Matthew – Chapter 28

The Empty Tomb

Verse 1 – Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.

I noticed the high regard that Mary Magdalene holds in scripture. The Bible always identifies her so there is no misunderstanding of which Mary it is.

Verse 2 – And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it.

This happened before the women reached the tomb. This was no ordinary angel.

Verse 3 – His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow.

From Mark’s point of view, it seems as though this angel is a young man.

Verse 4 – And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.

Verse 5 – But the angel answered and said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.

Verse 6 – “He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come see the place where the Lord lay.

Verse 7 – “And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee, there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.”

These women would be the first to tell of Jesus resurrection. To the saved, its glorious news, but to the lost, it places fear in them. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only true religion where the One that is worshiped is “Alive!”

Verse 8 – So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word.

Verse 9 – And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them saying, “Rejoice!” And they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him.

Try to imagine what it must have felt like to see Jesus alive again. They knew what kind of horrible death He had endured, but yet, here He was in front of them. Jesus can place a joy on the inside like nothing or no one else ever can.

Verse 10 – Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.”

Jesus said for them to go tell His “brethren,” not His disciples. This is a term of endearment. The fact that they had all deserted Him was all in the past.

Verse 11 – Now while they were going, behold, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all the things that had happened.

Verse 12 – When they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers,

Verse 13 – saying, “Tell them, ‘His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.’

How absurd! First of all, would so many soldiers be found asleep all at once? Second; if a Roman soldier was found sleeping at his post, it would be certain death. Third, would they be so sound asleep as to not wake up when the stone was rolled away and the body taken? Fourth; if the solders were asleep, how did they know it was the disciples that took the body?

Verse 14 – “And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will appease him and make you secure.”

Will some take money to deny Christ? Yes they will. They may start out with Him, but after fame and fortune comes, they can’t remember His name.

Verse 15 – So they took the money and did as they were instructed; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.

This was not only true and happening then, it still happens today. People deny that Jesus is the Son of God and that He never rose from the grave, because if they believed it, they would be saved!

Verse 16 – Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them.

Verse 17 – And when they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted.

Thomas doubted at first, so they all didn’t believe at the same time.

The Great Commission

Verse 18 – Then Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and earth.

Verse 19 – “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Verse 20 – “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen

We as Christians have one assignment that includes all Jesus teachings. We are to become disciples and then make disciples. We learn what it means to be a disciple first, and you can’t become one if you never reads God’s word. If someone doesn’t know God’s word how are they going to teach another?

 

 

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Matthew – Chapter 27

Jesus Is Delivered to Pilate

Verse 1 – When morning came, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put Him to death.

Verse 2 – And when they had bound Him, they led Him away and delivered Him to Pontius Pilate the governor.

The Sanhedrin had conducted their trial at night, which was illegal. They also knew that the Roman government would not condemn Him to death for blasphemy. They had to come up with another excuse for Him to be put to death. So they would say they tried Him and found He did not pay tribute to Caesar (Luke 23:2).

Verse 3 – Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,

Verse 4 – saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” And they said, “What is that to us? You see to it!”

These men were the spiritual leaders and yet they just proved everything Jesus said about them in the previous chapters, was true. They were cold-hearted and without mercy. They were liars, besides being just plain evil.

Verse 5 – Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went out and hanged himself.

I personally believe that Judas was remorseful over betraying Jesus. He had walked with Jesus for 3 years and Jesus considered Judas His friend. I believe that when Judas realized the consequences of his actions, he couldn’t live with himself. Believe as you will, but I personally believe he repented.

Verse 6 – But the chief priests took the silver pieces and said, “It is lawful to put them into the treasury, because they are a piece of blood.

The chief priest felt no guilt in giving Judas money to betray an innocent man, but when Judas returned the money, the priests couldn’t accept it because it was wrong to accept blood money-payment for murder. Here again, they should have remembered Jesus calling them “Hypocrites!”

Verse 7 – And they took counsel and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in.

Verse 8 – Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day.

This hints to the fact that Matthew wrote his gospel before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

Verse 9 – Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “And they took thirty pieces of silver, the value of Him who was priced, whom they of the children of Israel priced,

Verse 10 – “and gave them for the potter’s field as the Lord directed me.” (Jeremiah 32:6-9; Zechariah 11:13)

Verse 11 – Now Jesus stood before the governor. And the governor asked Him, saying, “Are You the King of the Jews?” So Jesus said to him, “It is as you say.”

Verse 12 – And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He answered nothing.

Their accusation was: perverting the nation, and of forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, but Jesus remained silent.

Verse 13 – Then Pilate said to Him, “Do You not hear how many things they  testify against You?”

Verse 14 – And He answered him not one word, so that the governor marveled greatly.

According to Roman law, the refusal to offer a defense counted as an admission of guilt.

Verse 15 – Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to releasing to the multitude one prisoner whom they wished.

Verse 16 – And they had then a notorious prisoner called Barabbas.

Verse 17 – Therefore, when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?”

Verse 18 – For he knew that because of envy they had delivered Him.

Pilate knew Jesus was innocent, but because God’s plan was greater, things proceeded just as they were supposed to.

Verse 19 – While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife went to him saying, “Have nothing to do with that Man, for I have suffered many things today in a dream because of Him.”

Dreams were considered as indications of the divine will. Whatever the dream was, it had bothered her so bad, she knew some evil would fall on her family if her husband didn’t do the right thing.

Verse 20 – But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitudes that they should ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus.

Verse 21 – The governor answered and said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” they said, “Barabbas?”

Verse 22 – Pilate said to them, “What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said to him, “Let Him be crucified!”

People today still choose Barabbas. They would rather have what the world has created instead of the Son of God. Why is that? They think that the world has more to offer, with money and fame. The sad part is all that stuff is only temporary. We take none of it when we die, and eternity is a lot longer than the time we spend on earth.

Verse 23 – Then the governor said, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they cried out all the more, saying, “Let Him be crucified!”

Verse 24 – When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it.”

Pilate was bound as a magistrate to free and innocent man. The washing of his hands amounted to nothing. Washing one’s hands in a difficult situation does not cancel guilt. It merely gives a false sense of peace.

Verse 25 – And all the people answered and said, “His blood be on us and on our children.”

And so it happened. In less than forty years their city and temple was overthrown and destroyed. More than a million people perished in the siege. They died by famine, disease, the sword, and the blood ran into the streets like water. Thousands were crucified, the same infliction they had done to the Messiah.

Verse 26 – Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged (whip) Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified.

This was a flogging with a strap with large pieces of iron or bone on the strap. This was done by the Roman soldiers.

Verse 27 – Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole garrison around Him.

Verse 28 – And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him.

I always thought the robe was purple, because that’s what Mark says, but look at this. The scarlet color was obtained from a species of fruit; “purple” from shell-fish. The ancients gave the name “Purple” to any color that had a mixture of “red” in it, so these two colors might be called the same name. No contradiction in the Gospel.

Verse 29 – When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”

It wasn’t bad enough for a flogging where His skin was shredded, now they have to place a crown of thorns down on His head. These were probably bramble thorns because they are common in Palestine. Check them out. They are not some tiny little thorn. These thorns drew blood.

Verse 30 – Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head.

Verse 31 – Then when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, and put His own clothes on Him and led Him away to be crucified.

We all need to be reminded of the suffering that Christ endured so that we would not have to suffer because of our sin. All the punishment that we deserved was placed on our precious Savior. Don’t ever take what Jesus went through for you and me, lightly!

Verse 32 – Now as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name, Him they compelled to bear His cross.

Cyrene, was in northern Africa. Simon was probably in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. Simon’s sons were later known in the early church. This suggests that Simon became a disciple of Jesus.

Verse 33 – And when they came to a place called Golgotha, that is to say, Place of a Skull,

Verse 34 – they gave Him sour wine mingled with gal to drink. But when He tasted it, He would not drink it.

They gave Him vinegar. This mixture was said to dull the senses. Afterward when Jesus was on the cross and just before His death, vinegar was offered to Him without the myrrh – the vinegar which the Roman soldiers drank. When Matthew and Mark say that He would not drink, they refer to a different thing and a different time from John, so there is no contradiction.

Verse 35 – Then they crucified Him, and divided His garment, casting lots, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet: “They divided My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.”

The nailing of the hands and feet to the wood alone would have killed some, but then they would drop the cross into a hole with such force, it would be excruciating pain. Then the free circulation of blood throughout the body was perverted. More blood was carried out in the arteries than could return to the veins. The result was intense pressure to the head. Sometimes, it would take days for them to die. But our Savior not only suffered severe pain to His physical body, but He also bore the anguish of the world’s sin.

Verse 36 – Sitting down, they kept watch over Him there.

Verse 37 – And they put up over His head the accusation written against Him: THIS IS JESUS KING OF THE JEWS.

Verse 38 – Then two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and another on the left. (Barabbas should have been the one in the middle.)

Verse 39 – And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads

Verse 40 – and saying, “You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.”

None that said that, understood the real reason and purpose Jesus was there. They kept thinking about the physical temple.

Verse 41 – Likewise the chief priests, also mocking with the scribes and elders, said,

Verse 42 – “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the king of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him.

Some people still today, have to see a supernatural performance before they will believe. However, all these at that time, had seen miracle after miracle. They had seen thousands fed with little; they knew He had raised the dead; blind eyes to see; the lame walked again; and even demons cast out. But yet that wasn’t enough. Blessed are those who believe by faith.

John 20:29 – Jesus said to him “Thomas because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.

Verse 43 – “He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ”

Verse 44 – Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land.

This darkness took place from about noon until three o’clock.

Verse 46 – And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

Jesus cried out from the anguish of the worlds sins being placed on Him and the separation from the Father. The Father released His wrath on His Son for the sins of the entire world. Isaiah 53:4, 5, says, Surely He borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. (Verse 5) But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.

Verse 47 – Some of those who stood there, when they heard that, said, “This Man is calling for Elijah!”

Verse 48 – Immediately one of them ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and gave it to Him to drink.

Verse 49 – The rest said, “Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come and save Him”

They thought He had been crying out for Elijah, because Elijah had never died.

Verse 50 – Jesus, when He cried out again with a loud voice, yielded up His Spirit.

John 19:30, records He cried out, “It is finished!”

Verse 51 – And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split,

Verse 52 – and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised;

Before we go too far, some of you might not know, there was a curtain that separated the holy from the most holy place, dividing the temple into two apartments. This was the time of day when the priests were burning incense in the holy place. When that veil curtain was torn from top to bottom, it signified that God was accessible to all without having to go through a priest or a prophet.

This earth quake was felt by other countries because it is mentioned by Roman writers.

The graves were often tombs in caves behind rocks. At the earth quakes, the rocks split. The saints were probably the ones who would be recognized by the people living in Jerusalem. However, the dead were not raised until the resurrection of Jesus, Him being the first.

Verse 53 – And coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.

The Bible is silent on what happened to them later. I can only speculate they went to heaven when Jesus ascended because the Bible says, “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, Hebrews 9:27. So they were not left to die a second time.

Verse 54 – Now when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

Verse 55 – And many women who followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him, were there looking on from afar,

These women couldn’t come close to where Jesus was crucified because of the Roman soldiers.

Verse 56 – among whom were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.

Mary Magdalene, who had been delivered by Jesus of seven devils, Luke 8:2, was there, and Mary, James and John’s mother, and yes, Jesus’ mother was there, and His brothers, James and Joses or Joseph.

Jesus Is Buried

Verse 57 – Now when evening had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus.

Verse 58 – This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given to him.

The bodies of those crucified were usually left on the crosses to rot. so Joseph would have to have permission to remove the body.

Verse 59 – And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,

Verse 60 – and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed.

Verse 61 – And Mary Magdalene, was there and the other Mary, sitting opposite the tomb.

Verse 62 – On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate,

Verse 63 – saying, “Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise.’

Verse 64 – “Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead.’ So the last deception will be worse than the first.”

There has been so much controversy on which day Christ was crucified, I’m not going to speculate. However, for Christ to have been crucified on Friday, that would have been one full day in the grave and part of the second. Friday at sunset to Saturday at sun-set is one, Saturday at sun-set to Sunday morning would have been one and one half day. It just doesn’t add up to “The Third Day.” The only thing I am sure of is that He was raised on the “First Day of the Week,” which was Sunday.

Verse 65 – Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go your way, make it secure as you know how.”

Verse 66  – So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard.

We will soon see that guards, rocks, or seals could not hold Him from “Coming Out!”

 

 

 

 

Matthew – Chapter 26

The Religious Leaders Plot to Kill Jesus

Verse 1 – Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, that He said to His disciples,

Verse 2 – “You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.”

The name “Passover,” was given to the celebration to be remembered when the death angel passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and saved their first-born. They were told to place blood of a lamb on their door post and they would be delivered. The “after two days,” means Jesus gave this prophecy on Tuesday. (If Christ was crucified on Friday, that would not be 3 days. I personally believe He was crucified on Thursday. This is not big enough to argue with anyone over. The point being, He’s “Alive!”)

Verse 3 – Then the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of the people assembled at the palace of the high priests, who was called Caiaphas,

Caiaphas was the ruling high priest during Jesus ministry. The Roman government had taken over the process of appointing all political and religious leaders. He was the first to recommend Jesus death.

Verse 4 – and plotted to take Jesus by trickery and kill Him.

Verse 5 – But they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people.”

Because Jesus was popular, they were afraid to arrest Him during the Passover time. If there was an uproar, it would cause the Romans to tighten their grip on Jerusalem.

Verse 6 – And when Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper,

Verse 7 – a woman came to Him having an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on His head as He sat at the table.

John 12:1-3, says, this woman was Mary, Martha, and Lazarus’ sister.

Verse 8 – But when His disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “To what purpose is this waste? (John’s Gospel singles out Judas Iscariot, John 12:4)

Verse 9 – “For this fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor.”

First of all, does Mary have the right to use what belongs to her anyway she sees fit? Yes, she does. Do Christians have the right to do with their own property any way they see fit? Yes, they do. They answer to God, only.

Verse 10 – But when Jesus was aware of it, He said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me.

Verse 11 – “For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always.

Verse 12 – “For in pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she did it for My burial.

Verse 13 – “Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.”

And is this still talked about today? Yes, it is.

Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus

Verse 14 – Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests.

Verse 15 – and said, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?” and they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver.

Verse 16 – So from that time he sought opportunity to betray Him.

Judas thought like many did, that Jesus would start a revolt against the Roman government. When Judas realized that Jesus kingdom was not physical or political, but spiritual, he decided to gain favor from the religious leaders.

Matthew alone records the exact amount of money Judas accepted to betray Jesus. Thirty silver coins was the amount to buy a slave.

Verse 17 – Now on the first day of the Feast of the Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying to Him, “Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat Passover?”

Verse 18 – And He said, “Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, ‘The teacher says, “My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at your house with My disciples.” ‘ ”

Verse 19 – So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them; and they prepared the Passover.

The Passover is Celebrated

Verse 20 – Now when evening had come, He sat down with the twelve.

Verse 21 – Now as they were eating, He said “Assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.”

Jesus only considered Judas’ betrayal, not Peter’s when he denied him. Maybe because Judas did it out of gain and Peter did it because he was scared. However, Jesus could see into the heart and the true intentions.

Verse 22 – And they were exceedingly sorrowful, and each of them began to say to Him, “Lord, is it I?”

Verse 23 – Then He answered and said, “He who dipped his hand with Me in the dish will betray Me.

Verse 24 – “The Son of Man goes as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.”

God’s purpose in His redemption plan did not force Judas to betray Him. He did it of his own free will. He did exactly what his wicked heart prompted him to do.

Verse 25 – Then Judas, who was betraying Him, answered and said, “Rabbi, is it I?” He said to him, “You have said it.”

Verse 26 – And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed it and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take eat; this is My body.”

The breaking of the bread represents the sufferings of Jesus was about to take place. Luke says, “This do in remembrance of Me.” In other words: As I give this broken bread to you to eat, so will I deliver My body to be afflicted and slain for your sins.

Verse 27 – Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to the, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.

The “Bread” was taken while they were eating, the cup after they were done eating.

Verse 28 – “For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

A covenant was sealed by a sacrifice. In the old covenant, the people could only approach God through a priest and an animal sacrifice. This old covenant had only been a foreshadow of the new covenant to come. Jesus is the final sacrifice for sin. Why, because He is the perfect, without blemish, sacrifice, the Lamb of God. Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin. The punishment for sin is death, and Jesus took our place and received the punishment that was due every one of us!

Verse 29 – “But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the wine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”

Jesus assured His disciples of victory over death and a future with Him. The next few hours, however, would look like a defeat. Please, don’t ever give up on the One who died and rose again for you. It may appear to look like there is no victory in sight, but God’s not finished until “He says it’s finished!”

Peter’s Denial Is Predicted

Verse 30 – And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Verse 31 – Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: ‘I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ (Zechariah 13:7)

Verse 32 – “But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.”

Verse 33 – Peter answered and said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.”

None of us know just how feeble we are until we are tested. Luke adds that Satan had desired to have him, that he might sift him as wheat. But Jesus says that He prayed for him that his faith should not fail, and charged that when he turned form this sin, to strengthen his brethren.

Verse 34 – Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.”

Verse 35 – Peter said to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” And so said all the disciples.

Verse 36 – Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.”

This garden was on the west side of Mount Olives and a short distance from Jerusalem. This was not a vegetable garden but one where olive trees were planted. It was far enough away from Jerusalem that it would be quiet from the noise of the city. Luke’s gospel, in 22:40, says that Jesus told the disciples to pray that they might not enter temptation.

Verse 37 – And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed.

Jesus took Peter, James, and John, went a little further away from the rest of the disciples.

Verse 38 – Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”

Because of the anguish of His coming death and being separated form His Father, Jesus can relate to our suffering. Jesus strength to endure would come directly from God the Father, who is also our source.

Verse 39 – He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.

In the Old Testament, the cup is often the image of divine wrath and judgment. The cup that Jesus faced was God’s wrath against sin. Taking on the sins of the world was an agony so great, that we can’t even imagine what it was like. The sinless Son of God took our sins and the punishment upon Himself, so that we wouldn’t have to suffer and be forever separated for the Father. It takes a tremendous amount of trust to say, “Your will be done, not mine.”

Verse 40 – Then He came to the disciples and found them asleep, and said to Peter, “What, could you not watch with Me one hour?

Verse 41 – “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Watch therefore, be on guard for the possibilities of temptations, be sensitive to your surrounding.Temptation will strike where we are most vulnerable.

Verse 42 – He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.”

Luke 22:43, says, “Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him.”

Verse 43 – And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy.

Verse 44 – So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.

Verse 45 – Then He came to His disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.

Verse 46 – “Rise, let us be going. See, he who betrays Me is at hand.”

Verse 47 – And while He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and elders of the people.

Judas was aware that Jesus often came here, away from the crowds to pray. This couldn’t have happened in broad daylight because the people would have over powered them.

Verse 48 – Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him.”

This was not an arrest by Roman soldiers, but by the religious leaders. Jewish men did not kiss other men publicly except on formal occasions. Judas’ kiss was one of shame and hypocrisy.

Verse 49 – Then immediately he went up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed Him.

Verse 50 – And Jesus said to him, “Friend, why have you come?” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him.

Jesus knew exactly why Judas had come, but He wanted Judas to think about what he was dong.

Verse 51 – And suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear.

All four gospels record that the ear of the servant’s ear was the servant to the high priest, not a Roman soldier. And John is the only gospel that says it was Peter who struck the ear of the “servant of the high priest.” I just wanted to clear that up.

Verse 52 – Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.

Jesus kingdom would not be advanced with a sword, but by faith and obedience.

Verse 53 – “Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?

Verse 54 – “How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?”

Verse 55 – In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and you did not seize Me.

Verse 56 – “But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled.

Jesus’ heart must have broken when these men that had been so close to Him fled. If we want to see who truly is our friends, go through a hardship or crises, and see who sticks with you till the end.

Verse 57 – And those who had laid hold of Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled.

Please take note: This is all taking place at night. This was all done illegally, because the law said a trial had to take place in daylight.

Verse 58 – But Peter followed Him at a distance to the high priest’s courtyard. And he went in and sat with the servants to see the end.

This reminds me of people who only want to be associated with Jesus at a distance, a spectator. Or those who don’t mind mentioning “God,” because it can be any god. But will not say “Jesus, ” because that defines which God!

Verse 59 – Now the chief priests, the elders, and all the council sought false testimony against Jesus to put Him to death,

Verse 60 – but found none. Even though many false witnesses came forward, they found none. But at least two false witnesses came forward

Verse 61 – and said, “This fellow said, “I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.’ ”

The Sanhedrin was the most powerful religious and political body of the Jewish people. The Roman government gave the people the power to handle religious and some civil disputes. However, a death sentence had to be approved by the Romans.

The witnesses had perverted what Jesus said and what He meant. Jesus actually said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up  (John 2:19).” Jesus was referring to His own body. We should be very cautious when quoting scripture not to add or take away.

Verse 62 – And the high priest arose and said to Him, “Do You answer nothing? What is it that these men testify against You?”

Verse 63 – But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, “I adjure You by the living God that You tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God.”

Verse 64 – Jesus said to him, “It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

Jesus told them exactly who He was. However, they considered this statement to be blasphemy and worthy of death.

Verse 65 – Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, “He has spoken blasphemy! What further need do we have of witness? Look, now you have heard His blasphemy!

Verse 66 – “What do you think?” They answered and said, “He is deserving of death.”

Verse 67 – Then they spat in His face and beat Him; and others struck Him with the palms of their hands,

Verse 68 – saying, “Prophesy to us, Christ! Who is the one who struck You?”

Mark says they blindfolded Him (Mark 14:65). I think we all need to read what all Jesus went through more often than just at Easter. We need to be reminded of the humility He suffered for us all. Maybe then, it will keep us where we need to be in how we treat others.

Verse 69 – Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard. and a servant girl came to him, saying, “You also were with Jesus of Galilee.”

Verse 70 – But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you are saying.”

Verse 71 – And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth.”

Verse 72 – But again he denied with an oath, “I do not know this Man!”

In other words, Peter was saying, “May God strike me dead if I am lying!”

Verse 73 – And after a while those who stood by came to him and said to Peter, “Surely you also are one of them, because your speech betrays you.”

Peter’s speech from Galilee distinguished him from others, maybe in pronunciation of certain words or phrases.

Verse 74 – Then he began to curse and swear, saying, “I do not know the Man!” And immediately a rooster crowed.

Verse 75 – And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times. Then he went out and wept bitterly.

Luke mentions that when the cock crew, Jesus turned and looked upon Peter. The consciousness of deep and awful guilt rushed over Peter’s soul.

The danger of self-confidence. “He that thinketh he standeth should take heed lest he fall”, 1 Corinthians 10:12. Peter repented through deep sorrow proportioned to the nature of the offence he had committed. Though Christians may go astray and fall into sin, we have a loving Father who forgives. However, he who sins with the expectation of “Just saying, I’m sorry, ” is not a true believer at all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matthew – Chapter 25

Parable of the Ten virgins

Again Jesus stresses what it means to be ready for His return. Every person is responsible for their own spiritual condition.

Verse 1 – “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.

Verse 2 – “Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish.

The wise virgins were prepared. The foolish had neglected, put off preparing for the bridegroom, Christ.

Verse 3 – “Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them,

Verse 4 – “but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

We can’t wait till the last-minute to start trusting and believing in Christ. We can’t get what it takes a life time to learn in the last five minutes of your life. Now, in the same sense, what is taking place here is the church, the body of believers, are waiting on Christ’s return, which is our Bridegroom. Some will be ready to meet Him, and some won’t.

Verse 5 – “But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.

Verse 6 – “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!”

The trumpet will sound. All those who have watched and prayed and longed for His coming will be ready.

Verse 7 – “Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps.

They removed the burned part of the linen torch, so that it would burn clear, then dip again in oil to make it last. This strikingly represents the conduct of people who are not ready for death. They begin to make ready; they ask for the aid of others, because they lived for themselves their whole life.

Verse 8 – “And the foolish said to the wise, “Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’

Verse 9 – “But the wise answered, saying, “No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell and buy for yourselves.’

Verse 10 – “And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.

There were those who were prepared and waiting and entered into the marriage. These are those who had repented, not with just lip-service, and truly believed on the Lord Jesus, who lived a holy life. When all believers are with Christ, the door, so to speak, will be shut. There are no second chances after death, contrary to what some believe.

Verse 11 – “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’

Verse 12 – “But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’

This is applied to those professing Christians, that only profess religion. They only went through the motions, with no real relationship with the Son.

Verse 13 – “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.

Many, even professing Christians will be engaged in the affairs of the world, thoughtless about eternity, not interested in living their lives to represent the kingdom. They will profess to know God, but in works and good deeds, deny Him. Some will begin, like the foolish virgins, begin to prepare too late.

Parables of the Talents

Verse 14 – “For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them.

This man getting ready to go away for a while, entrusted all his possessions to his servants, apostles, Christian ministers, professing Christians.

Verse 15 – “And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey.

He gave, according to each one’s ability to handle what was given. That way if they failed, no one could say they were overwhelmed. Failure could only come through laziness or hatred toward the master. These talents represent any kind of resource we are given. The issue is not how much we have, but will we use what we have to the best of our ability.

Verse 16 – “Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents.

Verse 17 – “And likewise he who had received two gained two more also.

Verse 18 – “But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money.

Any situation and talent is honorable, and may be useful, where God has place us. God gives us the ability to do what He has called us to do. some people think they can do nothing for the kingdom because they don’t have the same talents, gifts or abilities as others, so they do nothing. It is more of a humble heart, that is required to do good. A humble Christian, by their life, example, and conversation, may often do more than those in elevated possessions.

Verse 19 – “After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.

The will be judged according to our works-deeds, whether good or bad.

Verse 20 – ” So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.

Have you improved your abilities; have you developed your gifts; have you given time and money to further the kingdom or help others?

Verse 21 – “His lord said to him, “Well done good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’

Doing what needs to be done, out of our love for Christ, will motivate us in whatever needs to be accomplished.

Verse 22 – “He also who had received two talents  came and said, ‘Lord you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.

Verse 23 – “His lord said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things. I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’

Verse 24 – “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed.

No one will be excused for neglecting their duty of what is required of a follower of Christ. Some people think of God like this man did – “a hard man.” They think He is always judging and making standards and rules that no one can follow. They don’t know the goodness and kindness side of the Father.

Verse 25 – “And I was afraid and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.”

This is the impression of God to sinners. They think He is cruel, hard, and unjust. But the truth is people, themselves are stingy, self-centered, and thoughtless of others.

Verse 26 – “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed.

God will not only judge people for doing wrong, but not doing what is right when they know to do so. Look what James 4:17 says: Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin. Let that sink in, the next time you have the ability and resources to help someone and you ignore it.

Verse 27 – ‘Therefore you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received by my own with interest.

Verse 28 – “Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.

Verse 29 – “for to everyone who has more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.

To those who are faithful to the kingdom, devoting time, talent, resources, and abilities, more will be given – rewarded. To those who have no intention of giving time, talent, resources, and abilities, to the work of the kingdom, even what they have will be taken away.

Verse 30 – ‘And cast the unprofitable servant into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

If this servant who did nothing to advance or multiply what the master had given was cast into outer darkness, what do you think is going to happen to those who abuse their talents, destroy by drunkenness, and lust, and squander what God has given them?

Judgment of the Gentiles

Verse 31 – “When the son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.

Verse 32 – “All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.

Verse 33 – “And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on His left.

The sheep are the righteous and the goats are the unbelievers. This will be  horrifying moment for all those who thought God and His word was a bunch of poppy-cock! And there will also be those who thought they were saved, but God saw their heart, and they realized they had been so wrong.

Verse 34 – “Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

Christ doesn’t force anyone to believe or follow Him. We all have a free will to choose which side we will stand on at the Judgment!

Verse 35 – “For I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in;

By showing kindness to the poor, the needy, and the sick, people show that they possess God’s Spirit, for Jesus did it while on earth. They show they have the right Spirit to enter heaven.

Verse 36 – ‘I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

Verse 37 – “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?

Verse 38 – ‘When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?

Verse 39 – ‘Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’

Verse 40 – “And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

Humble and compassionate treatment of Jesus followers, shows acceptance of the gospel that they proclaim. They practiced what they believe.

Verse 41 – “Then He will also say to those on the left hand. Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels;

Verse 42 – ‘for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink;

Verse 43 – ‘I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’

Verse 44 – “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’

Verse 45 – “Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the last of these, you did not do it to Me.’

Verse 46 – “And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Now that we have finished chapters 24 and 25 in Matthew, is there any question who goes to heaven and who goes to eternal punishment? You must be born-again and this will be “a transformed heart – spirit.” The journey doesn’t stop there. We continue to trust, believe, and do the Father’s will. We learn what the Father’s will is by reading and studying His precious word. Our goal should be to make sure our names are written in the “Lambs Book of Life!” Our actions and behavior does matter. Jesus just showed us that they do by the parables He gave us. He is always watching how we treat and what we say to others. Sow sparingly and you will reap sparingly. (2 Corinthians 9:6)

 

 

 

Matthew – Chapter 24

The Temple to Be Destroyed

Verse 1 – Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came to Him to show Him the buildings of the temple.

Verse 2 – And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”

The disciples must have stood in astonishment of what Jesus just said. This temple was constructed of blocks of white limestone that measured 37.5 feet long, 12 feet high, and 18 feet wide. Some of the blocks weighed nearly 400 ton. So sad that in 40 years, 70 A.D., the Roman armies, under the command of Titus, destroyed it.

Verse 3 – Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

From the Mount of Olives, Jesus had a perfect view of the whole city. Not all the disciples went up with Him. Mark 13:3, says Peter, James, John, and Andrew were there.

Verse 4 – And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you.

Verse 5 – “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am Christ,’ and will deceive man.

Anytime we start looking for signs, we become susceptible to being deceived. The only way to not be deceived is to stick to scripture. Down through history, people have set dates and have been wrong, but many still followed or believed.

Verse 6 – “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

Are there wars going on now? Yes. Are there threats of wars? Yes. The end is not yet.

Verse 7 – “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. and there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.

Verse 8 – “All these things are the beginning of sorrows.

Verse 9 – “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.

This statement is directed to Jesus disciples and future Christians. Stephen was stoned, James was killed by Herod, in addition all the others were persecuted and died because of their faith. This persecution continues today, brought on by another religion that opposes everything the Christian stands for. However, there is coming a time when Christians will be beheaded, when the “Antichrist” rules for a time.

Verse 10 – “And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.

Many will stumble, apostatize from a profession of religion. Many who “professed” to love Me will show that they had no real attachment to Me, in those trying times. The time will come when the true believers will be in hiding, but will be betrayed by others as to where they are. This hatred for the Christian has been, and yet will intensify in the latter days.

Verse 11 – “Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.

This occurred during and after Jesus time, but we see this more today with people claiming, “God said…!”

Verse 12 – “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.

Verse 13 – “But he who endures to the end shall be saved.

We may not be facing intense persecution where we live, but people in other parts of the world are. With false teaching and loose morals comes a destructive disease – the loss of true love for God and others. Sin cools your love for God and others by turning your focus on yourself. We have to stay strong in our faith until we draw our last breath, no matter what happens.

Verse 14 – “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations and then the end will come.

There are millions of Bibles in print, in every language; pastors, preachers, missionaries, and Christians all around the world preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When the final judgement comes, man will be without excuse.

Verse 15 – “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place , whoever reads, let him understand,

Verse 16 – “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.

This abomination of desolation has two future events. The one spoke of by Daniel in which the Roman army standing in the holy city, encamped around the temple. The Romans brought their idols into the temple and placed them over the eastern gate, and sacrificed to them there (Daniel 9:26, 27; 11:31; and 12:11).

This second reference is found in Revelation chapter 13, where the statue of the beast is probably set up in the third temple that is yet to be built. The mountains of Palestine abound in caves and will be a safe retreat for those being pursued either by the Roman army in 70 A.D. or the future after the beast sets up his image.

Verse 17 – “Let him who is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of the house.

Verse 18 – “And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes.

Verse 19 – “But woe to those who are pregnant and to those with nursing babies in those days!

Verse 20 – “And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath.

The only thing I can think of that this verse refers to is: The gates to the city were closed on the Sabbath and there was a law that the Jews obeyed that they could only go the distance of “a Sabbath’s Day Journey, so this may be concerning when the Roman’s attacked Jerusalem.

Verse 21 – “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.

Luke describes this event in Luke 21:24 – “And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. The time that the Gentiles have control over Jerusalem is limited.

Verse 22 – “And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.

The “elect” here means Christians. Elect; to choose, chosen to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth (1 Peter 1:2).

Verse 23 – “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it.

Verse 24 – “For false Christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to deceive, if possible, even the elect.

How do people know an object is counterfeit? By studying the real thing, over and over, until they know the difference. So in these last days, don’t neglect your Bible. The truth and the evidence is all in there. Know it so well that it becomes a part of your being and it will be almost impossible for you to be deceived!

Verse 25 – “See, I have told you beforehand.

Verse 26 – “Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it.

Only a solid foundation in God’s Word can equip us to perceive the errors and distinctions in false teaching. Don’t be caught off guard when a new prophet comes to town with signs and wonders. It takes an in-filling of God’s Spirit to know the difference.

The Second Coming

Verse 27 – “For as the lightning comes form the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.

This does not mean Jesus will come from the east, it means He will come in a rapid and unexpected manner, like lightning.

Verse 28 – “For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gatherer together.

Verse 29 – “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

Verse 30 – “Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

During the time of the “great tribulation on earth, many will be beheaded for their faith. These are those that turn to Christ after the rapture of the saints. The bodies will pile up. Immediately following these events, the sun and moon will go dark and the stars will fall from the sky. There will be mourning and great sorrow because unbelievers realize they have chosen the wrong side to stand for. When they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds, all eyes on the earth will see Him and know it’s too late to change their minds and hearts.

Verse 31 – “And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds form one end of heaven to another.

What Jesus says is very plain and clear: The elect, Christians, Saints, that are in heaven will be gathered by a trumpet. This also includes those who are dead after the tribulation started, that were converted to believe in Christ. Keep in mind; Jesus said gathered from the four winds from one end of heaven to another, not the earth.

Revelation 19:11-14 – (Verse 11) Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. (Verse 12) His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. (Verse 13) He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. (Verse 14) And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.

The saints are with Him dressed in their wedding apparel, because this is after the “Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

Verse 32 – “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know summer is near.

Verse 33 – “So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near, at the very doors.

Verse 34 – “Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things are fulfilled.

Jesus is not talking about the destruction of Jerusalem 40 years after His ascension. He is not talking about the generation that was then. Why? Because He has not yet been seen on a cloud with the gathered elect from heaven. That hasn’t happened yet! He’s talking about the generation that sees all these things happen that He just mentioned. Is it our generation? Only haven knows.

Verse 35 – “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

Everything that is in God’s word is true and will come to pass. We are to live our lives as though His return can be any minute. If we continue to live like that, we will be ready upon His return!

Illustration of the Days of Noah

Verse 36 – “But of that day and hour no one knows, no, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.

Verse 37 – “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.

The world will be found as it was then. His second coming will be sudden and unexpected by the unbelievers. Believers know He is coming, just not when.

Verse 38 – “For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,

As it is now; conducting business as usual; never giving a thought to God or His coming. Noah preached God’s judgment 120 years before He and his family entered the ark. Do we not have millions of Bibles in circulation and thousands upon thousands preaching God’s Word? We have had our warnings.

Verse 39 – “And did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man  be.

People are unconcerned, could care less about anything other than themselves. This was the attitude then, as it is now.

Verse 40 – “Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left.

The choice we make now, while living, will determine our eternal destiny.

Verse 41 – “Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left.

Verse 42 – “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.

Verse 43 – “But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into.

Verse 44 – Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not expect Him.

1 Thessalonians 5:6 – Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. Sober means exactly what it’s supposed to mean – in self-control, watching and anticipating His second coming.

Illustration of the Two Servants

Verse 45 – “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season?

Verse 46 – “Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing.

Verse 47 – “Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods.

What will the Lord find us doing when He returns? As Christians, we are stewards, this is not our home. All that has been given us is only temporary, but we still are to take care of things. For instance; if you have a ministry, feed the flock; do you have a home, take care of it; everything we have can be used to represent God’s kingdom as a witness of His goodness.

Verse 48 – “But if that evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’

Verse 49 – “and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards,

Verse 50 – “the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of,

Verse 51 – “and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

We should live our lives as though each day Christ could return. Never with the attitude, “I can live as I wish because He’s not coming today.” Ministers especially, are to feed their flocks, not beat them up every Sunday. Always be watchful, and yes, it does matter that others are watching our actions!

 

 

 

 

 

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)

 

 

 

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.