A Transcript Of James' Verse-By-Verse Bible Study
Father in Heaven, I come to Thee today in the precious and wonderful name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Seeking Thy blessing. Seeking Thy approval. Seeking Thy guidance, as I humbly walk through the Gospel of Matthew, offering a verse by verse expository to Thy Church and to the lost as well.
Father in Heaven, please bless this endeavour. Please, allow me to do a faithful job. Offering my thoughts and presenting this marvellous piece of New Testament writing. Thank You Father, for allowing me to do what I do for Thee and I seek Your blessing on this. I hope this should be a methodical presentation of the Gospel of Matthew, and I ask this as always in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen
VERSE 1: "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham."
Matthew is going to trace the Lord right back to Abraham, the first Jew, called a Hebrew, and he's also going to trace the Lord back to David. Why? Well, David was the king, the king of Israel, and Jesus Christ is the King of Kings. Luke traces the genealogy of the Lord right back to Adam, the first man, who wasn't a Jew.
One other quick point to mention right from the outset. If you have ever read the Bible, you will see that Scripture was written by men. They were commissioned by the Holy Spirit. They didn't write what they wanted to write. They wrote what the Lord wanted them to write, but what they did do was offer their own attributes, their own personalities, and their own styles. And the reason I mention that is because what you will find in Matthew's Gospel is a male genealogy right back to Abraham. Genesis chapter 5 mentions Adam and Eve, and the Lord called them Adam (Gen. 5:2). What does that mean? It means this. When a girl is born, she takes her father's name. When she marries, she takes her husband's name. That was found in Genesis chapter 5. Every civilized nation in the world follows Genesis chapter 5. There are no feminists in the Book. There are no feminists in the world. In fact, even if you change your surname, if you are a feminist, when you have children, the chances are they will take the father's name, or if they marry, they will take their husband's name. The two leading feminists in the world have children who have taken their husband's name - Genesis chapter 5. What God has set in Scripture is followed even to this day, but for the most part, the feminists don't even know it.
But that was just a quick opening thought as I approach the Gospel of Matthew.
VERSES 2-6: "Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren; And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram; And Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and Naasson begat Salmon; And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse; And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias;"
And I've deliberately highlighted that and wanted to put the emphasis on the king. Twice it appears in verse 6, and the second part of 6 says "of her that had been the wife of Urias." That's contempt. That's contempt. The way that the Holy Spirit is speaking here is highlighting the fact that David was the king twice, and yet his sin with Bathsheba is still in the mind of the Lord. David should have been put to death for his sin along with his mistress, but the Lord showed him mercy.
VERSES 7-16: "And Solomon begat Roboam; and Roboam begat Abia; and Abia begat Asa; And Asa begat Josaphat; and Josaphat begat Joram; and Joram begat Ozias; And Ozias begat Joatham; and Joatham begat Achaz; and Achaz begat Ezekias; And Ezekias begat Manasses; and Manasses begat Amon; and Amon begat Josias; And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon: And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel; And Zorobabel begat Abiud; and Abiud begat Eliakim; and Eliakim begat Azor; And Azor begat Sadoc; and Sadoc begat Achim; and Achim begat Eliud; And Eliud begat Eleazar; and Eleazar begat Matthan; and Matthan begat Jacob; And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ."
Okay. So I got through the genealogies, and I did my best to pronounce the Jewish names of these great men as best as I could. And if you look at the terms or the letters J E C, you find the abbreviation for Jehovah, and ending at 16, "Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ." He makes the clear distinction that Jesus is linked to Mary, not Joseph. And Luke's Gospel, which is the mirror of this, traces Mary and her father's genealogy right back to Adam, but here Matthew takes great care in showing us that the genealogy goes right back to Abraham, and she, Mary, is the only lady here found in Scripture.
VERSE 17: "So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations."
Three 14s make 42. Now, when I've looked at this over the years - and I'm looking at it today - the only significance that comes to my mind when I think of 42 would be that the Lord was on the earth for 42 months, and the Antichrist will be on the earth for 42 months.
This ends with the apostasy in Babylon and also ends with the Lord's birth. You can go through this in Greek if you choose to and play the number game if you choose to, but I am looking at this reading it from the King James perspective. And as I say, three 14s equals 42, and all I can do with that is, as I say, point to the Lord's coming and point to the Antichrist's coming. The Antichrist is a counterfeit of the Christ, and he will deceive many in the Tribulation. He will deceive the goats; he will deceive those that the Lord Himself sends out strong delusion. But here and now, as I say, 17 takes me back to 42, and my initial impression is, as I say, the Lord's ministry on the earth and the Antichrist's soon ministry on the earth.
VERSE 18: "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost."
"Espoused," old English for engaged. Clearly in ancient times for a woman to be found with child outside of marriage was a scandal.
VERSE 19: "Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily."
David slept with Bathsheba the night that he saw her, and she fell pregnant. He should have been put to death along with his mistress. That was the Old Testament teaching. Here Joseph has found his espoused wife, his fiancée is pregnant, and he knows that he's not the father; and the Old Testament law said if that happens, put the woman to death and find the man and put him to death too - total equality there. He was minded to do that. He was a faithful Jew. But look at 20:
VERSE 20: "But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost."
Because he is engaged to her, technically she is now his wife. The angel of the Lord here, if you go to the Old Testament, nearly always is deity. The angel of the Lord nearly always is a pre-incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ, a Christophany. But my feeling is that the Holy Spirit could quite possibly be the angel of the Lord, and that is insinuated from the book of Acts, the eighth chapter, which I will get to later. He knows that he's minded to deal with his wife, but he's a just man, he's a good man, and he wants to do what is right. He wants to show mercy to her.
"That which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost." The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Trinity. In Acts 5 the early church lied to Peter -Ananias and Sapphira, to be precise - and he says to this couple, "You haven't lied to men; you've lied to God," and he points to the Holy Spirit in reference to being God. In Hebrews chapter 9 the Holy Spirit is referred to as being eternal. In Romans chapter 8 the Holy Spirit is referenced as resurrecting the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. So the Holy Spirit comes upon her and she falls pregnant through His presence. There is no sexual intercourse that has occurred. That is a complete heresy, and the Mormons have been perpetuating this heresy over the years, and some so-called Christian feminist groups also like to play loose with this. But that is not what happened. She was a virgin pre her pregnancy. She was pure pre her birth, but she wasn't sinless, and she was pure up to her birth, but she wasn't sinless. That is the mistake that the Catholics make. That is what you know as the Immaculate Conception, that somehow Mary was born without sin and gave birth to the Lord because she was sinless. That is complete falsehood. The woman's placenta we know takes the blood from the father, so the Lord could quite easily have been born via Mary and His blood never intermingled with her blood. He was and has always been sinless, whereas she says, "I rejoice in God my Saviour" (Lk. 1:47.) And she, along with her husband, got to the Temple with a couple of doves, and they present them to the Lord in the Temple. Why? Well, they are sinners. She's a sinner, and she's coming to present her offering to the Lord in the Temple.
VERSE 21: "And she" - Mary - "shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins."
The angel is still speaking to Joseph, and Joseph here is going to call Him Jesus. Go to 1 Samuel, please - quick cross reference - 1 Samuel chapter 2 verse 25. All of the Old Testament kings are types of either the Lord Jesus Christ or the Antichrist, and here I'm going to show you a cross reference, when I get there, of Samuel who would clearly be a type of Jesus. And you can see how the Old Testament lays the foundation of the coming Messiah. First Samuel 2:25: "If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him: but if a man sin against the LORD, who shall intreat for him? Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because the LORD would slay them." Verse 26: "And the child Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the LORD, and also with men." There is an early type of the Messiah - one God, one mediator between men and God, the man Christ Jesus. Now you find it in 1 Samuel 2: 25. Samuel is a type of the mediator between man and God.
Back to Matthew 1:21 one more time: "And thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins." Who are His people? His people, first and foremost, were the Jews. John chapter 1 says, "He came unto his own, and his own received him not" - their choice - "But as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become the sons of God" (Jn. 1:11-12.) Through their unbelief, we, the Gentiles, we, the church are grafted in, and we are currently the people of God through the New Covenant. But once the church has been raptured, Revelation 4, the Lord turns back to the children of Israel, and He deals with them during the Tribulation - seven years, of course. The first part is the beginning of sorrows, three and a half years; the second part is the Tribulation itself when the Antichrist arrives. But here He's going to save His people from their sins. He will save them. You don't save yourself. He will save you. And He starts with the house of Israel, but, of course, for the most part, they rejected Him. Why? Well, the Old Testament prophets prophesied that they would through foreknowledge; and therefore through their unbelief, as I say, we are grafted in. But we don't replace the root. We are propped up by the root. We are saved because of the root - the root, of course, being Israel and the root, of course, being holy.
VERSES 22-23: "Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us."
Christ has many names, many names indeed, and this expression "Emmanuel" means God with us. "E m," Emmanuel, Elohim, Jehovah - these are all a Jewish play on words to point to the one true God.
Go to Luke, Luke chapter 2. I want to show you a cross reference here to Emmanuel, God with us, God with us being mankind. Luke 2:52: "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man." There's your mediator, God with us. One more reference. Go to John chapter 3. Look at Nicodemus here in verse 2: "The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him" (v.2.) So they knew who He was. They knew where He'd come from. But here I'm focusing primarily on His mediation between man and God. You found it in 1 Samuel with Samuel himself; Luke 2 alludes to it some more; and John 3 cements the clear teaching found here that He was the mediator between man and God. You see, when you sin against God, only God Himself can forgive you. Never mind going to the saints or Mary or the priest or the vicar or the preacher or the healer or the evangelist. You've got to go to the Saviour. There's no other way to be saved.
VERSES 24-25: "Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS."
She had other children Mark 6 tells us - at least six other children. He didn't know her pre her pregnancy until she brought forth her firstborn son. There's nothing here to suggest she stayed a virgin post the birth of Jesus Christ.
In the Gospel of John in the 19th chapter, when Jesus hangs on the cross, He says, "Mother, behold thy Son," and He puts John in charge of Mary. Why? Well, Christ had obviously younger brothers and sisters. They were too young to look after their mother. So John is commissioned to look after His siblings and His aging mother.
You could look at 24 and suggest that is a type of the Rapture when it says Joseph was raised from sleep, but personally, I would leave it as it stands. What we don't want to do is read into the text something which isn't there. As I've already said, that is eisegesis, and that causes all sorts of problems. When we read the Bible, we take from the text what is there. We expound what is clearly there. That is called exegesis. And when we do that, we know we can't go wrong.
So there is the first chapter - 25 verses - and I hope you've been following along in your Bible with me. And as you can see, there's a lot of scripture here, a lot of scripture here, a lot to teach and preach from, but this is a simplistic approach of walking through the Scriptures. This won't be a heavy video. This won't be a longwinded-out video. This will be a simple, down-to-earth, easy-to-understand - I hope - video.
VERSES 1-2: "Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him."
The traditional story has three Magi traveling on their own from Persia to greet the newborn King. There could easily have been more than three wise men. These are kings spoken of in the Old Testament, and these kings are going to bring gifts with them which will also be replicated in the Millennium. What you find in the Old Testament normally has a twofold application, the First Coming and the Second Coming. These wise men would have had an army with them. They were well-to-do people. They were traveling with riches. They traveled from Persia, modern day Iran, all the way to Jerusalem, the capital of Israel.
When it says they went around asking, "Where is he that is born King of the Jews," they asked everybody. They wanted to proclaim their arrival, and that is a picture of the Second Coming. In Matthew 24 He comes back with the church, and every eye sees Him according to Revelation chapter 1. And this is what you find here with the first coming, whereas when you go to Luke's Gospel, the shepherds are invited, and they come - and only they come - to witness His birth. That's a picture of the Rapture. When the Lord comes back, He comes just for His church, 1 Thessalonians chapter 4. But here, this is a public arrival, and they have made quite a commotion, which was their intention, which was their purpose. And the Lord, of course, was behind that because His Son is the King of the Jews, and Herod is now on notice.
One other point from verse 2. They came to worship Him - Gentiles. As I've already said, Luke will trace Jesus back to Adam, who wasn't a Jew, whereas Matthew traces Him back to Abraham, who was a Jew. He was always going to be the Messiah of Jew and Gentile, and here the Magi are Gentiles coming to worship the Jewish Messiah. There's also a level of apostasy here which you'll find in verses 4, 5, and 6. But look at 3:
VERSE 3: "When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him."
Of course. Here is an unpopular king, an Assyrian, a Gentile who had married his brother's wife, and he had been imposed on the Jewish community as their so-called king, their governor. The Jews despised him, and yet later in the Gospel accounts they are supporting Herod over the King of the Jews, Jesus Christ. That is apostasy with a capital "A," the worst type of apostasy imaginable. Those that were troubled in Jerusalem are going to be defined, as I've already said, from 4, 5, and 6, and these are your apostate Jewish leaders foretold in the Old Testament. But nonetheless, prophecy is happening right in front of their eyes, and for the most part, they didn't have a clue what was happening. That's the devastating reality of sin.
VERSES 4-6: "And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel."
They knew the Old Testament Scriptures. They knew it inside out, and yet they are in unbelief. This expression "Governor" in Micah speaks of a leader. If you go to Micah 5:2, it says, "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." Two things are admitted there: First of all, that He's from everlasting, which makes Him deity; secondly, He's going to be a leader, not a governor. And one writer that I read some years ago made the interesting point that they were terrified to tell Herod that the King of Israel, the true God of Israel, the Messiah had arrived. They feared man more than God, so they changed it from leader to Governor, which although was still a threat to Herod, wasn't as damning as calling Him and giving Him his correct title "leader."
VERSE 7: "Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared."
That word "diligently" will appear several times, and we were told in the book of Hebrews to diligently come to the Lord to search Him out. The Old Testament spoke many times of searching for the Lord with all of your hearts, crying to the Lord, waiting on the Lord to hear you, to save you. This star traveled from Persia to Israel. And there are many videos, many articles that have been put on line dealing with the Star of Bethlehem, and I would invite anybody who wants to look into this star more to go onto YouTube and type in "The Star of Bethlehem." Much has been said about that, but I haven't time for it now.
VERSE 8: "And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also."
He had no intention of worshipping the Christ, the Messiah, the young child who, of course, is no longer a baby, by the way. And I'll get to that in a few moments. He wants to know, of course, where the Messiah is. He wants to go and kill Him, which he will do from verse 16 onwards. But here he is completely shaken. He has no idea what he's up against, really, and the wise men have only given him half of the picture, and the scribes and the priests and even the wise men, to some extent, have only given him half the picture because they too may have feared for their own lives.
VERSE 9: "When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was."
One other point. People didn't go from the East to the West to search for the truth. It was normally the West to the East. But here the so-called brains, the great astrologers have traveled many miles, days if not weeks on camels to come and worship the King. Already He is rewriting history; He's rewriting protocol.
VERSE 10: "When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy."
They've arrived on their own. No Herod, no priests, no scribes - just the Gentiles.
VERSE 11: "And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh."
He's in a house, not a stable. They worship Christ, not the mother. They bow down at His feet. In Acts chapter 10 Cornelius bows down to Peter, and Peter grabs him up and says, "Don't do that. I'm just a man as you are." And yet how many times have we seen the popes of Rome enjoy people falling down at their feet kissing their rings, carrying them from A to B. The last pope that was carried like a king was John XXIII, and he had no problem being carried around like a king, and that shows you, once again, the falsehood of the papacy. These men – and that's all they are, just men – are happy to be treated as kings. And Herod - not this Herod - Herod's son in Acts chapter 12, I believe, is treated as a god. They worshipped him as a god, and because he wouldn't give God, capital "G," the glory, the Angel of the Lord struck him, killed him.
VERSE 12: "And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way."
Chapter 1, the Angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph – deity, I believe; chapter 2 verse 12, God Himself appears to the wise men that they should not go back to Herod but go another way. You see now how important this is. God Himself is personally intervening. When Mary falls pregnant, Gabriel goes to see her - still an angel, yes, possibly an archangel, but not deity. Here the birth of Christ is found, and in relation to that, God Himself is doing the speaking; He's doing the intervening - "This is my Son; hear ye Him, my beloved son." Mary said in John 2, "Whatever He says, do it." You've got to come to Him. What He says, you must do. It's all about Him. It's not about you or me or him or her. It's about Him.
VERSE 13: "And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him."
Angel of the Lord - once again, deity. "Go to Egypt; hide there until I bring you word again." Christ is mentioned before Mary nearly every single time in Scripture. This last expression here "destroy Him," you can destroy a person's testimony; you can destroy a person's character; that doesn't mean to annihilate that person. To destroy anybody simply means to cause them to cease from existing. You can physically destroy somebody, but their soul lives on. Here clearly this is in reference to physical destruction but not spiritual destruction. When an unsaved person dies, they go into the ground, and they wait there until the end of the thousand years. Then they are resurrected, and if their name is not found in the Book of Life, they go into the lake of fire, which is the second death. They will spend all of eternity in the lake of fire. They will never cease to exist. Now, somebody once said there was a time when you didn't exist; there will be time when you will never cease to exist. How true that is.
VERSES 14-16: "When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son. Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men."
Two years of age. He's obviously been born; He's obviously grown from an infant to a toddler; He's gone from a stable to a house, and this interrogation, which started back in 7, has resulted in Herod knowing how old the child was. Now, the wise men may not have completely known what Herod was going to do with that information, but I think they probably did know. And, as I say, he's already found out He's two years old and He's in Bethlehem - foretold 800BC by Micah, affirmed by the scribes and the priests but discarded by them nonetheless, and here he is going to do what he can to destroy the Messiah - Antichrist. That's what Antichrist does. He tries to destroy what God has raised up.
VERSES 17-18: "Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not."
Rachel, along with Eve and Sarah, is a mother of Israel. Eve is the mother of all living. The women in the Old Testament are types of Israel from a parental type. And you could even stretch that and say that the women in the Old Testament are types of the church here and now, if you choose to. But here Rachel is weeping for her children, which Matthew claims is in reference to the children that were slaughtered in Bethlehem.
VERSES 19-20: "But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life."
"The angel" now becomes "an angel." If you leave the Scripture as it is - and I certainly will - it's not the same angel. Herod's dead. His top leftenants, those that were initially part of the plot to kill the Messiah, are now dead. It's safe to go back.
VERSES 21-23: "And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee: And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene."
Now God is speaking to him. This expression Archelaus reigning in Judea in the room of his father, to the best of my knowledge, only the King James has that bit of Scripture in there. The New King James doesn't have it, and I don't believe the NIV has it either. But it's important – "in the room of his father Herod." It's things like that which make me wonder why so many omissions are found in the new Bibles. Why take that out? Why take it out?
He was told to go back; he starts out with faith, and then he gets fearful. That's pretty normal. God sees the fear; God reassures him, doesn't punish him, doesn't chastise him, and he continues on. But this time he goes into Galilee and ends up in Nazareth, and it was spoken of by the prophets, "He shall be called a Nazarene."
Some things in the Old Testament were written down; some things were spoken that weren't written down, but nonetheless, it says here that God spoke to the prophets that He would be called a Nazarene. He wasn't born in Nazareth, but He was raised in Nazareth.
Okay. Well, that will conclude the second chapter, and next up we look at the third chapter.
VERSES 1-2: "In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
John is the son of Elizabeth, who was a cousin of Mary. Repentance here is a reference to the change of mind, a change of belief. The Kingdom of Heaven is twofold - physical and spiritual. Here it will be in reference to Christ's soon arrival, so it will be a physical Kingdom. Post the Lord's death, it becomes a spiritual Kingdom. More on that later.
VERSE 3: "For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight."
The way of the Lord, Jehovah God. Make Jehovah's path straight - Isaiah. Isaiah is quoted here from the 40th chapter - Get ready for His coming.
VERSES 4- 6: "And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey. Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins."
All those that were in Jordan, all those that were in Jerusalem that believed went forth to be baptized of him. They knew the Messiah was coming. They believed on Him, and they confessed their sins. This was the first baptism. This was the first step in the long-anticipated arrival of the Messiah. This, of course, didn't save them, and we find that in Acts 19 when Paul says to some disciples that he comes across, and he says, "Since you believed, have you received the Holy Ghost?" And they said to him, "What is the Holy Ghost? We haven't even heard of the Holy Ghost." That can't be a reference to Jews because the Jews knew who the Holy Spirit was. It's in reference to Gentiles. And Luke's Gospel tells us that soldiers came to be baptized. Cornelius could well have been one of these people. This was in preparation for the Messiah's coming.
VERSE 7: "But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?"
He wants true repentance here. And this baptism is total immersion, not sprinkling, and this is for adults only, not children. A child cannot believe on the Lord. Only when a person comes of age and knows right from wrong can they be saved, and then they get baptized.
VERSES 8-9: "Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham."
Don't quote Abraham. Don't lean on him. This is found in the Gospel of John - Abraham is our father; we aren't born of fornication; we be free. Don't trust in Mary. Don't trust in the papacy. Just because you believe you have this 'unbroken line' back to Peter of '265 popes,' big deal. It doesn't save you. The Jews have a line going right back to Abraham, but it won't save them. He wants fruit; he wants meat; he wants to see true repentance, true remorse.
VERSE 10: "And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire."
A reference to Israel.
VERSE 11: "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:"
When you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, you get baptized into the body of Christ - 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians chapter 4. That's what saves you, not your water baptism. That does not save you. Acts 19 showed you that.
VERSES 12-13: "Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him."
First coming and Second Coming there. He's going to burn them up – lake of fire ‒ unbelievers, the goats, those that wouldn't believe on Him, those that refused to believe on Him.
VERSE 14: "But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?"
John knew that he was a sinner and that Christ was sinless. He knew that.
VERSE 15: "And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him."
Christ is setting an example here that when you believe on Him, you then get baptized. But also keep in mind that this doesn't save you. Paul said in 1 Corinthians chapter 1 that he wasn't sent to baptize but to preach the Gospel. Mark 16 said if you believed and were baptized, you would be saved; if you didn't believe - and no mention of baptism - you would be damned. John chapter 3 says, This is the condemnation that men loved darkness rather than light (v. 19.) They won't come to the light to be saved. They love their sin more than they love the Lord. But as many as received Him, to them gave He the right - the authority, the power - to become children of God through their faith.
The first chapter said He came to save His people. So all you find here is the Lord showing that He is the Messiah. John is going to testify to that in the next verse, and this is an example of what you should do if you've got saved and haven't yet been baptized. This is for you too.
VERSES 16-17: "And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
The Father is speaking; the Holy Spirit has appeared; Christ is in the water - three in one, one in three, and the one in the middle died for me. If you are a Oneness, you struggle with this. If you are a non-Trinitarian, you can't deal with this, because if you are a non-Trinitarian, what you have here is Jesus speaking to Himself from Heaven and Jesus appearing in a dove to come to His baptism. But if you are a Trinitarian, you have the Father, who is a person, you have the Holy Spirit, who is a person but on this occasion appears as a dove, and you have Christ who is a person - three Persons, one God. Therefore, the Father speaks to the Son, and the Son speaks to the Father. That makes sense logically. You may not understand it. We were never told to understand the Trinity. We were told to believe it. And here the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all appearing at the same time -"This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Wow! That's a pretty clear statement.
Jesus has been officially declared as the Son of God. John has seen it; His disciples have seen it, and some of His disciples will become the Lord's apostles. Dozens, if not hundreds of people have seen it. Some of those have been baptized awaiting His arrival, and some go off on their way pre the Lord's arrival, I would say, waiting for His coming. As I've already said, Acts 19 shows us how that worked, and Acts chapter 10 also showed us how that worked with Cornelius. The first baptism was John's preparation to get the people of Israel ready for their King, their Messiah, and in Luke's Gospel that is referred to as being God Himself. God became a man in the person of Christ. That's what the incarnation is.
Third chapter. Next up is the fourth.
VERSE 1: "Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil."
In reverse order - and we see the devil here - this is the first time that Satan, also known as Lucifer, appears in this Gospel. And some so-called Christian groups don't believe that Satan exists, but he is found in both Testaments. He initially was a beautiful cherub, and he had great responsibility, but sin was found in him. Pride came along, and he wanted to become like the Most High. He wanted to replace the Most High, according to Isaiah 14. Therefore, the Lord punished him, and he became the serpent which tempted Eve, and through Eve's fall, the entire human race fell into sin.
Also see here a reference to the Spirit, Holy Ghost, and the Holy Spirit gave the Lord Jesus Christ the ability to do what He did. Paul says that the Lord emptied Himself in Philippians 2, and therefore the Holy Spirit came alongside the Lord and gave Him the ability to do what He did, hence why He looks to the Holy Spirit. And you find this in Matthew 12 and Mark 3, and He says anybody who blasphemes the Son of man can be forgiven, but if you blaspheme the Holy Ghost, there is no forgiveness of sin. Why? Well, the Holy Spirit was, of course, driving the Lord along. The Lord Jesus Christ did what He did through the power of the Holy Ghost.
Also this expression "led Him up into the wilderness to be tempted," this is one of the handfuls of Scriptures which puzzles Christians. Why is Satan tempting the Lord? Why was the Lord baptized in the first place? We saw in the third chapter that even John said, "You are without sin." But here the devil is going to try and tempt Him. And the devil may be a cherub, he maybe an angel, he may be incredibly smart, but he's not God. He only has so much knowledge, whereas the Lord, of course, knows everything, the beginning from the end.
VERSES 2-3: "And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread."
So the temptation here starts in verse 1. By verse 3, he's questioning the Lord's deity, something that the Jehovah's Witnesses do, the Christadelphians do, the Muslims do, the Scientologists do, and pretty much every other unsavory organization in the world. But here the old liar, the old deceiver, the old tempter himself is questioning the Lord's deity.
VERSE 4: "But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."
This is a direct quote from the eighth chapter of Deuteronomy, and the Lord is quoting Deuteronomy because it is the word of God. In fact, the New Testament cites the Old Testament around 80 times. Every word of God was inspired and has been preserved. And here the Lord goes straight to Scripture to silence the devil. Of course, Satan is tempting Jesus. He wants to give Him physical food. He hasn't eaten for 40 days, and along with Elijah and Moses, this wouldn't be something that everybody would wish to do.
I knew a man some years ago who got saved later in life, and he had been a chain smoker for many, many years; and he got wonderfully saved, had an amazing ministry. But on one occasion he decided to fast, and he didn't eat properly for several days, and it may have been even a week or two - I can't remember - but he fell very ill around this time. And his health deteriorated, and the doctors were called and he went into a coma and sadly died. He was in his mid to late 60s - wasn't that old, really - but his chain smoking, his poor living pre his salvation days caught up with him. But his intentions were sincere. He wanted to fast; he wanted to focus on the Lord; he wanted to be closer to the Lord, and sadly for him, it cost him his life. As I say, a marvelously saved man, a tremendous ministry. But fasting has to be done carefully. You need to be careful that you don't overdo it. And as I say, this brother went into eternity quite possibly earlier than he would have done had he been more sensible. But he did what he did. We have free will, and he's now with the Lord.
VERSES 5-6: "Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone."
Satan quoting Scripture. In 2 Corinthians the devil is spoken of as an angel of light, so don't ever be surprised if you come across people who are religious that can quote the Scripture word for word. Satan is doing it here, and he's also twisting the Scripture here. If you go back to - I believe it's Psalm 92 that he is quoting here, you find that he's twisted the Scripture. And that's what he does. He's a liar and he's a deceiver.
Verse 5 speaks about the Holy City which is Jerusalem. And there isn't one mention of Jerusalem in the Koran, and yet if you speak to any Shiite or Sunni Muslim, they will tell you with a straight face that Jerusalem belongs to the Muslims, and they quote this erroneous and far-fetched claim that Mohammed ascended up on a horse from Jerusalem. But there is no reference of this in the Koran, whereas Jerusalem is found 2,500 times in the Old Testament alone.
Verse 1 had the Holy Spirit taking Jesus up into the wilderness; verse 5 has the devil taking Him up into the Holy City. These are strange verses. They aren't very easy to understand, but what we can say for sure – because we already know this from other Scriptures – is that the Lord Himself is obviously a Spirit being. Satan is a spirit being. And the Lord has two natures – He is God and He is man. So my first thoughts when I looked at this chapter earlier was that it would be difficult to conceive of Satan tempting the Lord's deity. He knows who Christ is. There are other chapters, other sections of the Gospels when the Lord comes across demon-possessed people, and they say, "We know who you are. You are the Holy One of God.” So Satan knows, of course, who Christ is, so all I can really gauge from this is he must be tempting the Lord's human side, hence His hunger from verse 4; and, as I say, by 5, he's taking Him up to the Holy City and put Him on a pinnacle, which I believe was about 450 feet high. So it's pretty high. And, as I say, by verse 6, he's twisted the Scripture, which all false religions do.
VERSE 7: "Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God."
What an amazing piece of Scripture. You won't tempt the Lord thy God - again from Deuteronomy, but here Jesus is speaking. He's saying, "You won't tempt me, the Lord your God" ‒ Deity. This is the power of the Scripture, of course. Every word of God is from Heaven and has the ability to change lives. That is why it is referred to in the book of Hebrews as a sharp, two-edged sword and when it's used correctly, can do great things; but if it's used incorrectly, it can do severe damage.
VERSES 8-9: "Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me."
He is called a liar. He's called the father of lies, in fact. So we have to approach this with the view that he is a liar. But also what he is saying does have some truth because Paul says that the devil is the god - lower case "g" - of this world. So the entire political, economic, and apostate religious system is in his pocket. So he obviously had the world and all its glory in the fourth chapter to give to the Lord. It would be difficult to have him make an empty promise that he couldn't substantiate, that he couldn't fulfill if he didn't have it to begin with. So leave the Scripture as it is. He's offering the Lord the glory, the kingdoms, food because he obviously has that to give Him.
VERSE 10: "Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve."
Once again, quoting scripture. Scripture should be your final authority. Never mind church tradition, councils, popes, your favourite TV evangelist, your favourite YouTuber. The Scripture is your final authority. And He goes straight to the Scripture to silence Lucifer.
VERSE 11: "Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him."
This two-way conversation is also spoken of in Luke's Gospel and I believe Mark as well. We don't get into conversations with the devil. In the book of Jude, Michael the Archangel gets into a scrap with the devil over the body of Moses, and he doesn't deal directly with the devil himself because he doesn't have the authority to, so he says, "The Lord rebuke you." Yet here Christ is rebuking the devil directly Himself. So we don't, as I say, have the authority or the ability or even the desire to engage the devil in a conversation. We were told to flee from him and we were told to walk in the Spirit and use the sword of the Lord as our defense against the devil, but we don't get into conversations with him. So watch some of these so-called deliverance ministries because, if you're not careful, they can end up causing you more harm than good.
VERSES 12-17: "Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee; And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
John started this back in the third chapter. The Lord is continuing on John's work - Repent, change your mind, come unto Me. The Kingdom of Heaven is here and now, i.e., I am the Kingdom of Heaven. Believe on Me and I will save you - physical realm, spiritual realm. Here it is the physical realm because the King is on the earth. The first coming, He arrived as the son of Joseph to suffer; the Second Coming, He comes as the Son of David to rule and reign.
VERSES 18-20: "And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him."
John's Gospel tells us that Peter wasn't the first person to be saved. In fact, Andrew was called pre Peter, and only in Matthew's Gospel do you find those famous words - "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church" (Matt. 16:18.) More on that later, of course. But here Matthew is focusing on Simon called Peter and Andrew his brother as the first named apostles, if you will, that have been called and commissioned to be fishers, to be soul winners.
VERSES 20-21: "And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them."
John here is the author of the Gospel of John. He's the youngest of all the apostles, and he's also the writer, I believe, of first, second, third John and of Revelation. James, his brother, is the James that you find in the twelfth chapter of Acts which is put to death. The second James that you find in Acts 15 is the half brother of the Lord, and it's that James that wrote the epistle of James. But here this is John's brother, the sons of Zebedee.
VERSES 22-23: "And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him. And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people."
The King is here. He has a spiritual throne at this point of His ministry, and He's healing all those that wanted to be healed. Anybody that came to Him wanting to be healed got healed. Nobody came to Him wanting to be healed that didn't get healed. When you come across faith healers today, if they can't heal you - and 99 percent of the time they can't heal you - they will say to you that you didn't have faith in order to be healed, and they put the responsibility on you. That is completely false. People got healed in the New Testament that not only didn't always believe on the Lord - like the servant who had his ear cut off - but people got healed by the Lord that were dead. He raised them up. What faith did they have there? So those that come to the Lord wanting to be healed were healed, but those that didn't come to be healed were never healed.
So if you want to argue that the sign gifts are still for today, you have to go to the Scripture and see if your ministry, if you are part of a healing ministry, lines up with the New Testament. Can you heal everybody without exception that comes forward to be healed? Are you doing all of your healings out in the open? Of course not. Most of the so-called healings are found in arenas. We don't know who those people are. We haven't read their medical records. They could be anybody. They could be actors. We don't know. And they come forward; they give these wonderful testimonies on stage, and people get their money out, start giving donations, and it continues to fund this counterfeit church, this counterfeit gospel, this counterfeit presence of being anything but Christian. But here He heals everybody that came to be healed.
VERSE 24: "And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them."
Everybody got healed, not just the emotional stuff that you see at these crusades. People were possessed with devils. They had the palsy; they were lunatic; they were mad, insane. He healed everybody without exception.
VERSE 25: "And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan."
People traveled for miles to come and see the Lord. There are accounts that Pilate had reports given to him of this great miracle maker. Herod's secret police would have heard of the Lord's ministry. Paul pre his salvation here by 2 1/2, 3 years, 4 years, 5 years, Paul would have heard of this. Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus, Caiaphas - they would have all heard of this great miracle maker who wasn't asking for money; He wasn't asking for women; He wasn't asking for anything. All He was telling the people to do were to come to the Lord, worship the Lord, repent, show true repentance, fall on your knees, and He would save them. How can anybody oppose that? How can anybody better that? What could Mohammed do, what could Buddha do, what could Krishna do, what could any of these religious people do that Jesus Christ didn't do? What further things can they add? What more can they give us? How can they improve on what Christ did and said? They can't. They can't.
VERSES 1-3: "And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
The multitude are found in the last few verses of chapter 4, and by the opening verse of chapter 5, He is going to give His famous Sermon on the Mount first and foremost to His apostles and around 20,000 other people that have come to listen to the words of the Lord.
The Kingdom of Heaven spoken of in verse 3, once again, has a twofold application. It's a physical and it's a spiritual realm. Here the Lord is on the earth speaking, and those that have come to see Him and hear Him are in the presence of the King and His Kingdom. By the time the Lord died and went back to glory, we are now living in His spiritual Kingdom. At the end of the Tribulation, He comes back to earth to rule and reign from Jerusalem for 1,000 years. All of the Old Testament saved saints are going to be resurrected and return with Him. The church, of course, will be reigning and ruling with Him, and according to 1 Corinthians chapter 6, we will even have angels in subjection to us. So a physical and a spiritual realm as far as the Kingdom of Heaven is concerned.
But also keep in mind that what you find here in the fifth chapter doesn't save you. For the most part, what the Lord is saying here has direct application (a) to Israel and (b) to those alive in the thousand year reign. For the church age here and now, we take this to be primarily for spiritual purposes. We don't approach the Sermon on the Mount in order to be saved, although it is good to use this as a measuring rod to make sure that we are walking in the Spirit. But you have to always understand that this aspect of the New Testament, the Gospels, are primarily given to the Jews living under the law.
The poor in spirit will receive the Kingdom of Heaven, and until you are born again, you are dead in your sins, so you can't be poor in spirit until you are born again.
VERSE 4: "Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted."
Mourning over their sin, mourning over their helplessness, mourning over the depraved world around them.
VERSE 5: "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth."
The New Jerusalem, of course. Humility and meekness go hand-in-hand.
VERSE 6: "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled."
That's a good sign of a saved person. A good saved person, a mature saved person will mourn after righteousness. They will hate their sin, and they will seek to always do what is right. And when they fall and stumble - and they always will - they confess their sins, and they get up and start all over again.
VERSES 7-8: "Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God."
The pure in heart is what happens post your new birth. Pre your new birth, your heart was desperately wicked. You were an enemy of God. Your righteousness was as filthy rags. You were depraved with a capital "D." Post your new birth, these are the attributes which should be in your life. And you were told about the fruits of the Spirit from the book of Galatians, and you can easily compare Matthew 5 with Galatians 5 and do so like a checklist to make sure that you are walking in the Spirit and not in the flesh.
You will see God, found in verse 8 - the Triune God. You will see the Father face-to-face; you will see the Son face-to-face; and you will see the Holy Spirit face-to-face - three Persons, one God.
VERSE 9: "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."
Not the sort of people that go around the world trying to stop wars, trying to resolve disputes between landlords and their tenants or some of the hot spots around the world, but the peacemakers here are those that try to live a righteous life. They try to be reconciled to unsaved people or backslidden Christians. They try to do good. They put the Lord first in their lives, and everything else comes afterwards.
VERSE 10: "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
Present tense. You can easily read these verses and put the case forward from the standpoint of once saved always saved or if saved always saved – another good expression to demonstrate our eternal salvation. The Gospel of John told us that the Lord had us in His hand and the Son had us in His hand - double security. But here, if you are being persecuted for righteousness' sake, that is evidence that you are saved and therefore you already have the Kingdom of Heaven; you are already saved.
VERSE 11: "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake."
That's a good thing to enjoy when you are slandered, when you are treated with contempt for your testimony, for your faith in the Lord. I remember some years ago when I first had a banner. I went on the streets with it, and I hadn't been there very long, and my father had gone off to get a coffee or something; and this man came walking up the street, and he saw my banner and he was cursing and cursing and cursing at me. He was furious. And I stood my ground, and I wasn't sure what was going to happen. And he walked next to me, walked around me, and started to scream in my ear calling me pretty much every name under the sun. He didn't know me personally and I didn't know him personally, but he saw the sign, he saw the Scriptures, and I was being persecuted at that moment in time for my faith in the Lord.
VERSES 12-13: "Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men."
Your testimony should be of the utmost importance. You will, of course, always stumble; you will never be sinless. And when you are at your best, you are called a fanatic; and when you stumble, when you fall into sin, you are called a hypocrite. You can rarely win. You can't please everybody. But nonetheless, the Lord looks at the heart, whereas man looks at the outward appearance. So you need to do the best you can. You need to read the Scripture daily, walk in the Spirit, renew your mind, and have a good prayer life. These things are paramount. Otherwise, you become fruitless; you become redundant in the service of the Lord, and here you are trodden under foot of men.
VERSES 14-16: "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
There are no secret service Christians. But saying that, let me say this, that not always is it convenient or even appropriate to let your light shine. It is a fine line. And one thing that I don't do is ask people to do what I wouldn't do or advise people to do what I wouldn't do. Otherwise, that would make me a hypocrite. But we were told to be ready in season and out of season and always be ready to give a defense for the faith that lies within us. So we are never off duty as Christians; but also, as I say, it isn't always convenient or appropriate to get on your soapbox and start preaching to unsaved people. But here the Lord Jesus Christ expects you to be ready if asked at a moment's notice why you are saved, and therefore your light should always be switched on, not switched off or even on the dimmer switch.
VERSE 17: "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil."
That part of Scripture should be memorized. We don't keep the law. The law was given to the Jews, and the Lord was a Jew, and He fulfilled the law perfectly; and by our faith in Him, we are saved.
I've used this analogy in the past, and it's a good analogy, and it goes something like this that if you were to be asked to enter an Olympic tournament -and we have the Olympics coming up in the UK this summer - it would be pretty unusual, if not downright inappropriate, to ask a non-Olympian to enter an Olympian sport. If you had an Olympian swimming, for example, and you were not an Olympian but you were expected to enter the same tournament as an Olympian swimmer, you wouldn't really stand a chance, would you? But if the Olympian swimmer swam a race for you and won the race for you, then you would somehow be able to enjoy some of that glory. Well, that is a picture of the Lord's substitutionary atonement. He ran the race for us, and He finished it. He passed it. We couldn't do it. We all fall short. We all continue to fall short. Every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Acts chapter 15, even the apostles themselves said we couldn't keep the law. If you try to keep the law and fail in one area, the book of James says you're fallen in all areas; in other words, if you break one aspect of the law, you've broken all of the law and therefore are guilty before the Lord. But through His death, burial, and resurrection and our faith in that - 1 Corinthians 15 - we are saved, and according to John chapter 5, we have already passed from death, hell, judgment unto life here and now and into eternity
VERSE 18: "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled."
Now, keep this in mind. We don't keep the law in order to be saved; however, heaven and earth hasn't yet passed away. Therefore, the law is still in place. This is a paradox. We as saved people use the law to witness to the lost. John Wesley said wisely that if he had 60 minutes with an unsaved man or woman, he would spend 50 minutes on the law, on the holiness, and on the righteousness of God with that party and 10 minutes on the cross. The law was given to sinners. Without the law, we don't see our sin and we can't see the reason to be saved from our sin. So the law is still in place to be presented as the Lord's standard for unsaved men and women, but to the saved, we have already passed from death unto life. Romans chapter 8 said there was no more condemnation to those that walk in the Lord.
So you can leave 17, 18, and even 19 together, but always keep in memory, first and foremost, who is the Lord speaking to? Which dispensation is this covering or is this appropriate for or aimed at? Which generation is receiving this message?; (b) Does it have any direct application to us today?; and (c) Does it have any eschatological connotation? And I've already dealt with that briefly at the beginning of the fifth chapter.
VERSE 19: "Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."
The Kingdom of Heaven, as I've already said, has a physical and spiritual application. To break the commandments and teach them would mean that you are least in the Kingdom but you are still in the Kingdom, but whoso shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. It's a paradox. It's a play on words.
VERSE 20: "For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven."
The Lord's main purpose in the New Testament was (a) to die for the sins of the world, (b) honor the Father, and (c) save mankind to the uttermost, Hebrews chapter 8. He saves us totally when we come to Him. The righteousness here found in the 20th verse is impossible to attain to. The Pharisees were completely righteous. They had the whole Old Testament canon of Scripture and probably the Talmud too down to the letter. They had an outward righteousness. They would be elevated among their peers, among the man or woman in the street. They were revered; they were seen as royalty. How could you exceed that righteousness? Isaiah 64:6 told us that our righteousness is filthy in the presence of the Lord, but 2 Corinthians says He that knew no sin became sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor. 5:21.) He became a sin offering - Isaiah 53 - for us. He died in our place.
But go back to verse 1 and verse 2. Who is He speaking to? The Jews. There's no grace here. It's law, Temple, circumcision, animal sacrifice. This will be mirrored in the thousand-year reign, but here and now those living in the church age, this has spiritual application.
VERSES 21-22: "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire."
In reverse order, Paul speaks about the Galatians and the Corinthians as being fools and foolish, so this isn't a blanket ban on calling a spade a spade and saying that you cannot call somebody a fool, because you can. However, if it's an empty statement, if you use it in a loose way, then it becomes an insult, in which case you have sinned.
Raca, council - these are Jewish terms. To be angry with your brother without a cause puts you in the wrong. You can have a righteous anger, of course. If you watch the news daily or if you read the newspapers regularly or if you have any understanding of the world outside of your church or your own orbit, then I'm sure you have a lot of righteous anger when you hear about some of the injustices which occur on a daily basis. That comes from the Lord. That's your conscience. Only a human being has a conscience. So you can have a righteous anger; you can have a righteous contempt, but here the Lord is speaking of those that have an unrighteous anger, a carnal anger.
Twenty-one spoke about not killing. You were told not to murder. That's what it means. An individual cannot go and murder another individual. The state can, according to Romans 13, but a typical man or woman would be in the wrong if they were to go out and take another life. Here the Lord is speaking to civilians, not countries, not nations, not the military or the police of today but men and women. And, again, 21 and 22 are primarily aimed at the Jews, and they would end up at the council - a Jewish expression.
VERSES 23-24: "Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift."
Temple. This has no application whatsoever to a saved man or woman today, and you cannot use this to argue for Purgatory as Catholics have done because here you, singular, were told to bring your gift, singular, to the altar, the Jewish Temple. If you are in Purgatory, how can you do your "penance"? How can you, singular, do anything? You can't. This is speaking to the Jews from the Jewish Messiah about being reconciled to their brother, their fellow Jew or fellow sister before they come to the Temple to offer the Lord Himself your gift. Again, it has no real application to the saved party apart from a spiritual application. In other words, don't come to the Lord, don't do what you do if you have sin in your life, if you haven't forgiven a brother or sister in the Lord, because He won't hear you. You are temporarily out of fellowship with the Lord. But if you confess your sins, according to 1 John, He is faithful and just to forgive you of all of your sins and to cleanse you of all your unrighteousness - Scripture with Scripture.
VERSE 25: "Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison."
Again, this is an Old Testament analogy of what would happen to two parties which wouldn't be reconciled.
VERSE 26: "Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing."
This, once again, is quoted by the Catholics, but you can't cite this because you are told in 25 to quickly agree with your adversary; otherwise, you'll be cast into prison. How can you do so when you are dead in Purgatory being purged? You can't.
VERSES 27-28: "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."
To fantasize over a woman or women puts you in the condemnation of an adulterer. You are already told from 22 that if you hated somebody, you were a murderer. Just the thought in the eyes of the Lord makes you guilty in the eyes of the Lord. The thought is the intention, and the chances are if you could do something like that, you probably would do something like that, but the Holy Spirit is restraining you. But 28 says if you lust after a woman, if you continually lust after a woman, if you continually fantasize after a woman, then you have committed adultery with her in your heart. Lusting isn't as serious as adultery itself. First Corinthians 6 said that the adulterers won't inherit the Kingdom of God. But here if you lust after a woman or if a woman lusts after a man, it is adultery, and it has to be confessed in order to be restored unto fellowship with the Lord.
VERSE 29: "And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell."
Mutilating yourself won't alleviate the lust that you have in your heart. One church father did castrate himself. He did mutilate himself when he got to this part of Scripture. But that wouldn't have resolved his lust problem. It goes back to the need of the new birth. Now, remember the Lord is speaking to thousands of people who, for the most part, don't believe on Him, are not going to believe on Him, and are going to be calling for His blood and His condemnation. So what you have here is the Lord elevating and sharpening the law, something that the book of Isaiah said that He would do from the seventh chapter. He's simply giving His audience a picture, an understanding, a vision of the Lord's holiness. For the Jews, this would have been completely unimaginable to have to listen to. They had this outward righteousness that if we didn't do this or if we didn't do that, if we didn't say this or if we didn't say that, we would be good with the Lord. And He says, "No. You were told not to do it. Now I'm telling you that if you even think it, it is the same as doing it, hence you need to come to me in order to be saved." Job said that he made a covenant with his eyes that he wouldn't look upon a maid.
Spurgeon said wisely that we can't help birds flying over our heads, but we can stop birds from settling in our hair. And that's true too. We don't make provision for sin; we stand away and we try to avoid it at all costs, because if we are saved, it will drain us of our ability to live a righteous and a powerful life for the Lord, and if we remain in this particular sin or any sin, for that matter, then we lose our righteousness, we lose our standing, we lose our fellowship with the Lord, hence why we need to confess our sins quite possibly, really, on a daily basis to stay in fellowship with the Lord. But here you are told to remove your right eye - not your left eye, not both eyes - in order to avoid being cast into Hell.
One footnote that I will also mention on verse 29, that obviously this is figurative language. I'm sure most people can see that and understand it. Something to quickly cover would be the subject of literalism. Literalism is the theological term for taking every verse in the Bible to be literal, and this would be a good example. If you took this verse to be literal, every man and every woman would have their right eye missing and their right hand from verse 30 missing as well. Obviously, we don't take this verse to be literal. We don't take John 6 to be literal when we were told to eat His flesh and drink His blood. This is figurative language. Literalism, clearly, is a very dangerous concept and is full of all sorts of theological traps, which I've already given to you.
But nonetheless, this is a serious warning from the Lord about sin. So although He's speaking to the Jews under the law pre the cross, pre grace, pre faith through Christ alone, nonetheless, we the church living today can so easily go back to 28 and 22 and say we are guilty of this verse or two or more, and therefore we need to confess our sins. However, if you fall into the perpetual sin of 28 and 22, then either you are not saved or you are a carnal Christian, which is more likely. And there are carnal Christians in the New Testament, and some of these carnal people were judged by the Lord and went to be with the Lord. But they died prematurely, not something that I would ever recommend for anybody.
Hell also here is not the grave, something which the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Christadelphians and other so-called "Christian" groups would have you believe, because if it's simply the grave, why would you be expected to do something drastic like pluck your right eye out or have your right hand removed? You clearly wouldn't do. But nonetheless, it is a serious part of Scripture and we mustn't trivialize it, but we have to also approach this in light of other Scriptures.
VERSES 30-32: "And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery."
This word "fornication" is porneia in Greek, and that's where we get the term for pornography. Divorce is permitted if fornication, if infidelity is found, and if that is found between a man and a woman and they can't or won't be reconciled, then divorce is permitted. The innocent party, I believe, according to 1 Corinthians 7, is able to remarry but only in the Lord. I don't take the position - and I never have done - that if a saved man and a saved woman are married and one of them falls into the sin of adultery or immorality here and these two people separate, that the innocent party is expected to remain single for the rest of their life. I don't believe that. If Person A is guilty of a sin and Person B is innocent of a sin and Person A divorces Person B and Person B has children, why should Person B be expected to be single with their children all of their days when Person A will go off and, chances are, remarry two, three, four, five, six times? I think Person B, if they are the innocent party here, has grounds for remarriage but only in the Lord. Person A that goes on to marry the second, third, the fourth time becomes a perpetual adulterer, and according to 1 Corinthians 6, they've lost their Millennial inheritance. They won't rule or reign with the Lord. They will be saved because they believed on Him like we all did, but because of their perpetual sin of adultery with other people as well, they have lost their millennial inheritance. But for the saved party, I totally believe they have grounds for remarriage.
VERSES 33-35: "Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King."
If you promise to do something, you do it. People that say "I swear to God" - and you hear this all the time - they are bringing the Lord into a dispute, and for the most part, they aren't saved, which is even worse. That's blasphemy. But if you are a saved person and you say "I swear to God that this happened" or "I swear to God that that happened," you are now bound by the Lord to fulfill what you are swearing, to prove what you are swearing, and if you are going to do something, you better do it. Don't have this loose approach, this loose mentality that you promise to do something or you promise to do a good deed for somebody, don't promise to do it if you aren't going to do it. And this oath situation found in verse 33 should also be a condemnation to the Freemasons. They take oaths and they do what they do in secret, in darkness, and we were told in Ephesians 5 to expose those things that are done in darkness. Let your light shine before men. Don't do what you do in a corner. Be transparent; be open. Don't be a closed book. If you say you're going to do something, do it. Say what you say mean and mean what you say. Don't be a double-minded person. Be consistent.
VERSES 36-37: "Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil."
Broken promises, an unstable person. It's wicked. It's wicked for yourself. It's unhelpful for yourself because people don't know where they stand with you. It's not good for yourself because you don't know where you stand with yourself anyway. You're not consistent. But here promises, oaths end up becoming evil if you don't fulfill them.
VERSES 38-39: "Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also."
Here we have a very interesting part of Scripture. This is where the pacifists go to to argue for nuclear disarmament. And, again, the Lord isn’t speaking of nations here. He's speaking of people. He's speaking of people that He wants to believe on Him and become a soldier of the Lord. You have the right to defend yourself. I have always believed that and I stand by that. But if you are out and about for the Lord, if you are preaching on the street, for example, and somebody attacks you, you take it. You take the attack. If they come back a second time, you defend yourself. As I've already said, I was verbally abused some years ago, and we've been pushed; we've been even spat at on the street, and we take it. We take it. We don't look to fight back. We're not armed with weapons. We're armed with Bibles and tracts and sometimes banners. And we expect to get some kind of flack for what we do. We aren't there to fight people; we are fighting for their souls. We are wanting them to repent and get saved.
VERSE 40: "And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also."
That's a tough one. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 6 that it was better for two saved people to deal with any dispute that they had outside of any secular court and, if necessary, to be wronged. It was better to take the wrong here and now, and let the Lord deal with it at the Judgment Seat. If you find yourself in court, you were told here to let the guilty party - perhaps even - take your cloak also. Give him your garments.
I found myself in court some years ago. I hadn't been saved very long, and I was suing a garage for incompetence. They had done some work on one of my cars, and the petrol had found itself in the water tank, and that was very dangerous indeed. And I wrote to this garage several times trying to get them to see what they had done, to take responsibility for what they had done, and also to reimburse me for the costs. Not only had I spent a lot of money paying this garage to do what they did, I had to also go to a specialist garage to get them to reverse the damage which this incompetent garage had done. They ignored all of my letters. I was financially worse off for what they had done. So I had to take them to court. And I got to court and I stood before the judge representing myself, and I had the lawyer for the garage representing his client. And we both put our cases and arguments forward, and the judge said to both of us to go into a side room and try and agree to our differences and, if possible, settle out of court. We sat down in a room - me and this gentleman - and I said to him that I was a Christian and I wasn't wanting to be there but because I had been wronged, because I was financially worse off, because this could have caused damage not only to me but my family, which also would travel with me and did travel with me in my car at that time, therefore they had to be held accountable for this.
Now, I was saved; he wasn't, so technically this has no application to me. Had this been a Christian organization, then I wouldn't have gone to court. As I say, I wouldn't have had grounds to, and it would have been inappropriate for me to take this issue to a court and allow an unsaved judge to watch two saved people being unable to reach an agreement. But I was saved at that time; he wasn't, and therefore we had to deal with this in the presence of today's legal framework in the apparatus which is available for people to deal with and deal with it appropriately.
But here, if you find yourself in this situation - and, again, this is aimed, I would say, really, at two saved people - then let him or her have your cloak also. Do it to shame them, but do it to glorify God, really. That's what is happening here. That's what the Lord is really driving home.
VERSES 41-42: "And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away."
If you have something and you can give it, give it. Why you need two, three, four dozen pair of shoes if you are a woman is beyond me. Why you need three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten coats if you are a woman is beside me. Why you would need two, four, six, eight suits if you are a man is beyond me. Why you would need ten, fifteen, twenty shirts, ties if you are a man is beyond me. If you have something and you don't need it, give it to somebody who does.
This Book is common sense. The entire Bible is common sense, for the most part, but because we are biblical illiterates, because we are foolish people, because we have a sin problem, because we spend more time on YouTube, more time on Facebook than we do in the Bible, we lose our God-centered radar, we lose the Holy Spirit's guidance in our lives, and we end up becoming spiritual babes.
VERSES 43-44: "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;"
Even in Leviticus 19 you are told not to hate your enemies. This is quite possibly what came out of Babylon - the Jewish belief that they were to hate their enemies, that they were to practice double separation. No. You are told not to do so in Leviticus. The Jews were expected to be a light to the Gentiles, to be the vehicles to bring them to the Lord, but they failed.
VERSE 45: "That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust."
God loves everybody. His love was demonstrated through the death of His son. At the same time, He is angry with the wicked every day. He hates all workers of iniquity. That is a paradox. His righteousness declares His hatred on wicked, unsaved people, but He also loves them. He sends His rain on the just and the unjust. He allows His sun to rise on the evil and on the good.
If you travel to anywhere in the world, even Islamic, Communist, Hindu countries, for the most part, the sun comes up, the sun goes down; it rains, it stops raining; the crops come in; the harvest comes, it goes; they eat, they drink, they sleep, they play; they have families, they have children; they go to work, they come home. That's God's goodness. All these tsunamis which we've had in recent years are rare. The expression was put quite well: Why do good things happen to bad people? And that's true. Never mind why do bad things happen to good people. There are no good people. Why do good things happen to bad people? Why do unsaved men and women enjoy their lives, enjoy their surroundings, have families, have businesses, have good standards of life? Because God lets His sun come up on the good and He sends rain on the just and the unjust. He loves everybody - you can't get around that - and if He loves everybody, we ought to love everybody. And He's not willing that any would perish but that all would come to repentance.
VERSES 46-47: "For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?"
Even the world looks after themselves. Even the world puts themselves out for one another. We have to go beyond that, hence why you were told to give your cloak in verse 40 to somebody who wants it. If you are compelled to go a mile in 41, go another mile. Forty-two, if you are asked to give something, give it. Twenty-eight, don't lust after that woman. She's somebody's daughter; she's somebody's wife. Don't hate somebody in 22. That's somebody's son; that's somebody's brother. Be careful with divorce in 32. That's somebody's sister. Don't promise something in 34, 35, 36 because that person is waiting for you to come through for them. Be consistent, 37, 38; otherwise it becomes sinful. Thirty-nine, don't resist evil; don't become a hot head; don't go around looking to get even all the time. Take a knock on the chin if you have to. Do it for the Lord. Fast every so often. Why not? We could all do with losing a bit of weight.
VERSE 48: "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."
Be complete. How can you be complete? Well, pre the new birth, you can't be complete. Pre the new birth, you are an enemy of God. You're the person spoken of in Psalm 5. You're the worker of iniquity. You are outside of the Kingdom. But He became sin for us who knew no sin that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. We get saved by our faith in Him.
Here the Lord is giving you the law as it is found in Scripture, and He's telling you this is what He will judge you by. If you die an unsaved man, if you die an unsaved woman, this is going to be presented to you at the Great White Throne: Lusting, 28; anger, 22; unjust divorce, 42; oaths, empty promises, 35, 36. These are going to be held up against you, and you will have to give an account of yourself to Him for what you find here. "Be ye therefore perfect....as your Father which is in heaven." Be ye perfect. "Be ye holy; for I am holy" (1 Pet. 1:16.) Without holiness no man shall see God (Heb. 12:14.)
Okay. That will conclude the fifth chapter.
VERSES 1-4: "Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly."
This is a pretty straightforward piece of Scripture. If you do good works, don't broadcast it; don't seek glory from men as the Pharisees did. And if you are humble, if you are out and about your Father's business, then He will reward thee openly when He wishes to.
VERSE 5: "And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward."
We had an e-mail some months ago concerning one of our street preaching videos, and the party took the position that somehow we fell into the condemnation which is found here in the fifth verse. Can I just say that this piece of Scripture is not against publicly proclaiming the Gospel of Christ on the streets; otherwise, how else would you get the Gospel out? This piece of Scripture is against people that wish to be praised of men; they wish to be seen as holier than thou. That's what Matthew here is telling us. And if you fall into that group, then you are under the condemnation. But to street preach, to give out tracts, to even film yourself doing that isn't wrong; it's not being condemned. It's the outward appearance of being righteous when you are dead man's bones inside.
VERSE 6: "But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly."
Not a literal closet. Again, literalism here. We don't take every verse, every word of the Bible to be literal. In John chapter 10 the Lord spoke of Himself as a door. He's not a physical door that hangs on hinges. This is simply a piece of Scripture telling you to spend time with the Lord, just you and Him. Switch your cell phone off; switch your laptop off; switch your television off - just you and Him in a place where you can enjoy Him. That's what Matthew is telling you here.
VERSE 7: "But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking."
Heathen, infidel. In this part of Scripture, in this dispensation, the Lord is speaking to the Jews. They are His people. They are under the Mosaic Covenant. They have their Temple. They are pork-abstaining, bearded Jews. They circumcise their sons. They are the people of God. At this part of the Lord's ministry, He's speaking to the Jews. So a non-Jew would be a heathen. In 1 Timothy chapter 5 Paul spoke about a man that wouldn't provide for his own family being an infidel, a non-Jew, an infidel, a non-Jew, a heathen.
Today a non-believer would be an infidel. A nonbeliever would be a heathen. In fact, even in the book of Acts the apostle Peter cites the second Psalm, and it says, "Why do the heathen rage?" And he cites that Scripture and says to the leading Jewish leaders at that time that they were the heathen; they were the nonbelievers. Even though they were Jews, even though they knew the Old Testament inside out, due to their rejection of the Lord, due to their apostasy, due to their intolerance towards the apostles, they were now considered the heathen, the infidels of God.
But the main point here is the vain repetitions. Don't keep repeating the same words over and over again like the Catholics do. The Catholic, if he or she is faithful, if he or she even goes to confession, will be told by the priest to say three Our Fathers and four Hail Marys, and if they do that and if they are "truly sorry," then they have their sins up until that moment in time forgiven, and they can go and receive the Eucharist. But you were told here not to use vain repetitions because the heathen think that they are going to be heard. And until you are born again, your prayers are not heard anyway because you're not a child of God.
VERSE 8: "Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him."
He only becomes your Father when you are born again. Pre the new birth, you were an enemy of God, and the anger and the holiness and the righteousness of God is being poured out on you. Once you are born again, then you can call Him Abba, Father, and He hears your prayers. And He knows, of course, what you need before you ask Him. So stop fretting, stop worrying.
Just before I get to verse 9, this will be the Lord's Prayer, as it is commonly known, and Catholics and Protestants will cite this prayer during their church services. But it's actually the Apostles' Prayer or the Disciples' Prayer, and it's a Jewish prayer. And, again, it has a first- and second-coming connotation to it. We can still use it for the church age if we choose to, but just look at how it's worded.
VERSE 9: "After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name."
"Our" - the Jews - Father who is in Heaven. This is pre the new birth. Post the new birth, the Father, Son, and Spirit live within us, and the Holy Ghost leads us. He convicts us of sin, and He leads us into all areas of righteousness. This is the Jewish Messiah speaking to His apostles, first and foremost, and then the Jewish people behind them. So, as I say, follow this carefully because you can read it, you can use it during your daily walk with the Lord, but for the most part, this is Jewish with a capital "J."
VERSE 10: "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven."
If you are saved, the Kingdom of God is already within you, and you are simply awaiting the return of the Lord to take you to His physical Kingdom. So, again, Scripture with Scripture, and try and get the dispensations in the right place. His will is to be done in earth as it is in Heaven, and we are to pray for that.
VERSE 11: "Give us this day our daily bread."
We seek the Lord's provision on a daily basis. If we are fortunate to live in wealthy countries and if we have food on our tables and we are able to work for our food, we should give the Lord thanks for that, not the government but the Lord.
VERSE 12: "And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors."
Our sins have already been forgiven. They were forgiven when we believed on the Lord. But the next couple of verses can be easily cross referenced to 1 John.
VERSE 13: "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen."
Job was tested. All of the Old Testament prophets were tested. The apostles were tested. Here we find the Scripture telling us to seek to be delivered from temptation, to be delivered from evil. This isn't just a day-by-day deliverance; this is a deliverance from ultimate evil - death, Hell, and eternal torment. If we call on the Lord to deliver us from evil, that is also with the understanding that you are calling on Him to be saved from your sin.
So 9 to 13, I would say, has a twofold application: It was given to the Jews to pray during the Lord's time on earth; it will be recited again during the Millennium. For those living today, we can still refer to this, we can still say this prayer if we choose to. But remember that the Kingdom will come. We have already been saved, and our deliverance from evil comes on a day-by-day basis when we walk in the Spirit. So keep in mind that these people haven't yet been saved, whereas those living today reading this are saved - if they are born again, of course.
VERSES 14-15: "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."
First John would be the cross reference to this, and there we were told that if you hated your brother, you were a murderer and no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. The brother in 1John would be a saved party.
If you don't confess your sins to the Lord, then He won't restore you to fellowship. You become a barren, carnal Christian. And if you read 1 Corinthians 11, there were carnal Corinthians that didn't repent, didn't come back to the Lord, and they died in their sin, and they went straight to Heaven. They were still saved, of course, but due to their immorality, due to their carnality, they lost their fellowship with the Lord, they lost their peace, and ultimately they lost their lives. That is the worst case scenario for a saved man or woman who won't confess their sins. But here if you don't forgive men their trespasses, your Father in Heaven won't forgive you your trespasses, and you lose your fellowship with the Lord. But if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness (1 Jn. 1:9.) So just confess your sins; come back to the Lord, and He will restore you 100 percent.
VERSE 16: "Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward."
Same sort of language found back in verse 2 and verse 5, and the reward there, once again, is recognition from the multitudes - Look at these wonderful Jewish leaders; they fast all the time; they don't do this; they don't do that; they're so marvelous, when in reality, they are dead men's bones. They are the whited sepulcher; they are the enemies of God; they are the people that the Lord condemns later in Matthew's Gospel.
VERSES 17-18: "But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly."
Fasting is found in both Testaments. It's not mandatory, but the way that this piece of Scripture is presented gives the clear impression that it was an everyday practice among the Jewish people. But, as I say, there's nothing clearly found in Scripture that Person A or Person B should fast on this day of the week or that day of the week or this week or that week or this month and that month. As I've already said, I knew a brother who fasted, and his intentions were good, and due to his poor health pre his salvation days, he paid with his life, really. He went a little overboard. But sometimes fasting can simply mean to miss a meal or two out of a day and spend extra time in the Bible or extra time on the street.
I know a brother that street preaches every weekend without fail, and he told me that he doesn't eat or drink anything on that day. He goes onto the street simply depending on the Lord to sustain him. And he has a very bold witness. He is very compassionate. He is very sincere; he's very genuine. And, as I say, he won't eat or drink anything until he goes home later that day, and then he enjoys a big meal. But he doesn't broadcast the fact that he fasts. He simply mentioned it to me in passing once, and it was done not to broadcast or to boast of this but simply as a point of conversation, really. But, as I say, fasting is found in both Testaments, but you do have liberty in the Lord whether you choose to be a regular faster or not. And it may also be that if a crisis would occur in your life that you will have to fast; you would have to get on your knees and cry unto the Lord until He hears you, until He gives you what you need. And we've all been there, haven't we.
VERSES 19-21: "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
Again, this is a pretty straightforward piece of Scripture. Don't get caught up in the trap of wanting to keep up with the Joneses and the Smiths. Just because your neighbors go away once or twice or three or four times a year doesn't mean you have to. Just because they built a huge extension or had a Jacuzzi installed or a sauna installed doesn't mean you have to as well. Don't get caught up with all the materialistic trappings of the world. Your mind, your heart, your life should be focused on the Lord, and if you have spare money, maybe you will buy thousands and thousands of Bible tracts.
We knew of a ministry in the UK that produced one million nice glossy postcard Bible tracts, and this ministry put them out for free. It turned out that this ministry was run by a very wealthy saved man, and he wanted to put one million free Bible tracts into the hands of evangelists in the UK. And we got hold of several thousand of these nice postcard Bible tracts, and we distributed them. He put his money where his mouth was. He invested his money into the Gospel. He wasn't squandering it; he wasn't looking to get a 42-inch or a 52-inch or a 62-inch wide screen plasma television. He was looking to get the Gospel out. He wanted to better the faithful men and women's chances of reaching more people, and he did that by putting his own money into free tracts. And that is the sort of man, that is the sort of person that will be handsomely rewarded at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
Also 21 should be quite obvious ‒ "where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." If all you ever talk about is materialistic trappings, as I say, and wanting to make more money next year and buy more houses and buy more cars and do this and do that, then that, of course, is where your heart is. Your heart is here and now. It's not with the Lord. And the raw truth is that there are too many Christians that are so earthly focused on the here and now and the worry about getting a second or third job or even getting a job at all, that they totally lose the overall concept, the overall fact that one hundred years from now, everybody will be dead and nobody will be worrying about jobs, mortgages, families, but they will be with the Lord in Heaven. And because they worry so much, they fail to share the Gospel with their family and friends who aren't saved.
The flip side to the coin is you will find some Christians that are so heavenly bound, so focused on the Lord that they don't even speak to unsaved family and friends. They don't even realize that they need to be a better witness, a better light to those around them. So you can be too earthly bound and panic and fret and burn out and not allow the Lord to restore you, not call on the Lord to come beside you and carry you, and you can become too heavenly bound and become fruitless and unproductive to your unsaved people, your unsaved colleagues. And it is a fine line, but it has to be struck, it has to be balanced, it has to be reached in the right way.
VERSES 22-23: "The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!"
This goes back to the fifth chapter - lusting, hating, unjust separations, unjust remarriages, being a double-minded person. Your eyes are the windows to your souls. What you see stays in your mind. Your brain is like a hard drive, and it stores all the things that you see. So be careful what you allow your eyes to see.
VERSE 24: "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."
This is echoed also in 2 Corinthians 6 that you are to be separate. Be not yoked with unbelievers. Don't put yourself in a position where you are having to choose one over the other. You can't serve two masters. As I say, if you are all out for the Lord, they will call you a fanatic; and if you fall into sin, if you stumble, they will call you a hypocrite. You can't win either way, really. So it's best just to go all out for the Lord, and those that are saved and love the Lord will support you, and those that don't, won't. That's their loss.
VERSES 25-26: "Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?"
If the Lord of the universe feeds the birds - and He does - if He makes His sun rise on the unjust, if He allows His rain to fall on the unjust, isn't He going to do the same for you? Won't He provide for you if you are one of His children? Of course He will.
VERSE 27: "Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?"
You can't. You can't extend your life. You can't do anything. He's already provided for the world. He provides every day for the world. If He's going to provide for the world, He will provide for you. Stop worrying. Chill out, as they say.
VERSES 28-30: "And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?"
It's not unnatural to doubt. It's not abnormal to be fearful. It's not unheard of to fret. But at the same time, we believe in the living God, and He created the universe out of nothing, and He sustains it. A hundred and fifty thousand people die every day, and only a few of those are saved and go on to be with the Lord. If He can make the world out of nothing and sustain it - and He does - if He can take people back to glory when they die - and He does - if He feeds the birds of the air and clothes those that need to be clothed, if He provides for the unjust, if He sends rain on the unjust, if He allows His sun to rise on the unjust - and He does - won't He do the same for you? Stop worrying. Stop worrying.
VERSE 31-32: "Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things."
Gentiles, non-Jews, pre the cross. dispensation - Scripture with Scripture.
Thirty-two doesn't really need any further commentary from me. The main theme of the sixth chapter is to stop worrying. It's to take each day as it comes because He, the Lord, knows what you need even before you ask Him. So stop panicking. Just allow the Lord to work through you in His own way at His own time.
VERSE 33: "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
Get yourself saved first. Seek the Kingdom. Seek to get a full reward, and then all these things will be given to you if He wants to give them to you, if it is in your interest to have it and when it pleases Him. These things have to go hand-in-hand. He won't give you anything if He doesn't want you to have it, and He won't give you anything if the timing isn't right. So don't start to lose faith; don't start to backslide or panic. If you're wanting something and you haven't yet received it, you will get it if He wants you to have it when the time is right for you.
VERSE 34: "Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."
Take each day as it comes. Stop trying to plan ahead. Stop fretting. Stop worrying, and He will carry you. He will sustain you.
VERSE 1: "Judge not, that ye be not judged."
How many times have we heard this quoted from unbelievers to us? How many times have we been in the streets preaching and giving out tracts and unsaved people come up and say, "You shouldn't judge. The Bible says you shouldn't judge." And yet they are judging you for judging them. Kind of laughable, really, isn't it? But we were told to judge. We were told to use righteous judgment from John 7. In Revelation 2 the Lord commends you for judging those that call themselves apostles and were not. The entire Old Testament is full of judgment. There's an entire book called Judges. Look at David and Saul. They were at enmity with one another for many years, and Samuel wrote everything down in a book about these two kings judging. But it has to be done properly. There's no point in judging a person who's committing a sin if you are committing the same sin. That's what is being dealt with here.
VERSES 2-3: "For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?"
Get your own house in order first before you judge your brother.
VERSES 4-5: "Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye."
The Bible is such a simplistic Book. Common sense prevails when you read both Testaments carefully and in its correct context. If you are in sin, you can't tell somebody else not to do what you are doing - "Do as I say, not as I do." No. You have to be sin free before you deal with somebody else. Let he that is without sin cast the first stone (Jn. 8:7.) Now, let me say this because what you don't want to do is come across holier than thou and say, "Well, I can't judge anybody because I'm a sinner myself" and therefore never open your mouth. You were told to proclaim from the housetop the Gospel of Christ. When you preach the Gospel, it's not your opinion. The Holy Spirit is working through you to articulate the Gospel. But if you are going to confront somebody who is in a particular sin, make sure you are not also in that particular sin. That's what is being clearly stated here by the Lord in the seventh chapter.
VERSE 6: "Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you."
Dogs were unclean animals to the Jews, so here the Lord is saying if you have something which is holy, don't give it to the dogs. And there are different interpretations for this, but the most commonly used one - and for me, it is a good one, so I will quickly share it - would be not to present the Gospel to a party who has continued to reject it. Don't expose that party to more biblical light if they continue to reject it, because they become more accountable. If somebody has rejected the Gospel, walk away. Go somewhere else. The world is a vast place when it comes to getting the Gospel out. But, again, technically speaking, the dogs here would be non-Jews, Gentiles, perhaps. And, as I say, when you go to Acts of the Apostles, Peter addresses the Jewish leaders and calls them heathen. So different dispensations, of course, but nonetheless, a dog here isn't a saved party. A goat isn't a saved party. Use your discernment. Be wise about who you speak to and how you speak to people as well.
VERSES 7-11: "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?"
Nobody is good but God. "If you then, being evil" - everyone is evil in the eyes of the Lord. Even when you are saved, you are still evil; you are still a sinner; you still deserve to go to Hell and burn and burn. You deserve to go to Hell with Hitler and Stalin and burn and burn. No liberal will tell you that; no Catholic priest, no Anglican vicar will tell you that, but the Bible tells you that. There isn't a just man on the face of the earth. What are you asking for here from verse 9? The new birth, to be saved - good things. And that will be elaborated on as we go on.
VERSE 12: "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets."
That's your Golden Rule. Treat people as you would have them treat you. Every world religion teaches it, and it is completely logical. Treat people as you would have them to treat you, because we are all made in the image of God. Everybody walking on the earth today is made in the image of God, hence why we are to treat people with respect. That's why we stand against injustices; that's why we stand against abortion or genocide or human trafficking. When any injustice arises, we confront it; we deal with it; we speak out against it because we are all made in the image of God, and God does have a love for His creation. But that doesn't mean that everybody is going to go to Heaven. You need to be born again to enter into the Kingdom of God.
VERSES 13-14: "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."
There is only one way to be saved and that is through the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the gate; He is the door; He is the Good Shepherd. You come to Him. Many will want to be saved. Over 1 1/2 billion Muslims want to be saved. Around the same number are also Catholic, and they also wish to be saved. There are 13 million Mormons; they wish to be saved. There are 6 1/2 million Jehovah's Witnesses; they hope to enter into their understanding of the Kingdom of God. The Moonies, every world religion wants to be saved. The Hindus wish to be saved. Even the Jews wish to be saved. If you add up all the world religions, there are more theists than atheists in the world, and all of the theists wish to be saved.
But the gate is straight, and the entrance into destruction is broad. The road to Hell is broad. Many will go into Hell. Few will go into Heaven. That's because people won't get on their knees, they won't cry unto the Jewish carpenter who hung on the cross for six hours, who never wrote a book, never traveled outside of Israel, never had a wife, never had any children. They won't come to the Jewish carpenter who lived a very modest, simplistic life. They won't come to Him and throw themselves at His feet. It's pride. That's why every other world religion teaches faith and works and if you do this and if you do that, that will be how you get saved. You will be saved by your good works. You will be saved by keeping the five pillars of Islam or going to Mass or going to Marian Shrines, or if you are a non-theist, you will hopefully be saved - if there is a Heaven - by your charitable deeds, by helping disadvantaged people.
The main reason why so many celebrities raise so much money for their good causes is due to their consciences. They've all made a lot of money. They've all lived pretty immoral lives, and they want to ease the bad consciences that many of them have. If you watch any of these telethons, any of these charitable events, when the celebrities are on the phones trying to raise money, it's ludicrous because these celebrities are worth millions and millions of pounds or dollars or Euros, depending on which part of the world you live in, and yet they are begging you, the average working man or woman in the street, to give to their favorite charity. If every celebrity in the world wrote out a check for 1 million pounds or 1 million dollars or 1 million Euros, they could alleviate most of the poverty - (snap) - just like that. But they won't. They want you to give your money, but they won't give their money. They'll go on television, they'll go on the radio, and they will do a live set if they are a singer and they will perform their latest recording; and that gives them publicity, of course, and people will go out and download their latest MP3 recording. Or if they are a film star, they will come on and talk about their latest movie, and that will give them promotion, and people will go along and watch their latest project.
These people went either way, and they are seen like the Pharisees that we've read about in the sixth chapter. They are very similar to the religious elite. They have this outward righteousness, this "Let's all get together. Let's all deal with the world's problems. Let's alleviate poverty; let's alleviate AIDS; let's save the whale; let's save Burma; let's deal with the Tibetan problem; let's deal with this; let's deal with that" - and the list goes on and on and on. If you can do something yourself, you should do it yourself without broadcasting it. They are the hypocrites, these modern-day celebrities, which is condemned in Scripture.
But back to 13, you have to enter in at the straight gate. You have to make a decision. Don't just look at this from an intellectual perspective and think, "That's interesting, but it doesn't apply to me." It does apply to you. You have to make a decision. You have to come to the Lord on His terms or don't come at all. Many are going to try and be saved. Many are going to stand before the Lord and say, "But Lord, I did this and I did that. I went to this part of the world or that part of the world" or "I gave up my career and stayed at home and raised somebody else's children or my sick mother or my sick father." It's not going to save you. You have to come His way, and it's going to be hard because it's going to mean you having to repent, you having to show true remorse over your sin. You will have to become a beggar and be identified with the Lord Jesus Christ. But if you don't come His way on His terms, He won't save you, and you will end up in Hell, period.
VERSES 15-20: "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."
That isn't an easy part of Scripture to decipher. The wheat and the tares grow side-by-side, and for the most part, we don't know - those of us that are saved - who are the tares. We can be walking with a party for 10, 15, 20 years. We can be fellowshipping with a party for 10, 15, 20 years and not really know that party. Look at the Old Testament. Look at the kings. They were outwardly righteous. They were still saved, but what happened behind closed doors? You wouldn't know.
The false teachers, the false prophets, even the best discernment ministries in the world can't identify every false teacher. Only last night I was reading a blog put out by a pretty well-known international ministry exposing yet another discerning ministry, a very well-known ministry, and I was thinking to myself, Are there any good ministries left that haven't yet been exposed? How many more scandals do we need to hear about? How many more apostates do we need to expose? How many more tares, how many more false prophets are there left to be exposed? Many, I would think.
Acts chapter 20 said that the false teachers would come from among you. You could see a million miles away an unsaved politician or an unsaved celebrity trying to hoodwink you, trying to deceive you, trying to get you to depart from the living God. You could see that pretty much straightaway. But if a religious person came to you with a nice collar, with a nice hairdo, with a nice suit, it might not be so easy for you to discern the wheat from the tares, the good from the bad. And it does come with time.
But here a good tree cannot produce bad fruit, and yet we've already seen that you can still be a sinner, you can still be prone to sin post your new birth. You won't be exempt from it. And if you are still not sure, go to the book of Galatians and read the second chapter, and you will see Peter, a man that has been saved about 25 years, needing to be publicly rebuked by Paul for his sin, his sin of compromise. And even the Catholic scholar of the Middle Ages called Gratian, I believe his name was, said that Peter was preaching another gospel. That is a pretty severe indictment because if he's preaching another gospel, according to Galatians 1, he is cursed. But he was still saved because he writes First and Second Peter, and I believe he is in Heaven today with the Lord. So whatever Peter was doing in Galatians 2 was dealt with; he was restored, and he went back on the right track with the Lord.
VERSE 21: "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."
The will of the Father was found in John chapter 6, and it was simply to believe that He came from God. You were to believe on Him as the Messiah. You were to trust Him as your Saviour. Then you walk on as His disciples. The Kingdom of Heaven, as I've said repeatedly, is a physical and a spiritual Kingdom. Here, especially when we get to the 22nd verse, it’s speaking about the Lord's return at the end of the Tribulation, and if you are saved, off you go into the thousand year reign initially and then on into eternity. But here, people living today, when they get saved, they are in the spiritual Kingdom of God awaiting the Lord's return.
VERSE 22: "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?"
Matthew 25, all the kingdoms are assembled before the Lord, and you get the sheep that have been saved and have gone up to Jerusalem to meet the King to be rewarded, and then off into the Millennium they go; and you have the goats that have also survived the Tribulation, and they will go up to Jerusalem, and they will be condemned to Hell. But among some of those goats are these people found in 22 - "But we prophesied in your name. We proclaimed to people your message. In your name, we even cast out devils" - so they believed - "and in your name we did many wonderful works" - so they believed. They may have done many wonderful works. They may have gone to charitable events; they may have raised money for war-torn countries; they may have even run marathons - but that's not what's going to save them. Look at 23.
VERSE 23: "And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."
To never know somebody means you were never saved to begin with. These are religious people. They call Jesus Lord twice, and they claim to have done three sets of works - miracles, exorcisms, and prophesying in His name. And He says, "I never knew you. Depart from me." And these people go into the lake of fire ultimately due to not being regenerated to begin with.
VERSES 24-25: "Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock."
Christ is our Rock. We build our foundation on Him. So when the floods come, we don't get washed away because we are built on Him. He is our Rock; He is our foundation. He is the Rock that Moses followed; He is the Rock that Paul speaks about in 1 Corinthians. We build our world on Him. We follow Him to the ends of the earth if necessary. We trust Him without exception to be saved.
VERSES 26-27: "And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it."
Wind - judgment; rain - judgment; storm - judgment. If you are building on sand - and here the word "Peter" means sand in Greek, by the way - then you are going to fall. If your foundation is on a person - like Simon Peter, for example - then you will end up falling. You will end up being destroyed. You will end up losing everything because you haven't built your foundation on the Rock, the Rock being Christ Jesus. If you've built your foundation on a person like Peter, the first pope - allegedly - then you will end up being swept away when the judgment comes because you aren't found in Christ. You aren't trusting in His righteousness. You are trusting in your own righteousness. And that's why many from verse 22 will be denied by the Lord, and by 23, off they go into eternity without Christ. They were never saved to begin with. They didn't understand the plan of salvation. They were like the Jews found in Romans 10; they wouldn't trust in the finished work of Christ. They kept adding to the work of Christ - Purgatory, good works, Mass attendance, confession, doing this, doing that. They kept putting works ahead of the finished work of Christ.
But here, 21, just because you call Him Lord, Lord doesn't save you; 22, you may claim to have done great things in His name; it won't save you; 23, you are told to depart from Him due to your iniquities, due to your sins; 26, you had another foundation; 25, when it came, you weren't secure; and by 27, you've been washed away down the stream. What were you trusting in? You weren't trusting in Christ. You never knew Him. That's why you end up in the lake of fire.
VERSES 28-29: "And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes."
Of course. His words must have penetrated everybody present that day. Everything this man said and did hadn't been witnessed before. The scribes and the Pharisees had great authority. They were looked up to; they were revered as these great people. And yet the Lord arrives from nowhere, really. He hadn't been to rabbinical school; He wasn't in the Temple every Sabbath; He wasn't sacrificing animals on behalf of the people. He was a traveling preacher. He slept out in the open. He walked for miles every day, yet this simple Jewish carpenter had more authority than all of the scribes and the Pharisees, and that's why they hated Him, because, in their mind, the longer He was here, the longer He spoke, the more people would believe on Him and follow Him; and they would depart from organized religion, and these good Pharisees, these good scribes would all be out of a job. So they got together, called a council, and started to plot to have Him killed. They, of course, couldn't do anything to Him prior to His timing. He was on a divine schedule. But due to their unbelief in the Old Testament, due to their unbelief in the present Messiah, they still wouldn't believe on Him. But His teachings, His message, and His demeanor must have astounded the multitudes.
And that concludes the seventh chapter, and it also concludes the famous Sermon on the Mount.
VERSES 1-3: "When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed."
Christ is the miracle maker without exception. Buddha, Mohammed, and Confucius never performed miracles. Jesus Christ performed miracles like nobody ever did. Here in verse 2 He's called Lord, a term to describe His deity - very God and very man. By verse 3 the Lord touches this man with leprosy, an awful disease, and immediately he is cleansed.
And I've spoken so many times over the years about these so-called faith healers and these miracle makers, and they claim to do this and they claim to do that. And I remember going to a retreat some years ago with a sister in the Lord, and these two ladies were running this retreat, and they claimed to have the sign gifts. And they had people that were spending two, three, four, five, six months at this retreat receiving healing, receiving restoration ‒ not found in the Scripture. Those that came to the Lord to be healed were healed straightaway. Immediately they were made completely well. And I can't think of any healer anywhere in the world that has this type of ministry. No pope has ever healed. No Archbishop of Canterbury has ever healed.
The Lord did the healings through the power of Holy Spirit. The apostles had the sign gifts and some of their associates had the sign gifts as well. But also keep in mind that the book of Acts where we read about these healings covers a 30-year period, and by the end of Acts, people are unwell, people are sick, people are dying and they're not being resurrected. When Herod killed James in Acts chapter 12, nobody resurrected him. Paul couldn't heal Timothy. Some other associates of Paul were sick and weren't being healed. And that should be evidence in and of itself that the sign gifts were for a sign to Israel for a limited period of time. Once the New Testament had been written, once the apostles had started to die, the sign gifts were slowly being reduced, and in the end, they became nonexistent. Why? Well, we now live by faith. The just shall live by faith.
But saying that, let me say this, that you can still call on the Lord to be healed of a particular illness if you need to, and He may heal you. He may not. You can get two or three saved people to come together and pray for a sick party. He may heal that sick party, but He may not. But here the Lord is doing the healing through the Holy Spirit, and this leper is being cleansed straightaway. And he worships Him, the first part of verse 2. To worship a man would be sacrilege; it would be blasphemy. But here Christ accepts the worship because He is God. "You call me Lord and Master, and so I am." That's what He said - very God and very man. He expects worship because He's God.
VERSE 4: "And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them."
Don't go and tell Pilate. Don't go and tell Caiaphas. Don't go and tell Herod. Don't go and tell this person. Don't go and tell that person. Go to the priest and give God the glory through the sacrifice. It's interesting, in fact, it's fascinating that the Lord God Jehovah Himself didn't choose Caiaphas, didn't choose Nicodemus, didn't choose any of the Sanhedrin, didn't choose Joseph of Arimathea, didn't choose Pilate, didn't choose Herod, didn't choose any of these scholars, didn't even choose Paul initially, but He chose John the Baptist, a man in the desert, a man who would be considered today to be eccentric. This bizarre character who dressed in a very unorthodox manner lived out in the wilderness, lived in the extreme parts of Jerusalem just outside. And this man would preach hell fire and he proclaimed the coming Messiah, and some of his disciples became some of the Lord's apostles. The Lord Himself didn't go through the Jewish system. John the Baptist wasn't an ordained priest in the Temple. He was outside of organized religion. Jesus comes along. He doesn't go into the Temple. He doesn't start preaching alongside the priests and the scribes. He doesn't start to offer His own sacrifices for His followers. He was completely independent of organized religion.
And here in 4, the restored man who was healed straightaway was told to go up to the Temple with a gift and tell the priest what has happened -because the Lord came to fulfill the law, and up until that time, the law was still very much in place; and the clearest way to give the Lord glory was through a sacrifice, because pilgrims would be traveling up throughout the year all year round, and this man would have arrived and he would have said something like, "I've been healed. I want to give God the glory. The great healer from Galilee healed me." But the Lord didn't need anybody to testify about Him - from John 3 - because He knew what was in men; and men are depraved, men are sinners, and men without the new birth are going to end up in Hell.
VERSES 5-6: "And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented."
Here you find a Gentile approaching the Jewish Messiah. Quite possibly he could have been one of the soldiers that John baptized in the third chapter of Luke. By Acts chapter 10, Cornelius, a Roman centurion soldier also, believes in the Lord, but he wasn't yet saved because up until this point in the Lord's ministry, He's still preaching first and foremost to Israel. He hasn't yet died on the cross; He hasn't yet initiated the New Covenant, hence why Peter had to go up to Cornelius and present to Him Jesus. But here this man is pleading with the Lord Jesus to heal his servant.
VERSES 7-8: "And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed."
Verse 2, He's called Lord. Verse 8, He's called Lord. This term "Lord" means far more than just a master, far more than just an important person. The Greek word for Lord nearly always is Kurios, and Kurios is used to denote God Himself. Now, whether or not the centurion had the same understanding of the Lord's deity as the man in verse 2 did isn't completely clear. However, they knew that He was doing miracles. They had faith to come to be healed. They believed on Him, so they approached Him with faith. And I think it's quite fair to say that they probably knew more about His ministry and more about who He was than a lot of the liberals and so-called religious people today do.
VERSE 9: "For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it."
Eight and nine show humility. He knows he's a sinner. He doesn't really want the Lord to enter into his house. He'd rather the Lord just speak the word and his servant be healed. It's similar to what we find with Peter when he says to the Lord, "Depart from me. I am a sinful man." There's a lot of faith happening here, and this centurion is so conscious of the fact that the Lord is holy and righteous and, quite possibly, even sinless. He may have known that at this time. We don't know. But he's pleading with the Lord in a very gentle way to just speak the word - "You don't have to come into my house." There may have been problems in this man's house. There may have been sin in this man's house, and he was conscious of that. But look at 10.
VERSE 10: "When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel."
This man's faith was incredible. He was a non-Jew, and this multitude, these people that are following Him must have been astonished to see a Gentile, a Roman soldier, a pagan coming to this Jewish carpenter begging Him to heal his servant. And the Lord turns around to the people of Israel and He says, "I haven't seen anything like this anywhere in Israel up until this time of my ministry."
VERSE 11: "And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven."
The Marriage Supper of the Lamb, quite possibly the commencement of the thousand-year reign. And, as I said before, that He wasn't only going to come just for the people of Israel; He was always going to be the Messiah of the Gentiles as well. This must have been shocking, though, to hear verse 11. But look at 12.
VERSE 12: "But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
The children of the Kingdom here are the Jews. He is the Jewish Messiah, and technically they were the children of the King in the Kingdom. But they didn't believe on Him, so they became illegitimate; they became the unbelievers, hence why they are outside of the Kingdom.
A quick cross-reference. Back to 1 Samuel, please, 1 Samuel chapter 2. Look at verse 9: "He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail." Two things to say there. He will keep the feet of His saints. That's eternal security As I say, John 10 told us that the Father has you in His hand and also the Son has you in His hand. But the latter part I'm primarily interested in - "the wicked shall be silent in darkness." There's a picture of the second death, the unsaved. And here this is cross-referenced with Matthew 8 where the children go into darkness. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. This has an application, first of all, to the first death, which we find in Luke 16. But post the first death, we go to Revelation chapter 21 where the unsaved are in the lake of fire and they become blind, they become dumb, and their souls become like a worm shape, hence why they are silent in darkness.
Just a quick footnote while I am in 1 Samuel chapter 2. Look at verse 6: "The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up." There's a picture of the Rapture. The grave in the Old Testament is Hell, Hades, and these people were killed and they were made alive. Now, you could easily look at that and cross reference it to John 5:25-29 if you choose to and say that this is a picture of unsaved people being put to death and then resurrected to be sent into the lake of fire, which would kind of fit, really, with verse 9. But you could also look at this and say this is a picture of the Rapture because verse 9 also speaks about the saints being kept, preserved. So just a quick footnote I wanted to offer you whilst I was there.
Anyway, please turn back to Matthew chapter 8, Matthew chapter 8, verse 13.
VERSE 13: "And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour."
On this occasion the centurion's faith was sufficient to allow his servant to be healed. He interceded on behalf of his sick servant, and the Lord Himself healed the sick servant. But not every time in Scripture do we come across people needing faith to be healed. As I've said repeatedly, there are occasions when people had no faith to be healed and were healed nonetheless. There are dead people that couldn't have had any faith and were resurrected. So you don't need to have faith all the time. However, if you came to the Lord with faith, you were always healed - that must be underscored - without exception. And I make this point one more time, if I may. How many healing ministries do you know about anywhere in the world today that heal everybody without exception? I don't know any. And I've met people on the streets that claim the sign gifts are still for today, and I say to them, "Well, if you believe that healing is still for today, maybe you and I ought to go to the local hospital or the local children's ward and start clearing out these hospital beds. Maybe we ought to go down to the cemetery and start resurrecting some of these dead people." And they turn around and they walk away very quickly - counterfeits, charlatans, con men.
VERSES 14-15: "And when Jesus was come into Peter's house, he saw his wife's mother laid, and sick of a fever. And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them."
All of the apostles, for the most part, were married; they had children. This notion, this erroneous teaching that you find in the church of Rome that to be a priest means you have to be single isn't found in any of the Scriptures. In fact, just go back to the first chapter when we read of Joseph being engaged to Mary. The thought of anybody in biblical times being married and then turning around to your wife or your husband and saying, "We will never have any sex" seems completely absurd. You were told in 1 Timothy 5 that if you didn't provide for your family, you were an infidel. That, of course, is aimed at a man providing for his wife and children. But even Paul says in other parts of Scriptures like 1 Corinthians 7 that separation for a time was good, but then the husband and wife would have to come back together again to avoid temptation, to avoid sin, to avoid the devil getting a foothold. Sexual intercourse is found throughout both Testaments, so it's always been a strange area to try and understand. But, of course, it goes back to financial reasons. The church of Rome doesn't want to pay for their priests worldwide to have wives, to have children, to go to private schools. It starts to get very expensive. So if they can keep a man a bachelor all of his days, they spend less money, and that money which they would have spent on the priest and his wife and his children is now being spent on all these pedophile pay outs which have gone into billions and billions of dollars worldwide.
But here Peter has a wife. She's sick. The Lord is going to heal her. And, again, it happened straightaway - always straightaway, never any delay; never any relapse. It's always straightaway. And if you come across these people that claim to be apostolic - and I've met a few of them, as I've already said - just take them to these Scriptures and ask them, "Does your pastor or does your evangelist or does your prayer team or do your elders come anywhere near to what we find here in Scripture?" - because this is our blueprint. We go to the word of God to check these people out, and if they are apostolic, if they are who they say they are and if they have the credentials which they claim to have, then we would be able to substantiate it and their ministry should line up nicely. They should harmonize perfectly with the New Testament. But I've yet to meet these people - and I've been saved ten years now, and I hear from people all the time all around the world and I speak to people on the streets regularly, and I've yet to meet anybody whose ministry comes anywhere near what we find in 14 and 15.
VERSES 16-17: "When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses."
Two points to make here. First of all, when you believe on the Lord, you are healed of your sin problem, but that doesn't necessarily mean you will be healed of your sick problem. You will still have ailments and you will still die. Paul had a sight problem which wasn't healed. The best saints throughout church history have all had physical ailments. So just because you got saved and you were forgiven doesn't mean that you are going to be physically healed of all of your ailments. Very few people that I know are ailment free. Very few people that I know have no issues whatsoever. In fact, most of the people that I know that are saved have health issues. But Paul said that when he was weak, he was strong, so through your sickness, through your infirmities you can learn to be stronger and you can learn to walk closer with the Lord through your issues, through your illnesses, through your disabilities, through your ailments just because that is how the Lord wants it to be. But sometimes He may restore somebody completely. He may give them a brand-new start. But, again, my experience has shown me that most people that are saved have at least one or two ongoing ailments. Nobody is completely free of these issues.
Sixteen, these people were possessed with devils, demons, unclean spirits. Also, this expression "many" and "all" are used interchangeably. It says here that they brought many that were sick and He healed all of them. And this falls into the Calvinist and Arminian area that the Lord wants many to be saved. He tasted death for every man. All of Jerusalem, all of Judaea came out to Him, and what these verses simply mean is that all those that were in those towns that wanted to be healed came out to be healed, not all without exception because back in the third chapter of Matthew it says all of Jerusalem and all of Judaea went to be baptized of John. Well, all of Jerusalem would have included the Sanhedrin, Pilate, Herod and all of their staff, and they didn't come out to be baptized. So when it says "all," it can mean all those that wanted to come to be healed from those towns came from those towns to be healed, whether it's found in the eighth chapter or the third chapter. But here in 16, "all" and "many" are used interchangeably. And He just spoke a word. He healed them. That's the power of the Lord.
VERSES 18-20: "Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave commandment to depart unto the other side. And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head."
This is an amazing Scripture. The Son of man has nowhere to lay His head. He was a traveling preacher. He didn't have castles. He didn't have His own swimming pools. He didn't have His own team of bodyguards. He lived and traveled; He practiced what He preached. From verse 19, the scribe calls Him Master, not Lord, so already there's a bit of a doubt there as to his willingness to submit to the Lord's ministry, to the Lord's deity.
VERSES 21-22: "And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead."
Until you are born again, you are dead in sin. And here is a clear, unequivocal call to forsake all and come and follow me. If your family isn't saved, the chances are they will never be saved. Therefore, you need to make a decision whether to stay with your dead family or come and follow me. Abraham was told to leave his pagan family in the book of Genesis and go and follow the Lord. That's what it means to be a disciple. It's one thing to believe on the Lord to be saved, but He says you are my disciples indeed if you continue on in my word. So there's a call to continue on; there's a call to separation. Let the dead bury their dead.
VERSES 23-27: "And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!"
They knew that He was God, and I believe even up until this early part of the Lord's ministry these apostles were saved, because only God can calm nature; only God can rule the waves and rebuke the devil. I know that the devil was behind this trying to cause the apostles to capsize and drown. As I say, that is what Antichrist does. But He takes control and He calms their faith.
Just one other point quickly to cover from 21. And here you find another of His disciples saying to Him, "Lord, let me go and bury my father." Now, John chapter 6 says that many of His disciples didn't believe on Him and walked no longer with Him. So here, again, you can start with the Lord but turn around and walk away from Him, which, according to 1 John chapter 2, proves that you were never saved to begin with. These people had some head knowledge, but their hearts weren't circumcised. So they started out with Him, but when problems arose or there were issues which they couldn't handle - they weren't prepared to pay the price, maybe - they turned around and forsook Him and went back to their pre time with Him. But you can't use these verses to prove or to argue that once saved you can be lost. No. They went out from us because they weren't of us, 1 John chapter 2, demonstrating that they were none of us. They weren't saved to begin with. That's all that means.
VERSES 28-29: "And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way. And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?"
Revelation 14 speaks about the Lamb dealing with the unsaved, the wicked, in the lake of fire. All of the spirit realm knew who the Lord Jesus Christ was, but the problem has always remained that man won't bend the knee; man won't read the Bible; man won't get on his knees and call on the Lord to be saved and experience a revelation as to the Lord's ministry. But here these spirits in this man know who the Lord Jesus Christ is.
Again, it says two possessed with devils. Normally when you get two people in Scripture, the writer may mention two people but focus primarily on the main speaker, which sometimes gives the impression of a contradiction when, in reality, all the writer is doing is focusing, as I say, on the main speaker of the two.
VERSES 30-34: "And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding. So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine. And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters. And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils. And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts."
What a damning piece of Scripture. Here the Messiah has released devils from two possessed people. The local villagers come out to hear what has happened, and they don't want to rejoice with this healed man, which in the Gospel of Mark, I believe, wanted to follow the Lord, and He said, "No. You stay here." But they said to Him, "We want you to leave. Please go. You are bad for business." These swine have all choked and sunk in the sea.
This is the reality that man doesn't want the Lord. Men love darkness rather than light. And I believe if the Lord came back to the UK tomorrow and preached in London, Manchester, Glasgow or Sheffield or Birmingham or Devon or Wales, this would happen on the streets in the UK. People would come out and say, "We don't want you here, Lord. Please depart from our cities. We are quite happy living our own lives. We don't want you to rule over us." And when He does come back at the Second Coming, He will slay all of His enemies according to Psalm 110. But you may want to read the cross references in your own time. It's going to be Mark 5 and Luke 8.
Remember, Matthew's Gospel is the richest out of the other two synoptics when it comes to information. However, saying that, you still need to read the other Gospels to get the entire picture of what is happening. But for this purpose, for this video, for this project, I wanted to go to Matthew's Gospel because it's the longest; it's the fullest out of the other two synoptics, whereas 80 percent of what you find in John's Gospel isn't found in Matthew, Mark, or Luke.
Okay. So that will conclude the eighth chapter, all 34 verses. A lot of stuff in there. And next up, I will look at the ninth chapter.
VERSE 1: "And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city."
Like Matthew 24 when He sees the Temple for the last time and He departs from it, that's a permanent departure. Here He is departing from this town because they didn't want to receive Him. The Lord is a gentleman. Here and now He wants to be your Saviour. In Revelation chapter 4 it says He stands at the door and knocks. If any man opens, He will come in and sup with you. But He won't impose Himself on you. He wants to be your Saviour here and now. If you take Him as your Saviour, He will come in and make His abode with you. If you reject Him as your Saviour, He will be your judge when you die and stand before Him. But here He's leaving this town; He's leaving these ungrateful, unbelieving Gentiles, for the most part, and He's going to return to His own city, that being Capernaum.
VERSE 2: "And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee."
Only God Himself can forgive your sins. This has been said repeatedly by so many Bible believers and has to be repeated time after time by this Bible believer. You can't be saved through your church attendance, through your receiving of the Eucharist, from going to the confession booths, by going on trips to visit Marian Shrines, doing your penance, your deeds and your beads. That doesn't save you. Only He can forgive you of your sins.
"Son, be of good cheer." Jesus is about 32 here, 31 perhaps, and He's saying to this man, "Son." In Isaiah 9 He's called the Eternal Father. He's not God the Father. He is God the Son, but here He takes the spiritual parental attributes of being a father, as it were, and He says, "Son, your sins are forgiven you." And there's similar language also at 22 when He speaks to a woman and calls her daughter. But more on that when I get there.
VERSE 3: "And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth."
Why are they saying that? Because only God can forgive your sins. They knew perfectly well that for Him to say "Your sins are forgiven” - present tense, completely forgiven - meant that He was God, and it also meant that you didn't have to go to the Temple. Once again, He's bypassing organized religion. On the one hand He's upholding it because He came to fulfill the law, not to abolish it, and on the other hand He's working outside of organized religion. He gives the Jews 40 years from 30 to 70AD to get their house in order. By 70AD Jerusalem is surrounded and the Jews are starved and burnt to death. The Temple is destroyed, and that is the final judgment from God Himself on the unbelieving Jews. By the death of the testator, that being Christ, a new covenant had been initiated. From 30AD to 70AD was 40 years, a generation. That was more than enough time for the Jews to realize that God Himself had switched from one dispensation, from having one people to having another people, working in another area, working in a different way through a different generation of people, that being the Gentiles. And once they got saved, they became one people - no more Jew, no more Gentile - the saved man or the saved woman.
"This man blasphemes." They think He's taking this on Himself - He's claiming to do this miracle. He must be either mad or He must be God. And, of course, we go with the latter.
VERSE 4: "And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?"
He's omniscient. He can read your mind. He knows your heart. Being omniscient is one of the three attributes which proved He was deity. This is evidence in and of itself that He was very God and very man. Jesus knew their thoughts - "Why think ye evil in your hearts?"
VERSE 5: "For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?"
That's a tough question because, again, it undermines their authority. If He continued to do what He was doing, according to John 11, then in their mind the Romans would come and take their authority from them and give it to Him, and that would put all these men out of business, as it were. They were thinking in human terms. They were focusing on their own well being, not on the glory of God. But for Him, it was easier to say, "Your sins are forgiven you. Off you go and sin no more." But to them, it was a bitter pill to swallow.
VERSE 6: "But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house."
He had authority; He had power as the Son of man to do what He did during His time on the earth. When He dies, He says to the apostles, whosoever sins you remit are remitted; whosoever sins you retain are retained. In other words, if somebody hears the Gospel, believes it, you can tell them they are now saved. If somebody hears the Gospel and doesn't believe it, you can tell them they are still lost in their sins. That commission to the apostles is vicariously given to all Christians. The apostles had the sign gifts, but the sign gifts died with the apostles. But the Gospel continues on today through all saved men and women, but not all men and women have the same ministry. Women aren't called to be pastors. They're not called to be Bible teachers. Not all men are called to be elders or evangelists or teachers in a local assembly, but all Christians are expected to be soul winners, to be evangelists, to be disciples of the Lord and to be ready at a moment's notice to share their faith if somebody wants to ask them why they were saved.
VERSES 7-8: "And he arose, and departed to his house. But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men."
That should have been the reaction from the Jewish leaders, but as with all errors of organized religion, it's completely lost on the intellectual and captured and witnessed by the common man, the common woman.
VERSE 9: "And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him."
Here's a tax collector, a despised man; and he was a Jew, so he would have been the equivalent to a Jewish person in a German concentration camp that was working with the German administration. He would have been despised by his fellow countrymen, and yet the Lord called him and he followed Him.
VERSE 10: "And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples."
They came to hear Him; they came to be saved. This is a good scripture to show that the Lord was prepared to put Himself out to meet people that wanted to hear Him, but that doesn't mean that we go around looking to associate with unsavory people just to be like they are, just to be seeker-friendly. These people were friends of Matthew; they were his associates, and they wanted to meet the Lord, and they came with Matthew to meet the Lord. Nothing wrong with that. He came to seek and to save that which was lost. He came for the sinners, not the righteous.
VERSES 11-13: "And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
And unless you consider yourself a sinner, unless you see yourself as a filthy reprobate that deserves eternal hell fire, He didn't come for you. He didn't come for the self-righteous. He came for sinners like you and I.
VERSES 14-17: "Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not? And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast. No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse. Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved."
Just one thought from verse 14 when the disciples of John approach the Lord about why they fast but His apostles don't. I wonder if this question was really put to the Lord by the unbelieving Jewish leaders from 11, because it was a very small community, and John had his disciples who later became the Lord's apostles - not all of them, but some of them - and these people would have known the Jewish leaders in the Temple and maybe possibly went to school with them. They may have had some education, as well, with the Jewish leaders - a primitive education. But nonetheless, they would have known of these Jewish leaders, and maybe this is a form of contamination; this is a form of a little leaven leavening the lump, hence why we are told to separate, to come away from unruly, unsavory, unholy people because there's a slight connotation here, there's a slight feeling that this question has something behind it. John testified that He was the Messiah, He was the Lamb of God; and although the question in and of itself is harmless, it's not an offensive question to ask, it just makes me wonder if verse 11 had anything to do with it or verse 3 when He's accused of blasphemy. But either way, the bridegroom is present on the earth, and there's no reason for them to mourn; there's no reason for them to fast. But when He dies, then they will mourn, they will weep until He is resurrected and breathes on them and gives them the anointing which they need to go on and turn the world upside down.
VERSES 18-22: "While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live. And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his disciples. And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour."
She thought just to touch His garment would heal her. What healed her was her faith in Him. She came to Him to be healed, and He healed her because she came to be healed. He's on His way to heal the girl, which is found in Mark 5, the young girl. She's about 12 years old. And you find the term Talitha cumi, which is Aramaic, and as I say, most of the New Testament was written in Greek with some Hebrew and some Aramaic, but 99 percent of the New Testament was written in Greek. Also, this lady has waited 12 years to be healed, and the girl that He's going to heal is 12 years -interesting. Two twelves make 24 - the 12 sons of Jacob, the 12 apostles. It doesn't have to mean anything, the two twelves. It could be just a coincidence, but my feeling is that it's in here for a purpose. As I say, 12 years she's sick, and the girl from Mark 5 is also 12 years old. And she touches Him; He heals her, and He calls her “daughter” like the expression “son” found in the second verse here. She’s called daughter - the Eternal Father, again a spiritual term to denote His parental love for those that believe on Him, to those that are going to be saved.
VERSES 23-24: "And when Jesus came into the ruler's house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise, He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn."”
These Scriptures are quite troubling, really, to read sometimes. I think, Why would these people laugh Him to scorn? What sort of audacity did these people have? They've heard of His miracles, they've seen His work, they've seen people that have been dead raised to life; and yet they laugh Him to scorn ‒ not the young child's parents but the wider community, those that were mourning, like the people that were mourning for Lazarus in John 11, and it says the Lord wept because there was doubt, there was grief. But they should have had faith that the Lord would resurrect the righteous to have everlasting life, but they became a little agnostic, a little unbelieving.
VERSES 25-30: "But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose. And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land. And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us. And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord. Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you. And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it."
This part of the Lord's ministry is quite simple. He's not looking for a crowd to follow Him. He's not yet ready to be crowned king. He's healing those that want to be healed. He has compassion on those who are sick, who are struggling. He understands our infirmities. But He's not wanting to be publicly proclaimed as king. That won't happen until Palm Sunday, hence why He says, “Don't go and tell everybody what's happened. Just rejoice in the fact that you are now healed.”
VERSES 31-34: "But they, when they were departed, spread abroad his fame in all that country. As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil. And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel. But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils."
That’s the first reference to the unpardonable sin, which will be expounded on a little further in the twelfth chapter.
VERSE 35: "And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people."
Those that wanted to be healed were healed, and for three and a half years, sickness was banished - almost - from Israel. The great miracle maker. No hospital, no surgeons, no physicians could ever do what He did, and He's healing all those that wanted to be healed - thousands upon thousands. Also, this reference to a house, which has been cited a few times now, found in 28 here was quite probably Peter's house. Peter was, I believe, the oldest of the apostles. He's a married man with children, and he obviously had room for the Lord to stay with him. I don't think the Lord had His own house. But I think this expression "the house" is Peter's house.
VERSE 36: "But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd."
Just one footnote from 36. If you believe the Calvinist understanding of the nature of man and the character of God and that God hates all of the non-elect and only loves the elect, then this type of verse is problematic for you because it shows the Lord loving the multitude, which, for the most part, weren't saved, which, for the most part, were calling for His blood and even saying, "Let His blood be on our children." And yet He still loves them. He says, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:24). So we as Bible believers need to be so careful not to follow a theological system and end up adopting that particular system - that God just loves the elect and hates all of the non-elect. That's very dangerous thinking, and I put to you that it slanders the character of God.
VERSES 37-38: "Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest."
Why say that? Why teach the apostles to pray for more faithful people to be raised up to go out and reach the lost if He hates all of the non-elect, if He's already chosen the elect? It doesn't really make any sense. And this is the problem when men try to intellectualize the sovereignty of God with the free will of man. This is the dangers, really, of trying to approach the Scriptures with our finite minds. It's almost as dangerous as literalism, which I've already discussed.
But here the disciples were told to pray to the Lord of the harvest that more faithful laborers would be raised up. And that's something we can still do to this day. We can still pray that the Lord would raise up faithful men and faithful women to do great things for Him. Prayer is still incredibly important. There is power in prayer. But, like all of these things, it needs to be done regularly; it needs to be done in faith with sincerity and also with sin confessed pre getting into a pattern of prayer. In other words, don't come to the Lord praying for A, B, and C if there's un-confessed sin in your life. Confess the sin, forsake it, and then practice a strong prayer life with the Lord.
VERSE 1: "And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease."
These apostles weren't chosen before the foundation of the world, but according to Luke chapter 6, they were chosen after the Lord spent all night praying. These apostles - and these apostles alone - were sent out to do a very special and unique ministry of healing the house of Israel, those that would receive it, and their commission was to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. There isn't a ministry anywhere on the earth, as of making this video, that can do what I've just read to you from verse 1. I also believe from the cross reference, which is found in Mark 3 and Luke 6, that the 70 also go out with the 12 apostles and conduct this one-off unique healing ministry.
VERSE 2: "Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;"
The apostles are normally found in that order. Peter, I believe, was older than Andrew, hence why he is listed first; and James is also, I believe, older than John, hence why he is also listed first. Also, if you go to the third chapter of Mark, the sons of Zebedee are given a surname by the Lord. So not only was Peter privileged to be given a new name, but so too were the sons of Zebedee.
VERSE 3: "Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus;"
There are several James’ in the New Testament. James from verse 2 isn't the writer of the epistle of James, but James in verse 2 is the James which was martyred. And he wasn't resurrected by any of the early church leaders.
VERSE 4: "Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him."
Each of the synoptic Gospels lists Judas in last place - contempt. He betrayed the Lord, and the writers of the Scripture are going to list him in last place.
VERSES 5-6: "These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
Right up until the end of the Gospels, the Lord is really primarily focusing His attention on Israel. He came to His own, and His own received Him not. Of course, we've seen Gentiles already along the way that were saved, but they are far and few between. Here He's going to focus primarily on the house of Israel. And, again, verse 2 had the Jewish apostles, and verse 6 they're going to the house of Israel.
VERSE 7: "And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand."
Physical Kingdom here and now. The King is physically on the earth, so that is the only way to honestly expound this part of Scripture. Look at 8.
VERSE 8: "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give."
That isn't for today. There's no way that anybody could go to this part of Scripture and say this has application for today. It doesn't. As I say, verse 1, you were to heal all sickness and all disease; 2 and 3 and 4 list the 12 Jewish apostles; 6, they go unto the house of Israel, 8, to heal the sick, raise the dead. That's all they were doing. It was a one-off ministry; it was a one-off sending out; it was a unique event. And also you can't cite this part of Scripture to prove the one-man paid ministry. There's nothing in here to even suggest that. These are evangelists at best, not pastors, and they're going out to heal the sick, not to teach the Bible, not to plant churches. So try not to approach this with the mindset that this is somehow going to affirm the one-man ministry. It's not. Nothing could be further from the truth.
VERSES 9-10: "Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat."
They were to go with the very clothes that they were wearing on their back. Again, this is a unique ministry. The Lord sends them out by faith. But the latter part of 10 says that "the workman is worthy of his meat." So they will be rewarded. And, as I say, from 1 Corinthians 9, an evangelist, if he goes out by faith, is entitled to be supported by his local assembly, but a one-man, full-time paid pastor isn't found anywhere in the New Testament.
VERSE 11: "And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence."
This is simply a healing ministry; it's an outreach to the house of Israel. If anybody wants to be healed, come and be healed. As I say, there's nothing in here to even insinuate a one-man minister receiving a full-time salary.
VERSES 12- 13: "And when ye come into an house, salute it. And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you."
They would have known who would be welcoming. They would have been healing in the streets. People would have said, "Come in and have a meal; Come in and wash your feet; Come in and have a bath,” maybe; or, “Come in and spend a few moments with us.” Hospitality ‒ that's all it would entail.
VERSE 14: "And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet."
That's very much a Middle Eastern expression for contempt, and even today in the Middle East, if you go to any Muslim country, they will take their shoes off and wave them about to show disgust. And I think we can all recall after the Iraq war when an Iraqi journalist took his shoe off and threw it at George Bush. That was to show his contempt, and clearly they have retained some of the Jewish customs which we find here in the New Testament. In fact, most of the Koran has been taken from the Old and New Testament. There's very, very little original material in the Koran. Most of it has just been plagiarized from the Bible.
VERSE 15: "Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city."
This is a good part of Scripture to go to to see that the Lord pointed back to Genesis, points back to Sodom and Gomorrah, points back to the judgment that fell in those surrounding areas and upholds the Genesis account. The Lord also upholds the Noah account. He upholds the Creation account. Christ was a Creationist, and time after time when you read the New Testament, the writers of the New Testament always uphold the Old Testament; they always give it the highest level of respect. There's no doubting it; there's no questioning it; there's no spiritualizing it. It's simply as it is written - "Thus saith the Lord." Scripture cannot be broken. If you want to become a liberal, if you want to have your faith destroyed, if you want to become a worthless and barren Christian, just go to any typical Bible school, and after just a couple of terms there, you will come out a complete spiritual wreck and quite possibly even an atheist.
VERSE 16: "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves."
The judgment that was going to fall from verses 6 to 16 is going to be severe, very severe, because the apostles were eyewitnesses to the Lord's ministry. He had personally called them, ordained them, anointed them, briefed them to go out in His name like an advance party, as it were; and if they didn't hear the apostles, the judgment would be much severer on them than it would be compared to the people of Sodom and Gomorrah who had far less light, far less accountability back in the book of Genesis compared to these people here in Matthew 10.
VERSES 17- 18: "But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles."
This is a fascinating piece of Scripture. Here you find the Lord speaking to His apostles, but vicariously He's speaking about future events. They will go out from verses 1, 2, 3, and 4 as Jewish apostles to the house of Israel, verse 6, but beyond that, He's speaking about Matthew 24 - kings, governors, councils. The book of Acts shows you what that entailed. There's also an even further application to the Tribulation, the 144,000 witnesses. This is why you have to study the Bible very carefully, because if you read this and take from this that He's simply speaking about their initial trip, their initial outreach to the house of Israel, you've missed it, because in the Gospel of Luke He says, "Did everything go well with you? Were there any problems?" And they said, "No. Even the demons were in subjection to us." They had no persecution; they had no problems. It was a straight outreach - Who wants to be healed? Who wants to hear the Gospel? And then back to the Lord to brief Him. Scripture with Scripture. That's why you need to read all of the four Gospels carefully side-by-side. Otherwise, you miss this.
VERSE 19: "But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak."
Philip was a mighty man in the Scripture, as was Apollos. But these were unique men; they were associates of the apostles. And it says that the Jewish leaders couldn't respond to Philip; they couldn't silence him. And Apollos was mighty, an eloquent man, Luke says of him. But here and now this only has spiritual application to us. What we don't want to do is read this and say, "Well, I won't study the Bible. I'll just take my chances." You need to study the Bible because Paul told you to in 1 Timothy chapter 2. You were told to study it and meditate upon it. So here He's talking to the Jewish apostles in Matthew 10 for a brief outreach; but beyond that, He's speaking about, I believe, the Acts of the Apostles, period, which was 30 years. And Stephen possibly would be in consideration there, Philip, yes, and Apollos too, but ultimately, Revelation 7 and 11, the 144,000 witnesses. They are given a special anointing, hence why they don't need to be too focused on what to say when the persecution arises. But, again, this is aimed at the Jews, councils, governors, kings. Just read Acts chapter 9, and Paul was sent out for that very purpose.
VERSE 20: "For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you."
Again, that's a special anointing for a special people for a special time.
VERSE 21: "And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death."
The Lord said that when He came back, there would be very little faith on the earth. The love of many will wax cold.
VERSE 22: "And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved."
This is way beyond the apostles' brief outreach just to the house of Israel from verse 6. To be hated by all men? To be put to death from 21? To endure to the end to be saved? What are they enduring? Matthew 24 is the cross reference to this part of Scripture, and in Matthew 24 they are enduring unto the end of the Tribulation to be saved from the deception, not in order to be saved. And I will no doubt deal with that when I get to the 24th chapter.
VERSE 23: "But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come."
Second Coming, Matthew 24, Tribulation. Yes, there are shades of this found in the Acts of the Apostles. Paul had to flee town in a basket when the persecution increased. The Jews were forced to disperse when the persecution increased. But here, this is way beyond the first century. This is well into the Second Coming. This is way into the Great Tribulation. And, again, the Lord is speaking to the house of Israel. The church isn't being mentioned in here. That's why I'm a semi-dispensationalist. The church isn't Israel; Israel isn't the church. This is aimed primarily and doctrinally at Israel.
VERSES 24-25: "The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?"
Verse 25 is following up from 9:34 when the Lord was called the prince of the devils, and here He's called Beelzebub, an Old Testament term for the devil himself. And in Mark chapter 3 they even said that the Lord had an unclean spirit. That is the unpardonable sin. I don't believe it has any direct application today, but it certainly did during the time of the Lord's ministry on the earth. If they demonized the Lord - and they did - what will they do to His apostles? What are they doing today to the true Bible believer? How much demonization is going on today? Just go on line. Look up some of the attacks that the Bible believers have to endure. There isn't any decent government anywhere in the West which defends Bible believers. Bible believers are a minority of minorities. They are ridiculed; they are losing more of their rights day by day. And things will get worse - a lot worse. That's why we pray daily for the Rapture to come. So don't lose hope because in verse 26.
VERSES 26-28: "Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."
VERSES 29-33: "Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."
Confessing Him in 32 got you saved; denying Him in 33 will see you condemned - ultimately denying Him, not a temporary period of unbelief, not a temporary period of backsliding or unbelief, but a permanent rejection, a permanent refusal to bend the knee to Him. That will send you to Hell.
VERSES 34-35: "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law."
This still has an eschatological connotation to it. He's still speaking first and foremost to His apostles concerning their immediate outreach; but, again, He's speaking to them and the wider Jewish community, which will be around 70AD and during the Tribulation. It's going to cost you something to believe on Him. Saying that, even in the first century, those that got saved paid a huge price for it. Many were treated with contempt; many were shunned by their families. Some were even put to death for their faith. Look at Stephen, the first church martyr. So there's always been a price to pay when you get saved, especially in the first century, especially when you had all these polytheists and all of these depraved deities. To become a Christian, to refuse to worship Caesar, can you imagine the persecution, the affliction they would have endured? So, again, First Coming, Second Coming - I completely see both advents here. But we are still, in many ways, looking at this from an eschatological point of view.
VERSES 36-37: "And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me."
There are different types of love. There's a love for a husband or a wife which differs from a love for a mother and a father, which differs from a love that we have for our Saviour. So, as I say, there are different types of love found in the Scriptures. But here, ultimately to love your mother and father puts you into verse 33, because you are denying the Lord in order to keep in with your unsaved mother or father; hence, you're not worthy of Him, you are ashamed of Him. But to believe on Him puts you back into 32, which He says He will then confess you before His Father which is in Heaven, and the cross reference says "and His holy angels." So that's pretty special, really, to have the Lord not only confess you before His Father but also the holy angels ‒ and they could quite possibly be thousands.
VERSES 38-39: "And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it."
If you die denying the Lord, 33, because you love your mother and father more than Him, 37, you lose your life and you end up in Hell. If you believe on Him from verse 32, you keep your life here and now and you keep it when you die because you are saved. You are found in verse 32. Also 38, to be identified with the Lord was a pretty big deal, really. The Jews stumbled at the thought of having a crucified Messiah. So when the Lord said in the sixth chapter of John that you had to eat His flesh and drink His blood, that was abhorrent to them. They couldn't conceive what He was speaking about - because to be identified with Him will cost you something. Whatever country you live in, to be a Bible believer will cost you something; therefore, you will have to pick up your cross daily, deny yourself, walk in the Spirit, and, where possible, proclaim Him. Be ready in season and out of season. But, as I say, a temporary period of backsliding or unbelief doesn't put you into the condemnation from verse 33. As I say, 33 is speaking about people that permanently deny Him and they side with their mother and their father from 37 and end up being killed, really, especially in light of 70AD when the Romans surrounded Israel, surrounded the city of Jerusalem and laid siege to it and they all died.
VERSE 40: "He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me."
When we go on the streets and we talk to people and if we are able to show them from the Bible Scriptures which are relevant to our purpose of being out on the streets, if we want to show somebody their sin from the Bible, we do so because we represent the Lord. If they hear us and believe us, they get saved and the Father is glorified; if they don't hear us and don't receive us, then the Father is offended. As I say, we are ambassadors for Christ. We have no special aspect. We have nothing unique to offer the man or woman on the street. We are simply Bible believers going into our towns, into our cities with the Gospel. All apostles are evangelists. We all have the calling and the equipping to go out and preach the Gospel, but we don't all have the same gifts. We can't all do the same things, but we are all expected to be post people. We post the letters; we deliver the Gospel. What people do with our letters, what they do with our Gospel presentation, our deliverance, our articulation of the plan of salvation is up to them. All we were told to do was preach the Gospel to every creature. If they believe and get saved, wonderful; if they don't believe, then they remain unsaved, in which case we move on to somebody else. Don't cast your pearls before swine. This Bible is a very straightforward, simplistic Book; but you have to read it, you have to meditate on it, and you have to believe it and apply it. And if you do those things, all of these verses will make a lot of sense to you.
VERSE 41: "He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward."
Here Christ is sending out His apostles. He is the King sending out the apostles. The apostles are a unique people. They are found in the book of Revelation along with, I believe, Jacob's twelve sons. But Christ is the King of Kings. He is the Eternal God in the flesh. Therefore, to receive the apostles' message here - because, don't forget, He is speaking to the apostles about going out first and foremost to the lost house of Israel, verse 6 - if they receive the apostles' message, wonderful; they get saved; they get healed; God is glorified. But if they refuse to hear the apostles, if they shut their ears, then the condemnation is going to be so much more severe than anything else found in the Old Testament because they have come straight from the Lord Himself - accountability, hence why you find the term "prophet" and "a righteous man."
VERSE 42: "And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward."
Matthew 25 speaks about how the Jews were treated, and that, again, points to future events, which I'll get to when I reach the 25th chapter.
Okay. Forty-two verses. That will conclude the tenth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew.
VERSES 1-3: "And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities. Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?"
John is in prison. He's not far from death. He knows that his ministry has come to an end, and like the apostles from the early chapters of Acts of the Apostles, he is anticipating the Lord to bring in His physical Kingdom, and he wants to be reassured that things are on track. He doesn't realize that the Messiah's ministry was to come, die, be resurrected, send the 12 apostles out into the world. They would preach; they would ordain elders who would preach and ordain elders, and people would continue to be witnessed to and be saved. The Old Testament prophets had limited light, and here John's knowledge of the Lord's ministry is limited, hence why he sends his disciples out to find out what is happening, why is there a delay.
VERSES 4-6: "Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me."
The Lord did miracles like nobody did, and in verse 4 He says, "Go and tell John what you have already seen." These disciples had seen the Lord's ministry. They must have told John that the Lord was doing this and He was doing that, but for some reason at this point in John's life he's wanting further reassurance, hence why he sends the disciples to see the Lord. And the part of Scripture from verse 6 says you are blessed, you are happy if you aren't offended in Him, if you aren't offended by Him.
VERSES 7-10: "And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings' houses. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee."
John had his ministry written down in the Old Testament preserved by God, and the Lord here is pointing back to the Old Testament, and He's saying that they wrote about John's ministry. And He's simply wanting the multitudes to realize that John wasn't going to be something extraordinary; he wasn't going to be wearing nice clothes or living in king's houses. He lived a very simplistic life. But above all, his ministry was foretold in the Old Testament.
VERSE 11: "Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he."
Meaning that up until this time in the life of John, even at this point in the Lord's ministry, John was the greatest person to be born. Why? Well, he pointed to the Messiah's coming. He publicly proclaimed Christ as the Son of God. The children of Israel were publicly told by John that Christ was the Son of God. John himself baptized the Lord from the third chapter; hence at that point in time he was the greatest. However, he that is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he because they have now been able to go into the Kingdom thanks to John and they have a higher standing. Once again, it's a bit of a paradox, but the bottom line is that John's ministry was foretold in verse 10. He was the greatest man up until this time in the Lord's ministry, but those that came after him are greater because they have gone into the Kingdom; they have witnessed, they have been partakers, they have tasted of the heavenly gift. So they receive more light; they receive a greater blessing. But that was only possible, really, due to the ministry of John the Baptist.
VERSE 12: "And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force."
There have always been church martyrs in any dispensation, even more so in the first century. To be a Christian in Rome pre 70AD cost you a lot. You would be arrested; you would be paraded in the coliseum, and you would be fed to lions. Many, many, many Christian men and women were killed for their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. So it has always cost you something. It cost John the Baptist his life, and it cost the Lord Himself His life.
There's also a reference here to a spiritual Kingdom which has a greater application during the Tribulation into the Millennium. The people of God, the children of Israel have always been persecuted and will always be persecuted, and they also suffer the violence.
VERSE 13: “For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.”
Another reason why John is held up as this great beacon ‒ because all of the Old Testament prophets and the law prophesied until John. Once John came and went, that part of the Lord's dealing, His ministry, His application to Israel ceased. With the death of a testator, there is a New Testament. By the time the Lord comes up out of the tomb, a new covenant has been initiated. So here you have this transition period from law to grace, from the gospels into the epistles. And the first few chapters of Acts of the Apostles is still dealing with the Jews under the law – keeping the Sabbath, circumcision, dietary restrictions, so on and so forth; hence why the epistles are penned by the Apostle Paul, for the most part, explaining to non-Jews what was expected of them and also to the Jews, those that had believed on the Lord, saved Jews, how they too were expected to live.
VERSE 14: "And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come."
John's ministry mirrored that of Elijah. Elijah, I believe, will be one of the two witnesses found in Revelation. He wasn't Elijah; he wasn't a reincarnation of Elijah, nor was he the resurrected Elijah. We know who John's parents were. But he came in the spirit of Elijah.
VERSE 15: "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear."
Profound words. If you have ears, you need to hear. If you have eyes, you need to see; you need to believe. You need to be a doer of the word not just a hearer.
VERSES 16-19: "But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented. For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil. The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children."
John was maligned; Jesus was maligned; Paul was maligned. If you are a Bible believer, if you have a public ministry or a good public testimony, you will also be demonized. They said that John had a devil from 18. They said that Christ had a devil from the twelfth chapter and also from the third chapter of Mark. It goes back to those that have eyes to see should see, and those that have ears to hear should hear. The burden, once again, is put on the recipients of the Gospel to be saved. The Lord gives people enough light to be saved, but He also gives man enough rope to hang himself should he choose to reject the light of Christ, turn around and go back to his darkness, to go back to sin, to go back to the law, John 6:66 - three sixes. Interesting. And those people go back because they were never of the Lord to begin with.
VERSE 20: "Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not:"
It was their fault that they didn't repent. The burden of responsibility is always on the recipients. Nobody will be in Hell because Christ didn't love them and didn't die for them. People will be in Hell because men love darkness rather than light - "We won't have this man to reign over us." And we've already seen how the Lord exorcized two people possessed with devils, and the entire town came out to see what had happened, and they told the Lord to depart from them - something I believe would happen in Wales, Scotland, and England and Northern Ireland today if He was to return. People don't want the Lord to rule and reign over them because man loves darkness rather than light.
VERSES 21-24: "Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee."
Different levels of punishment in Hell. Capernaum had great light because the King of the universe had come and lived among them. However, the prophet is never accepted in his own town.
VERSE 25: "At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes."
Some sharp sarcasm there, really. These people thought they were wise; they thought they were smart, hence the Lord blinded them because they were already blind willingly. It was foretold in the Old Testament that they would be blind, and therefore through foreknowledge, through seeing how people would react once the Lord had arrived, their condemnation was now finalized. There will be no hope for these people, and that is the bottom line. Most people die as they lived. Most people are not going to be saved. Most people cannot be saved because they are too far gone. And here the Lord says that He is thankful that God the Father has restricted those people with further knowledge, further light because it gives them a higher level of accountability, and when the Great White Throne comes around, they won't be as severely punished as they would have been if the Lord hadn't been restricting their knowledge. But as a result of that, the Lord gives more light to babes, those that are humble, those that are meek, those that want to be saved. He gives law to the proud but grace to the humble.
VERSES 26-27: "Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him."
Other Scriptures say that the Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost. In John chapter 12 He said He would draw all men unto Him. What He's saying here is you can't come to me unless I draw you, and I will draw you; and if I draw you, you will come to me, and if you believe on me, you have believed on me because I have allowed you to believe on me. He's simply taking the credit here. He's simply saying that you'll only know me if I reveal the Father to you, and the Father will only know you if the Son reveals you to the Father - three in one, one in three, and the one in the middle died for me.
VERSES 28-30: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
That's a very clear call to repentance and then to discipleship. Up until this moment, you've seen the Lord dealing with Israel pretty much affirming Old Testament traditions, teachings, prophets. But here He says, "Come unto me now." This will mark a new phase in the Lord's ministry. This is now a new point. He's calling on people to come unto Him, to follow Him, to trust Him. If He's not God, he wouldn't be calling on the children of Israel to follow Him. Very few righteous people would have the audacity to say, "Follow me and I will give you the bread of life; follow me and I will give you everlasting life; follow me and I'll give you the peace which passes all understanding" - but He did. Very few people would say, "Without me you can do nothing," but He did because He is God the Son, the second member of the Godhead.
Okay. So that will conclude the eleventh chapter. It's one of the shortest chapters so far, and with just 30 verses, we've seen the demise of John but also the exaltation of John. We saw the law and the prophets finalizing up until John's ministry, and we've also seen the judgments which await those that were alive during the Lord's ministry compared to those that were alive pre the Lord's ministry. And those that were alive pre the Lord's ministry would have repented, would have believed if somebody from the Lord's ministry had gone to witness to them - a pretty remarkable statement to make.
VERSES 1-8: "At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day. But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless? But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple. But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day."
To be Lord of the Sabbath, to be greater than the Temple, to offer yourself as being guiltless meant you were God. The Lord gave the people of Israel the Sabbath to keep, and those that didn't keep the Sabbath were put to death. He gave the Jews the Temple to come and worship Him, and those that didn't come to worship Him would be defiled and sometimes even cut off. To be blameless meant you were sinless.
Seven times Muhammad was told in the Suras to repent, but in John 8 Christ says, “Which of you convicteth me of sin?” And the response was zero. Nobody could say a word against that claim, that statement. He invited it. He said, "Okay. Which of you condemns me as a sinner?" Nothing was said. They couldn't, because He was without sin. He became sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor. 5:21.)
Also, David here is held up as a literal king from the Old Testament. And He says, "Have ye not read in the law, Scripture cannot be broken?" Some people say that David didn't live, he didn't rule, he didn't reign. Discard it. Here Christ is upholding David as an Old Testament king. Christ was a Bible believer. He was a literalist. He points to Noah, Moses, and now He's pointing to David, and later He will point to Jonas as well.
VERSES 9-12: "And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue: And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him. And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days."
Jesus would have had no time for these animal liberation people. Man is made in the image of God. Animals are subservient to mankind. That doesn't mean that mankind should treat animals badly. They shouldn't torture animals. But here He is saying that man is better than a sheep, man is better than an animal. Adam spoke to the animals, named them. That was the privilege that God gave man, the first man, the first Adam, the first person to walk on the earth. That was the privilege bestowed upon him. But, like I say, man is made in the image of God, whereas animal isn't made in the image of God; and when an animal dies, it goes into the ground. When a man dies, he goes into the ground, but if he's lost, his soul goes to Hell; if he's saved, his soul goes to be with the Lord - much greater privilege, much greater accountability, and much higher level of exaltation because man is made in the image of God.
VERSES 13-14: "Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other. Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him."
Council, when it's found in the Bible, is always in a negative manner. The word "council" always has a negative connotation. Just go through church history and look up all the councils, and most of the time what that would entail would be bloodshed. The council of Trent anathematized people like myself, former Catholics, with over 125 curses; and a curse in the eyes of a Catholic on somebody like myself would mean eternal damnation.
It's never a good thing here. This council is going to come together to destroy Him. That's the folly of man. These people thought they knew more than God. They thought they could thwart God. Foolishness. And yet through middle knowledge, through the Old Testament prophets, they saw this was going to happen, and they wrote it down. But these people living in time didn't really believe the Old Testament, didn't really understand the power and sovereignty of God, and therefore they are going to fall through their folly.
VERSES 15-21: "But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all; And charged them that they should not make him known: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory. And in his name shall the Gentiles trust."
Those that wanted to be healed were healed, but here the Lord isn't going to be a Malcolm X, a Sheikh Guevara, or a Gandhi or a Martin Luther King character. He's not coming for revolution; He's coming for restoration; He's coming to make dead people alive from within. He's not coming to cause riots, sit-down protests, or terrorist activities. He said, “If you live by the sword, you will die by the sword.” The powers that be are ordained of God. That's yet another reason why the Jews didn't receive Him and still don't receive Him because they wanted Him to come and overthrow the Romans and set up His literal Davidic kingdom. He will, Second Coming. The first coming He came as the Son of Joseph to suffer, but the Second Coming He comes as the Son of David to rule and reign.
VERSE 22: "Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw."
Time and time again the devils know who He was. They said, "Have you come to torment us? You are the holy one." Every unclean spirit in the Bible affirmed the deity of Christ. In fact, there are very, very few atheists in the Bible. There are no atheists in Hell today. You have to be trained not to believe in God. You have to be indoctrinated to suppress your conscience and turn away from the knowledge of God. Everybody has a conscience. That conscience points back to the Creator.
I was able to have a conversation just a few days ago with a very open-minded Darwinist, and this chap was also a scientist. And he said to me that he believed in the philosophy of Christ but he couldn't receive Christ as his own personal Saviour. And we spent about 20 minutes or so on the streets going back and forward, and I said to him that you have a conscience and that conscience tells you when you do wrong, and when you die, you will give an account of yourself based on your conscience. So people who haven't heard of the Lord Jesus, those who haven't got a Bible, those who cannot read or write, that really makes no difference because their conscience convicts them when they do wrong. That comes from Heaven. So nobody is going to escape the judgment of God.
But here this wonderful passage tells us that those that came to be healed were healed, and the unclean spirits speak because they know who Christ was, they know who He is. Like I say, there's no secularism; there's no agnosticism in Scripture. All these spirits are very religious. But as I say, you have to be educated away from this when you go to college and also into university, especially if you live in the United Kingdom.
VERSES 23-24: "And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils."
That is a disgusting and revolting slur against Jesus Christ. How these people have the audacity to make such an incredulous statement is beyond me. Everything He said and did was for God's glory. He lived a very simple life, but, you see, this is the problem with organized religion. Organized religion fears people like Jesus because, in their minds, if people follow Him, they won't need the priests and the collars and the miters. They won't need these great 'Reverends,' these great PhDs, these great scholars. They won't need to read their books; they won't need to buy their DVDs; they won't need to go to their church services, their speaking engagements; they won't need to be involved with their activities. They will simply come to the Messiah to be saved and fall at His feet. And therefore these people are wicked; they are depraved. And they have also been spoken of in other parts of the New Testament as having wicked and depraved hearts. But here they are saying that He, Christ, has come from the prince of the devils, Beelzebub, the devil himself. That is going to feed into the unpardonable sin. Let's read on.
VERSE 25-27: "And Jesus knew their thoughts."
He is omniscient. He’s also omnipotent and He's omnipresent - again, the three characteristics of deity. Here He knew their thoughts. Only God knows the thoughts of man. One more time:
"And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges."
Different levels of Heaven, different levels of Hell. Also, it should be obvious that the devil isn't going to divide himself; he's not going to seek to divide his kingdom. It makes little sense to suggest that Christ is working through the powers of the devil and yet He's preaching against the devil. But it was clear to the Lord, but it clearly wasn't clear to the Pharisees.
VERSE 28-30: "But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God" - the Holy Ghost - "then the kingdom of God is come unto you. Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house. He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad."
You find a similar theme in I think it's John's Gospel when John himself wants to call fire down from Heaven to consume the unbelieving Samaritans, and Jesus said, "No. I've come to save men, not to destroy men." And here He's saying, "If you're not with me, then you are against me, and therefore you may as well scatter abroad, do your own thing." But, again, He was preaching a diametrically opposed message to what the ungodly kings would have preached in the Old Testament. Everything He did set Him apart from all of the ungodly kings and also set Him apart from the godly kings in the Old Testament. Isaiah told us that He would come to sharpen the law, magnify the law. That He did. But, again, these people are not right with the Lord; they are not God's people, as it were; therefore what He's saying to them is foolishness because the preaching of the cross is foolishness. You cannot perceive the things of God until you are born again, hence why you need to be saved. But you need to humble yourself, first of all, in order to be saved and then to receive more light from Heaven or else you remain in darkness and this message goes right over your head.
VERSE 31: "Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men."
Every sin that ever has been committed and will ever be committed can be forgiven. Christ came to save sinners. But the sin against the Holy Ghost won't be forgiven because the Holy Ghost as the third member of the Godhead was driving Jesus; He was empowering Jesus. So to have a perpetual rejection, to continue to slur the reputation and slander the ministry of the Holy Spirit would put you into eternal damnation because ultimately you are not coming to the Saviour in order to be saved. You are standing with your arms folded and you are thumbing the Lord, really; you are refusing to bend the knee, and therefore there's no forgiveness of your sins.
VERSE 32: "And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come."
I don't believe that anybody can commit the unpardonable sin today. I've always believed that this was only applicable to those living in the first century. Paul said he was the chief of sinners and was saved. If he was saved - and he was - then I believe anybody can still be saved if they come to the Lord on His terms, not your terms. But here He's dealing with a perpetual hardness among a religious elites who saw Him, who witnessed Him, who assessed Him, who saw all of the miracles, who saw all of the transformed lives, and yet still wouldn't bend the knee and receive Him; therefore, their accountability, their light, their exposure to Christ was far greater than anybody else, hence why they go to Hell because they didn't want to receive Him. And yet Nicodemus was a Pharisee. Joseph of Arimathea was a member of the Sanhedrin and was saved; therefore people did still get saved among these people, this group of people. But He's really crying out to these people to repent. He's saying, "Come to me. I am the bread from Heaven. I am the Lamb of God. I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. It's my way or no way." That's what He's saying time and time again.
VERSES 33-34: "Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh."
Vipers, evil. There's nothing here to suggest any meek and mild characteristics from the Lord. He called a spade a spade. These were wicked, evil people, and He said so.
VERSE 35: "A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things."
A good man in Calvinism doesn't exist, but here a good man is found in Scripture. Not all people are as wicked as others. Not all people are as good as others. But here there are two groups of people - a good man and an evil man. And it goes back to the seventh chapter that a false teacher will bring forth no good fruit, depraved fruit, and they will be noticeable; they will be highlighted, and they should be spotted by the good man, the person who is saved who's going to grow in grace and be victorious.
VERSE 36: "But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment."
That's a feedback to 31 and 32 dealing, really, with the unpardonable sin, which starts in 23; but also it can be applied to anybody living today that what you say in darkness will be exposed in the light.
VERSE 37: "For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned."
When you confess Christ as your Saviour, you are saved. When you deny Him, you are condemned.
VERSE 38: "Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee."
They've had signs left, right, and center, and yet they still didn't believe, for the most part, hence why He is going to say what He says in 39.
VERSES 39-40: "But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."
David is being held up as a literal Old Testament character. Now Jonah has been held up as a literal Old Testament character. Three days and three nights he goes into the whale's belly, which is a type of what the Lord is going to do. I won't get into the actual day that He goes into the ground. All I know for sure is that He came out the first day of the week, which has always been Sunday.
VERSE 41: "The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here."
Six, He's greater than the Temple; 8, He's Lord of the Sabbath; 41, He's greater than Jonas. This is all leading up to His crucifixion. To claim all these things, once again, meant He was the Lord. He put Himself on par with God the Father. He wasn't God the Father - He is God the Son - but He claims equality with God the Father. And also the people of Nineveh repented at Jonas' preaching.
VERSE 42: "The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here."
He's building up. He's constantly building up on these Old Testament leaders claiming to be greater than all those people. Sheba came to meet Solomon, and she brought gifts with her to meet her Jewish counterpart. That's an Old Testament picture of somebody in authority visiting somebody else in authority. New Testament, God comes to earth seeking man. The Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost. Old Testament, God comes looking for Adam. Adam doesn't come looking for God. God comes looking for Adam. He's on a search and rescue mission.
VERSES 43-45: "When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation."
Israel. If the people of Israel wanted to restore themselves without the new birth, without receiving the Messiah, they would be worse off than they were previously. Again, this goes back to light, revelation, different levels of Heaven, different levels of Hell. This doesn't have any application, I believe, to somebody who tries to restore themselves after receiving the Holy Spirit and then backslide and be indwelt by more spirits worse than the previous spirit. That's not what this means, because once you are saved, you are saved. You're sealed and your spirit is already in Heaven with the Lord anyway. The Holy Ghost lives within you. He can be grieved; He can be quenched. But you can't apply this, I believe, to a backslidden, saved Christian. This is applied, really, to Israel, those who wouldn't bend the knee.
VERSES 46-50: "While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him. Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother."
The will of the Father is to believe on Christ as the Saviour, as the Messiah and trust Him in order to be saved. That's the word of God found clearly in John chapter 6.
VERSES 1-9: "The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side. And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear."
It wasn't unusual for Rabbis to speak in parables, and the main reason for the Lord speaking in parables here is simply due to the fact that Isaiah wrote about the people during the Lord's time on the earth that were going to reject His message and therefore His message would be totally foreign to them. In fact, that is why tongues occur in the New Testament, especially during the book of Acts. The Jews require a sign, and the sign that they get is twofold. The sign can be to lead them to belief, and the sign could also be a judgment against them. Without an interpreter, nobody could understand what was being said by those that had the gift of speaking in tongues. But here, due to Isaiah's prophecy, which, once again, feeds into middle knowledge, meaning that the prophets would write down what they would see in the future, and depending on how a particular party would respond to whatever light the Lord gave them, that response was penned by the prophets - middle knowledge. That's the easiest and quickest way for us to comprehend the sovereignty of God and the free will of man. But here the Lord is speaking first and foremost to His apostles and vicariously to the wider audience, which, for the most part, didn't believe on Him, and this chapter echoes that. In fact, this chapter ends with the Lord being unable to perform any miracles simply due to the fact that the people in Capernaum didn't have any faith to come to the Lord in order to be healed. But more on that later.
VERSES 10-11: "And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given."
The apostles were the writers of the New Testament. The church was going to be built first and foremost on the Lord and then by the apostles. The apostles were going to go out into the world and preach to every man, woman, and child. By Romans chapter 10, the Gospel had gone to the ends of the earth. So here the Lord is saying, "You apostles have been blessed to receive this message. I have chosen you apostles in time" - Luke chapter 6 - "not before the foundation of the world but during my time here on the earth."
VERSE 12: "For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath."
That's a paradox if ever I read one. Look at it again: Whosoever has to him shall be given. So if you have the truth, you will be given more truth, and you should have more abundance. But whoever has not, whoever won't receive it shall lose even what he already has. In other words, this is being aimed primarily at the children of Israel. They were the chosen people. They already had light to commence with, but even that light would become darkness if they didn't receive Christ as their Saviour.
VERSE 13: "Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand."
Time after time the blame is always put on the recipients. Back to middle knowledge, Isaiah knew that, for the most part, the people of Israel wouldn't receive this message, and therefore they would willfully remain in their sins, hence why the Lord has just said that they see but they don't really want to see and they hear but they don't really wish to hear. Every unsaved man and woman can view a street preacher, they can listen to an evangelist, they can watch an apologist articulating, explaining, expounding the Scriptures, but they willfully choose to reject it and remain in darkness. Therefore, the burden of guilt, the responsibility lies at their door. Look at 14.
VERSES 14-15: "And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them."
The Lord is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance, but men love darkness rather than light, for their deeds are evil. Put these Scriptures all together and you have the Saviour weeping over Jerusalem, crisscrossing Israel for three and a half years preaching to everybody all over Israel and beyond, the apostles traveling land and sea to preach the Gospel to every creature, and yet, for the most part, men love darkness rather than light. “We will not have this man to reign over us. Let His blood be on our children. We have one king, which is Caesar” ‒ middle knowledge.
This was seen, this was written, this was preached by the Old Testament prophets. The Lord Jesus Christ arrives on the earth. He comes unto His own, but His own received Him not, but as many as received Him gave He the right to become the children of God (John 1:11-12.) Through their unbelief, through their rejection, judgment has fallen on them, and temporarily we, the church, we, the born again sinner, are grafted in, and we - for this dispensation, anyway - become the people of God. Once the Rapture has been and gone, the Lord returns to Israel, and through the 144,000 Jewish male virgins, He turns His attention back to Israel and also to the wider world, and then the people of Israel are once again God's people. More on that later.
VERSE 16: "But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear."
Verse 10, the disciples, the twelve, and also the 70 from Matthew 10 and also Luke 10. And I have no problem applying this spiritually to anybody that is saved today or will be saved tomorrow or forever. Those that are saved are spiritually enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift. But here the Lord is speaking first and foremost to the multitude of people - no doubt about that from verse 2 - but directly, He's speaking to the disciples from verse 10. Seventeen makes that even clearer.
VERSE 17: "For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them."
"Ye" always means plural in this context – "you twelve."
VERSES 18-23: "Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty."
There's a lot to say here, but in reverse order, 23, if the seed falls onto good ground, it is possible that somebody could bring forth fruit one hundred fold. Now, I believe that there have probably only been a handful of people that have come to experience this. Paul would be one, some of the early church leaders, men perhaps like William Carey, perhaps David Brainerd and maybe John Wesley and Charles Spurgeon - possibly. I don't know. But for the most part, I think sixtyfold or thirtyfold is going to be a more realistic understanding when it comes to how much fruit a person can bring forth. But here it's clear; if you want to, you can bring forth 100 percent fruit, but, of course, it's going to cost you something.
I also think it's worth highlighting the fact that it is always critical to preach the entire Gospel to an unsaved party. Wesley said that if he had one hour with an open-minded unsaved party, he would spend 50 minutes on the law of God and the last 10 minutes at the cross. That way the unsaved party goes away with a clear, precise, and honest presentation of the Scripture. And if that person chooses to believe it and receive it, they will be saved; and, according to this part of Scripture, the seed has fallen in the right ground because the preparation was done faithfully by the evangelist, and therefore it is now down to the recipient to apply it correctly. However, if you preach half the Gospel, if you focus primarily on the cross and only on the cross, if you are the type of person that says that God loves you, God has a wonderful plan for you, He wants you to be healthy and wealthy, then you haven't only robbed them, but you've also deceived them because you haven't given them the entire Gospel. Yes, He loves you if you love His Son, if you believe on His son. To bypass the law, to bypass the holiness, to bypass the judgment of God is a travesty, and that's why there are so many false converts in the world today. That's why there are so many "ex-Christians" that are hurt, that are on the Internet, that are doing the rounds, that are wanting to be seen and heard, and they cry out like a neglected baby.
And these people believe that they were once saved and have since "come to their senses." They were never saved to begin with. The apostle John says they went out from us because they were not of us; had they been of us, they would have continued with us, but they went out demonstrating that they were none of us. That's a permanent departure. That is apostasy with a capital “A,” and although we can be critical and we can be scornful of these people that seek to overthrow the faith of the simple, my feeling is that, for the most part, they were done a disservice by a liberal Christian, and it could even be by a well-intended Christian. Somebody might have tried to witness to a particular party and simply preached the love of Christ. That's no good. That will not work, and when tribulation or persecution from 21 arises, that party is offended. Now, you can be temporarily offended. Peter was temporarily offended but was restored later. Some of the greatest saints have been temporarily offended when persecution has arisen. But here this is talking about somebody whose foundation wasn't good. The root wasn't deep enough. The preparation hadn't been sufficient, hence why they become easily offended.
Twenty-two is also critical to quickly take a look at because you can become unfruitful through the deceitfulness of the world, the riches and all of the worldly interests. The word of God says that we are to be in the world but not of the world. We aren't to love the world because the things of the world are temporary. We are to set our affections on things above, not on the things here and now. We are to lay up treasures in Heaven, not on earth. Now, saying that, let me say this: We can still appreciate some of the things that this world has to offer. We can appreciate some of the beauty, some of the nature that we witness, whether it's in the mountains or in parts of Canada or Norway or Africa or the Middle East. We can appreciate all of nature's beauty, all of God's creation. We can also appreciate music to some extent. But the moment we love those things - and the word for "love" in Greek is agape, which is the strongest word in the Greek language. It simply means to completely be in love with the world – then we are in a serious situation because the things of the world, as I say, are temporary. They are lustful, and if you are not careful, you could easily end up like Lot. Lot was a saved man, but he became lustful; he fell into that sin and lost his testimony but was still saved. And I've said this so many times over the years that as a saved person, you need to guard your testimony. You need to have the best possible walk with the Lord. You won't be sinless; you will always stumble, but the more you walk with Him, the less worldliness that you allow your eyes to see and your ears to hear, the closer you’ll walk with the Lord, and your sins will start to recede and you will have a much stronger walk, a greater relationship with the Lord.
VERSES 24-25: "Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way."
Tares, old English for weeds.
VERSE 26: "But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also."
In the Tribulation, the guillotine is going to be re-implemented. Interesting that we find the word "blade" in guillotine, for me, comes directly to my mind.
VERSES 27-30: "So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn."
We find a similar picture found in John's Gospel when John himself wants to call fire down from Heaven to consume some of the unbelieving Samaritans, and the Lord said that He hadn't come to destroy man’s life but to save man's life. His first coming was to save the world. Even here the wheat and the tares are growing side-by-side, and yet He says, "Don't pull them up because if you pull the tares up, you will also pull the wheat up also," meaning that the tares and the wheat grow side-by-side, and it's not down to us, the church, to deal with the judgment pre its time. It will come when it comes. We are to be patient; we are to wait on the Lord. But the reapers will do what they need to do. And this is where you find the expression "the grim reaper," which is also angelic from verse 49.
VERSES 31-32: "Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof."
Birds, fowls nearly always are types of unclean spirits.
VERSES 33-36: "Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world. Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field."
They were the enlightened ones, and yet even at this time they still needed their Teacher to teach them what He had already spent the last 15, 20 minutes or so teaching to the people. As I say, He came to His own, and His own received Him not, but He still loves His people. When the Bible says that God is angry with the wicked every day and He hates all workers of iniquity, that is completely true. But it also says "For God so loved the world" – past tense - "that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life." He loves the world; He's given His Son for the world, but until you receive the Son, you remain an enemy of wicked works. You remain a worker of iniquity, and God is angry with you every day. So there is no contradiction in Scripture, and as I've said so many times, He doesn't want anyone to perish. He came to His own; He preached to everybody; He preached to crowds like nobody ever did, and within those crowds there would have been perhaps a handful of people at any given event that heard, believed, received, got saved, continued on in His word. The Bible says you are my disciple if you continue on in my word. And for those people, this is really aimed at them, but for the rest, they fall by the wayside, and the god of this world - lower case "g," i.e., the devil - comes and takes from their heart what they have already heard because their heart wasn't right to begin with.
VERSES 37-39: "He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels."
Again, reaper, the grim reaper. But here these are God's servants that are going to be sent to separate the wheat from the tares. And Matthew 25 is another good cross-reference to this. And like I said, there's so much meat in this chapter that I could spend perhaps two or three hours walking through this chapter. But I don't have the time, so I will continue on.
VERSES 40-42: "As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."
First death, I believe. Luke 16 tells us what the first death consists of.
VERSE 43: "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear."
This could also be applied to the Great White Throne when the names are read out, and those names that are found in the Book of Life go into eternity with the Lord, and those whose names are not found go into the lake of fire, which is the second death. But my main understanding, my main feeling, my main interpretation of this would be in reference to the first death, and Matthew 25 is a good place to go, as I say, for the cross reference.
VERSES 44-50: "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."
End of the world could be a reference to the end of the Tribulation, the end of the final dispensation as we know it, and then the thousand year Millennial reign is initiated, which will be another world. There will be a new Heaven and a new earth. So I don't want to look beyond this dispensation and try and get into putting this into a post-Millennial dispensation. And I also believe - and I should have said this perhaps from the beginning of 13 - that this can have application to us living today. The Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God are the same, but there's two aspects: There's a physical and a spiritual realm, which I've said also repeatedly. So here the Kingdom of Heaven has been cited, and this has, I believe, a reference to a spiritual Kingdom. The preaching of the Gospel is foolishness to those that don't believe, but to those that do believe, it is the power of salvation. Just a quick abbreviation, but for me, I will apply this spiritually to people living today during the church age, although the Lord is speaking to the people of Israel. And some of my full dispensational friends will disagree with me. That is their choice. I am a semi-dispensationalist, and therefore, for me, I will retain my position that we can easily apply this chapter to those living today.
VERSE 51-58: "Jesus saith unto them - the disciples - Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord. Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old. And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence. And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house. And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief."
They wouldn't come to Him; they wouldn't humble themselves; they wouldn't believe that He was the Messiah just because He had been raised among them. Just because they knew His brothers, just because they knew His stepfather, just because they knew His mother didn't mean that He wasn't the Messiah. And therefore because they wouldn't come to Him, they wouldn't humble themselves to be healed by somebody that they had been raised with, that they had gone to the synagogue with, therefore they wouldn't come to be healed, and Christ was unable to heal them. Again, the blame is put on the recipient. It's their responsibility to come to be healed, but by their lack of faith, their refusal to bend the knee, their easily being offended, which we saw back in verse 21, they didn't get the spiritual healing which they needed, and they didn't get the physical healing which they also wanted.
VERSES 1-2: "At that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus, And said unto his servants, This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead; and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him."
Reincarnation is an awful doctrine; it's an awful subject to believe in because it teaches, in essence, that we all come back after death time after time after time, and you can't get off that awful conveyor belt, really. You go round and round and round. And yet if you look at the world today, if you read some of the publications that I've seen, if you go onto YouTube and look up some of the videos that have been posted by men and women in the East, you will see that many of these people are coming to Christ. They are forsaking these paganistic superstitious beliefs. They are turning from the false belief of reincarnation and embracing the resurrection. And here Herod as a pagan didn't know what the resurrection was about, but he held to the farcical belief of reincarnation.
VERSE 3: "For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife."
Incest and adultery.
VERSE 4: "For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her."
John is a Jew, and here he is rebuking (a) somebody in authority and (b) a non-Jew. We can use the Jewish law and apply it and aim it and present it to anybody that we need to. The law was given to the Jews. The entire Old Testament was presented to Israel; but nonetheless, that could still and has been and will continue to be our measuring stick, as it were, to know right from wrong. So like I've already said, I am a semi-dispensationalist. I don't take the route that most of the Bible is only for the people of Israel and only a section - i.e., the epistles - are directly for the church. I don't believe that. John, as I say, was a Jew, and here he is approaching a Gentile and rebuking this Gentile king in authority for committing incest and adultery with his sister-in-law. If John can do it - and he did - I don't see why we can't do the same also, providing we do it with humility and meekness.
VERSE 5: "And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet."
Once again, the common people, the man and woman on the street knew who the messengers of God were. They knew that Christ was sent from God, and they knew that John was sent from God. But tragically - and, once again, the "religious elite," right back to the second chapter, don't know the wheat from the tares, the true messengers from the fake messengers. They are lost in tradition; they are lost in organized religion, and they have this spiritual blindness. Nothing new under the sun.
VERSE 6: "But when Herod's birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod."
Lasciviousness with a capital "L," an erotic dance, an inappropriate dance, and that is all I will say on that. But obviously, he was a man of the flesh much like King Henry VIII, and here he is having his flesh fed, let me put it that way.
VERSES 7-8: "Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask. And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist's head in a charger."
First name, second name - no break. That's how we do things today. You get a person's christened name and their surname. Now, John's surname wasn't Baptist. That's what he did. He was a baptizer. But the way that the AV translates that from Greek into English is how we still do things today. Like I say, first name and second name, no break. Four hundred years ago this was translated, and it still has a right up-to-date current feeling even in the 21st century. God inspired the Book and He preserved the Book. And I had a conversation just two days ago with a Muslim girl who didn't believe that, and yet after 15 or 20 minutes of me witnessing to her, she had to agree with me through gritted teeth that God is all powerful, and if He wanted to, He could inspire and preserve His word. She had to accept that. And she also had a problem with God becoming a man, and I said, "So can God not do what we can do? If we can produce children, why can't He? If He wanted to become a bird, could He not? If He wanted to become a lion or a tiger, could He not? If He's all powerful - and we believe that He is" - and she nodded her head in agreement with me - "then He could become a man if He chose to." And by that stage she knew that I had her in a corner. But, anyway, that's another story for another day.
But here the daughter-in-law has approached her mother, and they have conspired to put John to death because he's rebuked Herod publicly from verse 4 for marrying his brother's sister. And that was something which the daughter didn't like, and it's something that the mother must have loathed, this public preaching in the street and this public shame being preached on every day, hence why these two are going to conspire to put this prophet to death, this man who was the most important person up until this part of God's timetable, the most important person that had ever lived. What an amazing statement to make.
Charger, guillotine, blade, beheading - We saw that from the previous chapter; and, of course, in the Tribulation the guillotine will be re-implemented to put to death anybody that opposes the Antichrist, which is what Herod was. Herod was an antichrist. As I've said also, there are two kings, there are two types of leaders in the Bible. There's the godly line, which feeds into the King of Kings, and there's the ungodly line, which feeds into the Antichrist, i.e., the devil himself. The Antichrist isn't Satan, per se, but the devil is behind the Antichrist. The devil will possess the Antichrist, and he will become a personification of Lucifer.
VERSES 9-12: "And the king was sorry: nevertheless for the oath's sake, and them which sat with him at meat, he commanded it to be given her. And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison. And his head was brought in a charger, and given to the damsel: and she brought it to her mother. And his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus."
John was Jesus' cousin, and, of course, Christ as God knew this was going to happen before it occurred. Nonetheless, as the Son of man, He is waiting for John's disciples to approach Him to tell Him. Same kind of picture, really, from the book of Genesis. When Adam falls, God knew that Adam would fall before he fell, and yet God waits for Adam to come to Him and confess what he had done. When Adam didn't come to God, God went to Adam. The Son of man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. Sheba went to Solomon. She traveled many miles to meet one of the most prestigious kings in Old Testament history, and yet here God comes to earth looking for man. God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself. Be ye reconciled unto Him, 2 Corinthians chapter 5.
VERSES 13-14: "When Jesus heard of it, he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities. And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick."
His cousin has just died, and yet He's healing sick people. To those of us that are evangelists, that are Bible believers, we are never off duty. We should take tracts with us when we go out. We should be prepared and willing to give a defense of the faith that lies within us. We should be ready in season and out of season to share the Gospel. But we are weak. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. That is the truth of the matter. Paul knew this only too well.
But here the Messiah has come to serve the people of Israel, not to be served – humility with a capital "H," love with a capital "L." We are to follow the Lord; we are to be like He was, but we can only do that when we yield to the Holy Spirit, and that isn't an easy thing to do. That falls under discipleship; that falls under daily sanctification, and that's why it is paramount that we don't love the things of the world, which I've already said. We can appreciate the things of the world, but we don't love the things of the world. If something becomes an idol to you, deal with it. If you are hooked on anything, if you have a problem that is re-occurring in your life, deal with it. If you need to, get rid of your television. If you need to, get rid of your laptop or your iPhone or your iPad. Whatever it is that you are battling against, if it keeps re-occurring on a regular basis, deal with it. And once you deal with it, you will increase your walk; you will become more victorious. People around you will see that you are maturing, and they will want to be like you. That doesn't give you a big ego. That shouldn't allow you to have a big ego. You shouldn't want people to look up to you in that manner. You should be humble, and you should say that I am able to do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I am able to do A, B, and C because He first loved me before I loved Him. And now that I am saved by grace through faith - a free gift - now that I am saved, I'm able to do all things because He has given me the ability to do all things. Therefore, I cannot boast in and of myself. All the glory goes back to Christ Jesus.
VERSE 15: "And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals."
This is very interesting because it shows me once again that the apostles are still babes in Christ; they are still growing. And even up until the 28th chapter where it says some still didn't quite believe, they hadn't grasped the enormity of the resurrection. Here they don't realize that a miracle is about to occur. And Matthew is honest, and he pens that in his Gospel. And that shows me once again that the Bible is divine in origin, not human, because no human writer would put these sorts of verses into his book and present it to a pretty hostile, a pretty pagan, a pretty carnal, depraved world if they were wanting to have people buy into their religion. But it's been put into this part of the New Testament because it's true. It shows that even the apostles still doubted, were carnal, were weak, were babes - and that gives us hope. If they stumbled, if they failed to grasp some of the simplicity, some of the basic areas of the Lord's ministry - and they did - then we shouldn't be too hard on ourselves when we also fall into the same problems.
VERSES 16-19: "But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes. He said, Bring them hither to me. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude."
The Gospel goes to the apostles; the apostles take it to the world. That's the spiritual food. Here, physical food. The apostles have the physical food, and they give it to the people. That is a picture of Bible believers being, with a small "m," mediators, as it were, or messengers between God and man. Once we get the Gospel out to people and they become born again like we are, they also have the same responsibility as we do to be mediators, with a small "m," between God and man. Christ is our Saviour; He is our older brother. We live because He lives. Without Him, we can do nothing. But nonetheless, we are evangelists; we are messengers. He commissioned the apostles, and vicariously He has commissioned us. We don't have the same gifts or the same callings that they had. They wrote the New Testament. We read the New Testament and we teach the New Testament to new Christians - same calling but different gifts, different responsibilities, different experiences.
But here the apostles are the mediators, the go-betweens. Most of the time, the Lord spoke to the people directly and bypassed them, but on this occasion, He's going to work through the apostles. He is the Bread which came down from Heaven. Moses gave the Jews literal bread, whereas Christ said in John 6 that He was the Bread and you are to eat of Him and drink His blood - not his literal body, not His literal blood. That would make you a cannibal, and if you did that, you would be put to death. But you were to receive Him; you were to feed on Him through His word and, of course, through His communion. If you break bread weekly, that is spiritual food, but that doesn't save you. You are saved by believing on Him, and then you feast on the word of God, the Bible. But here we are looking at physical food.
VERSES 20-21: "And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full. And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children."
Twenty thousand quite possibly witnessed this and were fed. Nobody else pre Christ or post Christ has ever done this. Thousands came to hear Him, to get spiritual food, and they went away with physical food as well. This is one of the main miracles in the word of God.
VERSES 22-25: "And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea."
Three hours the apostles have been on this boat tossed around, no doubt, by the devil. They were terrified. They were waiting for the Lord to arrive to once again rescue them. Man has to see his sin in order to be saved. But here, the Lord is wanting the apostles to see that He is God in the flesh. And this leads up to the Transfiguration as well. As we've seen from the 13th chapter, many prophets have wanted to see what you see and didn't see, and here they will see the Son of God walking on the water to deal with this storm.
VERSE 26: "And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear."
That's understandable. The waves could have been pretty high. It was windy. They were clinging on for dear life like Jonah, to some extent, and therefore they could see this figure coming to them; and in that particular moment, they thought it was a spirit of some kind. And, again, this is honesty. This is Matthew telling you what happened. He's not sugar-coating it. He's giving it to you like it actually was.
VERSES 27-28: "But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water."
Peter had great faith. Peter, I believe - and I know I've already said this - but I do believe that he was quite possibly the oldest of the apostles, hence why he is singled out many times. But he's also the weakest of the apostles, hence why he gets a lot of these special briefings. And here he will - for a short period of time, anyway - walk on the water. And there isn't a pope anywhere in the world that has ever walked on the water. They claim to be successors of Peter, and yet not one of them could walk on the water, has ever walked on the water, or will ever be able to walk on the water.
VERSE 29: "And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus."
That took faith; that took courage. He knew that the Lord was there to sustain him, and yet he climbed out of the ship to be with the Lord. That's trust; that is commitment; that's love. And sometimes we look at these Scriptures and we don't really understand its deeper meaning. But for me, as I say, Peter was the oldest, and yet many times was the weakest, and here the Lord is going to spend more time with His older or oldest apostle and yet His weakest apostle, and he will be rewarded for that.
VERSE 30: "But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me."
Completely normal. And, again, it shows us that even the greatest - and Peter was a great preacher. Peter preached at the day of Pentecost. The keys were given to Peter and vicariously all of the apostles. And yet even Peter who wrote two epistles, who pretty much dominates the first ten chapters of Acts of the Apostles, even Peter is going to have a panic attack; he's going to start to sink. And, again, that gives us hope; that gives us confidence that if the greatest can and did struggle, then when we do likewise, we know that there are people that went before us who also had the same battles, and yet they persevered, and God restored them and off they went. God is a God of mercy; God is a God of second chances.
VERSE 31: "And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?"
A very slight rebuke. And you could easily apply this spiritually to an unsaved sinner who cries out to the Lord to be saved, and immediately the Lord saves him from Hell. But here He saved Peter from drowning, and here Peter is about to drown, and the Lord stretches forth His hand and catches him - one hand, not two hands. And a quick footnote. John's Gospel chapter 10 tells us that the Father has us in His hand and the Son has us in His hand -double security. Amen and Amen.
VERSES 32-33: "And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God."
And He accepts that. He happily receives their worship. You call me Lord and Master, and so I am. My Lord and my God ‒ that's what Thomas said. Paul, Romans 9, said that He was the Eternal God blessed above everything. All of the apostles tell us that Christ was the one, true God, the second member of the Godhead, the Son of God, and they worshiped Him. Had He not been deity, this would have been sacrilege; this would have been blasphemy, and this would have given the Jewish leaders ammunition to put Him to death. That's why they killed Him. They killed Christ because they thought He was a blasphemer putting Himself on equality with God, elevating Himself to the same level as God, receiving worship which was only owed to God. And, of course, they put Him to death because they feared Him. They were thinking of themselves, their little kingdoms, their stipends, and they thought if more people came and believed on Christ, nobody would go to the Temple, nobody would come to us; we'd all be out of a job, and the whole system would collapse. That's not what He came for. He came to fulfill the law, not to destroy the law. But here the apostles are seeing, once again, His deity.
This is a lead up to the Transfiguration. The devil tries to sink the ship, tries to destroy the ship with the apostles on board because they are going to write the New Testament, and they are going to turn the world upside down. Ten BC, there isn't a saved Christian anywhere in the world; 10AD, there are around one million saved Christians in the world, hence why the devil wants to thwart it. But through the devil's attempt to sink the messengers of the Lord, God once again uses the devil but uses it for His own purpose. And God the Son here from 33 gets all the glory and worship.
VERSES 34-36: "And when they were gone over, they came into the land of Gennesaret. And when the men of that place had knowledge of him, they sent out into all that country round about, and brought unto him all that were diseased; And besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole."
A prophet is never recognized in his own town, in his own country. How true. Capernaum didn't receive the Messiah, didn't want to be healed, hence they will fall in the judgment. But here He's arrived in another town, in another city, and they come out. They come out to be healed. They have faith to bring their sick to be healed. And, once again, He is going to heal. He is going to take their sicknesses and put them onto Him, Isaiah 53, 54, and 55 - Scripture with Scripture and we get the entire picture of the Lord's ministry.
Verses 1-6: "Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition."
Here we find a major problem between the Lord and the so-called law-keepers. Pre the Lord's arrival on earth, the Jews had obviously been in and out of captivity, and during their time in Babylon, they had retained a lot of man-made traditions. And due to the fact that they were putting tradition above Scripture or they were using their tradition to interpret Scripture when it should have been the other way around, they were, in reality, nullifying Scripture. This is a problem that Bible believers have long had with Roman Catholics. Catholics are very much bound by tradition and Scripture being on par, and sometimes "tradition" supersedes Scripture. That is a big mistake. The Scripture must always be used to interpret tradition, church councils, encyclicals, so on and so forth. The Scripture also must be used to interpret what the early church fathers said, never the other way around.
So here the Lord is dealing precisely and directly with the problem of tradition elevating Scripture. And like I say, it was a big problem in the first century, and it's still a big problem in the 21st century. As I say, Bible believers like myself do a lot of apologetical work with Catholics and Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses and other groups trying to get them to see that Scripture is supreme, not tradition.
VERSES 7-8: "Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me."
We were told to not only be a hearer of the word but also a doer of the word. These people had a religious knowledge of the Lord. They are very much found in the second chapter when the wise men come to Herod and the scribes advise Herod quite rightly that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem; and yet when the wise men turn around and head off to Bethlehem, the scribes remain with Herod. They had a head knowledge, but their hearts were still desperately wicked and in need of the new birth. And here it's the same language. These people are giving the Lord lip service; they are religiously active; they want to be seen as righteous and respectable among their communities and their peers, but their hearts are far from God.
VERSE 9: "But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."
Very much like you find in the church of Rome where you find a lot of vain worship, vain repetition. The Hail Mary, for example, would be recited numerous times during a typical rosary. Even the Lord's Prayer would be cited two or three times during a typical trip to the confession booth, and the priest will say to the penitent Catholic, "You now need to say three Our Fathers and two Hail Marys." And they go away thinking that by reciting that vain repetition, they will be heard by God and forgiven. And, of course, that's not what the Lord wants you to do. He wants you to believe totally on His Son in order to be saved, and then you walk in the Spirit. And if you stumble and if you sin, you confess your sins to God, not to a man in a box but to God.
VERSES 10-16: "And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable. And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding?"
"Ye" plural. Although Peter is the main spokesman here, the Lord is mildly rebuking the apostles because they also needed to be expounded upon; they needed to be taught; they needed to have the Lord explain to them what He had just said when, in reality, they should have known what He was saying.
VERSES 17-20: "Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man."
Post the cross, all of the dietary laws were lifted, and those that wanted to could pretty much eat what they wanted to, providing it didn't cause a weak brother or sister to stumble. And here the Lord is saying that it's not what goes into you that defiles you but what comes out - thefts, adulteries, fornications. This isn't a comprehensive list. There's no pedophilia mentioned there, but that would also clearly be condemned; there's no homosexuality there, but that too would clearly be condemned; there's no lesbianism there, but that too would clearly be condemned when you read other Scriptures. But here He's dealing with the main problem that from a wicked heart proceeds evil thoughts, and that would feed into murders, adulteries, fornication, so on and so forth.
VERSES 21-22: "Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil."
This Scripture fascinates me. Here you find a woman pleading with the Lord, the Son of David, to come and heal her daughter which is being tormented by a devil. We don't know how old this girl was and why she was possessed. We also don't know - today in the 21st century, we have a huge problem of occult activity, a fascination with the supernatural, with the paranormal, and the main people that are buying into this and practicing this are young girls - Ouija boards, tarot cards, clairvoyance, mediums, so on and so forth. Young girls are very much attracted to the occult, hence why so many of these young girls are cutting themselves, harming themselves, and also committing suicide.
I believe it was last year and the year before that we had over a dozen suicides in a town in Wales called Bridge End, I believe it was, and the police didn't really understand what the link was. But it's my understanding that, for the most part, some of these boys and girls were involved with spiritualism, and once you get involved with spiritualism, if you're not born again, if you haven't been saved from it, it leaves a permanent scar on you. And I've heard some powerful and quite distressing testimonies of people that have come out of the occult, and although they are saved, some of them still retain the scars from their years in the occult. Such is true of those that have come out of the "sex industry." They are now saved; they are now born again, but they still struggle from time to time with the scars, with the flashbacks. And also the same is true of being involved with the cults. And, again, I know people that have come out of cults, and they're still struggling 10, 15, 20 years after leaving those groups behind, and some of these people are saved and on a lot of medication.
But here this mother is coming to the Lord pleading with Him to heal her daughter, and it's just possible that this woman ‒ her daughter perhaps as well - has been involved with spiritualism of some kind, hence why she needs her daughter to be set free from it.
VERSE 23: "But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us."
She was causing a scene, and the apostles didn't like that. But read on, because her persistence pays off.
VERSE 24: "But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
So many times have I said this, and I'll say it again, that He came first and foremost to Israel, to the chosen people. This woman was a half Jew and half Gentile. He's still going to deal with her. He's dealt with the centurion from John 5, and He's dealt with other Gentiles along the way. But His main remit was to come to His own people, and then He would send His apostles, and they would go to the ends of the earth.
VERSES 25-26: "Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs."
A very negative term to describe a non-Jew, a Gentile, to some extent. And Gentiles were and are still seen by the Jewish community to this day as unclean. The same is true of Muslims. Muslims consider dogs, literal pets, to be unclean, and if a dog runs towards a Muslim, they will move out of their way. They consider animals, especially dogs, to be unclean. But here the Lord as the Jewish Messiah going to the people of Israel is following the Mosaic Covenant; He's following the ceremonial and civil aspect of the law, and He is keeping a distance, as it were, between Him and the non-Jews.
VERSE 27: "And she said, Truth, Lord - That's humility. To be called a dog and say "Truth, Lord" is humility - yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table."
That's the sort of humility that you need. If you haven't been born again, if you are the sort of person that admires the philosophy of Christ - as somebody told me last week - but has yet to receive Christ, then you need to come back to the Bible. You need to read this Scripture and see this non-Jewish lady humbling herself, desperately wanting her daughter to be set free from an unclean spirit, which she may personally have introduced to her daughter. She may possibly have been responsible for her daughter's possessiveness of this devil. That's just my own view. But either way, her daughter is possessed by an unclean spirit, and her mother is seeking the Lord to set her free from this devil.
VERSE 28: “Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.”
Prayer works. Persistent prayer always works. There's an account in the Gospel of Luke when the Lord talks about two people that were praying in the Temple, and there was a self-righteous character and there was a humble character. And the humble character said, "Lord, be merciful to me a sinner." And I believe that person prayed that prayer many times, but on that one occasion that he prayed it, the Lord heard him and he was saved. It says he went home justified.
This woman's persistence, this woman's intercession for her daughter possessed by an unclean spirit has paid off, and she was healed from that very hour straightaway. The Lord didn't touch her. He just delivered her. That's the power directly from Heaven. Nobody anywhere on planet earth could do that, and I challenge anybody who believes that healing and exorcisms are still possible for today, anybody who believes in the deliverance ministry, I challenge any of those people to show me anybody anywhere in the world that could heal somebody possessed with a spirit just by saying, "You are forgiven," just by doing it.
We are told Pope Pius XII tried to exorcise Adolph Hitler, but it never happened. Hitler was possessed, I believe, all the days of his life. And yet the Pope of Rome when he wears his triple tiara is Lord of Heaven and Hell and also Purgatory. That's what they believe. That kind of got modified at Vatican II, the second Vatican council. But Pius believed that he had the authority to deliver Hitler from his spirit which was gripping him, which was controlling him, and he couldn't set Hitler free from the spirit. Hitler wasn't aware, by the way, that Pope Pius was trying to deliver him, and in 1945, Hitler kills himself, and soon afterwards, Pope Pius XII in Rome gives Adolph Hitler a Requiem Mass. Hitler was a Catholic; he lived as a Catholic. He flirted with spiritualism and the occult and other areas of that area. But nonetheless, he lived, died, and was given a Catholic burial. He never renounced the church of Rome. He strayed; he got into all sorts of problems, as I say, but in his mind, he was a Catholic unto death, hence why the church of Rome gave him a Requiem Mass. That's your problem again with tradition over the Scripture. But here this woman's persistence has paid off.
VERSES 29-31: "And Jesus departed from thence, and came nigh unto the sea of Galilee; and went up into a mountain, and sat down there. And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus' feet; and he healed them: Insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel."
That's the whole point of miracles - to give God the glory. Not all miracles would lead people to repentance and faith. In fact, in John chapter 11 when Lazarus was raised from the dead, soon afterwards the Jews had a council to kill Christ. But the miracles here were given for the glory of God; they were given to strengthen the apostles also, and they were also given to strengthen the faith of those that were already saved and for those that were going to be saved. But not all miracles resulted in people's salvation.
VERSE 32: "Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way."
That's the Great Shepherd coming for His sheep and shepherding them, looking after them.
VERSE 33: "And his disciples say unto him, Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude?"
Second time the disciples failed to grasp that the Lord is going to perform yet another miracle. And this shows the honesty of Matthew's authorship. He is content to present this to his community in 39 AD, and he was content for them to read this and think, "How could you still not have grasped the enormity of the Lord's Messiahship, His omniscience, His omnipresence, His omnipotence? How could you fail to grasp that?” Because they are flesh. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. Lord, increase our faith, increase our faith. Amen to that.
VERSES 34-39: "And Jesus saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven, and a few little fishes. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full. And they that did eat were four thousand men, beside women and children. And he sent away the multitude, and took ship, and came into the coasts of Magdala."
Time after time He doesn't want people to crown Him king. He doesn't want people to come and give Him this mass worship. That would come later. That comes every day post the new birth. But here, once again, He is providing for their needs. And there was food left over like we saw in the previous account, the previous mass miracle. Christ was the miracle maker. He did miracles like nobody ever did, and yet just a few chapters later, these same people, this same generation is going to say, "Crucify Him, crucify Him. Let His blood be on our children." How quickly things change. But the Gospel of John second chapter said that He knew what was in man and didn't need any man to testify of Him. He knows everything. As I say, He is omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent, the three characteristics of deity.
VERSES 1-4: "The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven. He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed."
The Pharisees should have known what was happening. They were the "spiritual beacons" among their people, and yet they failed to discern what was going on. They failed to recognize the Jewish Messiah. He calls them an adulterous generation, not in the sexual sense but in the spiritual sense because Israel was married to God, and therefore she should have known what was occurring. Her accountability, her judgment is going to be far greater than anybody else's. Jonah is mentioned here. Jonah was a Jewish Old Testament saint sent to a wicked Gentile people in Nineveh. He reluctantly approached them, and after being pushed by the Lord, after nearly drowning by his shipmates, he arrives and he calls on the people of Nineveh to repent, and they repented. So for the Lord to say to the Jewish leaders that the only sign they would get was from Jonas was a severe slap down.
Like I say, a Jewish prophet going to Gentiles, which were seen as unclean for the most part in the eyes of the Jewish community, was very much a snub from the Lord. But, really, they are wanting signs and miracles. They are carnal, and He says, "You won't get a sign; in fact, I am the sign." They've seen Him from the very beginning, and yet they still refused to bend the knee. Tongues, as I've said also, is a sign to unbelievers. It's also a judgment from the Lord. So here the Pharisees and the Sadducees, the Jewish priests, as we would see them today, have come together once again, but they haven't come to worship the Lord. They've come to trip Him up; they've come to catch Him out, as it were, and that perpetual hardness of their hearts is found throughout the entire New Testament. And at the end of verse 4 it says, "And He left them and departed."
When God leaves man, man is finished. The epistle to the Ephesians tells us in the fourth chapter that, first of all, man forsakes God, and then in Romans 1, God forsakes man; and when God forsakes man, man is finished. And here you find the Lord departing from the religious elite, which is also going to be echoed in Matthew 24. But the common people heard Him gladly. So the simplicity of Christ, which is mentioned in 2 Corinthians, is lost on just about all of the academics. And if you look at anybody in the world today who claims to be an academic, the chances are they are not believing in the simplicity of Christ; they don't believe in the Bible, and therefore they are trusting in their intellect, and they are hoping that their intellect won't fail them and when they die, they simply cease to exist - annihilation. That's what they are hoping for.
The Scripture tells us also that to be saved, you have to become like a little child. That's not easy, but it's also not impossible. But to become like a little child, first of all, you have to humble yourself, and you will only humble yourself once you have seen your sin; and you will only see your sin when you come to the word of God on your knees if, if necessary. George Mueller, the great British evangelist from the 19th century, read the Bible all the way through on his knees 100 times - throughout his life, of course. To read the Bible on your knees 100 times throughout your life is remarkable. His heart was right, and the Lord blessed that man more than probably anybody else from his generation because his heart was right. When your heart is right, the Lord will show you just about everything you can possibly imagine. But, again, you have to come to the Lord on His terms. You have to believe on His Son totally to save you, and then you feed on the word of God each day, I would say.
VERSES 5-7: "And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread."
They are thinking with their stomachs, not with their heads. Once again, the Lord is speaking in figurative language. This is found throughout the entire New Testament. And the apostles should have known that He was speaking in spiritual terms. In John 4 when He meets the woman at the well and He starts to speak to her about water, straightaway she thinks He is referring to literal water, H2O, when in reality He is speaking about spiritual water. Now, she wouldn't necessarily have known that because she wasn't in the Lord's inner circle. In John 3 when Nicodemus arrives to meet the Lord, He says to Nicodemus, "You are a leader in Israel and yet don't grasp the deeper things of God." And he should have grasped the deeper things of God. Back in the Gospel of Luke, Zechariah failed to grasp that his wife would give birth to John the Baptist. He was a priest, and through his unbelief, through his failure to grasp the promise from the angel, he is struck with dumbness. He should have known much more. In John 6 when the Lord speaks to the people about eating His flesh and drinking His blood, He doesn't correct their misunderstanding. When they say to Him, "This is a hard saying; who can perceive it," He doesn't correct them because two or three verses later it says, "and many walked with Him no more" (John 6:66.) He knew that they had already decided to turn their backs on Him; therefore, He leaves them in that willful ignorance.
He wasn't speaking of His literal flesh and His literal blood in John 6. He wasn't speaking about bottles of water in John 4. He wasn't speaking about going back into your mother's womb in John 3. But He leaves certain people with the wrong impression of what He is saying to them because He knows they aren't going to believe on Him, and therefore they are spared even further judgment at the Great White Throne, i.e., why the parables are used throughout the New Testament, throughout the Gospels, really, because He is speaking to one group of people, the apostles, and another group of people, those who are going to be saved among the multitudes. But the third group are the unbelieving Pharisees, Sadducees, the secret police, Herod's secret police, Pilate's secret police, and just people in general that have no intention of ever being saved, of ever believing on Him, and therefore the latter group is left in darkness. They get the parables; they hear but they don't understand; they see but they don't perceive, hence why the Lord has to explain to those with open hearts, with open minds what He is saying.
The same is true of tongues. Without an interpreter, nobody would understand what was being said in a typical first century church. The enlightened will hear the interpretation from the interpreter and receive it, whereas the non-enlightened, as it were, the unbelievers, would hear the tongue; they may be present for the interpreter, but even if they weren't present for the interpreter, they probably still wouldn't believe what the interpreter would tell them anyway, because in Acts chapter 2 when Peter gets up and the apostles get up and they start to speak in tongues - the apostles, that is - the traveling people from around the Roman Empire still don't really grasp what is occurring, and they say that the apostles are drunk. The things of God are foolishness to the unsaved, unregenerate person, hence why you need to be born again.
VERSE 8: "Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread?"
He rebukes the scribes, the Pharisees, the Sadducees from verse 3, and here He is rebuking His apostles. The Lord is no respecter of persons. He put Moses and Aaron to death due to their sins. They were still saved, but they died due to their sins. Because He is no respecter of persons, everybody gets treated the same way. Some people's sins go beforehand to the judgment; some follow later. But here He is rebuking His own, His chosen apostles, because He wants them to understand that He is speaking about spiritual things, and they should have known that. So the rebuke may not be as severe as what the Pharisees and the Sadducees experienced a couple of verses earlier, but nonetheless, it is still a rebuke.
VERSE 9: "Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?"
How could they have forgotten? But they did forget. And, once again, this shows me the honest attempt by Matthew to portray what he experienced and what he was also a part of - failing at times to grasp the enormity of the Lord's ministry, failing to discern literal from figurative language, and he will put into his Gospel what actually occurred. There's no conspiracy here; there's no contamination here; there's no collusion here. What you are reading from Matthew's Gospel is a true account of what occurred, and as I said so many times already, this underscores for me that the word of God is divine in origin even though it was written by 41 men living on three continents over 1600 years apart; nonetheless, all of these Jewish writers are all speaking the truth; they're telling you what actually occurred even when it condemns them.
VERSES 10-12: "Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees."
They're like children. And you have to become a child to inherit the Kingdom of God. You have to be childlike, as I say, to inherit the Kingdom of God. And once they humbled themselves, once they got at the feet of the Lord, He explained it to them, and they immediately grasped what was occurring.
VERSE 13: "When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?"
He asks all of the apostles, and there's a reason why I have highlighted the obvious there.
VERSE 14: "And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets."
That was the word on the street. This isn't what the apostles are saying of Him. The apostles don't believe that's who Christ is. They are simply relaying to Him what they have heard on their travels.
VERSE 15: "He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?"
Again, "ye." He's asking all of them, "But who do you all say that I am? Never mind the man and woman on the street. Who do you say what I am?"
VERSE 16: "And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Peter, again, is the oldest, and he speaks up. Yes, he was given a new name when the Lord called the apostles, but so too with James and John. Barnabas gets a new name also. Paul is given a new name, I believe, from the book of Acts quite possibly when he goes up to the third heaven and back. But that's just my own private theory. But here Peter speaks up - "You are the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the living God." To be called the Son of God meant you were equal to God. He got it right. This is the one occasion where Peter gets something right. Nearly every other time when we come across Peter in the Scripture, he is in trouble and he needs bailing out. But here he is completely right 100 percent.
VERSE 17: "And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven."
Peter understood who the Lord was, and I also believe that the apostles also understood who Christ was. It just so happens that Peter was the main spokesperson. Also, I will say that what you have just heard me read to you is only found in Matthew chapter 16. You find in Mark and Luke an abbreviated account of this important interaction, and the reason I say that is because the church of Rome makes the bogus claim that Peter was the first pope, and therefore we should all bow down to every other pope that came after him. Now, what I say to that is this, that if that were the case, if Peter was the first pope, if that exchange is as important as the church of Rome would have us believe, why don't we find the same account echoed in Mark and Luke and John? It's only found in Matthew's Gospel. Now, I'm not negating it; I'm not playing it down. The exchange occurred. It is what it is. Peter did speak on behalf of the apostles and was rewarded for that. But, once again, if it's as important as we would be asked to believe from the church of Rome, then you would expect the other three Gospel writers to have it in their Gospel accounts too, and they don't. It's only found in Matthew 16. But let's read on.
VERSE 18: "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
His church is built first and foremost on Himself. Then the apostles build on Christ. Then the prophets build on the apostles. That's your foundation.
VERSE 19: "And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
The Kingdom of Heaven is the same as the Kingdom of God, but like I've said repeatedly, there are two parts to it - a physical Kingdom and a spiritual Kingdom. Peter gets up in Acts chapter 2 with the keys, which is an Old Testament expression to mean authority. He gets up with the authority of Christ, with the anointing of Christ and preaches the Kingdom of Heaven, the Kingdom of God first and foremost to the Jews. That commission was given first and foremost to Peter, and then it was given to Paul. But Paul didn't get it through Peter. Now, this is a problem for the church of Rome because the church of Rome believes that the pope is chosen by the cardinals, and the cardinals are chosen by the pope. It's rather circular, but that's how it occurs. Now, the laity has no say whatsoever in who appoints the cardinals, who will then go on to vote for the pope. So the pope appoints the cardinals, and the cardinals vote for the pope.
Here the keys are given to Peter, and yet by Acts chapter 9, Paul arrives on the scene and starts preaching the Gospel, and yet his commission, his anointing, as it were, didn't come from Peter who has the keys here; it came from God. And after Acts chapter 10, Peter recedes away and Paul becomes the driving force of the New Testament church. Paul writes 13 - and if you wish to give him Hebrews - 14 epistles, whereas Peter writes only two epistles. Paul is very much the driving force of the early church, and yet here Jesus is giving the keys to Peter, meaning that this isn't as big a deal as the church of Rome would have us to believe. It's important - of course it is - and Peter has been rewarded for his public acknowledgement of who Christ is, and because of his public confession of faith in Christ, he is rewarded with the keys. But two chapters later, and we find that the keys are given to all of the apostles, not just Peter.
One other point. Whatsoever you bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven, and whatsoever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven, meaning, quite simply, if you believe the Gospel and are saved, I as a saved man have the right to say to you that you are now saved. If I give you the Gospel and you don't believe what I tell you, I have the right to say to you that you are still in your sins.
VERSE 20: "Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ."
He didn't come to be publicly proclaimed as king. Yes, it happened on Palm Sunday, but that wasn't His choice. That was always going to happen, and that happened through foreknowledge - again, written back in the Old Testament - that He would ride into Jerusalem on a donkey, and they would say, "Hosanna: Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord." And He was the King and He is the King, and He receives that acknowledgment. But here this message is just for the 12, just for the 12. So for here and now, keep it to yourselves. That's what He is driving home.
VERSE 21: "From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day."
He points the finger to the Jewish elite, the leaders, and He gives a secret briefing to the disciples of what is going to occur. Bit by bit He is building on the light, on the revelation that He has given them because he doesn't wish to overload them. That's why we need to grow in grace at our own speed, but above all, we need to walk before we can run. Look at 22.
VERSE 22: "Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee."
Peter meant well. Peter couldn't bear to think of the Messiah being crucified by the religious elite. Possibly by the hated, pagan Romans, he could understand that. But by the religious elite? By the Jewish leaders? By those that claim to have a line going back to Moses? That was too much for him. But nonetheless, he shouldn't have rebuked the Lord. He had no right to rebuke the Lord. Just four, five, six verses earlier, Peter is proclaiming Christ's Messiahship and is rewarded with the keys, and yet here he has the audacity to rebuke the Lord. This shows the carnality of Peter. But let's read on.
VERSE 23: "But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men."
Wow. What a quick fall from grace. One minute Peter is publicly proclaiming Jesus to be the Son of the living God - that in and of itself was remarkable - and yet here he has fallen hard from grace. Again, the carnality of Peter comes through, and on top of that, the Lord says, "Satan, get behind me." Satan was behind Peter's outburst. He wasn't in Peter, as some claim, but he was behind Peter. He was oppressing Peter like he would oppress Paul throughout his life, throughout his ministry.
VERSE 24: "Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me."
He now addresses everybody, not just Peter but all of the apostles, because here there's a problem with Peter. Peter is carnal; he's fleshly, and he hasn't put the old man to death. He hasn't crucified the old nature, and he needs to pick up his cross and follow Christ daily. He needs to deny himself. Now, I could say a lot about this, but due to a time restriction that I have now placed on myself, all I will say is this, that to be saved is simple. You need to believe on the Lord and trust in Him totally to save you. Then you need to deny yourself daily. You need to watch what you allow your eyes to see and what you allow your ears to hear. You need to walk with the Lord; you need to renew your mind daily. You need to be sold out to the Lord or, as somebody said, divorced from the world system. That won't happen overnight - I guarantee you of that - but if you walk closely with the Lord, if you seek Him in prayer day and night, if you pray without ceasing, you will get closer to the Lord, and the things of the world will become less and less relevant to you.
VERSE 25: "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it."
If you try to live a life without Christ hoping to gain everlasting life, you will lose your soul; you'll go to Hell. But if you lose your life for the Lord, if you become a martyr or if you die unto yourself and become a eunuch for the Lord - not a physical eunuch, although some have chosen to become physical eunuchs, but a spiritual eunuch - if you choose to sell out to the Lord, then you will find everlasting life. It's a paradox, and yet it's quite clear to me that to come after Christ, to be saved, means to deny yourself, pick up your cross and, if necessary, lose your life.
These things are evidence of the new birth - the willingness to do those things. And I know for a fact that the moment a man or a woman is truly born again, they would do anything that Christ wanted them to do. They are on Cloud 9 the moment they are born again. They know they have passed from death unto life. They know that they belong to the Lord, and they love Him, they truly love Him. They love Him more than anybody else in the world, hence why it says, "If you love your family more than you love me, you are not worthy of me." And I've already said that there are different types of love in the Bible. But to be a disciple, to continue on in His word, you need to be prepared to deny yourself, to pick up your cross and, if necessary, lose your life in order to find it.
VERSE 26: "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"
There was an expression some years ago that went something like this: A wealthy man died and he was buried, and somebody said, "How much did he leave?" And the response was, "He left everything." Another expression went something like this: Everybody wants to go to Heaven but nobody wants to die. How true.
VERSE 27: "For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works."
That's the Second Coming, Matthew 24, not the Rapture, 1 Thessalonians 4.
VERSE 28: "Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom."
That feeds into the Transfiguration. To see God and survive was almost unheard of. When the Lord appeared to Moses - and I believe that was Jesus, a Christophany, in Exodus - Moses sees the back of the Lord. To see the Lord and live was impossible. God is a force totally unexplainable, really, in words to describe; and therefore man has seen glimpses of God, and man sees God during certain periods of time but normally for a very brief moment of time. Like I say, to stand, to witness, to experience God in all His glory and survive would be impossible.
But here the apostles are going to see Christ coming in His Kingdom and not die. For me, this has a twofold application: (a) it's going to refer to the Transfiguration, which comes in the 17th chapter, and (b) it's going to refer to Matthew 24 when Christ comes back at the end of the Tribulation and He comes for the Tribulation saints, those that were saved during their time on the earth during the seven years. And they see Him coming, and they don't taste of death; they don't die. But for here and now, I'm going to apply this directly at the apostles being chosen to see the Lord coming at the Transfiguration.
VERSES 1-2: "And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light."
Peter is found in verse 1, along with James and John. As I've said repeatedly, I believe that Peter and especially John were the weakest of the apostles. Peter goes to decapitate the man who was going to take the Lord but misses the neck and ends up cutting off his ear, and then Christ heals the ear. And yet the man doesn't believe on Him. An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign, once again, showing you that miracles don't always bring forth fruits worthy of repentance. But here Peter, John, and James are privileged to see the Lord come down to be transfigured before them. Sixteen twenty-eight told us that some would be standing here, i.e., with the Lord, which wouldn't taste of death till they saw the Son of man coming in His Kingdom. And as I've already said, there's two ways of looking at that. The first way to look at that would be the apostles seeing Him, which I'm looking at now, and also the second way to look at that would be Matthew 24 when He comes back to the earth with the church to scoop up the Tribulation saints and take them up to Jerusalem.
VERSES 3-4: "And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias."
This again shows, on the one hand, Peter wanting to do what was right, and yet on the other hand totally failing to understand that Christ is in a league of His own. To build three tabernacles to some extent meant that He was on a similar par to Moses and Elijah, hence why the Lord, once again, has to take him aside and give him some extra schooling.
VERSES 5-6: "While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid."
Luke's account says that the cloud came over them and they entered into the cloud. They were terrified. That is completely to be expected. And also from 5, "This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him," found very much from the third chapter when John publicly proclaims to the people that Christ the Messiah has arrived. Here God the Father is speaking from Heaven, and those that are present - Peter, James, and John - are going to witness it. And only they would witness it. When Paul goes on the road to Damascus, he's knocked off his horse and God speaks to Paul from Heaven. Paul hears what the Lord is saying and understands, whereas those standing with Paul hear a voice of some kind coming from Heaven but can't quite make out what is being said. Paul was given a special revelation in Acts 9. Here Peter, James, and John are also given a special revelation for their ears only.
VERSES 7-8: "And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only."
There is one God and one mediator between men and God, the man Christ Jesus. Neither is their salvation in any other name. I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If you are saved, your main focus should be on the Son of God, not the Holy Spirit, not even God the Father but on the Son of God. He died for your sins. You trust in Him to save you. All the glory goes to Him.
I spoke to a Communist on the street just a couple of days ago who had just returned from Cuba, and he said to me, "Why did God make the earth?" And I said to him, "Well, according to Revelation 4, He made it for His Son, that those of us that would believe on His Son would be given to Him as a gift." It's all for Him; it's all about Him. It's not about us. When we focus on Him, when we look to Him, when we pray in His name to the Father, the Holy Spirit is pleased; He isn't grieved; He isn't quenched. We approach the triune God with equality, of course, but we pray to the Father in the name of the Son. Just a quick point I wanted to cover.
VERSE 9: "And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead."
They wouldn't have believed them anyway, much like from 16. Don't tell anybody that I am the Messiah yet. My Kingdom isn't yet of this world. Wait till the ascension, and then preach what you have seen here today - bit by bit; otherwise you overload people. And also due to the hostility, due to all the problems that the Lord was experiencing with Jewry, this could have been what was spoken about in Matthew 7 where you find people casting their pearls before swine. They wouldn't have received this glorious vision - not at this point in the Lord's ministry, anyway.
VERSES 10-12: "And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them."
I believe that Elijah will be one of the two witnesses found in Revelation; and, of course, by 13, we are told that He is thinking and referring to John the Baptist.
VERSE 13: "Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist."
John came in the spirit of Elijah. He wasn't Elijah; he wasn't a reincarnation of Elijah. John understood that his ministry mirrored that of Elijah and very much down to the letter, but he wasn't Elijah. He simply came in the spirit and had the same appearance also as Elijah.
VERSES 14-17: "And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying, Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him. Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me."
The apostles should have been able to cast out this unclean spirit. We found from chapter 10's account that they had a pretty successful outreach and healing ministry. But here they couldn't cure this man's son, so he did the right thing. He went to the top man. He took it upstairs. If you ever get into a situation where you are unable to go any further, you can't make heads or tails of Scripture or your own life if you're struggling, if you are just sinking, really, if you are failing to stay afloat, take it upstairs. Just get on your knees and say, "Jesus, I can't continue on. I need you to come beside me and restore me. You said in chapter 11 that if I was heavy laden, I could come to you; and I'm heavy laden, and I need to come to you now." And the word of God says that He wouldn't cast out those that came to Him. But here this man is desperate and he is going to the Son of God to have his son healed.
VERSE 18: "And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour."
Interesting it is speaking here of the devil, not a devil, and all I can ascertain from that when I look at verse 14 was that this certain man could have been a leader, could have been a ruler, could have been somebody in authority, hence why the devil himself is possessing this child.
VERSE 19: "Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?"
That's a good question, and yet the back end of 18 says he was cured from that very hour - straightaway, no delay. And I know I've said this over the years, and I'll just say it again very briefly that I went to a sanctuary when I first became a Bible believer, and this sanctuary was run by two women that believed that the apostolic sign gifts were still for today. And they had people staying there for two, three, four, five months paying weekly, I should say, to stay there. And these people weren't healed from that very hour. These people weren't healed straightaway. They stayed for week after week, month after month. But my Bible tells me that those that came to the Lord and to the apostles were healed straightaway.
But the focus now goes back to the apostles from 19. Why couldn't we cast him out is a good question. Look at 20.
VERSES 20-21: "And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting."
The preparation wasn't sufficient, and they lacked the faith in the Holy Spirit to deliver this child from the devil. As I've said time after time, it's imperative that we get the dispensations down in the right place. This is a Jewish Gospel written by a Jew to the Jews. The Jews are living under the law. The Messiah has come to earth. The devil's activity has quadrupled even beyond that to levels previously never seen. People are possessed left, right, and center. He dies; He goes back to glory. The first dozen or so chapters of Acts of the Apostles covering a period of about ten to fifteen years roughly still shows us that people were being delivered of unclean spirits. The middle to the latter end of Acts of the Apostles we don't read so much about people being exorcized of unclean spirits.
By the time we get to the epistles written 50, 55, 60AD roughly, there's no mention about what to do if somebody is possessed with an unclean spirit. The Lord has come; He's been victorious, and He's gone back to glory. That doesn't mean that people aren't still possessed today - they are, of course - but due to the epistles not giving us any clear indication as how best to deliver somebody who may be possessed, we take that to be that we will simply approach this from verse 21: This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting. You can pray and fast for somebody who may be possessed, who may be oppressed, and then you try to witness to that person; you try to get that person to confess Christ as Lord. But here again, this is, I would say, aimed primarily at the people of Israel under the law pre the crucifixion.
VERSES 22-23: "And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men: And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry."
Of course. Of course they were. They had lived with the Lord; they had become very close to Him; they didn't want to think of Him being publicly humiliated, dragged through the streets like a common criminal and nailed to a pagan Roman cross naked. They couldn't fathom that. It was absolutely abhorrent to them. Paul said that a crucified Messiah was foolishness to them. It was something they just couldn't handle. But, once again, the Lord has to keep reminding the apostles that He is coming to the end of His time on earth. They have to be prepared for His soon crucifixion.
VERSES 24-27: "And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee."
This is a neglected miracle. Peter was a fisherman all of his life. He was going to become a fisher of men. But here he was told to go out, cast his net, and the first fish that came up would have money -Take the money and give to those that were collecting taxes. All powers that be are ordained of God, and the saved man or woman should submit to the authority. But if the authority says that they should do something which is contrary to Scripture, then you go with the Scripture and you discard what the powers that be say. But by and large, you are to live a peaceful and quiet life. And here, this account has Peter being humble enough to go out to sea, look for a fish out of millions of fish or thousands of fish, perhaps, and that fish that came up would have money.
You need to have faith as a child to be saved and to understand the things of God.
Here Peter as a professional fisherman, as a lower middle-class businessman had just that. He had the faith, he had the humility to go out and do what the Lord asked him to do.
VERSE 1: "At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"
Carnality, once again. They are jockeying for positions. They are thinking in terms of wealth, in terms of prestige, in terms of privilege. And yet in reality, they should have been humbling themselves; they should have been thinking more on the lines of service rather than to be served. Look at verse 2.
VERSES 2-3: "And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven."
Once again, the Lord is no respecter of persons, and here His disciples are being rebuked. This child, this boy from verse 2 I believe is one of Peter's children. From chapter 17, verse 25 we find the Lord preventing Peter from entering the house. That house, I believe, was Peter's home, and I believe this child here from verse 2 is one of Peter's children. This underlines my hypothesis, once again, that Peter wasn't only the oldest apostle - hence why he gets a lot of special briefings - but that he was also one of the weakest apostles, hence why the Lord spends special time with him. And here He's using Peter's own child to demonstrate true humility, because I believe from verse 1 that Peter was one of those disciples jockeying for positions, wanting to know who will be the greatest, and the Lord takes one of Peter's children right from under his feet and says, "This is what it takes to become great in the Kingdom of Heaven, i.e., your own child" - a very loving and a very clever rebuke from the Lord Himself.
VERSES 4-5: "Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me."
Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord - Old Testament Scripture fulfilled on Palm Sunday with Jesus Christ. When we go out on the streets, we are ambassadors for Christ, but in the eyes of the Lord, we are His children, we are childlike.
VERSE 6: "But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea."
To cause a Bible believer to stumble is the equivalent to being thrown into the sea. The Lord is angry with the wicked every day. He hates all workers of iniquity. He will judge those that cause His people to stumble, and if His people are put to death, vengeance will fall on those people when it suits the Lord. Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord. But at the same time, we are told to love our enemies; we are told to do good to everyone. The Lord is not willing that any should perish. We live the best lives that we can. We are living epistles which the world can see. They can see us as walking, talking, living reflections of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. We try to reflect His love. We try to demonstrate what He laid out in Scripture through our daily lives, and the world sees that. And they shouldn't be able to criticize us because we walk with Him. We don't become hypocrites; we don't say one thing and do another. We try to practice what we preach. We aren't sinless - we still fail - but at the same time, if we don't walk with Him, we are called hypocrites; and when we do walk with Him, when we live the life that we claim to believe, we are called fanatics. So we can't win either way. Therefore, we do the best we can and let the chips fall where they will.
VERSE 7: "Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!"
Even through foreknowledge, even through middle knowledge, even though Judas Iscariot, for example, was spoken about from the Old Testament, he will still give an account of his actions at the Great White Throne. He had free will, and by his free will he chose to do what he would do. He can't escape that. Offenses will come, but you will be marked out if you cause offenses. There will be no escape for you at the Great White Throne, especially if you cause a child of God to stumble. Even if you did it through ignorance, even if you did it through fun, even if it was done as a joke, you will still give an account of yourself at the Great White Throne.
VERSES 8-9: "Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire."
Scripture with Scripture. Romans chapter 12 told us to renew our minds each day, to mortify the flesh. Literalism deals with this whole subject of mutilating yourself, and mutilation doesn't deal with the problem of lust. It's not only a male problem; it's also a female problem, hence why you need to be born again and you need to put the old man to death. That comes through sanctification; that comes through your daily walk. But literalism, as I say, makes it crystal clear that we don't take every verse of the Bible to be literal because, if we did, we would be cutting our hands off and plucking our eyes out, and that doesn't negate the problem of lust. That comes from within. So to deal with that, you need to feed your mind daily with the word of God. You need to yield yourself totally to the Holy Spirit.
But also keep in mind that 8 and 9 are words from the Jewish Messiah to the Jewish people living under the law. He came to elevate, He came to sharpen, He came to fulfill the law. But He also wants these people, not only His apostles but vicariously those that are going to read this piece of Scripture, to see their sin, to see their need to be saved. And that's why Isaiah told us that the Messiah would sharpen the law. The law is our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. Without Him, we can do nothing. Without Him, we are on death row, but through Him, we can do all things. We can pass from death unto life.
So leave 8 and 9. You can still apply this to an unsaved party and say this is what will happen if you don't deal with sin, but don't think by applying 8 and 9 in a literal sense that will save you because it won't. You need to be born again.
VERSE 10: "Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven."
"Ye" plural - All of you listen to me. I'm saying to you, don't despise one of these little ones because they have angels which are always looking at the face of the Father. This is very much a Jewish belief. The Jews have always believed that they have guardian angels, and Revelation speaks about angels being assigned to the churches. The book of Hebrews tells us that if we entertain strangers, sometimes a stranger could be an angel. Acts of the Apostles when Peter escapes from prison and comes knocking at the door, they think that it is his angel. Angels have always been around, and this is one of the most interesting passages when it comes to the belief that the people of God have angels which are assigned to them.
VERSE 11: "For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost."
He came to save sinners, not the righteous. He came for the lowest of the low. He came for the humble. He came for those that are like children. But you have to align yourself with the lowest of the low. You have to see yourself as a filthy, hell-bound deserving sinner, and until you do that, He isn't going to be of any help to you. He will stand as your judge until you bend the knee, and the anger of God will rest upon you until you repent.
VERSES 12-13: "How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray."
It's the Shepherd's job to look out for the sheep. If you are one of the Lord's and you stray, He will come for you and bring you back into the fold. This is also a good piece of Scripture to affirm eternal security.
VERSE 14: "Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish."
He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9.) If this is the will of God - that you don't perish - then you won't perish. When you get saved, you are baptized into the body of Christ. You are sealed and you are preserved. Your salvation depends on Him, not on you.
VERSES 15-17: "Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican."
The worst-case scenario when it comes to the failure to get a brother or sister to repent is to go to the church and the church put that person out. They still love that person, but they can't fellowship with that person until that person repents, and then they are restored back into the church family.
But 15 starts with Party A and Party B, and if Party A sins against Party B, Party B should go to Party A and hope to call Party A to repent. If that fails, then the church gets involved. And I saw this myself some years ago. I remember a woman in a church that I used to go to – for a very short time, anyway - and during a Sunday service, the pastor said such and such is living with a man, and according to Matthew 18, I have to inform the church of that, and according to Matthew 18, we are to put her out of the church in hope that she repents and comes back into the church. That's a pretty rare thing to occur, but that's what you need to do. If you know somebody who is saved who is living in sin – or any sin, for that matter – and you have confronted that party and they refuse to repent, then you are to cut fellowship with that person, even if you love that person, even if that person is a member of your own family. If that is a saved man or a saved woman, if that is a professing Christian and yet they are living in sin or there is sin in their life, you are to separate from that person until they repent. That is mandatory.
VERSE 18: "Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
This is the same language found in Matthew 16 and also John chapter 20. In Matthew 16 the keys were given to Peter and then vicariously all of the apostles. What they bind on earth is bound in Heaven, and what they would loose on earth is loosed in Heaven. In other words, Heaven reflects what has occurred on the earth. But here this is dealing with (a) discipleship and (b) fellowship, meeting together, whereas in Matthew 16 that was speaking primarily about the keys opening up the Kingdom of Heaven allowing people to come in and be saved.
VERSE 19: "Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven."
Providing it's the will of God to affirm this, providing the two people are walking in the Spirit and are approaching this in the right manner. If you go back to just a couple of chapters, the apostles couldn't cast out an unclean spirit due to their standing with the Lord not being right. There was a problem with those apostles, hence why they couldn't heal or cast out the unclean spirit but the Lord had to do it Himself. But here you have to be sure that you are not guilty of the same sin which you are addressing somebody else of doing, much like you find in Matthew chapter 7 - Get the beam out of your own eye and then you can judge your brother.
So put all these verses together and you get the clearest picture as how best to apply these verses in the right manner. But, again, also keep in mind that this is still the Jewish Messiah talking to the Jews living under the law. There's no grace through faith in Christ alone yet, but we can still take this and have spiritual application from it. We can apply this spiritually, if we need to, to those of us living today in the church era.
VERSE 20: "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."
This goes back to 15, 16, 17, 18, and 19 dealing with discipline, dealing with gathering together and looking at sin, as it were, but I also believe in 20 it can have reference to people meeting in the name of Christ to break bread. Where just two or three gather together, He is there in the midst of them. That shows He is omnipresent, which clearly underscores His deity. Only God can be everywhere at the same time.
VERSE 21: "Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?"
Verse 1 said the disciples plural were asking who would be the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. A verse or two later, a child is plucked out of the crowd and used as an analogy. Twenty-one, Peter is now speaking up. I believe that the Lord has had Peter in mind all along, and now he's taking the initiative - How often should my brother sin against me before I forgive him?
VERSE 22: "Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven."
In other words, an indefinite level of forgiveness should always come from you, but the guilty party has to ask for your forgiveness. You aren't bound to forgive a guilty party until the guilty party asks you to forgive them, and yet saying that, let me say this. If you are holding a grudge against somebody and that grudge is causing you to become bitter, that will have an effect on your health, and that will also take some of the peace from you, and that could even hurt your testimony. Therefore, it is relevant 100 percent, it is imperative that you deal with that grudge, that bitterness straightaway.
But here, this goes back to 15, 16, and 17 dealing with a person who has sinned and yet won't repent. You should repent if you are in the wrong, and you should forgive somebody if they are in the wrong, but at the same time, that guilty party should be put out until they repent; otherwise, you have leaven leavening the whole lump. You have immorality feeding into the church like you find in 1 Corinthians, and that becomes like wildfire. Deal with it before the roots start to go too deep. Deal with it before it starts to cause a rot, and you won't have to go down this road. But the overall theme here is to be ready always to forgive your brother and not to become hardened.
VERSES 23-30: "Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt."
In brief, here's a picture of somebody who wasn't really sorry to begin with. He cried out to the Lord with crocodile tears, and the Lord, being a good Lord, forgave him the debt. He should then have been able to forgive people that owed him a debt, but quite the contrary, he goes out even more angry and more fierce than before and starts to demand payment up front. Look at 31.
VERSES 31-35: "So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses."
If you don't forgive your brother or sister in the Lord their trespasses, you lose your fellowship with the Lord, 1 John chapter 1. You need to be restored unto fellowship with the Lord, to get back into fellowship with Him, but you won't get back into fellowship with Him until you have forgiven your brother or sister in the Lord. He won't necessarily physically talk to you, but He will send, if He chooses to, enemies of the church. They will buffet you. He will send even illnesses upon you if necessary. But He wants you to forgive your brother straightaway if the brother has sought your forgiveness.
Don't hold grudges, because if you are the sort of person that holds a grudge, the chances are it is hurting you far more than the person who you are angry with. And I've heard of accounts and I've read accounts and I've seen accounts of people that have been hurt, they've been scarred by events 25, 35, 40 years ago, and they come and they eventually confront the party that has wronged them; and the party has turned around and, for the most part, been oblivious to what has occurred 25, 30, 35, 40 years ago, and that grieving, scarred party has lived with that all those years. What a terrible thing to have to deal with. But here God the Father expects you to be willing to forgive your brother at a moment's notice and not to ever hold any grudges.
VERSES 1-3: "And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these sayings, he departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judaea beyond Jordan; And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there. The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?"
That’s in reference to divorce, of course.
VERSES 4-5: "And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?"
"Have you not read" from verse 4. Once again, the Lord is (a) rebuking the unbelieving Pharisees and (b) pointing back to the Tanakh, the Old Testament. God has put His word above His name. That's how high the word of God is in the mind of the Lord. That's the preeminence that He places on Scripture. Also, Jesus points back from verse 5 to Genesis and says He made them male and female - creation, no evolution. Jesus Christ was a creationist. And, again, He upholds the Old Testament as being the word of God which could not be broken.
VERSE 6: "Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder."
They aren't two people but one person because man meets woman; they get married, and in the eyes of the Lord, two flesh become one person. It's a picture of the Trinity in some ways. Although the Trinity is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - three Persons - at the same time, they are also one God, one God in three Persons. A similar reflection here. Man and woman are two individual people, but once they leave mother and father, they become one flesh.
VERSE 7: "They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?"
From the 24th chapter of Deuteronomy. And the Lord doesn't say Moses didn't write Deuteronomy. He continues to interact with them because the Lord, once again, upholds the Old Testament. He upholds Moses being the author of the Pentateuch. One more time: “Why did Moses command to give a writing of divorcement?” They are wanting to justify the mass divorce, the mass immorality that was occurring during the first century with the hope, from verse 3, of tripping Him up.
VERSE 8: "He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so."
Again, He's upholding Moses as the author of the first five books of the Bible found in the 24th chapter of Deuteronomy.
VERSE 9: "And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery."
"I say unto you. It was heard of them of old, but I say unto you." Once again, He is the Lord of the universe. He's put His word above His name. He is elevating Himself to be the interpreter of the Scripture - Lord of the Sabbath, Lord of the Temple, greater than Solomon, greater than Jonas, greater than this, greater than that. "I say unto you" - once again, He is claiming deity. He is the interpreter of Scripture. One more time from 9: "And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife" - divorce his wife - "except it be for fornication" - immorality - "and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery."
The only grounds for divorce in the Bible would be immorality, which is fornication, which is pornea in Greek, which is where we get the word pornography from. That is the main license for divorce in the word of God, also death from Romans 7 and desertion from 1 Corinthians 7.
I've always believed that divorce between two parties should be a last resort. Reconciliation, forgiveness was found in the previous chapter and should always be sought. But if the perpetrator, if the guilty party doesn't want to apologize, if the guilty party wishes to continue on living a lifestyle which is an affront to God, if that party wishes to continue to break their vows, I've always believed that divorce is permitted. And Matthew's Gospel tells us that fornication is grounds for divorce, whereas Mark and Luke don't give you that extra bit of Scripture. So we need the entire New Testament to get a complete, clear picture of how the Lord sees divorce and remarriage.
I also believe that the innocent party in a divorce has the right to remarry. I've always believed that. I don't think it's fair to punish the innocent party in a marriage, especially if the innocent party has children. I don't see why that innocent party should be forced to remain a perpetual divorcee with children when the guilty party has gone off and quite possibly remarried, which would make it impossible for the innocent party to be reconciled to her husband or his wife, depending on who the guilty party was, if they even wanted to because you couldn't go back to your original partner once you'd remarried. That was anathema. But here fornication is grounds for divorce.
VERSES 10-12: "His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it."
In reverse order, some people have chosen to live a life of celibacy. They have chosen to be single all of the days of their life so they can serve God. Whether it's male or female is irrelevant. That was their choice to do so. Others have been made eunuchs. Others have been castrated, and some were born without the ability to reproduce or to have natural sexual relations with the opposite sex. But here the main theme is that whatever position, whatever way you have chosen to live, however you were born, the Lord will bless you.
VERSE 13: "Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them."
These children have come to be blessed. Nothing unusual in and of that, and yet the disciples, once again, make the error of trying to decide for the Lord what is the right thing for Him to see and do and experience. They weren't happy that He spoke to the woman at the well in John 4, and He had to put them straight; and here He will deal with their clumsy intervention, which again for me highlights the human flaw of man. These are saved people, I believe for the most part, excluding Judas Iscariot, and yet they are making blunders time after time, and yet Matthew is telling us that because he wants to give you an honest portrayal of what occurred when the Lord walked on the earth and how mortal man responded to living and witnessing the Lord of the universe among them.
VERSE 14: "But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven."
Don't refuse the children to come unto me because the children are going to make up the Kingdom of Heaven. Now, you can look at this in different ways, and I've already said from the previous chapter that to enter into Heaven you have to become like a child; and at the same time, I also believe this has a reference to literal children that have died, whether it's through illness or abortion or being killed - whatever. Heaven, I believe, is going to be full of children.
VERSES 15-16: "And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence. And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?"
This is an amazing question to ask, and the answer has caused pretty much everybody a lot of confusion. And this is why I am a semi-dispensationalist, and I will explain as I go on.
VERSE 17: "And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments."
Every group in the world today that denies faith through Christ alone goes to this Scripture, and they would have you believe that you have to keep the commandments in order to receive everlasting life, even though all of the epistles say that by keeping the law, no flesh shall be justified, for by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. But here Jesus is saying you have to keep the commandments to enter into everlasting life. Let's read on.
VERSES 18-19: "He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."
That's quite a tall order. To hate somebody is the same as committing murder. To lust after somebody is the same as committing adultery. To steal could be a physical theft; it could also be a spiritual theft. You could be stealing in your mind somebody's wife through coveting. You shouldn't bear false witness; you shouldn't lie. How can you honor your mother and your father when you've broken the first commandment not to murder, the second commandment not to commit adultery, the third commandment not to steal, and the fourth commandment not to lie? And you certainly couldn't be loving your neighbor as yourself - the latter part of 19 - when you've already breached the previous commandments. But look at 20.
VERSE 20: "The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?"
This is a self-righteous man. Anybody with any sense of honesty would have said to Jesus at this stage, "I've broken these commandments; I know I've broken these commandments." But he's self-righteous and Jesus knows that. Look at 21.
VERSE 21: "Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me."
He knows this is a wealthy man, and He's going to go straight to the heart of the matter, which is his love of money.
VERSE 22: "But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions."
The cross reference here says that Jesus beheld him, Jesus loved him. What you are finding here is the Lord using the law to show this man his sin. You can't keep the law in order to be saved. Go back to verse 16. Nobody's good but God. God is perfect. Even if He was to give to the poor and come follow Christ from 21, that still wouldn't save him because all his past sins haven't been dealt with. His future sins wouldn't have been dealt with.
So you can't go to this piece of Scripture and argue that by keeping these commandments you will go to Heaven. Impossible. What the Lord is doing here is using the law to convict the man of his sin, to bring him to his knees so he would convert, become as a little child and cry out to Him. "I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (Jn. 14:6), "Neither is their salvation in any other name," "for there is one God and one mediator between God and men."
So get your dispensations down in the right place and you won't be deceived into thinking that it is possible for somebody born with original sin to keep the law in order to be saved. You cannot get that from this piece of Scripture. But here the Lord as the interpreter of Scripture, as the giver of Scripture, as part of the Godhead who wrote the Scripture is using the Old Testament law to convict this man. And he went away very sorrowful for he had great possessions.
VERSE 23: "Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven."
The love of money is the root of all evil. Money in and of itself isn't sinful, but to love money is sinful. This man loved money, hence why he isn't going to enter the Kingdom of Heaven because he's put his money before his God.
VERSES 24-26: "And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible."
In other words, you can't be saved by your own means. But with God all things are possible, and God has granted repentance to the Jews and to the Gentiles. Second Corinthians 5, He has reconciled the world unto Himself. Be ye reconciled unto Him. John chapter 12, if the Son of man be lifted up from the earth, He will draw all men unto Himself. God has reconciled the world unto Himself. He's made it totally possible for those that wish to be saved to be saved. But with men, this is impossible.
VERSE 27: "Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?"
Once again, it's Peter. Peter's being carnal. He's thinking of himself. He's totally failed to grasp what the Lord is saying here. And I will add a quick food note that nobody has forsaken everything in order to be saved. The Lordship salvation crew have done a huge disservice to this whole false notion that, in order to be saved, you have to forsake everything. Nobody has done that. You came to Christ as a sinner, and He saved you as a sinner. Even in your best state, man is still vain. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. All have sinned and all continue to fall short of the glory of God. If we say we haven't sinned, we make Him a liar. But He is able to save them that come to Him to the uttermost. So I don't believe that anybody has truly forsaken everything in order to come to the Lord. People say that because it makes them feel more important, more "special." But, once again, my feeling returns to Peter being a carnal disciple, the babe in Christ, and misunderstanding, really, what he needn't have misunderstood.
VERSE 28: "And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."
Ultimately, that's what they would be rewarded with on top of everlasting life, on top of writing the New Testament, on top of doing miracles like nobody had ever done miracles post Jesus Christ. That's their ultimate reward. But look at 29.
VERSE 29: "And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life."
If you are somebody who has had to leave your physical family, you will receive a spiritual family. And that happens everyday of the week. Somebody will get saved in Pakistan or Iran or Indonesia, and their literal family will shun them, but they then receive a spiritual family in Indonesia, in Iran, or Pakistan, and they shall inherit everlasting life. How true that is too.
VERSE 30: "But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first."
That goes back to, again, humbling yourself, becoming as a child and receiving the Kingdom of God as only a child could do ‒ with simple childlike faith.
VERSES 1-16: "For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise. And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive. So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen."
Just a few points to really flag up from this chapter so far. The good man of the house agrees with the laborers that they will receive a penny a day. They all accept the terms and conditions of this contract of employment, as it were, and yet as the day goes on, other laborers are hired, and they also join their coworkers. By the end of the day when it is time to be paid, they start to murmur; they start to bicker over the wages because they thought that those that had worked longer and done more would have received more money even though they were told that they would all get a penny a day. This is really a picture of salvation because we are all saved the same way. We are all called but few are chosen, and there are two meanings to that: The Lord calls all men unto Himself, but those that come to Him are the ones that He chooses in order to be saved. Also, this can have a reference to the apostles. Many were called to be His disciples, but only a few were chosen to be His apostles.
Thirteen speaks about a friend, somebody speaking up, somebody quibbling over his wages. And, again, for me, this points back to Peter quite possibly being the most immature of the apostles. And He reasons with this friend, and He says, "Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is your eye evil, because I am good?" Only God is good. Again, it's a rebuke because the Lord has to be equal with all people.
So like I say, many are called, but few are chosen. Many were called to be His disciples, but only some were chosen to be His apostles. Many are called to salvation, but only those that come to the Lord and believe on Him are chosen, and they will inherit the Kingdom of God.
VERSES 17-19: "And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death, And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again."
Back to my hypothesis of verse 16 that many were called to be His disciples, but only a few were called to be His apostles. Seventeen through to nineteen shows me that the apostles were the privileged. Once again, they get the special intimate briefings from the Lord about what is soon to occur, whereas the 70 would have been told later what was going to occur.
VERSES 20-21: "Then came to him the mother of Zebedee's children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him. And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom."
A picture of the Second Coming of Christ. And Mark's account of this slightly varies, but Matthew is focusing on the mother being the main spokesperson out of the three. Her request is rather audacious, to some extent, because her knowledge of the Lord, her knowledge of the Kingdom of God would have been limited, but her love for her children and her reverence to her Saviour means that her request is going to be answered; it's going to be acknowledged.
VERSE 22: "But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able."
Are you prepared to die? Are you prepared to suffer in order to receive this, pick up your cross and follow me? But they said to Him, "We are able" – submission.
VERSE 23: "And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father."
He grants their request to be baptized with Him in order to be identified with Him. James from Acts 12 was martyred for his faith. Possibly the mother of Zebedee would also suffer for her faith. But here He's really looking at James and John. John, of course, would go into exile and suffer his own fate. He wouldn't be martyred like all of the other apostles, but he would still taste of the Lord's death; he would still drink of the cup that the Lord would drink, which, of course, was death; it was judgment. And here James and John are willing to align themselves to what He is going to go through very soon. That's true love. That's genuine love. But He can't grant them the right to sit at His left hand and His right hand when He returns. That's only going to be given to Him by the Father. Christ is the Son of man and the Son of God, and as the Son of man, He was limited, He was restricted. He had to be in submission to God the Father, hence why He says, “It's not for me to give it, but it's of my Father.”
VERSE 24: "And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren."
The disciples seem to come across very childlike at times, and yet here you can feel some sympathy for them because what they just heard is two of their fellow brothers are going to be given a very special place with the Lord. However, saying that, if they had just waited a little longer, they would have realized that they too would also be drinking of the cup that He was going to drink and they would share in His baptism because they would all die for their faith and their love for Jesus Christ. But here and now they don't understand that. Here and now they are thinking once again in terms of privilege and prestige, and He's going to address that.
VERSES 25-28: "But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many."
He came to seek and to save that which was lost. He came as a servant of God. He came to do the will of the Father. He doesn't want this jockeying; He doesn't want this clergy/laity thing. He doesn't like the idea of this papacy thing. They need to humble themselves; they need to submit to one another. They are all equal in the eyes of the Lord. They may have different personalities, they may have different skills, they may even have different ministries, but they are all equal in the eyes of the Lord.
Twenty-eight, He gave His life a ransom for many. Those that believe on the Lord become the sheep, and the sheep are the ones that have appropriated the atonement, and then they become the sheep; He becomes their shepherd, and off they go into the thousand-year reign. But saying that, let me say this. He still died for the sins of the world. His atonement was for everyone. He died for everything that went wrong back in the Garden even pre the Garden of Eden. He's dealt with everything that went wrong in time, and everything that will go wrong in the future He has atoned for, He has dealt with through the cross. But here the atonement is aimed primarily at those that will receive it.
VERSES 29-31: "And as they departed from Jericho, a great multitude followed him. And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David. And the multitude rebuked them, because they should hold their peace: but they cried the more, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David."
The people didn't like the idea of beggars calling out, and previous verses, the apostles didn't like the idea of the down-and-out crying out to be healed. Also, Matthew highlights two men and speaks of them together, whereas other parts of the Scripture, one party is the main spokesperson and the Gospel writer focuses on the main speaker. But here Matthew says there were two, and he gives you their account, their joint account of what they experienced and what they saw. He focuses on both of them. And also from 30 and 31 they call Him the Son of David - Messianic. Time after time the common people heard Him gladly. The thief on the cross had great faith, and he understood who Christ was. Here two beggars, two blind men give Christ the respect, the worship, the recognition that He deserves.
VERSES 32-34: "And Jesus stood still, and called them, and said, What will ye that I shall do unto you? They say unto him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened. So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him."
They wanted physical healing and they got it. He heals them, and immediately they receive their sight. None of this, "Come back next week or next month or next year." When the Lord healed a party, they were miraculously, instantaneously healed, and 34 says, "and they followed Him." "You are my disciples if ye continue on in my word."
VERSES 1-13: "And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass