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Devotion for Apr. 11, 2004

Willie Aames, who stars as the title character in the Bibleman videos and live performances, initially started acting in order to boost his self-esteem. He appeared in such television programs as Gunsmoke and Eight Is Enough and made millions of dollars. He tried big houses, fast cars, touring with a rock band, drugs, marriage, and a twelve-step program, but he still felt empty.

Later, after he had lost nearly everything, his girlfriend invited him to church. Listening to the people there, he thought: “I’ve had everything in the world—except hope. That is what I need.” That day he and his girlfriend accepted Jesus as Savior! On that day, he said, Jesus “forgave me, accepted me, and healed my broken life.”

Like many of the people in Matthew, Willie Aames responded in faith to the person of Christ. When we trust in Jesus, we not only take up our cross and prepare to suffer; at the same time, paradoxically, we find rest and peace for our souls (11:28–30).

What do we see about Jesus in today’s passage? He had an intimate, obedient relationship with His Father (v. 27). He was Lord of creation, including the Sabbath. He had God’s power and authority to heal, as He did for the man with the shriveled hand. He showed compassion and patience. He knew the thoughts and intentions of His enemies, and acted wisely to foil them. He fulfilled Old Testament prophecy (12:17–21).

What about unbelievers? He condemned towns where He performed miracles because they had not repented. Revelation made the Jews doubly responsible—knowing the Law and the Prophets, they should have recognized God at work (11:20–24). The Pharisees not only did not believe—they actively opposed Him and plotted to kill Him. They were guilty of the sin against the Holy Spirit—that is, unbelief—against which Jesus warned (12:30–32).

Those of us who believe and follow Christ should show our faith by our words and deeds (v. 35). We must not be spiritually adulterous, but rather embrace the Father’s will. In doing so, we become family with Jesus (vv. 49–50)!

Apply the Word

Have a blessed Resurrection Sunday! This is the perfect time to rest and celebrate the great salvation Christ has won!

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” (Eph. 1:7). “God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:11–12).

BY Brad Baurain

Dr. Brad Baurain has worked as a writer and editor for Today in the Word since 1993. Currently, he serves as associate professor and TESOL program head at Moody Bible Institute. Brad has the unique privilege of holding a degree from four different universities (including Moody). He has also taught in China, Vietnam, the United States, and Canada. Brad and his wife, Julia, have four children and reside in Munster, Indiana.

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