TAKE HEART: Jesus leads with this phrase twice in chapter 9, when the paralyzed man is brought to Him (we know from other gospels that the man was lowered through the roof), and when the bleeding woman touched His cloak (v22). Of the literally hundreds, if not thousands, of ways Jesus could have greeted these people, why did He tell them to 'take heart?' It means to simply have courage. The significant thing about this particular phrase is who else uses it besides Jesus: Moses, Elijah, several prophets, and Paul. All of them use this phrase in telling terrified, beaten down people that the LORD is bringing them salvation, as Jesus does to the paralyzed man and the woman. Notice that in telling these people to 'take heart,' Jesus first forgives and accepts them - explicitly with the paralyzed man and implicitly with the woman. Jesus is the salvation that Moses & the prophets spoke about.
I don't know how things will be in the world next week when you read this, but no matter what, we can have courage because of the way Jesus left His disciples to go to the cross in John 16:33 - "Take heart, for I have overcome the world!"
YOU GOTTA HAVE FAITH, a-FAITH, a-FAITH (WITH APOLOGIES TO GEORGE MICHAEL): Notice the common element in each passage today: v2- 'when Jesus saw their faith;' v9 - Matthew dropped everything in faith to respond to Jesus' one word command: 'Follow;' v18 - The synagogue leader had faith that if Jesus came to his dead daughter, 'She will live;' v22 - Jesus said to the bleeding woman, 'Your faith has healed you;' v29 - Jesus healed the blind men 'according to their faith;'
NOT FUNNY: Just a little hint we get from different spots in the Bible, including v24: when God makes it clear He's going to do something amazing, don't laugh.
JESUS IS SPEAKING OUR LANGUAGE: We're farm people, through and through, and we're proud of that. Read v36-38 again and meditate (think about) it all day as you go about your work. We know what it takes to care for herds and produce a harvest; how is Jesus calling us to use those same skills in bringing people to faith in SW Minnesota?
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Thank God that He desires mercy, and not sacrifice (v13 & Hosea 6:6).
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Ask God for the faith to 'follow Him' (v9), that He would enable you to work the harvest (v37-38), and not to 'laugh' (v24) when He promises to do great things.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: