Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Matthew – the Gospel of Fulfillment   Summary Acronym

Here's a summary to remember the message of this Gospel:

F     Follow Jesus                             4:19  /  9:9  /  19:21 
U    Understand                                13:14-15 
L     Law of LOVE                             22:37-40 
F    Foundation                                 7:24-27  /  13:35
I     Impossible apart from Jesus      5:20-48  /  19:23-26
L    Lost Sheep                                 10:5-7  /  15:24  /  18:11
L    Last to be like Jesus                   19:30  /  20:16, 26  /  23:11  
M   Messiah                                      1:1  / 8:27  /  9:2-8  /  11:2-6  / 16:16  /  26:63 
E    Every Word of God                     4:4
      Every Disease & Illness              4:23-24  /  8:1-17  /  9:18-38  /  12:15 
N   Narrow Gate / Not                       7:13-14,  21-23
T    Take up your Cross                     10:38  /  16:24

Matthew, the Jewish Tax Collector wants us to understand there's no one like Jesus.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Matthew – the Gospel of Fulfillment  Chapter 28    Your Response

The importance of Jesus and His death for our sins on the cross cannot be over-emphasized and yet without the information in this chapter it would be meaningless.   Without the resurrection of Jesus, His death would have been the result of His own sins, but the resurrection confirms that His death was for our sins and provides us the hope of eternal life.   This chapter presents us with the possibility of 3 responses:

The Women who encountered Jesus  - they Obeyed.
The Soldiers who guarded the grave of Jesus – they Denied what they knew had taken place.
The Disciples – some Doubted the reality of Jesus resurrection initially, until He appeared to them.

There is only one response that results in eternal life in heaven.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Matthew – the Gospel of Fulfillment  Chapter 27     Blood

Perhaps the most important verse and concept of Matthew’s Gospel is verse 25 of this chapter.   Jesus has been handed over to Pilate, the Roman governor, to be crucified. Despite his efforts to prevent the crucifixion, Pilate relents to the demands of the angry mob.  Ceremoniously, he calls for water so he could wash his hands and say to the mob, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to that yourselves.”  And the people respond, “His blood be on us and on our children!”   The remainder of the chapter describes the crucifixion.

What irony.  They were assuming responsibility for demanding the death of Jesus, not realizing the very importance of what they were saying.  Without taking the blood of Jesus on them – His death as the perfect offering for their sin – they would just be like Pilate.   None of us are “innocent” of Jesus’ blood – our sins and His love for us made Him give His life for us.  As the Apostle Paul describes in Romans 5:8-9, “But God demonstrates His own love for us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.”

Is the blood of Jesus on you?

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Matthew – the Gospel of Fulfillment  Chapter 26    Betrayal

Betrayal – what a terrible word and cruel concept.  In this chapter the word is used or implied 12 times and 3 verses summarize well our problem like that of His followers:

Verse 21 – One of you will betray Me.
Verse 31 – You will all fall away because of Me.
Verse 41 – The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

Despite the rejection that Jesus had experienced and the betrayal and denial that was now taking place, what would keep Him determined to suffer an agonizing  death on a cross for us?   Only His Great love and our great need.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Matthew – the Gospel of Fulfillment  Chapter 25    Choices

Jesus makes one last impassioned plea to believe and follow Him before His impending death.  In three stories He presents 3 choices:

Story                                                              Possibility of Two Different Responses
Parable of the 10 Virgins                                Prudent                                 Foolish
Parable of the Talents                                    Good & Faithful                     Lazy & Wicked
Judgment                                                     Listen & Obey                        Ignore & Pretend

The eternal outcome of the choices is either:
·         Verse 34 – “Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”
·         Verse 46 – “These will go away into eternal punishment but the righteous to eternal life.”

Choose wisely.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Matthew – the Gospel of Fulfillment Chapter 24     Misleading

This chapter has to do with what can be expected to happen between the death of Jesus and His second coming to establish His kingdom.   We’re all interested in what the future holds and many are fascinated with “the end times.”   It’s so easy in a passage like this to get caught up in the minutia and miss the most important message – verse 4 – “See to it that no one misleads you.”   In 28 verses, the warning not to be misled is repeated 4 times and other expressions such as “falling away” and “love growing cold” are mentioned as well.

Satan and this world in which we live are all about misleading us, and presenting opportunities for us to make bad choices.    Jesus’ indicates the right way – “the one who endures to the end will be saved.”   Meaning, by faith believe that Jesus’ death on the cross was for the forgiveness of your sins and hold onto that faith tenaciously until death takes you from this life.  

Although there is no indication of this in the Bible, imagine if people in hell could sue Satan for misrepresentation, libel and false statements?  Unfortunately, it will be too late for any just settlement.

Make your choice of direction now.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Matthew – the Gospel of Fulfillment Chapter 23    Woes for Hypocrites

This is one of the most unfortunate descriptions that Jesus gave about those who should have recognized who He is and why He had come.  But just the opposite is true.   Consider His description of the “religious” – those who had decided to come to God how they believed was right, rather than by what God had said:

1.       You do not enter the kingdom of heaven and prevent others as well.
2.       You ignore the Great Commandment and strive for outward pious appearance.
3.       You keep the people from coming to God.
4.       You are blind guides more concerned about material things.
5.       You meticulously observe your own man-made laws and ignore justice, mercy and faithfulness.
6.       You are meticulous about eating utensils, but ignore the deceit and selfishness within them.
7.       You are like white washed tombs, but full of death, hypocrisy and lawlessness.
8.       You are like your fore-fathers, you also will kill God’s messenger.

And yet as Jesus made these observations He did not do so to condemn them (or us), but to get them to see the error of their ways.  He was extending them the opportunity to repent (change the direction of their lives) and come into a relationship with God through Him.  The offer doesn’t expire until you do.