Saturday, September 29, 2007

Recognizing the face of God

Grand Sweep Daily Reading: Matthew 13, 14; Psalm 127

Matthew 14:34-36 (NIV)

34 When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret. 35 And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all their sick to Him, 36 and begged Him to let the sick just touch the edge of His cloak, and all who touched Him were healed.

John 20:29 (NIV)

29 Then Jesus told [Thomas], “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Good morning!

Jesus told lots of stories to help illustrate and prove God’s love for humanity. Have you ever struggled to understand them? A parable compares something familiar, like an event or an act, to something totally unfamiliar. These stories never end the way one might expect them to. Recognition of the Master was a key ingredient to understanding His story. How do you think the people in Gennesaret recognized Jesus Christ?

We have many ways to identify people today. With the help of the media and photography, we are now able to picture a person’s face, even if they have never met them. I am able to put a face with the President of the United States, members of Congress, and our military leaders. I recognize news correspondents by their images displayed across my television set. We recognize actors by their faces on the covers of magazines and on the big screen at our theatres. Even social networking websites encourage folks to post a photograph next to the words they write. We associate who people are by the picture we have of them in our mind.

Jesus came to give humanity a picture of the nature and love of God. We begin to put a face with the Great I Am. There were no flyers, no advertisements, and no pictures to pass from town to town about the arrival of God. There was only word of mouth; what people had heard. It is no wonder the entire community of Gennesaret gathered to see the One who could heal the sick, cast out demons, and offer salvation to the lost. But don’t you wonder how they knew Jesus had even arrived?

Before we can meet a need, one must recognize that a need exists. Before someone can receive restoration, there has to be some recognition on their part that something in their life needs repair work. Before we can open our hearts to the notion of a Savior, we must realize our need to be saved. When Jesus showed up that day in Gennesaret, there were families looking for answers for their sick kids. The people were hungry and were looking for food. They had heard stories they did not understand, but somehow knew in their hearts that the master storyteller was speaking truth to the world.

Do you think they recognized Christ by the look in His eyes? Maybe it was the way He walked that caught their immediate attention. The curious came out of their homes and followed what appeared to be a crowd. Everyone wanted to get a good look at Jesus of Nazareth. They wanted to picture His face in their hearts and minds, longing to see the One who was bringing a new hope to the region of Galilee. There were some who didn’t like what they saw. Yet, there were those who believed sight unseen. They knew who He was before He ever arrived. More than anything else, they longed to be healed and knew if they could just touch the hem of His garment, He had the power to make them whole.

Do you have enough faith to believe in the One whom you have never seen? Could you trust His stories, even the ones that don’t make logical sense? If Jesus Christ walked into your community today, how would you recognize Him? Would you follow the crowd out of curiosity? Would you believe He has the power to change even the hardest heart? How would you notice if God were standing next to you at the store, or pumping gas at the local filling station, or sitting across from you at your favorite restaurant.

Reread today’s scripture lesson, and replace the word Gennesaret with your city’s name. In order to recognize our need, we must know a need exists. How much do our cities need Jesus Christ today?

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO

Pray for: recognition. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Would you recognize Jesus Christ if He were standing next to you in a crowd?


© Copyright 2007, Deb Spaulding

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