Matthew – Chapter 16

Verse 1 – Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven.

Both of these groups wanted to see evidence that Jesus was actually the Messiah. They also wanted to see Him fail at attempting to work a miracle, so they could ruin Him. I assume they missed the Star of Bethlehem when it appeared.

Verse 2 – He answered and said to them, “When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red;

Verse 3 – “and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of he times.

They knew how to determine the weather by signs in the sky, but didn’t want to believe that Jesus was the Messiah, all the while miracles and prophecy was coming to pass in front of them.

Verse 4 – “A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.”

By using the prophet Jonah, who was inside a great fish three days and three nights, Jesus was telling them this will be the only sign: That He will be in the grave three days and three nights and then be resurrected.

Verse 5 – And when His disciples had come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread.

Verse 6 – Then Jesus said to them, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.”

Just as yeast will affect the entire loaf of bread, a little bit of false doctrine will spread trough an entire congregation. Beware!

Verse 7 – And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “It is because we have taken no bread.”

Verse 8 – But when Jesus perceived it, He said to them, “O ye of little faith, why do you reason among yourselves because you have brought no bread?

Verse 9 – “Do you not yet understand, or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up?

Verse 10 – “Nor the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many large baskets you took up?

Verse 11 – “How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread? – but you should beware of the leaven of the  Pharisees and Sadducees.”

Maybe a little bit of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees had slipped into the disciples thinking. After all they hadn’t brought anything to eat, so maybe they expected for Jesus to turn something into food as a sign.

Verse 12 – Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Verse 13 – When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”

Verse 14 – So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

Verse 15 – He said to them, “but who do you say that I am?”

Verse 16 – And Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Peter expressed the full belief of himself and of his brethren that Jesus was the long-expected Messiah. “The living God,” distinguished the True God from the surrounding pagan gods that were nothing but stone or wood.

Verse 17 – Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.

Revelation of the Church

Verse 18 – “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

The name “Peter,” in Greek, means rock.” Rock is firm, solid, and stable, being used for a foundation on which to build a structure. Jesus is also referred to as the “Rock” (Isaiah 28:16 and 1 Peter 2:8). Peter had the honor of laying the foundation of the church among the Jews and the Gentiles that Jesus is the Son of the living God. This passage in no way exalts Peter above the other apostles. All those who profess Jesus Christ is the Son of God are the church, body of believers. The gates of Hades – hell-all the plots, devices, and schemes, shall not prevail in destroying God’s church.

Verse 19 – “And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever yo bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

The key is a symbol of authority and power. The kingdom of heaven in this verse means, church on earth. Christ will make Peter the instrument, key, of opening the door of faith to the world. The power of “binding and loosing” on earth was given to the other apostles as well (Matthew 18:18). To bind a thing was to forbid it: to loose it is to allow it to be done. When Jesus gave this power to the apostles, He meant that whatsoever they forbade in the church should have divine authority; whatever they permitted, or commanded, should also have divine authority. This does not refer to persons, but things. They set the standards for the church we all follow.

Verse 20 – Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ.

Jesus time had not come yet, so until the disciples fully understood that He had to die and be raised again, Jesus didn’t want it to be known. It would cause a revolt. And some of the disciples could have even died before they accomplished what they needed to do in order to bring the Gospel to the world.

Verse 21 – From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.

If Jesus had told them this when He first met them, they wouldn’t have followed Him. They were expecting a triumphant prince as the Messiah. Jesus had to first convince them that He was the Christ, and then with great prudence, began to correct their apprehensions of His true meaning for coming as the Messiah.

Verse 22 – Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!”

Verse 23 – But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.

Peter couldn’t bare to think he was going to lose his friend. He didn’t want Jesus to die. Peter didn’t understand, as of yet, what was about to take place. Jesus did not call Peter Satan. But it was what came out of Peter’s mouth that was in opposition to the divine plan of God.

Verse 24 – Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.

Let him surrender to God to do His will; surrender his affections to Him; surrender his body, and his very soul. Let him not seek his own desires and happiness, but lay down his life if necessary.

Verse 25 – “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

The disciples knew at this point that they could lose their lives defending the Gospel of Jesus Christ. True discipleship is total commitment which is the key to eternal life. The reward is much greater than the crises someone goes through for Christ’s sake.

Verse 26 – “For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

If our soul is lost, nothing can be given in exchange for it. There is no redemption in hell.

Verse 27 – “For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.

God will judge the righteous and the wicked, according to their works.

Verse 28 – “Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”

Some of Jesus disciples were eye-witness to the power and glory of Christ’s kingdom at the transfiguration when Peter, James, and John, saw His glory. And then at Pentecost, Acts 2, the beginning of Christ’s church.

 

 

 

Matthew – Chapter 15

Debate Over Tradition

Verse 1 – Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying,

Verse 2 – “Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.”

Ever since the Jews returned from Babylon captivity, they had added hundreds of laws and traditions to God’s law. God’s principles never change, and His law doesn’t need any additions. Traditions are fine, but don’t make them a law that you expect everyone else to follow as if God wrote it in stone.

Verse 3 – But He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?

The authority of scripture trumps all man-kind traditions. Jesus’ disciples were not bound to obey tradition.

Verse 4 – “For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and mother; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’

Verse 5 – “But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me has been dedicated to the temple” –

Verse 6 – ‘is released from honoring his father or mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition.

Jewish law required sons to care for their aging parents. However, corrupt priests allowed sons who were tired of caring for their parents to take a vow of “Corban,” offering. That is: Making a gift to the temple, which otherwise would have gone to taking care of the parents. Corban had become an excepted way to neglect their parents. So now, they were ignoring God’s commandment to honor their parents.

Verse 7 – “Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying,

Verse 8 – ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.

Verse 9 – And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ” (Isaiah 29:13)

When we claim to follow and honor God while our hearts are far from Him, it means nothing! Our actions and our attitudes must be sincere. Only God has the right to declare what is to be done in worship, but they held tradition to be superior to the written word of God, and taught it as doctrines.

Churches still do this today. “You shall not;” wear pants, but only long dresses; a woman shall not cut her hair; there will not be any musical instruments in the house of God; no jewelry; no makeup; and on and on! This is just stupid!

Verse 10 – Then He called the multitude and said to them, “Hear and understand:

Verse 11 – “Not what goes in the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.”

The true defilement was in the heart. Hateful speech comes from an evil heart.

Verse 12 – Then the disciples came and said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?”

Verse 13 – But He answered an said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted.

Verse 14 – “Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. and if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch.”

The Pharisees were blind to the truth. Make sure those you listen to have scripture spiritual eyesight.

Verse 15 – Then Peter answered and said to Him, “Explain this parable to us.”

Verse 16 – So Jesus said, “Are yo also still without understanding?

Verse 17 – “Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated?

Verse 18 – “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and then they defile a man.

What are we like on the inside? Do others see what’s in our hearts by what comes out of our mouths? We change our hearts from evil to good by renewing our minds daily with God’s Word.

Verse 19 – “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornication’s, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.

Verse 20 – “These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”

I bet the Pharisees were sorry they ever opened their mouths! A truly transformed heart will diminish a love for sin!

Jesus Heals the Gentile Woman’s Daughter

Verse 21 – Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon.

Verse 22 – And behold a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed”

In ancient times, the whole region of Tyre and Sidon, were in the possession of the Canaanites and called Canaan. This woman was a Gentile living under the Greek government. However, she knew who Jesus was, “The Son of David,” the Messiah.

Verse 23 – But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.”

Verse 24 – But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

Jesus was, after all, in Gentile territory, so why wouldn’t He answer her? Jews were to have the opportunity first to accept the Messiah because they were the ones to present the message of the gospel to the rest of the world. He was showing another example of faith that could come from even a Gentile.

Verse 25 – Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord help me!”

Verse 26 – But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.”

Verse 27 – And she said, “True, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their master’s table.”

Verse 28 – Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

Dog was the term the Jews applied to the Gentiles because the Jews considered them pagan people no more likely to receive God’s blessing than dogs were. The woman didn’t argue that she was not a dog. Along the way of Jesus teachings, this woman had heard and believed that Jesus was the Son of God. She also knew He was to be worshiped and reverend. She had picked up the crumbs along the way of Jesus teachings. Jesus knew that and therefore showed the Jews that Gentiles can have faith in Him also.

Verse 29 – And Jesus departed from there, skirted the Sea of Galilee, and went up on the mountain and sat down there.

Verse 30 – Then great multitudes came to Him, having with them those who were lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others; and they laid them down at Jesus feet, and He healed them.

Verse 31 – So the multitude marveled when they saw the mute speaking, the maimed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing, and they glorified the God of Israel.

These people showed great faith, by just coming to Jesus. They knew He could heal the sick. I wonder where all the sick that He healed were when He was crucified? I’ve seen this too many times when people get what they prayed for. They get healed, they get the house they prayed for, or the relationship is mended, then they forget God because they don’t need God anymore. I’ve also seen what happens to them after they forget who gave them the blessing – it’s not good!

Verse 32 – Then Jesus called His disciples to Him and said, “I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. And I do not want to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.”

This is amazing that these people would travel so far to where Jesus was and then not leave because of His healing and teaching to get something to eat. There are people today that won’t go a block or miss one meal to receive healing from the “Great Physician!”

Verse 33 – Then His disciples said to Him, “Where could we get enough bread in the wilderness to fill such a great multitude?

The disciples had already seen Jesus feed 5,000, so why were they so perplexed? We often forget that God has cared and delivered us in our past, and He will do the same again. Don’t lose sight of the fact that, “No matter the circumstance God only wants the best for us!” He’s faithful, all the time.

Verse 34 – Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” And they said, “Seven, and a few little fish.”

And another lesson – don’t disregard what little you start with because when given to the Master, it will multiply!

Verse 35 – And He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground.

Verse 36 – And He took the seven loaves and the fish and gave thanks, broke them and gave them to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitude.

Verse 37 – So they all ate and were filled, and they took up seven large baskets full of fragments that were left.

Verse 38 – Now those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children.

Verse 39 – And He sent away the multitude, got into the boat, and came to the region of Magdala.

Always be thankful and grateful to what has been given. He’s a good God that will see to provision if we persevere. In His presence is where we have peace of knowing that He works all things out for good for those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

 

 

 

 

 

Matthew – Chapter 14

Verse 1 – At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the report about Jesus

Verse 2 – and said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead, and therefore these powers are at work in him.

The title “tetrarch” is one who rules over a “fourth” part of any country. Herod was over Galilee and Perea. He was the son of Herod the Great, who had ordered the killings of the babies in Bethlehem. He was also known as Herod Antipas. Herod was afraid because he was the one who had had John beheaded.

Recount of the Murder of John the Baptist

Verse 3 – For Herod had laid hold of John and bound him, and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Phillip’s wife.

Verse 4 – For John had said to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.”

This Herodias was a granddaughter of Herod the Great. She was first married to Herod Philip, by whom she had a daughter, Salome. Herod had his wife, at that time, put away, and Herodias left her husband to be with Herod Antipas. They were both committing adultery and incest, since she was a near relation. This was forbidden by law. And when John told him, “It’s not lawful for you to have her,” Herod had John arrested.

Verse 5 – And although he wanted to put him (John) to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him a prophet.

Verse 6 – But when Herod’s birthday was celebrated, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and it pleased Herod.

Verse 7 – Therefore he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask.

Verse 8 – So she, having been prompted by her mother, said, “Give me John the Baptist’s head on a platter.”

Verse 9 – And the king was sorry; nevertheless, because of the oaths, and because of those who sat with him at the table, he commanded it to be given to her.

Verse 10 – So he sent and had John beheaded in prison.

Verse 11 – And his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother.

Verse 12 – Then his disciples came and took away the body and buried it, and went and told Jesus.

Herod had John killed because he would have looked like a coward in front of his guest if he hadn’t. We need to determine what is right before we ever are tempted into making a wrong decision. Don’t let yourself be pressured into following the crowd into something you know is wrong and against God’s will.

Jesus Feeds 5,000

Verse 13 – When Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself. But when the multitudes heard it, they followed Him on foot from the cities.

Jesus crossed the Sea of Galilee to a place called Bethsaida. I imagine John’s death affected Him deeply.

Verse 14 – And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude, and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.

Have you noticed a pattern here? Everywhere Jesus went, He drew crowds and crowds of people. What’s amazing is He always, without hesitation, healed their sick. Why do yo think it’s so rare for us today to see the sick healed? What stopped these miracles in Nazareth? Unbelief!

Verse 15 – When it was evening, His disciples came to Him, saying, “This is a desert place, and the hour is already late. Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy themselves food.”

Now, wait a minute! Did not the disciples see Jesus healing the sick all afternoon? Did they only believe in those miracles? Do you believe Jesus only has one miracle for you, as a person of faith? Their question they asked seems as though their precept of Jesus’ divine power can only accomplish this one miracle. They are about to find out how truly divine His power is.

Verse 16 – But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”

As a believer, do you send the sick and needy to another source? Why is that? Why are believers afraid to lay hands on the sick? Because they don’t believe that Jesus will heal through them! They doubt! We are to do the Fathers will, and He is responsible for the results. When you pray, pray in faith that it will be done, in Jesus name.

Verse 17 – And they said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.”

Verse 18 – He said, “Bring them here to Me.”

The disciples are about to find out that whatever is placed in the Master’s hands will be blessed! We should take note.

Verse 19 – Then He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass. And He took the five loaves and two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples, and the disciples gave to the multitudes.

How do you imagine this scene? I see Jesus blessing this small portion of food and as He broke it, and placed it in the disciples hands, and as they went, it began to multiply. Obedience will bring miracles. God can take a little and make it more than enough! He wants us to place whatever it is into His hands, and stand back and watch what He will do. That’s why He tells us to “not despise small beginnings!” Jesus can take that little bit of faith and make it grow into your miracle!

Verse 20 – So they all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained.

Please keep this in mind: “Our God is not stingy!” When He takes what little we have, blesses it, and returns it to us, it is always in “abundance!” There is a purpose in everything He does, or asks us to do. This story is a powerful reminder that Jesus can provide for us in abundance.

Verse 21 – Now those who had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children (15,000).

Jesus Walks on Water

Verse 22 – Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into a boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away.

Verse 23 – And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on a mountain by Himself to pray. And when evening had come, He was alone there.

Verse 24 – But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.

Verse 25 – Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea.

At the time of Jesus, the night was divided into four watches – first, 6-9 pm; second, 9-12 am; third, 12-3 am; fourth, 3-6 am. So, Jesus had spent the biggest part of the night on the mountain praying. Have you ever spent hours in prayer?

Verse 26 – And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled saying, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out for fear.

Verse 27 – But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”

Verse 28 – And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”

Peter was not putting Jesus to a test, something we are forbidden to do. Instead, he was the only one which reacted in faith. His impulse led Peter to experience an unusual experience of God’s power. When in very difficult situations, keep your focus on Jesus, not on your inadequacies.

Verse 29 – So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.

Verse 30 – But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, “Lord save me!”

Verse 31 – And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught Him, an said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

When we are in the same situation for a period of time, our faith will falter. Peter was afraid all of a sudden, and so we too can become afraid of how the situation is going to turn out. Don’t lose your focus. Jesus knows the outcome. Build yourself up daily in His Word, and your trust in Him will soar. He’s not going to let you go! He is able to deliver and provide!

Verse 32 – And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.

Verse 33 – Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him saying, “You are the Son of God.”

Verse 34 – When they had crossed over, they came to the land of Gennesaret. (This region was in Galilee.)

Verse 35 – And when the men of that place recognized Him, the sent out into all that surrounding region, brought to Him all who were sick,

Verse 36 – and begged Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched it were made perfectly well.

All of these people came to Jesus for physical healing, but how many came for spiritual healing? People may seek Jesus to find relief from physical pain, but we miss a much bigger message if we only seek healing for our bodies. We must understand that Jesus can heal us physically and spiritually. He is not just concerned with this life, but the one to come.

 

Matthew – Chapter 13

Parable of the Soils

Verse 1 – On the same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the sea.

Verse 2 – And great multitudes were gathered together to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.

Verse 3 – Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, “Behold, a sower went out to sow.

Jesus often used agricultural illustrations because the people understood it. So here we have a farmer, but the meaning is one who brings the Word of God.

Verse 4 – “And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them.

Keep in mind that the seed is the Word of God. Some of this seed fell outside of where the farmer had plowed and prepared the soil – deaf ears.

Verse 5 – “Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth.

The roots couldn’t go down deep because there was no soil. they came to the surface quickly.

Verse 6 – “But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away.

The plants were young and too tender for the intense heat.

Verse 7 – “And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them.

The thorns had not been completely destroyed when the soil had been prepared.

Verse 8 – “But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop; some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

When the seed was scattered, not all fell in the same proportions. Not all seeds will multiply, but some will.

Verse 9 – “He who has ear to hear, let him hear.”

Everyone has ears to hear with, so listen to what Jesus is saying.

Verse 10 – And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?”

Verse 11 – He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.

The word “mystery” in the Bible, means to conceal. It does not mean that it could not be understood. The disciples were being prepared to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ, so things were revealed to them. Not everyone is called to preach or teach the gospel, but all Christians should be able to tell others about the love and forgiveness of Christ. The Pharisees and the Jews were not prepared to receive this new system, because of the hardening of their hearts.

Verse 12 – “For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.

Please don’t take this verse out of context, as some like to do. Jesus is still talking about the mysteries of the kingdom being revealed to his disciples, not others. So to those who pursue light, grace, opportunists, understanding, and revelation, more will be given for the kingdom’s purpose, And to those who only hear the word and do not pursue it, even what they’ve heard will disappear, because they never sought understanding.

Verse 13 – “Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.

Meaning – They did not understand the Spiritual meaning to the story. Even though they saw the miracles Jesus did, they had no other meaning, other than the person was healed. They had heard many of His teachings, but yet they still didn’t recognizance Jesus as the Messiah that had been foretold.

Verse 14 – “And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: ‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive;

Verse 15 – For the heart of this people has grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their heart and turn, so that I should heal them.’

These people were so grossly prejudiced against the “Truth,” that they rejected the understanding of the truth when they heard it. But if they would have listened with an open heart, Jesus would have healed them.

Verse 16 – “But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear;

Verse 17 – “for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.

These disciples were living what the prophets of the Old Testament had prophesied about. They were taught by the Master Himself and were blessed because of it.

Verse 18 – “Therefore hear the parable of the sower:

Verse 19 – “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by  the wayside.

The gospel is preached to people whose hearts are hardened by sin. It makes no impression on them, never takes root.

Verse 20 – “But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy;

Verse 21 – “yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.

These people are full of zeal when they first hear the gospel. However, their hearts have not really changed, because when trials, testing, and persecution come, they fall back to what hey were before hearing the gospel. They have no principles or standards to keep them from stumbling, nothing to sustain them.

Verse 22 – “Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.

These cares take their time and attention. They are never satisfied. They never look at the spiritual side of things, only at what can be gained for prophet. What they pursue is never for the kingdom, always for self.

Verse 23 – “But he who received seed on good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

In a heart that submits itself to the full influence of truth, under grace, who doesn’t let anxieties of circumstances change who they are, the gospel will take a deep root and grow and benefit others.

People respond differently to the gospel because they are in different states of readiness. Some are hardened, others are shallow, others are contaminated by worries, they lack trust, and then some are receptive. Did you find yourself in any of these soils?

Parable of the Wheat and Tares

Verse 24 – Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field;

Verse 25 – “but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way.

In the night, when no one will see, those who are used by Satan, will sow a false doctrine in the very place where the good doctrine was preached. Without a true love for God and a real hatred of sin in the heart, people are deceived into thinking they are born-again. There will be those who sit among the true believers that have been deceived into thinking they are truly saved – tares.

Verse 26 – “But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared.

Verse 27 – So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’

Verse 28 – “He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’

Verse 29 – “But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them.

The tares looked so much like the wheat that it would be difficult to separate them. Besides, that is not the job of the believer to determine who is saved and who is not saved.

Verse 30 – ‘Let both grow together until the harvest, and at that time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.” ‘ ”

Hypocrites and deceived people will be among true believers in every body of the church. They belong to the world, and hypocrisy is only one form of their sin. The hope of ever pointing them all out would be impossible. To reveal them would cause strife and hurt to the real believers. Christ Himself will expose them in due season.

Parable of the Mustard Seed

Verse 31 – Another parable He put forth to them saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field,

Verse 32 – “which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air comes and nest in its branches.”

The heart is at first small, feeble, easily injured, and much exposed. When the church first started, it was ignorant, unknowing, and un-honored; yet soon it spread throughout all the world and now is a place of refuse and comfort.

Parable of Leaven

Verse 33 – Another parable He spoke to them; “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.

Even though yeast is a very small ingredient to make a product swell, it goes through the whole loaf. The kingdom began small and was nearly invisible, but it would soon grow and have a great impact on the world (Zechariah 4:10).

Verse 34 – All these things Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables and without a parable He did not speak to them,

Verse 35 – that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: “I will open My mouth in parable; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.”

Christ taught, as did the prophet Asaph, in parables. The parables revealed to His disciples truths that had not previously been understood.

Verse 36 – Then Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the tares in the field.”

Verse 37 – He answered and said to them: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man.

Verse 38 – “The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one.

Verse 39 – “The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels.

Verse 40 – “Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age.

Verse 41 – “The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness,

Verse 42 – “and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Verse 43 – “Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ear to hear, let him hear!

Jesus used these terms to refer to the coming judgment. The wailing will indicate great sorrow and remorse and the gnashing of teeth shows deep anguish and pain. Those that say they don’t care what happens to them after they die, have no idea how bad it’s going to be.

Parable of the Hidden Treasure

Verse 44 – “Again, the kingdom of haven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

The truth of the gospel often lies hidden to most. It must be searched out with diligence, and its discovery will repay a man for all his sacrifices.

Parable of the Pearl

Verse 45 – “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls,

Verse 46 – “who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

We should not allow anyone or anything to keep us from obtaining the kingdom of heaven. Don’t get distracted or sidelined when seeking God.

Parable of the Dragnet

Verse 47 – “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind,

Verse 48 – “which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and they sat down and gathered the good into the vessel, but threw the bad away.

Verse 49 – “So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just,

Verse 50 – “and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”

This parable has the same meaning as the wheat and the tares. We are to obey and tell others about God’s goodness and grace, but we are not to dictate who is part of the kingdom of heaven and who is not. The separating will be done by the angels at the final judgment.

Parable of the Householder

Verse 51 – Jesus said to them, “Have you understood all these things?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.”

Verse 52 – Then He said to them, “Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old.”

Jesus told His disciples that they were better qualified then the scribes and the Pharisees, to teach, because the Pharisees were trapped in the old, and blind to the new teachings of Jesus. A teacher of the gospel should be qualified to understand the Old Testament and the New Testament.

Verse 53 – Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these parables, that He departed from there.

Rejection at Nazareth

Verse 54 – And when He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, “Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works?

Verse 55 – “Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas?

Verse 56 – “And His sisters are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?”

Isn’t this the same attitude of people who have known a person all their life, to think that a person could not be more than their trade that they are recognized by? Jesus, to these people, was nothing more than a carpenter’s son.

Verse 57 – So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.”

Verse 58 – And He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

These people were envious of His wisdom and too proud to be taught by a carpenter’s Son. Someone’s unbelief will stop them from coming to Christ for salvation; unbelief will cause you to doubt God’s love and kindness; unbelief will stop a miracle dead in its tracks; and it’s unbelief that will send a person to hell for all eternity. So why not believe and receive?

 

 

 

Matthew – Chapter 12

Controversy Over Sabbath

Verse 1 – At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. And His disciples were hungry, and began to pluck heads of grain and to eat.

Verse 2 – But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, “Look, Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath!”

In Leviticus 23:32 – “From evening to evening, you shall celebrate your Sabbath.” On Friday evening, when the sun sets, to the following evening, is the Sabbath. Unless you are Jewish, we don’t honor the true Sabbath. Sunday did not become the Sabbath, at any time. Sunday is a holy day for Christians. It should be a day of rest, but even though some have to work, it can still be honored as a day of rest. We are no longer under the Law of Moses so don’t fee guilty if you have to work.

Important: After the death of the apostles, Sunday was substituted for the Sabbath day, through the commandment of men, but not by commandment of God. Constantine, A.D.321, ordained it. We as Christians call Sunday “The Lord’s Day.”

Verse 3 – Then He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him:

Verse 4 – “how he entered the house of God and ate the showbread which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests?

Jesus was telling the Pharisees that if they condemned Him, they would also have to condemn David, something the Jews would never tolerate. Jesus wasn’t condoning disobedience to God’s law, He was emphasizing discernment and compassion in enforcing the laws.

Verse 5 – “Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless?

Jesus always emphasized the “intent” of the law. The priests had grown rigid and lost the spirit of the law by demanding the letter be obeyed. They were not blameless in this because they still performed sacrifices on the Sabbath. The Sabbath was ordained to rest and worship God, not to refrain from doing good works.

Verse 6 – “But I say to you that in this place there is One greater than the temple.

Verse 7 – “But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless.

If we become more concerned with the means of worship than with the One we worship, we will miss God.

Verse 8 – “For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

After Jesus spoke, I sure didn’t read where the Pharisees had anything to say back.

Controversy Over Sabbath Healing

Verse 9 – Now when He had departed from there, He went into their synagogue.

Verse 10 – And behold, there was a man who had a withered hand. And they asked Him, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” – that they might accuse Him.

The Pharisees had inserted into the law concerning work on the Sabbath, that it was only legal to help someone only if their life was in danger on the Sabbath. They expected Jesus to follow all their laws.

Verse 11 – Then He said to them, “What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out?

Verse 12 – “Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath?

The Pharisees had placed their laws above human needs. Legalism will make a person hateful and uncaring. They are so busy following all these laws and rules they have made for themselves, that they expect everyone to follow them. And when the others don’t, they criticize and condemn. Don’t let someone’s own convictions be placed on you – the do’s and don’t’s!

Verse 13 – Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” and he stretched it out, and it was restored as whole as the other.

Verse 14 – Then the Pharisees went out and took counsel against Him, how they might destroy Him.

The Pharisees were constantly plotting against Jesus, because He overruled their authority and exposed their evil attitudes in front of the entire crowd in the synagogue.

Verse 15 – But when Jesus knew it, He withdrew from there; and a great multitude followed Him, and He healed them all.

Verse 16 – And He warned them not to make Him known,

Jesus time had not come yet. He had many more to heal and many more teachings to complete.

Verse 17 – that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying,

Verse 18 – “Behold, My Servant whom I have chosen, My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased; I will put My Spirit upon Him, and He will declare justice to the Gentiles.

Verse 19 – He will not quarrel nor cry out, nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets.

Verse 20 – A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench, till He sends forth justice to victory.

Verse 21 – And in His name Gentiles will trust.” (Isaiah 42:1-4)

Pharisees Blaspheme the Holy Spirit

Verse 22 – Then one was brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and He healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw.

Verse 23 – And all the multitudes were amazed and said, “Could this be the Son of David?”

Verse 24 – But when the Pharisees heard it they said, “This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.”

That statement by the Pharisees was just dumb! Why would a demon cast himself out of a person?

Verse 25 – But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.

Verse 26 – “And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand?

Verse 27 – “And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges.

The Pharisees also had their own disciples who claimed to cast out demons. Therefore, the demons would be the witness.

Verse 28 – “But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.

If God expels Satan from his dominion over people, then God’s  reign has come.

Verse 29 – “Or else how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house.

Verse 30 – “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.

There is no “grey area” when it comes to following Christ. You can not be neutral. Jesus is very plain in this: You are either actively following Christ, or actively following Satan, there is no “in-between.” Go through some times of testing and you will see whose side you are on.

Pharisees Commit the Unpardonable Sin

Verse 31 – “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men.

Verse 32 – “Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.

The Pharisees had said that Jesus cast out demons by the power of the devil. Many Christians ask, “Have I committed the unpardonable sin?” Only if they deliberately refuse to acknowledge God’s power and they give credit to Satan. This represents and indicates a deliberate  hardness of the heart. Whoever rejects the prompting of the Holy Spirit removes themselves from the only One that can lead them to repentance and restoration to God.

Verse 33 – “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.

Verse 34 – “Brood of vipers! How can you being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

The “Abundance” of the heart produces the words of the lips. The true character of the Pharisees were vipers. Their words were poison. What comes out of our own mouth is an excellent indication of what is int the heart. However, one can’t clear up a heart problem just by cleaning up their speech. This won’t last!

Verse 35 – “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.

Verse 36 – “But I say to you that every idle word men speak, they will give account to it in the day of judgment.

Jesus is still talking to the Pharisees, but here we also can take heed: Every wicked, injurious, false, and malicious, words spoken will have to be accounted for in the day of judgement.

Verse 37 – “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Read James 3:3-12)

Verse 38 – Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.”

Verse 39 – But He answered and said to them. “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.

If any of these Pharisees and scribes had previously been with Jesus, they would have seen hundreds of signs that Jesus was who He said He was.

Verse 40 – “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Verse 41″The men of Nineveh will rise in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here.

Verse 42 – “The queen of the South will rise up in judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came form the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater that Solomon is here.

Verse 43 – “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none.

Verse 44 – “Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order.

Verse 45 – “Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it be with this wicked generation.”

Jesus was describing the nation of Israel and the religious leader’s attitude toward Him. Just cleaning up one’s life without filling it with God’s Spirit, leaves plenty of room for Satan’s demons to come in. You can’t just stop doing certain things without replacing them with the love of Christ and expect to be right with God. Repenting and riding ourselves of sin is the first step, but we must fill our hearts and minds with God’s word and Holy Spirit.

Verse 46 – While He was still talking to the multitude, behold, His mother and brothers stood outside, seeking to speak to Him.

Verse 47 – Then one said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak to You.”

Verse 48 – But He answered and said to the one who told Him. “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?”

Verse 49 – And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers!

Verse 50 – “For whoever does the will of My Father in haven is My brother and sister and mother.

Jesus valued His Spiritual relationship with His disciples above His physical relationship with His family. Later, once faith had dawned in their hearts, His family member’s understood and adopted this value system. Acts 1:14, proves this. (Verse 14) These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplications with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers. So, if you do the will of the Father, you then, are a brother or sister in Christ.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matthew – Chapter 11

Verse 1 – Now it came to pass when Jesus finished commanding His twelve disciples, that He departed from there to teach and to preach in their cities.

Verse 2 – And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples.

John the Baptist had been placed in prison by Herod. Herod had married his sister-in-law, and John publicly rebuked Herod.

Verse 3 – And said to Him, “Are You the coming One, or do we look for another?”

Verse 4 – Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see:

Verse 5 – “The blind receive their sight and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them.

Verse 6 – “And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”

John had disciples bringing him news from outside the prison walls. So hen he heard the things Jesus was doing, he wanted to know for sure, “Was Jesus the Messiah?” People like to say that John had doubts as to whether Jesus was the Messiah or not, but I believe you can affirm something without doubt. I think John just wanted to know if he had “prepared the way,” for the right One, and his obligation was finished.

Verse 7 – As they departed, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken in the wind?

When the Jordan would over flow, it would produce reeds or canes. They were light and easily shaken by the wind. Therefor Jesus was asking the crowd, referring to John, “Did you go out to see a man that was easily changed or not consistent with his message?” The crowd had heard John’s disciples ask if “He was the One, so they thought John was confused.

Verse 8 – “But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in king’s houses.

Jesus confirms that a person who wore these type of clothes were only found in palaces, so that was not the man they had seen in John, because John had been in the wilderness.

Verse 9 – “But what did yo go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet.

Verse 10 – “For this is he of whom it is written: ‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, who will prepare Your way before You.

That is in Isaiah 40:3. John had prepared the way for the Messiah.

Verse 11 – “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

No one ever fulfilled his God-given purpose more than John the Baptist. Yet, in the coming kingdom all members will have a greater spiritual heritage than John because they will have seen Christ’s work on the cross.

Verse 12 – “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.

This vast movement toward God, had started with John’s preaching and entering God’s kingdom takes courage, unwavering faith, determination, and endurance, because of the growing opposition.

Verse 13 – “For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.

Verse 14 – “And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is come.

Verse 15 – “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!

John took on Elijah’s prophet role-bold, confronting sin and pointing people to God.

Verse 16 – “But to what shall I liken this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their companions,

Verse 17 – “and saying: ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we mourned to you, and you did not lament.’

Verse 18 – “For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’

Verse 19 – “The son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a gluttonous man and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners! “But wisdom is justified by her children.”

In other words; there was no pleasing this generation. A man like John had none of the comforts of home, neither any prepared food nor drinking wine. His only interest was preaching the kingdom. Jesus on the other hand, ate and didn’t look or dress like someone who lived in the wilderness as John had, and they rejected Him also. This generation was fickle, inconstant, and abusive.

Verse 20 – Then He began to unbraid (rebuke) the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent:

Verse 21 – “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! 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 an dashes.

Tyre and Sidon were both destroyed by God for their wickedness. The people of Chorazin and Bethsaida, both saw Jesus first-hand and they still refused to repent of their sins. So Jesus said if these wicked cities had seen Him, they would have easily repented.

The same goes for today: Easy access to Bibles, the Word of God, and a church almost on every corner. There will be no excuse in the Day of Judgment, for those who reject Jesus the Christ.

Verse 22 – “But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you.

Verse 23 – “And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.

We all know that Sodom was destroyed by fire because of their perversion and wickedness. But Jesus said if He had done these mighty works there, they would still be in existence today because they would have repented.

Verse 24 – “But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you.”

Verse 25 – At that time Jesus answered and said, “I thank You Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes.

Revealed them to babes – to the poor; the ignorant; to the teachable, the simple, and to the humble. Wise and prudent – to the proud and haughty in spirit.

Verse 26 – “Evan so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.

Verse 27 – “All things have been delivered to Me, by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and he to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.

All things are in Christ’s control for the good of the church, the government of the universe and is committed unto Him as Mediator. No mortal can fully comprehend the divine nature of Jesus, but God, so for the knowing of God but the Lord Jesus.

Verse 28 – “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

People who are burdened with the guilt of their transgressions can find forgiveness and peace in coming to Christ. He will then give them rest from their sins, from their conscience, and from the fear of eternal death without Him.

Verse 29 – “Take My yoke upon you and learn form Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Verse 30 – “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

A relationship with Jesus Christ, changes a burdensome weary life, into a productive purpose for the kingdom of God.

 

 

Matthew – Chapter 10

Verse 1 – And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of diseases.

Mark says He sent them out two and two. They were given power to cast out demons, heal the sick, raise the dead, and above all preach what Jesus had taught. When the gospel is preached, there has to be evidence of what has been preached. For instance: If preaching that Christ is above every demon and principality, then demons should be cast out; if preaching on healing from the One who heals, then healing should take place. When sermon after sermon is preached and there is never any manifestations of this power, then something is wrong.

Verse 2 – Now the names of the twelve disciples are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;

Verse 3 – Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddeus;

Verse 4 – Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him.

Verse 5 – These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans.

Verse 6 – “But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

The reasons for not going to the Samaritans are many, but one was because they only believed the first five books of Moses and rejected the prophet’s writings. The gospel was to be preached to the Jews first because of the covenant and they were God’s chosen. The Gentile preaching would come later.

Verse 7 – “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’

Verse 8 – “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.

“Freely you have received, freely give,” meant they were not to charge for the services of healing, casting out demons, and healing diseases, or preaching. However, later, those who preach the gospel are to be compensated: 1 Corinthians 9:11; 1 Timothy 5:18.

Verse 9 – “Provide neither gold nor silver nor copper in your moneybelts,

Verse 10 – “nor bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor staffs; for a worker is worthy of his food.

Jesus told them not to take any provisions one would normally take on a trip. Why? Because, He wanted their total dependence on God. Jesus did not mean they had to go barefoot, they were to go with what they had on, no extra belongings. They were not to make bargains or sell their services, but to expect food and lodging from those who received.

Verse 11 – “Now whatever city or town you enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and stay there till you go out.

“Those who are worthy,” those who would welcome the disciples and show them hospitality. Luke adds – “Go not from house to house.” They weren’t to go about as vagrants.

Verse 12 – “And when you go into a household, greet it. (Show the family respect.)

Verse 13 – “If the household is worthy, let your peace come upon it. But if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you.

Verse 14 – “And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet.

When a Jew “shook the dust off their fee,” it showed a gesture of rejection. It showed that the household or city was making the wrong choice by rejecting the gospel. The disciples would have no further connection with them. Same principles as: don’t throw your pearls to the swine. If they won’t listen to the true gospel, walk away.

Verse 15 – “Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!

Those who hear the gospel and reject it will be much worse off than those two cities that were destroyed by fire and never heard the gospel.

Verse 16 – “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.

They were not to take violent action to respond to violent persecution.

Verse 17 – “But be aware of men, for they will deliver you up to counsels and scourge you in their synagogues.

Do not run needlessly into danger, but be cautious.

Verse 18 – “And you will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles.

You may not be brought before kings, but if you take a stand with God, you will have persecution. People will mock you, talk about you, and despise you for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Verse 19 – “But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak;

Verse 20 – “for it is not you who speak, but the spirit of your Father who speaks in you.

When they were arrested for preaching the gospel, they were not to be anxious about what to say. That didn’t mean not to be prepared. When someone is full of the Holy Spirit and full of God’s Word, they don’t stumble around for something to say. But you have to know God’s word before it will come out of your mouth.

Verse 21 – “Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child and children; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death.

Verse 22 – “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.

Just as the disciples were hated and despised by some, we as Christians today will be also. It’s whom they represented and whom we represent today. People reject Christ, and so they will reject us. We may not see this killing because of our faith in the US yet, but times are coming when people will be put to death for their faith in Christ. This is going on in other parts of the world now.

Verse 23 – “But when they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

The disciples were not to throw their lives away. Jesus then tells them they won’t run out of places to go, because the Jews will scatter.

Verse 24 – “A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master.

The disciples should expect to be treated as Jesus was treated.

Verse 25 – “It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household!

Beelzebub, the prince of devils. Beelzebub was a god of the Ekronites (2 Kings 1:2). The word literally means “the god of flies,” because this god was supposed to protect them from swarms of flies. The Jews changed the “bub” to “bul,” meaning “god of dung,” or “filth.” By giving the name to Christ they poured upon Him the greatest possible abuse and contempt.

Verse 26 – “Therefore, do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.

Verse 27 – “Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in light’; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops.

Verse 28 – “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

This passage proves that the bodies of the wicked will be raised up to be punished forever. Temporal death of the body is nothing compared to eternal death in hell.

Verse 29 – “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.

Verse 30 – “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

Jesus assured them that God is aware of everything, no matter how small. He also told them that no disciple would suffer persecution without the Fathers consent.

Verse 31 – “Do not fear therefor; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Verse 32 – “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will confess before My Father in heaven.

Verse 33 – “But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.

This is not merely one-act of confessing the Lord as our Savior. It means to acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ, our dependence on Him for our salvation, and our attachment to Him. In conduct and conversation we are to exhibit that He is our Father!

Verse 34 – “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.

Verse 35 – “For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.’

Jesus was showing that His presence demands a decision. Because some will follow Christ and some won’t, conflicts will arise between friends and family members. As we follow Christ, our values, morals, goals, and purposes will set us apart from others. Placing Christ first in our lives doesn’t give us the right to be disrespectful of others though.

Verse 36 – “And a man’s foes will be those of his own household.”

Verse 37 – “He who loves father and mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.

If we are not willing to place Christ supremely above all other, Jesus says we are not worthy of Him.

Verse 38 – “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.

If a person is not willing to publicly acknowledge Christ, be willing to be persecuted, even unto death, they are not worthy of Him.

Verse 39 – “He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.

Verse 40 – “He who receives you receives Me and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.

Verse 41 – “He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.

If people receive you, as a Christian, they receive Christ and the One who sent Him. Meaning, they don’t persecute and mock you for being a Christian.

Verse 42 – “And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of clod water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.”

How much we love Christ can be measured by how we treat others. Jesus uses giving cold water to a thirsty child as an example for being kind to someone who most likely can’t do anything in return. Each time we do an act of kindness, or not, we are doing it to Jesus.