Following Matthew [Series added to daily]

Here’s a challenge for myself. So I want to write more often but the difficulty with that is not having a significant, well thought out topic every day, or every week for that matter. Today I start a series of writing, a challenge, to read through the book of Matthew a chapter a day (or so)  and debrief and reflect on it via blogging.

Join in on this with me by reading the book as well, or comment about what I say, or just simply take a break from your day and read my break down on what this book is speaking to me. 

So here we go, Matthew 1: (Entered post 8/5/2014)
It starts off with a lot of generations of people, which all tie back to Jesus’ roots and thereafter, birth. It was a family tree if you will. The gospels- Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John all recall the life and death of Jesus so it is plausible for Matthew to start here.
Joseph and Mary- those chosen by God to carry His Son, were baffled and quite confused as it shows in this chapter Joseph contemplating how Mary could be pregnant before their marriage. God sends an angel and gives him the low-down saying hey Joseph I (God) with my holy spirit am giving you my Son, I need you to name him Jesus which means “God saves” and you’ll see what I mean in full soon. His purpose is to save His people from their sins. Joseph doesn’t doubt the angels in his dreams…
and so ends the first chapter of Matthew.

Matthew 2: (Entered post 8/6/2014)
Jesus is born and there is lots of movement to keep him safe. In this chapter we also remember a common children’s song “we three kings of orient are”.. If you remember the lyrics to that song then this chapter of the Gospel is sunken in your brain, but if you haven’t then here is what I got out of the chapter. Jesus is born and a star sends three men to witness and bring gifts to the Messiah. Herod is the king at the time in Judah territory and heres about this news and calls the three men to meet with him privately and tells them to bring him this Messiah. They go on their way and do not ever return to tell Herod where Jesus is at, and Joseph, in yet another dream is told to flee to Egypt until it is safe. Herod instructs every child under the age of 2 or so to be killed. What horrid news right? I now understand that this was because did not want this Messiah to take his place as “king” and if all children  in Bethlehem area were killed then he would continue to reign. A likely ending to Herod’s story is yes he dies however his son takes over his role. Yet again Joseph has a dream from God to move towards Galilee (Nazareth is where they end up).
and so ends the second chapter of Matthew.

Matthew 3: (Entered post 8/7/2014)
Baptism of Jesus and his first apperance to many people besides his earthly father and mother and the three kings who brought him gifts as he entered the world…John the baptist had a pretty good reputation by this point I’d say- People would flock to him to be baptized, some for the right reasons and others possibly because it was the popular thing to do. John was in Judea and was preaching saying God’s kingdom is coming so get baptized and correct your lives before Jesus comes and “cleans house” of the non-believers. Pharisees and Sadducees were showing up and John makes it clear that there will be no funny business going on…baptism is a public announcement of your faith that your life will now be changed to follow God. I really like the 10th verse which says you can get baptized here and now if you want but if you don’t change your lifestyle along with this act you will burn up with the rest of nonbelievers. We want our lives to be like a beautiful garden for God, not a wheat field which can be consumed in the flames.

Anywho, Jesus shows up in Galilee at the Jordan River and is baptized by John. Yes of course John is hesitant because just as any of us would be, he says no no no Jesus, I am the one who needs cleansing, not you! John goes through with it as Jesus wishes and after this act the heavens opened up and God places his hand on His son and proclaims that indeed this is his son and with him, he is well pleased. Do we need any further explaining that this truly is the Messiah? Well apparently everyone else who wasn’t there needed some explaining.. like pilot, but we will get there later.
and so ends the third chapter of Matthew.

Matthew 4: (Entered post 8/8/2014)
The first 11 verses of this chapter tell us about the popular story of Jesus fasting for 40 days and nights in the wilderness. He was not alone though as we see the devil trying to test Jesus three different times; (1) take stones and turn them into loaves of bread, the devil says. Jesus responded with it takes more than bread to keep him alive, and truly he lives off of his fathers words more so than bread (Evident to us as he prepared for these tests by fasting). Wouldn’t it be great if we realized these words for our own lives? We are alive only by God and his son’s sacrifice not by the food on our table or the things we possess. Yeah our physical comforts in life are great but truly what will matter in the end is the example Jesus is setting for our lives on earth. (2) Don’t you dare test the Lord your God. As the devil brought Jesus to the top of a temple he tells him to jump because the angels should save him but Jesus gives us another lesson- don’t test the Lord. He doesn’t need to prove anything to the devil, yet, I got to tell you, I wish he would have jumped just to show him how powerful our God is. But really, don’t test God. (3) The final test was held on a mountain top where the devil wants Jesus to worship him and then he says he will give all the people to him. That was really the third test? That seems like the easiest to resist in my mind. It’s jesus you are trying to tempt, not me. So the third lesson is given- Worship your Lord your God and only him.

In verses 12 – 25 we begin to see Jesus’ teaching and healing. Now Jesus heard of John the baptists arrest so he heading into town. Jesus picked up from where John left off by preaching the same message- change your life, God’s kingdom is truly here. Then, something that John could not do, Jesus acted on these messages. He started by gathering fishermen Peter (simon) & brother Andrew, and James & John and told them to gather with many others to learn of the kingdom here on earth that was being put into place. Jesus performed healings of all kinds and to the full- anyone who came to him was healed.
and so ends the fourth chapter of Matthew.

Matthew 5: (Entered post 8/9/2014)
Alright so all of you who used the hashtag “blessed” all the time, this part of the gospel of Matthew is for you. Jesus is up on the hillside with those who truly want to follow him and the Lord. He teaches them what it truly means to be blessed. This goes on through the first 12 verses and you can read them yourselves… my favorites include the lessons: when there is less of you there is more room for God (reminded me of He>i,  in the book of John) and we are blessed when we have appetites for God. Yes truly He loves when we spend time engulfed in him through prayers, thoughts, in his word, worship, in community, and so on.

The verses 12-16 talk about light and salt which needs to be evident in our lives as Christ followers. Jesus explains that we need to be like salt for bland food, or for bland people if you will. Season people with our godly salt. Get it? It’s like the light idea- we need to shine our light so that others will see how our lives are changed and maybe even #blessed… and start to follow God as well.

Verses 17-20 Jesus explains that he is not taking over and wiping out God’s laws, he is simply completing them, and assures the people there and us reading the scriptures today that His law will last even longer than the stars or earth.

From verses 21 to the end of the chapter Jesus explains the topics: murder, divorce, adultery, empty promises, & loving your enemies. Overall Jesus is saying GROW UP. Live in the life God intended for you to live. Catch lust and put it behind you, and don’t say anything you don’t mean (for example, saying “I’ll pray for you” but never praying about it is less religious than not saying anything at all). The eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth saying is old, instead, don’t hit back at all, and overall give generously! That says a lot more good about your character. Let your enemies bring out the best in you. Let them truly give you a reason to show God how much you are following in His laws. Jesus explains to those on the hill, and us today as we read scripture that God always gives his best, and we should follow that example.
and so ends the fifth chapter of Matthew.

Matthew 6: (Entered post 8/10/2014)
Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. – This is never my intention with writing blogs and I hope no one takes it as that, as this chapter starts off with. I write to express and most of the time I share my faults and struggles and then give a way for others to relate and overcome those with me. Now that I have said that, let’s move on to the rest of the chapter. Jesus says keep things simple, and real with God. Prayer is one of the lessons- be intentional and you will get the most out of your prayer life. He knows your entire being so you can’t hide anything from God anyways. If you want to be mad, be mad. If you want to rejoice, cry, give thanks, share a struggle, or whatever it is just be intentional.

Our treasures are to be stored in heaven not on earth- I’ve heard this several times from the gospel of Matthew and also in Proverbs, and I’m sure many more places in the scripture.. it’s important. Life here on earth ends, as all of us believe, even if you aren’t a Christian. However, if you follow Him you also know you have a place in heaven. We should work towards that even as we are on earth.

We are so important to God that he created us unique, not one person alike. He made wildflowers so beautiful to our eyes, then why should we doubt how he made us just as beautiful! I do not struggle with this concept because I have not had a bad body image of myself, however for some this is truly hard to grasp. I pray, truly I pray for you if this is a struggle in your life. God has made you perfectly you.

Lastly is Matthew 6:34, one of my go to verses when I am worried about the future. “Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” We all worry about something that has yet to come, so for this part of the scripture I make my prayer as often as I think of it. It’s hard not to have answers to the future but that is life, that is having faith, and that is when God can step in most. Don’t have a plan 24/7. It’s rather hard for me, but when I let go, I let God.
and so here ends the sixth chapter of Matthew.

Matthew 7: (Entered post 8/11/2014)
God continued to preach to the people- He gives us a guide to behavior in this chapter. It all starts with us and how we treat others. Jesus says we need to give respect and love to get that back. This reminds me of the Lord’s prayer- forgive our trespasses and we forgive those who trespass against us… AS WE FORGIVE. We will only be forgiven as much as we forgive others, or, as we treat others. Jesus also tells us to be direct with God and to simply ask Him for what we need. It’s like telling your best friend how you are feeling, be as direct with God, especially the things of your heart. This whole lesson is like the golden rule which most of us have learned throughout our schooling systems- do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.

Verses 13-29 Jesus explains the difference between being a person who uses God’s teachings and applies them to their lives, in comparison to someone who pretends their whole life and does not truly live life with God. It takes much effort to have serious obedience to God and we have to work at it daily. Remember, there will be a final judgement day to weed out the fake and sincere Jesus says. The scriptures are foundational words which we should build INTO our lives- bible studies with no application is no foundation at all. Jesus was the ultimate teacher, not fake as many other preachers may be, including you and I sometimes.
and so here ends the seventh chapter of Matthew.

Matthew 8: (Entered Post 8/12/2014)
In verses 1-17 we see Jesus come down from the mountain where he was recently preaching and starts performing healing of all kinds. He starts with a leper- he heals him but says, not through your words but instead through your greatfulness I want you to show others I am with you. A Roman captain asks Jesus not to come to heal his servant but to give order for healing to be done as to not waste Jesus’ time to travel to him. Jesus is pleased by the trust and faith he has in him and heals the servant and is astonished by the faith this man of Israel has. As Jesus arrives at Peter’s house he heals Peter’s mother-in-law and she makes them dinner. However, it doesn’t seem like a peaceful relaxing dinner as Jesus heals several others that night who are possessed with demons. Jesus carries all diseases for us, hallelujah.

Jesus now plans to travel across a lake with his disciples, however one man says please excuse me from this trip my father just died and I need to attend his funeral but Jesus makes it clear that the death is over, and he needs to pursue life now, which is Jesus. What an interesting way Jesus explains Life Vs. Death; Him and his Father vs. the world. In Him we live and pursue life in heaven.

Jesus entered the country where no one wanted to set foot on. There were madmen, victims of demons, and so on. The evil spirits in these men ask if you are going to cast me away, at least let me live on in another form.. how about in those pigs? So Jesus does as they say, but with the idea in mind that the swine are not smart and so they jump off a cliff and drowned so the spirits die off and then men are saved, however the town is mad the pigs died so they demand the Son of God leaves.
and so here ends the eighth chapter of Matthew.

Matthew 9: (Entered post 8/13/2014)
Jesus makes an analogy about why he invites in the people he does. The pharisees are in disarray as to why Jesus would meet with a tax collector, Matthew for dinner and so He makes it clear of his role on earth. Like a doctor heals the sick, not healthy, so he invites outsiders not insiders to join him. As Jesus arrived back into the town in which he was born he heals a paraplegic then we see him meet Matthew for the first time as I mentioned above.

In this chapter Jesus mentions that they do not need to fast in remembrance of him; this is the time they should feast because the kingdom is front of them. This explains what it will be like when Jesus comes again and builds his kingdom here on earth with those who follow- rejoice in that promise!

Soon after this lesson Jesus brings a little girl back to life, and heals two blind men to see. All of these acts can be done with faith. Jesus simply sees the faith they have and this is when he can perform healing. He says it this way: “Become what you believe.” Oh how I love that line. All of these miracles are done through faith. Jesus makes his way through all the towns and spread the good news, preached, healed, and tried to gain disciples to start helping him build the kingdom here ON EARTH. That is one thing I am learning more and more about- the Kingdom is not some separated place, but rather it is here.
and so here ends the ninth chapter of Matthew.

Matthew 10: (Entered post 8/14/2014)
As I read through this chapter I highlighted key points from verses 5-28 and this is what I discovered:

  • You are the equipment and you don’t need much more besides believing in me to do the rest
  • If people don’t welcome you then quietly withdraw. On judgment day I will be the one who deals with that. You just keep on trying. We should be disciples of Jesus but not push it down peoples throats.
  • Stay alert because people will not like what you are here to do, and don’t be naive to believe lies they might tell you. When you speak with others the Lord will give us the words to say if we let him.
  • Don’t cave in. Don’t quit. It’s not easy but that’s why we have Him. Just think of all the things they say to our “Boss,” just imagine the things they could say to the every day “worker.” Don’t be afraid to go in public with his news now, don’t worry about the bullies just go about your day the way God intended it to be.

Verses 29-42 directly speaks to each individual’s connection and link to the harvest work ahead of us. We need to ultimately forget about ourselves and what concerns us. If we first look after ourselves then we will never find ourselves. We live through standing up against the world and if we do this our God will do the same for us. We are worth more than gold to Him but He doesn’t exist to make life comfortable- He comes to make things right and get people to follow him before his Kingdom comes again. As disciples the twelve who were sent out were to make more disciples and to make the earth God’s home to dwell.
and so here ends the tenth chapter of Matthew.

Matthew 11: (Entered post 8/15/2014)
Oh a turning point. Jesus up to this point in the story has been praised and seeked after, however, now that John is in prison (one who was about to be beheaded for preaching the message of Jesus) how could they trust that Jesus was truly the promised Messiah? This is a turning point where most started to doubt Jesus, especially those who were disciples of John which were reaching the kingdom through his words. Jesus speaks upon hearing about John’s imprisonment and explains that just as he preached about (in the 10th chapter), it will not be easy being a disciple but if you stay true to him there will be a life after death which will be worth the prosecutions.

Now when Johns disciples asked what should we tell John so that he knows you are truly the Messiah he rattles off all the prophets from Isaiah that he could think of- only the Messiah could heal the lepers, allow the blind to see again, bring the dead to life, and so on. John had seen him do this on countless occasions at this point. Surely this will provide him with peace and truth. …

And so, as we know now, John suffered and died just as many others would have to do the same for Jesus’ name sake.. just as Jesus would have to suffer and die for redemption purposes. John the baptist was the messenger who was sent before Yahweh, and therefore Jesus is yahweh the God of Israel who comes to the world to save us all. John was a major prophet indeed and trusted the words of Jesus and dies without hesitation of his Lord to take care of him after death.

As the chapter goes on we need to understand that yes the kingdom is increasing as the disciples and Jesus gain followers, however, John thought this would push opposition aside when it really makes the attacks from men much more violent as they do not understand this movement (just as Herod’s son the king at the time did not- he put John is prison). And finally in to wrap up this chapter up until verse 19 Jesus explains that John could be Elijah (messenger or prophet) if he truly believes it because he acted as so- John did not claim himself as so, but he was in Jesus’ eyes.

Verses 20-30 Jesus says how disappointed he is with those cities and people he touched and healed right before his eyes yet now turn away from him in doubt. He says on judgement day they will be punished more so then those who hadn’t seen the miracles he did first hand as they did. Shame on them for seeing what he could do then turn their backs. It’s quite similar to our lives- we see God work wonders in our lives but then the minute we feel abandoned in a situation we doubt. Let us remember what is good and right comes from God and to not turn away as so many did in this chapter with the imprisonment of John. Jesus speaks with the Lord his Father and then gives a message light and airy for those who are weary as Jesus is. He says just take heart in me and try… He will have a place of rest for all of us if we just continually seek him, even with slip ups just never completely give up hope and then we will find grace, in him.

Wow, did you get all that??? It was quite a chapter.
and so here ends the eleventh chapter of Matthew.

Matthew 12: (Entered post 8/16/2014)
Verses 1-21 I would like to simply say “Excuse you Pharisees.” This explains that the sabbath is not set in stone and Jesus is in charge of the sabbath, and every day. Jesus played the pharisees game but only for a second, of course another lesson is involved. They tattle on the disciples for eating wheat from the fields on sabbath, and they ask him if its ok to heal on sabbath as well. He throws it back at them that would you just not save a sheep of yours if it was hurt just because it’s a Sunday? Jesus goes on his way.

Verses 22-37  It’s neat to see the next talk Jesus has with the Pharisees. He says why would I cast out evil spirits from someone if I was evil or a demonic spirit myself? That doesn’t make any sense right? Right. Again Jesus says, I am the son of God. So, if you want to keep on saying comments that are against me, you are against me because their is no neutral ground and if you are not helping me you are making things worse. I like verse 33 which says if your life is a tree then the fruit you bear from that tree tells about who you are- good fruit, good intentional life, bad fruit unhealthy and diseased filled.

Verses 38-50 Jesus is talking to the Pharisees yet again, and “religious scholars,” and he explains to them that he will not be performing any more miracles for them to give them proof he is who he says. He HAS been healing people left and right! Jesus says I will give you Jonah evidence (Jonah was in the belly of a whale for 3 days and nights to get him to cry out to Jesus and believe), likewise, He told them he will be in a grave but then the third day he will rise again. They probably were like “yeah right” Son of God. As Jesus told them this someone told him that his brother and mom were there.. he makes another lesson for us by saying, yeah yeah these disciples are my brothers they are the ones who have been following me not just showing up now and want to talk. Obedience is greater than blood.
and so ends the twelfth chapter of Matthew.

Matthew 13: (Entered post 8/17/2014)
Jesus disciples ask him why he tells stories: They are an insight to the kingdom. When your heart is ready the insights flow freely and you understand, but if you aren’t ready then they just are stories with no meaning, not yet at least. He tells story to nudge people to readiness. So, God’s kingdom is like the farmer who throws his seed in the fields to let grow and prosper. He tells stories all day long to bring to light things that have been hidden to the world since the 1st day.

Other options for seed though (1) seed thrown in gravel: like people who are so excited when they hear about God’s kingdom but then when the emotions wear off and troubled times come up they don’t grow. (2) seed scattered on the surface gets plucked right away and nothing comes of it because it doesn’t have roots in what it needs (3) seeds in weeds gets tangled and doesn’t find its way and therefore doesn’t make it; it surely dies with the weeds.

Once everyone else was dismissed Jesus had one on one time with his disciples to tell them the story of the field with thistles. Thistles had to grow amongst the good harvest and be plucked only when the harvest was ready. They would be separated and the thistles will be burned. Likewise, for our lives- those who live holy lives will adorn grow in the kingdom like the seeds in the field. Those who can find the treasures of this kingdom through the thistles is truly successful. Like the man who sold everything he had to buy that field. Jesus returned home and spoke there but people were indifferent to his stories so he didn’t do many miracles there.
and so here ends the thirteenth chapter of Matthew.

Matthew 14: (Entered post 8/18/2014)
John the baptist was beheaded. The Herod family which was “in rule” still fear John and his followers so at a party they throw which was full of drunkenness they behead John and bring his head on a platter to Herod’s daughter which was instructed by her mother. John’s disciples did a proper burial for his body.

Jesus tried to slip away by boat across the lake but of course he ended up with healing and people just soaking up any time they could get with him. The disciples show up and Jesus says feed them don’t send them away. They question how they will with only 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish but Jesus quickly raises them to God, prays, and gives thanks and feeds around five thousand with leftovers to spear.

Verses 22-36. Oh how I love this. Jesus sent the disciples out on a boat away and Jesus dismissed the crowds so he could go up the mountain to get some time to pray alone. Jesus does this many times and it is a good reminder that it is good to go to God in prayer with no distractions… But then the storm starts and the disciples are having a tough time sailing, and at this point Jesus walks on water towards them. They think it’s a ghost and freak out but he calls out to them to not be afraid. Peter asks to walk on water to him and Jesus says yes and so he starts to walk, but his doubts as he gets closer makes him start to sink. Peter cries out save me Lord. Ahh, see he calls out not to the disciples in the boat to save him he calls to Jesus. And so Jesus lifts him from the water and they got into the disciples boat, and asks why did you doubt me? They NOW, FULLY, believe he is the Son of God. They return to land where Jesus heals more.

*If you like this message and want to hear more about this chapter when Peter and Jesus walk on water listen to this sermon from two weeks ago at my church. The message is called “The solution,” [Click Here] to listen.
and so here ends the fourteenth chapter of Matthew.

Matthew 15: (Entered post 8/19/2014)
Pharisees and religion scholars question Jesus again.. I have been thinking though, have I not questioned? We all have had doubts before but then we find our faith and trust, that is the difference. Jesus says, “Listen, and take this to heart. It’s not what you swallow that pollutes your life, but what you vomit up.” (The message version) Peter and Jesus have a conversation about what this really means. If we swallow something it works its course and then is finally flushed from the body, but if we vomit it back up it is never fully running the course where we can learn from it and completely get rid of it. Lies, arguments, lust, sins…

Jesus was trying to heal the lost people of Israel when a canaanite woman came and would not leave Jesus or his disciples alone. He finally said ok and healed her daughter because her faith was persistent and strong. Something to remember for our own lives.

Again we see Jesus climb the mountain by the lake of Galilee and wait for the people to arrive. Thousands of them again showed up and were healed at Jesus’ feet and fed with loaves of bread and a fish which Jesus multiplied so they could be full. Jesus reveals that he is truly heart broken for all the people he healed. He hurts when we hurt. Did you get that?
and so here ends the fifteenth chapter of Matthew.

Matthew 16: (Entered Post 8/20/2014)
Bad yeast lesson. The disciples made their way to the other side of the lake and forgot bread.. they know Jesus uses bread to feed everyone who comes to be healed so they were nervous they were in trouble but Jesus explains bread isn’t what makes people alive, it is his words. The Pharisees and Sadducees were bad “yeast” (bad teachers) which do not help people grow like Jesus’ “yeast.”

Son of Man, Son of God: Jesus asks the disciples who people are saying he is and they reply with many things. He then asks Simon Peter who he is and Peter finally gets it. After his doubt when he tried to walk to Jesus on water he finally gets it. Jesus is the Messiah, Son of God. Jesus replies with telling Peter who he is- he says Peter you are a rock I will build my church on. Peter is given free access to heaven as he trusts Jesus the Son of God.

Jesus tells the disciples what is in store for him next: I am going to Jerusalem and I will be killed but then be raised and alive again three days later. Peter, of course, freaks out and says that can’t be. Why would the Son of God have to die?! He of course doesn’t know why yet and here we see another lesson as well: He is in the driver’s seat, not us. We shouldn’t run away from suffering we need to embrace it, and we should sacrifice ourselves- our time, energy, anything that draws us farther from our wants and closer to our needs (Him). We won’t be giving up ourselves, we will be gaining our selves. He created us, He knows what He is doing. He is in the driver seat from the moment we are created to the moment we die.
And so here ends the sixteenth chapter of Matthew.

Matthew 17: (Entered Post 8/21/2014)
On a mountain top sunlight poured down and James, Peter, John, Moses & Elijah see Jesus and only Jesus. God speaks to them and says the Son of God is here but you must not tell a soul until AFTER he is raised from the dead. God’s plan of sacrifice for all of us was going to be carried through and not one of these men were to stop it.

At the bottom of the mountain Jesus heals a young boy from a lifetime of seizures and says to the disciples if they only had a little seed of faith they could move the mountain, they could change people’s faith.. they could even change their own. Just as we can do today- we can make a difference with a little faith.

The disciples and Jesus regrouped in Galilee and Jesus told them again that he would be betrayed and killed by people who do not know him but then will be raised three days later. They arrive in Capernaum and a tax man asks Peter if Jesus pays taxes and he says of course and then Jesus pulls Peter to the side and explains taxes. Just because Peter is a child of a King (God) he should still pay the taxes as respect. We are all equal; if Jesus will pay the taxes, likewise for the disciples.
And so here ends the seventeenth chapter of Matthew.

Matthew 18: (Entered post 8/22/2014)
“Who gets the highest rank in God’s kingdom?” the disciples asked, and Jesus said the one who becomes simple again or child like. Children are able to learn and live simple lives. They trust easily because they have none or little recollections of let down. God wants us to be like that. 

God doesn’t want to lose one believer, not one. Jesus uses an analogy of a Shepard who has lost 1 of his 99 sheep, yet he focuses on the 1, likewise God does that with us. He also wants us to stay close- if we fight to work it out and show Gods forgiving love. Try again and again until it works. Remember: A yes on earth is a yes in heaven and visa versa.

Peter is the one to ask about forgiveness and asks so should I forgive a brother or sister what like seven times? And Jesus says try seven times seven.. meaning infinitely. Show forgiveness, receive forgiveness. (Remember the Lord’s prayer: forgive us our trespasses AS WE FORGIVE those who trespass against us). In a college course I took we picked apart the Lords Prayer and if you haven’t done that before I suggest to do so as you will find it is a scary prayer to pray if you don’t mean it.
And so here ends the eightieth chapter of Matthew.

Matthew 19: (Entered post 8/23/2014)
Jesus left Galilee and travels across the Jordan river to Judea and he spoke with the Pharisees and answered their questions about divorce and entering God’s kingdom.
Divorce:
Jesus said- Man and women were created for one another and when they wed they become one flesh no longer two bodies or to be separated. Only exception in my (Jesus’) book is if your spouse commits adultery. I (Jesus) also note that some people aren’t made for marriage. Really, from birth some people aren’t wired to be ever have a desire, or simply not made for a marriage relationship in their lifetime.
Pharisees said- then why did Moses create divorce papers? And Jesus replied with he made those to please the demands of the harden hearts, however they weren’t part of God’s original plan unless adultery occurred. The Pharisees ask why marry if we are “stuck” and Jesus replies because it is good and if you are capable you should even though it takes a lot of grace and work.
Entering the kingdom:
Yes Jesus says follow the commandments but then he says there is more that I ask of you then just to obey the rules, you must give up your life to follow me. Materialistic items, wealth, and self interest will only let us focus on us so to truly enter the kingdom you must give up your comfortable life to follow me. Ah yes, we give it up to gain so much more. From the message version I quote the end of this chapter: “And not only you, but anyone who sacrifices home, family, fields—whatever—because of me will get it all back a hundred times over, not to mention the considerable bonus of eternal life. This is the Great Reversal: many of the first ending up last, and the last first.”
And so here ends the nineteenth chapter of Matthew.

Matthew 20: (Entered post 8/24/2014)
Jesus tells another story about the great reversal idea- making the last first, and the first last, or equalling it out if you will. The story involves workers of a field which all get hired various times of the day but all receive the same amount at the end of the day, $1. They are all rewarded for their work, a long hard day or one of lesser work, they are treated as equal because they all did work.

On the way to Jerusalem Jesus tells the 12 more detail of his crucifixion and reminds them he will be raised the third day. He also tells them that their ranking will be in the hands of God, and only Him (His Father) will decide rankings of any kind. Whoever wants to be first, must put themselves last- they must be a servant of others, not be served. Jesus was the example of this lifestyle.
And so here ends the twentieth chapter of Matthew.

Matthew 21: (Entered post 8/25/2014)
Jesus is welcomed as royalty should be in Jerusalem. His disciples get him a donkey/colt and he rides through the streets where many are pleased to see him. He went straight to the temple which was intended for praise and worship and kicked out the loan sharks and corrupt to make room for the hurting. Jesus left soon after for the city of Bethany to sleep for the night. When Jesus returned to the temple the next day and many questioned him and his authority to preach, but he gave lessons anyway.

Story of two sons: both sons were asked by their father to work the vineyard- one said no but then eventually got around to doing the work, and the other said yes I will and never ended up doing any work. We need to be like the son who did the work. Jesus tells the people in the temple that the crooks and whores will precede them to the kingdom if they don’t shape up because the crooks when John the baptist came shaped up and believed but they turned their noses up and did not change. The same goes for any of us who turn our backs on our Father.

Story of the greedy farmhands: An owner of a vineyard hands over his land to be tended by the farmhands and when harvest time comes around he sends servants to collect the profits of the farmhands work. The farmhands kill off anyone who tries to take what is “there’s.” The lesson is: if we choose to live greedy like this, know that all will be taken from us and handed over to someone who will treat this life as not theirs, but for the kingdom. Needless to say, the religious leaders did not like this message and wanted to throw Jesus in jail.
And so here ends the twenty first chapter of Matthew.

Matthew 22: (Entered post 8/26/2014)
More and more stories, all leading to a lesson-
The wedding banquet story: Jesus describes the kingdom as a wedding banquet thrown by a king. He says the king has his servants (disciples) go out and invite others to join and the decline, so then he invites anyone and the table is full, however, some of them do not obey the king and get kicked out, but for those who changed and followed him, no matter what their pasts were, will make it through to the kingdom and enjoy the whole feast. So, many get invited (all) to the kingdom, but few make it as they won’t give up themselves and join the party, or some don’t ever try to join.

Pharisees and Herod’s followers were getting sick of the stories and try to trick Jesus into saying something wrongly. They ask him the question, “is it right to pay taxes to Caesar?” Jesus says give me a coin- does it have Ceasar’s face on it? Yep.. give Ceasar what is his, and God what is God’s. God doesn’t need your money, he wants something worth far more, your belief, yourself, your help to make this world his kingdom.

Marriage and Resurrection lesson: The sadducees question is answered by Jesus- We will not be married in heaven, instead all of our praises and love will be towards God, and the dead technically aren’t dead so rest assured that they will not be suffering as they “die” and go to heaven they will be alive. God is not a God of the dead, but is a living God. He will make those hurting, healed and they will rejoice not suffer when they are resurrected to God the Father in heaven.

The most important commandment: Love the Lord your God will all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. And to accompany this you must remember the second, which is, Love your neighbor as yourself. That pretty much covers it all, and the Pharisees were stunned as they tried to trip Jesus up again. Then Jesus catches them off guard with asking who Christ is- they say the son of David. Jesus says, well David called his son “Master”… what dad would call his SON a higher ranking than himself? Most of the Pharisees stopped asking Jesus questions.
And so here ends the twenty second chapter of Matthew.

Matthew 23: (Entered post 8/27/2014)
Jesus turns to his disciples to tell them the religious scholars may know their stories and tell them appropriately, however, they don’t live them out in their lives. It is simply a religious fashion show to them. They sit on their pedestals and watch others suffer from the weight of rules of the kingdom. They think since they know the rules they are saved, but this is worse than suffering trying to implement the rules in their lives.

Frauds: If we live like the Pharisees, Sadducees, religious scholars, then we are frauds. Our lives are like roadblocks to the kingdom, refusing to enter and steering others away as well which is even worse. Jesus calls out the frauds and explains to them in furry why their lives are destructive to the kingdom. A promise is a promise, God is always a witness no matter where the promise is made. God sees beneath their skin, or through their lies… likewise with us. Jerusalem is full of non-believers and Jesus is disgusted with the countless times he has tried to get them on board with his Father and they have turned their backs every time.
And so here ends the twenty third chapter of Matthew.

Matthew 24: (Entered post 8/28/2014)
Jesus and his disciples leave the temple and arrive at Mount Olives. The disciples want to know about when and how near the end times are. Jesus explains what to look out for in the coming days, months, and so on until the day the end will come. Deceivers, wars, nations fighting nations, rulers fighting rulers, all people filled with hate towards all people, the disciples and many other followers being persecuted and killed, famines, earthquakes, and lying preachers. Overall though Jesus shares what the end times requires of them (us, followers of Christ)… stick with it, do not change your ways to survive the end times, just stay true to believing in me (Jesus) and my Father.

Jesus goes on to explain that we should follow up with the prophet Daniel’s story of the monsters {{4 monsters, which are suppose to be symbolizing the nations- Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome). The monster is made up of parts such as the hands and feet will be the modern age will be destroyed as Christ is placed in rule and comes again, the horns may be rulers such as Alexander the Great and Antiochus IV (Herods son). This leads to think that rulers will be taking down the temples, and eventually lead to persecution.}} But on the plus side Daniel informs us that God will deliver his people from captivity of rulers such as Antiochus IV.

The arrival of Jesus- He tells the disciples that no one will miss the arrival I have prepared, in fact do not go running to towns and trying to find me because people will be lying to you left and right. This is how it will be done (As the message version says): “It will fill the skies—no one will miss it. Unready people all over the world, outsiders to the splendor and power, will raise a huge lament as they watch the Son of Man blazing out of heaven. At that same moment, he’ll dispatch his angels with a trumpet-blast summons, pulling in God’s chosen from the four winds, from pole to pole.”Jesus continues to say, not even he, the son of God, knows when his Father will return, only God knows so just be prepared at all hours of your day. Always be prepared, full of faith, full of servanthood putting yourself last so one day you can be first.
And so here ends the twenty fourth chapter of Matthew.

Matthew 25: (Entered post 8/29/2014)
Story of the Virgins (Verses 1-13) Jesus explains that their were 5 virgins ready and expecting him, and 5 who were not. The five who were not were disowned, which further explains what it will be like on judgement day.

Story about investments (Verses 14-30) Jesus tells a story about a master going away and giving money to each of his servants (kind of like Jesus going away and leaving us riches to work with on earth). The two who receive the most money invest it and make more money for their master, the third is afraid and hides his treasure as he is afraid to loose even a cent. The master is pleased with the two who invested but displeased with the third who won’t go out on a limb for him. Just as we should go out on a limb with our faith and treasures God gives us.

Sheep and Goats (Verses 31-46) When Jesus comes he will sort the people just like sheeps and goats- the sheep will be like the people who will be saved and welcomed into his kingdom because of their servant hearts for Jesus and others. The sheep are those who helped the sick, homeless, hungry people of the world. Jesus says to the goats: “Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.”
And so here ends the twenty fifth chapter of Matthew.

Matthew 26: (Entered post 8/30/2014)
Jesus finished telling his disciples these stories and now says in two days this is when I will be handed over for crucifixion. The high priest and leaders are plotting it as we speak. While Jesus is anointed with the finest of perfume for his burial Judas sneaks away and meets with the high priests to ask what he could get for turning in Jesus. Little does he understand Jesus gives himself up for us.

Verses 17-30 is the preparation and passover meal- Jesus’ disciples find the house which they will have the meal and it is prepared with bread and wine. Jesus says shame on the one who will hand him over to the conspirators, and all of them question “Is it I?”… finally Judas asks the same and Jesus says don’t play games with me. Jesus breaks the bread as a symbol of his body, and the cup to drink in remembrance of his blood which will be shed for them (and us) for the forgiveness of our sins in the days, years, decades, and so on to come.

Verses 31-46 Jesus explains to them how hard the crucifixion will be on them, and their faith. Peter along with the others say there is no way they could deny him, but Jesus assures them no no Peter you will deny me three times. You may think it is easy to say now but come time it will not be as easy. Jesus goes to the garden of Gethsemane to pray. While he prays to God his Father he asks isn’t there any other way- drink the dreg (poison), or just simply forgive everyones sins and forget about the crucifixion? Three long prayers but what is to be done has a purpose, for God’s only Son to die this way for the world’s sins. The disciples were there with Jesus but fell asleep- after his third prayer Jesus wakes the disciples and says let’s go, my betrayer is here.

Judas arrived not a minute later with the high priests and swords were present. Jesus explains that if he wanted he could send God and an army to save him but that is not what is suppose to happen. These people are here to fulfill the prophetic writings and he will not fight them just as he didn’t in the temple. The disciples flee except for Peter who followed in the distance to see where they would bring Jesus. Jesus was brought to the temple and the court sentenced him to death when he agreed that yes he was the son of God, Messiah. Just as Peter was told by Jesus, he denied knowing Jesus three times within a matter of minutes. After this he realized what he had said matched Jesus’ accounts of him, and he wept.
And so here ends the twenty sixth chapter of Matthew.

Matthew 27: (Entered post 8/31/2014)
Judas tried to give back the money to let Jesus go but of course that was not going to happen. He then throws the money in the temple and with all the remorse he felt, hung himself. The thirty silver coins Judas made from betraying Jesus was then used by the high priests to buy a field to bury the homeless.

Now we are introduced to Pontius Pilate, the governor. As he is with Jesus Barabbas (infamous man in prison) and Jesus Christ in Jerusalem for the passover, Pilate’s wife sends him a message that says be careful who you prosecute because she was sent terrible dreams the night before of this. Pilate hesitates but he asks who the crowd should pardon (save) and they shout to crucify Jesus Christ. Pilate washes his hands and says this crucifixion is on them now, and the crowd says they will take the blame, along with their children and generations after them. Don’t miss that part…

The crucifixion: The governors soldiers took Jesus and spit on him, put a crown of thorns on his head, and mocked him. The headed out, saw Simon along the way and made him carry the cross, and arrived to a place called “Skull Hill” where they offered Jesus wine and myrrh as a slight pain killer (he did not take it), and nailed him to the cross. People walked by saying if you are the Son of God then save yourself! As we know this is not the plan. Mockery is all day, all night. The skys are dark, and then we hear Jesus cry out: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus dies. The temple curtain was ripped in two. It is finished. All the things Jesus warned the disciples about occurred (earthquakes, tombs open).

Late in the afternoon Joseph arrived and asked Pilate for Jesus body for burial and he honored this request. He wrapped Jesus in white linen and put him in a new tomb in the hillside and pushed a very large stone in front of it. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary stayed. The high priests remembered the part of Jesus’ story of “the third day’s rising” so they worried that the disciples would take Jesus’ body out of the grave and say he rose and people would have an uproar. (These priests, religious scholars, etc. STILL didn’t believe it was the Son of God after earthquakes and so forth after his death?? Well they sent people to secure the tomb and stay on guard to make sure this did not occur.
And so here ends the twenty seventh chapter of Matthew.

Matthew 28: (Entered post 8/31/2014)
It’s the end of the Gospel…Those of you who know the general story of Jesus know that he is not dead, he is risen from the dead to join his Father. This death is for us, to take away our sins and ultimately the biggest sacrifice God could have given for us. In this last chapter of the gospel we hear the good news, he is risen… he conquered the grave. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary return to the tomb and see blades of light and Jesus says to them go get the disciples and meet me in Galilee. The 11 disciples fall to their knees in worship and Jesus tells them to get up and go make more disciples and he will be with them all the days of their lives until the end of ages. They are commissioned and so ends the words of the gospel, the recollection of Jesus’ days on earth, death, and risen life.
And so here ends the final chapter of Matthew.

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