Matthew 24 Part 1–The End Of Days

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There is no doubting that Jesus spoke of an end of days.  Theologians through the years have debated the validity of the discussion of end times and what it means for the church.  Jesus was clear to his disciples–there will be an end of days, and the people of God will suffer and be tempted to walk away from God to avoid the pain.  As he taught the group, much of what he discussed could easily apply to the modern times. The important thing that the disciples needed to hear was not the circumstances surrounding the end times, but that they needed to be ready when the end of days, does in fact,come.

That message plays as loudly today as it did when 1st delivered 2000 years ago. We, as a body of believers, need to live as if each day could be the end.  We, in America, still have the amazing gift to worship God freely and openly. Across the globe, not so much. Europe, Asia and the Middle-East continue to grow more antagonistic to the Church and to Israel. What used to be a sad but secret truth, has now grown to become the norm and not the exception. Whether or not, however, Jesus returns in our lifetime, the critical thing is that we live ready for his return.  Our faith is an active one–one that not only requires commitment, but it also requires preparation by seeking him in fellowship, prayer and study of his word.  We cannot take for granted the fact that the freedom to worship is a gift–one that could be taken away in a heartbeat. 

The bottom line is simple–we need to walk and live as though each day could be the last and we could become a persecuted church. Trust God, follow him, fellowship with other believers, and remember, this world is not our home.

God Bless You

As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many.You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.

“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’[a] spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 

Matthew 23 Part 2–The 7 Woes for the Religious Elite

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Jesus was on a role, He had spent so much time ministering despite the interference of the religious leaders. On this, the end of His mission, Jesus had simply run out of patience.  He finally called these men out on the attitudes and behaviors they now were portraying as Godly.  They were living a gotcha religion, that, really, was not about God. Instead it was about some spiritual maze that if you followed just right–and, if you were lucky, You could get through and be atoned.  

 

Jesus said, “Enough!  Enough, blocking others from God simply because you can’t reach Him. Enough traveling far and wide simply to destroy the spiritual lives of others.  Enough, using semantics to avoid or trap people in their oaths–look at men’s hearts! Enough taking pride for your meager gifts to God when you refuse to give Him your heart. you are scrubbing the outside but leaving the inside filthy. You condemn the actions of your ancestors, but, then do the same thing–showing that you are no better or closer to God than they were.”

God has always, is and will always seek to win our hearts. He does not get impressed by our attempts to prove to Him we are righteous. He simply wants us to confess Jesus is LORD of our lives and believe that God raised Him from the dead. Romans 10:9. We are to seek God and he cannot wait to bless us.  His agenda is reconciliation. It is not to make His kids jump through hoops. If those that are called by His name try to push that agenda, it breaks God’s heart. Love God, trust Him and follow Him–that is all He desires!!!

God Bless You

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. [14] [b]

15 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.

16 “Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gold of the temple is bound by that oath.’ 17 You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred? 18 You also say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gift on the altar is bound by that oath.’ 19 You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20 Therefore, anyone who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. 21 And anyone who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it.22 And anyone who swears by heaven swears by God’s throne and by the one who sits on it.

23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

25 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.

27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

29 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous.30 And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’31 So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Go ahead, then, and completewhat your ancestors started!

33 “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? 34 Therefore I am sending you prophets and sages and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. 35 And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 Truly I tell you, all this will come on this generation.

37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.38 Look, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’[c]

Matthew 23 Part 1–Hypocrisy and the Leadership

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What irritated Jesus, and if the truth be known, God, about the religious elite was the way they loved to take credit for being God’s chosen–without any desire to honor or properly represent Him. They were supposed to be God’s ambassadors. Instead, while they dressed like they were important, and acted as if they had God’s hand directing them, they neither knew God, nor, desired to obey him–any more than the most clueless pagan in the Land.

There was a rich history of Godly men; Moses, Elijah and Daniel to name a few.  They all led as servant-leaders; listening to God, and doing as He told them to do.  They never put their responsibilities on the backs of the people.  They carried the burden and led as humble servants of God.  Conversely, the religious elite wore the title, but they did not have any desire to humble themselves. They were proud, haughty and self-righteous.  They expected royal treatment, but they did nothing to resemble the God they supposedly served.  They did more to damage the name and character of God, than did His very vocal enemies.

In today’s world, we still have such struggles. Often times, the churches’ religious elite do more to damage God’s name than God’s very vocal enemies.  They sit on boards, teach classes and sit in the chairs of honor–but their lives are filled with pride and dishonesty.  They look good on the outside, but, are truly dead on the inside.  They make Christianity into a set of rules and regulations, and, should anyone not follow them rigorously–they condemn and reject them.  

God has always, and still looks at our hearts. If we love God and desire to truly follow Him, we will be His servants. We will show love to others, serve others, and seek to please God, rather than men.  Church will be a place of fellowship and service, not a forum for competition or self-promotion.  Mostly, like Jesus, God’s kids will seek to serve–not be served! They will encourage, not seek to be honored.  They will lay down their very lives for others–not expect others to do so for them.  They will allow God to exalt–and not feel the need to self-promote.  Jesus said it best, “The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted!”

God Bless You

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.

“Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries[a] wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.

“But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Matthew 22 Final–The Greatest Commandment

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Question after question, the religious leaders were continuing to try to trick Jesus. The question of the day…What is the greatest commandment?  Finally, a question someone actually cared about.  The religious leaders thought the had Jesus–how could anyone pick one of God’s commands over another. Jesus, the son of the Author and God incarnate, had no problem in answering that question.  For in the question, lay the entire point of His ministry.

Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength! And, the second, Love your neighbor as you love yourself!”  Jesus knew that life was about what was going on in men’s hearts, not a list of tasks.  If men would simply love God and make Him their focus, they would have no trouble keeping the remainder of the laws. Further, if men treated each other as if it were themselves–there would be no theft, violence, covetousness or cheating.  Once again, the behaviors centered on an attitude of the heart.

We are held to the same standard. We need to first check the attitude of our hearts.  If we are loving God and loving others–odds are that we are living the life God has called us to live. Conversely, if we are only loving ourselves and trying to meet our personal needs at the expense of all others; then no matter how many rules we follow–we are truly lost.  Jesus said it best, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and, all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

God Bless You

 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[c] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[d] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Whose Son Is the Messiah?

41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,42 “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?”

“The son of David,” they replied.

43 He said to them, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says,

44 “‘The Lord said to my Lord:
    “Sit at my right hand
until I put your enemies
    under your feet.”’[e]

45 If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?” 46 No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.

Matthew 22 Part 2–Show Me a Coin

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Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s. It was another day, and another opportunity for the religious elite to try to trick Jesus. Mind you, they had been trying to do so for years.  The question was a crowd angering one–“Should we pay taxes to the imperial government?” Well, from the people’s perspective Rome had invaded and took over. They were not welcome and should not be supported by the sweat of those they had invaded. Conversely, for Jesus to say no, don’t pay taxes–well instant grounds for arrest by the Roman Guard and the leaders’ problem solved.

Jesus almost laughed–“Really? Is this all you Got???” Jesus was not surprised at all. He said show me a coin. The answer has lived through history because it speaks to stewardship clearly and concisely! We are to pay what we owe to whom we owe a debt.  Whether to God or government, we are to pay what we owe.  More importantly for Jesus was the idea that once again, the religious guys did not get it.  Here before them was God’s Son–He was healing the sick, speaking the truth and trying to show men God’s true nature.  These guys were racking their brains day and night to destroy him.  Had they simply stopped, as Nicodemus did, and asked a real question; they could have seen real life change and freedom.

God never sets out to trick or embarrass us–He wants us to know the truth, and to know how much God loves us. If men would quit trying to prove He was not real, and spend that time seeking Him–their lives would be forever changed and complete. Yet, only those of us that know and trust him will ever enjoy the true freedom the Lord can bring.  We are to be good stewards. We are to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. More importantly, we must trust God and allow Him to be the center of our thoughts and the center of our day. If we will, the silly questions the world asks will summarily be dealt with and God will reign supreme!

God Bless You

Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words.16 They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. 17 Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax[a] to Caesar or not?”

18 But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, 20 and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”

21 “Caesar’s,” they replied.

Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

22 When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.

Matthew 22 Part 1–The Wedding Banquet…

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Jesus told the parable of the wedding banquet. A king prepared a lovely and amazing wedding for His son.  He invited all his chosen friends–but , they ignored the invite’ and some even abused the messengers.  So the King had his servant open the invitation and invite all. Many came and were welcomed; but, then there was one who entered without being properly prepared–he was summarily tossed out.

The principles in the story are quite clear–God sent Jesus to the earth to restore the relationship between God and His people.  His people, for the most part, ignored God’s great gift, and even persecuted the prophets and leaders that tried to announce the coming of the Messiah. God’s response was to open up salvation to the world, through Christ.  Many have since believed, and were reunited with the Lord. Still, some tried to be a part without being properly saved. They expected their own actions and religion would be enough to restore the relationship–God clearly and emphatically says NO! One can only have a relationship with God on His terms–not by ones own religious practices.

In our lives, we have been enthusiastically invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb. He loves us, and asks that we confess with our mouths that he is LORD, and believe with our hearts that God has raised Jesus from the dead–then we will be saved. (Romans 10:9-10)  We are not to come to God wearing our religious practices and beliefs as a robe to cover our sin; but, we are only come to Him and accept the lovely gift the LORD has provided Christ, as our savior.  

God Bless You

Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.

“Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’

“But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.

“Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ 10 So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.

11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 12 He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless.

13 “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

14 “For many are invited, but few are chosen.

Matt 21 Final–The Vineyard

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Truly one of the most heart-rending parables of the Bible is the parable of the tenants –the story of God’s love and heartache for His creation.  The Landowner built the pristine vineyard. He equipped it with security and the tools to make fine wine. once He got the place set up just right, He turned it over to some tenants. Those tenants soon forgot how kind it was for the owner to present them with such a great vineyard–and decided to do any and everything to be independent of the landowner–including the killing of His Son.

Jesus was making so many great points:  1. God prepared the world for His people; and it was pristine.  2. When God turned it over to them, He gave them the control to do with it as they wished.  3. The people immediately forgot it was God’s world, and did everything to be independent of God–including rejecting the leaders and prophets that God sent to remind them that it had been God that provided all of what they enjoyed. 4.  Finally, men had the opportunity to face God’s Son–sadly, the religious folk, those that should have been in worship, were instead, in conspiracy to have Jesus killed.

In our day, we are living in the vineyard and the tenants are raging against the Landowner–in a big way.  Across Europe and Asia, Christianity is considered passed. In America, the forces to remove God from any and all vestiges of education and public process are relentless. It will not be long until those that still believe will be truly persecuted. The great news is that the Lord returns; and those that have ranted and raved about the ridiculous worship of God, will bow humbly before him.

We need to stand and remain strong in our commitment to the Lord. We must pray for our nation, our schools and our churches.  We are only one generation away from becoming a post Christian nation. If we do not remain committed to prayer and following God, we will see America fall into the same empty and purposeless existence that has befallen Europe . Make no mistake; God is in charge! As His children–we can still pray and follow him; believing God can bring revival to this nation.  Join me in gathering fruit for the Landowner and showing our grateful heart for all He has provided.

God Bless You

33 “Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. 34 When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit.

35 “The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. 36 Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. 37 Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said.

38 “But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’ 39 So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.

40 “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?”

41 “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,” they replied, “and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.”

Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:

“‘The stone the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone;
the Lord has done this,
    and it is marvelous in our eyes’[h]?

When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them. 46 They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet.

Matthew 21 Part 3–Fig Trees, Faith and Following God

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Jesus was walking along and was hungry. He saw a nice looking fig tree, and decided it would be a great snack. He got to the tree and saw that while it was pretty enough;  it was not bearing any fruit. He cursed the tree, and it withered.  The disciples were again amazed–after three years of watching Jesus heal the sick, feed thousands with nothing, raise the dead and so many other miracles–those events never got old.  Jesus made it simple–it is a matter of faith. If you believe God, you too can do wondrous things.  There is no special code. God does not require incantations or pulling rabbits out of hats, He simply requires that His people trust and follow Him.  

Next, the religious elite come to trick Jesus, again. “By who’s authority do you do these things?” they asked.  Jesus asked theme a question in return–“Was John’s baptism from God or not?”  The leaders knew they were in a dilemma. They refused to answer–so Jesus refused to answer them. They knew Jesus was operating under God’s authority. It drove them crazy.  He neither gave them the respect they felt they deserved, nor did Jesus focus on the rules and regs. All Jesus did, was go around talking about God and doing good things–what kind of message was that sending?!

In Jesus time and now, the religious elite will never get it.  Since creation, God has always looked at men’s hearts and attitudes. For God, relationship is based upon where our treasures are and whom we follow–not on the tasks we complete, or the rules we can check as done.  The fig tree was a great picture of Jesus frustration with the religious leaders. While they looked good, they produced no value to the kingdom of God.  They had no empathy, grace or desire to show people God’s true nature–fruitless wonders!  Jesus reiterated–its about faith and trust–nothing more! If you trust God, you will do amazing things, see amazing things and have an amazing life.

God Bless You

 

18 Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. 19 Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.

20 When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked.

21 Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. 22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

The Authority of Jesus Questioned

23 Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you this authority?”

24 Jesus replied, “I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 25 John’s baptism—where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or of human origin?”

They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘Of human origin’—we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet.”

27 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”

Then he said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.

Matthew 21 Part 2–Jesus Clears The Temple

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Jesus knew that what lay ahead was inevitable.  So on this holy week, our Lord spent time tying up loose ends.  First, Jesus went into His Father’s house to clean it up.  It would be likened to a large “farmer’s market”–tables with doves, pigeons, pens of sheep, goats and calves.  There were also tables with meat and different currencies to exchange.  There were probably tables with fruit and snacks–yes and some “merch” tables with various treasures to commemorate the visit to Jerusalem. 

Jesus was not pleased! He entered the temple court and commenced to dump over tables and smack vendors.  He spoke with the authority of family, when He said this is my Dad’s place not a mini mall!!! The High priest and other religious elite were indignant (They probably had an interest in several stations) but, knew that the crowd was not going to allow anything to happen to the Messiah. The kid’s were praising and announcing His presence–another prophecy fulfilled!  He clearly made the point–This is a place where God and God only needs to be worshiped!  Not a market, not a fair–God’s temple. Jesus spent the day healing the sick and blessing those that came–Just as the Father would!

We live in a time where a similar temptation is constantly waiting outside the door. Our church facilities have become theaters, our worship–a club night or rock concert.  We become so accustomed to the brilliance of the show, that we can easily forget we are there to worship God.  As an old guy, I must confess that I love the quality and power of modern church. I enjoy watching the sermon on the big screen, and singing praise with amazing worship teams and bands. It is, however, when the congregation uses offering as a place to pay for the show; and sees no need to actually minister or serve–that they begin to resemble the religious elite of Jesus day.  We have to do a heart-check, and make sure our walk remains personal, and our worship centered on the Lord; and not those He uses to deliver the message.

  

All God has ever wanted was our trust and our hearts. If we will trust and follow Him, then as we enjoy amazing worship, it will remain worship of God not of His vessels.

God Bless You

Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’[e] but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’[f]

14 The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant.

16 “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him.

“Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read,

“‘From the lips of children and infants
    you, Lord, have called forth your praise’[g]?”

17 And he left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night.

Matthew 21 Part 1–The Triumphal Entry

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All good things must come to an end–so, as Jesus prepared to enter Jerusalem for His last week of ministry on earth, He did so with a heavy heart.  Jesus knew what lay ahead, but, Jesus also knew what He had to complete. So, Jesus sent the disciples to acquire a donkey colt to carry Him in to Jerusalem. The gesture was neither random, nor was Jesus putting on a show. He was entering His city as the prophets said that He would. 

The crowds gathered and the parade was glorious. Jesus entered with people laying their coats and palm fronds down; cheering the triumphal entrance of the Savior of Israel.  Sadly, the people did not understand that the Savior they were cheering had to lay down His very life to save them.  He was not entering to unseat the Roman occupation. He was not coming in to throw Herod out. He was coming in to start the sacrifice that would restore men’s ability to connect with a holy God. Prophecy fulfilled, Jesus entered and began the holy week. 

We have so much to be grateful for. Jesus endured the giving up of His deity, living as a man, traveling without a place to call His home and literally spending all day everyday; teaching men about His Father God. He did that, so that we could have a purpose filled life here, and an eternal life with Him in Heaven. Jesus did it without regret, without objection and even without a fight. No one took His life, Jesus gave it–willingly.  We are called to do the same. God asks us to lay our lives down, at the feet of the One that gave His life for us.  Like  Him, we are asked to do so without fanfare, simply trusting that He will forgive us of our sin, and transform us into His image. What a great exchange.

God Bless You

As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”

This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:

“Say to Daughter Zion,
    ‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
    and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”[a]

The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,

“Hosanna[b] to the Son of David!”

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”[c]

“Hosanna[d] in the highest heaven!”

10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”

11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”