We Must Trust in the Lord No Matter the Circumstance:
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…” (Isaiah 43:2-3)
“Even to your old age and gray hair, I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” (Isaiah 46:4).
Foot Prints in the Sand
One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand, one belonging to me and one to my Lord.
After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life, especially at the very lowest and saddest times, there was only one set of footprints.
This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it. “Lord, you said once I decided to follow you, you’d walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life, there was only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.”
He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
never, ever, during your trials and testings. When you saw only one set of footprints,
it was then that I carried you.”
Thank You, Lord Jesus, for your faithfulness to those who believe and trust in You!
Jesus Heals Ten Men with Leprosy and one Returned and Thanked Jesus:
“Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.
One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:11-19)
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your Unconditional Love!
Thank You for Your Gift of Eternal Life!
Thank You for Your Protection!
Thank You for Your Guidance!
Thank You for Food–our Daily Bread!
Thank You for Answered Prayers!
Thank You for Forgiving our sins, amidst all our weaknesses!
And most especially…Thank You for being our Very Best Friend!
“Live a Thank-ful Life”
“When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself.” –Tecumseh
“Whatever happens in your life, no matter how troubling things might seem, do not enter the neighborhood of despair. Even when all doors remain closed, God will open up a new path only for you. Be thankful!” – Elif Shafak.
“Those blessings are sweetest that are won with prayer and worn with thanks.” -Thomas Goodwin
“Life without thankfulness is devoid of love and passion. Hope without thankfulness is lacking in fine perception. Faith without thankfulness lacks strength and fortitude. Every virtue divorced from thankfulness is maimed and limps along the spiritual road.” -John Henry Jowett
“Every once in a while God allows you to stub your toe as a kind reminder to be grateful for the miraculous body attached to it.” -Richelle E. Goodrich
“Rest and be thankful.” -William Wordsworth
Jesus Raises a Dead Girl:
“When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” So Jesus went with him.” (Mark 5:21-24)
“After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.” (Mark 5:40-43)
Different Types of Healing:
1. Healing is the process of making or becoming sound or healthy again.
2. Physical Healing – is to make healthy, whole, or sound; restore to health; free from ailment.
3. Emotional Healing – To bring to an end or conclusion, as conflicts between people or groups, usually with the strong implication of restoring former amity; settle; reconcile.
4. Divine Healing – Healing through divine intervention as in response to prayer or because of faith. A method employing prayer or faith in the hope of receiving such healing.
Jesus Heals a Lame Man:
“Afterward Jesus returned to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish holy days. Inside the city, near the Sheep Gate, was the pool of Bethesda, with five covered porches. Crowds of sick people—blind, lame, or paralyzed—lay on the porches. One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, “Would you like to get well?”
“I can’t, sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.”
Jesus told him, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!”
Instantly, the man was healed! He rolled up his sleeping mat and began walking!” (John 5:1-9)
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” (Psalm 23:1):
1) The Lord cares for and watches over us, and provides all that we need. The Lord is our Caretaker, Shepherd, Overseer, Guidance Counselor, Father, Mother, Provider and Giver of all things.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me;” (Psalm 23:4a):
2) The Lord is close to us in the lowest of times, and we need not fear. Even though we may walk through dark times, we trust that God is with us even there. It is especially in those times when we must “let go and let God” love and take care of us.
“Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23: 4b):
3) The Lord’s authority over our life should bring us protection and comfort. As long as we are walking in the ways of the Lord, his authority and protection abides with us.
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;” (Psalm 23:5a):
4) The Lord provides the living Word—a feast for us, even in the presence of our enemies. We will have trials, but if we feast on His word, found in the Bible, and learn to be still in His presence, it makes walking through those times much easier.
“You anoint my head with oil;” (Psalm 23:5b):
5) The Lord anoints those of us who believe in Him and follow Him. The Lord anoints us and fill us with the desire to worship and to service Him. King David was anointed to do God’s will and so are we who believe and the Lord.
“My cup overflows.” (Psalm 23:5c):
6) The Lord provides an abundance of blessings to us. So many blessings that our cup is always full—even overflowing at times. We must live a life of thanksgiving and gratefulness to the Lord our God! If we are able to read this reflection today, then let us count our blessings “one by one.”
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,” (Psalm 23:6a):
7) The Lord’s goodness and unfailing love pursues us all the days of our lives. Can you imagine, we cannot run away from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord? When we are running from the Lord, the Lord runs after us and wraps us in His unfailing love for us. Thank you Lord for overtaking us with Your unfailing love!
“And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23:6b):
8) The Lord our God provides a place for us to dwell with Him forever! Jesus said, “In my Father’s house they are many dwelling places…I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:). The best part is, we will get to live with the Lord forever and ever! Amen.
Jesus Calms the Storms of Life!
“Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still! “Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.”
He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” (Mark 4:36-41)
1) Even Christians – Followers of Jesus Christ, Have Problems – Just because we follow Jesus doesn’t mean that we won’t have storms in our lives. On the other hand, following Jesus will give us peace, even in the midst of those storms. (Matthew 11:28)
2) Trust Jesus and Don’t Panic. – Remember, even when we think Jesus is not listening to us, Jesus is! Jesus will not desert us. We must continue to trust Jesus since He is very much in control of the situation. Jesus is right beside us!
3) Call Out—Cry Out to Jesus for Help – There are times that we will panic—the storms of life are raging and we will panic. But we MUST cry out to Jesus!
4) Even though the disciples panicked when the storm arose, they had enough faith to do something very productive – they asked Jesus to help them.
5) Worry has been proven to be useless, but prayer is always effective. Although we may not get exactly what we want, we will get what we need. Thanks be unto our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! Amen!
Jesus said: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest!” (Matthew 11:28)
1) Jesus invites us to come to Him just as we are.
2) Jesus recognizes the busyness of our lives, how we are overburdened with life’s trials and struggles.
3) Jesus draws us into His loving and gentle presence.
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:29-30)
4) Jesus wants to listen to all of our troubles, and assures us that His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
5) When we spend time with Jesus we find rest for our souls.
6) Jesus speaks to us in the silence of our hearts and gives us inner peace.
7) We can speak with Jesus as we would with any friend, sharing our joys, our struggles, our hopes, and our fears.
8) Jesus never grows tired of listening to us and constantly renews us with the gift of His love.
9) We can share everything with Jesus in prayer!
The Burial of Jesus: When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”57 As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. 58 Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. 59 Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. 61 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb” (Matthew 27).
Centurion – A Roman military officer in charge of 100 soldiers. Son of God – It cannot be determined whether the centurion made a fully Christian confession, or whether he was only acknowledging that, since the gods had so obviously acted to vindicate this judicial victim, Jesus must be one especially favored by them. Arimathea – A village in the hill country of Ephraim, about 20 miles northwest of Jerusalem.
The Guard at the Tomb: “62 The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. 63 “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ 64 So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” 65 “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard” (Matthew 28).
Jesus Has Risen: “5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” 8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me” (Matthew 28).
The Great Commission: “16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28).
Matthew ends with the reassuring and empowering words of him who came to earth to “God with us.”
The Soldiers Mock Jesus: “7 Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. 28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. 30 They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. 31 After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.” Praetorium – This is the governor’s official residence in Jerusalem. Scarlet Robe – The outer cloak of a Roman solider.
The Crucifixion of Jesus: “2 As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. 33 They came to a place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). 34 There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. 35 When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. 36 And sitting down, they kept watch over him there.37 Above his head they placed the written charge against him: this is Jesus, the king of the Jews.
38 Two rebels were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” 41 In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. 42 “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44 In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.”
Cyrene – A city in North Africa. Mixed with gall – Tradition says that the women of Jerusalem customarily furnished this pain-killing narcotic who were crucified. Jesus refused to drink it because he wanted to be fully conscious until his death (verse 50).
The Death of Jesus: “45 From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. 46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). 47 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.” 48 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. 49 The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.” 50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.”
Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani – A mixture of Aramaic and Hebrew, translated by Matthew for his readers.
“51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and] went into the holy city and appeared to many people.”
Curtain: The inner curtain that separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. The tearing of the curtain signified Christ’s making it possible for believers to go directly into God’s presence (see Hebrews 9:1-14; 10:14-22).
Judas Hangs Himself: “Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people made their plans how to have Jesus executed. 2 So they bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate the governor. 3 When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. 4 “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.” “What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.” 5 So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself” (Matthew 27:1-5).
Jesus Before Pilate: “11 Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” “You have said so,” Jesus replied. 12 When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. 13 Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?” 14 But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor.
15 Now it was the governor’s custom at the festival to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. 16 At that time they had a well-known prisoner whose name was Jesus Barabbas. 17 So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” 18 For he knew it was out of self-interest that they had handed Jesus over to him. 19 While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.”
“20 But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed. 21 “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor. “Barabbas,” they answered. 22 “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked. They all answered, “Crucify him!” 23 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!” 24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!” 25 All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children!” 26 Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified” (Matthew 27:11-26).
BIBLE STUDY OUTLINE THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW: APRIL 10 – APRIL 16, 2017
The Resurrection (chapter. 28)
The Earthquake and the Angel’s Announcement (28:1–7)
Jesus’ Encounter with the Women (28:8–10)
The Guards’ Report and the Jewish Elders’ Bribe (28:11–15)
The Great Commission (28:16–20
Key Events During Jesus’ Final Week:
Sunday: Crowds cheer Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem-Palm Sunday (Chapter 21:1-11)
Monday: Jesus angers leaders by throwing vendors out of the temple (Chapter 21:12-46)
Tuesday: Jesus confronts the hypocrisy of the Jewish leaders (Chapters 23-25)
Wednesday: Judas bribed to betray Jesus (Chapter 26:14-16)
Thursday: The Last Supper; Judas betrays Jesus; Peter denies Jesus (Chapter 26:17-75)
Friday: Jesus’ crucifixion; the chief priests rally the people to chant, “Crucify him!” (Chapter 27)
Highlighted Scriptures of the Holy Week Events:
The Plot Against Jesus: “When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, 2 “As you know, the Passover is two days away—and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.” Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, 4 and they schemed to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. 5 “But not during the festival,” they said, “or there may be a riot among the people” (Matthew 26:1-5).
Jesus Anointed at Bethany: 6″While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, 7 a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table” (Matthew 26: 6-5).
Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus: 14 “Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests 15 and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver.16 From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over” (Matt. 26).
Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial: 31″Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: “‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ 32 But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.” 33 Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.” 34 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” 35 But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same” (Matthew 26:31-35).
This chapter covers the Jewish leaders’ plot to kill Jesus, Judas Iscariot‘s agreement to betray Jesus to Caiaphas, the Last Supper with the Twelve apostles and institution of the Eucharist, the agony in the garden of Gethsemane and the subsequent vindication of Jesus’ predictions that one of the twelve will betray him and that he will be disowned by Peter.
This chapter is divided into 75 verses as follows:
Betrayal and Arrest in Gethsemane (Matthew 26:47–56)
In Matthew’s Gospel, the teaching of Jesus is now finished. In the last days leading up to his betrayal and crucifixion, he warned the multitudes about the corrupt religious leadership, and he spoke to his disciples about things to come. Now, it was time for Jesus to fulfill his work on the cross. One theologian writes, “Having instructed his disciples and the Jews by his discourses, edified them by his example, convinced them by his miracles, he now prepares to redeem them by his blood!”
The Meaning of Jesus’ Death: As Jesus’ death approaches, he instructs his disciples more fully in the meaning of his mission. The disciples could not guess that their teacher’s death was part of God’s sovereign plan, and they would scatter in fear once it came; but by reinterpreting a familiar ritual (the Passover, an annual celebration of how God delivered Israel from slavery in Egypt), Jesus gave them a new way of looking at God’s purposes, which would make sense once he had risen. Jesus’ mission signifies a new Passover (26:17-20). In the context of the Passover, Jesus shows that his own mission provides a new act of redemption (vv. 17-20, 26).
The Last Supper: “‘17 On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?” 8 He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’” 19 So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover. 26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” 27 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” 30 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.’”
BIBLE STUDY OUTLINE THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW: APRIL 2 – APRIL 9, 2017
The Arrest, Trials and Death of Jesus (26:14—27:66)
The Resurrection ( 28):
The Earthquake and the Angel’s Announcement (28:1–7)
Jesus’ Encounter with the Women (28:8–10)
The Guards’ Report and the Jewish Elders’ Bribe (28:11–15)
The Great Commission (28:16–20)
The Destruction of the Temple and Signs of the End Times: “Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; everyone will be thrown down.” As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains” (verses 1-8).
The Day and Hour Unknown: “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. “Therefore, keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come” (verses 36-42).
The Parable of the Ten Virgins: “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep” (verses 1-5).
The Parable of the Talents: ‘“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness’” (v. 21)! The good servants are considered “good” by their master because they felt the responsibility of their assignment and went to work without delay. As a result of this work, the master increased their responsibility. It seems as though a part of the good servants’ reward included a share in the master’s joy for their work. This sets the good servants apart from the idle servant. The good servants diligently worked even in the absence of the master.
The ‘Well Done’ is said to both servants who were given the five and two talents because they used it well on behalf of the ‘Master’: “The man with two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’ “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness’ (vv. 22-23)!
The third servant is shamed by his master because his irresponsibility demonstrates his lack of love. We read in Matthew 25: “Then the man who had received one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. ‘So, I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ “His master replied, “‘You wicked, lazy servant! So, you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest” (vv. 24-27).
The Sheep and the Goats: “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me'” (vv. 34-43).
Rewards in the kingdom of heaven are given to those who serve without thought of reward. There is no hint of merit, God gives out of grace, not debt.
Passion Week (also known as Holy Week) is the time from Palm Sunday through Easter Sunday (Resurrection Sunday). Also included within Passion Week are Holy Monday, Holy Tuesday, Spy Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. Passion Week is so named because of the passion with which Jesus willingly went to the cross in order to pay for the sins of His people. Passion Week is described in Matthew chapters 21-27; Mark chapters 11-15; Luke chapters 19-23; and John chapters 12-19. Passion Week begins with the triumphal entry on Palm Sunday on the back of a colt as prophesied in Zechariah 9:9.
The Triumphal Entry (Matthew 21:1-11): The climax of the Christian story is upon us. Christ is about to enter the gates of Jerusalem to songs of praise, only to hear those same voices turn first to accusations and then to jeers as he goes to his death on a cross. This entry has its genesis in Jesus’ strategy to bring himself and his message to Jerusalem. This was much more than a PR opportunity not to be missed because of the concentration of people in Jerusalem during Passover.
Matthew begins, as does Mark, with the finding of the animals. The actions of the crowd are as they are reported in Mark. Their acclamation, using the words of Psalm 118, which, heralds the Davidic Messiah. Matthew simplifies their cry. It becomes: ‘Hosanna to the son of David.’ ‘Son of David’ is an appropriate title for Israel’s Messiah. It is found on the lips of the Canaanite woman, two sets of two blind men (20:29-34; 9:27-31; Mark 10:46-52), and a few verses later on the lips of children who also cry: ‘Hosanna to the Son of David’ (21:15).
Jesus at the Temple: ‘“Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers”’ (vv. 12-17). Jesus is stated to have visited the Temple in Jerusalem, where the courtyard is described as being filled with livestock, merchants, and the tables of the money changers, who changed the standard Greek and Roman money for Jewish and Tyrian money. (Gentile money could not be used at the Temple because of the graven images on it.) Jerusalem was packed with Jews who had come for Passover, perhaps numbering 300,000 to 400,000 pilgrims.
The Authority of Jesus Questioned: All sorts of folks ask Jesus questions in Matthew’s Gospel, and both their questions and Jesus’ answers are striking. There are many different kinds of questions asked of Jesus. Both the Baptizer and Pilate ask questions about Jesus’ identity; John asks if he is in fact the one they have been waiting for (11:2-3), and Pilate asks if he is the king of the Jews (27:11). The Pharisees, Scribes, Sadducees, chief priests and elders asked questions to try to trap.
Here in Matthew 21 Jesus responds to the question put to him with a question of his own, and a parable to illustrate it. The chief priests and elders ask Jesus where his authority comes from. His return-question is about John the Baptizer. He asks them if John’s baptism came from heaven, or from the human mind? His question reverses the trap which the chief priests and elders are trying to set for Jesus. His accusers take the fifth, refusing to answer Jesus lest it incriminate them in the eyes of the crowds. So, Jesus, in turn, doesn’t answer their question about his authority either, but he does tell them a parable.
BIBLE STUDY OUTLINE MONDAY, MARCH 27 – APRIL 2, 2017
Passion Week ( 24–27)
The Olivet Discourse ( 24–25)
The Anointing of Jesus’ Feet (26:1–13)
The Arrest, Trials and Death of Jesus (26:14—27:66)
The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16): This parable of the laborers in the vineyard is about the 9th (and 10th) commandment. In a very real sense this parable is about coveting. While “covet” may not seem the most obvious word to describe what is going on here, it does fit both the emphasis of Jesus’ teaching and the overarching emphasis in Matthew on the Law and Jesus’ representation of it in a way that transforms our thinking and doing. Coveting lies at the heart of this parable in a couple of ways. We covet what God chooses to give to others.
A parable is essentially an elaborate allegory. We are invited to see ourselves in the story, and then apply it to ourselves. The wages at stake (even at the moment of Jesus’ first telling of the parable) are not actual daily wages for vineyard-laborers, but forgiveness, life, and salvation for believers. We need not literally be laborers in a vineyard, as we are all of us co-workers in the kingdom (1 Corinthians 3:9). We have a tendency, as the parable aptly illustrates, to covet and to be resentful of what others receive from God. The owner of the vineyard asks those who have worked longest and (presumably) hardest for him, “Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?” The point is that God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness are God’s to give away as God sees fit.
Jesus Predicts His Death a Third Time: “Now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem. On the way, he took the Twelve aside and said to them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!” (vv. 17-19). The bold portion is an additional statement in this third prediction of the passion. Jesus would not be killed by the Jews, which would have been stoning, but would be crucified by the Romans. All three predictions include his resurrection on the third day (16:21; 17:23).
A Mother’s Request: “Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him. “What is it you want?” he asked. She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.” “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” “We can,” they answered.
Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father” (vv.20-23). The Gospel of Mark has “James and John, sons of Zebedee,” asking the question (Mark 10:35-37), yet there is no contradiction. The three joined in making the petition.
“Drink the cup” – This a figure of speech meaning to “undergo” or experience.” Here the reference is to suffering. The same figure of speech is used in Jeremiah 25:15; Ezekiel 23:32; Habakkuk 2:16; Revelation 14:10; 16:19; 18:6 for divine wrath or judgement.
“Ransom for many.” – “Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (v. 28). Ransom is the Greek word used most commonly for the price paid to redeem a slave. Similarly, Christ paid the ransom price of his own life to free us from slavery to sin.
Two Blind Men Receive Sight: “As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked. “Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.” Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him” (vv. 28-34). Mark and Luke mention only one blind man. “Son of David” – Is a Messianic title.