Matthew – Chapter 23

Jesus Characterizes the Pharisees

Verse 1 – Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples,

Verse 2 – saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses seat.

Verse 3 – “Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do , but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do.

Verse 4 – “For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.

The Pharisees had added to the law of Moses, and made them so strict that no one could follow them. Jesus was not talking about traditions and foolish customs, these were the ceremonies and rites that had been outlined by Moses. They were numerous, expensive, requiring much time, much property, and laborious. The Pharisees required taxes, labor, giving of property, but did not give it themselves.

Verse 5 – “But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments.

Phylacteries were small boxes containing tiny scrolls. They were worn by faithful Jewish men on one arm and on the forehead.

Have you ever been around someone who can’t even have a simple conversation without quoting scripture the whole time? They want others to think they know much, but the problem is, they don’t practice what they preach.

Verse 6 – “They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues,

Verse 7 – “greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.’

The Pharisees didn’t care about being holy, they only wanted to look holy in front of others to receive their admiration and praise. As today, many know the scriptures, but they don’t let it change their lives. They say they follow Jesus, but don’t live by His standards and principle. Our actions should match our beliefs.

Verse 8 – “But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren.

Jesus forbade His disciples to seek such titles.

Verse 9 – “Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.

Jesus is not talking about our “Dad’s.” He is still on the same subject of titles for spiritual leaders. Father, belongs to God only, it is not right to give this title to people. Jesus couldn’t have been any clearer. So what part of this statement, that all the religions that call their spiritual adviser, “father,” don’t they understand. I may have opened a can of worms, but I didn’t write the Bible, God did, and Jesus said in His own words, “Do not call anyone on earth father!” Period!

Verse 10 – “And do not be called teachers, for One is your Teacher, the Christ.

Father and Teacher are two names reserved for the Messiah and God only in leadership in the church. Jesus prohibited His disciple from seeking or receiving mere empty titles, producing distinctions among themselves, implying authority to control the opinions and conduct of others, and claiming that others should acknowledge them to be superior to them.

However, this does not mean we can’t give proper titles of civil office to men, or to render them honor belonging to their station. 1 Peter 2:17 – Honor all people, love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. Are there teachers? Yes, just know that the true Teacher teaches the student or disciple and give honor and reverence to Christ.

Verse 11 – “But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant.

To the one who humbles himself, shall be rewarded by God, not praised by men.

Verse 12 – “And whoever exalts himself will be abased, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

In Jesus kingdom, to him that is the greatest, he will serve, giving one’s self to help others. Service will keep us aware of others needs, and it stops us from only focusing on ourselves. We are not to seek praise from others because of what we do. In due time, God will exalt us.

Jesus Condemns the Pharisees

Verse 13 – “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.

The Pharisees were preventing people from entering the kingdom by opposing Jesus every step of the way. They were attempting to convince people that Jesus was an impostor, thus preventing them from being followers.

Verse 14 – “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour window’s houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.

The Pharisees convinced the widow’s to let them be in charge of their possessions and property and then they kept it. As far as the long prays, it is said they often lasted three hours in length. On the day of judgment, they would receive more severe punishment. They damned their own souls by doing what they were doing. Our actions do matter.

Verse 15 – “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win on proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.

Proselyte – someone that comes from a foreign nation, religion, or sect, to covert. There were two types of proselytes; those who fully embraced the Jewish religion, who were baptized, circumcised, and who conformed to the Mosaic institutions. The other type Proselytes; they approved of the Jewish religion, renounced their pagan religion and superstitions, and conformed to some of the rites of the Jews, but were not circumcised or baptized. After these proselytes were converted, the Pharisees taught more about the outward works and their rules, than having an inward change toward God, therefore, they would be a “son of hell,” not a son of God.

Verse 16 – “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obliged to perform it.’

Verse 17 – “Fools and blind! For which is greater the gold or the temple that sanctifies the god?

Verse 18 – “And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is obliged to perform it.’

Verse 19 – “Fools and blind! For which is greater the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift?

Verse 20 – “Therefore he who swears by the altar, swears by it and by all things on it.

Verse 21 – “He who swears by the temple, swears by it and by Him who dwells in it.

Verse 22 – “And he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by Him who sits on it.

The Pharisees were taking oaths and making them to seem binding by swearing on the altars, by the gold in the temple and by God’s throne. Jesus says here, that all who swear at all, do in fact, swear by God, or the oath is good for nothing. To swear by an altar, or a temple is of no force unless it be meant to appeal to God.

Verse 23 – “Woe to you, scribes, and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.

Anise, is commonly known as dill. The law required the Jews to devote a tenth part of all property to support the Levites, Numbers 18:20-24. Another tenth was paid for the service of the sanctuary, grain or cattle. Every third year a tenth was given to the poor (Deuteronomy 14:28, 29). However, they left out the part to be merciful and show justice, and Jesus called them out on it.

We can be a stickler for paying a tenth, but yet refuse to help a neighbor. The Pharisees were obsessed with ritual matters, but neglected and overlooked mercy in all dealings.

Verse 24 – “Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!

One who is troubled with the little things, but pays no attention to the greater things that matter.

Verse 25 – “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence (wickedness).

Verse 26 – “Blind Pharisees, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.

If we take care of the heart matters first, the good works and good behavior will follow.

Verse 27 – “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.

Verse 28 – “Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

Living a Christian life is more than just going through he motions of appearing to do everything right. There has to be a true transformation of the heart. If someone comes to church, listens to sermons Sunday after Sunday and nothing ever changes in their life, then they haven’t truly been transformed.

Verse 29 – “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn mountains of the righteous,

Verse 30 – “and say, ‘If we had lived in the day of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’

They thought so highly of themselves that they “surely wouldn’t have killed any prophets!” That wasn’t true, or they would have recognized Jesus for who He was and not have killed Him. Jesus knew all this and put it in their faces.

Verse 31 – “Therefore you are witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets.

Verse 32 – “Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers guilt.

Verse 33 – “Serpents brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?

Verse 34 – “Therefore, indeed I send prophets, wise men, and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city,

Verse 35 – “that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, form the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple altar.

Verse 36 – “Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.

Jesus told them that this generation would suffer God’s wrath for its abuse of the righteous. Can you imagine if today a pastor was to address the hypocrites of that congregation, what their reaction would be? Sometimes “faker” have to be called out! Jesus did.

Verse 32 – “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!

Verse 38 – “See! Your house is left to you desolate;

Verse 39 – “for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!

There is coming a day when all of Jerusalem will say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!”

God is a good God and wants desperately to have a relationship with each person living. God wants to be good to us all, so why reject the One True God? Do you not know, “That the goodness of God leads you to repentance”? (Romans 2:4)

 

 

 

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Matthew – Chapter 22

Parable of the Marriage Feast

Verse 1 – And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parable and said:

Verse 2 – “The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son,

This parable deals with the rejection by the Jews. The king represents God providing salvation through His Son, to the world.

Verse 3 – “and sent out servants to call those who were invited to the wedding and they were not willing to come.

All the difficulty that sinners ever labor under in regard to salvation, is a matter of will. It is a fixed determination not to come and be saved.

Verse 4 – “Again, he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.” ‘

God repeats His message to sinners when they reject it.

Verse 5 – “But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business.

They treated the invitation with contempt. This is the conduct of sinners with no regard for the gospel.

Verse 6 – “And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them.

Some people will simply neglect anything to do with Jesus, but others will object with open violence and bitter malice.

Verse 7 – “But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.

This happened in 70 A.D., when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem.

Verse 8 – “Then he said to the servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy.

This invitation was sent to the Jew first.

Verse 9 – ‘Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you can find, invite to the wedding.

The gospel was then offered to the Gentiles.

Verse 10 – “So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests.

Go bring in all descriptions of people, none good by nature, some worse that others.

Verse 11 – “But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment.

This man represents the “faker,” the hypocrite in the church, those who choose their own righteousness, refusing to be saved by what is provided in the gospel, Christ’ righteousness.

Verse 12 – “So he said to him, ‘Friend how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless.

He had no excuse, since the garments, salvation, was provided for by the King, but he chose not to put it on.

Verse 13 – “Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him in outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Verse 14 – “For many are called, but few are chosen.”

This invitation is for those who are willing to accept what “The King’s Son” has done for all. They then, put on the garment of righteousness which is provided through mercy and grace in Jesus Christ.

Conflict with Pharisees and Herodians

Verse 15 – Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Him in His talk.

Verse 16 – And they sent to Him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor do you care about anyone, for You do not regard the person of men.

Verse 17 – “Tell us therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?”

The Herodians were a Jewish political party who joined with the Pharisees to entangle Jesus in a question. What they wanted to know was did Jesus pay taxes to the Roman government. This particular Caesar was Tiberius.

Verse 18 – But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, “Why do you test Me, you hypocrites?

Verse 19 – “Show Me the tax money.” So they brought Him a denarius.

The temple tax was paid with a shekel, which was a Roman coin. Because they had that coin with them, that was proof that they themselves held it lawful to pay tribute to Caesar, so they pretended not to know the answer which made them hypocrites.

Verse 20 – And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?”

Verse 21 – They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s , and to God the things that are God’s.”

Since the image on the coin held Caesar’s image, give it back to him. And since God’s people held His image and likeness, give all to God. He side-stepped their trap, once again.

Verse 22 – When they had heard these words, they marveled, and left Him and went their way.

Conflict With Sadducees

Verse 23 – The same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him and asked Him,

Verse 24 – saying: “Teacher, Moses said that if a man dies, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife and raise up offspring for his brother.

This law was given by Moses in order to keep the families and tribes of Israel distinct.

Verse 25 – “Now there were with us seven brothers. The first one died after he married, and having no offspring, left his wife to his brother.

Verse 26 – “Likewise the second also, and the third, even to the seventh.

Verse 27 – “And last of all the woman died also.

Verse 28 – “Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife of these seven will she be? For they all had her.”

First of all, the Sadducees didn’t even believe in a resurrection, and then they created an impossible scenario that would make Jesus look stupid if He couldn’t answer it.

Verse 29 – Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.

Meaning: They didn’t know the Old Testament and they had added their absurd doctrine to it that people would live the same in heaven as they did on earth. They also didn’t believe that God had the power to take the dust from the grave of a person, and make them live again.

Verse 30 – “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in haven.

Resurrected people will not marry because they will be eternal and have no need to procreate.

Verse 31 – “But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying,

Verse 32 – “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”

Verse 33 – And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at His teaching.

Verse 34 – But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together.

Verse 35 – Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying,

Verse 36 – “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”

Verse 37 – Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’

Verse 38 – “This is the first and greatest commandment.

Verse 39 – “And the second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18. By fulfilling these two commandments, a person will keep all the others – think about it. The Pharisees had added over 600 laws to what was given by God. If we love God with all our hearts, then we will love our neighbor. We won’t steal, covet, lust, lie to one another, murder, envy, be jealous, or do no harm. We don’t want any of these things done to us, so why would we do them to another?

Verse 40 – “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

Verse 41 – While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,

Verse 42 – saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He? they said to Him, “The son of David.”

Verse 43 – He said to them, “How then does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying:

Verse 44 – ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand , till I make your enemies Your footstool” ‘ ?

Verse 45 – “If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his son?”

Verse 46 – And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore.

The Pharisees, Herodians, and Sadducees had asked their question, thinking again to trap Jesus. The Pharisees knew that the Messiah would be a descendant of David, but they did not understand that He would be God Himself. They couldn’t comprehend that the Messiah would be divine and yet human.

Psalm 110:1-4, describes Yahweh’s command to David’s Lord. Lord was a title given to those in authority and deity which portrayed the Messiah as David’s divine superior, not just his descendants. And that answer that Jesus gave, shut all the Pharisees, Herodians, and Sadducees, up. However, it didn’t stop them from plotting to take His life.

 

 

Matthew – Chapter 21

The Triumphal Entry

Verse 1 – Now when they drew near to Jerusalem, and came to Bethpage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples,

Verse 2 – saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me.

Verse 3 – “And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.”

Verse 4 – All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet saying:

Verse 5 – “Tell the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, Your King is coming to you, lowly, and sitting on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.’ ” (Zechariah 9:9)

Matthew mentions a donkey and a colt, while the other Gospels only mention the colt. However, Matthew focused on Zechariah’s prophesy where the donkey and the colt are mentioned. I personally believe that both donkey and colt were taken because to take a colt from its mother, both would have thrown a huge fit!

Verse 6 – So the disciples went an did as Jesus commanded them.

Verse 7 – They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them. (This was done as a sign of respect, 2 Kings 9:13)

Verse 8 – And a great multitude spread their garments on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road.

This is one of the few verses where Jesus’ glory is recognized while on earth. In a few days, these same people would bow to political pressure to crucify Him. John 12:13, says these branches were palm-trees used which is a sign of joy and victory.

Verse 9 – Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” ‘Hosanna is the highest!’

“Hosanna” means “save.” In celebration, they knew their Messiah had come. Jesus knew this wouldn’t last, and it didn’t.

Here’s my thought: How can people be so enthusiastic when first saved, and then turn into a person, “just going through the motions?” In order to truly worship our King, emotions will be shown. If you don’t believe me, go back and read Psalms. There is music, clapping of hands, singing, and shouting, all to the praises of our God. So, you can’t convince me someone is praising God with none of these involved.

Verse 10 – And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, “Who is this?”

Verse 11 – So the multitudes said, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.”

Can you imagine? I’m sure there were some in the crowd who had been healed by Jesus; some who had been fed by the small amounts they started with; miracle after miracle, and yet they would be so easily persuaded against Him. How quickly people forget that He has delivered them.

The Cleansing of the Temple

Verse 12 – Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of those who sold doves.

Judea was subject to the Romans. The money in current use was a Roman coin, yet the Jewish law required every man to pay tribute to the service of the sanctuary of “half a shekel.” So the Jews would have to have their Roman coin exchanged to the Jewish half-shekel. These moneychangers demanded a small sum for the exchange. There would be so many people that came to the temple to exchange their money, there would be a huge profit to be made.

Now about the doves: Doves were required to be offered in sacrifice. But the people who had to travel such a long distance, it would be difficult to bring live doves to the temple. They would wait until they reached Jerusalem and then purchase them. There again, the money would have to be exchanged in order to purchase them. The foreigners who came didn’t know the exact exchange, so they were often over charged. This whole business for profit made Jesus furious!

Verse 13 – And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called  a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’

The people had made God’s house a place of gain; they cheated and defrauded; they took advantage of the poor; and they robbed them by overcharging them.

Verse 14 – Then the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them.

Verse 15 – But when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying out in the temple and saying, “Hosanna to the son of David!” they were indignant

Verse 16 – And said to Him, “Do You hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes. Have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise’?”

Psalm 8:2 – Out of the mouth of babes and infants You have ordained strength, because of Your enemies, that You may silence the enemy and the avenger.

Verse 17 – Then He left them and went out of the city to Bethany, and He lodged there.

Verse 18 – Now in the morning, as He returned to the city, He was hungry.

Verse 19 – And seeing a fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it but leaves, and said to it, “Let no fruit grow on you ever again.” And immediately the fig withered away.

Figs are commonly ripe at Passover (April). So when Jesus approached the fig tree, it appeared to be healthy because of all the leaves. The fig tree was a good example of showing His disciples that: Religion without substance, is deceiving to the naked eye. It looked good on the outside, but did not bear fruit. Practice what you preach.

Verse 20 – Now when the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree whither away so soon?”

Verse 21 – So Jesus answered and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to this fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea; it will be done.

Verse 22 – “And all things, whatever you ask in prayer, believing you will receive.”

When we pray, we should ask ourselves, “Is this God’s will?” If you are familiar with scripture, then you will have your answer. Is it God’s will to heal; to save; to deliver; to prosper you? Yes, to all these. Then don’t doubt when you pray, and you will receive. Jesus said it!

Verse 23 – Now when He came into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people confronted Him as He was teaching, and said, “By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority?”

Verse 24 – But Jesus answered and said to them, “I also will ask you one thing, which if you tell Me, I likewise will tell you by what authority I do these things:

Verse 25 – “The baptism of John, where was it from? From heaven or from men?” And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,” He will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him (John)?’

Verse 26 – “But if we say, ‘From men,’ we fear the multitude, for all count John as a prophet.”

Verse 27 – So they answered Jesus and said, “We do not know.” And He said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

Admitting that John’s authority to baptize and preach the Gospel, came from heaven, they would have to admit that Jesus is the Messiah. They knew they were in trouble either way they answered, so they said they didn’t know.

As Christians and because Christ lives in us, we have the authority to call things that “be not,” as though they were. Our words have power, not just any words, but God’s words. Say what He says about the situation – “Out Loud!”

Parable of the Two sons

Verse 28 – “But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go work today in my vineyard.’

Verse 29 – “He answered and said, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he regretted it and went.

Verse 30 – “Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, ‘I go, sir,’ but he did not go.

Verse 31 – “Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said to Him, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you.

Jesus is still in the temple talking to the same Pharisees and elders that had asked by whose authority You do these things. The father here symbolizes God. The first son represents sinners, tax collectors and harlots who initially rebel against the Father’s will, but later repent and obey. The second son represents the chief priests and the elders who had promised obedience to God but never fulfilled their commitment.

Verse 32 – “For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots believed him; and when you saw it, you did not afterward relent and believe him.

Parable of the Landowner

Verse 33 – “Hear another parable. There was a certain landowner who planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a winepress in it and built a tower. And he leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country.

Verse 34 – “Now when vintage-time drew near, he sent his servants to the vinedressers, that they might receive its fruit.

Verse 35 – “And the vinedressers took his servants, beat one, killed one, and stoned another.

Verse 36 – “Again he sent other servants, more than the first, and they did likewise to them.

Verse 3 7 – “Then last of all he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’

Verse 38 – “But when the vinedressers saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come let us kill him and seize his inheritance.’ ”

Verse 39 – “And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him.

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

The landowner is God: the vineyard stands first for Israel, then Jerusalem, then the kingdom. All through the Old Testament, God sent prophet after prophet, to show His people they needed to repent and follow Him. Time after time they abused and murdered His prophets. Judgment came on Israel through the Assyrians and Jerusalem through Babylon. Now, God had sent His Son, Jesus, and the same people that Jesus had taught and healed were about to take His life.

Verse 41 – They said to Him, “He will destroy those wicked men miserable, and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their season.”

Verse 42 – Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes.’

Jesus quoted Psalm 118:22, 23. The stone was rejected as worthless by builders , but later used as the cornerstone, the most important part of the structure. This foreshadowed the fact that, though Jesus was rejected by the Jewish leaders, He would be vindicated by God and would become the focal point of God’s Kingdom. God would take what had been entrusted to the Jewish leaders and give it to Jesus disciples.

Verse 43 – “Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruit of it.

Acts 28:28 – “Therefore let it be known to you that the salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will hear it.” The apostle Paul was addressing the Jewish leaders in Rome.

Verse 44 – “And whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.”

Jesus is the cornerstone, so Jesus makes reference to whoever comes in contact with Him, the stone, there will be consequences. Whoever stumbles on it, runs against it, offended with My being the foundation, opposes Me, shall injure himself. The Savior speaks of the stone “falling” on the oppressor’s, those who reject Him, and who continue, shall be crushed by Him in the day of judgement, and perish forever.

Verse 45 – Now when the chief priests and Pharisees heard His parables, they perceived that He was speaking of them. (Now they get it.)

Verse 46 – But when they sought to lay hands on Him, they feared the multitudes, because they took Him for a prophet.

When someone lays it out plain and straight, there will be those who reject it to the point of being furious at the person delivering the message. That is what happened to the Jewish leaders. It all goes back to the sower and the seed. Some will gladly accept and continue with the Lord, but for those who reject Him, the seed, the word, they will be punished. We are to just keep sowing the seed!

 

 

Matthew – Chapter 20

Parable of the Laborers

Verse 1 – “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard.

Verse 2 – “Now when he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius (wage for a days work) a day, he sent them into the vineyard.

Verse 3 – “And he went out about the third hour (about 9 o’clock am) and saw others standing idle in the market place,

Verse 4 – “and said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.’ And they went.

Verse 5 – “Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise (He went out again at 12 o’clock and 3 o’clock).

Verse 6 – “And about the eleventh hour (5 o’clock) he went out and found others standing idle, and said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here idle all day?’

Verse 7 – “They said to him, ‘Because no one hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right you will receive.’

Verse 8 – “So when evening had come, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, ‘Call the laborers and give them their wages, beginning with the last to the first.’

Had the first that were hired been paid first, they would have left and been satisfied, and the point of the parable would have been lost.

Verse 9 – “And when those came who were hired about the eleventh hour (5 o’clock), they each received a denarius.

These that were hired with only an hour left to work, had been willing to work all day but no one had hired them.

Verse 10 – But when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received each a denarius.

Verse 11 – “And when they had received it, they murmured against the landowner,

Verse 12 – “saying, ‘These last men have worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day.

Verse 13 – “But he answered one of them and said, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius?

Did not the first hired agree to a denarius for a day’s wage? Yes. Is it up to the laborers to tell the landowner when or how often he can hire more men? No. Is it up to the laborers to tell the landowner what he should pay any laborers? No.

Verse 14 – ‘Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you.

Verse 15 – ‘Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?’

This parable is not about rewards but about salvation. It is a strong teaching about grace, God’s generosity. Some Christians don’t want the murderer to have the same saving grace as them because they have a higher opinion of themselves.

Verse 16 – “So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Many are called into the kingdom, many are unknown and obscure; yet they labor and are truly Christians, and shall receive a proper reward. A few, God has chosen for a higher standard and placed in the body of the church. They will have apostolic gifts, superior talents, and wider usefulness. They may not have long lives, or their race may not be long, but God chose them because it is His right. He honors whom He chooses. Christ was conversing about the rewards that should be given followers, and not about he numbers that should be called, or about the doctrine of the elect.

Instruction About Jesus’ Death

Verse 17 – Then Jesus, going up to Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples aside on the road and said to them,

Verse 18 – “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death,

Verse 19 – “and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again.”

Verse 20 – Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons (James and John) came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him.

Verse 21 – And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She said to Him, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your kingdom.”

Evidently the disciples still didn’t believe that Jesus was going to die, because they still thought Jesus was going to set up a kingdom now, on earth.

Verse 22 – But Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” The said to Him, “We are able.”

To drink of the cup-suffering and punishment. Baptism, evidently means the same thing, “Are you able to bear the suffering and sorrows and trials?” They will cover you like a flood and plunge you deep into the waters. James was put to death for his faith and John was exiled.

Verse 23 – So He said to them, “You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.”

Jesus always pointed to the Father in all authority. Such rewards were not granted as favors. They are for those who maintained their commitment to Jesus in severe trials.

Verse 24 – And when the ten (disciples) heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brothers.

Verse 25 – But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great, exercise authority over them.

Speaking of the authority on earth that kings and Gentiles have over their subjects giving high positions to favorites.

Verse 26 – “Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.

Verse 27 – “And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave –

Verse 28 – “just as the Son of Man did not come to be servant, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Jesus describes leadership from a new perspective, instead of using people, we are to serve them. A true and real leader will have a servant’s heart. Jesus very plainly told them that His life would be given in order to save many – a ransom.

Verse 29 – Now as they departed from Jericho, a great multitude followed Him.

Verse 30 – And behold, two blind men sitting by the road, when they heard that Jesus was passing by, cried out, saying, “Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!”

Verse 31 – Then the multitude warned them that they should be quiet; but they cried out all the more, saying, “Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!”

Verse 32 – So Jesus stood still and called them, and said, “What do you want Me to do for you?”

Matthew records there were two blind men, while Mark and Luke record only one. This could be the same event but they only mention the one that cried out. And yes, Jesus could see that they were blind, but wanted them to speak.

Verse 33 – They said to Him, “Lord, that our eyes may be opened.”

Verse 34 – So Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him.

Why do you think these miracles of Jesus were recorded in the Gospels? It’s because God wants every person to know His Son. He wants us to see the compassion and kindness, the power through God’s Holy Spirit, and the infinite ability to love, that He has for His children. Then He wants us to know that this same power lives in each believer!

Matthew – Chapter 19

Instruction About Divorce

Verse 1 – Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these sayings, that He departed from Galilee and came to the region of Judea beyond Jordan.

Verse 2 – And great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them there.

Verse 3 – The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?”

Verse 4 – And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning made them male and female,’

Verse 5 – “and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?

Instead of Jesus referring to either party, He called their attention to the original design of marriage, one man and one woman. The intent being, that a man have “one wife.” They become one, one interest, one in feeling, united in all areas, so that they cannot be separated.

Verse 6 – “So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Verse 7 – They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?”

Verse 8 – He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.

The practice of marriage fell far short of what God’s original intention was. Because of sinful selfish behavior, Moses wrote a decree fro divorce.

Verse 9 – “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”

So Jesus gives one reason for divorce, sexual immorality. He says nothing about physical abuse. However, we all know that no one can stay in an abusive relationship for very long, because it becomes life threatening.

Verse 10 – His disciples said to Him, “If such is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry.”

Verse 11 – But He said to them, “All cannot accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given: (meaning to those who choose to remain single to devote themselves to God’s kingdom.)

Verse 12 – “For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother’s womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it.

Those who chose celibacy in order to devote themselves to the kingdom, were those who chose not to marry. This says nothing about a law that priests could not marry. That law is “Man made” by certain religions.

Verse 13 – Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them.

It was customary among Jews, when blessings were sought for others in prayer, to lay hands on the head of the person prayed for, implying a kind of consecration to God. The disciples thought this was improper because they were children.

Verse 14 – But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

Verse 15 – And He laid His hands on them and departed from there.

The disciples must have already forgotten what Jesus had said about little children in 18:4-6. Children have the attitude it takes to approach God. Simple faith in believing in God, was what is meant by this.

Rich Young Ruler

Verse 16 – Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?”

Luke says this man was a ruler, probably in a synagogue, or of the great council of the nation. This poor man needed to start over with the true foundation of faith, rather than works.

Verse 17 – So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”

Jesus was not implying that keeping the commandments brings eternal life, as we shall soon see that no one but Jesus kept the law perfectly.

Verse 18 – He said to Him, “Which ones?” Jesus said, ‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness.’

Verse 19 – ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”

Verse 20 – The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?”

Verse 21 – Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven, and come and follow Me.”

Verse 22 – But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

Jesus only gave the young man six of the Ten Commandments, the ones dealing with relationships. The young man checked them off, “Yep, got those!” Then by what else Jesus told him to do, exposed the man’s weakness. The man’s wealth was his god and his true idol. Jesus, by no means tells believers to sell all their possessions. He was demonstrating that nothing can come between you and Him. It is not His intention for us to become a burden to anyone. If you, have nothing to give, then how can you help the poor?

Verse 23 – Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.

I’ve heard people say, “There’s the proof. God wants you to be poor.” And there again, people taking verses out of context.

Verse 24 – “And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

One who loves his riches and makes an idol of them, or one who supremely desires to be rich, its impossible to be a true Christian. Man may have great wealth as Abraham, David, Solomon, and Job were all very wealthy and loved God with all their hearts, but if you read about them you will see the difference. It’s all about the attitude towards the riches.

Verse 25 – When His disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, “Who then can be saved?” (And, they missed it again.)

Verse 26 – But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Trusting in one’s self and their possessions, is an impossible feat for them to enter into the kingdom. But when God changes the heart to be towards Him, even a rich man can enter!

The Apostles’ Reward

Verse 27  – Then Peter answered and said to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?”

Verse 28 – So Jesus said to them, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Verse 29 – “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit everlasting life.

Verse 30 – “But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.

The regeneration is the renewal of all creation. This will take place when the Son of Man sits on His glorious throne, reigning over the new heaven and new earth. The 12 disciples will sit in power and honor, over the 12 tribes of Israel. Those who have made enormous sacrifices, will be richly blessed in this new regeneration.

 

 

 

Matthew – Chapter 18

Instruction On Humility

Verse 1 – At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

From Mark’s gospel, Jesus knew the disciples were going to ask this question from what they had been discussing among themselves.

Verse 2 – And Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them,

Verse 3 – and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus didn’t instruct them to be “childish,” like the disciples were doing arguing over a petty issue. But instead to be trusting and obedient to the Father’s will, humble.

Verse 4 – “Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Verse 5 – “And whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.

Love with a spirit like this child, one who is humble, meek, and unambitious to self, who is attached to Christ.

Punishment of Offenders

Verse 6 – “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

Verse 7 – “Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!

Adults and parents are held responsible for teaching and guiding their children in right and wrong decisions, just as a new-believer depends on the more mature Christians to learn the ways of God. Woe to those who place temptations in front of a child or new-believer to commit sin. People do this by their influence on others. Don’t let another lead you away from your faith in Christ.

Verse 8 – “And if your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast off into the everlasting fire.

Any worldly attachments, friendships, objects, or anything, that causes you to sin, must be cast off. And for those who don’t believe that hell is for eternity, look at what Jesus said, “Everlasting fire!”

Verse 9 – “And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire.

Stumbling blocks – any person, program, or teaching in the church that threatens the spiritual growth of the body must be removed. For the individual, any practice or activity that leads to sin, should be stopped. Your very soul is at stake.

Verse 10 – “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.

We’ve already distinguished who the little ones are: God’s children, all who belong in Him. Jesus appears to teach that angels are assigned to represent believers to God and have access to Him. Be very careful what you do to little children and a believer of the All Mighty!

Parable of the Lost Sheep

Verse 11 – “For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.

Verse 12 – “What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying?

Sinful believers who are restored to church fellowship should not be received begrudgingly or hesitantly but with jubilation just as a shepherd who finds a sheep that goes astray is.

Verse 13 – “And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray.

Are we as believers to go after those who go astray? Yes, we are! But here’s what I see today when someone stops going to the house of God. No one calls, no one goes to visit, and no one even notices. I’ve heard this from people over and over. When they left a church body, no one even called to see if they were sick or what might have happened. Maybe the person who left went to another church,  but someone should have at least called and showed they cared, but they don’t.

Verse 14 – “Even so it is not the will of the Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

The Offended Brother

Verse 15 – “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained a brother.

This guideline is for dealing with believers, not unbelievers. When a believer wrongs you, you are to go to them alone, and confront them. You don’t take it to social media or tell 10 other people before hand. However, you will find that some people can not be reasoned with. But give them an opportunity to explain their conduct.

Verse 16 – “But if he will not hear you, take with you one or two more, that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

They should be their friends, people of influence, those they have confidence in.

Verse 17 – “And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.

This is not for every little hurt feelings or small offense. This process is to restore fellowship with the one who has done the offense. But when someone refuses to admit what they have done by repenting, then leave them be. Stop trying.

Verse 18 – “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heave.

The binding and loosing refers to the decisions of the church in conflicts. The decisions made by the church about what behavior is permissible or unacceptable reflect decisions already made by God in His Word.

Verse 19 – “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.

So many have taken this verse out of context. Jesus is still talking about restoring the lost and conflicts among believers. When the two witnesses, as in verse 16, agree that the person can be restored or not, then it shall be binding. Agree or disagree with me, but don’t take scripture out of context. We have to read before and after a verse to get the full understanding.

Verse 20 – “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”

This statement is a general assertion that Jesus is omnipresent. Jesus affirms that wherever two or three of His children are gathered together in His name, “He is in the midst!”

Instruction About Forgiveness

Verse 21 – Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”

Verse 22 – Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

Interpreters argue this actually means 70 times of forgiving, but the point Jesus was making is that forgiveness should be unlimited when true repentance is present. We shouldn’t harbor malice against the person. Luke 17:4, says if the brother comes and repents, then we are to forgive. If they do this, then it is our duty to accept the sincere apology. But how often does that truly happen? The believers I know that have argued with another believer, neither side will admit that they were wrong, let alone sorry for anything. They simply don’t speak to each other anymore.

Verse 23 – “Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.

Verse 24 – “And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents.

Verse 25 – “But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made.

Verse 26 – “The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all!

Verse 27 – “Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.

Jesus is till talking about forgiveness. This allegory represents a sum so huge that no one could repay, therefore representing us as sinners, with a debt we could not pay. The Master’s forgiveness of the huge debt is the act of “Grace!” When we wonder whether we need to forgive another, remember how much Christ has forgiven us!

Verse 28 – “But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denari, and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!”

This same servant that was forgiven about a billion dollars goes out and finds a servant that owes him about 15 dollars and demands to be paid. Since our Father has forgiven us many offences that are much larger, shouldn’t we forgive those who commit small offences against us? Here is something to think about: Did we just sin one time before we came to Christ? Not hardly.

Verse 29 – “So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will pay you all.’

Verse 30 – “And he would not, but went and threw him in prison till he should pay the debt.

Verse 31 – “So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told the master all that had been done.

Verse 32 – “Then the master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me.

Verse 33 – ‘Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’

Verse 34 – “And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.

Verse 35 – “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.

James 2:13 , says, – For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

 

 

Matthew – Chapter 17

The Transfiguration

Verse 1 – Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, brought them up on a high mountain by themselves,

Verse 2 – and was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.

Do you have three close friends? Most people have a lot of friends, but will have one, if they are blessed; two if they are really blessed; or three close friends that they are really intimate with. Out of all the disciples Jesus had, three very special friends. Jesus appearance changed right before their eyes! His face shone as bright as the sun and His garments were as white as snow. He was as pure and bright as anything that had never been seen before.

Verse 3 – And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.

Moses and Elijah were the two greatest prophets of the Old Testament. Moses represented the law and Elijah represented all the prophets that had spoken of the coming Messiah. By both of these two appearing they confirmed Jesus mission: To fulfill the law and the words of God’s prophets.

There are two distinctions between the two though. Moses died and Elijah didn’t. This scripture tells me that both were in heaven with the presence of God. Moses wasn’t asleep, laying in the ground somewhere waiting for the second coming. There’s another scripture in Luke 16:19-31, where Lazarus is in Abraham’s bosom. I believe the Bible is very clear about where the true Christian goes when they die. 2 Corinthians 5:8 – ( Paul’s writing) We are confident, yet, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.

Verse 4 – Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles; one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’

Peter wanted to capture this moment and stay there. However, this was a time of worship and adoration, remember, and then move on.

Verse 5 – While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!”

This is God speaking to the disciples. He wanted no misunderstanding of Jesus authority over them. He was to be honored above all else. Listen to Him and obey. After this, it was impossible for them to doubt that He was truly the Son of God. Sometimes we need to just be quiet and listen. God has a lot to say, if we will only listen.

Verse 6 – And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid.

Verse 7 – But Jesus came and touched them and said, “Arise, and do not be afraid.”

Verse 8 – And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.

Verse 9 – Now as they came down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, “Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man is risen from the dead.

Jesus didn’t want the disciples trying to explain what they didn’t fully understand as of yet. This is proved in their following question.

Verse 10 – And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must first come?”

Verse 11 – Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Elijah is truly coming first and will restore all things.

Verse 12 – “But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him but did to him whatever they wished. Likewise the Son of Man is also about to suffer at their hands.”

Based on Malachi 4:5, 6, the scribes believed Elijah must appear before the Messiah would appear. Jesus was referring to John the Baptist, not Elijah. John the Baptist took on Elijah’s prophetic role – boldly confronting sin and pointing God’s people to the Messiah. Malachi had prophesied that a prophet “like” Elijah would come.

Verse 13 – Then the disciples understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist.

Instruction About Faith

Verse 14 – And when they had come to the multitude, a man came to Him, kneeling down to Him and saying,

Verse 15 – “Lord have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water.

Verse 16 – “So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him.”

In Matthew 10:8 Jesus had given His twelve disciples the power to cast out demons, even to raise the dead, so could these disciples have been others that were following Jesus? Because there were others. The Bible is not clear because it just says disciples.

Verse 17 – Then Jesus answered and said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.’

Jesus applied this to the Jews that were standing around, not to his disciples. The Jews had twisted the truth which perverted it.

Verse 18 – And Jesus rebuked the demon, and he came out of him; and the child was cured from that hour.

Either epilepsy is directly connected to a demon-possession, or the father of the child misdiagnosed the son. Jesus said it was a demon, you decide.

Verse 19 – Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast him out?”

Oh, there’s our proof! These were some of the twelve, because only the twelve were close enough to Jesus to speak privately to Him.

Verse 20 – So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from her to there;’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.

Verse 21 – “However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.

Verse 21, does not appear in the oldest and best manuscripts of Matthew. However, it is in Mark 9:29 manuscript, so it was probably applied by the scribes to Matthew’s.

Verse 22 – Now while they were staying in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men,

Verse 23 – “and they will kill Him,  and the third day He will be raised up.” And they were exceedingly sorrowful.

Though what Jesus said was plain enough, the disciples didn’t understand it, because they couldn’t see how He could be the Messiah, and yet be put to death and then raised again unto life.

Verse 24 – And when they had come to Capernaum, those who received the temple tax came to Peter and said, “Does your Teacher not pay the temple tax?”

Verse 25 – He said, “Yes.” And when he had come into the house Jesus anticipated him, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take customs or taxes, from their own sons or from strangers?”

Verse 26 – Peter said to Him, “From strangers.” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free.

Verse 27 – “Nevertheless, lest we offend them, go to the sea, cast in a hook, and take the fish that comes up first. And when you have opened its mouth, you will find a piece of money; take that and give it to them for Me and you.”

Poor Peter. Once again he answered a question without fully understanding it. Jesus was kind to him though. Jesus emphasized that a king paid no taxes and collected no taxes for their own family. Jesus was King so He owed no taxes. However, to not set off a war, He instructed Peter to go get the money from a fish.

This is our lesson too – While living here on earth, Christians are to respect laws and rules from those in authority because we are ambassadors for Christ and that’s what He did (2 Corinthians 5:20).