Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Journey in Matthew 9, via my own heart

“Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.” (9:2, Jesus, to the paralytic man)

      I wonder what the paralytic man thought of that. Did he understand that Jesus was in that moment displaying Himself as The Son of God? Did the man know that this was his deepest need? Did he realize that he had just been given open access relationally to God in the flesh? He had just been invited into fellowship with the Holy One, God Himself! Did he even have a clue?
      I can picture myself as the paralytic man. In that moment, still lying on the mat, legs still unrenewed, completely unaware of the miracle taking place in the spirit, thinking “Dude, that’s nice…but are you gonna do something about my legs?”
      How would I respond if I was that man? Would I see the treasure of forgiveness for what it is? Would I be able to receive it? What are the things that I’m bringing before the Lord, asking Him to do for me, that may be stealing my focus from what He really wants to do in me?

“…that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins…” (9:6)

      I think I’ve typically read this like “that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins…”. The emphasis has been on the power. He does have power. And I do need a revelation of what that means. But in seeing His power in a different light, I think a foundational reality has somehow dimmed…that this power is unto the forgiveness of sins.
      Like a paralyzed man caring more about his legs than his soul, I come to the Lord longing for His hand in my life, yielding tangible change and “results”. I am all too aware of my weakness. I know I need forgiveness. I yearn to be washed of my sin. But is that longing for forgiveness unto restored relationship? Do I want to be free from sin so that I can engage my heart fully with the Holy Spirit? Or am I longing for an unburdened heart so that I can get on with my business more efficiently, unhindered by the consequences of sin? Am I seeking intimacy, or functionality?

“...a ruler came and worshipped Him, saying “My daughter has just died, 
but come and lay Your hand on her and she will live.” (9:18)

      In considering the story of the paralytic man, and my own tendency to seek Jesus’ power in my life for my own benefit, I am tempted to squelch that desire for evident power. Like some sort of twisted means to, by the flesh, force my flesh to submit to the Spirit. As though denying the evidence of power would somehow purify my desire for God, because I would be simply walking in the Spirit for Himself, without the possibility of my own benefit.
      But here, just a few verses later, my religious attempt at self-righteous purity of heart is exposed. Here, the ruler comes to Jesus, seeking the healing of His daughter. And this seeking, this asking for tangible power to be made manifest, is described as “{he} came and worshipped Him.”

Thursday, October 14, 2010


     Recently I was reading through Matthew Chapter 4, which tells of Jesus calling Simon Peter and Andrew, who were fisherman. He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” It reminded me of something the Lord spoke to my heart a couple weeks ago, and wanted to share it here with you as an encouragement.

     I was sitting by a quiet lake/pond (alone for the first time in many months!) just fellowshipping with the Lord. I was meditating on the life of Peter, and was especially pondering the time when the Lord appears to him by the sea after the resurrection (John 21, when Jesus tells them to cast the net on the right side of the boat, and they caught so many fish they couldn’t even draw in the net.)

     I hear a noise and look up to see a man several yards away, unfolding a chair and taking out a fishing pole. I think “Fancy that! A fisherman, just like Peter.” As the man prepares his hook and casts his line into the pond, the Lord drops the phrase into my heart

“One who casts a line is no less a fisherman than one who casts a net.”

     I won’t unpack all that the Lord spoke to me, but the main thing was this – in this season of my life, most of my time is spent on tasks that have direct impact on only a very small number of people. My husband, my children, some friends, and maybe a few strangers that the Lord puts in my path. There are no multitudes. But He calls me a fisher of men just the same as He calls the evangelist whose net is much wider. A fisherman is a fisherman because he is engaged in the task of catching fish. My line may only have room to catch one fish at a time. I may spend most of my energy trolling for the four little fish in my own pond (i.e. my children).

    But I am, indeed, a fisher of men. And if you know Jesus, He's called you just the same!  You don't have to wait for "someday" when you have an official ministry platform.  You have Good News, and the world needs it.  Don't disqualify yourself.  Just go fish!

Saturday, October 09, 2010


Remember my post "What does it mean to do all things to the glory of God?"

Go check out Matt's post "Is Excellence A Virtue?".

He is right on the mark, and his post has helped bring some context to my own struggle with the concept of "excellence", and how Christians should define or pursue it.