(Translated version, original article written in Chinese by Pastor Mickey Hsiao)
By singing praises and hymns, awake your soul, open your heart to the Lord, and prepare yourself to welcome the presence of God and receive the Word of God that will be given to you.
Petition with thanksgiving to God for a wonderful day and pray sincerely for a focused Scripture reading time! (Do not rush into reading the Bible without starting with prayers!) (e.g., you may start with a simple prayer like this: “Dear Lord, what will you be speaking to me today?)
Get the following items ready in advance: your devotional notebook, paper, pen, and/or electronic devotional articles so that you can easily write down the Bible verses, questions, and thoughts you have noticed! You are encouraged to open your Bible and vocally read out the scriptures (Try to practice this reading method daily or once a week)!
Scripture Reading: Matthew Ch. 12 (ESV)
Take a moment to quietly reflect on today’s Scriptures. Through such exercises, let God’s Word be gradually written into our hearts and be inscribed to our mind.
Read the devotional articles prepared by CBCLWA (*Read the Bible first before reading any devotional materials.)
(vv. 1-21) The Lord of the Sabbath was accused by the Pharisees for some “unlawful acts” as follow: “His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them.” And a man with a withered hand was healed. Having to confront the Pharisees, Jesus used words from their Law to debate and to teach them: God desires mercy, not sacrifice. The Son of Man is the Lord of the Sabbath. It was sad that the Pharisees kept the Sabbath, but did not know the Lord of the Sabbath. They were familiar with the Law, but did not get its essence. They could not accept Jesus, and even wanted to destroy him. We should learn from their mistake, and must not become modern days’ Pharisees. We should attend Sunday Worship on all Sabbaths. We should worship and adore Jesus. While we study the Bible, we must love one another in order to live out the love of God. Regardless of how hectic our lives are, we must reserve some quality time to worship Jesus.
(vv. 22-37) Jesus healed a demon-possessed man, so that the man’s vision and speech were restored. The Pharisees believed that Jesus drove out a demon because He was the prince of demon. This was not the first time the Pharisees said such a thing (Mt. 9:34)
Jesus used the difference between “gathering” and “scattering” to challenge their ability to think. If Satan drives out a demon, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? Jesus drives out Satan by the Spirit of God. This means that the Lord’s kingdom is upon them. As a result, deporting the power of the demon.
Then Jesus asked them to examine their hearts. “…For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.” (v.34b-35)
We should always examine whether the words we speak are good to evil and ask Jesus to help us get rid of the evils that make us filthy!
(vv. 38-45) Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” This sounded respectful, but why didn’t Jesus respond to their ridiculous request? Would they have believed in Jesus because they have seen the miracles?
As compared with the evil and fallen world back then, our world is that not much better. Often times we heard the seekers pray like this: “Lord, please give me this, and I will do that for you in return…” Don’t we say similar prayer requests commonly? Jesus wants us to fully trust in the Gospel! The most important miracle of God is that our Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross for us, and he resurrected on the third day. Jesus sacrificed Himself to save all who believes in him! (1 Cor. 15:1-4; Ro. 1:16)
If people listen to God’s Word, and clean up their hearts, they must accept God as their personal Savior. They must also let Jesus take charge of their lives. They must repent from their sins. Do not be the person described in verses 43 to 45. Jesus said: “…the last state of that person is worse than the first.”
(vv. 46-50) In the last passage, it appeared like Jesus was very cold and distanced. Why did he talk to his mother and to his brothers like that? The truth behind the story is that when we are willing to follow the Lord’s will, Jesus is our closet family member. In Matthew Chapter 12, Jesus said, “something greater than the temple is here.” “Behold, something greater than Jonah is here.” “Behold, somethings greater than Solomon is here!” We understand now, Jesus is our sovereign Lord. He is our High Priest, our Prophet, and our King. He is also our closet family member. Hallelujah! Praise and thanks to the Lord!
Give thanks to God for His enabling us to read the Scriptures and for our response for living out the Word of God today! (e.g., You may start with a simple prayer like this: “Dear Lord, what/where are you going to lead me to today?”)