Duration: 365 days
THE GOD WHO LOVES TO GIVE
Jesus sends out 72 of his followers to do what he has been doing—advancing his kingdom. They come back triumphant because even the demons submit to them in Jesus’ name. Jesus celebrates their victories.
Through a parable about a compassionate Samaritan, Jesus reemphasizes his people’s role in the world—they are to extend God’s love and grace to everyone, not just those who are easy to love. He shows that his truths are for both genders when he encourages Martha to sit at his feet and learn like her sister Mary does. And he wants us to be persistent in prayer because our good Father loves to give good gifts when his children ask him for them.
When Jesus casts a demon out of a mute man, the Pharisees accuse him of getting his power from Satan. Jesus explains that Satan wouldn’t drive out himself.
Jesus warns his people of the Pharisees’ teachings, and he speaks woefully direct warnings to the Pharisees themselves. He encourages the people listening that if they acknowledge him publicly, he will acknowledge them before God. He exhorts his disciples not to worry because God knows their needs and is taking care of them.
The King’s Heart
Jesus compared our prayers with a pesky neighbor who rudely disrupts a peacefully sleeping neighbor and his family to ask for bread. Jesus used such an extreme analogy because he knows the hesitation that lives in our hearts. We wonder: Are we annoying God when we interrupt his heavenly holiness and ask him for what we want? “No, you aren’t,” Jesus encourages through the parable. “In fact, God will answer your prayers quite a bit more graciously than a human neighbor who has been rudely interrupted.”
And then Jesus addressed a deeper heart-lurking question: God will answer our prayers, yes, but does God really want to give us good gifts? Does God really care about what we want?
Speaking to those questions, Jesus explained that just as good fathers love to give good gifts to their children, our heavenly Father loves to give to us too.
Our good God wants to hear our hearts, and if the gift we seek is a good one, he will give it to us. He delights to do so.
Beyond being upset with Mary for not helping her in the kitchen, Martha was upset with her for acting like a man. In Jesus’ day, the only places men and women were allowed to mix was outside, where the children played, and inside a married couple’s bedroom. Being a student was a role for men. But Jesus disagrees.
Copyright © 2014 by Walk Thru the Bible Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved.