“Come, follow me.” — Jesus (Matthew 4:19)
We are following Jesus through the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, wrapping up on Easter on April 1st. We’ll be hopping around the four gospels for a chronological perspective of Jesus’ life on earth. Join our study by reading today’s scripture below and journaling about it using SOAP (click on the “What’s SOAP?” link above to learn more). Below today’s scripture is an example SOAP from our team. We love hearing from you! Please use the comment section of our website to share your SOAP, thoughts or questions on the reading, or prayer requests. Join us as we build unity and community through God’s Word!
The Parable of the Persistent Widow
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”
6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector
9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
The Little Children and Jesus
15 People were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
The Rich and the Kingdom of God
18 A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’[a]”
21 “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said.
22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
23 When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy. 24 Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! 25 Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
26 Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?”
27 Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”
28 Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!”
29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God 30 will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.”
Jesus Predicts His Death a Third Time
31 Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. 32 He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him; 33 they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.”
34 The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about.
A Blind Beggar Receives His Sight
35 As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36 When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. 37 They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”
38 He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
39 Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
40 Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?”
“Lord, I want to see,” he replied.
42 Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” 43 Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.
Catch Me, Daddy! | Marianne Toovey
Unlike in our culture today, when Jesus walked the earth, children meant next to nothing. They had no social status in a culture that was obsessed with climbing the social ranks. So when children were brought to Jesus, the disciples were appalled. But instead of being offended, Jesus surprised everyone by praising these children instead. In fact, he managed to raise the children to a higher status and challenged the adults to live out their relationship with Him in the same manner and dependence that these children did.
I think of my daughter’s faith and dependence on us. How she willingly jumps into her dad’s arms from the top of the stairs without ever considering for a moment that he might not catch her or that she’d get hurt in the process. Even if he’s not prepared. He’s her dad; he’s going to catch her and keep her from getting hurt. And how she knows we provide her meals and clothes for her and never questions for a second whether she’ll go hungry or cold. We’re her parents, and we’re going to give her everything she needs; that’s just a cold hard fact. She knows we’ll take care of her every need, and she knows we’ll catch her when she jumps into our arms – no matter how scary that jump may be. What a great way to live out a relationship with God! I just need to trust Him with everything, no matter how scary that may seem. He’s already there; He’s already got me. All my needs are met, and all my scary jumps are made safe by His loving, open arms. And God is always prepared for me to jump.
There’s a reason I call You “Father” and I want to trust You like a child trusts her parents – wholly and unconditionally. Help me to see You through that lens. Thank You for providing for me and my family and for catching me when I fall (or leap!). You always do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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