Daily Devotional – I’m Normal.™ I AM Ministries
“To promote Godly living in a culture committed to destroying it”
Saturday, May 14, 2016
Loving Thy Neighbor
Jesus told us to “Love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matthew 19:19) because this was second only to putting God first in our lives. Whereas most of us try to do this, we typically come up short in our efforts. In Mathew 14: 34-35, we see an example of people who were able to put this command into action.
At this point in His ministry, Jesus had displayed His power in a series of public and private events. To those who had eyes and ears, He had established His Majesty. He had turned water into wine. He had fed the five thousand. He had walked across the surface of the Sea of Galilee. He had allowed Peter to walk on the water as well. Now He was available to the people of Gennesaret and was available for healing the sick (Matthew 14:36). The people did not realize it, but Jesus’ visit was a test of their ability to love their neighbor.
First, ask yourself: what would you do if Jesus suddenly walked into your neighborhood or town? What would be your reaction? How would your thought process evolve? What would be the first thing that came into your mind regarding how you would take advantage of this incredible opportunity? What would you do if the Son of God appeared in the streets of your town? The thoughts and actions of the people in Gennesaret provide a good example of how we should all react when Jesus comes to us.
The people of Gennesaret had Jesus all to themselves. They recognized Jesus for who He was and what He could do (v.35). Some may have wished to keep His visit quiet so He might continue to feed them miraculously as He had done so recently. Others may have wished Him to heal them or family members at the exclusion of others. Instead of acting selfishly, however, the Bible tells us these people acted as true and loving neighbors – they did not keep Jesus all to themselves. Instead, they did the normal thing by sharing Him with others.
When these people saw and recognized Jesus, we are told the first thing they did was to send word to all the surrounding country that Jesus was there. No doubt they were excited for how He could accommodate their own needs. But rather than keeping Jesus all to themselves, the first thing they thought to do was to broadcast the good news of His arrival. They wanted to spread the word that Jesus was available to all. In short, they demonstrated they were loving their neighbors more than they loved themselves by including their neighbors in their good fortune.
These people did all they could to bring others to get acquainted with Jesus. Are you doing the same in your life? Are you loving your neighbor by sharing the Good News of the Gospel that Jesus Christ brought to all of us or are you being selfish and keeping it a secret? Are you bold in professing your faith in Him or are you silent when given the opportunity to share your faith to others? How many chances have you passed up this week because you didn’t love your neighbor enough to speak up due to embarrassment or just plain selfishness?
It is normal to tell others and to encourage them to hear Jesus when He enters our lives. Jesus does not want to be hoarded. There is plenty of Him for everybody. We should shout to the world when Jesus shows up.
Likewise, we are not called to dine by ourselves on the spiritual food Jesus offers us. There is Christ enough for all of us. There is no need to monopolize Him or keep Him secret so as not to consume all His power, which is never-ending. When we have the opportunity, the normal thing to do is to share Him with others and to try to share Him with our brothers. Don’t come up short in your efforts. Sharing Jesus is truly the normal way of loving thy neighbor.
In His love and service,
A servant of Jesus Christ
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