Jesus Christ: 19th Journey
In this special edition of the Journey with Christ series, the Transfiguration is presented, which was an unusual event and one of the most important events as Jesus revealed His Deity to a few Disciples. We are reading in Mark 9:2-8; Matthew 17:1-8; Luke 9:28-36, as Jesus journeyed from Caesarea Philippi to a “high mountain” (probably Mount Hermon)
A week after His rebuke to Peter, Jesus went up a “high mountain” to pray, and there He was transfigured (metamorphosed). Moses and Elijah appeared and talked with Him about His death. Peter and the others fight sleep as the hours drag on, when suddenly a bright cloud comes down over them and out of it, God’s voice commanding obedience to His Son. Jesus dispelled their fear by touching them as they lay on their faces on the ground. When they looked up, Moses and Elijah were gone and Jesus was alone. Peter wants to build three tabernacles.
Here's the story: Jesus transfigures Himself to His Disciples on a high mountain, which was not far from Caesarea Philippi. It was the revelation of Christ’s Glory, and was witnessed by three chosen Disciples, to which, they saw a glimpse of the Kingdom of God.
In coming into the world in the Incarnation, Jesus put His Divine Glory aside; however, it now reappeared through His body. It was an indication of the glory He would receive after finishing the Work He came to do.
Through the Transfiguration, Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus, who talked with Jesus about His coming death, and confirming what Jesus recently told the Disciples. The Messiah would have to die before entering Glory. This confused the Disciples; however, the Father’s voice told them that it was an expression of His Satisfaction of Jesus’ entire Ministry.
God declared this Kingly Messiah as the One who would lay down His Life as the Suffering Servant.
He is God’s Prophet, to whom they needed to listen to and acknowledge. Once Jesus returned to normal, He again told the Disciples that they should not tell of what has been revealed.
This is our Beloved Savior, the One in whom the Glory resides as King and Messiah! We must honor Him all our days, trust Him, and allow His Will for our lives all our days!
There are no facts of the exact location of this place, as the Bible mentions "High Mountain", to which we see possibilities of Mount Tabor or Mount Hermon, since they had traveled to Caesarea Philippi. Mount Hermon has a connection to Moses and Elijah, who are associated with the concept of Transjordan (see Mark 9:4). This was a thoroughly Gentile area, which might lay claim to possible connections of Salvation coming to the Gentiles.
The return of Elijah was a strong connection to the Coming Day of the Lord in the prophecy noted in Malachi 4:5-6. Of course, in the Bible, we see multiple instances of high mountains and prophetic revelation being linked closely (Exodus 19:10-20:21; Deuteronomy 34:1-4; 1 Kings 18:20-40; 2 Peter 1:16-19 are all examples).
Jesus is journeying from a “high mountain” to the neighborhood of Caesarea Philippi as we read in Mark 9:14-29; Matthew 17:14-21; Luke 9:37-43. While the faith of the three Disciples was strengthened while on the mountain (Transfiguration), the faith of the other nine who were on the plain below was failing. They were not able to cure a boy who suffered from sudden fits that were uncontrollable.
After the experience on the mountain, Jesus felt frustrated of working in the midst of so much failure. However, He did not despise the uncertain faith of the boy’s father, to which He quickly healed the boy.
The reason the Disciples had failed was their lack of faith. What they needed was not a large amount of faith necessarily; however, they needed the right kind of faith. They needed a faith that relied upon the unlimited Power of God that was expressed through sincere prayers
What we can learn here: We must not hesitate to bring our children to Christ, but we must not hesitate also to have faith. We have to trust in His Power, for it can overrule satan’s power. We must always rely upon the unlimited Power of God through our prayer unto Him, so that He can work in the way that is necessary.
Jesus paid temple tax
We are reading now in Matthew 17:24-27, where Jesus journeyed from Caesarea Philippi to Capernaum. The annual temple tax was a half-shekel per person, according to Exodus 30:11-16.
Jesus was staying at Peter’s house in Capernaum, when Jewish officials came to collect the annual temple tax. Jesus told Peter and the Disciples that they did not need to pay the temple tax any longer, for now that He had come, the Temple at Jerusalem lost importance. God dwelt in the new “Temple.” They were now God’s People, and just as a king does not collect taxes from family, neither does God collect from His Family! The Jewish officials did not understand this; therefore, rather than create a misunderstanding (and further issues), Jesus pays the tax.
Jesus teaches here: We must sometimes deny our worldly interests rather than giving offense to His Will. This tells us again to deny ourselves so that we can acknowledge His Kingdom and His Will. Instead of giving our money up to the world continually, we need to submit it to the Kingdom of God and support the continuation of it! Nonetheless, this does not tell us to avoid paying taxes, but rather, we need to keep to that duty to avoid troubles and penalties.
Who is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?
Now, we turn to these Scripture: Mark 9:33-37; Matthew 18:1-5; Luke 9:46-48; John 13:3-17. The Twelve contest as to who shall be the greatest under the Messiah’s Reign. Jesus set a little child in the midst of them and declared that His subjects must be childlike.
The Disciples argued amongst themselves of who is most important in His Kingdom. Jesus reproved them and explained that the way to spiritual greatness is through choosing the lowest place and serving others. To enter into the Kingdom of God, people must humbly accept that they have no more status than a child does. Receiving Christ does not have to do with power or prestige; however, those who receive it should receive it as they would a small child.
What can we learn here? Many people speak of privileges, glory, power, etc., but unless we are all willing to become like small children, they could not enter His Kingdom. Children do not desire authority, regard outward appearances, are free from malice, are teachable, and are completely dependent (willingly) upon their parents. Therefore, those of lowly mindsets are sure to receive God’s Kingdom, and with joy nonetheless!
Then John is corrected...!!
We are now going to read in Mark 9:38-50; Matthew 18:6-14; Luke 9:49-50. If people desire to be His Disciples, they should not despise those of weak or insignificant dispositions. They should also take away things that cause them to follow their own desires instead of submitting to Jesus, because foul desires prevent people from receiving Jesus as they only lead people to hell. God will test and cleanse the Disciples, unless they want to be useful for Him in leading people to Jesus. They are instructed to cease from quarrelling and make sure that they are pure in heart. Jesus’ Disciples should have a loving concern for the weak, the helpless, and the lost. No one should have to miss His Salvation!
What does He teach? Those that want to be His Disciples must humble themselves to help others, must help Jesus in spreading the Gospel of Salvation, and cease from anything that does not bring glory unto Him.
70 * 7: Teaching on forgiveness
We now go to Matthew 18:15-35 where Jesus taught on forgiveness. Jesus teaches the Disciples of forgiveness. The Disciples of Jesus should be willing to forgive fellow believers that sin against them; however, they should also be concerned that wrongdoers recognize their sin and turn from it.
In each case of forgiveness, a believer should go to the wrongdoer privately and point out the trouble so that the person might be spiritually helped. If it fails, two or three others should be called upon to help; first to be sure that the offender is guilty, and second to appeal for reconciliation. If this also fails, the entire community of believers should appeal to the wrongdoer. If there is still no change, believer should excommunicate the offender from the fellowship, nonetheless still desiring the person’s repentance and restoration.
God has given each of His People the responsibility to forgive and deal with these cases. If they are confident their actions carry His Authority, they would not act hastily or out of a personal preconception. If they pray about the matter, they will receive His guidance and help. Peter then asks how many times to forgive someone until they take severe action against the offender.
Jesus replied that not seven times per Peter’s suggestion, but seventy times seven (meaning unlimited). Believers do not take severe action as an alternative to forgiveness or out of spite, but rather, as a concern for the offenders’ spiritual good. It does not matter how many times people do them wrong, they should forgive them.
To illustrate further, Jesus tells the story of a king that forgave a servant of a huge debt; however, the servant then refused to forgive a fellow servant of a small debt. When the king heard of that behavior, he withdrew his forgiveness. The lesson here is that God will not forgive people that do not forgive others.
How we should learn this: We should follow all of Jesus’ teachings here on forgiveness for they are important for everyone. We must forgive others for the wrong they have done to us so that Father can forgive us for what we have done wrong. It is important to forgive people no matter how many times we are done wrong, because this is what God would do for us! We should be gracious as He is!
Jesus' followers expected to give up all when they follow Him
Jesus is talking about the means of giving up things in order to follow Him, as we read now in Matthew 8:19-22; Luke 9:57-62. Three men come to Jesus, asking to be Disciples, to which, they did not realize the sacrifices they would have to make in following Him. The first one was told to think seriously about his intentions, because following Him would bring hardship physically including discomfort. The second person was warned that responsibilities to Jesus should come before worldly ones. Those that are spiritually dead, that is, those who are only interested in this life, can look after everyday life.
However, the Disciples of Jesus have to attend to the more important business of the Kingdom of God. The third man was warned that Jesus’ Disciples must give themselves to Him completely, because there is no place for those whose real interests are elsewhere.
Jesus teaches: As Jesus taught in the Parables of the Kingdom of God, one must be willing to leave all He has behind for the Kingdom of God. If one is unwilling to do so, they cannot be His Disciple. If a person’s interests are elsewhere, they cannot focus properly on doing the Lord’s Will.
Even if people try to convince us to perform miracles just to make themselves look good, attract popularity, etc., we should avoid doing so, because we are trying to point to God, not to ourselves. This is what Jesus was symbolizing is that it isn’t a matter of trying to prove who He is, but that He would let people believe as they wanted to so that He could focus on doing the Will of the Father!
We are seeing the conclusion of Jesus' Ministry in the following stories about Him. It is sincerely held that these are many of the events that are most important in understanding the deep-seated emotions Jesus held toward people, and understand the things that shape the path to the Cross. We are beginning in Luke 9:51-56; John 7:10, where Jesus is journeying from Capernaum through Samaria to Jerusalem to attend the Feast of Tabernacles.
Jesus sets out to go to the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem. He sends messengers to prepare the way for Him. His journey takes Him through Samaria. When the Samaritans do not receive him, the Disciples James and John suggest to Him to call down fire from Heaven and consume the Samaritans. Jesus rebukes James and John, and then declares that He came “not to destroy” men’s lives, but to save them.
What can we learn here: Don’t make it a big deal to appreciate popularity or try to create popularity, because people will not always be kind and friendly to you. If you continue to dwell on popularity, you may miss the chance to love people, because your preconception is popularity. Just because someone does not like you, does not give you a reason to withhold love from them. It does not matter who likes you, it matters who Jesus is and that He loves everyone, even if they are rebellious. That should not stop us from loving others.
We are now reading in John 7:11-53. The coming of Jesus to the Feast of Tabernacles creates intense excitement concerning the Messiahship. The Sanhedrin attempted to arrest Him (The Sanhedrin included both the Sadducees (Chief Priests) and the Pharisees). Now both parties in the Sanhedrin were united against Jesus. The purpose was to bring Jesus before the Sanhedrin for trial. There was a division of sentiment in the Galilean multitude at the Feast.
His Presence created intense excitement everywhere. After the excitement of the first couple of days had slowed, Jesus taught in the Temple. His Teachings impressed people, even though He taught not to gain honor for Himself but to bring Glory to God who had sent Him. If people loved God and wanted to do His Will, they would see that what Jesus taught was the actual truth of God!
Soon, the Jews accused Jesus of breaking the Law, because He had healed someone previously on the Sabbath. Jesus replied that they themselves did not hesitate on circumcising a child on the Sabbath. Soon, people were amazed at Jesus’ boldness in speaking, and increasingly amazed that He was not arrested or killed yet. It is possible that some of the leaders were convinced that He was the Messiah.
However, they soon changed their minds when they remembered that Jesus was from Galilee, for they had always believed that no one would know where the Messiah originally came from. Jesus remarked to them that His real place of origin was from Heaven, not somewhere on Earth, for God sent him! The words of Jesus caused division among the Jews, with some opposing Him and others being convinced that He was the Messiah.
The Sanhedrin leaders were concerned that people were believing in Jesus, so they sent Temple guards, but they were powerless to do anything. No one could arrest or kill Him until the time came appointed by the Father. Once that time arrived, He would die, rise to life, and ascend to Heaven. Opponents of His Work would not be able to find Him, because He would be in a place unreachable to man. Such unbelief excluded people from Heaven eternally.
Once again, however, the Jews misunderstood Jesus’ Words, to which, they thought when He said he was going away, and He planned actually to preach among the Gentiles. Jesus brought the feast to a climax by offering to satisfying all of those, who have come for help in their spiritual needs. He would work change within them, and therefore, after returning to His Father, He would send the Holy Ghost to dwell within all who have believed in Him!
The people reacted to His Teachings in mixed ways, for some believed, others confused, and some opposed. However, still no one had arrested Him. The Sanhedrin leaders were furious when the Temple guards returned without Jesus, because they said that they could not arrest someone who had just given a powerful teaching. The rulers had replied angrily that perhaps some of the uneducated people believed in Jesus, but definitely not the teachers, leaders, or well-taught Jews.
When Nicodemus, a member of the Sanhedrin, suggested that they should give Jesus a fair hearing at the very least, he was quickly silenced. The Sanhedrin was uninterested in the “truth,” but rather, they were only interested in ridding the world of Jesus. They wanted Jesus before a trial promptly!
What can we learn here? Many times, people will despise what or whom God has chosen, but we must complete the assignment and do as we are called to do, so that His Work can be done. We may encounter troubles, trials, persecutions, etc.; however, He is our helper and shall guide us in all situations.
Soon, He deals with the adulterous woman
Next, we see Jesus dealing with the adulterous woman, as we are reading in John 8:1-11. When Jesus returned to the Temple the next day, the Scribes and Pharisees had brought to Him a woman that was caught in adultery, and asked Him to give her judgment.
They were not trying to get Him to do a miracle, but that they wanted to trap Jesus in an accusation to bring against Him. If He did not condemn this woman to death, they could accuse Him to the Sanhedrin of defying the Law. If he did condemn her to death, they could accuse Him to the government for commandeering Roman authority.
Jesus saw their cunningly devised duplicity, and refused to give a legal judgment. Instead of giving a sentence or answering it at all, He instead asks the woman’s accusers to exercise moral judgment upon themselves with the result that none had the courage to take this matter further. Therefore, it was not Jesus’ duty to condemn the woman, for He was neither a witness nor a judge; rather, He was the Savior of sinners, having given the woman a practical lesson in truth and purity. He urged her to separate from her sinful past. He urged her to sin no more.
The lesson here: Christ is willing to forgive us of any past sins and current sins, therefore, we must submit to Him and accept His Forgiveness! Therefore, we should not sin anymore.
The Light of the World
As we have all determined, Jesus is the Light of the World, not just from the Bible alone. But the Bible account is important, and we can see marvelous revelatory truth here. After the Feast of Tabernacles in the Temple, Jesus angers the Pharisees by claiming to be the “Light of the World,” as we are reading in John 8:12-20.
In response to the statement of Jesus saying that He is the Light of the World, the Pharisees argued that He had no right to say such things or testify of His Own Behalf. In their view, He had no witnesses to support Him. Jesus replied that He did have the right to bear witness to Himself, because He came from God and was united with Him. God was His Supporting Witness, and that should have been sufficient!
The Jews were in the wrong in their judgments against Him, because they were judging on human things (not spiritual things). The time for Jesus to act as the world’s judge had not yet come; however, even if He carried out such work right away, His Judgment would be true, because of being unified with the Father!
If the Jews insisted on two witnesses as the Law required, they had them in the Father and the Son, as the two of them agreed; therefore, the Jews had to accept their testimony. The reason for Jesus’ opponents’ failure to grasp the concepts is that they did not know God.
What can we say? Jesus is the Light of the world…lighting every dark place. Those who follow Christ hereupon should not be found in darkness any longer, because we no longer need to desire to be in sin or darkness. Christ brought us out of darkness and into His Marvelous Light!
Then they wanted to stone Jesus...
We see that they are not happy with Jesus' statement of being the Light of the World... We are reading now in John 8:21-59. While in the Temple, Jesus exposes the sinfulness of the Pharisees. They accuse Jesus of having a devil. Jesus’ answer to them: “I have not a devil; but I honor my Father, and ye dishonor me.” “I say unto you, before Abraham was, I am.” With this statement, the Pharisees attempt to stone Him. He escapes.
In rejecting Christ, people lost all chance of having their sins forgiven. They would die in their sins and be excluded from Heaven. Jesus promised that He would return to Heaven after His death and Resurrection. The Jews would have to get their minds above Earthly things to embrace what Jesus was trying to say, because they did not understand how He could be the Son of God. However, one day in the near future, they would have a clear proof, for they would see Him die on the cross—to which, by the Power of God, He would also raise from the dead. This would be the unmistakable demonstration of the Father and Son’s unity as One. Some who heard these things did not wait for such events, but put their faith in Him immediately.
Jesus illustrated based on slavery to show the people how He could help them. They knew that slaves could not free themselves, because the only one who could free them was the owner of the house they worked, or the owner’s son, who acted on his father’s authority. The Jews, then, were slaved in bondage to sin and unable to free themselves—therefore, they would find the only one who could free them was God, who worked through His Son, Jesus Christ. They would find their true freedom in Jesus Christ by faith and continual obedience to His Teachings.
Again, the Jews misunderstood, and argued that they have never been slaves of any nation, because they had the freedom of sons—Abraham’s sons that is. Explaining further, then, Jesus told the Jewish people that spiritually they were not sons of Abraham actually, but that they were sons of the devil. Therefore, they only sought to kill Him, to which, murder is the characteristic inherited from their spiritual father called the devil, and not from their Earthly father, Abraham.
The Jews only argued further, assuring Him that they were sons of Abraham, but were not part of any perversion as the Samaritans are who are of mixed race and religion. Jesus responded to their arguments with the fact that if God were truly their Father, then they would welcome His Son as their Messiah, instead of trying to kill Him. Instead of disputing His Teachings, they would fully believe it and embrace it. Therefore, their father was not God, but instead the devil.
The Jews continued to argue, which proved that God was not their Father, as they insulted His Son. This would only serve up judgment upon them. The Son was not concerned anyway of gaining honor, but rather, to give honor to the Father and life to believers. The Jews objected that Jesus was boasting to be greater than Abraham, to which, Jesus replied and said He was not boasting, but only telling the truth of His Unification with God.
As far as Abraham is concerned, he himself acknowledged Jesus greater by rejoicing when he foresaw the coming of the Messiah. The Jews argued that Jesus could not know Abraham’s thoughts, because he died hundreds of years before Jesus was born. Jesus angered them more by saying He existed even before Abraham, for Jesus is the Eternal God. The Jews considered this blasphemy, and immediately, though unsuccessfully, tried to kill Him.
What can we learn here? Those who reject Christ condemn only themselves, because He is part of the Eternal God, and also existed before Abraham. He is our True Savior and deliverer; therefore, we must not object to Him, but rather acknowledge Him in all our ways of worship!
Jesus is the Good Shepherd
We are now reading in John 9:1-10:21, where Jesus is still in Jerusalem after the Feast of Tabernacles. First, Jesus heals a man born blind by anointing his eyes with clay that He made by spitting upon the ground. Jesus told the man to go and wash in the pool of Siloam. The man came back seeing and was questioned by the Pharisees. A division is then seen among the Jews. Some claimed Jesus not to be from God. Others said, “How can a man that is a sinner do such signs?” The parents of the man born blind testify that he is their son, and the man born blind believes on Jesus and is converted.
Then we experience the Good Shepherd parable. In the Parable (Allegory) of the Good Shepherd, Jesus draws the picture of the hostile Pharisees and intimates that He is going to die for His flock and come to life again. A division is then seen again among the Jews.
In the story of the Good Shepherd, Jesus was teaching the same as when He was after healing the blind man. Among His hearers were the Pharisees, who could not see that He was comparing their treatment of the blind man with His. They acted as thieves or robbers would; however, Jesus acted like a Good Shepherd. Because of this, the man rejected the leadership of the Pharisees, but recognized Jesus as the Shepherd-Savior and gladly follow Him.
Explaining further, Jesus compared Himself alike to a door, by which people could come to God and find life, freedom, protection, provision, and more. However, the Jewish leaders would, instead of leading people to God, exploit and oppress them. Jesus was indeed the true Shepherd and spiritual leader of the people; however, the Scribes and Pharisees just fought Him saying they are the leaders.
In teaching the traditions of man instead of the Commandments of God, they had enslaved the Jewish people and only strengthened their own power just as thieves who robbed the flock; wolves that destroyed it; and hired laborers that worked for their own profit instead of being concerned for the flock. Jesus, on the other hand, sacrificed everything for His Flock, even being prepared to die for it so that the flock might be Saved!
In case people didn’t understand, the flock He was speaking of was not just the Jews, but people of all nations and all languages. They are all drawn together by One Shepherd, Jesus. The basis of a relationship between Jesus and His Flock is His death and Resurrection. He has the complete authority over life and death, and His enemies are powerless to take His Life from Him. However, He willingly lays down that Life to Save His People! This is The Good Shepherd!
Those who heard Jesus responded in many different ways. Some noted Him mad; others knew He was teaching consistent with His Work in healing the blind man. Whoever determined an opposite way than Jesus had opposite destinies of those who followed Jesus. Instead of following Jesus and obtaining Life, many people will follow their own destiny and obtain for themselves death.
What can we learn from all of this?
How we respond to Jesus is evidence of our spiritual condition too. We need to respond to Him with humble belief and trust in Who He Is, What He Does, and What He is planning to Do! He is truly the Son of God, who has come to die for our sins and be Resurrected so that He can redeem us of our sins and give us Eternal Life, and will be coming again to bring His Eternal Kingdom that He will rule over Eternally with His People!
We are of the Flock of God, we who believe in Him and upon the fact that He died and Resurrected so that we might have Eternal Life. We obtain for ourselves Life when we choose to follow Jesus and acknowledge Him in all of our ways!
Today we are reading overall about a few stories: Jesus sending the 70 disciples, the deal about the Good Samaritan, and then the discussion concerning Mary and Martha. You can reference all Scriptures talked about today in Luke 10:1-42.
Highlighting Jesus' sending of the 70 disciples
Jesus had sent the twelve Disciples into northern areas since they were the most in need. Now, for similar reason, He sent a much larger number (70) with instructions similar as He had given the twelve Disciples—sending them in groups of two. Luke logs their success, and Jesus saw the success as a Triumph over satan, as well as a guarantee for satan’s destruction. We must note the greatest cause of praise is not what is done for God, but what God has done for them.
Now, because Jesus is the Son of God, His Power is evident in the lives of His Disciples—especially the humblest. Through this power, they have knowledge of many things even the wise of the world do not understand, because through Jesus, believers have knowledge of God the Father. Godly people of former ages wanted to know such things that have now been revealed unto His Disciples. Such people were unable to do so, because the Messiah had not come.
What we can learn: Jesus sent His Disciples that they might strengthen and encourage one another. We should be doing the same in the Church is strengthening and encouraging one another, as well as doing the work He has called us to do. In addition, when victory is won over satan, it is obtained by Power of Jesus Christ—not ourselves. We need to be humble unto Christ, giving glory unto Him, because He is the source of the power over the devil and his demons.
The Good Samaritan
A Jewish teacher of the Law came to Jesus to test Him in a question about Eternal Life, which the teacher assumed that Eternal Life was obtained by some special act. Jesus’ reply involved that obtaining Eternal Life is inseparably linked with the way people live daily, for if they do not put God before all things, as well as their neighbor before themselves, they cannot have assurance of Eternal Life.
The teacher was disappointed with such answer and in the attempt to excuse his own failing; he asked how anyone could know whom or who his neighbor is not. Jesus then tells him a story, in which a traveler is beaten, robbed, and left to die. Two Jews, one Priest, and a Levite deliberately passed him by, not worrying. However, a Samaritan stops by and helps the man. Jesus then told the teacher to answer his own question. The despised foreigner stopped and helped rather than religious purists. If a person loves his neighbor as himself, he will act kindly towards anyone that he meets, even enemies.
What Jesus teaches: We should love our neighbor by being kind unto them, helping them when needed, and showing them that we care.
Visiting with Mary and Martha
Jesus was growing increasingly tense, and decided to have some quiet fellowship at the house of Mary and Martha (as they lived with their brother, Lazarus, in Bethany). Martha just busied herself preparing a large meal, and wanted to provide the best possible hospitality for their important guest, Jesus. However, He did not want an excessive meal that Martha seemed to be preparing reluctantly, but rather, a simple meal was sufficient. Mary understood this, and therefore, she was the one who benefited from the Lord’s instructive conversation.
What can we learn: We do not need to go to extreme measures to prepare the place for Jesus to come, we just need to welcome Him in (by believing and trusting in Him by faith) and allow Him to begin working!
SCRIPTURES: Today's readings are culminated within Luke 11:1-13:21. Please read them thoroughly to have the best benefit from our material below.
The Model Prayer
Jesus begins with the Model Prayer as He is journeying from Bethany to somewhere in Judea. Jesus was praying in a certain place, and His Disciples asked Him how to pray. The Lord teaches them that when they pray, they should begin with addressing Our Father in Heaven, giving glory to Him, requesting His Kingdom come and Will to be done as in Earth just as Heaven, give us our daily bread, forgive us as we forgive those who have done evil to us, and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
Jesus gave two pictures (The Parable of the Importunate Friend) to show His followers that they can put their requests to God confidently, for even a weary and stubborn neighbor can be persuaded into giving him what he needs. How much more then will God, who is a loving Father, supply all the needs of His Children. Now, His Children do not have to beg from a god who is unwilling to give, but rather, they go to God as children go to their father, knowing that he would not disappoint them or give them less than asked.
What else can we learn here: We can learn from His Model Prayer by adapting our prayers after it so that we can be confident we are praying according to His Will. We need not to beg Him, but rather request as a child would request from his father.
Is Jesus in league with Beelzebub?
On one occasion of casting out demons, the Pharisees blamed Jesus of doing it to the power of satan. Jesus replied that if the devil was being used to cast out demons, the devil would only create war in his kingdom, because he would be destroying himself. The only way a strong man can be defeated is if a stronger one overpowers him. In casting out demons, Jesus showed He was stronger than satan and his demons. His Reign, which would result in destroying the devil has begun.
When a stronger one should come and overcome him, He takes all the armor and divides the spoils. Those not with the Son are against Him, and those with Him can share in the spoils. For example, when an unclean spirit goes from a man, he tries to find rest but cannot find any, so he goes back to the “house” and finds it swept and garnished.
Therefore, he goes and takes other spirits more wicked than himself and enter therein into the one where he was originally cast out making the man worse than he originally was. Therefore, it is vital to accept the Lord Jesus when an unclean spirit is cast out, so that the man does not become possessed again.
A woman then speaks out that blessed is the womb that bares thee and the paps that thou hast sucked. He says to her that the ones that are actually blessed are the ones that hear the Word of God and keep it. Therefore, He is saying that if you give yourself to obeying the Law, you better keep doing so. If we hear the Word of God and keep it, you are blessed!
Therefore, again, the Pharisees asked for a miracle for Jesus to perform proving He was Messiah. The only sign He would agree to would be His death and Resurrection, to which they should look for the sign of the Prophet Jonas (Jonah).
How can we learn from this: If we go to help people become delivered of their evil, we must make sure that they are Saved by Christ, otherwise, they could easily be given over to the hand of the enemy again. We must hear the Word of God and keep it in our hearts, so that we may tell of all that Christ has done for us and for people in the Work of Redemption.
Then Jesus talks with a Pharisee over breakfast
The Pharisees thought that religion was about keeping ceremonial laws; however, their hearts were full of wicked plans to advance themselves while they were oppressing others. They took great advances in washing their hands, cleaning things, and doing the ceremonial laws well; however, they failed to clean the evil from their hearts.
In addition, the Pharisees were quite strict in their calculation of offerings to God, to which, they did exactly a tenth of their produce even counting seeds and stalks. However, this did not prove valuable if they did not practice love, mercy, justice, etc. toward their fellow people. They were a proud and vain people who were always looking for praise; however, in God’s Sight, they were just as unclean as graves full of decaying bodies, to which, they just spread the uncleanness to people who touched them. The Pharisees made others unclean with their evils. The Pharisees and Scribes were quite offended at Jesus’ remarks, and decided they would start using things to trap Jesus into saying something bad.
What is the overarching message Jesus is conveying: We should look to our own hearts and be sure they are cleansed and purified, to which we can attend to the great things of the Law and Gospel so that we do not neglect what God wants for us in rewards and blessings. We need to pray that we obtain such meekness and patience to Glorify the Lord in all things so that He can work in and through us.
Jesus' Parables to the Disciples and other "students"
First the facts surrounding this: Jesus speaks to His Disciples and a vast throng about hypocrisy, covetousness (Parable of the Rich Fool), world anxieties, watchfulness (Parable of the Waiting Servants and of the Wise Steward), and His own approaching passion. Here we have a series of discourses to the Disciples, 1-12; to one of the crowd, 13-21; to the Disciples, 22-40; to Peter, 41-53; to the multitude, 54-59. The constant interruption is typical of the teaching of Jesus. This address as often, repeats some of Christ’s favorites sayings. Besides the Parable of the Rich Fool, 12:16-21; NOTE: those of the waiting servants, 37-40; and of the Wise Steward, 42-48.
Now the story: Jesus first warns to beware of the Pharisees and Sadducees, because they were still going around speaking in darkness about several things, and asking Jesus to show a sign. He then speaks about the people maintaining a reverence in obedience to God, knowing that as their Heavenly Father watches over them that He never forgets about them, especially those that are faithful. They must confess about Him before men, for He will confess about us before God. Speaking against the Lord will cause blasphemy that will be unforgiven. However, when we behold the Holy Ghost’s Power, He will help us say what needs to be said when speaking about the Lord!
One person spoke up and said he was more concerned on personal safety or security, and that he wanted Jesus to force his brother to give him a bigger share of inheritance received. However, Jesus was not a rabbi who settled disputes of the Law; rather, He was a teacher from God unconcerned with people’s greed. He then tells the man a story of a rich but foolish farmer who was only concerned with wealth. Suddenly, the farmer died, and therefore, his wealth was of no use any further, which also prevented him from obtaining Heavenly riches.
People who come into the Kingdom of God should not view the material things of the earth as others may view them; rather they should put God’s interests first and be generous to others. Ones who just focus on wealth are disloyal to God, and therefore guarantee disappointment for them. Jesus referred to their local belief about the results of good and bad eyesight, to which, people believed the eyes were like windows that allowed light to enter the body and keep it in good health.
Their belief was furthered that healthy eyes meant a healthy body (light) and diseased eyes meant a diseased body (darkness). A healthy view of material things resulted in healthy spirituality; however, an unhealthy view resulted in spiritual darkness that would only become darker. A person can be the slave of one master at a time; therefore, if people devote their attention to increasing their wealth and comfort, they are no longer loyal to God.
Many people become in bondage of material things, not necessarily due to greed, but because they worry too much about having enough money for themselves. They should realize that God is the life-giver, and that He can give what is necessary to maintain life. If He cares for the grass, birds, and flowers, then He would certainly care about people. Believers should not be so anxious over material things, because believers should be trusting in God by putting His Kingdom first. People are under His Rule and should trust that He will provide!
The followers of Jesus must continually be ready for any circumstances, to which, they are like household servants waiting for their master to return home after a feast. The servants must be ready and waiting on him when he returns whether it is sooner or later than expected. They may receive an unexpected reward due to their diligence. Another illustration of readiness is about a householder who secures his house against burglary, and since he does not know when the burglar will prowl, he keeps the house always secure. Jesus used both of these stories to remind His followers to always be ready for the Coming of Christ, whether in the coming crises or the final crises at the end times.
When Peter asked if the Parable was to the Disciples only or to all people. However, Jesus gave no direct answer, but did describe another Parable. The master of a household appointed a servant to the position of manager over all other servants while he went on a trip. He gave the managing servant the instructions for running the household, so that while the master was away any longer than expected, the man thought he could just do as he liked. Suddenly the master returned, and on discovering that the manager just did as he liked, the master dealt severely with him. Other servants that did wrong were punished, but the manager punished the worst. Everyone is therefore accountable to God; however, God expects more of those who know more.
Jesus gave another warning about the need to be prepared for the Coming of Christ, to which, He felt the tension rising as He saw the cross would mean fiery judgment for some people, a baptism of suffering for Himself, and conflict for those opposed by troubled relatives because they were loyal to Him. In addition, people should make peace with those that are troubling them, because an offender would be wise to reach agreement with the opponent quickly, otherwise, worse circumstances would come by unfavorable judgment in court.
Jesus intends: Depend not on the knowledge and wisdom of the world, but continue to focus on Kingdom things, make peace with your brethren, and allow the Lord to provide for you so you do not have to strive so hard for wealth.
Jesus cites eschatology in Repent or Perish admonition to the Jews
Two tragedies were in the minds of the Jewish people, to which, one was caused by Pilate, to which, he killed a number of Galilean Jews while they offered sacrifices at the Temple, and the other caused by the collapse of a tower that killed many Jerusalem citizens. Some Jews had thought that because such victims met terrible deaths, they must have been worse sinners than others. Jesus noted that this was not the case, because the rest of the Jews would then suffer a far worse fate if they didn’t repent and accept the Messiah.
Israel has been unfaithful, and of no use to God just as a fig tree that never produces fruit. God had been patient enough, but now he was giving them one last chance to repent and accept the Messiah, otherwise, they would have judgment upon them.
What does He teach here: The Lord expects that we repent and turn from ways that do not bring Him Glory, because He wants us to line up with His Will. If we prove to persist in our sin and stray away from the call to righteousness, we only hurt ourselves, because we are not doing God’s Will.
Then a crippled woman is healed on the Sabbath
While Jesus was preaching on the Sabbath in a Synagogue, He saw a woman who was crippled that needed serious help. Jesus went and healed her, which made the ruler of the Synagogue angry, because the people were not to be there for healing on the Sabbath. Jesus showed the man to be hypocritical, along with those who support him, by reminding them that they feed their own cattle on the Sabbath, so surely they could help a crippled woman.
Parables of the Mustard Seed and Leaven: Jesus then tells a Parable, to which, the mustard seed foretells the expansion of the Kingdom, to which from small beginnings it grows to a vast community all over the earth. Similarly, in the Parable of the Leaven, as a small amount of leaven spread through a lump of dough, so will the Kingdom spread through the world.
We should not allow things to get in our way of receiving God’s Blessing!
At this time, Jesus is not ready to declare Himself as Messiah, as we are reading in John 10:22-42. The Feast of Dedication celebrated the rededication of the Temple in 165 BC, which was after the defeat of Antiochus Epiphanes. It was usually held about two months after the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:2), and was the Jews’ only winter festival as well (10:22).
Many Jews were wanting Jesus to make a clear and public statement that He is the Messiah, to which, Jesus replied that His Works are clear enough proof for people; however, the Jews refused to acknowledge them. Some of them, however, did accept and follow Jesus, which were His True People. They are the ones with Eternal Life, and God and our Savior Jesus Christ, whom is both united inseparably, guaranteed their eternal security.
The Jews again burst into anger at Jesus, claiming that He was blaspheming since He was claiming to be God. Jesus replied to them that one Old Testament passage declared Israel’s rulers as “gods,” but because they exercised God-given authority. How much more than should the One who was united with the Heavenly Father call Himself God—as He has the authority to do so! Jesus did not want the Jews to excuse their unbelief by just arguing over mere words, because Jesus’ Works were enough proof of His Divinity. This made them so angry that they tried to take Him; however, He escaped quickly.
Then, Jesus withdraws from Jerusalem and goes to Bethany beyond Jordan. Here, many believed upon Him.
What can we learn here? Those that are His True People have Eternal Life and have eternal security hereupon, to which when a person honors the Son, he also honors God! We never know where people will accept Christ, but we must let Him be the judge of that while we do the work.