Matthew

Matthew 18

“Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

Valid question.   The disciples are living in a time where everything in community revolves around status.    If Jesus is coming as the new King of the Jews, what will be the new pecking order?  Will the Roman’s still be at the top?  Amongst them, who will be in charge?   When Jesus responds using a child, the word He uses refers to “toddler”.  This is more than just having “child-like faith”.  Toddlers, are dependent, they cannot survive without someone taking care of them.  Toddler’s don’t have a motive, or a different point of view.  The faith of a Toddler is unwavering.  If you tell them their food is on the table, they do not doubt it, ponder over it, discuss it…they believe it.

Verse 6-9- the use of Hyperbole (I love that word!) is intentional so that we consider the severity of the sin from God’s perspective.  To cause a child of God’s to stumble in their walk with Christ… is a “Beware” (Woe) moment.    He then reverses it to being the one that has stumbled.  To exaggerate the  idea of “if your hand is causing you to sin” is really important to see the severity of sin.  Losing your right eye or limb (right meaning best side), is nothing compared to eternity in Hell.


OK, ready for it.  I am not kidding you.  IF I had to tally the most common scripture/set of verses I have heard from God or used from the Bible it is this:

12 “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off.14 In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.

It is not a secret that sheep are not bright, they cannot focus and wander off constantly (like looking in a mirror).  Therefore, they ALWAYS need a Shepard.  The Shepard is the steward on watch for the owner of the sheep. However they are accountable for all 100 of them.  If he loses a sheep (it happened all the time) they were required to pay for it.

When I hear it from God randomly, It has applied to missions God puts me on AND He has used it to rebuke me often.  “Ummm, Trish, this is not about you…it’s about the ONE”.  Well, I was once the “one”.

I do want to share real quick,  a few months ago we read Proverbs 13:24.

Whoever spares the rod hates their children,
but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.

How are the Shepherd's Rod and Staff Different? » Reasons for Hope ...

In the time the scripture was written, and even still today, shepherds used tools to guide their sheep. They use a staff, or a crook, and a rod. The crook is the curved stick you see most often in pictures with shepherds.

  • When sheep fall into a pit or lose sight of their flock, they look down. The curved end of the crook is used to pull the sheep’s head back up and guide it in the way it should go.
  • The rod is used to guide sheep who wandered off from the flock.  It can also be used defensively to keep the sheep safe from predators.

I am already way off topic (shocking) so I am going to put one more (maybe it is for me, maybe for you today), connecting Proverbs to Psalms to Matthew this morning:

Psalm 23

A psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
    he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.

Everyday I see something new…instead of me reading “Follow Me” (which I can get WAY off topic about because I am reading a secular book about it) but instead…Jesus is behind me with his Rod and His Staff for my protection!

Let’s keep going….”Leave the 99″


OK, back to the Bible 😘

Sin in the Church- I wrestle with God all the time about this because I have seen this done twice in a church.  I know I have to trust the the elders read these scriptures and headed advice from the Lord on it and know things I don’t know but I am going to tell you it left a bad taste in my mouth the way I have seen this interpreted.  🤐

  1.  If you are in fellowship with a believer.  Believer to Believer, and one is openly sinning, we are to confront them  PRIVATELY with the intent of REPENTANCE.
  2. If they do not, then 2 or 3 witnesses are to be brought PRIVATELY to bear witness, again with the goal of Repentance.
  3. If they do not, then take it to church council, again the goal is Repentance.
  4. IF they still do not, then you must cut fellowship with them and treat them as unbelievers (with love), again the goal is repentance.

In the meantime what are you, the witnesses, and the church doing?  Not throwing stones at it…that is for sure! 19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”  

You are gathering with Jesus and praying over that person, with the goal of Repentance.

So then what happens when they Repent?  You forgive them just as you have been forgiven for your many sins.


Forgiveness takes away our vengefulness.  (oh, but that is hard for my ugly heart). Go back to the story of Cain and Abel.  Was he forgiven?

23 Lamech said to his wives,

“Adah and Zillah, listen to me;
    wives of Lamech, hear my words.
I have killed a man for wounding me,
    a young man for injuring me.
24 If Cain is avenged seven times,
    then Lamech seventy-seven times.”

Escalating vengeance can only be snuffed out by forgiveness

35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

 

Luke · Mark · Matthew

Matthew 17, Mark 9, Luke 9:28-62

Seven days later they had walked from Caesarea Philippi to Mt. Tabor (possibly).

Where was the location of the Transfiguration? - Ancient Questions

 About a week after Jesus told His disciples that He would suffer, be killed, and be raised to life, He took Peter, James, and John up a mountain to pray.  We talked about the disciples and their faith last week. They had faith but they always had some doubt in his power and authority.  Jesus took them aside to show them He was the son of the living God! He was God in the flesh.  I picture it like He “unzipped” his skin to show them that He was fully man but fully God too!

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/17/bb/23/17bb23507f5a2aa4278274c9302d6a2f.jpg  | Transfiguration of jesus, Pictures of jesus christ, Jesus pictures

Peter, not knowing what he was saying fully (easy for us, we have hindsight 20/20) and being very fearful, offered to put up three shelters for them. This is a reference to the booths that were used to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles when the Israelites dwelt in booths for 7 days. Peter was expressing a wish to stay in that place.

The appearance of Moses and Elijah represented the Law (Moses) and the Prophets (Elijah). But God’s voice from heaven – “Listen to Him!” – clearly showed that the Law and the Prophets must give way to Jesus. The One who is the new and living way is replacing the old – He is the fulfillment of the Law and the countless prophecies in the Old Testament. Also, in His glorified form, they saw a preview of His coming glorification and enthronement as King of kings and Lord of lords.

The disciples never forgot what happened that day on the mountain and no doubt this was intended.  In 2 Peter 1, he wrote:

16 For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” 18 We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.


Not all the disciples were at the transfiguration so in the following story the disciples still did not have “full faith”.

16 I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.”

These men were given healing powers!    (Here is a scripture directed to the disciples that I think many of us take ut of context)

20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” 

In Mark, it ends 29 He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”  

The disciples could not heal him because they thought “they” could heal him.  No, they need to come to God, so that the healing was from Him, for His Glory.


Temple Tax:  Oh I love this!  So temple tax was to be paid yearly (about 2 days wages) every year for Temple maintenance.  When Kings collected taxes their children were exempt from paying it.  So SHOULD Jesus be required to pay it?  NO, He was the son of God.  But does He?  YES.    Jesus did not come to break the Law, not a single one.  As Christ-followers, in His family, are we REQUIRED to give?  NO, should we? YES.  When we do, God is faithful to provide it.


Luke: We have an extra story that says:

51 As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; 53 but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. 54 When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” 55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them. 56 Then he and his disciples went to another village.

  1.  my heart sank on verse 51…the time is near…
  2.  we know now that the Samaritans and the Jews did not like each other…
  3. James and John.  Bless their hearts..did they really say do you want “us”.  (Oh my, who did they think they are)

BUT this is the very reason God chose them to be in the inner circle.  The spirit would be needed for the mission ahead.  James will be the first disciple to lose his life for the Lord, and John will be the last.

Luke · Mark · Matthew

Matthew 16, Mark 8, Luke 9:18-27

The first line alone should say it all:

The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven.

Let me phrase that in another way so you get it ” Trump and Biden came together….”  That’s how controversial this is!  The Pharisees and Sadducees are opposite parties! However, together they should know the sign of the times they are in!  They witnessing miracles but they want to see something different, some sign from Heaven. (They will….it’s the sign of Jonah, after 3 days He will rise again)


Then the Bread story:

They discussed this among themselves and said, “It is because we didn’t bring any bread.”

Bless!!!  Really???

They did have faith, BUT they didn’t have the FULL faith that was needed yet to participate in Jesus’ ministry.

BEWARE OF THE YEAST OF PHARISEES AND SADDUCEES | Into the Sacred Hills of Jade

So what would be an example of the “yeast” that the Pharisees and Sadducees would teach that could rise up in you?  (Yeast synonymous with sin).  Well if you go back to yesterday’s posts you could probably put it together.  The Pharisees would preach legalism, tradition, and works (sounds like some familiar teachings today).  The Sadducees were more political and believed in self-preservation, status, and money-very “worldly”.  (Also very familiar teachings).  Just a little of either teaching is like yeast and would rise up in us and eventually take over our doctrine.


Caesarea Philippi, is near the foot of Mount Hermon, it became the religious center for worship of the Greek god, Pan (you may have seen the images, half-man,  half-goat, plans the “pan” flute).  Caesarea Philippi was a place to worship Greek gods.  In the cliff that stood above the city, local people built shrines and temples to good and to worship Caesar (thus the name of the city).

To the pagan mind, the cave at Caesarea Philippi created a gate to the underworld, where fertility gods lived during the winter. The pagans of Jesus’ day commonly believed that their fertility gods lived in the underworld during the winter and returned to earth each spring. They saw water as a symbol of the underworld and thought that their gods traveled to and from that world through caves. They believed that this city was literally at the gates of the underworld: the gates of hell. In order to entice the return of their god, Pan, each year, the people of Caesarea Philippi engaged in horrible deeds, including prostitution and sexual interaction between humans and goats.

When the Gates of Hell Prevail over the Church - The Meaning of Catholic

Many were saying Jesus was John the Baptist (well they got that from Herod who was freaking out that JB had come back from the dead to get revenge), others say He was Elijah (the Prophet foretold to pave the way that has not had an earthly death yet),  and some said Jeremiah (both were called before birth, prophet to the nations, spoke of the temple destruction, and wept for Jerusalem).

15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

Peter said he believed Jesus was “the Christ,” the Messiah that the Old Testament prophesied.  Matthew’s only use of Peter’s full name here, “Simon Peter,” highlights the significance of the declaration.  Peter further defined Jesus as “the Son of the living God.” Peter’s great confession here was an important benchmark in their understanding and faith.

18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 

Which Rock?? The one they are standing on?  On Peter (his name means “Rock)”? Or what Peter said?

He is going to build His church on what Peter professed (the first mention of the word Church).  Jesus is going to build the Church on those who say I am The Christ.  That is a Cornerstone of a Rock!

“and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”

ANOTHER reason Jesus chose THIS place to compare and contrast His Message with the “gates to the underworld he was standing on”

Jesus then predicts his:

  • Suffering
  • Death
  • 3rd day Resurrection

Now, this will not make complete sense to the Disciples, BUT when it happens, it will take them from “little faith” to that “Servant Faith!”


Get behind me Satan!

He was NOT calling Peter Satan.  He was however recalling when He was tempted in the desert.  Peter did not WANT this to happen, but Jesus reminds him we must die to self.  It is what The Lord will do.

 

Sorry if Typos!!  I was late!

Mark · Matthew

Matthew 15 and Mark 7

Similar texts with very different details!

As we read on, Jesus will be confronted by the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Scribes.  Jesus held tightly to the original scriptures and did not conform to his environment.  (ouch, right).  You need to know who the “confronters”:

  • Pharisees-(means to be separated) They began after the Babylonian Captivity.  Started out great! They are going to be separated from the World!  As time went on, they became too separate and legalistic-conservatives to a fault
  • Sadducees- did not believe in the Oral Law, Miracles, the Resurrection of the dead, or any Supernatural event.  They were more of a social group.-liberals to a fault
  • Scribes- probably began during the time of Ezra.  The “OG” of Scribes. They would copy the Torah (The 1st 5 books)-so that people in captivity and those that returned to Jerusalem could study God’s Law.
    • Through time they would make additional post-it notes and debate over them as a group.  Sometimes the post-it note superseded the words of God. (Hmmm, reading Christian books, without reading the Bible)
  • Herodians- they were Jewish nationalists that sided with the Herod Family.  They wanted to exalt the Herods for building up the beautiful temple before them.

Jesus makes a new group and named them a greek term for being an actor-‘hypokrites’, – Hypocrites! 


Let’s jump right in with me growing up with an Italian Catholic mother in NJ- We had LOTS of “christian” tradition, yet no one in my family (I mean the aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents…..NEVER once had a Bible)

Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?

Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees about ritual without reality. The Pharisees had asked why the disciples did not wash their hands according to the ritualistic tradition of the elders. This hand-washing was not what we think of today with soap and water. It was a ritual done as a show of “religion”.  

Oh, you want to talk following the law Pharisses?  OK, let’s pick a 10 commandment….#5 will do.

‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God, they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition.

The phrase ‘devoted to God’, means “Corban”. Whatever money might have been used to provide for aging parents could be dedicated to the temple treasury instead (BUT you can keep it in your wallet and use it if you needed) . Saying, “It is Corban” would exempt a person from his responsibility to his parents. (Next time my kids ask for money I am going to say “Corban”. Ha!!)


“Listen and understand. 11 What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”….

17 “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? 18 But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.”

So what comes out of our mouth is more vile than what goes into the sewer pipes.  

Quite the parable to think over today.


The Faithful Canaanite woman- “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me!”– Wait….what?  So you are telling me a Gentile woman not living near Jerusalem is willing to admit WHO Jesus is, but not the Jewish leaders.

26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

In other words- “It is not right to take what I promised the Jews through a Covenant and freely give it to Gentiles” (Gentiles were often referred to as dogs)

27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”

You go girl!!!


Great Map!  Click here to print.


Jesus feeds the 4000+ family (This is a separate event than the other feeding). Look at the map.

The meal difference: The first feeding miracle/the feeding miracle

  • 1-day sermon verse 3 day sermon
  • different season (sitting on grass verse ground)
  • 5 loaves/ 7 loaves a few fish
  • 12 baskets left over/7 baskets left over
  • Two different locations: Galilee region/Decapolis region
Luke · Mark · Matthew

Matthew 14, Mark 6, Luke 9:1-17

The beheading of John.  (I particularly like the Mark version the best, some cool extra info was stated)

Click here to see this bigger or print it.

  1. Herod the Great is the Herod that was alive when Jesus was born (decreed all the babies be killed in hoping the one born called ‘king of the jews’ would perish.  Fat chance!
  2. Herod Philip– 1st husband to Herodias
  3. Herodias-was seduced by #6 Herod Antipas (a ruler)- her uncle and married him.
  4. The JB
  5. Salome- daughter of Philip and Herodias (1st marriage) and a pole dancer!  She was seducing Herod Antipas!  (she marries her great uncle #8)

With this visual the story should make sense.  If you have any questions let me know.


The feeding of the 5,000 men and their wives and children.  (A lot!)

Aside from the resurrection, the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 is the only miracle recorded in all four Gospels. To feed 5,000+ people with five loaves and two fish is miraculous!  Click here for handout.

Jesus’ disciples had wanted to send the people away because the evening was approaching and they were in a remote place. But Christ had a better idea: “You give them something to eat”.  At this point, the disciples should have recalled the many miracles they had seen Jesus do AND the Missions discourse. In John 6 (when we get there) we will see  Andrew show doubt? (Bless his heart) And Philip will say “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” (We always think of $$)

Amazingly, the entire multitude was fed with that small meal. Jesus provided “as much as they wanted” (in John) and “they all ate and were satisfied” (in Matthew). Christ did not just meet the need; He lavished them with so much food that there were “twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish” leftover.

There is a foreshadowing of this miracle in 2 Kings. Elisha told his servant to feed the people gathered there, although there was not enough food for the hundred men. One of the men said, “How can I set this before a hundred men?” (2 Kings 4:42–44) In the end, however, the men not only had enough to eat, but “they ate and had some left”.

What a test for the apostles who were to walk the baskets to the people and have faith that there would be enough, but an even bigger test for us today God will shatter the pint-sized expectations of what we as followers can do.

(Reminds me of when I pray and then say under my breath…yeah, like that will ever happen!  Ohhhh such little faith!)


Jesus walks on water- I know many of you have read a commentary on this, or have been given an encouraging word through church with this account but for our purposes, look at the chronological standpoint.   The apostle’s mission has been given.  They are going to go into the region to proclaim the kingdom of God.  They must have FULL faith in who Jesus is.  When Jesus fed the 5,000+ they still had little faith.  Again Jesus shows his authority

Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 51 Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down.They were completely amazed, 52 for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.

In Matthew it said:

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

I hope each day you read familiar stories new. 😁

Matthew

Matthew 9-10

Chapter 9 is a repeat.  That does not mean you should skip it.  Read it now with the knowledge you have and see if it all fits.  Be humble and ask questions.

Chapter 10- Jesus sends out the 12

Huge moment.  These are the names of the twelve apostles:   The word apostles means “to send out”.  He sends them in pairs.  After listing them he gives what is called the Mission Discourse: the mission of the disciples to Israel.

  1. Sent to the lost sheep (the Jews)
  2. Responding to persecution
  3. Bearing witness fearlessly

The apostles were to limit their ministry to the Jews living in Galilee (among the Gentiles)  What was the mission?

These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.

  • announce the appearance of a Jewish Messiah
  • announce a Jewish kingdom
  • provide signs as proof of divine authority
  • offer their services free of charge since it was given to them freely

They were told only go where they were welcomed.  If they were not worthy, they were to wipe the dust off their sandals when they left.  Picture shaking someone’s hand, and then taking hand sanitizer and wiping your hand in front of them to know they were “unclean”.  The Jews would do this when they left a Gentile house so they would understand the body language.

How will they know what to say?? 19 But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.


26 “So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. 28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

The mystery of the Old Testament is to be revealed!  The Gospel is to be shared not kept hidden.

Matthew 515 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.

The disciples ARE going to be heavily persecuted! Should they fear it?? (Easy for us to say)   28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.- Their only fear should be in their master-God.


The Jews believed that a King would come and bring Peace to “them”.  Reclaim their land and they would be the world power.  He WILL bring peace but not until the second coming.  Because many will not recognize Jesus as the Messiah it will divide relationships.  He quotes Micah 7.

34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn

“‘a man against his father,
    a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
36     a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’

37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.

“Whoever does not pick up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me”- Oh how I have heard this used out of context too many times.  The scriptures repeatedly tell us to love one another.  True.  BUT above ALL we are to Love him more. “Take up your cross and follow Me” means s a call to absolute surrender. After each time Jesus commanded cross bearing, He said, “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?”

A person who lives in the present loses the real purpose of life.  So what is the Mission Discourse:

  • share the Gospel
  • help people
  • live simply
  • move on if you are rejected
  • use wisdom and discernment
  • expect persecution
  • do not be afraid
  • remain faithful to God

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mark · Matthew

Matthew 8:14-34 and Mark 4-5

Jesus heals many:  Jesus’ healings were to acknowledge who he was.  He quotes Isaiah 53 when healing Peter’s mother in law with a word!

“He took up our infirmities
    and bore our diseases.”

The Cost of following Jesus:  To be a true follower of Jesus, He comes first.  This is hard to think about as a mom.  His expectations are sacrifice and uncompromising obedience even in the face of family obligations.  When the disciple said “let me bury the dead”, we know that there is always an inheritance.   The cost of being one of HIs faithful followers may mean putting aside material desires.

The next 2 miracles prove that Jesus has full authority even over what we cannot see.  He has authority over nature and demons.  Everything is at his command.  The disciples are WITH Jesus (as you are) and he says “what little faith”.  Jesus said “Let’s go to the other side”...and they said when the storm came “we are going to drown”.  Ummmm???Compare that to some of the other miracles of the Gentiles, like the Centurian,  who Jesus says “I have never seen such great Faith”.

I know it is tempting to read your subtitle and say “we already read that”.  Please do not skim over it.   Each account is so different and you will be blessed when you read the details and differences.  Read the demon-possessed man account in Mark!  It is very detailed.  I love Mark!


I hate to give the enemy ANY blog time…but it is important that we understand who he is, but more importantly how limited in power he is!  In the Old Testament demons were present.  If we think back to some of the horrible stories we read,  it is obvious that they were at work (and still are today).  But their presence is seen because they recognize the Messiah.  We know that Satan was a  beautiful angel.  God called him Morning Star but his name was Lucifer. He became arrogant in his beauty and status and decided he wanted to sit on a throne above that of God.  Satan’s pride led to his fall. Notice the many “I will” statements in Isaiah 14:12-15. Because of his sin, God permanently removed Satan from his exalted position and role.

12 How you have fallen from heaven,
    morning star, son of the dawn!
You have been cast down to the earth,
    you who once laid low the nations!
13 You said in your heart,
    “I will ascend to the heavens;
I will raise my throne
    above the stars of God;
I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly,
    on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon.
14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;
    I will make myself like the Most High.”
15 But you are brought down to the realm of the dead,
    to the depths of the pit.

Satan became the ruler of this world and the prince of the power of the air. He is an accuser, a tempter, and a deceiver. His very name means “adversary” or “one who opposes.” Another of his titles, the devil, means “slanderer.”

Even though he was cast out of heaven, he still seeks to elevate his throne above God. He counterfeits all that God does, hoping to gain the worship of the world and encourage opposition to God’s kingdom. Satan will do anything and everything in his power to oppose God and those who follow God. However, Satan’s destiny is sealed—an eternity in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10)!! I cannot wait to read Revelation!!

The story of the demon-possessed men:

Credits Study of Mark: Chris Reeves Maps: History and. - ppt download

So if you read the “400 Years of Silence” post you might remember that when Rome took over,  the Romans subdivided the land.  East of the Sea of Galilee is called the Decapolis.

Decapolis - TRUE MICHAEL FOUNDATION

The demons (once being angels) would immediately know and fear the Messiah.

Mark 5:6   When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!”  

When Jesus asked him his name,  he said “Legion”.  Well, this makes sense knowing the geography: it was a Roman word used for a large group of fighting men (up to 5,000).  There were pigs nearby (another hint that this is a Gentile region because Jewish people would never touch a pig) So to save themselves from being thrown into the Abyss.  They know this was their ultimate destiny, they just did not want to go before the appointed time, they requested to be cast into the pigs (I am sure they would feel right at home being in a pig)

Why the demons begged to be allowed to enter the pigs is never stated.   It could be because they didn’t want to leave the area where they had been successful in doing their mischief among the people. Perhaps they were drawn to the unclean animals because of their own filthiness. The demons may have made this strange request because it was their last chance to avoid confinement in the Abyss. Whatever their reasoning, it is clear from the account that demons had little power of their own and were unable to do anything without Jesus’ permission. As Christians, we can take comfort in the knowledge that God has complete control.  (Wow, reminds me of Job….that seems like years ago we read Job).

So then what happens??? Oh my stars!  Rather than people rejoicing over the healed man….they saw their business ($$) go over the hillside and begged Jesus to leave the area!


The last 2 stories today show that Jesus does not show favorites.  Rich or Poor.  He took a 12-year-old girl and a 12-year infliction on the poor.

  • Jarius was a top Jewish leader.  Running a Synagogue was an elected position (probably from the Pharisees) Have you noticed we haven’t said that before!  Gentile yes.  Jewish?? Jarius’ public humility of humbly getting on the ground before Jesus compares to the woman who was considered by Jewish standards “unclean” and probably had to live outside city limits.
  • Jarius’s daughter was healed through Faith.  The bleeding woman too was healed through Faith.
  • I love how Jesus loves them equally.  I think too often we as a society (through jealousy) may actually think Jesus loves the poor more?  Maybe that is just me.
Luke · Matthew

Matthew 13, Luke 8

Parable means “cast alongside”.  A parable is an analogy alongside a Truth to make it relatable.    Chapter 13 has 7 parables.  The first parable is about whether or not we understand the rest of the parables.  Who will understand these parables…depends on the soil.

The prophet Isaiah was quoted.  Just like in the day of the prophets, the message was not received, many of this generation will not either.

13 This is why I speak to them in parables:

“Though seeing, they do not see;
    though hearing, they do not hear or understand.

14 In them is fulfilled(L) the prophecy of Isaiah:

“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
    you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
15 For this people’s heart has become calloused;
    they hardly hear with their ears,
    and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise, they might see with their eyes,
    hear with their ears,
    understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’

16 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. 17 For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

OK, this is going to be a little hard BUT it is important that some hearts were calloused and rejected the Word.  If they had all understood it, their hearts would turn and they would not need the Messiah to die on the Cross for both Jew and the Gentile.   The Providence of knowing ahead of time who will and who will not hear and see is for God’s glory and He uses that so Jesus will be rejected.


Parable of the Soils is told, then Jesus explains in Isaiah many will not understand them, then in verse 18-23, Jesus explains WHY many won’t understand it. 

So now what?  The Word of God is the seed- some seed will grow, some will begin to grow, and some with never grow.  So in this world, what would that look like?  Well, the parables of the weeds explain it to us. The fruit-bearing plants and the weeds will live in the same garden.  At the time of Harvest (final Jusgemenet), they will be separated.

The parables are explained.  Some listeners will understand the parable and some will understand the explanation.  Just like some of us are audible learners and some are visuals.


The parables are paired together:

The Mustard Seed and the Yeast indicate that what is small or hidden now (Jesus) the Kingdom of heaven seems insignificant, but there will come a time when it will be unmistakable and all-encompassing.  His plan is completely laid out.  The End times will come.

36 Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”

37 He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.

40 “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.


The parable of the hidden treasure and the pearl.  We live such “worldly” lives.  We grossly underestimate the value of the kingdom.


The parable of the net.  Listen.  The truth will offend many.  This is a hard parable to read.  On the day of Judgement, the net will be cast.  The fish will be separated.  There is no banter or pleading with God about all the good “things” you did in life.  There will be a final judgment.

So what was the soil??? Did they understand??  

51 “Have you understood all these things?” Jesus asked.

“Yes,” they replied.

NO, THEY DID NOT!  If they had they wouldn’t have asked whose He was (son, brother, friend, occupation.... but WHO He IS.

 Where then did this man get all these things?” 57 And they took offense at him.

58 And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.


As you jump into Luke 8 and read these parables, don’t read them as you may have heard them at church.  I myself have thrown around scripture out of context…a lamp on a stand.  Jesus is the Lamp…He will reveal what is hidden.     Who is Jesus’ family??  Believers!

NOW let’s get to the best part.  Jesus calms the storm!!  I have hears this story spun 100 times for application.  BUT now that you read Matthew 13 and how it ended…what is the most important line??  Not whose is He…who is his mother? His father?  BUT…..

In fear and amazement, they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”

NOW we are getting somewhere!!!!

I am going to save the next 2 stories when they are in the other Gospels so that you have time to soak up the parables and re-read them if needed.

Luke · Matthew

Matthew 12:22-50, Luke 11

Click here to read

I am going to jump down to a scripture we already talked about (I posted a video on it the other day).

31 And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

EVERY sin can be forgiven.  You can be mad at the Lord and even say something at that moment in anger.  He WILL forgive you.  HOWEVER, to not acknowledge that God works through Jesus by the Holy Spirit is not forgivable.   If you deny the ‘power’ of Christ– as Lord- cannot be forgiven.  Many many great people of this world do not believe in the healing and saving power of the Lord.

The Pharisees denied this so strongly that they went as far as saying the power is from the Devil.  Oh no you di’nt!!

Have you ever panicked and thought…” what if I am missing something…what if on the day of my death I THOUGHT I was going to Heaven and was wrong??”  When I became a Christian this was a HUGE concern.  I still sometimes think those thoughts.   BUT The Lord is quick to tell me “Don’t question it…even though you are still a hot mess!  There is proof”.

Verse 33 “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 35 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

I just need to examine my fruit (not works).  If the Lord changed the tree so that it can bear fruit-it will!   (If you don’t see fruit…well….)  So here is my proof: There were SIGNIFICANT changes in me that were not there when I was a fruitless tree.  Your proof is the fruit that HE grows…   (so that I cannot boast about it!)

Galatians 5 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

I am often in a situation where I feel or see something “different” because I am seeing it differently, I immediately will say out loud “Well, that’s evidence in my Salvation, the “old” me would have handled that very differently”.  FRUIT!


The sign of Jonah!

38 Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.”

What in Sam Hill??  He JUST healed a demon-possessed blind mute man!  So Jesus responds to this generation of people- 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

This is a FIRST reference Jesus makes to his death and burial that is to come.  He will be buried for 3 days- when that happens they will think back to this parable and KNOW that the sign was given.


Luke 11-

Look at verse 5, then 9, then 11.

5 : a parable about the father who does not want to get out of bed to give them bread.  This is not a comparison parable this is a contrast parable.  Is this our view of prayer? A Father that does not want to help us? So he says:

7: “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

11: So after reading verse 7 there is the comparison parable.  A father that wants to respond to our prayer.  This is how we should see our requests.  He is a father that wants to bless up…why would He give us less?


Verse 37 (my favorite part)

Woes to the Pharisees and to the Scribes.

  •  You look good on the outside but are a mess inside!
  •  You ritualistically gave your tithe BUT you neglected justice
  •  You are prideful and love the praise of looking so “religious”
  •  An unmarked grave- They always painted graves so that people wouldn’t touch them and become unclean.  THEY are the unmarked graves and actually corrupting the people near them.
  • They made laws about the laws…no one could follow.
  • Their ancestors rejected prophets….this generation will reject THE prophet…Jesus.
  • Verse 52 was the one I focused on
    • 52 “Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.”
    • The Word of God:  Changing/watering down/tweaking/adding to it/taking parts away….Changing the Bible in any way changes a lot and could absolutely hinder someone else’s Salvation.
    • We hear friends, family, bible study leaders, Pastors change the Bible all the time in the “slightest way”.  I think we need to remember that Satan did that in the Wilderness.

 

 

Matthew

Matthew 11

In the next 6 chapters in Matthew (11-16) we will see an increased confrontation and rejection from the Jewish leaders.  Jesus will become increasingly bold as he makes His identity more known as the Messiah.

Jumping down to verse 20.

A Town Cursed by Jesus

“Woe” is a major warning.  BEWARE.

This might hit home for many if you live in a town where every block has a church on it.

Jesus compared Chorazin (can start with a K too), Bethsaida, and Capernaum to 3 Gentile cities that we have read about in the Old Testament: Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom.  If Jewish people were asked “Name the 3 worst cities, filled with filth, sex, idolatry”, these 3 would be mentioned.  However, Capernaum is Jesus’ “headquarters” and so many signs and miracles have been given to the Sea of Galilee area.  Unfortunately, many are seeing and wanting more “blessing”, without repentance.

Capernaum was the place Jesus and Peter made their home.  23 And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades. For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. 24 But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”

Some of the miracles Capernaum has seen:

  • The abundant fish were caught by 3 disciples, The Centurna’s servant was healed, Demonic healings, Healing at Peter’s mother in law’s house, Many sick and disease her healed, The Leper was healed, The man with the withered hand was healed, The paralytic was made to walk, Jairus’  daughter healed, Blind men were given sight, and some others

Reminds me of a Poem:

I was shocked, confused,
bewildered As I entered Heaven’s door,
Not by the beauty of it all,
Nor the lights or its decor. 

But it was the folks in Heaven
Who made me sputter and gasp–
The thieves, the liars, the sinners,
The alcoholics and the trash. 

There stood the kid from seventh grade
Who swiped my lunch money twice.
Next to him was my old neighbor
Who never said anything nice. 

Bob, who I always thought
Was rotting away in hell,
Was sitting pretty on cloud nine,
Looking incredibly well. 

I nudged Jesus, ‘What’s the deal?
I would love to hear Your take.
How’d all these sinners get up here?
God must’ve made a mistake. 

‘And why is everyone so quiet,
So somber – give me a clue.’
‘Hush, child,’ He said,
‘they’re all in shock.
No one thought they’d be seeing you.’ 


25 At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. 26 Yes, Father, for this, is what you were pleased to do.

The Jewish leaders were “wise” in their own eyes.  Yet, many others who did not even grow up hearing the scriptures of the day had come before Jesus humbly and with great faith.  Knowledge of the Bible is important so that we can learn about His unconditional Love and  His Plan for our lives HOWEVER, it is not Faith.  Think about how deeply and simply a child believes…that is the Faith He desires.


28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

If you have grown up in church you know what a yoke is.  SO now I want you to STOP and re-read it as if you were a child, not the “wise” who grew up hearing this scripture before.  Don’t let it get watered down because it is familiar.

Yokes: Instrument and Metaphor | Discovering Lewis & Clark ®

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

I don’t want to comment…I want it to be personal.  Have a wonderful day.