Take 5 (September 19-23, 2016)

Bill Tanzey • Pastor of Community Ministries

5 Questions from Jesus that Demand an Answer

MONDAY: “What are you seeking?”

John 1:38

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This question, asked of the future disciples Andrew and Peter, still echoes through the centuries. On the previous day, John the Baptist pointed out Jesus as the Lamb of God. He still is, you know, and His questions are still vital. We could learn much from John the Baptist about introducing our friends to the Lamb. We could also learn much by applying His questions to our hearts.

Everyone is seeking something–wealth, satisfaction, pleasure, possessions or power–to name but a few. Thus, when Jesus asked this penetrating question, it must have touched their souls. He didn’t need to hear their answer; they needed to pause and consider that very important question: “What am I seeking?”

Pause, take stock of your life and ponder: “What am I seeking?”

TUESDAY: “How many loaves do you have?”

Matthew 15:34

Hungry people following Jesus by the thousands made for quite a scene. It also prompted Jesus to feel compassion for the masses who followed Him with hungry hearts and empty stomachs. Being in a deserted wilderness area, it looked to be a hopeless situation. Perhaps you’ve faced this type of wilderness and know what futility feels like.

With the stark reality of too many people and too little food, Jesus asks what sounds to be an irrational question: “How much bread is there to share with these thousands of hungry people?” If you were in the sandals of the disciples, you might have–no, you would have–felt their same frustration: He is asking for a count of a pitifully low number of resources in the face of a gigantic problem!

If you’ve been around the Bible much, you know the outcome to this dilemma. Jesus took a handful of loaves and fishes and miraculously turned that tiny bit into a great feast for thousands of diners. He turned an impossible situation into a mighty demonstration of His divine power!!

Read Matthew 15, and thank Him for doing the impossible in your life.

WEDNESDAY: “If you love those who love you, what reward do you have?”

Matthew 5:46

This is a hard question posed by Jesus. Suddenly, His teaching sounded radical, which it is. There was an old, familiar, written law: “Love your friend,” along with its twin: “Hate your enemies.” That was easy enough to understand.

Then Jesus drops the Truth Bomb: If all you do is love the lovable, then you haven’t accomplished much. Any run-of-the-mill sinner can do that, but we are expected to love everyone–the good and the bad, the nice and the nasty. Jesus was teaching that our identity with Him, as being Kingdom subjects, requires another dimension to our love. In a word: Everyone. That’s right, even the most unlovable person you know.

Pray specifically for a heart of love toward those you find unlovable.

THURSDAY: “What is God’s Kingdom like?”

Mark 4:30-32

The more Christ’s followers spent time with Him, the more they wondered about His Kingdom. That is a common curiosity that all Christians ponder. We know His Kingdom is on the throne of David, will last forever, will be free from sorrow, and will be beyond imagination. They wanted to get closer to understanding the Kingdom, which prompted Him to respond in His typically unexpected style.

Jesus tells them that they could picture this vast, eternal, pure Kingdom as a minuscule seed of the mustard plant. That was the smallest seed of all! It isn’t much bigger than the period at the end of this sentence. Yet, as it lands on the ground, despite being quite tiny, it turns into such a huge tree that even eagles roost in it!

This had to be mind-boggling. How could something as massive as His Kingdom have such insignificant and tiny beginnings? That is God’s trademark! He takes something small and unimpressive and transforms it into something majestic!

Thank God for that tiny Bible study group in a downtown Charleston department store that was the mustard seed of Bible Center Church!

FRIDAY: “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

Matthew 16:13

Every person on planet earth will someday be required to answer this question; one that can’t be avoided. In today’s world, just as then, Jesus stirred people to consider exactly who He is. Is He a teacher? Is He a good moral pattern? Was He really an historical figure? Was He sent by God? Is He God?

In this account, people were associating Him with some impressive members of the Religious Hall of Fame: Is He John the Baptist, or Elijah, or Jeremiah, or other distinguished men of God? As complimentary as those comparisons were, Jesus knew the people were still missing the mark. So He pressed His disciples, “But what about you?” “Who do you say that I am?” At this crystallizing moment, Peter made the startling statement: You are the Christ! The Anointed One! The Messiah! The Son of the Living God! When Jesus heard these words, He commended Peter for not learning this truth from books or classes, but from receiving it from the Father Himself!

Read aloud Matthew 16:13-20 and thank Jesus for dying for you.

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