April 15, Wednesday

NEW Today’s AMI QT Devotional is provided by Pastor David Son, who pastors Thrive Church in Taipei.  He is a graduate of UC Berkeley (BA) and Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary (M.Div.). Stay up to date with the church plant by following them here: https://www.instagram.com/thrivechurchtaipei/

Devotional Thought for This Morning

“Make Room for Compassion”

Mark 1:40-42 (NASB)

And a leper came to Jesus, beseeching Him and falling on his knees before Him, and saying, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” 41 Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” 42 Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.

sarah-dorweiler-9Z1KRIfpBTM-unsplashA few weeks ago, I was doing some work on my computer at a café. A few feet away, an elderly gentleman sneezed. I don’t know how it is in your city, with COVID-19. But in my city, there seems to be an unspoken rule: an individual is allowed to sneeze ONCE. But starting from the second sneeze, laser beams of dirty looks from others around the room will immediately lock onto you. These days, I don’t think I’ve observed anyone sneeze or cough more than twice in public.

But on this day, this particular gentleman at my café sneezed about 15 times in the span of one minute. You better believe that every eye was on him! My first thought was, “is this how it ends for me?” But as I joined the others in glaring the man down, for a split second I caught the look of shame on his masked face. I could see it in his eyes, as he quickly gathered his belongings and hobbled out of the café. When he left, there was a collective sigh of relief, but I couldn’t help but feel badly for the man.

Perhaps this is a fraction of what the leper in Mark 1 must have felt. COVID-19 is certainly a dangerous virus… but imagine leprosy: a disease that destroys your nervous system and eventually leaves your body to slowly rot, limb by limb. If you think being in quarantine is bad, imagine being kicked out of society and left to live the rest of your life on the outskirts of town, with only other lepers to commiserate with.

The amazing thing about this encounter with Jesus was not only the healing that eventually came; it’s the fact that Jesus reached out and touched the leper. Would you touch a person whom you knew had COVID-19? Probably not willingly. Yet Jesus, moved with compassion, regardless of all social and health implications, touched this man!

What can we learn from this story, as we navigate this pandemic? Obviously Jesus knew what He was doing; He was not being reckless and neither should we. But Jesus made it a point to go out of His way to show love to those who were suffering. Likewise, we must not let self-preservation dull us from compassion, lest we lose sight of Jesus’ heart.

How can you (wisely) show compassion today to those around you who are in fear, loneliness, isolation, and/or sickness? The ripple effects of COVID-19 are complex and multi-layered. But one thing is for sure. People are more desperate now than they have been in a long time. Let’s not let the virus bottle up our compassion. If anything, now is the time the world needs the compassionate touch of Jesus-followers, more than ever before. Spend a few moments to ask God to show you what that might look like in your situation.

Prayer: Jesus, enlarge our hearts, that we may seek the interests and needs of others, even before our own. As we endure this pandemic, may we plant many seeds of testimonies in the people around us, so that when this is all over, Your Name would be glorified in our neighborhoods and cities.

Bible Reading for Today: Acts 16


Lunch Break Study

Read Hebrews 7:22-27: This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant. The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever.

Questions to Consider

  1. In this passage, who is the author of Hebrews comparing Jesus to?
  2. What makes Jesus different than the priests that came before him?
  3. According to this passage, what is Jesus doing for those who draw to near to God?

Notes

  1. Throughout Hebrews, the author compares Jesus to the Levite priests. More specifically, Jesus is often compared to those who served as high priest. In the days following Moses, it was the job of the high priest to stand before God on behalf of the people. Today, Jesus is our perfect High Priest.
  2. The author lists several things. While every other priest has died, Jesus continues in priesthood forever. He is holy, innocent, unstained, and exalted. He has no need for a sacrifice, but instead became a sacrifice for us. And in doing so, he once-and-for-all made the payment for our sins.
  3. This passage tells us a wonderful truth. That Jesus is always making intercession for us. That is, He is standing before God the Father on our behalf. Let us draw near to God with confidence because we have such an intercessor who is on our side!

Evening Reflection

stil-BJ_BMDHjxhc-unsplashWhen this pandemic is over, what stories will you be telling? What stories will others be telling about you? We may not have control over what happens around the world with the virus. But we can choose how we want to live each day. This evening, allow God to reshape your mindset regarding this virus situation.

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