The Gospel of Matthew

This devotional is written by Tash Kumar. Big loves: husband Piers, son Cohen, dog Coco, Pilates, red wine and mountainous forests!

Matthew 8:14-34

Jesus Heals Many

 14 When Jesus came into Peter's house, he saw Peter's mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. 15 He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him.

16 When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:

"He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases."

The Cost of Following Jesus 18 When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. 19 Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, "Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go."

20 Jesus replied, "Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."

21 Another disciple said to him, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father."

22 But Jesus told him, "Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead."

Jesus Calms the Storm 23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Lord, save us! We're going to drown!"

26 He replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

27 The men were amazed and asked, "What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!"

Jesus Restores Two Demon-Possessed Men 28 When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. 29 "What do you want with us, Son of God?" they shouted. "Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?"

30 Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. 31 The demons begged Jesus, "If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs."

32 He said to them, "Go!" So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water. 33 Those tending the pigs ran off, went into the town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. 34 Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.

Reflection

When reading this passage, the word that jumps out at me is TRUST. In these verses Jesus unapologetically calls these people to trust what he is doing with very little explanation. I will be entirely honest, at times His directness unsettles me. From a quick google it's apparent that perhaps I am not alone in my "trust issues". Trust must be earned and once lost is difficult to recover, so says the world wide web. In our fallen world, it is impossible to escape the inevitability of broken trust. We all carry experiences of being let down: friends, partners, parents, employers, even church will (maybe inadvertently) hurt us. It is understandable then, that Jesus' call to trust Him in every area of our lives can sometimes feel counterintuitive, uncomfortable, even a little scary. That is until, we open ourselves to a gentle and wise Father. Countless times, I have wrestled with difficult decisions or situations myself before turning to God. Rather than charging ahead with my own plans and ideas, I have had to learn to pause, breathe, pray and listen.. Much of my reluctance to approach Jesus with my questions and worries - I believe - is rooted in those times that my trust has been misplaced. I am determined to stand on my own two feet and avoid making myself vulnerable. And yet, when I eventually trust Jesus - when I open myself to him - the kindness, the encouragement, the peace that comes never ceases to amaze me. If His grace is sufficient for me: a major work in progress, I am convinced that it is more than enough for you. Bathe in it, be thankful for it and open yourself to trust in His glorious riches.

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