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August 26

Matthew 8, 14-17

Something to read

When Jesus entered Peter's house, he saw his mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever; he touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she got up and began to serve him. That evening they brought to him many who were possessed by demons; and he cast out the spirits with a word, and cured all who were sick. This was to fulfil what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah, 'He took our infirmities and bore our diseases.'
New Revised Standard Version

To read the King James Version, click here

Something to think about

Jesus' healing ministry took its toll on him. When the woman who secretly touched the edge of his clothing was healed, Jesus felt power drain out of him. Just imagine what it did to him to spend a whole evening healing all who came to him and driving out demons. No wonder Matthew quotes Isaiah as prophesying about Christ 'bearing' our diseases. It was hard work.

For all that, Jesus was not a passive force – only responding to requests, only accepting this burden when petitioned. Neither Peter nor his mother-in-law apparently expressed any faith or request for help. But this lady is on Jesus' heart nonetheless. And in a lovely twist, she serves him the food he will need to see him through a long evening.

Our relationship to the poor today can be a passive one. When there's a disaster, when we are asked, we will shoulder part of the burden of care. This is not the spirit of Christ, the zealous spirit that consumed him, and it is not the spirit of Christian Aid. But we, too, can trust in the providence of God to see us through.

Something to do

At the end of today, think back over the day and notice when God has answered your un-prayers – where he has met a need you did not explicitly refer to him.

Something to pray

Merciful God, thank you that you are not passive in relation to your world today. Thank you that you know what we need before we ask, and that you sometimes meet our needs without our asking. Help me to be active in the world like you are, and when it is hard work, help me to trust in your gracious provision.

Today's contributor is JUST LIVING, a fresh expression of church in Devon devoted to the Christian pursuit of justice for the poor and closely linked to Christian Aid.

 

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