Lent • Day 29

Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.

Matthew 4:23

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.

Matthew 9:35

My kids were taught to write using the “hamburger model.” They start their essays with what we old folks just call a thesis and end with a conclusion: the two buns of the hamburger. Supporting paragraphs are slipped in between like tomatoes, pickles, and onions.

The same kind of thing happens all the time in New Testament writings.

After Matthew told us about Jesus calling the first disciples to leave their jobs and enter his House, he gave us a thesis: Jesus taught, proclaimed, and healed (Matthew 4:23). Several chapters later, he laid down a conclusion: Jesus taught, proclaimed, and healed (Matthew 9:35). In-between, he wrote three chapters of Jesus’ teachings (Matthew 5-7 The Sermon On The Mount) followed by two chapters of Jesus’ healings (Matthew 8-9).

What does any of this have to do with Lent?

Lent is a time of personal reflection and repentance. We discover a little more of who we really are each day – how we think, feel, desire, and decide – so we can come to God as we are to be remade as He is.

Every day for forty days we stand back-to-back with God and we don’t measure up. We more and more eagerly look forward to the cross where God’s love for us is poured out in full measure anyway.

Today, as I reflect on the pattern of Christ’s life, I see how out of balance and incomplete my life often becomes.

Jesus taught the scriptures and it’s important that we learn and teach them too. Theology and doctrine and ethics matter. Time consistently spent with God and others prayerfully studying and wrestling toward understanding is essential to living like Christ.

Jesus healed and helped as he saw physical and spiritual want all around him. He was moved by compassion to action. Time consistently spent with others demonstrating the love and power of God through generosity and service is also essential to living like Christ.

Matthew crafted his gospel to clearly demonstrate to us that Jesus was both teacher and healer, thoughtful and helpful, a brilliant mind and an outstretched hand. And He is what we are becoming.


• How is your balance?

Our Prayer

Holy God, thank you for showing us a new and better way to be human by becoming human.

We are out of balance. We are filling our minds and neglecting our neighbors one day and starving our minds and loving our neighbors the next. Make our days more holy and wholly.