Monday: Truth Hurts! – Luke 4: 24-30
Some people don’t like to hear the truth! Jesus challenged those who were listening to him as to whether they were more interested in healing miracles than the message he had come to bring them. They reacted badly to having to face up to the truth. We sometimes find ourselves in the same situation. People are loath to hear the truth of the gospel – but that shouldn’t stop us just as it never stopped Jesus.
Tuesday: Forgive, Forgive, Forgive – Matthew 18: 21-35
One of the major lessons that runs through the New Testament is that we should forgive as God forgives us. Peter was familiar with Jewish teaching that a man should be forgiven three times only, but obviously he felt Jesus expected more than that. He may even have remembered Jesus’ beatitude in Matt 5: 7. Hard though it may be sometimes, we are required to forgive those who wrong us. God forgave us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8), surely forgiving others is the least we can do.
Wednesday: Law Never Changes – Matthew 5: 17-20
We need to be clear what ‘Law’ Jesus was referring to here. He was meaning the Ten Commandments, not the petty regulations which had been added by the Scribes and Pharisees. The essence of the Law is reverence for God and respect for ourselves and others. This will never pass away because it is the very foundation of the relationship between man and God and man and his fellow-men. By adding unnecessary ‘burdens’ to the Law the Pharisees had changed this essence. Let’s be careful we don’t do the same!
Thursday: Fair Means or Foul! – Luke 11: 14-23
Often when people are losing an argument they will resort to slander just as Jesus’ opponents were doing. And the pity is that there are those who love to think the worst and feed greedily on such lies. After making nonsense of their accusations, Jesus challenges everyone – ‘if you are not for me you are against me.’ There is no room for neutrality in our faith. As someone said: A Christian is either ‘on the way’ or ‘in the way’” Which are you?
Friday: Who do You Love? – Mark 12: 28-34
Every Jew listening to Jesus that day would have nodded in agreement when he answered the first part of the teacher’s question. He was quoting Deuteronomy 6:4-5 which was known as the ‘Shema’ and were the words used at the start of every Jewish service. The second part of his answer was from Leviticus 19:18. Although both these quotes would be familiar to his hearers, Jesus was the first to link them together. He was implying that the only way to show we really love God is by loving our ‘neighbours’.
Saturday: Pride Before a Fall! – Luke 18: 9-14
All the Pharisee was doing was informing God of how good he was – as if God didn’t already know! And we all know pride goes before a fall. (Proverbs 16: 18). Pride and prayer can never appear in the same sentence and neither can comparing ourselves with others. The tax collector recognised that when he was measured against God’s Law he was a sinner begging for mercy. Do you and I always fully appreciate our standing before God or are we tempted on occasions to think: “Well I’m not as bad as so-and-so.”