A Glimpse of His Glory

February 10, 2016 at 1:10 pm | Posted in Matthew | 10 Comments
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In Matthew Chapter 17 the King gives His closest followers a glimpse of His glory. In Chapter 16 He had told them:

For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

Matthew 16:27

They would get a preview of this glory very soon.

Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom. And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.

Matthew 16:38-17:2

This is what is known as the “Transfiguration.” Transfiguration is change, but not from outward forces, like remodeling a building or plastic surgery. It is change from within – transformation, not conformation.

Christ is God, so all His glory is self-generated. We cannot produce our own glory; only He can.

While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.

Matthew 17:5

Part of God’s glory is His holiness. No one is like God. Here, He says that we should listen to and obey Christ because He is God incarnate.

And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.

Matthew 17:6

“Glory” also speaks of the “weight” of God – the magnitude of God. No one can stand in His presence – not even angels. We talk about “weightier” and “lighter” matters, and God is the “heaviest” subject about Whom we could ever speak.

The King’s glory helps us to understand the King’s power. The nine Disciples who had not gone up into the Mount of Transfiguration were now faced with a demon they couldn’t handle.

And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying, Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.

Matthew 17:14-16

They could not handle this demon because they had been guilty of a lack of discipline. They had not been praying and fasting. If the glory of the King – Who Himself was disciplined – doesn’t motivate us to be disciplined, then we can’t be trusted with the power of the King.

Now the Holy Spirit inspires Matthew, the former tax collector, to tell about what happened when the King was challenged to pay taxes. (Normally kings receive taxes!)

And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.

Matthew 17:24-27

The King not only disciplines Himself, but makes Himself a servant, paying taxes He does not rightfully owe, just to keep from causing trouble. Have you ever been asked to do something you really shouldn’t have to do? To put up with some nonsense you shouldn’t have to put up with? Remember the King – the GLORIOUS King – Who didn’t even have a half-shekel to pay His taxes.

The glory of the King is a necessary motivation to being a follower of the King – to doing what God said, and learning of His ways, and living His principles. This is the only recorded miracle in Jesus’s earthly ministry involving money, and the only miracle I can think of where the Bible doesn’t confirm that it actually happened. The King said He was going to do it, and Matthew, having understood something of His glory, just expects us to take it for granted that He did it. We are not even told if the precise miracle is that Jesus caused a fish to swallow a coin, and then caused that exact fish to be the one caught, or if He just created the coin, and exercised dominion of the fish to make it be caught.

Persistent in Prayer

November 30, 2015 at 12:28 pm | Posted in Matthew | 3 Comments
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In Matthew Chapter 15 we see Christ beginning to minister to the gentiles.

But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.

Matthew 15:18

You may have heard the expression, “You are what you eat.” This expression may be even more accurate spiritually than physically. There is a sense in which what we become – spiritually speaking – depends upon what type of spiritual food we have been consuming, and how we’ve been feeding our hearts. Then, what comes out of our mouths shows what we really are, because it comes from the heart.

For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man. Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.

Matthew 15:19-21

Tyre and Sidon were gentile lands.

And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.

Matthew 15:22

This woman was trying to show that she recognized Jesus’s divinity in the way that she addressed Him, even though she was not Jewish.

But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.

Matthew 15:23

Jesus’s initial refusal to answer her was not an act of cruelty or a lack of compassion. He did this in order to give her faith an opportunity to grow. His disciples, though, were simply exasperated with her. “Give her what she wants so she’ll go away,” may have been their reasoning.

But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.

Matthew 15:24-25

This woman had a desperate faith. She recognized Jesus as Lord over all – Jews and gentiles alike.

But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.

Matthew 15:26

This was possibly an ironic reference by Jesus to the practice that the Jewish people had of referring to gentiles as “dogs.” Jesus may have used the term for dog that denoted more affection – like a “pet dog” – to contrast the offensive way that Jewish people used the term.

And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.

Matthew 15:27

Here the woman demonstrated a mature faith: “I don’t want anything more than what Your will is for me.”

Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

Matthew 15:28

This statement commending someone’s “great faith” is reminiscent of His statement to the centurion from Matthew Chapter 8. The gentiles, during the Old Testament period, were “afar off,” but Jesus looked ahead to the time after His Crucifixion and Resurrection, when those gentiles who believed would – along with believing Jews – be one in Christ Jesus.

For this woman, it must have seemed like everything was against her. She was crying out boldly in public when it was not socially acceptable for a woman to do so. She was a gentile, seeking help from the Jewish King and Lord, surrounded by Jewish followers. And, at first, it even seemed as if the King Himself was against her. However, she was persistent in asking. Let that be a lesson to you and me to be persistent in prayer, even at times when it may seem like everything is against us.

The Power of the King

October 22, 2015 at 1:48 pm | Posted in Matthew | 2 Comments
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So far in this Study of Matthew we have seen the King’s genealogy, and historical proof of His kingship. We have also looked at the principles of His Kingdom, and have seen the King and His followers begin to put those principles into practice, and to display the power of the King.

If anyone should have recognized Jesus as the King – the anointed Messiah – it would seem like it should have been the Jewish scholars, for they knew the law and the prophets of the Old Testament so well. Sadly, because of the childish hardness of their hearts, they allowed their pride to blind their eyes and block their ears. Christ the King, knowing that these Jewish hardliners would require a sign, performed many great works and miracles in their midst. However, in the places where the power of the King was most prominently displayed, He found the least faith.

He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. 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. For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil. 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. Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not:

Matthew 11:15-20

Night Visions Part 3

March 25, 2010 at 9:51 am | Posted in Zechariah | 4 Comments
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Zechariah Chapter 5 contains the vision that I like to call “The Legend of the Flying Scroll.” The other vision in Chapter 5 is the woman in the bushel basket. She wants to get out, but a talent of lead is placed on her, and she is carried to Babylon by two angels. She originally represents the idolatry of female gods. The Hebrew word for “wickedness” is a feminine-form word.

The years in Babylon had seemed to cure Israel of idolatry. What remained was the commercialism bred by the practice of idolatry. This is one reason why Babylon is referenced in the New Testament as the world system. The world cares little if you worship false gods – its motivation is to make a profit. Money, material wealth, toys, and the false security of finances are the new gods of the modern world. The love of money is the root of all evil.

Zechariah Chapter 6 gives us the last of Zechariah’s night visions – the vision of the four chariots and horses. These horses delivered judgment to the Gentile nations. This will occur during the “Day of the Lord” (the Tribulation).

Then the Lord tells Zechariah that three wealthy men are coming from Babylon to bring the funds to finish the temple.

Take of them of the captivity, even of Heldai, of Tobijah, and of Jedaiah, which are come from Babylon, and come thou the same day, and go into the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah; Then take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set them upon the head of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest;

Zechariah 6:10-11

So Zechariah obeys the Lord and takes their silver and gold and makes a (multi-tiered) crown, and he crowns Joshua king. This is the first time in the Bible we see a priest being crowned king. When this happens it is symbolic of Christ, and it reminds us of Melchizedek, encountered by Abram in Genesis 14. He was also a priest and king combined in one, and a foreshadowing of Christ, Who is the True Great High Priest and the One True King over all kings.

Zechariah’s crowning of Joshua is also noteworthy because God judged Uzziah for trying to combine the priesthood with the kingship.

And the crowns shall be to Helem, and to Tobijah, and to Jedaiah, and to Hen the son of Zephaniah, for a memorial in the temple of the LORD.

Zechariah 6:14

Zechariah’s visions occurred on February 15, 519, or 517 B.C. Sebat (Shevat) is the 11th month. It begins in January-February of the common calendar year, so the 24th day would be what most of us call February 15.

The King Who Will Return

November 6, 2009 at 9:23 am | Posted in Luke, parables | 10 Comments
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As Jesus and His followers approached Jerusalem at the time of Passover, rumors began to spread of a rebellion against Rome. People were worked up and excited over the idea that Jesus would establish the throne of David, and rule His people. However, instead of inciting violence, Jesus told a parable.

And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.

Luke 19:11

This parable serves as a warning to the people of God even today. It is a warning to stay busy until the Ruler of the Kingdom returns.

And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.

Luke 19:13

What will believers on the Lord Jesus Christ do with the treasure of the Gospel message as we await the return of our King? Will we fail to guard it, and allow it to be taken from us and corrupted? Or will we, in seeking to protect it, hoard it up, and fail to put it to maximum use?

When the ruler in the parable returned to obtain an accounting of the treasure he had given the servants, he found that he could trust and reward those who had worked diligently with what they had been given.

And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.

Luke 19:17

Today is the day for believers to get busy, and stay busy, using the great gift of the Gospel message to do the work of our Ruler, anticipating His soon return!


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