The Generation Of Jesus Christ Through Joseph
What other ancient figure has such a documented, verifiable lineage as Jesus Christ? Luke traced the royal line to Jesus from Adam through David's son, Nathan (not Solomon) to Mary, but Matthew traced His ancestry through His step-father Joseph through Solomon. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judas, Phares, Esrom, Aram, Aminadab, Naasson, Salmon, Booz, Obed, Jesse, David, Solomon, Roboam, Abia, Asa, Josaphat, Joram, Ozias, Joatham, Achaz, Ezekias, Manasses, Aamon, Josias, Jechonias, Salathiel, Zorobabel, Abiud, Eliakim, Azor, Sadoc, Achim, Eliud, Eleazar, Matthan, Jacob, Joseph, Jesus Christ.
Matthew 1:1 - "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David."
The Holy Ghost Conceived Jesus
The Gospels teach that the Holy Ghost impregnated Mary. That makes the Holy Ghost the Father of Jesus Christ. So, is the third person of the trinity the Father? If so, who is the first person? God is a Spirit (a single, invisible Spirit). The Father is the Holy Spirit. Jesus is the bodily incarnation of that invisible Spirit. God is One.
Matthew 1:18 - "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost."
Propriety In The Midst Of A Scandal
Isaiah prophesied that God's "sign" would be born of a virgin. But that necessarily imposed a scandalous reputation upon some undeserving young woman. Joseph immediately recognized that Mary would be a laughingstock, and wanted to spare her the humiliation. Sometimes, God's will imposes a reproach on you, in the world's opinion. Hold on to your dignity.
Matthew 1:18-19 - "Before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily."
God Knows Before We Ask Or Think
When the young virgin Mary discovered that she would become the mother of the Son of God, conceived of the Holy Ghost, her espoused husband-to-be knew that she would face public ridicule, and "was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream." God pays attention to the thoughts and intentions of a righteous man. He knows what we need, before we ask or think.
Matthew 1:20 - "Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife."
God Sometimes Speaks To Us In Dreams
Most dreams have no special meaning. But God sometimes speaks to us in dreams. It is a scriptural premise. Ask Abimelech, Abraham, Jacob, Laban, Joseph, Pharaoh, the Butler, the Baker, Gideon, Solomon, Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel and many others.
Matthew 1:20 - "The angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins."
Joseph Names The Baby
The angel who appeared in Joseph's dream said, "Thou shalt call His name JESUS." That imposed a divine mandate upon Joseph to assume the earthly role of naming the child, and by default, to become the father of Mary's child. In effect, Joseph was being invited to claim legal paternity, although he was not the natural father. Through Mary, Jesus descended from King David's son Nathan. Through Joseph, He came into Solomon's family.
Matthew 1:21 - "She shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins."
Virgin-Born Son: Sign That Assyrian Antichrist Will Fall
In the days of King Ahaz of Jerusalem, the northern kingdom of Israel at Samaria allied with Assyria to conquer Jerusalem. In Isaiah 7, God swore to destroy the Assyrians. The virgin-born Emmanuel (God with us) would be His sign. God will destroy the Assyrian Antichrist in His holy mountain by a virgin-born man. "This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth, " Isaiah 14:25.
Matthew 1:21 - "Thou shalt call his name JESUS: ...that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
Behold, a virgin shall be with child."
This Was Done That It Might Be Fulfilled
The prophetic word of God comes from the same place that the creative word comes from: the Spirit of God. The creative word says, "Let there be...." The prophetic word says, "It shall come to pass..." Creating and prophesying are very much akin. Emmanuel was created by prophecy.
Matthew 1:22-23 - "Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us."
God Is With Us
That was not Joseph's child. Joseph "knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son." Jesus had heaven's DNA on his Father's side. The Holy Spirit miraculously fertilized the human egg. But more importantly, the singular personhood of God was embodied in that son. God never had a body before. No man had ever seen God at any time (John 1:18). But God was in Christ. Jesus was the image of the invisible God; the fullness of God bodily; God robed in flesh.
Matthew 1:23 - "They shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us."
Wise Men From The East Call On Herod In Jerusalem
The Bible does not say there were THREE wise men, nor that they were Kings. They were "wise men from the east." In 1279, Marco Polo claimed to have visited their tombs near Tehran, Iran. Isaiah prophesied, "Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising," causing some to believe they were kings. They went to Herod in Jerusalem seeking information of His whereabouts.
Matthew 2:1-2 - "In the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews?"
The Star Of Bethlehem
Scholars say that the "star" phenomenon of 2-3 BC (the time of Jesus' birth) was actually the conjunction of two bright lights in the heavens. Jupiter, known as the "KING" planet, and Regulus, the "REGAL" star, slowly crossed paths, producing an extraordinary light in the night sky. The ancients could accurately follow the movements of the stars: a heavenly light, symbolizing a heavenly King, combined with a planetary light, symbolizing an earthly King, led them to Bethlehem.
Matthew 2:2 - "Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east."
Bethlehem - Out Of Thee Shall Come A Governor
In God's eternal plan, the wise men were obviously sent to provoke Herod. Their questions troubled not only Herod , but "all Jerusalem with him." Learned men knew the prophets pointed to Bethlehem, but were disinterested. God will bypass unbelievers to reveal Himself.
Matthew 2:5-8 - "Thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod ...sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child."
Learn To Follow Signs From God
When God gives you a sign, follow it. How many people have missed their rightful portion because they were doubtful, skeptical or distrusting. The wise men rejoiced to see the star, but far more, to see the Savior. Stop hesitating. Follow the signs.
Matthew 2:9-11 - "...and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother."
Wise Men Worship Jesus
The first historical fact that Matthew revealed to us following Jesus' birth was that wise men came to worship Him. That makes a lot of sense. There is nothing more important about the coming of the LORD than His worthiness to be worshipped and adored. If we are wise, our first thoughts of Jesus will be to worship Him.
Matthew 2:2,11 - "We have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. ...And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him."
Gold, Frankincense, And Myrrh
The gifts they brought to the child Jesus were enormously symbolic, if not downright prophetic. Gold is a symbol of kingship, and testified to Jesus' earthly kingship. Frankincense, as incense, is a symbol of priestly ministry, indicating Jesus as the High Priest. Myrrh is an anointing oil commonly used in embalming, and as such, foreshadowed Jesus' vicarious death.
Matthew 2:11 - "When they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh."
Righteous Men Never Go Back
In 1 Kings 13, God sent an unnamed prophet to prophesy against Jeroboam's idolatrous altar. He was told not to "turn again the same way that thou camest." In the millennial kingdom of Christ, worshippers will leave the Temple Mount by a different route from which they arrived. When you see God, you cannot return on your old paths. Righteous men follow a new path. The wise men never returned to Herod.
Matthew 2:12 - "Being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way."
Out Of Egypt Have I Called My Son - A Dual Prophecy
Both Joseph and Jesus were favorite sons. Both were rejected by brethren, falsely accused, sold for a price, and unfairly punished. Both were born to save Israel. Joseph brought Israel to Egypt until God called them out. "When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt," Hosea 11:1. Likewise, Jesus' adoptive father, Joseph, obeyed the angel and brought Him to Egypt until God called Him out.
Matthew 2:15 - "...that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son."
Herod Tries To Kill Baby Jesus, Fulfills Prophecy
When Herod learned that a Jewish King was born, he feigned enthusiasm, and told the wise men to return with the details. But God warned them not to return. Priests and scribes told Herod that the baby would be born in Bethlehem. Herod furiously ordered all the children in Bethlehem under two years old to be killed.
Matthew 2:17-18 - "Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not."
Hell Hates The Birth Of The Righteous
Herod jealously wanted to know everything about the newborn King of the Jews, including what the prophets said, and what time the star appeared. He ordered a diligent search for Him, pretending that he wanted to worship Him. When He could not be found, Herod ordered every baby in Bethlehem murdered. Obviously, hell wanted the Christ child DEAD. But like Haman pursuing Esther's cousin Mordecai, the tables turned on Herod. He died and Jesus lived. The righteous will always eventually triumph over the wicked.
Matthew 2:20 - "...for they are dead which sought the young child's life."
Prophets Foresaw A Nazarene "Branch"
The word "branch" and the word "Nazarene" come from the same Hebrew word, "necer." Isaiah 11:1 can therefore be translated, "There shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse and a branch [a Nazarene] shall grow from his root." Jeremiah and Zechariah also called Him "the Branch" (or the Nazarene). Matthew declared that when Joseph, Mary and Jesus settled in Nazareth, they were fulfilling those prophecies.
Matthew 2:23 - "He came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene."
Repent, For The Kingdom Of Heaven Is At Hand
John the Baptist had an earth-shaking message. "Repent!" Why? John knew that with the coming of Jesus Christ, the kingdom of heaven would have dominion over earth. If there is no coming kingdom of God, we have no need to repent. But if this world is going to perish, and if Jesus Christ will judge all men, it is time to repent of our sins, and prepare to meet God.
Matthew 3:1-2 - "In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
John The Baptist - Trailblazer
True to the prophecies of Isaiah and Malachi, John the Baptist relentlessly pursued his divine mission. Wearing leather and camel's hair, eating locusts and wild honey, this wilderness-dweller was unaffected by worldly trends. He arrested his countrymen, calling them to repentance and declaring that Jesus was the Lamb of God. The crude, straight-forward, truth-telling trailblazer effectively cleared a path for Jesus' ministry.
Matthew 3:3 - "This is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight."
Men Will Not Repent Without Being Convicted
One of the reasons why John was so effective is that he would not allow men to hide their sins. He named their sins and indicted them for committing them. Consequently, MULTITUDES came to John to be baptized unto repentance. The scourge of modern "Christianity" is that sin is a non-issue in most pulpits. "Show my people their sins!" Isaiah 58:1. Spiritual awakening cannot be had without it.
Matthew 3:5-6 - "Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins."
Pharisees And Sadducees: Vipers And Fruitless Trees
The Pharisees and Sadducees came to John's baptisms - not to be baptized, but to find fault. When John saw them, he laid the axe to their roots. "O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" He insinuated that they were clueless about things to come. "Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance." They claimed roots in Abraham, but John said that God would rather raise up sons from stones. John chopped them down.
Matthew 3:10 - "Every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire."
Jesus Will Baptize You With The Holy Ghost
John's baptism was a precursor to a more significant baptism. Water baptism became a core doctrine of the New Testament, but was never intended as a stand-alone practice. Jesus called for a baptism of both water and Spirit (John 3:5), which, along with repentance, constitutes the new birth. Jesus Himself instituted the baptism of the Holy Ghost (see Acts 2).
Matthew 3:11 - "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire."
The Cleansing Work Of Christ
The work of Jesus Christ is to CLEANSE the world of evil and destroy the works of Satan. His first work is to cleanse a people for His name's sake, washing away their sins in His shed blood; then purging their dead works, baptizing them in the fire of His Spirit. Finally, He will cleanse the world in a judgment of fire when He returns at Armageddon.
Matthew 3:12 - "Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."
It Becometh Us To Fulfill All Righteousness
Jesus presented Himself to John for baptism. John was incredulous, and resisted. "I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?" John believed that he needed to be baptized by Jesus. Jesus would soon introduce the gospel of the new birth, but it was not yet time. First, Jesus had to be validated by John's ministry. Everyone must fulfill the measure of truth that is already revealed before going to the next level.
Matthew 3:15 - "Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness."
A Voice From Heaven Saying "This Is My Beloved Son"
Several times in scripture, the invisible God spoke from the ether - from the emptiness of the sky. Adam and Eve heard a "voice" walking in the "cool (Hebrew: wind) of the day" (Genesis 3:8). The young child Samuel (I Samuel 3) heard it. So did John the Baptist (Luke 3:22) and Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9:4). They all heard the voice of God in thin air. That invisible Spirit claimed the man Jesus as His only Son.
Matthew 3:17 - "And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
Led By The Spirit To Be Tempted Of The Devil
Make no mistake about it. If you give your life to God, you WILL be tested and tried. No sooner had Jesus made His public appearance than the Holy Ghost led Him into a direct conflict with Lucifer himself. Now learn this: The servant is no better than his Master. All who live godly in Jesus Christ shall suffer persecution. Quit your whining, and face your trial in the name of Jesus. It is divinely ordained for your making.
Matthew 4:1 - "Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil."
All three of the forty-day fasts in the Bible were divinely inspired. God called Moses into Mount Sinai. Elijah was sent to Mount Horeb. Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. All three faced profound evils at the time. Moses faced riotous idolatry; Elijah, Jezebel's fury; and Jesus, Satan himself. All three came out gloriously victorious. Fasting accomplishes great things.
Matthew 4:1-2 - "Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred."
Do Not Turn Stones To Bread
The temptation of Jesus Christ was all about perverting truth. All three temptations were designed to twist and contradict the word of God. "Command these stones be made bread." The only true bread is the word of God. To make bread from temporal things is sacrilegious at best, and blasphemous at worst. The modern church should stop making bread out of that which is not the gospel. Preach the pure, unadulterated word of God.
Matthew 4:3 - "It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."
Do Not Twist Or Pervert The Scriptures
In the second round, Lucifer wanted Jesus to cast Himself down from the pinnacle of the temple, misquoting Psalm 91: "...He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone." Satan wanted Him to misinterpret, misapply and pervert the sacred scripture. Satan wants YOU to twist and pervert the scripture, too. False gospels (including inaccurate Bible translations) will push you off a cliff.
Matthew 4:7 - "Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God."
Do Not Fall Down And Worship Satan
Jesus' third temptation was to fall down and worship Satan, who offered Him "all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them." That was the most patently absurd proposition in the history of the universe: God bowing down to Satan? The Creator worshipping a [rebellious] creature? Moreover, until his bitter end, Satan aspires to every holy place, offering rewards to anyone who will worship him above God.
Matthew 4:9-10 - "Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve."
The People Who Sat In Darkness Saw Great Light
Isaiah lamented the darkness of Zebulun and Naphtali. "If they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them," (8:20). "Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as ...when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali," (9:1). Isaiah prophesied GREAT LIGHT would come (9:2).
Matthew 4:13-16 - "Leaving Nazareth, [Jesus] came and dwelt in Capernaum, ...That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, ...The people which sat in darkness saw great light."
The Message Of Repentance
Did John preach Jesus' message, or did Jesus preach John's message? Neither. Repentance is the first word in the New Covenant. Jesus said, "Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." Sin separates men from God. Just ask Adam and Eve. If you want to see the kingdom of God, you have to get rid of your sins. That begins with recognizing your sins, admitting and confessing them, and asking God to forgive you for committing them.
Matthew 4:17 - "From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
The Doctrine Of Repentance
Ezekiel was the first Old Testament figure who actually called the people to repentance. Repentance was NOT emphasized in the Old Testament for the simple reason that people actually PAID for their sins with animal sacrifices. Their sins were not FORGIVEN, but PAID FOR with sacrifices. Jesus brought an entirely new proposition. REPENT. I will forgive your sins. I will pay the sacrifice. John the Baptist was the ground-breaker for that doctrinal revolution, with his thunderous calls to repentance.
Matthew 4:17 - "From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
Fishers Shall Fish Them
Six centuries earlier, Jeremiah watched Nebuchadnezzar carry the Jews to Babylon, and prophesied that they would live in Israel again. "I will send for many fishers, saith the LORD, and they shall fish them, ...And they shall know that my name is The LORD," Jeremiah 16:16,21.
Matthew 4:18-20 - "Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him."
Isaiah spoke of Messiah as both a Sanctuary (for those who hoped in Him) and a Stone of Stumbling to the disbelievers. He mourned, prophetically, that Israel would stumble, fall, be broken and taken. He prayed, "Bind up the testimony. Seal the law among my disciples." Jesus became the ultimate testimony, and He first sealed His testimony in the hearts of twelve ordinary men, when He called them to be His disciples, beginning with Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John.
Matthew 4:21-22 - "And he called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him."
Bring All Your Needs To The LORD
It did not take long for the ministry of Jesus Christ to multiply exponentially. As he taught in the synagogues, and preached the gospel, he healed all manner of sickness and disease. The people quickly learned that He could do anything. They brought every imaginable problem to Him. We should do the same.
Matthew 4:24 - "His fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them."
Jesus - Teacher
Apart from Jesus' divinity, He was a cultural icon, a moral exemplar, and a teacher par excellence. Jesus' parables and proverbs stand highest above all others in the history of mankind. Jesus' influence on modern civilization is unequaled. His use of metaphors, allegories, aphorisms and other maxims engraved His morals, ethics and values into the hearts of men for all of time. And why not? His was divine wisdom from all eternity!
Matthew 5:1-2 - "He went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them."
Jesus taught the Beatitudes (blessings) in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5) and the Sermon on the Plain (Luke 6). Scholars compare their weighty significance as core tenets of New Testament discipleship with Moses' presentation of the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai.
Matthew 5:3-11 - "Blessed are the poor in spirit: ...Blessed are they that mourn: ...Blessed are the meek: ...Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: ...Blessed are the merciful: ...Blessed are the pure in heart: ...Blessed are the peacemakers: ...Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: ...Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you..."
A Blessing Is A Prophecy Of A Better Future
Anytime God speaks a blessing, He is prophesying a better future state. The word "blessed" also means "happy." A blessed man is a happy man. Regardless of your present state - good, bad or ugly - when God pronounces a blessing, you can know that things will get better after a while. The first example He gave is this: If you are poor in your spirit [not full of the spirits of this world], yet rich toward God, He blesses you with the promise of heaven.
Matthew 5:3 - "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
Blessed Are They That Mourn
The first four beatitudes are quite paradoxical, inasmuch as Jesus pronounced happiness on those who endure godly deprivations: the poor in spirit, the mourners, the meek, and the hungry and thirsty. Jesus appreciated those who found no satisfaction in temporal things, but who wept, agonized, and yearned for better, eternal things. Many people never mourn because they are satisfied with this world. Paul said, "We ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body." Sow in tears. Reap in joy.
Matthew 5:4 - "Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted."
Blessed Are The Meek
One of the best synonyms for "meek" is "tame." When a horseman meeks a horse, he breaks its wild nature and makes it manageable. When you and I become meek, we submit our will to the will of God. Meekness is total discipline. Meekness is not weakness. It is strength of the highest order. If you can be meek to God's will and purpose, He will invest everything He has in you. Our carnal self-will has to be subdued. Surrender now to God's control.
Matthew 5:5 - "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth."
Hungering And Thirsting After Righteousness
Hungering is about needing food. Thirsting is about needing water. Hungering and thirsting after righteousness is about eating the Bread of Life and drinking the waters of His Holy Spirit. Righteousness is both defined and produced by the Word and Spirit of God. Apart from the Word, righteousness is impossible to define or produce. Hunger - diligently search the scriptures. Thirst - be filled with and walk in His Spirit. Such living is the wellspring of blessing - the root and cause of true prosperity.
Matthew 5:6 - "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled."
Blessed Are The Merciful
Jesus spoke as the universal authority on mercy. As God with us, He not only defined this propensity to forbear, pardon, forgive, but He was also the supreme manifestation of mercy. Nobody ever forgave more offenders, or showed more compassion to the undeserving, or pardoned more guilty or condemned parties than Jesus Christ. He taught us that being merciful is a necessary prerequisite to obtaining mercy. You will be much happier if you will simply forgive all the people you think have wronged you. Set somebody free today.
Matthew 5:7 - "Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy."
The Pure In Heart Will See
Jesus frequently spoke of men with eyes that could not see, and ears that could not hear. He blessed those whose eyes were open to see the truth of the gospel, or who could identify Him as the prophesied Messiah. In John 12, Jesus linked blind eyes with hardened hearts. If your heart is stained with sin, your eyes will also be hindered from seeing. Cleanse your heart, by repenting of your sins, and be washed. In doing so, your eyes will open to see His glory.
Matthew 5:8 - "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God."
Peacemakers: The Children Of God
We are eager to agree with the premise that peacemakers will be called the children of God. But Jesus, the Prince of Peace, said, "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword," (Matthew 10:34). Anytime Heaven is forced to confront Hell, expect the worst of all conflicts. Peace seldom comes without war. It takes heroes - men and women of selfless valor - to wrest peace from the warmongering fists of Satan's hordes.
Matthew 5:9 - "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."
The three Hebrew children were accused before King Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel was accused before King Darius. Jesus Christ was accused before Pontius Pilate. None were guilty of any evil-doing, yet they were all sent to their deaths. In every case, they were delivered from death. Be careful not to be discouraged by the hurtful lies that people hurl against you. God knows the truth, and vengeance belongs to Him.
Matthew 5:11 - "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake."
How To Respond To Persecution? Rejoice!
Jesus said, "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven," and, "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake." Any time you take God's side, you inherit all God's enemies. When you are injured in the line of righteous duty, God will more than compensate, and reward you generously.
Matthew 5:12 - "Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you."
The Salt Of The Earth
Salt is a natural preservative. Salt purifies and inhibits corruption, even disease. The world must have salt. Men and women who believe and obey the word of God are the salt of the earth. Elisha the prophet cured undrinkable waters at Jericho by casting salt into the waters. Jesus admonishes us not to lose our savour - our distinctive properties.
Matthew 5:13 - "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men."
The Light Of The World
Jesus said, "I am the Light of the World," (John 8:12). But He also said that His disciples are the light of the world. He shines through us!
Matthew 5:14-16 - "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
Jesus Came To Fulfill The Law
Jesus did not abolish the law. He verbally reconfirmed all Ten Commandments within a new covenant of grace. Murder, idolatry, adultery, etc. are still sins, but atonement is different through the blood of Jesus. Even Sabbath is still kept, but on different terms, established at Pentecost.
Matthew 5:17-18 - "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled."
Commandment Keepers To Be Great In The Kingdom
Jesus called anybody who breaks the commandments "the least in the Kingdom of heaven." Obviously, He referred to those who are His own who have erred. Shouldn't a commandment-breaker be OUTSIDE the Kingdom? But He said, "least IN the kingdom." Meanwhile, keepers and teachers of the commandments are "GREAT in the Kingdom."
Matthew 5:19 - "Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."
The Danger Of Hell Fire
Not everyone is going to heaven. Jesus warned that your righteousness must exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, or "ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." Warning! Senseless rage and verbal assaults ("Thou fool!") may send you to hell.
Matthew 5:21-22 - "Ye have heard ...Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: ...whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire."
Reconcile With Your Brother Before Going To The Altar
Jesus taught that a man who is angry at his brother without cause, or accuses his brother of being a fool is in danger of judgment and hell fire. Anyone who goes to the holy altar when there is "bad blood" between him and his brother, should first go and reconcile with his brother. Afterward, he can present his gift unto the LORD. God demands that we have good relations with our brethren.
Matthew 5:24 - "Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift."
Evil Desire Equals Evil Deed
Jesus reaffirmed the commandment, "Thou shalt not commit adultery," but he extended the definition. You do not have to commit a physical act to be guilty. If you DESIRE to commit the physical act, you are sinning. Lust is desire. Your desire to have sex with a forbidden woman IS the heart of adultery! You must PREVENT that desire. Jesus declared that plucking out your eyes to avoid adultery is better than going to hell for wanting something forbidden.
Matthew 5:28 - "Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."
The Only Allowable Reason To Put Away A Wife
For centuries, the Jews allowed a man to put away his wife as long as he gave her a bill of divorcement. Even Moses consented to it. But Jesus said that practice causes both the woman and any man she might marry to commit adultery. Marriage should be permanent. A man should not put away his wife unless she has been involved in a sexual relationship with another man.
Matthew 5:32 - "Whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery."
Swear Not At All
Solomon said, "Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay," (Ecclesiastes 5:5). You cannot break a vow you never made. Jesus was emphatic. NO VOWS! Swear not at all.
Matthew 5:33-35 - "Ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself [swear falsely, commit perjury], but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool."
Turn The Other Cheek
I raised two sons who are now grown and married. I always forbade them to fight, even if someone else started it. I was SHOCKED at how many Christians insisted that I teach them to take up for themselves and fight back! All I had was Jesus' commandment. Their opinion just did not matter.
Matthew 5:38-39 - "Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also."
The Doctrine Of The Second Mile
Jesus completely countermanded the old "eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth" system of justice. He preached against retaliation and retribution, calling instead for forgiveness. You must absorb your losses. Give more than expected. Be kinder to others than they are to you.
Matthew 5:40-42 - "If any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away."
Pray For Them Which Despitefully Use You
My pastor, J.W. Harrell, taught me to believe that divine destiny includes every experience - good, bad or ugly. He used the phrase, "my friend, the enemy." That phrase jarred my senses like few statements I have ever heard. In the will of God, even my enemies are good for me. Ask Joseph. So when enemies arise, BLESS THEM! Pray for them! They are doing you good!
Matthew 5:44 - "I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you."
Alms - Your Charitable Donations
The charitable donations that you make, whether to the church and the ministry, or to the poor and needy, must be done modestly, and not for show. Jesus said that show-offs will not be rewarded.
Matthew 6:1-4 - "Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. ...let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly."
Do Not Pray To Impress Others
Prayer is not for show. Forget your fancy words and high-sounding air. God has no use for either. Why impress people? Speak plainly and directly to God!
Matthew 6:5 - "Thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. ...They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly."
Do Not Use Vain Repetitious Prayer
Heathens and pagans customarily use chanting and mantras in their spiritual exercises. Ancient Greeks and Romans practiced highly ritualized and repetitive praying to their mythical gods and goddesses. But Jesus completely debunked those practices among His people. Repeating phrases is detestable to God. He wants to hear plain, honest, heart-felt prayer.
Matthew 6:7-8 - "When ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him."
The LORD's Prayer
The LORD's prayer was not to be recited repetitively, mindlessly. "After this MANNER," Jesus said to pray. It is a model, a template, a pattern for your own prayers.
Matthew 6:9-13 - "Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen."
Our Father Which Art In Heaven, Hallowed Be Thy Name
The only eternal God is our Father, Jehovah. Not the Buddhist Gautama; not the Hindu Brahman, not the Islamic Allah; not the Sikh Vahiguru; not Maitreya; not Confucius; not anybody else. Jehovah of the Old Testament is incarnate in the body of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the image of the invisible God, the fullness of God bodily. He is the only truly hallowed, holy, sacred, reverent, and pure God in the universe. His name is Jesus Christ. Every prayer you pray should acknowledge that fundamental truth.
Matthew 6:9 - "...Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name."
Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done
The invisible Kingdom of God predates the universe. Before the material heavens and earth were created, God prepared His throne in the heavens (Psalm 103:19), built a city foursquare, created hundreds of millions of angels, and conceptualized everything that now exists. "He that built all things is God," Hebrews 3:4. Yet foolish men banish God from human governments as if He knows nothing and they know all. I say, "Away with fools! Let God have His way in the affairs of men!"
Matthew 6:10 - "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven."
Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread
This prayer proves again that God does not guarantee us more than one day's food at a time. Remember the manna in the wilderness. Moses warned the Israelites not to horde the food. When they did, it completely spoiled. God does not support hording, gluttony, or selfish excess. But He did promise to supply all our needs according to His unlimited riches. Nevertheless, Jesus taught us to ASK for our daily bread. By making our request daily, we are continually reminded of where ALL our blessings come from.
Matthew 6:11 - "Give us this day our daily bread."
Forgive Us Our Debts As We Forgive Our Debtors
Most people do not seem to realize that if they refuse to forgive someone, they cannot be forgiven of their own sins. You have to set others free if you want to be set free. Otherwise, your will never be released from your own sins. That should be enough reason for anybody to forgive anybody else. "If ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." Remember that when you pray.
Matthew 6:12 - "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors."
Lead Us Not Into Temptation
"Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man," James 1:13. However, Jesus was led BY THE SPIRIT into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. God certainly allows men to be tempted by Satan to test their mettle. Remember Job. But you can pray that God will spare you from such exposures. Sometimes He will. Sometimes He will not. Remember Gethsemane. If God is willing to let you forego the cup, He will.
Matthew 6:13 - "Lead us not into temptation."
Deliver Us From Evil
Jesus likened Satan to a fowler laying a snare for some unsuspecting victim. Satan is a predator. He lays traps for men and women. Paul spoke of men "recovering themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will." Satan takes people captive AT HIS WILL. Do NOT expect a warning. Satan's favorite tactic is to "blind-side" you - to take you when you least expect it. That is why you should pray IN ADVANCE, that God will deliver you from evil. He can!
Matthew 6:13 - "Deliver us from evil."
Thine Is The Kingdom, Power And Glory, Forever
The Kingdom of God is not the greatest kingdom. It is the Kingdom of all kingdoms. The Power of God is not the greatest power. It is the Power of all powers. The Glory of God is not the greatest glory. It is the Glory of all glories. Without the Kingdom and Power and Glory of God, there would simply be NOTHING. Everything is IN HIM! What else can we add? FOREVER! Everything God is, has been, or ever shall be, is eternal.
Matthew 6:13 - "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen."
When You Fast
Spiritual warfare cannot be maintained without a life of fasting and prayer. Otherwise, you will take a whipping every time. But you must not show off your fasting, or pretend to be holier-than-thou. God commissions sincere, low-profile fasting.
Matthew 6:16-18 - "When ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. ...They have their reward. But ...appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly."
Treasures In Heaven
Western civilization is heavily addicted to prosperity, enjoying more luxury than ever seen in history. But wealth causes a pernicious, false sense of security. It is worth NOTHING at the Judgment. For everlasting wealth, invest everything in the kingdom of God.
Matthew 6:19-21 - "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
A Single Eye
What is that in your eye? God? Or the things of this world? You will pursue the thing you envision. You cannot serve both God and mammon (money). You MUST choose one or the other.
Matthew 6:22-24 - "If therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. ...No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."
God's People Will Have Food And Clothes
Jesus promised (prophesied) that you will have food and clothes.
Matthew 6:25-32 - "...Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? ...Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet ...even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. ...shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? ...your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things."
All These Things Shall Be Added Unto You
This is the most personal prophecy you will ever need, and it comes from the mouth of Jesus Christ Himself. If you will FIRST seek the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, everything else you need will come to you. You will never need to worry or fret about tomorrow.
Matthew 6:33-34 - "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."
So you think you can judge your brother? It is easy to quote a scripture or find a fault. But to judge a man is infinitely beyond human ability. Only God can judge a man. You may think you have good judgment, but you cannot possibly know for sure. That is why Jesus flatly forbids us to judge another. Your illicit judgment will be turned against YOU.
Matthew 7:1- - "Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again."
A Speck Or A Timber?
A mote is a speck. A beam is a load-bearing timber, like a joist or lintel. In Jesus' allegory, He reprimanded the man with a BEAM in his eye, for faulting a man with a SPECK in his eye. That is less outrageous than you or me faulting anyone whose sin is less than our own.
Matthew 7:4-5 - "How wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye."
If your child asks for a piece of bread, will you give him a rock? Of course not! You will feed him good food. If he asked for fish, would you give him a snake? No. Why do we imagine that we are more generous or more easily entreated than God? We are not! Go ahead. Ask.
Matthew 7:7-8 - "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened."
Jesus called Hell "destruction," and depicted it as easy to get to, with broad ways and wide gates. If you want to be destroyed, you don't even have to try. You can go to hell without any constraints or limitations. Just do anything or everything you want to do. You can slip-slide right in. But if you want to be saved, it is going to be straight and narrow.
Matthew 7:14 - "...wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat."
Wolves In Sheep's Clothing
Take your time when deciding whether a man is a prophet. It pays to investigate. He may look like a sheep, but really be a wolf. You can get no more out of a man than what he really is. If he is a thornbush, you will not get grapes. A thistle will not make figs. Good trees produce good fruit. Bad fruit is a warning to steer clear of the man. Protect yourself from becoming his sorrowful victim.
Matthew 7:15 - "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves."
Men Are Like Trees
Throughout the Bible, men are compared to trees. Good, godly-minded men are compared to olive trees, fig trees, cedar trees, palm trees, apple trees, teil trees, almond trees, and trees planted by rivers of waters. Evil, worldy-minded men are compared to dry trees, brambles, thorns and thistles. God will destroy worldly-minded men in hell, but godly-minded men will prosper.
Matthew 7:18-19 - "A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire."
One of the most abused stories in the Bible is about the thief on the cross praying, "Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom." This isolated case of a man begging mercy minutes before dying bred a misleading belief that all you have to do to be saved is cry, "Lord, Lord." But that story was before Calvary. Since Calvary, everyone must be born again (John 3:5).
Matthew 7:21 - "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."
Just Do It!
Talk is cheap. It doesn't cost anything to talk. But truly living for God costs something. Jesus said a wise man will both hear His sayings and DO THEM. A fool hears but does not DO. James said that if we know to do good and do it not, we sin. God's will is not hard to do. Just do it!
Matthew 7:21 - "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."
Prophets And Miracle Workers In Hell
It is treacherously naive to believe that every miracle worker is of God. Many evil spirits emulate the works of God (even in Jesus' name) to deceive men and destroy their souls. If your prophet or miracle worker lives a sinful lifestyle, FLEE!
Matthew 7:22-23 - "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."
A House Built On A Rock
Two men hear the sayings of Jesus. The wise man lives by His sayings, like a man who builds his house on a rock. The fool ignores His sayings, like a man who builds his house on sand. The storms of life beat upon both houses - the rains, the floods, and the winds. The foolish man will be destroyed. The wise man will stand strong. The Rock is Jesus Christ. Build on Him!
Matthew 7:24 - "Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock."
His Doctrine Is Astonishing
Who knows best? The invention, or the inventor? The art, or the artist? The music, or the musician? Who knows best? A creature, or his Creator? No wonder the people were astonished at His doctrine. Never a man spoke like Him, because never COULD a man speak like Him. His is the infinite wisdom from all eternity. Ours is the scant aggregation of mere days.
Matthew 7:28-29 - "And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes."
Jesus Said, "I Will."
Is there any doubt in your mind that God will do a miracle for you? A leper came to Jesus, saying, "Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed." Immediately thereafter, a centurion came, beseeching Him for his servant, who was grievously sick at home. Jesus said, "I will come and heal him." You have not because you ask not. He already said, "I Will."
Matthew 8:7 - "And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him."
Speak The Word Only
Jesus would have gone to the centurion's house to heal his servant, but the centurion insisted, "Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed." He understood the authoritative power of the spoken word, because he commanded one-hundred soldiers. Jesus marvelled at the centurion's faith. Speak the word of faith for your miracle.
Matthew 8:13 - "Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour."
He Cast Out Spirits With His Word
The word of God seems invisible, but if we could visually see the force or impact His word has on all things spiritual or material, we would be dumbfounded. The word of the LORD is more forceful than a sledge hammer. It can crush, drive out, build up, or have any effect that it needs to have. Speak the word of the LORD commandingly. Demons will flee.
Matthew 8:16 - "When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick."
Christ, The Healer
Isaiah said, "Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: ...He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: ...with his stripes we are healed," (53:4-5). Jesus healed the sick, sometimes by touching them, sometimes by speaking to them. When Jesus touched the hand of Peter's mother-in-law, the fever left her. When the demon-possessed came to Him, "he cast out the spirits with His word."
Matthew 8:17 - "That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses."
Verbal Commitments Are Not Enough For Disciples
The ministry of Jesus Christ was so powerful that people wanted to be with Him all the time. A certain scribe told Him, "Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest." Jesus told him that foxes have holes, and birds have nests, but the Son of man has no place to sleep at night. Following Jesus requires unconditional commitment, and willingness to give up everything.
Matthew 8:21-22 - "Another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead."
Lord Save Us: We Perish!
Our mouths often explode with doubts, fears and unbelief. The disciples' mouths exploded when the storm arose on the sea. Jesus was asleep in the ship when the disciples woke Him crying, "Lord, save us: we perish!" He asked them "Why are you fearful, O ye of little faith?" He arose, rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. Do you really think your ship can sink with God in it? Think FAITH before FEAR!
Matthew 8:27 - "The men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!"
The Day The Devil Prayed
If you and I knew everything the devil knows about Jesus Christ, we would NEVER doubt His power. When Jesus showed up at Gergesenes, two demon-possessed men came from among the tombs to meet Him. The devils in them knew the time would come when Jesus would send them to Hell. "Art thou come to torment us before the time?" If demons tremble at the power of Jesus Christ, we should never make light of it!
Matthew 8:31 - "The devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine."
NEVER Ask Jesus To Leave
When Jesus cast the devils out of the two men from the tombs, into the swine, the swine immediately ran violently down a steep place into the sea. But the local swine owners had no sympathy for those who had been delivered from Satan's bondage. All they cared about was their pigs. People are just like that nowadays - more concerned about their possessions than salvation. I would rather have Jesus than ANYTHING!
Matthew 8:34 - "The whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts."
Let Jesus Meet Your Need According To His Will
The people brought a bedfast man who was sick of the palsy to Jesus. Jesus saw their faith, and said to the man, "Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee." Jesus must have considered that his sins were a bigger problem than his palsy. Bring all your needs to Jesus, but let Him decide what HE thinks you need most. God often uses the occasion of our hardships to speak to us about our spiritual needs.
Matthew 9:6 - "(Then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house."
Matthew, Tax Collector
After healing countless people that day, Jesus passed by a tax collector named Matthew. "Follow me." Matthew immediately arose and followed Jesus. (Everyone should choose to follow Jesus that easily.) Jesus had dinner with several publicans (tax collectors) and sinners. The Pharisees asked why Jesus ate with them. Simple. The "evil" tax collectors were far more responsive to Jesus than the "righteous" Pharisees.
Matthew 9:12 - "When Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. ...I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
Fasting And Mourning
Fasting is generally related to sorrow, desperation and mourning. When men fast, they usually do so because difficult circumstances are upon them. Elijah fasted when Jezebel threatened his life. Esther fasted because her people faced possible extermination. The Ninevites fasted when God threatened judgment. Jesus' disciples did not fast while He was with them, because it was the best of times.
Matthew 9:15 - "Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast."
She Said Within Herself ...I Shall Be Whole
As Jesus went to Jarius' house, crowds followed hard behind Him and His disciples. A woman, diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, and who had spent everything on physicians and only grew worse, pressed through and touched His garment. "For she said within herself, If I may but touch His garment, I shall be whole." Your miracle begins when the word of faith is first formed in your mind.
Matthew 9:22 - "Jesus turned him about, and ...said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour."
Daring Faith Needs No Precedents
A certain ruler came to Jesus, worshipping Him. "My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live." What incredible faith! This ruler of the synagogue, Jarius (Mark 5:22; Luke 8:40), was one of the first on record to actually come to Jesus asking for such a dramatic miracle. Real faith does not require precedents.
Matthew 9:23-24 - "And when Jesus came into the ruler's house, ...he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose. And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land."
Death - Body, Not Soul, Is Asleep
Death is not annihilation. Your body will expire, but your soul remains conscious, either in the presence of God, or in eternal torment. Jesus went with a certain ruler to his home, because the man's daughter lay dead. Jesus said, "The maid is not dead, but sleepeth." It was a puzzling remark, and the people laughed Him to scorn. But Jesus put them out of the house, then raised the child. Her spirit returned to her body.
Matthew 9:25-26 - "When the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose."
After raising Jairus' daughter from the dead, Jesus was bombarded with requests from more needy people. Two blind men followed him, crying, "Thou Son of David, have mercy on us!" Have mercy? That is such a generic, ambiguous, non-specific request. But Jesus knew what they needed. "Do you believe I am able to do this?" "Yea, Lord!" He touched their eyes and said, "According to your faith be it unto you." Sometimes, you need to be specific. But sometimes, "Have mercy!" is all you can utter. Miraculously, He already knows your need.
Matthew 9:30 - "And their eyes were opened."
Pray That God Will Send More Laborers
As Jesus' fame multiplied, multitudes crowded around, hoping that He would minister to them. He felt compassion because they were scattered as sheep without a shepherd. Everywhere, there are men and women yearning to know God and see His glory manifest in this world. He told His disciples, "The harvest is plenteous, but the labourers are few." Has God called you to serve? Please do not squander yourself on secular labors if the call of God is on your life.
Matthew 9:38 - "Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest."
The Twelve Apostles Of Jesus Christ
Jesus handled His apostles like protégés, thoughtfully grooming them for the ministry. He gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sicknesses and diseases. When God calls you, He also empowers and equips you.
Matthew 10:2 - "The names of the twelve apostles are these; Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him."
Guidelines For Ministers, Taught By Jesus
Matthew 10 looks like a seminar for preachers. Jesus went into great detail to tell His apostles what to expect in the ministry, and how to conduct themselves. If you are a preacher, you should carefully study this chapter. Jesus restricted the twelve to preaching to Jews, but now, we must preach the gospel to every nation.
Matthew 10:5 - "These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
Your Ministry Is Not For Personal Gain
God never designed the ministry to be a capitalist enterprise. "Freely ye have received. Freely Give." Jesus directed His apostles to travel light: no excess money, no excess luggage, no excess clothes or shoes. They were to expect God to provide as they went. God knows every sparrow that falls, and knows every hair on your head, so He knows your need and will meet it.
Matthew 10:9-10 - "Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat."
Cities That Reject Preachers Will Be Judged Harshly
When a man of God goes into a city to preach, He does so under a divine mandate. Nothing like this is accidental. Jesus said to stay with whoever you can find who is worthy to hear the gospel. If your ministry is not well-received, get out of town. Shake the dust of that city off your feet when you leave. God says they will be judged sorely for rejecting the gospel. This is serious business!
Matthew 10:15 - "It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city."
You Will Be Hated By All Men For The Sake Of Jesus' Name
"I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: ...they will deliver you up to the councils, ...they will scourge you in their synagogues; ...ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. ..brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death."
Matthew 10:22 - "Ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved."
Jesus Returned To The Apostles After His Resurrection
Jesus directed His apostles to go and preach in as many cities in Israel as they could, warning them that they would be persecuted. He instructed them to immediately flee whenever they encountered hostilities. He promised the apostles that they would see Him again before they could preach in every city. He did return to them after His resurrection, thereby fulfilling that prophecy.
Matthew 10:23 - "When they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come."
The Disciple Is Not Above His Master
If you follow in Jesus' steps, you are going to suffer. They hated him, tried to run Him out of their towns, tried to prosecute Him on all kinds of false charges, tried to kill Him, and eventually did. If Jesus is your master, and you are His disciple, you are going to face a lot of opposition too.
Matthew 10:24-25 - "The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. ...If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? Fear them not therefore."
The Apostle's Mandate: Preach! Declare God's Word!
"Preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. ...when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you." The MOST important task for any God-called minister is to speak everything God has revealed by His word.
Matthew 10:27 - "What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops."
You Must Put God Before Family
God created marriage, family, fathers, mothers, sons and daughters. Family relationships are extremely important. But God will not allow you to place family ahead of Him. You must let Him have His way, whether or not your family approves.
Matthew 10:34-37 - "I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, ...He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me."
Every believer has a cross of suffering in his destiny. Jesus said so. You have to be willing to bear your cross, or you cannot be His disciple. Do not be afraid of dying for Jesus. Do not fear men. Never deny Christ before men, or He will deny you at the Judgment. Stop clinging to mortality. Cling to things eternal.
Matthew 10:38-39 - "He that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it."
Questioning God During Your Hard Trials
After telling multitudes that Jesus was the Lamb of God, John the Baptist landed in prison. He heard stories of Jesus' mighty works, and sent two of his disciples to Jesus asking, "Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?" "In that same hour [Jesus] cured many of their infirmities and plagues," Luke 7:21. Like John, your faith will be shaken by the trials that God ordains for you. But Jesus will show you again and again that He really is God!
Matthew 11:6 - "And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me."
The Least In The Kingdom
John preached, "the kingdom of heaven is AT HAND!" (soon to come). Jesus, by His death, burial and resurrection, opened the door to His kingdom. At Pentecost, in Acts 2, the kingdom came, first to 120, then to 3000 believers, when they received the Holy Ghost. The least member of the New Testament church has a greater revelation than John the Baptist had in his day.
Matthew 11:11 - "Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he."
The Violent Take It By Force
If you want into the kingdom of heaven, you must fight for it. Satan and all the forces of hell in earth will come against you. Ask John. From the day he opened his mouth to preach the kingdom, Pharisees, Sadducees and others came against him. Ask Jesus. They killed him. If you want the kingdom, you have to press into it (Luke 16:16). Paul said, "I fought a good fight." You can, too.
Matthew 11:12 - "From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force."
John The Baptist Fulfilled "Elijah" Prophecy
Jesus asked why the crowds went to see John the Baptist. Was he "a reed shaken with the wind? ...A man clothed in soft raiment? ...A prophet?" "More than a prophet! For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. ...Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he."
Matthew 11:14 - "If ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come."
Pipers And Mourners Ignored
Our generation spurns truth just like Jesus' generation. He compared them to children who resisted their fellows, refusing to dance or mourn with them. They said John had a devil because he neither ate nor drank with them. They called Jesus a drunkard and a glutton because He DID. The fault was not with John or Christ. Both were wise, and were justified in their ministries.
Matthew 11:19 - "The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children."
His Miracles Should Move Us To Repentance
Jesus rarely asked for anything in exchange for the miracles He performed. But He did marvel when His miracles failed to move the people to repentance. How can we taste, see, and partake of His divine nature, and not be suffocatingly ashamed that we transgressed against Him?
Matthew 11:20-21 - "Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not:
Woe unto thee, ...for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes."
The Unrepentant Shall Be Brought Down To Hell
Jesus condemned those who witnessed His ministry and miracles, "because they repented not." Examine yourself. Have you genuinely repented?
Matthew 11:22-24 - "It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee."
Thank God That Novices May Learn The Ways Of God
Jesus pronounced harsh judgments on an evil generation that will not respond to the gospel. "We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented." But in stark contrast, He also rejoiced that God hides the true meaning of His mighty works from the disinterested, and reveals them to humble, but hungry people.
Matthew 11:25 - "At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes."
God Can Only Be Known Through Jesus
Jesus Christ, Son of God, Son of Man, born of woman, is the only bodily incarnation of the invisible God. The man on the street cannot recognize that. As the angel revealed it to Joseph and Mary, God must reveal it to you. Likewise, if you reject Jesus, you can never know the Father. Jesus is the only way to God.
Matthew 11:27 - "All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him."
The Curse of Restlessness
"In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength," (Isaiah 30:15). "Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it," (Hebrews 4:1). We should fear restlessness. God meets us while we are quiet, listening, attentive. Our chaotic, distracted lifestyles prevent us from hearing His voice. That spells trouble.
Matthew 11:28 - "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
Come Unto Me - I Will Give You Rest
Only God in flesh could stand on the horizon of time and say to the perennial masses, "Come unto me, ...and I will give you rest." Many have made similar offers, but never delivered. No one anywhere can give you peace or rest like Jesus.
Matthew 11:28 - "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
I Will Give You Rest. Ye Shall Find Rest For Your Soul.
God guarantees that if you wear His yoke (His discipline), and learn His ways, you WILL find rest for your souls. Nothing can stop it. That promise of God is just as powerful as His creative word that said, "Let there be..." He has spoken His word, and that means you WILL have rest. His discipline is easy - NOT a heavy burden.
Matthew 11:28-30 - "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
Lord Of The Sabbath - Greater Than The Temple
As Creator, Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath, and greater than the Temple. The Sabbath does not rule God. God rules the Sabbath. God is not restricted by the Sabbath. The Sabbath is restricted from interfering with the purposes of God. So when the Pharisees accused the disciples for breaking the law when they plucked and ate corn on the Sabbath, Jesus informed them that He CONTROLLED the Sabbath, and could do as He pleased.
Matthew 12:6,8 - "In this place is one greater than the temple. ...For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day."
I Will Have Mercy And Not Sacrifice
Twice in the book of Matthew (9:13; 12:7), Jesus quoted Hosea 6:6, saying, "I will have mercy, and not sacrifice." The prophet had condemned the prophets for esteeming burnt offerings above the knowledge of God, and for transgressing the covenant under the guise of strict religion. Jesus was pleading the case for a dispensation of grace to supersede the futility of the law. The law made nothing perfect, but a better hope did.
Matthew 12:7 - "But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless."
Jesus - The Great Physician
No man ever did the works Jesus did because no man ever could. He had the sovereign ability to call the dead back to life. He could cure anything He wanted to cure: leprosy, palsy, blindness, deafness, deformities, hemorrhages - and anything else. He knows the secret codes that make human cells get back to work doing what they are supposed to do. His treatment is better than any pharmaceutical drugs, radiation or chemotherapy. His spirit invades the body and puts everything back in order.
Matthew 12:15 - "...and great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them all."
No Shouting Matches In The Streets
The Pharisees wanted to kill Jesus for healing a man's withered hand on the Sabbath. The self-righteous crowd treated Jesus outrageously everywhere He went. Jesus did not want to tangle with these people, and repeatedly walked out on them. He took the crowds outside the city, healed them all, and charged them not to make Him known. Isaiah foresaw that Messiah would not conduct shouting matches.
Matthew 12:17-21 - "That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, ...He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets."
They Are Not Mere Words
Jesus cast the devils out of a blind and dumb man, and he immediately saw and spoke. Among themselves, the Pharisees accused Him of casting out devils by the prince of devils, Beelzebub. Jesus knew their thoughts, and told them that a divided kingdom, or a divided city, cannot stand. "If Satan cast out Satan, ...how can his kingdom stand?" When you rebuke Satan in Jesus' name, your words are divinely empowered. The Holy Ghost displaces Satan.
Matthew 12:28 - "But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you."
He That Is Not With Me Is Against Me
Jesus was acutely aware that He was at war with hell and Satan. He cast out devils on every hand, and forcefully defended His actions. You have to bind the devil and let the Spirit of God work freely. If they are not for you, they are against you. KNOW who your enemies are!
Matthew 12:29-30 - "Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? ...He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad."
Blasphemy - Speaking Against The Holy Ghost
The word "blasphemy" is alternately translated "provocation, railings, evil speaking" throughout the scriptures. We know the awesome power of the spoken word. God created the entire universe by the spoken word. With words we either bless or curse. The worst sin is to rail against, or provoke God. Be very careful.
Matthew 12:31-32 - "All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. ...whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come."
Out Of The Abundance Of The Heart The Mouth Speaks
Sometimes people are phony. They put on a false front. But sooner or later, who you are and what you are is going to be manifestly revealed. Sooner or later, your mouth is going to tattle on your heart. Watch your mouth, but purify your heart.
Matthew 12:34-35 - "O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things."
Your Words Are A Manifestation Of Your Spirit
Jesus denounced the Pharisees for accusing Him of casting out devils by Beelzebub. He condemned their evil speech as evidence that they had evil hearts. "How can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." Your words are a manifestation of your spirit. Take this word of advice: Get your heart right with God before you open your mouth.
Matthew 12:35 - "A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things."
The Creative And Destructive Power Of Words
Keep in mind that God created the universe with words. Then consider Jesus' admonition about words. Why must we give account for every idle word in the day of judgment? Words are like building blocks. Good words build strong structures. Bad words deteriorate a structure, and cause it to collapse. Either say the right thing, or be silent.
Matthew 12:36-37 " I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned."
Asking For Signs When A Sign Is Staring In Your Face
Some of the scribes and Pharisees asked Jesus, "We would see a sign from thee." Jesus said, "An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas." The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus is the best sign God ever gave the world. Jesus Himself is your sign. Open your eyes.
Matthew 12:41 - "The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here."
An Empty Man - A House For Devils
When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he walks through dry places seeking rest, and finds none. So he returns to the man, and finds him empty, swept, and garnished. That is a man who has repented of his sins, and has been forgiven, but has not yet been filled with the Holy Ghost. He is empty. Be filled with the Spirit!
Matthew 12:43 - "Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first."
Whosoever Shall Do The Will Of My Father
There is a natural family, and there is a spiritual family. We are all brothers in the brotherhood of man, but we are not all brothers in the Spirit. Not many people are willing to make that distinction. It is too easy to pretend that we are all alike. Some even believe we are all going to heaven. But only those who obey the word of God and true Bible doctrine are in God's family.
Matthew 12:50 - "Whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother."
Ye Shall Hear, Not Understand; See, But Not Perceive
The disciples questioned why Jesus taught in parables. Although His message was life-giving, it was also camouflaged from people who were not true seekers of truth. It is a great wonder of God, that He hides truth from those who show little desire to know it. We must be very diligent to seek hungrily after the LORD, so He will open His vast treasures, and not prevent us.
Matthew 13:14 - "In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive."
Prayers Are Not Answered If Timing Is Wrong
You can pray for a thing, but it has to be in God's time to get an answer. Sometimes, God hides things; sometimes He reveals them. Jesus taught in parables "because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given." You can only receive that which is given.
Matthew 13:17 - "I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them."
Sowing The Word By The Wayside
Some people hear the word while they are by the wayside. They are not on the main path to truth. They are not looking for truth. They just happen to hear it, and it is not important to them. Satan immediately takes it from their heart, because he has regular access to their minds. Nothing good comes of it.
Matthew 13:19 - "When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side."
Sowing The Word On Stony Ground
Never in the history of the world are more people hearing the gospel without being changed. Their hearts are as stone. The seed of the Word is getting no root in them. It is not getting deep into their hearts. You MUST love and nourish the Word.
Matthew 13:20 - "He that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended."
Sowing The Word Among Thorns
In America, and around the world, Christianity is being subverted by pseudo-Christianity - a totally unscriptural kind that is worldly, carnally-minded and unholy. Hollywood, prosperity, and popular culture permeate their gatherings instead of God's unadulterated Word. No matter how stalwart you think you are, they are thorns that WILL finally choke the Word out. Quick! Cast away the thorns! "Love not the world!"
Matthew 13:22 - "He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful."
Sowing The Word In Good Ground
When you plant a seed, you want the ground to be good. It should be cultivated, aerated, moist, rich in nutrients, and of a moderate temperature. When you preach the Word, you want the hearers to be good. They should be open-hearted, receptive, sensitive to the Spirit, contemplative, and responsive. The Word will do marvelous miracles in that environment, and will bear awesome fruit.
Matthew 13:23 - "But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
God Will Separate The Tares From The Wheat
A householder sowed wheat in his field. But an enemy sowed tares, which soon grew. Jesus symbolized the righteous as good wheat, and the wicked as tares (harmful weeds). Servants asked if they should remove the tares, but were told not to, since pulling up the tares would destroy much wheat. "Let both grow together until the harvest." If you will be righteous, you must endure and outlast the wicked.
Matthew 13:30 - "I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn."
The Word Is Like A Mustard Seed
A mustard seed is one of the smallest of seeds, yet it has enormous potential. In a world full of sin and sinners, it sometimes seems that the word of God is small and insignificant. But it is not. The word of God is already producing a church that will never be destroyed, and the best is yet to come. Just preach the word. You will soon see.
Matthew 13:32 - "When it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof."
The Kingdom Of Heaven Is Like Leaven
Every baker knows the power of baker's yeast to leaven dough, and cause it to grow to a much larger size. To leaven is "to permeate with an altering or transforming element." Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven is like that. His kingdom will work in the earth until the earth is filled with the knowledge of the LORD. Someday soon, He will take full possession of it all. Believe it.
Matthew 13:33 - "The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened."
I Will Utter Dark Sayings Of Old In Parables
"The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us, ...that we may do all the words of this law," Deuteronomy 29:29. "I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old," Psalm 78:2. Jesus revealed divine secrets.
Matthew 13:34-35 - "All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; ...That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world."
Sinners Will Burn, Saints Will Shine
Jesus explained the parable of the tares. He revealed that He was the one who sowed the good seed (children of the kingdom). The devil sowed the tares, (his wicked ones). In the end of the world, Jesus would send His angels to cast the tares into hell fire, "where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Jesus clearly taught the doctrines of eternal heaven and eternal hell. There is no escape. Now is the time to make your choice.
Matthew 13:43 - "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father."
Hidden Treasure, And The Pearl Of Great Price
The kingdom of heaven is worth more than anything else you will ever find. You should sell anything and everything necessary to enter that eternal kingdom.
Matthew 13:44-46 - "The kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it."
Good And Bad Fish In The Net
God will eventually separate all the righteous from all the wicked. Jesus compared the process to the fishermen's net. They cast it into the sea, and gather fish of every kind. When they draw it in, they sit down and sort the good fish into vessels, and throw away the bad.
Matthew 13:49-50 - "So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."
Pray For Understanding - Get Treasures Old And New
Jesus' disciples did not understand His parables, so they said to Him, "Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field." Amazingly, Jesus answered them with more parables until they fully understood. You should ask God to give you understanding of His words.
Matthew 13:51-52 - "Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord. Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old."
Jesus' Brothers And Sisters
Jesus was not Joseph's natural-born son, because He was conceived by the Holy Ghost. But Jesus' mother, Mary, later gave birth to four boys, and at least two girls, according to the scriptures. This clearly refutes the Catholic teaching that Mary was a perpetual virgin. Jesus, as an adult, was surrounded by at least six or seven of His younger natural siblings.
Matthew 13:55-56 - "Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us?"
A Prophet Is Without Honor In His Own Country
Jesus' miraculous ministry confounded and distressed the local people who had known Him since He was a child. They refused to acknowledge that God was working in Him. "They were offended in Him," (KJV). "The people were very unhappy," (CEV). "They were stumbled at Him," (Young). "They were scandalized," (Darby). "They turned angrily away," (Wymouth). All true prophets offend carnally-minded people. You must look beyond the flesh, and see the spiritual.
Matthew 13:57 - "They were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house."
Unbelief Causes God To Withhold His Works
One of my readers wrote to argue that Jesus did not have all power, because Matthew and Mark both said that Jesus could not work miracles in certain places because of the peoples' unbelief. "He could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them," Mark 6:5. Never think He did not have the power to override their unbelief. It is a matter of righteous principle. Unbelief insults God. Unbelief is sin (Revelation 21:8).
Matthew 13:58 - "He did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief."
The Murder Of John The Baptist
John the Baptist rebuked Herod for taking his own brother's wife, and that act cost his life. His illicit wife used her daughter to coerce Herod to deliver John's head on a charger. John was beheaded for standing up for the truth. You must be willing to suffer whatever retaliation Satan devises, while standing for truth and righteousness. Just remember - YOU ARE NOT YOUR OWN, but Christ's.
Matthew 14:9-10 - "The king was sorry: nevertheless for the oath's sake, ...he commanded it to be given her. And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison."
Steal Away And Pray
All in one day, Jesus learned that John had been beheaded; He took a ship to a desert place, but multitudes followed; He healed their sick; He fed over 10,000 with five loaves and two fishes; the people tried to make Him a king (John 6:15); He went into a mountain to pray alone; a storm arose; He walked on the waters back to His ship. When days are hectic, follow Jesus' example. Steal away and pray.
Matthew 14:23 - "He went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone."
If It Be Thou, Bid Me Come Unto Thee On The Water
In the Old Testament story of Gideon, he laid out a fleece on the ground, and asked God to leave dew everywhere but on the fleece. That is how he confirmed the will of God. Peter was not sure the "apparition" on the storm-tossed waves was Jesus, so asked Him to "bid me come unto thee." It is OK to ask God to confirm His word. In both stories, God did as asked.
Matthew 14:29 - "And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus."
Lord, Save Me!
After you have dared to take a great step of faith, things may go well, or you may falter. Everyone but Jesus has faltered at some time. Peter stepped out of the boat, and miraculously walked on the water. Then he began to sink. But he cried, "Lord, save me!" Obviously, he knew Jesus could save him. The antidote for fear is faith. Call on Jesus, believing!
Matthew 14:30-31 - "When he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him."
Religious Lip-Service Is Equal To No Religion At All
The Pharisees antagonized Jesus because they taught unscriptural traditions. To them, washing their hands before eating was a major religious activity, but they were dismissive about honoring their parents (one of the ten commandments). Jesus rebuked them for supplanting the word of God with worthless traditions. "In vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."
Biblically incorrect religion is worthless lip-service.
Matthew 15:7-8 - "Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me."
That Which Goeth Out Of The Mouth Defileth A Man
The Pharisees indicted Jesus' disciples for eating with unwashed hands. But Jesus quickly set the record straight. A man is not defiled by what goes into his mouth. He is defiled by the ungodly conversation that comes OUT of his mouth. Evil words coming out of your mouth defile you - not the germs in your food. Stop the evil flow across your lips.
Matthew 15:10-11 - "He called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man."
Counterfeits And Blind Guides Are Doomed
The Pharisees clashed with Jesus on just about every issue, but He was undaunted. Jesus repeatedly indicted them for their hypocritical and illegitimate teachings. The disciples expressed concern that Jesus was offending them, but He insisted that they were counterfeit no-goods. He prophesied their demise. False plants get plucked up. Blind guides fall into the ditch.
Matthew 15:13-14 - "He answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch."
We Are Defiled By Evil Thoughts
Jesus judged the teachings of the Pharisees to be heresy. He declared that a man is not defiled by what he puts INTO his mouth, but by what comes OUT OF his mouth - evil things from his heart! "Evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies." The religious mind knows that it is easier to wash your hands than to cleanse yourself of all evil thoughts, but the truth remains. God demands a pure and a clean heart.
Matthew 15:20 - "These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man."
How To Argue With God And Win
A Greek Canaanite woman, called Syrophenician in Mark 7, begged Jesus to deliver her daughter who was "vexed with a devil." Jesus was silent, then finally said, "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. ...It is not meet to take the children's bread and to cast it unto the dogs." "Yes, LORD, but the dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their master's table." She worshipped Him and expressed undaunted faith. THAT works!
Matthew 15:28 - "Jesus answered... O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt."
Cast Your Burdens At Jesus' Feet
Jesus was near Galilee, sitting at rest on a mountainside when multitudes began to bring the lame, blind, dumb, maimed and many others, and cast them down at Jesus' feet. "...and He healed them." Is there ANYTHING Jesus cannot do? Take your burdens to the LORD and leave them there. What He has done for others, He will do for you.
Matthew 15:31 - "The multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel."
Jesus Feeds The Hungry
More than once, Jesus fed a multitude with only a tiny amount of food. This time, it was 4000 men (plus women and children) with only seven loaves and a few fishes. Moreover, there were seven baskets full remaining after everyone was filled. It all came about because Jesus had compassion on the people who were hungry for His word. When people seek first the kingdom of God, He provides for their other needs.
Matthew 15:37 - "And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full."
Wicked Minds Cannot See The Signs
The Pharisees and Sadducees asked Jesus for a sign from heaven. But Jesus impugned their dishonesty and hypocrisy. He mocked their presumed ability to predict events in the natural heavens, while remaining witless to obvious signs from God in heaven. To this day, many religious leaders excel in worldly and social skills, yet are totally ignorant of the most precious and sacred prophetic insights. Carnality is to blame.
Matthew 16:4 - "A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed."
Avoid Asking Insolent Questions
When the Pharisees and Sadducees asked Jesus to show them a sign from heaven, it was not because they wanted to see a sign. They were tempting Him, trying to put Him on the spot so they could criticize and mock Him more. "Thou shalt not tempt the LORD thy God," Matthew 4:7. Creature, it is supremely foolish and insolent to tread on your Creator.
Matthew 16:4 - "A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed."
The Leaven Of The Pharisees
Jesus said to the disciples, "Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees." They thought He was talking about bread, but He was not. The false doctrines and hypocrisies of the Pharisees were like leaven. False doctrines quickly saturate everything they touch. Jesus was warning them to avoid false doctrines and hypocrisy. EVERY false doctrine has the potential for RUINING you. Put away false doctrine!
Matthew 16:12 - "Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees."
The Deity Of Christ Must Be Supernaturally Revealed
Jesus asked his disciples, "Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?" They listed John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or another prophet. "But whom say ye that I am?" Peter answered, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." Nowadays, people have heard (and can repeat) that Jesus is the Son of God. But false doctrines abound about Jesus' true identity and Godhead. Only the Father God in heaven can genuinely reveal the deity of Christ.
Matthew 16:17 - "Flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven."
Upon This Rock
Jesus never, EVER said that He would build the church on Peter. Peter is NOT that rock. The Roman Catholics have it totally wrong on that claim. "This rock" that Jesus spoke of was the solid rock doctrine of the deity of Jesus Christ. Peter had just declared to Him, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." The awesome revelation that God is in Christ is the solid foundation of the church. Nothing more, nothing less.
Matthew 16:18 - "Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
Jesus Prophesied An Indestructible Church
It is no small matter that Jesus prophesied the church into existence. Without a church, He would have faded into historical irrelevance. The church is the continuation of His presence by His Spirit dwelling within them. Some skeptics claim that Jesus had no real ambition to have a church - that the Apostle Paul created it through his extensive travels and writings. Just remember who commissioned Paul from heaven and charged him to preach: "Jesus, whom thou persecutest."
Matthew 16:18 - "...upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
The Church Has Power To Bind And Loose
Jesus gave His church "the keys of the kingdom of heaven." Keys lock and unlock things. Jesus rebuked devils, and that bound them. His words locked them up. He spoke words that healed and performed miracles. His words loosed them. If you are in His church, you can command devils and deliverance and speak healing in the same manner as He did.
Matthew 16:19 - "I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
Jesus Knew He Was Headed To Calvary
Jesus frequently instructed people, including His disciples, "that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ," and that they should not publicize His miracles. Immediate success was less important to Him than fulfilling His divine mission as the Lamb of God. Jesus could see Calvary in the near distance. Everything else was secondary.
Matthew 16:21 - "From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day."
Jesus told His disciples that He would go to Jerusalem, suffer, be killed, and raised the third day. Peter rebuked Jesus. "Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto Thee." Selfish desire is hostile to God's will. Satan invades selfish thinking. Your words become Satanic weapons against God. You cannot imagine how that offends God. Censor yourself, for God's sake.
Matthew 16:23 - "[He] said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men."
Whosoever Will Lose His Life For My Sake Shall Find It
You cannot have both the world and Jesus. You cannot have life your way AND His way. If you want the world, you WILL lose your soul. If you want Jesus, you WILL lose the world.
Matthew 16:24-26 - "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"
The World Will Pass Away - Your Soul Is Eternal
"What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" One soul is worth more than the whole world and all its birds, beasts, flowers, trees, diamonds, gold, oil, mountains, rivers, cities and nations. If you are wise enough to forfeit temporal things to do God's will, your reward will be infinite.
Matthew 16:26-27 - "What shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works."
The Son Of Man And His Kingdom
"My kingdom is not of this world," Jesus said in John 18:36. Men would not say, "it is here" or "it is there," because it would be a spiritual kingdom. "The kingdom of God is within you." He told the disciples that some of them would still be alive when He came in His kingdom. Jesus forfeited a temporal kingdom when He died, but resurrected to rule His eternal kingdom.
Matthew 16:28 - "Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom."
The Transfiguration Of Jesus
Peter, James and John ascended a mountain with Jesus, and saw Him "transfigured." His face shone like the sun. His raiment was white as the light. Moses and Elijah appeared, and talked with Jesus. A voice from a bright cloud overhead said, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him." The disciples fell prostrate, terrified. Jesus touched them and said, "Arise, be not afraid." God was glorifying the Son, a token manifestation of greater glories to come.
Matthew 17:8 - "When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only."
Jesus To Suffer Under Herod, And Rise From Dead
Immediately following the transfiguration, Jesus charged the three, "Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead." He clearly prophesied that He would rise from the dead, AND that He would suffer under the same people who killed John (Herod; Luke 23:11).
Matthew 17:12-13 - "I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist."
Nothing Is Impossible By Prayer, Fasting, Faith In God
A man brought his "lunatick" son to the disciples. "Sore vexed," the child often fell into water or fire. The disciples could not cure him, but Jesus rebuked the devil out of him and the child was cured immediately. Jesus scolded the disciples for unbelief. "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you." Your words of faith, accompanied by fasting, can move mountains.
Matthew 17:21 - "Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting."
Jesus Forewarned His Disciples Of His Death
The prophecies that Jesus revealed about His own death and resurrection could not have been plainer. He told them that He would be betrayed into the hands of men. (That is exactly what Judas Iscariot did to Him.) He said they would kill Him, and He would rise again on the third day. Nevertheless, the disciples could not make sense of what He was telling them. According to Mark 9:10, "They kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean."
Matthew 17:23 - "And they were exceeding sorry."
Pay Taxes To Avoid Trouble
A tax collector asked Peter if Jesus paid taxes. Peter said, "Yes." Privately, Jesus questioned Peter. "Of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers?" Peter said, "Of strangers." Jesus said, "Then the children are free." Jesus had power over kings and tax-collectors, but to avoid trouble, He told Peter to go fishing, and the first fish would contain money to pay taxes.
Matthew 17:27 - "When thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee."
The Greatest In The Kingdom Is As A Child
The disciples wanted to know who was the greatest in the kingdom. Jesus called a little child and set him in the midst of them. "Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." Who can know all the reasons why Jesus said that? A man has to be converted from personal agendas and self-sufficient ways, unto the innocence and simplicity of a child, meek, and humble before God.
Matthew 18:4 - "Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven."
How You Treat Little Ones Affects Your Destiny
Jesus made a big matter out of how we treat little ones. If we receive a little child in His name, it is as if we are receiving Him. If we offend a little one, it would be better to have a millstone tied around our necks and drowned in the deep sea. If you offend a little one, woe be unto you!
Matthew 18:10,14 - "Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; ...Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish."
Declare A Matter According To God's Instructions
Jesus taught that you should go to a brother who has sinned against you and attempt to reconcile with him. If he will not hear you, you should take two or three other brothers as witnesses, and try again. If that fails, tell it to the church. If he will not hear the church, consider him a heathen or a sinner. By declaring the matter as God prescribes, He supernaturally intervenes, and binds the offender.
Matthew 18:18 - "Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
Pray In Agreement With A Fellow Believer
Jesus empowers believers to bind their adversaries and adversity, and to loose the oppressed. He encourages two or more people to make their requests in agreement in His name. Join forces with one or more fellow Christians, and pray in one accord. God promises to perform a miracle.
Matthew 18:19-20 - "If two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."
How Oft Shall I Forgive My Brother?
Your act of forgiving those who have trespassed against you can have more influence with God than any prayer you pray. Your forgiveness, or lack thereof, is God's criteria for forgiving you. Forgive not; be not forgiven. Forgive; be forgiven. I never met anybody who actually believed that Jesus only wanted Peter to forgive 490 times. You must forgive EVERY TIME.
Matthew 18:21-22 - "[Peter] said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven."
From Your Heart Forgive Your Brother
Jesus said a king began to sell a servant and his family to collect a huge debt. His servant begged, "Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all." The master forgave his entire debt. Afterward, that servant demanded a fellowservant repay a tiny debt. "Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all." But the man angrily cast him into prison. His master heard, and furiously sentenced him to torment.
Matthew 18:35 - "So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses."
Divorce: From The Beginning It Was Not So
The Pharisees asked Jesus, "Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?" He responded, "What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." They countered, "Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement?" Jesus said, "Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so."
Matthew 19:9 - "Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery."
Some Choose To Be Single, Some To Be Eunuchs
After Jesus articulated His teaching against divorce, the disciples surmised that it may not be good to marry, to avoid the risk of a failed relationship or of committing adultery. Jesus retorted that only those whose destiny is to be single could receive such a teaching. He also made some observations about eunuchs - asexual males. Some are born that way. Others make themselves asexual voluntarily. However, such a lifestyle is never required by any scriptural teaching.
Matthew 19:12 - "[Some] made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it."
Lay Hands On Children And Pray For Them
The crowds brought even their children to Jesus, asking Him to lay hands on them and pray for them. The disciples rebuked them. Apparently, they did not think that praying for children was a legitimate expense of time. But Jesus did not agree. Bring the children. Pray for them. Children are as important to God as adults. Children have a profound place in the purpose and kingdom of God.
Matthew 19:13-15 - "Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. And he laid his hands on them."
Prayer For A Child
I experienced a profound miracle of healing as a child in the third grade. I went to church one night miserable with a severe case of tonsillitis and 105 degree fever. I asked for prayer. Two ministers anointed me with oil, laid hands on my head and prayed for my healing. While I stood there, my fever broke and I walked away in a heavy sweat. Immediately, I felt completely normal, and went home completely well. I have believed in divine healing ever since.
Matthew 19:14 - "Suffer little children, and forbid them not."
Holding To Things Temporal Costs Everything Eternal
A rich young ruler asked Jesus, "What good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?" Jesus answered, "Keep the commandments." The man attested that he had kept them from his youth. Then "go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor." When he heard that, "he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions." Jesus concluded, "A rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom."
Matthew 19:24 - "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God."
Jesus said that everyone who forsakes houses, brethren, family, or lands for His name's sake will receive one-hundredfold, and will inherit everlasting life. Peter asked what reward the disciples would have for forsaking all to follow Christ. "In the regeneration" (when Israel is resurrected, and Christ rules in earthly Jerusalem), the twelve apostles will be judges on twelve thrones under Christ.
Matthew 19:28 - "Ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."
The Parable Of The Laborers In The Vineyard
In this parable, a man hired men in the morning to work all day in his vineyard. At 9 AM, noon, 3 PM, and finally, at 5 PM, he hired even more laborers. At day's end, he paid every man a penny, as all had agreed to. Those who worked all day angrily complained, but Jesus showed that God can reward anyone as He pleases, according to His word.
Matthew 20:15-16 - "Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? ...So the last shall be first, and the first last."
Request Denied. God Has Another Plan.
James and John were sons of Zebedee, and Salome was their mother. She and her sons were faithful followers of Jesus. She came worshipping Jesus, asking that her sons would be granted to sit on His right hand and left hand when He came into His kingdom. Jesus could not oblige. Sometimes our prayers contradict what God already has planned. We should quickly surrender our will to His.
Matthew 20:23 - "To sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father."
Who Will Be Great Must Be A Servant
The ten disciples were indignant that the mother of James and John asked positions of power for them. Jesus had to teach them all that the kingdom of God does not consist of men exercising dominion and authority over others, but of those who humble themselves and serve others.
Matthew 20:26-28 - "Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many."
Never Allow People To Discourage You From Praying
Two blind men were sitting by the side of the road when Jesus passed by. They cried out, "Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David." The people tried to silence them, but they cried the more. Jesus stood still. Then He asked what they wanted from Him. "Lord, that our eyes may be opened." Never let people silence your prayers for a miracle. Keep believing even when others try to talk you out of it.
Matthew 20:34 - "Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him."
Jesus - Messiah, King, On A Colt, The Foal Of An Ass
A 500-year-old prophecy was fulfilled when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a colt, the foal of an ass (Zechariah 9:9). It had been prepared by God in eternity past. Jesus told them, "Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me." "The disciples went, ...and brought the ass."
Matthew 21:10 - "When he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee."
The House Of God - A House Of Prayer
Isaiah made a divine pronouncement on the temple. "Mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people," Isaiah 56:7. God never gave any cause for the temple to become a profane market place. Sanctify the house of God. Go there to pray.
Matthew 21:12-13 - "Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer."
Spontaneous Praise Is Perfect Praise
The chief priests and scribes heard the crowds crying "Hosanna to the Son of David," and were very displeased. [Hosanna derives from "Yeshua" - a name of God. It means "Save, we pray!"] They indignantly pressed Jesus for His explanation, "Hearest thou what these say?" But God incarnate deserves the highest praises. Formalized religion summarily forbids spontaneous praise and worship, but anyone who recognizes the deity of Christ cannot but lift his voice in glorious praise.
Matthew 21:16 - "Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?"
Speak To The Mountain, The Fig Tree, Your Problem
Jesus was hungry. He saw a fig tree, but it had no fruit. He spoke to the tree. "Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever." The disciples were amazed that it immediately withered away.
Matthew 21:21-22 - "Jesus answered and said, ...If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive."
An unsaved businessman called a preacher I know, with a desperate need. His business was failing, and he needed a miracle. The preacher wanted to demonstrate God's power to the man, so he prayed. That week, a tornado totally destroyed the businessman's business. He collected the insurance benefits, and started a well-capitalized brand new business.
I heard that story, and needed a new roof, so I prayed. A hailstorm came. The insurance paid for a new roof.
Matthew 21:22 - "And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive."
"Why Did Ye Not Then Believe Him?"
Jesus preached and taught things nobody had ever heard. He performed miracles and healings of every kind. He stormed into the temple and drove out the moneychangers. Then His critics swarmed Him. "By what authority do you do these things?" Jesus stumped them by a dare. "Tell me by what authority John the Baptist came, and I will tell you what authority I have." But they knew the crowds would riot if they denounced John OR Jesus. "We cannot tell," they said. They lied. They knew.
Matthew 21:25 "He will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him?"
Repentant Sinners Are Better Than Self-Righteous
Jesus told of a man who asked his first son to work in the vineyard. He said, "I will not," but afterward repented and went to work. Then the father asked his second son to work in the vineyard. He said, "I go, sir," but never went. It is better to fail and then repent, than to make big promises and never follow through.
Matthew 21:31-32 - "Jesus saith... John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward."
The Parable Of The Wicked Husbandmen
Jesus posed a parable about a householder who let out his vineyard to husbandmen. At harvest time, he sent servants to receive the harvest. But the husbandmen beat or killed them all. This happened twice. Finally, he sent his son, who they also killed. The disciples predicted that, "he will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen." That parable indicted Israel's rulers for killing the prophets, as they would Christ.
Matthew 21:43 - "The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof."
The Stone Which The Builders Rejected
After speaking about a vineyard owner whose son was rejected and killed by the husbandmen, Jesus spoke of a stone which was rejected by the builders. Both examples depict Jesus being rejected by the husbandmen (rulers) of Israel. But the owner (God) will take it from them and give it all to the Son, and the rejected stone will become the cornerstone.
Matthew 21:42-43 - "The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: ...The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof."
Many Are Called, But Few Are Chosen
Jesus compared the kingdom of heaven to a king who made a marriage for his son. His servants invited many who would not come. More servants went, but they were treated spitefully, some even killed. Furious, the king sent armies to destroy their cities. He sent servants to bid as many as they could find to the wedding, good or bad. Finally, the wedding proceeded. But the king saw a man improperly dressed for the occasion, and cast him out. This illustrated those who will be unprepared on Judgment Day.
Matthew 22:14 - "Many are called, but few are chosen."
Render To Whom It Is Due
Again, the Pharisees set about to trap Jesus with outrageous questioning. This time, some of their disciples, accompanied by Herod's Roman followers asked, "Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?" Naturally, it was potentially life-threatening to speak against the Roman Emperor or his policies. "Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?" Jesus called for a coin.
Matthew 22:20-21 - "Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's."
No Male Or Female, No Marriages In Heaven
The Sadducees, not believing in the resurrection, posed an utterly preposterous situation to Jesus, claiming it to be the truth. They claimed there were seven brothers. The first married a wife, then died. One by one, each man died, and the woman married the next, until all seven men were dead. "In the resurrection whose wife shall she be?"
Matthew 22:29-30 - "Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven."
How Are We Resurrected?
Our spirits return to God as soon as we die. Jesus told the thief on the cross, "Today, thou shalt be with me in paradise." But our earthly bodies have no place in heaven. They return to the dust. When Jesus returns, our old bodies will be raised immortal, for 1000 years on earth before going to heaven forever. Those new, resurrected, transformed bodies will be neither male nor female, but heavenly, similar to the angels'.
Matthew 22:30 - "For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven."
The Greatest Commandments In The Law
Again, the Pharisees tempted Jesus with tough questioning. "Which is the great commandment in the law?" Jesus said, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." Ultimately, the law and prophets were given to motivate us to love God and one another. If you sincerely love God, you WILL keep His commandments.
Matthew 22:40 - "On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
The God Of The Living Transcends Time And Men
If Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are dead, then God is the God of the dead. But Jesus knew that souls of the righteous are alive in God's Presence. God is God of the LIVING (Exodus 3:6; Matthew 22:32). God is timeless. Jesus is both David's LORD, and his son. Jesus asked the Pharisees whose son was Christ. They said, "The Son of David."
Matthew 22:43-44 - "How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool?"
Are Your Prayers Foolish Or Wise?
Here is the God of Heaven, standing on earth in the fleshly body of a man, and THIS is what the people want to know: "Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar?" "If a woman dies, having had seven husbands, whose wife will she be in the resurrection?" They could have asked ANYTHING of Him. In Him was all the wisdom of the eternal ages. Jesus then asked them, "Whose son is Christ?"
Matthew 22:46 - "And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions."
The Scribes And The Pharisees
After Israel returned from Babylon, the scribes worked as copyists and interpreters of the Law. Many were priests or Levites, but eventually, they became separate professions. The scribes and Pharisees ultimately became proud, narrow, exclusivist and legalistic. Jesus despised their arrogance and hypocrisy.
Matthew 23:3-4 - "All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers."
Profile Of A Hypocrite
Hear Jesus describe the hypocrites. They say, and do not. They bind grievous, heavy burdens, and lay them on men's shoulders, but they would never lift them. They do their works to be seen of men. They flaunt their religious practices, love uppermost rooms at feasts, love chief seats in the synagogues, love to be called "Rabbi." They exalt themselves. They make heaven unattainable, but neither will they go there. They devour widow's houses, and make long, pretentious prayers. And that was just the beginning of His rebukes!
Matthew 23:12 - "Whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased."
God has the highest regard for you when you approach Him in honest prayer. Conversations between a true seeker and the Lord are holy to Him. God is especially unhappy when someone feigns prayer. Insincere prayers border on sacrilege. Jesus scorned hypocrites who sought to impress and made public shows of their prayers in synagogues or in the streets. This should encourage us to know that He genuinely respects our earnest, expectant prayers. And He will answer!
Matthew 23:14 - "Woe unto you..., for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation."
Foolish And Blind Oaths
In modern western civilization, men have taken their oaths with one hand on the Bible - the infallible word of God - for it is the highest authority among men. Jesus called them foolish and blind, who swore by temporal things; i.e., the gold of the temple, or a sacrifice on an altar. He esteemed the throne of God, the altar of God and the temple among the most enduring of all things. But ultimately, all oaths are before God.
Matthew 23:22 - "He that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon."
Woes Unto The Scribes, Pharisees, Hypocrites
Jesus despised Pharisees. Again and again, He prophesied crushing woes upon them. "WOE UNTO YOU, SCRIBES AND PHARISEES!" "Ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men... ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, ...ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves... Ye blind guides... Ye fools and blind... Ye are the children of them which killed the prophets."
Matthew 23:33-38 - "Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? ...That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth... Your house is left unto you desolate."
O Jerusalem! Ye Shall Not See Me Till...
Not only the Pharisees grieved Jesus, but all of Jerusalem. He prophesied its downfall (fulfilled in 70 AD) and His second coming, soon to occur.
Matthew 23:37 - "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord."
Jesus Prophesied The Destruction Of The Temple
Moses warned Israel that if they departed from the Covenant of the LORD, "ye shall soon perish from off the land." When Solomon dedicated the Temple, God warned that if they forsook His Commandments, "this house, which I have sanctified for my name, will I cast out of my sight, and will make it to be a proverb and a byword among all nations." Jesus pronounced the judgment.
Matthew 24:1-2 - "See ye not all these things [the Temple]? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down."
The Signs Of His Coming, And Of The End Of The Age
Jesus' declaration that the temple would be destroyed incited the disciples' curiosity. "When shall these things be?" "What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?" Jesus recited a long list of warning signs. The very first thing on the list was "CHRISTIAN" DECEIVERS. Ignore the unnecessary commas in the KJV, and it says "Many shall come in my name saying I am Christ and shall deceive many."
Matthew 24:4-5 - "Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many."
Wars And Rumors Of Wars In The Last Days
The total number of casualties from World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Middle East, etc., plus revolutions in Russia and China, and militarily genocides in other nations far exceeded 200 million people killed. Almost as many were killed by war during the 20th Century than in the history of the world. These are the last days.
Matthew 24:6-7 - "Ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom."
The Beginning Of Sorrows - Famines
Famine is the widespread scarcity of food that causes malnutrition, starvation and death. An estimated 1/6 to 1/3 of the world's population is starving. The United Nations' Millennium Developmental Goals (MDG) aim to reduce that number 50% by 2015, but World Health Organization estimates show 1/3 of all people worldwide either die or become disabled by malnutrition. Downward trends in soil and water quality and availability, plus declines in marine harvests all forebode worsening famines.
Matthew 24:7-8 - "There shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows."
The Beginning Of Sorrows - Pestilence
A pestilence is any epidemic disease with a high mortality rate. In the 20th century, as much as 40% of the world's population was affected by the Spanish Flu of 1918. 50 million died. The Asian Flu of 1957 and Hong Kong Flu of 1968 each killed millions. Tuberculosis killed 100 million in the 20th century. Malaria kills 1-3 million every year. AIDS is expected to kill over 150 million people by 2025.
Matthew 24:7-8 - "There shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows."
The Beginning Of Sorrows - Earthquakes
From the beginning of time until the 20th century, only about NINE earthquakes killed in excess of 100,000 people. Since 1920, FIVE earthquakes had death-tolls above 100,000 - two in China, one in Japan, one in Indonesia, and one in Haiti. A sixth earthquake in Pakistan killed over 80,000. Seismologists warn that a single earthquake event in a major city is likely to claim 3 million lives. Earthquakes threaten mankind more now than ever before.
Matthew 24:7-8 - "There shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows."
Ye Shall Be Afflicted, Hated Of All Nations, And Killed
AFTER "the beginning of sorrows," (wars, famines, pestilence, earthquakes), Jesus listed persecution next. This prophecy was not directed to the early church, but to the church in the last days. Christians in OUR day are being afflicted, killed, and hated by all nations. Christians are being persecuted world-wide with no protection from the United Nations.
Matthew 24:9-10 - "Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another."
False Prophets Will Deceive Many; Iniquity Will Abound
Christianity, in these last days, is being corrupted from within by influential and powerful deceivers, false prophets, and every kind of doctrinal deviant. Hypocrisy, carnality and worldliness are raging like wildfire. "Many [shall] be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another." Real lovers of truth must prepare to stand firm as false professors try to overrun the Church.
Matthew 24:11-13 - "Many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved."
This Gospel Will Be Preached In Every Nation
In the parable of the leaven, Jesus taught that the kingdom of God was like leaven in dough. The gospel of the kingdom will multiply throughout every nook and cranny on earth. These Daily Bible Studies are already being read in every nation on earth (235) via the Internet; and are sent by daily emails to subscribers in more than 202 nations - more nations than hold membership at the United Nations!
Matthew 24:14 - "...this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come."
The Abomination of Desolation Will Be The Sign To Flee
Three and a half years before Jesus returns for the battle of Armageddon, Israel will worship in a new Third Temple near the present Dome of the Rock. The Antichrist will suddenly force them to stop conducting animal sacrifices and prayers on the Temple Mount. The Temple will be left desolate (Daniel 9:27). Jesus warned West Bank Jews to quickly flee because the Great Tribulation would begin. The Antichrist will immediately implement the Mark of the Beast.
Matthew 24:15-16 - "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, ...then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains."
Jesus' Command to Flee
Jewish "settlers" now living in Biblical Judea (renamed "West Bank" by Arabs) have struggled since 1967 to build communities in the Promised Land. Their settlements cause endless political haggling, military clashes, and enemy hostilities waged to remove their so-called "occupations." These are the people (about 500,000) that Jesus warned to flee when Antichrist commits the Abomination of Desolation. 144,000 will flee (Revelation 7:4).
Matthew 24:15-16 - "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place... Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains."
Pray That Your Flight Be Not In Winter
Sitting on the Mount of Olives, Jesus answered His disciples' questions about the end of days. One item was a warning for Judeans to flee to the mountains whenever they saw the Abomination of Desolation being committed in the temple. He urged them to pray that it be not in winter, nor on the Sabbath (so there would be no delay in their escape). All our prayers should be for god-speed in His will.
Matthew 24:20-21 - "But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation."
No Flesh Would Be Saved If The Days Were Not Shortened
The Great Tribulation will last forty-two months. The Sixth Trumpet War will probably occur during that period, killing 1/3 of mankind. Finally, an international coalition of armies will attack Jerusalem, intending to exterminate Israel. But Jesus will cut them short, destroying them at the battle of Armageddon.
Matthew 24:21-22 - "Then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened."
The Church Is The Elect
The Abomination of Desolation (Antichrist in the Temple) triggers 42-months of "Great Tribulation." All flesh would perish, except "for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened." If possible, false ministries "shall deceive the very elect." 1 Peter 1:2 defines the "ELECT according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ." Jews are the "cut-off" branch (Romans 11:21-22). The Church is the elect.
Matthew 24:24 - "False Christs, and false prophets, ...if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."
False Christs And False Prophets During The Tribulation
Jesus was teaching about the Great Tribulation - the last forty-two months before Armageddon. "Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." False Christs and false prophets will perpetrate damnable deceptions during the Tribulation.
Matthew 24:26 - "Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not."
Jesus Will Come As Lightning, Saints Will Be Changed
Lightning always comes unexpectedly and with astonishing speed. Jesus will also come unexpectedly (to those who are not looking for His appearing). Then, with astonishing quickness, all the living saints will be changed. "We shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump. ...For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality," 1 Corinthians 15:52-53.
Matthew 24:27 - "As the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be."
Vultures Gather Around A Carcass
Jesus interjected what seemed to be a very strange comment in the midst of His prophecies of the last days. He said that wherever a carcase is, the vultures gather. He referred to the time immediately before His second coming when vultures will feast. Just before Jesus comes, dead religion will be the order of the day. Multitudes will be feasting on empty religious practices. Such are the crowds who will follow false Christs and false prophets. See The Carcase and the Eagles."
Matthew 24:28 - "For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together."
Immediately After The Tribulation - Sun, Moon, Stars
This is probably the very last sign that Jesus is coming, and Armageddon is about to start. It will come at the very end of the Great Tribulation. The sky will go dark, and all the powers of heaven will be shaken. This might indicate an all-out global nuclear war. Who knows? It will certainly be easily recognizable when it occurs.
Matthew 24:29 - "Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken."
Immediately After The Tribulation - Son Of Man Appears
At the very end of the great tribulation, which begins when the Antichrist commits the Abomination of Desolation, Jesus will appear in the sky. Everyone on earth will mourn. The sun, moon and stars will be dark (perhaps because of a nuclear holocaust?). The whole world will see Jesus coming in power and great glory.
Matthew 24:30 - "And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."
Immediately After The Tribulation - The Rapture Occurs
"Immediately after the tribulation of those days," (the great tribulation), Jesus said He will send His angels with a great sound of the last (seventh) trumpet. The angels will gather His elect from every direction. This describes the rapture of the Church and first resurrection. The dead in Christ will arise, and we which are alive will be caught up to meet Him in the air.
Matthew 24:31 - "He shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."
The Parable Of The Fig Tree
Several prophets mentioned fig trees when speaking about Israel (i.e., Jeremiah 8:13; Hosea 9:10; Joel 1:7). Jesus cursed a fig tree, and Israel disappeared for almost 2000 years. But He prophesied that it would grow again. Israel sprouted again as a new nation in 1948.
Matthew 24:32-34 - "Learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. ...This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled."
God's Word Will Never Pass Away
The Bible does not teach that the earth is eternal. It is not. It will last as long as time shall be. God created it, and He will eventually destroy it. The earth and the firmaments will melt with a fervent heat after the 1000 years of Christ's earthly kingdom ends (Revelation 20:6-7). All these things (the entire material universe) will be dissolved (2 Peter 3:10-12). But God's word will last forever, in the eternal Kingdom of Heaven!
Matthew 24:35 - "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away."
No Man Knows The Day Nor The Hour
Jesus will come at the end of the Great Tribulation to wage the battle of Armageddon, forty-two months after the Antichrist commits the Abomination of Desolation in the temple. Nobody will know the exact day or the hour. Only God knows the day and hour of Jesus' coming. (Matthew 24:44,50; 25:13; Mark 13:32; Luke 12:40,46; Revelation 3:3.) Watch and pray!
Matthew 24:36,42 - "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. ...Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come."
As The Days Of Noah Were
Does modern society resemble Noah's generation? "GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually, ...The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence," Genesis 6:5,11. That certainly sounds like the 21st Century.
Matthew 24:37-38 - "But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage."
Some Will Be Taken, Some Will Be Left Behind
Saints who are alive and remain unto the coming of the LORD will be changed in the twinkling of an eye, and caught up with Christ to rule and reign as immortal kings and priests in the 1000-year kingdom of Christ on earth (I Corinthians 15:52). Sinners will be left behind to be ruled during the millennium by Christ until their natural death.
Matthew 24:40-41 - "Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left."
Faithful Servants Will Be Made Rulers
Negligent servants will certainly be caught unprepared with their Master comes to judge them. But faithful and wise servants will be made rulers over His household and all His goods. There will be a great reward for the righteous in the kingdom of Christ.
Matthew 24:45-47 - "Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods."
Weeping And Gnashing Of Teeth In Hell
This particular illustration about the evil servant is an allegory, but SIX OTHER TIMES, Jesus warned that the wicked would face "weeping and gnashing of teeth," and it was NOT an allegory. There really is a hell, "a furnace of fire" (Matthew 13:42,50), far away "in outer darkness" (22:13, 25:30), and there really will be agony and sorrow for those who fail to prepare for judgment day, and cannot enter the kingdom of God.
Matthew 24:51 - "And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
Buy Oil Before Your Lamp Goes Out
Jesus spoke in a parable of five wise and five foolish virgins who took lamps to meet the bridegroom. The wise took oil in vessels with their lamps. When the call came to meet the bridegroom, the lamps of the foolish had gone out, and they had no more oil. They wanted to buy oil from the wise, but they could not spare. "Go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves." Pray to be filled with His Spirit before the LORD comes.
Matthew 25:10 - "While they went to buy, the bridegroom came; ...and the door was shut."
Prayer Cannot Bring Back A Missed Opportunity
The five foolish virgins failed to prepare for the coming of the bridegroom, (by failing to bring oil for their lamps). They found no mercy after the bridegroom came and went. Prayer cannot bring back a missed opportunity. If you fail to live for God while you can, it will be too late to pray after Jesus comes for His bride. NOW is the time for praying and right living.
Matthew 25:11-12 - "Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not."
God Wants You To Be Profitable. Make No Excuses.
A man received five talents from his master, which he invested, and gained five talents more. A second man received two talents, and gained two more. A third man received one talent, and made an excuse. "Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, ...I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth." His lord answered, "Thou wicked and slothful servant, ...Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers." Forbid yourself to make excuses.
Matthew 25:28 - "Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents."
The Unprofitable Servant
Just like every living thing in creation multiplies, God also expects us to multiply our gifts; to be fruitful and profitable for His glory. As you work profitably, He will endow you with more abilities and resources. If you shirk the responsibility, He will take your gift and punish you.
Matthew 25:29-30 - "For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
Jesus Will Separate The Sheep And Goats Forever
After the 1000-year earthly kingdom of Christ ends, the material universe will "be dissolved," "melt with a fervent heat," (I Peter). Everyone who ever lived will stand before His throne. "Sheep" (righteous) will enter eternal bliss, "goats" (wicked), eternal damnation.
Matthew 25:31-33 - When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, ...the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left."
Eternal Reward Or Eternal Punishment
Jesus taught that everyone who does the will of the Father will be eternally blessed and rewarded. Those who fail to do the will of God will be eternally cursed and punished.
Matthew 25:34,41,46 - "Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you... Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels, ...And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal."
What Have You Done For The Least Of The Brethren?
The Righteous who fed the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty, took in strangers, clothed the naked, and visited the sick and imprisoned will inherit the kingdom and eternal life. Those who did NOT, will be cursed and sent to everlasting fire.
Matthew 25:44-46 - "Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison? ..[He .Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal."
The Passover Was For Christ - Christ For The Passover
The principal reason why most people believe that Jesus lived to be 33 years old is because the New Testament only mentions three Passovers after John the Baptist introduced Him to the public. Jesus was born for the Passover. He was the Lamb of God. He knew why He came to earth. He was to die for the sins of man.
Matthew 26:1 - "When Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples, Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified."
Men Under Satan's Influence Act Subtily
Ever since the temptation of Adam and Eve, Satan has been full of subtilty. He is sneaky and subversive above all other evildoers. When the chief priests and other religious officers consulted together, they would have taken Jesus by subtilty, and killed Him without any public knowledge, except they were afraid of the people. Be wary of sneaky people.
Matthew 26:3-5 - "Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill him."
The Poor You Have With You Always
On three separate occasions, women anointed Jesus with precious ointment: 1. The Pharisee's house (Luke 7). 2. Lazarus' house (John 12). 3. Simon the Leper's house (Matthew 26, Mark 14). Every time, the disciples criticized and complained that a valuable commodity should not be wasted on Jesus, but sold and given to the poor. Jesus insisted that worshipping Him is more important than running charity agencies.
Matthew 26:10-11 - "Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me. For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always."
The Ointment On Jesus' Head And Feet
Six days before Passover, Mary poured precious spikenard on Jesus' feet at the house of Lazarus in Bethany (John 12). Two days before the Passover, another woman brought an alabaster box of ointment to the Bethany home of Simon the leper, and poured it on Jesus' head. Both times, the disciples called it a waste. Both times, Jesus accepted it against His burial. God spoke prophetically through two worshippers. Worship Jesus! God may speak a hidden message to someone as you do.
Matthew 26:12 - "In that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial."
Jesus Memorialized An Exemplary Worshipper
At a home in Bethany, a woman came with "very precious ointment," and poured it on Jesus' head. The disciples complained that she should have sold the ointment and given to the poor, but Jesus said, "she hath wrought a good work on me." The poor are always present, but not God in flesh. He prophesied that her sacrificial and worshipful deed would be told throughout the world for a memorial.
Matthew 26:13 - "Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her."
Thirty Pieces Of Silver - Value Of A Slave
The Law, in Exodus 21:32 said that if a man's ox killed another man's servant, the owner must reimburse his master thirty pieces of silver. The price for which Judas Iscariot sold Jesus was the price of a slave - hardly a fair value for the Creator of heaven and earth. Judas quickly regretted his foolish agreement.
Matthew 26:14 - "One of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver."
One Of You Shall Betray Me
The previous prophecy out of Jesus' mouth was that the worshipful lady who poured precious ointment on His head would be memorialized for all of time. The next prophecy out of His mouth foretold Jesus' betrayal by Judas Iscariot. One of life's greatest truisms is that no matter how good you are, some will praise you, and others will betray you.
Matthew 26:21,23 - "And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. ...He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me."
Blessing The Bread And Giving Thanks
Jesus gathered His disciples around the table for the Passover meal on the night before He was crucified. The event was filled with profound prophetic significance. But at the heart of it was a very simple, yet fundamental lesson. Jesus blessed the meal and gave thanks to God for it. Meal-time prayers are too often an irrelevant verbose oratory that ultimately never says what needs to be said: "Thank you God for the food."
Matthew 26:26 - "As they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, ...And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them."
The Day I Drink It New With You
At the Last Supper, Jesus told His disciples that He would not drink the Passover with them again until they all gathered again in His Father's kingdom. Presumably, that will occur in the "regeneration" (Matthew 19:28), at the marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:9), immediately following the great battle of Armageddon, when Jesus inaugurates His 1000-year reign on earth in Jerusalem.
Matthew 26:29 - "But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom."
Songs In The Night
The Last Supper was intensely emotional and full of prophetic implications for everyone. Jesus prophesied that one of them would betray Him, and that the rest would be scattered and offended. He gave them bread and wine, symbolizing his broken body and blood. Then, they sang a hymn. How can anybody sing on the darkest night of their life? God gives us songs in the night (Job 35:10) - the same song we sing in the daytime! In a dark trial? Sing!
Matthew 26:30 - "And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives."
Smite The Shepherd, Scatter The Sheep, Rise Again
More than five centuries before Jesus was born, Zechariah prophesied of Jesus' murder, and of His disciples being scattered. Jesus taught that fact to His disciples as they were partaking of the Passover meal. Then He added a new prophecy - that He would rise again, and meet them in Galilee.
Matthew 26:31-32 - "Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee."
Nevertheless, Not My Will
Jesus' flesh was not divine. His human will was contrary to divine will. If His flesh had been divine, He would would not have had a contrary desire to the divine. Jesus was a mortal like you and I who had to surrender His will to the Father. If Jesus had to say, "Nevertheless, not my will," then you and I must also say, "Nevertheless, not my will."
Matthew 26:39 - "[He] fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt."
Prayers Not Prayed
I have often wondered how history might have been different if Jesus' disciples had prayed with Him in Gethsemane. He told them, "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation." But they didn't. Maybe Peter would not have cut off the man's ear if he had prayed first. Maybe he would not have denied the Lord thrice if he had prayed. Maybe
astonishing miracles would have happened. What miracle will you never receive because you didn't pray when you should have?
Matthew 26:45 - "...and saith unto them, Sleep on now."
They Came With Swords Against Jesus
Zechariah prophesied, "Awake, O sword, against my shepherd," (13:7). Ironically, Jesus was not a man of war, but was the Prince of Peace. The Jews had no legitimate cause for destroying Christ. Nevertheless, it was ordained for Him to face His adversaries. Hell always opposes the institution of righteousness.
Matthew 26:55-56 - "Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me. But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled."
Satan is the accuser of the brethren. He is the perennial accuser. But his accusations are false. Satan is the father of lies. When he cannot destroy you any other way, he will circulate lies about you, intended to bring about your demise. He did it to Jesus, and he will do it to you. Prepare yourself.
Matthew 26:59 - "The chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death; But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses."
The High Priest Called The Son Of God A Blasphemer
False accusers had to scrape the bottom of the barrel to find fault with Jesus. "This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days." Of course, that is NOT what Jesus said, but lying devils do not care about facts. Jesus remained silent. The high priest demanded, "Tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God."
Matthew 26:64-66 - "Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: ...Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; ...They answered and said, He is guilty of death."
"I Will Never Be Offended"
Have you ever made a promise that you could not keep? We simply cannot anticipate enough about the future to realize that sometimes our circumstances can unexpectedly evaporate our resolve to do what we intended to do. Peter told Jesus, "I will NEVER be offended," and "though I should DIE with thee, yet will I not deny Thee." Peter meant well, but Jesus foresaw a heart-stopping temptation. God remembers our frailty, and is gracious when we amend.
Matthew 26:74 - "Then began [Peter] to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew."
Most Famous Rooster In History
Jesus quoted Zechariah 13:7, "I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad." Peter vehemently denied that he would deny Jesus, but Jesus countered, "This night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice." "He denied before them all," (v70); "he denied with an oath," (v72); "I know not the man," (v74). God used a chicken to preach to the great apostle Peter. God can speak anytime, any way.
Matthew 26:74-75 - "And immediately the cock crew. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, ...And he went out, and wept bitterly."
Repentance Fails In Suicide
When Judas Iscariot saw that the chief priests and elders had condemned Jesus to death, he panicked. He "repented himself," and took the thirty pieces of silver back to the conspirators, saying, "I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood." Judas committed the worst mistake ever made by a man, in betraying Jesus. But he betrayed himself when he hanged himself. If you want your repentance to work, don't kill yourself. Suicide is another sin - murder.
Matthew 27:5 - "He cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself."
They founded a small cemetery with the money Judas threw at their feet - less than fifty dollars. The potter dug clay there. It was unfit for planting or cultivating; shards and fragments of broken pottery littered it. Did the potter sell it because Judas hanged himself there? That unkempt field has never been celebrated or redeemed. Countless homeless and beggars are buried there. Today, it is fifteen feet deep with bones and rubbish. What will YOUR legacy be if you betray Jesus?
Matthew 27:9 - "...they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued..."
Jeremiah, Zechariah And The Potter's Field
Judas' act was prophesied in Zechariah 11:13. "I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD." The Book of Matthew attributed the saying to Jeremiah. Dr. Lightfoot explained that all the prophets' writings were originally compiled in a book headed by Jeremiah. Adam Clarke discovered that the oldest manuscripts of Matthew did not mention Jeremiah. A copyist may have added "Jeremy."
Matthew 27:9-10 - "Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, ...they took the thirty pieces of silver, ...And gave them for the potter's field."
Evil Men Favor Evil Men
Pontius Pilate was personally convinced that Jesus had done absolutely nothing worthy of death. He made several efforts to exonerate Jesus, including offering His freedom because it was Passover. But the people would not have it that way. They preferred to release a convicted murderer instead (Acts 3:14). Murderous spirits prefer another murderer to the righteous Christ.
Matthew 27:21-22 - "Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas. Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified."
Pontius Pilate was the Roman Governor of Judea to whom Jewish leaders brought Jesus to be executed. "Why, what evil hath He done?" Pilate argued. He saw that the mob was relentless, so he washed his hands before the multitude and said, "I am innocent of the blood of this just person." Unfortunately, hand-washing cannot absolve the execution of an innocent man.
Matthew 27:25-26 - "Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children. Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified."
Unwittingly Prophesying, Unwittingly Fulfilling Prophecy
In Psalm 22, David unwittingly prophesied of Christ. "They look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture." Roman soldiers unwittingly fulfilled that prophecy when they cast lots for Jesus' garments. The Spirit of prophecy is bigger than all of us. We are all unwitting pawns in a divine plan, unto either our salvation or destruction.
Matthew 27:35 - "And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots."
Righteous Men Suffer In The Hands Of Sinners
A whole band of soldiers manhandled Jesus in the common hall. They stripped Him, put a scarlet robe on Him, pressed thorns on His head, gave Him a reed for a mock scepter, and mockingly bowed, saying "Hail, King of the Jews!" They spit on Him, hit Him on the head, then took the robe, led Him to Golgotha, and crucified Him. They gave Him vinegar and gaul to drink, then sat down and watched Him die. Such is the fate of a righteous man in the hands of sinners.
Matthew 27:36 - "Sitting down they watched him there."
The Two Thieves Crucified With Jesus
The two thieves who were crucified with Jesus demonstrate the dichotomy of mankind: those who reverence God and those who do not. Both criminals spoke harshly, but the second rebuked the first. "Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?" (Luke 23). He begged Jesus, "Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom." Reverence altered his eternal fate.
Matthew 27:38,44 - "Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left. ...The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth [chided, taunted]."
Mocking God Is Folly. Reverence The LORD.
Multitudes of people now carry an "in-your-face" rebellion against God. They think they have religion cornered, and that the Bible will soon be extinct. The crowds around Jesus' cross boldly, but foolishly, dared Jesus to come down off the cross, thinking that they had the upper hand. But Jesus DID come down from the cross, and now He is their righteous judge. God is not mocked. Reverence the LORD!
Matthew 27:40 - "Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross."
They Mocked Him. Let Us Adore Him.
When Pontius Pilate delivered Jesus to be crucified, the soldiers scourged him, stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. They platted thorns for a mock crown, gave him a reed for a mock scepter, and bowed on their knees and mockingly said, "Hail, King of the Jews!" They spit on Him, took the reed, and hit him on the head with it. But God is not mocked. Let us soberly avenge our Christ, giving Him the highest praise, worship, and adoration, from sincerest hearts.
Matthew 27:41 - "Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders..."
Now We Can Go Into The Holy Of Holies
When Jesus was dying, the sky went dark from noon until 3 PM, hiding all the glory of this world. But the veil of the temple was torn open, revealing the glory of the Holy of Holies. Jesus' death exposed eternal life. Death to this world is a prerequisite to a revelation of eternal glory. When the world goes dark, heaven opens.
Matthew 27:45,51 - "Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. ...And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom."
My God, My God, WHY?
From noon until three in the afternoon, the sky was dark over Calvary. Then Jesus cried with a loud voice, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Every man or woman of God will eventually come to a place like that. When great trials come, we all feel like God has abandoned us. It is not unbelief to ask God, "WHY?" It is actually a statement of faith, because it says that in spite of all circumstances, you believe HE KNOWS WHY.
Matthew 27:50 - "Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost."
Graves Opened, Dead Men Walked, After Jesus Died
At death, Old Testament saints went to be "with the fathers," or to "the bosom of Abraham." Jesus died, "that he might bring us to God, ...he went and preached unto the spirits in prison," I Peter 3:18-20. "He led captivity captive, ...he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth," Ephesians 4:8-9. Jesus sent some from the grave as proof.
Matthew 27:52-53 - "The graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many."
The Preparation And Burial Of The Body Of Jesus
Joseph of Arimathaea, a rich man, and disciple of Jesus, went to Pilate and begged to be given the body of Jesus for burial. Nicodemus, who was also a disciple of Jesus, came with about a hundred pounds of myrrh and aloes, and the two men wrapped Jesus' body in linen and spices (John 19:39). The women who accompanied Jesus to Golgotha sat nearby, witnessing His burial.
Matthew 27:60 - "And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed."
Soldiers Watched Jesus' Tomb
The chief priests and Pharisees asked Pilate for soldiers to watch over Jesus' tomb. "That deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again." They wanted to prevent the disciples from stealing away His body, and reporting that He was risen. But their scheme backfired. Despite "sealing the stone," and making it sure, they could not stop resurrection power.
Matthew 27:65 - "Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can. So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch."
Angels Minister To Those Who Seek Jesus
At dawn on Sunday, Mary Magdalene and Mary (mother of James) went to visit Jesus' tomb. An angel with a countenance like lightning, and raiment white as snow, descended upon the sepulchre with an earthquake, rolled back the stone, and sat on it. Jesus was already alive and out of the tomb. The angel came to minister to the seekers.
Matthew 28:5-6 - "The angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, ...Come, see the place where the Lord lay."
They Took Him By The Feet And Worshipped Him
The women who saw the angel at Jesus' empty tomb went swiftly to tell the brethren what they knew. As they departed, they came face to face with Jesus. Spontaneously, they fell on their knees, took Him by the feet, and worshipped Him. Such worship is almost non-existent in our world today. When is the last time you fell on your knees and worshipped the LORD? He is still worthy.
Matthew 28:9 - "As they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him."
People Will Tell Lies To Discount The Works Of God
When the Roman watchmen discovered Jesus' tomb EMPTY, they went to the chief priests, who consulted with the elders. They paid the soldiers to tell lies, and report that the disciples had stolen His body. Satan spins lies to cover up truth. Stand with truth. It always prevails.
Matthew 28:11-15 - "They gave large money unto the soldiers, Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. And if this come to the governor's ears, we will persuade him, and secure you. So they took the money, and did as they were taught."
Roman Guards Were Paid To Cover Up Resurrection
The chief priests and Pharisees must have been worried that Jesus would truly rise from the dead. They nervously went to Pilate and begged him to set guards over Jesus tomb for three days, so the disciples could not steal away Jesus' body and claim that He was risen. But three days later, Jesus did rise. The guards were so frightened that they "became as dead men," (they passed out). Nevertheless, the elders paid them "large money" to report that the disciples stole Him away.
Matthew 28:15 - "So they took the money, and did as they were taught."
They Worshipped Him, But Some Doubted
You are rarely ever going to find yourself in an environment where there is 100% consensus or agreement about what God is doing. You have to learn to recognize a mighty work of God when you see it for yourself. Even with the resurrected Christ staring them in the face, the disciples were skeptical. Never wait on everybody else to give God the glory, especially when you are already convinced.
Matthew 28:16-17 - "Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted."
All Power Is Given Unto Me In Heaven And In Earth
Shortly after His resurrection, Jesus met His disciples in a mountainside and told them, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth." ALL POWER in heaven and earth?? Was He a delusional lunatic? The evidence shows that they all believed Him that day, because every one of them spent the remainder of their lives preaching His gospel. You can argue against His deity until your breath fails, but He will still have all power.
Matthew 28:18 - "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth."
Baptize In The Only Saving Name Under Heaven
Nobody in the New Testament was baptized in the titles "Father, Son and Holy Ghost." They were baptized "in the name of Jesus Christ." "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved," Acts 4:12. "Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus," Colossians 3:17. Titles are not names. Say the name.
Matthew 28:19 - "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."
The Patriarch Eusebius and Baptism In Jesus' Name
The 19th Century scholar, Fred Coneybeare, researched the writings of Eusebius, an Early Church father, and found eighteen times when Eusebius quoted Matthew 28:19, saying, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in my name." Not until the Council of Nicea in 325AD is there any record that the TITLES "Father, Son, and Holy Ghost" appeared in that verse. Evidently, Rome and Catholicism stripped the name of Jesus, removing the only name under heaven whereby we may be saved (Acts 4:12).
Matthew 28:19 [oldest version] - "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in my name."
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