18 BSF Matthew Week 18, Day 5

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

I am always amazed at the way that God chooses to provide for our needs.  This story of the sheckle and the fish is amazing in that regard.  First, let’s look at some other ways this could have happened:

1. Jesus could have used a coin from the money the apostles had.  It probably wasn’t much money, but we know from other scriptures that Judas was the keeper of their coins.

2. Peter could have been sent out fishing and harvested a number of fish to be sold for the money.

3. A coin could have appeared in Peter’s or Jesus’ hand or pocket.

I believe the way it did happen reveals much about God’s provision.

1. He does not take away from our work and focus on His ministry to answer our prayers.  Our God is not a God of limited resources, where one side of the ledger is debited for the other to be credited.  He provides out of His riches and plenty, not in a rob Peter to pay Paul fashion.

2. We are called to work, but God’s exceptional provision for our lives and His majesty is not wages for our work.  We, like Peter, have to cast the line into the water.  We have to take the step of faith and be a part, but we are not earning our provision.

3. God does not do magic tricks. Could the creator of everything, the one who multiplied the baskets of fish and bread, simply made a coin appear or adjusted the ledger to make it appear the payment was made?  Of course.  But that normally is not His approach.  He can heal with a touch or a word, but He more often provides healing more in keeping with this event.

I think one of the key messages is that God provided for this far in advance of our awareness of the need.  At some point God provided a coin to someone at the lake.  At some point that coin was dropped.  At some point a type of fish became native to that lake which gathers pebbles into its mouth to dig a safe breeding spot for its young.  At some point a fish was born who, at some point, gathered the coin into its mouth.  At some point that fish proceeded to the area where Peter cast his hook and, without dropping the coin, bit the hook and was reeled in.

More often than not, my experience of miracles in my life resemble this.  Far before I knew I would have the need, God set things in motion to provide for that need.  It is only by looking back, that I see the way He had been working for days, weeks, months and years, to bring what I needed, exactly in the portion needed, to me exactly when I needed it.

What comfort this should bring us.  When we pray to God, we aren’t asking Him to leap into action.  We aren’t asking Him to perform some magic.  We simply need to ask Him to show us where to cast the line to reel in the miracle that He started far before we asked.

 

My Answers:

12.
a.
The transfiguration.  The words and image of Moses and Elijah on the mountain

b.
they were filled with grief  –  they understood and accepted that He would die

c.
They were filled with grief – they did not understand and accept that He will be raised back to life on the 3rd day

13.
a.
Annual census tax.  1/2 sheckle = 2 drachma = “ransom for his life”

b.
His willingness to pay the price for life as a Jew, even though He was above the law (the son of the King) and He would give up His own life to pay the ransom for ours that we could not pay

18 BSF Matthew Week 18, Day 4

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

Small faith vs. Little faith:  Jesus praises small faith but chastises His disciples for having little faith.  The image it brought to my mind was of a plant, reminiscent of the parable of the sower and the seeds.

A small plant is one just beginning to grow.  It is at a tender stage, but full of potential and power.  It reaches hungrily to the sun.  It digs roots in deep to feed on nourishment.

In contrast, a little plant is one that is failing to thrive.  Instead of continuing to dig in and grow tall and majestic, it has gotten twisted around itself.  It lives only partially in the sunlight.  It relies on existing roots and does not continue to dig deeper.

Imagine the frustration of the farmer who has planted strong seed and nourished it through the initial stages of growth, only to see it failing.  He knows the potential.  He sees the strength it can have, but, only if it chooses.

Jesus does help us with our unbelief.  He has given us His Word, the bible.  He has given us His church.  He has given us the promise of salvation and the ability to converse with Him daily in prayer.

But how often do we fail to thrive, to feed on His nourishment, to accept His strength?  We need to be bold.  We need to dig in to His foundation.  We need to bask in the light of our creator.  When we do – what we could do for Him in His name!!!

My Answers:

9.
a. a man, a father
b. Lord have mercy on my son, seizures and suffering – heal him
c. the disciples
d.  You unbelieving and perverse generation, how long shall I stay with you/put up with you: bring
e. I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief
f. doubt – little faith

10.
a.
All, physical, spiritual, power over all that has been created, power over death.  A full measure.  According to Gods will

b.
Small faith is freshly planted and growing, little faith is failing to mature and thrive.  It is not being nourished in prayer and study and trust

c.
To trust more fully in God for everything – To fully know and live life in the fact that His will will be done.

11.
To be bold.  To trust in the power He has given to His believers to take action that brings honor to Him.

18 BSF Matthew Week 18, Day 3

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

Today’s section has two major questions:
1. Why Moses and Elijah?
2. How did Peter, James and John know who they were?

There are lots of thoughts about Moses and Elijah.  Moses representing the law and Elijah the prophets, the 2 sections of the Jewish scriptures of that day.  Elijah had been taken up in the chariot of fire, Moses’ grave is unknown.

But, I take a simpler view.  The purpose of this event was to bring comfort to the man, Jesus.  Angels had brought comfort to Jesus after his spiritual battle with Satan, the temptation in the wilderness.  But the challenge faced now is human, suffering and death.

Moses and Elijah were there because they could comfort Jesus in the challenges he would face.  Both of these prophets had faced physical suffering in their mission for God.  Both had been taught to rely on God for their strength and substanance, specifically for the food they ate.  My food, said Jesus, is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work.  Both Moses and Elijah physically experienced connection with God: seeing Him from the cleft in the mountain, carried in a chariot of fire.

These two humans were the best equipped of men in history to provide the comfort needed by by the Son of Man.

How did the apostles know who they were?

BSF nametags, of course!

My Answers:

6.
a.
They came to comfort Jesus.  Both had been through difficult situations in their calling for God.  Both had messages to deliver to a unlistening people.  Both had suffered physically in their mission.  Both had seen God pass by.

b.
They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem

c.
They were present to be a support and comfort, and encouragement – not an obstacle or one who added burden

7.
a.
As shrines to honor them

b.
Jesus is not on the same level, they came for Jesus not the apostles, they were done (did not need shelter)

c.
Listen to Him.  This is my Son, whom I love, in Him I am well pleased.

8.
a.
He was sent as a prophet, one called to repent and be baptized to make the paths straight (Matt 3)

b.
He was murdered for speaking the truth

c.
future tense – Elijah comes and will restore all things.  Gift is available, death is defeated, but Earth is not restored