Morning
February 15

Exodus 21:5-6 (NIV) 5"But if the servant declares, 'I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free,' 6then his master must take him before the judges. He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life.


The Israelites had a very humane and self-respecting way of dealing with financial difficulty. If you could not make ends meet, you could sell yourself as a slave for a seven-year period. Very clear laws protected the way you were to be treated. During the seven years you would have food and shelter. At the end of the time, you were set free with money to begin again.

If you chose to stay with your master, if you found that place to be more suited to you than the outside world, you could give yourself as a lifelong slave to your master. Some slaves found their master to be kind and generous, and life in their service was much more secure and meaningful than struggling to make a way for themselves.

When one decided to do this, his master would take him to the door of the home. His right ear would be pierced with an awl to the doorpost. He would then be a lifelong bondservant. Why pierce the right ear? The door represents the entrance and exit to the home. Now his ear is to be attentive to the needs in this home, attending to its needs alone.

Several of the writers of the New Testament refer to themselves as a love-servant of Jesus Christ. They had given themselves for life to have their ear attentive to the needs of the heavenly home. They would no longer consider a life outside in their own house but now turn all their attention to the directions given them in their new home.

Consider: Have you become a bondservant of Jesus? There is no better Master and no more meaningful service. Is your ear His?


Evening
February 15

Matthew 8:8-10 (NIV) 8The centurion replied, "Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and that one, 'Come,' and he comes. I say to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it." 10When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, "I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.


A centurion came to Jesus to ask for the healing of a servant that was suffering terribly. Romans typically thought of servants as tools that were discarded when worn out or damaged. This Roman, that was probably a battle-hardened overseer of 100 soldiers, had a heart. He must have heard about the crowds that came to Jesus and were healed. It inspired faith in him to believe that this man, Jesus, had ability beyond that of ordinary men. Having been assigned to that region, he knew the Jews' deep faith and devotion to one God. All these factors put him in a difficult position. His culture was radically different from that of the Jews, and yet he found hope and power in this Jewish Rabbi.

When he explained his need to Jesus, Jesus said he would come and heal the servant. Most religious leaders of the day would not set foot in a Gentile home. They thought it would defile them, but Jesus was ready to help this Gentile seeker of truth. Then the centurion made an amazing parallel. He asked for Jesus just to speak the word and the servant would be healed. He explained that he is a man of authority and just has to give orders and people carry it out. The suggestion is that Jesus can do the same in the spiritual realm.

Jesus was astonished. His own people don't see so clearly. The people with the writings of the prophets and examples of God dealing with man didn't see Jesus' authority as clearly as this Roman. Do you?

Consider: One word from Jesus and the physical world is changed forever. It is His word that sustains all things. His words created all things. His word can transform you and those you care about.