Proper 13b John 6 Are You A Belly Christian?
#DailyDevotion Jesus Is The Sun Of Righteousness. He Has Healing In His Wings.
Mark 6:53 When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored to the shore. 54 And when they got out of the boat, the people immediately recognized him 55 and ran about the whole region and began to bring the sick people on their beds to wherever they heard he was. 56 And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.
What is going on with the fridge of Jesus’ garment? You might remember in the previous chapter the woman with an issue of blood believed if she only touched the hem of his garment she would be healed. Now people are imploring Jesus that they may touch even the fringe of his garment to be healed as well. What is going on with that?
Num 15:38-40 ESV “Speak to the people of Israel, and tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a cord of blue on the tassel of each corner. (39) And it shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD, to do them, not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to whore after. (40) So you shall remember and do all my commandments, and be holy to your God.” Now the Hebrew word for tassel is tzitzit. From the site Jewish roots of Christianity they say, “The numerical value of the word tzitzit (fringes) is 600. Each of the fringes contains 8 threads and 5 knots, making a total of 613. This number corresponds to the 613 commandments contained in the Torah.” And also, “In making the fringes according to Sephardi (Middle Eastern) tradition, one winds a long blue thread around the other white threads and in between are special knots. The first segment below where it is tied on the garment (or prayer shall, called a tallit) has 10 winds (the number 10 = the letter “yod”) then a knot, then 5 winds (the number 5 = letter “hay”) then a knot, then 6 winds (the number 6 = the letter “vav”) and then a knot and then 5 winds again (another letter “hay:), then a final knot.” Those letters spell out God’s name YHWH.
Alright, so what? Well these tzitzit were worn at the corners of the garment and the corners in Hebrew is also kanaph. A tzitzit is a wing like projection according to Strong’s and kanaph is also translated as wings. It is written, Mal 4:2 “But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.” The tassels and corners of Jesus’ garment are his wings. A stretch? I don’t think so. If the tassels reminded Jews of the commands of God and they also represented God’s name as per tradition, then they would be reminded to fear the name of God looking at them. And Jesus is most certainly the Son of Righteousness. They believed Jesus is that Son of Righteousness and were looking to his wings to be healed.
So that people were healed touching the fringes tzitzit on the kanaph of his garment shows Jesus is the very Messiah of God and that we too can place our faith in him for our salvation and our healing on the Last Day when he returns and we come leaping out of the graves like calves from their stalls.
Gracious God and Father grant that we may touch the hem of Jesus’ garment by faith and be healed spiritually in our inner man to be fully healed on the day of his revelation. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
#DailyDevotion No One Can Confess Jesus Is YHWH Except By The Holy Spirit
Mark 6:48 And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, 50 for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” 51 And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, 52 for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.
Jesus walking on the water and the multiplying the loaves of bread are connected. The message of both is the same as seen in verse fifty-two. What is that message? That Jesus is YHWH, the LORD, God Almighty come in the flesh and visiting his people. Now disciples were rightly afraid because you don’t normally see people walking on water at night or day. They thought he was a ghost.
But Jesus of Nazareth, son of Mary, seed of David is the LORD of the Old Testament. It is written, Job 9:8 “who alone stretched out the heavens and trampled the waves of the sea;”
Psa 77:19 “Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters; yet your footprints were unseen.” Sir 24:4-5 [LXX] “I dwelt in high places, and my throne is in a cloudy pillar. (5) I alone compassed the circuit of heaven, and walked in the bottom of the deep.” It is the LORD who is talked about here. The LORD, YHWH, is ruler over the wind and the waves and all creation. When Paul says no one can say Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit he means no one can say Jesus is YHWH, the LORD, Jehovah. That is why the heretics are heretics. They cannot confess Jesus is YHWH, the LORD, Jehovah in the flesh, born of woman.
It was the LORD who fed the Israelites in the wilderness and it is the LORD who feeds the five thousand. It is the LORD who walks on and through the depths of the sea and it is the LORD who walks on the Sea of Galilee and gets into the boat into the boat with the disciples.
Now it is this LORD, who is Jesus, who says, “Have courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid” and gets in the boat. You see Jesus says the same thing to you and me. The Lord of the Old Testament in taking on human flesh has gotten into the same boat with you and me, i.e. the boat=humanity. It is written, Heb 2:14-15 “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, (15) and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery…17-18 “Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. (18) For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” And that is why we can have courage and not be afraid. In Jesus, the LORD is one of us, with us and for us.
Heavenly Father, grant us faith that we may confess Jesus is Lord to your glory and that we may take great comfort in that and not fear what may come our way but take courage knowing you are for us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
#DailyDevotion You Need To Pray
Mark 6:45 Immediately [Jesus] made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray.
Again we come up with the topic of prayer. My goodness, if the Lord and Creator of all takes time to pray, what should we poor fallen creatures do but pray all the more. The need is certainly greater on our end.
Luther writes: “I tell you the truth, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you.” Jn. 16:23 AAT In the second place, you must also consider the promise contained in Christ’s words: “Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask anything of the Father, He will give it to you in My name.” Lay hold of these words, and impress them on your heart. For you hear that Christ not only gives you the promise but also strengthens and confirms it with a twofold oath. He swears most solemnly: “Just believe Me. As surely as God lives, I will not lie to you.” Surely he Who wants to be a Christian should blush a bit and feel ashamed if he has never prayed from the heart after hearing these words. Is it not an everlasting disgrace before God and all the world that even though Christ must assure us with such a solemn oath, we still do not believe and are not finally impelled to begin to pray from the heart? After all, what are we going to say before God or in answer to our own conscience when we are asked: “Have you ever prayed the heavenly Father earnestly and with an undoubting heart that His name be hallowed? Do you not know how earnestly I have commanded this and how solemnly I have sworn that your prayer will surely be heard if only you pray from the heart?” I say that in all fairness we should blush with shame before ourselves and really fear God’s terrible judgment if we attach so little importance both to His command and to His solemn promise and allow them to fall on deaf ears. It will do no good to excuse yourself and say: “I really did not know whether I was worthy” or “I lacked the desire, and it was inconvenient for me” or “I had to attend to other business.”
Again Luther writes: “I tell you the truth, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you.” Jn. 16:23 AAT Cultivate the habit of falling asleep with the Lord’s Prayer on your lips every evening when you go to bed and again every morning when you get up. And if occasion, place, and time permit, pray before you do anything else. In this way you get ahead of the devil by surprise and without warning, whether you are ready or not, before he catches up with you and makes you wait. For it is better to pray now, when you are half-ready, than later, when you are not ready at all, and to begin to pray only to spite and vex the devil, even if you find it most difficult and inconvenient to do so. Do this also when the devil assails you and restrains you because of your unworthiness, when he asks you to wait until you have become more pious and purer. For if you do not want to begin until you become worthy, you will never pray. Therefore begin at once, even though you feel unworthy. Be courageous, and leap over both worthiness and unworthiness, even though you are steeped in sin.
Lord Jesus Christ, as you took time to pray, grant us faith and your Holy Spirit that we may believe your promises and come to the Father in prayer for all our needs of body and soul. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
#DailyDevotion Why Pray?
Eph. 3:20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Our Lord and God, The Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is almighty and powerful and we apparently have either perspective problems or we have a view of God problems. Paul says he is able to do far more abundantly than all we that we ask or think. So this is mostly a perspective problem. What do we bring to God in prayer? Now I’m not saying don’t bring God your piddlely stuff, or your medium problems or especially your big problems, because God cares for you and wants you to bring your cares to him. What I am saying is we don’t ask God probably for a lot of stuff we probably ought to ask him for.
What should we ask for that we don’t ask for? Well I’m in the same boat as you. I still have the sinful flesh that constrains the inner man more than I’d like to admit. But I’d think I’d focus more on things of how I live my life and letting God’s power work in and through me. Let me be less selfish and self-centered. Let me be more merciful and forgiving. Help me to be more self-controlled particularly with my emotions. Give me a great and better understanding of God in the Scriptures and his Christ. Longer prayers for the Church at home and in distant lands that the Gospel of Christ would take hold of men’s hearts. Perhaps we should ask for wisdom to ask for things he wants us to ask for because he is able to do more abundantly than all we ask or think.
Our other problem is we either think our problems are too small to bother God with, we’re to insignificant to think God cares about us or we don’t think God will do anything about our problems. But all of that is wrongful thinking. Your heavenly Father cares for you. You are not insignificant. He desires to make your body his temple. He sent his son to die for you. He counts the number of hairs on your head. He is never too busy for you. He cares everything about you. He will do something about whatever is causing you distress.
Now God is able to do all this according to the power working in us. That is the power of the Holy Spirit. Thank God he gives us the Holy Spirit. He is so important to our prayer life. Rom 8:26-27 “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. (27) And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” You see despite our great weakness in prayer, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us to the Father for the things we ought to pray for. He prays for us according to will of God. But not only is the Holy Spirit interceding for us. Paul says, Rom 8:34” …Christ Jesus…who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” You know if the Holy Spirit is interceding for us and Jesus is interceding for us, that makes two persons of the Holy Trinity, two persons who are God interceding for us to God the Father and you know their prayers are faithful, according to the will of God and not limited by our frail, fallen, human nature. They’re prayers for us are answered with yes, it will be so. That should encourage you to pray all the more.
Gracious God and Father, grant us faith and knowledge that we may pray for more than we can ask or imagine that your Son Jesus Christ may be glorified. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
#DailyDevotion Only In The Love Of Christ Can We Bear What God Intends To Give Us
Eph. 3:14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
When Paul writes this he is writing in Greek. Father is patera and family is patria. Well there’s your Greek lesson for today. Now Paul says, “for this reason.” What is that? The mystery of God, the Gospel, in Jesus the Jew and the Gentiles, the families of the earth have been saved.
Now according to the riches of his glory he prays you may be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being. This inner being is your new man, the new creation in Christ. He is in constant battle against the devil, the world and your own flesh. So we need to be strengthened by the Holy Spirit with power. The Holy Spirit enlivens you and empowers you to remember the good news of Jesus Christ and in that are we strengthened.
Through Faith, Christ comes and dwells in our hearts. Our bodies are the temples of God, temples not made with human hands. Jesus is always with us. His Spirit, his power, his name rests upon us and in us. If you want to get a good understanding of what you are, you should read the description of the Tabernacle in Exodus or the Temple in 1 Kings. As beautiful and wonderful the Tabernacle and the Temple were, they pale in comparison to you.
Our hearts then are rooted and grounded in love. God is love. It is him you are rooted and grounded in. Jesus is God and Jesus is the love of God. Looking to Jesus and seeing and understanding what God has done for us in Christ Jesus with our salvation, his innocent, suffering and death, it is that which gives us strength to comprehend the breadth, length, height and depth and know the love of Christ that surpasses human knowledge and wisdom to the purpose you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
You see as God’s temple, he intends to fill you with his fullness but this is no light thing. For St. Paul in 2 Cor. 4 tells us the sufferings, trials, tribulations and troubles are preparing us to bear the weight of eternal glory. Or as St. Peter also tells us in his second epistle, through the promises we participate in the divine nature. Only rooted in the love of Christ can we bear such a thing. It is too much for us in our fallen nature. But by God’s grace in Christ, through faith in God’s love for us in Christ, we are prepared to the temple of God who were once objects of his wrath.
Gracious God and Father, continually build us up in the love of Christ that we may prepared to be your temples, bear the weight of eternal glory, participate in your divine nature and be filled with your fullness at Christ’s revelation. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
#DailyDevotion God Has Had Mercy On Us. Don’t Miss The Boat!
Gen. 9:12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: 13 I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16 When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” 17 God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”
Many people see the wrath of God, ONLY, in the account of the flood. Such people are generally the same people that would have been taken away in the flood. They hate God. They hate God’s ways. The flood is a reminder to them of their coming judgment in fire. So it’s no wonder they only look at this text and see God’s wrath. Why even a certain segment of this generation have turned the sign of God’s covenant into a symbol of their sin.
Yet we who confess our sinfulness and look to God for mercy in Christ Jesus see a merciful and kind God in the flood account. If it were not for the mercies of God there would be no human race. The Lord could have wiped all of us out and started over new with something completely different. But the Lord has had mercy on mankind. He said he would back in the Garden when we first rebelled against the Lord. He promised a savior for us way back then. So the Lord keeps his promise made there by preserving a remnant, eight souls in all and even saves the animal kingdom through his servant Noah.
The memory of the flood hangs deep in our collective memory. The fear raised by storm clouds still is raised in our hearts as we see the clouds gather. Across the world there are stories in many, many cultures concerning the world wide flood that wiped everything out. Because they did not stay with the Lord after the flood, many of these accounts are not consistent with the biblical account, nevertheless they bear witness to it. So we may fear the Lord made a covenant with this world and all who dwell in it. Never again will the destroy everything and everyone with a flood. When you see the rainbow in the clouds, you can know God remembers his promise.
The world as we know it is also going to come to an end. Not by a flood but by fire. Like in the days of Noah, mankind continues to rebel against him and even invents new ways of doing evil. The hearts of men are growing cold towards each other. Now the Lord has provided a New Ark to save mankind from the coming wrath. This Ark is the Church. The Lord has given us a sign, himself, in the flesh lifted high upon the cross as the way to escape the coming wrath. For the Lord does not wish to punish man. He does not want to send them away into the Lake of Fire. So he has provided a way out, faith in Jesus and the Church. Now through the waters of baptism and faith in Christ Jesus we enter the ark of the Church. Don’t be like those in Noah’s day who ignored his preaching. Repent of your sins, trust in Christ and be baptized into his name.
Heavenly Father, your mercies and grace are beyond comprehension. Grant us repentance and faith that we may enter the ark of the Church and survive the coming judgment. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Proper 12 b Mark 6:45ff Jesus Is YHWH In The Flesh
#DailyDevotion Jesus Is The Shepherd Of Israel, The Seed Of David
Mark 6:34 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things. 35 And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. 36 Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” 37 But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.”
So it is difficult to read this text without thinking about Ezekiel. There the Lord said: Eze 34:5 So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts. My sheep were scattered;…11-15 “For thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. (12) As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. (13) And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country. (14) I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. (15) I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord GOD… 23-24 ESV And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. (24) And I, the LORD, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them. I am the LORD; I have spoken.
So Jesus looks over this vast crowd and remembers his promise he made to Ezekiel and the people of Judah and Israel. The people were without proper shepherds. They did not teach the people as the Lord wanted them taught. So the people flocked to Jesus, the Lord. Here we see Jesus, who is the Lord who spoke to Ezekiel, take up his role as Shepherd to his people.
We should note, Jesus feeds them first with the Word and then he takes care of their physical needs. Jesus had done the same with the paralytic lowered through the roof. First he forgave him of his sins, then he healed his body. We might take note in the Lord’s Prayer we ask the Father to take care of our spiritual needs first and then we go on to our worldly needs. Jesus is the Lord who has come to shepherd his people.
Jesus also is the Lord’s servant David. Of the seed of David, the Lord of Israel joins himself and makes himself both Lord and God of Israel. Jesus, ascended to the right hand of God in the flesh, the one who is both man and God, is made prince among them.
While Jesus does feed us with his word, his body and his blood in the world, there is yet another feeding coming. As easily as he multiplied the bread and fish, our Lord Jesus Christ is returning one day to celebrate his marriage feast with the Church. He is restoring all things in the New Heavens and New Earth where we all will have our land, country and be fed on the good pastures and mountains and he will give us rest. Come Lord Jesus.
Heavenly Father, you sent your only begotten Son, the Lord of Israel, to take on human flesh, the seed of David, to fulfill your promises spoken to the prophet Ezekiel. Ever keep us in the faith and shepherd us so we may rejoice in his pastures as his return. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
#DailyDevotion The Lord Gives You Rest In Himself And His Word
Mark 6:30 The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32 And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves.
Now if the Lord Jesus Christ and the apostles needed time to rest, eat and pray how much more everyone else. It isn’t good to work nonstop. The Lord himself set a precedent by taking off work on the first Saturday in creation. He set aside a day of rest for mankind to regroup, to rest, to rejoice, worship and pray. Jesus, the Lord in the flesh, also time to rest, eat and to pray. If Jesus needs time to do his how much more do you, frail, puny human in fallen flesh need to set time aside for this?
So even while the Sabbath as given the Jews no longer applies, the principle of natural law, written in our hearts tells us we need to time to rest, eat, worship and pray. We teach, “Thou shalt sanctify the holy-day. What does this mean?–Answer. We should fear and love God that we may not despise preaching and His Word, but hold it sacred, and gladly hear and learn it.”
It is not enough that we spend a day in leisure but that leisure be resting in the Lord, in his word and prayer.
The Lord was also careful in the Law of Moses to have festivals several times a year for his people to rest and rejoice in. He also gave new moon festivals and the like. All these were given so that man would have chance to rest from their labors and rest in the Lord, his word, and in worship. The Church has recognized this as well and has set aside times of worship for rest in the Lord. We gather on Sundays, Christmas, Lent, Advent, Easter and other festival days. It is a shame much of the Protestant world has done away with a lot of these that they are no longer recognized as days of rest in the countries they now reside. But even the world recognizes, because of the law on their hearts, we need festivals and the like and they invent them, but not for the rest in the Lord and reception of the word but rather has turned them into days of debauchery and the like.
Nevertheless, you Christian, follow the example of the Lord and take a day of rest, observe the Church’s festivals and rest in the Lord by ceasing work for a while, and spend time in the Word, with fellow Christians and receive the sacrament to be refreshed as Jesus intended.
Heavenly Father, by the example you have given in Moses you showed you intend for man to rest during the week from our labors and spend time in worship and prayer with fellow believers. Grant us such faith that we follow our Lord’s example that we may find rest in Jesus our Sabbath and rejoice in all your goodness towards us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.