Friday, January 31, 2020

Friday - Matthew 23 - Woe, Damnation and Hell

T isn't atheists or barbarians who receive the biting words of judgment meted out in this chapter. It's the religious crowd. The scribes and the Pharisees were locally famous for their extreme piety. Yet, the only words Christ had for them were words of rebuke.

The Pharisees talked big & walked small (vs. 3). They required much but contributed little (vs. 4). Their devotion was not to God, it was to themselves (vs. 5-7). They wanted to lead, but they did want to serve (vs. 8-11). These men were lost. They were on their way to hell (vs. 14-15). They had long lists of rules to follow, but everything was superficial. Jesus described them as dead, unclean, hypocritical & iniquitous (vs. 27-28). He called them snakes & murders (vs. 33-34). They were religious, but lost.

In our modern world, there are so many different religions. But there is only one true and pure religion. Only devotees who have received Christ are acceptable. The rest of the world's religious people are following nothing less than the inventions of Satan himself.  The occult, cults, dead Christianity & all contrived religions offer no legitimate hope.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Thursday - Matthew 22 - More on the Nature of the Kingdom

HIS chapter contains several sections. There is the parable of the wedding (vs. 1-14), a spiritual lesson from paying taxes (vs. 15-22), a lesson on the resurrection using marriage to explain it (vs. 23-34) and lastly, the priority of love and the deity of the Messiah (vs. 35-46). In each of these sections we are given additional information about the nature of Christ's kingdom. Of course, we are looking for His physical kingdom on earth. That will last for 1000 years after Armageddon. And, before that, when we all get to heaven, Jesus will be reigning there. But for some of us, Jesus is already the King (John 1:12).

Now, in verse 1-14, we are taught that our attitude toward God is everything.  The story goes like this: a king had a son.   His son was about to be married. The king invited the expected guests, but they were disinterested. When the king pressured these prospective guests, they moved from indifference to hostility. So, as the story goes, the king had them killed. Then he invited others who would not have expected an invitation. Many came. Yet, even in that, there were some who came without sincerity. That was also an unacceptably fatal mistake. And, the interpretation is easy. Jehovah has a Son. He invited the Jews to the feast, but they rejected His Son, even with hostility. God has therefore turned His attention to us very unworthy Gentiles. Yet, even in that, some among us, despite living in Christendom, also perish (vs. 14).

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Wednesday - Matthew 21 - All Hail King Jesus: The Chosen Stone

N 4 different instances, parts of the Old Testament are quoted in this chapter (vs. 5, 13, 16 & 42). It is evident then that Matthew was adding more evidence backing his claim that Jesus of Nazareth was indeed the Messiah of God and the rightful King of Israel.

Chronologically, Jesus was nearly at the end of His earthly ministry. The event recorded at the outset of this chapter is commonly called the "Triumphal Entry" and in our culture is celebrated annually on "Palm Sunday," the week before Easter. Christ's entry – riding on a donkey into Jerusalem (to a very enthusiastic reception from a large crowd of Jews) – should draw our attention to the future, when He will come again. The next time He enters Jerusalem, He will come as a conqueror.

Jesus' power to conquer was demonstrated when He cursed the fig tree and caused it to immediately wither and die. Additionally, Jesus' right to conquer was communicated by His action right after His triumphant entry. He went into the temple and cleaned house. He threw out the crooks. This bold action elicited 2 very different reactions from 2 very different groups of people. The young people in Jerusalem worshipped Him vigorously (vs. 15). The religious leaders were upset and cynical.

Jesus did not even dignify the criticism of the scribes and Pharisees with a response. Instead, He began to interrogate them concerning their rebellious response to John the Baptist.  Since the religious leaders didn't believe or respect John's ministry, they were not prepared to follow Christ when He began to exercise His authority over them. They had rejected this Cornerstone (vs. 42). In other words, although Jesus was the chosen one of God, these religious Jews refused to include Him in their futile efforts to build a spiritual house.  Regardless, Jehovah had elected to build with His Son as the foundation.