The one thing that is everything

Published 11:25 am Thursday, March 23, 2023

By R.A. Tea Mathews

Picture-in-picture technology, developed in the 1970s, was an immediate success. As you know, it allows you to view a miniature window, while you watch a more important video on the full screen. 

But you can find picture-in-picture all over the Bible. Let me show you.

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The Gospel of Matthew tells us that Jesus’ ministry had attracted the attention of scribes. They were present on a day when Jesus entered Nazareth, spoke to a paralyzed man, and healed him. What did the scribes then say to Jesus:

  1. “Glory to God in the highest.”
  2. “You truly are the Son of God.”
  3. “Who gave you such amazing power?”
  4. All of the above.
  5. None of the above.

Consider your choices and lock in your answer. Here’s the passage:

Getting into a boat, Jesus crossed over the Sea of Galilee and came to His own city. And they brought to Him a paralyzed man lying on a stretcher … Jesus said to the man … ‘Take courage, son; your sins are forgiven.’ And some of the scribes said to themselves, ‘This man is blaspheming!’ And Jesus … said, ‘Why are you thinking evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, “Your sins are forgiven,” or to say, “Get up and walk”?’ … then He said to the paralyzed man, ‘Get up, pick up your stretcher and go home.’ And he got up and went home. But when the crowds saw this, they were awestruck and they glorified God…” (Matthew 9:1-8)

The crowds praised God for the miracle they had seen but there is no mention of the scribes joining them. The correct answer is No. 5.

Bitter, jealous, and resentful men. How else can you explain these scribes who missed the big picture? A paralyzed man was healed!

Matthew also tells us of a blind man who was mute and demon-possessed. What did the Pharisees say when Jesus healed him?

  1. “Glory to God in the highest.”
  2. “You truly are the Son of God.”
  3. “Who gave you such amazing power?”
  4. All of the above.
  5. None of the above.

     Consider your choices and lock in your answer. Here’s the passage:

Then a demon-possessed man who was blind and unable to speak was brought to Jesus, and He healed him … And all the crowds were amazed … But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, ‘This man casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons.’” (Matthew 12:22-32)

Like the scribes, the Pharisees saw someone they hated, completely missing the big picture—a blind, mute man had been healed! 

The correct answer is No. 5.

Let me show you a third instance. Here’s the passage:

“…(Jesus) went into their synagogue. And a man was there whose hand was withered. And they questioned Jesus, asking, ‘Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?’ … He said to them, ‘…if (a sheep) falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will (the owner) not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable then is a person than a sheep!’ … He said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand!’ He stretched it out, and it was restored to normal, like the other. But the Pharisees went out and conspired against Him, as to how they might destroy Him.” (Matthew 12:9-14)

Once again, angry, bitter men only saw what they wanted to see, completely missing the miracle! 

Picture-In-Picture isn’t just found in technology or in Scripture. Many unhappy people ruin their lives, unable to comprehend what’s right in front of them.

 Consider parents who focus on what their child is not doing, instead of all that he or she is getting right. A spouse can do the same thing, staring at the small screen, criticizing the things that are not getting done, unable to see the big picture. Perhaps not even realizing there is a big picture!

A family is a wonderful thing to have, with all of its messy spots. You can work on the small screen things, but don’t forget what the scribes and Pharisees did with Jesus. A paralyzed man walked, another could see, a withered hand was restored. 

A family is a wonderful thing. If you have someone who loves you and whom you love, you are blessed with one of the biggest pictures God can give. 

Treasure it every day. Offer three compliments for every criticism. Strengthen those God has given to you.

Love is the one thing that is everything.

he Rev. Mathews, BA, MDiv, JD, is a faith columnist and the author of “Reaching to God.” Contact her at Hello@RAMathews.com to join her 1-Minute Bible Study.

Copyright © 2023 R.A. Mathews. All rights reserved.