Sunday, September 30, 2012

Harmony of the Gospels

92. The little children- Matt. 18:1-6, Mark 9:33-37, Luke 9:46-48


-As the disciples came to Capernaum they were arguing about which of them was the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven and asked Jesus to settle the dispute. Jesus knew their prideful heart’s condition and settle the matter by bringing a small child before them with these words, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 18:3-4).” He then relates to them how anyone who receives a child, receives Him and the One (the Father) who sent Him. He also warns them that whoever causes one such child to stumble, it would be better for them to have a heavy millstone (weight) hung around their neck and be drowned in the depth of the sea (Matthew 18:6). *Application* Jesus was cutting right to the heart of the matter in exposing motivations and intentions. Humility is the key for us as believers to be great in the eyes of the LORD. His authority is what we must submit to and faithfully serve one another (Galatians 5:13). It is by humble childlike faith that we come to Jesus and receive what He has for us without pretense or ulterior motives. We must rely on Him for everything just as a child depends on his/her parents for sustenance and provision. This is the point Jesus is making to His prideful, self-absorbed disciples. How about you? How will you pursue greatness in the Kingdom of God?


Verses to Memorize- Matthew 18:3, Luke 9:48


93. The unmerciful servant- Matt. 18:21-35


-This passage starts out with Peter asking the Lord how many times he shall forgive his brother who has sinned against him thinking that seven times should be sufficient. Jesus extends that to seventy times seven, which is biblically a number for completion and rest. What He was meaning is that there should be complete forgiveness against your brother no matter how many times he sins against you. Then He related a parable of an unmerciful servant to His disciple.

-There was a king who was owed ten thousand talents (a talent was worth more than 15 years’ wages of a laborer) by his servant. His servant begged for patience and forgiveness upon the debt that was owed and received it with the promise to repay everything in time. The king showed him compassion, but the servant went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him money (100 denarii, or 100 day’s wages) and began to grab and choke the slave demanding payback. When the slave asked for mercy and patience himself, the servant was unwilling and went and threw him in prison until he could be paid back what was owed. The fellow slaves were deeply grieved by this event and went and reported to their lord all that had happened. Upon hearing of the servant’s unforgiving spirit, the king summoned him before him and rebuked the servant for not forgiving and not showing mercy as he had been forgiven and given patience. The king, moved with anger, handed the servant over to the torturers until he should repay all he was owed. Jesus then said the Heavenly Father will do the same to us, if we do not forgive our brother/sister from the heart (Matthew 18:35). *Application* What debt have you been forgiven by the Lord of lords and King of kings? How have you extended that grace to others who have wronged you in this life? It is vitally important as we see here in Scripture by the words of Jesus to forgive completely from the heart every single wrong that has been done to us. Just as He commands in His model prayer, we must forgive as we have been forgiven (Matthew 6:12). Show all the mercy, grace, compassion, and love our Heavenly Father shows and you will have nothing to fear.


Verse to Memorize- Matthew 18:35

Friday, September 28, 2012

Harmony of the Gospels

90. Jesus’ death foretold again- Matt. 17:22-23, Mark 9:31-32, Luke 9:43-45


-These passages tell us that Jesus tried to teach His disciples what was about to happen to Him as He would be handed over to the hands of men to be crucified with the end result being resurrection. They did not perceive His message, were afraid to ask questions, and were deeply grieved at the things He was telling them. For the disciples, full clarity only came with the actual events of Jesus’ passion and resurrection. *Application* Sometimes when we are taught things by instruction or given directions for a task, we just don’t get it and our understanding is simply not there. We need a re-explanation or further insight into the matter where we are unknowledgeable. Don’t refrain from gaining more insight by asking questions and probing into the exact meaning of what you are being asked to do or understand. Communication is a two way process and sometimes the teacher needs feedback so that they understand that their message has not gotten through. If you find yourself as the teacher, make sure you are clarifying your message by getting the feedback from your pupil or pupils. Having them restate what you’ve taught them will assure you that they got the point and allow for further instruction if necessary.


Verse to Memorize- Luke 9:45


91. Coins from the mouth of a fish to pay the tax- Matt. 17:24-27


-The tax collectors wanted some money from Peter and Jesus, and the Lord took this opportunity to produce the required drachmas from a fish in the Sea of Galilee. They still have these bottom feeders that engulf every type of metal objects in this region. So, the miracle wasn’t so much that there was money in the fish, but the point of the conversation between Jesus and Peter. Peter answers the question concerning family or strangers being collected from without really knowing the full answer. Jesus uses the incident to teach on His supply for all of our needs and subjection to earthly authorities in their local laws, rules, and regulations for the purpose of representing our King in Heaven well even if we are exempt as sons. *Application* We are not to be an offense to rulers of this world, but ambassadors for the Kingdom of God (2 Corinthians 5:20). Conduct all of your business with integrity and class under God’s command knowing that the LORD will provide for your every need and protect you even against the devourer (Malachi 3:10-12).


Verse to Memorize- Matthew 17:27

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Harmony of the Gospels

88. Elijah (Elias) must come first and has- Matt. 17:10-13, Mark 9:11-13


-Jesus responds to an important question that His disciples asked Him concerning the prophecy of Elijah coming before the Messiah (Isaiah 40:3, Malachi 3:1; 4:5-6). We can see from these passages the role, purpose, and signs that were accompanied with this great prophet of God who prepared the way of the Lord. John the Baptist, who came in the spirit of Elijah, was not recognized because of the scribes and Pharisees hardness of heart and unwillingness to accept the things of God in spirit and truth. He fulfilled and restored all things pertaining to the coming of the Messiah and Jesus was making this point to His closest followers for their understanding and insight. *Application* Once again we see the necessity for suffering in the Kingdom of God for gain and eternal blessing in the purposes of the LORD. If Christ Jesus was willing to undergo the pain and agony of rejection and torment, we should as well if and when it is required of us. This prophetic spirit of Elijah I believe will come again in the last days before Christ’s return (Malachi 4:5). He will give the final call to return to the LORD before His day of wrath and retribution because God always gives us every chance He can to come to Him. As the Spirit draws you to repentance and forgiveness receive what He has for you and do not neglect Him. Recognize your visitation from the LORD’s messenger.


Verse to Memorize- Matthew 17:12


89. Jesus casts out the demon that the disciples could not- Matt. 17:14-21, Mark 9:14-29, Luke 9:37-42


-Jesus rebukes the unbelieving and perverted generation, which could not drive out the demonic spirits within a lunatic-mute boy that was often sent into very destructive convulsions. Jesus states that it is only through prayer and fasting that this “kind” comes out. The theme is faith and the ultimate requirement for the supernatural to occur. The father cries out at one point that he believes and he wants Jesus to help his unbelief (Mark 9:24). *Application* If we want to move mountains literally or spiritually it takes only the faith of a mustard seed (a very small amount). We tend to be very skeptical in our natural state, and this, as we see in this passage, applies to all generations, not just our own. C.S. Lewis once stated, “We all have naturalism in our bones, and even conversion does not at once work the infection out of our system. Its assumptions rush back upon the mind the moment vigilance is relaxed.” Today, in your own heart, turn this battle over to the Lord and trust in the supernatural things He can do. Quit the doubt, get help for your unbelief realizing the Lord can’t stand it. It makes Him angry in fact (Matthew 17:17).


Verse to Memorize- Mark 9:24

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Harmony of the Gospels

86. Jesus’ death foretold, denied by Peter- Matt. 16:21-28, Mark 8:31-38; 9:1, Luke 9:22-27


-Jesus states plainly His plan and intentions in carrying out the directives from His Father that He had been sent to accomplish to initiate the Kingdom of God and the redemption of mankind. This plan involved suffering and rejection at the hands of the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes. It involved laying down His life in obedience to the Master’s call and a resurrection that would have power and glory from on High. Peter, not understanding the full ramifications of this plan and thinking in the flesh, pulls Christ aside and tries to rebuke His Lord. Christ Jesus calls him Satan seeing the anti-Christ spirit of the moment and denounces the mindset of putting man’s interests ahead of God’s. He calls His premier disciple a stumbling block in His response and then takes the opportunity to teach all of His disciples one of most important lessons of ministry on earth. He tells them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whosoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it (Matthew 16:24-25, Mark 8:34-35, Luke 9:23-24).” He then related that it profits man nothing to gain the whole world when his soul is forfeited and lost for eternity. In other words, nothing on this temporal earth compares to knowing the Lord and spending eternity in His presence in Paradise because of what He accomplished to pay the debt of our sin. Jesus told His disciples that this Kingdom would be seen coming before they tasted death. *Application* Have you lost your life yet and put your entire focus on God’s interests rather than your own? This is the key to life eternally as Jesus so succinctly puts it. He will repay every man according to his deeds (Matthew 16:27). What is humanly counted as loss in this life will be resurrected in power and strength that the Lord will provide when we trust in Him to take us and make us new. There will be tribulation in this world and suffering, but the final victory is assured when we give up our rights for the glory of the Lord (John 12:25; 16:33)! His love and peace remain in us as we trust in Him and overcome all the obstacles that the enemy puts in our way. Die to self and live in Him!


Verses to Memorize- Matthew 16:24, Mark 8:36


87. Transfiguration of Jesus- Matt. 17:1-9, Mark 9:2-10, Luke 9:28-36, John 1:14


-Six days (Luke says “some, like, about” eight days in an eyewitness’ vague remembrance) after Christ’s words to His disciples about denying self, taking up the cross, and following Him He took His inner circle (Peter, James, and John) up on a high mountain to pray. During the course of this time of prayer Moses and Elijah appear and are talking with Jesus concerning His soon departure from earth in Jerusalem (Luke 9:31). Peter, James, and John awake from sleep to witness this transfiguration of Christ along with the prophets of old. They hear the voice of the Lord coming out of the cloud that enveloped them and they were terrified and in great awe (John 1:14, 2 Peter 1:16-18). The LORD told them to listen to His Son and Chosen One. In a state of shock during the transfiguration Peter said that they should build a dwelling place there, a tabernacle. Luke tells us he didn’t even realize what he was saying at that point, which I think is humorous. When it was all said and done, Jesus warned them not to say anything about this incident until after He had risen from the dead (Matthew 17:9). *Application* When we go into His presence deeply in prayer and supplication we can experience the miraculous just as Peter, James, and John did. This was an incredible thing that they were able to witness, but we too can come into the presence of the LORD God Almighty feeling His power, authority, majesty, grace, and truth. He is the One who washes us whiter than any other cleaning could and makes us whole again. O Christian, pray in the Spirit and welcome all He has for you! It will leave you speechless and astounded to the point that your words make about as much sense as Peter’s J.


Verse to Memorize- John 1:14

Monday, September 24, 2012

Harmony of the Gospels

83. Beware the leaven (yeast) of the Pharisees- Matt. 16:5-12, Mark 8:13-21


-Jesus indicates to His disciples that the teachings of the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and Herod are leaven (a symbol of sin that will rise and affect the entire loaf, or society/religious system). What He was teaching them was that wrong teachings can easily lead people astray from the truth and misguide them into destruction. He also pointed out in this instance that their faith still had a ways to go since they were doubting about their provision and lack of bread thinking that was what Jesus was meaning. *Application* Be careful when you have a tendency to think that a little wrong won’t possibly be enough to affect anybody. Jesus teaches the exact opposite. Protect any form of false teaching (heresy) as prescribed by the Word of God for faith and practice. Don’t let anyone lead you astray by teaching doctrines that you know are not biblical. Liberalism has had a profound effect on our culture and continues to affect our educational institutions and churches with ungodly venom, which destroys the purity of our faith in Christ Jesus. Stay true to God’s Word and you will never falter.


Verse to Memorize- Matthew 16:6


84. Blind man of Bethsaida healed- Mark 8:22-26


-In Bethsaida, on the north side of the Sea of Galilee, Jesus heals a man in stages after the man implored Him to touch him for the purpose of healing. Jesus had spit on his eyes outside the village and asked him if he saw anything. The man was seeing either partially, or perhaps something of a spiritual nature, as he saw men like trees walking around. Jesus again laid His hands on the man and made him look intently and the eyes were restored with everything becoming clear. After this the man was sent home with a warning not to even enter the village. *Application* Here we see a willingness and trust in Jesus for the purpose of restoration no matter the location or the method. Be excepting of the Lord’s ways of doing things even when they may seem unconventional. In time you too will see everything clearly.


Verse to Memorize- Mark 8:25


85. Peter professes the Christ- Matt. 16:13-20, Mark 8:27-30, Luke 9:18-21


-This occurrence happens north of the Sea of Galilee by a good ways near the Hellenistic town of Caesarea Philippi, which was rich in occult type sacrifices and false deities. It was here that Jesus questioned His disciples as to whom they thought He was (Matthew 16:15). What His reputation was, in other words, “Who do people say that I am (Matthew 16:13, Mark 8:27, Luke 9:18)?” It was Peter who spoke up and declared Him to be the Christ (the Anointed One, the Messiah), the Son of the Living God. Peter was blessed when he made this recognition with abundant blessings and power poured out on him by the Savior. It was not flesh and blood that revealed this insight, but the Father in Heaven through His Spirit (Matthew 16:17). This, in part, initiated the call on Peter’s life as a leader of the coming church that was built on the Rock of Christ Jesus, which the gates of hell could not overpower. Peter was given the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven and extraordinary power on earth for the propagation of the gospel, which he faithfully carried out after the resurrection of Jesus (John 21:4-19, Acts 2:14-47).

-However, at this time Jesus warned His disciples not to propagate the message of the Kingdom yet, because it was not yet His time to become an earthly King (Matthew 16:20). This first incarnation was for the sacrifice on the cross for the sins of man and no uprising or political revolution was intended or necessary, which would have happened if the message had gotten out too widely as to who He was. The Kingdom was to begin quietly but effectively and no human marketing was needed. *Application* Our recognition of Jesus as the Anointed Savior of the world is paramount to our personal salvation. Have you received the truth of the Christ as a believer? Do it today if you’ve put this important decision off. Christ will come in, take up residence in you and make you His child when you do by His Spirit.


Verse to Memorize- Matthew 16:16

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Harmony of the Gospels

81. Feeding the multitude- 4,000- Matt. 15:32-38, Mark 8:1-9


-Jesus feels compassion once again on the throngs of people who have come to be with Him, listening to His wisdom and being healed of every infirmity for three days. Another miracle of multiplication take place, this time with 4,000 men (besides there were also women and children, which probably at least doubled the numbers) and seven baskets were left over in this instance. Just as before, Jesus gave thanks after having the disciples seat them on the ground and He began to simply distribute what they had with seven loaves and a few small fish. *Application* The number seven is always important biblically speaking. It is the number for completion. God can completely provide for our every need when we sell out and abandon everything for Him in faith. These were unconcerned for their well being as we can note because they’d gone three full days without sustenance just to be in the presence of this Man of God. How willing are we to go the extra mile and trust that God has compassion on us as well and will take care of our every need sometimes even miraculously? God is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Malachi 3:5, Hebrews 13:8, Revelation 1:4, 8).


Verse to Memorize- Matthew 15:32


82. The sign of Jonah to a wicked generation- Matt. 12:38-42; 16:1-4, Mark 8:10-13, Luke 11:29-32


-More than once Jesus gives the wicked and adulterous generation of scribes and Pharisees, who will be condemned at the judgment, a peak into His crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. He compares them with Gentiles from Nineveh in the North and Sheba in the South, who believed when they saw lesser workings and preachings of the Lord and His glory, even seeking it out with long journeys (Luke 11:31-32). Something greater was among them in Jesus Christ the Messiah, yet they could not see His truth because of their hardened hearts drenched in unbelief. They were simply there to test Him and had no intentions of becoming converts to the Kingdom of God (Mark 8:11). They were argumentative and skeptical in His presence rather than reverent and receptive. This had to agitate the King of Glory as He gave His only sign to them with a deep sigh in His Spirit (Mark 8:12). *Application* God knows our hearts and desperately wants us to know Him intimately. The irony here is that Jesus is giving them the greatest sign the world has ever seen in His miraculous resurrection, yet they totally missed it. Make sure you don’t miss it. God is calling for you. Please respond by believing in what He has done. He has given us the sign that He is eternal and can give us eternal life with Him.


Verse to Memorize- Luke 11:29

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Harmony of the Gospels

78. What comes out of the mouth defiles- Matt. 15:1-20, Mark 7:1-23


-Here we see a situation where the pious Pharisees and scribes from Jerusalem have come to him, probably with intrigue and curiosity due to His popularity and power. They observed that His disciples were not ceremonially clean according to their strict traditions as it pertained to washing before eating. Jesus took this opportunity to teach on what really defiles a person and to shoot down their reliance on manmade traditions. He uses their rules of Corban (literally “offering” to God) because this particular religious practice invalidated the direct command of God. What was happening was that the religious leaders were requiring the people to give God, or the Temple (i.e. the religious system), money that would have been designated for the support of their parents, a direct command of the LORD (Exodus 20:12; 21:17, Deuteronomy 5:16, Leviticus 20:9). Corban had become a religiously acceptable way to neglect parents, circumventing (going around) the child’s responsibility to them.

-Then Jesus taught on what actually defiles the person from the heart within. In effect He declared all physical foods clean even though in the Law many were unhealthy and declared that way by God. Thus, Jesus was saying that there had been some gross misinterpretation of God’s actual commands because many had missed the point. Jesus illuminates the inner workings of the Lord’s plan because out of the heart proceed all things evil, not from the outside in (Matthew 15:16-20). *Application* Jesus’ words are strong and should be a warning for us as people who have a natural tendency to teach and make doctrines out of the traditions of man. Not only did the tenants of Judaism fall into this trap, but many in the church age have as well. The Reformation, in effect, was as reaction to the traditions of the Catholic Church that had invalidated the direct commands of Scripture. In today’s tradition we also see things sometimes, even in evangelical Christianity, that go against direct commands of God’s Word. One example of this is the cessationist doctrine (the doctrine that forbids the speaking in tongues). This doctrine has had to be taught by man because it is nowhere in the Bible. It is fundamentally a learned tradition of man. When Paul says that tongues will cease in 1 Corinthians 13:8 he is speaking in future tense and includes two other things that we know logically have not been completed, that being prophecy and knowledge. This will happen in the eschaton when we are actually with Christ. Paul was speaking within the church age and makes it very clear that tongues are not to be forbidden (1 Corinthians 14:39) within the context of worship and this is in the imperative (a direct command from Scripture). There is certainly an order and a prophetic discernment that is attached with this expression, but it was to be a vital part of the decent and proper Christian experience (1 Corinthians 14:26-40). Due to our traditions and western mindset, we have naturally set aside what God specifically ordained and commanded. This has grieved and quenched His Spirit from moving, but as the prophet Joel reminds us, the last days will see a pouring out of His Spirit (Joel 2:28-31). So don’t just take a manmade doctrine because of tradition even if it is from a humanly validated source. Instead, focus on what God has commanded in His Word. Let that be enough to guide and direct us.


Verse to Memorize- Matthew 15:9


79. Crumbs from master’s table- Matt. 15:21-28, Mark 7:24-30


-Jesus heals a Syrophoenician woman’s daughter who was demon possessed cruelly because of her faith even after being criticized by Jesus’ disciples. The Christ tests the woman, knowing her faith from the beginning, with the fact that He had been sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matthew 15:24). Her answer wins favor from the Lord as she recognizes that His love is abundant enough to feed to the point of satisfaction even with the scraps and crumbs. *Application* Jesus was not being racist or rude with His statements. He commended her for her faith in the midst of testing and having the insight to see the truth that had come. God’s grace is sufficient when we believe in Him. It extends to everyone even if we may be Gentile and grafted in (Romans 11:17). Give God the glory that He has opened up His Kingdom to all the nations (Genesis 18:18, Psalm 117, Daniel 7:14).


Verse to Memorize- Matthew 15:28


80. Healing before the multitude- Matt. 15:29-31, Mark 7:31-37


-Jesus, upon His return to Galilee, does many miraculous works before the people. Included in the list were healings of the lame, crippled, blind, mute, and many others (Matthew 15:30). They were laid at His feet, and He healed them all, which led to them giving Him great glory as you can imagine. *Application* The wonder-working power of God was manifested publicly for all to see. Large crowds will gather when you step out and rely on His power and authority for your ministry. People will stand in astonishment and give God His proper glory when you do His miraculous works in faith (John 14:12). We can say with the saints of old, “He has done all things well (Mark 7:37)!”


Verse to Memorize- Mark 7:37

Friday, September 21, 2012

Harmony of the Gospels

76. Feeding the multitude- 5,000- Matt. 14:13-21, Mark 6:30-44, Luke 9:10-17, John 6:1-14


-Obviously this is a miracle of multiplication on a grand scale that we read about here in all four gospels. Jesus is concerned for the physical and spiritual needs of these people that had followed Him and come to Him as a Shepherd. He felt compassion for them knowing their hearts and did not mind their interruption to His seclusion. He took this opportunity to show them a massive miracle and to further train His disciples in faith and responsibility. There was an order to how the multitude was divided up and a Divide giving of thanks as His blessed the food that was to be portioned out to the hungry throng. When all was said and done, the five loaves and two fish were more than enough to satisfy the masses. *Application* The twelve baskets of abundance is significant. When we give our time, talent, and treasure as the young boy did in this account we will be blessed beyond measure and reap an abundant harvest that would otherwise be impossible. I heard an account of a modern day miracle of multiplication that surrounded Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, LA. A gentleman was sharing with us how his mission/ministry team was giving out blankets to a group that they knew was too large to accommodate for the supply that they had. They prayed over the blankets and began to pass them out. They kept passing out blankets and lo and behold every person that wanted a blanket got one by the end of their distribution. God stills works in mysterious ways and has compassion for our need. He generates supply in miraculous ways when we are yielded to His ways and means. Give generously as the young lad did and you will also see great multiplication of it. Don’t horde things ever. This is selfish and does no one any good. Let go and let God.


Verse to Memorize- Matthew 14:20


77. Jesus walks on water- Matt. 14:22-33, Mark 6:45-52, John 6:16-21


-Matthew gives us the most vivid account of this often referred to miracle of Jesus Christ. Christ intended to pass by them and meet them on the other side after He had been alone on the mountain praying to the Father in the Spirit. He had to have been tired, but His desire was to do the will of the Father first and foremost. He forfeited His own well being to communicate with the Father as we see in this passage. He had to calm the fears of the disciples as they saw Him walking on the stormy sea. Matthew tells us of how Peter had the faith to call out for a command to come walking on the water himself to Jesus in shear faith. Peter got the command and obeyed also being given the ability to do the physically impossible, but he started to get frightened by his circumstances and doubt came in quickly. Jesus was within arm’s length of rescuing His disciple and took the opportunity to ask an important question. Jesus rebuked his lack of faith in the middle of his efforts and asked why he began to doubt. When they got back in the boat the winds died down and immediately they were on the shore to their destination (Matthew 14:32, John 6:21). *Application* There is much in this account that should make us reflect and draw from. Today, our concern should be the realization that Christ is within arm’s length of us when we step out of the boat of stability into the unknown and sometimes stormy sea of faith. Sometimes we are confident in obeying God’s initial commands to leave behind our security and we impetuously leap out of the boat with reckless abandon only to get out there and realize that what we’ve done should probably be considered impossible and impractical. It is at those times that we often demonstrate a lack of faith that is displeasing to the Lord. But He is always there to pick us up and make us realize that He is worth it all and worthy of all our praise and devotion. He has a way of getting us back on track and back to a place where we can say that He was our rescue and deliverer, an ever present help in times of trouble (Psalm 37:39). Keep the faith! There’s no reason to doubt Him!


Verse to Memorize- Mark 6:52

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Harmony of the Gospels

73. John the Baptist beheaded- Matt. 14:6-12, Mark 6:21-29


-Herod was the tetrarch of Galilee and Perea (just east of the Jordan River and north of the Dead Sea) under the Roman authority. We see the fact that he was a people pleaser because of his fear of man in this account in Scripture. He feared the crowds because they regarded John as a prophet, and could possibly revolt against him. He feared his lords and had John killed to uphold his reputation before them because of his oath. This petrifying fear was generational from his father, who was extremely paranoid and suspecting of any uprising against his ambiguous kingship and authority. He was also foolish with his words and made promises he should not have made. His decision to have John beheaded was expedient and in his view the lesser of two evils (or in other words fears of man). For him it was either go back on his word in front of his leadership and appease the populace who regarded John as a prophet, or have him killed and have the believers in John upset. He chose to have John’s life taken; thereby committing murder against the Lord. Jesus later encounters Herod Antipas and had no words for him during His trial in Jerusalem (Luke 23:7-11). When Jesus did not respond to Herod’s inquisitions in an effort to see a sign, Herod mocked the Lord and treated Him with contempt. Jesus knew that if he had rejected the messenger (John), He would have nothing to add to the words John had already given him. Herod’s chance for redemption had passed and there was no hope for this people pleaser. Afterwards, sadly the disciples came and took John’s headless body and buried him in a tomb. John the Baptist was a prophetic martyr for the cause of the Kingdom. *Application* How expedient (advantageous for practical rather than moral reasons) are you in your decision making? Do you consider what is right before the Lord in making your choices? Life is about our choices and we either reap the benefit or bear the consequence for every decision. John the Baptist feared God and spoke the truth; Herod pleased people and was eternally doomed more than likely.


Verse to Memorize- Mark 6:26


74. Jesus sends out the twelve disciples to preach- Matt. 10:5-42; 11:1, Mark 6:7-13, Luke 9:1-6


-Jesus gave very specific instructions before sending out His twelve disciples to preach the gospel, implore people to repent, heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, and cast out demons. They were to travel light and receive from the righteous along their journeys. They were told to go everywhere in the land of Israel, but not yet to the Gentiles or any city of the Samaritans (a half Jewish population hated because of inbreeding). Jesus had strong words for them and those they came in contact with, which need to be internalized by us in our own day and age. He warned of the persecution and whole hearted devotion that was required to be Kingdom workers. The disciples knew that it was a dying to self and walking in His power and authority that was the key after Jesus taught them. Jesus, recognizing and preparing them for the difficulties they would face in testifying of His goodness and Deity, spoke of endurance and a steadfast spirit, of not giving up or in. He taught them not to fear man, but God, who was the keeper of their souls. They were to be bold in their presentation and confess His Name unashamedly without worry. Soon they would see the power of the Holy Spirit on their lives and feel His continual presence with them, which gives wisdom and grace in each situation. *Application* Our lives should be modeled around this instruction for our own lives. The disciples were people just like us and had to mature to be all that God wanted them to be. We also can do the same. Be a strong Christian!


Verses to Memorize- Matthew 10:8, 20, 22, 26, 37-39, Mark 6:12


75. Herod compares Jesus to John the Baptist- Matt. 14:1-2, Mark 6:14-16, Luke 9:7-9


-We see the paranoia in Herod here as he contemplates what he had done to a man of God. He fears somewhat for his future, and Luke tells that he was seeking to see Jesus continually. It is interesting that Herod had heard the news of Jesus and of the things that were going on in His ministry. We see the perplexity of this worldly leader as he grapples with the testimonies and eye witnesses who bring news of the Man of God, who they couldn’t quite figure out. Besides John the Baptist’s reincarnation, word of Elijah’s return was being discussed, so there was certainly some debate and intrigue going on around this region as the Son of God made Himself known to man. *Application* How hard do you seek out the truth of a matter. Jesus said, “Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened (Matthew 7:7-8).” When you need answers, find Jesus in His Word and you will know all the answers because His Spirit will reveal all things to you (John 14:26).


Verse to Memorize- Mark 6:16

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Harmony of the Gospels

71. Woman healed by touching hem of Jesus’ garment- Matt. 9:20-22, Mark 5:25-34, Luke 8:42-48


-A twelve year hemorrhage, which had taken all of her money and effort with doctors, brought this woman to total dependence and trust in Jesus, the Messiah, for hope and healing. She had deep affliction and was intensely desperate for help when she touched His garment and received the power of God in her life for total healing in this area. She knew immediately that she had been healed and was really embarrassed to the point of fear. This brought her to a humble recognition before Christ as He felt His healing power proceeding from His Being in the middle of a pressing crowd of people. Jesus pointed out to her that it was her faith that had healed her and that she could now go in peace. *Application* Our desperate cries to Jesus release His power in our lives even to this day. Whatever your dilemma, call upon Him in faith to receive miraculous deliverance and peace. Jesus is the answer!


Verse to Memorize- Mark 5:34


72. Rejection of Jesus at Nazareth- Matt. 13:54-58, Mark 6:1-6


-As Jesus was going around to the Galilean villages teaching the Kingdom, He came to His hometown of Nazareth, which is west of the Sea of Galilee. The people there knew Him only as a carpenter (a common laborer) and they became offended that people were following Him as a Rabbi. He was teaching in the synagogue, which may correlate to the passage in Luke 4:16-31, where He rebuked the Nazarene populace and was almost cast off a cliff of the mountain. Matthew and Mark, if this is the same visit back to His hometown, focus more on the skepticism and unbelief Jesus encountered. It is interesting to note that their lack of faith reduced greatly His working of miracles in their midst. This led the Lord to wonder at their unbelief and make the comment about how a prophet is not without honor except in his hometown, among his relatives, and in his own household. *Application* How do people receive you, especially when they’ve known you in the past as you grew up. Sometimes people’s opinions greatly reduce your ability to effectively work and minister. We have to be cognizant of the limitations in certain places based on false perceptions from the past. Thankfully, God has cleared us of our past through His forgiveness and restoration and is primarily concerned with our present and future in His wonder working power. So walk in His victory and don’t worry about the naysayers. You may even want to avoid them if possible under the Lord’s guidance and direction. A prophet or prophetess is still not usually honored in his/her hometown. Also, unbelief will always restrict the movement of God in a place. If you find yourself wondering why God is not a work in a place, check the faith meter and you will probably find skepticism and doubting present. Where pride and unbelief reside the power of God is severely reduced. Take notice American church.


Verses to Memorize- Mark 6:5-6

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Harmony of the Gospels

69. The fisherman’s net- Matt. 13:47-52


-Similar to the parable of the wheat and the tares (weeds), Jesus speaks to the fact that there will be gathered fish (people, souls) of every kind by the dragnet (gathering device) of God in comparing what the Kingdom of Heaven is like. It will be the Lord who separates out the good from the bad. The angels (messengers) will take out the wicked from among the righteous and throw them into the furnace of fire where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (extreme torment) (Matthew 13:49-50). Jesus, as a good teacher does, asks the question, “Have you understood all these things?” referring back to all the parables He just spoke. The people said, “Yes,” as they had their chance to ask questions and dig deeper (Matthew 13:51). *Application* Understanding is essential in the economy of the Kingdom of God. It is nice that the Lord wants us to have this wisdom and cares enough to reveal it to us if we simply seek and look for it and meditate on His truths with application. Think about how the Lord actually wants you to get it. He longs for us wanting and desiring intimate relationship and fellowship. He wants us to enjoy the riches of His Kingdom for eternity and has no pleasure in the demise of the wicked (Ezekiel 18:32; 33:11). This is why, as a good Father, He warns us plainly using speech we can understand and process.

-At the end of His lesson, Jesus makes a comment about every scribe who becomes a disciple of the Kingdom of Heaven being like a head of a household who brings out of his treasure things new and old (Matthew 13:52). This intriguing statement connects the Old Covenant (or Testament) with the New Covenant (or Testament). He is saying here that He was what the Law and the Prophets in the Old Testament were all about in pointing to Him, the Messiah. *Application* Both the Old and New Testaments give vital truth for understanding and practical guidelines for faith and practice in this world. Don’t ever neglect the vast riches that are in the Old Testament. Be diligent to learn God’s whole counsel and do not let it depart from you.

-The religious people in Jesus’ time had the tendency to get trapped in the old and refused to accept the new thing God was revealing in His Son. They were looking for a future kingdom preceded by judgment in the physical and temporal realm via military conquest. They were blind to the spiritual significance of the new way that Christ brought through a Kingdom that was now with a future judgment after everyone had been given every opportunity to turn back to God and repent (change their mind). *Application* Life is being worked in us even through these earthen vessels that we live in now (2 Corinthians 4:6-14). Realize what is going on. Live in Christ with His power. The Kingdom continues to grow in you, the believer.


Verse to Memorize- Matthew 13:51


70. Daughter of Jairus healed- Matt. 9:18-19; 9:23-26, Mark 5:22-24; 35-43, Luke 8:41-42; 49-56


-Here is another example of Jesus’ healing power going forth through the faith of the parents and His disciples. This is why only these people were allowed into the room where the girl was raised. There were mockers and unbelievers about who knew the physical reality, and could not accept the fact that a miracle could take place. It was foolishness, in their finite minds, to think that this girl was going to live again and be alright. There was desperation from Jairus that we see in the text and ultimately trust over fear. This is the point of this message during an amazing event. All were astounded at the results (Mark 5:42). Even though Jesus told them not to spread this incident, the news got out all through the land (Matthew 9:26). *Application* Do we come before God desperately and in faith when the unexpected and even tragic takes place? God understands our plight and has compassion to heal us and often the situation just like in this account. Cry out to Jesus! Faith and humility is required as a spiritual law.


Verse to Memorize- Mark 5:36

Monday, September 17, 2012

Harmony of the Gospels

66. Jesus teaching in parables- Matt. 13:34-35, Mark 4:33-34


-Jesus taught in the prophesied manner of parables “things hidden from the foundation of the world (Psalm 78:2, Matthew 13:35).” Jesus was all about taking things that were known and using them to explain the other world of God’s Kingdom through this method. A parable is simply an earthly story with a Heavenly meaning in the context of Jesus’ teaching. He was opening up mysteries and hidden knowledge to those He spoke to and conversed with. The disciples, thankfully, recorded them for our benefit as well. *Application* These timeless truths reach our generation just as impactful as in the time of Jesus if we care to do some cultural and historical research to grasp the entire meaning of each one. Seek the Lord’s wisdom out and understand His messages to you, His beloved.


Verse to Memorize- Matt. 13:34


67. The hidden treasure- Matt. 13:44


-Jesus, in this parable, relates the Kingdom of Heaven to a hidden treasure in a field, which a man found and hid again. Because of his joy over finding it he goes and sells all that he has and buys (purchases, takes hold of) that entire field. This parable relates the value of knowing Christ and His righteousness and the unsurpassing riches that He entails. The man found it almost without even looking by accident, but is very protective of it, rehiding it once he did find it. He finds it a joy to give up all his possessions to obtain that field that houses the treasure (Mark 10:21, Luke 5:11, 27-28; 18:22, Acts 4:34). *Application* What is the cost of discipleship and what are you willing to give up for Christ and His Kingdom? Assured whatever you dispose of for His sake will be rewarded back unto to you. This is a promise of God (Matthew 6:33, Mark 10:28-30). The issue for us is if we will trust Him. So then we can say that faith is the field and the reward, the treasure, lies hidden in that field of trust and dependence on the Lord. What joy we have when we realize His riches and hope that were once hidden from us. Open up His possibilities by surrendering all you have. Living in His resurrected power is the greatest gain!


Verse to Memorize- Matthew 13:44


68. The pearl- Matt. 13:45-46


-In this parable, Jesus relates the Kingdom of Heaven to a merchant who is seeking fine pearls. This pearl (the truth of the Kingdom in Christ Jesus) of great value is worth everything he owns and is. He gladly gives it all up for this precious commodity knowing its great worth in comparison. He makes the purchase without regret and takes ownership (connectedness) of a new thing. *Application* This relationship we can have with Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Son of God, the Savior of our soul) is worth more than anything we own or could give up. In reality this is a free gift of faith and is available to all (John 3:16, Romans 3:24; 6:23, Ephesians 2:8-9, 2 Peter 3:9). Our hope is in the Pearl of Great Price (Jesus crucified from the foundation of the world for our redemption, Hebrews 4:3, Matthew 25:34)


Verse to Memorize- Matthew 13:46

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Harmony of the Gospels

63. The wheat and tares- Matt. 13:24-30; 36-43


-Jesus gives this parable and explains it to His disciples explaining the nature of good and bad coexisting together in this world until the end judgment. The Son of Man (God, the Messiah, Jesus) is the sower of the good seed and these are those of the Kingdom of God whose righteousness will shine like the noon day sun (Daniel 12:3). The enemy sows the tares (the weeds), which represent the sons of the evil one (the unregenerate, the lost, the unsaved). These are the stumbling blocks and rule breakers who have not repented and come in humility to the Savior, Jesus Christ, for forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with the Father. The reality of hell is prevalent here in Jesus’ teachings because He is warning His listeners about the wrath to come if they do not come to Him. *Application* Warning signs all around us are there to help us avoid the danger that could otherwise overtake us and hurt us in a variety of ways. Pay attention to the warning signs God gives us for direction and protection from all that is evil and seeking to destroy us. Remember that evil will coexist with us until the time of the end when the final harvest is made. Endure and grow in Christ as good and pure wheat, undiluted by the weeds that surround you. This only happens by seeking God and living by His Spirit and clinging to Godly friends and acquaintances who do have an impact and influence.


Verses to Memorize- Matthew 13:41-42


64. The mustard seed- Matt. 13:31-32, Mark 4:30-32, Luke 13:18-19


-Small beginnings have great implications, endings, and benefits in the Kingdom of God. This was Jesus’ point in this parable of the tiny mustard seed that grows into a fruit bearing home for the birds. *Application* Jesus reassures us that it takes time to become mature in the Kingdom economy, but it is worth it. Do not despise small beginnings. God is in these little things and desires to grow us into His fullness and greatness. One day we will realize how awesome our seed has grown in the Kingdom and know the truth of Christ’s words in this passage.


Verses to Memorize- Matthew 13:31-32


65. The leaven (yeast)- Matt. 13:33, Luke 13:20-21


-Likewise to the mustard seed turning to a large and productive tree, Jesus shares that the Kingdom of Heaven is like yeast (leaven), which expands and becomes bigger and bigger with age and the baking process. *Application* In contradiction to the general expectation, Christ’s Kingdom began quietly and very unexpectedly. Most of God’s chosen people were looking for a mighty political ruler that would overtake the world with force and extreme external power. Jesus initiated the Kingdom with His first coming as a sacrificial Servant that saved the world from its demise and sin. This can easily be overlooked, but it shouldn’t. God’s ways are higher than our ways and His plan far exceeds anything our finite minds could conceive (Isaiah 55:8-9). Enjoy the fact that His Kingdom is ever expanding and will one day be the only power left in this world. In the end love wins!


Verse to Memorize- Luke 13:21

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Harmony of the Gospels

59. Jesus’ true mother & brothers- Matt. 12:46-50, Mark 3:31-35, Luke 8:19-21


-Jesus remarks on true family to those who had gathered to listen to Him speak the words of God, probably in Caperaum. This was not a put off of His earthly mother and brothers. It was a statement of instruction about the true family of God and how to be a part of that family. Matthew and Mark give us that it requires doing the will of God (Matthew 7:21; 12:50, Mark 3:35), while Luke adds that we must hear it and do it (Luke 8:21). *Application* We are called the children of God in the Scriptures (1 John 3:1-3). Being a part of this family is a special privilege that changes everything that we are about. This relationship that God graciously bestows upon us purifies, sanctifies, and in the end glorifies us as redeemed of the LORD. Count your many blessings if you are a part of His Kingdom and live like the saint you are.


Verses to Memorize- Matthew 12:50, Mark 3:35, Luke 8:21


60. The sower- Matt. 13:1-23, Mark 4:1-20, Luke 8:4-15


-The seed is the Word of God in this fundamental parable for our spiritual understanding (Mark 4:13). Those people who reject it immediately, having the Word taken away by the deception of the devil, do not ever believe in their heart and are never saved. The people who are rocky do receive the Word with joy but have no firm root (or foundation, Matthew 7:24-25). They have some faith for a while, but when temptation comes they fall away (Hebrews 6:1-6). These are the apostates (Matthew 13:21, Mark 4:17, Hebrews 3:12) and are never destined for Heaven in relationship with the Living God. The ones who get choked out by the cares, worries, and desires of this world may have relationship and could be going to Heaven (1 Corinthians 3:11-15), but they have become unfruitful and are in danger of being taken out of this world for an unproductive Christian existence (1 Corinthians 11:28-30, 1 John 5:16). The good soil are those who understand the Word of God with an honest and good heart, hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance (Luke 8:15). *Application* Let us all be good soil and understand the mystery of the Kingdom of God. This message reveals the four different kinds of reactions we will get when we present the Word of God to people. Pray that the message will find good soil and grow abundantly! He who has ears, let him hear!


Verse to Memorize- Luke 8:15


61. A candle under a bushel- Mark 4:21-25, Luke 8:16-18


-Nothing will be hidden; it will all come to the light. Be careful what you listen to (your influencers). Whoever has, more will be given. The Kingdom grows. “Living things grow and growing things change”- Paige Henderson. *Application* Be ready to be blessed when your light (the Light of Christ) shines in this world. It will expose everything and cause all to be revealed. Think of light and how it illuminates. Sometimes people get irritated by light exposure and shun it. Don’t worry when you are rejected because of the light in you. You are the aroma of Christ to those who are being saved and the stench of death to those who are perishing (2 Corinthians 2:14-17).


Verse to Memorize- Mark 4:22


62. The growing seed- Mark 4:26-29


-This parable about the Kingdom of God is only recorded in Mark (four of the only 31 verses in this gospel that are not quoted in the other gospels). It reveals that spiritual growth is a continual, gradual process that is finally consummated in a harvest of spiritual maturity. The slow but certain growth of a plant illustrates how our Christian growth should be. *Application* Sometimes we may not even realize how we are growing in our walk with Christ in relationship with Him as we draw ever closer and closer to Him through spiritual disciplines. All of a sudden we awake and understand that we have matured in our faith and can handle the greater things of God more than we could have ever expected or imagined according to the Power that works within us (Ephesians 3:20). God give us a plentiful harvest!


Verse to Memorize- Mark 4:28

Friday, September 14, 2012

Harmony of the Gospels

57. John sends messengers to inquire of Jesus- Matt. 11:2-19, Luke 7:18-35


-Jesus explains to John’s disciples that were sent by him how there were many proofs that He indeed was the Expected One (the Messiah). Jesus quotes Isaiah 35:5 and Isaiah 61:1 as evidence of His authenticity. He tells the crowd that “blessed is he who does not take offense at Me (Matthew 11:7, Luke 7:23).” Then as John’s disciples were going away He expounds on the ministry of John and his role, which was more than a prophet in the spirit of Elijah (Malachi 3:1). John prepared the way before Christ in leading the willing and believing to repentance from their sins and faith in the Messiah. However, Jesus addressed the unbelief of the Pharisees of that generation in a poignant way (Matthew 11:16-19, Luke 7:30-35). The unbelieving are presented the radical holiness and self denying example of John and the inclusive nature of the Christ, yet they rejected both. This is the point Jesus made with His analogy to the flute with no dancing and the dirge with no mourning (Matthew 11:17, Luke 7:32). Jesus said in the end that wisdom is vindicated by her deeds (Matthew 11:19) and children (Luke 7:35). *Application* Again we see the fruitful consequences of inner change when Christ comes in and changes a person because of their humility, faith, and willingness to be transformed. Today, do not harden your heart and make excuses, false rationalizations, or complaints that will keep you from His wisdom and truth. God presents His truth in a variety of ways to appeal to each and every individual. See His evidence!


Verse to Memorize- Matthew 11:11


58. The strong man- Matt. 12:23-29, Mark 3:22-27, Luke 11:15-22


-The Pharisees and pious Jews were calling Jesus Beelzebul (literally lord of the flies, dunghill god) trying to say that He was demonic and satanic. Jesus knew their thoughts (proof of His deity, wisdom, and observation skills) and refuted their false claims. A house divided against itself will fail and fall. It is only by a stronger force, the Strong Man, that evil is conquered and vanquished. It makes no logical sense for Satan to fight against his own schemes and devices. Jesus says if He casts out demons by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has come upon them (Matthew 12:28, Luke 11:20). *Application* The Pharisees and unbelievers will make every excuse not to accept the things of God even when they are presented in factual and rational form. Keep using wisdom in your contention for the faith that the Lord by His Spirit will give you even as Christ had. He will give you the answer to every critic, so don’t ever be anxious (Luke 12:11-12, 2 Corinthians 5:12, Jude 1:3). If they accused Jesus, they will also accuse you. Prepare in prayer.


Verse to Memorize- Matthew 12:28

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Harmony of the Gospels

53. You shall know them by their fruits- Matt. 7:15-20


-Jesus teaches that we can know whether or not a person is righteous and walking in the narrow way by observing their fruits (out manifestations, deeds, works). He talks about the tree in correlation to our inward man (soul, heart). This is where the work of salvation and restoration from corruption is performed. Jesus also spoke of the well spring of life flowing with living water (John 4:14). He alone is the originator of transformation and this is His point. The inner wellness will produce good fruit in its dispensation (distribution of things, giving out of something). If one is producing bad fruit there is sufficient evidence that the tree is rotten inside and in reality not part of God’s Kingdom (in other words saved, righteous, redeemed). *Application* “You will know them by their fruits (Matthew 7:20)” seems to stand in stark contrast to the comment just nineteen verses earlier, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged (Matthew 7:1).” While we are not the ultimate Judge, Jesus tells us that it is ok to be fruit inspectors. This is a warning for our discernment as we do Kingdom work here on this earth. Be careful with whom you align yourselves in your ministry. If things are not being followed according to the Lord’s command it is perfectly ok to inspect that and deal with it appropriately under God’s direction, supervision, and counsel. God tells us to be observant and notice things that will help us detect false motivations and intrigue (schemes) that are at best carnal and may possibly be totally not of God at all.


Verses to Memorize- Matthew 7:16-20


54. The wise and the foolish builders- Matt. 7:24-27, Luke 6:47-49


-Jesus teaches here that the foundation is crucial upon which we build. Christ Jesus is the firm foundation, the Rock, which is stable and can withstand the storms of this life. *Application* For this firm foundation to be ours the Lord says we must hear His Word and act on it (Matthew 7:24, Luke 6:47). His Word is true and reliable, able to hold up under any circumstance and trial. Count on it like you count on the sun coming up tomorrow.


Verses to Memorize- Luke 6:47-48


55. Healing of the Centurion’s servant- Matt. 8:5-13, Luke 7:2-10


-These two accounts of what happened with the centurion’s servant differ somewhat, which probably indicates there were two separate occurrences with virtually the same result. With Matthew, the centurion came up to Him in Caperaum with healing faith demonstrated. In Luke, Jewish elders approached Jesus with the centurion’s request extolling his charitable deeds and favor he had shown the Jewish people by building their synagogue (the foundation of this building is still there in Caperaum today on the north side of the Sea of Galilee!). Jesus heals sight unseen because of the faith of these men in both instances. Both times it is their faith that brings God’s amazement (marvel), favor, and an announcement that that is the kind of faith not seen in the sons of Israel (or of the Kingdom), which is to their detriment and demise eternally (Matthew 8:12). *Application* God is no respecter of persons and we see this once again in this passage. The Kingdom is opened up to all people of faith in Him to recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in Heaven (Matthew 8:11). We are grafted in to His family as Gentiles who believe on His Name (Romans 11:17-25). Thank God for His grace today and have the type of faith these centurions displayed.

-Authority is another issue in this passage. Each centurion was a man of power and knew how authority worked. The subordinates carried out faithfully the work of the commander in this system with proficiency and accuracy. They didn’t have to worry about tasks being completed when they gave the order as the one in charge. They recognized that they were not worthy of this One coming into their home, but they believed that at His Word their servant would be healed. What a testimony of subjection and trust, which drew Jesus’ praise and favor. *Application* This is a reminder to us of how we need to approach our Lord with fear and trembling in awe and respect. He is God and has all authority in our lives and in our circumstances. Seek Him out as the centurions did and ask for the miraculous in faith.


Verse to Memorize- Luke 7:9


56. Widow’s son at Nain raised- Luke 7:11-17


-This is one of the most miraculous accounts in the entire Scriptures. Jesus raises from the dead the only son of a widow, seized with compassion for her grieved situation. The Bible states that a large crowd witnessed this event and fear gripped all of them as they glorified the fact that “God has visited His people (Luke 7:16)!” Although they missed Him as the Messiah by proclaiming Him to be a prophet (Luke 7:16), they recognized His undoubtable power and broadcast this event all over the region (Luke 7:17). *Application* When we see need like Jesus saw in this particular instance, are we as determined as He was to right the situation and make things better to the best of our abilities? Have the compassion of Christ in all your encounters. You’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish. Miracles may even happen J!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Harmony of the Gospels

50. The birds of heaven- Matt. 6:25-34, Luke 12:22-34


-Jesus deals with the essence of the problem of worry in this passage. It is little faith. Jesus tells His listeners and us not to be afraid for the Lord will take care of His most precious possession. His desire is for us all to seek Him first and all these other things of need (and many wants I might add) will be added unto us. Jesus emphasizes giving for the purpose of eternal riches, which can only happen with a heart of love and faith (Luke 12:33). *Application* Where our treasure is, there will our heart be also. Invest in the things of God’s Kingdom and quit worrying about the mundane things of this earth. God will take care of you. Have the faith that He desires and requires for your contentment and peace of mind. God is able. Do you trust Him?


Verse to Memorize- Matthew 6:33


51. Discourse on judging- Matt. 7:1-5, Luke 6:41-42


-Jesus points out the fact that often people who are making judgments on others are imperfect themselves and should first do some intensive self evaluation. Hypocrisy is the issue here and it has many applications in life. For instance, the dad who tells his son not to drink alcohol out with his friends while he himself comes home drunk will have little if any effect in providing a proper standard or role model for his son. This is the point of taking “the log out of your own eye” to see clearly with accurate and just judgment (Matthew 7:5). Further, Jesus speaks of who we entrust ourselves to in the matters of instruction and judgments. After we have cleaned up our act and can be discerning in offering advice and counsel, it is wise to assess the recipients. Jesus illustrates how we can waste our time and be unjustly persecuted when we offer wisdom to the unholy (dogs) and unrighteous (swine or pigs) (Matthew 7:6). These were unclean animals according to God’s Law or their natural instincts (Deuteronomy 14:8, Proverbs 26:11). *Application* Jesus is stating that we have to be careful with who we teach and lead because if we don’t it can be very unproductive and even detrimental to us. Instead entrust your righteous teaching to faithful people who will teach others in an ongoing progression after you have repented and lived in a manner worthy of leadership (2 Timothy 2:2). Only God is the ultimate Judge, and we should be ultra careful to point people in His righteousness knowing that we are imperfect and need His cleansing purity, which is only found in Jesus’ atoning sacrifice in blood.


Verse to Memorize- Matthew 7:1


52. Discourse on the two ways- Matt. 7:13-27


-Again we see the authority of Jesus in His teaching here. He is making a distinction between the two ways that mankind can go in life towards his/her eternal destination. God’s way is narrow (not the majority, not popular, Matthew 7:13-14) and must be chosen with accuracy free from deception that the enemy and this world attempt to bring (Matthew 7:15). Jesus claims that we will know the righteous by their fruits (outward manifestations of an inward reality). He warns that there are those who profess Christ outwardly, but actually do not “know” Him and therefore practice lawlessness (Matthew 7:23). The will of God is to act in faith on His words for hidden wisdom and the eternal hope in Him (Matthew 7:21, 24). *Application* Build your house (life) upon the rock (Jesus, the firm foundation, 2 Timothy 2:19). His anchor holds and will keep you safe in His security leading you home to be with Him in paradise in the end (Hebrews 6:19).


Verse to Memorize- Matthew 7:21

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Harmony of the Gospels

48. Don’t do your charitable deeds before men- Matt. 6:1-18


-It is hypocritical to make a big deal out of your charitable acts of righteous before men Jesus says. Your reward is in full already when you perform to gain selfish applause and recognition. Hidden giving and prayer is recommended for reward from the Father in Heaven and His good pleasure (Matthew 6:4, 6). *Application* This again is a heart issue with the Lord. He knows our deepest motivations and will justly reward on that basis. Do your righteous acts with pure intentions and secretly if at all possible.

-Forgiveness is a big to the Lord as He teaches further after giving His disciples the model prayer. Our forgiveness from the Father is in a large way dependent on our attitude towards forgiving others who’ve wronged us He tells us and His disciples plainly. *Application* When people do us wrong, it gives us the opportunity to learn the precious art of forgiveness. We would never learn the compassion of our Father towards us if we were never mistreated unjustly. Learn the grace gift of forgiveness in your life. Reconcile with your brother or sister in the Lord’s way for His favor. Otherwise bitterness will grip and conquer your life as you continue to live in sin and unforgiveness.

-The last few verses in this section deal with fasting and again the proper manner with inward purity verses exterior expression for full reward from the Father. *Application* It is a great discipline to fast and pray with proper focus and attention on God’s will. However, as Jesus points out it can become a prideful exercise when we do it for public recognition and glory. Make sure that your heart is centered on the right things when you fast and pray before the LORD.


Verse to Memorize- Matthew 6:3


49. The Lord’s Prayer- Matt. 6:9-13, Luke 11:2-4


-Jesus teaches His disciples, and us, how to pray properly before the LORD God. This is not to be a repetitious prayer devoid of meaning and ritualistic. It is a guideline for all the aspects that should be included as we communicate with our Maker. We will see worship, praise, adoration, respect, awe, and fear in the beginning phase. We see a surrender to the Lord’s will and His Kingdom purposes in it on earth as it is in Heaven (notice the struggle this earth has going on with sin and the enemy present). We can see that it is alright to ask for things from the Father for our benefit and well being. We learn that we must seek forgiveness from the Father as we forgive others in our lives that have wronged us, which includes confession and intercession of all kinds. We conclude that it is wise for us to ask that temptation be taken away from us as we walk the path of life. Lastly, we see that thanksgiving should be a major part of our prayer life as we recognize His greatness, provision, and supreme glory. *Application* How seriously do we take our prayer life. Coming before God should be consistent, purposeful, meaningful, and effective among other things. Jesus instructed us with all we need for a vibrant prayer walk with Him. Don’t neglect the opportunities you’ve been given. Don’t get too busy for time with God. Remember Him and keep Him close every moment of your day (1 Thessalonians 5:17).


Verses to Memorize- Matthew 6:9-13

Monday, September 10, 2012

Harmony of the Gospels

46. Beatitudes- Matt. 5:3-12, Luke 6:20-23


-Jesus lays out important characteristics of the people who will inherit the Kingdom of Heaven (or God, Luke) that contradict the world’s system of pride and prestige. The poor in spirit (the broken) are blessed (the experience of hope and joy). Those that mourn (sorrow, repentant, grieving) will be comforted by the God who cares and has compassion. The gentle (humble, meek) will inherit the earth. The ones who hunger and thirst (an unyielding seeking and pursuit of) after righteous will find satisfaction. The ones who display mercy and grace in their lives will also receive the mercy and grace of the LORD. The heart must be pure in order to see God, and peacemakers (not peacekeepers) will be called the sons (or daughters if female) of God. Jesus gives special attention to those who are persecuted for His sake and righteousness. He encourages us to stay in the game and endure because He knows the pain and suffering that it brings when we stand up for Him and obey His commands in this world by faith. *Application* It is incredibly difficult to follow these beatitudes. In fact it is impossible to achieve these things long term in our flesh (old nature, our natural state) and on our own. We may achieve some success short term, but to have lasting fruits we must receive God’s Holy Spirit (a transformation, a new birth) and walk in His power. This is a way of life that contradicts the natural inclinations and the ways of the majority of this world. Soldier on and allow God to do things His way in your life! In the end you shall be blessed beyond measure!


Verse to Memorize- Matthew 5:10


47. Expounding of the law- Matt. 5:17-48, Luke 6:29-42


-Jesus explains His true intentions to fulfill the Law rather than demolish, or abolish, it. In other words, He supersedes the formality and penalty of the Law because of His atoning sacrifice on the cross. His grace is sufficient (Romans 3:24, 1 Corinthians 15:10, Titus 3:7, 1 Peter 1:2). This grace gives a whole new perspective to the demands and requirements of the Law, which Jesus expounds upon in this section. Grace requires new heart attitudes from within that have pure motives and are virtually unconcerned for the outward manifestation since that will take care of itself. Grace goes deeper and penetrates to the core of our being fulfilling God’s ultimate desire and plan for His creation in love. This is the essence of what Christ was discussing here in this passage. It has application in all the described areas, but its root is all the same wrapped up in the commands “love God and love others.” *Application* When we understand the true meaning of the Law and how it is applied to us for a redemptive purpose with a Savior to cover our transgressions, we can begin to walk free in God’s perfection and be holy even as He is holy (Leviticus 19:2, Matthew 5:48).


Verse to Memorize- Luke 6:36