Scripture: Matthew 21:12–22 (Today’s Readings)
What an action-packed reading! In a short time — apparently less than 24 hours — are three amazing exchanges with sinners, a sick man, and a withered plant. The first two incidents are well known in Bible lore and are taught in any Sunday school curriculum. Driving out the money changers from the temple, acknowledging the children as the “tellers of truth,” as well as healing the sick alone in the temple do not go over so well with the religious establishment of the day. But Jesus uses these “teaching moments” to insist that He has something better and bigger than what people were experiencing in their lives. The next morning, though, in the shadow of the previous day’s miraculous events, Jesus uses a simple withered plant to drive home His faith message. Faith is what Jesus really wants for us because He knows it is all we really need, and that is why God gives it freely as a gift. Advent prepares us to receive this gift of faith as we await Christ’s presence and return. Real faith, sincere faith, trusting faith — yes, childlike faith — will enable us to see, believe, and accomplish any and all things in order to bring glory to His kingdom.
Prayer: Gracious God, grant us faith that we may believe without seeing, and trust without fully knowing. In this season of Advent, open our hearts and our eyes to childlike faith, placing all of our trust in You. Amen.
Contributed by James E. Olson
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Artwork: Detail of No Between © Jan L. Richardson. janrichardson.com. Inspired by Isaiah 64:1: “O that You would tear open the heavens and come down … .”