Lent ReadingsA series of meditations for the season of Lent: 
Day 16 Luke 8:40-56
In this episode we meet a woman who had been subject to bleeding for 12 years. No one could heal her. Mark’s gospel tells us she’d spent all her money on doctors without any improvement. Yet with one touch of Jesus’ garment she is healed. He didn’t say anything, he didn’t have magic words, he didn’t even know she’d touched him until the power had gone out of him.
Sickness can be a real strain on our lives and the lives of others around us. However advanced medicine is these days and despite much time and money there are sadly still illnesses that have no cure. Yet we can praise God that in Jesus he has the power to heal any disease. He doesn’t promise he will do that here and now in this life, but we can have confidence that when we die, it is only like sleeping. Think about Jairus’ daughter in verse 52. Because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ we will wake up in his presence and one day receive a brand new perfect body which will last forever. When you or others near you struggle with physical or mental frailty, hold on to the hope of resurrection power.

Andy Taylor, 04/03/2021

Day 15 Luke 8:1-39
Many of us will be familiar with the Marvel comic character the Incredible Hulk. The Hulk is this large ugly green monster of a man who destroys everything and everyone who gets in his way. He’s not the kind of person you’d want to meet in broad day light, let alone a dark night.
The man we meet in Luke 8:27, Legion, a demon–possessed man was someone who put fear into everyone who lived nearby. He wasn’t big and green but he was strong and out of control. He wandered round naked and shout at people. Even when chained up he was able to break them and run to his hiding place in the local cemetery. Yet in verse 28 this strong and scary man was confronted by Jesus. Notice his reaction. ‘He cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?”’ Read that verse again. This man was weak at the knees and terrified of Jesus. All the people who lived in that region were afraid and asked Jesus to leave.
There are many scary and powerful things, people and circumstances in our lives which we cannot control, yet Jesus is more powerful than them all. What do you think of Jesus knowing that? Jesus at the cross has conquered every enemy even death itself. Pray that the Lord would give you a healthy reverent fear for the Lord Jesus as well as the confidence to go to him for help. 

Andy Taylor, 03/03/2021

Day 14 Luke 7:18-50
John the Baptist at the beginning of John’s gospel identified Jesus as the Lamb of God who can to take away the sins of the world, (John 1v29) but now, being in prison, he is questioning whether this was true. He sent his disciples to ask Jesus, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?’
In reply to the question Jesus tells John’s disciples all that he had been doing; healing the sick and proclaiming the good news. (V22) He was fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy; the one we read about in Luke 4 when Jesus said, ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing’. Jesus had not come in judgement as John may have thought; that day will come. But he did come to deal with sin and its consequences. How did others who met Jesus respond to him? There are of course only two responses to Jesus. The crowds who were baptised by John also now followed Jesus, (v29) this is good news. The religious leaders who rejected John’s baptism, sadly also rejected Jesus. (v30) How do you respond to him, and why?

Andy Taylor, 02/03/2021

Day 13 Luke 7:1-17
In our reading today we witness two healings by Jesus during his travels around Galilee. The fact that Jesus healed is not so surprising or shocking to most Christians. We are so familiar with these kinds of stories. However, sometimes we can be a bit indifferent to the lives that were changed by Jesus’ actions. Think of the mother of this boy who was dead. (v12) He was her only son and she was a widow.  We read of Jesus raising this boy from the dead and the crowd responding in awe and with praise to God. (v16-17) But did you notice the feelings of Jesus, here? (v13) ‘When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.”’
Jesus didn’t perform miracles for money; he didn’t do it for publicity. He healed people because he had compassion on them. There are other passages in the gospels that speak of Jesus having compassion on the crowds. We, like they, are weak, helpless and struggle with illness. We, like they, wander around searching for hope, meaning and truth in the midst of life’s sorrows. Jesus is not indifferent to that, he knows and he cares and he came to bring that hope and truth. Jesus is our hope. Through his resurrection life we can know now, but one day completely – healing in our bodies, in our minds and in our souls. Give thanks to God for his mercy and compassion shown in Christ.

Andy Taylor, 01/03/2021

Day 12 – Psalm 27:1-14
Have you ever been on one of those walks where everything’s going well: you’re enjoying the beauty of nature, the fresh air fills your lungs and there’s the sound of laughter from your friends but then thick clouds descend and rain starts to fall. The wind picks up and you realise you’ve got a good few miles until you get indoors. You push on, soaking wet, covered in mud, tired from hills and wishing you’d stayed in bed that morning, but finally you make it to a building. You rush in and close the door and everything changes. It’s quiet, it’s dry, you feel safe and smiles return to your friend’s faces. The storm is raging outside but you’re safe on the inside.
The psalmist speaks of a similar experience he has of the difference shelter makes in hard times. For David it was shelter from the raging war and the opposition he faced. (v2-3, 5-6) The stronghold for him, as he calls it in verse 1, was the LORD and seeing him in the temple. God was the rock (v5) he stood upon which lifted him above the mud of his enemies which surrounded him. For us our shelter is found in the Lord Jesus who has defeated our enemy sin, and gives us safety in his presence by the Holy Spirit. Spend some time now giving thinks and being joyful that we have such a wonderful stronghold and confidence in Christ. 

Andy Taylor, 28/02/2021