Happy Christmas! Ummm. I mean, Happy June Project! As our annual week of mission kicks off, get ready to read some passages that tick all the boxes in inspiring us to be bold in sharing our faith in Jesus and talking about God’s faithfulness to all His people.
In this week’s readings in Isaiah we get to read a couple of favourite Christmas prophecies about Jesus – He is to be “Immanuel”, God with us, (chapter 7) and the first half of chapter 9 – “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light…” These fit really well with our Matthew readings which are just stuffed full of stories about how Jesus fulfills those prophecies, being God with us and bringing hope and reconciliation to the world.
There are still some tough passages – God is crystal clear about His judgement and justice; however, He is equally clear that the other nations that are bringing destruction will also be under God’s judgement – just as Israel did not respect or give God the credit He deserved, so Assyria makes the same mistake and in Chapter 10, ‘pride’ is given as a reason for their coming fall. Faith in, and honour for God is of utmost importance
So too in Matthew. We begin with the rest of the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus gives some counter-cultural advice for living that focuses on the state of our hearts (just as in Isaiah, it is our heart-felt worship that God deserves, not the appearance of it). Then we see some of the results of genuine faith – a gentile Centurian believing in Jesus’ healing power, blind and mute men being healed as a result of their faith, and a bleeding woman healed just by touching Jesus’ cloak.
Throughout we see examples of Jesus’ compassion, patience, gentle words to those who need encouraging, challenging words for those that need them, his healing, his teaching, his discernment. I pray that we could emulate even just a tiny bit of these things this week! How many lives could be changed if we speak Jesus’ love into them? We don’t see the ‘after story’ for many of the lives Jesus changes, but this doesn’t stop Him, and it shouldn’t stop us. We have been given a great chance to show God’s love, whether at the beginning of what could be a long-lasting friendship or a brief encounter. Let’s step out in faith this week, whether we are June Project delegates or just faithfully serving in our places of work.
Points to ponder
- Pray for God to provide opportunities for you to speak about Him to someone this week. Be brave when this happens, you never know what might happen!
- Is your heart right? If there are things you have been doing either just by going through the motions or because it looks good, take time to re-evaluate. Do you need to re-commit, change something or ask forgiveness?
- Do you feel like you have faith? Real, deep, trusting faith in Jesus? If this feels a wobbly area for you, pray that God would give you opportunities to trust Him and grow in your faith this week. That might mean stepping out of your comfort zone, it might mean being obedient in uncertain circumstances, but it will draw you closer to Him.