DAILY DISCIPLINE #138
By Colleen Donahue

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If you are a Christian then you are called by God to be His servant. You and I are His representatives now in this world. We follow through with the work that Jesus began. But.... are we qualified? We'll learn in this study what makes us qualified and how God himself equips us for the special mission He has for each of us.

Called and Equipped For a Mission

Studies continued from Matthew 12

The Characteristics of Christ as God's Servant - Matthew 12: 15-21

Day 1- After Christ healed a man's withered hand on the Sabboth, the Pharisees began their methodical plotting as to how they might kill Jesus. Jesus knew this and withdrew from the area. He was not reckless and knew that His time to die wasn't yet and so he moved on. Matthew uses the words of Isaiah 42:1-4 (used originally to describe Cyrus from Persia) to describe God's chosen servant -- Jesus Christ the son of God.
Isaiah 42:1-4

Day 2- There are three things that the Father did to equip the Son for His mission on earth expressed in
Matthew 12:18.
It's these same three things that we need to be equipped with for our mission on earth.
First, Jesus was chosen by God. And just as Christ was chosen, so are wel.
John 15: 16

Like many of the prophets chosen before us we may be protesting that we are too young, too old, not educated enough, too weak or too ________ (you fill in the blank).

Day 3- But if God has chosen us then we are qualified no matter how we appear to ourselves or others. In fact it's our weakness and inadequacies that make us qualified in God's sight.
1 Corinthians 1: 27-29 / 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Day 4- The second thing that God did to equip His Son was to love Him and delight in Him. In other words, Jesus had support from home. He was not just out on His own but He was backed by all the love and resources of His Father. Christ lived to please His Father and was thus able to know without a doubt.....
John 8:29

Day 5- So it will be with us in our mission. As we live and work to please God, He delights in us and becomes our home support. Just the very presence of a loved one can give courage and rest and comfort.
Exodus 33:14 / Deuteronomy 20:1 / Isaiah 43:2 / Isaiah 41:10,13

Day 6- Finally God gave Jesus the Holy Spirit to fulfill the ministry He had on earth.
Matthew 12: 18b
The Holy Spirit was God's own Spirit given to reside in Christ's heart. Isaiah predicted and wrote down that Jesus would have God's Spirit upon Him. How did the Holy Spirit enable Jesus to fulfill His ministry?
Isaiah 11: 2-4 / Isaiah 61:1-2

Day 7- Notice that God gave His Son the Holy Spirit at the very start of His public life.
Matthew 3:16 / John 1: 32-33

And men such as Peter testified how Christ was able to do the works He did because God was with Him.
Acts 10: 38

Day 8- If Christ could not start His public ministry without the Holy Spirit how do we think we can operate in the power of God without him?  While God the Father gave the Holy Spirit to His Son Jesus, it is now Jesus who gives the Holy Spirit to us so that we can have Christ's own life and spirit with us all the time.
Matthew 3:11 / John 14: 16 / John 15: 26 / John 16: 7

Day 9- When we repent of our sins and are baptized into Christ (i.e. become partakers of His death and the forgiveness of sin) we receive the Holy Spirit as a gift.
Acts 2:38

Just as the Holy Spirit resided in Christ's heart, He now resides in ours.
John 14: 17 / 1 Corinthians 3:16 / 1 Corinthians 6:19

Day 10- And it is HIS presence (i.e. the Holy Spirit) and power that enables us to do our jobs for God and fulfill the work that He has for each one of us on earth.
Acts 1:8

Our effectiveness for God always depends on how much we let the Holy Spirit have His way in our life. It never depends on our own strength and abilities.
Zechariah 4:6

Day 11- One of God's most useful servants was Paul who was plagued with weakness (we are not told what it was). He prayed diligently to have it removed so he could serve God fully. But what conclusion did he finally come to?
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Yes, we read this verse earlier but it is so important for each of us to grasp because we all have plenty of weakness and inadequacy.

Day 12- So by being chosen, by having total home support and by having the Holy Spirit , God was able to equip His Son for His mission on earth. What was His mission?
Matthew 12:18b

".....He will proclaim justice to the nations." In Greek the word justice is described as giving to God and man that which is their due. Jesus shows us how to live towards God and man so each has what is due to them. Matthew highlights in this verse just one aspect of Christ's mission. You'll get a fuller picture by reading these verses as well.
Matthew 5:17 / Matthew 20:28 / Luke 4:43 / Luke 19:10 / John 12: 47 / John 18: 37
Now in the last part of these verses we see HOW Christ went about His work to fulfill His mission.

Day 13- First we see that Jesus sought to get His truth across with love and not by the strife of words and actions.
Matthew 12:19a

This phrase "cry aloud" uses a Greek work which has the same meaning as the barking of a dog, or the brawling of a drunk or the uproar of a discontented audience. All of the bitter theological wrestling and political fighting over issues of every sort today are no witness to the truth of God. How did Christ deal with volatile situations?
Isaiah 53:7 / I Peter 2:23
Christ knew that strife and argument would never work to bring men to God. When we argue our own way we push others to hold all the more tightly to their views.

Day 14- So using Christ as our example, how are we to act towards others that oppose and strive with us?
Matthew 5:39 / Romans 12: 17 / 1 Corinthians 13:4 / 2 Timothy 2:24 / Titus 3:2 / 1 Peter 3:9

Day 15- Next we see that "no one will hear His voice in the streets". (Matthew 12: 19b) Today we might rephrase this and say Christ did not launch a large advertising campaign to display His messiahship. Jesus knew how inflammable the people were. If they all knew a man of great power and authority had emerged, yet another political rebellion would have risen with many lives lost. How did Christ come and present himself?
Zechariah 9:9 / Luke 17: 20-21

Day 16- Christ's way was one on one, or talking through his disciples or preaching to limited crowds that had come out to His arena (usually somewhere in the country). His message of God's love could not have come through to hearts in an atmosphere of violence and bloodshed. And so He chose a slow, methodical method, one that ultimately changed men's hearts.

How are we to present ourselves and the truth of God to others?
2 Corinthians 10:1 / 2 Timothy 2: 23-25 / Hebrews 12:14

Day 17- Finally we see in Matthew 12:20 that Christ is the divine encourager. He sees in a person a flicker of truth and He tries to fan it into a flame. Jesus sees our weak attempts and comes alongside of us to strengthen and help us. He notices every baby step we take and cheers us along to victory. If we are weak but willing Jesus will always be there to uphold us and lead us in triumph.
Psalm 18:35 / Isaiah 40:11 / Luke 4: 18-19

Day 18- It's "in His name that the nations (Gentiles) will put their hope."
Matthew 12: 21

Christ offers His message of love, forgiveness and union with God to every nation, every man and woman. No one is exempt from His call to "come". In Christ a light has truly come into the world.
Isaiah 9:2 / Isaiah 49:6 / Isaiah 60:3 / Ephesians 3:6

Satan's Kingdom Invaded

Day 19- In the Eastern world all illness was ascribed to the influence of demons and their malignant powers. When Christ cured a deaf and dumb man what did the people start to wonder?
Matthew 12: 22-23

But when the Pharisees heard about the exorcism and healing of the man what was their conclusion of the matter?
Matthew 12: 24

Day 20 - Jesus knew the thoughts of these Pharisees and had three replies to their theory that He was in league with the Devil and thus able to drive out demons. First, if the Devil was lending his power so that his own forces would be routed then it wouldn't be long before his kingdom was divided and would fall.
Matthew 12: 25-26

Day 21- Secondly, if Christ was practicing exorcism by demonic powers then the Jews must be doing the same because they were also dealing with some of the same diseases and having some affect.
Matthew 12: 27
When the Jews practiced exorcism there was great pompt and pageantry. It was like a magic act. A person who believed that he had demons causing a disease was also likely to believe the demons had left after going through all of the ritual. But this was so different from Christ's way.

Christ cured with the word of authority. There was no magic act, no incantations, no great show. He spoke and a man was delivered.
Matthew 1:27 / Acts 10: 38

Day 22- Third, the fact that Jesus had successfully entered Satan's territory is proof that Satan is bound and powerless to resist. In fact this was the proof that the Kingdom of God had come among men - i.e. that the power of illness and pain was defeated.
Matthew 12: 28-29

Day 23- If we belong to Christ then we have his power and authority to advance the Kingdom of God. All authority in Heaven and earth belongs to Him and by using our "power of attorney" (praying in His name) we will be able to exercise that authority over the obstances that we face in advancing the Kingdom of God.
Matthew 28: 18-20.

 

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