Today’s Scripture – August 13, 2016

Matthew 4:23-25 (NIV) Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.  News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them.  Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.

The core of Jesus’ message was always the good news of the Kingdom of God.  When He taught, He taught the good news that the inauguration of the kingdom was happening even then.  When He preached, He preached about the reality of God’s kingdom, and invited people to enter in and participate in that reality.

Even His healing ministry was all about God’s kingdom.  When He spoke a word of healing or touched a body and drove out infirmity and disease, it was a tangible sign that the power and wholeness of God’s kingdom was reaching in and displacing the brokenness of sin and death in the world.  When demons were disabled and cast out, it was a sign to everyone that the spiritual balance of power was shifting – that God, through Jesus the Messiah, was actively taking back ground that had been surrendered by mankind to the enemy.

Just as physical light in a dark cavern draws people in from the darkness, so the light of God’s kingdom that was present in Jesus drew people out of the darkness from miles around.  They brought family and friends to be delivered, and Jesus never failed them, because the power of the kingdom in which Jesus operated was and is omnipotent and eternal.

Father, here is another area that we, as Your people, need to become more like Jesus.  His message was laser-focused on the here and now reality of Your kingdom, and His every action supported that message.  We, on the other hand, tend to have a much less focused message, which we struggle to make “relevant.”  Jesus’ powerful unity with You channeled all of the power of Your kingdom into the lives of these who came to You.  We don’t usually think in terms of our being united with You like that, but instead emphasize a “connection” with You, a connection which varies in its solidness and reliability, and makes us unreliable as a channel of Your power.

Father, create in us a laser-like focus on Your kingdom.  Help us to be one with You, just as Jesus was, and just as He prayed for us to have (John 17:21-23), so that Your power can flow in us and through us, into the dark and hopeless lives all around us.  Amen.

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