus Christ can help but decides to take Jesus at His word. It is "while he was till on the way...." -- while he was acting on Christ's word to him that the miracle happened. This story is important for all who aren't sure about Christ but are willing to take him at his word and act because he said so.
2 Corinthians 1:20 / Hebrews 10:23
Day 5- Often what makes a miracle a miracle is the timing of it. When the royal official realized that his son's healing took place at the EXACT moment Jesus told him "Your son will live, " what was his response and that of his whole household?
When we see Jesus act on our behalf in day to day events it should result in belief or belief strengthened.
Day 6- In reading and rereading the miracles that Christ performed, the wonder and astonishment of them may not have impacted us as it did all those people that were right there with him as first hand witnesses. What was their response to the amazing healings they were seeing?
Mark 7:37 / Matthew 15:31
Praise is man's heartfelt song back to God and it is music to God's ears. When God touches our lives and hearts it becomes our worship back to him and our testimony to other men.
Luke 2:20 / Luke 19:37
Day 7- The response in this story was a pleasure to Jesus. He had tested a Greek woman and she had responded correctly.
Mark 7: 24-29
The woman knew that even though she wasn't born a Jew, that she could still feed on their blessings and be a part of God's good work. Thus Jesus healed her daughter.
Day 8- Jesus was not trying to be mean to the Greek woman in Mark 7. He had real love for her in wanting to strengthen and draw out the faith that was inside of her. Character building is the main reason we are tested.
Job 23:10 / Hebrews 12:11 / James 1:3-4
Our response to trials can be our key to unleashing the blessings we seek for, as was the case for this Greek woman who saw her daughter healed.
Day 9- You can imagine the amazement of a Jewish crowd in the synagogue when they saw and heard Jesus addressing a demon that possessed a man. What response did it produce in the crowd witnessing this?
Mark 1:27-28 / Luke 4:36-37
Asking questions can be a first step in a man or woman coming to their own decisions about the truth and reality of Jesus. Asking questions gets people thinking again and out of their complacency.
Day 10- When Simon's mother-in-law was healed what did she do?
In this one seemingly small, personal story we learn a very important truth. When God works on our behalf we are meant to use his blessing for others. Just as she was healed to serve so our whole life is to be one of service. As we serve one another all needs will be cared for.
Matthew 20:28 / Hebrews 10:24 / Hebrews 13:16 / James 2:17-18
Day 11- This man typifies many of us when God does something big in our life through a particular ministry. We are excited and moved to leave all of our life behind and join in the ministry instrumental in our blessing. Imagine this man's disappointment at Christ's instructions to him.
He wanted to stand up with Jesus in the crowds as an example for all men to see. Going home to testify to his family and neighbors was certainly a "let down". But-- and here is the important part -- this young man obeyed Christ's directions and what happened?
Mark 5:20 / Luke 8: 39
(Notice in Luke's account we are not told anything about the results -- only that the man went all over town telling what Jesus had done. In this very local example, we must see that our place is to obey God in the place He has put us. It is God's responsibility to produce results.
Day 12- The man in this story typifies many of us. We come to Jesus and say something similar to what he said.....
We aren't sure anything can be done but there's no harm in asking. Jesus addressed this very pointedly. There are no "ifs" in a believer's life. What is possible to those who believe?
Day 13- No sooner had Jesus spoke these words than the man realized his doubting condition and did two things that set a principle for us today.
First, he proclaimed what he wanted and knew to be true even BEFORE he was totally changed in his life. (Remember that he spoke these bold words only seconds after he said "if you can do anything." )
Second, with Christ's statement he could see his doubt and unbelief and he prayed for help.
We are to confess boldly what we know is true (yes, even if we don't see it or feel it) and then we will be saved or delivered or changed.
By speaking out what is true even before we can see it with our eyes, we unleash the power of God to do his work in our lives.
And so Christ's miracle to help this man's son was the immediate answer to his prayer concerning his unbelief. Christ had to prove to him without doubt that he could do anything -- even heal his son.
Day 14- The principle expressed in Mark 9 is so important to our lives. Let me give you a very practical example. Let's say you struggle with the sin of impatience. No one does anything fast enough or good enough to suit you and you are often either seething inside or letting angry words fly. You have come to hate your reaction but it seems to happen before you can do anything to stop it. What do you do first?
Romans 6: 6-7
First, you speak out what is true (this verse in Romans is one to memorize!) What is true?
A. Our old sinful self was crucified with Christ when he died on the cross (Romans 6:6a)
B. Because our old self is dead we are no longer a slave to any sin and therefore we can choose to do the right thing. (Romans 6:6b)
C. We have been freed from that sin (Romans 6:7)
Second, before we even see any results we act and do the following.....
A. Consider ourselves free from the sin (Roman 6:11)
B. Use our will and "do not let sin reign" by using our body to obey its lusts. ( Romans 6:12-13a)
In our example we refuse to let our mouth utter angry words and we refuse to let anger seethe in our hearts. How?
C. We offer ourselves to God -- our mouth and impatient heart -- and ask him to use our mouth and heart for his purposes instead.
And will we be victorious? Absolutely. Why? -- Romans 6:14
Day 15- Perhaps the greatest response to Christ recorded was expressed by a Centurion or Roman soldier that was working in the occupied country of Palestine. Here he have an officer in the army deeply concerned for his servant (or slave)! Is there any wonder at Christ's response to this man's request for help?
This Roman officer could easily have lorded his authority over Christ - the Jewish citizen. But, he had been watching Christ and listening to him. He had discerned that here in this man was a power greater than his own and he was not too proud to humble himself before Christ. By the words he speaks we can also see that he was in no doubt that Christ could heal his servant AND do it from a distance!
Matthew 8: 8-9
How does Jesus respond to him?
Jesus indeed just had to "say the word" and all happened just as the man believed. The soldier needed no great explanation, no ceremony, no special instruction -- he just needed Christ's word. That is what we need today as well. Are you willing to act on that word as this soldier did?
Day 16- When the dead son was raised to life and given back to his widowed mother, the people were filled with awe and praised God.
Who did they feel that Jesus must be?
Notice that they were partly wrong and partly right. Jesus was not just a prophet. He was a great deal more. He was the Son of God. But they were exactly right in determining that "God had come to help his people." All through the centuries when people saw miracles they may not have concluded everything correctly but they could see that God had come to help. That is often the first step for a man or woman to see Christ as God's Son and Lord of their own life.
John 10: 25, 37-38 / John 14:11
In the next responses we'll see both good and bad reactions over the same incident.
Day 17- When Jesus fed thousands from the loaves and fishes, how did the people respond?
Matthew 14:20a /Matthew 15:37a / Mark 6:42 /Mark 8:8a / Luke 9:17a
When a person is physically satisfied they may become more open to truth and spiritual matters because their minds aren't occupied with just the basics of getting food, shelter and clothing. Notice that it was "when they all had enough to eat" that the people began to say.....
John 6: 12a, 14
But what went wrong?
We learn from this incident that whenever we decide to take matters into our own hands (even if we think it's for good) we drive Christ away. Christ can only be free to work through teachable, flexible hearts that are willing to do his will and not our own.
Day 18- When the crippled woman was straightened by the Lord on the Sabbath in the synagogue how did she respond?
Luke 13: 13b
How did the people respond?
How did the synagogue ruler react?
How did Christ respond?
Luke 13: 15-16
God's work will never be done by man's rules. Whenever men hold tightly to our own rules as this synagogue ruler did, they stop the flow of grace in their own lives and produce an atmosphere of legalism. What sin does Jesus charge this man with?
What makes this sin so insidious?
Day 19- How did some of the people react when Lazarus was raised from the dead?
John 11: 45b
What did some others do?
John 11: 46-48, 53
Raising Lazarus from the dead was perhaps Christ's greatest and most spectacular miracle. If any miracle should have produced wholesale belief this one should have. But men with a heart full of their own agenda will not be persuaded even if the Son of God himself appears and tell them plainly.
Luke 22:67 / John 3:11 / John 6: 64 / John 10:24-25
Day 20- Why is it that some men will never believe and put their trust in Jesus Christ?
What are the characteristics of "God's sheep" ? (i.e. those that believe, trust and rely on God).
John 10: 3-5 / John 10: 27-29 / Psalm 79:13
Let's look at some of the wrong responses to the things that Christ did so we don't repeat them.
Day 21- Some responded by doing the opposite of what Christ said to do. Instead of keeping their healing private they spread the news which jeopardized Christ's work in the area.
Mark 9:30-31 / Mark 7:36
If we are just out to get from Jesus our needs met we may well respond in the same way. But when we truly love God what will we do?
Day 22- The crowds were amazed when Jesus drove out demons. But then some of them immediately judged that Jesus did it in league with the devil.
Matthew 9: 33-34 / Luke 11: 14b-15
When we make a false judgment about something we don't understand, we display our conceit and ignorance. What results from this?
1 Timothy 6:4
Day 23- The disciples who should have known more about Jesus than anyone else, were totally amazed when Jesus calmed the winds and the waves. What did they wonder about Jesus?
Matthew 8: 27
It's not wrong to ask questions. But, when you've seen miracle after miracle, heard the explanations of truth from Christ's own lips, and still ask the same questions you walk the road of doubt and unbelief.
What results from this?
Day 24- The disciples responded with disappointment and bewilderment when they couldn't help a boy with seizures. Their pride had been wounded in their public failure to heal the boy. What was their problem?
What is faith?
How do we get it?
How do we express our faith, strengthen it, and keep it alive?
Day 25- When Jesus drove a legion of demons from two demon possessed men, the whole town responded to it. What did they ask Christ to do?
Matthew 8:34 / Luke 8:37
Why did the town respond in this way?
A wonderful miracle had happened but instead of seeing God's glory in it they only saw that there ordinary, predictable lives had been upset and they wanted things back to normal. What happens when we don't see God at work in our day to day lives?
Finally, we look at the responses of the Pharisees. Steeped in their religious rules and regulations, they could not see how God (that they thought they knew) could allow any man to be helped on the Sabbath AND in the synagogue!
Day 26- Why were the chief priests and teachers so indignant at this temple scene?
Just a little while earlier these same leaders had allowed a robust commerce center to be set up in the temple.
Matthew 21: 12-13
These leaders had a regulated operation going at the temple and did not appreciate all the "down and outers" getting help nor did they appreciate the children shouting. The most irritating to them were the children's praise of Christ as the "Son of David." What could be said of these leaders?
Day 27- When the crippled man obeyed Jesus's command on the Sabbath to pick up his mat and walk, the Jewish leaders confronted the healed man for carrying his mat!
John 5: 8-15
They were so steeped in their petty rules they had missed the miracle that the man was now walking! Legalism had blinded them to God's higher law of love.
Mark 2:27-28 / Luke 13: 14-17
Day 28- When Jesus wanted to heal a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath, what was the reaction of the Pharisees?
Mark 3: 4, 6
What deeply distressed Jesus about these men?
How does a man's heart become hard?
1 Samuel 8:19 / 2 Chronicles 24:19 / Jeremiah 44:16
Refusing to listen to God then leads to a willful stubbornness.
Jeremiah 32:33 / Zechariah 7:11
And finally what results?
If we become hard hearted, stubborn, and rebellious, how does this effect the heart of God and his actions towards us?
Exodus 33:3,5 / Isaiah 63:10
Day 29- Jesus, again tested the Pharisees by getting their reaction before healing a man with dropsy. What was it?
Luke 14: 3-6
Silence could be the only reaction of these hard hearted men confronted by the goodness of God.
Psalm 107:42 / Ezekiel 16:63 / Acts 4:14 / Titus 2:8 / 1 Peter 2:15
Day 30- This incident reveals further the hearts and minds of hard hearted men. When our hearts don't want to believe truth, then our minds become set against it no matter what the evidence.
Jesus had been walking along when He saw a man that had been born blind from his birth and healed him.
You see first that Christ's critics tried to discredit the miracle to the blind man. But they couldn't really agree on this.
John 9: 8-9
Then they tried to discredit Christ, but couldn't agree on that either.
They next decided to interview the healed man. But, they didn't believe him and so called his parents to be questioned.
John 9: 17-18
When the parents were interviewed, they could see that their answers might put them under persecution and so they directed their interrogators back to their son.
In calling back the blind man for questioning, they then tried to defame Christ with authority so that the healed man would agree with them.
John 9: 24
Finally, when the healed man wouldn't agree with them they resorted to verbal attack and insult.
John 9: 28-29, 34
The Correct Response To Christ
Day 31- The man born blind is an example to all of us that our born in sin and spiritually blind. At some point along the road we are met by Christ who touches our life so that our eyes are open and we can see -- or wake up spiritually.
John 9: 1-7
We see the man's first response to Christ is obedience.
John 9: 7
Our obedience to Christ's simple directives will always be the key to change and healing. Christ changes every life radically and people will say you aren't the same person. What did this man say in response?
When asked how his eyes were opened notice the simple straight forward answer given twice to the questionings.
John 9: 11-12 , 15
When asked "What have you to say about Jesus?" , notice the man's confident answer.
John 9: 17
He didn't have the whole truth yet about Christ but in what he knew he was confident.
Despite his simple testimony people still didn't believe him and kept challenging him with questions. But, he didn't change his story and he kept his testimony simple and to the point.
Then he "turned the tables" and challenged them with a question which enraged them and prompted insults and accusations.
But this fearless man astonished them with a simple confession of faith. He believed what he had seen, heard and experienced and therefore he could testify with confidence to Christ being from God.
John 9: 30-33
Men that refuse to believe in God will persist in that lie no matter how much truth they hear. We must be ready for the persecution that is bound to come in some form.
John 9: 34
Finally, we answer to Christ even if men won't listen. Notice that Christ heard what happened to the man and sought him out. When we act on the truth that we know Christ comes and gives us more truth and revelation. This man's simple response is exactly what ours should be.
John 9: 35-38
And what about our persecutors? We are to leave them with Christ. He is the judge of every man and will bring about justice. Our part is only to testify simply and truthfully to what Christ has done for us.
John 9: 39-41
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