Matthew 12 Part 2–God’s Chosen Servant

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

The religious leaders were literally losing all decorum and sense–Jesus was winning on all fronts. He was changing hearts, healing the sick, raising the dead and casting out demons.  It was a time of blessing like none other. Still, the religious leaders were plotting Jesus assignation–Hey rules and law guys–What about “Thou shall not Kill”? 

Constantly acusing, trying to trick and literally calling him Devil Spawn! These guys were completely unhinged. All this, while Jesus was fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy.  It was expected, but still very sad. Jesus came to be their savior as well; and while they were plotting Jesus’ death, He was fulfilling the steps that could give them life.

In our world, the irony continues–the world remains adament that God should be removed from all things public. The last light that remains is the loving, selflessness of God’s people in missions, in communities and in ministries around the globe.  Other faiths focus on the eradicaton of those that do not conform, our faith continues to welcome all who would be saved. It is the people of faith, and the prayers of the faithful, that have kept us a nation.  

Still, we are the ones that are called hate mongers, narrow minded, crazy and criminal–sound familiar! He told us in Chapter 6–Blessed are you when men shall revile you, and persecute you and say all manner of evil against you–falsley, for my sake. We are actually being treated like “God’s Chosen Servant”–kind of an Honor, when you think about it!

God Bless You

14 But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.

God’s Chosen Servant

15 Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. A large crowd followed him, and he healed all who were ill. 16 He warned them not to tell others about him. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:

18 “Here is my servant whom I have chosen,
    the one I love, in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
    and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
19 He will not quarrel or cry out;
    no one will hear his voice in the streets.
20 A bruised reed he will not break,
    and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out,
till he has brought justice through to victory.
21     In his name the nations will put their hope.”[b]

Jesus and Beelzebul

22 Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see. 23 All the people were astonished and said, “Could this be the Son of David?”

24 But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul,the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.”

25 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? 27 And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

Matthew 12 Part 1–The Sabbath

Tags

, , , ,

As Jesus continued his mission, the lines were being drawn between Him and the religous leaders. Rather than getting to know what He was about, they were looking for ways to trip Him up.  On a lovely sabboth day, they thought they had Him.  First they saw the disciples picking grain and eating it, as they walked–“How dare they harvest on the Sabbath?” Then, they planted a man with a withered hand in front of Jesus to trick him into healing the man on the Sabbath. They smuggly asked Jesus…”Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”  Jesus, shook his head, “You simply do not get it.”

Jesus knew then and now, God looks at our hearts…I’m sure the sarcasm passed Jesus mind, “Is it lawful to lure and trap Messiahs on the Sabbath?” So as kind as He could, Jesus called them out–in effect, He reminded them, “Keeping the Sabbath Holy is about honoring God, and trusting Him to provide as you work 6 days and then rest one. Doing good on the sabbath is a great way to honor God, and eatng is never prohibited.  If, on balance, you examined the hearts of those you seek to trick and your own hearts–which one was out to honor God our father?

We need to Worship our Lord. We need to make Sunday’s special. Church, family and rest are critical to keep perspective and to enjoy God’s blessing. Chick Filet has shown us again that a restaurant can be successfu even if it is closed on Sunday! So, it is not about not honoring the sabbath–it is about trusting and worshipping God and not the rules and regulatons. If we trade our allegiance from God to the law, we are no different than those that worship the creation and not the creator.  God looks at our hearts–That is what He wants to restore, and that is where He wants to live!

God Bless You

At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.”

He answered, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread—which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests. Or haven’t you read in the Law that the priests on Sabbath duty in the temple desecrate the Sabbath and yet are innocent? I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’[a]you would not have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue, 10 and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to bring charges against Jesus, they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”

11 He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? 12 How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”

13 Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other. 14 But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.

Matthew 11 Part 2–Here’s the Good News and the Bad News

Tags

, , , , , , , , , ,

Jesus went back to work. as he went from community to community, the level of faith became clear. Some communities were drawn to the message; while others were vehemently opposed to the message of God.  As he reflected on the travels, He practiced what he preached to his men. For the communities that accepted Him–He healed and blessed the communities and folks. Conversely, If they rejected Him–He rejected them as well.

He was healing the sick, opening the eyes of the blind, making the lame to walk and cleaning the lepers.  There simply was no other thing to do to convince them–in those communities they saw his acts as parlor tricks to entertain them, rather than miracles saving them. As with his disciples, Jesus did not soften the message–Sodom and Gomorrah were in a better position than you…not a message one wants to receive from Adonai!  

But, their was also hope and promise–Cast your burdens on Me, because I care for You! We are never out of line in asking for God’s grace He never grows weary of us seeking his hand. He wants to carry our burdens, they are critical to Him.  He pushes forward and takes our yoke and burden and exchanges it for peace and provision. No longer alone, no longer hungry–we are full of what we need to meet the challenges of the day. 

In short, we have seen enough to know God is faithful beyond measure. Our lack of faith is appalling; in light of what He has revealed. He reminds us that it is our decision to release control and allow Him to bless us, or to grasp the reigns firmly and try it on our own. Sadly, with what we know, to reject His gift is a choice that will greve God and doom us!

God Bless You

Then Jesus began to denounce the towns in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you.23 And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades.[e] 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.”

The Father Revealed in the Son

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.

27 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

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.”

Matthew 11 Part 1–Are You The One?

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

John was languishing in prison. He ticked off Herod and was losing popularity; and now, as he was facing death, he began to have doubts. Had what he accomplished been for nothing? Did he simply make a brief stir that would quickly fade to obscurity? Was Jesus truly the Messiah, or had he been confused by the roar of the crowds.  So John did what doubtful people do–He asked the question–“Are You really the one?”

Jesus felt John’s pain. He knew John’s heart–Jesus told the crowd–John was as great a man that their has ever been, yet, even great  men can’t compare to God’s chosen.  He told John’s guys to simply remind John the difference that was being made because of the ministry he started. Tell john what you are seeing. Comfort him, let him know it was not for nothing.  John did what he was called to do–prepare the way. Jesus now was doing what he was called to do–Change the world.

Those who trust and follow God and his path, invariably hit walls of doubt and insecurity. They question, to the very core, their commitment to Christ, and the journey that they are on.  It is a confusing, frustrating walk; that seems to be out of our control–if we are doing it right. It is hard, thankless and amazing. If we will keep our focus upon Him and on what he HAS done, IS doing and WILL do in our lives–then, we will weather the walls of doubt, and gratefully accept the life the Lord has given us; a life of purpose, of peace and of eternal value. We will see a full, meaningful and abundant history and legacy. That is what John did, and that is what John left. Trust Christ, and so will you!

God Bless You

After Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee.[a]

When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”

Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see:The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy[b] are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”

As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces.Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10 This is the one about whom it is written:

“‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,
    who will prepare your way before you.’[c]

11 Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

Matthew 10 Part 2–This Is War, Men!

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jesus sent the disciples out to do what he had been doing; to help them get the real picture, He said, “Go without supplies, swords, tents or money.”  He did that to prepare them for walking by faith. It is highly likely,  that “the 12” looked at Jesus with a mixture of confusion and horror.  As they considered the trip, they probably were highly concerned about making it through.  In the midst of the heightened concern, Jesus follows with–“This is war, men”. He shared with them the trials they would face; the deceit, the betrayal–all in His name. 

From a leadership perspective, Jesus didn’t want His guys blindsided; but, it was a horrifying idea.  Here they were traveling with a “rockstar”, and now–He said,you go do it, and , oh,by the way–this is going to be war. Here were the two take away’s for His men. 1.  He knew they could do it–even if they did not and, 2.  He knew they had to get ready–because his time with them was short.  Those men, the ones that built the early church, had visions of grandeur, palaces, chariots throngs and waving banners.  Jesus wanted them to understand that that simply was not the mission.

It is still not the mission.  Jesus calls us to prepare for war.  He reminds us that we can do what he did! He also reminds us we can expect the same treatment he received.  That is not meant to discourage us; no, it is meant to prepare us.  God is in the business of preparing, protecting and providing for us.  That is who he is and that is what he does. He does not sugar coat, but, he does arm and shield us for battle. We need to be ready for war–He will then protect and provide what we need to execute!

God Bless You

 

If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. 15 Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.

16 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. 17 Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. 18 On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 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.

21 “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 22 You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 23 When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. Truly I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

24 “The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master.25 It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household!

Matthew 10 Part 1–Now You Try

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

One of the most difficult things that a leader and teacher has to do–is to let go and allow them do the work on their own.  Jesus called the disciples together, one day to do that very thing.  These were, after all, the men that were going to build the church.  He needed them to see that they were following more than a radical teacher. He wanted them to realize they were following Almighty God. So, Jesus empowered each of them to do what He had been doing–heal the sick, cast out demons, clean lepers and if necessary–raise the dead.

He gave them specific instructions–they were to focus on the people of Israel, not the Gentiles or Samaritans. They were to encourage the people by letting them know The Messiah had indeed come. They were to trust God; not only for the ability to carry out the mission, but, also for what they needed while on the mission.  They were not allowed to take money, spare clothes or food.  They had to step out in faith and watch God provide, protect and prepare them.

In our lives, like the disciples, we are called to spread the Gospel. God will equip us to do the job for which we have been called.  We have to trust Him for the power to do the job. (Hebrews 13:21) He will also provide for your every need–(Phil 4:19). That is why we need not fear the journey, nor try to avoid executing his plan. We were saved to be God’s ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20). Jesus knew then and knows now that our faith is one that gives back–not one that simply absorbs blessing! 

God Bless you

Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.

These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

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,[a] drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.

“Do not get any gold or silver or copper to take with you in your belts—10 no bag for the journey or extra shirt or sandals or a staff, for the worker is worth his keep.

Matthew 9 Part 3–The Harvest

Tags

, , , , , , , , , ,

 ​As Jesus continued His ministry, He worked to touch as many lives as He could. Each group Jesus came upon, reminded Him of the purposeless existence that sin and the world had spread among the people. The crowds moved through their days like tortured prisoners or aimless wanderers.  Jesus came to bring back that purpose. While His mission was one of sacrifice, Jesus was compelled to show love, mercy and restoration to everyone He could. Like the Father, Jesus could not bear to see people suffer–when He knew that He could help.

So, as Jesus moved from town to town, He touched and healed the sick. He freed the ones who were demon possessed. He loved the loveless, blessed those that were cursed and even raised the dead. Jesus was never trying to impress people, He simply could not help but love those God the Father had entrusted to him.  He was committed to showing His disciples, those that would build the Church, that “the Church” was about these people. 

In our world, like in the Savior’s, folks are walking aimless and purposeless through life. They are sick, sad, entrapped and ensnared. They are seeking something…anything to provide peace and purpose. The great news is that Jesus is just as much the answer today as he was those days when he walked among us. Jesus loves us just as much, and He wants nothing more than to restore, guide and complete us; so, that we can live a purposeful life here and an eternal life with Him in Heaven.  Our world is ripe for harvest–just as His was–Jesus calls us to be the harvesters. He asks that we bring the people out of emptiness and into a life of meaning. Please join Him in the compelling mission–of loving those that are unloved, and seeking to save that which is lost.

God Bless You

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

Matthew 9 Part 2–Focus on God not on Rules

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

During his ministry on earth, Jesus knew he not only had to reveal God to men, But he also needed to help them to distinguish between following a rule and following the Ruler! The religious leaders of the day were all about following the rules–they took God’s 10 commandments and clarified them into hundreds of rules and regulations.  It was not that the law was at fault, it was that the people lost complete sight of God, because of their myopic focus on the law.

It broke God’s heart–He called Israel to be a kingdom of priests. They were to be committed to the proposition that the God of Israel would become the Lord of all.  Jesus came to refocus people on the ruler, not the rules.  As he slowly worked to shift the paradigm, the religious elite became jealous, fearful, resentful and territorial. They grew more intent by the day of taking this Jesus out of their religion.  It was the most visible expression of what the nation had done for generations.

Not so surprising, we see the same thing today. The mainline religions and denominations have systematically taken Christ out of the church and God out of Christianity.  They replace Him with relativism and issues of the day–but, refuse to stand for the basic principles of faith, family and community.  That is why this is known as the post-modern christian era. The great news is that while the church has moved away from Christ–Christ remains the same, and continues to  call us to focus on the Ruler and allow the rules to take care of themselves. 

God Bless You

 As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.

10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’[a] For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Jesus Questioned About Fasting

14 Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?”

15 Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.

16 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. 17 Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”

Matthew 9 Part 1–Parlor Tricks

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

We want to see the parlor tricks…In Jesus day, both religious leaders and sinners alike thronged to follow Jesus place to place. In their hearts, they thought, “What is he going to do next?” On this particular day, Jesus was preaching and some men brought Jesus a paralyzed man on a mat. In Luke’s account, it says they cut a hole in the roof and lowered him down to Jesus–none the less-Jesus told the  man that his sins were forgiven.  This caused an uproar among the religious leaders–but, Jesus was not concerned. In modern language; I am sure he would have looked at them and said, “Really? parlor tricks trump real restoration?”

Jesus knew what the young man needed–he needed restoration of his life more than of his legs–Jesus, being God, knew what the man needed and granted him peace probably for the first time in a long time; but, to stop any confusion from happening, Jesus went ahead and finished what he started–Jesus healed body and soul. The religious leaders were amazed and flabbergasted all at once. Jesus was just saddened; they simply would never understand. Jesus came to restore the link between Holy God and sinful man–not to perform parlor tricks.

In our lives, our prayers sometimes mirror the comments of the religious leaders–“Forgive my sins? I came for you to fix my body, my family, my career or my finances…Forgive my sins?? What?” Jesus is here for us to completely restore us body and soul. Mostly, He is concerned with the link for eternity between us and God–Forgiveness of sin! We are the ones that get all atwitter about the rest.  We have to have the faith of the friends and of the man–“Do what it takes to get to Jesus, but, then trust Him to complete His purpose in us!”

God Bless You

Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town.Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.”

At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!”

Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” Then the man got up and went home. When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to man.

Matthew 8 Part 2–The Daily walk of Jesus

Tags

, , , , , , , , , ,

Being the Savior was no easy task. In His early ministry, Jesus healed the sick, told people of God and His message, and trained his disciples.  People began to gather and crowds started to form. They crawled out of the woodwork to see the Master, be healed or be part of His band.  Jesus kindly met the crowds, healed the sick, spoke the truth and trained His folks. But it became more and more difficult to share the message over the noise of His celebrity.

The great news is that Jesus was not about the celebrity. He was about changing the world and saving mankind from itself. So, as He healed the sick, raised the dead, spoke the truth and trained His men–He always did it with the mission in mind. He would become the sacrifice; so that people could again have a personal relationship with God. A meaningful, eternal relationship–without the need of an intermediary like a high priest. He knew such a change would have dramatic impact and make Him unpopular among the religious elite. But, never the less, He continued to make each day count.

It is difficult too make each day count on the journey. It sometimes seems pointless or hopeless–in today’s Godless culture. Jesus knew it would require discipline, and He promised to provide His spirit to bring hope, training and comfort.  We need to seek Him with the faith it takes to trust His plan is the right plan. We need to set our hearts and minds on things above (Colossians 3:1-2). Like Jesus, we need to walk toward the goal; with our purpose in mind–execute the mission He has laid out for us. It may not always seem glamorous, but, it will prepare us for an amazing Journey that ends in Glory!!!

God Bless You

When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. 15 He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him.

16 When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick.17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:

“He took up our infirmities
    and bore our diseases.”[b]

The Cost of Following Jesus

18 When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. 19 Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”

20 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

21 Another disciple said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”

22 But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

Jesus Calms the Storm

23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”