The Humble King

March 21, 2016 at 1:46 pm | Posted in Matthew | 5 Comments
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Matthew began showing us the humility of the King in Chapter 17 with the account of the King Who paid tribute. Jesus helped Peter to understand the practicality of glory. God’s glory, if it is to reflected in a way onto men, must be a disciplined glory which always points back to God. As Christ’s disciples we must be loyal to the One Who loves us enough and is gracious enough to shine His glory on us.

Did you know the word “shed” is used in 50 different verses in the King James Version of the Bible? Every single time up until Romans 5:5 it is used in reference to blood (except II Samuel 20:10 where it’s talking about guts). Guess what it refers to in Romans 5:5.

And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

Romans 5:5

After this experience on the Mount of Transfiguration, and the coin in the fish’s mouth, they must have really “got it,” right? After the Disciples saw their King transfigured in their midst, you would think their question would be, “Lord – King Jesus – what would You have us to do?” But that was NOT their question. Their question was, “Which one of us will get more than the others in this Kingdom?”

At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?

Matthew 18:1

This was not a very humble question. In fact, it appears to have been evidence of pride. Pride is thinking too much of ourselves. Humility is not thinking too little of ourselves. It’s not really even thinking realistically about ourselves. A better definition of humility would be not thinking of ourselves AT ALL. We can’t be trusted to have an opinion about how great or how little we are (Jeremiah 17:9). Our hearts are wicked and we are too biased and prejudiced to conduct a fair examination of ourselves – to see if we are humble or not.

The humblest person is the happiest person because he only sees opportunities for God’s glory. He’s not tired, not frustrated, not boastful, not depressed, not discouraged, not ashamed – because it hasn’t occurred to him to be those things – because he hasn’t thought about himself at all.

Pop psychology says that we should start exhorting people to be happy with themselves just the way they are, and it sounds good. It mixes a little truth with a little leaven – contentment mixed with self-esteem – so it even sounds kind of spiritual. “Be all that you can be.” “Get everything that God wants you to have.” “Have your best life now.” Saul of Tarsus had prestige, wealth, friends, a great career, a job he loved, room for advancement, respect. Then he met Christ – and he took his “best life now” and he threw it away to live like the scum of the earth for Christ’s sake, and for God’s glory.

Jesus wanted to show the Disciples what He thought about their argument over who would be “greatest” in the Kingdom, so He called a little child unto Him, and set him in the midst of them, and said:

… Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 18:3

This child was not spoiled. I cringe when I think what would have happened if He called one of my children to sit on His lap! Would she be laughing at her friends, sticking her tongue out? This child apparently exhibited the virtue of childlikeness, rather than the vice of childishness.

Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.

Mark 10:15

The quality of childlikeness that Jesus was pointing out was not playfulness, nor embarrassment, nor shyness, nor boldness. The quality that He wanted to illustrate was unselfconsciousness, which is another word for humility. Unspoiled children have a desire to please. They want to please their fathers, and others. Many times, as parents, we are guilty of causing them to lose this quality. We must not cause them to stumble.

But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

Matthew 18:7-9

We should be stepping-stones, not stumbling-blocks. We should be blessings, not burdens.

The Greatest Sacrifice

March 17, 2016 at 1:13 pm | Posted in Biblical Greats, Hebrews | 2 Comments
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Priests went into the Old Covenant sanctuary to make sacrifices. These sacrifices had to be repeated time and time again, but the New Covenant Sacrifice is superior. It is an everlasting Sacrifice. It is sufficient and efficient to open the way into the Holy of Holies in Heaven – to allow believers to have confident and eternal access to God the Father. In the Old Covenant animals were sacrificed, but in the New Covenant the Sacrifice was Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God. Christ was a better Sacrifice because He actually took away sins.

But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.

Hebrews 10:3-4

Old Covenant sacrifices had to be repeated over and over because they did not cause God to stop “remembering” the sins of the people. These sacrifices served to cover sin, but not to cleanse the sinner. Christ was a better Sacrifice because God had prepared the Sacrifice Himself.

Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:

Hebrews 10:5

Christ did what it was not possible for anyone else to do: He pleased God with His mind, His heart, His desire to obey, and even with a body of flesh. He did ALWAYS the will of the Father.

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

For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 6:38-40

I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.

John 17:4-5

Old Covenant sacrifices were accepted, but they had no will of their own to be sacrificed, and they had not been especially prepared by the Father in the way Christ had.

In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.

Hebrews 10:6

Why would God have no pleasure in sacrifices which were done in obedience to His Word? These sacrifices were often made with an outward show of obedience, but without an obedient heart. Remember, God sees the heart. There’s no drawing near by way of a sacrifice in form only. There must be a humble heart, a desire to please, and a true obedient ATTITUDE: a desire that the Lord God would accept this sacrifice as a sign of true repentance and a resolve not to disobey again. This did bring about blessings, but it did not pay the sin debt once and for all. The sacrifice of Christ did.

But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

Hebrews 10:12

For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

Hebrews 10:14

Lest We should Offend Them

March 2, 2016 at 12:39 pm | Posted in Matthew | 4 Comments
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Born-again Christians have great freedom in Christ Jesus (Galatians 5:1). This freedom allows us to fulfill the law of Christ, which is not burdensome for those for have experienced Christ’s love (Galatians 6:2). Within this freedom and this law there is room for different convictions, or degrees of conviction, over some personal standards, even among unified believers.

Matthew Chapter 17 records the Lord’s amazing journey as He goes – in the space of a few short verses – from the glory of the Mount of Transfiguration to being faced with the apparent inability to even pay a small tax.

And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute?

Matthew 17:24

This would have been a perfect opportunity for a worldly king to say, “ME???? Pay tribute? I’m the King. Subjects pay tribute to the King – they don’t exact it from him!”

This was not the way of the Heavenly King, however. Instead, He taught Peter a lesson about the importance of not giving offense in matters where it is unnecessary to do so.

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 17:27

Jesus was and is God. Couldn’t He have just caused the piece of money to materialize in Peter’s pocket, rather than the complex miracle with the fish? Of course He could have! However, Peter’s fishing trip emphasized not only Christ’s dominion over the fish of the sea, but also the idea that the King’s followers should be willing to go to great lengths to keep those with different convictions from stumbling. Never lord your freedom over a brother or sister in Christ when it seems that they perceive themselves to have a higher conviction from you in a relatively minor matter – even if you must go to great lengths to keep your liberty from being a stumbling-block to your brother or sister (I Corinthians 8:9-13).

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.


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