Charles’s quotes

"It is surely ours to combine these elements of mourning for sin and joy in our salvation in one complex and composite experience which keeps us perpetually humble and yet perpetually joyful too."— Rev William Still

Showing posts with label Search the Scriptures. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Search the Scriptures. Show all posts

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Search the Scriptures: 2 Chronicles

“Give me wisdom and knowledge so that I may lead these people ... This great people of Yours” (2 Chronicles 1:10). Wisdom is not given to us for our own benefit, It is given to us for the benefit of others - so that we might lead them to the Lord. We are to follow in the footsteps of our Lord. He “came not to be served but to serve” (Mark 10:45).
“I want to build the Temple for the Lord my God. I want to dedicate it to Him” (2 Chronicles 2:4). Everything that we do is to be done for God. Everything that we do is to be dedicated to Him. This is the lesson that we learn from Solomon and the building of the Temple. We are to do all things for the glory of God. He alone is worthy of our praise. We are not only to worship Him in the place of worship and at the time set aside for worship. We are to worship Him all of the time, wherever we are. We are to praise Him in His House. We are to continue to praise Him, as we go out from His House to the world.
The building of the Temple - It was “the Lord’s Temple” (2 Chronicles 3:1). It was being built “for the Lord’s Name” (2 Chronicles 2:1). The glory of the Lord - This must never be forgotten. There is nothing more important than this. God is to be glorified. This was the reason for the building of the Temple.This must be the driving force in our lives - in everything we do. Let God be glorified in all things. Blessing will only come to us when we give the glory to God. We must not seek glory for ourselves.
“The Lord’s glory filled the Lord’s Temple” (2 Chronicles 5:14), The emphasis is not on Solomon. It is the Lord who must be the focus of our attention. It is the Lord who is to receive glory. Solomon emphasizes this: “I’ve built the Temple for the Name of the Lord God of Israel” (2 Chronicles 6:11). In his prayer (2 Chronicles 6:14-42), Solomon prays for “salvation” (2 Chronicles 6:41). He does not only pray for himself. He prays for others. He prays that they will come to God, praying for “salvation”. He asks God to hear and answer these prayers.
The continuation of God’s blessing is conditional on the continuation of Israel’s obedience. The Temple does not guarantee the continuation of God’s blessing: “If you and your descendants turn away from Me ... I will reject this Temple that I declared holy for My Name. I will make it an example and an object of ridicule for all the people of the world” (2 Chronicles 7:19-20). These are God’s words of warning. He also gives His promise of blessing to those who turn to Him - “If My people ...” (2 Chronicles 7:14-16).
The grandeur of Solomon was most impressive. After reading about all of his glory, we come to the point where he dies. This is a reminder that we cannot take our riches with us. It’s a reminder of Jesus’ words: “Do not lay up treasures on earth.Lay up treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:19-20), We must never lose sight of the eternal dimension of our life.
In the history of Israel, there were low points - “all Israel abandoned the Lord’s teaching” (2 Chronicles 12:1) - as well as high points - “Asa did what the Lord his God considered right and good” (2 Chronicles 14:2). Even Asa was not consistently faithful to the Lord. Despite the statement, “Asa remained committed to the Lord his entire life” (2 Chronicles 15:17), there are signs that, at the end of his life, his faith was not as strong as it should have been. God is calling us to move forward in faith and obedience. He is calling us to walk in His ways all the days of our life.
The reign of Jehoshaphat was a good reign. He was the “king of Judah” (2 Chronicles 20:31). He was very different from “King Ahab of Israel” (2 Chronicles 18:3). Good kings, bad kings - Each has his influence on the people: a good influence, a bad influence. Reading about these things makes us think about ourselves and the influence we have on other people. Is it good or bad? What about our own commitment to the Lord? Is it real? Is it changing us - and others?
We live in difficult times. Many are choosing to do what is ‘evil in the sight of the Lord’ (2 Chronicles 21:6). We must make another choice, a better choice. We must choose to ‘be the Lord’s people’ (2 Chronicles 23:16). In this time of great darkness, we have ‘the lamp of the Lord’: ‘Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path’ (2 Chronicles 21:7; Proverbs 20:27; Psalm 119:105). We must let His lamp shine brightly: ‘Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven’ (Matthew 5:16). The darkness will not overcome the light (John 1:5). Satan will be ‘slain by the sword’. He will be ‘thrown down’. All God’s people, from every land, will rejoice - ‘Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ’ (2 Chronicles 23:21; Revelation 12:9; 5:9; 1 Corinthians 15:57).
‘He turned away from the Lord’ (2 Chronicles 25:27). Things have not changed. Many are turning away from the Lord. We must search our hearts. We must pray for God’s help: ‘Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me, and know my thoughts! And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!’ (Psalm 139:24). We read about the kings who ‘turned away from the Lord’. We must learn from their mistakes. These things are ‘recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet unborn may praise the Lord’ (Psalm 102:18). If we don’t learn from their mistakes, we will repeat their mistakes. Don’t turn away from the Lord. Turn to Him. May God help us to live as His faithful people - ‘Be watchful, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong’ (1 Corinthians 16:13).
We must not take God’s blessing for granted. King Uzziah began well - ‘He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord... He set himself to seek God’ (2 Chronicles 26:4-5). Things went wrong - ‘When he was strong he grew proud’ and ‘he was false to the Lord his God’ (2 Chronicles 26:16). We must choose to live the Lord’s way - King Jotham ‘did what was right in the eyes of the Lord’. Even when we do this, it does not guarantee that others will follow our example - ‘the people still followed corrupt practices’ (2 Chronicles 27:2). In times of trouble, we can become bitter people - ‘In his time of trouble King Ahaz became even more unfaithful to the Lord’ - or better people - ‘the God of all comfort ... comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble...’ (2 Chronicles 28:22; 2 Corinthians 1:3-4). Bitter or better - Which will it be?
God is calling us to be holy - ‘Now sanctify yourselves, and sanctify the House of the Lord, the God of your fathers, and carry out the filth from the holy place’ (2 Chronicles 29:5). Before there can be true rejoicing in the Lord - ‘they sang praises with gladness’ - , there must be real dedication to the Lord - ‘We have cleansed all the House of the Lord’ (30,18). Before there can be rejoicing, there must be restoration (2 Chronicles 29:35-36). We may pray, ‘Restore, O Lord, the honour of Your Name!’. We must also pray, ‘Cleanse me from my sin, Lord’. The prayer for revival begins with the dedication of our own lives to the Lord - ‘O Holy Ghost, revival comes from Thee; send a revival - start the work in me’ (Mission Praise, 579, 82, 587). Revival can happen ‘suddenly’ (2 Chronicles 29:36). It will not happen without a true return to the Lord.
We are called to ‘return to the Lord’. With this call comes God’s promise: ‘the Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn His face from you, if you return to Him’ (2 Chronicles 30:9). Where does the desire to return to the Lord come from? - It comes from the Lord Himself: ‘the hand of the Lord was on the people to give them one heart to do what the king and the princes commanded by the Word of the Lord’ (2 Chronicles 30:12). Returning to the Lord, we hear His Word of forgiveness: ‘The good Lord pardon every one who sets his heart to seek God’. We rejoice in the Gospel - ‘The vilest offender who truly believes, that moment from Jesus a pardon receives’. ‘ The Lord has blessed His people’. We rejoice in Him - ‘Praise the Lord!... Let the people rejoice’ and ‘let the earth hear His voice’ (2 Chronicles 30:18-19, 10; Mission Praise, 708).
Seek God and serve God. This is what King Hezekiah did - ‘he did what was good and right and faithful before the Lord his God,... seeking his God... with all his heart’ (2 Chronicles 31:20-21). Seek God and serve God. This is what we must do. God was good to Hezekiah - ‘the Lord saved Hezekiah...’ (2 Chronicles 32:22). God is good to us. He saves us. To ‘all the ends of the earth’, He says, ‘Turn to Me and be saved’ (Isaiah 45:22). He calls us to come to Him through Jesus Christ, ‘the Saviour of the world’ (John 4:42). It is so easy to forget the Lord. Hezekiah was delivered from death yet he did not thank the Lord (2 Chronicles 32:24-25). We may forget the Lord, but He does not forget us. He waits for us to return to Him and receive His forgiveness - ‘the Lord is merciful and gracious... He does not deal with us according to our sins...’ (2 Chronicles 32:26; Psalm 108:8-13).
Good work can be very quickly undone - ‘Manasseh... did what was evil in the sight of the Lord... he rebuilt the high places which his father Hezekiah had broken down, and set up altars to other gods...’ (2 Chronicles 33:1-3). We must be careful to follow the godly example of those who have served the Lord well. In Hebrews 11, we read about God’s faithful servants. They served the Lord in their day. We are to serve Him in our day - ‘surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,... let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus...’ (Hebrews 12:1-2). Bad work can also be undone if, like King Josiah, we are ready to make a new beginning with God (2 Chronicles 34:1-4). He was only ‘eight years old when he began to reign’. Pray that the children will start loving God now and keep loving Him as they grow older.
During the reign of King Josiah, there was spiritual revival (2 Chronicles 34:33). Where did this spiritual revival come from? It came from God. It came from the rediscovery of God’s Word. Where was the Word of the Lord found? - It was found ‘in the House of the Lord’ (2 Chronicles 34:15). God speaks to us through His Word. Beyond the written Word, there is Jesus Christ, the living Word. The Word of God is preached to us. We listen for the Voice of Jesus Christ, the true and living Word of God. God is speaking His Word in power. This is much more than the opening of a book. It is the opening of our hearts to the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit is poured into our hearts (Romans 5:5). It is the opening of our hearts by the Spirit of God. Through the Spirit, ‘rivers of living water’ flow out from our hearts (John 7:37-39).
Josiah had been a good king, but ‘he did not listen to the words of Neco from the mouth of God’. His mistake was very costly. He ‘fought’. He was ‘shot’ and ‘badly wounded’. He ‘died’ and was ‘buried’ (2 Chronicles 35:22-24). Be careful in your listening to God”s Word. Failure to obey His Word will be costly: ‘How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?’ (Hebrews 2:3). After Josiah’s time, there was terrible spiritual decline. Beginning with Jehoahaz (1-2; 2 Kings 23:31-32), the kings ‘did what was evil in the sight of the Lord’ (2 Chronicles 36:5,9,11-12). Was there any hope for the future? - Yes! ‘The Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia... to build Him a House at Jerusalem’. Like Cyrus, we must say to our neighbours, ‘Let us go to the House of the Lord’ (2 Chronicles 36:22-23; Psalm 122:1). His time of blessing may not be far away!

Monday, 27 August 2018

Search The Scriptures: John's Gospel

"The Light shines in the dark, and the dark has never extinguished it" (John 1:5).
Jesus is the Light of the world. We are to be like John, who said, "Make the way for the Lord straight" (John 1:23). Like John, we are to say, "Look! This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). When we are faithful, we will see others being brought to the Saviour. At the beginning of their faith, they will be filled with the joy of the Lord. Like Jesus, we must teach them that there is greater joy, still to come: "You will see the sky open and God's angels going up and coming down to the Son of Man" (John 1:51).
There's a contrast between the two parts of John 2 - the joy of water being turned into wine (John 2:1-12), The seriousness of the money changers being thrown out of the temple courtyard (John 2:13-17). We need both - joy and seriousness; the joy that comes from knowing Jesus, the seriousness of commitment to following Jesus. The rebuilding of our lives comes from the resurrection of Jesus (John 2:18-22). This rebuilding comes to us when we seek to know the reality of the Lord in our lives. This reality comes to us when we seek to be real with God (John 2:23-25).
God's love sent God's Son (John 3:16). God's power brings the new birth (John 3:6-8). God's love and power flow through those who, like John the Baptist, give first place to Jesus - "He must increase in importance, while I must decrease in importance" (John 3:30).
"We have heard Him ourselves" (John 4:42). Conversion comes when we hear more than the voice of the messenger. We hear the voice of the Lord. This is real conversion. This is the new birth that comes from above.
"It was the same time... " (John 4:53) - 'That moment, from Jesus, a pardon receives": God doesn't wait for us to prove ourselves before He rewards us with His salvation. He gives His salvation to us when we put our trust in His Son, our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. This is salvation by grace through faith.
"Jesus was the man who made him well" (John 5:15). What a great Saviour Jesus is! What the Lord does for us - it's for eternity. Jesus is more than a servant of God. He's the Son of God (John 5:19). "The Son gives life to anyone he chooses" (John 5:21). what a joy it is to know that we are not disqualified because of our sin. Our Saviour is greater than our sin. "The wages of sin are death. The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23). Our sin closes the door of heaven. The Saviour opens the door of heaven for us.
Following the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand, Jesus speaks of Himself as the Bread of Life. This is not only about what happened a long time ago. It's about  us. It's about here-and-now. Between the miracle and the Bread of Life, there is Jesus walking on the sea. Again, this is more than an ancient story. This is for us. Jesus is with us in the storms of life. At the end of John 6, there are the wonderful words, "Your words give eternal life" (John 6:68). Jesus can never be left in the past. He's for today. He's for us.
Jesus was so different from the religious leaders of His day. "Streams of living water" (John 7:38): This is what made the difference - the power of the Holy Spirit. They judged "by outward appearance." Jesus "judged correctly" (John 7:24). This was the work of the Spirit in Jesus. God is calling us to follow Jesus - living in the Spirit.
"Jesus said, I don't condemn you either. Go! From now on, don't sin" (John 8:11). We need to hear and say the things that Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery. If we are to have hope for the future, we need more than forgiveness for the past. We need a sense of direction for our way of living, as we move  forward with the Lord into His future. Forgiveness of sin does not lead to continuing in sin. It leads to departing from sin.
Jesus is "the Light of the world" (John 8:12). Without Him, we walk in darkness. He brings us out of His darkness and into His light. He comes to our world. He comes from His world (John 8:23). He brings us into this world. we are still in this world, but we have been given a glimpse, a foretaste, of His world.
"The Truth will set you free ... The Son will set you free" (John 8:32,36). The Son is the truth. The Son speaks the truth. The Son lives the truth. He saves us. He shows us that we need Him, to set us free. We come to Him, our perfect Saviour, and we are set free from our guilty past - forgiveness - and His glorious future - eternal life.
In John 8:37-59, we see authenticity (Jesus) and hypocrisy (the religious leaders). Authenticity - This comes from God, our loving, heavenly Father. Hypocrisy - This comes from the father of lies, the devil. More authenticity, less hypocrisy - This is the way of Jesus, the way into which He calls us, the way we are to travel with Him.
"I do know one thing. I used to be blind, but now I see" (John 9:25). This is the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. What a great Saviour He is! With Him as our Saviour, our eyes are opened to see - and live in a new and wonderful way.
Jesus is "the Good Shepherd" (John 10:11). He gave His life for us. We see this in His crucifixion (John 10:11).   He took His life back again. We see this in His resurrection (John 10:17-18). Through Jesus, crucified for us and risen for us, we have "eternal life" (John 10:28). Jesus is God's Son - and He is our Saviour (John 10:36). May God help us to proclaim Jesus through our whole life - not only our words. May we see a positive response to our witness: "Many people believed in Jesus" (John 10:42).
"Lazarus has died, but I'm glad that I wasn't there so that you can grow in faith" (John 11:15). "I am the One who brings people back to life, and I am life itself" (John 11:25). The Lord is working in us to strengthen our faith in Him. He is our living Saviour. "See how much Jesus loved him" (John 11:30). In the raising of Lazarus, we see more than the power of Jesus. We see the love of Jesus.
"It is better for one man to die for the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed. Caiaphas didn't say this on his own ... he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation. He prophesied that Jesus wouldn't die merely for this nation, but that Jesus would die to bring God's scattered children together and make them one" (John 11:50-52). A purely human analysis will never be enough. We need more than that. We need to see the spiritual dimension.
"The fragrance of the perfume filled the house" (John 12:3). Personal holiness is not something we can keep to ourselves. Its influence spreads. It affects other people - challenging them and inspiring to seek God and pursue holiness.
"At first Jesus' disciples didn't understand what these prophecies meant. However, when Jesus was glorified, the disciples remembered that these prophecies had been written about Him. The disciples remembered that they had taken part in fulfilling these prophecies" (John 12:16). Sometimes, we don't realize what God is doing with us, until later on. Then, we look back, and we say, "Praise the Lord."
"Sir, we would like to meet Jesus" (John 12:21). Where do we meet Jesus? - "When I have been lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people toward Me" (John 12:32). When Jesus was crucified for us, He was showing us how much God loves us. At the Cross, we see the great love of our Saviour - and we see the great love of our heavenly Father. we get to know God through Jesus, His Son - and we know, in our hearts, that we are loved with the best love of all - the love of God.
"Believe in the light so that you will become people whose lives show the light" (John 12:35). What we believe and how we live - both are important. Where believing doesn't lead to living - this is being a secret disciple: "Many rulers believed in Jesus. However, they wouldn't admit it publicly because the Pharisees would have thrown them out of the synagogue. They were more concerned about what people thought of them than about what God thought of them" (John 12:42-43).
"I didn't come to condemn the world but to save the world" (John 12:47). Jesus came to be our Saviour. When, however, we reject His words, we place ourselves under judgment: "Those who reject Me by not accepting what I say have a judge appointed for them. The words that I have spoken will judge them on the last day" (John 12:48). Jesus opens for us the door to "eternal life" - but He will not force us to walk through the door to "eternal life" (John 12:50). He calls us to come. We must choose to come. Grace allows us the freedom to come to the Lord or to turn from Him. Grace gives us the strength that we need to step out of  "the dark" and into "the light" (John 12:46). Jesus is the Light. He calls us on to better things than "the dark
"Jesus loved them to the end" (John 13:1). Jesus' love is endless love. It's everlasting love. It's love without limit. He never stops loving us. He keeps on loving us - to the end. "You don't know what I am doing. You will understand later" (John 13:7). We don't understand everything, all at once. The Lord is leading us step-by-step, into a deeper and richer experience of His love. We don't understand why the Lord loves us. We are sinful. He is holy. We don't need to understand His love. We rejoice in His love. "I'm telling you now before it happens. Then when it happens, you will believe that I am the One" (John 13:19). Jesus is not taken aback bu the turn of events. He knew why He had come to earth. He knew what lay ahead of Him. He looked beyond His crucifixion to His resurrection. Beyond the suffering, there was the glory.  So it was with our Saviour, so it will be with us.
"Hurry! Do what you have to do ... Judas had the moneybag.  So some thought that Jesus was telling him to buy what they needed for the festival or to give something to the poor" (John 13:29). Often, people don't see the full picture. They don't see behind the scenes. Jesus does. He understands. He knows that there is a spiritual battle going on, and He is with us. He gives us His strength.
"You can't follow Me now to the place where I'm going. However, you will follow Me later" (John 13:36). When we will be called home by the Lord is not in our hands. It's in the Lord's hands. We must entrust our eternal salvation into the Lord's hands. Jesus is "the sure and steadfast anchor of our soul" (Hebrews 6:19). The timing of our going to be with the Lord is not known to us. We don't need to know. All we need to know is this - When God decides to call us home, that is enough.
Jesus is the Way to the Father's House. Without Him, there  is no going. He is also the Truth and the  Life. Without Him, there is no knowing and no living (John 14:6). Everything is centred on Jesus. Once, we have taken our focus of attention off Him, we have lost our way. We are moving out of the light and into the darkness, and we have no hope for the future. Let us keep our eyes on Jesus.
"The person who has seen Me has seen the Father" (John 14:9). We look at Jesus, and we learn what God is like. Jesus is the perfect revelation of God's character. In Jesus, we see God's love, holiness and power. Jesus was no ordinary man. He was more than the greatest man who ever lived. From the beginning of his Gospel, John stated the deepest truth concerning Jesus: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God ... The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14).  
"They will do even greater things" (John 14:12). Jesus' ministry was limited to the land of Israel. Now, the Gospel has been taken to the nations of the world. what was started by Jesus has been continued by His people. Jesus was not part of the advance of the Gospel beyond Israel. The reaching out to the nations came after Jesus  had returned to the Father. In His death and resurrection, Jesus, , laid the foundation for the Gospel going out to the whole world, but He did not remain on earth for a long time - to take part in bringing the Gospel to the nations. He left that to others. What a great privilege and a great responsibility! This great privilege was not given to Jesus. He never left Israel. Making disciples of all nations - This was the great responsibility entrusted by Jesus to His first disciples. This great responsibility has been entrusted by Jesus to every generation on believers, since His time on earth.
Jesus speaks of "the Spirit of truth" (John 14:17), "the Holy Spirit" (John 14:26), "the Helper" (John 14:17,26). We need the truth of God. It's the foundation upon which we must build a life of holiness. We build a life of holiness on the foundation of truth, when we receive help from God, through the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth. Without Him, we cannot build on truth, and we cannot live a holy life.
"I have loved you the same way the Father has loved Me. Live in My love" (John 15:9). Love reaches us. Love changes us. Love does not from us to God. It comes from God to us. Once His love has come to us, there is love in our hearts for Him. This love - His love, reaching us and changing us, makes us new: "a new creation in Christ Jesus" (2 Corinthians 5:17). His love, for us, leads us, in love, to serve others for the sake of Jesus (2 Corinthians 4:5).
"In the world you'll have trouble - But cheer up! I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). Jesus speaks with realism. This realism is never pessimism. However dark our situation may be, the light of Christ shines more brightly. This is the basis of our joy. Our Saviour is greater and stronger than our enemy.
"Use the truth to make them holy. Your words are truth" (John 17:17). Jesus has already spoken about "the Spirit of truth, "the Holy Spirit." In our life of faith and obedience, we need both truth and holiness. God has given us His Word. Jesus is His Word. Scripture contains the words that make up the written Word of God. Through God's written Word, Jesus, God's living Word, guides us in the way of truth and holiness.
"Jesus knew everything that was going to happen to Him" (John 18:4). "Shouldn't I drink the cup of suffering that My Father has given Me?" (John 18:11). "It was better to have one man die for the people" (John 18:14). God had a plan. For Jesus, it meant suffering. For us, it means salvation.
What a contrast there is between Peter and Jesus! Peter denies Jesus. Jesus is a faithful witness: "My Kingdom doesn't belong to this world ... My Kingdom doesn't have its origin on earth ... I have been born and have come into this world for this reason: to testify to the truth. everyone who belongs to the truth listens to Me" (John 18:36-37).
"Long live the king of the Jews" (John 19:3). He did live long. He rose from the dead. He is alive forevermore. This is more than "He said that He is the king of the Jews" (John 19:21). The resurrection was God's way of saying, "This is My Son." "He was declared the Son of God, This was shown in a powerful way when He came back to life" (Romans 1:4).
In John 19:28-20:10, we read about Jesus' death burial and resurrection. Without death, there can be no resurrection. Without resurrection, death is the end. Thank God for both the death of Jesus and the resurrection of Jesus.
"Mary!" (John 20:16). Each of us is called by name. "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent Me, so I am sending you" (John 20:21). Peace is not to be kept ourselves. It's to be shared. "My Lord and my God" (John 20:28). These words were spoke by the man who has come to be known as 'doubting Thomas." The Lord brings us out of doubt and into faith.
In John 21, we see Jesus, caring for the gathered fellowship of God's people, and we see him caring for the individual, Peter, who was being called to be the leader of God's people. He teaches us to be fishers of men (John 21:6). He teaches us that serving Him arises out of loving Him (John 21:15-17). In John 21:24-25, we learn that this Gospel is based on "eyewitness" accounts. John tells us that what has been included in this Gospel is what God wanted us to know about Jesus. What we don't need to know has not been included in the Gospel.  

Search The Scriptures: Luke's Gospel

“You will know that what you have been told is true” (Luke 1:4). Historical truth underlies the spiritual truth through which the Spirit brings home to our hearts the meaning of the Gospel. Without the historical truth, there is no Gospel. The Gospel is not based on myth. It is God’s testimony to His truth: truth - unchanged, unchanging and unchangeable. The historical truth of the Gospel is not something that we can set aside, as we search for some deep meaning, which is independent of historical truth.
“He will prepare the people for their Lord” (Luke 1:17). Before the people could come to Jesus, they needed to come to John. The role of the witness is to lead people to Jesus. They come to us with the question, “What do you have to say?” As they listen, they become less interested in what we have to say and more concerned with hearing the Word of the Lord. What is it that leads people beyond the words of man to the Word of God? “He will be filled with the Holy Spirit” (Luke 1:16).
We tend to think of Jesus’ birth as supernatural, and the birth of John the Baptist as natural. It should be noted that it’s in connection with John’s birth that the angel of the Lord says that “nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37). John wasn’t born of a virgin - but his birth did have a supernatural dimension. In both births - Jesus and John, God was at work. He was carrying forward His plan of salvation.
The birth of Jesus and the birth of John are closely connected. God was sending His Son. He was also sending His prophet. The prophet should not be exalted too highly.  His purpose is to exalt the Saviour. As we read about Mary, Elizabeth and Zechariah, we see that each of them gave glory to the Lord. "Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit" (Luke 1:41). "Mary said, My soul praises the Lord's greatness" (Luke 1:46). "Zechariah began to praise God .... Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied" (Luke 1:64-67).
"The glory of the Lord filled the area with light" (Luke 2:9). "The shepherds glorified and praised God for everything they had seen and heard" (Luke 2:20). Our worship is an entering into the glory of the Lord. He reveals His glory to us. He calls us to glorify Him.
There is the recognition that Jesus was special - "My eyes have seen Your salvation" (Luke 2:30) - and the revelation that Jesus was special - "I had to be in My Father's house" (Luke 2:49). How was Jesus special? - He is our Saviour. He is God's Son. The revelation comes to us, and it draws out, from us, the recognition that Jesus, God's Son, is our Saviour.
We move from John to Jesus - from the prophet to the Saviour: In Luke 3, more is said about  John than Jesus. It must, however, be very clear to all that the focal-point is Luke 3:22 - "You are My Son, whom I love, I am pleased with You. "Prepare the way of the Lord" - This was John's ministry. He pointed away from Himself to Jesus. He said, 'Jesus is superior to me. Look away from me. Look to Jesus.'
"Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit" (Luke 4:1). No wonder Satan couldn't triumph over Him! He was also filled with the Word of God. He knew the Word of God, and He knew how to use it. Satan was left with no alternative but to leave Jesus - but he would be back (Luke 4: 13). Satan knows that he cannot prevail against Jesus - but Satan won't take "No" for an answer. He keeps on trying - protesting against the triumph of the Lord Jesus Christ. What we must never forget is this: In our battle against Satan, we stand on the victory of Christ, the victory He won for us. Satan cannot prevail  against Jesus. Jesus makes us "more than conquerors" in Him (Romans 8:37). Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!
"The power of the Spirit was with Him" (Luke 4:14). "He spoke with authority" (Luke 4:32). "Demons came out of many people" (Luke 4:41). Authority over evil, power to triumph over evil - As we read about Jesus, it becomes increasingly clear that He is more than a prophet. He is "the Son of God ... the Messiah."
"Take the boat into deep water, and lower your nets to catch some fish" (Luke 5:4). We need to go deeper with God, if we are to bring others to Him. We see this in the ministry of Jesus - "Large crowds gathered to hear Him and have their diseases cured. But He would go away to places where He could be alone for prayer" (Luke 5:15-16).
"Praising God, he (the healed man) went home" (Luke 5:25). "Everyone was amazed and praised God" (Luke 5:26). One man praising God, many people praising God - praise leads to more praise. Personal praise and corporate praise - we need both: praise that arises in my heart when I think of all that the Lord has done for me, praise that grows stronger when I gather together, with others, for worship.
"Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners? " (Luke 5:30). The Lord's Supper is for sinners. When we sit with the Lord, at His Table, what we're saying is this: 'I'm a sinner. I need a Saviour.' What does Jesus say to us? He says, 'Yes. You are a sinner - and Yes. I am your Saviour.' This is Good News - the Good News of salvation. Jesus says, "I've come to call sinners to change the way they think and act" (Luke 5:32). When Jesus calls us to Himself, He doesn't leave us the way He found us. He changes us - from the inside, to the outside.
The contrast between the old and the new - What are we to take from these parables (Luke 5:33-39)? In the spiritual life, it's the new life that's better than the old life. when we have begun to live the new life in Christ, the old life loses its attraction. We're learning to see things through the eyes of Christ - to desire more of Him, and less of the world, more of the new life, and less of the old life.
"On a day of worship" (Luke 6:1); "On another day of worship" (Luke 6:6) - What is worship? Is it going to Church? Is it singing hymns? Jesus says, 'It's more than that.' Everything we do is to be done in a spirit of worship. We can be too 'holy'? Note that "the bread of the presence" was eaten by David and his men" (Luke 6:3-4). Is God's presence found only in the Temple. Wherever we are, He is there. The healing of the man with the paralyzed hand (Luke 6:8) - Jesus didn't say, 'I can't do this. I should be worshipping.' Jesus healed the man. This was part of His worship. how fitting it is that, on "the day of worship", the Lord healed this man. The point is: We define worship too tightly if we think that we can't offer kindness to our fellow human beings because we're preoccupied with singing praise to God. Let praise be seen in the full range of our life.
"Power was coming from Him and curing all of them" (Luke 6:19). This is the power of God that changes people. What we cannot do for ourselves, He does for us. The Lord Jesus calls us to be "committed" to Him (Luke 6:22). Those who are committed to Him will enjoy His blessing - even when we face much strong opposition.
"I tell everyone who is listening" (Luke 6:27). The Lord speaks to us. We are to listen to Him. Without our listening to what He's saying to us, His Word will never really get through to us. We need both - His speaking and our listening.
"Everyone who is well-trained will be like his teacher" (Luke 6:40). This is not just about the education of the mind. It's about training for living.
"Good people do the good that is in them" (Luke 6:45). We need to be changed from the inside. We need to be changed by the Lord. "Change my heart, O God ... " How is our heart to be changed? We must build on the "good foundation" - hearing what Jesus says to us and obeying what He says to us (Luke 6:48-49).
There's a difference between the way other people see us - "He deserves our help ... " (Luke 7:4-5) - and the way we see ourselves - "I don't deserve you to come into my house" (Luke 7:6). In the searchlight of God's  holy Word, we are taken more deeply into ourselves - seeing our sin as it really is. Jesus doesn't save us because we deserve to be saved. He saves us by His grace. He looks at us, sees what we're really like, and keeps on loving us. This is love, real love, the greatest love of all.
"Everyone was struck with fear and praised God" (Luke 7:16). Here, we see a holy combination of the fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom, and the joy of the Lord, which is our strength. Fear of the Lord is not an end in itself. Through the fear of the Lord, we are to confess our sins and receive the joy of the Lord. This doesn't mean that the fear of the Lord is left behind. We carry the fear of the Lord with us - even when we are rejoicing in the Lord. It's the fear of the Lord which gives depth to our experience of the joy of the Lord. Without the fear of the Lord, our joy becomes superficial. When we are  growing in the fear of the Lord, we become more aware of our sin and more deeply appreciative of His saving grace. Throughout our life of faith, the fear of the Lord calls us back when we are being pulled away from the Lord. Our  obedience to the Lord grows as, with joy in the Lord and the fear of the Lord, we grow in our appreciation of His love for us and we are kept by His power, walking on the pathway of holiness.
"Whoever doesn't lose his faith in Me is indeed blessed" (Luke 7:23). Throughout life, there is a battle for faith. Who is it that keeps us in the faith? Is it ourselves? or Is it the Lord? In one sense, we are called to hold on to our faith. In a deeper sense, it is the Lord who holds on to us.
"He is far more than a prophet" (Luke 7:26). This is what Jesus said about John. How much more can we say this about Jesus - "He is more than a prophet." "Of all the people ever born, no one is greater than John" (Luke 7:28). If this can be said of John, how much more can it be said of Jesus.
"Your sins have been forgiven" (Luke 7:48). "Your faith has saved you. Go in peace" (Luke 7:50). At the heart of God's salvation, there is the forgiveness of sins and the peace of God. These blessings are received by faith. This is "the Good News about God's Kingdom" (Luke 8:1). When the Lord  is crowned in our hearts as King, this is Good News for us because it means that the Lord's blessing is upon us. To God be the glory!
"So pay attention to how you listen!" (Luke 8:18). Listening is more than hearing. Spiritual listening is more than just listening, and then saying, 'That was interesting.' When we listen to the voice of the Lord, we are changed by what we hear.
"My mother and My brothers are those who hear and do what God's Word says" (Luke 8:21). There's a spiritual bond that binds together God's people. This bond is stronger than family ties. That's not to say that family ties aren't strong. It's to say that, in the fellowship of Christians, we are bound together at a deeper level than the biological connection.
"Where is your faith?" (Luke 8:25). This is a question that Jesus still puts to us. Do we still believe that He is in control, even when it seems like He has fallen asleep (Luke 8:23)?"
"Why are You bothering me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You not to torture me!" (Luke 8:28). Is this what we think of Jesus? - He's bothering us. This is what many people think of Jesus. Can they be changed? Can we be changed? - "Dressed and in his right mind, he was sitting at Jesus' feet" (Luke 8:35). What about the other people? - "The people were frightened ... they were terrified" (Luke 8:35,37). It's only by God's grace that we are taken beyond this initial reaction into a real trust in Jesus.
"Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace" (Luke 8:48); "Child, get up! She came back to life, and got up at once" (Luke 8:54-55). When Jesus comes to us everything changes. Nothing remains the same. Life is new. The past is behind us. The future has begun. What is it that brings us out of our past and into the Lord's future? Jesus speaks about faith - "Your faith has made you well" (Luke 8:48); "Just believe, and she will get well" (Luke 8:50). This faith is not faith in ourselves. It's faith in Jesus. What we cannot do for ourselves, He does for us. This is the Gospel. It's not the Gospel of our faith - This is what I can do for myself. It's the Gospel of God's grace - This is what Jesus does for me. Faith looks away from ourselves. Faith looks to Jesus, and says, 'What a great Saviour He is!'
"Power and authority" (Luke 9:1) - "No weapon that has been made to be used against you will succeed ... victory comes from Me" (Isaiah 54:17). "Who is this person I'm hearing so much about? so Herod wanted to see Jesus" (Luke 9:9). There is no suggestion that Herod was about to become a believer. Nevertheless, we can read these words in terms of the way in which God creates a hunger to know more of  Jesus, a hunger that can only be satisfied by our Saviour. We find Him, and we say, "He found me." He created the hunger, and He satisfies it. Praise be to His Name!
Ministry to the large crowds - "five thousand" (Luke 9:13), ministry to the small group - "His disciples" (Luke 9:18). As Jesus was exercising His ministry, He was looking beyond it to His death and resurrection (Luke 9:22), and He was looking further on to His return - His coming in glory (Luke 9:26).
"While Jesus was praying, the appearance of His face changed" (Luke 9:29). Prayer changes things. Prayer changes people. "Moses and Elijah ... appeared in heavenly glory" (Luke 9:29-30). "They saw Jesus' glory" (Luke 9:32). How can we remain the same when we catch a glimpse of God's glory? "This is My Son, whom I have chosen" (Luke 9:35). We are changed when we listen to Jesus. "They saw that Jesus was alone" (Luke 9:36). We are changed when we look to Jesus. Looking to Him and listening to him, we learn from Him. We learn  to be changed by His glory.
"Everyone was amazed" (Luke 9:43). When we think of the Lord and all that He has done for us, we should be amazed at the wonder of His love for us. "Whoever starts to plough and looks back is not fit for the kingdom of God" (Luke 9:62). Being amazed at the love of God is not just a passing phase. It is to be something which grows as we continue our journey through life.
"Many prophets and kings wanted to see and hear what you've seen and heard, but they didn't" (Luke 10:24). We read about the prophet. We read about the kings. Sometimes, there were good times. Sometimes, there were bad times. Beyond all that we read about in the Old Testament, there is Jesus. He says to us,"He who has seen Me has seen the Father" (John 14:9). He's greater than all the prophets and all the kings.
"What must I do to inherit eternal life?" (Luke 10:25). This question is asked to Jesus, the "teacher" (Luke 10:25). We must remember that He is more than our teacher. He is our Saviour. While the parable of the good Samaritan focuses on love for our neighbour, we must note that Jesus speaks, first, about  love for God (Luke 10:27). The way in which Jesus speaks about love for God makes us feel hopeless. How can we possibly love God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength and with all our mind? This leaves us deeply aware of our failure and our need of the Saviour. This brings us to hear another answer to the question, "What must I do to be saved?" The answer is "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved" (Acts 16:30-31). When we come out of the parable of the good Samaritan, we meet Mary and Martha. We are warned that we must not concern ourselves with attempting to earn our own salvation. "Martha was upset about all the work she had to do." She complained that she had to "do all the work by herself" (Luke 10:42). With Mary, things were very different. "Mary sat at the Lord's feet and listened to His Word" (Luke 10:39). This, said Jesus, is "the only thing we need."Listen to Jesus. Hear His Word of salvation. Trust in Him. Be saved by Him.
"Lord, teach us to pray" (Luke 11:1). We cannot teach ourselves to pray. We can only be taught by the  Lord.The spirit of prayer does not come from ourselves. It comes from the Lord.
"Because He is your friend and because you were so bold" (Luke 11:8) - not just "because you were so bold": first, it's "because he is your friend" - "What a Friend we have in Jesus ... What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer."
"A stronger man than he may attack him and defeat him" (Luke 11:22) - the victory of Christ over Satan.
"Someone greater than Solomon is here! ... Someone greater than Jonah is here! ... " (Luke 11:31-32). Jesus is such a great Saviour. He is a "bright ... lamp shining on us" (Luke 11:36).
Jesus told the truth, and"the scribes and the Pharisees" didn't like it. They "held  a terrible grudge against Him" (Luke 11:53). The truth of God will either make us or break us. Some people hear the truth, and they're set free to know, love and serve the Lord in the power of the Holy Spirit. Others are like "the scribes and the Pharisees" - "they watched Him closely to trap him in something He might say" (Luke 11:54). Lord, help us to receive Your Word - not to resent it; to heed Your Word - not to hate it; to love your Word - not to loathe it.
"At that time, the Holy Spirit will teach you what you must say" (Luke 12;12). We are not alone. Our words are not our own. The Holy Spirit is with us. He gives us His words.
"Be concerned about His Kingdom" (Luke 12:31). God is calling us beyond the concerns of this world. He's calling us to have a higher purpose and higher priorities.
God's Kingdom and God's Spirit - it's the Spirit who inspires us to live as the people of God, who are living for the Kingdom of God and waiting for the Kingdom of God.
"Lord, did You use this illustration just for us or for everyone?" (Luke 12:41). The Lord's Word was not just for His disciples. It's also for us.
"Do you think that I came to bring peace on earth? No! I can guarantee you that I came to bring nothing but division" (Luke 12:51). There are no shortcuts to peace. We must come by the way of repentance. Before we can enter into the life that is blessed by the Lord, we must hear His Word of warning that calls us back from the pathway that will lead us away from Him, the pathway which will bring no blessing to us. As we see the emptiness of life without Christ, we learn to look to Him for the life that is full of His blessing.
"So why don't you just for yourselves what is right?" (Luke 12:57). Authentic morality and spirituality - these are not just second-hand. The real thing must come from within. It's from the Lord - but it has to be real in us.
Jesus looked for a response from His hearers - Turn to God, and be changed in your way of thinking and your way of living (Luke 13:3,5); Bear fruit (Luke 13:6-7). The change, the new life, comes from the Lord. It's His power that changes us. What we can't do for ourselves, He does for us (Luke 13:10-17). His work in us has small beginnings, but it grows (Luke 13:19).
As Jesus comes near to entering Jerusalem, He speaks about entering the new Jerusalem. The people of the old Jerusalem are called to open their hearts to Him (Luke 13:24,340. This is not just about Jesus entering Jerusalem. It's about Jerusalem entering into Jesus. It's not just about things that happened a long time ago. It's about faith. It's about us. It's about Jesus, welcoming us when we come to Him. It's about Jesus, calling us to follow Him.
Reading about Jesus at a banquet, we think of the words of Song of Solomon 2:4 - "He sat me at his banqueting table, and his banner over me is love." These are words that make us think of Jesus, the Host at the Lord's Table. Jesus is not an invited guest. We are the invited guests. In love, He invites us to come. In love, He welcomes us. What great love! What a great invitation! What a great welcome! What a great Saviour! As we think of Jesus, inviting us to His Table, we rejoice in His love and we give thanks. Thank You, Lord, for Your love. It's the greatest love of all.
Jesus speaks about the cost of discipleship (Luke 14:25-35). As we read on to the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost son (Luke 15:1-32), we learn of grace. We must never forget grace. Our discipleship is grounded in God's grace.We are not saved because we are great disciples. We are saved because we have a great Saviour. When we sing, "How great Thou art", let us not think only of God's great power. Let us think also of His great love. This is what inspires us to follow Jesus.
What is most important to us - the things that will pass away or the things that will last forever?  In Luke 16, Jesus challenges us to think about what really matters to us. Jesus gives us something to think about: Are we living for eternity? This is not a question that we can push away from ourselves. It keeps coming back to us. We must answer this question with our lives - not just our words.
"Give us more faith" (Luke 17:5). What does it mean to have more faith? It means more looking away from ourselves to Jesus. Our faith is not in ourselves. Our faith is in Jesus. "Your faith has made you well" (Luke 17:19) - It is faith in Jesus that makes the difference, not faith in ourselves.
"The Kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:21); "When the Son of Man comes again ... " (Luke 17:26
We are to come to God with the humility that comes from knowing that we are sinners: "God, be merciful to me, a sinner!" (Luke 18:13). We are to come to Him with the humility that comes from knowing that we are nothing and know nothing that really matters: "Whoever doesn't receive the Kingdom of God, as a child receives it, will never enter it" (Luke 18:17). We are to come to Him with the humility that knows that we need to learn, from Him, how we are to live our lives. This is part of what Jesus is saying to the rich young ruler (Luke 18:22). It may also be said that Jesus is showing us that we cannot save ourselves. We can only be saved by the Lord (Luke 18:26-27). This is salvation by grace. In emphasizing salvation by grace, we should make sure that we also emphasize that grace changes us.
"But they didn't understand any of this. What He said was a mystery to them, and they didn't know what He meant" (Luke 18:34). As well as physical blindness, there is also spiritual blindness. "Receive your sight! Your faith has made you well" (Luke  18:42). Jesus gave sight to the blind man. He opens our eyes. He reveals Himself to us. He is the risen Lord. When He comes to us in the power of His resurrection, we see what He means - He is our Saviour, and we follow Him and praise God (Luke 18:43).
In Luke 19, we read about the day a wee man met the Big Man - and the wee man was never the same again. What a difference Jesus makes. Jesus gave Zacchaeus a new stature - the stature of being a man in Christ, a man who was no longer lost, a man who had been saved by the Lord.
How do we serve the Lord? Do we bear fruit for Him? God is calling us to be fruitful in His service. We must remember that He is the King. We must remember what kind of king He is. He's the King of love. Fear will keep us from being fruitful (Luke 19:21). Love changes everything. When we appreciate the Lord's love for us, we will respond with love for Him. His love for us creates and inspires our love for Him.
"The Lord needs it" (Luke 19:31,34). The Lord doesn't need us - yet He chooses to "need" us. The young "donkey" (Luke 19:30,33) was chosen by the Lord. We have been chosen by the Lord. Before we ever thought of Him, He was thinking of us, loving us and calling us into His service.
"They shouted joyfully" (Luke 19:38). Where does our joy come from? - It comes from this: The Lord has come to us. He gives us His "peace." He leads us on to His "glory" (Luke 19:38). The Lord has called us to be a people of "praise" and "prayer" (Luke 19:37,46).   
Jesus had enemies. They were God's enemies. They're our enemies. What does the Word of God say about them? They will be crushed. Why? - Because they refused to come to Jesus and receive His salvation, What does the Word of God say about Jesus? He's the "cornerstone of our faith" (Luke 20:17-18).
Jesus spoke with true wisdom, the wisdom of God. He was so different from the religious leaders of His day. They thought they were smart, but they weren't. "His answer surprised them, so they said no more" (Luke 20:26); "From that time on, no one dared ask Him another question" (Luke 20:40). Where did Jesus' wisdom come from? It came from this - He was more than "David's son" (Luke 20:41). He was "David's Lord" (Luke 20:44) - and He is our Lord. This is why He had the right to say, "Beware of the scribes!" (Luke 20:46). They were men-pleasers. Jesus lived for one thing only - pleasing His heavenly Father.
Jesus' words concerning His Return come to us from such a long time ago, yet they are still words that prepare us for His future. "The earth and the heavens will disappear, but My words will never disappear" (Luke 21:33). We must take time to read His Word. We must also "pray so that you have the power to escape everything that is about to happen and to stand in front of the Son of Man" (Luke 21:36). Along with reading God's Word and praying, there is also to be giving (Luke 21:1-4).
Satan was working (Luke 22:3) - and so was Jesus (Luke 22:7-30). What does Jesus say about this spiritual warfare? He says this:"The hand of the one who will betray Me is with Me on the table. The Son of Man is going to die, the way it has been planned for Him" (Luke 22:21-22). Satan's schemes will come to nothing. God's plan of salvation will triumph over the schemes of Satan.
"Who is the greatest?" (Luke 22:24). This is a meaningless question. There is only one who can be called "great" - Jesus. In ourselves, there is weakness (Luke 22:34). Satan is stronger than we are. Jesus gives us His strength (Luke 22:32). He is stronger than Satan.
God's "will must be done" (Luke 22:42). Even when God's will is being done, there is the activity of Satan - "This your time, when darkness rules" (Luke 22:53). The honest verdict on Jesus is, "I can't find this man guilty of any crime" (Luke 23:4). "Crucify him! Crucify him!" (Luke 23:21) - Awful words! Beyond the words of hostility, shouted by the crowd, there is the will of God and the love of God. Jesus is crucified, Barabbas is set free. This is grace. How wonderful this is! Jesus took the place of Barabbas. he has taken our  place so that we might go to be with Him in his place.
"Father, forgive them ... " (Luke 23:34). The love of Christ is shining out to us from the Cross. "Jesus, remember me when You enter Your Kingdom" (Luke 23:42). By giving Himself, in death, for us, Jesus opened the door to God's Kingdom. What wonderful words of life - eternal life, He speaks to those who trust in Him - "I can guarantee this truth: Today you will be with Me in paradise" (Luke 23:43).
Why are you looking among the dead for the Living One? He's not here. He has been brought back to life!" (Luke 24:5-6). The wonderful message of His resurrection is this - For Jesus, death was not the end. for us, death will not be the end. How re we to understand the Gospel story of Jesus, our Saviour? - We turn to "the Scriptures." We learn from "the Scriptures" (Luke 24:27,32). Our listening to the Scriptures and our learning from the Scriptures is set within the context of "praise and worship" (Luke 24:52-53).   

Search The Scriptures: Mark's Gospel

“Good News” - “the forgiveness of sins” and “baptism with the Holy Spirit” (Mark 1:1,4,8). This Good News is centred on Jesus Christ, God’s beloved Son (Mark 1:11). Jesus was empowered by “the Spirit” (Mark 1:12). He comes to us with “the Good news of God” (Mark 1:(14). He calls for our  response - “Change the way you think and act, and believe the Good News” (Mark 1:15). Where does this change come from? It comes from the Good News. This is what changes us. By becoming Christ-centred (following Jesus), we become less self-centred and more other-centred. Jesus teaches us “how to catch people instead of fish” (Mark 1:17).
“He taught them with authority” (Mark 1:22). We need both - the teaching and the authority. It is the teaching that gives the authority. We are taught by the Lord. We speak with the authority that comes from this: God’s Word is truth. When we know that the revelation has come to us from the Lord, we are able to understand and communicate God’s Word of truth. This is not about our level of understanding or our ability to communicate. It’s about the Lord, making Himself known to us and enabling us to share His Word with others. What do we have to share with others? We have “Good News” (Mark 1:38-39). “People kept coming to Him from everywhere” (Mark 1:45). Lord, give us such blessing in our day.
Jesus brings us salvation - “Friend, your sins are forgiven” (Mark 2:5) - and He calls us to discipleship - “Follow Me” (Mark 2:14). We cannot be His disciples without, first, coming to Him for salvation. We must emphasize that salvation leads to discipleship. Our discipleship demonstrates the reality of our salvation. We must hear the words, “I’ve come to call sinners” (Mark 2:17) before we can respond to the call to live as “saints” (God’s people). By nature, we are not God’s people. Through His redemption, we become His people. We are redeemed through the precious blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:18-19). We are called to live in the strength of the Lord, walking with Him in the pathway of victory, “more than conquerors” through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).
"New wine is poured into fresh skins" (Mark 2:22). New, fresh - This is the work of God. This isn't something that we can do for ourselves or give to ourselves. This must be done for us. It must be given to us. All the glory belongs to the Lord! "The Son of Man has authority over the day of worship" (Mark 2:28) - It's not so much the activity of worship that's important. It's the Saviour whom we worship - He's the One who makes worship so important. We worship Him.
"Jesus ... was deeply hurt because their minds were closed" (Mark 3:5). "Whoever curses the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven. He is guilty of an everlasting sin" (Mark 3:29). "Whoever does what God wants is My brother and sister and mother" (Mark 3:35). These are challenging verses, They call us to be open to the life-changing love of Christ, to draw back from the evil way of unbelief and disobedience, to allow the Lord to change us into "new creatures In Christ Jesus" and inspire us to live as "a new creation" (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Parables: Where does the understanding come from? It comes from the  Lord. Before there can be "harvest" (Mark 4:29), there needs to be sowing (Mark 4:26). We are not to say, "This one is good soil. Here, there is bad soil." Following some parables, we have Jesus calming the sea (Mark 4:35-41) - "Be still" (Mark 4:39): This is the Word of the Lord. Where does peace come from? It comes from the Lord. It comes to us through His Word.
In Mark 5, we learn that Jesus is for everyone - a demoniac called Legion, a synagogue leader named Jairus, a child,  a woman who had been suffering from chronic bleeding for twelve years. The more we learn of Jesus, the more we learn that He is for everyone. Each of us needs Him. He comes to us at our point of need. He shows us how much we need Him.He reaches out to us. He draws us to Himself. He saves us. From whatever angle, we approach this chapter - Legion, Jairus, the child, the woman, the message is the same: Jesus is such a great Saviour!
"Their unbelief amazed Him" (Mark 6:6). The Lord has done so much for us. Why do we persist in unbelief? There is no real answer to this question, other than this: "The heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. Who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9). Our unbelief may be amazing. His grace is so much more amazing. it is also amazing that the Lord should choose sinners like us to carry forward His work (Mark 6:12-13).
"When Herod listened to John, he would become very disturbed, and yet he liked to listen to him" (Mark 6:20). There are people who like to listen to God's Word, but they refuse to be changed by God's Word. Listening to God's Word is of no value, if it doesn't lead to being changed by God's Word.
As we read of the feeding of the five thousand, our thoughts turn to the Lord's Supper - Jesus blessed the food, broke it and gave it to everyone. "All of them ate as much as they wanted" (Mark 6:42). In the Lord  Jesus Christ - the Bread of Life, there is more than enough for everyone.
"They were in a lot of trouble ...because they were going against the wind" (Mark 6:48).  We make a lot of trouble for ourselves when we go against the wind of the Spirit. John 3 and Acts 2 compare the Spirit to the wind. We need to go with the wind of the Spirit if we are to be blessed by the Lord."
They didn't understand ... their minds were closed" (Mark 6:52). Where does understanding come from? It comes from the Lord. How does understanding come to us? It comes to us when we open our minds - "Lord, show me what this means."
There's a huge difference between salvation through Jesus and the religion of the Pharisees. Jesus had this to say to the Pharisees: "You abandon the commandments of God to follow human traditions" (Mark 7:8). Jesus' words are a challenge to us - Will we stand on the Word of the Lord? or Will we let our own ideas become more important than God's Word? The woman who "happened to be Greek" (Mark 7:26) is a better example to us than the Pharisees. She's a woman of faith. Her trust is in Jesus. Faith brings blessing into our lives. Tradition sees no real need for a living faith - so long as we keep doing that have always been done. When Jesus is at work in us, He touches our ears - so that we may hear the Word of God clearly - and our tongues - so that we may not speak the Word of God faithfully and powerfully: "At once", following on from the touch of Jesus, "the man could hear and talk normally" (Mark 7:35).
What a difference there is between Jesus giving a sign and the Pharisees demanding a sign! Miracles are given when the Lord decides - not when we demand: "If these people are given a sign, it will be far different from what they want!" (Mark 8:12). A blind man came to Jesus. His sight Was restored - "He could see everything clearly, even at a distance" (Mark 8:25). The Pharisees couldn't see - "Don't you catch on yet?" (Mark 8:21). 'Open our eyes, Lord. We want to see Jesus.'
A confession of faith in Jesus (Mark 8:29) is followed by a rebuke from Jesus (Mark 8:33). How did Peter get from confession to rebuke? - Satan slipped into his heart and mind, leading him away from the Lord Jesus. Did Jesus give up on Peter? - No! Jesus was still speaking to all of His disciples. He was speaking to them about following Him (Mark 8:34-38). Jesus was still including Peter among the three whom He chose to be with Him on the Mount of Transfiguration (Mark 9:2-13). Was this the Kingdom of God coming with power (Mark 9:1). In one sense - No! There was - and still is - more to come. In another sense - Yes! This was real. This was God among them. This was life-changing. Years later, Peter recalled that he had been with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration (2 Peter 1;16-18). This was something special, something unforgettable. Was Peter made perfect on that day on the mountain? No! He failed the Lord at the time of crucifixion, but, again, Jesus didn't give up on Peter - and Peter was restored, and he became God's chosen vessel to bring salvation to 3,000 people in a single day (Acts 2).
The power of the Lord Jesus is seen in His miracles. It is the power of His love. His power is sen in His resurrection. This power is the power of life. Life triumphs over death. When we seek power for ourselves, we do not glorify the Lord. There is power in humility. We recognize that we are without power. We acknowledge that real power comes from the Lord. This power reaches out, though us, to others, when our actions show the love of Christ to them. We are to pray for the power of the Lord  to be at work in us, keeping us close to the Lord. The way in which the Lord changes us:it starts from the inside, and works its way out, to shape our way of life.
"Don't let anyone separate what God has joined together" (Mark 10:9). "Don't stop the children from coming to Me" (Mark 10:14). In today's world, people often devalue the things that were very important to Jesus. When we speak about standing up for Jesus, we must remember that this means more than speaking His Word to others. It also means living by the values that Jesus held and taught. It will standing up for the things that matter - marriage is important, children are important.
"It's impossible for people to save themselves, but it's not impossible for God to save them" (Mark 10:27). "Salvation is of the Lord" (Jonah 2:9). Salvation doesn't begin with us. It begins with God - "God so loved the world" (John 3:16). We begin with the eternal love of God. It leads to eternal life for us.
"Jesus was going to Jerusalem"  - to be "betrayed", "condemned to death" and to "come back to life" (Mark 10:32-34). Hallelujah! What a Saviour! "Teacher, we want you to do us a favour" (Mark 10:35) - This sounds so self-centred. What does Jesus say about this? - "Whoever wants to be great among you will be your servant. Whoever wants to be most important among you will be a slave for everyone" (Mark 10:43-44). How do we learn to live this kind of life? We learn it from Jesus - "The Son of Man ... came to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many people" (Mark 10:45). "What do you want Me to do for you?" (Mark 10:51). Jesus asked this question in Mark 10:36. This time, the answer is for the glory of God - not the glory of man. Look at what follows this question - "Teacher, I want to see again ... Go, your faith has made you well. At once, he could see again, and he  followed Jesus ... " (Mark 10:51-52). When we really begin to see things from Jesus' point of view, we will follow Him. We will look to Him in faith. He will make us well - "It is well with my soul." This will give us the strength that we need to follow Jesus.
"Hosanna!" (Mark 11:9-10) - This was a day of celebration, but the celebration didn't last long. The cursing of the fig tree (Mark 11:12-14,20-21) and the throwing out of the moneychangers (Mark 11:15-17) showed people that Jesus was different from what they wanted Him to be. We can't say, "This is what we want Jesus to be." We must let Him be who He is. "What gives you the right to do these things?" (Mark 11:26). Jesus has authority because of who He is. We recognize Him as the Son of God, and we live out this faith by submitting to Him as Lord of our lives.
In Mark 12, we see that much of Jesus' ministry must be understood within the context of conflict. The religious leaders were out to get Jesus, and Jesus didn't miss them when He spoke of their hypocritical religion. Mark 12 ends with a deeply moving picture of true devotion. It's a call to love the Lord with more than our words.
In Mark 13:1-2, Jesus speaks about the destruction of the Temple. In Mark 13:7, He speaks about "the end." There are events which point us to the end. These events make us think about the end. There's another "end" that we must think about - "the person who endures to the end will be saved" (Mark 13:13). This is our own personal end. Beyond our personal end, there is the end which comes with the Return of our Lord Jesus Christ (Mark 13:26-27). When will He come? - "No one knows when that day or hour will come" (Mark 13:32). What the Lord does tell us is this: Make sure that you're ready - "I'm telling everyone what I'm telling you. Be alert!"
What a difference there is between Jesus' enemies and His friends. "The scribes" wanted "to kill" Jesus (Mark 14:1). The woman worshipped Him. There is also the sadness of Judas. He began as a friend, and, then, he became an enemy. Even in the Passover / Lord's Supper, Jesus showed love for Judas. Sadly, it was love from which Judas "turned away." Whatever our past has been, Jesus offers a way forward, into a better future, with Him.
We already know about Judas - what He was planning to do. Of the other eleven disciples, Peter wasn't the only one who failed the Lord - "All the other disciples said the same thing as Peter" (Mark 14:31), and, like Peter, they let the Lord down. They kept well out of the way, making sure that they were not associated with Jesus. We see the same kind of thing in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus spoke to Peter, "Simon, are you sleeping? ... " (Mark 14:37-38), but it wasn't only Peter who was sleeping (Mark 13:37). Even after Jesus had said to them, "Stay awake ... ", they fell "asleep" (Mark 14:40). To each of us, Jesus says, "Stay awake, and pray that you won't be tempted" (Mark 14:38).
Jesus was betrayed by Judas. He was denied by Peter. Could Judas have been restored? From God's point of view, the answer is "Yes." The love of God was there - even for Judas. From Judas' point of view, the answer was "No." There was no turning again to the Lord in Judas' heart. In Judas' tragedy, we see (i) God is not willing that any should perish; (ii) many will perish because they refuse to return to the Saviour. Peter's story tells us of restoration. he failed the lord. He let his Lord down. His Lord lifted him up. Between the betrayal by Judas and the denial by Peter, there is Jesus' trial in front of the Jewish Council. They "condemned Him" (Mark 14:64). In doing this,  they condemned themselves. They passed judgment on Him - but, one day, He will pass judgment n them: "You will see the Son of Man in the highest position in heaven. He will be coming with the clouds of heaven" (Mark 14:62).
Jesus - the Saviour - takes the place of Barabbas - the sinner. Each one of us can see ourselves in Barabbas - the sinner for whom Jesus died. "He saved others, but He cannot save Himself" (Mark 15:31) - This is missing the point of Jesus' death. It was by sacrificing Himself that He saved others. We look at Jesus Christ, crucified for us, and we say, "Hallelujah! What a Saviour!"
Before we move on to Jesus' resurrection and His return to heaven, we must turn our thoughts to His death and His burial. The world doesn't want to hear about death, but this is something about which we must speak. There is no Gospel, if we stop short of Jesus' death, if we speak only of Jesus, the teacher and example. We cannot rush on to His resurrection - a message of joy - without speaking of His death. Resurrection has no meaning without death. The reality of Jesus' death is underlined in the description of His burial - "the body of Jesus ... Jesus was dead ... the corpse ... the body" (Mark 15:43-46). Jesus' experience of death was more than physical suffering. There was the suffering of the judgment of God upon our sin, as it was laid on Jesus - "My God, my God, why have You abandoned Me?" (Mark 15:34). The answer to this question is "reconciliation" (2 Corinthians 5:21). As we read about God forsaking Jesus - because our sin was laid on Him, we must also see that the God, who forsook Him, as He hung upon the Cross, is also the God who raised Him from the dead. All praise and glory to the Lord our God, the God of our salvation!
"Who will roll away the stone ... ?" (Mark 16:3). "The stone had been rolled away" by God (Mark 16:4). What man cannot do, God has done! - Jesus "has been brought back to life" (Mark 16:6). "Shock and trembling overwhelmed them ... they were afraid" (Mark 16:8). This was the initial reaction. They came to "anoint Jesus." They didn't expect this. This was just the beginning. There were appearances of the risen Lord. "He did not look as He usually did" (Mark 16:12). There was something different about Him. He had moved beyond the life that He had known. He was on His way towards being "taken to heaven", where He would be given "the highest position" (Mark 16:19).

Search The Scriptures: Matthew's Gospel

Jesus was also called Emmanuel (Matthew 1:23). Emmanuel means ‘God with us.’ This is the great message that comes to us from the first chapter of the New Testament. God has not remained in heaven. He has come to earth. Along with the Name, Emmanuel, there is the better – known Name – Jesus. The Name of Jesus means “He saves” (Matthew 1:21,25). In the two Names – Emmanuel and Jesus, we have the Good News of our salvation. God has come to earth – that’s the meaning of the Name, Emmanuel. He has come to save us – that’s the meaning of the Name, Jesus.
The wise men did want to worship Jesus (Matthew 2:2). Herod said that he wanted to worship Jesus (Matthew 2:8). What a difference there is between saying that we want to worship Jesus and really wanting to worship Him. This highlights the conflict between false religion and true worship. Religion may say the right things, but, if we don’t really mean what we say, our words will not make any difference to the way we live. This kind of religion is worthless. What does God say to us about this kind of religion? – “God warned them in a dream not to go back to Herod” (Matthew 2:12). God is still warning His people to steer clear of empty religion. When we come to the Lord, we must not come with empty words – words that we don’t really mean. Our worship is to shape our life. How is our worship to change our way of living? Real worship arises out of salvation. This is very different from religion. Religion says more about ourselves than it says than it says about our Saviour. Salvation is not about us. It’s about Jesus, our Saviour. When He is the focus of our attention, we will learn to worship Him and live for Him.
As the story of Christ’s becoming one of us – His birth – moves on towards the story of His dying in our place – His crucifixion, the story of His baptism is a significant step forward. Jesus identifies with us. He stands in the place of the sinner. John the Baptist said to Jesus, “I need to be baptized by You. Why are You coming to me?” (Matthew 3:14). Jesus was doing everything that God required of Him – everything that needed to be done for sinners to be saved. The chief focus is on His death for us – “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). We do, however, need to look back from His crucifixion to His birth and His baptism. In His birth, we see the sovereign purpose of God. In His baptism, we see the definite choice made by Jesus. In salvation, there is the work of God, and there is our response. God reveals Himself to us through His Son: “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). We respond to God’s revelation and redemption when we put our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, when we look away from ourselves – sinners – to Jesus Christ, the Saviour of sinners, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
Jesus’ victory over Satan in the wilderness (Matthew 4) must be seen in the broader context of His work of salvation. This was more than just a personal victory – a victory for Jesus. It was a victory for us. Jesus won the victory for us. He walked in the way of victory so that we might live in the power of His victory. After Jesus had won the victory over Satan, He called His disciples to Him – “Come, follow Me!” – and He sent them out from Him, empowered by Him, to be witnesses for Him – “fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). His victory was more than a victory for His first disciples. It was a victory for all would become believers through their witness. This includes all of us, since each one of us has come to faith in Christ through the testimony of His apostles. When Jesus sent them out, He did more than send them. He showed them what they were to do (Matthew 4:23-25).
Jesus’ words, known as “the Sermon  on the Mount” (Matthew 5-7), need to be taken as a whole. We’re not to pick out the bits that we like, and ignore the bits that we don’t like so much. We’re not to come, looking for “comfort” (Matthew 5:4), if we’re not also seeking for “righteousness” (Matthew 5:6). We’re not to look for peace, if we’re not preparing ourselves for persecution (Matthew 5:9-10). We’re not to read one verse, and say, “This is great”, and then skim over the next verse, as if it wasn’t even there.
We’re called to be “salt for the earth” and “light for the world” (Matthew 5:13-14). How can we be “salt” and “light” in a world that has turned its back on the things that matter most in life? Can we do this by “setting aside Moses’ teaching or the Prophets” (Matthew 5:17)? No! Jesus says, “No.” He says, ‘This is what we must never do. We cannot preserve true Christian living, if we set aside the Word of the Lord. A stripped-down ethic, which changeable from one generation to another, is no substitute for a Christian that is grounded in the Word of God, which is unchanged, unchanging and unchangeable. Who are we come to the Word of God with the attitude that we can decide that there are some things that are “unimportant” (Matthew 5:19)? When God calls something important, we must also say, ‘This is important.’ It’s not to be changed because it doesn’t fit in with our modern outlook. Sometimes, people disregard what God’s Word says because they think that they have the right, to say, ‘This is important. That is unimportant.’ When we say this kind of thing, what are we really saying? We’re saying, ‘I am more important than God. I know better than God.” Such an attitude can have no place in the hearts of those who want, through their lives, to “praise their Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).  
“You have heard that it was said … But I say to you … ” (Matthew 5:21-22,27-28,31-32,33-34, 38-39,43-44). When we see the great contrast between what has been said in the past and what Jesus says to His generation and our generation, we must remember Jesus’ words, “Don’t ever think that I came to set aside Moses; teachings or the Prophets” (Matthew 5:17). What does Jesus mean? Clearly, He doesn’t just repeat what’s already been said. Jesus says, “I didn’t come to set them aside but to make them come true” (Matthew 5:17). Jesus doesn’t contradict the Old Testament. He brings out its deeper meaning. He reveals its fuller meaning. Jesus is expounding the Word of God. He enables His hearers to see things in a new light – but He doesn’t do this by setting aside God’s Word. The Word of God stands – for every generation. It is not to be tampered with. It’s to be upheld. At the heart of upholding God’s Word, there’s a very real question we must ask, “What are you saying to us, Lord, here-and-now?”
Jesus speaks about prayer (Matthew 6:5-15), doing good works (Matthew 6:1-4) and fasting (Matthew 6:16-18). He emphasizes that we’re not to be like the hypocrites (Matthew 6:2,5,16). Sometimes, it is difficult to work out where Jesus is leading us with. In Acts, there’s a strong emphasis on God’s people praying together. In Matthew 6:6, Jesus is emphasizing the importance of praying “in secret.” Is there something about us that leads us in the direction of hypocrisy whenever we are praying with others? We find the same emphasis in Jesus’ teaching about doing good and fasting. – “Make sure that you don’t become like the hypocrites.” When we move into the public sphere, we run the risk of hypocrisy. We must never forget this – and we must pray that God will deliver us from hypocrisy.
The values of our Lord Jesus Christ, Gospel values, Kingdom values are very different from the world’s values. It’s the difference between “treasures on earth” and “treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:19-20). When we treasure the things of earth, we will worry about the things of earth. Jesus says that we are not to worry about these things. We are to have a higher priority than ‘looking after No. 1′. We’re to be concerned about “God’s Kingdom and what has His approval”  (Matthew 6:33). When the things that matter most to God are not the things that matter most to us, other things will take over our lives. What matters most to you? This is what Jesus is asking us. Are the things that matter most to God becoming the things that matter most to us? 
Jesus calls us to be both holy and loving. We need both – holiness and love. We’re not to be hypocrites who’ve given up on holiness. We’re not to be content with keeping up appearances. We’re to seek holiness of heart. This is the heart of holiness. We’re not to be hypocrites who show no love for other people. How can we have much love for God if we don’t have much love for other people? A life that’s centred on ourselves is very different from a life that’s centred on Christ. A life that’s being shaped by Christ’s love will be a life of receiving His love and sharing His love. He’s teaching us how much He loves us. He’s helping us to show His love to other people.
Jesus calls us to be both holy and loving. What will it mean to live a life that is becoming both more holy and more loving? It begins with being reached by the love of God and changed by the love of God. We cannot make ourselves more holy. We cannot make ourselves more loving. When we catch a glimpse of the great God, who is both holy loving, we see ourselves as we really are – sinners, and we also see the Saviour who is reaching out to us, the Saviour who can and will change us. How does he change us? He shows us our sin. He forgives our sin. Seeing our sin as it really is, we cannot be, like the Pharisee who looked down his nose at the tax collector (Luke 18:11). Seeing our Saviour as He really is, we know that there is hope for every one who comes to the Saviour. We have His precious promise – “I will never turn away anyone who comes to  Me” (John 6:37). When the love of Christ reaches us, we rejoice in this: “Every offender who truly believes, that moment from Jesus a pardon receives.” Thankful to the Lord for His love, which has reached us, we pray that His love will change us. We pray that we will become more like Jesus – more holy and more loving. We will say, ‘Lord, Your love has reached us. May Your love change us. May your love inspire us to live a life that is pleasing to you – a life of holiness, a life of love.’ We cannot change ourselves. We need to be changed by the Lord. Let us pray for His help. Let us pray that He will fill us with His love. This is where true  holiness comes from. It comes from the love of God, reaching us. It comes from the love of God, changing us. The love of God – This is the real power that lies behind a life of holiness and love. We need more holiness. We need more love. These are not things that we can reach out and grasp for ourselves. We must always look away from ourselves to the Lord – “How much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him?” (Matthew 7:12).
The choices that we make while we are here on earth will decide whether we will spend eternity with him or apart from Him. This is the message of Matthew 7:13-14. “False prophets … vicious wolves” will seek to lead us away from the Lord (Matthew 7:15-16). We must pray that the Lord will deliver us from paying lip-service to Him without living our whole life for Him (Matthew 7:21-23). How are we to live for the Lord? – We must hear His Word and obey it (Matthew 7:24). Obedience to God’s Word begins with hearing His Word. Hearing God’s Word leads to obeying His Word. May God help us to build on Christ, always receiving His Word as the Word that speaks to us with His authority.
In Matthew 8:1-17, we see Jesus’ healing ministry. There are three miracles – healing people who were suffering from “a skin disease” (Matthew 8:1-4), paralysis (Matthew 8:5-13) and “a fever” (Matthew 8:14-15). After these three miracles, we have a more general statement about the ministry of casting out demons (Matthew 8:16-17). This is followed by Matthew 8:18 – “Now, when Jesus saw a crowd around Him, He ordered His disciples to cross to the other side of the Sea of Galilee.” Jesus was moving from place to place, taking His ministry to more people. 
In Matthew 8:19-34, we learn about discipleship (Matthew 8:19-22), peace (Matthew 8:23-27) and deliverance (Matthew 8:28-34). How sad it is that this chapter ends with these words: “Everyone from the city went to meet Jesus. When they saw Him, they begged him to leave their territory” (Matthew 8:34). If it had ended with the words, “Everyone went out to meet Jesus”, we would say, “Wonderful! We want more of this.” When this is followed by the sentence, “When they saw Him, they begged Him to leave their territory”, we sense that we are in the presence of something solemn, even something sinister. What we have here is the activity of Satan. Even when the Lord is working powerfully, Satan is also at work, seeking to hinder the work of God, creating resistance in the hearts of those who have begun to show an initial interest in Jesus. Satan gets worried. Hr does everything he can to prevent people moving from seeking to finding. Let us take our stand against Satan. Let us take our stand in the Name of Christ. Let us take our stand in the power of Christ.
We read, in Matthew 9:2, of the forgiveness of sins. This is followed, in Matthew 9:6, by the words that brought healing to the paralyzed man. When we read about Jesus’ healing miracles, we must also remember the healing that comes to us through the forgiveness of our sins. The healing of our lives begins here. From this beginning – the forgiveness of our sins, we move on to the healing of our lives, which takes place when we look to the Lord to take the brokenness of our lives and put everything back together again. This is followed by Matthew’s own story. He receives the forgiveness of his sins. From the conversion of Matthew, the message that comes to us is this: Jesus “came to call sinners” (Matthew 9:13).  We come to Jesus – with our sins. We receive from Him – our salvation. At the heart of our salvation is this great message: God does more for us than forgiving our sins. He gives us new life – described here as “new wine” (Matthew 9:17).
In Matthew 9:18-38, we read about Jesus’ healing ministry. At the end of Matthew 9, there’s a reminder to us that the Lord’s work is to be carried on by His followers – “The harvest is large, but the workers are few. So ask the Lord who gives this harvest to send workers to harvest His crops” (Matthew 9:37-38). Jesus wasn’t saying, ‘Look at what I am doing and see how great I am.” He was saying, ‘Look at what I am doing and learn from Me – learn how to see the crowds with compassion, to see them in their trouble, to see how helpless they are – “like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36). we are to be looking at Jesus and learning from Him. We are to be looking at the world and seeing how we can serve the world for Jesus’ sake (2 Corinthians 4:5).
“Don’t go among people who are not Jewish …” (Matthew 10:5). The time for reaching out to the Gentiles had not yet come. After Jesus’ resurrection, the Good News of His love and His salvation were to be taken to “the ends of the earth” (Mark 16:15; Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8). This ministry was to be carried out in the power of the Holy Spirit – “The Spirit of your Father will be speaking through you” (Matthew 10:20). This was to continue after Jesus’ ascension (Acts 1:8; Acts 2:3). If we are to speak for the Lord, He must be our “Teacher” (Matthew 10:24). The Lord teaches us, and we are to teach others – “Teach and make disciples” (Matthew 28:18-20).
In Matthew 11, we learn, from Jesus the Saviour, about John the Baptist. From the warnings given by Jesus to Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum, we learn of the urgency of the Word of the Lord. The highlight of Matthew 11 is found in verse 28 – “Come to Me, all who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest.”
“It is right to do good on the day of worship” (Matthew 12:12). Why did Jesus have authority over the day of worship? It was because of who He is. He is worshipped. Jesus fulfils prophecy (Mathew 12:17-21). He has authority over Satan (Matthew 12:28). The victory of Jesus over Satan becomes ours when we receive God’s Word, with humble faith, as “the sword of the Spirit.” This speaks of the work of the Spirit in and through the Word. The Spirit leads us to Jesus. He leads us out for Jesus. Jesus is risen from the dead (Matthew 12:40), Let us serve Him and be His true family (Matthew 12:50).
In Matthew 13, we see Jesus, the Storyteller. His stories are ordinary stories – with an extraordinary message. The stories are human. The message is divine. They are stories about people. They are stories about God. Following on from Jesus’ parables, we have His return to “His hometown” (Matthew 13:54). The people were “amazed” at His teaching (Matthew 13:54), They did not, however, look for a divine explanation. They looked at Jesus in a human way. They said that He shouldn’t be able to speak like this. They denied Him the right to speak with divine authority. They did not hear and receive what He said to them. What did Jesus say about them? “The only place a prophet isn’t honoured is in his hometown and in his own house” (Matthew 13:57). What was the result of their refusal to recognize Jesus’ authority? His power was not released among them: “He didn’t work many miracles there because of their lack of faith” (Matthew 13:58).
Jesus the Saviour is greater than John the Baptist (Matthew 14:1-12). Jesus does more than proving physical food. He is the Bread  of Life (Matthew 14:13-21). Jesus has power over nature (Matthew 14:22-36) – because He is “the Son of God, Look, the Lamb” (Matthew 14:33). We look beyond John to Jesus. John pointed away from himself to Jesus, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).  Jesus is our Saviour. Let us praise Him for all that He is, all that He has done for us and all that He has given to us.
The Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus with a question: “Why do your disciples break the traditions of our ancestors …?” (Matthew 15:2). Jesus answered them with another question: “Why do you break the commandments of God because of your traditions?” (Matthew 15:3). Their question was shallow. His question was deep. They were concerned with external observance of human traditions. He directed their attention to something far important – heartfelt obedience to God’s Word. We are  not to honour God with our lips, while our hearts remain far from Him.
“Be careful! Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees!” (Matthew 17:6). Even after there is divine revelation (Matthew 16:17), the influence of evil can be felt (Matthew 16:23)., The warning – “Be careful! Watch out … !” must never be forgotten. Satan is looking for an opportunity to leads us away from the Lord. We must hear what Jesus is saying to us about discipleship (Matthew 16:24), and we must commit  ourselves to Him (Matthew 16:25). There is nothing more important than this (Matthew 16:26). If we are to be true followers of Jesus, we must learn to live our lives in the light of eternity (Matthew 16:27). We are to seek revelations of God’s eternal Kingdom, revelations which will send us back, from the mountain-top, to live each day for Jesus.
“They saw no one but Jesus” (Matthew 17:8). Everyone else is secondary. Jesus is the central theme. “Nothing will be impossible for you” (Matthew 17:21). We must not think according to human expectations. We must let the Word of God inspire us to accomplish great things for God and His Kingdom. May we never forget to give great glory to God. “The disciples became sad” (Matthew 17:23), because they did not understand. What god gives to us is greater than we can imagine. Let us praise Him.
Learning from children and caring for children: This is what Jesus speaks about in Matthew 18:1-10. We should never act like we know it all, and have nothing more to learn. We should never act like we’re a law unto ourselves. We must do all that we can to protect little children in a world that has so many dangers. We need little children. They have something to teach us. Little children need us. they need the protection that we, adults, can give to them.
“The Son of Man came to save the lost” (Matthew 18:11). In Matthew 18:12-1, Jesus speaks about sheep. He’s really speaking about us. He is the Shepherd. We are His sheep. Sheep wander away from the shepherd. We wander away from the Lord. The shepherd looks for the lost sheep. Jesus has come to seek for us and find us. He brings  us home to God, our Father. Through His saving grace, we receive new life – a life  in which we rejoice in our great Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. He delivers us from the condemnation, which our sin has brought upon us. He brings us into the knowledge of His forgiveness. This Gospel of salvation changes us. It teaches us to live in the power of God’s love.
Jesus speaks about “the Kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:12,23), “the Kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:14,24) and “eternal life” (Matthew 19:29).  Jesus’ way of thinking and living is so very different from the world’s way of thinking and living. He challenges us to think His way and live his way.
“The last will be first, and the first will be last” (Matthew 20:16). This is the reversal of the world’s values. This is grace – not works. The way in which grace reaches us is through Christ’s death and resurrection  (Matthew 20:17-19). When we hear the Gospel – Jesus “came to serve and gave His life as a ransom for many people” (Matthew 20:28), our eyes are opened to see who Jesus really is and to understand what He has done for us, and we follow Him (Matthew 20:34).
In Matthew 21:1-22, we learn that Jesus is a very different King from the kings of this world. He is the King of love. There is no tyranny, no dictatorship, no reign of terror. Alongside His love, there is His holiness. We see this in the cleansing of the Temple. He is looking for us to be fruitful. This is the lesson of the cursed fig tree. May God help us to be fruitful – in holiness and in love.
In Matthew 21:23-46, we learn that the authority of Jesus is heard in His words and seen in His actions. He speaks of grace. He lives by grace. Jesus is the foundation of our salvation. Without Him, there is no salvation. With Him, we are greatly blessed. What a great Saviour He is!
What variety there is in Matthew 22 – a story about a wedding reception, a question about taxes, the dead come back to life, love God and your neighbour, how can David’s son be David’s Lord? When we read the Gospels, we must allow the Lord Jesus to speak to us on all the subjects that He brings to us. We are not to select our favourite passages and ignore the other passages. If we only read the parts we like, we are not really listening to the Lord. He has so much to say to us. Lord, give us a listening ear.
In Matthew 23, we have a devastating protest against hypocrisy. What is a protest against hypocrisy? It’s a protest for holiness. God is calling us to be holy. He is saying to us that we must never be content with hypocrisy. God has something better for us. The way of holiness begins with welcoming the Saviour. Our faith and life are grounded in Him – “Blessed is the One who comes in the Name of the Lord” (Matthew 23:39). Jesus inspires our worship. He gives us strength for living.
Why does Jesus speak to us about the end-times? – He is encouraging us to “endure to the end” (Matthew 24:13). We cannot endure to the end without the grace of God: “If God does not reduce the number of those days, no one will be saved” (Matthew 24:22). God’s Word tells us that we are to “keep ourselves in the love of God” (Jude 21). It also tells us that we are kept, in the love of God, by the power of God – the power of His love (Jude 24).
Jesus speaks about the end-times: “The earth and heaven will disappear.” He also speaks about something that will never come to an end: “My words will never disappear” (Matthew 24:35). In all of life’s changing circumstances, we must hold on to this great truth: God’s Word is forever.
Whenever the end-times are spoken of, many strange things are said. People speak as if they know it all. The more they say, the more they show that they don’t know it all. We need to make sure that we keep listening to what God’s Word says to us. This will keep us from being deceived by people who make things up as they go along. The main thing that Jesus says to us is this:  “you must be ready because the Son of Man will return when you least expect Him” (Matthew 24:44).
Matthew 25 begins with the words, "When the end comes" (Matthew 25:1), and ends with the words, "eternal life" (Matthew 25:46). Often, we might wish that this was all that the Word of God says  about "the end" - "eternal life." This is not all that is said. Jesus also speaks to us about eternal loss (Matthew 25:11-12,30,41,46). The choices that determine eternal loss and eternal life are being made here-and-now. Each one of us must decide whether we will be like the wise bridesmaids or the foolish bridesmaids. By our way of life, here on earth, we will show whether we are "good and faithful servants" or "useless servants." Our response to the Lord will be seen in our response to other people (Matthew 25:40). Live for the Lord now. Live with Him in eternity.
"At that time, the Son  of Man will be handed over to be crucified" (Matthew 26:2). Jesus was not taken by surprise. He knew what He was letting Himself in for. He knew why He had come to earth. He knew what He had come to do. He knew the purpose of His life. "You will not always have Me with you. She poured this perfume on My body before it is placed in a tomb" (Matthew 26:11-12). Jesus was under no illusions about what lay ahead of Him. He had come to die. The time of His crucifixion was drawing near - and He knew it. Immediately after He speaks about His tomb, He speaks about the "Good News" being "spoken  in the world" (Matthew 26:13). He knew the connection between the two - His death and the Good News. He died for us. This is the Good News of God's love.
In Matthew 26:14-35, we read about Judas, Peter and Jesus. Judas betrayed Jesus - but Jesus knew all about it before it happened. Jesus knew what was going on behind the scenes with Judas. Peter denied Jesus. Again, Jesus knew that this was going to happen. Between Jesus' identification of Judas and Peter as the men who would betray Him and deny Him, there is the Lord's Supper. How wonderful this is - we hear  about human failure (sin), and we also hear about our Saviour's sacrifice for the salvation of sinners.
"Father, if this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, let Your will be done" (Matthew 26:42). Jesus was not just a passive victim of circumstances. He embraced the will of God, his loving, heavenly Father. He saw what needed to be done, and He said, 'I will do it.' He said, 'I will give Myself in death so that sinners might be forgiven and live eternally in the heavenly glory of God's Kingdom.
"All of this happened so that what the prophets have written would come true" (Matthew 26:56). "The Son of Man will be coming on the clouds of heaven" (Matthew 26:64). Here, we have looking back to what came before and looking forward to what lies ahead. If we are  to avoid becoming like Peter, who denied Jesus (Matthew 26:69-75), we need this big perspective on Jesus. He is much more than a man, more than a prophet, more than a good example. he came from heaven. He returned to heaven. He will come, again, from heaven. When we keep before our eyes what the Scriptures teach us about Jesus, we will not be taken in by those who reduce Jesus to the human level. We will, always by the grace of God, stand up for Jesus, lifting Him up as the perfect Son of God and the perfect Saviour of sinners.
"Thirty silver coins" (Matthew 27:3,9) - Jesus' enemies paid the price to Judas. Jesus paid the price for us. Thank God for Jesus. His sacrifice for sin was worth much more than the money paid to Judas by Jesus' enemies. His sacrifice of Himself for our salvation was the only way in which the price could be paid. Jesus took our sin upon Himself so that we might receive God's salvation - as a free gift.
"Jesus said absolutely nothing in him in reply, so the governor was very surprised" (Matthew 27:14). Jesus had not come to escape death. He had come to die. Pilate was surprised. He did not understand. This was not the normal response. Jesus could not be understood according to the thinking of other people. He was a special person. He had a special purpose. He was heading to the Cross. The place of His suffering was to become the place of our salvation. Thank You, Jesus.
"The release of Barabbas and the execution of Jesus" (Matthew 27:20) - In this, we catch a glimpse of  the meaning of Christ's death. The sinless Saviour dies for the guilty sinner. "He saved others, but he can't save himself" (Matthew 27:42. The two are  connected. He saves others by sacrificing Himself. "My God, my God, why have You abandoned Me?" (Matthew 27:46). This is Jesus, taking our place, bearing our sin. "The curtain in the temple was split in two, from top to bottom" (Matthew 27:51). Notice the direction. The barrier to our coming into God's presence is removed from above. It is the work of God. It is His doing. Glory to the Lord!
Securing the tomb - That's what they tried to do. Raising the dead - That's what God did. "He's not here. He has been brought back to life, as He said" (Matthew 28:6). What a tremendous turnaround! What, to man, is impossible, becomes reality through the power of God. "Don't be afraid! Go, tell My followers to go to Galilee. There, they will see Me" (Matthew 28:10). The first revelation of the risen Lord - It's for His followers, but they're not to keep the Good News to themselves. This is for us. We're to bring Jesus and His love to more and more people. We do not go to people in our name. We go with the "authority" of Jesus, our Lord (Matthew 28:18-20). He is with us "until the end of time."

Featured post

The Lord has sent His Spirit of power to live in us.

We read about Elijah in his high-points of strength - the triumph over the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:36-39) - and his low-points of ...