Series: Unsettled: Asking the Tough Questions
Sermon: Questions are the Answer
Scripture Reading: Matthew 7:7-12, Matthew 12:9-14
He left that place and entered their synagogue; a man was there with a withered hand, and they asked him, “Is it lawful to cure on the sabbath?” so that they might accuse him. He said to them, “Suppose one of you has only one sheep and it falls into a pit on the sabbath; will you not lay hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a human being than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the sabbath.” Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and it was restored, as sound as the other. (Matthew 12:9-13)
Monday July 2 — Matthew 7:1-6
Jesus often used questions to challenge his disciples and the religious leaders to think about their own lives. In his teaching about the dangers of judging others, he asks questions that cause us to look at ourselves: “why do you see the speck ….?” and “how can you say to your neighbor …?” (Matthew 7:3-4). He was clearly making a point. But he was also inviting us to increase our awareness of our own need for God’s grace. Spend time reflecting on Jesus’ questions this week.
• Prayer: Gracious God, forgive me for judging others. Help me to be willing to honestly and openly examine my own life and trust in the power of your life-changing grace. Amen.
Tuesday July 3 — Matthew 7:7-12
When we answer the call to follow Jesus, we walk through a doorway to the amazing new world of God’s Kingdom. When Jesus says that we only have to knock for the door to be opened, he is talking about prayer and about the life of discipleship. Like a loving parent, God promises to love and care for us, providing what we need. But God also invites us into a new way of living – a way of living that is described in Matthew 22:34-40, loving God and loving our neighbors. Are you willing to walk through the door that Jesus has opened for you? What’s holding you back?
• Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for loving me and inviting me to be a citizen of your heavenly Kingdom. Grant me the courage I need to fully trust in you. Amen.
Wednesday July 4 — Matthew 12:9-14
Jesus’ action on Sabbath days was one of the causes of conflict with the religious authorities. In today’s passage, the authorities asked Jesus a question, hoping that he would incriminate himself. (Sabbath law prohibited a wide variety of actions that were considered work—including curing sickness.) Jesus responds with a question that forces his hearers (and us) to consider what God desires for our lives. Read Matthew 12:7 and Matthew 12:12. What do these verses teach you about what God desires for your life?
• Prayer: God of Love, I believe that you desire mercy and that you want me to do good. Teach me how to follow Jesus by showing mercy and doing good every day Amen.
Thursday July 5 — Matthew 21:23-27
By the 21st chapter of Matthew, we know that the religious authorities were plotting against Jesus and actively trying to undermine his ministry. (See Matthew 12:14.) They tried to trick him. They questioned his authority. According to Luke 20:20, they even sent “spies” to trap him. In response, Jesus used questions to turn the tables and force his interrogators to acknowledge the truth for themselves. How do questions (from Jesus and others) help you discover God’s truth for yourself?
• Prayer: Almighty God, I believe that Jesus is the Messiah, your Son. I surrender myself to your authority. Reveal your truth to me through Jesus. Help me see clearly. Amen.
Friday July 6 — Matthew 21:28-32
The parable of the two sons begins with a question, “what do you think?” (Matthew 21:28.) The parable and Jesus’ commentary on it are intended to expose the religious leaders’ hypocrisy—to the leaders themselves. It is also a warning to all of us whose actions don’t match our words. Jesus holds up a mirror, which helps us see ourselves clearly. If we can answer Jesus’ questions with honesty and humility we will take our own steps on the “way of righteousness” (Matthew 21:32) What do you think?
• Prayer: God of Mercy, forgive me for not seeking and doing your will for my life. Forgive me for the many ways I fail to live up to the example and teaching of Jesus. Amen.
Saturday July 7 — Matthew 21:33-45
When Jesus tells he parable of the wicked tenant, his audience includes the chief priests and the Pharisees (Matthew 21:45). It was a parable about them, but it is also about us. We are the tenants in God’s vineyard and we are expected to cultivate the fruit of faithful living and good works (while never forgetting that the vineyard belongs to God!) So what kind of tenants will we be? Will we be like the chief priests and Pharisees? Or will we produce fruits of God’s Kingdom?
• Prayer: God of High Expectations, help me to understand that you have great plans for my life and want me to produce fruit. Keep reminding me that I serve your purposes. Amen.