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Now may God our Father himself and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you. And may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we do for you, so that your hearts are strengthened in holiness to be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
Lord God, today let love take root in our hearts just as Paul prayed here for the church at Thessalonica. Let compassion, mercy, and everything we say be saturated with love! Help us remember to rely upon You Lord, for it is You that strengthens our hearts, it is You who works in the hearts of those who hear our words, it is You Lord who is always faithful! Lord God, let the love you have shown us in Christ spring forth from our lives always, that it would change everything. Let Your love change the way we see the world, ourselves, our families, friends, strangers, and neighbors.
On the Sabbath day we went outside the city gate to the side of the river, where we thought there would be a place of prayer, and we sat down and began to speak to the women who had assembled there. A woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, a God-fearing woman, listened to us. The Lord opened her heart to respond to what Paul was saying. After she and her household were baptized, she urged us, “If you consider me to be a believer in the Lord, come and stay in my house.” And she persuaded us.
The early church sought out opportunities to preach the gospel to those around them, and the church today should do likewise. We can only imagine the hearts that the Lord has prepared to hear His gospel; hearts that will respond with repentance and become new creations. In this case, Lydia’s entire household is baptized, praise God! Go out with courage, and be bold with the gospel. The Lord has gone before you, He goes with you, and He will come behind you to prepare, to plant, and to water the faith that He authored in the first place. At the same time, He’ll strengthen your faith too.
Then Jesus, while teaching in the temple courts, cried out, “You both know me and know where I come from! And I have not come on my own initiative, but the one who sent me is true. You do not know him, but I know him, because I have come from him and he sent me.” So then they tried to seize Jesus, but no one laid a hand on him, because his time had not yet come. Yet many of the crowd believed in him and said, “Whenever the Christ comes, he won’t perform more miraculous signs than this man did, will he?” The Pharisees heard the crowd murmuring these things about Jesus, so the chief priests and the Pharisees sent officers to arrest him.
The Pharisees, over and over again, are offended at what and how Jesus speaks. In this verse it's to the point where they try to arrest him, fail, and instead of deterring people from believing in Him, many DO believe in Him. In fact, many of the ways the Pharisees attempt to trap or capture Christ fail. They fail because Jesus only does the will of the Father. Because He does exactly what He sees His Father doing - it is impossible for Him to be captured or overtaken until "His time has come". If the Pharisees were able to accept who Jesus is they would stop trying to capture Him, because whatever He does will succeed. His word has come forth and He will accomplish exactly what He desires. (Isaiah 55:11)
But a Samaritan who was traveling came to where the injured man was, and when he saw him, he felt compassion for him. He went up to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever else you spend, I will repay you when I come back this way.’ Which of these three do you think became a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” The expert in religious law said, “The one who showed mercy to him.” So Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”
Today we meet "The Good Samaritan", the man who stops to help a stranger (his neighbor). Not only does he help him, but he has compassion for him. The act of helping does not come from a removed sense of obligation, it comes from a shift in the Samaritan's heart. A heart that knows the Lord is moved by injustice and the need of others. Not only does he treat and bandage the man's wounds, but he pays for an innkeeper to look after the man until he is well...not knowing what the ultimate cost of his recovery will be! The Samaritan does not think of being robbed by the innkeeper, or whether or not the innkeeper will use the money for the good of the injured man; yet that doesn't stop him from doing what he can to help. Show others the mercy you were shown by Jesus Christ. Love your neighbor.
Nor do we boast beyond certain limits in the work done by others, but we hope that as your faith continues to grow, our work may be greatly expanded among you according to our limits, so that we may preach the gospel in the regions that lie beyond you, and not boast of work already done in another person’s area. But the one who boasts must boast in the Lord. For it is not the person who commends himself who is approved, but the person the Lord commends.
A sign of humility is giving authentic credit to the Lord for what He has done in your life. This is the key to boasting in the Lord and not in ourselves. It is recognizing that everything we accomplish, everything we are, is built upon the foundation laid by Christ Jesus on the cross. Jesus authored the canvas of mercy and grace that serves as the Launchpad for your faith, and for your good works done in Him. It is He who has chosen you, gifted you, and who goes with you in every endeavor. Let the Holy Spirit lead you and go with the knowledge that the Lord God goes with you in Christ Jesus.