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Friday, June 30, 2017

The Activator

When Jesus returned to Capernaum, a Roman officer came and pleaded with him, “Lord, my young servant lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain.” Jesus said, “I will come and heal him.” But the officer said, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come into my home. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed. I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come. And if I say to my slaves, ‘Do this,’ they do it.” When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to those who were following him, he said, “I tell you the truth, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel! And I tell you this, that many Gentiles will come from all over the world—from east and west—and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven. But many Israelites—those for whom the Kingdom was prepared—will be thrown into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Then Jesus said to the Roman officer, “Go back home. Because you believed, it has happened.” And the young servant was healed that same hour. 
Matthew‬ ‭8:5-13‬ ‭NLT‬‬  http://bible.com/116/mat.8.5-13.nlt

Jesus left that part of the country and returned with his disciples to Nazareth, his hometown. The next Sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. They asked, “Where did he get all this wisdom and the power to perform such miracles?” Then they scoffed, “He’s just a carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon. And his sisters live right here among us.” They were deeply offended and refused to believe in him. Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family.” And because of their unbelief, he couldn’t do any miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their unbelief. Then Jesus went from village to village, teaching the people.  

Mark‬ ‭6:1-6‬ ‭NLT‬‬ http://bible.com/116/mrk.6.1-6.nlt
There is one word that is often used in the Gospels to describe people's reactions to Jesus' teachings and miracles: AMAZED. He had a way of making folks stop in their tracks and be utterly and totally amazed. And rightly so.

But what amazed Jesus? Was it the Pharisees' appearance to follow the law? Was it the disciples' ability? (This is almost laughable!) Nope and nope. What amazed Jesus is this: FAITH. Both the presence of it and the absence of it. He was amazed when the Roman officer believed that Jesus didn't even have to be present for a miracle to take place. Just a word from the Savior's mouth would do. But Jesus also marveled over UNBELIEF. The people in His hometown had plenty of it. And because of it, Jesus' hands were tied, so to speak, to do any miracles except a few here and there. 

It would seem then that FAITH was the activator. With it, we see Jesus in action. Without it, we see Him stopped. He never pushed Himself on anyone or any town, but He also didn't hold out on anyone that needed Him and asked for help. He made Himself available to all who believed.

When God looks at you, He is not looking to see how good you are. What He is looking for is the same thing He was looking for in the folks He met while on earth: FAITH. He is looking to see if you will simply believe Him when He says He loves you and wants to heal you and save you. He is looking to see if you will just take Him at His Word. 

Revelation 3:20 says: "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” http://bible.com/111/rev.3.20.niv

What is it that opens the door to Jesus? What is the activator in our relationship with Him? What gets us closer to God? Our good deeds? Our efforts to impress Him with how religious we can be? No. What opens the door is the same thing that opened the door 2,000 years ago when Jesus walked the earth and touched multitudes of people. FAITH. And that is something that continues to catch His attention!

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