Contents

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Índice

 
#684

When you know God's heart you will never question His will. The will of God is His expression of His love for me. The greatest knowledge for man to possess is knowing God's will - his greatest achievement is to do it.

MATTHEW 1

The Bible opens with the Garden of Eden, and a river flowing out of it which divided into four rivers; (four in Scripture suggests the thought of going in all directions - North, West, East and South. Noah and his sons (4 in all) were placed in a newly washed world. Abraham, later, was called out of the awful idolatry of this world. By his descendants all the world was to be blest.

So Israel became God's people. His throne was in the centre - Jerusalem. It too was the centre of government and worship for all nations. Those were God's plans... separation to Himself, but for blessing far and wide. To Israel was given the Old Testament. Everything centred in them. The Saviour of the world was to be their Messiah. So when Jesus arrived He was born there.

Later, as a Man, He presented Himself to them. So this is why the first Book of the New section of the Bible opens with "Jesus Christ." This Book has many quotations of the prophets of the Old Testament days. It can be divided into four sections - First part - chapters 1 and 2. He is born in Bethlehem, according to Micah 5:2. We will mention the other parts and references as we come to them.

Mt 1:18 The virgin birth of our Lord Jesus. This is denied by many people today, but we know that the Word of God plainly teaches that our Lord Jesus was born as was promised to a virgin (Isa. 7:14).

Mt 1:21 Before He was born the wonderful name of Jesus was chosen for Him, and this name means Saviour, "for He shall save His people from their sins". Very often we shall find this word "save" while reading the Gospel.

#685

If we don't exercise our faith, Satan will emphasize our failings.

MATTHEW 2

Mt 2:1-2 About 2 years after Jesus is born, men from the east came to worship Him. They were Gentiles. They visited King Herod, who was very much disturbed when he heard of the birth of Jesus.

Mt 2:5 The Jewish leaders actually knew that Bethlehem was the city where their Messiah ought to be born, and they quote the prophecy in verse 6 to prove it.

Mt 2:8 Herod very deceitfully promises that he will come and worship Jesus also when He is found.

Mt 2:9 Amazing miracle recorded here. The star moved on to Bethlehem and stopped there. It was only 12 miles away, so the star must have been very close to identify the place so exactly.

Mt 2:11 It would seem that Jesus by that time was almost two years old (verse 16).

Mt 2:19-23 God took special care of that child. Joseph takes the little family to the land of Egypt. Read Hosea 11:1, and remember it was written about 700 years before Jesus was born! Quite remarkable, for it was from the land of Egypt that the people, the Jews, were called out many years before to come into the land of Israel.

Mt 2:22-23 Jesus, the true son of David and the King of Israel, now returns to the land of Israel. Will He come right to the throne of David? No, we find instead He goes to Galilee. Those who lived in Galilee were despised by the Jews, especially those who lived in the city of Nazareth. And so we find the Lord Jesus living among those who were looked down on. The Lord Jesus, the true King of Israel, was Himself unwanted and despised.

#686

The more submissive I am to the Lordship of Christ, the less Satan and the world will have to work with.

MATTHEW 3

Years have now passed, for Jesus has begun His work. John the Baptist appears, according to what Isaiah had prophesied in 40:3 of his Book.

Mt 3:1 John the Baptist is preaching in the wilderness. The fact that John preaches in the wilderness instead of in the temple would tell us that God's people were in a condition that did not please the Lord, and so John stands in separation from them and calls on them to repent.

Mt 3:2 We will find quite often in Matthew's Gospel - the expression "the kingdom of heaven". This does not mean heaven itself, but as we will find described later on, it refers to the fact that the Lord Jesus had come from heaven and was going to reveal to His people that which He had received from His Father in heaven.

Mt 3:6 This baptism is not at all the same as the Christian baptism that we speak of today. This was a baptism unto repentance for the sins of the people and nation of Israel.

Mt 3:7-12 John warns those who come to him for baptism that God looks at their hearts.

Mt 3:13-17 Jesus comes to John to be baptized, John, of course, is greatly surprised, for he knew that the Lord Jesus had no sins which needed to be repented of. The Lord Jesus knew that the nation of Israel was guilty of many sins... their idolatry of the past, their present self-righteous pride, so to take His place with His nation, He had asked John to baptize Him.

Mt 3:16-17 God immediately sets Him apart as being very different from every other one who was being baptized. When the Lord Jesus, came up out of the water, the voice of God is heard from heaven saying "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased". The Spirit of God descends like a dove and rests upon the Lord Jesus. Here we find the whole Trinity at the beginning of His public life.

#687

Prayer is love in need, appealing to love in power.

MATTHEW 4

Mt 4:1-11 The temptation of the Lord Jesus... a very important thing for us. Each time Satan tempted the Lord Jesus he used the word "if" in presenting his temptation. Each time the Lord answered by quoting from the Word of God. Remember this when we are faced with temptations; we are guarded by the Word of God. When Adam was in the garden of Eden, he also was tempted, and fell, and brought upon himself and upon all his descendants, the sin, suffering and death that followed. The Lord Jesus had come out of Paradise to pay for the sins of those who would believe in Him so as to be able to take them into His Paradise. As the "last Adam" He is tempted, and He meets all these temptations. Remember too, that John the Baptist was not a Christian, he was like all the Old Testament believers. He was only prominent for possibly a few months.

Mt 4:12-16 The Lord Jesus hears that John was cast into prison and goes into Galilee. Many places and many towns heard the wonderful message of the kingdom of heaven.

Mt 4:19 "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men". What a wonderful thing for each one of us who knows the Lord Jesus as our Saviour to be one too.

Mt 4:23 The Lord Jesus teaches in their synagogues "the gospel of the kingdom" and He healed all manner of sickness among the people. He is gradually gathering a little remnant around Him, which will turn into, and be the beginning of the church of God, of which each one of us which believes, is a part.

#688

There are a great many people who endure religion instead of enjoying Christ.

MATTHEW 5

We now come to what is often called "the sermon on the mount". The Lord Jesus tells His people the principles (rules) of the kingdom that He had come to set up. But He, the King was rejected and crucified. The kingdom has been postponed, so that although we read these beautiful verses, we know that they have not yet been fulfilled.

Mt 5:5 Are the meek inheriting the earth today? No, but the wicked and ungodly are. Remember that after the believers are taken to glory (maybe today), the Lord shall return to set up this kingdom.

Mt 5:11-12 If we wish to be faithful to the rejected One, we also may find ourselves persecuted and falsely accused for the Lord's sake. We can rejoice and be exceeding glad. Although these instructions were so sweet and perfect, yet it is Himself, blessed Lord Jesus, that has the power of attraction for us. If you have the time, read Deuteronomy 14 for the connection of Israel with the Old Testament and see how our chapter was spoken to this same nation. Then read Gal. 3:12,13 to understand what grace has done for us.

Mt 5:17-48 The Lord Jesus speaks of the law of Moses, He not only confirms the authority of these laws, but He speaks of the heart of man. The law of Moses only took notice of actions, but God looks at the heart. Man is more responsible today than he was while under the law of Moses.

Mt 5:22 It was very wrong to be angry with one's brother.

Mt 5:27-28 That which is hidden in the heart of people is known to God.

Mt 5:33-37 It is very common today for people to swear in order to make their statements more sure. Such language is not at all pleasing to Him.

Mt 5:38-48 This is what the Lord delights to see in those who wish to please Him... this was the way in which He Himself acted when He was here. There is no one who loved His enemies like the Lord Jesus.

#689

Our love for the Saviour is expressed in our love for His people.

MATTHEW 6

Mt 6:1-8 The way in which many people prayed, and performed other good deeds. When we show deeds of kindness to others, or when we pray, it is much better to do these so that we will not attract attention to ourselves.

Mt 6:9-13 "The Lord's prayer" was very important for the disciples of that day because their hopes lay in a kingdom on earth, whereas our hopes are heavenly. We are waiting for the Lord to call us up. After we are there for a while, then the Lord will bring us back to reign over this earth with Him. He will then set up His kingdom on earth. But just before He returns, the little Jewish remnant (which has believed the "gospel of the kingdom" - see 24:14)... which will be preached on earth, shall pray that prayer.

Mt 6:19-34 We can take these words to ourselves for our personal daily needs. There is great instruction for each of us.

Mt 6:21 If our treasure is down here in this world, we will have many anxious cares and those treasures can vanish very quickly; but our treasure is in heaven (the Lord Jesus).

Mt 6:33 The same thought.

#690

Our trials on earth put nature to the test; they bring out what is in the heart. They prove what is in us, and thanks be to God, they bring out what is in Him for us!

MATTHEW 7

Mt 7:1-6 Remembering our own weakness and failure when trying to be a help to others. This 6th verse refers more to our individual contact with people rather than the general preaching of the gospel.

Mt 7:7-12 We can enjoy a happy trust in God as our Father, and bring every problem to Him.

Mt 7:13-14 A narrow gate and a narrow way which lead to life; and a wide gate and a broad way that leads to destruction (death). Which are you on?

Mt 7:15-23 There will be many who will bring in false teachings and we need to be on guard. There is a day coming when the Lord Jesus will say to those false teachers "depart from Me, I never knew you".

Mt 7:24-29 There are many who have heard the words of the Lord, but have never received the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour and yet are acting outwardly in a way that may seem to be very religious.

#691

The knowledge and acknowledgment of grace produces worship and obedience in the believer.

MATTHEW 8

Mt 8:1-4 In the days of Moses, if a man were to reach out and touch a leper, he would immediately become unclean. But the Lord Jesus was able to reach out His hand, touch this poor leper and cleanse the leprosy! Each one of us needs to feel the touch of our blessed Lord day by day.

Mt 8:5-l3 The Lord Jesus heals one who was not a Jew. A lovely reminder that the grace of God would soon go out to us who are Gentiles. The Lord Jesus is able to heal both diseases.

Mt 8:17 There are those who would wrongly teach that the Lord Jesus bore these sicknesses and infirmities while He was dying on the cross, and that, therefore, we who know Him as our Saviour can have all our illnesses healed. Not true, as we can see from this verse. He participates in our sicknesses.

Mt 8:20 This is the first time that Jesus is called "the Son of Man". This was His title in showing His lowliness. We also see the first intimation of His rejection. This title appears 21 times in Matthew.

Mt 8:23-27 The Lord Jesus had power to still the great storm on the sea.

Mt 8:28-34 The demons who possessed these men immediately recognized the Lord Jesus and called Him the Son of God. How remarkable this is that even demons recognized who the Lord Jesus was, although many of the scribes and priests refused to recognize Him as the Son of God.

Mt 8:34 A very sad ending to this story. The people actually asked Him to depart out of their coasts. That which happened to the swine in verse 32 is probably a picture of that which happened to the proud Jews who rejected the Lord Jesus and refused to own Him as the Son of God.

#692

I would be in a lot of trouble if His love were dependent upon what I am and do.

MATTHEW 9, Verses 1-17

Mt 9:1-8 If a great man appeared on earth, and brought unimagined goodness and power, and could deal with every problem of the human race, and cure them... he would be received with great acclaim. But such an One has come! We read of how He was received. The heart of man has been exposed - such is our heart.

Mt 9:9 A lovely contrast... Matthew, the writer of this very book not only hears the invitation from the blessed Lord, but obeys Him. Are we?

Mt 9:10-13 All spiritual intelligence depends on what we think of the Lord Jesus. These religious leaders did not believe in Him, so this is how their minds worked. This principle runs all through the believer's life... the more we believe in Him, the more we understand His Word. And we can lose this understanding too through carelessness.

Mt 9:14-17 The religion of the Jews - the Old Testament is pictured by the "old garment" and "old bottles"; Christianity by the "new cloth" and "new wine". The old and new cannot mix with the new one. If they are put together they make the old worse. But many believers today are doing this very thing... they are mixing Christian truth with traditions from the Old Testament - rituals - music - altars, beautiful buildings - clergy - All these are the old. Read 2 Corinthians 5:17.

#693

We are accepted in the blood and wrapped up in His love.

MATTHEW 9, Verses l8-35

Mt 9:18-26 (20-22 a brief interruption - an example of what faith in Christ could do). A Gentile in authority displays great faith in the Person of Christ, and we see the fruit of this faith.

Mt 9:27-31 Another example of believing (faith is believing). "Believe ye that I am able?" This is the key to growth in your life.

Mt 9:32-35 Notice that it was the "gospel of the kingdom" Jesus was preaching, not the gospel that we preach today. The book of Matthew never tells us the gospel of the grace of God. That gospel came out after Jesus died and rose again.

#694

Only eyes washed by tears can see clearly.

MATTHEW 10

In the last 3 verses of yesterday's chapter, we read of the Lord speaking about sending out workers into His harvest field. Today's chapter tells us He cares, and so He sends out the laborers... His 12 apostles. He is the Lord of the harvest. But to properly understand the book of Matthew, you need to remember that it is mainly to Israel that all refers. Verse 5 makes this plain - they were not to go outside the borders of Israel. They were to preach that the kingdom of heaven was going to be set up. They were to present the Messiah.

Mt 10:5-15 The instructions in detail what they were to say, and where they were to say it.

Mt 10:16-42 More general statements for the disciples. All this was said and done before He was rejected, and therefore it never was carried out. The Lord Jesus when He comes in power and glory (when we believers come back with Him) then He will carry out all this chapter. (For the believer now it is a kingdom in mystery for there is no visible king.)

#695

A spiritual person is one who recognizes that he is made of the same stuff as those that fall. Galatians 6:1

MATTHEW 11

Mt 11:2-9 John the Baptist is in prison because he had the courage to speak out against the immorality of King Herod (see 14:3-4). In prison he hears reports of the work of Christ. In his Jewish heart there lurked some uncertainties. "If Jesus is the real Messiah, doing all these miracles, why am I, the forerunner, in prison?" would be something like the thoughts he had. But Christ, the Messiah, having come, He was going to be His own witness; so John's work was done. But he was being tested, and the Lord graciously sends a reassuring message to John. Instead of John the Baptist being a witness about Jesus, the Lord becomes a witness about John.

Mt 11:20-24 This is the Lord's statement of what awful punishment lay ahead for these very cities in which the Lord was visiting. The more a person hears and therefore knows, the more responsible he is. We must not forget this fact.

Mt 11:25-30 The Lord is being rejected, and He feels it. He speaks to His Father, and we are allowed to hear the words. He reveals the Father to us believers.

Mt 11:28-30 When all the world has turned against Jesus, He holds out one hope for everyone - "Come unto Me".

Mt 11:29 Then, when we have come to Him, and received Him as our Saviour, He says this. In this invitation we find responsibility for every believer. Then we find rest.

#696

God hears the heart without words, but never hears words without the heart.

MATTHEW 12, Verses 1-30

Mt 12:1-8 This story has a meaning. The Lord, having been rejected, is telling that the test is finished. He had presented Himself to His people Israel and they had rejected Him. Jesus refers to the Old Testament scriptures where David, rejected by King Saul, eats the holy bread which only the priests were to eat. The two incidents are through rejection - David and the Son of David - Jesus. The whole Jewish system of the Old Testament, including the Sabbath day, was passing away. One greater than the Sabbath had come!... but they would not have Him. One greater than the temple was there (verse 6) but they did not recognize Him.

Mt 12:10-13 Another proof that the Sabbath was being set aside.

Mt 12:14 The first time His destruction is openly planned. They were children of the murderer (John 8:44).

Mt 12:15 He had the opposite in His heart... He healed all who came to Him.

Mt 12:22-30 A man blind and dumb... a clear picture of Israel before God. An awful accusation the unbelievers make against the Lord Jesus, thus proving their true condition. Jesus proves how absurd their argument was... Satan would not destroy his own kingdom.

#697

Among Christians, death has not only lost its sting, but its name also. Now it is known as "sleep" (Acts 7:60).

MATTHEW 12, Verses 3l-50

 

Mt 12:31-37 Some people today believe that they could commit the "unpardonable sin". There is no sin a person can commit today which cannot be washed clean by the blood of Christ - (1st Epistle of John 1:7). The Lord Jesus was preaching "the gospel of the kingdom". The death, blood shedding and resurrection of Christ had not yet taken place, the Holy Spirit had not yet come to earth as a Person, so these words apply to a person in that day, under the law. They will also in the day to come, after we are gone to glory. The Spirit's work was then displayed in the miracles Jesus performed. That display of the work of the Spirit of God shall return in the millennium (Heb. 6:5).

Mt 12:38-45 They ask for a sign! These are wicked men (verse 45) and the Lord takes this occasion to pronounce awful judgments to come. (The story of Jonah being thrown into the sea, was a picture of the death and resurrection of Christ).

Mt 12:46-50 Once more, the Lord is showing the changes which resulted from His rejection. His relationships with His family were all being set aside. With this chapter, ends the presenting of Jesus to Israel as Messiah. He is rejected.

#698

Need and helplessness are ever the golden keys to unlock the treasures of grace. If need is great, infinite resources are open for faith to draw upon.

MATTHEW 13, Verses 1-23

Mt 13:1 When the "house" has been mentioned in Matthew up to this chapter, it was referring to Israel. The Lord here goes out of the "house". (See yesterday's comments). He sits by the seaside.

Mt 13:2 Now His message is going to have a wide range ("to multitudes"), beyond even Israel... it was to the Gentiles, us.

Mt 13:3-9 The Sower (Christ) goes out with the seed (the Word of God). Up until this chapter we could say that the Lord came to earth looking for "fruit" in Israel; but found none. Here He starts something new. The seed is always the same, what makes the difference is the soil... how the Word of God is received. These parables are not of salvation, for we could never lose that.

Mt 13:11-17 Why the Lord speaks in parables (in riddles). He makes a distinction for the first time between the nation of Israel and a little group which we could call "the remnant".

Mt 13:18-23 He explains the meaning of the parable. The more we understand the Word, the better we know the Lord - John 17:3. Fruit is produced in your life according to how much God's Word takes root in you.

#699

He showed them His hands and His side, not to declare that man hated Him, but that God loved them. John 20:20

MATTHEW 13, Verses 24-58

Mt 13:24-34 This parable is more general, more public. It is a view of the western world (Christendom). The true believers and those who only profess it all living in the same world. (Of course, not that we are to mix with them.) The Lord doesn't take us immediately to heaven when He saves us. The day will come when He will separate the believers from the unbelievers (the mere professors) who then will be cast into hell (the oven). The tares (weeds) are the bad doctrine which is preached.

Some do not like to be reminded that to go on with an organization which permits that which they know is contrary to God's Word, is allowing Satan to plant these tares in their life. A farmer once said that for every food-bearing grain, there was a weed which looked like it. Let us all beware of bad teaching. Let us have the courage to separate from it to Christ our Centre. These three parables have presented the kingdom of heaven in its outward form in the world. Everyone, whether truly saved or not, who says "I am a Christian", is in this kingdom of heaven. It is profession.

Mt 13:44-50 These three are more inward... it is like a view which God the Spirit has of things as they are today. (They were more for the disciples than for the multitude, verse 36).

Mt 13:44 The field is the world; the treasure is the believers; the man is Christ; selling all, giving Himself, spirit, soul and body. He buys it, and redeems the believers out of the world.

Mt 13:45-50 The pearl is the believers; the net is the word of the gospel; the sea is the restless world. What an end for the unbeliever, what a beginning (joy with Christ) for the believer!

Mt 13:52 Things new and old. The Jews knew the doctrine of the kingdom, but that the kingdom would go out to the whole world was new to them.

Mt 13:54-58 The leaders had no heart for Him and see Him only as the carpenter's son!

#700

Attachment to Christ is the only secret of detachment from the world.

MATTHEW 14

Mt 14:1-2 Herod (the Roman Provincial Governor) was able to say correct things about the political affairs of Israel, but he did not know the truth of spiritual matters.

Mt 14:3-12 A true picture of the heart of an unsaved person. Herod puts his own glory first. Then he rids himself of the man (John) who gave him a bad conscience. A good conscience makes us calm and quiet. Herod's bad conscience kept reminding him of John whom he had murdered. The works of Jesus made Herod think that John was risen from the dead, and the thought filled him with terror.

Mt 14:13-14 What a contrast with the tender heart of Jesus. Herod was a murderer, Jesus was a healer.

Mt 14:15-21 The third view of hearts... the disciples. They had not learned much from Jesus. "Send the people away", say His disciples. "Bring them ... to me", Jesus responds. The disciples were looking at the problem, not at the Person.

Mt 14:22-33 Beautiful instruction as to the works of the Lord Jesus in heaven now. First He sustained Peter on the water... that is like the work the Lord Jesus is doing in heaven as our great High Priest... He is praying for us and keeping us in communion with God. He is praying for us and keeping us in communion with God (Hebrews 7:25, 9:24). But when Peter sinks because he sees the waves and is afraid, the Lord immediately is beside him, and lifts him up. This illustrates the second work, and that is, the Lord Jesus as our Advocate. He acts as such when we sin or fail (1st Epistle of John 2:1). The Lord Jesus now in heaven is both our High Priest (keeping us in communion) and Advocate (when we sin). The word "advocate" means "one who pleads for another"... like a lawyer.

#701

You are listening to Satan, you who seek even the least little bit of the world.

MATTHEW 15

Mt 15:1-9 Jesus is being rejected by Israel in the last few chapters. Notice that His teachings are quite changed from here on. Jewish leaders wanted only to keep up the religious traditions. As a result of this rejection, the Lord is going to tell them that the kingdom is all set aside, and that He is going to die. Religious tradition is one of Satan's greatest weapons. (Are we willing to bow to the Word of God and check everything by it?)

Mt 15:10 Hear! Understand! It's as simple as that.

Mt 15:11-20 In our flesh there is nothing but evil! It is not what goes into us which soils us, but it is that which comes out of us. Do we cling to the idea that there is a little bit of good in us? Then we are not hearing. Hear and understand (verse 10).

Mt 15:21-28 This woman doesn't pretend there is any good in her ... she brings her sorrow to Him. He delights to bring His love. He is the only source of all true joy, strength, knowledge and communion.

Mt 15:29-3l Are you bringing your sorrows, trials, problems to Him; and hearing? Some do the first and don't listen. He is our Healer.

Mt 15:32-39 He feeds us! Are we drawing from Him? What a message for our conscience. The disciples see only the problems. Hear and understand! They didn't hear, they only reason. But the blessed Lord didn't stop (read 2 Tim. 2:13 for encouragement).

#702

The human life cannot be invaded by the Divine without making a difference.

MATTHEW 16, Verses 1-12

With this chapter comes a whole, entirely new subject, never mentioned before... the church (Christ's assembly), Jesus was going to build. But let's review what has been given, and now is being set aside. (1) The total failure of Israel in their about 1,500 years of testing (since Moses and the law were given). (2) The uselessness of a religion of forms and ceremonies. (3) Man's heart has been exposed to a Perfect Man among them. It is rotten through and through. But still, God cannot be defeated, even although the generation of people Jesus was among had seen a Perfect Man, all this was abandoned.

Mt 16:1 The combination of Pharisees and Sadducees was very unusual, for they hated each other. But opposition to Christ always unites. They ask for a sign! They have had signs before their eyes in every miracle which He performed, yet they wouldn't accept Him. But they will get a sign when it shall be too late! Turn to chapter 24:29-30. God never acts without first giving warnings.

Mt 16:2-5 He speaks plainly about their seeking a sign. Their refusing Him, causes Him to do the last sentence of verse 4. What a terrible thing to happen to anyone.

Mt 16:6-12 Even the disciples are slow to believe Him, and to understand... these two things always go together. Evil doctrine is generally pictured by "leaven" (yeast) in Scripture.

#703

We need the divine disposition developed in our souls through the enjoyment of Him.

MATTHEW 16, Verses 13-28

Mt 16:13-20 Here we come to the third class. The first was the haughty, unbelieving Pharisees, (they rejected the Messiah). The second, the disciples. They were conscious of the divine authority in Christ, but were careless. The third, Peter, one who is inspired of God to utter a glorious statement. He confesses Christ as the Son of the Living God, and the One Who is just about to return to glory as the Son of Man!

Many people listen to bad doctrine on these verses, and believe that Peter was the rock on which the church was to be built. But this is wrong. It is the statement which he made, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God", which is the rock foundation on which the church is built. Peter was given the keys of the kingdom of heaven on earth, not the keys of the church (the church of Rome claims this).

Mt 16:21-28 The great change in the Lord's teachings now takes place. This is the first time He tells what was going to happen to Him. It is worth noting that four times in this Gospel this is told; here, 17:22; 20:17; 26:2 and three of these mention that He would rise the third day. Yet when He rose up the disciples didn't believe! Mark 16:9-11.

The kingdom which He came to set up is now deferred. (It shall be established in the millennium). He is going to die. Salvation through His death and resurrection is going to be the gospel which will be preached. (1 Cor 15:1-4)

#704

The gentleness of Christ is the most beautiful ornament a Christian can wear.

MATTHEW 17, Verses 1-13

There are three things which replace the Jewish religion (Judaism); (1) the kingdom of heaven as it exists at the present. This we read of in the 13th chapter. Every person who claims to be a Christian is in it, but not necessarily saved. (2) The church of God. All, and only true believers are in it. (We received just a glimpse of it in the 16th chapter.) (3) The kingdom in glory. This is a brief view into the future, in the transfiguration of our blessed Lord (verses 1-8), when He shall be glorified. Every believer in Him shall see Him in this way!

Mt 17:3 Moses had been buried by the Lord (Deut. 34:5-6). Elijah had been caught to heaven by the Lord (2 Kings 2:11). We could also say that Moses represented the law, Elijah representing the prophets. Both pass away. The three disciples are not to put Jesus on a level with these men, for God the Father speaks from heaven (verse 5).

Mt 17:8 If it were true of us all, what different people we would be!

Mt 17:9 The Son of God was going to be glorified as Son of Man. This latter title is only taken after He has been rejected and humiliated. Try to get this point. Because He was willing to go so low, God will give Him the highest place, and as a Man.

Mt 17:10-13 "Elias" is the same man as Elijah. They are confused about Elijah being on the mountain. The Lord explains that John the Baptist announced the coming of Jesus (John 1:6-8 and 15) when He came the first time... but he is like what Elijah shall be in the future, when he (Elijah) shall return and announce the coming of the Lord in His glory.

#705

Nothing wounds love so much as indifference.

MATTHEW 17, Verses 14-27

Mt 17:14-21 Privileged as these three had been to see the Lord's glory, this did not help them to be able to cure the poor moon-struck (that is what "lunatic" means) man. Prayer and sincerity attach us to God as nothing else will do.

Mt 17:22-23 The second time He explains carefully what would be done to Him. We will hear it twice more. So, four times He tells it, and they couldn't even understand it, let alone believe it (see Luke 18:34).

Mt 17:24-27 The Jews come to collect a tax for the temple. They try to catch Him. Christ was Son of the God of the temple, and includes Peter with Himself in that place of privilege. As such they didn't need to pay the tax. But He takes the place of being a stranger and pays! He shows Who He really is by this miracle.

#706

Most of the decisions we make in daily life can be guided by the precepts, promises or principles found in the Scriptures. The better we know the Word of God, the better we will know the will of God.

MATTHEW 18

Chapter 18 connects itself with chapter 16, for chapter 17 has not yet come to pass. Remember that Jesus was being rejected and was going toward the cross. Everything therefore is changing. They are here being taught how they were to act in this new situation... a real contrast to their old Jewish or natural ways.

Mt 18:1-6 Humility teaches us that we need to be like little children.

Mt 18:7-14 Self is the cause of so much trouble. The Lord here shows that if we are going to learn from Him, we must be willing to humble ourselves.

Mt 18:15-20 Instruction for when another believer offends you. Start out, not by spreading stories about the other, but by going right to him. What sorrows we would avoid if we carried out this instruction. What healing there would be among believers! The assembly here refers to those believers who are gathered by the Spirit of God to the name of the Lord Jesus, as actually happened when He, the Holy Spirit came to earth (Acts 2:1-4 and 1 Cor. 12:13). What disobedience we see today when the church is divided into scores of denominations. Isn't it the same unbelief as we have been seeing in the disciples in this Book of Matthew?

There is power in the midst of even two or three so gathered. The decisions may not always be right, but the authority is there.

Mt 18:20 The name to which we are gathered. It does not say "gather", for this is not a voluntary association. The Spirit of God gathers us. The question is, are we willing to believe it and to let Him?

Mt 18:20-22 God was willing to forgive Israel even after they had crucified His beloved Son - Acts 3:19-21. If God is so forgiving, ought not we to be the same?

Mt 18:23-35 A graphic illustration of the above. If we translate that money into today's currency, we see the point. The first man owed about ten million dollars. That is something like our sin debt to God, He frankly forgave us. The second man owed twenty dollars. Like our debts to one another!

#707

There is not a joy in heaven that we have not the taste of now, except the glorified body.

MATTHEW 19

Mt 19:1-12 In answer to this question, the Lord Jesus takes them right back to God's original institution of marriage. He recognizes that God had allowed Moses to write bills of divorcement because of the hardness of their heart. But we believers now know, from such scriptures as Eph. 5:22-33, that God had an even more glorious purpose in establishing marriage. It was to be a picture of a union which could never, never be broken - the union of Christ and His bride, the Church, or assembly. This is a spiritual union. It has been made possible by Christ's death on the cross. So in this way the Spirit of God, through Christ, provides a spiritual power for the believer which is more powerful than nature.

Mt 19:13-15 God's creation was very good (Gen. 1:31). Though much of it has been ruined by sin, much also remains. Children are an example of that first creation. We love children, they are God's gift to us. We see here the value God places on them, for when we believe we become His children. 1 John 3:1-2.

Mt 19:16-22 This man, who came to Jesus, had kept the relationships of life. What more was needed? Paul, before he was saved, was as blameless as this man. But the heart was away from God. We do not here have the gospel, for Jesus had not yet died. But it shows a Jew trying to find life with his old heart, and he can't. So he goes away sorrowful.

Mt 19:23-30 The disciples also needed instruction. In the Old Testament, riches had been a sign of God's blessing. But no longer. Now blessing is in the heart.

Mt 19:27-30 Eternal life comes from believing that Christ died to put away my sins from God's sight forever; and not keeping the law. Remember, Jesus had not yet died and risen again. Now Romans 6:23 makes all plain and simple for today. Yet people today still try to follow Christ's teachings without accepting Him as their Saviour.

#708

It takes one already outside of - apart from - the world to rescue people from it, to show even to the worst, the grace of God.

MATTHEW 20

Mt 20:1-16 About rewards. (For the believer, reward is not offered to us by God as a motive or reason, but to encourage us to endure. Keep on! It is all grace, not law). Those who agreed for their penny, received their penny. Those who trusted the lord of the vineyard, received according to his heart. Which is better? This land-owner, is a picture of Christ, Who is always fair in all His dealings.

Mt 20:17-19 Here we have the third time the Lord tells of His death.

Mt 20:20-28 The Lord Jesus takes the lowest place in teaching His disciples.

Mt 20:22 The two types of suffering... "the cup", the inward suffering; "baptism" like the outward sufferings. At verse 28 ends the section which began at chapter 18:l. We could say that the chapter should end here, for the balance really belongs to chapter 21.

Mt 20:20-34 The Lord starts on His final journey to Jerusalem and death. Wonderful story. The blind men can see better than those around them, for they see the King (verse 31).

#709

We realize strength in proportion as we mistrust self. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

MATTHEW 21, Verses 1-22

Mt 21:1-11 The Old Testament had often foretold of Christ as the King to come. (Ps. 45:1, Zechariah 9:9). But, though Israel should have recognized Him, for Zechariah 9:9 says He would appear as a lowly Person; they reject and crucify their King. They were without excuse.

Mt 21:12-13 He acts what He is... holy King and Judge... He clears the temple of its corruption.

Mt 21:15-16 Children do what Israel should have done.

Mt 21:17 They reject Him first, so He abandons them (never the reverse - read Gen. 3:8, they hid first). He would not sleep in the condemned, though loved city.

Mt 21:18 He returns to the city, but not in the same way.

Mt 21:19-22 A picture of the final judgment of the Old Israel.

#710

There is no tyranny like the tyranny of a self-righteous conscience, there is no suffering like the suffering inflicted upon oneself under the goadings of a legal conscience.

MATTHEW 21, Verses 23-44

Mt 21:23-27 This rejection continues; but His wisdom silences them. Their conscience condemns them.

Mt 21:28-32 The repentant sinner, not the pretending obedient one, does the will of God. (Not very flattering for us!)

Mt 21:33-43 The man had done everything possible in his vineyard to make it produce fruit, but all failed. A parable which pictures God's work with Israel (like the whole of the Old Testament He sent prophets to Israel, one after another. Then He sent His Son, and they killed Him). But God shall not be disappointed in the end!

Mt 21:42 The stone, of course is Christ.

Mt 21:44 The Lord Jesus came the first time, and they stumbled over Him, but when He comes the next time in judgment He shall grind the unbelieving to powder.

#711

The Christian's normal mode of life is being governed by Christ, as a man's body by his head.

MATTHEW 22

(Yesterday's story, in verses 33-46 is an amazing summary of the Old Testament).

Mt 22:1-14 This is a summary of the New Testament. In the other, the Son is dead, in this He is alive again, and the King (God) is making a wedding for His Son (the Lord Jesus.)

Mt 22:3-8 Unbelievable, but true. The Gospel of salvation goes first to the Jews (the ones who had crucified God's Son). See Acts 28:27 and 28.

Mt 22:9-10 Not very flattering picture of us Gentiles to whom the Gospel, the invitation to the wedding, has gone out. Pure grace has made some of us accept!

Mt 22:11-13 A view from God's side. Fine outward appearance will not provide entrance to heaven. What suited the King would alone be allowed there.

Mt 22:15-46 Many hear the invitation, no one would voluntarily accept, and a few are chosen by God. Three classes of enemies confront the Lord. First the Pharisees... they prided themselves on their holiness, devotion to God, and knowledge of the law. The Herodians were a party which sided with the Roman-appointed king Herod. They joined with him in trying to blend the Jews with Grecian and Roman customs and looseness. How awful the mixture when the Pharisees joined with the Herodians against Jesus! Satan of course was behind it.

Mt 22:22-33 The Sadducees believed that the soul perished with the body and therefore there was no resurrection (Acts 23:8). The Lord condemned them severely (3:7). Forerunners of today's infidels and reasoners. These three groups contended for different things, and all were wrong. In their hatred of Christ, they were willing to unite and forget their differences.

#712

Faith does not look at outward circumstances, at what is possible or not possible; faith disregards what seems, and looks to God.

MATTHEW 23

This chapter is a denunciation by the Lord of those who led the people to reject Him, the only One Who could bring them into blessing! The taking of a place and name among the people, whether it be "Rabbi" or "Father" is all condemned. People who today use the name of "Reverend", come under the same condemnation. The disciples were forbidden to follow their works, though the Old Testament scriptures were still to be read and followed. These leaders not only would not go into the kingdom themselves, but forbade the people to go in!

Mt 23:37 What a cry from the lips of our blessed Lord! What a heart-break for Him. What love for His people!

Mt 23:39 Yet He looked forward to a day when Israel would turn to the same blessed Jesus. Read Psalm 118. It is still future.

#713

It is not what you eat that nourishes your body. It is what you digest.

MATTHEW 24, Verses 1-28

The Lord here starts to tell the future of the world.

Mt 24:1-2 The disciples still thought that the great temple was to be the centre of God's dealings with His people. They did not yet know that the true temple was the Lord's body.

Mt 24:3-5 The Lord warns that many will try to deceive the believers. (Today we are seeing it as never before).

Mt 24:6-14 These refer to the first half of the tribulation period. For those who wish to go into prophecy a little more, we might mention that if you read about the 7 seals in Revelation 6, you will see the similarity to these points; wars and rumors of wars (verse 6), famine and pestilence (verse 7), false prophets (verse 11). But it is possible that these verses are an outline of that whole chapter.

Mt 24:15-31 In the middle of the 7 years of the tribulation, great changes take place. The false Messiah who has pretended to be Christ for the first three and a half years, will suddenly announce who he really is - the Antichrist, against God. Then the real tribulation begins.

#714

The wisdom of God is not an extension of man's wisdom, it is not an improvement of man's wisdom, but in every case, it is the opposite of man's wisdom.

MATTHEW 24, Verses 29-5l

Mt 24:29-31 Are like a quieter review of the same period. At the end of these seven years, the Lord Jesus appears out of heaven, (and we believers will be with Him. Revelation 19:14).

Mt 24:32 to ch. 25:30 Is like a parenthesis, and points toward this same great event. (Won't that be some day for us! Read 2 Tim. 4:8. Are you loving that moment?)

Mt 24:36-5l These refer to the things which will take place on this earth (after we believers have been taken to heaven). Be sure you understand this.

Mt 24:40-41 This is not the rapture. The unbelievers are taken and the believers left (just the opposite). It is interesting to see the Lord's different titles during these changing events.

Mt 24:4l-44 He is seen as "Son of Man" in verse 44; as "Lord" in 25:20; and as "King" in 25:34.

#715

Take your circumstances from the Lord, and your difficulties to the Lord.

MATTHEW 25

Mt 25:1-13 This well-known parable has many application, let us apply it to the Lord's coming. Today even the true believers (the 5 wise) are going to sleep. Then before the Lord comes there is a restoration of the truth that the Lord is coming. This hope was lost to the church for hundreds and hundreds of years, and was only restored in the early days of 1800. We are close to His coming for us. The foolish are caught without oil (life or the Holy Spirit) and the door is shut on them forever!

Mt 25:14-30 This parable can be applied to our service down here. Three people are given different abilities. The first two have something in common... they know their Master. They have different abilities, but their rewards are the same. It does not matter how much ability we have, but how well we know the Lord. Then the third man. Though he said he knew the Master, he did not at all. Do not forget, this is not speaking about salvation, for a believer can never be lost, but his service can be all lost unless he learns about the Lord. Many believers don't seem to grow in the knowledge of the Lord (see 2 Peter 3:18).

Mt 25:3l-46 The Lord Jesus will come in His glory and shall gather the living nations before Him, and shall separate the people one from the other. Those on His right side shall populate the earth during the millennium and the unbelievers on His left shall be cast into hell directly. (They shall not stand before the throne of Rev. 20:12).

#716

The only failure of an Old Testament saint recorded in the New Testament is that of Elijah making intercession to God against Israel - against his own brethren. (Romans 11:2-3)

MATTHEW 26, Verses 1-35

Mt 26:1-2 With great calmness the Lord tells the disciples for the fourth and last time what is about to happen. The True Passover was to be sacrificed ... the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world.

Mt 26:6-13 The same person - Mary, sister of Lazarus as in John 12, but here the attention is more on Jesus.

Mt 26:8-11 Spending anything on Jesus is a waste in the eyes of the world.

Mt 26:14-16 The complete contrast with Mary. Judas, possibly seeing all this money wasted, is roused to carry out his dreadful deed... the betrayal of our blessed Lord. Compare this with Exodus 21:32, the same amount (the price of a slave) that the Lord was sold by Judas for.

Mt 26:17-29 The Lord now institutes the supper. What an experience for His disciples to hear Him speak these words. Do we respond according to the Scriptures?

Mt 26:30-35 They hear further words from His lips as to what was to happen, yet they didn't believe that He was going to rise from the dead.

#717

If you could have chosen a period of time in which to have lived you couldn't have chosen a more blessed time than the present - especially with the Lord's coming so imminent.

MATTHEW 26, Verses 36-75

Mt 26:36-46 The agony He went through in the garden of Gethsemane as He thought of the cross can be understood (a bit) by the words He used as He spoke to His Father in heaven. But all was settled here. We will hear different words from Him on the cross... watch for them. Only some are in this Gospel. The Lord was forsaken by God but not by the Father.

Mt 26:47-56 The dreadful scene at His betrayal... The flesh acting in Judas, but also in Peter. Alas in them all... "then all the disciples forsook Him and fled."

Mt 26:57-75 They are leading Him to Caiaphas. Peter followed Him, but how? Notice the last four words of verse 58 (they thought!).

Mt 26:59 Corruption and violence go in a parallel line through Scripture.

Mt 26:64 They hear a clear statement as to Who He is from His own blessed lips.

Mt 26:67 Remember that they do this to our Lord before He is condemned.

Mt 26:69-75 Peter is full of self-confidence, and yet never really giving up his faith, for his poor heart was true. The Lord's prayer for him (Luke 22:32), has been answered. The Lord's look, full of grace, broke him down, and he went out and wept bitterly. It was the sorrow of repentance, not despair, which was the blessed result in his heart.

#718

Do you imagine that the choicest blessings are placed on some high shelf which you must climb to reach? They are placed within the reach of the lowly - to have them you must stoop.

MATTHEW 27, verses 1-31

It starts with a "morning"; a dreadful night had just passed; Jesus had been spit on and struck by the religious leaders; now we see Him taken before the Roman governor, Pilate, that He might be put to death! The only perfect Man Who ever lived! In the book of Job 4:7, two questions were asked; read them, and then think of what this world did to this "innocent" and "righteous" Man. (v. 4).

Mt 27:1-10 The Jews could not put any one to death, only the Roman governor could do this. Judas seems to have thought that the Lord would escape as He had done before. Satan could lead him to do this dreadful act, but he could not protect him from the result of sin. What was the money to him now!

Mt 27:9-10 Notice that even what Judas had done was predicted in the Old Testament (Zechariah 11:12 & 13),almost 500 years before it happened. In V. 3 "repented himself" means he had painful regret for what he had done.

Mt 27:11-31 The trial before Pilate. The Lord's own testimony is the foundation of all... "thou sayest". The Truth itself was standing before Pilate! He was the "Son of God" before the priests, and King before the Roman Governor.

Mt 27:14-24 Weak Pilate tries to find a way to release Jesus. His heart too is exposed to us. His wife's dream adds to his dilemma. These acknowledged the Lord's innocence. Judas, v. 4; Pilate's wife, v. 19; Pilate, v. 24; Herod, Luke 23:15; one of the thieves, Luke 23;41; the centurion, Luke 23:47 and those with him, V. 54. At least seven! He gives way to the priests' desires and yields Jesus to their will.

Mt 27:25 A cry which they shall remember in a day yet future.

Mt 27:26-31 They would rather have a murderer than Jesus! Then the Roman soldiers take Jesus and begin a series of dreadful, shameful insults before taking Him outside the city to crucify Him.

#719

We can be thankful for difficulties which God allows to come into our lives; they serve a purpose of weaning us from this world.

MATTHEW 27, Verses 32-66

Mt 27:32-44 The insults and cruelties against the Lord do not decline as the crucifixion takes place. Usually men grow silent in moments of death, but not here. In Psalm 69:19-21 we read of how He felt inwardly.

Mt 27:45-46 So we might not be forsaken. See also Heb. 13:5. Read it also in Psalm 22, written almost a thousand years before.

Mt 27:50 His life was yielded up. No man took it from Him.

Mt 27:51 Read Heb. 10:19-20.

Mt 27:55-56 Faithful women knew God's thoughts, as we shall see shortly.

Mt 27:57-60 Not an apostle, but an unknown rich man does the work of laying the Lord's body in his own tomb.

Mt 27:62-66 The chief priests displayed more knowledge of the resurrection than the disciples. They also feared what they would not believe.

#720

Mothers, God is going to reward every effort of faith that you have sought in quietness to perform for Him.

MATTHEW 28

God's mighty power is about to be made known - Read Eph. 1:19-20. The angel does not speak to the guards, but to the faithful women. He rolls away the stone, not to let the Lord out, but to let the women see in. Notice the heaven-sent messages they give. The soldiers became as dead men (verse 4). How could the soldiers forget this! They didn't say a word about it, that we hear of.

Mt 28:8 Joy fills their hearts, and they rightly desire to share it with the disciples.

Mt 28:9-10 Jesus Himself intercepts them. The object of their joy is right in front of them. They hold Him by the feet, and "did Him homage", as the words should be. The Jews even bribe the soldiers to tell lies, to hide the truth of the resurrection. Such is the world!

Mt 28:16-20 So Jesus meets them in Galilee and there the story ends, for Israel's blessing is not a heavenly one, but an earthly. You will remember that we sometimes speak of a remnant... something which is a part, but separate from the main story.

After we believers are taken up to heaven (maybe today) God is going to open the eyes of a small number of Jews, to understand that Jesus was truly their Messiah! This little group is known as the "remnant". In our chapter today, these five verses are a picture of the future group; the ascension of the Lord isn't mentioned because this gospel is mainly about Israel, so the story goes right into the future days.

There are over 85 quotations from, or allusions to verses in the Old Testament found in Matthew. So this wonderful, instructive, but distinctly Jewish book comes to a close, yet ever to be opened to discover new treasures.

 

by Norman Berry - 1911-2001
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