Bible Society of South Africa

Longing for God – Day 242

Bible text(s)

9This, then, is how you should pray:

‘Our Father in heaven:

May your holy name be honoured;

10may your Kingdom come;

may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

11Give us today the food we need.

12Forgive us the wrongs we have done,

as we forgive the wrongs that others have done to us.

13Do not bring us to hard testing,

but keep us safe from the Evil One.’

14“If you forgive others the wrongs they have done to you, your Father in heaven will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive the wrongs you have done.

Teaching about Fasting

16“And when you fast, do not put on a sad face as the hypocrites do. They neglect their appearance so that everyone will see that they are fasting. I assure you, they have already been paid in full. 17When you go without food, wash your face and comb your hair, 18so that others cannot know that you are fasting — only your Father, who is unseen, will know. And your Father, who sees what you do in private, will reward you.

Riches in Heaven

19“Do not store up riches for yourselves here on earth, where moths and rust destroy, and robbers break in and steal. 20Instead, store up riches for yourselves in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and robbers cannot break in and steal. 21For your heart will always be where your riches are.

The Light of the Body

22“The eyes are like a lamp for the body. If your eyes are sound, your whole body will be full of light; 23but if your eyes are no good, your body will be in darkness. So if the light in you is darkness, how terribly dark it will be!

God and Possessions

24“No one can be a slave of two masters; he will hate one and love the other; he will be loyal to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

25“This is why I tell you not to be worried about the food and drink you need in order to stay alive, or about clothes for your body. After all, isn't life worth more than food? And isn't the body worth more than clothes? 26Look at the birds: they do not sow seeds, gather a harvest and put it in barns; yet your Father in heaven takes care of them! Aren't you worth much more than birds? 27Can any of you live a bit longer by worrying about it?

28“And why worry about clothes? Look how the wild flowers grow: they do not work or make clothes for themselves. 29But I tell you that not even King Solomon with all his wealth had clothes as beautiful as one of these flowers. 30It is God who clothes the wild grass — grass that is here today and gone tomorrow, burnt up in the oven. Won't he be all the more sure to clothe you? How little faith you have!

31“So do not start worrying: ‘Where will my food come from? or my drink? or my clothes?’ 32(These are the things the pagans are always concerned about.) Your Father in heaven knows that you need all these things. 33Instead, be concerned above everything else with the Kingdom of God and with what he requires of you, and he will provide you with all these other things. 34So do not worry about tomorrow; it will have enough worries of its own. There is no need to add to the troubles each day brings.

Judging Others

(Lk 6.37–38, 41–42)

1“Do not judge others, so that God will not judge you, 2for God will judge you in the same way as you judge others, and he will apply to you the same rules you apply to others. 3Why, then, do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, and pay no attention to the log in your own eye? 4How dare you say to your brother, ‘Please, let me take that speck out of your eye,’ when you have a log in your own eye? 5You hypocrite! First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will be able to see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.

6“Do not give what is holy to dogs — they will only turn and attack you. Do not throw your pearls in front of pigs — they will only trample them underfoot.

Ask, Seek, Knock

(Lk 11.9–13)

7“Ask, and you will receive; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks will receive, and anyone who seeks will find, and the door will be opened to those who knock. 9Would any of you who are fathers give your son a stone when he asks for bread? 10Or would you give him a snake when he asks for a fish? 11Bad as you are, you know how to give good things to your children. How much more, then, will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

12“Do for others what you want them to do for you: this is the meaning of the Law of Moses and of the teachings of the prophets.

The Narrow Gate

(Lk 13.24)

13“Go in through the narrow gate, because the gate to hell is wide and the road that leads to it is easy, and there are many who travel it. 14But the gate to life is narrow and the way that leads to it is hard, and there are few people who find it.

A Tree and its Fruit

(Lk 6.43–44)

15“Be on your guard against false prophets; they come to you looking like sheep on the outside, but on the inside they are really like wild wolves. 16You will know them by what they do. Thorn bushes do not bear grapes, and briars do not bear figs. 17A healthy tree bears good fruit, but a poor tree bears bad fruit. 18A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a poor tree cannot bear good fruit. 19And any tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown in the fire. 20So then, you will know the false prophets by what they do.

I Never Knew You

(Lk 13.25–27)

21“Not everyone who calls me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only those who do what my Father in heaven wants them to do. 22When Judgement Day comes, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord! In your name we spoke God's message, by your name we drove out many demons and performed many miracles!’ 23Then I will say to them, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you wicked people!’

The Two House Builders

(Lk 6.47–49)

24“So then, anyone who hears these words of mine and obeys them is like a wise man who built his house on rock. 25The rain poured down, the rivers overflowed, and the wind blew hard against that house. But it did not fall, because it was built on rock.

26“But anyone who hears these words of mine and does not obey them is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27The rain poured down, the rivers overflowed, the wind blew hard against that house, and it fell. And what a terrible fall that was!”

The Authority of Jesus

28When Jesus finished saying these things, the crowd was amazed at the way he taught. 29He wasn't like the teachers of the Law; instead, he taught with authority.

Jesus Heals a Man

(Mk 1.40–45; Lk 5.12–16)

1When Jesus came down from the hill, large crowds followed him. 2Then a man suffering from a dreaded skin disease came to him, knelt down before him, and said, “Sir, if you want to, you can make me clean.”

3Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him. “I do want to,” he answered. “Be clean!” At once the man was healed of his disease. 4Then Jesus said to him, “Listen! Don't tell anyone, but go straight to the priest and let him examine you; then in order to prove to everyone that you are cured, offer the sacrifice that Moses ordered.”

Jesus Heals a Roman Officer's Servant

(Lk 7.1–10)

5When Jesus entered Capernaum, a Roman officer met him and begged for help: 6“Sir, my servant is sick in bed at home, unable to move and suffering terribly.”

7“I will go and make him well,” Jesus said.

8“Oh no, sir,” answered the officer. “I do not deserve to have you come into my house. Just give the order, and my servant will get well. 9I, too, am a man under the authority of superior officers, and I have soldiers under me. I order this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes; and I order that one, ‘Come!’ and he comes; and I order my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.”

10When Jesus heard this, he was surprised and said to the people following him, “I tell you, I have never found anyone in Israel with faith like this. 11I assure you that many will come from the east and the west and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the feast in the Kingdom of heaven. 12But those who should be in the Kingdom will be thrown out into the darkness, where they will cry and grind their teeth.” 13Then Jesus said to the officer, “Go home, and what you believe will be done for you.”

And the officer's servant was healed that very moment.

Jesus Heals Many People

(Mk 1.29–34; Lk 4.38–41)

14Jesus went to Peter's home, and there he saw Peter's mother-in-law sick in bed with a fever. 15He touched her hand; the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him.

16When evening came, people brought to Jesus many who had demons in them. Jesus drove out the evil spirits with a word and healed all who were sick. 17He did this to make what the prophet Isaiah had said come true, “He himself took our sickness and carried away our diseases.”

The Would-be Followers of Jesus

(Lk 9.57–62)

18When Jesus noticed the crowd round him, he ordered his disciples to go to the other side of the lake. 19A teacher of the Law came to him. “Teacher,” he said, “I am ready to go with you wherever you go.”

20Jesus answered him, “Foxes have holes, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lie down and rest.”

21Another man, who was a disciple, said, “Sir, first let me go back and bury my father.”

22“Follow me,” Jesus answered, “and let the dead bury their own dead.”

Jesus Calms a Storm

(Mk 4.35–41; Lk 8.22–25)

23Jesus got into a boat, and his disciples went with him. 24Suddenly a fierce storm hit the lake, and the boat was in danger of sinking. But Jesus was asleep. 25The disciples went to him and woke him up. “Save us, Lord!” they said. “We are about to die!”

26“Why are you so frightened?” Jesus answered. “How little faith you have!” Then he got up and ordered the winds and the waves to stop, and there was a great calm.

27Everyone was amazed. “What kind of man is this?” they said. “Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

Jesus Heals Two Men with Demons

(Mk 5.1–20; Lk 8.26–39)

28When Jesus came to the territory of Gadara on the other side of the lake, he was met by two men who came out of the burial caves there. These men had demons in them and were so fierce that no one dared travel on that road. 29At once they screamed, “What do you want with us, you Son of God? Have you come to punish us before the right time?”

30Not far away there was a large herd of pigs feeding. 31So the demons begged Jesus, “If you are going to drive us out, send us into that herd of pigs.”

32“Go,” Jesus told them; so they left and went off into the pigs. The whole herd rushed down the side of the cliff into the lake and was drowned.

33The men who had been taking care of the pigs ran away and went into the town, where they told the whole story and what had happened to the men with the demons. 34So everyone from the town went out to meet Jesus; and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their territory.

Jesus Heals a Paralysed Man

1Jesus got into the boat and went back across the lake to his own town, 2where some people brought to him a paralysed man, lying on a bed. When Jesus saw how much faith they had, he said to the paralysed man, “Courage, my son! Your sins are forgiven.”

3Then some teachers of the Law said to themselves, “This man is speaking blasphemy!”

4Jesus perceived what they were thinking, so he said, “Why are you thinking such evil things? 5Is it easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 6I will prove to you, then, that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralysed man, “Get up, pick up your bed, and go home!”

7The man got up and went home. 8When the people saw it, they were afraid, and praised God for giving such authority to people.

Jesus Calls Matthew

9Jesus left that place, and as he walked along, he saw a tax collector, named Matthew, sitting in his office. He said to him, “Follow me.”

Matthew got up and followed him.

10While Jesus was having a meal in Matthew's house, many tax collectors and other outcasts came and joined Jesus and his disciples at the table. 11Some Pharisees saw this and asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such people?”

12Jesus heard them and answered, “People who are well do not need a doctor, but only those who are sick. 13Go and find out what is meant by the scripture that says: ‘It is kindness that I want, not animal sacrifices.’ I have not come to call respectable people, but outcasts.”

Matthew 6:9-9:13GNBOpen in Bible reader

Prayer: the astonishing privilege of talking with God. These readings include prayers of longing and lament, Jesus’ teaching on prayer, and some of the best loved prayers in the Bible

Bible Society of South Africav.4.21.9
Find us on