Sermon Notes + Quotes:
We study through books of the Bible here at The Village Chapel, and we do have extra copies if you would like one to follow along. Just raise your hand up real high and somebody will drop one by your row or aisle. If you are watching online, we welcome you as well. I know you are up there somewhere via one of the cameras. We are very happy to have you joining us. It is so fascinating, every month, I get a little report on where people are watching from or joining us from. It is just so awesome to see what God can do with this technology and I am just grateful to have people from so many different places, different countries, and different continents even following along with us in our study of Matthew’s gospel.
We are calling this study, The King, and His Kingdom. We will be looking at, if you want to turn there, Matthew fifteen verses twenty-one to thirty-nine. Three pericope passage that is, there are three short sections of this, and we will take each one in its turn along the way. Before we do, let me borrow from a prayer of the thirteenth century, theologian, philosopher and priest, Thomas Aquinas.
“Grant us, oh Lord my God, a mind to know you, a heart to seek you, wisdom to find you, conduct pleasing to you, faithful perseverance in waiting for you and a hope of finally embracing you. Amen and amen”–Thomas Aquinas
Matthew chapter fifteen, twenty-one to thirty-nine: We have just come through chapter fourteen, and actually the first part of Matthew fifteen as well. We will finish up chapter fifteen today. In many ways, we will see here the foreshadowing of the future, (thus, the title that you see up on the screen). Chapter fourteen recorded for us the tragic death of the last of the great Old Testament style prophets, John the Baptist. One gets the sense that despite John the Baptist’s death, with that a new chapter has begun.
Jesus was the one who John the Baptist had pointed to as the long-promised Messiah, come to bring the salvation of God to humanity. The first thing we read about after John’s passing is this sort of withdrawal of Jesus into one region, but the crowds follow Him. There are five thousand men, we are told, plus women and children, probably five, ten, fifteen, who knows, twenty thousand people that He ends up feeding with a little boy’s “Holy Moses” lunch pail. They take that food and Jesus continues to bless and to break it and the disciples are included in the miracle.
It is an interesting thing that Jesus did, that He gave the disciples the dignity of participation in His miracle and yet, they were there just sitting around. Before it, they were going, “Wow, where are we going to get food to do this?”, and the creator of everything that exists just keeps breaking and keeps creating bread. There end up being these thirteen baskets, and this is a word in the Greek for a small basket. There are thirteen of those left or rather twelve baskets, sorry, left over, not thirteen, which is interesting too, because Jesus did not leave one for Himself, but He left enough for each of His disciples. Isn’t that interesting?
Then what happened after that was Jesus went up on the mountain to pray and the disciples went out in the sea. It got stormy and He came walking to them on the stormy sea. Peter wanted to walk on the water with Jesus. Jesus said, “Come on.” Peter did, but then he stopped fixing his eyes on Jesus and cast his gaze on the wind and the waves and he began to sink. Jesus did not shame him. Jesus graciously reached out to him, surely goodness, surely mercy, and pulled him back up. They got into the boat, and the storm stopped immediately. It was fascinating.
Then last week, we looked at that first part of chapter fifteen with tradition versus traditionalism, Pastor Matt led us through that so beautifully. We learned the difference between the two, and we see how a lot of people think external religious rule-following is what makes one righteous. It is not that. Matt so beautifully pointed out to us that it is the heart of the matter that is actually the matter of the heart, isn’t it? It is what your heart is doing in relation to Jesus.
So, we get to chapter fifteen, verse twenty-one today, and there is a real change here. This is a big change, actually. So, while verses two through twenty were about defilement, almost in a radical bold move, Jesus heads for defilement territory, to the land of the Gentiles. See, the ancient Jews would not go into the house of a Gentile. Some of them walked around Samaria because they did not want to become unclean, because Samaria was sort of a half Jewish, half Gentile.
So, Jesus, in a bold move that I think is illustrative of what He has just gone through with all these guys, “Follow rules, follow rules, follow rules. It is all about us and our traditions,” and all that sort of thing. But Jesus went away from there, verse twenty-one says,
“He withdrew into the District of Tyre and Sidon. Behold a Canaanite woman came out from that region and began to cry out saying, ‘Have mercy on me, oh, Lord, Son of David. My daughter is cruelly demon possessed.’ But He did not answer her a word. His disciples came to Him and kept asking Him, saying, ‘Send her away, for she is shouting out after us.’ He answered and said, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’ She came and began to bow down before Him saying, ‘Lord, help me.’ He answered and said, ‘It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.’ But she said, ‘Yes, Lord, but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their master’s table.’ Then Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Oh woman, your faith is great. Be it done for you as you wish.’ And her daughter was healed at once.”
I do not know about you, but this passage for me raises lots of questions upon the first reading. Some of that just kind of stymies me in a way. I am kind of shocked and stunned. There is a lot here, which we could probably spend a good bit of time unpacking.
Let me throw the map up just so you kind of know geographically where we are at. For those of you online, I will just describe this verbally. For those of you in the room, you can see this little bouncing green dot here. This is Galilee right here in the northern third of the map’s image. It is sort of reddish, I do not know what color that would be called, ochre or something. Capernaum is the town that Jesus hubbed out of. It is on the northwest shore of that tiny little bit of water we see right there called the Sea of Galilee. The Tetrarchy of Philip to its east and Decapolis is the region to its southeast. Also, directly below Galilee and the Sea of Galilee, even a bit to the west of the Sea of Galilee, as you can see the yellow region, (Decapolis meaning the “ten cities”), these are the Greek ten cities. This would be Gentile territory, believe it or not. Samaria down on the lower third is the purple and we see Tyre at the top to the center left of the map right here. That is the area that is kind of light brown. I suppose you might call that, today what we would call Lebanon, back then, that would be Syria.
So, Sidon, where this woman is from, Tyre and Sidon. Sidon is more up here and due north about twenty miles from Tyre. I just want you to see, this whole thing is set in real geography. Again, one of the reasons why we look at our Bibles and we say this is not simply a book of myth, or legend, or fable, but real places, real names, stuff you can corroborate with other sources if you would like to in terms of these places.
In Jesus’ teaching, we have learned that He has come here to the children of Israel, and we see that in His interaction with this woman. I think there is something more there for us as we look at it. Jesus takes the initiative first, to travel to Gentile territory, at all. Jews would not do that, but He does that. He does that right after this whole argument over tradition in traditionalism and rule-following and all of that.
We learn a lot about this woman. As a matter of fact, we know more about this woman than we do a lot of other women in the Bible. It is interesting. Look at verse twenty-two. It literally has eight, or nine things about this person that Jesus encounters. She is Syrophoenician, or some of your translations will say Canaanite. (Is that a contradiction? If Mark says she is Syrophoenician or Venetian and Matthew say she is Canaanite, is that a contradiction? Only if I say I am from Middle Tennessee, and then I say I am from Nashville, and then I say I am from Tennessee, and then I say I am from the USA, and then I say I am from North America. Do you see what I am saying? There are a lot of categories that might describe where I am from and where you are from. The same thing might be the case as we read our gospel accounts and we hear these kinds of different things. But the point is she is a Gentile from Syria. She has a Canaanite background, which means not godless but pagan. The Canaanites worshiped gods like Molech and Baal. It got to the point where the Canaanites did… where in their nations, they were literally sacrificing their babies to these false gods.
So, she has a religious background, a national background, a racial background, and all of that would generally keep her from ever approaching this man. Everything that Jesus grew up learning in Israel would keep Him from ever going to where she is. She is the mother of a daughter; she is desperate for help as her daughter was cruelly demon-possessed. That word cruelly could also be wretchedly demon possessed. Now I kind of think regular ole demon possession is bad. Most of us would agree, (and I am sure there are some parents in the room who have wondered from time to time. I know my mom wondered from time to time, as she carried me into, does anybody remember the Ben Franklin stores? Are you over fifty years old? Anybody over? Okay, three of you. Okay, good. Sweet. Maybe somebody online remembers that too, I do not know, but yeah, I would be the kid that would be arching his back and screaming because mom would not buy me that Batman cookie or something. I just wanted stuff. I wanted it now and I saw it and I just went nuclear over nothing all the time. So, I wonder if my mom sometimes wondered what was afoot inside of me.).
But this woman has a legitimate sense that her daughter was cruelly demon-possessed. Well, why come to Jesus? Why not go to your Canaanite god? Why not go to your Syrophoenician doctor or counselor? Well, I am going to pause it. This is not in the text, but I am just going to stretch a little and say, I bet she had, because of the desperation I see in her here, I bet she had already exhausted all those resources. That would have made logical sense to go for the resources that are nearby, and now she has run out of resources and options on the pagan side, on the national side, on the political side, on anything that this world has, she has run out of all of that. But she has heard the rumors that there is this man from down in Jewish territory near the Sea of Galilee, Capernaum, and He hangs out with a bunch of uneducated people, and He does things that nobody else can do. The rumors have reached that area. He seems to be able to heal diseases. He seems to be able to even calm storms. We even heard that one religious leader’s daughter was dead, and He raised her from the dead.
More importantly than all those things, she might have heard the rumors that this man could cast demons out of people. Maybe as a mother who is desperate, (and there is no anguish like the anguish of a desperate mother for her child), she thought maybe I will give that a try. It might have been, in her view, her last option to do this. What is fascinating to me is that she calls, I mean we learn so much about her, she calls Jesus “Lord”. Now I understand the word could also mean “sir”, but I think as it is used throughout the New Testament, we see it progressing and we see that it continues a case-by-case basis. If you watch its progression, and even as you watch it post the time of Jesus’ walk there, you come to see that people thought of Jesus, not just as a “sir”, (because you would not just go to a sir, any old sir to cast a demon out of your daughter.) So, the use of the word “Lord” here is more significant than just “sir”. And then she also calls Him “Son of David”, (clearly a Jewish messianic title), but she is a Gentile, I remind you. She is a pagan, I remind you. But she is like a mother who is desperate enough to have looked up what is wrong with her daughter. If she had Google, she would have done this. What do we call Him? Son of David. Why? Because He is the Messiah. He is God’s Deliverer who has come.
So, she uses that terminology. She has done research to figure that out, (as we know, they did not have Google back then). Where did she get that phrase? Why so persisting in her appeals to Jesus. Why attempt to reason with Jesus here? You attempt to reason with some deity that has sort of been imagined by people on this planet. You intend to reason with some of them and they literally cut your head off. Why did she think this one could be reasoned with? Interesting.
What impact, I wonder, did the deliverance of her daughter that we read about right here in verse twenty-eight, what impact did that deliverance have on her in that region where she lived, that Gentile region? It is fascinating to me because if you read the book of Acts, as the church grows up in its infancy, Syrian Antioch becomes a hub of the New Testament church. Could this woman have been one of its first members at that church? Could her daughter have been perhaps a part of that first youth group in that first Syrian Antioch church? I do not know. Again, I am just speculating a little. It is fascinating to me.
The disciples, I watch them in this, and I go, man, I think they are stuck in a “send them away”, or “send her away”, or ‘”send him away’” mode. For those who follow Jesus, that is not an option. See? They wanted to send the five thousand away and to Jesus they said, “Where are we going to get enough food? Send them away, Lord.” And Jesus says, “Nah.” He starts breaking bread and tells the boys to hand it out, right? Jesus does not do ‘send them away’ and neither do those who follow Him. We are not meant to be ‘a send them away’ kind of people.
So here, let me just offer up, if you would allow me to, four points of how this foreshadows the future. First, Jesus breaks through national, racial, religious, and social barriers. Sometimes we do not find faith where we expect to find it, (in the Bible, in Jewish territory) and we do find faith where we do not expect to find it, (Gentile territory). Here it is. We have already seen it once, and I think it is Matthew eight or nine, where Jesus crosses the Sea of Galilee, He goes over to Decapolis and there is a demon possessed man or two. Remember the story where He cast the demons out of these fellows, the demons ran into the two thousand pigs, and then the two thousand pigs ran into the sea and were killed? And that man wanted to go… when Jesus left that area, wanted to go with Jesus, but Jesus said, “No, you stay here.” So then that man becomes a living, walking, breathing testimony to the power of Jesus Christ to transform a life. Why? Well, because all the people in that region were afraid of him. He ran around naked. He broke the chains that he had been bound by. He scared everyone. And now here he was sane, talking calmly, pointing to the hope of the gospel in Jesus Christ. And he had been doing that for a long, long time. And that is beautiful and powerful.
Here we see a foreshadowing of the future in that the kingdom of heaven will be populated, as we see in the Book of Revelation when human history is wrapped up, around the throne, there will be people from every tribe and tongue and nation and people group. That is where this is going. If you think this is only about people from the west or people from America or something like that, then you are mistaken. This is about people from every tribe, every tongue, every nation, every people group gathering before the throne of God to worship and praise the Lamb of God, who is also the Lion of Judah, who is also the lamb who was slain for our salvation. This is the one Jesus who we are pointing to.
We were just together with people from around the world at the Global Sing! Conference. Kim and I have spent time with the people from the Langham Partnership, which is a ministry that works with churches in the global sort of sense, especially in the majority world, which typically, a lot of us might call the Third World, but they call it the majority world because that is where the biggest population groups are, and that is where God is really doing a lot of amazing things. He is also doing some amazing things here by the way, but He is really doing a lot of amazing things over there as well, and we want to be a part of that.
What Jesus gives us here, I think is a foretaste, or a foreshadowing of the future, that is one of the things I love about the Christian faith. Rebecca McLaughlin says it beautifully in the book, Confronting Christianity, (which we have read in our Greenhouse group, and I highly recommend this book to you)
“Contrary to popular belief, Christianity is the most ethnically, culturally, socioeconomically, and racially diverse belief system in all of history.”–Rebecca McLaughlin, Confronting Christianity
How so? You do not have to be from one nation to be offered the gospel or to receive the gospel. You do not have to have one zip code, or one color of skin, or any of that sort of thing. The gospel offer is universal. It does not mean everybody receives and accepts and believes, but the offer remains. It is there. The offer is for you, despite your sin, to be reconciled to a holy and righteous God, not based on your own merit or performance, not based on your following of traditions, but since Jesus died on the cross, paid the price for your sin, and He paid the price for my sin. The offer is free. We trust and hope in Him, and He is our savior. He is our redeemer.
The trajectory of this world, as it thinks and acts apart from God in its delusion of self-rule, moral autonomy, and self-deification is free falling faster and deeper into the self-destructive, self-imposed darkness, intellectual confusion, and moral bankruptcy that we see all around us. All one needs to do is take note of what is happening to our children, our youth, in the madness of this reckless cultural moment.
What can be done? What is the solution? What does the Bible say that we must do to avoid the fate that follows this kind of foolishness that we exhibit? I think it begins with what we see in this woman right here. I mean, she is not a hero. She is not a perfect person. But I look at her and at least I see a budding faith, a turning, if you will, that perhaps leads to a conversion to believe and trust and hope in Jesus. It is manifest in her crying out for mercy and her bowing in humility before God. I think those are among the first steps towards entering the kingdom.
Here, again, every bit of her religious background, every bit of her national background, every bit of her racial background, and every bit of her social background would have kept her from doing what she did. But what drove her, was her desperation as a mother, her desperation as a person who had run out of resources. Maybe that is you right now, maybe you are in a place where you understand your need and you must get there at some point. We see this as a process even in this story, don’t we? Because at first, she comes running and she is crying out for mercy. What does Jesus do at first? He is silent, He does not even respond. Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever wondered why heaven is silent? I have. I mean, listen, Tom Petty had it right when he said, “The waiting is…the hardest part”. Wow, do we know our Tom Petty? That is good.
It is the hardest part. There she is waiting, but why isn’t Jesus saying something to her immediately? When He does finally say something to her, He says something weird. He says, “I have come first to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” And she comes down, bows down. Now she is bowing down before Him. The humility is so visible here. This appeal is so desperate. She says, “Lord, help me”. I have to say that if prayer is taking hold of God, (which I think it is), I think this lady is exhibiting a taking hold of Jesus at this moment. That means she must let go of Molech, let go of Baal, let go of self-salvation, turn to the savior, and take hold of Him. In many ways I would say, turn to Him and allow Him to take you up to be the one to rescue you. It begins with this bowing. We do not talk about this enough. A lot of us have gotten into this sort of consumer mindset about the gospel when it should be a commuter mindset about the gospel. Not a consumer mindset, but it begins with this bowing, this crying out of love.
I am a Francis Schaeffer fan and I will be one forever. In this one article, you can find it online, Form and Freedom in the Church, Lausanne Content Library. He says,
“Salvation is bowing and accepting God as creator and Christ as savior. I must bow twice to become a Christian. I must bow and acknowledge that I am not autonomous. I am a creature created by the creator. And I must bow and acknowledge that I am a guilty sinner who needs the finished work of Christ for my salvation.”–Francis Schaeffer, Form and Freedom in the Church/Lausanne Content Library
Does she have that all figured out? No. Does she have a theology or her systematic theology of… No. But desperation is like a magnet to the kingdom of heaven. See, when we finally get desperate enough, the kingdom of heaven draws near, reminding you that it was Jesus who went there first. I believe He had her in His mind before He even got there. Why would He go there? No Jew goes up there. What are we to make of these responses? If Jesus though at first nothing, silence, then a rebuff almost, right? And I do not know if you have ever felt like God was doing that, like He does not hear. “Hey, are you listening?” “Do you even care?” “What’s going on?”. That process sometimes, that taking hold of God’s process that do not operate on my timetable, do not operate on your timetable either, or sometimes is confusing, sometimes the answers I hear are confusing just like for this woman. But what happens is, there is more going on here than just what is going on with her. Who else is watching this happen? The Jewish disciples who need to know where this is all going and what they are seeing is a foreshadowing of the future. When Jesus travels into Gentile territory, she asks a question as He is moving forward. There might have been other people asking questions. I mean, there could be practical reasons why he doesn’t respond right away. We could think of several, but the text just tells us what it tells us. I have felt like having, (maybe you have too) I have felt like I am rolling theological ideas through my mind going, “What about that?” “It could be this”, “It could be that” and it gets confusing sometimes. Then my prayer gets reduced to just “Help!”, just like hers. Then I look back over my life and I see how He has helped. Sometimes He helps at times I do not understand and in ways I do not understand. But all those guys, His disciples, they are watching, they are listening, they are learning here. They are going to be the same guys who take the gospel and spread it out beyond Israel. See? For them, that would have been a mind blower at this point in time. They are not thinking that way. They are thinking like Jewish men, “we are the chosen people of God, this is only for us.” and here He foreshadows the future in this beautiful way.
All right, I have got to hurry. Look at verse twenty-nine. “Departing from there, Jesus went along by the Sea of Galilee, and having gone up to the mountain, He was sitting there, and great multitudes came to Him bringing with them those who were lame, crippled, blind, dumb and many others. [Dumb means mute, cannot speak.] They laid them down at His feet and He healed them. [Look at the specificity in verse thirty there. This could not have been sleight of hand. This was not magic. This was healing, and this is powerful.] The multitude marveled, [as they should, they did that as they saw the dumb speaking, the crippled restored, the lame walking and the blind seeing. Each one of those things is mentioned, and each one of those things is reversed by the power of Jesus. He sets things right. You see He foreshadows the future because He sets things right that have been twisted or broken. Then it is interesting to me in the last phrase,] and they glorified the God of Israel.“
Why did Matthew say it that way? I do not know this, but maybe He is still in Gentile territory, because the Sea of Galilee, especially down south of Decapolis, wraps around a little bit and goes on a little… could be that He had traveled that far down? They glorified the God of not Canaan, not Syria, but they glorified the God of Israel. It says right there, and this whole thing again, is foreshadowing the future. This is where it is going, and this is where you disciples will be going.
Verse thirty-two. “Jesus summoned His disciples. [This time He says,] ‘I feel compassionate for the multitude because they have remained with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. I do not wish to send them away hungry thus they faint on the way.’ The disciples said to Him, ‘where would we get so many loaves in a desert place to satisfy such a great multitude?’ [We all here said, “Doh” We just read not too long ago now, (it may have been months though as time flies here in this gospel narrative), but do you not think the feeding of the five thousand would have had such an impact? As a matter of fact, it is the only one of Jesus’ miracles that is in all four gospels. Don’t you think it would have sunk in? Don’t you think they would think of Jesus as a bread machine? ‘Where are we going to get any? I don’t know.’ The disciples just looked like some crazies here.]
Jesus said to them, ‘How many loaves do you have?’ [And right about that time, Peter goes, “Oh,” and the light goes on. “How many loaves?” He asked us that before. “We had five then, and this time we have seven.” Oh wow.] They said seven and a few small fish. He directed the multitude to sit on the ground, took the seven loaves and fish and gave thanks. He broke them and He started giving them to the disciples and the disciples in turn to the multitudes. [He still involved them in the miracle He did. He still equipped them, and He still sent them out into the crowds to do His work, to join him in His mission. I love this.] They all ate, and they were satisfied. [That is the same Greek word that means really full, loosen your belt, kind of satisfied.] They were all satisfied. They picked up what was left over of the broken pieces, seven large baskets full. [This is a different Greek word than in the feeding of the five thousand, where they picked up the twelve baskets, for those were little lunch pail size baskets. This is a bushel basket, a huge basket. You could put a human being in this basket.]
They all ate, and they were satisfied. They came up with seven large baskets full. Those who ate were four thousand men besides women and children. [So maybe eight thousand? Maybe, who knows? Twelve thousand, who knows?] Dismissing the multitudes, He got into the boat, and He came to the region of Magadan. [Magadan is kind of northwest, more toward the west, a little bit toward Tiberius from Capernaum.] But in any event, this is just amazing.
“The resurrection, the Great Reversal, brings us both the power and the pattern for living life now connected to God’s future new creation.”–Timothy Keller, Hope in Times of Fear
What we want to see here is that Jesus is the great reversal artist. When we look at these miracles, we see in verses twenty-nine through thirty-one, that as the great reversal artist, it will be fully displayed in this event we call the resurrection, where it brings us both the power of the pattern for living life now, connected to God’s future new creation. That is one of the reasons, again, why I am calling this passage the foreshadowing of the future because what Jesus does there on that hillside with the cripple, with the lame, with those who could not speak and those who could not see, is He sets things right.
He is going to set the world right when He returns one day. I am excited about that. I hope you are excited about that too. Why? Because I think we are all kind of tired of the world being broken! It is exasperating, it is exhausting, it is frustrating. So, if you feel that too, let’s turn to Him. He is the only one who can make a difference.
As we follow Jesus. Sunday, worship turns into Monday, Saturday serving and feasting at the king’s table. Where in the world do I get that from this passage? Well look with me, if you will, just at verse thirty-two, “I feel compassion for the multitude because they have remained with me now for three days.”. The feeding of the five thousand was just sort of leaning into the evening, it did not say anything about people spending the night. It was not like, “Let’s go on retreat with Jesus.” This is three days. They have literally been hanging with Jesus for three days. Not just Sunday, but into the weekdays, and for me anyway, I just say, let’s connect the dots between our Sunday worship and our Monday through Saturday living and just see that we are following Jesus. We want to follow Him throughout the week as well.
Lesslie Newbigin is very much a specialist in missions. He says,
“Only half the pastor’s work is to gather people together for worship. The other half is to send them back to their daily task, equipped to be salt to the earth, light of the world. If we forget this second part, the other can be positively dangerous.”–Lesslie Newbigin
That’s right. See, if we just come together on Sunday and congratulate ourselves on our music and the way we look and, on our preaching, and make sure everybody is sort of positive-thinking and all that is right. If that is all we ever do and we never go out there and actually live out this gospel and make a difference in the culture, if we never take care of preaching the gospel, never take care of feeding the hungry, never take care of being His arms and His hands and His feet out there working for justice, doing everything we can to see that even those who are other than us, who live in that other territory can hear the gospel and be encouraged by it. We are missing a lot of what we are supposed to be doing.
As we gather with God’s people, bowing before King Jesus, we begin to see things the way Jesus sees them. We desire what Jesus desires. We weep over what Jesus weeps over. We value what Jesus values. We serve the way Jesus serves and we receive from Jesus to give to others in need. We come to the table, we receive this feast, and then we are to be sent out to invite others to the banquet.
I love the way Jesus loves food, (somebody says, amen). I love the way the Bible just loves food. Starts in a garden with all the vegetables and all that stuff, ends at a huge banqueting table at the Lord’s table and it is just filled with food all the way through. We are supposed to be inviting others to that table as well.
I will close with this quote from Peterson.
“The way of Jesus cannot be imposed or mapped. It requires an active participation in following Jesus as He leads us through sometimes strange and unfamiliar territory. In circumstances that become clear only in the hesitations and questionings, in the pauses and reflections where we engage in prayerful conversation with one another and with Him.”–Eugene H. Peterson, The Jesus Way: A Conversation on the Ways that Jesus is the Way
Following King Jesus means the trajectory of your life is leading you to live in His kingdom. We are bound for what the Old Testament called the promised land. It is not just a bit of geography with a zip code. It is His kingdom where His name is hallowed, where His will is sought, and done, and lived out among His people. For now, we joined one another as pilgrims on the way following Jesus in his unfolding kingdom.
Let’s pray. ‘Lord, we turn to you. We bow before you, like this woman. You are the one that hears our cries. We are not just crying out into the dark, empty, impersonal night sky. You are there. You are eager for your people. You are the one that we can appeal to. You are the one who can heal our broken hearts and feed our hungry souls. Lead us, guide us to yourself and to your kingdom come. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen and amen.’
(Edited for Reading)