by Ken Cayce

© Ken Cayce All rights reserved.


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Matthew Explained

Book of Matthew Explained

The four Gospels present a fourfold view of the life of Christ. Except for scant references by Tacitus and Josephus, our entire knowledge of the life of Jesus comes from these gospel accounts. The early accounts probably were passed on verbally in the Aramaic language and then recorded in Greek manuscripts between A.D. 60 and 90. All four Gospels build upon genuine historical tradition and preserve different aspects of it.

The basic purpose of the Gospels is to present the gospel message, the Good News of the Redeemer-Savior. They present Jesus as the Messiah of Israel, the Son of God, and the Savior of the world. The Gospels were written so that their readers would come to believe in Christ and receive eternal life (compare John 20:31). They view Jesus as the Lord of Glory who is presently alive and active in heaven.

Order of the Gospels: The order of the Gospels has been generally recognized by the church throughout its history. “The Gospel of Matthew occupies first place in all extant witnesses to the text of the four Gospels and in all early lists of the canonical books of the New Testament” (R.V.G. Tasker, The Gospel According to St. Matthew, Tyndale New Testament Commentary, page 11). Matthew’s emphasis on the Old Testament preparation for the gospel makes it an ideal “bridge” from the Old to the New Testament.

The Gospels present four portraits of Jesus, each in its own characteristic manner. Matthew, the Hebrew tax collector, writes for the Hebrew mind. Mark, the travel companion of Paul and Peter, writes for the Roman mind. Luke, Paul’s physician-missionary, writes with the Greek mentality in view. John’s gospel is different by nature from the other three. It is an interpretation of the facts of Jesus’ life rather than a presentation of its facts in historical sequence.

Title: Matthew, meaning “gift of the Lord”, was the other name of Levi (9:9), the tax collector who left everything to follow Christ (Luke 5:27-28). Matthew was one of the 12 apostles (10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13). In his own list of the 12, he explicitly calls himself a “tax collector” (10:3). Nowhere else in Scripture is the name Matthew associated with “tax collector”; the other evangelists always employ his former name, Levi, when speaking of his sinful past. This is evidence of humility on Matthew’s part. As with the other 3 gospels, this work is known by the name of its author.

Author and Date: The canonicity and Matthean authorship of this gospel were unchallenged in the early church. Eusebius (ca. A.D. 265-339), quotes Origen (ca. A.D. 185-254):

Among the four Gospels, which are the only indisputable ones in the Church of God under heaven, I have learned by tradition that the first was written by Matthew, who was once a publican, by afterwards an apostle of Jesus Christ, and it was prepared for the converts from Judaism (Ecclesiastical History, 6:25).

It is clear that this gospel was written at a relatively early date, prior to the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70. Some scholars have proposed a date as early as A.D. 50.

A unique statement within the Book of Matthew provides internal evidence to its authorship. The account of the call of Matthew (chapter 9), is followed by that of a meal taken by Jesus in the company of “publicans and sinners”. One valid translation of this passage says the meal took place “at home”. The parallel account in Mark 2:15 clearly says this feast took place in Levi’s (Matthew’s), house”. Here, therefore, is a phrase that may betray the identity of the author.

Background – Setting: The Jewish flavor of Matthew’s gospel is remarkable. This is evident even in the opening genealogy, which Matthew traces back only as far as Abraham. In contrast, Luke, aiming to show Christ as the Redeemer of humanity, goes all the way back to Adam. Matthew’s purpose is somewhat narrower. To demonstrate that Christ is the King and Messiah of Israel. This gospel quotes more than 60 times from Old Testament prophetic passages, emphasizing how Christ is the fulfillment of all those promises.

The probability that Matthew’s audience was predominantly Jewish is further evident from several facts: Matthew usually cites Jewish custom without explaining it, in contrast to the other gospels (compare Mark 7:3; John 19:40). He constantly refers to Christ as “the Son of David” (1:1; 9:27, 12:23; 15:22; 20:30; 21:9, 15; 22:42, 45). Matthew even guards Jewish sensibilities regarding the name of God, referring to “the kingdom of heaven” where the other evangelists speak of “the kingdom of God”. All the book’s major themes are rooted in the Old Testament and set in light of Israel’s messianic expectations.

Matthew’s use of Greek may suggest that he was writing as a Palestinian Jew to Hellenistic Jews elsewhere. He wrote as an eyewitness of many of the events he described, giving firsthand testimony about the words and works of Jesus of Nazareth.

His purpose is clear: to demonstrate that Jesus is the Jewish nation’s long-awaited Messiah. His voluminous quoting of the Old Testament is specifically designed to show the tie between the Messiah of promise and the Christ of history. This purpose is never out of focus for Matthew, and he even adduces many incidental details from the Old Testament prophecies as proofs of Jesus’ messianic claims (e.g. 2:17-18; 4:13-15; 13:35; 21:4-5; 27:9-10).

Historical – Theological Themes: Since Matthew is concerned with setting forth Jesus as Messiah, the King of the Jews, an interest in the Old Testament kingdom promises runs throughout this gospel. Matthew’s signature phrase “the kingdom of heaven” occurs 32 times in this book (and nowhere else in all of Scripture).

The opening genealogy is designed to document Christ’s credentials as Israel’s king, and the rest of the book completes this theme. Matthew shows that Christ is the heir of the kingly line. He demonstrates that He is the fulfillment of dozens of Old Testament prophecies regarding the king who would come. He offers evidence after evidence to establish Christs kingly prerogative. All other historical and theological themes in the book revolve around this one.

Matthew records 5 major discourses: the Sermon on the Mount (chapters 5-7); the commissioning of the apostles (chapter 10); the parables about the kingdom (chapter 13); a discourse about the childlikeness of the believer (chapter 18); and the discourse on His second coming (chapters 24-25). Each discourse ends with a variation of this phrase: “when Jesus had finished these words” (7:28; 11:1; 13:53; 19:1; 26:1). That becomes a motif signaling a new narrative portion. A long opening section (chapters 1-4), and a short conclusion (28:16-20), bracket the rest of the gospel, which naturally divides into 5 sections, each with a discourse and a narrative section. Some have seen a parallel between these 5 sections and the 5 books of Moses in the Old Testament.

The conflict between Christ and Pharisaism is another common theme in Matthew’s gospel. But Matthew is keen to show the error of the Pharisees from the benefit of his Jewish audience, not for personal or self-aggrandizing reasons. Matthew omits, for example, the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, even though that parable would have put him in a favorable light.

Matthew also mentions the Sadducees more than any of the other gospels. Both Pharisees and Sadducees are regularly portrayed negatively, and held up as warning beacons. Their doctrine is a leaven that much be avoided (16:11-12). Although these groups were doctrinally at odds with one another, they were united in their hatred of Christ. To Mathew, they epitomized all in Israel who rejected Christ as King.

The rejection of Israel’s Messiah is another constant theme in this gospel. In no other gospel are the attacks against Jesus portrayed as strongly as here. From the flight into Egypt to the scene at the cross, Matthew paints a more vivid portrayal of Christ’s rejection than any of the other evangelists. In Matthew’s account of the crucifixion, for example, no thief repents and no friends or loved ones are seen at the foot of the cross. In His death, He is forsaken even by God (27:46). The shadow of rejection is never lifted from the story.

Yet Matthew portrays Him as a victorious King who will one day return “on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory” (24:30).


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Chapter Selection

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Matthew 1
Matthew 11
Matthew 21
Matthew 2 Matthew 12 Matthew 22
Matthew 3 Matthew 13 Matthew 23
Matthew 4 Matthew 14 Matthew 24
Matthew 5 Matthew 15 Matthew 25
Matthew 6 Matthew 16 Matthew 26
Matthew 7
Matthew 17 Matthew 27
Matthew 8 Matthew 18 Matthew 28
Matthew 9 Matthew 19  
Matthew 10 Matthew 20  

Matthew 1

Matthew 1

Matthew 1:1 "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham."

"The book of the generation of Jesus Christ": This phrase is viewed by some as Matthew's title for the entire gospel. The Greek phrase translated "book of the generation" is exactly the same phrase used in (Gen. 5:1 in the LXX).

The genealogy of Christ opens by connecting Jesus to the family line of the promised Messiah. "Jesus" Greek Iesous; Hebrew Yehoshua) is His earthly name, meaning, "the LORD is salvation." Christ is the title most often linked to His name in the New Testament. So it is technically, "Jesus the Christ." By tracing Jesus' ancestry back to King David, through the line of Davidic kings, Matthew connects Jesus with His royal heritage.

The Hebrew Jeshua means "the Lord is Salvation".

"Son of David": A messianic title used as such in only the synoptic gospels.

I believe here, that this generation of Jesus Christ begins with Abraham, because he is the father of all believers as we read in (Gal. 3:29).

"And if ye [be] Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."

"Son of Abraham": Takes His royal lineage all the way back to the nation's inception in the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 12:1-3).

Remember, all believers in the Lord Jesus Christ make up spiritual Israel, the (spiritual), descendants of Abraham, because of their faith. We read in the 17th chapter of Genesis that these spiritual descendants of Abraham would be so many, they will be impossible to number.

Genesis 17:5 "Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee."

Physical Israel is just one nation. This is speaking of spiritual Israel (all believers in Christ). Verse 7 of the same chapter of Genesis, it makes it clear that these are spiritual descendants.

Genesis 17:7 "And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee."

This covenant was based on Abraham's faith and on the faith of his spiritual descendants. Abram (high father), was changed to Abraham (father of a multitude).

Matthew 1:2 "Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren;"

This genealogy starts with the three Old Testament patriarchs, whom the blessings were passed down through. "Isaac" means laughter. Jacob's name was changed to Israel. "Jacob" meant trickster, and God changed his name to "Israel", which means having power with God.

This Israel was the father of the twelve tribes of Israel. This Judas was the same as "Judah" (God be praised). Jesus is shown as being the Lion of the tribe of Judah. This first gospel (Matthew), shows Jesus as a Lion (the first of the 4 faces of the beast in Revelation).

Verses 3-8: "Judas" is the Greek form of Judah, the father of the tribe so named. The promise of Jacob was the leadership of the 12 tribes would come through Judah (Gen 49:3-12).

"Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and wife of Uriah: Four women of "questionable" qualifications appear in this genealogy in addition to Mary, the virgin mother of Jesus. It was not customary to list the names of women in a genealogy; therefore, the inclusion of these names must be deliberate on the part of the author. Tamar was the mother of two illegitimate sons (Pharez and Zerah) by her father-in-law, Judah. Rahab was the converted prostitute of Jericho and the mother of Boaz.

Ruth, the wife of Boaz, was a godly foreigner (Moabitess). The wife of Uriah is none other than Bathsheba, whose adultery with David is infamous. However, she later became the legitimate wife of David and the mother of Solomon.

Matthew 1:3 "And Judas begat Pharez and Zerah of Tamar; and Pharez begat Hezron; and Hezron begat Ram;"

"Judas": This is the Greek form of Judah, Jacob's son, through whom it was promised that the leadership of the twelve tribes would come (Gen. 49:3-12).

"Thamar": It is unusual for women to be named in genealogies. Matthew names 5:

1. Thamar or Tamar was a Canaanite woman who posed as a prostitute to seduce Judah (Genesis 38:13-30).

2. "Rahab" (verse 5), was a Gentile and prostitute (Joshua 2:1).

3. "Ruth" (verse 5), was a Moabite woman (Ruth 1:3), and a worshipper of idols.

4. "Bathsheba" wife of Uriah (verse 6), committed adultery with David (2 Sam chapter 11).

5. "Mary" (verse 16), bore the stigma of pregnancy outside of wedlock. Each of these women is an object lesson about the workings of divine grace.

Matthew 1:4 "And Ram begat Amminadab; and Amminadab begat Nahshon; and Nahshon begat Salmon;"

Nahshon (Revised Version), begat Salmon. This line of descent, from Nahshon to David, is also given by Luke (Luke 3:31, 32), and is derived from (Ruth 4:18-22).

Verses 5-6: Salmon was the father of Boaz by Rahab ... Jesse was the father of David the king. This is not an exhaustive genealogy. Several additional generations must have elapsed between Rahab) in Joshua's time) and David (verse 6), nearly 4 centuries later. Matthew's genealogy (like most of the biblical ones), sometimes skips over several generations between well-known characters in order to abbreviate the listing.

Matthew 1:5 "And Salmon begat Boaz of Rachab; and Boaz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse;"

We need to stop for a moment here and recognize that Jesus was descended in the flesh from Boaz (a Jewish man), and Ruth, a Moabite (a Gentile). This actually makes Jesus both Jew and Gentile. Rachab is Rahab the prostitute.

Matthew 1:6 "And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her [that had been the wife] of Uriah;"

"David" (the beloved of God) was in the ancestry of Jesus. God promised David that his descendant would come and rule. A very strange thing is that Jesus, through the flesh, was a descendant of David, but in the Spirit was David's God. David called Him Lord.

We also see in the verse above; just how forgiving God really is. David had Uriah killed so he (David), could have Bathsheba, Uriah's wife. David's and Bathsheba's first child died, but God blessed them later with Solomon. God's people are not perfect, just forgiven.

Matthew 1:7-8 "And Solomon begat Rehoboam; and Rehoboam begat Abijah; and Abijah begat Asa;" "And Asa begat Jehoshaphat; and Jehoshaphat begat Jehoram; and Jehoram begat Uzziah;"

Matthew skips over Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah, going directly from Jehoram to Uzziah (Ozias, a form of Uzziah). Using a kind of genealogical shorthand, he seems to do this intentionally in order to make a symmetrical 3-fold division in verse 17.

Verses 9-10: Uzziah is referred to as Uzziah (Isaiah 6:1), and Azariah (2 Kings 14:21). Three generations are omitted at this point. Matthew omits the names of Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah, and then omits Jehoiakim after the name of Josiah. The omissions are doubtless due to his arbitrary shortening of the list to give three groups of 14.

Matthew 1:9-10 "And Uzziah begat Jotham; and Jotham begat Ahaz; and Ahaz begat Hezekiah;" "And Hezekiah begat Manasseh; and Manasseh begat Amon; and Amon begat Josiah;"

These verses contain the genealogy of Jesus. Luke also Luke 3 gives a genealogy of the Messiah. No two passages of Scripture have caused more difficulty than these, and various attempts have been made to explain them.

Verses 11-15: Jechoniah is also called Jehoiachin (2 Kings 24:8), and Coniah (Jer. 22:24), and was cursed from having any descendant "upon the throne of David" according to (Jer. 22:30). Notice that Jesus is not a natural descendant of his. He was recognized by the Jews of the Exile as their last legitimate king.

"Carried away to Babylon" refers to the 70 years' captivity of the Jews in Babylon during the days of Daniel the prophet.

Matthew 1:11 "And Josiah begat Jechoniah and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon:"

Josiah became the father of Jechoniah. Again, Matthew skips a generation between Josiah and Jechoniah (1 Chron. 3:14-16). Jechoniah is also called Jehoiachin (2 Kings 24:6; 2 Chron. 36:8), and sometimes Coniah (Jer. 22:24). Jechoniah's presence in the genealogy presents an interesting dilemma.

Jechoniah, called "Coniah" in (Jer. 22:24-30. A curse on him forbade any of his descendants from the throne of David forever (Jer. 22:30). Had Jesus been the "natural" son of Joseph, He could not have reigned on David's throne. However, since His natural lineage is through Mary, and His legal authority is granted through His adoptive relationship to Joseph's line, this curse does not apply to Him.

Since Jesus was heir through Joseph to the royal line of descent, but not an actual son of Joseph and thus not a physical descendant through this line, the curse bypassed him.

Matthew 1:12 "And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechoniah begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zerubbabel;"

Salathiel the father of Zerubbabel (see 1 Chron. 3:17-19), where Zerubbabel is said to be the offspring of Pedaiah, Salathiel's brother. Elsewhere in the Old Testament, Zerubbabel is always called the son of Salathiel (e.g. Hag. 1:1; Ezra 3:2; Nehemiah 12:1). Possibly Salathiel adopted his nephew. Zerubbabel is the last character in Matthew's list that appears in any of the Old Testament genealogies.

Matthew 1:13-15 "And Zerubbabel begat Abiud; and Abiud begat Eliakim; and Eliakim begat Azor;" "And Azor begat Sadoc; and Sadoc begat Achim; and Achim begat Eliud;" "And Eliud begat Eleazar; and Eleazar begat Matthan; and Matthan begat Jacob;"

I know that you have noticed the difference in the spelling of the names here and in the Old Testament. Most of this is caused because of the difference in the Greek and Hebrew languages.

Matthew 1:16 "And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ."

"Joseph the husband of Mary": the wording carefully avoids giving the impression that Joseph was the natural father of Jesus. As the husband of Mary, he was Jesus' legal father and the one through whom He had a right to David's throne. Every emphasis of the text at this point reinforces the doctrine of the virgin birth of Christ.

The pronoun "whom" is singular, referring to Mary alone. The unusual way in which this final entry is phrased underscores the fact that Jesus was not Joseph's literal offspring. The genealogy nonetheless establishes His claim to the throne of David as Joseph's legal heir.

Joseph was legally but not physically the father of Jesus (verses 18-25). Though a carpenter in Nazareth (13:55), he was a legal heir of King David (verses 5:16, 20). He was a just and God-fearing man who faithfully carried out God's commands regarding Mary and the birth of Jesus (verses 19-25).

Joseph is mentioned in Scripture only in the Gospels and only in relation to Jesus Christ's childhood. The subsequent silence of Scripture suggests that Joseph died before the time of Christ's public ministry.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a godly young woman (Luke 1:28), but not without sin, either original or actual sin, since she herself refers to her own need of a Savior (Luke 1:47). She was betrothed (a Jewish custom legally equivalent to marriage), to Joseph of Nazareth. During this time the Holy Spirit supernaturally caused her to conceive Jesus apart from any human fatherhood (verses 18, 20, 23; Luke 1:31-35), and she remained a virgin until after the birth of Jesus (verse 25).

Mary probably grew up in Nazareth. Following her formal marriage to Joseph and the birth of Jesus she lived in Bethlehem for about two years, spent a short time in Egypt, and then raised her family in Nazareth (13:54-56; Luke 2:51).

Except for the birth narratives, Mary is seldom mentioned in Scripture, even in the Gospels. She is last mentioned shortly before the Day of Pentecost (in Acts 1:14).

This too is a large statement. Jesus took on the form of flesh, so that He might be tempted in all ways as we are. "Jesus" means Savior. "Christ" means the Anointed One.

Matthew 1:17 "So all the generations from Abraham to David [are] fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon [are] fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ [are] fourteen generations."

"Fourteen generations" is the literary grouping used by Matthew to emphasize the three major periods of Israel's national history: theocracy, monarchy, hierarchy.

The significance of the number 14 is not clear, but Matthew's attention to numbers, a distinctly Hebrew characteristic, is evident throughout the gospel. The systematic ordering may be an aid for memorization. Note that Matthew counts Jeconiah in both the third and fourth groups, representing both the last generation before the Babylonian captivity and the first generation after.

This was the beginning of Jesus the Christ, the specially Anointed One of God. All others, who came, were leading up to the Messiah.

Matthew 1:18 "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost."

"Espoused" means that Mary was already bound or betrothed to Joseph, although they were not yet actually married. Jewish betrothal was as binding as modern marriage. A divorce was necessary to terminate the betrothal (verse 19), and the betrothed couple were regarded legally as husband and wife (verse 19), although physical union had not yet taken place.

The custom of the day usually required an interval of one year of betrothal before the bride could actually take residence in her husband's house and consummate their union.

During this interval "Mary was found with child". Her pregnancy naturally would have been assumed to be the result of an illegitimate union of adultery, a circumstance punishable by death (Deut. 22:23-24). "With child of the Holy Ghost" is the biblical explanation for the miraculous conception of Christ.

In this verse, we see that Mary was promised to Joseph. Mary and Joseph had not slept together. Her pregnancy was of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost's Spirit had hovered over Mary, and she had conceived.

Verses: 19-20: Because Joseph was a "just man", he decided to divorce Mary privately but while he considered what should be done "the angel of the Lord" spoke to him in a dream. "The angel" is literally "an angel." "Put her away," means to divorce her. The Jewish betrothal had to be legally broken. Joseph's merciful attitude gives an insight into his true nature as a man.

Matthew 1:19 "Then Joseph her husband, being a just [man], and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.

"Joseph ... a just man ... was minded to put her away privily": Stoning was the legal prescription for this sort of adultery (Deut. 22:23-24). Joseph's righteousness meant he was also merciful; thus he did not intend to "disgrace" Mary.

The phrase "a just man" is a Hebraism suggesting that he was a true believer in God who had thereby been declared righteous, and who carefully obeyed the law (see Gen. 6:9). To "send her away" would be to obtain a legal divorce (19:8-9; Deut. 24:1), which according to the Jewish custom was necessary in order to dissolve a betrothal.

Matthew 1:20 "But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost."

"The angel of the Lord": This is one of only a few such angelic visitations in the New Testament, most of which are associated with Christ's birth (for others, see 28:2; Acts 5:19; 8:26; 10:3; 12:7-10; 27:23; Rev. 1:1).

"In a dream": As if to underscore the supernatural character of Christ's advent, Matthew's narrative of the event describes 5 such revelatory dreams: verses 20; 2:12, 13, 19, and 22. Here the angel told Joseph he was to take Mary into his own home.

Verses 21-22: "Call his name Jesus": The name of the child Jesus (Hebrew Yehoshua), means "the Lord is Salvation". Placed early in the New Testament, this statement becomes the foundational concept of the gospel. Jesus, by His very name and nature, is the Savior.

The phrase "that it might be fulfilled" (Greek pleroo), indicates the inevitability of the fulfillment of the words of Isaiah the prophet (in Isaiah 7:14). As well as the fact that Matthew saw the fulfillment in the birth of Christ.

This then points to the very purpose of Christ's coming into the world, to save sinners. Placed early in the New Testament, this statement becomes the foundational concept of the gospel.

Jesus, by His very name and nature, is the Savior. "That it might be fulfilled": This phrase indicates the inevitability of the fulfillment of the words of the prophet, as well as the fact that Matthew saw Isaiah's statement as predictively fulfilled in the birth of Christ.

Matthew 1:21 "And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins."

"Jesus" (see verse 25; Luke 1:31). The name actually means "Savior"

You see in these Scriptures that Jesus is the Son of God. He had no earthly father. Joseph was not Jesus' father. God was His Father. Mary furnished the flesh, and God furnished the Spirit.

Even in the name that was chosen for the Son of God to use on this earth, there is a message.

All of this explanation here, of the birth of Jesus is startling to us, but can you imagine how startled, or surprised, Joseph was when an angel told him that Mary was carrying the Messiah. His people had been looking for Messiah all of Joseph's life. Messiah was to actually live in his home.

Matthew 1:22″Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,"

"Be fulfilled": Matthew points out fulfillments of Old Testament prophecies no less than a dozen times (2:15, 17, 23; 4:14; 8:17; 12:17; 13:14, 35; 21:4; 26:54-56; 27:9, 35). He quotes from the Old Testament more than 60 times, more frequently than any other New Testament writer, except Paul in Romans.

Verses 23-25: "A virgin" relates to Mary, the mother of Jesus, to the prediction found (in Isaiah 7:14). Matthew used the Greek word parthenos to translate the Hebrew word almah. His contextual usage of "fulfill" is certainly indicative of his understanding the Isaiah passage to contain a definitely predictive element.

The quotation of Isaiah 7:14 follows the Septuagint (LXX), rendering where parthenos is also used to translate the Hebrew almah. There can be no doubt that the Greek term parthenos is always to be translated "virgin."

The Hebrew almah is the most accurate and precise term for virgin used in the Old Testament. Therefore, Matthew is clearly correct in quoting (Isaiah 7:14), as being fulfilled in the virgin birth of Christ.

Matthew 1:23 "Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us."

Immanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us:" This is a title describing the deity of the person of the Son of God rather than a name actually used by Him. It implies God will come to dwell among His own people, which He did in the person of Christ.

"Virgin": Scholars sometimes dispute whether the Hebrew term (in Isaiah 7:14), means "virgin" or "maiden." Matthew is quoting here from the LXX which uses the unambiguous Greek term for "virgin". Thus Matthew, writing under the Spirit's inspiration, ends all doubt about the meaning of the word in (Isaiah 7:14).

God took on the form of flesh and dwelt among us. Jesus was, is, and always will be, God the Word, who became the Son housed in a body for His stay on the earth. A virgin having a child is beyond the comprehension of worldly people even today, and many have decided that Jesus was not, in fact, born of a virgin.

How foolish it is not to believe that Jesus was, in fact, born of a virgin. A God, so great that He could speak a world into existence, can certainly cause a virgin to have a child. Abraham's wife, Sarah, thought it was impossible to have a child after she was 90 years old, but she did. You see, with man it is an impossibility, but with God all things are possible.

Matthew 1:24 "Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:"

When the angel told Joseph about Mary's pregnancy, he "took her as his wife", i.e. he took her into his home. But they did not consummate their marriage until after the birth of Jesus. Therefore, technically they were still betrothed.

Matthew 1:25 "And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS."

In these verses, we see several things:

1. That God does truly speak to some people in dreams. Not all dreams are from God. When a dream is God speaking to you, there will be no doubt.

2. Joseph heeded God's message in marrying Mary.

3. Joseph's restraint from living with Mary until the Christ child was born. This took great discipline on his part.

4. His following instructions to the utmost in naming the baby JESUS as the angel had instructed him.

Matthew Chapter 1 Questions

1. Who wrote the Gospel of Matthew?

2. What is the key word in Matthew?

3. What was another name for Matthew?

4. Who do most people believe he worked for collecting taxes?

5. What did he do when Jesus called him?

6. "Gospel" means what?

7. In Matthew, we see Jesus as what?

8. What is the theme of Matthew?

9. Who is the book of generation of?

10. In Hebrew, Jeshua means what?

11. What does the name Abram mean?

12. Who were 4 women of questionable reputation in the genealogy of Jesus?

13. Who was the mother of Boaz?

14. Jewish ____________ was as binding as modern marriage.

15. How did Joseph find out that Mary was carrying the Messiah?

16. What does Emmanuel mean?

17. To whom were the promises of blessings given?

18. What does Abraham mean?

19. For how long was the covenant with Abraham?

20. In Galatians 3:29, who are the spiritual descendants of Abraham?

21. Who were the three Old Testament patriarchs?

22. Ruth was a ___________ woman?

23. What does David mean?

24. Even though Jesus was physically a descendent of David, what was He to David?

25. Why did Jesus take on the form of flesh?

26. What does "Jesus" mean?

27. What does "Christ" mean?

28. How many generations from Abraham to David?

29. How many generations from David to the carrying away into Babylon?

30. From carrying away into Babylon, how many generations to Christ?

31. In verses l8-25, what is the express purpose?

32. In verse 18, Mary, before she came together with Joseph, was found to be with child of whom?

33. What kind of man does verse 19 call Joseph?

34. What had Joseph planned to do with Mary before the angel appeared to him?

35. In verse 20, who appeared to Joseph?

36. How did he appear to Joseph?

37. Who did the angel call Joseph?

38. What instructions did the angel give Joseph on naming the child?

39. Why?

40. Who was Jesus' Father?

41. What did Mary furnish?

42. What causes worldly people to deny the virgin birth?

43. Why did Sarah believe she could not have a child?

44. Finish this statement. Some things are impossible with man, but with God ____ ________ _____ ___________.

45. Does God ever speak in dreams?

46. What was the second thing we saw in verses 24 and 25?

47. What was the third thing?

48. What was the fourth thing he heeded?

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Matthew 2

Matthew 2

Verses 1-2: "Beth-lehem of Judea" was also called Ephrath. The town is five miles south of Jerusalem. Its name in Hebrew means "House of Bread." This Judean city was the birthplace of

King David. It was the original city of Joseph's ancestors. According to (Luke 2:1-7), Joseph and Mary traveled there from Nazareth and Jesus was born in a stable after they arrived.

"Herod the king" was known as Herod the Great, and was the son of Antipater, an Edomite. He became king by Roman decree in 43 B.C.

"Wise men" were originally the priestly caste among the Persians and Babylonians. These Magi from the East were experts in the study of the stars. Tradition claims that there were three royal visitors who were also kings. However, there is no real historical evidence to verify this.

"Born King of the Jews:" The wise men naturally come to Jerusalem, the royal capital of Israel, seeking one whom they thought was to be born a king, on the basis of their calculations of the stars.

"His star" could not have been merely a natural phenomenon, since it led the wise men to Jerusalem and later to Bethlehem. It almost certainly was a divine manifestation used by God to indicate the fact and place of the Messiah's birth.

Matthew 2:1 "Now when Jesus was born in Beth-lehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,"

"Herod", known in history as Herod the Great, because of his loyalty to Rome, was given authority over Palestine and the title of king (37 to 4 B.C.). To win the favor of both Romans and Jews he carried out lavish building projects, including the cities of Caesarea and Samaria, and the new temple at Jerusalem. Herod had 10 wives and the deserved reputation of being a cruel, unscrupulous despot.

Because of hatred and ambitions for power among families, and because of Herod's consuming suspicion that someone might usurp his throne, he even executed one of his wives and his three oldest sons. Thus, the act of murdering all of the young male children in the region of Bethlehem, in an effort to eliminate the One whom the Magi had called King of the Jews, fits Herod's character (verses 1-16). When Herod died, Rome divided his kingdom among three sons: Archelaus (verse 22), Antipas "the tetrarch" (verse 14:1), and Philip (Luke 3:1).

Beth-lehem is known as the city of David. This is the city of the birth of David's greater Son, Jesus Christ (Luke 2:4-7), as predicted by Micah the prophet (5:2; Matt. 2:5-6). In the New Testament it is mentioned only in the Gospels and always in reference to Christ's birth.

In A.D. 325 Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine built a church over some caves traditionally regarded as the birth site. In the sixth century Emperor Justinian I, built on the same site a larger church which is now called the "Church of the Nativity." No archaeological remains from the first three centuries of the Christian era have been discovered. Today, Bethlehem is primarily an Arab town called Beit Lahm with about 15,000 inhabitants.

Matthew 2:2 "Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him."

"Bethlehem" (Ephratah), means house of bread, and it is appropriate for the Bread of Life (Jesus) to be born there.

Contrary to the belief of many, there were not a specific number of wise men. These wise men (called Magi by some), were probably men who were able to interpret dreams and understand prophecy, as well as being able to discern the heavens.

They knew Messiah was prophesied. They knew that His star would appear in the east. They knew this star proclaimed the promised Messiah, and being wise, they came to worship Him.

"Star" This could not have been a supernova or a conjunction of planets, as some modern theories suggest, because of the way the star moved and settled over one place (verse 9). It is more likely a supernatural reality similar to the Shekinah that guided the Israelites in the days of Moses (Exodus 16:21).

Matthew 2:3 "When Herod the king had heard [these things], he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him."

Herod was troubled, because he believed this person (born King of the Jews), would dethrone him. When it speaks of "all Jerusalem", it means people who might lose their standing, if a new king were enthroned.

Matthew 2:4 "And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born."

These men that he gathered were the rabbis, the religious leaders of that day; the men who knew the law and knew of the promise of Messiah. In the Old Testament, it was prophesied that Christ would be born in Bethlehem Ephratah (Micah 5:2).

Matthew 2:5-6 "And they said unto him, In Beth-lehem of Judea: for thus it is written by the prophet," "And thou Beth-lehem, [in] the land of Judah, art not the least among the princes of Judah: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel."

This ancient prophecy from (Micah 5:2). was written in the eighth century B.C. The original prophecy, not quoted in full by Matthew, declared the deity of Israel's Messiah: "From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago from the days of eternity."

"A Governor, that shall rule my people Israel": This portion of Matthew's quote actually seems to be a reference to God's words to David when Israel's kingdom was originally established (2 Sam. 5:2; 1 Chron. 11:2). The Greek word for "ruler" evokes the image of strong, even stern, leadership. "Shepherd" emphasizes tender care. Christ's rule involves both (Rev. 12:5).

You see, these religious people knew where He was to be born. They just did not want to give up their literal way of looking at the law. They were expecting a mighty king, who would rule them and overthrow the Romans.

Matthew 2:7-8 "Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared." "And he sent them to Beth-lehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found [him], bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also."

You see, Herod was a liar. He had no intention of worshipping Him. He wanted to kill Him. He was afraid of Him whom he saw as a potential threat to his throne.

The wise men did go and find Him. Beth-lehem is only 5 miles from Jerusalem. It is a short journey. Herod thought he had tricked the wise men.

Matthew 2:9 "When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was."

These wise men of old followed the star in the east and they were led to Him.

Matthew 2:10-11 "When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy." "And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh."

"Into the house": By the time the wise men arrived, Mary and Joseph were situated in a house, not a stable (Luke 2:7).

"The young child with Mary his mother": Whenever Matthew mentions Mary in connection with her Child, Christ is always given first place (verses 13-14, 20-21).

I guess, because there were three types of gifts mentioned, people erroneously believe in three wise men.

As I have said many times before, the three gifts brought were spiritual meanings of who Jesus is, was, and always will be. The "gold" recognized Jesus as God. The "frankincense" recognized Jesus as the perfect Lamb sacrifice.

The "myrrh" recognized Jesus as the groom of the bride of Christ. "Gold" spiritually means purity of God. "Frankincense" accompanied the lamb offering in the temple sacrifice, and "myrrh" was the sweet aloe for the wedding bed. Can't you see the spiritual meaning?

The "gold" was not just a piece of gold, but enough for Jesus, Mary, and Joseph to live on while they were in exile.

We might learn a lesson from the wise men. When they were in the presence of Jesus, they "fell down, and worshipped him". We come into God's house with such irreverence.

Verses 12-18 - "Being warned of God": A special divine revelation in the form of a warning was given both to the wise men and to Joseph in the form of a dream. Thus instructed, the wise men did not return to Herod, and Joseph and Mary fled with the baby into Egypt.

There was a large Jewish population in Egypt at that time, especially in and around the city of Alexandria. The holy family would have been inconspicuous during their stay and would have been welcomed by members of their own race.

"The death of Herod" occurred in 4 B.C. Our present calendar is off in its calculation by about six years. (This would place the birth of Christ at 6 or 5 B.C. Herod's death is recorded in detail by Josephus (Antiquities xvii 6.5). Josephus calls him "a man of great barbarity towards all men."

"Rachel weeping for her children" (verse 18), is a quotation of (Jeremiah 31:15). The calamity of Israel's mourning at the time of the Exile is correlated here to this renewed calamity brought on by Herod, whose very act of ruling is a direct result of that captivity. Rachel refers to Benjamin's mother, who died outside Bethlehem (Gen. 35:19).

Matthew 2:12 "And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way."

These wise men heeded the warning of God. God does speak in dreams sometimes. We must be able to follow God's instructions, and not man's. They did not even go back to Jerusalem.

Matthew 2:13 "And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him."

"Angels" are ministering spirits, and God sent a message to Joseph by this "angel of the Lord". You see, God knows everything even before it happens. This is called foreknowledge, not predestination.

As we said before, "Egypt" has always been a refuge. Here, Joseph would hide Jesus, until the danger was over.

Matthew 2:14 "When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:"

Joseph heeded God's warning. They left in the darkness, so that no one would be aware of which direction they went. Most people did not travel by night, and Herod would not expect them to travel at night either.

Matthew 2:15 "And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son."

"The death of Herod": Recent scholarship sets this date at 4 B.C. It is probable that the stay in Egypt was very brief - perhaps no more than a few weeks.

"Out of Egypt" This quotation is from Hos. 11:1, which speaks of God's leading Israel out of Egypt in the Exodus. Matthew suggests that Israel's sojourn in Egypt was a pictorial prophecy, rather than a specific verbal one such as verse 6 (1:23). These are called "types" and all are always fulfilled in Christ, and identified clearly by the New Testament writers. Another example of a type is found in (John 3:14).

Every detail of prophecy was fulfilled, as we said in the earlier lessons. It is interesting to note, again, that Joseph, (the coat of many colors Joseph), who was a type and shadow of Jesus, was a refugee in Egypt as well.

Matthew 2:16 "Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Beth-lehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men."

"Slew all the children": Herod's act is all the more heinous in light of his full knowledge that the Lord's Anointed One was the target of his murderous plot.

Herod killed all the male children, not only in Beth-lehem, but in all the villages of that city. Unbridled wrath, armed with an unlawful power, often carries men to absurd cruelties.

Matthew 2:17 "Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying,"

Again this prophecy is in the form of a type (verse 18 quotes Jer. 31:15, which speaks of all).

Israel's mourning at the time of the Babylonian captivity (586 B.C.). That wailing prefigured the wailing over Herod's massacre.

Matthew 2:18 "In Ramah was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping [for] her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not."

These words, quoted from Jeremiah 31:15, were originally spoken concerning the captivity of the ten tribes; but are here elegantly applied to the murder of the innocents at Bethlehem. As if he had said, Bethlehem at this time resembled Ramah; for as Rachel might be said to weep over her children, which were slaughtered or gone into captivity; so in Bethlehem, the mothers lamented bitterly for their children, because they were slain.

In an earlier lesson, we discussed this fulfillment of prophecy. This reminds us of the babies being killed in the days of Moses, as well.

Verses 19-23: "When Herod was dead" he was succeeded by his son Archelaus, the son of his Samaritan wife, Malthace. Archelaus was as brutal as his father. Joseph, again warned in a dream, returned to Nazareth, avoiding any further residence in Judea. The phrase "He shall be called a Nazarene" is a reference to Christ's coming from the city of Nazareth. It should not be taken to mean that He was a Nazarite (see Num. chapter 6).

Matthew 2:19-20 "But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt," "Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life."

We discussed before, that Joseph listened to messages from God that came in dreams.

Matthew 2:21-22 "And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel." "But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee:"

"Archelaus", a son of Herod the Great, was given the most important district of his father's realm - Judea, Samaria, and Idumea. He was more wicked and cruel than his father and was deposed by Rome. He ruled from (4 B.C. to A.D. 6).

History records that Archelaus was so brutal and ineffective that he was deposed by Rome after a short reign and replaced with a governor appointed by Rome.

Pontius Pilate was the fifth governor of Judea. Herod Antipas is the main Herod in the gospel accounts He was the one who had John the Baptist put to death (14:1-12), and examined Christ on the eve of the crucifixion (Luke 23:1-12).

It seems, this son of Herod was a murderer and, probably, as bad or worse than his father. Joseph had obeyed God and came back into the land of Israel, but was afraid to go to Jerusalem. God gave Joseph a dream and told him to go to an area away from Jerusalem, "into the parts of Galilee".

Matthew 2:23 "And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene."

God takes care of all the prophecies. One thing to note is that Jesus was a Nazarene, not a Nazarite.

"Nazareth" is situated in lower Galilee just north of the Plain of Esdraelon (Armageddon), and about 70 miles north of Jerusalem. It is a somewhat isolated town and thus is significant only in that it was the hometown of Joseph and Mary and the place where Jesus spent most of His first 30 years. When Jesus began His public ministry He made Capernaum His headquarters (chapter 4:13-16).

The only significant relation between Nazareth and Christ's ministry was His rejection by its inhabitants (Luke 4:16-30). Few significant archeological discoveries have been made at Nazareth except for demonstrating that Nazareth did exist long before New Testament times.

Since it is not mentioned in the Old Testament, the Talmud, the Apocrypha, or by Josephus the Jewish historian, some have imagined that it did not exist historically at the time of Jesus. Presently Nazareth is a town of over 26,000 primarily Arab inhabitants.

It was said that nothing good could come out of Nazareth (John 1:46), but with Jesus all things are possible.

Matthew Chapter 2 Questions

1. Where was Jesus born?

2. What does "Bethlehem" mean?

3. Why did the wise men come to Jerusalem?

4. How many wise men were there?

5. What other name were the wise men known by?

6. What three attributes did they have?

7. Why was Herod worried about the King of the Jews?

8. When Herod called the chief priests and scribes together, what did he ask them?

9. Who were these people he called, really?

10. What were these religious people expecting Him to be?

11. What lie did Herod tell the wise men?

12. How far is Bethlehem from Jerusalem?

13. Who is the Star in the East?

14. Name the three gifts the wise men brought?

15. Which gift meant that Jesus was God in the flesh?

16. Which gift recognized Jesus as the perfect Lamb sacrifice?

17. Which gift recognized Jesus as the Groom of the bride of Christ?

18. How much gold was given?

19. What lesson can we learn from the wise men?

20. Why did the wise men not return to Herod?

21. Does God ever speak in dreams?

22. How did Joseph know to flee into Egypt?

23. What are angels?

24. What country has always been a refuge?

25. Why did they leave at night?

26. What earlier Bible personality, also, was a refugee in Egypt?

27. When Herod found he had been tricked, what did he do?

28. When God told Joseph to come back to Israel, how did Joseph get the message?

29. Why did Joseph turn into Galilee?

30. Was the new ruler better, or worse, than Herod?

31. What was the name of the city they settled in?

32. What was Jesus to be called?

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Matthew 3

Matthew 3

Matthew 3:1 "In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea,"

The forerunner of Christ was "John the Baptist." He was the son of Zechariah and Elisabeth, and a cousin of the Lord (Luke 1:5-80). His birth was accompanied by the promise "He shall be great in the sight of the Lord ... and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost" (Luke 1:15).

Jesus said of him that there was none "greater than John" (Matt. 11:11), during the Old Testament dispensation. This would imply that John the Baptist was the epitome of the message of the Old Testament itself. Matthew's reference to John the Baptist assumes that his readers were familiar with him.

John is presented as the prophet sent in the spirit of Elijah "before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord" (Mal. 4:5). His appearance and dynamic preaching certainly depict him in the life-style of Israel's ancient prophet. Jesus would later say of him, "I say unto you, that Elijah is come already" (Matt. 17:12).

The name "John" means the Lord is gracious. What a wonderful name for someone who would proclaim the arrival of the King of Grace (Jesus the Christ). The rest of his name, the Baptist, just meant that he was the baptizer.

Israelites had practiced a form of baptism for years. It was used as a symbol of being purified from sin by older customs. The washings in the Temple really were a form of baptism.

John also, was teaching in a different way. He was not in the temple, but wherever there were people and water to baptize those people in. That was where he preached. He preached mostly in an area near Jericho and near the Jordan River.

This "wilderness" did not mean an area heavily wooded, or like the jungles. It just meant it was out of the populated areas. It, also, meant that he was out where the ordinary people were. The region was to the immediate West of the Dead Sea, an utterly barren desert.

The Jewish sect of the Essenes had significant communities in this region. But there is no biblical evidence to suggest that John was in any way connected with that sect. John seems to have preached near the northern end of this region, close by where the Jordan flows into the Dead Sea (verse 6).

This was a full day's journey from Jerusalem and seems an odd location to announce the arrival of a king. But it is perfectly in keeping with God's ways (1 Cor. 1:26-29).

Matthew 3:2 "And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

His message was a simple one. Repent. Today that message is needed as the first step toward becoming a Christian. You see, unless we are truly sorry and repentant for our sins, we probably will not turn from them and begin a brand new life with Jesus.

Repent means a change of mind resulting in a change of conduct. Repentance is not merely sorrow. It involves a complete change of attitude regarding God and sin and is often accompanied by a sense of sorrow and a corresponding change in conduct.

Such repentance does not arise within man himself, but is the result of God's mercy in leading man to it (Acts 5:31; Rom. 2:4; 2 Tim. 2:25). Thus repentance involves the very process of conversion whereby men are born again. John's message of repentance was necessary in order to prepare people for the "kingdom of heaven" which was "at hand".

The phrase kingdom of heaven is used only in the Gospel of Matthew and seems to be based on similar reference in the Book of Daniel. The phrase kingdom of God is used more frequently by Mark and Luke.

The change is perhaps due to Matthew's Jewish emphasis. Since many Jews regarded it as blasphemous to refer to God by name, Matthew may have substituted the word heaven for that reason. Usually the two phrases are used interchangeably in the Gospels.

In a society that believes everything is relative and there are no absolutes, we seldom see true repentance.

John's next statement fits our day just as well as the day in which John was preaching. Truly the kingdom of heaven is at hand. In one sense the kingdom is a present reality, but in its fullest sense it awaits a yet-future fulfillment. There have been preachers ever since John bringing this same message. God never changes, and neither does His message.

Verses 3-7: "Spoken of by the prophet Isaiah:" All four Gospels relate this prophecy to a fulfillment in the life and ministry of John the Baptist (Mark 1:2; Luke 3:4; John 1:23).

"Make his paths straight" refers to the straightening or preparing of one's life in a right relationship with God in order to prepare for the coming of a King. John's dress of "camel's hair, and a leathern girdle" was similar to Elijah's clothing (2 King 1:8), and was the usual dress of prophets (Zech. 13:4).

"Locusts" were an allowable food (Lev. 11:22), and were eaten by the poorest of people. The reference in (verse 5), to "Jerusalem and all Judea" relates to the people of those places. John's ministry was received with great enthusiasm in its early stages.

Matthew 3:3 "For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight."

"Spoken of by the prophet Isaiah": John's message had long ago been described (in Isaiah 40:3-5). All four of the gospels cite this passage as a prophecy pointing to John the Baptist. Isaiah prophesied that there would be one proclaiming the arrival of Christ.

Matthew 3:4 "And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey."

Verse 4 brings a message of the simple life John lived, not one dressed in finery. The appearance was simple, but he brought the most important message. John was not concerned about what he wore, or what he had to eat, just enough to sustain him.

"His raiment of camel's hair": Practical and long wearing clothes, but far from comfortable or fashionable, John evokes the image of Elijah (2 Kings 1:8), and the Israelites were expecting Elijah before the Day of the Lord (Mal. 4:5).

"Locusts": These were an allowed food (Lev. 11:22).

Matthew 3:5 "Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judea, and all the region round about Jordan,"

Even though he was not dressed in finery, his message was an exciting one, and people from all the surrounding area came to hear this man speak.

Matthew 3:6 "And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins."

"Baptized": The symbolism of John's baptism likely had its roots in Old Testament rituals (Lev. 15:13). Baptism had also long been administered to Gentile proselytes coming into Judaism. The baptism of John thus powerfully and dramatically symbolized repentance.

Jews accepting John's baptism were admitting they had been as Gentiles and needed to become the people of God genuinely, inwardly (an amazing admission, given their hatred of Gentiles). The people were repenting in anticipation of the Messiah's arrival. The meaning of John's baptism differs somewhat from Christian baptism (Acts 18:25).

Actually, Christian baptism altered the significance of the ritual, symbolizing the believer's identification with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection (Romans 6:3; Col 2:12).

His message was a commanding message. They were sure his message was true. It seems that many confessed their sins and were baptized. We will see later on, that this was a different type of baptism. After Jesus, baptism became a symbol of death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.

When you go under the water, it symbolizes being buried with Him; and when you come out of the water, it symbolizes rising from the grave with Him.

Matthew 3:7 "But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?"

The Pharisees and Sadducees were hung up in tradition. The Pharisees were what we would call the people of the middle class today. The Sadducees were from the upper class, and some from high-priest families. The law was everything to them. They really thought themselves better than just the average person. They were righteous in their own sight.

There were about 6,000, legalistic sect of the Jews who were known for their rigid adherence to the ceremonial fine points of the law. Their name means "separated one." Jesus' interaction with the Pharisees was usually adversarial. He rebuked them for using human tradition to nullify Scripture.

When John called them "generation of vipers", he really was revealing their hidden sins. They were Self-proclaimed experts. He knew their personality and knew that from these groups would come much opposition to Jesus.

The Sadducees were known for their denial of things supernatural. They denied the resurrection of the dead (22:23), and the existence of angels (Acts 23:8). Unlike the Pharisees, they rejected human tradition and scorned legalism. They accepted only the Pentateuch as authoritative. They tended to be wealthy, aristocratic members of the priestly tribe, and in the days of Herod their sect controlled the temple, though they were fewer in number than the Pharisees.

Pharisees and Sadducees had little in common. Pharisees were ritualists; Sadducees were rationalists. Pharisees were legalists; Sadducees were liberals. Pharisees were separatists; Sadducees were compromisers and political opportunists. Yet they united together in their opposition to Christ (22:15-6, 23-24, 35). John publicly addressed them as deadly snakes.

"The wrath to come": John's preaching echoed the familiar Old Testament theme of promised wrath in the Day of the Lord (Ezek. 7:19; Zep. 1:18). This must have been a particularly stinging rebuke to the Jewish leaders, who imagined that divine wrath was reserved only for non-Jews.

Verses 8-10: "Fruits meet for repentance:" John rebuked the Pharisees, asking them to give evidence of "fruits meet for repentance" (verse 8). There can be no doubt that the New Testament concept of repentance grows out of its usage in the Old Testament, where the term (Hebrew Shub), means far more than an intellectual change of mind.

Genuine repentance proves itself by the fruits of a changed life. John the Baptist further rebuked them for their belief in nationalistic salvation.

"Abraham to our father" means that they were trusting in their physical descent for salvation, rather than in God, which would have constituted a spiritual relationship to Abraham the "father of the faithful."

Matthew 3:8 "Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:"

Repentance itself is not a work, but works are its inevitable fruit. Repentance and faith are inextricably linked in Scripture Repentance means turning from one's sin, and faith is turning to God (1 Thess. 1:9). They are like opposite sides of the same coin. That is why both are linked to conversion (Mark 1:15; Acts 3:19-21).

Note that the works John demanded to see were "fruit" of repentance. But repentance itself is no more a "work" that faith is.

Matthew 3:9 "And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to [our] father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham."

John was telling these people not to expect to be saved, just because they had Abraham as an ancestor in the flesh. As we will read in Paul's writings later on, not the physical ancestors of Abraham will inherit salvation but those who are of the spirit (believers in Christ). Those, who by faith, have been grafted into the family line of Abraham by the shed blood of Jesus Christ.

We are related to Abraham through our faith, just as he was accounted worthy by his faith. We also see a message to these self-righteous people; that God can take from the things they count as unimportant, and make of them a family for Abraham.

Matthew 3:10 "And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire."

In this, John was telling this people, you have had your chance. Preparation had been made. If you are not productive to the kingdom, you will be cut down. Just as we will see in a later lesson where Jesus cursed the fig tree and it withered and died.

Irreversible judgment was imminent.

Verses 11-12: "I indeed baptize ... with water": John's baptism in water was not Christian baptism. The death and resurrection of Christ had not yet occurred in order to be depicted by this baptism. John's baptism was similar to the Old Testament offerings (washings), that symbolized a cleansing of personal repentance on the part of a believer. Notice that Jesus submitted to this baptism to "fulfill all righteousness" (verse 15).

"He shall baptize ... with the Holy Ghost" refers to the spiritual rebirth of the regenerate who shall receive the baptism of the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13). This experience began at Pentecost (Acts 1), and was repeated upon every new group of converts (Samaritans, Gentiles, John's disciples), until it became normative for all Christian believers. The immediate context certainly indicates that to be baptized "with fire" is the result of judgment (notice the reference to purging and burning in the next verse).

The threshing "fan" (verse 12), refers to a wooden shovel used for tossing grain into the wind in order to blow away the lighter chaff, leaving the good grain to settle in a pile. The chaff would then be swept up and burned; the "unquenchable fire" refers to the eternal punishment of hell or the lake of fire.

Matthew 3:11 "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and [with] fire:"

Three types of baptism are referred to here:

  1. With water from repentance. John's baptism symbolized cleansing;
  2. With the Holy Spirit. All believers in Christ are Spirit-baptized (1 Cor. 12:13);
  3. With ... fire. Because fire is used throughout this context as a means of judgment (verses 10, 12), this must speak of a baptism of judgment upon the unrepentant.

John was saying, truly my baptism (baptism of repentance), is important, you must repent; but there is a better baptism (baptism of the Spirit), that is the earnest of the Spirit (2 Cor. l:22). He was saying, when you receive this baptism of the Holy Ghost, it will set you on fire for God.

Matthew 3:12 "Whose fan [is] in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."

"Fan" is a winnowing fork, a tool for tossing grain into the wind so that the chaff is blown away.

This Scripture was saying He (Jesus) will stir up the people. He will separate the good (wheat) from the evil. This floor, probably, spiritually meant the whole world. He shall gather all believers together unto Him, and they shall become united in Him (the Bride of Christ).

"He will burn up the chaff" just meant the wicked shall burn eternally.

Verses 13-14: All four Gospels relate this event (John 1:31-34), with unquestioned historical verification. While this section of Matthew's gospel centers on Galilee, Jesus now goes south to the Jordan River "to be baptized" (verse 13). The word baptize (Greek baptizo), means "to dip or immerse in water," indicating the form of baptism.

John "forbade him" (verse 14), for the obvious reason that Jesus needed no repentance of sin, and John felt unworthy of this opportunity. The tense of the Greek verb emphasizes that John tried to hinder him. Thus, this was no casual hesitation on the part of John the Baptist.

Matthew 3:13 "Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him."

In this Scripture above, it seems important to know that Jesus had been living in Galilee, of which the little town of Nazareth was a part. He sought John out specifically to baptize Him, probably to show His association with John.

They were cousins in the flesh, and also John would recognize Him. John would be able to see with his own eyes the One he had been proclaiming.

Matthew 3:14 "But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?"

"John forbad him": John's baptism symbolized repentance, and John saw this as inappropriate for the One he knew was the spotless Lamb of God (John 1:29).

John felt so humble by this. He knew Jesus was Messiah. John felt his need for the salvation Jesus had to offer.

Matthew 3:15 "And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer [it to be so] now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him."

Christ was here identifying Himself with sinners. He will ultimately bear their sins; His perfect righteousness will be imputed to them (2 Cor. 5:21). This act of baptism was a necessary part of the righteousness He secured for sinners.

"Suffer it to be so" means allow it to be or let it happen. Jesus sought this outward identification with John's ministry "to fulfill all righteousness". By identifying Himself with those He came to redeem, Jesus inaugurated His public ministry as the Messiah. In regard to the Jewish religious observances, such as synagogue worship, attendance at feasts, and payment of the temple tax, Jesus always met the duties of a faithful Jew.

Jesus, in speaking to John, affirmed His authority; and John submitted to the higher authority. Jesus was telling John that the correct thing for everyone to do is to do everything righteous. Don't give anyone the appearance of not fulfilling all righteousness.

The first public event of His ministry is also rich in meaning:

  1. It pictured His death and resurrection (Luke 12:50);
  2. It therefore prefigured the significance of Christian baptism;
  3. It marked His first public identification with those whose sins He would bear (Isaiah 53:11; 1 Peter 3:18);
  4. It was a public affirmation of His messiahship by testimony directly from heaven.

Verses 16-17: In the process of His baptism, Jesus "went up ... out of the water," the prepositions suggesting that He was completely in the water and came up out from it, again indicating immersion. The descending of the "Spirit of God" fulfilled the predicted sign to John in order to indicate the true Messiah (John 1:33; Isaiah 11:2).

The "dove" was a symbol of innocence and purity (10:16), and served as an ideal symbolic representation of the Holy Spirit. The "voice from heaven" is that of the Father (see 17:5; John 12:28), where He speaks at the Transfiguration and just prior to the Crucifixion, giving His verbal approval to the ministry of His "beloved Son".

There can be no doubt that all three persons of the Trinity are actively involved here as distinct persons of the Godhead. The Father speaks, the Spirit descends, and the Son is baptized.

Matthew 3:16-17 "And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:" "And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

Here all 3 Persons of the Trinity are clearly delineated. The Father's command to hear His Son and the Spirit's vindication and empowerment officially inaugurated Christ's ministry.

So much was told spiritually in these two verses, and yet, you cannot separate the two. We know by the description of the baptism, that He went under the water; or else how could He come straightway out.

The most important thing to me, in this Scripture above, is the agreement of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The three were present at this important event, and not only present, but approving. The Father God spoke of His approval in the Son.

The Scriptures can tell us so much, if we will only take the time to look. The One in God is the Spirit. They are in agreement. There are three totally separate personalities in one accord.

Matthew Chapter 3 Questions

1. What is the meaning of the name "John"?

2. What does "the Baptist" mean?

3. Where did John preach?

4. What one word covered his message?

5. Why are preachers still saying "the kingdom of heaven is at hand"?

6. Who prophesied about the voice of one crying in the wilderness?

7. What kind of message did John's clothing and food bring?

8. What was John's only purpose?

9. Even though John was not dressed in finery, did the people come to hear him?

10. When they were baptized in the Jordan, what else did they do?

11. What did John call the Sadducees and the Pharisees?

12. Who were the Pharisees?

13. Who were the Sadducees?

14. What did John say that God could use to raise up descendants to Abraham?

15. How are we, Christians, like Abraham?

16. What will happen to the unproductive?

17. John's baptism was to what?

18. What two things will Jesus baptize with?

19. What did John want the people to know about himself?

20. Who are the wheat?

21. Why did John submit to Jesus?

22. Why was Jesus baptized?

23. What was indicated by the Voice, by Jesus, and by the Dove?

24. The one in God is what?

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Matthew 4

Matthew 4

Matthew 4:1 "Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil."

You can understand from the above Scripture that this happened soon after the Spirit descended on Jesus at His baptism. Most Christians do not realize that the minute you really give your life to the Lord Jesus Christ, temptation comes from every direction.

Following His public baptism, Jesus was "led up of the Spirit into the wilderness," referring to the elevation of the Judean wilderness. The historical settling of the temptation, which was directed against Jesus' human nature, indicates that this was a literal experience, which He really conquered, not merely a mental victory over His own thoughts. That Jesus was "Tempted of the devil" is clearly presented as a fact.

The attack against Christ's humanity was a genuine temptation that would have overcome any ordinary man. However, Jesus was no mere man. And God Himself is never the agent of temptation (James 1:13), but here - as in the book of Job - God uses even satanic tempting to serve His sovereign purposes.

As the virgin-born God-man, His divine nature could not sin (1 Sam. 15:29), and this held His human nature in check. Some have objected that the impeccability of Christ (that He was not able to sin) denies the reality of Satan's temptation.

Such an objection is meaningless when one remembers that Satan's rebellion against God has already been defeated in Christ's atonement, but his rebellion is nevertheless real, even though the outcome of God's victory is certain. The same is true of the temptation of Christ. One may attack a battleship with a canoe. The outcome of the attack will be certain defeat for the canoe, but the attack is nonetheless real.

The Bible says Jesus was tempted in every way that we are. Job was tempted, as well.

You see, the devil believes that under heavy temptation we will not be able to withstand. He believes, that just like Adam and Eve fell to temptation in the garden, that with the right temptation we will fall, also.

He believed he would be able to tempt Job, but worse than that, the devil felt if he could make the temptation great enough that even Jesus would succumb to the temptation.

Hebrews 4:15 "For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as [we are, yet] without sin."

Jesus came to conquer sin and the devil. He faced temptation (greater than we face) and yet, He did not fall to temptation. Temptation comes to all, and it is not sin until it is acted upon in a negative way for self-gain.

Verses 2-3: Jesus had "fasted forty days and forty nights," a remarkable feat of human endurance, indicating the physical strength of the former carpenter. While the three major tests followed this period, other tests evidently had occurred throughout the 40 days (Luke 4:2).

His real physical hunger serves as the setting for the first temptation by the "tempter" (Satan). The conditional clause, "If thou be the Son of God," indicates Matthew's purpose for including this record of Jesus' victory: it proves that He is, in fact, the Son of God!

Matthew 4:2 "And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered."

All temptation comes when we are at our weakest point, and when we are alone (usually). In the case of Jesus, here, the devil realized that Jesus had not eaten for forty days. He tempted Jesus at this point of need.

Similarly, Moses was without food or drink on Sinai for "forty days and forty nights" (Deut. 9:9), and Elijah also fasted that long (1 Kings 19:8).

What the devil was not aware of is that Jesus (or anyone else for that matter) is much stronger when they are fasting. God miraculously feeds the inner man. During a fast to God, I seldom get hungry. It is only when I fast to lose weight, that I nearly starve.

Take note of the 40 here: (time of testing). With every test (if we depend on Jesus Christ our Lord), there is a way out.

Matthew 4:3 "And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread."

Notice in verse 3, the devil approached Jesus with a question, as he did Eve. "If thou be the Son of God." He was trying to plant a doubt in Jesus' mind that He was the Son of God.

The conditional "if" carries the meaning of "since" in this context. There was no doubt in Satan's mind who Jesus was; but Satan's design was to get Him to violate the plan of God and employ the divine power that He had set aside in His humiliation (Phil. 2:7).

Matthew 4:4 "But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."

Jesus set an example for us with this answer. He said, "It is written." Our answer, when the devil or our lusts tempt us, should be, "It is written".

The victory in each aspect of the temptation is related to Jesus' use of Scripture. "It is written": First, He quotes Deuteronomy 8:3, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." The source of bread is more important that the bread itself.

Later, Jesus would say, "I have meat to eat that ye know not of" (John 4:32). His source of strength was obedience to the Father's will and He would not even work a miracle to avoid personal suffering when such suffering was a part of God's purpose for Him.

We are instructed to eat the Word of God. Our source of help in every situation is to have the Word of God so engraved in our inner being, that we will be able to draw our strength from the Word.

In each of these verses above, God is telling us that it is our responsibility to prepare for the battles we will face. It is, also, our responsibility to stand head to head with the devil in combat. We must stand and fight, if we are to win over the devil.

Our weapons are not physical, they are spiritual. It is important to prepare and be ready. Our day of combat is here. The church is being shaken. All who have not prepared will fall to the devil.

There must be no compromise of the Word of God. We must make it even more important to consume the Word of God, than to eat physical food. A more important source of sustenance than food, it nurtures our spiritual needs in a way that benefits us eternally, rather than merely providing temporal relief from physical hunger.

We cannot win battles with the devil in our own power and might. We must fight the devil with the Word of God and in the name of Jesus the Christ.

Verses 5-7: The second temptation took place in the "holy city" (Jerusalem) on the "pinnacle of the temple," which towered above the Kidron Valley. Evidently, Jesus was transported there by Satan's power, and this time the Devil quoted Scripture (out of context), in order to get Him to sin and ultimately to shake His faith in the Word.

Satan used Psalm 91:11-12 urging Jesus to "cast thyself down." Again, Jesus replied with Scripture (Deut. 6:16), that He was not to "temp ... God" by such a presumptuous action. The very passage of Scripture quoted by Satan actually goes on to promise God's ultimate victory over him!

Matthew 4:5 "Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,"

"Pinnacle of the temple": This was probably a roof with a portico at the southeast corner of the temple complex, where a massive retaining wall reached from a level well above the temple mount, deep into the Kidron Valley. According to the Jewish historian Josephus, this was a drop of nearly 450 feet.

Matthew 4:6 "And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in [their] hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone."

This started off with "then". It simply meant the devil gave up on the first temptation, so he tried another tactic.

Probably, "the holy city" mentioned here was Jerusalem. Take note that the temptation was outside the temple. In fact, it was on the top of the temple.

In verse 6, the devil again asked whether Jesus is the Son of God. He even went so far as to quote a Scripture to get Jesus to tempt God the Father.

So many times today the enemy will come to us, using passages from the Scripture to make us believe that we are not of God. The devil never changes. It is the same devil, and the same tactics. In verse 7, we see the correct way to talk to the devil.

"For it is written": Note that Satan also quoted Scripture (Psalm 91:11-12) - but utterly twisted its meaning, employing a passage about trusting God to justify testing Him.

Matthew 4:7 "Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God."

"It is written": Christ replied with another verse from Israel's wilderness experience (Deut. 6:16), recalling the experience at Massah, where the grumbling Israelites put the Lord to the test, angrily demanding that Moses produce water where there was none (Exodus 17:2-7).

Jesus could have thrown Himself headlong from the temple to show a sign or wonder of who He was. God calls people who have to have signs and wonders, before they will believe, a wicked and perverse generation.

You see, God is not interested in convincing us through our mental capacity. He wants us to believe from our hearts.

Not every sign and wonder is from God. The devil is a counterfeiter. Matthew 24:24 is printed in red, because it is the words of Jesus Himself.

"For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."

You see, we must know the Word so well that we will be able to discern the truth from a lie.

Matthew 4:8 "Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;"

The third temptation takes place on an "exceeding high mountain." The mountain is clearly real in the text, though its exact location is unidentified. Despite the grandeur of this temptation, nothing in the passage itself indicates that these temptations were only in the mind of Christ.

Clearly, they are depicted as real experiences that actually occurred in the human life of the Messiah. That Satan, the usurper, would attempt to give the kingdoms of the world to Jesus, the Messiah, the rightful King, is the height of absurdity!

Verses 9-11: For Christ to fall down and worship Satan would have been to acknowledge the Devil's lordship over Him. In His direct rebuke "Get thee hence, Satan," Jesus clearly asserts His lordship over the old serpent whose head He will soon crush. Matthew's statement that Satan "leaveth him" shows that his order of the temptations is the chronological one (Luke 4:1-13).

Matthew 4:9 "And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me."

"Will I give thee": Satan is the "ruler of this world" (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11), and the "god of this world" (2 Cor. 4:4). The whole world lies in his power (1 John 5:19). This is illustrated in Dan. 10:13, where demonic power controlled the kingdom of Persia, so that a demon is called the prince of the kingdom of Persia.

Matthew 4:10 "Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve."

"For it is written": Here Christ was citing and paraphrasing (Deut. 6:13-14). Again, these relate to the Israelites' wilderness experiences. Christ, like them, was led into the wilderness to be tested (Deut. 8:2), unlike them, He withstood every aspect of the test.

We can see, from these Scriptures above that Satan increased what he offered each time. He thought that if he offered Jesus the whole world as His kingdom that Jesus would jump at this. Along with the greater offering came an even more blatant sin. Jesus had to fall down and worship Satan to receive the world and all that was in it (Satan's belief).

What Satan did not realize was that Jesus would take the earth back for mankind. He did not take it back by compromising with the devil. He took it back through the victory of the cross.

Sometimes, it is difficult to recognize the enemy. Jesus had no trouble recognizing him, standing against him, and removing him. "Get thee hence Satan". We should take a lesson from this.

Anything, or anyone, who compromises with the devil in sin, has sold out to sin. We must not fellowship with those who continually practice sin. As Jesus did not stay in this place with the tempter, neither should we.

Anything that is not pleasing to God is sin. In the statement made by Jesus, "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve"; we see we must not serve Satan or sin. We must walk in the footsteps of Jesus. Of course, we are not perfect; we will stumble and fall, but we must not be a servant to sin. The desire of our hearts must be to please God.

Matthew 4:11 tells it all. "Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him."

The devil is subject to the command of Jesus, and he had to leave.

The Bible says, In James 4:7 "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you".

The angels (ministering spirits) came and saw to Jesus' needs. The angels, encamped around Christians, will help them, also.

"Angels came and ministered unto him" Psalm 91:11-12. The verse Satan tried to twist, was thus fulfilled in God's way, and in God's perfect timing.

Matthew Chapter 4 Questions

  1. Why was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness?
  2. The minute you give your life to Jesus, what comes?
  3. Satan had tempted Adam, Eve, and Job. If he could make the temptation great enough, who else did he believe would fall to his temptation?
  4. What 2 things did Jesus come to conquer?
  5. When does temptation become sin?
  6. How many days did Jesus fast?
  7. What kind of doubt did the devil introduce?
  8. What did he tell Jesus to turn to bread?
  9. How did Jesus answer?
  10. Man is not to live by bread alone, but by what?
  11. What did the devil not realize about fasting?
  12. What similarity was there between Jesus' and Eve's temptation?
  13. How should we reply to temptations of the devil?
  14. Why are we to eat (consume), the Word of God?
  15. If we are to win over the devil, what 2 things must we learn to do?
  16. If our weapons are not physical, what are they?
  17. We have no power of our own. What 2 things must we use against the devil?
  18. What did the devil add to his argument at the "holy city" to try to convince Jesus?
  19. What city was, probably, the "holy city" mentioned?
  20. People, who have to have a sign or wonder, before they will believe, are called what kind of generation?
  21. Not every sign and wonder is from God. In Matthew 24:24, what are we warned to watch out for?
  22. What was Jesus offered in the third temptation?
  23. How did Jesus get the world back from Satan?
  24. Anything that is not pleasing to God, is what?
  25. Who alone must we worship and serve?

Matthew Chapter 4 Continued

Verses 12-16: Matthew designates four clear geographical areas in relation to the ministry of Christ: Galilee (4:12), Perea ("beyond Jordan," 19:1), Judea (4:25), and Jerusalem (21:1). The author then omits some of the early Judean ministry and begins with Jesus at Capernaum in Galilee where he first met Christ (9:9).

"John was cast into prison": The circumstances of the arrest and eventual beheading of John the Baptist are recorded in chapter 14. Apparently a widespread persecution of the followers of John and Jesus took place at this time. Luke 4:16-31 explains that the reason for Jesus "leaving Nazareth" was an attempt on His life after a synagogue service at Nazareth. From this point on, Capernaum became the headquarters of Jesus' ministry to the house of Israel. This city was a Roman settlement near the Sea of Galilee and was the center of the Roman government of the northern provinces of Israel.

"That it might be fulfilled" (verses 14-16) refers to the coming of Christ into Galilee in fulfillment of the prophecy of (Isaiah 9:1-2), "beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light," Jesus Himself was that great Light that now would shine forth in His earthly ministry to the people of Galilee, who had so long been despised by their southern Judean cousins.

Matthew 4:12 "Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee;"

John was imprisoned for his bold rebuke of Herod Antipas (see 14:3-4).

We will see, here, that the end of John's work (proclaiming the coming of the Christ) would be the beginning of Jesus' ministry. Just as Jesus came not for those who already knew God, He began His ministry in a very spiritually dark place. Without Jesus Christ, there is no hope, nothing to look forward to.

God's purpose in His beginning in the dark place was to show that His power and might were not drawn from Jewish law. This was a new day. Jew and Gentile alike would have to receive Him not through law, but through grace.

Galilee is the regional name for the northern part of Palestine extending from the Esdraelon plain some 50 miles north and from the Sea of Galilee about 30 miles to the west. Its primary feature is the 13-mile-long Sea of Galilee (seven miles wide at its broadest point). In the Old Testament this lake is call Chinnereth (Num. 34:11; Josh. 12:3; 13:27); in the New Testament it is variously identified as Gennesaret (Mark 6:53), Tiberias (John 21:1) and Galilee (John 6:1).

It lies 695 feet below sea level with the Jordan River flowing through it. Some towns of Galilee that were situated on the seashore were Capernaum, Bethsaida, Tiberias, and Magdala. Of these only Tiberias exists today. Other significant Galilean towns include Nazareth and Chorazin. Galilee is important to the New Testament not only as the place of Jesus' youth, but also as the

primary region of His public ministry (the Sermon on the Mount, the Transfiguration, 25 of His 33 miracles and 19 of His 32 parables).

During New Testament times this region was governed successively by Herod the Great, Herod Antipas and Herod Agrippa. Since Antipas ruled Galilee from 4 B.C. to A. D. 39, virtually all of the events of the Gospels and of the first decade of the church age relate to his time. Tiberias beside the sea was his capital.

Matthew 4:13 "And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zebulon and Naphtali:"

"Leaving Nazareth": Some time elapsed between verses 12 and 13. Jesus' stay in Nazareth ended abruptly when He was violently rejected by the people of Nazareth, who tried to murder Him (see Luke 4:16-30).

Capernaum lay on the northwest shore of Galilee. The exact site has been confirmed in modern times through archaeology. Though two sites had been traditionally claimed, only one (Tell Hum) possesses archaeological evidence that dates it as early as the New Testament.

Capernaum is never mentioned in the Old Testament and is found in the New Testament only in the Gospels. Yet it was a central city in Christ's ministry; most of the time Christ spent in Galilee was in Capernaum.

When Jesus began His public ministry He made it His home base (verse 13; 9:1), partly because of its prominence in Galilee. It housed a tax collector (9:9), a high government official (John 4:46), and a centurion with his soldiers (8:5-9). It became the home of Peter and Andrew, and probably James and John (Mark 1:29; Luke 5:10).

Jesus performed many miracles in Capernaum including healings of the centurion's servant, the nobleman's son, Peter's mother-in-law, the paralytic, and probably the raising of Jairus's daughter (also Luke 4:23). Later, Jesus condemned the people of Capernaum, for despite His many miracles, they still disbelieved (11:23).

Matthew 4:14-15 "That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying," "The land of Zebulun, and the land of Naphtali, [by] the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles;"

"Galilee of the Gentiles": This name was used even in Isaiah's time because Galilee lay on the route through which all Gentiles passed in and out of Israel. In Jesus' time, the region of Galilee had become an important center of Roman occupation. The prophecy cited by Matthew is from (Isa. 9:1-2; Isa. 42:6-7).

Matthew 4:16 "The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up."

Later on, we will hear Jesus say that He came not for those who need not a physician, but for the lost. It is very interesting, to me, that God would have Jesus come from Nazareth where it would be spoken (that "no good thing could come out of Nazareth".)

The "sea", mentioned here, was the Sea of Galilee, a large rough sea where much fishing was going on. This sea had several towns scattered along the banks. Capernaum was where Peter's home was. Later on, because of so widespread unbelief here, this city would be totally destroyed. Today it is a tourist sight. Walls are thrown down and rubble is everywhere.

Many of the activities of Jesus took place near this sea. The demonic man was freed of the legion of demons near here, the feeding of the multitude took place here, the draft of the fishes was here; I could go on and on, but you get the idea.

Even all the fantastic miracles that Jesus did here, was not enough to convince these people of who He was. A prophet is not accepted in his or her own land. Many of the Gentiles believed, but their Jewish friends already had the law, and felt they were not in need of a Savior.

Matthew 4:17 "From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

"From that time Jesus began to preach": This marks the beginning of His public ministry. Note that His message was an exact echo of what John the Baptist preached.

"Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand": The opening word of this first sermon sets the tone for Jesus' entire earthly ministry (Luke 5:32). Repentance was a constant motif in all His public preaching. And in His closing charge to the apostles, He commanded them to preach repentance as well (Luke 24:47).

The message of John the Baptist is now clearly proclaimed by Jesus Christ. However, Jesus, as the Messiah, is not calling on His listeners to prepare for the coming of the kingdom but rather announces that the kingdom is here. The kingdom blessings promised in Isaiah 35:5-6 to be fulfilled in a future kingdom, here become the credentials of the King at His first coming.

Verses 18-20: "Simon called Peter and Andrew" became the first two disciples called publicly by Jesus. Andrew had introduced his brother to Jesus on an earlier occasion (John 1:40). The invitation, "Follow me," called these earlier believers into a permanent ministry to be shared with Christ.

"I will make you fishers of men" clearly indicates the nature of this ministry. They would receive special training in bringing men into the kingdom. Having "left their nets," these disciples entered into a new relationship and would never again be able to fully return to the occupation they once held so dear.

Matthew 4:18 "And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers."

"Two brethren": Jesus had encountered Peter and Andrew before, near Bethabara, in the Jordan region, where Andrew (and perhaps Peter as well) had become a disciple of John the Baptist (John 1:35-42).

They left John to follow Jesus for a time before returning to fishing in Capernaum. Perhaps they had returned to Capernaum during Jesus' earlier ministry here. Here He called them to follow Him in long-term discipleship.

"Peter" was originally named Simon. Jesus surnamed him "Rock" (Greek Petros; Aramaic Cephas). Peter and his brother Andrew were fishermen from Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee (John 1:44) who later worked out of Capernaum (Mark 1:29).

Andrew, a disciple of John the Baptist, immediately began to follow Jesus on the day John announced Him. At once he introduced Simon to Christ (John 1:35-42). Peter's devotion to Christ brought him within the innermost circle of disciples. Peter shared in the greatest moments of Christ's ministry; Peter was always listed first among the Twelve.

Yet Peter's devotion was at times an impulsive one. Peter's faith in Christ's command allowed him to walk on water; and then, after he had walked, his disbelief caused him to sink (14:28-31)! Peter's sensitivity to God's witness prompted his great confession that Jesus is "the Christ, the Son of the living God," only to be followed by words inspired by Satan (16:16-17, 22-23).

Three events during Christ's earthly ministry were significant to Peter's life and future ministry:

  1. His confession concerning Christ at Caesarea Philippi (chapter 16);
  2. His involvement at Christ's transfiguration (chapter 17);
  3. His threefold denial of Christ before the Crucifixion (chapter 26).

After the ascension of Jesus, Peter continues as the leader, opening the door of the gospel to the Jews (Acts 2), to the Samaritans (Acts 8:14-17), and to the Gentiles (Acts 10; 11:1, 18; 15:7, 14). However, his ministry in the early church remained primarily to the Jews.

Matthew 4:19-20 "And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." "And they straightway left [their] nets, and followed him."

This Sea of Galilee, as we said, was a popular place for the men in this area who made their living fishing. This sea is about six miles wide and seventeen miles long. When the wind would get up, it would be really rough; so rough that you could easily lose a ship and all aboard.

These verses tell us a lot about our Lord Jesus Christ while He walked on the earth. He spoke and these two men obeyed. These men, by vocation, were fishermen. When the call came for the ministry, they did not hesitate. We could take a real lesson from these men. So many times, when the call comes to the ministry, we hesitate and try to finish the job at hand before we answer.

These men dropped everything and followed Jesus. This call that Jesus made to these two men was not for salvation, but to work with Him. They had to give up the comforts of home, and even the living they had, for an uncertain future of winning souls. This call brought them out of the worldly into the spiritual.

These men were strong. It takes a lot of muscle to pull in fish nets full of fish. The name "Andrew" means manly, and "Peter" means rock. You can see by their names, that these men were powerful physically. Jesus was about to make strong spiritual men of them. They would face more hardships as ministers of the Word than they ever did as fishermen.

These men were just ordinary men. They had no degrees in ministry, only the call of God upon their lives. These two were to become part of the elite l2 that would, through Jesus, make a giant impact upon the world. We will look at them, again and again, as we go through this study. For now, it is enough to know that they would no longer fish for food, but for the souls of men.

Verses 21-22: "James and John" were also brothers and fishing partners with Simon and Andrew. Matthew and Mark agree that they were "mending their nets," but Luke seems to differ. The two accounts can be harmonized simply: As two men were mending nets, the other two were fishing.

Jesus they came upon them and called them all to follow Him. The statement in verse 22 that they "immediately" responded to His call gives us a perfect picture of true obedience to the lordship of Christ.

Matthew 4:21 "And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James [the son] of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them."

"James": This James is easy to distinguish from the other men named James in the New Testament, because he is never mentioned in Scripture apart from his brother John. His martyrdom by Herod Agrippa I marked the beginning at a time of severe persecution in the early church (Acts 12:2).

"James ... and John," the sons of Zebedee, two of the 12 apostles, were fishermen in partnership with their father and also Simon Peter (Luke 5:10). Since James is normally mentioned first, he was probably older than his brother John.

Peter, James and John formed the inner circle among the disciples, who exclusively witnessed the raising of Jairus's daughter (Mark 5:37), Christ's transfiguration (Mark 9:2), and the Gethsemane experience (Mark 14:33). But James and John are remembered with less distinction for their impulsive desire to destroy the non-receptive Samaritans with fire from heaven (Luke 9:54), and their desire to be first in Christ's kingdom (Mark 10:35-40).

James is the first and only apostle whose martyrdom is recorded in Scripture. In A.D. 44 King Herod beheaded James and planned the same for Peter (Acts 12:1-3). John, by contrast, lived a very long life and was a prominent leader in the Jerusalem church (Gal. 2:9).

Among the 12 apostles, only John and Peter are given individual recognition in the Book of Acts and in Paul's epistles. John wrote the fourth gospel, his three epistles, and the Revelation. John never mentions by name his brother James or himself, except in Revelation, and as the beloved disciple in the gospel. Hence, James is mentioned in Scripture only by Matthew, Mark and Luke (Acts included).

Matthew 4:22 "And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him."

You see, again, James and John did not hesitate when Jesus called. They left their father, their means of support, their home, and all worldly possessions, and followed Jesus. These two were, also, known as "sons of thunder". John, as we would see in later lessons, was very close to Jesus. He was known as John the beloved.

The mother of James and John would ask Jesus to let her two sons sit on the right and left of Jesus in His kingdom. He did not grant her wish. He said it was not His to give.

Matthew 4:23 "And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people."

Jesus was about the Father's business. He taught, preached, and healed in their churches and wherever people had needs, the three main aspects of Christ's public ministry.

There were a number of little towns in Galilee. Many miracles were done in these cities.

Jesus stated that if the miracles that were done in Capernaum had been done in Sodom, they would have repented and been saved. In Capernaum, they believed that Jesus was the carpenter's son, not the Son of God.

Matthew 4:24 "And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them."

Syria was the area immediately northeast of Galilee.

The Bible says that if all the miracles that Jesus did were written in a book, there would not be enough books in the entire world to hold them. You can easily see how this fame would spread.

Literally thousands were healed, freed from demon spirits, restored to sanity, and stopped shaking from the palsy. All these people had to do was to believe, and just one touch from Jesus' hand restored them. You can easily see that His powers were not limited.

As we will see in verse 25, people from all areas that were in traveling distance, brought their sick to Jesus and then carried the message back of His great powers. He not only healed the body, but the spirit, as well.

Matthew 4:25 "And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and [from] Decapolis, and [from] Jerusalem, and [from] Judaea, and [from] beyond Jordan."

We know of several occasions of over 5,000 people following Him. This was a great company of people. Where did they all disappear to when He was crucified?

"Decapolis" was a confederation of 10 Hellenized cities south of Galilee and mostly east of the Jordan. The league of cities was formed shortly after Pompey's invasion of Palestine (64 B.C.), to preserve Greek culture in the Semitic region. These cities were naturally Gentile strongholds.

Matthew Chapter 4 Continued Questions

  1. What did Jesus hear had happened to John before He went into Galilee?
  2. When John's ministry ended, what happened to Jesus' ministry?
  3. Jesus' ministry beginning in a spiritually dark place, showed what?
  4. Jew and Gentile alike would have to receive Jesus, not through the law, but through what?
  5. What was the regional name of the northern part of Palestine?
  6. Capernaum was near what body of water?
  7. The people, which sat in darkness, saw what?
  8. What negative thing was spoken about Nazareth?
  9. What was the main occupation of people around the Sea of Galilee?
  10. Where was Peter's home?
  11. Why was this city destroyed later?
  12. Name 3 special things that occurred near the Sea of Galilee.
  13. Where is a prophet not accepted?
  14. Why did the Jews believe they did not need a Savior?
  15. What message did Jesus preach similar to John the Baptist's message?
  16. What two brothers did Jesus call to the ministry in verses l8-l9?
  17. How big was the Sea of Galilee?
  18. What occupation did Peter have?
  19. What does the word "Andrew" mean?
  20. What did Jesus call them to do?
  21. Who were the two sons of Zebedee that Jesus called?
  22. They were, also, called sons of what?
  23. What special name was John called by?
  24. What wish of James' and John's mother did Jesus not do?
  25. Jesus went about Galilee doing what?
  26. What four kinds of people were brought to Jesus for help?
  27. How many books would it take to hold a list of Jesus' miracles?
  28. Name five places the multitudes came from?

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Matthew 5

Matthew 5

Verses 1-2: The opening verses of the Sermon on the Mount indicate that this message deals with the inner state of mind and heart that is the indispensable absolute of true Christian discipleship. It delineates the outward manifestations of character and conduct of true believers and genuine disciples. Thus, the life of the believer, described by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, is a life of grace and glory, which comes from God alone.

To make this quality of life the product of man's human efforts (as does the liberal), is the height of overestimation of man's ability and underestimation of his depravity. To relegate this entire message, Jesus' longest recorded sermon, to a Jewish-only life-style, as do some dispensationalists, is to rob the church of her greatest statement of true Christian living.

The Sermon on the Mount introduces a series of 5 important discourses recorded in Matthew. This sermon is a masterful exposition of the law and a potent assault on Pharisaic legalism, closing with a call to true faith and salvation (7:13-29).

Christ expounded the full meaning of the law, showing that its demands were humanly impossible (5:48). This is the proper use of the law with respect to salvation. It closes off every possible avenue of human merit and leaves sinners dependent on nothing but divine grace for salvation (Rom. 3:19-20; Gal. 3:23-24).

Christ plumbed the depth of the law, showing that its true demands went far beyond the surface meaning of the words (5:28, 39, 44), and set a standard that is higher than the most diligent students of the law had heretofore realized (5:20).

Matthew 5:1-2 "And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:" "And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,"

"He was set": This was the normal posture for rabbis while teaching, sitting.

Let me set the scene for you before we begin. This mountain, spoken of here, was, probably, actually a high area next to the Sea of Galilee. By land, it would, probably, be between Tiberias and Capernaum.

Jesus was thronged by a multitude. Many followed Him, because of the miracles. He really did not exclude these people from the teaching. He just drew aside to an area where the disciples could sit closer up for His teaching (whether 12 or more, we do not know; it was probably many more).

The multitude could listen and glean from His words, if they were to the point where they could understand this deep teaching. In most instances, these people were familiar with the law.

The statement "when he was set", just means that He sat down in the midst of them to teach. They were eager to hear His teachings. This was more teaching than preaching. The statement

"he opened his mouth", means that this was not for casual conversation, but rather, deliberate teaching on Jesus' part.

The location is now called the Mount of Beatitudes. A church has been erected to mark the place believed to be where this message came from.

The Sermon on the Mount is the greatest teaching of all time. If we could truly understand in depth what Jesus is saying, we would be able to discern the entire Bible from this. Let's remember that all of the Scriptures in this lesson, beginning with (Matthew 5:3), are printed in red in the Bible. They are the spoken Word of Jesus Christ Himself.

Matthew 5:3 "Blessed [are] the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

"Blessed" means "happy, fortunate, blissful" and here it speaks of more than a surface emotion. Jesus was describing the divinely-bestowed well-being that belongs only to the faithful. This is a basic description of the believers' inner condition as a result of the work of God.

The Beatitudes demonstrate that the way to heavenly blessedness is antithetical to the worldly path normally followed in pursuit of happiness. The Beatitudes give Jesus' description of the character of true faith.

These Beatitudes, like Psalm 1, do not show a man how to be saved, but rather describe the characteristics of one who has been saved. The "poor in spirit" are the opposite of the proud or haughty in spirit. The opposite of self-sufficiency, and speaks of the deep humility of recognizing one's utter spiritual bankruptcy apart from God.

It describes those who are acutely conscious of their own lostness and hopelessness apart from divine grace.

They have been humbled by the grace of God and have acknowledged their sin and therefore their dependence upon God to save them. They will inherit the "kingdom of heaven." Kingdom of heaven is a general designation of the dwelling place of the saved.

First let us look at the BE Attitude. What would we be? Jesus is saying in this very first verse of the Sermon on the Mount, can't you understand that you are not self-sufficient? Your spirit is unlearned and dependent on the Spirit of God. You are poor in spirit compared to the wealth of God's Spirit. Depend on God, and not on self.

This was in direct opposition to the Jewish leaders, who thought they knew it all, because they had the law. The one thing we want to receive in this is: our wealth of spiritual knowledge is totally dependent on our faith in God's Spirit.

"Theirs is the kingdom of heaven": Notice that the truth of salvation by grace is clearly presupposed in this opening verse of the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus was teaching that the kingdom is a gracious gift to those who sense their own poverty of spirit.

Matthew 5:4 "Blessed [are] they that mourn: for they shall be comforted."

This speaks of mourning over sin, the godly sorrow that produces repentance leading to salvation without regret (2 Cor. 7:10). The "comfort" is the comfort of forgiveness and salvation.

Those that "mourn ... shall be comforted." The depth of the promise of these statements is almost inexhaustible. Those who mourn for sin shall be comforted in confession. Those who mourn for the human anguish of the lost shall be comforted by the compassion of God.

There are two ways to look at this statement. In the physical, we mourn for our dead; and truly, we will be comforted on that great day when we meet Jesus and our loved ones in the sky. Our mourning will be turned into joy.

There is another way to look at this, as well. When we think of our sins, we are grieved, and we mourn. Our comfort comes in knowing we are forgiven.

We mourn for those out of fellowship with God. Those, whether relatives or friends, who have not made peace with God. Our praying for them do not go unnoticed. Our comfort will come, even in this life, as they come into the Church of Jesus Christ. No one likes the idea, of mourning, but when it brings us into salvation, how glorious it is!

Matthew 5:5 Blessed [are] the meek: for they shall inherit the earth."

"The meek ... shall inherit the earth", refers again to those who have been humbled before God and will not only inherit the blessedness of heaven, but also will ultimately share in the kingdom of God on earth. Here, in the opening statements of the Sermon on the Mount, is the balance between the physical and spiritual promise of the kingdom. The kingdom of which Jesus preached is both "in you" and is yet "to come."

This word "meek" has been misunderstood by so many. It really means humble, or mild-mannered. This is the opposite of being out of control. It is not weakness, but supreme self-control empowered by the Spirit (Gal. 5:23). This is an attitude of the soul toward God and man, being willing to be instructed by God and willing to receive chastisement when necessary.

This has nothing to do with going around with your head hanging down, or even allowing people to push you around. This is a humble heart, quick to understand, forgive, and obey God. We see here, a blessing connected with it.

"Inherit the earth": Christians will reign with Jesus as His subordinates here on the earth the 1,000 year reign of Christ, and we truly shall inherit the earth. This is just another attribute of the Christian's humble heart.

Matthew 5:6 "Blessed [are] they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled."

These future possessors of the earth are its presently installed rightful heirs, and even now they "hunger and thirst after righteousness." This is the opposite of the self-righteousness of the Pharisees. It speaks of those who seek God's righteousness rather than attempting to establish a righteousness of their own (Rom 10:3; Phil. 3:9).

What they seek will fill them, i.e., it will satisfy their hunger and thirst for a right relationship with God. They experience a deep desire for personal righteousness, which in itself is a proof of their spiritual rebirth.

Those who are poor and empty in their own spiritual poverty recognize the depth of their need, and they hunger and thirst for that which only God can give them. "They shall be filled" (Greek chortazo) refers to a complete satisfaction. The psalmist proclaimed: "He satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness" (Psalm 107:9).

This verse really needs very little explanation. Those who are trying to be in right standing with God (righteousness), spend a lot of time in the study of God's Word. The more we seek, the more we consume of the Word, the more we are filled. The only way we can be blessed is to know that these blessings are available, and to know how to act upon them. God's Word reveals the blessings.

Matthew 5:7 "Blessed [re] the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy."

Those who are "merciful ... shall obtain mercy" has reference to those who have been born again by the mercy of God. Because divine love has been extended to them, they have the work of the Holy Spirit in them producing a mercy that defies explanation by unregenerate men.

Jesus Himself became the ultimate example of this when He cried from the cross, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34).

We reap what we sow. The Lord tells us that He will forgive our trespasses, as we forgive those that trespass against us (Mark 11:25-26). My cry is not for a just God, but for a merciful God. Our just reward is death, but through the mercy of God, we are saved by His grace.

Matthew 5:8 "Blessed [are] the pure in heart: for they shall see God."

"See God": Not only with the perception of faith, but in the glory of heaven (Heb. 12:14; Rev. 22:3-4).

I am so happy that this Scripture does not say pure in deeds. The Lord will judge our hearts on judgment day. I have said so many times, if we are truly saved, we no longer have the desire in our hearts to sin. Old things and desires have passed away, behold all things become new.

It is our heart that has been made new. The Bible says, For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. There is a spiritual seeing of God for the present when our hearts are pure, and there will be a physical seeing of God when we join Him in heaven.

Those who are not pure in heart will spend an eternity in hell and will not be with God as the Christians will be.

Matthew 5:9 "Blessed [are] the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."

The next description deals with the "peacemakers." They are at peace with God and desire to live in peace with all men (Rom. 5:1). Their peace with Christ enables them to be ambassadors of God's message to a troubled world. Hence, they shall be called "the children of God." Throughout the Beatitudes Jesus clearly underscores that only those who have the qualities of a changed life, herein described, are citizens of His kingdom.

Jesus is the King of Peace. The only true peace comes from Him. There will never be peace on the earth, until the King of Peace comes and brings His peace to the earth. If we are His children, we pattern our lives by His; and we too, bring peace around us as He has given us His peace within. Truly, we are His children (followers), in His peace.

Matthew 5:10 "Blessed [are] they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

As Jesus develops His message, He clearly teaches that such a life causes His people to be in direct contrast to the world in which they live. Therefore, He reminds us, "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness" sake." The plural use of "ye" (in verse 11), indicates that He foresaw this persecution as touching all His followers.

Notice 2 Timothy 3:12, "Yea, and all that will love godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."

To be persecuted for something we have done wrong is one thing, but to be persecuted because we are, to the best of our ability, serving God is something else. Paul said, to count it all joy when we are persecuted for Jesus. The disciples and Paul thought it a great honor to be persecuted for preaching about Jesus.

Most ministers today are not under persecution. Many are preaching what their congregation wants to hear. They are careful not to stir up the regular members by preaching against adultery, homosexuality, stealing, lying, coveting, and all the other sins of our day.

If you start preaching hard against pornography, rock music, drugs, alcohol, X-rated and PG-rated television and movies, and a total lapse of fellowship with God, you will see persecution. People do not want to be preached to about their sins. It is okay to preach about sins they are not committing. Just don't preach on "their" sins.

Many of the early Christians were martyred for the name of Jesus Christ. Are we that committed today, that we would proclaim Jesus even to the death?

With God's help, I will go on preaching what I hear in my spirit for the church. We must repent and renew our lives with the Lord Jesus Christ. Heaven is our home. We are just here temporarily.

The Scripture says when we see great troubles coming upon the earth to look up and rejoice (Luke 21:28), "And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draws near.

Matthew 5:11-12 "Blessed are ye, when [men] shall revile you, and persecute [you], and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake." "Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great [is] your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you."

"Rejoice" is the command that grows out of the blessedness of the believer. The phrase "Rejoice", and "be exceeding glad" means even more, exult! "Great is your reward in heaven" focuses attention on the eternal destiny of all things.

If God is as real as He claims, if the Bible is true, if heaven is to be gained, then no temporary earthly trouble or persecution can dispossess the child of God of joy in the prospect of the eternal glory that lies ahead.

They persecuted Jesus, because He didn't fit into their pattern. They will persecute the followers of Jesus for the same reason. If you are not under persecution, better take your spiritual pulse, something is probably wrong.

There is a great shaking in the true church today, only those who are truly sold out to Jesus will stand.

Matthew 5:13 "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men."

The Beatitudes are followed by a summary statement of the basic character of the Christian's life as salt and light. "Ye are the salt of the earth:" Again the phrase "ye are" indicates that only the genuinely born-again person is salt and can help meet the needs of the world.

Salt adds flavoring, acts as a preservative, melts coldness, and heals wounds. Thus it is a very appropriate description of the believer in his relationship to the world in which he lives.

Salt is a preservative. Christians are a preservative. This earth would already have been destroyed, if it were not for the few Christians here. If the Christians fall away, what will happen to the earth? That is just exactly what is happening today. Watered down Christianity is taking over. If the Christians do not rise up a standard, then all is lost.

Lukewarm Christians will not make the final cut. God will spew lukewarm Christians out like lukewarm water. We need to live by the standards raised in the Bible. Sold out to God Christians are the salt of the earth. We must preserve the Bible and its standards, until Jesus returns. We must not compromise with the world.

Matthew Chapter 5 Questions

1. What sea is this mountain near?

2. What 2 cities was it located between?

3. Many followed Jesus, because of what?

4. In most instances, these people were familiar with what?

5. What is this area now called?

6. What is the greatest teaching of all time?

7. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be what?

8. What 2 ways can we look at this?

9. What shall the meek inherit?

10. What are 2 different meanings of meek?

11. What blessing is associated with meekness?

12. What will happen to those who hunger and thirst after righteousness?

13. For us to be forgiven, what must we do?

14. What does righteousness mean?

15. My cry is not for a just God, but for what kind?

16. What is our just reward?

17. In verse 8, who shall see God?

18. From what, does the mouth speaketh?

19. What shall the peacemakers be called?

20. Jesus was called the King of what?

21. Paul said count it ____ ____ to be persecuted for Jesus?

22. Where is a Christian's home?

23. Why did the religious people persecute Jesus?

24. In verse 13, we are called what?

25. What is it?

26. If the Christians do not raise a standard, what will happen?

27. What kind of Christians will not make the final cut?

28. How long must the Christians be the preservative?

Matthew Chapter 5 Continued

Verses 14-16: "Ye are the light of the world" describes the essential mission of the Christian to the world. He is the condition (salt), to meet the world's needs and he has a mission (light), to the world. His light is to clearly shine forth into the darkness of human depravity. He is to set his light upon a candlestick, not hide it "under a bushel," that is, a basket. Darkness is the absence of light; and darkness alone cannot dispel the light, but the smallest light can dispel the greatest darkness.

Matthew 5:14 "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid."

In these Scriptures above, Jesus is explaining that if we are Christians, then we have His Light dwelling within us. This Light of Jesus should be so brightly shining, that no one need ask if we are saved; but they should be quick to see the glow of this Light within us. This Light goes with us and should illuminate wherever we are.

Matthew 5:15 "Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house."

Sin has a way of being hidden in the darkness, but when we apply the Light, it does away with darkness. In John the first chapter, we read about this Light.

John 1:7-9 "The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all [men] through him might believe." "He was not that Light, but [was sent] to bear witness of that Light." "[That] was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world" (speaking of John the Baptist).

John 8:12: "Then spoke Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."

Matthew 5:16 "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

"Let your light so shine" as a godly life gives convincing testimony of the saving power of God. That brings Him glory (1 Peter 2:12).

In (verse 4 of John chapter l), it tells us who this Light is. John 1:4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men." You see, Jesus has brought the Christians out of the darkness and into His marvelous Light.

First John 1:6-7 tells it all.

1 John 1:6-7 "If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:" "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."

We are commanded to go out, and let this Light shine brightly, and win the world to Jesus. We should be a Light set on a hill, so that those in darkness (spiritual) might see the Light and be saved. Let people see the good works caused by this great Light being ever present in our lives.

Matthew 5:17 "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil."

"Think not ... destroy the law or the prophets": Jesus was neither giving a new law nor modifying the old, but rather explaining the true significance of the moral content of Moses' law and the rest of the Old Testament.

Having laid the foundation of the message in the summary statements of the Beatitudes, Jesus now proceeds to show the superiority of His message to that of the Law of Moses. He makes it clear that He had "not ... come to destroy the law." That is, the New Testament gospel is not contradictory to the Old Testament Law; rather it is the ultimate fulfillment of the spiritual intention of the law.

Where the law had degenerated into legalism among the Pharisees, Jesus now takes the law beyond mere outward observance to the inner spiritual intention of God.

"Fulfill": This speaks of fulfillment in the same sense that prophecy is fulfilled. Christ was indicating that He is the fulfillment of the law in all its aspects. He fulfilled the moral law by keeping it perfectly. He fulfilled the ceremonial law by being the embodiment of everything the law's types and symbols pointed to. And He fulfilled the judicial law by personifying God's perfect justice (12:18, 20).

Matthew 5:18 "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled."

Here Christ was affirming the utter inerrancy and absolute authority of the Old Testament as the Word of God, down to the smallest stroke or letter. Again this suggests that the New Testament should not be seen as supplanting and abrogating the Old Testament, but as fulfilling and explicating it.

For example, all the ceremonial requirements of the Mosaic law were fulfilled in Christ and are not longer to be observed by Christians (Col. 2:16-17). Yet not the smallest letter or stroke is thereby erased, the underlying truths of those Scriptures remain and in fact the mysteries behind them are now revealed in the brighter light of the gospel.

"Verily I say" is a unique form used by Jesus throughout His preaching to draw attention to the authority of His message. Verily; (Greek amen) means "truly" or "certainly." It is used as a designation of authoritative teaching. "One jot or one tittle" refers to the most minute letter and marks of the Hebrew alphabet. He explained that even the smallest statement in the law must be fulfilled.

A jot (yodh), is the smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet. It functions as a Y in English and looks similar to an apostrophe. A tittle is a small projection of the edge of certain Hebrew letters to distinguish them from one another.

The law in the Old Testament, and in fact the Old Testament itself, is a type and shadow of Jesus Christ the Lamb of God. The Word of God never changes. God's law (Old), is made more glorious in the (New).

The Old Testament constantly prophesied about Jesus coming to fulfill all prophecy. Jesus was the fulfillment. The law was not bad, just misunderstood. Jesus fulfilled the law and reconciled us to God the Father. Jesus was not, and is not, a destroyer; He is a builder.

Matthew 5:19 "Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach [them], the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."

"Shall be called the least ... shall be called great": The consequence of practicing or teaching disobedience of any of God's Word is to be called least in the kingdom of heaven. Determining rank in the kingdom of heaven is entirely God's prerogative (Matt. 20:23), and Jesus declares that He will hold those in lowest esteem who hold His Word in low esteem.

Because of the seriousness of the law, Jesus emphasizes the importance of keeping even its smallest details. However, in the ultimate plan of God, the law was not to become an extra burden on the souls of men. Rather than pointing the way to salvation, the law convinced men of the need of the Savior.

Therefore, whoever "shall teach men so" but shall not live what he teaches, he shall be made "least in the kingdom of heaven. But whosoever shall do and teach" the principles and precepts of the law shall be called "great in the kingdom of heaven." This simply means that God will reward the faithfulness and effectiveness of our lives, and there will be varying degrees of blessing and reward in the kingdom.

There is no impunity for believers who disobey, discredit, or belittle God's law. That Jesus does not refer to loss of salvation is clear from the fact that, though offenders will be called least, they will still be in the kingdom of heaven. The positive result is that whoever keeps and teaches God's Word, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Here again Jesus mentions the two aspects of doing and teaching. Kingdom citizens are to uphold every part of God's law both in their living and in their teaching.

Let Christ live in you. Let Jesus take total control, and then you won't make any mistakes. It is an awesome responsibility to be forming young lives. We must not only teach them of God's love, but also His judgment.

Matthew 5:20 "For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed [the righteousness] of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven."

Except your righteousness ... exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees": On the one hand, Jesus was calling His disciples to a deeper, more radical holiness than that of the Pharisees. Pharisaism had a tendency to soften the law's demands by focusing only on external obedience.

In the verses that follow, Jesus unpacks the full moral significance of the law, and shows that the righteousness the law calls for actually involves an internal conformity to the spirit of the law, rather than mere external compliance to the letter.

"Shall in no case enter into the kingdom": On the other hand, this sets up an impossible barrier to works salvation. Scripture teaches repeatedly that sinners are capable of nothing but a flawed and imperfect righteousness (Isaiah 64:6). Therefore, the only righteousness by which sinners may be justified is the prefect righteousness of God that is imputed to those who believe (Rom. 4:5).

Because of the necessity of righteousness should "exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees" they could not enter heaven. The significance of this is seen in the fact that the Jews of Jesus' day considered these people to be the most religious in all Israel. However, their religion was largely an outward show of self-righteousness.

In communicating the depth of His message, Jesus used a series of contrasts between the outward behavior demanded by the law and the inner attitude of the heart desired by God. Here we discover the practical application of genuine Christian character to true spiritual living.

Here is the Law in the first column (O.T.) and the Spirit in the second column (N.T.):

  1. No murder, No anger
  2. No adultery, No lust
  3. No divorce, Commitment
  4. No oath taking, Speak the truth
  5. No retaliation, Forgiveness
  6. Hatred for your enemy, Love for your enemy

Having a form of religion is not what God wants, He wants our hearts. The scribes and Pharisees were well known for keeping the law but God was not pleased with them. They had only a surface belief, a literal religion, not a spiritual belief.

There will be people who never miss a Sunday going to church, who won't make it to heaven. They have a form of religion, but deny the power thereof as it tells us in (2 Tim. Chapter 3). The walk with God that is pleasing to Him is the Spirit walk, being totally submitted to the will of God. To have the righteousness of Christ, it has to be seven days a week and everywhere, not just at church.

They that worship God must worship Him in spirit and in Truth. Some who stand before Jesus to be judged will say: I cast out demons for you, I prayed for the sick for you, I did all these mighty things for you, and Jesus will say that He never knew them. He had their outward worship, but He didn't have their hearts. If it is a chore for you to go to church, please examine yourself. Church should be a joy; and something we look forward to, not a bother.

Verses 21-22: Christ begins this series of contrasts by quoting the statement of the law, "Thou shalt not kill" (Exodus 20:13). The reference to killing is clearly understood in its context in both the Old and New Testaments as referring to an act of murder.

Jesus goes beyond this outward demand of the law by stating that "whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause" is in just as great danger of judgment as a murderer, for anger is the emotion and inner intention that leads to murder.

The term "Raca" (meaning vain fellow" or "empty head"), was a Hebrew or Aramaic expression of contempt (2 Sam. 6:20). The "council" is a reference to the Jewish religious council called the Sanhedrin. "Thou fool" (Greek moros), means "stupid." The English word moron comes from this term.

Those using such a malicious expression would be in danger of "hell fire." The idea seems to be that if one makes light of his fellowman, he will be in danger of slander. But if one makes bitter, damning statements with reference to hell toward his fellowman, he shall actually be in danger of hell himself.

The term hell is Gehenna. It refers to the valley of Hinnom at Jerusalem, where fires provided a powerful and graphic picture of the ultimate destruction of hell and the lake of fire (2 Kings 23:10; 2 Chron. 28:3; Jer. 7:31).

"Ye have heard ... but I say unto you": The quotes are from (Exodus 10:13; Deut. 5:17). Jesus was not altering the terms of the law in any of these passages. Rather, He was correcting what they had "heard", the rabbinical understanding of the law.

Matthew 5:21-22 "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:" "But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire."

Jesus suggested here that the verbal abuse stems from the same sinful motives (anger and hatred), that ultimately lead to murder. The internal attitude is what the law actually prohibits, and therefore an abusive insult carries the same kind of moral guilt as an act of murder.

Here again, Jesus was telling us that the sin takes place in the heart. We have sinned already if we desire to kill, even if we do not carry it out. We should not call people names. First of all, we are not their judge, Jesus is their judge. Notice here, it says do not call your brother "Raca". This is one Christian calling another this name. "Raca" means, "o empty one", or "thou art worthless". Christians are never empty; they are filled with the Spirit of Jesus. They are never worthless. Jesus thought they were valuable enough that He gave His life for them. You can see, if we were to call a Christian this name, we would be saying that Jesus was in error. You can readily see how dangerous this would be.

The word that was translated "fool" here, has a base meaning of stupid, blockhead, absurd, or dull. It is very important to be more concerned with cleaning up our own lives, than trying to criticize our brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.

Verses 23-24: Having made a comparison between the command not to murder and the inner motive and heart intention of hatred, Jesus then illustrates the seriousness of this matter by referring to one who would attempt to buy off his conscience by giving something to God without clearing his conscience in regard to his offended brother.

He reminded His listeners that "if thou bring thy gift to the altar" without reconciling with the offended party, God will not receive the intended gift. Bringing a gift to the altar refers to bringing it to the temple in order that it may be consecrated. To be "reconciled" means to be brought back into fellowship or favor with an offended party.

Matthew 5:23-24 "Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;" "Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift."

We must, as Christians, love our brothers and sisters in Christ as we do ourselves. God will not accept offerings made from a heart full of bitterness. If we take communion with bitterness in our hearts, we may drink sickness, and sometimes death unto our bodies.

Quickly forgive everyone and particularly the brothers and sisters in Christ. God desires that we love each other. We do not love the sins in someone lives, but we love the person. Hate the sin and love the sinner.

Verses 25-26: The Savior then went on to say that even if "thine adversary" (an opponent at law), disagrees with you; it is to your advantage to be reconciled to him. Jesus' exhortation here is to urge us to go out of our way to avoid legal conflicts before human judges (verse 40). The payment of debt and the "prison" referred to here, simply mean the normal legal process that one would encounter in a civil suit.

Matthew 5:25 "Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison."

Jesus calls for reconciliation to be sought eagerly, aggressively, quickly, even if it involves self-sacrifice. It is better to be wronged than to allow a dispute between brethren to be a cause for dishonoring Christ.

I really believe that Jesus told us that if there is any possible way to settle something out of court, do it. People have gotten into a rut, suing everyone for the slightest thing. Most things could be settled out of court, if people would just try. There is no reason for two Christians to fight something out in court. The two should get together, and pray, and each gives a little.

These terribly expensive court cases could be stopped. Give a little if necessary, it will be cheaper than hiring an attorney. Praying together can solve many problems. Learn to forgive and forget. Christians should not subject themselves to the judges of this earth. There is one Judge and His name is Jesus.

Matthew Chapter 5 Continued Questions

  1. In verse 14, Christians are called what?
  2. When we let our light shine, what does the world see in our lives?
  3. Who gets the glory?
  4. Who is the Light spoken of by John in the book of John?
  5. Besides being called Light, what was He called?
  6. If we say we are Christians and walk in darkness, what is said of us?
  7. What cleanses us from all sin?
  8. Jesus said He did not come to destroy the law, but to do what?
  9. The law and the Old Testament are a type and shadow of what?
  10. Jesus is not a destroyer, but a what?
  11. A teacher and a doer of the law shall be called what in heaven?
  12. What, besides God's love, should we teach?
  13. What 2 groups must our righteousness exceed?
  14. What were these 2 groups well known for?
  15. What kind of walk is pleasing unto God?
  16. What is wrong if we dread going to church?
  17. What are 2 meanings of "Raca"?
  18. The word translated "fool" in chapter 5, means what?
  19. What kind of offering will God not accept?
  20. If we take communion with bitterness in our hearts, what 2 things might happen?
  21. In verse 25, we are to agree with adversaries quickly, so this will not happen. What is it?
  22. What should 2 Christians, who have a problem, do?
  23. Who is really Judge?

Matthew Chapter 5 Second Continued

Matthew 5:26 "Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing."

This is in connection with the last lesson, where we need to agree before going to court and being thrown in jail. Christians, as I said in an earlier lesson, should not be looking for reasons to sue someone. We need to live peaceably with all men.

Verses 27-28: "Thou shalt not commit adultery" was the demand of the Old Testament Law (Exodus 20:14). Jesus goes beyond this outward command to reveal that its act is the result of an inner attitude of lust.

"Whosoever looketh" characterizes the man whose glance is not checked by holy restraint and results in an impure lusting after women. The act would follow if the opportunity were to occur. By taking His listener beyond the outward statement of the law to its real intention, Jesus was trying to get the listener's attention off the physical and onto the spiritual.

Matthew 5:27 "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:"

This is one of the 10 commandments. In Old Testament times, the participants in this type of sin were stoned to death. This sin involves the body (the temple of the Holy Ghost), and is therefore a very serious sin.

Matthew 5:28 "But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."

Our hearts will be judged, even more than our deeds. The desire to sin is worse than the act of sin, unknowingly committed. Premeditated murder is much worse than killing someone during an argument, because of the desire of the heart to murder. Our hearts are either desperately wicked and cause us to sin, or we have pure hearts which make us righteous in God's sight.

The Bible says, whatever is in our hearts will come out of our mouth. We cannot speak both good and evil, because sweet and bitter water does not come from the same well. Whatever is in our hearts is what we really are. Following Jesus, or Satan, comes from the heart. The whole thing takes place in the heart, as we read in Romans 10:9-10.

Romans 10:9-10 "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."

Verses 29-30: The statement of cutting off one's hand or plucking out one's eye definitely is not to be taken literally. What Jesus implies is that if "thy right eye offend thee," then the logical thing to do would be to "pluck it out." His point is not that one should literally pluck out his eye, but that one should recognize that the source of lust comes from within the mind and heart of man, not from the physical organ itself.

The right eye is not the source of sin; the heart of man is that source. The seriousness of the sin of lusting is thus illustrated by this graphic comparison. Ultimately, it would be better for a person to be physically maimed than to go to hell forever.

However, doing physical damage to oneself doesn't in any way guarantee entrance into heaven. Jesus is simply teaching that man must bring the passions of his heart under the control of the Spirit of God.

Matthew 5:29 "And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast [it] from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not [that] thy whole body should be cast into hell."

"Pluck it out and cast it from thee": Jesus was not advocating self-mutilation (for this would not in fact cure lust, which is actually a problem of the heart). He was using this graphic hyperbole to demonstrate the seriousness of sins of lust and evil desire.

The point is that it would be "better" (verse 30), to lose a member of one's own body that to bear the eternal consequences of the guilt from such a sin. Sin must be dealt with drastically because of its deadly effects.

Matthew 5:30 "And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast [it] from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not [that] thy whole body should be cast into hell."

These 2 verses above are fundamental. It would truly be better to be blind, and on our way to heaven, than to see clearly on our way to hell. It also would be better to be a cripple, and on our way to heaven, than to go to hell with a whole body.

Sometimes, our good looks, or our special physical abilities, may turn our heads and cause us to believe we do not need God. This I believe, is what this Scripture is talking about. Anything that draws us away from God is bad.

Verses 31-32: "It hath been said" is again a reference to the Old Testament commandment of the Mosaic regulation (Deut. 24:1). The normal custom of the ancient Near East was for a man to

verbally divorce his wife. In contrast, the ancient law of Israel insisted on a "writing of divorcement" or certificate of divorce.

This written statement gave legal protection to both the wife and the husband. Jesus explains elsewhere (Matt. 19:8), that Moses' concession was not intended to be taken as license. The only exception given by Christ is for "the cause of fornication" (Greek porneia), meaning sexual unfaithfulness.

These statements make it clear that adultery or fornication is a legitimate ground for divorce. However, the legitimacy of the divorce does not necessarily establish the legitimacy of remarriage.

Scripture never commands that one must divorce an unfaithful wife or husband. On the contrary, there are many examples of extending forgiveness to the adulterous offender (Gen. 38:26; Hos. 3:1; John 8:1-11). The responsibility of divorce is clearly laid upon the one seeking the divorce.

"Whosoever shall put away his wife" without biblical basis "causeth her to commit adultery." Thus, the divorcer brings about an unjust suspicion upon the divorcee.

Matthew 5:31 "It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:"

"It hath been said": The rabbis had taken liberty with what Scripture actually said. They referred to (Deut. 24:1-4), as if it were given merely to regulate the paperwork when one sought divorce. Thus, they had wrongly concluded that men could divorce their wives for anything that displeased them, as long as they gave "a certificate of divorce."

But Moses provided this as a concession to protect the woman who was divorced, not to justify or legalize divorce under all circumstances.

When Jesus said this, it was about like it is now. People were being divorced for every little whim. Jesus was trying to show how important marriage is, and it is not to be taken lightly. Not being faithful has always been grounds for divorce, and in our day homosexual activity is also, grounds for divorce.

Matthew 5:32 "But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery."

Divorce was allowed in cases of adultery. (Luke 16:18), must be understood in the light of this verse. "Causeth her to commit adultery": The assumption is that divorced people will remarry. If the divorce was not for sexual immorality, any remarriage is adultery, because God does not acknowledge the divorce.

God also says do not be unequally yoked with those of unbelief. If your spouse is a Satan worshipper, then you must not stay with him. What Jesus was saying, is that marriage should be forever. Nothing, except something of a moral issue, should separate husband and wife.

When they two are married, the Word says, they two become one flesh. Only a spiritual matter should cause a split. If we would just pray and ask God to send His choice of mate for us, we would save everyone a lot of pain.

Verses 33-37: The basis of Old Testament swearing, or oath-taking, is found in (Exodus 20:7; Leviticus 19:12; and Deuteronomy 23:21). To "forswear" means to swear falsely or perjure oneself. Oaths taken in the name of the Lord were looked upon as binding, and perjury of such oaths was strongly condemned by the law.

By the time of Christ, the Jews had developed an elaborate system of oath-taking, which often formed the basis of actual lying. In other words, there were stages of truth and thus also of falsehood within the system of taking oaths.

All such oath-taking, Jesus announced, was unnecessary if one were in the habit of telling the truth. Thus, His command was "Swear not at all." This does not have reference to cursing, as such, but to oath-taking. The disciple is to speak the truth in such a way that his "yes" means yes and his "no" means no.

"Let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay:" When you say "yes," make sure that is what your mean. When you say "no," make sure that also is what you mean. Mean what you say; say what you mean. Anything that is more than a simple affirmation of the truth "cometh of evil."

Matthew 5:33 "Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:"

This expresses teaching from (Leviticus 19:12; Numbers 30:2; and Deut. 23:21, 23).

Matthew 5:34 "But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne:"

"Swear not at all": This should not be taken as a universal condemnation of oaths in all circumstances. God Himself confirmed a promise with an oath (Heb. 6:13-18; Acts 2:30). Christ Himself spoke under oath (26:63-64). And the law prescribed oaths in certain circumstances (Num. 5:19, 21; 30:2-3).

What Christ is forbidding here is the flippant, profane or careless use of oaths in everyday speech. In that culture, such oaths were often employed for deceptive purposes to make the person being victimized believe the truth was being told, the Jews would swear by "heaven," "earth," "Jerusalem," or their own "heads" (verses 34-36), not by God, hoping to avoid divine judgment for their lie.

But it all was in God's creation, so it drew Him in and produced guilt before Him, exactly as if the oath were made in His name. Jesus suggested that all our speech should be as if we were under an oath to tell the truth (verse 37).

Matthew 5:35-37 "Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King." "Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black." "But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil."

Our word should be our bond. Whatever we say, we must stick by it. The Bible says, that God swore by Himself, because there was no greater. We really cannot swear even by ourselves, because we are not our own. We have been bought and paid for. We have nothing to base our oath upon; for everything we are and everything we hope to be is by the grace of God.

Verses 38-39: The principle of retaliation is common in both Hebrew and other ancient Near Eastern law codes (the Code of Hammurabi). The judicial penalty of "an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth" is stated (in Exodus 21:24), as a means of ending feuds. However, Jesus is clearly saying this method is not a license for vengeance.

The Savior's point is that we should "resist not evil". Evil is seen here, not as a state, but rather as the action of the evil ones or the malicious ones.

It represents the evil and sinful element in man which provokes him to an evil act. Jesus shows how the believer should respond to personal injury. He is not discussing the government's obligation to maintain law and order.

These passages do not mean that a man should not defend his family or his country, but rather that he should not attempt personal vengeance, even through the means of the law, to compensate for a personal injury. Jesus gives five examples (verses 39-42), of how the believer should react to unfair or unreasonable treatment.

In retaliation to physical violence, he is to "turn to him the other (cheek) also". Man's natural impulse is to strike back, but the disciple is not to be a natural man. He is to "overcome evil with good" (Rom. 12:21). There is no greater example of this ethical truth that the life and death of Jesus Himself.

Matthew 5:38 "Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:"

"An eye for an eye": The law did establish this standard as a principle for limiting retribution to that which was just (Exodus 21:24; Lev. 24:20; Deut. 19:21). Its design was to ensure that the punishment in civil cases fit the crime. It was never meant to sanction acts of personal retaliation.

So again, Jesus made no alteration to the true meaning of the law. He was merely explaining and affirming the law's true meaning.

Matthew 5:39 "But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also."

"That ye resist not evil": Like (verse 38), this deals only with matters of personal retaliation, not criminal offenses or acts of military aggression. Jesus applied this principle of non-retaliation to affronts against one's dignity (verse 39), lawsuits to gain one's personal assets (verse 40), infringements on one's liberty (verse 41), and violations of property rights (verse 42). He was calling for a full surrender of all personal rights.

"Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord" (Romans 12:19).

We do not need to take vengeance. The Lord will take care of it for us. If we will let Him handle it for us, it will heap coals of fire on their heads. Vengeance is a never ending cycle. Kill them with kindness; it hurts worse.

Matthew 5:40 "And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have [thy] cloak also."

Whether robbed by personal assault or compulsory litigation, the believer is to respond with confidence in what is eternal, rather than that which is temporal. If the believer is sued in order that the accuser may "take away thy coat," he is to also let him have his "cloak." The coat is the undergarment or tunic. The cloak is the more expensive outer garment worn over the tunic.

Jesus taught us to have confidence in an almighty God who is completely aware of the injustices done to man and totally capable of evoking ultimate and eternal justice.

Jesus was saying, don't argue over material things. They will pass away. We get ahead much faster by trying to out-give the other person. If we are generous, people will be generous with us also.

Matthew 5:41 "And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain."

"Compel": The word speaks of coercion. The New Testament picture of this is when Roman soldiers forced Simon the Cyrene to carry Jesus' cross (27:32).

In ancient times government agents were in a position to compel forced service upon a subjugated people. A Roman soldier, for example, could compel a Jewish native to carry his armor or materials for one mile. Jesus now states that if someone compels you to walk a mile, "go with him twain."

The believer is to be willing to "go the extra mile." Doing double our duty not only proves our loyalty to human authority, but likewise proves the spiritual intention of our heart.

Do more than is expected of you.

Matthew 5:42 "Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away."

Jesus clearly taught that a loan should be looked upon as a potential gift. There are many statements in Proverbs against borrowing, lending and surety (Prov. 6:1; 11:15; 22:7; 27:13). While we are warned of the dangers of borrowing and lending, Jesus clearly emphasizes that the believer ought to be willing to lend to those in need.

Even the beggar is to be ministered to through the provision of giving to "him that asketh thee." This statement certainly forms the basis of all Christian charity, and provides the proper social application of the message of the gospel to the physical as well as the spiritual needs of man.

The Scriptures say, if we do these things, we will never have need. God rewards us openly for the good we do secretly.

Verses 43-44: The law of love, sometimes called "law of Christ," summarizes the ethical principle of the Sermon on the Mount. "Love they neighbor" summarizes the entire second table of the law (Lev. 19:18-34). But the unscriptural addition "hate thine enemy" was a popular concept in Jesus' day.

The admonition "Love your enemies" is one of the greatest statements Jesus made. The love enjoined in this passage is love that originates from God Himself. Man is not commanded to attempt to love his enemy on the basis of mere human affection but rather on the basis of a love that comes from God. The quality of love commanded here is expressed by giving.

"Bless them" that curse you, "do good" to them that hate you, and "pray" for them that persecute you. Loving an enemy involves doing good toward that enemy in order to win him over to Christ.

Matthew 5:43 "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy."

"Love thy neighbor ... hate thine enemy": The first half of this is found in Moses' law (Lev. 19:18). The second part was found in how the scribes and Pharisees explained and applied that Old Testament command. Jesus' application was exactly the opposite, resulting in a much higher standard: Love for one's neighbors should extend even to those neighbors who are enemies (verse 44). Again, this was no innovation, since even the Old Testament taught that God's people should do good to their enemies (Prov. 25:21).

Matthew 5:44 "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;"

"Verses 44-45": "Love your enemies ... that ye may be the children of your father". This plainly teaches that God's love extends even to His enemies. This universal love of God is manifest in blessings which God bestows on all indiscriminately. Theologians refer to this as common grace. This must be distinguished from the everlasting love God has for the elect (Jer. 31:3), but it is a sincere goodwill nonetheless (Psalm 145:9).

Verses 45-47: In summarizing the importance of love, Jesus reminded that love was a necessary proof of salvation: "that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven" may be better rendered, "that ye may prove to be sons of your Father." An initial reading of this text out of its context might seem to imply that loving one's neighbor automatically makes one a child of God.

However, the New Testament is clear that love is the evidence that one is already saved by the grace of God (1 John 3:14). Therefore, Jesus reminds us that we are to love our enemies as our "brethren," for "even the publicans" love those who love them.

Publicans were public officials of Jewish nationality who worked for the Roman government as tax collectors and were generally despised by the people.

Matthew 5:45 "That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust."

Jesus loved everyone in spite of their sins. He said, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." If we are truly His followers, we can do no less. We should pattern our lives after His. We should be unselfish, kind, gentle, long-suffering, and giving.

Matthew 5:46 "For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?"

"Publicans": Tax collectors who were disloyal Israelites hired by the Romans to tax other Jews for personal profit. They became symbols for the worst kind of people. (9:10-11; 11:19; 18:17; 21:31; Mark 2:14-16; Luke 5:30; 7:25, 29, 34; 18:11-13), Matthew had been one of them.

The world loves its own. To be different from the world, we must love the unlovely.

Matthew 5:47 "And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more [than others]? do not even the publicans so?"

He was saying, that is the way the world acts; giving to receive in return. Give with no hope of return, not just money, but of yourselves, also. Forget about self.

Matthew 5:48 "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."

"Be ye therefore perfect": Christ sets an unattainable standard. This sums up what the law itself demanded (James 2:10). Though this standard is impossible to meet, God could not lower it without compromising His own perfection.

He who is perfect could not set an imperfect standard of righteousness. The marvelous truth of the gospel is that Christ has met this standard on our behalf.

This section of the Sermon on the Mount is summarized with the statement "Be ye therefore perfect." Since the New Testament is clear that even the believer is capable of sin, the term perfect is not to be taken as sinless perfection. Perfect here means "complete," that is, possessing a complete love that, like God's (verse 45), embraces those who love you as well as those who do not.

Try to be as near like Jesus as is humanly possible. Jesus is our example. We must try every day to be a little more like Him.

Matthew Chapter 5 Second Continued Questions

1. How should Christians live with all men?

2. What is our body?

3. Why is adultery such a bad sin?

4. If a man looks at a woman with lust in his heart, what sin has he committed?

5. What will be judged more than our deeds?

6. Man's heart is either _______ or _____.

7. What kind of message will come out of our mouth?

8. Can we curse and bless both? Explain.

9. What 2 things do the Scripture, Romans l0:9-l0, tell us we must do to be saved?

10. Physical blindness would be better than what?

11. For what 3 things is it okay to get a divorce?

12. Man and wife are one what?

13. Why did Jesus say we should not swear by heaven?

14. Why not by earth?

15. Why not by our own head?

16. Instead of taking vengeance, what should we kill them with?

17. If someone sues you and takes your coat, what should you do?

18. If someone asks you to go a mile with them, how far should you go?

19. Who are we told to love?

20. If we learn to love like this, who are we like?

21. Does God let the sun shine on just the good? Explain.

22. If we are Christians, what should our lives be like?

23. To be different from the world, what must we do?

24. In verse 48, we are told to be perfect. In the flesh, can we achieve this? What must we do?

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Matthew 6

Matthew Chapter 6

Verses 1-18: Here Christ expands the thought of 5:20, showing how the Pharisees' righteousness was deficient by exposing their hypocrisy in the matters of giving to the poor (verses 1-4); prayer (verses 5-15); and fasting (verses 16-18). All of these acts are supposed to be worship rendered to God, never displays of self-righteousness to gain the admiration of others.

Matthew 6:1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven."

Jesus warns us not to give "alms before men" just to gain human recognition to ourselves. The one who does righteousness (or gives of his possessions), to the Lord before men merely "to be seen of them" has "no reward" from the Father in heaven.

True worship results from the desire to serve God, not men, since pleasing God is far more important than pleasing men. Loss of reward is incurred by gaining the reward of human recognition as an end in itself.

Matthew 6:2 "Therefore when thou doest [thine] alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward."

"Hypocrites": This word had its origins in Greek theater, describing a character who wore a mask. The term, as used in the New Testament; normally described an unregenerate person who was self-deceived.

"They have their reward": There reward is that they were seen by men, nothing more. God does not reward hypocrisy, but He does punish it (23:13-23).

Therefore, in all of our giving we are not to "sound a trumpet" before us in a hypocritical manner of gaining attention to ourselves. This metaphorical phrase means do not "publicize" your righteousness, for such performers are "hypocrites" (from the Greek, "play actor").

Thus, Jesus warns against acting like the hypocrites, whose aim is to win human praise.

Matthew 6:3 "But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:"

"Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth" means that one's giving of finances to the work of the Lord should be done so freely and spontaneously that his right hand cannot keep up with his left hand.

Matthew 6:4 "That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly."

The real key to success in this kind of giving is found in the phrase "thy Father which seeth in secret ... shall reward" you. Giving by faith, out of a cheerful heart, depends on our total confidence in the fact that God does indeed see us and knows our needs. These verses certainly do not condemn public giving, but rather they speak against giving out of the wrong attitude and for the wrong motive.

Jesus was warning us that our doing must not be for a big show or to receive in return. When we help someone, it should not be for public acclamation. We should help, because there is a need, and not to benefit ourselves.

See a need and quietly take care of it. Don't run and put it the paper when you feed someone. God sees everything we do, but more than that, He sees the reason why we did it.

Verses 5-6: Praying, like giving, is to be done to the Lord, not to man. Jesus said that people "love to pray standing in the synagogues." Both a time and place for prayer were customary in the ancient Jewish synagogue (Mark 11:25). Therefore, Jesus is not condemning the practice of public prayer, but rather the misuse of it.

Because of the statement "enter into thy closet," some have suggested that all public prayer is wrong. This would be contrary to the rest of New Testament statements about prayer, commandments and restrictions regarding prayer, and examples of prayer meetings (Acts 12:12).

The principle here is that the believer should not make a show of his prayer nor of the answers he receives to prayer in such a way as to call unnecessary attention to himself.

Matthew 6:5-6 "And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites [are]: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward." "But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly."

This Scripture does not mean not to pray in church. It just means don't pray, just so men can say, what a beautiful prayer you prayed. The most effective prayers are when we seek God by ourselves, having nothing to gain but fellowship with Him.

Everyone should have a place to go and pray to God alone. Prayer is just talking to God. The words we say are really unimportant. God knows the desires of our hearts before we say a word.

He just loves for us to come to Him to visit, with no ulterior motives. When we pray, we must be quite part of the time and let God speak to our spirit. God does not want us to ever be ashamed to pray. Just talk to God. He will listen and answer your prayer. Be sincere.

Matthew 6:7 "But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen [do]: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking."

"Vain repetitions": Prayers are not to be merely recited, nor are our words to be repeated thoughtlessly, or as if they were automatic formulas. But this is not a prohibition against importunity.

Jesus warned that we "use not vain repetitions" (Greek battalogeo denotes babbling or speaking without thinking). Such prayer was characteristic of the heathen. A good example of this is found in the ecstatic babblings of the false prophets in the Old Testament and in the prophets of Baal who confronted Elijah on Mount Carmel (1 King 18:26-29).

Matthew 6:8 "Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him."

Prayer is not man's attempt to change the will of God. Prayer is not conquering God's reluctance to answer, but laying hold of His willingness to help. Prayer in the life of the true believer is an act of total confidence and assurance in the plan and purpose of God. The following sample prayer is given to the disciples as an example of a suitable prayer.

This prayer, often called the "Lord's Prayer," is in reality a disciple's prayer. In no way does the prayer itself embody all of Christ's teaching about prayer and having just warned against vain repetition, He did not intend for this particular prayer to be merely recited with empty meaninglessness.

In these verses above, Jesus was saying, talk to God, don't memorize a prayer and say it every time. Tell God what is in your heart. Tell Him you love Him and need His help.

Probably, the most famous prayer in all the world is the prayer Jesus taught them to pray here. Most people misunderstand what he was saying. We all memorize this prayer, and say it without having the vaguest idea what it meant.

If you will notice in verse 9, Jesus said "After this manner therefore pray ye." He did not say, pray this prayer. He was showing the disciples and us as well, the way to get results from our prayers.

Matthew 6:9 "After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name."

"After this manner": The prayer is a model, not merely a liturgy. It is notable for its brevity, simplicity, and comprehensiveness. On the 6 petitions, 3 are direct to God (verses 9-10), and 3 toward human needs (verses 11-13).

The beginning phrase, "Our Father," is completely uncommon to the prayers of the Old Testament. The two major elements of the prayer are adoration and petition. "Hallowed be thy name" addresses the attention of the prayer toward God and reverence for His name and His person. Hallowed (Greek hagiazo) means to be held in reverence and holy awe.

The Father is the first person of the Trinity. With only one exception (John 17:3), Jesus always spoke of God as the Father. The Scriptures identify the fatherhood of God in five areas: He is the Father of Creation (James 1:17), a protective Father emphasizing His defense of the poor and oppressed (Psalm 68:5), and a redemptive Father when we become the children of God (John 1:13; Rom. 8:15).

Just as physical fathers provide many benefits, so our heavenly Father also provides a number of spiritual benefits. Christians may have fellowship with (1 John 1:3), access to (verses 9, 32), guidance by (Psalm 119:9; 2 Tim 3:17), protection by (John 10:29), and an inheritance from (Rom. 8:17), the Father.

Just because God is the Father of all, because He is the Father of Creation, does not mean that everyone will go to heaven. A person must be born of God (John 1:13), to become a son of God (John 1:12). Then God becomes a redemptive Father.

Matthew 6:10 "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as [it is] in heaven."

The phrase "Thy kingdom come" refers to the eschatological nature of this prayer. Notice that the kingdom is to be prayed for implying that it has not arrived. The kingdom represents the full and effective reign of God through the mediatorial office of the Messiah.

The recognition of "Thy will be done" emphasizes the idea that prayer is to bring about the conformity of the will of the believer to the will of God. Prayer is an act of spiritual expression that brings us into conformity to the very nature and purpose of God. All prayer, first of all, willingly submits to God's purposes, plans and glory.

God is not just Supreme Ruler of heaven, but of this earth as well. We must say as Jesus said, "not my will but thine". We should be looking forward to God's kingdom being set up on this earth.

Matthew 6:11 "Give us this day our daily bread."

The section of petitions begins with the request to "give us this day our daily bread." Bread (Greek artoa) may be applied to the provision of food in general. The term daily (Greek epiousious), denotes "indispensable." The concept of daily provision of bread fits perfectly with the Old Testament example of the daily provision of manna to the Israelites while they were wandering in the wilderness (Exodus 16:14-15).

God will take care of our needs one day at a time. The Bible says take no thought for tomorrow. Live each day one day at a time.

Matthew 6:12 "And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors."

Forgive us our debts" refers to sins, which are our moral and spiritual debts to God's righteousness. The request for forgiveness of sin is made here by the believer. In order to be saved one need not necessarily name all of his sins, but he must confess that he is a sinner.

The parallel passage in Luke 11:4 uses a word that means "sins," so that in context, spiritual debts are intended. Sinners are debtors to God for their violation of His laws. This request is the heart of the prayer; it is what Jesus stressed in the words that immediately follow the prayer (verses 14:15; Mark 11:25).

We all want the first part of verse 12, but few want the last. We must forgive to get forgiveness.

Verses 13-15: "Lead us not into temptation" is a plea for the providential help of God in our daily confrontation with the temptation of sin. God does not tempt us to do evil, but we are tempted of our own lusts (James 1:13-14). However, God does test us in order to give us the opportunity to prove our faithfulness to Him. He never desires to lead us into evil itself.

Therefore, if we resist the Devil, we are promised that he will flee from us. The prayer closes with a doxology of praise: "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen," which is a liturgical ending similar to (1 Chronicles 29:11). Though omitted in some manuscripts, these words constitute a fitting and climactic affirmation of faith.

Matthew 6:13 "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen."

"And lead us not into temptation" (Luke 22:40). God does not tempt men (James 1:13), but He will subject them to trails that may expose them to Satan's assaults, as in the case of Job and Peter (Luke 22:31-32). This petition reflects the believing one's desire to avoid the dangers of sin altogether.

God knows what one's need is before one asks (verse 8), and He promises that no one will be subjected to testing beyond what can be endured. He also promises a way of escape - often through endurance (1 Cor. 10:13). But still, the proper attitude for the believer is the one expressed in this petition.

Our lusts cause us to be tempted. We should ask each day to let the blood of Jesus wash over our minds and our beings so the devil cannot attack us in these areas. God will deliver us from evil, but we must realize our need for His help and use it.

Just as the prayer begins with praise and recognition of God for what He is, it ends with praise and recognition. "Amen" means so be it.

Matthew 6:14-15 "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:" "But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."

"Neither will your Father forgive your trespasses": This is not to suggest that God will withdraw justification from those who have already received the free pardon He extends to all believers. Forgiveness in that sense, a permanent and complete acquittal from the guilt and ultimate penalty of sin, belongs to all who are in Christ (John 5:24; Rom. 8:1; Eph. 1:7).

Yet, Scripture also teaches that God chastens His children who disobey (Heb. 12:5-7). Believers are to confess their sins in order to obtain a day-to-day cleansing (1 John 1:9). This sort of forgiveness is a simple washing from the worldly defilements of sin, not a repeat of the wholesales cleansing from sin's corruption that comes with justification.

It is like a washing of the feet rather than a bath (John 13:10). Forgiveness in this latter sense is what God threatens to withhold from Christians who refuse to forgive others (18:23-35).

All through the Bible we see statements like the one above. "Judge not, that ye not be judged" Etc.

Verses 16-17: "When ye fast": This indicates that fasting is assumed to be a normal part of one's spiritual life (1 Cor. 7:5). Fasting is associated with sadness (9:14-15), prayer (17:21), charity (Isaiah 58:3-6), and seeking the Lord's will (Acts 13:2-3; 14:23).

Matthew 6:16 "Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward."

"When ye fast" is a reference both to fasting prescribed under the Mosaic Law in connection with the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16:29) and the voluntary fast of that day. The Pharisees added two fast days, Monday and Thursday of each week, as a case of public display and piety. The Pharisees regarded the practice of fasting as meritorious, and appeared in the synagogues negligently attired.

Their sad disfigurement of face and the wearing of mourning garb gave them an opportunity to exhibit their superior ascetic sanctity before the people. The phrase "disfigure their faces" literally denotes covering their faces and is a figurative expression for mournful gestures and neglected appearance of those wanting to call attention to themselves.

Verses 17-18: This passage is not to be taken as a command against fasting but rather against the misuse of the spiritual exercise of fasting. Fasting that requires spectators is mere acting. Though Jesus Himself instituted no fast for His disciples, voluntary fasting does appear in the early churches (Acts 13:2).

The injunction to "anoint thine head" relates to the ancient custom of anointing one's head when going to a feast. In other words, Jesus was saying that when we fast we are to do so secretly to the Lord, while outwardly maintaining the appearance of joy and triumph, which is the end result of true fasting.

Matthew 6:17-18 "But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;" "That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly."

Fasting involves more than giving up food for a day or two. A fast is a solemn time of separation from worldly things of all kinds. For a fast to be effective, it must be a fast that God encouraged you to do for some specific prayer request to be answered.

The time that would ordinarily be watching TV or fixing lunch, or 1,000 other little things, should be spent studying your Bible and praying. During a fast, God is your source.

Many types of illness require fasting. When the disciples came to Jesus and asked why they could not heal someone, Jesus said, this type comes out by prayer and fasting.

When you fast, it is a serious time with God and Him alone. We fast to show sincerity. God will honor a fast, if we are sincerely seeking. You may fast one meal, one day, two days, three days, or as long as you have agreed with God you will fast. It is better to promise less.

You must follow through, until God releases you. God does not like to play games. Some people drink juice during a fast, but a true fast is a total abstinence. Pray before you begin. Sometimes a preacher will call a fast for a church, but usually it is an individual thing.

Don't brag to others about a fast. Just separate yourself for a season, pray and fast. It gets wonderful results.

Verses 19-21: The attention of the believer is directed toward "treasures in heaven." This term "treasures" implies the addition or accumulation of things. The two kinds of treasures are conditioned by their place (either on earth or in heaven). The concept of laying up treasures in heaven is not pictured as one of meritorious benefits but rather of rewards for faithful service, as is illustrated elsewhere in the teaching of Jesus.

Matthew 6:19-20 "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:" "But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:"

"Treasures": Don't amass earthly wealth. Jesus commends the use of financial assets for purposes which are heavenly and eternal.

Matthew 6:21 "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

We have seen in the past, the stock market dropping drastically causing many people to lose their life's savings. Some cannot cope with the loss of worldly goods, and have resorted to suicide.

The sad thing is that you cannot end it all. We are eternal beings, and will spend an eternity somewhere. When we end our lives, there is some question where that eternity will be. Really, God does not care if you are poor or rich. God does not want us to put money ahead of Him, or His people.

The sin of having money occurs, when we see someone in need, and will not help them. Love of money is a sin. Whenever you help God's people here on earth, you are laying up treasures for heaven.

"Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me" (Matthew 25:40).

This is what God would have you to do, if He has endowed you with wealth. Be quick to distribute to those in need. Be content with what you have, whether it be much, or little. Help everyone you can, as often as you can.

In heaven there are no thieves. Your heart and pocket book are usually in the same place. Put God first and all other things will fall in place.

Matthew Chapter 6 Questions

  1. When you do alms, you can lose your reward if you do what?
  2. What do the hypocrites do?
  3. What is said about the right and left hand?
  4. If you do alms in secret, what will God do?
  5. For what reason should we help someone?
  6. God sees what we do, but more than that, what does He see?
  7. When we pray, where should we pray?
  8. The most effective prayers are what?
  9. What is prayer?
  10. We are told not to use vain repetitions when we pray. What do the heathen believe?
  11. What is the most famous prayer?
  12. What was Jesus telling the disciples and us about prayer?
  13. What is the first thing we should do in prayer?
  14. How should we speak to God?
  15. God is supreme ruler of where?
  16. How does God take care of our needs?
  17. How should we live our lives?
  18. How can we be forgiven?
  19. What causes us to be tempted?
  20. How should prayer end?
  21. What does "amen" mean?
  22. Who is spoken of as having a sad countenance when fasting?
  23. What two things should we do, so as not to appear to be fasting?
  24. What is a fast, besides giving up food?
  25. What must we do for God to honor our fast?
  26. Some drink juice fasting, but a true fast is what?
  27. Sometimes a preacher calls a fast for the church, but it is usually what?
  28. What can happen to treasures on earth?
  29. Where should we lay up treasures?
  30. God does not care whether you are rich or poor, what does God care about?
  31. What must a rich person be quick to do?

Matthew Chapter 6 Continued

Verse 22-23: The "light of the body is associated with the "eye". The concept here is based on the ancient idea that the eyes were the windows through which light entered the body. If the eyes were in good condition the body could receive such light. Jesus, using this language metaphorically, affirms that if a man's spiritual sight is healthy and his affections directed toward heavenly treasure, his whole personality will be without blemish.

Matthew 6:22-23 "The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light." "But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great [is] that darkness!"

The analogy is simple. If your eye is bad, no light can come in and you are left with darkness because of that malady. How much worst when the problem is not merely related to external perception, but an internal corruption of one's whole nature, so that the darkness actually emanates from within and affects one's whole being.

Jesus was indicting them for their superficial earthly religion that left their hearts dark.

The phrase "if ... thine eye be single" indicates devotion to one purpose. The "single eye" refers to a single, fixed vision or goal. The phrase "if thine eye be evil" refers to either disease or deception of vision.

The "evil eye" is not something mysterious or devilish, but rather a deceptive vision that causes the viewer to mistake the identity of an object. The mistake in this context is the darkening of the mind and thus "how great is that darkness!"

I have always believed that you can look into a person's eyes and see what is in his soul. When we are filled with the Light of Jesus Christ; this Light shows in our eyes.

Luke 11:34-36 "The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when [thine eye] is evil, thy body also [is] full of darkness." "Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness." "If thy whole body therefore [be] full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light."

The eyes tell so much about a person. If a person cannot look at you when he is talking to you, he is, probably, not perfectly honest.

When a person has heavily blood-shot eyes, he is sick, or has lost a great deal of sleep. You see, the eyes reveal a great deal about us. Jesus is the Light of the world. If Jesus lives within us, His Light should be evident in our eyes.

Matthew 6:24 "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."

"Mammon": Wealth, earthly, material treasures, especially money.

This kind of spiritual double vision causes one to believe he can "serve two masters." Total loyalty to God cannot be divided between Him and loyalty to one's material possessions. A master (Greek Kurios), is a lord or an owner. That God claims total lordship over His own is obvious in this passage.

Therefore, Jesus rightly proclaimed, "Ye cannot serve God and mammon." The term "Mammon" is derived from the Aramaic term for possessions or wealth. Jesus is not condemning money or possessions in and of themselves, but the improper attitude of enslavement toward wealth.

This Scripture tells us that we cannot be worldly and serve God. We cannot follow God and Satan at the same time. God has been showing me, in recent weeks, that Jesus wants 100 per cent of our loyalty.

God will not allow worldly things to be a part of our lives and still belong to him. When we are truly saved, we do not have the desire in our hearts to do the old things anymore. We are new creatures, "old things are passed away: behold all things are become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Matthew 6:25 "Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?"

Jesus now deals with the equally dangerous tendency of those who have few possessions: worry! "Take no thought" (Greek me merimnao), means "Do not be anxious." This word means to be so disturbed about material needs that we distrust God and are distracted from faithfully doing His will.

Anxious care is the direct opposite of faith. Therefore, even the poor are not to worry needlessly about what they should eat, drink, or wear. The question "Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?" indicates that inner mental stability must come from the spirit of man and not from outward physical provisions.

To set one's heart on material possessions or to worry about the lack of them is to live in perpetual insecurity and to deprive oneself of the spiritual blessings of God.

Verses 26-32: Jesus illustrates His point by referring to objects in nature that were immediately at hand, the birds of the air and the flowers of the field. The key point of this passage is found in the phrases "Are ye not much better than they?" verse 30.

The bible clearly teaches that God is the Creator and sustainer of nature. Worry and anxiety are related to the length of one's life in the phrase "add one cubit unto his stature." A cubit is a measurement of 18 inches. However, this reference is probably not to one's actual height but to the length of his life.

The term "stature" (Greek helikia) may mean "age." Thus the idea seems to be that a man cannot add the smallest measure to the span of his life by worrying. This state of anxiety is related to having "little faith (verse 30). Faith is total confidence in the provision of God.

Matthew 6:26 "Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?"

"Your heavenly Father feedeth them": Obviously this in no way advocates a sinful kind of idleness (Prov. 19:15). Birds are not idle, either. But it is God who provides them with food to eat.

Matthew 6:27-31 "Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?" "And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:" "And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these." "Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, [shall he] not much more [clothe] you, O ye of little faith?" "Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?"

"O ye of little faith": This was the Lord's recurring rebuke of the weak disciples 8:26; 14:31, 16:8; 17:20)

In these verses above, Jesus was trying to tell us that we should not be concerned about material things. Fear is lack of faith.

When God told Abraham to leave Ur of the Chaldees and go to a land He had never seen, Abraham did not question how he would make a living. He knew if God told him to go, that God would provide for him.

When a person is called to the ministry, it seems the first thing that happens is you are out of money. God wants us to realize that He is our source.

All the care and planning that we do can be wiped out with one market crash. We have to finally depend on God, anyway. Why not just start out that way and save time?

In Psalms 37, God said He will take care of the righteous.

Psalms 37:25-29 "I have been young, and [now] am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread." "[He is] ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed [is] blessed."

Psalms 37:2-29 "For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off." "The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever."

God's plan has always been to bless the believers not just spiritually, but financially, as well. We just need to trust God completely. Work diligently and expect miracles. The main word in this is TRUST. It goes beyond faith. The Scriptures, in Matthew above (25-31), are positive statements letting us know that God cares about our needs.

In (Luke 12:31), we see what we must do to have our needs met.

Luke 12:31-32 "But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you." "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."

Matthew 6:32 "(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things."

When it speaks of "Gentiles", it is speaking of worldly people, i.e., those outside the people of promise and outside the blessing of God (Eph. 4:17-19). The people of the world are seeking wealth and fame in this life, and take no thought for the hereafter.

The Word of God says that God knows the desires of our hearts even before we pray. God knows our needs; and if we put God first, and work, and do our very best, and not worry or fret, God will see that our needs are met.

In John we read "Let not your heart be troubled". (John 14:1).

It is an act of faith not to worry or be troubled. Throughout the Bible, God had blessed his people, Noah, Abraham, David, and Solomon. Lot, after he passed through tribulation was blessed abundantly. God takes care of His own.

Verses 33-34: This portion of the Sermon on the Mount is summarized by the statement "seek ye first the kingdom of God." The disciples who have pledged their allegiance to the King must continue seeking the kingdom and its righteousness. The present imperative form of the verb (Greek zeteo) indicates a continual or constant seeking.

The contrast between the spiritual and the material is again emphasized. The believer is to seek first the righteousness that is characteristic of God's kingdom and then "all these things" (material things), shall be added to him. When our priority is spiritual, God will take care of the material, for where God guides, He provides.

We need not even worry about tomorrow, for "sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof" (verse 34). This means that each day has its own troubles and challenges to be responsibly handled, without worrying about the hypothetical problems that could arise tomorrow.

Matthew 6:33 "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."

"The kingdom": This is the same as the kingdom of heaven. It refers to the sphere of salvation. Jesus was urging them to seek salvation - and with it would come the full care and provision of God (Rom. 8:32; Phil. 4:19; 1 Peter 5:7).

Matthew 6:34 "Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day [is] the evil thereof."

One story in the Bible stands out to me so vividly in this. In (Luke chapter 12), we read about a rich man who had an abundant crop. So much, he had no place to store his food. He pulled his small barns down and built bigger barns. He said to his soul, take it easy, I have much stored for the future; just eat, drink, and be merry.

He was rich to himself, and not to God. He died that very night. You see, we do not know whether we will have tomorrow. Prepare for heaven, and earth will take care of itself.

Matthew Chapter 6 Continued Questions

1. What is the light of the body?

2. What makes your body full of light

3. If your eye is evil, what is your body full of?

4. What is my belief about looking into the eyes? What can you see?

5. What chapter in Luke verifies what we have learned here in verses 22 and 23?

6. Matthew 6:24 tells us, no man can serve whom? (2)

7. In verse 25, we are told 3 things to take no thought for. what are they?

8. What are a few sins God will not allow in our lives?

9. What are two things God told us to compare and see how foolish it is to worry?

10. What is fear?

11. Who is our source?

12. In the 37th chapter of Psalms, what does God say about His own?

13. Why did I tell you to read Psalms 37?

14. What is the main word in this?

15. If ye seek the kingdom of God first, what happens?

16. Should we plot and plan for the future here on earth?

17. What kind of a man is described in Luke 12?

18. When he had all the extra food, did he give the access to the poor?

19. What did he say to his soul?

20. What happened to him?

21. What should we prepare for?

22. What will take care of itself?

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Matthew 7

Matthew 7

In Verses 13-29: This closing section of the Sermon on the Mount is a gospel application. Here are two gates (in last lesson covering 13-14); two kinds of trees and two kinds of fruit (verses 17-20), two groups at the judgment (verses 21-23), and two kinds of builders, building on two kinds of foundations (verses 24-28). Christ is drawing the line as clearly as possible between the way that leads to destruction and the way that leads to life.

Matthew 7:15 "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves."

The warning "Beware of false prophets" fits appropriately with the concept of the two ways. Since many are being led in the wrong way, they are obviously being led by the wrong people. False prophets were prevalent in the Old Testament; whereas God's true prophets were often in the minority.

These deceive not by disguising themselves as sheep, but by impersonating true shepherds. They promote the wide gate and the wide way.

False prophets appear in "sheep's clothing" but are in reality "ravening wolves." This is a perfect description of those preachers who have denied or distorted the truth of the gospel. They look like lambs but act like wolves. Their description is similar to that of the great False Prophet (in Revelation 13:11).

There has never been a time, in the history of mankind, when there were more false prophets. There are even men today proclaiming they are Jesus. We have mentioned it before, but it bears mentioning again. We are not to believe these people. There will be no question whether it is Jesus, or not, when he returns. He will appear in the eastern sky and all will see Him.

I really believe the Scripture above, may not really be talking about that though. You see the people that this was speaking of, claimed to be Christians; but they were "in sheep's clothing". They were people pretending to be followers of Jesus Christ. They had an outward form of Christianity, but their hearts were wicked.

They came to a church, worked hard in it, appeared to be supporting the teachings, and then started dropping a word here and there that caused confusion. They were harder to detect than the enemy from without, because they appeared to be Christians.

"Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof" (2 Timothy 3:5).

In (2 John), the lady was warned about deceivers. These deceivers did not believe that Jesus was God in the flesh.

2 John 1:7 "For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist."

2 John 1:9-10 "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son." "If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into [your] house, neither bid him God speed:"

Sometimes, we wonder just how we can tell who is of God and who is not. The first thing is: do they believe that Jesus is Immanuel (God with us; God in the flesh)? The second thing is: What kind of fruit do they bear?

Verses 16-20: A true test of a prophet was the conformity of his doctrine to the Scriptures (1 Cor. 14:37; Deut. 13:1-5). "Their fruits" refers not only to actions of their lives, but also to the doctrines they proclaim. The two trees are contrasted in relation to the fruit they produce. "Every good tree bringeth forth good fruit" consistently, while a "corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit" continually.

Therefore, the normal and consistent production of fruit, whether good or evil, in a person's life will bear evidence whether or not that life is of God. Verse 19 illustrates the unfruitful life of the unregenerate who is "cast into the fire," a picture of eternal punishment in hell.

Matthew 7:16 "Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?"

"Ye shall know them by their fruits": False doctrine cannot restrain the flesh, so false prophets manifest wickedness (2 Peter 2:12-22).

Matthew 7:17-18 "Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit." "A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither [can] a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit."

Everyone has heard the Scripture "Bring up a child in the way he should go: when he is old, he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6). If you teach a very small child not to steal, chances are that he will never steal. This goes for all sins. The earlier we learn not to sin, the better off we are.

We usually are what we have trained ourselves, and our parents have taught us to be. Environment has a great deal to do with what we become. A child, who is in church several times a week, will generally have better morals than someone who has never been exposed to Christianity.

Cursing, swearing, telling dirty jokes, etc. are many times a habit that has been picked up at work or at school. The Bible says not to fellowship with those of unbelief, because we will all become like them.

Peach trees bear peaches; pear trees produce pears, etc. Apples do not come off a peach tree. We are all part of a family tree. We must be careful to pattern our lives after Jesus.

I have used the expression so often, if you plant an English pea; that is what you will get in return, not butter beans.

If we are rooted and grounded in the Word of God, and if we study the Bible and hide its Words in our hearts, then we will be able to use what knowledge we have to help others get saved. Some of us will be able to lead a few to God, and some will lead hundreds.

We will be fruit bearers when we work to get people saved. We always influence them for the good or evil. We spoke of it before, we must not judge, but we can be a fruit inspector.

Matthew 7:19-20 "Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire." "Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."

God tells us what will happen if we do not produce fruit for him. It is very much like having an orchard. We will wait a few years, prune the trees, fertilize them, work around them, and water them; but then if they do not produce, we will cut them down.

We can say all day long that we are Christians, but unless we do something about it, it is hard to convince God we are serious.

Verses 21-23: Not everyone professing Christ is genuinely saved. Even the outward verbal acknowledgment of His lordship is in itself not enough to save the unbeliever apart from true repentance and faith. A genuinely saved person is one "that doeth the will of my Father," the Greek present tense suggesting that he is continually living in obedience of the will of God as the normal course of his life.

Matthew 7:21 "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."

"Not every one that saith ... but he that doeth": The barrenness of this sort of faith demonstrates it real character (verse 20), the faith that says but does not do is really unbelief. Jesus was not suggesting that works are meritorious for salvation, but the true faith will not fail to product the fruit of good works. This is precisely the point of (James 1:22-25; 2:26).

You see, this is what we have been talking about in church. Many people pretend to be Christians, who have not sold out to God. Some come to church for the fellowship, some come to better their position in the community, and some come so that they can belong to something. None of these things will get us to heaven.

God wants us totally, or not at all. Playing church will not get it. Jesus explains here what it takes. Our will must be turned over to God so completely that we, like Jesus, can say, "Nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done", (in my life).


Matthew 7:22 "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?"

"Have we not prophesied ... cast out devils ... done many wonderful works": Note that far from being totally devoid of works of any kind, these people were claiming to have done some remarkable signs and wonders. In fact, their whole confidence was in these works, further proof that these works, spectacular as they might have appeared, could not have been authentic.

No one so bereft of genuine faith could possibly produce true good works. A bad tree cannot bear good fruit (verse 18).

Matthew 7:23 "And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."

"That work iniquity" which is lawlessness. All sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4), i.e. rebellion against the law of God (13:41).

The fact that they did these things was good, but why did they do them? Was it for great fame and a lot of money? You see, God looks more at the reason we did something, than the fact that we did it.

If you have a million dollars and you give a thousand to God, you haven't done much; but if you have a thousand and give it all, then that is great. God knows you love Him enough to sacrifice self for Him.

Verses 24-27: In drawing His concluding illustration of the two foundations, Jesus begins with the word "therefore." On the basis of all that He has taught and illustrated, He concluded that all who both hear and do His sayings shall be saved. As a great Master Counselor, Jesus reminded His listener that hearing this message alone will not change his life. He must both hear and do what Jesus has said.

The elements of the closing illustration are drawn from the simplicity of nature itself, the "rock," the "rain," and the "winds." The man whose house collapsed was at fault, not because he failed to labor, but because he did not lay the proper foundation. The shifting sand represents human opinion and the doctrines of men as opposed to "these sayings (verse 28).

The house represents a religious life; the rain represents divine judgment. Only the house built on the foundation of obedience to God's Word stands, which calls for repentance, rejection of salvation by works and trust in God's grace to save through His merciful provision.

Matthew 7:24-25 "Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:" "And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock."

You see, we must not only hear the Word, we must do it, as well. We can go to church and listen, until we are old and gray, but it does us no good at all, until we start applying the things we learn to our own lives. A wise man knows the answers to life's problems, because he searches them out in the Bible and applies them to his own life.

The "Rock" that we must build upon is Jesus Christ (the Cornerstone). It rains on the just and unjust. Problems will come. The only difference is a Christian faces problems differently. We pray and ask God to help us through our problems. They do not overwhelm us, because our strength is not in ourselves. We depend on Jesus. We just roll them over on Him, and He takes care of them for us.

Matthew 7:26-27 "And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:" "And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it."

It was the same "rain" (problem). You see, without a good foundation, we fall. We must have our feet planted firmly in the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be able to withstand in the terrible day that is already around us. Take your eyes off the problem, and get them on Jesus. Stand firm, claiming the Word of God as your personal strength. God is the answer. There is no other way.

These teachings of Jesus astonished the ones listening on that day, and are still astonishing today. He breaks with tradition. He emphatically teaches that our hearts must be right with God, not just go through a bunch of rituals.

He seems to be interpreting the meaning of the laws of God, rather than changing them. People were blindly, systematically keeping the law without having the vaguest idea why they were keeping them. They were not truly feeling anything. God wants our hearts, not our formality.

Matthew 7:28 "And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:"

The entire Sermon on the Mount is addressed to believers and presupposes faith in Jesus as Messiah. The works done by the believer are not based on himself but on the "rock" (verse 24), who ultimately is Christ Himself (1 Cor. 10:4). He is the personal embodiment of all His teachings. Thus, when He finished the discourse, "the people were astonished." Amazement engulfed the audience.

Matthew 7:29 "For he taught them as [one] having authority, and not as the scribes."

"Not as the scribes": The scribes quoted others to establish the authority of their teachings; Jesus was His own authority (28:18). This matter of authority was a major issue between Jesus and the Jews, who felt their authority challenged.

The outstanding feature of His teaching was His "authority," meaning the divine approval and authoritative constraint with which He delivered His message.

Such straightforward preaching, based on the depth of one's own life, was in direct contrast to that of "the scribes," who were the copyists of the Law and the theologians of their day. They had to rely on tradition for their authority, whereas Christ was His own authority.

Jesus really did not tell them that the law was bad. He told them His interpretation of the law. He did have all authority. He wrote the law in the first place. His understanding was not earthly, but heavenly.

When Jesus took on the form of flesh and dwelt here on the earth, He related to the difficulty in our lives truly being able to comprehend the law. I believe the Sermon on the Mount is a truly in depth explanation to us of what it takes for us to please God.

Matthew Chapter 7 Continued Questions

  1. How will we know for sure that it is Jesus returning?
  2. How do we know these false prophets will be in the church?
  3. Inwardly, what are they?
  4. Who are these false prophets pretending to be?
  5. In Second John, who are the ones who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh?
  6. In verse 9, it says, "Some people have not God". Who are they?
  7. What two things tell whether a person is of God or not?
  8. In Matthew 7:16, how will we know them?
  9. Finish this quote, "Train up a child in the way he should go ____________".
  10. What one thing has a great deal to do with what we become?
  11. Cursing, swearing, and dirty jokes are usually picked up where?
  12. Why should we not fellowship with unbelievers?
  13. What two things help us win people to Jesus Christ?
  14. What happens to a tree that does not produce good fruit?
  15. In verse 21, it says, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven". Then who will enter?
  16. What does it take?
  17. In verse 22, we read of people who have ministered to other people but are not saved themselves. Why?
  18. Who gave the most, the millionaire who gave a thousand dollars or the poor man who gave a thousand dollars?
  19. Jesus said, if you hear His words and do them, you will be like whom?
  20. When the problems of the world came, what did this man do?
  21. We can listen to God's Word until we are old and gray, but when does it become useful to us?
  22. Who is the rock? The Cornerstone?
  23. Why do problems not overwhelm a Christian?
  24. Where should a Christian's eyes be fixed?
  25. Where must our feet be?
  26. What can we claim as our strength?
  27. Did Jesus change the law?
  28. Jesus taught them as whom?
  29. What does the author believe the Sermon on the Mount is?

Matthew Chapter 7 Continued

In Verses 13-29: This closing section of the Sermon on the Mount is a gospel application. Here are two gates (in last lesson covering 13-14); two kinds of trees and two kinds of fruit (verses 17-20), two groups at the judgment (verses 21-23), and two kinds of builders, building on two kinds of foundations (verses 24-28). Christ is drawing the line as clearly as possible between the way that leads to destruction and the way that leads to life.

Matthew 7:15 "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves."

The warning "Beware of false prophets" fits appropriately with the concept of the two ways. Since many are being led in the wrong way, they are obviously being led by the wrong people. False prophets were prevalent in the Old Testament; whereas God's true prophets were often in the minority.

These deceive not by disguising themselves as sheep, but by impersonating true shepherds. They promote the wide gate and the wide way.

False prophets appear in "sheep's clothing" but are in reality "ravening wolves." This is a perfect description of those preachers who have denied or distorted the truth of the gospel. They look like lambs but act like wolves. Their description is similar to that of the great False Prophet (in Revelation 13:11).

There has never been a time, in the history of mankind, when there were more false prophets. There are even men today proclaiming they are Jesus. We have mentioned it before, but it bears mentioning again. We are not to believe these people. There will be no question whether it is Jesus, or not, when he returns. He will appear in the eastern sky and all will see Him.

I really believe the Scripture above, may not really be talking about that though. You see the people that this was speaking of, claimed to be Christians; but they were "in sheep's clothing". They were people pretending to be followers of Jesus Christ. They had an outward form of Christianity, but their hearts were wicked.

They came to a church, worked hard in it, appeared to be supporting the teachings, and then started dropping a word here and there that caused confusion. They were harder to detect than the enemy from without, because they appeared to be Christians.

"Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof" (2 Timothy 3:5).

In (2 John), the lady was warned about deceivers. These deceivers did not believe that Jesus was God in the flesh.

2 John 1:7 "For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist."

2 John 1:9-10 "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son." "If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into [your] house, neither bid him God speed:"

Sometimes, we wonder just how we can tell who is of God and who is not. The first thing is: do they believe that Jesus is Immanuel (God with us; God in the flesh)? The second thing is: What kind of fruit do they bear?

Verses 16-20: A true test of a prophet was the conformity of his doctrine to the Scriptures (1 Cor. 14:37; Deut. 13:1-5). "Their fruits" refers not only to actions of their lives, but also to the doctrines they proclaim. The two trees are contrasted in relation to the fruit they produce. "Every good tree bringeth forth good fruit" consistently, while a "corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit" continually.

Therefore, the normal and consistent production of fruit, whether good or evil, in a person's life will bear evidence whether or not that life is of God. Verse 19 illustrates the unfruitful life of the unregenerate who is "cast into the fire," a picture of eternal punishment in hell.

Matthew 7:16 "Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?"

"Ye shall know them by their fruits": False doctrine cannot restrain the flesh, so false prophets manifest wickedness (2 Peter 2:12-22).

Matthew 7:17-18 "Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit." "A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither [can] a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit."

Everyone has heard the Scripture "Bring up a child in the way he should go: when he is old, he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6). If you teach a very small child not to steal, chances are that he will never steal. This goes for all sins. The earlier we learn not to sin, the better off we are.

We usually are what we have trained ourselves, and our parents have taught us to be. Environment has a great deal to do with what we become. A child, who is in church several times a week, will generally have better morals than someone who has never been exposed to Christianity.

Cursing, swearing, telling dirty jokes, etc. are many times a habit that has been picked up at work or at school. The Bible says not to fellowship with those of unbelief, because we will all become like them.

Peach trees bear peaches; pear trees produce pears, etc. Apples do not come off a peach tree. We are all part of a family tree. We must be careful to pattern our lives after Jesus.

I have used the expression so often, if you plant an English pea; that is what you will get in return, not butter beans.

If we are rooted and grounded in the Word of God, and if we study the Bible and hide its Words in our hearts, then we will be able to use what knowledge we have to help others get saved. Some of us will be able to lead a few to God, and some will lead hundreds.

We will be fruit bearers when we work to get people saved. We always influence them for the good or evil. We spoke of it before, we must not judge, but we can be a fruit inspector.

Matthew 7:19-20 "Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire." "Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."

God tells us what will happen if we do not produce fruit for him. It is very much like having an orchard. We will wait a few years, prune the trees, fertilize them, work around them, and water them; but then if they do not produce, we will cut them down.

We can say all day long that we are Christians, but unless we do something about it, it is hard to convince God we are serious.

Verses 21-23: Not everyone professing Christ is genuinely saved. Even the outward verbal acknowledgment of His lordship is in itself not enough to save the unbeliever apart from true repentance and faith. A genuinely saved person is one "that doeth the will of my Father," the Greek present tense suggesting that he is continually living in obedience of the will of God as the normal course of his life.

Matthew 7:21 "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."

"Not every one that saith ... but he that doeth": The barrenness of this sort of faith demonstrates it real character (verse 20), the faith that says but does not do is really unbelief. Jesus was not suggesting that works are meritorious for salvation, but the true faith will not fail to product the fruit of good works. This is precisely the point of (James 1:22-25; 2:26).

You see, this is what we have been talking about in church. Many people pretend to be Christians, who have not sold out to God. Some come to church for the fellowship, some come to better their position in the community, and some come so that they can belong to something. None of these things will get us to heaven.

God wants us totally, or not at all. Playing church will not get it. Jesus explains here what it takes. Our will must be turned over to God so completely that we, like Jesus, can say, "Nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done", (in my life).


Matthew 7:22 "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?"

"Have we not prophesied ... cast out devils ... done many wonderful works": Note that far from being totally devoid of works of any kind, these people were claiming to have done some remarkable signs and wonders. In fact, their whole confidence was in these works, further proof that these works, spectacular as they might have appeared, could not have been authentic.

No one so bereft of genuine faith could possibly produce true good works. A bad tree cannot bear good fruit (verse 18).

Matthew 7:23 "And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."

"That work iniquity" which is lawlessness. All sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4), i.e. rebellion against the law of God (13:41).

The fact that they did these things was good, but why did they do them? Was it for great fame and a lot of money? You see, God looks more at the reason we did something, than the fact that we did it.

If you have a million dollars and you give a thousand to God, you haven't done much; but if you have a thousand and give it all, then that is great. God knows you love Him enough to sacrifice self for Him.

Verses 24-27: In drawing His concluding illustration of the two foundations, Jesus begins with the word "therefore." On the basis of all that He has taught and illustrated, He concluded that all who both hear and do His sayings shall be saved. As a great Master Counselor, Jesus reminded His listener that hearing this message alone will not change his life. He must both hear and do what Jesus has said.

The elements of the closing illustration are drawn from the simplicity of nature itself, the "rock," the "rain," and the "winds." The man whose house collapsed was at fault, not because he failed to labor, but because he did not lay the proper foundation. The shifting sand represents human opinion and the doctrines of men as opposed to "these sayings (verse 28).

The house represents a religious life; the rain represents divine judgment. Only the house built on the foundation of obedience to God's Word stands, which calls for repentance, rejection of salvation by works and trust in God's grace to save through His merciful provision.

Matthew 7:24-25 "Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:" "And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock."

You see, we must not only hear the Word, we must do it, as well. We can go to church and listen, until we are old and gray, but it does us no good at all, until we start applying the things we learn to our own lives. A wise man knows the answers to life's problems, because he searches them out in the Bible and applies them to his own life.

The "Rock" that we must build upon is Jesus Christ (the Cornerstone). It rains on the just and unjust. Problems will come. The only difference is a Christian faces problems differently. We pray and ask God to help us through our problems. They do not overwhelm us, because our strength is not in ourselves. We depend on Jesus. We just roll them over on Him, and He takes care of them for us.

Matthew 7:26-27 "And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:" "And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it."

It was the same "rain" (problem). You see, without a good foundation, we fall. We must have our feet planted firmly in the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be able to withstand in the terrible day that is already around us. Take your eyes off the problem, and get them on Jesus. Stand firm, claiming the Word of God as your personal strength. God is the answer. There is no other way.

These teachings of Jesus astonished the ones listening on that day, and are still astonishing today. He breaks with tradition. He emphatically teaches that our hearts must be right with God, not just go through a bunch of rituals.

He seems to be interpreting the meaning of the laws of God, rather than changing them. People were blindly, systematically keeping the law without having the vaguest idea why they were keeping them. They were not truly feeling anything. God wants our hearts, not our formality.

Matthew 7:28 "And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:"

The entire Sermon on the Mount is addressed to believers and presupposes faith in Jesus as Messiah. The works done by the believer are not based on himself but on the "rock" (verse 24), who ultimately is Christ Himself (1 Cor. 10:4). He is the personal embodiment of all His teachings. Thus, when He finished the discourse, "the people were astonished." Amazement engulfed the audience.

Matthew 7:29 "For he taught them as [one] having authority, and not as the scribes."

"Not as the scribes": The scribes quoted others to establish the authority of their teachings; Jesus was His own authority (28:18). This matter of authority was a major issue between Jesus and the Jews, who felt their authority challenged.

The outstanding feature of His teaching was His "authority," meaning the divine approval and authoritative constraint with which He delivered His message.

Such straightforward preaching, based on the depth of one's own life, was in direct contrast to that of "the scribes," who were the copyists of the Law and the theologians of their day. They had to rely on tradition for their authority, whereas Christ was His own authority.

Jesus really did not tell them that the law was bad. He told them His interpretation of the law. He did have all authority. He wrote the law in the first place. His understanding was not earthly, but heavenly.

When Jesus took on the form of flesh and dwelt here on the earth, He related to the difficulty in our lives truly being able to comprehend the law. I believe the Sermon on the Mount is a truly in depth explanation to us of what it takes for us to please God.

Matthew Chapter 7 Continued Questions

  1. How will we know for sure that it is Jesus returning?
  2. How do we know these false prophets will be in the church?
  3. Inwardly, what are they?
  4. Who are these false prophets pretending to be?
  5. In Second John, who are the ones who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh?
  6. In verse 9, it says, "Some people have not God". Who are they?
  7. What two things tell whether a person is of God or not?
  8. In Matthew 7:16, how will we know them?
  9. Finish this quote, "Train up a child in the way he should go ____________".
  10. What one thing has a great deal to do with what we become?
  11. Cursing, swearing, and dirty jokes are usually picked up where?
  12. Why should we not fellowship with unbelievers?
  13. What two things help us win people to Jesus Christ?
  14. What happens to a tree that does not produce good fruit?
  15. In verse 21, it says, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven". Then who will enter?
  16. What does it take?
  17. In verse 22, we read of people who have ministered to other people but are not saved themselves. Why?
  18. Who gave the most, the millionaire who gave a thousand dollars or the poor man who gave a thousand dollars?
  19. Jesus said, if you hear His words and do them, you will be like whom?
  20. When the problems of the world came, what did this man do?
  21. We can listen to God's Word until we are old and gray, but when does it become useful to us?
  22. Who is the rock? The Cornerstone?
  23. Why do problems not overwhelm a Christian?
  24. Where should a Christian's eyes be fixed?
  25. Where must our feet be?
  26. What can we claim as our strength?
  27. Did Jesus change the law?
  28. Jesus taught them as whom?
  29. What does the author believe the Sermon on the Mount is?

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Matthew 8

Matthew Chapter 8

Verses 1-4: "Make me clean:" According to the Law of Moses, to be leprous was to be ceremonially unclean (see Lev. 13:45-46). "Jesus ... touched him," which instead of bringing uncleanness to Jesus caused the total cleansing of the leper!

The purpose of Jesus in giving the command to "tell no man" was to draw attention away from the miracle itself and to appeal to the spiritual need in man. In the Gospels the crowds were often attracted by Jesus' miracles, but not always by His message. "Show thyself to the priest," that is, in obedience to the Mosaic Law regarding cleansing.

"Offer the gift that Moses commanded:" These gifts are found in (Leviticus 14:2-32), where they are typical of Christ's atonement and the cleansing it provided. "For a testimony unto them:" that is, as evidence to the priest that the leper had indeed been cleansed.

Matthew 8:1 "When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him."

This "mountain" here, was on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus had just finished the Sermon on the Mount. A "multitude" was probably over 1,000 people, and since the Scripture included "great", then it could have been several thousand.

Matthew 8:2 "And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean."

A "leper" was an outcast from the community. They had to cry, "unclean", when anyone came near them. This, they thought, was contagious. Also, they felt that leprosy was a curse from God. Why a leper would even be allowed to be with this multitude was a mystery in itself. We could learn a lot from this "leper".

He had no doubt about Christ's power, only His will (Mark 1:40-45).

The first thing he did, before he asked for anything, was worship Jesus. He called Him, "Lord". Then he said, with no doubt in his heart, You can heal me. He knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Jesus could heal him. He had either heard from friends about Jesus healing people, or else he had been an eye witness of Jesus healing someone.

When Jesus healed, He said, "Your faith has made you whole".

Matthew 8:3 "And Jesus put forth [his] hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed."

It just takes one touch from Jesus to heal. His answer was always, "I will". This man did not have to wait and hope. He was "immediately" healed. The statement "be thou clean" showed that the man had to accept the healing.

Matthew 8:4 "And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them."

"Tell no man": Publicity over such miracles might hinder Christ's mission and divert public attention from His message. Mark records that this is precisely what happened. In this man's exuberance over the miracle, he disobeyed. As a result, Christ had to move His ministry away from the city and into the desert regions (Mark 1:45).

"The gift that Moses commanded": A sacrifice of two birds, one of which was killed and the other set free (Lev. 14:4-7). "As a testimony to them": The priests.

When a leper was clean, the priest had to say he was clean, before he could take his place back in the community. This priest would certainly know there had been a miracle. This man was to follow the law, by giving an offering of thanks for the healing.

Verses 5-9: A "centurion" ranked between an officer and a noncommissioned officer (somewhat equivalent to that of a modern sergeant major). It was a position of great responsibility in the Roman occupation force (See the most complete account in Luke 7:2-10).

"Servant (Greek pais), means "child" or "servant" and "Sick of the palsy" means to be paralyzed and greatly afflicted. The centurion was impressed with Jesus, whom he likened to himself as one "under authority." He recognized that in dealing with the realm of sickness and death Jesus had all the power of God behind Him.

Matthew 8:5 "And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him,"

"Centurion": A Roman military officer who commanded 100 men (verse 9). Luke indicates that the centurion appealed to Jesus through intermediaries (Luke 7:3-6), because of his own sense of unworthiness (verse 8; Luke 7:7). Matthew makes no mention of the intermediaries.

Matthew 8:6 "And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented."

Capernaum was the home of Peter, near the Sea of Galilee. Jesus would later on tell the people of Capernaum that they had very little faith. This particular Roman had much faith.

"Palsy" is a disease of the central nervous system, and there is really no cure for it. This would have to be a miracle. Hundreds of years have passed, and there is still no cure for palsy, outside of a miracle from God. This disease is tormenting. It causes you to shake out of control.

Matthew 8:7 "And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him."

The answer that Jesus always gave was, "I will", as we have said before Jesus is never too busy. He was willing to go to this servant. A servant has the same importance as a king to Jesus. Notice Jesus did not say, I will try to heal him, but rather, "I will".

Matthew 8:8 "The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed."

"I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof": Jewish tradition held that a person who entered a Gentile's house was ceremonially defiled (John 18:28). The centurion, undoubtedly familiar with this law, felt unworthy of having Jesus suffer such an inconvenience for his sake. He also had faith enough to know that Christ could heal by merely speaking a word.

Matthew 8:9 "For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this [man], Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth [it]."

Even though this man had great worldly authority, he was fully aware that compared to Jesus, he was unworthy. In fact, we are all unworthy. It is only through grace that we are saved. He recognized the fact that everything and everybody was subject to the command of Jesus. There was no question about the authority of Jesus.

Verses 10-13: The words "from the east and west", are taken from (Psalm 107; with allusions also to Isaiah 49:12; 59:19; Mal. 1:11). Here Christ is referring to the ingathering of the Gentiles through the preaching of the gospel, culminating in their final gathering at the time of His second coming.

"The children of the kingdom" refers to those to whom the kingdom really belongs. "Outer darkness" refers to the condemnation of the second death. "There shall be ... gnashing of teeth:" There (in that place), is used emphatically to draw attention to the fact that such severe punishment is in fact a reality.

Even though he was a Gentile, the servant was healed because of the faith of the centurion. The contrast to this incident drawn by Jesus emphasizes the foolishness of Israel's rejection of Him as the Messiah.

Matthew 8:10 "When Jesus heard [it], he marveled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel."

This centurion understood Jesus' absolute authority (verses 8:9). Even some of Jesus' own disciples did not see things so clearly (verse 26).

Jesus was very impressed that someone, who had never studied the Scriptures, would believe. The learned scholars (scribes and Pharisees), were the worst doubters of all. Jesus came to the house of Israel, but when they refused Him, He created a spiritual Israel based on faith alone.

Matthew 8:11 "And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven."

"Many ... shall come from the east and west": Gentiles in the kingdom with Abraham, will enjoy salvation and the blessing of God (Isa. 49:8-12; 59:19; Mal. 1:11; Luke 13:28-29).

The spiritual children of Abraham shall be from all the nations of the world. Their faith, like Abraham's, will be the saving factor.

Galatians 3:28-29 "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." "And if ye [be] Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."

Matthew 8:12 "But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

"Children of the kingdom": The Hebrew nation, physical heirs of Abraham.

"Shall be cast out": This was exactly opposite to the rabbinical understanding, which suggested that the kingdom would feature a great feast in the company of Abraham and the Messiah, open to the Jews only.

Just because a person is Jew by birth, does not mean that he or she will go to heaven. This Scripture above is saying, regardless of whom your parents or grandparents are, without belief in Jesus Christ, you will wind up in hell.

Darkness is the absence of light. Just to know total separation from Jesus would cause great anguish ("weeping and gnashing of teeth"). This expression describes the eternal agonies of those in hell.

God does not have grandchildren, only children. Each person is expected to have his own faith and act upon it.

Matthew 8:13 "And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, [so] be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour."

"As thou hast believed": Sometimes faith was involved in the Lord's healings, in this case not by the one being healed as (in 9:2; 15:28); other times it was not a factor (verses 14-16; Luke 22:51).

We can expect miracles according to the amount of faith we have. If we don't believe, nothing will happen. The bottom line was, this "servant was healed".

Matthew 8:14-15 "And when Jesus was come into Peter's house, he saw his wife's mother laid, and sick of a fever." "And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them."

Peter's home, as we have said before, was here in Capernaum. Jesus probably went there to rest from the crowd. The Scripture does not state the cause of the fever. She was sick enough to stay in bed. Just one touch of Jesus' hand, and the fever fled. It was such a miracle; she immediately went to work seeing to their physical needs.

Matthew 8:16 "When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with [his] word, and healed all that were sick:"

"Possessed with devils": This means "demonized," or under the internal control of a demon. All the cases of demonization dealt with by Christ involved the actual indwelling of demons who utterly controlled the bodies of their victims, even to the point of speaking through them (Mark 5:5-9), causing derangement (John 10-20), violence (Luke 8:29), or rendering them mute (Mark 9:17-22).

The Bible explains in detail, how Jesus got rid of the evil spirits that possessed the bodies they were in. An evil spirit can come into a non-Christian, and actually control that person. I do not believe that a Christian can be possessed by a devil. There is no example in the Bible of a Christian being possessed by a devil.

A demon possesses darkness. A Christian is filled with Light. Light does away with darkness. A Christian, who is full of the Light of Jesus, cannot be consumed by the darkness of the devil. I do believe a Christian can be tormented from without, but not inside. Take note here, that the Word got rid of evil spirits. That should tell us something. Stay full of the Word of God.

Take note also, that sick people are spoken of separately. He "HEALED the sick, and "CAST OUT" the evil spirits. Notice also, that He healed "ALL". Let me say one more time, that because Christians are filled with the Light of Jesus, they cannot be possessed with devil spirits. They can be oppressed, but not possessed.

Matthew 8:17 "That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare [our] sicknesses."

"Spoken by Isaiah the prophet": Matthew was citing that passage here. Christ bore both the guilt and the curse of sin (Galatians 3:13). Both physical healing and ultimate victory over death are guaranteed by Christ's atoning work, but these will not be fully realized until the very end (1 Cor. 15:26).

Isaiah prophesied that the Savior would not only save our souls, but would heal our bodies. He actually took our diseases on His body on the cross. His "healing touch" did not just help way back then, but is still healing people today.

John 14:12-14 "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater [works] than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father." "And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son." "If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do [it]."

You see, Christians can pray to the Father in the name of Jesus, and He will hear and answer our prayers. The difference is Jesus healed in His own name. We heal in Jesus' name. It is the power of Jesus (not our name). We just touch and allow His power to flow through us. Pray and believe in the name of Jesus and expect miracles.

Matthew Chapter 8 Questions

  1. Where was the mountain located where Jesus taught the sermon on the Mount?
  2. Describe a multitude.
  3. What did a leper have to cry when near others?
  4. What was the first thing the leper did when he saw Jesus?
  5. What, besides a physical sickness, did most believe leprosy to be?
  6. What name did the leper call Jesus?
  7. How did Jesus answer him?
  8. What does "be thou clean" show us?
  9. Why did Jesus send him to the priest?
  10. A Roman centurion was over how many men?
  11. What type of disease is palsy?
  12. Compared to Jesus, what was the centurion?
  13. What and who are under Jesus' authority?
  14. Why was Jesus amazed at the centurion's faith?
  15. When physical Israel rejected Jesus, who did He create?
  16. Where will Abraham's spiritual children come from?
  17. Where, in the Bible, do we learn there is no male or female with God?
  18. Where is outer darkness?
  19. Does birth into a Jewish family insure your residence in heaven?
  20. Will your mother's or father's faith save you?
  21. How many great miracles can we expect?
  22. What was the bottom line about the centurion?
  23. Where was Peter's home?
  24. What was Peter's mother-in-law healed of?
  25. Can a Christian be possessed of the devil?
  26. Tell what darkness represents.
  27. What one thing did Jesus use too free a person from devil spirits?
  28. Are sickness and demon possessions the same?
  29. Is healing for today?
  30. What Scripture answers this question?
  31. Whose name must we use?

Matthew Chapter 8 Continued

Matthew 8:18 "Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave commandment to depart unto the other side."

The people thronged Him so greatly, that He was pressed from every side. Every so often, He went aside to rest and pray. This multitude, it seems, had followed Him from the time He had given the Sermon on the Mount.

He needed some time alone. His Spirit was always ready, but His body got tired; just like ours does.

Verses 19-27: The reference to "a certain scribe" is unusual since scribes were usually referred to in the plural. "Master, I will follow thee:" These words indicated that he was willing to follow Christ both spiritually and publicly. The word master (Greek didaskalos) here means "Teacher."

Instead of making it easy to follow Him, Christ insisted that he count the cost of such commitment to discipleship. "The Son of man" is the title by which the lord most frequently referred to Himself. The title originally come from (Daniel 7:13), and had messianic significance. The Lord deliberately used this biblical title of Himself in order to teach the godly that He was in fact, the Messiah.

The reference to another of His disciples must refer to a professed disciple who was unwilling to follow Him unconditionally. The request to "bury my father" probably meant he wanted to stay at home until his father died. Jesus' strong reply, "Let the dead bury their dead," was not intended to be harsh, but rather to emphasize that the time to be about the heavenly Father's business was now.

The "tempest" refers to a violent storm. Jesus rebuked the "little faith" in light of the fact that He had commanded the trip across the Sea of Galilee. In one of His most awesome miracles, He simply "rebuked the winds and the sea," resulting in an instantaneous miracle of total calm.

Matthew 8:19 "And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest."

"A certain scribe": As a scribe. This man was breaking with his fellow scribe by publicly declaring his willingness to follow Jesus. Nonetheless, Jesus evidently knew that he had not counted the cost in terms of suffering and inconvenience.

Scribes were the keepers and registrars of all public documents. The "scribe" mentioned, here, was learned in the law. These men technically knew the rules in the Bible. Very few recognized Jesus for who He really was (the Messiah). This "scribe" had probably, been among the multitude who heard Him preach the Sermon on the Mount and who saw Him do many miracles.

Just as many Jewish people do even today, this scribe recognized Him as a great teacher and as a prophet of God who could perform miracles. The question is, did he recognize Jesus as God manifest in the flesh?

Scribes were teachers of the law. It is so strange, to me, that they could not see that Jesus fulfilled the law in every aspect. This "Scribe" was like so many new Christians. They promise to follow no matter where or how hard the road gets, but when trouble come, they fall away.

Matthew 8:20 "And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air [have] nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay [his] head."

"Son of man": This is the name Jesus used for Himself more than any other. It is used 83 times in the gospels, always by Jesus Himself. It was a messianic title (Dan 7:13-14), with an obvious reference to the humanity and the humility of Christ. Yet, it also speaks of His everlasting glory, as (Dan. 7:13-14 shows; Acts 7:56).

Jesus told this scribe just right off, if you follow me, it would not be easy. You might have to sleep outside and may not even know where your next meal would come from. Jesus does not promise an easy life even today to His followers. He just promises to take care of our needs, not our wants.

Matthew 8:21 "And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father."

"Suffer me first to go and bury my father": This does not mean that the man's father was already dead. The phrase, "I must bury my father" was a common figure of speech meaning, "Let me wait until I receive my inheritance."

From this statement above, it seems that this disciple, mentioned here, was not one of the 12, but, probably, part of the 120 who followed Jesus for a while. He was asking Jesus to let him tend to his business at home, and he would answer the call to the ministry later.

We cannot put off the call of God for any reason. Even though this seems to be good enough excuse, we will see that God will not wait while we tend to earthly things.

Matthew 8:22 "But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead."

"Let the dead bury their dead": Let the world (the spiritual dead), take care of mundane things.

Here we must understand the religious significance of this statement. He was speaking of the spiritually dead. He was saying, you cannot do anything for him now. It was too late. Salvation is offered to the living only. He told the man, go minister to others before they too die physically not knowing salvation. He too was saying, time is running out. Hurry!

Matthew 8:23 "And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him."

This was probably, a ship on the Sea of Galilee. It possibly belonged to some of the disciples, who were fishermen before Jesus called them.

Matthew 8:24 "And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep."

"There arose a great tempest in the sea": The Sea of Galilee is more than 690 feet below sea level. To the north, Mt Hermon rises 9,200 feet, and from May to Oct. strong winds often sweep through the narrow surrounding gorges into this valley, causing extremely sudden and violent storms.

"He was asleep": Just before the disciples saw one of the most awesome displays of His deity, they were given a touching picture of His humanity. He was so weary that not even the violent tossing of the boat awakened Him, even though the disciples feared they would drown (verse 25).

Jesus' body was tired. He was sleeping right on through the storm. The Sea of Galilee is well known for the heavy wind and boisterous waves. These storms come up suddenly and drown many fishermen. These disciples who had fished on this sea, knew how dangerous it could be.

Matthew 8:25 "And his disciples came to [him], and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish."

They knew where the help was. They knew Jesus could save them. The cry of mankind should be, "Lord, save us: we perish." Jesus is the only one who can save us, but we must cry out for His help. Jesus always listens to our cries, as He did these disciples.

Matthew 8:26 "And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm."

Fear is not of God. Jesus rebuked them for being fearful. Fear is the opposite of faith. Probably all this happened to make them realize they should act in faith not fear. Nevertheless, He spoke to the "wind and the sea", and they both immediately obeyed the Word.

Jesus has all power over everything, even the elements.

Matthew 8:27 "But the men marveled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!"

"Even the winds and the sea obey him": This was convincing proof of His deity (Psalms 29:3-4; 89:9; 93:4; 107:25-29).

The amazing thing, to me in all of this, is the fact that they were amazed. Jesus has been doing all these fantastic miracles, and they still did not know that He had power over the entire universe. They were right; truly he was not "man". He was God housed in the body of a man.

Matthew 8:28 "And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way."

"Country of the Gergesenes": This refers to a small town on the lake opposite Tiberius, perhaps where the modern village of Khersa (Kursi) is located. Some ancient tombs are there and the shoreline descends steeply into the water, exactly matching the description of the terrain in this account.

"Gergesenes:" The usually preferred reading is "Gadarenes." Gergesa was a town on the eastern slope of the Sea of Galilee and was included in the district of Gadara, one of the cities of the Decapolis. Both of these were included in the large administrative district of Gerasa, whose center was the town of Gerasa in Gilead.

"Two possessed with devils": The two other synoptic writings mention only one. Mark and Luke emphasize the more predominant convert of the two, whereas Matthew gives the more complete account of both men with whom Jesus dealt, perhaps the law demanded two or more witnesses.

This area that was on the other side of the Sea of Galilee, today is the Golan Heights controlled by the Arabs. In Bible times, it was a very evil area. There were three accounts of men in tombs who were possessed of devils in three of the gospels. It appears that these were three men telling the same account of what happened.

Verses 29-34: "What have we to do with thee?" The demons reacted with resentment at Jesus' intrusion into their realm, meaning, "What is there in common between us?" Their reference to Him as the "Son of God" indicates that the demons were fully aware of who Jesus was, and their question about being tormented "before the time" also indicates that they were aware of why He had come to earth.

The reference to a "herd of many swine" suggests that they were being kept illegally by Jews who were living in the Gentile region. Swine were considered unclean by the Mosaic Law. "The whole herd ... perished:" Jesus granted the demons' request because of His concern for the man. The spiritual principle in the incident is that those who are deliberately disobedient deprive themselves of divine protection and place themselves at the mercy of the forces of evil.

Matthew 8:29 "And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?"

"To torment us before the time": Evidently, even the demons not only recognized the deity of Jesus, but also knew that there was a divinely-appointed time for their judgment and He would be their judge. Their eschatology was factually correct, but it is one thing to know the truth, and quite another thing to love it (James 2:19).

There are several things we need to take notice of here. These devils recognized Jesus. They had been in heaven with Jesus before they followed Lucifer. Devil spirits, or demons, are really fallen angels. When God threw Lucifer out of heaven, one third of the angels followed Lucifer, and became his demons.

These demons were well aware that there is coming a day when they would be thrown into the lake of fire with Lucifer. That was why they asked Jesus, if He was going to torment them before the time. These spirits need a body to dwell in. If they cannot get a human, then they will settle for an animal.

Matthew 8:30 "And there was a good way off from them a herd of many swine feeding."

"Herd of many swine": Mark 5:13 adds that there were 2,000 in this herd. Such a large herd of unclean animals suggests that Gentiles dominated the region. It also suggests that the number of demons was large (Mark 5:9).

Matthew 8:31 "So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine."

"The devils besought him": (Luke 8:31), relates they pleaded not to be sent into the abyss, meaning the pit, the underworld, the prison of bound demons who disobeyed. They knew Jesus had the power and authority to send them there if He desired.

You see, the devils did not want to be disembodied. Being a spirit, they have to inhabit a person or an animal, because they did not have a body of their own.

Matthew 8:32 "And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters."

One word and they obeyed. Jesus just said, "go". The swine were driven mad by these devils, and rather than live with them, they committed hog suicide.

Matthew 8:33 "And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils."

Can you imagine how frightening it would be to be herding hogs, and suddenly, they ran and drowned themselves in the sea? Not only were they frightened, but think of the financial loss.

Matthew 8:34 "And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought [him] that he would depart out of their coasts."

"Besought him that he would depart": perhaps they were concerned with the financial impact from the loss of the pigs. More likely, they were all ungodly people frightened to be in the presence of such spiritual power (Mark 5:14-15).

You would think the people would be tickled to have someone as powerful as Jesus in their midst, but instead, they did not want Him and stopped him at the edge of town. The only reason that makes any sense at all would be that this was a very evil city.

Probably many demon possessed people lived in this city, and you can easily see why they would not want Jesus (the Deliverer), in their city. In (Mark chapter 5), we read the same account (or at least a similar) beginning with verse 2.

Mark 5:2-13 "And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit," "Who had [his] dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains:" "Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any [man] tame him." "And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones." "But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him," "And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, [thou] Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not." "For he said unto him, Come out of the man, [thou] unclean spirit." "And he asked him, What [is] thy name? And he answered, saying, My name [is] Legion: for we are many." "And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country." "Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding." "And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them." "And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea."

These three could be separate deliverances, because of so many similar details; I believe they are accounts of the same incident.

Matthew Chapter 8 Continued Questions

  1. Why did Jesus say, to depart to the other side of the sea?
  2. What promise did the scribe make Jesus?
  3. What job for the community did the scribe do?
  4. What did scribes have to do with the law?
  5. What did Jesus tell the scribe about his living conditions?
  6. The disciple that wanted to go and bury his father was probably from what group?
  7. What does the statement "Let the dead bury their dead" mean?
  8. Salvation is for whom?
  9. How did Jesus get to the other side of the sea?
  10. When the storm was raging, where was Jesus?
  11. What did the disciples say to Jesus about the storm?
  12. What did Jesus do?
  13. Why did Jesus rebuke them?
  14. What is wrong with fear?
  15. What should we do, if we are caught in a storm?
  16. How many accounts of the demon possessed, whose demons went into the hogs, are in the Bible?
  17. What difference is in the stories?
  18. Name at least two things we need to remember about these devil spirits.
  19. Where were the devil spirits asked to go?
  20. What did the swine do?
  21. How did the people of the town feel?
  22. What does Mark 5:4 show us about demon possession?
  23. What was the name of the demons?

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Matthew 9

Matthew Chapter 9

Matthew 9:1 "And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city."

"His own city": Jesus had left Capernaum to get away from the crowds for a time (8:18).

Matthew 9:2 "And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee."

"Thy sins be forgiven": The fact that the man was brought on a bed indicates that his paralysis was severe. Jesus' words of forgiveness may indicate that the paralysis was a direct consequence of the man's own sin (John 9:31).

Now remember, in our last lesson, Jesus had been asked to leave when He delivered the demoniac man. He didn't argue with the people. He just got in a boat and came back across the Sea of Galilee to more familiar territory.

Many have seen His miracles and heard his teachings on the Mount of Beatitudes. When He arrived back, it seems some people were waiting.

We discussed before that palsy is a disease similar to a short circuit in the brain and nervous system. This palsy had advanced so that this man was unable to walk. Not only did the man have faith that Jesus could heal him, but his friends had faith, as well (the ones who brought him). As we have said before, not all illness is associated with sin, but some are.

Matthew 9:3 "And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This [man] blasphemeth."

"This man blasphemeth": This would be a true judgment about anyone but God incarnate, for only the One who has been sinned against has the prerogative to forgive. Jesus' words to the man were therefore an unequivocal claim of divine authority.

As we have said so many times in these lessons, they did not recognize Jesus for who He really was. They were familiar with the law and knew that it taught that only God can forgive sins. The reason they thought that Jesus blasphemed, was that they saw Him as a man. To impersonate God is blasphemy, but He was not an impersonator. He was, is, and always will be God.

Matthew 9:4 "And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?"

"Knowing their thoughts": (12:25; John 2:24). Though the Lord Jesus humbled Himself (Phil. 2:4-8), and set aside the independent use of His divine prerogatives in incarnation (John 5:30), He was still fully God and therefore, omniscient (see Mark 13:32; Luke 2:52).

Matthew 9:5 "For whether is easier, to say, [Thy] sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?"

"For whether is easier": It is certainly easier to claim the power to pronounce absolution from sin than to demonstrate the power to heal. Christ actually proved His power to forgive by instantly healing the man of his paralysis.

If He could do the apparently harder, He could also do what seemed easier. The actual forgiving of the sins was in reality the more difficult task, however because it ultimately requires Him to sacrifice His life.

Matthew 9:6 "But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house."

You see from the above Scriptures, that the scribes did not just come right out and accuse Jesus out loud. They were afraid the mobs whom Jesus had healed, would attack them, if they said anything to Him.

These accusations were just thoughts in their hearts. Jesus knew their thoughts and their hearts, and spoke to the doubt there. This act was evidence of who He is, and also of His power. When this power commands, it happens, as we see in verse 7.

Matthew 9:7-8 "And he arose, and departed to his house." "But when the multitudes saw [it], they marveled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men."

Again here, we see the fact that these people related Jesus to all the other prophets. They did not really know who He was. They did have the right idea. "They glorified God". This man had such a dramatic healing, that he walked home for everybody to see. Jesus had come from a childhood of obscurity to a time of popularity because of His miracles.

Verses 9-12: "The receipt of custom" refers to the tollbooth in the street where tax collectors sat to receive various taxes. "In the house" means at home. We know from the other synoptic writers that this house was Matthew's. See (Mark 2:15; Luke 5:29), where the expression is phrased "in his house."

Matthew 9:9 "And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him."

"Matthew", also called Levi, an apostle, was by occupation a tax collector. He seems to have been an agent for Herod Antipas, stationed at Capernaum to collect revenue on goods passing between Damascus and the Mediterranean ports. Tax collectors (publicans), were despised by the

Jews and regarded as the lowest of sinners. They were perceived as extortionists and even as traitors since they served Rome.

Matthew's own humility is seen here. He did not disguise his past or make any excuse for it. Whereas (Mark 2:14 and Luke 5:27), employ his former name, Levi. Matthew himself used the name by which he was known after becoming a disciple (Mark 3:18; Luke 615).

Tax collectors were among the most despised persons in this society. The money they collected was often partly extorted for personal gain (Luke 19:8), and partly a tax for Rome, which made them not only thieves, but also traitors to the Jewish nation.

When Jesus called him, he immediately obeyed. From early times the church has regarded Matthew as the author of the first gospel.

Tax collectors were hated by the people. Matthew was probably a man of means. He was surely a publican himself. Very little was written in the Scriptures about Matthew.

Jesus was probably, already acquainted with Matthew. At any rate, Matthew did not question when Jesus told him to follow him. He just obeyed. This call was even harder than most, because Matthew had to give up the opportunity to make even more money than he already had. He would lose his position of authority as well.

This shows that nothing is more important than following Jesus. If necessary, we too should be willing to give up all, and follow Him.

Matthew 9:10-11 "And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples." "And when the Pharisees saw [it], they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?"

Here we see Jesus associating with these hated Roman tax collectors and people who knew none of the Jewish law. Even if they did, they would not have practiced the law; because they were idolaters. To the Pharisees, they would have been unclean spiritually. A Pharisee would have nothing at all to do with them.

I believe these Pharisees were afraid of Jesus, so they asked the disciples. Jesus knew in His heart their evil intentions, and instead of letting the disciples answer this accusation, He answered for Himself.

Matthew 9:12 "But when Jesus heard [that], he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick."

"Whole ... sick": The Pharisees thought they were well, religiously pure and whole. The outcasts knew they were not. Salvation can't come to the self-righteous.

Verses 13-15: "The righteous:" The word is used here in an ironic sense, meaning self-righteous. Ultimately, as the Scripture tells us, "There is none righteous, no, not one" (Rom. 3:10). "The children of the bridechamber" refers to the wedding guests. "As long as the bridegroom is with them," that is, while the wedding festivities last, which might be for some days. "When the bridegroom shall be taken from them" is an allusion to His coming death and ascension.

Matthew 9:13 "But go ye and learn what [that] meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."

"Go ye and learn what that meaneth": This phrase was commonly used as a rebuke for those who did not know something they should have known. The verse Jesus cites is (Hosea 6:6; compare 1 Samuel 15:22; Mic. 6:6-8), which emphasizes the absolute priority of the law's moral standards over the ceremonial requirements.

The Pharisees tended to focus on the outward, ritual, and ceremonial aspects of God's law, to the neglect of its inward, eternal, and moral precepts. In doing so, they became harsh, judgmental and self-righteously scornful of others. Jesus repeated this same criticism (in 12:7).

Righteous people are already saved. They do not need to be saved. If you are not sick, you do not need to go to the doctor. Jesus did not come to change the law; He came to fulfill the law. Self-righteous is different from righteous. To be righteous, we must be in right standing with God.

Jesus brought the message of hope to a dying and sinful world. He provided the way out for those who were lost. His message is a message of good news (gospel). When He said He would have mercy and not sacrifice, I believe it meant He provided the sacrifice for us. He is the perfect Lamb sacrifice.

Through His mercy and grace, we receive it. Not of ourselves that we might boast, but through faith in Him.

Matthew 9:14 "Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not?"

"Disciples of John": Luke implies that the Pharisees asked this question (Mark 2:18-20). Evidently, some Pharisees were still present when John's disciples came. Both groups together may have asked this question.

Matthew 9:15 "And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast."

We must remember that Jesus is the Groom of the bride of Christ. There is no mourning and sadness preparing for a wedding. John the Baptist preached repentance and people who are repentant weep and mourn. You can easily see why John's disciples would fast. They were repenting, seeking for the Savior.

"Then shall they fast": Using the analogy of a wedding party, Jesus answered that as long as Christ was present with them there was too much joy for fasting, which was connected to seasons of sorrow and intense prayer.

The Pharisees remind me of some religions today. They believe you have to do specific things to be saved (penance). The followers of Jesus were rejoicing and happy, because the salvation that Jesus offered was a free gift. As long as the gift was there, it was hard to be sorrowful.

You see, when Jesus is not here with us physically, we will be as John's disciples. It will be necessary to fast for strength and power from God. We are all in a state of mourning now, waiting for that great day when the Groom will come for His bride.

Matthew 9:16 "No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse."

"New cloth unto an old garment": That new cloth does not work on old material is analogous to trying to patch New Covenant truth onto old Mosaic ceremonial forms.

Matthew 9:17 "Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved."

"New wine into old bottles": Animal skins were used for fermentation of wine because of their elasticity. As the wine fermented, pressure built up, stretching the wineskin. A previously stretched skin lacked elasticity and would rupture, ruining both wine and wineskin.

Jesus used this as an illustration to teach that the forms of old rituals, such as the ceremonial fasting practiced by the Pharisees and John's disciples, were not fit for the new wine of the New Covenant era (Col. 2:17). In both analogies (verses 16-17), the Lord was saying that what the Pharisees did in fasting or any other ritual had no part with the gospel.

This putting the material together, new and old, could be speaking of how hard it is for the Jews and Gentiles to worship together. If a group of new Christians try witnessing to Jewish people, they will listen, if you call Jesus the Messiah. We Christians, are looking for our Savior; the Jews are looking for their King. The same, but just two different views of Him.

Matthew 9:18 "While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live."

"Ruler": In (Mark 5:22 and Luke 8:41), we find this was a ruler of the synagogue named Jairus.

Matthew 9:19 "And Jesus arose, and followed him, and [so did] his disciples."

The man who came was of some importance in the community. They called him a "ruler". He had great faith. Even though his daughter had been pronounced dead, he knew Jesus could raise her from the dead.

Jesus did not answer him. He just went with the man and took the disciples with Him. Great faith brings great results.

Verses 20-22: "I shall be whole" (literally, "I shall be saved, i.e. healed): A rabbi customarily addressed a young girl as "daughter." Jesus' exhortation to "be of good comfort" means to cheer up. The further statement "thy faith hath made thee whole" indicates that God's blessing on our behalf is usually in proportion to our willingness to trust Him.

Matthew 9:20 "And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind [him], and touched the hem of his garment:"

"Issue of blood twelve years": This woman's affliction not only was serious physically but also left her permanently unclean for ceremonial reasons (Lev. 15:25-27). This meant she would have been shunned by all, including her own family, and excluded from both synagogue and temple.

"The hem of his garment": (14:36). Probably one of the tassels that were woven to the corners of a garment in order to remind the wearer to obey God's commandments (Numbers 15:38-40; Deut. 22:12).

Matthew 9:21 "For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole."

Whole, made well, literally "saved you".

Matthew 9:22 "But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour."

Even though Jesus was headed to restore the little girl, He was still interested in helping others along the way. This woman's belief was great, and she was not disappointed. Even touching the hem of His garment could totally restore, as it did for her. Other accounts of this story tell us she had spent everything she had, on worldly physicians. Just one touch of Jesus' garment, and she was whole.

Verses 23-26: The scene described here is typical of a Middle Eastern home where someone lay dead. Mourners were actually hired to make noise. The "minstrels" were flutists. Jesus' statement that "the maid is not dead, but sleepeth" meant that her death, though real, was

ultimately going to be a temporary "sleep" in the light of the fact that He would quickly raise her back to life again.

Matthew 9:23 "And when Jesus came into the ruler's house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise,"

"Minstrels (flute players) ... people making a noise": Typical fixtures at a time of mourning in that culture (2 Chron. 35:25). The crowd at a funeral usually included professional mourners, women whose task it was to wail plaintively, while reciting the name of the departed one, as well as any other loved ones who had died recently. The result was a noisy, chaotic din.

Matthew 9:24 "He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn."

"Sleepeth": Jesus was not saying that her death was a misdiagnosis. This was a prophecy that she would live again. He made a similar comment about Lazarus' death (John 11:11), and then had to explain to the disciples that he was speaking metaphorically (John 11:14). Sleep is a designation for death in the New Testament (1 Cor. 11:30; 15:51; 1 Thess. 5:10).

"They laughed him to scorn": How quickly their paid act of mourning turned to derision.

Matthew 9:25-26 "But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose." "And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land."

These "minstrels" were paid mourners. Jesus was about to stop their wages. No paid mourners would be necessary. They laughed; but Jesus had the last laugh. This dead girl arose. Jesus is the resurrection and the life. He raises every one of us from the dead and gives us life.

The fame would spread rapidly. Who was this, that He could raise the dead? Notice Jesus put the doubters out before He raised her.

Matthew Chapter 9 Questions

  1. What did Jesus say to the man sick of the palsy?
  2. What did the scribes say within themselves about Jesus?
  3. What did Jesus say of the scribes?
  4. What was Jesus showing them that He had power on earth to do?
  5. What instruction did Jesus give the sick of the palsy?
  6. What did the multitude do, when they saw this miracle?
  7. What did Matthew have before Jesus called him?
  8. Who ate with Matthew and Jesus?
  9. Who did Jesus say needed a physician?
  10. What did Jesus say He would have in place of sacrifice?
  11. Who has Jesus called to repentance?
  12. Why did the disciples of Jesus not fast?
  13. Tell your opinion of what putting new wine in old bottles mean?
  14. Tell your opinion of what putting a piece of new cloth in an old garment means?
  15. Why did the ruler come to Jesus and worship him?
  16. How long had the woman had the issue of blood?
  17. What had the woman said within herself.
  18. What did Jesus tell the woman had made her whole?
  19. What were minstrels doing in the ruler's home?
  20. What did Jesus tell them to do? Why?
  21. What happened to the girl?

Matthew Chapter 9 Continued

Verses 27-32: This incident is also peculiar to Matthew's gospel (Luke 11:14-26). Two blind men call out, "Thou son of David," which was a messianic designation. The form of their address seems to indicate that they had put their faith in Jesus as the Messiah.

Matthew 9:27 "And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, [Thou] son of David, have mercy on us."

"Son of David": (1:1; 12:23; 21:9, 15), A messianic title (see 20:29-34), for a remarkably similar but separate, account.

At this point, Jesus had just healed the incurably sick woman of the issue of blood, and had raised the young girl from the dead. We read in the last lesson that the story of these two miracles had spread throughout the land.

No wonder these two blind men followed Him. Here again, was another impossible situation. These men believed that Jesus was their only help.

Matthew 9:28-31 "And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord." "Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you." "And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See [that] no man know [it]." "But they, when they were departed, spread abroad his fame in all that country."

Jesus (in nearly every instance), when He healed someone, would say your faith has made you whole (or something very near to that statement). It seems that our faith in something happening has a great deal to do with it coming to pass. Jesus asked them, "believe ye that I am able to do this?" Then He healed them.

Faith is one thing that pleases God. The Scripture says that without faith, it is impossible to please God. What is faith?

We read in Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

You see, if you could see the evidence, it would be fact, not faith. Some ministers will tell you to shut your eyes and see your prayer request happening in your mind. That is not really what faith is. Faith is when we pray and ask God for something; and then trust God with all the details, never doubting in our hearts that God is able to do more than we can ask or think.

I believe these two blind men had that kind of faith. They came to Jesus believing that He would restore their sight, and He did. They did not follow His instructions not to tell anyone. If they were blind, and could suddenly see, there would be no way to keep them from telling the good news.

There is another way to look at this, also. Before a person is saved, they are spiritually blind. When they seek out the Lord Jesus, it is faith that opens their eyes. A new Christian is just like these blind men. There is no way not to tell the good news. Once I too was blind, but now I see.

Verses 33-38: The connection between spiritual evil and physical illness is clearly illustrated in this incident. The "prince of the devils" is Satan himself. "Fainted" means they were distressed. The observation that they were "as sheep having no shepherd" is taken mainly from the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament of (Numbers 27:17).

Matthew 9:32-33 "As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil." "And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marveled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel."

This person had been possessed of a devil. The devil spirit inside him would not let him speak. When a devil spirit controls a person, he is totally under the control of the evil spirit. This man was helpless, until Jesus came along and freed him. As we studied before, these spirits of demons, or devils, are under Jesus. When He commands them to go, they must obey.

What a glorious thing to see anyone delivered from a devil spirit, but to see one who was dumb released to speak, was even more glorious. The multitudes realized this was no ordinary happening. Jesus had super natural power.

Matthew 9:34 "But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils."

"Prince of the devils": The Pharisees had seen enough of Jesus' power to know it was God's power. But, in their willful unbelief, they said His was the power of Satan (25:41; Mark 3:22; Luke 11:15).

Just as many churches today proclaim casting out devils is not of God. So did the religion of that day. Churches tend to believe that anything not active in their church is not of God; even though it is prominent in the Bible.

Matthew 9:35 "And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people."

"Every ... sickness ... disease": Jesus banished illness in an unprecedented healing display, giving impressive evidence of His deity, and making the Jews' rejection even more heinous.

Jesus was many things to many people. He taught, preached, and healed everywhere He went. Even the Jewish people agreed that He was a great teacher, a great preacher-prophet, and a great healer. These were just manifestations of who He really is (God manifest in the flesh).

These Scriptures above said He healed all. It is interesting to me that sickness and disease were spoken of separately. Sickness is like a case of the flu, or something like a short time virus, but diseases are like Multiple Sclerosis, or some other terminal disease like cancer.

At any rate, He healed them all. He brought the good news (gospel), to everyone, so they might be saved. He not only brought salvation, He is salvation.

Matthew 9:36 "But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd."

"He was moved with compassion on them": Here the humanity of Christ allowed expression of His attitude toward sinners in term of human passion. He was moved with compassion.

Whereas God, who is immutable, is not subject to the rise and fall and change of emotions (Num. 23:19). Christ, who was fully human with all the faculties of humanity, was on occasion moved to literal tears over the plight of sinners (Luke 19:41). God Himself expressed similar compassion through the prophets (Exodus 3319; Psalm 86:15; Jer. 9:1; 13:17; 14:17).

Jesus, looking at the multitude, saw individuals who were lost. They had no direction in their lives. They were weary of this world, with no solution. They had no one to lead them. Jesus felt love for them. He would become their Shepherd, who would lead them to green pastures. He would be their Leader.

Verses 37 and 38 constitute one of the great missionary passages of the New Testament. Jesus pictures the world as a great spiritual harvest in need of laborers to gather it into the storehouse.

Matthew 9:37 "Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly [is] plenteous, but the laborer's [are] few;"

"Harvest": (Luke 10:1-2). The Lord spoke of the spiritual harvest of souls for salvation.

Matthew 9:38 "Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborer's into his harvest."

"Pray ye therefore": Jesus affirmed the fact that believers' prayers participate in the fulfillment of God' plans.

The Scripture above reminds me of the song about the harvest. Some of the words are: My house is full, but my fields are empty. Who will go and work for me today? It seems all my children want to sit around my table. No one wants to work in my field.

The harvest is really the end of the world. We laborers, must hurry to reap the wheat. Many believe, as I do, that the Lord Jesus will be coming back soon and will take the wheat (Christians), to the great barn in the sky.

Ministers of the Word must work, for time is drawing very short to work. Those trying to get into the family of God must come soon, or be left behind. The 13th chapter of Matthew talks about the seed that is planted by the Son of man. It tells of how it grows up with the tares until harvest time.

The seed is planted, then someone comes in and waters it, but God gets the increase. The wheat that grows is symbolic of the Christians. Some plant the Word; someone else comes along and strengthens it, then after all is said and done that Christian belongs to Jesus.

The Christian grows in the midst of the world filled with evil people (the tares), but then at harvest time, Jesus comes to receive His own. The tares are gathered and burned. The wheat (Christians), are carried away to heaven to be with Jesus. I think Matthew 43:13 says it all:

Matthew 13:43 "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear."

There is little time left to get the Word out. Everyone who can speak at all of Jesus, need to be about the Father's business. Work for the night is coming, when man's work is done.

Matthew Chapter 9 Continued Questions

  1. What name did the blind man call Jesus?
  2. What did these two blind men think about Jesus?
  3. What did Jesus ask the two blind men?
  4. When Jesus healed, what did He tell them that helped them to be healed?
  5. What is one thing that pleases God mentioned in this lesson?
  6. What is faith according to chapter 11 of Hebrews?
  7. If you can see evidence, what is it?
  8. What, besides a physical healing of blindness, does this passage tell us.
  9. What was really wrong with the dumb man?
  10. What did the multitude say, when the dumb spake?
  11. What did the Pharisees say about Jesus when the dumb spake?
  12. What do churches today have a tendency to believe about churches who do more than they do in their own church?
  13. Name three things that Jesus did in the cities and villages.
  14. What percentage of people did He heal?
  15. What is the difference between sickness and disease?
  16. When Jesus saw the multitude, how did it affect him?
  17. Who would be their Shepherd?
  18. What was Jesus asking for in verse 37?
  19. What is the harvest, really?
  20. Who was the wheat symbolic of?
  21. Who are the tares?
  22. What happened to the tares at the end?
  23. In Matthew 13:43, the righteous shall shine forth as what?

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Matthew 10

Matthew Chapter 10

Verses 1-4: The "twelve disciples had been formed as a group some time previously, and now after a period of instruction and training, they were sent on their first mission. They were also given "power", or "authority," over demons and disease. Their miracle-working ministry was to attest the legitimate claim of Jesus to be the Messiah.

"Apostles (Greek apostoloi) is the technical term that later came to be applied to the 12 disciples. The literal meaning of the term is "Sent Ones". In this passage their 12 names are arranged in six pairs, which probably corresponded to the arrangement in which they were sent out on this mission.

"Simon" is Peter, who head all four lists of the disciples (Mark 3:16; Luke 6:14; Acts 1:13). Since he appears to be the most prominent disciple in the early stages of Jesus' ministry, as well as in the early period of the church, he probably exercised a natural leadership over the others. It does not follow from this however, that his leadership was passed on to successors.

"Bartholomew" was generally considered to be identical with the Nathanael of (John 1:45-51). "Lebbeus, who surname was Thaddeus" (some texts read simply "Thaddeus"): Luke gives his name as Judas (Luke 6:16).

"Simon the Canaanite" actually means the Cananaean. Since he had been a member of the nationalist party known as the Zealots, who resisted Herod the Great by force, he is also at times referred to as Simon the Zealot.

"Judas Iscariot" has been variously interpreted as meaning he was a member of the tribe of Issachar, or an inhabitant of Kerioth, or the one who carried the purse (Aramaic, secariota), or the one who was strangled (Hebrew iscara). He is generally recognized as the only disciple who was not a Galilean.

"Disciples": Disciple means "student", one who is being taught by another. "Apostle" refers to a qualified representative who is sent on a mission. The two terms emphasize different aspects of their calling.

Matthew 10:1 "And when he had called unto [him] his twelve disciples, he gave them power [against] unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease."

"Gave them power": Jesus delegated His power and authority to the apostles to show clearly that He and His kingdom were sovereign over the physical and spiritual realms, the effects of sin, and the efforts of Satan.

This was an unheard of display of power, never before seen in all redemptive history, to announce Messiah's arrival and authenticate Him plus His apostles who preached His gospel. This power was a preview of the power Christ will exhibit in His early kingdom, when Satan will be bound (Rev. chapter 20), and the curse on physical life curtailed (Isa. 65:20-25).

Here, we see the power to cast out demons and to heal all manner of disease comes through the name of Jesus. All healing and deliverance must be done in Jesus' name. Jesus healed in His own right. We heal in Jesus' name.

Matthew 10:2 "Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James [the son] of Zebedee, and John his brother;"

"Names of the twelve apostles": The 12 are always listed in a similar order (Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6:13; Acts 1:13). Peter is always named first. The list contains 3 groups of four.

The three subgroups are always listed in the same order and the first name in each subgroup is always the same, though there is some variation in the order with-in the subgroups, but Judas Iscariot is always named last.

Peter ... Andrew ... James ... John": The first subgroup of 4 are the most familiar to us. These two sets of brothers, all fishermen, represent an inner circle of disciples often seen closest to Jesus.

Matthew 10:3 "Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James [the son] of Alphaeus, and Lebbeus, whose surname was Thaddeus;"

"James the son of Alphaeus": There are 4 men in the New Testament named James.

  1. The Apostle James, brother of John;
  2. The disciple mentioned here, also called "James the Less" (Mark 15:40);
  3. James, father of Judas (not Iscariot, Luke 6:16)
  4. James, the Lord's half-brother (Gal. 1:19).

"Thaddaeus": Elsewhere he is called Judas, son of James (Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13).

Matthew 10:4 "Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him."

"Simon" the Zealot. The better manuscripts read "Cananaean", a term for the party of the Zealots, a group determined to overthrow Roman domination in Palestine. Simon was probably a member of the Zealot party before coming to Christ.

Let us stop here a moment and look at these disciples. Peter (rock), and Andrew (manly), his brother, were fishermen before Jesus called them, and their partners were James and John (sons of Zebedee; sons of thunder).

"John" means Jehovah is gracious. John was called the beloved of Jesus. This John truly loved Jesus. He was the only one present at the crucifixion. Jesus entrusted His mother to John.

The name "Philip" means lover of horses. Bartholomew, some believe that he was the same as Nathaniel. Thomas was best known as "doubter". The name "Thomas" means twin, but it was not evident in the Bible who the twin was.

We just studied about Matthew, the tax collector. His name means "a gift of Jehovah". James (not son of Zebedee), was believed to be the nephew of Mary (mother of Jesus). He was called James the less. No one knows whether this had to do with stature, or importance.

This "Lebbeus", or "Thaddaeus" means courage. Thaddaeus was probably the name he used in his ministry. Simon the Canaanite, belonged to the faction of the Zealots who were dogmatic about the Mosaic Law. Judas Iscariot was the betrayer of Jesus. He also carried the purse.

Verses 5-10: "The way of the Gentiles:" Several Greek cities in Galilee existed separately from the Jewish Life-style. The apostles were instructed to avoid these towns and to confine themselves to the Jewish cities only. The word Gentiles is an objective genitive, indicating that they were not to enter a road even leading to the Gentiles, nor were they to enter a city of the Samaritans.

The apostles were to "provide" better, ("get"), nothing in the way of money in their "purses" (literally, "belts"). The fold of the robe or the girdle served the same function as our pockets. A "scrip" was a small bag for holding various articles.

"Coats" were the outer robes or tunics that corresponded to the Roman toga. The Greek for "staves" is actually singular, meaning "staff," agreeing with (Luke 9:3). "The workman is worthy of his meat:" They were to rely on the gifts and hospitality of those to whom they preached.

Verses 10:5 - 11:1: This is the second of 5 major discourses recorded in Matthew.

Matthew 10:5 "These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into [any] city of the Samaritans enter ye not:"

"Go not into the way of the Gentiles": Christ did not forbid the disciples to preach to Gentiles or Samaritans if they encountered them on the way, but they were to take the message first to the covenant people, in the regions nearby (Rom. 1:16).

Matthew 10:6 "But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."

"Lost sheep of the house of Israel" (see 15:24; Jer. 50:6). Jesus narrowed this priority even more when He said the gospel was only for those who knew they were spiritually sick (9:13), and needed a physician (Luke 5:31-32).

You see from this, that Jesus tried to bring the message to physical Israel first. Even these disciples were instructed to minister to the house of Israel. Physical Israel had to reject this message, before it would be offered to spiritual Israel (Gentile believers).

Matthew 10:7 "And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand."

This is an expression unique to Matthew's gospel. Matthew uses the word "heaven" as a euphemism for God's name, to accommodate his Jewish readers' sensitivities (23:22). Throughout the rest of Scripture, the kingdom is called "the kingdom of God." Both expressions refer to the sphere of God's dominion over those who belong to Him.

The kingdom is now manifest in heaven's spiritual rule over the hearts of believers (Luke 17:21), and one day it will be established in a literal earthly kingdom (Rev. 20:4-6). "Is at hand" is in one sense the kingdom is a present reality, but in its fullest sense it awaits a yet future fulfillment.

Matthew 10:8 "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give."

"Freely ye have received, freely give": Jesus was giving them great power, to heal the sick and raise the dead. If they sold these gifts for money, they could have made quite a fortune. But that would have obscured the message of grace Christ sent them to preach. So, he forbade them to charge money for their ministry. Yet they were permitted to accept support to meet their basic needs, for a workman is worthy of such support (verse 10).

Jesus told them the message to preach. Since that was the first on the list of the things to do, we can understand from that, that salvation is the most important message. He did not tell the disciples, if you are able to; heal, cleanse, raise the dead, and cast out devils. He just said do it.

Probably one of the problems in our churches today, is that we are preaching and leaving all these other things undone.

Matthew 10:9-10 "Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses," "Nor scrip for [your] journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat."

The restrictions on what they were to carry were unique for this mission. See (Luke 22:36), where on a later mission, Christ gave completely different instructions. The point here was to teach them to trust the lord to supply their needs through the generosity of the people to whom they ministered, and to teach those who received the blessing of their ministry to support the servants of Christ (Tim. 5:18).

You have to realize that this was the disciples' call to go to the mission field. They have no idea how to prepare. Jesus was saying that the people they ministered to should pay the disciples' expenses. It would have to be that way, because they would not have time to work on the side.

Verses 11-16: "Inquire" means "to search out." Hospitality was a normal part of Oriental life and the disciples probably received many offers of accommodation; however, they were restricted to accepting hospitality only from those who received their message. "Shake off the dust of your feet" is a symbolic act of rejection and condemnation, the idea being that not even the dust of a wicked city was worthy of them.

"Verily" (Greek amen), is a transliteration from the Hebrew meaning "truly" or one of its synonyms, which gives emphasis to the statement that follows. "Wise as serpents" (Gen. 3:1): In the ancient Near East, the serpent was commonly regarded as the wisest of beasts. A cautious wisdom was necessary in order to deal with the fierce opposition that the disciples would face.

Matthew 10:11 "And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence."

He said to find a good believing family, and stay with them while you were ministering in a town.

Matthew 10:12-13 "And when ye come into a house, salute it." "And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you."

"Peace": This is equivalent to the Hebrew "shalom" and refers to prosperity, well-being, or blessing.

A minister visiting with a family should speak a blessing on the house and family who lodged them. Jesus said, if you discover these people were not Christians, just take your blessing with you when you leave.

Matthew 10:14 "And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet."

"Hear your words": The priority was to preach that the King had come and His kingdom was near. The message was the main thing. The signs and wonders were to authenticate it.

"Shake off the dust of your feet": It was common for Jews to shake the dust off their feet, as an expression of disdain, when returning from Gentile regions. Paul and Barnabas also did this when expelled from Antioch (Acts 13:51). This was a visible protest, signifying that they regarded the place as no better than a pagan land.

Matthew 10:15 "Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city."

"Sodom and Gomorrha": Those cities and the entire surrounding region were judged without warning, and with the utmost severity.

There are 2 things we should note here.

  1. Sodom and Gomorrah did not reject the salvation message of Jesus.
  2. They have already been severely punished for their sins. People who reject Jesus have a terrible fate awaiting them.

Matthew 10:16 "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves."

"Wolves": Used to describe false prophets who persecute the true ones and seek to destroy the Church (7:15; Luke 10:3; Acts 20:29).

Jesus told them that even though they meant no harm to anyone, they would meet with great opposition. Some of the people would try to eat them alive. He said be careful, don't do them any harm; but just minister to them.

Verses 17-22: "Take no thought" means "Do not be anxious." (See Mark 13:9-13; Luke 12:11-12; 21:12-19).

"It shall be given you" promises that the inner prompting of the Holy Spirit would tell them what to say in each situation they would face. "For my name's sake:" They would endure great persecution because of their identification with Jesus Christ.

"But he that endureth to the end shall be saved" is a promise of perseverance, not a teaching that salvation may be lost. Rather, it indicates that those who are truly saved will indeed endure to the end.

Matthew 10:17 "But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;"

"Deliver you up": This is a technical word, in this context, used for delivering a prisoner for punishment. Persecution of believers has often been the official policy of governments. Such persecutions give opportunity for testifying to the truth of the gospel (John 16:1-4; 2 Tim. 4:16).

The religious people would not accept them. "Scourge", probably, means whip. These "holier than thou" people would declare them not of God, and whip them publicly.

Matthew 10:18 "And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles."

This message that Jesus said to the disciples here, is even true today. If you are bringing the true messages of God, the authorities will give you a problem even now. The Gentiles that were spoken of in this verse, probably meant the Roman magistrates.

Matthew 10:19 "But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak."

Do not be anxious, take no thought. This verse is meant as a comfort for those under life threatening persecution. He was promising the Holy Spirit's aid for times of persecution when there can be no preparation.

Matthew 10:20 "For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you."

We should not be concerned about what we say for the Lord, either. God wants His Spirit to minister through us.

Verses 21-23: These verses clearly have an eschatological significance that goes beyond the disciples' immediate mission. The persecutions He describes seem to belong to the Tribulation period that precedes Christ's second coming, alluded to (in verse 23).

Matthew 10:21 "And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against [their] parents, and cause them to be put to death."

"And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death": Christ having fortified the minds of his disciples by the foregoing promises of divine influence and assistance proceeds to open more largely and particularly the sorrows, troubles, and afflictions they must expect would attend the faithful ministration of his Gospel.

True followers of Christ should not only be persecuted and betrayed, and delivered up into the hands of the civil magistrate, by persons that were strangers to them; but even by their nearest relations, brethren, whom the nearness of blood, should oblige to the tenderest regards to each other.

"And the father the child": And the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. The father laying aside his natural affection for his child, whom he has begotten and brought up, and has took so much care of and delight in, and perhaps his only one, his son and heir.

And yet professing a faith different from his, such is his blind zeal and bigotry, that breaking through all the ties of parental relation and affection, he delivers him up into the hands of wicked magistrates to put him to death.

Matthew 10:22 "And ye shall be hated of all [men] for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved."

The disciples truly were hated, and many of them were even martyred. I believe as much as for them; this Scripture is prophetically speaking of our day as well. We will have to hold on to every ounce of belief that we have to endure to the end.

Verses 23-24: The idea that the "Son of man" in this passage is Himself to be viewed as a forerunner of the yet-coming Messiah is ludicrous in light of all the statements made earlier in the Gospel of Matthew. Therefore, He must have His own second coming in view.

Matthew 10:23 "But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come."

Prophecy and the immediate were side by side here. Of course, the Son of man here, was Jesus.

Matthew 10:24 "The disciple is not above [his] master, nor the servant above his lord."

"Not above": If the Teacher (Christ), suffers, so will His pupils. If they attack the Master (Christ), with blasphemies, so will they curse the servants. This was the promise of persecution (John 15:20).

Verses 25-31: "Beelzebub" refers to Satan himself, the ultimate evil spirit. The disciples are told to "fear ... not." The disciples' enemies can only take their physical lives, which cannot prevent their blessed resurrection to life everlasting.

In other words, Jesus reminded them that it was more important to fear Him who had authority over the "soul" as well as over the "body" and who has authority to cast men into hell, and not Satan, who will himself be ultimately cast into everlasting fire.

Conversely, Jesus reminded His disciples of the Father's loving care, even for "sparrows". "A farthing (Greek assarion), was a copper coin worth about one-sixteenth of a denarius. "Without your Father" means without His permission. Here we are reminded of God's gracious providential care over His saints.

Matthew 10:25 "It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more [shall they call] them of his household?"

"Beelzebub": The Philistine deity associated with satanic idolatry. The name came to be used for Satan, the prince of demons.

Jesus said here, if they think I am evil, they will think my followers are evil too.

Matthew 10:26-27 "Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known." "What I tell you in darkness, [that] speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, [that] preach ye upon the housetops."

Ministers of the Word should only realize that what Jesus wants is an empty vessel that He can speak through. He has taught His people all through the ages through the parables, so that the world would not figure out with their minds the things of God. God is a Spirit. The Bible is Spirit. The Parables are Spirit.

We have to be taught of the Spirit: not mind knowledge, but heart knowledge. When ministers learn to depend on God for their messages to the people, they will hear what God would say to the church. It is not in their ability that they preach. It is God in them preaching.

Matthew Chapter 10 Questions

  1. Any of the disciples did Jesus call to him?
  2. Name the powers Jesus gave them?
  3. What is the difference between Jesus' healings and the healings we perform?
  4. Name the 12 apostles?
  5. What does Peter mean?
  6. What does Andrew mean?
  7. Who were the sons of Zebedee?
  8. What does John mean?
  9. Which disciple was present at the crucifixion?
  10. Which of the apostle's name means lover of horses?
  11. Which apostle was, probably, a twin?
  12. Which one betrayed Jesus?
  13. Where did Jesus tell them not to go?
  14. Who were they sent to first?
  15. What were they to preach?
  16. What other ministries were they to do?
  17. Where would they get their necessities?
  18. Where were they to stay?
  19. What does salute mean, in verse 12?
  20. If they do not receive, what should you do?
  21. Give me two reasons it would be better for Sodom than a city who rejected this message?
  22. He sent them forth as ________ in the midst of________.
  23. They were to be wise as what and harmless as what?
  24. Why must they beware of men?
  25. What does "scourge" mean?
  26. When governors and kings stand you before them, what will you say?
  27. Is it us speaking? Explain
  28. Who were the Gentiles spoken of here, probably?
  29. Who will rise up against each other?
  30. Why will we be hated of men?
  31. How long should we put up with troubles?
  32. When you are persecuted, what should you do?
  33. In verse 25, if they called the master of the house ____________, how much more shall they call them of his household?
  34. What Jesus speaks in darkness, what are we to do with it?
  35. If it is not our knowledge preaching, what is it?

Matthew Chapter 10 Continued

Matthew 10:28 "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."

"Fear him": God is the one who destroys in hell (Luke 12:5). Persecutors can only harm the body.

Our fear of man is unfounded simply because he can do just so much to you. Our fear should be of God, who could send you to a burning hell. One of the biggest fears in our society today is fear of our own government, and particularly the IRS; probably because most people do not understand the tax laws.

Ninety percent of the time, the things we fear never happen. Besides, fear is the opposite of faith, and it is displeasing to God. Fear of God could be classified as respect, and that is very smart.

Matthew 10:29-31 "Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father." "But the very hairs of your head are all numbered." "Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

"Without your Father": Not merely "without His knowledge", Jesus was teaching that God providentially controls the timing and circumstance of such insignificant events as the death of a sparrow. Even the number of hairs on our heads is controlled by His sovereign will (verse 30). In other words, divine providence governs even the smallest details and even the most mundane matters. These are very powerful affirmations of the sovereignty of God.

We think very poorly of ourselves generally. God sees our potential. God is concerned about even the little things in our lives as well as the big problems. If He would go so far as to number even the hairs on our heads, He loved us very much.

Man's worth to God is much greater than the worth of all the other things God created. Mankind was made in the image of God. Everything else was made for the use of man on the earth.

Verses 32-37: "Confess me" means "Acknowledge that you belong to Me." In reality, secret discipleship is a practical impossibility. Jesus constantly called for an open confession of Himself by His followers. That our confession is to be "before men" clearly indicates that a public confession of true Christian faith is a virtual necessity.

The warning "whosoever shall deny me" is a comprehensive historical aorist tense, referring not to one moment of denial (such as Peter's), but to an entire lifelong resistance to Christ. Therefore a single act of denial does not make one unworthy of being a disciple, but a refusal to confess Christ at all eliminates one from being a true follower of Jesus Christ.

Matthew 10:32 "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven."

"Confess me": The person who acknowledges Christ as Lord in life or in death, if necessary, is the one whom the Lord will acknowledge before God as His own. (2 Tim. 2:10-13).

Matthew 10:33 "But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."

In Romans 10-9-10 "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."

These Scriptures tell it all. We must open our mouths and tell everyone about Jesus. If we really love Him, we will. He loved us enough to die for us. We should love Him enough to live for Him. We can go to heaven or hell, through the confession of our mouths.

Matthew 10:34 "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword."

"Not ... peace, but a sword": Though the ultimate end of the gospel is peace with God (John 14:17; Rom. 8:6), the immediate result of the gospel is frequently conflict. Conversion to Christ can result in strained family relationships (verses 35-36), persecution, and even martyrdom.

Following Christ presupposes a willingness to endure such hardships (verses 32-33, 37-39). Though He is called "Prince of Peace" (Isa. 9:6), Christ will have no one deluded into thinking that He calls believers to a life devoid of all conflict.

Verses 35-36 is quoted from Mica 7:6.

Matthew 10:35 "For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law."

Never before in history has there been a time when parents and children were at more odds. Years ago parents were treated with respect by their children, now most young people feel that their parents are out of tune with the way things really are.

Matthew 10:36 "And a man's foes [shall be] they of his own household."

The strange thing about getting saved, usually it happens one family member at a time. Usually the one who gets saved has a lot of opposition from the family members. Even more than that, those baptized in the Holy Spirit have even more opposition from family members.

Matthew 10:37 "He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me."

You see, we cannot side in with our family against God. It is really not important to be in total agreement with family, but it is very important to be in total agreement with God. A few months ago, I heard of an ordained minister who had diligently tried to get his children in the church and living for God.

With all the effort he had put out, they stayed in the world. This minister mailed his ordination papers back to the church headquarters and stopped preaching. He joined his family and gave up the church. This is the very thing that the Scripture is saying not to do.

Verses 38-40: "Taketh not his cross:" This is the first mention of the cross in the New Testament. It was the custom for the condemned man to carry his cross on the way to his execution. There is plenty of evidence that our Lord anticipated the mode of His death.

"Findeth his life" means to wrongfully gain something out of life for oneself. Here the word means the natural life as opposed to the spiritual life. That is, to pursue one's natural well-being at the expense of the spiritual or eternal, is sinful.

Matthew 10:38 "And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me."

Here is Jesus' first mention of the word "cross" to His disciples. To them it would have evoked a picture of a violent, degrading death. He was demanding total commitment from them, even unto physical death, and making this call to full surrender a part of the message they were to proclaim to others

This same call to life-or-death devotion to Christ is repeated in (16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23; 14:27). For those who come to Christ with self-renouncing faith, there will be true and eternal life (verse 39).

Each of us has a cross to bear. It must be the cross of Jesus, and not a cross of our making. The stronger you are in the Lord, the heavier the cross is. If we are not willing to bear the cross of Jesus, then truly, we are not worthy. He died for us on the cross: we just carry it.

Matthew 10:39 "He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it."

If we are living for this life and not preparing for eternity, then we really have no future worth having. If you are storing up treasures in heaven and forgetting about ourselves here, we will have an eternity of joy in heaven.

Matthew 10:40 "He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me."

He that receiveth you receiveth me": Christ lives in His people. They also come in His name as His ambassadors (2 Cor. 5:20). Therefore, how they are treated is how He is treated (18:5; 25:45; Luke 9:48).

There is just one message; Salvation through Jesus Christ. If you are ministering that message, those who receive it, receive Jesus.

Verses 41-42: "In the name of a prophet" (i.e., "as a prophet"): The meaning of this statement is that those who are not prophets themselves may share in the labor and reward of the prophets by willingly supporting their ministry.

"One of these little ones" is a reference to the fact that even the smallest service done to the most insignificant of Christ's servants shall be rewarded by the Lord Himself.

Matthew 10:41 "He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward."

"In the name of a prophet ... In the name of a righteous man": This expands on the principle of (verse 40). To welcome Christ's emissaries is tantamount to welcoming Him (25:40).

If you receive the prophet, you are actually receiving the message he, or she, brings. If they are true prophets, they are elevating the name of Jesus. Salvation is the same for listener, as it is for the prophet.

Matthew 10:42 "And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold [water] only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward."

The Bible says, if you have done it for the least of these, you have done unto to me (Jesus).

The "little ones" are believers.

Matthew Chapter 10 Continued Questions

  1. If we are not to fear, one who can kill the body, who should we fear?
  2. What percent of things we fear never happen?
  3. What was the price of two sparrows?
  4. What has God numbered on us?
  5. Who will Jesus confess before the Father?
  6. What does Romans 10:9 say?
  7. With the heart man believeth to what?
  8. If Jesus did not bring peace, what did He bring?
  9. Who will a man be against?
  10. Who will a daughter be against?
  11. Who are man's foes?
  12. If you love son or daughter more than God, what is your state?
  13. Was the minister right in siding with his family?
  14. What must we take up daily?
  15. What is the difference in Jesus' cross and one of our own making?
  16. If we lose our lives for Jesus, what will happen?
  17. When people receive the message we bring, what do they receive?
  18. If you receive a prophet, what will you get?
  19. If you give a cup of water to a child in the name of a disciple, what will you get?

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Matthew 11

Matthew Chapter 11

Verses 1-7: (Verses 2-19 parallel Luke 7:18-35). This imprisonment has already been mentioned (in Matthew 4:12), but the circumstances leading up to it are not described in detail until (14:3-12), where the manner of John's death is also recounted.

"The works of Christ refers to His miracles. "he that should come" refers to the predicted Messiah of Old Testament prophecy whose coming had already been proclaimed by John. "The blind receive their sight" is an allusion to Isaiah 35:5 where it is stated that this will be one of the works performed by the Messiah.

"The poor have the gospel preached to them" is another allusion to (Isaiah 61:1). Hence, Jesus was clearly vindicating His messiahship to John, who may have begun to question why Jesus had left him in prison.

Matthew 11:1 "And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities."

"In their cities": i.e. In Galilee. Meanwhile, the disciples were also ministering in the Jewish towns in and around Galilee (10:5-6).

Jesus had sent His disciples out in the field so that they too, could get people saved, healed, and delivered; He went to another area to minister without the 12.

Matthew 11:2-3 "Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples," "And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?"

"Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?" John the Baptist had introduced Christ as One who would bring a fierce judgment and "burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire" (3:12).

He was understandably confused by the turn of events. He was imprisoned, and Christ was carrying on a ministry of healing, not judgment in Galilee, far from Jerusalem, the city of the king. And not finding a completely warm reception there (8:34), John wondered if he had misunderstood Jesus' agenda. It would be wrong to interpret this as a wavering of his faith (verse 7).

These disciples that John the Baptist sent were John's followers. John was imprisoned at this time. John proclaimed the coming of Christ and actually baptized Jesus. Now, he seemed to be going through a trial himself. Like the disciples, John probably expected Jesus to take physical rule of Israel then, so he questioned, are you the promised one?

Even the "voice crying in the wilderness" was discouraged and doubting there in prison. This is so difficult to believe after he had heard the voice from heaven, when he baptized Jesus.

Matthew 11:4 "Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see:"

"Go and shew John": He sent John's disciples back as eyewitnesses of many miracles. Evidently He performed these miracles in their presence just so that they could report back to John that they had personally seen proof that He was indeed the Messiah (Isa. 29:18-19 35:5-10).

Note however, that he offered no further explanation to John, knowing exactly how strong John's faith was (1 Cor. 10:13).

Matthew 11:5 "The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them."

The Scripture that comes into my mind when I read this is in:

John 14:11 "Believe me that I [am] in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake."

No one but the Spirit of God can perform these kind of miracles in their own name. Jesus was healing, delivering, and rising from the dead in His own name. Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ can do these miracles today; the only difference is that we do them in His name (the names of the Lord Jesus Christ).

This same 14th chapter tells about this very thing.

John 14:12-14 "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater [works] than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father." "And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son." "If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do [it]."

You see, just the miracles that Jesus did was proof of who he was (God manifest in the flesh). In (Matthew 11:4), the one word that really stands out to me is "again". John undoubtedly had seen Jesus do these miracles before, but because John was suffering in jail he needed reassurance.

Matthew 11:6 "And blessed is [he], whosoever shall not be offended in me."

This just means you are blessed, if you are not embarrassed by the miracles Jesus did.

Verses 8-11: "But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? ... more," much more (Greek perissoteron): The quotation in verse 10 is from (Malachi 3:1). John was recognized as the foreordained forerunner of the Savior and, technically, the last of the Old Testament prophets. Thus, he belonged to the Old Testament dispensation. This certainly emphasizes a clear distinction from the Old Testament era and the New Testament.

The weakest believer who has the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of the risen Christ, is therefore in a more privileged position that the greatest of the Old Testament prophets. "Them that are born of women", means of the life to come.

Matthew 11:7-10 "And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind?" "But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft [clothing] are in kings' houses." "But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet." "For this is [he], of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee."

When John's disciples left, Jesus started telling the people who John the Baptist really was. The people expected Jesus to take up His reign then, and they expected the one who would herald His coming to be dressed in finery. Prophets were usually dressed in skins, not fancy clothes.

Even today, the true messengers of God are not high and mighty by the world's standards. They just have a message to bring, and usually, they stay in the back ground. The message is what stands out. I truly believe that even now, we must prepare the way for the return of Christ.

Matthew 11:11 "Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he."

"Is greater than he": John was greater than the Old Testament prophets because he actually saw with his eyes and personally participated in the fulfillment of what they only prophesied (verses 10, 13; 1 Peter 1:10-11). But all believers after the cross are greater still, because they participate in the full understanding and experience of something John merely foresaw in shadowy form, the actual atoning work of Christ.

John was flesh and blood like you and me. Even though there was a great call on his life, he still had human frailties. He was a voice warning people of Jesus' arrival. He was not Jesus; he was just proclaiming His coming.

No human should think too highly of himself. God the Father, God the Word, and God the Holy Spirit are the ones to be worshipped. No one else should be worshipped; no matter how close to God they seem to be.

Verses 12-15: "The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence" (Greek biazomai): The meaning of this saying, and the connection of (verses 12-14), with proceeding and following contexts, indicates that John opened the kingdom of heaven to sinners and thus became the culminating point of Old Testament witness. Jesus' statement the "this is Elijah" indicates the ministry predicted by Malachi 4:5-6).

Matthew 11:12 "And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force."

"The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence": From the time he began his preaching ministry, John the Baptist evoked a strong reaction. Having been imprisoned already, John ultimately fell victim to Herod's savagery. But the kingdom can never be subdued or opposed by human violence.

Notice that where Matthew says, "the violent take it by force," Luke has, "everyone forcing his way into it" (Luke 16:16). So, the sense of this verse may be rendered this way: "The kingdom presses ahead relentlessly and only the relentless press their way into it." Thus again Christ is magnifying the difficulty of entering the kingdom.

Matthew 11:13-14 "For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John." "And if ye will receive [it], this is Elijah, which was for to come."

In the 4th chapter of Malachi the 5th verse, we read the promise of Elijah.

Malachi 4:5 "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:"

"John himself is Elijah. I.e. he is the fulfillment of (Mal. 4:5-6; see 17:12-13). The Jews were aware that Elijah had not died (2 Kings 2:11). This does not suggest that John was Elijah returned. In fact, John himself denied that he was Elijah (John 1:21), yet he came in the spirit and power of Elijah (Luke 1:17). If they had believed, John would have been the fulfillment of the Elijah prophecies. (Rev. 11:5-6).

One translation says, one like unto Elijah.

Matthew 11:15 "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear."

You see people, who look at the Bible from the physical and not the spiritual standpoint, cannot accept this. Those who are seeing with the heart can.

Verses 16-19: "This generation" refused to exercise its capacity to hear, but made excuses for rejecting both John and Jesus. Some have likened the illustration of Christ to that of children playing a game of "weddings" and then a game of "funerals." The idea is that the children cannot decide which game to play, so they decide to play nothing at all.

The reference to the rejection of John's ascetic ministry brought the charge that he was demon possessed. However, Jesus' open contact with sinners brought the equally untrue claim that He was "gluttonous, and a winebibber."

Matthew 11:16-17 "But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows," "And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented."

Christ reflects on the scribes and Pharisees, who had a proud conceit of themselves. He likens their behavior to children's play, who being out of temper without reason, quarrel with all the attempts of their fellows to please them, or to get them to join in the plays for which they used to assemble. He was just saying that, whether it was a joyful message, or a sad message, people were not listening.

The Rev. Donald Fraser gives the picture simply and vividly: "He pictured a group of little children playing at make-believe marriages and funerals. First they acted a marriage procession; some of them piping as on instruments of music, while the rest were expected to leap and dance.

In a perverse mood however, these last did not respond, but stood still and looked discontented. So the little pipers changed their game and proposed a funeral. They began to imitate the loud wailing of eastern mourners. But again, they were thwarted, for their companions refused to chime in with the mournful cry and to beat their breasts.

So the disappointed children complained: 'We piped unto you and ye did not dance; we wailed, and ye did not mourn. Nothing pleases you. If you don't want to dance, why don't you mourn?

Matthew 11:18 "For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil."

"For John came neither eating nor drinking" This and the following verse are an explanation of the foregoing "parable"; and this shows, that John and his disciples are the persons that mourned, of which his austere life was a proof: for when he "came", being sent of God, and appeared as a public preacher, he was "neither eating nor drinking".

Not that he did not eat or drink at all, otherwise he could not have lived, and discharged his office: but he ate sparingly, very little; and what he did eat and drink, was not the common food and drink of men; he neither ate bread nor drank wine, but lived upon locusts and wild honey; he excused all invitations to people's houses, and shunned all feasts and entertainments.

So they say he hath a devil; is a demoniac, a madman, one that is unsociable and melancholy; under a delusion of Satan, and influenced by him to abstain from proper food and company of men, under a pretense of religion.

Matthew 11:19 "The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children."

Jesus was saying John the Baptist came denying himself everything, and you said he had a devil. Jesus told them He was the opposite of John, and they still criticized. The Scripture indicated the reason they did not understand all of this was because of the scales over their eyes.

The only kind of wisdom that we can understand is the wisdom that Christ gives us. If you eat, it must be unto the Lord. If you fast, it must be unto the Lord.

Verses 20-24: The denunciation of Galilean cities that follows is recorded also by Luke, but in a different context (see Luke 10:13-16). "Chorazin" was about an hour's journey on foot north of "Capernaum. "Bethsaida" was on the west side of the Sea of Galilee, about three miles southeast of Chorazin.

"Tyre" and "Sidon" are both on the Mediterranean coast beyond the northern boundary of Palestine. "Shalt be brought down to hell:" The statement here is an allusion to (Isaiah 14:13-15), where it is spoken of the king of Babylon and probably refers to Satan himself.

Matthew 11:20 "Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not:"

Sometimes, people are so grounded and rooted in their sins that there is no possible way to get them to repent. If Jesus couldn't do it, what makes us think that we can? Even with all the miracles He did, they did not repent of their sins and get saved.

Matthew 11:21 "Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes."

"Woe unto you, Chorazin ... Bethsaida": Both were cities very close to Capernaum, near the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee.

"Tyre ... Sidon": Phoenician cities on the shore of the Mediterranean. The prophecy about the destruction of Type and Sidon in (Ezek. 26-28), was fulfilled in precise detail.

Verses 22-24: "More tolerable": This indicates that there will be degrees of punishment in hell for the ungodly (Mark 6:11; Luke 12:47-48; Heb. 10:29).

Matthew 11:22 "But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you."

Both Tyre and Sidon were Phoenician cities. Though evil abounded in this area, and they had been punished, still the miracles had not been prevalent there. The sad thing was when the miracles "were" done, the people quickly forgot what God has done for them.

That is even so in our churches today. God does one miracle right after the other, and if it didn't happen in the last five minutes, we tend to forget. If we have come face to face with the opportunity to repent and be saved, and we reject it, we are without excuse before God.

Matthew 11:23 "And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day."

"Capernaum ... exalted ... brought down": Capernaum, chosen by Jesus to be His headquarters, faced an even greater condemnation. Curiously, there is no record that the people of that city ever mocked or ridiculed Jesus, ran Him out of town, or threatened His life. Yet the sin of that city, indifference to Christ, was worse than Sodom's gross wickedness (10:15).

Matthew 11:24 "But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee."

This was just another reprimand of a city that did not listen.

Matthew 11:25 "At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes."

"Wise and prudent ... babes": There is sarcasm in these words as the Jewish leaders are ironically identified as wise and intelligent and the followers of Christ as the infants (18:3, 10), yet God has revealed to those followers the truth of the Messiah and His gospel (13:10-17).

I really believe this Scripture was saying that too much education by the world can get you to the point that God cannot reveal things to you, because you feel that you already know all that there is to know about the Bible. Some of the greatest Bible interpreters of all had no formal education. They were taught by the Holy Spirit of God.

I am convinced that because the Bible is just one of many books studied, that a person gets confused which is the authority. If we could just learn to depend on the Holy Spirit to teach us, as Jesus did the early disciples, we would be just fine.

Matthew 11:26 "Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight."

"It seemed good in thy sight": Luke 10:21-22. This is a powerful affirmation of the sovereignty of God over all the affairs of men and in the verse that follows. Christ claimed that the task of executing the divine will had been committed to Him, a claim that would be utterly blasphemous if Jesus were anything less than sovereign God Himself.

Matthew 11:27 "All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and [he] to whomsoever the Son will reveal [him]."

So you can easily see that only Jesus, His Father, and the Holy Ghost can really reveal anything to us. Head knowledge will never do. It has to be in our hearts and be a part of us for us to understand, and only God can give us that.

Verses 28-30: "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden": There is an echo of the first beatitude (5:3), in this passage. Note that this is an open invitation to all who hear, but phrased in such a way that the only ones who will respond to the invitation are those who are burdened by their own spiritual bankruptcy and the weight of trying to save themselves by keeping the law.

The stubbornness of humanity's sinful rebellion is such that without a sovereignly-bestowed spiritual awakening, all sinners refuse to acknowledge the depth of their spiritual poverty. That is why, as Jesus said in verse 27, our salvation is the sovereign work of God. But the truth of divine election in verse 27 is not incompatible with the free offer to all in verses 28-30).

Matthew 11:28-29 "Come unto me, all [ye] that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls."

"Ye shall find rest": I.e., from the endless, fruitless effort to save oneself by the works of the law (Heb. 4:1-3, 6, 9-11). This speaks of a permanent respite in the grace of God which is apart from works (verse 30).

Matthew 11:30 "For my yoke [is] easy, and my burden is light."

Jesus' call has always been to those in need. The sooner we learn to lay our cares on Jesus, the better off we are. He can take care of all our problems, if we just depend totally upon Him.

Matthew Chapter 11 Questions

1. After Jesus dispatched the disciples, what did He do?

2. Where was John when he heard?

3. What was happening to John?

4. What did Jesus tell John's disciples?

5. Who did Jesus preach to?

6. What does the Scripture say in John 14:11?

7. What is the difference in the ways Jesus healed and what we do today?

8. What is the criteria required for us to heal?

9. In John 14:13, who is glorified?

10. What was proof of who Jesus was?

11. Why did John need reassurance?

12. What did the people think about John's clothing?

13. What did prophets usually wear?

14. If these people of God are not the high and mighty, why does God send them?

15. Jesus said John was great on earth, but what about heaven?

16. Who was John?

17. What is Matthew 11:12 saying?

18. Who did Jesus say John was?

19. What causes a person to read a Scripture and not understand?

20. What 2 things did John come not doing?

21. What did the people call Jesus?

22. If you eat or fast, it must be unto whom?

23. Why was Jesus upbraiding the cities?

24. What would have happened in Tyre and Sidon, if the mighty miracles had been done there?

25. When do we become without excuse before God?

26. Jesus said the secrets of God are hidden from the wise and prudent and revealed to whom?

27. These Bible scholars, who had no formal education, were taught of whom?

28. Who is the only one who understands the Son?

29. What kind of knowledge is important?

30. Where can we find rest for our souls?

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Matthew 12

Matthew Chapter 12

Verses 1-9: "The Sabbath day" is the seventh day of the week, corresponding to our Saturday (Mark 2:23 - 3:6; Luke 6:1-11). However, it begins at sunset on Friday and lasts until the following sunset. The Pharisees had burdened the Sabbath with a multitude of detailed observances that were not laid down in the Mosaic Law.

In responding to their legalistic traditions, Jesus always referred to Scripture. "Have ye not read?" The passage referred to is 1 Sam. 21:1-6. The Lord makes the point that in the case of necessity the ceremonial law might be overruled.

He uses the illustration of David eating the "showbread." These loaves were placed on the table in the holy place in the tabernacle each Sabbath. They were to be eaten only by the priest and his family (Lev. 24:5-9; Num. 28:9).

The priests prepared the sacrifices on the Sabbath despite the general prohibition of work. If the necessities of temple worship permitted the priests to "profane the Sabbath," there was more reason why the service of Christ would allow a similar liberty.

Matthew 12:1-2 "At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungered, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat." "But when the Pharisees saw [it], they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day."

"Not lawful to do upon the Sabbath": Actually, no law prohibited the plucking of grain in order to eat on the Sabbath. Gleaning handfuls of grain from a neighbor's field to satisfy one's immediate hunger was explicitly permitted (Deut. 23:25). What was prohibited was labor for the sake of profit. Thus, a farmer could not harvest for profit on the Sabbath, but an individual could glean enough grain to eat.

These Pharisees were caught up in the law. They did not realize that the Word of God had taken the form of flesh, and this was He that was walking through the corn field. These Pharisees were so caught up in the "thou shalt nots" in the Bible, they had no time to do anything for God.

Matthew 12:3 "But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungered, and they that were with him;"

"He said": Jesus' answer (in verses 3-8), points out that the Sabbath laws do not restrict deeds of necessity (verses 3-4); service to God (verses 5-6), or acts of mercy (verses 7-8). He reaffirmed that the Sabbath was made for man's benefit and God's glory. It was never intended to be a yoke of bondage to the people of God (Mark 2:27).

Matthew 12:4 "How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?"

"The showbread": The consecrated bread of the Presence, 12 loaves baked fresh each Sabbath, which was usually eaten by the priests only (Lev. 24:5-9). God was not offended by David's act, done to satisfy a legitimate need when his men were weak with hunger (1 Sam. 21:4-6).

Matthew 12:5 "Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?"

"Profane the Sabbath, and are blameless": I.e., the priests have to do their work on the Sabbath, proving that some aspects of the Sabbath restrictions are not inviolable moral absolutes, but rather precepts pertaining to the ceremonial features of the law.

You see, what Jesus was trying to get them to do was to understand the "spirit" of the law, and not the "literal" law.

Matthew 12:6 "But I say unto you, That in this place is [one] greater than the temple."

"Greater than the temple": This was a straightforward claim of deity The Lord Jesus was God incarnate - God dwelling in human flesh - far superior to a building which God merely visited.

Jesus was trying to explain that the building is not what we should worship. We are to worship Him with our spirit.

Matthew 12:7 "But if ye had known what [this] meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless."

"Mercy, and not sacrifice": This phrase was commonly used as a rebuke for those who did not know something they should have known. The verse Jesus cites is (Hos. 6:6; 1 Sam. 15:22; Mic. 6:6-8), which emphasizes the absolute priority of the law's moral standards over the ceremonial requirements.

Matthew 12:8 "For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day."

"The Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath": Christ has the prerogative to rule over not only their man-made Sabbatarian rules, but also over the Sabbath itself, which was designed for worshiping God. Again, this was an inescapable claim of deity, and as such it prompted the Pharisees' violent outrage (verse 14).

You see, if they truly understood God, they would have realized who Jesus was and would have not criticized Him for anything. He was not subject to their ordinances.

Verses 10-27: "Withered" (shriveled): Luke 6 shows that this incident occurred on a different Sabbath. However, the objection of the Pharisees on this occasion was ultimately the same. They were in opposition to Jesus' healing on the Sabbath. The reference to "their synagogue" (verse 9), indicates that in this particular synagogue the Pharisees were predominant.

Matthew 12:9-10 "And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue:" "And, behold, there was a man which had [his] hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him."

These religious people were trying to find some reason to get rid of Him. They knew that Jesus would not let the Sabbath keep Him from helping someone in need.

Matthew 12:11-12 "And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift [it] out?" "How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days."

He was telling these people, in a way that they could understand, what He was doing. They had sheep, and He knew that if they had a sheep missing, they would go and find him, even on the Sabbath. Jesus is our Shepherd, and we are His sheep. He takes care of His sheep.

Matthew 12:13 "Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched [it] forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other."

Obedience to Jesus brings restoration. This was the case here, as well. As soon as this man did what Jesus said, His hand was restored.

Matthew 12:14 "Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him."

The Pharisee's were jealous. They had no power like this in their lives.

Matthew 12:15 "But when Jesus knew [it], he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all;"

"He healed them all": In all of Old Testament history there was never a time or a person who exhibited such extensive healing power. Physical healings were very rare in the Old Testament.

Christ chose to display His deity by healing, raising the dead, and liberating people from demons. That not only showed the Messiah's power over the physical and spiritual realms, but also demonstrated the compassion of God toward those affected by sin.

Matthew 12:16 "And charged them that they should not make him known:"

"Charged them that they should not make him known": Here Christ seems concerned about the potential zealotry of those who would try to press Him into the conquering-hero mold that the rabbinical experts had made out of messianic prophecy.

These people would not accept the Savior, so He just moved on to others who would. The reason He did not want it told, was so He could work freely.

Matthew 12:17-18 "That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying," "Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles."

"Verses 18-21 are (quoted from Isaiah 42:1-4), to demonstrate that (contrary to the typical first-century rabbinical expectations), the Messiah would not arrive with political agendas, military campaigns, and great fanfare, but with gentleness and meekness, declaring righteousness even "to the Gentiles."

Matthew 12:19 "He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets."

"Not strive, nor cry": The Messiah would not try to stir up a revolution or force His way into power.

Matthew 12:20 "A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory."

"Bruised reed ... smoking flax": The reed was used by shepherds to fashion a small musical instrument. Once cracked or worn, it was useless.

A smoldering wick "flax" was also useless for giving light. These represent people who are deemed useless by the world. Christ's work was to restore and rekindle such people, not to "break" them. This speaks of His tender compassion toward the lowliest of the lost. He came not to gather the strong for a revolution, but to show mercy to the weak. (1 Cor. 1:26-29).

Matthew 12:21 "And in his name shall the Gentiles trust."

Jesus will not force Himself on anyone, but when the religious Jews turned Him down, He turned to the Gentiles.

Matthew 12:22-23 "Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw." "And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David?"

These people knew Jesus as one of them. They thought He was only flesh and blood. They knew for sure that they could not heal this man. They did not realize whose presence they were in.

Matthew 12:24 "But when the Pharisees heard [it], they said, This [fellow] doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils."

"Beelzebub": After all the displays of Jesus' deity, the Pharisees declared that He was from Satan, exactly opposite the truth, and they knew it (9:34; Mark 3:22; Luke 11:15).

This was really a ridiculous statement. The devil would not cast himself out. He does not want us to be free.

Matthew 12:25 "And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:"

The reasoning of the Pharisees (in Matthew 12:24), was not expressed verbally, and Jesus, knowing their thoughts, gave them here ample proof of his omniscience. This, with our Lord's masterly confutation of their reasoning, by a conclusion drawn from their own premises, one would have supposed might have humbled and convinced these men.

Mark 3:23 "And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan drive out Satan?"

"And Jesus knew their thoughts": He not only heard their blasphemous words, but was privy to their secret thoughts. He knew their vile malicious intentions and designs, with what view they expressed themselves in this manner, on purpose to reproach him.

And set the people against him, contrary to the inward light of their minds, and dictates of their consciences; who must, and did know the contrary of what they said: and regarding the inward frame of their minds, as well as their words, and which is a proof of his omniscience, and so of his deity, and consequently of his Messiahship.

But the most conclusive reasoning, and the most astonishing miracles, was lost upon a people who were obstinately determined to disbelieve everything good, relative to Christ. How true the saying, He came unto his own, and his own received him not!

A soul under Satan's power, and led captive by him, is blind in the things of God, and dumb at the throne of grace; sees nothing, and says nothing to the purpose. Satan blinds the eyes by unbelief, and seals up the lips from prayer. The more people magnified Christ, the more desirous the Pharisees were to vilify him. It was evident that if Satan aided Jesus in casting out devils, the kingdom of hell was divided against itself; how then could it stand!

Matthew 12:26 And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?"

If Satan is divided against himself; he acts contrary to his own interest, which is to keep possession of the bodies and souls of men; and consequently, it must in course, be subversive of his power and dominion:

"How shall then his kingdom stand?": He will never be able to maintain his authority, and keep up the show of a government, as he does: Our Lord's argument, and which is his first, for others follow, is, that since Satan, who is so cunning and crafty, can never be thought to act such an opposite part to himself.

Subversive of his kingdom and government; and which would give so much credit to Christ, and serve so much to strengthen his interest, as to assist him in the casting out of devils; the weakness, and maliciousness of such a suggestion, must be clear and evident to all.

Matthew 12:27 "And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast [them] out? Therefore they shall be your judges."

It was evident that if Satan aided Jesus in casting out devils, the kingdom of hell was divided against itself; how then could it stand! And if they said that Jesus cast out devils by the prince of the devils, they could not prove that their children cast them out by any other power.

"Therefore they shall be your judges": - They condemn you and your argument. They are conclusive witnesses against the force of your reasoning.

Christ was not satisfied by showing them the intrinsic absurdity of their argument. He showed them that it might as well be applied to them as to him. Your disciples taught by you and encouraged by you, pretend to cast out devils.

If your argument be true that a man who casts out devils must be in league with the devil, then "your disciples", and you who taught them, have made a covenant with him also. You must therefore either give up this argument, or admit that the working of miracles is proof of the assistance of God.

Verses 28-30: "The kingdom of God:" Matthew's usual expression is the "kingdom of heaven" (3:2). Some have attempted to distinguish between the meaning of the two, but they likely mean the same thing.

"Is come unto you" (literally "has come upon you"): The Lord's power over demons was evidence enough that He was the Messiah. Hence, "spoil his goods ... house", refers to Satan as being defeated or ruined by the capture of souls from him for Christ by the gospel.

Matthew 12:28 "But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you."

"The Kingdom of God is come": That was precisely true. The King was in their midst, displaying His sovereign power. He showed it by demonstrating His ability to bind Satan and his demons (verse 29).

He was warning them here, that they were speaking out against God.

Matthew 12:29 "Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? And then he will spoil his house."

The "strong man", is meant the devil (see Isaiah 49:24), who is powerful and mighty, as appears from his nature, being an angel, though a fallen one, excelling in strength.

This is another argument of Christ's proving that his casting out of devils could not be by Satan, but by the Spirit of God. For if he did not act by any superior power to Satan's, and such by which he was able to master, overcome, and bind him, he could never spoil his goods, as he did.

Or dispossess devils out of the bodies or souls of men: just as if a man should enter into another man's house, who is strong and robust, with a design to spoil his goods. Who would never make use of the man himself to do it, and can never be thought to effect it, unless he has a power superior to his, and uses it;

Matthew 12:30 "He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad."

You cannot straddle the fence. You are either the friend of Christ, helping win souls to Him, or you are His enemy, driving people away from God. There is no middle road. We cannot go uncommitted.

Matthew Chapter 12 Questions

  1. What day was it when Jesus went through the corn field?
  2. What did the disciples do? Why
  3. What did the Pharisees say about it?
  4. The Pharisees are caught up in what?
  5. What did David do when he was hungry?
  6. On the Sabbath, the priests do what?
  7. What is Jesus trying to get them to do pertaining to the law?
  8. In verse 6, Jesus is greater than what?
  9. Finish this statement. For the son of man is Lord _______ ____ _____ _____________ ______.
  10. When Jesus left these men, where did He go?
  11. Why did they ask Jesus if it was lawful to heal on the Sabbath?
  12. What animal did Jesus use to give them an example of why He healed on the Sabbath?
  13. Jesus is our ___________.
  14. What brings restoration?
  15. The author's assumption of what was wrong with them was they were what?
  16. After the incident, when Jesus healed them all, He said what?
  17. Why?
  18. When they would not accept Him, what did He do?
  19. Who prophesied about this ahead of time?
  20. Jesus was tired of the stiff-necked church and turned to whom?
  21. The people were amazed when Jesus healed the dumb man, why?
  22. What was the Pharisees' statement about healing the dumb?
  23. What did Jesus say to them to make them realize how ridiculous their statement was?
  24. If this was the Spirit of God, what had happened?
  25. What we do first, before we cast out the demon?
  26. If you are not for Jesus, you are___________,
  27. You are either the friend of Jesus or you are His __________.

Matthew Chapter 12 Continued

Verses 31-38: "The blasphemy against the Holy Ghost" is deliberate rejection of Christ, His Spirit-wrought miracles, and His salvation. It is the ultimate sin that by its very nature puts a man beyond the opportunity of salvation.

The Holy Spirit brings the offer of salvation to the heart of man. To reject Him is to act "presumptuously" and thus to "blaspheme" God. Those who reject His offer of salvation are in reality blaspheming the very nature of God Himself and the genuineness of His grace.

Verses 31-32: All sin is serious, and to some degree challenges and attacks the character and authority of God. But six sins are specifically identified as sins against the Holy Spirit. Since the Holy Spirit is a person, He may be sinned against.

Matthew 12:31 "Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy [against] the [Holy] Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men."

"Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost": The sin He was confronting was the Pharisees' deliberate rejection of that which they knew to be of God (John 11:48; Acts 4:16). They could not deny the reality of what the Holy Spirit had done through Him, so they attributed to Satan a work that they know was of God (verse 24; Mark 3:22).

Since He is also God, it is an extremely serious matter to be guilty of sinning against Him. These six sins are blaspheming (verses 31-32; Luke 12:10), lying or tempting (Acts 5:4, 9); despising (Heb. 10:29); resisting or striving with (Gen. 6:3; Acts 7:51), vexing or grieving (Isa. 63:10; Eph. 4:30), and quenching (1 Thess. 5:19), the Holy Spirit.

Because of the severity with which Jesus describes blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, some people unnecessarily fear that they may have committed the unpardonable sin.

One of the characteristics of such sin is that the Holy Spirit ceases to convict of sin in one's life, so the fact that someone may be concerned about a particular sin indicates he is not beyond grace. He should immediately repent of that sin to restore fellowship with God.

The keys to not sinning against the Holy Spirit are to:

  1. Be led by the Spirit;
  2. Be filled with the Spirit;
  3. Be illuminated by the Spirit.

This is probably, the most misunderstood Scripture in the Bible. My own dad felt he had committed this sin. Billy Graham said, on one of his broadcasts, that his dad felt he had committed this sin. Just the fact that a person is concerned about it, proves he has never committed the unpardonable sin.

The word translated means evil speaking. Then it goes on to say speaking evil of the Holy Ghost cannot be forgiven. My interpretation of the Scripture is as long as you are alive; you can get forgiveness for sin of any kind. However, if you die rejecting the salvation offered, there is no forgiveness for that.

People are too concerned about this. God wants our faith that everything is ok, not doubt.

Matthew 12:32 "And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the [world] to come."

"It shall be forgiven him": Someone never exposed to Christ's divine power and presence might reject Him in ignorance and be forgiven, assuming the unbelief gives way to genuine repentance. Even a Pharisee such as Saul of Tarsus could be forgiven for speaking against Jesus or persecuting His followers, because his unbelief stemmed from ignorance (1 Tim. 1:13).

But those who know His claims are true and reject Him anyway "sin against the Holy Spirit" because it is the Holy Spirit who testifies of Christ and makes His truth known to us (John 15:26; 16:14-15). No forgiveness was possible for these Pharisees who witnessed His miracles first hand, knew the truth of His claims, and still blasphemed the Holy Spirit, because they had already reject the fullest possible revelation.

I think to really understand this; we would have to know and understand who the Holy Ghost is. Jesus said He would send a comforter (Holy Ghost - "same as the Holy Spirit"), to come and dwell with us. The Holy Ghost teaches us, directs us, and comforts us. To deny the Holy Ghost would be to deny our salvation.

We are saved by faith, not doubt. To speak against the Holy Ghost in this manner spoken of here, we would have to be unsaved, thus lost! No Christian is guilty of that sin.

Matthew 12:33 "Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by [his] fruit."

A man that is unprincipled with the grace of God, has an experimental acquaintance with the Gospel of Christ. And is guided by the Spirit of God into all truth, as it is in Jesus, cannot knowingly deliver, maintain, and abide by any doctrine that is contrary to the glory of God's grace. And the person of Christ, the work of the Spirit, the fundamental doctrines of the Bible. Or what is repugnant to the experiences of God's people, and prejudicial to their souls.

Neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. A corrupt preacher, one destitute of the truth of the Gospel, reprobate concerning the faith. Who never had any experience of the doctrines of grace, and denies them in the theory of them, cannot, consistent with himself, and his own principles, deliver, or preach good doctrine. Or that which tends to produce any good fruit, either in the experience or lives of men.

Yea, a man may say, You have faith, and I have works: show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works (James 2:18).

Matthew 12:34-35 "O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." "A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things."

"O generation of vipers!": Christ here applies the argument which he had suggested in the previous verse. They were a wicked race; like poisonous reptiles, with a corrupt and evil nature. They could not be expected to speak good things, that is, to speak favorably of him and his works. As the bad fruit of a tree was the proper effect of its "nature," so were their words about him and his works the proper effect of their nature. The "abundance" or fullness of the "heart" produced the words of the lips.

"Out of the abundance" (the overflowing), of the heart: - Wicked words and sinful actions may be considered as the overflowing of a heart that is more than full of the spirit of wickedness; and holy words and righteous deeds may be considered as the overflowing of a heart that is filled with the Holy Spirit, and running over with love to God and man.

Matthew 3:7 "But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?"

Matthew 12:36 "But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment."

"Every idle word": The most seemingly insignificant sin, even the slip of the tongue, carries the full potential of all hell's evil (James 3:6). No infraction against God's holiness is therefore a trifling thing and each person will ultimately give account of every such indiscretion.

There is no truer indication of a bad tree than the bad fruit of speech (verses 33, 35). The poisonous snakes were known by their poisonous mouths revealing evil hearts (verse 34, Luke 6:45). Every person is judged by his words, because they reveal the state of his heart.

Matthew 12:37 "For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned."

"By thy words thou shalt be justified": That is, "words" are the indication of the true principles of the heart; by "words" the heart shall be known, as the tree is by its fruit. If they are true, proper, chaste, instructive, pious, they will prove that the heart is right. If false, envious, malignant, and impious, they will prove that the heart is wrong, and will therefore be among the causes of condemnation.

Acquitted or condemned in the Day of Judgment. To justify is the opposite of "to condemn". Those who confess Christ with the mouth (Rom. 10:9), shall be saved; those who deny him will be lost. Words have a weighty influence on our eternal destiny.

Romans 10:9-10 "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."

Matthew 12:38 "Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee."

"We would see a sign from thee": They were hoping for a sign of astronomical proportions (Luke 11:16). Instead, he gives them a "sign" from Scripture.

These scribes and Pharisees were like so many people of our day who say "Lord, just show me Noah's Ark with my own two eyes, and then I will believe it existed". Fact is not faith. If you can see it with your own eyes, it takes no faith to believe.

This was almost ridiculous for them to call Him Master. A person does what his Master says without having everything explained. This was not the case here.

Verses 39-42: The word "adulterous" means unfaithful to God. It was a metaphor frequently used in the Old Testament for spiritual "adultery."

"The prophet Jonah:" Jesus uses Jonah's burial in the fish for "three days and three nights" as an illustration of the three days and three nights that Christ would spend in the grave Himself. The actual period was from Friday evening to Sunday morning (covering parts of three days idiomatically).

The reference to the "whale's belly" in verse 40 of the Authorized Version is unfortunate. The Greek work ketos means "a great sea creature," not necessarily a whale. The Old Testament references are to a "great fish" (Jonah 1:17). Notice that the Lord placed this entire account on the same level of historical reality as that with which He Himself was dealing.

Matthew 12:39 "But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:"

"An evil and adulterous generation": This speaks of spiritual adultery, unfaithfulness to God (Jer. 5:7-8).

Jesus reprimanded them for always wanting a sign. Jesus wants our faith. He called those who continuously had to have a sign an evil and adulterous generation. This adultery here, is spiritual rather than physical.

The sign Jesus was speaking of here, was Jonah being in the belly of the whale three days and nights. Jesus would be in the belly of the earth 3 days and nights.

Matthew 12:40 "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."

"Three days and three nights": Quoted from (Jonah 1:17). This sort of expression was a common way of underscoring the prophetic significance of a period to time. An expression like "forty days and forty nights" may in some cases simply refer to a period of time longer than a month.

"Three days and three nights" was an emphatic way of saying "three days," and by Jewish reckoning this would be an apt way of expressing a period of time that includes parts of 3 days. Thus, if Christ was crucified on a Friday, and His resurrection occurred on the first day of the week, by Hebrew reckoning this would qualify as 3 days and 3 nights.

All sorts of elaborate schemes have been devised to suggest that Christ might have died on a Wednesday or Thursday, just to accommodate the extreme literal meaning of these words. But the original meaning would not have required that sort of wooden interpretation.

Matthew 12:41 "The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and, behold, a greater than Jonah [is] here."

"Men of Nineveh ... repented": The revival in Nineveh under Jonah's' preaching was one of the most extraordinary spiritual revivals the world has ever seen. Some have suggested that the repentance of the Ninevites stopped short of saving faith, because the city reverted within one generation to its old pagan ways (Nahum 3:7-8).

From Jesus' words here however, it is clear that the revival under Jonah represented authentic saving conversions. Only eternity will reveal how many souls from that one generation were swept into the kingdom as a result of the revival.

Jonah was a reluctant preacher. He did not think the people of Nineveh were worth saving, but after being swallowed by the whale, he obeyed God and warned Nineveh. The people fasted in sackcloth and ashes, and God spared them.

Matthew 12:42 "The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon [is] here."

"Queen of the south": The queen of Sheba came to see Solomon's glory and in the process encountered the glory of Solomon's God (1 Kings 10:9).

The wisdom of Solomon was a gift from God. Jesus possesses all wisdom. The Queen of Sheba came to Solomon who had less wisdom than Jesus, and yet no one recognized the vast wisdom of Jesus. In fact, only a hand full of His followers was there when He was crucified.

Verses 43-45: Jesus gives a striking parable of the precarious spiritual condition of the nation. The parable is that of a house well "swept" but unoccupied. The demon having been driven out, but finding no place to rest, returns with seven other spirits, resulting in an even greater degeneration. Only by inviting Christ to be the honored guest and head of the home, could Israel know the full blessing of God.

Matthew 12:43-45 "When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none." "Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth [it] empty, swept, and garnished." "Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last [state] of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation."

The application of these three verses is found in even so it shall be unto this wicked generation, the Jews. With an occasional tendency to repentance, as under the preaching of John, they became worse and worse until they crucified the Lord and were destroyed.

A man with an unclean spirit, a demon, is chosen to represent them. He goeth out (transient repentance), returns with seven other evil spirits worse than himself (a relapse into sin), and the last state is worse than the first, more wicked and more wretched. So generally, with those who dally with sin.

This parable represents the case of the Jewish church and nation. It is also applicable to all those who hear the word of God and are in part reformed, but not truly converted. The unclean spirit leaves for a time, but when he returns, he finds Christ is not there to shut him out.

The heart is swept by outward reformation, but garnished by preparation to comply with evil suggestions, and the man becomes a more decided enemy of the truth. Every heart is the residence of unclean spirits, except those which are temples of the Holy Ghost, by faith in Christ.

This is saying that when a person is delivered from a demonic spirit, the very first thing to do is to fill the vacancy with the Holy Spirit of God. The person delivered must immediately start reading the Bible and getting filled with the Words of the Bible. If the vacancy, where the evil spirit comes out of, is not immediately filled with the good Spirit, the evil will come back and bring more evil spirits with him.

Verses 46-50: The chapter closes with a reference to "my mother and my brethren." These brothers are presumably the children of Joseph and Mary born after the virgin birth of Jesus. While some have attempted to view them as cousins, this certainly is not implied in the Gospels. By asking, "Who is my mother?" Jesus called attention away from earthly relationships to more important spiritual relationships.

This saying was not intended to be one of disrespect to Mary or to His brothers, for they too would come to share the spiritual relationship. However, there is no suggestion here at all that Jesus' mother had any special access to His presence or any particular influence over Him.

By using this startling question, Jesus prepared the crowd to receive the precious truth that "whosoever shall do the will of my Father" was, in fact, His mother, His brother and His sister.

Matthew 12:46 "While he yet talked to the people, behold, [his] mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him."

"Brethren": These are actual siblings (half-brothers), of Jesus. Matthew explicitly connects them with Mary, indicating that they were not cousins or Joseph's sons from a previous marriage, as some of the church fathers imagined. They are mentioned in all the gospel (Mark 3:31; Luke 8:19-21; John 7:3-5). Matthew and Mark give the names of 4 of Jesus's brothers, and mention that He had sisters as well (13:55; Mark 6:3).

Matthew 12:47-49 "Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee." "But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?" "And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!"

Jesus was not repudiating His earthly family (John 19:26-27). Rather He was emphasizing the supremacy and eternality of spiritual relationships (10:37). After all, even His own family needed Him as Savior (John 7:5).

Matthew 12:50 "For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother."

"Do the will of my Father": This is not salvation by works. Doing the will of God is the evidence of salvation by grace.

All of this was said and done to make us know there is a physical family, and there is a spiritual family. The family that God counts as a family is the relationship of brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus Christ. There is a physical Israel and a spiritual Israel.

Matthew Chapter 12 Continued Questions

  1. Will blasphemy be forgiven men?Explain.
  2. Which is the most misunderstood Scripture in the Bible?
  3. If a person is concerned about having committed the unforgivable sin, what does that tell us?
  4. What is there really no forgiveness for?
  5. To deny the Holy Ghost would be to deny what?
  6. What are three things the Holy Ghost does for us?
  7. A tree is known for what?
  8. If you are a Christian, what should tell it for you?
  9. Out of the ___________ of the _______ the mouth speaketh.
  10. What will come out of our mouths when we open them?
  11. What justifies us, or condemns us?
  12. What did the scribes and Pharisees ask for?
  13. What did they call Jesus?
  14. Fact is not ______________.
  15. Who seeks after a sign?
  16. What kind of adultery is meant by this?
  17. What is the only sign they would get?
  18. Why did Jonah change his mind about bringing the message to Nineveh?
  19. Why did this queen come to see Solomon?
  20. The gift was given Solomon by whom?
  21. This unclean spirit, mentioned in verse 43, was doing what?
  22. Where do these disembodied spirits like to stay?
  23. How many more spirits will he bring back, if the one delivered allows him to return?
  24. What would be the last state of that person?
  25. Who came to see Jesus?
  26. What did Jesus say about these relations?
  27. What 2 things should we learn from this?
  28. What are 2 types of Israel?

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Matthew 13

Matthew Chapter 13

Verses 13:1-3: On one of the busiest days of Jesus' earthly ministry He gave an extended series of parables, (seven in Matthew and four in Mark, including one not given in Matthew). This is the turning point in Matthew's gospel. Already sensing His impending rejection, Jesus now expresses the "mystery" form of the kingdom that will feature the church.

His early ministry involved a proclamation of the spiritual principles of the kingdom. To bring in a political kingdom before men were born again would be a travesty. Therefore, an interval is now announced between the Messiah's original appearance and His final return.

That interval is the church age, during which believers are citizens of the kingdom that is within them (Luke 17:21).

This is the third of 5 discourses featured in Matthew.

Matthew 13:1-2 "The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side." "And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore."

He had probably, been resting in Peter's home, which was right on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. This multitude of people had probably, been waiting for Jesus to appear again out of the house. He was so pressed by the large number, that He cast out a little way from the shore. His voice would carry well across the water, as well.

Verses 3-10: The first parable is set in an agricultural context. "A sower went forth" refers to the ancient seed sower, planting a crop. Jesus later interpreted this parable Himself. The seed depicts the Word of God (verse 19), and thus the sower is the gospel evangelist.

The "way side" is the path trampled through the field. It was packed hard and the seed found no root, thus the "fowls" (demons; verse 19, wicked ones), snatched it away. Here there was no response at all to the gospel.

The second category is called "stony places" or the rocky ledge beneath a thin, shallow layer of soil. This thin crust would warm quickly causing the seed to sprout instantly but without adequate roots or moisture. Thus, the "sun ... scorched" the crop and it "withered away."

The third group of seeds fell "among thorns" that had not been plowed. The thorns (wild growth), choked out the crop. The "good ground" represents well-plowed and prepared soil capable of producing a large crop. The statement "Who hath ears to hear" goes beyond physical hearing and implies an inner spiritual reception of truth.

This prompted the disciples to ask why He had spoken to them in parables. Whereas before, He had used parables to illustrate His messages, now they formed the basis of the message.

Matthew 13:3 "And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;"

This section introduces a new subject, a new approach, and a new method of teaching by parables. "He spake ... in parables," a common method of teaching in the Near East, used to convey spiritual truth through a series of earthly comparisons.

"Parables" were a common form of teaching in Judaism. The Greek term for "parable is "long analogy"; often cast in the form of a story. Before this point in His ministry, Jesus had employed many graphic analogies (5:13-16), but their meaning was fairly clear in the context of His teaching.

Parables required more explanation (verse 36), but their meaning was fairly clear in the context of His teaching, and Jesus employed them to obscure the truth from unbelievers while making it clearer to His disciples (verses 11-12). For the remainder of His Galilean ministry, He did not speak to the multitudes except in parables (verse 34).

Jesus' veiling the truth from unbelievers this way was both an act of judgment and an act of mercy. It was "judgment" because it kept them in the darkness that they loved (John 3:19), but it was "mercy" because they had already rejected the light, so any exposure to more truth would only increase their condemnation.

Matthew 13:4 "And when he sowed, some [seeds] fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:"

"By the way side": The fields were bordered by paths beaten hard by foot traffic and baking sun.

In this chapter, we will see seven parables; and we will see why Jesus spoke in parables. Parables are stories that have a deep hidden spiritual message. In this particular message, He was speaking about simple farming methods, so the educated would not discern what He was saying.

Jesus came to the common people. They would understand about sowing seeds. The explanation that Jesus gave was so excellent, that I won't go into much detail about the meaning here.

Matthew 13:5-6 "Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:" "And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away."

"Stony places": Very shallow soil atop a layer of bedrock. From the top, it looks fertile, but there is no depth to sustain a root system or reach water (verse 21).

Matthew 13:7 "And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:"

"Thorns": Weeds, the roots of which were still in the ground after plowing had been done.

Matthew 13:8 "But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some a hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold."

Jesus was describing the different types of people who hear the message of God and the effect it has on them. As He explained it in a few verses below, look at our church goers today, and you will be able to recognize every one you know.

The amazing thing to me, about the Bible is that it never goes out of date. It is just as current now, as was thousands of years ago. The message is the same, because God never changes.

Matthew 13:9 "Who hath ears to hear, let him hear."

This is an unusual statement, because we all have our two ears hanging on the sides of our head. In some cases, that is the only use (to decorate the head). You see, even though we hear with our physical ears, it does not mean that we receive the message in our inner being.

Jesus was saying, listen with your understanding and receive this message in your hearts. Those of you who are capable (Christians), receive the message that the world cannot understand. In other words, He was going to tell us a secret that would help us understand Him better.

Matthew 13:10 "And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?"

The disciples did not at first understand why Jesus did not just say exactly what He meant. Jesus did not want these unbelievers accepting the message with their minds. Jesus wants us to accept by faith (not earthly knowledge), the things of God.

This is the very reason that Noah's Ark has not been found and photographed for the whole world to see. God does not want our heads to believe; He wants our hearts.

Verses 11-13: The Savior's reply is that only the disciples are to know the "mysteries of the kingdom of heaven." A "mystery" in the Bible implies a sacred secret into which one must be initiated in order to understand it. The mystery revealed would be the new form of the kingdom during the interval between the first and second advents.

Matthew 13:11 "He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given."

"It has been given to you to know": Here Jesus clearly affirms that the ability to comprehend spiritual truth is a gracious gift of God, sovereignly bestowed on the elect (verse 11). The reprobate ones, on the other hand, are passed over. They reap the natural consequence of their own unbelief and rebellion, spiritual blindness (verse 13).

"The mysteries of the kingdom of heaven": "Mysteries" are those truths which have been hidden from all ages in the past and revealed in the New Testament. Many specific doctrines of the new Testament are identified as "mysteries" (Rom. 11:25; 1 Cor. 15:51; Eph. 5:32; 6:19; Col. 1:26-27; 2 Thess. 2:7; 1 Tim. 3:9, 16).

Jesus revealed to the people He wanted to know the mysteries. I have discovered that we never fully understand the mysteries of God. Every time I pick up the Bible and read a Scripture that I have read a hundred times before, God will reveal something brand new to me.

The more we search the Scriptures, the more we understand it seems. Some unsaved person can read the Bible over and over and still not understand. The Bible is a spiritual book, and can only be understood through the spirit.

Matthew 13:12 "For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath."

To me, this Scripture above is just saying, again, that if we have the Spirit of God within us, our understanding will grow and grow. On the other hand, if we reject the teacher (Holy Spirit), we won't even be able to retain what we read with our physical eyes.

Matthew 13:13 "Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand."

"Because they seeing see not": Here Matthew seems to suggest that their own unbelief is the cause of their spiritual blindness. (Luke 8:10), however, emphasizes God's initiative in obscuring the truth from these unbelievers ("to the rest it is parables, so that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand, Isaiah 6:9"). Both things are true, of course. Yet we are not to think that God blinds them because He somehow delights in their destruction (Ezek. 33:11).

Again here, Jesus was just explaining that a saved and unsaved person can look at the same thing and get two totally different messages. The unsaved has their understanding darkened, so that they do not understand.

Matthew 13:14 "And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:"

Quoted from (Isaiah 6:9-10). God is the same God in the Old Testament as He is in the New Testament. Isaiah was just saying the same thing again.

Matthew 13:15 "For this people's heart is waxed gross, and [their] ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with [their] eyes and hear with [their] ears, and should understand with [their] heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them."

You see above that these people had, on their own volition, closed their eyes and ears to the truth. They had to take the scales off their eyes and the stoppers out of their ears that they might see, hear, and understand. It all comes about at conversion to Christ.

Matthew 13:16 "But blessed [are] your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear."

It is a blessing from God to be able to see, hear, and understand the Scriptures. The Holy Spirit must be our teacher and our guide. This is a free gift from God; to the blessed of God.

Matthew 13:17 "For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous [men] have desired to see [those things] which ye see, and have not seen [them]; and to hear [those things] which ye hear, and have not heard [them]."

(John 8:56; 1 Peter 1:9-12).

You see, in the Old Testament there was a shadow covering the truth. The way to the Holy place was not open to them. The temple's curtain had not been torn. They understood only in part. They knew God only through the priest in the temple. The great High Priest of all eternity had not come to them yet.

Verses 18-19: Jesus interpreted this parable Himself (in verses 18-23). "The sower" is Christ working through the agency of His disciples to spread the gospel throughout the world. No longer is the message to be restricted to the house of Israel,