February 6, Saturday

REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, prepared by Pastor Jason Sato, was first posted on April 26, 2014.  Jason, along with his wife Jessica, is currently serving in Japan as a missionary.  Jason is a graduate of University of California, San Diego (BS) and Westminster Theological Seminary (M.Div.). 

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“Are You Impressed with Jesus?”

Matthew 13:31-33

He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. [32] It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” [33] He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.”

It seems that as we get older, we become less and less surprised, having less amazement and wonder. Instead, we tend to become more skeptical. With these parables, Jesus surprises His hearers by declaring that the Kingdom of God may appear to be unimpressive, but it is, in fact, amazingly glorious: The Kingdom of God “is like a grain of mustard seed” (v. 31); “It is the smallest of all seeds” (v. 32); and it is also like leaven, hidden in an enormous bag of flour, nearly invisible to the naked eye (v. 33).

This is not the kingdom the Israelites were expecting. They anticipated a kingdom of military power like that of David’s, and longed for a kingdom of unimaginable peace and prosperity like Solomon’s. Instead, they encountered an uneducated, carpenter’s son from Nazareth; and he wasn’t even good looking.

Perhaps the appearance of Jesus was not impressive, but we might think that the miracles of Jesus would practically compel a sense of awe and wonder. While many were brought to a place of worship, some saw the miracles and remained unimpressed. In fact, though Judas saw more miracles in three years than most of us will witness in our entire lives, he was completely disappointed with Jesus and His Kingdom.

We need to understand that Judas was not an evil villain from a Disney cartoon. He lived with the disciples, and he fit in. And that’s why others were surprised at his betrayal. But Judas’ heart was very hard. He may have thought to himself, “Sure, seeking and saving the lost is nice, but what does that have to do with destroying the Roman army?” Or perhaps, “It’s neat that you can walk on water, but that doesn’t help my family that is being oppressed at all!”

We, too, are tempted to be bored or disappointed with Jesus and His Kingdom. Though we hate to admit it, we ask, “What good is the love of God if I can’t get a [job, girlfriend, etc.]?” We wonder, “How impressive can this Kingdom be if I still have the same hardships and struggles?”

Jesus does not answer all of our prayers or fulfill all of our desires. More than giving us a better version of our current lives, He makes us new people – people who can know and love Him. Jesus does not offer us circumstances or possessions: He offers us Himself.

Prayer: Lord, I need to be satisfied only with you, but the sad truth is that I am not.  Change that for me, please. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Genesis 41-42

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