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August 31

St Matthew 17, 11–13

Something to read

He replied, ‘Elijah is indeed coming and will restore all things; but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but they did to him whatever they pleased. So also the Son of Man is about to suffer at their hands.’ Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them about John the Baptist.New Revised Standard Version

To read the King James Version, click here

Something to think about

This is an answer, but not as we know it… It reframes the question, it questions undue dogmatism, and it interprets prophetic insight creatively.

In other words, Jesus’ answer responds precisely to the disciples’ question of ‘Why?’ Jesus helps them to see why Elijah’s return was promised, and to be confident that God’s intent will be honoured by His actions.

Literalism has never served prophecy well. It is the heart of the matter that matters.

And God’s heart is for the restoration of all things. For that purpose Elijah comes, has come and will come. John the Baptist was part of that.

The real question is whether God’s people are working with these clarion calls for the restoration of all things, or are just doing whatever they want with them.

Sadly Jesus knows that it is the latter, and he can read his own fate in the recent disgraceful treatment of his cousin John – by the religious as well as the civil authorities.

Something to do

Christian Aid’s motto these days is ‘Poverty Over’. Imagine a world in which all things are restored – put back to what they originally were, to what they should be still.

Carry that thought into every situation you are in today. Imagine your world restored. And allow yourself to be excited by the vision of the wider world than then begins to appear!

Something to pray

Father, I recognise that your Elijah process is continuing, and you still want to restore all things. I want to be part of that. That’s one reason I am part of Christian Aid. Help me to make the most of the opportunities afforded by Christian Aid to make a difference to injustice in the world today.

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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