Beulah Baptist Church
Friday, June 23, 2017

Matthew I

MATTHEW I

 

 

Introduction:

One needs to have a through understanding of the characteristics of the gospel so that you can have a foundation for putting the five main parts of this gospel together. We’ll begin with the characteristics of the gospel and we’ll begin with its;

A.    Conciseness

Conciseness is a feature of this gospel as compared with for instance the gospel of Mark, in that its narratives in Matthew’s gospel tend to be more concise. Such comparisons can be made in the account of the death of John the Baptist in Matthew 14 as compared with Mark 6. The incident also of the healing of the epileptic child in Matthew 17 as compared to Mark 9; it may have been this feature coupled with the extreme orderliness of Matthew’s gospel that caused this gospel to be used so widely for liturgical purposes in the church. For the first seventeen centuries of the church Matthew’s gospel was used extensively for the services for readings, study, and preaching.

  1. Messianic Interest

It was natural for the early Christians to have an absorbing interest in the Old Testament prophecies that were fulfilled by Jesus Christ. Matthew’s gospel demonstrates this in a marked degree. There are many quotations from the OT found in Matthew’s gospel. Matthew also makes use of a group of citations from the Hebrew, which is all introduced by use of the formula that it might be fulfilled. These sayings illustrate the deep conviction that there was an indisputable connection between Christianity and the OT. We know that now because we are 2000 years on this side of the cross. But if you were a first century Christian you wouldn’t have the whole NT in which to pull from. So Matthew’s gospel was something that the early church depended heavily upon, specifically the Jewish converts to read about the fulfillment of Jesus the Messiah that was prophesied so extensively in the OT scriptures.

There is also a witness to a major part of the earliest creed of the Christian church. Many people in the Christian church would go around and say “Jesus is Messiah” and look in Matthew’s gospel to determine this. In common with its Christian contemporaries Matthew in his approach to the OT differed from the Rabbis in that he viewed the OT as not being bound in their method of interpretation. As a consequence many passages are treated as messianic which were not so interpreted by the Jewish rabbis.

  1. Particularism and Universalism

The Jewish interests of Matthew are seen in many other respects besides his appeal to the OT. His gospel often reflects a more restricted outlook of Jewish Christianity. For instance, “Not one jot or tittle of the law will pass away” [Matt. 5:18]; the scribes and the Pharisees occupy the seat of Moses and their instructions are to be observed [Matt. 23]. Jesus enjoins the fulfillment of the commandments [Matt. 19:17ff, 23:23]. The Jewish temple tax was to be paid [Matt. 17:24ff] The disciples are expected to fast, to keep the Sabbath, and to bring offerings as in the Jewish tradition [Matt. 6:16ff, 24:20] Jesus is sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel [Matt. 15:24] The genealogy of Jesus is traced from Abraham the father of the Jews and is arranged in three groups of fourteen which was the traditional Jewish rabbinic style which is found in [Matt. 1] Jewish customs and phrases are included without elucidation [Matt. 15:2; 23:5,27] In addition the recurrent theme of Jesus as the Son of David and the Triumphant entry into Jerusalem focuses attention on the Jewish Christians regard for Jesus as the fulfiller of national hopes, that is the Messiah who would free them from their bondage. But the significant thing about Matthew’s gospel is that universalism appears alongside this particualrism. If Christianity is to be seen as the ideal Israel, it is also seen not only as the ideal Israel but, as the New Israel unbounded by the restricted environment out of which it emerged which centered around the first five books of the OT and the 613 laws that are found in those five books. At the birth of Jesus homage is offered, by the Gentiles according to Matthew’s account, in chapter 2. When the life of Jesus is in jeopardy it is in a Gentile, not a Jewish land, Egypt, which offers asylum and protection. At the conclusion of the gospel Matthew records the great commission, which extends to all the nations. The severe attack on the Pharisees by Jesus  [Matt. 23:13ff] was called forth by a wrong emphasis on the Jewish doctrine of righteousness by works. In the parable of the vineyard in chapter 21 suggests that another nation will supplant the original husbandman who clearly represents the Jewish people. Thereby indicating that the Jews would not receive Jesus Christ the first time that He came. This enlargement by Christianity of the narrow limits of Judaism is not a peculiarity of Matthew’s gospel originating in a dual outlook but belongs to the very nature of Jesus, Himself.

  1. Ecclesiastical Elements

Matthew, alone of the four gospels, records any specific teaching regarding the church. Only in Matthew’s gospel does the word eklesia [church] occur attributed to our Lord [Matt. 16:18]. The two passages where it is used are of great importance. In [Matt. 16:18] this is Peter’s confession and in the other passage [Matt. 18:17ff] similar authority seems to be vested in the church as a whole. The church is set forth here in its disciplinary capacity. But because no other evangelist records the use of the word eklesia, liberal scholars have disputed the originality of these sayings and suggest that they arose in an ecclesiastical environment to fill a need within the early church community. There is no such ground for this assumption. Two other passages may be linked with these to show Matthew’s ecclesiastical interest [18:20] which describes the simplest form of a local church the gathering of two or three in the name of Jesus and Jesus is among them. And in the concluding commission two statements are made relevant to the future church; its work is to consist of teaching the nations and baptizing disciples in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost [28:19].  Believers are taught to observe all that Jesus has commanded them to do [28:20]; and His own presence is assured them to the very end of the age.

 

 

  1. Eschatological Interest

Matthew’s apocalyptic section is much longer than that found in Mark’s gospel. And it has been supposed that Matthew’s gospel reflects a period of deepening interest in the apocalyptic because people in Matthew’s day believed that Nero would rise from the dead. This is known as the Nero Redivivus myth. This is the idea that Nero would return from the dead and would be the antichrist. The reason this is said is to try to put Matthew at a later date. Liberals try to date Matthew much later than it actually is. Matthew’s gospel is dated between AD 45-48. Our proof of this comes from the Dead Sea Scrolls. The primary eschatological areas of Matthew are found in chapters 24 and 25. There are other areas also such as the parable of the tares, virgins, and talents; in all of which the end of the age is brought into sharp focus and are important in Matthew’s gospel.

  1. Purpose, Destination and Place of Origination

Matthew writes his gospel from a definite standpoint, he proposes to show that the major events in the life of Jesus took place in fulfillment of prophecy. This feature alone seems to indicate that Matthew was a Jew writing primarily for Jews. Matthew’s main target is to show Christianity as much more comprehensive than Judaism. Now in all probability the Holy Spirit probably had in mind an apologetic purpose, it would have answered many questions about out Lord to the Jews, which would have been raised by people who did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah.

Concerning the origination of Matthew’s gospel we need to look at what liberal sources are saying or have said concerning this. The first idea that the liberals put forth is the community theory. This is set forth by a man named, G. D. Kilpatrick, according to Kilpatrick Matthew’s gospel is a revision of a lectionary which grew up in answer to liturgical needs within a Christian community. Because he maintains the documentary theory as far as Mark and Q are concerned, Kilpatrick suggests that in this particular community where there was a liturgical need for a gospel like Matthew’s, these two documents Mark and Q would have been read during the worship and that other written material would have been added. In this theory the gospel of Matthew is a community product although it is the work of one author. The second liberal view is suggested by a man named, Stendahl, he proposed that Matthew’s gospel originated from a Matthein school which was designed for teachers and church leaders. According to this theory is conceived of some rabbi who later became a Christian and he produced a book in the form of a manual for teaching and administration within the local church. He finds that Matthew 18 is unsuitable for teaching in the church but more suitable for church leaders. The most widely accepted liberal view is known as Quelle, and the word Quelle is the German word for source and it is also known as source criticism. The argument that the proponents of the Q theory propose is that they say the Lord and all His apostles spoke Aramaic, the gospels are written in Greek. How and when did the transfer take place? Source critics hold that the gospels would have first been written in Aramaic and only later produced in Greek. They appeal to the witnesses of Papius and Jerome. According to Papius, Matthew wrote the word in Hebrew. The Q critics say he really didn’t mean Hebrew, he meant Aramaic. Jerome spoke of the Hebrew gospel. While critics are not fully agreed on the matter many mention the quotes of Papius and Jerome with their supposed Q document. Some critics have gone so far as to produce their version of this document. Q criticism has as its goal to destroy the confidence and the authenticity of the historicity of the NT books. The priority theory suggests that Matthew and Luke borrowed from Mark in writing their gospels. This too is false.

II Peter 1:21 sums up all the nonsense that the liberals are saying; there is no Q, there was a real man named Matthew who wrote the book of Matthew.

 

Destination: Matthew written by Matthew and the primary focus was for the Jews. We are speculating on this but we believe that this gospel had a destination in mind and that was to Jewish Christians in Syria, possibly in the area of Phoenicia. Antioch has also been suggested. These are speculative places Syria, Phoenicia, Antioch we’re really not sure. The only thing we are sure on is that it was focused on the Jews.

 

G.    Structure

This gospel has a more careful design structure than any of the other three gospels and this fact may account for its wider use in the early church. This shows us that Matthew was orderly and Jews respect an orderly person. They are more easily won to Christ if the gospel is presented in an orderly manner. Three facts that prove the orderliness of Matthew’s gospel;

    1. The five great discourse sections

The most obvious feature of Matthew’s structure is the alteration of large blocks of teaching material with narrative sections. We have the Sermon on the Mount [5-7], mission charge to the twelve apostles [10], the next descriptive section deals with incidents that deal with growing opposition to the Lord and His method of dealing with controversies which form a fitting introduction to the parables [13] concerning the kingdom. Another narrative sequence follows in [14-17] culminating in the Transfiguration appearance and the prediction of Christ passion and death. Which prepares for another collection of saying dealing with the Christian community in [18], now the scene is set beyond the Jordan and moving toward Jerusalem with our Lord’s entrance into the city and the subsequent series of controversies described. Arising out of one of these controversies Jesus declares a series of woes upon the scribes and the Pharisees, which serve as a prelude to the great eschatological discourse in [23-25], the gospel then closes with the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus. It has been suggested that Matthew’s five-fold scheme was patterned after the first five books of the law. The idea being that Matthew was trying to appeal to the Jews knowledge of the Pentateuch and specifically their desire to follow after the OT law thereby seeing in Jesus the fulfillment of that law. Whether this is true or false we cannot say. All we do know is that there are five discourse and five books of the law.

 

 

    1. Numerical grouping of the book.

There is a large number of times that Matthew groups similar sayings and events together. His favorite number is three, although five and sevens do appear. An example of the three groupings; there is a three fold division in the genealogy in [1], there are three temptations of Christ [4], three illustrations of righteousness; three prohibitions, three commands [6:1-7:20], three groupings of three types of miracles healings, power, and restoration [8:1-9:34] and many instances of three parables, questions, prayers, and of course Peter’s three denials. Three is a very important number in scripture. The simplest plane figure in geometry is a triangle, two lines do not form an enclosure but three do. Three stands for that which is solid, real, substantial, complete, total, and entire. All things that specially complete are stamped with the number three. God’s attributes are three. His omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence, there are three great divisions that complete linear time past, present, and future. Thought, word, and deed three, complete the sum of human capability. Three kingdoms embrace our ideas of matter. Mineral, vegetable, and animal, in the scriptures this becomes divine. Three denotes divine perfection as opposed to seven, which denotes spiritual perfection as opposed to the number ten which denotes ordinal perfection as opposed to the number twelve which denotes governmental perfection. There are three persons in one God. Three times the seraphim cry holy, holy, holy in Isaiah. Three times a blessing is pronounced in Numbers 6:23-24. Three signifies the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The three holies in Isaiah 6 are known as the trisagion in theology and they are used in a liturgical hymn in both the Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches. In Genesis 18 three persons appear to Abraham. In [v. 1] it was Jehovah and it is remarkable that Abraham addresses both as one and as three. The whole narrative is that the Lord is there. In the number 1 we have the sovereignty of God, the number two second person son, the great deliverer and so in three we have the third person the Holy Spirit marking and completing the fullness of the Godhead three in one. Somehow the three in one were present there and Abraham saw it. It is only by the Spirit we can recognize spiritual things. The third book of the Bible is Leviticus the book in which we learn what true worship is. Here we see God calling His people to Himself describing every detail of worship to His people. In true worship we see the Father seeking true worshipers [John 4:23]. The Son the One object of all worship and the Spirit qualifying and enduing the worshipers with the only power in which they can worship. Thus, in the first book of the Bible we have the sovereignty in the giving of life. We have the Father the creator of all things. In Exodus we have the oppressor represented by Pharaoh and of course the Deliverer Moses a type of Christ. While in Leviticus we have the Spirit prescribing and ordering and empowering the people for worship. Thus in the first three books of the Bible we have the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The number three first appears in scripture in [Gen. 1:13] where we have the earth rising out of the water symbolical of resurrection life, which we have in Jesus Christ. It was on the third day that Christ rose from the dead. This was foreshadowed in type by Jonah and in the belly of the whale. [Matt. 12:39-40; Lk. 11:29; Jonah 1:17] It was the third day in which Jesus was perfected [Lk. 13:32], it was at the third hour he was crucified and it was for three hours from the sixth hour to the ninth hour that darkness surrounded the Divine Redeemer and the loud voice at the end of those three hours when about the ninth hour he cried, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me [Matt. 27:46] shows completely that nothing in nature or human intelligence could help Him in that hour. Does this not show humanities impotence in the matter of salvation? Does it not prove our incapacity to aid and deliver ourselves from our natural condition? With the light at the ninth hour came the Divine declaration It is finished.  So divinely finished completed and perfected that now there is no darkness that Christ cannot break through. He is the light of the world. The water and the blood are the divinely perfected witnesses to the graces of God on earth [I Jn. 5:7] The three years of seeking fruit testifies to the completeness of Israel’s failure [Lk. 13:7] His three-fold it is written shows that God is perfect in all ways [Matt. 4] The divine testimony concerning Him was complete in the three-fold voice from heaven [Matt. 3:17; 17:5; Jn 12:5] The inscriptions on the cross in three languages show the complete rejection of Christ by humanity. The perfection of His offices in shown by Christ being Prophet, Priest, and King.

    1. General Material Grouping

Matthew aims to illustrate various aspects of the ministry of Jesus thus, in chapters 5-7, he illustrates his teaching while in chapters 8-9:34 he illustrates Christ’s work. And we find similar designs throughout the rest of the gospel. His literary structure is designed to give us comprehensively as possible the main facets of the life and character of Jesus. Why? Because the Jews like detail and the Holy Spirit understood this as He guided Matthew to write this gospel.

H.    Authorship and Date

The early church fathers are quite clear in their testimony that Matthew was the first gospel to be written (approx. AD 48) and was followed in order by Mark, Luke, and John. Liberal scholarship says that Mark’s gospel was first and then Matthew copied much of Mark’s gospel. However, liberal scholarship in this matter is completely and utterly false.

I.       Matthew The Publican

Before being called by Jesus Christ to be one of His apostles, Matthew was a publican for the Roman government. (Pages 1227-1228 Nelson). Who are publicans? A publican was an agent or contract worker who collected taxes for the Roman government during biblical times. Publicans were wealthy men usually they were non-Jewish who contracted with the Roman government to be responsible for the taxes of a particular district of the Roman state. These publicans had a lot of power and were often backed by the military force. These publicans gathered several different types of taxes for instance, Rome levied upon the Jews a land tax, a poll tax, and even a tax for the operation of the Temple. The distinctions between the kind of rule given a province dictated the kind of taxes one had to pay. Now, the message of Jesus is that God would welcome the repentant tax collector, the publican, while He would spurn a self-righteous arrogant Pharisee. [Luke 18:9-14]

  1. The Gospel of Matthew’s Primary Subject

The gospel deals with a lot of subjects but Matthew’s primary focus is the kingdom of heaven or the kingdom of God. “The Kingdom” is mentioned 51 times in Matthew’s gospel, twice as many as any other gospel. [pg. 812 Nelson]

The Kingdom is already here in Jesus according to Matthew 12:28, but it is not yet completely fulfilled. [Matt. 13:43; 25:34] The Kingdom can never be earned. [Matt 19:23]  The kingdom can be received only by those who recognize they do not deserve it. [Matt 5:3; 21:31]  The Kingdom extends like a fishing net gathering people from every part of society. Think about this for it gathered in Matthew a tax collector, it gathered in John a fisherman, it gathered in Paul a Pharisee. It offers new life in the life changing presence of God. The kingdom is more valuable than any precious gem. The kingdom of God means the entire rule of God in our universe, in the world and in our hearts. The primary indication of the presence of God in the world is the transformation of life both individually and socially. A person enters the kingdom not by saying the right words but by doing the will of the Father in heaven. [Matt 7:21-23] The only way into the kingdom is to be saved.

  1. Matthew Is The Second Longest Gospel

With 28 chapters, 1071 verses and 23,684 words, it is just a bit shorter than Luke, which has 24 chapters, 1151 verses and 25,944 words.

 

II. The Genealogy and Birth of Jesus Christ [1:1-25]

 

A.    The Royal Genealogy [1:1-17]

The words the book of the generation literally translates as the birth roll of Jesus Christ. Found in this genealogical table is Matthew’s purpose which is to provide adequate proof that Jesus is the Savior and the King. We notice right away from reading verses 1-17 that Matthew presents in an orderly way first, the genealogies establishing the legal claim of Jesus Christ from the tribe of Judah to be the king of Israel. Secondly, it provides adequate material for the investigator, the Jew to see that the claims of Christ to be King and Savior are justified. The three fold divisions of the genealogy are explained by Matthew in verse 17. A unique feature of the genealogies that would be out of place for the Jew is the preeminence of four women each of these had a very unusual background. The first is Tamar who got in the line by playing a harlot see Genesis 38. Rahab is a harlot from Jericho who got in because she delivered the spies in Joshua 2:6; 6:25. She is declared by Matthew to be the wife of Salmon, the father of Booz. Another Gentile was included in the messianic line is Ruth and her story tells us about the kinsmen redeemer. She alone of the women had an unscathed record. The fourth was Bathsheba who was the wife of Uriah who became the mother of Solomon but she had an adulterous affair with David. Which resulted in the murder of her husband by David. These four women are placed here to show the genuineness that God uses sinners that turn to Him to bless His people. We call the fact that Mary was not impregnated by male sperm but was told that which is in you is by the Holy Spirit, we call this the hypostatic union.

B.     Supernatural Conception and Birth of Jesus [1:18-25]

    1. Explanation of bethrotal

This espousal in verse 18 is known as a bethrotal, a mutual promise or contract for a future marriage and it is explained in Deuteronomy 20:7 and Jeremiah 2:2. The selection of the bride was followed by the bethrotal not to be entirely equated with the modern concept of engagement. A bethrotal is undertaken by a friend or agent representing the bridegroom, someone undertook this for Joseph and by Mary’s parents who represented Mary. It was accompanied by oaths and presents often given to the bride’s parents, the bethrotal was accompanied by a feast and in some instances it was customary for the bridegroom to place a ring on the bride’s finger. In Hebrew custom bethrotal was actually a part of the marriage process, a change of intention by one of the partners after he or she was legally bethroted was serious matter. And in some instances in Palestine it was subject to paying a fine. A Jewish bethrotal,  could be absolved only by the man giving the woman a certificate of divorce. A bethrotal usually lasted for one year. Marriage counselors today agree that a man and woman should be engaged at least a year before they are married. During that year the couple was known as husband and wife and they did not have the right to unite sexually. The actual marriage took place only when the bridegroom took the bride to his home and the marriage was consummated by sexual intercourse. So Mary was bethroted to Jospeh for how long we do not know. So Joseph knew that he had not had sexual relations with Mary and therefore he thought that she had done something to fail them both. But God sent a dream to Joseph to tell him to hang on and don’t put her away for she has not done anything immoral. God is at work here for the child is of the Holy Ghost. [1:20]

    1. The child is of the Holy Ghost.

To understand this we need to look at the hypostatical union.  Hypostatasis is a Greek word that means essence or substance. It comes from a word, which means to subsist or literally to stand under and therefore it denotes a real personal subsistence. Theologically the word hypostatasis continues to be used by orthodox Trinitarians  [those who believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost] as a term to describe anyone of the three real and distinct personal substances of undivided Divine Essence. The hypostatical union is a term, which denotes the union of a perfect human nature with the eternal God, God the Son. Without confusion of natures in the person of Christ, hypostatical is used to emphasize that it was one, subsistence the Son, not the Father, not the Holy Spirit, but the Son who took human nature into union with Himself. That is the Trinity did not become incarnate and walk this earth. Jesus is the one who took on the form of perfect human and perfect God. [I Tim. 3:16]

    1. The name Jesus: “Jehovah is salvation.”

Matthew goes on to support the doctrine of the Virgin Birth by quoting Isaiah 7:14. Verses 24, 25 are doctrinal point in obedience to the angelic vision Joseph took Mary as his wife. Probably what happened here is that he went and took Mary into his house, remember the final stage of the bethrotal is the taking of the bride home. However, he did not have sexual relations did not occur until after her firstborn son. The text does not say that Joseph never knew her. Why is this so important? Because there is a doctrine in the Roman Catholic church and its known as the doctrine of Mary’s perpetual virginity. They say that Mary never had sexual relations with Mary. It is part of a doctrine known as Maryolatry and it comes from two Latin words, Maria and Latria, which means worship or adoration, therefore Mary worship. Officially by Roman Catholic theologians its not called Maryolatry but hyperdulia. According to Vatican II, which was in the 1960’s and this is a quote: “the blessed Virgin is invoked in the church under the titles of advocate, helper, benefactress, and mediatrix.” If you were to talk to a Roman Bishop they would call her the co-mediatrix. Sometimes she is called the co-redemptress.  If you study Roman Catholic theology officially they believe the only way to be saved is through a personal relationship with Christ. But the idea of Mary as a co-redeemer is based on the fact that Mary has a good access to Christ because she was His earthly mother. But she does not have any special powers. The Roman Catholic also teach that Mary did not suffer physical death.

 

III. Divine Protection of the Child Jesus [2:1-23]

 

A.    Worship of the Magi [2:1-11]

Misconceptions about these magi, these magi were certainly students of astrology there is no question about that. They searched the heaven for very significant movements of stars. However it is very important that we understand that they were not magicians in the evil sense of the word, as many liberals have observed. Neither were they kings even though they brought kingly gifts to Jesus Christ. There number is not told but more than likely it was more than three. The time of their arrival was not the night of Jesus’ birth because they were not in Bethlehem they were in a house and upon arriving in Jerusalem they inquired were they could find Him. At this time in Jerusalem there was great anticipation of a coming king. They magi, according to Dr. Nocera, were probably Medes who had a priestly function in the Persian Empire. They may have been astrologers but God divinely broke through their misguided system to make great events known to them. The word magi, comes from a Greek word magaio, and it comes from a Persian word for people who were experts in the stars. Their interest was aroused when they saw a bright star in the east. Herod was an Edomite and many Jews hated the Edomites. Herod called the 71 people that sat on the Sanhedrin and demanded of them were the Messiah was to be born. [v. 4] This was common information found in the OT and Herod may have known the answer but he wanted to hear it officially from the Jewish leaders. Matthew answers Jewish unbelief by quoting there own official body to the effect of the prophecy of His birth in Bethlehem was literal and was understood by the Sanhedrin. Herod called the wise men together to ask when the star appeared and he did so to pinpoint the age of the child. He further encouraged them to find the child so that he could worship Jesus but he didn’t want to worship Jesus he wanted to kill Jesus. Both the Sanhedrin and Herod knew something was going on and neither sent anyone from their camps to look for Jesus. The most probable explanation of what this star was is that it was a supernatural event rather than a natural phenomena. The gold represented His Deity. The frankincense was a spice that represented the fragrance of His perfect life and His intercession. And the myrrh, which was a burial spice, represented His sacrificial death for humanity.

B.     The Flight Into Egypt [2:12-15]

God spoke not only to the wise men but also to Joseph. God told the wise men not to return to Herod. He told Joseph to take Mary and baby Jesus to Egypt. Matthew, however we believe anticipating the charge by the Jews that Christ worked miracles through magical art learned in Egypt, specifies that they were in Egypt only until the death of Herod which occurred within three years of Jesus’ birth. Therefore, they were only in Egypt for three years. Magical arts were quite prevalent in Egypt. Why Egypt and not some other place? To fulfill the scriptures as found in Hosea 11:1. The prophecy in Matthew 2:15 is a double-reference prophecy for it refers to the exodus of Israel from Egypt to the Promised Land and Matthew draws the contrast from Israel as the son of Jehovah going to Egypt and returning to Christ the greater Son who also came from Egypt. In both cases the descent into Egypt was to escape danger and in both cases the return to the Promised Land was important to the providential history of national Israel. So it was a perfect double reference prophecy.

C.    Slaughter of the Innocents [2:16-18]

    1. Herod the Great [ca. 37BC-3BC] [pp. 559-560 Nelson]

The Herodian dynasty was very large and it made its way into Palestine through a man named Antipater. Antipater was an Idumean by descent the Idumeans were of Edomimte stock and were direct descendents of Esau. Antipater was procurator of Judea in 47BC by the Emperor Julius Caesar. When he was appointed he appointed two of his sons to chief ruling positions in the Empire and one of these sons was Herod the Great who was appointed governor of Judea. Herod had some very unusual abilities for instance he was a ruthless fighter, he was a cunning negotiator, the Romans appreciated the way he subdued opposition and the way he maintained order among the Jews. These qualities combined with an intense loyalty to the Roman Emperor made him an important figure in the life of Rome and the Jews of Palestine. Herod slaughtered all children who could possibly be heirs to the throne.

 

 

    1. The death of the innocent children fulfilled [Jeremiah 31:15-16]

When he killed these children here this is not the first time that he killed children. He considered his wife, Mariamnie, to also be a threat to his throne and he had her murdered. The territories under Herod’s rule experienced economic and cultural growth that is why the Romans kept him. His business and organizational abilities led to the erection of many important buildings. Hellenistic ideas were introduced into Palestine slowly but surely through art, literature and athletic contest. His major building project of course was the second Temple in Jerusalem, which according to John 2:20 took 46 years up to that point to build. From the Jewish perspective that was his greatest achievement at time he implemented his policies with force and cruelty. His increasing fear of Jewish revolt led to suppression of any opposition. His personal problems increased and by 14BC his kingdom began to decline. This decline was brought on mainly by his personal and domestic problems for he was a very immoral man. Herod’s murder of his wife weighed on him and this was compounded when his two sons from that marriage Alexander and Aristabulus realized that their father was responsible for putting their mother to death. By 7BC, Herod had both of these sons put to death and from that came saying concerning Herod. “It is better to be Herod’s pig than a son.”  As Herod became increasingly ill an intense struggle for succession to his throne emerged within his own family. His ten marriages and fifteen children virtually guaranteed a struggle. His one son, Antipater poisoned Herod’s mind against the two eligible sons, Archalaus and Philip. This resulted in his initial choice of a younger son Antipas as his sole successor. However he later changed his will and made Archalaus king. Antipas and Philip received lesser portions as tetrachs or rulers over smaller territories. When Herod realized he had been tricked by the wise men. He had all the children male children 2 years old and under killed. The number of children slain has been estimated to be between 6 and 30. It accordingly was an outrage that was too small to be mentioned by the historians such as Josephus. The murder of these innocent children is a cross reference, to Jeremiah 31:15-16 and it also is a double reference prophecy. The parallel between Jeremiah 31:15-16 and Matthew 2:17-18 is very evident. Rachel represents the mothers in Israel who mourn for their children both in the OT and NT. In both cases sorrow came in a time when Israel religiously was in a state of apostasy and under the heel of an oppressor. Death overtook Herod shortly after this event. Josephus writes that Herod the Great died by having his body rotting away and consumed by worms. This also happened to Herod Agrippa in the Book of Acts.

D.    The Return To Nazareth [2:19-23]

    1. Herod the Greats son, Archalaus, now king

Archalaus inherited all of his father’s evil vices and he had none of his father’s abilities. He was responsible for a lot of bloodshed in Judea and Samaria and specifically in crushing the revolts of the Zealots. The death of Herod made possible Joseph’s return to Palestine. One of the first acts of Archalaus when he took the throne was to murder 3000 people in the Temple, because some of the Jews had memorialized some Jewish martyrs that his father had put to death.

    1. Joseph takes his son and wife to the city of Nazareth

Joseph being a godly man had to consider where he could find a place to raise his son and so he went to Nazareth, which is about 70 miles north of Bethlehem. Matthew declares this was in fulfillment of prophecy; He shall be called a Nazarene. There are only three men in the scriptures who took the Nazarite vow and they are Samson, Samuel, and John the Baptist. The most plausible explanation is found in Isaiah 11:1. There is no scripture in the OT that says Jesus will come out of Nazareth.

The incidents of the worship of the magi, the flight into Egypt, and the return from Egypt emphasizes Matthew’s purpose not to give necessarily the complete life of Christ but to record those incidents which significantly support the conclusion that Jesus is the Messiah as prophesied in the OT.

 

IV. The Introduction And Baptism Of Jesus [3:1-17]

 

  1. Preparatory Ministry Of John The Baptist [3:1-12]
    1. John was the last of the vocal OT prophets. [Like Elijah] Malachi 3:1

The inter-testamental period is called the silent period because no human voice spoke for God for a period of 450 years.

      2. John the Baptist message was very similar to that of Elijah and his message

was repent ye. Joel 2:12 and Isaiah 55:7 point out what is required for repentance. Repentance does not mean to be sorry for your sins. It means to change your mind and your will and your actions, true repentance involves all three, and Jesus said we will, know people by their fruits. John’s role was that of a herald someone who would call out before a king, see Isaiah 40:3-5, for Matthew finds John fulfilling these words.  John’s message included a strong rebuke of the hypocrisy and the shallow religiosity of both the Pharisees and the Sadducees. John was attacking the established religion of the day and he was demanding not religious externalism but sincerity and repentance. His call to repentance is backed by the statement the kingdom of heaven is at hand, the phrase the kingdom of heaven is not found anywhere in the OT.

However, it is based on OT terminology. Nebuchadnezzar had referred to God as the king of heaven [Dan. 4:37] Daniel predicted that the climax of world history would come with the advent of the Son of Man, who would be given an everlasting kingdom. This was likewise to be fulfilled by [Dan. 2:44] Matthew alone of the four gospel writers uses the term kingdom of heaven and he rarely uses the term kingdom of God. Now kingdom of heaven and kingdom of God are thought to be synonymous and they are identical in a lot of ways, however there are differences. The kingdom of heaven refers to that which is obviously in its outer character a kingdom from above, from heaven and includes all who profess to be subjects of the king, Jesus. The Kingdom of God is more specific and does not seem to include any but true believers who are born again. In Matthew 13 the kingdom of heaven includes both the good and the bad fish caught in the net. It includes both the wheat and the tares in the same field. Whereas Nicodemus is told that the new birth is necessary not to enter the kingdom of heaven but the kingdom of God. [John 3] In other words the kingdom of heaven comes down and all those who want to get serious about God get into the kingdom of heaven. All agree that those who are in the kingdom of God are also in the kingdom of heaven. However, eschatologically and dispensationally, a three-fold distinction must be observed in the use of the term the kingdom of heaven. Number 1 in John the Baptist ministry it is announced as being at hand. Meaning that in the person of the King Jesus Christ the kingdom was presented to Israel and to the world. Number 2 in Matthew 13, the kingdom in its present form is revealed. That is, the rule of God over the earth in the hearts of believers during the present age of grace while the King, Jesus is absent. The third form of the kingdom will be when Christ returns to set up the kingdom of heaven on earth during the millennial reign of Christ. Only the pre-millennial interpretation of the concept of the kingdom allows a literal interpretation of both the OT and NT prophecies relating to the future kingdom.

    1. Pharisees and Sadducees

      The ministry of John the Baptist signified a spiritual crisis in Israel would

they  accept Jesus as king or would they reject Him? Why did Israel have to repent?

            Because Israel had slid into religiosity and John focused on two groups the

            Pharisees and the Sadducees.

a.       The Pharisees were a religious and political party in the Holy Land in

NT times. They were known for insisting that the Law of God be observed as the scribes interpreted it and for their special commitment to the keeping of the Law. Specifically the laws of tithing and ritual external purity, the Pharisees had their roots in a group of faithful Jews known as the Hasidim. The key distinctive feature of the Pharisees was their strong commitment to observing the law as it was interpreted and applied by the scribes. Although the priests had been responsible for interpreting and teaching the law in the OT times people had lost respect of the priests because of the corruption in the Jerusalem priesthood. They now looked to the scribes to interpret the law and the Pharisees favored the scribes, hence the Pharisees had a strong say among the Jewish men and women in Palestine.

b.      The Sadducees were members of a Jewish faction that opposed Jesus

during his ministry. They were known for their denial of the bodily

resurrection. They denied angels existed and they denied afterlife, hence they focused all their attentions in gaining all they could gain in this world. These were the aristocrats and the high priest and the most powerful members of the priesthood. Some believe the name Sadducee came from the high priest Zadok [II Sam. 15:24]. Many wealthy lay people were also Sadducees, which may be the reason why the Sadducees gave the impression of wanting to preserve things as they were. They enjoyed privileged positions in society. They got along well under Roman rule. Any movement that might upset order and authority was bound to appear dangerous in their eyes and so they tried to squash it. Hence they tried to squash Jesus, as did the Pharisees who did not see Jesus fitting into the scribes interpreting Him as the promised Messiah. Which is why Jesus had so many problems with these two groups. Jesus ultimately had more problems with the Pharisees than the Sadducees. The climax of John’s message is that he was only the forerunner, after him would come a greater prophet. In describing Jesus as the separator John was speaking prophetically. See Walvoord for more on three baptisms.

E.     The Baptism Of Jesus [3:13-17]

    1. When Jesus came to Galilee to be baptized by John, he was identified as the Lamb of God [1:29]
    2. Jesus’ baptism was unique in that it set Him apart as prophet, priest, and king.

All four of the gospels give an account of the baptism. When Jesus came to John he was immediately identified as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

    1. The trinity is represented at the baptism of Jesus. Jesus being baptized, the

Father speaking from heaven and the Holy Spirit descending like a dove. The baptism of Jesus is unique in that it set Him apart for His role as prophet, priest, and king anticipating His death on the cross. No other person before or after Jesus Christ can share this same baptism.

 

 

V. The Temptation Of Jesus And The Call Of His First Disciples [4:1-14

  1. Temptation of Jesus [4:1-11]

Why was Jesus tempted? And being tempted is there a possibility that Jesus might have sinned? And in so doing jeopardizing or annulling the whole plan of salvation? These are questions that have been asked for twenty centuries. But scripture gives the answer very clearly to them. Our Lord was both human and divine. Personally he is God the eternal Son who took humanity into union with His deity in order to redeem sinful man. He has two natures the divine nature and the human nature, but he remains one person. Therefore as man here on earth he could not act apart from his deity. Those who maintain that he might have sinned need to ask themselves this question; what then would have been the result if he had sinned? To say that as man he might have failed in his mission is to admit the amazing and blasphemous suggestion that Christ wholly divine nature could somehow become separated from a defiled human nature and thus prove the incarnation a farce. But if we realize that he was both God and man in one person when he was tempted, not to see if he would or could sin, but to prove that he was uniquely the sinless one then everything is made clear. The temptations that Christ suffered were all real but the temptations unlike our temptations, which come from within came from without because there was no fallen nature within him. That’s how Adam was at the beginning. There was no fallen nature in him. When he was tempted he was tempted from without and he fell. Christ was tempted from without but unlike Adam he was not human. He was uniquely human and divine. The temptation and Christ attitude toward it proved that he was not a sinful man either in nature or in action. He could therefore take our penalty upon himself and bear the curse of the broken law for everyone else because he himself was not under the curse. Scripture plainly tells us he knew no sin. [II Cor. 5:21; I Peter 2:22; I John 3:5; John 14:30] There was no temptation within him to answer the voice of the enemy who tempting without. There was no sin within to tempt him. A lot of people look at Hebrews 4:15 who try to twist this around. Literally that would say he was tempted as we are sin apart. From the moment of his birth Jesus Christ was not merely just innocent but completely holy separated unto God. This doctrine that we are studying that Jesus was not tempted from within but from without is known as the impeccability of Christ. It is the doctrine that the Lord Jesus Christ not only was able not to sin but that he was not able to sin. Thus not only did he not sin he could not sin. He was not only able to overcome temptation but he was unable to be overcome by temptation. Christ had a human nature and human nature is considered in itself capable of falling but the human nature of Christ was personally united to the Eternal Word or the Son of God who was incapable of falling. It never had any existence apart from the union with the Word. Thus when we’re speaking of the thentropic person of Christ it is both inconceivable and unscriptural to say that Jesus Christ could have sinned. The complex person of Jesus Christ could not do anything that was detrimental to the glory of the infinitely holy Son of God. The divine nature couldn’t be a party to sin. Scripture bears this out in Hebrews 13:8 which teaches us about the impeccability of Jesus Christ. The temptation of Jesus took place on Mount Quarantania, which is west of the Jordan River across from Jericho. It is a very desolate and foreboding place. It followed his baptism almost immediately and it was shortly before the Passover of the year AD 27. As the perfect man Jesus was ever subject to the Spirit’s control and it was the Spirit that drove him into the wilderness. He was compelled to go for it was imperative that his holiness be demonstrated from the very beginning of his ministry. Temptation is testing he was tested of Satan who is the archenemy of both God and man. Jesus’ fasting and testing was over a period of 40 days.

    1. 40 days – 40 is biblical number of probation, trial and chastisement

a.       Israel in wilderness 40 years

b.      Moses in Egypt 40 years

c.       Moses in Midian 40 years

d.      Moses on the mount 40 days

e.       Elijah in Horeb 40 days

f.       Ezekiel lay on his right side 40 days

       And so 40, is a very significant number, the number of probation, trial and           chastisement. It was not until all this was over does it say that Jesus was hungry then in the hour of nature’s weaknesses came the Devil endeavoring to overcome him. The test were three-fold the appeal to the body, appeal to the soul, and the appeal to the Spirit. They involved the desires of the flesh the lust of the eyes and the pride of life or the ostentation of living. The order of temptation is different in Matthew than in Luke. We believe that Matthew gives the three points in there historical chronological order as they occurred whereas Luke gives them in there moral order in accordance with I John 2:16. Thus the appeal was first to the appetite, the desire of the flesh the physical. The next to the esthetic nature the desire of the eyes the soul and the last appeal was to the spiritual nature the pride of life or the vain glory of living. The Lord was impervious to every suggestion of evil. These are the same character in temptations that the serpent brought to Eve in the Garden of Eden and she succumbed on every single point. When Adam joined her humanity fell. They were tested in a garden of delight Jesus was tempted in a dry thirsty land. Thus he manifested Himself as a King of righteousness and so the One to be crowned the king of peace. [Heb. 7:1-2] Every test was an assault on Christ’ divine human personality. There would seem to be nothing wrong with Jesus miraculously turning stones into bread, which he certainly could do, but as man he had taken the place of dependence on the Living Heavenly Father. [John 6:57] Therefore he acted in complete obedience to the Father’s will and he could not entertain any suggestion coming from an outside source other than the Father. He would not act on satan’s advice even to relieve his physical hunger. Jesus met every temptation, as we should with every word coming from God’s Word. Spiritual nourishment is more important than physical nourishment. The second temptation, the devil takes him to the holy city and sets him on the temple. The point is that even the sanctuary may be a place of temptation for pride of grace is one of the greatest snares to which man is exposed. From the elevated place of the temple Jesus saw throngs gathered in the courts below. Satan was about to use this to get Christ to abuse his power. In tempting Christ, Satan who also can quote scripture quoted from Psalm 91:11-12. However he omitted the most pertinent clause in that scripture; to keep thee in all thy ways.  It was no part of the holy ways of the Son of God to leap spectacularly from the temple heights in order to astonish the worshiping multitudes. This would have been presumptuous use of his power. When Satan quotes scripture look closely at the text and be sure that nothing vital is omitted. For its possible back up the gravest error with the Word of God we call it scripture twisting and the cults use it all the time. Where God commands faith can act upon His Word. Verse 8. These things of course belong to Christ the heir of all things but Satan usurped the inheritance he attempted to present to Jesus what might be called a shortcut to being king of kings. They were Satan’s to give only in the sense of God’s permissive will. For the Most High

[Dan. 4:25] rules in the kingdom of men and gives to whomever he will, Satan had robbed Adam of the authority given and reigned as usurper in the hearts of wicked men. In other words, Adam allowed his authority to be taken away. Jesus however threw Satan away. When we think of the angels ministering to him as they in Gethsemane and here in the wilderness we realize how truly human he was, that he,  who had created these glorious things was also served by them.

B.     Jesus Move From Nazareth To Capernaum [4:12-16]

This section deals with Jesus’ official move from the city of Nazareth to Capernaum. Capernaum was 22 miles NE of Nazareth. While Jesus was engaged in what we’ve read in Matthew chapters 3-4, John the Baptist was continuing his ministry and in his preaching John had attached Herod the Tetrarch for his adulterous affair with his brother Philip’s wife. With the result that Herod had imprisoned John in the fortress of Machaerus. [Luke 3:19-20] The report that John had been imprisoned indicated an unfriendly atmosphere in Jerusalem for the prophet and was probably the occasion for Christ departing into Galilee. In Matthew 11:23-24, Jesus pronounces a solemn judgment on Capernaum. Christ, sojourn in Capernaum was prophesied by Isaiah in chapter 9. Jesus message was the same of John the Baptist repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. This was His message until it became evident that he would be rejected. The kingdom being at hand meant that it was being offered in the person of the prophesied king. But it did not mean that it would immediately be fulfilled. However it does mean that it would be set up on the earth if Israel as a nation had been ready to receive it. This we know as the postponed kingdom. This is why Jesus wept over Jerusalem.

C.    The Call Of The First Disciples [4:17-22]

    1. Peter [Simon, Cephas] – first apostle to be called. He was married. Along with his brother, Andrew, he was a disciple of John the Baptist [John 1:35-42]
    2. Andrew – name means manly, he was Peter’s brother, and they were from Bethsaida [John 1:44]
    3. James – his mother was Salome. Salome often ministered to Jesus needs. [Matt. 27:56, Mark 15:40-41] James is never mentioned apart from his brother John, in the NT and he is always mentioned first since he was the eldest. James, was murdered by Herod Agrippa I [grandson of Herod the Great]. He was the first apostle to be martyred and the only apostle whose martyrdom is mentioned in the NT [Acts 12:2]
    4. John – James and John were known as the sons of thunder. [Mark 3:17, Luke 9:51-56] John wrote his gospel, 1, 2, 3, John and Revelation. He was the last apostle to die. Church history records that he was the only one of the apostles to die a natural death. His death occurred after he wrote Revelation. He was permitted to leave his exile on Patmos and live in Ephesus.

D.    Early Preaching In Galilee [4:23-25]

    1. Synagogues: there were numerous synagogues in Palestine, not only was the Law of Moses taught there but they also served as an elementary school for students. Court proceedings were also conducted here. Hence Jesus would have a wide spectrum of society to minister to.
    2. Jesus not only preached but healed miraculously. No disease was beyond His healing ability [epilepsy, palsy, blindness, issue of blood, deafness]. Note especially verse 24 the word divers. This adjective literally means varied colored [jaundice, pale white, ashen, flushed]. People that really looked sick.

 

VI. The Moral Principles Of The Kingdom

  1. Significance And Setting Of The Sermon On The Mount [5:1]

 The Sermon on the Mount is a comprehensive sermon of the moral principles relating to the Kingdom that Jesus proclaimed. The main principles are reflected in chapters 8-12 and this leads to a second discourse in chapter 3 on the age between the first and second advents of Christ. The thesis of the Sermon on the Mount is not of salvation, but of the character and conduct of those in Christ. We believe Jesus preached this sermon on a slope on the NW shore of the Sea of Galilee. Today a church stands there and the mountain is known as “the Mount of the Beatitudes.”

  Jesus clearly presented Himself as the prophesied king, the Son of David who had the right to reign upon the earth. Now it is quite evident that the Jews while they wanted the deliverance from the Romans and fulfillment of the material blessings promised in the Kingdom were unprepared to accept the view that the millennial kingdom had spiritual implications. They only saw in it political overrule controlling the world. However the millennial kingdom was to be a rule of righteousness as well as a rule of peace. It demanded much of the subjects as well as providing much for those subjects. The political character of the kingdom was never seriously questioned by the Jews who anticipated that the Messiah would bring deliverance to them because of their neglect of the spiritual and moral principles involved Christ necessarily emphasized these in the Sermon on the Mount. The sermon accordingly must be understood in this eschatological context.

B.     The Beatitudes [5:1-2]

The Beatitudes [Latin “the blessed”] confer an end-time blessing upon persons who are characterized by what they are and what they teach. The blessings assures that those who freely receive them, vindication and reward that attend the salvation of God’s end time rule and thus provide encouragement in times of great difficulty. The word blessed in Greek [makarios] describes God-like joy. “The joy of the Lord is your strength” [Neh. 8:10]. This is totally different from our English word for happiness, which has the prefix “hap” in it, which implies joy by random chance.  We need to remember that God’s joy is guaranteed while human happiness is left only to chance.

1.      Poor in spirit

There’s two ways to arrive at the meaning of poor. In Greek there’s two words for poor. Penes, as it is translated into English means a man that has to work for a living. The Greeks describe this man has a man who serves his own needs with his own hands. There’s another word and its our word here for poor in verse 3, ptochos, it describes absolute poverty. It describes a man who is totally devoid of influence or power and places complete trust in the Lord. This man/woman puts everything in God’s hands so that he has to completely rely on God’s grace. The Aramaic use of the word had four stages;

a.       Physically poor

b.      Because you are poor you have no power, influence or prestige

c.       You are downtrodden and you are oppressed

d.      You are totally without influence power or authority and therefore you must place your trust in life

The poor in spirit describes the man or the woman who doesn’t even try to carry the load because of their bankrupt life where their works are nothing more than filthy rags [Is. 64:6] put everything in the hands of God. Scripture references for sermons; Ps. 34:6; 68:10; 72:4; 107:41; 132:15

2.      Mourn

This word means to show grief or to have sorrow especially in referring to the mourning for the dead. In Matthew 5:4, this mourning for the dead is to be taken eschatologically. The mourning here is not simply sorrow of sin but to grieve for our brother and sister who have gone on to be with Jesus. To qualify this we must understand mourning as Jesus was referring it in first century mid-eastern culture. During the period of mourning fasting was broken only by what was known as the funeral feast. This was held at the tomb on the day of the burial of the deceased. However, there was among wealthy families the erection of a monument to the honor of the deceased and among poor families the monument was the deceased family and people. Poor families would have the families be the monument they would say that there deceased loved one is being honored through the lives of the living family. Jesus is saying that there should be much mourning for those who went to be with the Lord but much carrying on of the work of the one who went to be with the Lord. Jesus says that those who mourn will be comforted and the idea is of God calling us and holding us near to Him. Turning desolation into consolation. [Ps. 23; Is. 54:11] He comforts us by shepherding us [Is. 40:11] He comforts us by holding us intimately [Is. 66:11-12] He comforts us by sending us support from brothers or sisters in Christ [Gal. 6:1-2]

3.      Meek

Quote from Psalm 37:11 is what Jesus used here. Now the English word meek causes a lot of problems when people study this. The true meaning of the word meek in this verse is goodwill toward all men and reverent obedience to God. The meek are those who are not harsh, self-assertive, not covetous who don’t trample on people they don’t agree with. Now a great many people confuse meekness for weakness. Thereby suggesting that meek people turn the other cheek and that God will feel sorry for them and in the end God will give them the earth. Nothing could be further from the truth. The true fulfillment of meekness as spoken about in this beatitude means to submit to God’s will at all times rather than to exhibit a particular virtue. Because the meek have a submission to God’s will they will inherit the earth. Rev. 21:1-8

4.      Hungering and thirsting after righteousness

This person is hungering and thirsting for righteousness in the same way a man starves for food or craves water. This man can never get enough of the Lord. The fact is very few of us understand what it is to hunger or thirst. In the ancient world a working man’s wage was equivalent to three pennies a day barely enough to feed his family. When a man left his table he rarely left that table stuffed. It was the same way with thirst a man might be on a journey and find himself caught in a sandstorm. All he could do is wrap himself in his outer garment called a burnous turn his back to the wind and wait the storm out. The sand would fill his nostrils and his throat and he would almost suffocate with the burning heat and the parching sand. The man Jesus is talking about is starved to death for food and water and will do anything to have it. The food and the water are righteousness. Now the Hebrews translated the word righteousness for their word sedakah, it is the establishment of God’s will among men so that justice, honesty, and right dealings will prevail. This is also used synonymously with salvation. In the NT it signifies conformity to God’s will in thought, word, deed and action and especially to designate the state of those who have responded in faith to the redeeming work of Christ and are accepted, approved and justified by God. Jesus is hammering home a point here in that the man shall be filled. You see a man may be good in the sense that you could never pin a moral fault on him. His honesty, his integrity are above reproach but possibly that same man does not have a heart that hurts for people such a man would then be partially good. On the other hand, you might have a man that swears, smokes, gambles and drinks but he would give you the coat off his back. Again partially good, Jesus is speaking about the man who wants it all and his desire is to please God in every way. In thought, word, deed, and action.

5.      Merciful

Merciful describes someone who has a genuine heartfelt compassion. But it means more than just feeling sorry. This word when you trace it back in the Hebrew is actually untranslatable in English. But we can get very close to the exact meaning. It would literally mean getting right inside another persons skin so that we can see things with his eyes, think things with his mind, and feel with his feelings. Pro. 11:17; 19:17; 24:17-18

6.      Pure in heart

The Jewish use of bodily organs as seats of intellectual, emotional or moral life even if originally literal had become figurative. Heart may be understood here in prosaic language to be the interior life of the personality. Of the 851 times heart is used in the OT one third of the times it is used to describe the personality as a whole. Some of the remaining two thirds of the time it expresses the emotions but in many times the intellect and the will are stressed. The other uses of the heart by Jesus throw light on this beatitude such as Matt. 6:21; 12:34-35; 15:19. The Christian with a pure heart is not contaminated with the world. The ancient Jews recognized an un-pure person as someone with a disease thus someone who had a contaminated body. The pure in heart are the sincere single-minded who’s sole purpose is to please God. [James 1:27] There are two ways we see God by being pure. The founder of the Hasdic sect taught that God cannot be proved but must be experienced and tasted. Hasdic  Judaism taught that by prayer even the most ignorant of men could communicate with God.  To be pure in heart you have to empty yourself of the world. The second way is we will see God face to face [I Cor. 13:12; I John 3:2-3]

7.      Peacemakers

a.       The Hebrew word shalom in its fullness represented a vision of peace and spiritual well being that was grounded in a covenantal relationship with God and it was reflected in all dimensions of life, spiritual, political, biological and economical.

b.      Promoting Shalom

Peacemakers are people who are not merely of a peaceable disposition but who actively promote peace. [II Cor. 5:20]

c.       Christ is the Prince of peace. We are his ambassadors. There are

three prerequisites for a peacemaker. Number one, be at peace with God. Number two, be at peace with yourself. Number three, be committed to bringing other to Christ and showing them the Prince of peace.

8.      Persecution

a.       Definition

Persecution is the suffering or pressure [mental, moral, or physical] which authorities, individuals or crowds inflict on others; especially for beliefs or opinions. The goals, of persecution being recantation, silence or execution, to suffer persecution for Christ is a badge of honor.

b.      Apostolic persecution [church history]

Peter was crucified upside down.

Andrew was crucified on an x shaped cross and he was tied to the cross and not nailed so that his suffering would last longer.

James the son of Zebedee was killed by the order of Herod with a sword in AD 42.

Philip of Bethsaida was also crucified upside down.

Nathaniel was flayed or skinned to death in Armenia under King Astages.

Matthew was either beheaded with a sword or burned at the stake.

Thomas was run through with a lance.

James the son of Alphaeus refused to deny Christ to the High Priest Annas was thrown down from a high tower, stoned, clubbed and finally his body cut into small pieces.

Simon the Zealot we don’t know how he died but his symbol in ancient Christendom was the battleaxe or the saw, which may be indicative of how he died.

Judas the son of James was shot with arrows.

John was boiled in oil.

9.      Revile and evil gossip

To revile someone means to upbraid them, to bring reproaches and complaints against them. You will be reviled and people will gossip about you if you are doing right

 

The number nine in scripture means an end. It is the number of finality. Jerusalem was laid siege 27 times [3x9].

Nine also points to blessings if abided by:

1.      9 fruit of the Spirit

2.      9 gifts of the Spirit

3.      9 beatitudes

 

C.     Influence of True Disciples [5:13-16]

Salt without flavor needs to be thrown away. So disciples without true moral character and godly virtues and true spiritual commitment to Jesus Christ are totally useless in the kingdom of heaven. Which is why James says faith without works is dead. The world is in dire need of savor something to season it to make the good news become part of the terrible news we hear. We need Christ life shining through Christians. Likewise disciples are like a candle or a lamp which if it is going to fulfill its function it needs to be set on a lamp stand. The disciples were to be like a city set on a hill to let their light shine and the church should be like that. For the church is not an organization but an organism. The result is not to attract men but to glorify the Father, which is in heaven.

D.    Laws And Principles Of The Kingdom [5:17-48]

 In these verses the details of the moral principles of the kingdom will be outlined and the following subjects will be mentioned. The relation of the Mosaic Law to the kingdom, [vv. 17-19] the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees compared to Jesus righteousness [vv. 20-32] we will speak about laws regarding perjury [vv.33-37] laws relating to injustice and unfair advantage [vv. 38-42] and laws relating to our enemies [vv. 43-48] Although the Mosaic Law as a dispensation would end on the cross. The moral and spiritual implication were to be fulfilled in later dispensation  namely the dispensation of grace which we are in now and ultimately during the millennial reign of Christ. It is not completely accurate to say that the kingdom period when Christ Reigns on earth will be totally under the Mosaic Law. But it is obvious that the millennial kingdom is somehow more legal in its government as directed by Jesus Christ. There will still be grace in Christ but there will be stricter rules.

[vv 17-20] Jesus said that I am not come to destroy but to fulfill and he did this in three ways;

1.      By his perfect obedience Jesus magnified the Law and made it honorable [Is. 42:21]

2.      By his death he met all its claims against the lawbreakers and so he became the end of the law for the righteousness to all who believe [Rom. 10:4]

3.      By his spirit our Lord enables believers to fulfill the righteous requirements of the law [Rom. 8:4]

    The jot in Hebrew is the smallest letter in the alphabet and it is called a yodh. The tittle is a little mark indicating a slight change in the meaning of the letter. When Jesus speaks about this he is pointing to the perfection of Holy Scripture. Anyone who ignores the divine authority of God’s revealed will in His Word by loosening the moral effects of Christ’s commands so as to make men careless of their obligations to those laws shall be esteemed of no worth in the kingdom of God. The scribes and Pharisees were ultra legalistic and they trusted not in God’s righteousness but in their own righteousness. Our righteousness will never exceed the high legalistic standards of the scribes and Pharisees but Jesus’ righteousness will and this is what he says we need to obey.

[vv 21-26] the word reconcile means to be thoroughly changed within and without to thy brother. The morality of the kingdom in many respects was to exceed that of the Law of Moses and this will absolutely in full effect during the millennial reign of Christ. The word raca, has a wide range of meanings. It can mean worthless, stupid, empty headed or you dummy. How should a Christian pay his bills or his debts? They should be received on the day they are due or before. To not do so damages the witness of the church in the community.

[vv 27-37] in these verses Jesus is teaching us that looking at a woman in a lustful manner is in God’s eyes to break the seventh commandment. With such a standard, who in the world can plead not guilty? How important then is the admonition to put to death any offending member less one be, betrayed into greater sin which if unrepented brings eternal judgment in hell. Because of the hardness of men’s hearts God permitted certain things that are forbidden to the disciples of Jesus according to Matthew 19:8,9; 5:31-32. Which is God’s intention to be a lifetime commitment is dissolved by the grave sin of fornication on the part of either the husband or the wife. This leaves the innocent party free to remarry but as I Corinthians 7 teaches they can only marry another Christian. Concerning oaths in verses 33-37, judged by the higher standard of communication how much of our conversation is unworthy of those who profess to be subject to the Lord? What careless speech and foolish words professed Christians indulge in just as though Jesus had never spoken regarding this matter we need to be careful. For the word of God says we will be judged for every idle word we say.

[vv. 38-48] because we have received grace God expects us to exhibit grace and mercy toward others. When the grace of God controls the heart there is nothing that we can’t stand to lose. Grace always goes the second mile. The disciple of Christ is to always be like Christ ready to aid and assist people. We should never help a person in their problem but we should always help a person out of their problem. We overcome the evil in a Christ like way when we reach out to Christ less people. No matter how bad others may treat us we are to seek ways in which to bless them. As we obey the Lord’s commands we reveal the fact that we are children of the heavenly Father who constantly pours His mercy and His grace upon us on the just and the unjust, it is the divine nature of which every believer is a part of  [II Peter 1:4]   Being  perfect according to verse 48 means being perfect in the sense of complete absence of partiality or prejudice. Thus imitating Jesus Christ who is no respector of persons. [Acts 10:34] God’s choicest blessings are for those who demonstrate the same spirit of reverence for Him and meekness and compassion for others, which were seen in all the fullness of Christ [Heb. 5:7]

 

VII. The Life Of Faith [6:1-34]

A. The giving of alms [6:1-4]

    Jesus is calling attention to ostentatious alms giving and this was often characterized in Jewish society when someone wanted to give a large gift to the temple they would literally blow a trumpet and then drop the alms into the offering box. In the kingdom alms should be given secretly. God looks on the heart and rewards accordingly.

Definition: Alms were monies given out of mercy to the poor. Giving to the poor is honorable, making a display of it is not.

B.     Instructions Concerning Prayer [6:5-18]

   In verses 5-8 we are warned against the formality of prayer and pretended piety and holiness rather than they concern for personal holiness and the reality of God. God demands reality in our prayers. There were those of the Pharisees who looked on prayer of itself as having a degree of merit. Sometimes formal prayers were recited in public places and the longer the prayer was and the more intense and fervent it made on the person who was not just saying it but on the bystanders who were hearing it. And the bystanders became inclined to judge a man’s holiness by the length and the expression of his devotions. Jesus warned His disciples against abusing prayer in this manner. He did not forbid them to pray in public places and we are not forbidden to pray in public places I Timothy 2:8 tells us that. However He did forbid against praying in public places for self-glorification. The individual the best place he could pray is in his closet.  He says when thou pray in verse 6 enter into thy closet. The Greek word for closet is timahon and the Greek idea of this closet was a closet that some people had in their homes and it was a storeroom where the family treasures were kept. Get alone and be with the treasures of heaven.

1.      The so called “Lords Prayer” is best called the Model Prayer

Jesus was teaching the prayer not praying it. He could never pray this prayer since it included asking forgiveness and Jesus was sinless.

2.      Exposition of the Model Prayer

In prayer we ought to come to God as a child comes to his father. Confidant of our God’s power, mercy and goodness [Mark 10:14-15[, children are the epitomy of faith, their trust in their father is total and absolute. Pray by picturing Calvary for we get to call Him Father by the shed blood of Calvary.

We are always to be looking upward and not to earthly things, to heaven and not to the carnal world. The base word of hallowed means sacred and pure or blameless, we are to look at God as blameless, sacred and pure. We are not to come to God in a flippant manner. We need to come to God with deep reverence. [Ps. 139; 23-24; Pro. 1:7] are good ways to approach God.

Verse 10 thy kingdom come. The base word for kingdom is very important because it means a sovereign foundation for power. We know that when Christ establishes the millennial reign there will be peace on earth. Jesus says pray that my kingdom comes. When will, God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven? During the millennial reign of Christ when Jesus is ruling and reigning, however we can pray that God’s will be done on earth, as it is heaven. The best way to know God’s will is through the Word of God [Ps. 119:104-105] and through prayer. Verse 11, our provision comes from God [Phil. 4:19], God gives us all things and we should thank Him for all things.  Verse 12, the idea of debt is something that is owed. Our sins. We owe something for our sins because the wages of sin is debt. We need to ask God to free us from this debt. [I John 1:9] Second part of verse 12 says that we need to forgive those who have harmed us. We need to learn how to say I forgive you. There should be no question of our forgiving others. The general definition of biblical forgiveness is the covering or removal of sins, transgressions, iniquity, or impiety thus making reconciliation possible. We need to do whatever is necessary to make reconciliation. It is impossible to pray if we don’t forgive others. [Luke 18:10-14] humbleness is the key to forgiveness. Verse 13 the idea of temptation is to put to proof by experimentation. We are to pray that God would not allow us to be placed in those situations where we might fail. Verses 16-18 teach again that hypocrisy is to be put away from us. Jesus calls for absolute honesty in the behavior of all His disciples.

C.     Treasures In Heaven [6:19-24]

Very important to Jewish thinking among the Sadducees was material wealth. In His public ministry Jesus rebuked the Sadducees for their love of material wealth.

1.      Understanding the temporalness of this life

2.      God and Mammon. Who is your master?

A choice must be made we must either regard a master with love and obedience or with hate and disobedience. A choice must be made between God and mammon a man cannot serve two masters. The best way to translate mammon comes from a Hebrew word, which means that which is stored up. Jesus is talking about having faith here and we need to read verse 25 to keep this all in context.

D.    The Cure For Anxiety [6:25-34]

It is the will of God that you and I should live without worry or anxiety. Anxiety is not God’s will. We are not to become distressed over the future. He that saved and cared for us thus far can be depended upon to take care of us and provide for us through eternity. Our faith is to be in the Lord God who saved you and cares for you. God has promised that He will care for His children. The nations of the world make the pursuit of temporal things the primary focus of their life. That is their object for living. We are to seeking first the kingdom of God. We are to put the interest of God’s kingdom first. What’s God’s kingdom? The Word of God, the propagation of the gospel of faith, living a godly life, walking after the Spirit and not after the flesh, all these things if we do these first God says He will provide for all our needs.

1.      Don’t spend your time worrying especially over things that are beyond your control. Key phrase: Take no thought. Literally: Take no anxiety. Which one of us would say each morning, “I better take my anxiety pill so that today, I will be sure to worry enough?”

 

 

VIII. Doing The Father’s Will [7:1-29]

A.          Judging Others [7:1-6]

We are never to sit in judgment on hidden motives because we are easily biased and prejudiced and many times rash decisions and judgments where the facts are not all known or presented are wrong. Also we can’t read someone’s heart or discern their thoughts, this is God’s prerogative alone. If we disobey this command and judge when we should not judge, we need not be surprised when others pass rash judgments upon us in similar ways. [vv 1-2]

Dr. H. A. Ironside explains these verses best: “There is a fine irony here that is very striking. The words mote and beam stand out in vivid contrast. The word mote originally signified a bit of dry twig or straw such as the wind might carry into the human eye, thus causing blurred vision and tears until it is rejected. The word beam means a stick of timber, but was used colloquially in Greek speech in our Lord’s days on earth as a synonym for splinter, which though small, seems like a beam because of all the pain it produces. In papyrus note discovered in Egypt, a young boy wrote to his mother telling of the suffering he endured because a beam had been driven into his thumb under his nail. With this understanding of mote and beam we can clearly see Jesus’ point. Don’t correct someone when you have something worse in your life.” [vv 3-5]

The original word translated for hypocrite means an actor. It means literally a second face. We get our English cliché that so and so is two-faced from that.

It’s folly to endeavor to present the deeper and more precious things of God’s divine revelation to men who have absolutely no desire for holiness. We are not to argue with people, we are to present the gospel in a clear fashion and love the people, but we are not to waste our time with those who just wish to argue. [v. 6]

B.           Praying Earnestly [7:7-11]

1.      Ask, seek, and knock [Hebrew Parallelism]

Keep on asking, seeking, knocking, in these words ask, seek, and knock our Lord is stressing the importance of prevailing prayer. I Thessalonians 5:16 means that we keep asking until the Lord answers our prayer. We are bidden to make our requests known unto God [Phil. 4:6-7] If pray is not answered at once we are to seek more clearly the mind of God in the matter that we may pray with enlightened intelligence. [Isaiah 26:9; 40:31; Psalm 46:10] We are to wait upon the Lord. We are to knock with the importunity that implies sincerity of faith and such importunity, which means a need, brings an answer [Luke 11: 5-10] God does answer prayer. In a all dispensations past and present God has been revealed as the hearer and answerer of prayer [Ps. 65:2; Is. 56:7; Matt. 21:13] God invites us to come to Him with our petitions and promises to give according to our needs [Phil. 4:19] When God’s conditions are complied with the answer is sure for all who approach Him in prayer in accordance with His revealed will.

 

 

2.      The Lord knows how to bless us.

God reserves to Himself the right to answer as His wisdom dictates, but He never ignores the cries of a believer. Our heavenly Father gives us that which we need. Prayer is the appointed means whereby the mercies of God are received.

C.                                              The Golden Rule [7:12]

The golden rule is linked with prayer for no one can pray aright who is not characterized by active benevolence to those around them. [I John 3:17-22]

D.          The Two Ways [7:13-14]

Entering the kingdom is likened to going through a narrow gate because Jesus said I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes to the Father but by me. The narrow way to heaven is a single way Jesus gave no assurance that the majority will enter into the kingdom. Unitarian universalists teach that in the end everyone gets saved. The blood of Jesus is the only way of salvation and the only way into heaven. There is only one Savior, Jesus Christ the Son of God. [Acts 4:12]

E.           True And False Teachers [7:15-20]

1.      Verse 15 [cf. II Cor. 11:13-15] Striking metaphor here false prophets in sheep’s clothing inwardly they are ravening wolves, suggest a prowling wolf with the fleece of a sheep drawn over its body as it roams about the outskirts of the flock waiting for an opportunity to attack an unsuspecting lamb or sheep or attack the entire flock. In like manner teachers of falsehood do not show their true colors at first because they are cowards. People that hide their doctrine and are not open with it when Jesus said shout it from the rooftops are cowards. They have no honor or dignity and they do it to draw away disciples.

[Acts 20:29]

2.      Examine their fruits

The only safe way is to test the teachers by the Word of God itself and particularly by the doctrine of Christ. Read John’s second epistle, for we need to be careful who preaches in the pulpit. We shall know them by their fruit that which is of God will result in fruit for His glory. Every good tree speaks of those men and women born of God and every evil tree speaks of those men and women who are still unregenerate. This parable from nature is designed to impress upon our minds that like trees we are either good or bad and our behavior will indicate our true character. [Pro. 12:2; 13:22; 14:14] There is none good until regeneration [Rom. 3:12] The testimony of the lips speaks about the condition of the heart. A heart in rebellion against God cannot produce in the life that which brings honor to Him. Neither can one who is subject to God’s will go on in sin bringing discredit upon God. By their fruits you shall know them. Whatever profession a man makes it’s the life that tells the story. [I Thess. 1:5; 2:10] Good men always delight in righteousness and purity. Evil men love sinfulness and corruptness.

F.           True And False Professions Of Faith [7:21-23]

1.      Not everyone that says, Lord, Lord is a Christian. Mere lip profession is of no avail if the heart and life are not subject to the Word of God we are not saved, by works but good works are a test of the reality that we are saved. He who is born of God will delight to obey the Father’s will. [Eph. 2:8-10] There may be much in the way of outward show and successful service coupled with a Christ-less profession and in the day of manifestation nothing will avail but personal faith in Jesus Christ. Note, Jesus doesn’t say that I used to know you but I know you no more, His word to the lost will be I never knew you. They were never saved. We are not talking about people that were so-called saved and then fell away we’re talking about a Christ-less profession of faith. They just mouthed the right words and there are people controlled by the devil that simply know the right words to say to trick people and this ties right back in with the ravening wolves spoken of in verses 15-20. Salvation is certainly not achieved through works but fruit in a person’s life can indicate if they are saved.

G.          True And False Foundations [7:24-29]

1.      Christ is the only sure rock [Is. 28:16; I Cor. 3:11; I Peter 2:6-8]

Both the believer and the non-believer both have storms in their life. In bringing the Sermon on the Mount to an end. The Lord presented in a graphic and solemn way the eternal results of our attitude toward the message He gives. He who hears and heeds the words of Christ makes it evident that he is a genuine believer. No assaults from the enemy can destroy that house because it’s founded upon the Rock of Ages. He who hears the word but takes no heed is simply building on sinking sand. When the testing time comes anyone who has built his hopes on anything short than Jesus Christ Himself will be eternally lost. To own Christ and obey His Word is to build a house that will not fall. Jesus is presented in numerous scriptures as our sure foundation. [Rom. 9:33]

2.      The Word of God is our one and only authority.

Not feelings, authors of books, scholars, philosophy or any other source. As Martin Luther said, “sola scriptura.” The scriptures alone.

Ecclesiastes 8:4; II Cor. 5:20 we show and point the way that’s why we need to make sure that our preaching and teaching is based upon God’s Word alone.

When Christ returns the principles found in the sermon will prevail everywhere. They won’t be the exception they will be the rule. The Sermon on the Mount is the law and constitution of the millennial reign. [Is. 61: 11; I John 3:7-10]

 

 

 

 

 

 

IX. The Authority Of Jesus Over Disease And Nature [8:1-34]

A.                The Leper Healed [8:1-4]

This is the first instance in the gospel of Matthew where Jesus is addressed as Lord and the word means master, but as used with Jesus it is a recognition of His authority and His deity. The leper had the confidence that Jesus was able to heal him however, he was not certain that Jesus was willing to heal him. That’s why he says if thou wilt. And the crowd was amazed that Jesus healed him because of reason one below.

1.      Leprosy was a dreaded disease. Lepers were separated from general populace and had to cover their lips with their hands and call out when approaching healthy people, “unclean, unclean” [Lev. 13]

2.      The leper was to present himself healed to the priest for two reasons;

a.       Priest acted as health officer and could officially declare him healed

b.      Jesus wanted His ministry to be credible. Jesus wanted the Jews to officially know His miracles were genuine.

B.                                                     Centurion’s Servant Healed [8:5-13]

1.      A non-commissioned officer who commanded at least 100 men

2.      Sickness: palsy [either partial or total paralysis]

3.      The centurion’s a faith; the centurion was a Roman and therefore a Gentile and he said he was unworthy to have Jesus come to his house and so he said only speak the word and he’ll be healed. Note, that he too said he was a man in authority and could command and have instant obedience, therefore Jesus simply had to command it his physical presence was not necessary is what the man is saying. Because of this Jesus marveled at this man’s faith, calling it greater than any faith He had found among the promised people [Israel] and He commented that in the future kingdom the children of the kingdom that’s the Jews some of them would be cast out and the Gentiles would be admitted instead and this is looking forward to the cross. Where whosoever will come to Jesus can be saved.

4.      Many Jews will be lost, but many outsiders [Gentiles] will be saved

C.                The Healing Of Peter’s Mother-In-Law [8:14-15]

In this section we have an illustration of what we call the restlessness of sin. Its like a fever in the human soul that responds at once to the touch of Jesus Christ. We know that Peter was a married man and his mother-in-law was part of the family group. His mother-in-law had a fever and was tossing upon the couch in distress but when Jesus touched her all that changed. There is healing in the touch of Jesus. Disease fled because Jesus is the Lord of life. Peter’s mother-in-law at once sought to show her gratitude by serving Jesus. When Jesus rebukes the fever of sin service should become joy. And life, day to day living should be a joyful experience. We know little else regarding Peter’s family life. Some speculate that sometime shortly after the resurrection Peter’s wife died.

In all these instances of physical healing we see proof that our Lord Jesus Christ is the all-sufficient One in whom are infinite resources present in every situation to meet our every emergency. Nothing takes Jesus by surprise and no need is too small or too great to bring to His attention. Christ’s life on earth was a manifestation of divine supreme love and compassion giving to men a new understanding of the loving goodness of God and God’s care and compassion for His children. [Heb. 13:8] tells us that Jesus is this way in glory today. 

D.                                                    The Night Of Healings [8:16-17]

1.                              Delivering from demons and healing [fulfillment of Isaiah 53:4-5]

No doubt it was because of the news of these remarkable healings that had gotten around that the people came from all the surrounding area seeking deliverance from their sickness. No one applied to Him in vain because His heart was filled with burning compassion. 

E.                                                     The Price Of Discipleship [8:18-22]

In these verses we have what Ironside calls Jesus’ explanation of the cost of    discipleship. Having accomplished so many mighty works in Capernaum and its vicinity Jesus gave commandment to depart because Jesus had a ministry that did not favor a few in one locale but favored all who were distressed. A disciple was a learned student. As a result two men spoke their concern regarding discipleship.

1.      The scribe: a copyist, editor and teacher of the Old Testament. The scribe said he was interested in being a disciple. However, he did not realize what following Jesus would really mean. He was moved by enthusiastic admiration of Jesus and a lot of people are moved in a church service or a revival or seminar toward enthusiastic admiration of Jesus. But they have no conception of what discipleship really entails. Jesus would have no man make a sudden decision without counting the cost. For he who would follow Christ needs to be prepared to tread the path of loneliness and rejection. This is why Jesus’ makes these statements in verses 20 and 22.

2.      Another of His disciples [unnamed]. A disciple’s priority is to Christ      alone. He who had created all things was homeless in His own world and among His own people. To follow Jesus was to share in His sorrows and that is why the Word of God tells us that he who would follow Christ must take up his cross daily and be His disciples. We need not assume that this man’s father was already dead. But the man pleaded the claims of natural ties as an excuse for not at once following Jesus. Note, the Lord’s reply to this young man let the dead bury their dead. There is a lot of confusion on this verse so pay attention to it. Jesus is basically saying that those who are dead spiritually need to attend to the disposal of the remains of the physically dead. In other words young man are you dead spiritually or are you alive spiritually? Or are you alive spiritually? If you are alive spiritually then you come and follow Me and let somebody else worry about taking care of your father until he dies because I’m calling you now.  The paramount thing is to follow Jesus to speak of following Jesus on our own terms is foolishness. It is a failure to realize that Jesus is Lord of all and He is Lord of us. Are we seeking to make a bargain with Christ? Or are we seeking to yield completely to His authority? If we have turned ourselves over to His authority then we will plainly follow His authority without question.

F.                                                     The Calming Of The Storm [8:23-27]

Suddenness of storms on the Sea of Galilee [680 feet below sea level] Fear engendered by unbelief led the disciples to cry out. Faith would have enabled them to rest in the fact that Jesus was with them. Jesus rebukes them for lacking faith [Heb. 11:1, 6; Rom. 10:17] and because they were not pleasing to Him when they lacked faith and this is brought out in Hebrews 11:6. The winds and the sea recognized the voice of the master because Jesus was the Creator of the winds and the sea. Note, they say what manner of man is this? As yet they did not understand fully the mystery of the incarnation. It was as He worked His power among them that their understanding was opened slowly to know who He really was. The parallel account in Mark 4 has an interesting statement in it when Jesus rebukes the wind and the sea [v. 39]. Always be prepared for storms.

G.                                                    The Healing Of The Demoniacs [8:28-43]

A legion was the primary component of a Roman army unit and it consisted of between 3000 and 6000, infantry men. Plus one to two hundred Calvary men so we have an absolute minimum of 3100 demons we are dealing with here. These men had at least 2000 demons in them [Mark 5:13] See Dr. Jimmy Hayes book; Are Demons For Real? Pp. 36-37

Demon possession is a condition in which one or more demons live in the body of a human being and have complete control over the victims will. According to II Timothy 2:26, and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil who are taken captive by him at his will. The word demon possession does not occur in the scriptures it speaks about possessed of devils and that literally means to be demonized. Demon possession is when a demon or demons invades the body of a living person and moves the faculties and organs has if he were manipulating the body as his own. In demon possession a demon or demons as in legion truly reside within the body of an unfortunate victim and the devil through his operative demons treats the body as his own. The devil and the demons are without morals [Matt. 17:14-21] the primary purpose of the possession of a person by a demon or demons is to cause them to sin and to destroy the person [John 10:10]. Demon possession is the opposite of being saved because when we are saved we are filled with the Spirit controlled by the Holy Spirit. Demon possession is not spoken about that much. For most Americans do not believe in a literal devil or demons although the majority of them claim to believe in God and heaven they don’t want to recognize demons. If you go to heathen societies where animism is practiced demon possession is quite common. However it is becoming rapidly more prevalent in Christian societies such as the United States and it is due to waning Christian influence and new age phenomenon and the boldness of the devil. As America continues to turn away from God we are going to see a sharp rise in demon possession. There are participating factors in demon possession in areas rebellion, a fascination with the occult, there’s the deviation from traditional Christian worship and there’s the glamorizing of evil and evil doers. Questions arise as to whether demons can possess believers in Christ. Scripture is silent concerning Christians being possessed by demons however a careful study of Luke 11:24-26 and Ephesians 4:30 a believer is held in custody by the Holy Spirit since the Holy Spirit is infinitely more powerful than satan and his demons why in the world would the Holy Spirit allow Christians to be possessed? It is just simply not possible. Now because of the very nature of demon possession there are skeptics that try to repudiate it. There are four major objections to the belief that demon possession occurs. The first is called the mythical theory. The basic idea is that it was found by David Struass a German and he says that the whole narrative of Jesus expelling demons is symbolic not literal without actual foundation in fact. Demon possession is so-called but it is a vivid symbol of evil in the world and the casting out of demons corresponds to figure of triumph over evil by the doctrine and life of Jesus Christ.  The second false theory is known as the accommodation theory. The proponents of the accommodation theory say that our Lord and the disciples spoke only in accommodation to the prevalent ignorance and superstition to their audience without making any assertion as to the actual existence or non-existence to the phenomenon described of the truth or falsity of the current belief. It is concluded that since the symptoms were often those of physical diseases such as blindness, dumbness and epilepsy see Matthew 12: 22 and Mark 9:17-27 or those appearing as dementia [Matt. 8:28; Mark 5:1-5], since the phrase to have a demon was apparently used as equivalent to being mad [John 7:20; 8:48; 10:30] and since it is erroneously assumed that cases of demon possession are not known to occur in our day. Therefore our Lord spoke in the evangelist’s rote to the common conviction of the time with a view to being clearly understood especially by the patients themselves. But those being demonized were merely persons afflicted with uncommon diseases of the body and mind and the only reason the demon possessed was used was to accommodate their ignorance.  The hallucination theory says that demon possession is explained under the hypothesis of hallucination as a mere psychological delusion on the part of the victim who diseased and distraught becomes wrought up to such an emotional frenzy that he imagines himself possessed and controlled by another and more powerful being. The fourth false theory is known as the non-existent theory. Demonized people do not now occur. Science demands that it must exist today and be verifiable and since demonized people do not exist today it naturally leads to the conclusion by secular psychologists that the possibility of demon possession is a non-definitive theory and not only doesn’t exist today but it never existed even when it was written about in God’s Word. A major weakness of those who deny demon possession is the failure to realize that the victory accomplished by the Lord on the cross extends solely to believers and not to unbelievers. [John 8:44] The first period of time in a demon possessed person’s life is known as the period of crisis. It’s manifested by violent uncontrollable pure unrestrained evil.  The second period is known as the period of calm. In this period nothing unusual or extraordinary is manifested. One would think that the person was free from demons. The demons presence may still be manifested by some disease, that actually defies pathological testing. And resist every form of conventional medical or psychological treatment. Characteristics of a demon possessed person. Number one love of physical pain. Number two excessive crying. Number three a desire to remove one’s clothes, nakedness. Number four always wanting to be in seclusion. Number five is supernatural strength. Number six a new or many new personalities. Number seven always screaming and using a loud voice when talking, they have a spirit of falsity always telling half-truths. There is confusion and persistent deep depression. There’s obstinacy and a constant restless spirit and a spirit of proud and boasting and repeated disobedience to spiritual leaders, and scrupulous adherence to following cults, and finally, uncontrollable passions in sensual areas. Eventually the people were upset at our Lord. For they would rather have swine than salvation!

 

X. The Authority Of Jesus To Forgive Sins [9:1-38]

A.                                                                      The Healing Of The Paralytic And His Forgiveness [9:1-8]

1.      This miracle is very important for this miracle closes the second group of miracles demonstrating our Lord’s control over nature, demons, sickness, and His ability to forgive sins. The parallel of this account is found in Mark. We need to note that Jesus met the greater need first the healing of the soul. Sin must be forgiven for any true healing to take place. The scribes looked on this as blasphemy. In verse five, to the scribes on would be as impossible as the other, but men, are prone to consider physical ailments of great importance than sinfulness. Remember that Christ placed the primary emphasis upon the soul He would have men realize that their hearts are corrupt. [Matt. 15:19] This man had a need for deliverance from the guilt and power of sin. [John 8:34] Jesus desired that men give honor to His heavenly Father.

B.                                                                       The Call Of Matthew [9:9-17]

1.      In parallel accounts Matthew is called Levi [Mark, Luke]

Matthew’s tax office was located at Capernaum. Probably had the responsibility of collecting taxes from those en route from Damascus to the east, which passed through Capernaum.

2.      Matthew held a feast for Jesus. Without a doubt other tax collectors attended this feast. This was frowned upon by, the Pharisees. For the Pharisees considered tax collectors enemies of the Jewish people and eating with them was considered as compromising godly morals. However, Jesus is a friend to sinners. Jesus said that they that are whole do not need a physician but they that are sick do. He then cites to them Hosea 6:6 which brings out the fact that God prefers mercy over, sacrifice. This point is brought out only here in Matthew. Objections were also raised by the disciples of John who were fasting as the Pharisees were. Jesus explained to John’s disciples that mourning is not present at a wedding.

3.      First prophecy by our Lord about His death [9:15]     

4.      New wine in old bottle

This attempt to apply the standards of the Pharisees to the new dispensation of grace, which Jesus was introducing, was like putting new clothe to an old garment or new wine to old wineskins. The Pharisees religion, which included fasting, was inadequate for what lay ahead whether it be in the dispensation of the church or the kingdom. The Pharisees were focusing on the legality and the ordinances of the law rather than the freedom we have in Christ. Ironside says it this way, “Jesus did not come to add something to the legal dispensation but to supercede it with that which was entirely new.” The new wine of grace was not to be poured into the old wineskins of legality.

C.                                                                      One Woman Healed, Another Raised From The Dead [9:18-26]

1.      This was probably a ruler of a local synagogue in Capernaum. This ruler was a very influential individual who supervised all matters in a particular synagogue. This man’s name was Jarius [Mark 5:22] The minstrels were people that were hired to come in and play when someone died. This points to the fact that Jarius was very rich. It was a mourning ritual that the minstrels were performing. There are two miracles in this passage and both are designed to witness to the power and compassion of Jesus who was in the midst of Israel though still unrecognized by the majority of the population. Jarius believed in the claims of Jesus and so he sought Christ out and he realized that she was at the point of death unless there was divine intervention.

2.      The woman with the issue of blood for 12 years. Very weak due to anemia, probably weight loss. She touched the hem of Jesus’ garment, which had a blue border, a color that symbolizes heaven. Her very life was leaving her and she pressed through the crowd and touched the border of His garment. Jesus was not wearing the robe of a priest. But He was wearing something that would associate him with a pious Jew that truly followed all the Laws of Israel. [Ex. 28:31-35] The people listened for the sound of the bells to make sure that the priest did everything right inside the Holy of Holies so that there sins would be forgiven for that year. So from the hem of this robe there are these pomegranates and each one was made of blue, purple, and scarlet fibers and the pomegranates acted as pads between a row of gold bells, which would reflect the light of the oil lamps in the Holy of Holies. Jesus was not wearing a robe like this for He was not acting as the High Priest. But the borders of the robe were blue and scarlet mixed in signifying heaven and these marked Jesus as one who was holy. When she reached out and touched the blue border she touched heaven. Her faith made her whole. The woman with the issue of blood had three problems. Number one it was the sickness itself. The second problem she had was that she was bankrupt [Mark 5:26] and number three she was ceremonial unclean [Leviticus 15:25-27]. This is why she was so covert in sneaking through the crowd to touch heaven. She risked it all to touch Christ.

3.      Jesus raises the dead girl to life. Christ would bring the oil of joy to their mourning. Conservatives believe the girl was dead. But the liberals pick this apart. Liberal controversy over “sleeping” katheudo. This is the only place where this Greek word katheudo is found in the NT. They say it does not mean death but sleep. However we know that death and sleep are synonymous in the scriptures.

D.                                                                      Healing Of Two Blind Men [9:27:31]

Recognizing Jesus as the promised Messiah these two blind men address Jesus with a messianic title Son of David and they implore mercy. When their eyes were healed they looked into His face their blindness being gone. They were instantly healed and readily desired to tell everyone. Why did Jesus want them to refrain from telling anyone? The reason was that Jesus desired people be impressed by His message rather than His works.

E.                                                                       Another Demoniac Healed [9:32-35]

1.      This man was unable to speak and was demon possessed

2.      The multitudes acknowledged nothing like this was ever seen in Israel

3.      The Pharisees accused Jesus of being in league with Satan

F.                                                                       The Compassion Of Jesus For The Multitudes [9:36-38]

The faith of many of Jesus’ disciples was superficial at best. They were as a herd of sheep without a shepherd. The cities and villages mentioned here are all in Galilee. Note in verse 35 the proclamation of the kingdom because this is important. It was the proclamation of the good news that God was about to set up His kingdom in the world. The kingdom was being offered to Israel by God but only on condition of their repentance and their acceptance of Christ as King. That’s why Jesus first said He came to the lost sheep of Israel. When they rejected Christ and crucified Him we go into what is known as the postponed kingdom and that’s where we are at now.

 

XI. The 12 Apostles Commissioned, Named & Authority Given [10:1-5]

       In chapter 4 we already mentioned Peter, Andrew, James, and John.

A.                                        Fifth Apostle – Philip

A native of Bethsaida in Galilee [John 1:44; 12:21] according to John’s gospel, Philip met Jesus beyond the Jordan River during John the Baptist’s ministry.

B.                                         Sixth Apostle – Bartholomew

Very little is known of this apostle. According to church tradition, after Jesus ascended into heaven, he became a missionary to Armenia and India.

 

 

 

C.                                        Seventh Apostle – Thomas

Unfortunately Thomas is best known for his inability to believe that Jesus had risen from the dead. Church tradition says he was a missionary to Parthia and Persia.

D.                                        Eighth Apostle – Matthew [Gift of the Lord]

The writer of the first gospel he worked in or around Capernaum under the authority of Herod Antipas. Tax collectors like Matthew paid an agreed upon sum for the right to collect taxes in a certain area. Their profit was nay excess they could squeeze from the people. They had few friends and the Jews had no use for them!

E.                                         Ninth Apostle – James, Son of Alpheus

Very little is known about James other than that his father’s name means leader or chief. Perhaps he was very influential and left it all to follow Christ.

F.                                         Tenth Apostle – Lebbeus Or Thaddeus [Man of Heart]

According to church tradition, Lebbeus is the same person as Judas the brother of James [Luke 6:16]. This apostle was also called Judas the Zealot. The apostle John is careful to distinguish him from Judas Iscariot [John 14:22]. Tradition says he preached in Assyria and Persia and was martyred in Persia.

G.                                        Eleventh Apostle – Simon the Canaanite

In Luke 6:15 he is called Simon Zelotes. This would indicate that prior to coming to Jesus, he belonged to an ultra right-wing sect called the Zealots. This group fanatically opposed Rome ruling Palestine and even took up arms to resist. According to Flavius Josephus, the Zealots defended the temple in AD 70 [who met with defeat of course]. The zealots imitated every wicked work. Nor if their memory suggested any evil thing that had formerly been done did they avoid zealously too pursue the same. And although they gave themselves the name zealot from their zeal for what was good yet did it agree to them only by way of irony on account of those they had unjustly treated by way of their wild and brutish disposition or as thinking the greatest mischief to be the greatest good.

H.                                        Twelfth Apostle – Judas Iscariot

Judas Iscariot was from Kerioth this is what his name implies. Kerioth was in southern Judah. Thus Judas was a Judean, the only one of the twelve not from Galilee. Judas of course, is infamous in that for 30 pieces of silver the price of a slave he betrayed our Lord. Judas and that antichrist have at least two things in common:

1.      They were/will be possessed not by a demon or demons but by Satan himself [Luke 22:3; John 13:27; II Thess. 2:4,9].

2.      They are both called the son of perdition [John 17:12; II Thess. 2:3]. Perdition is eternal, damnable destruction [Rev. 17:8, 11]

I.                                           The Apostles Only Sent To Israel [10:6-23]

This mission differs considerably from that mission given in Matthew 28:16-20. And the reason it differs is because by Matthew 28 had already been rejected by Israel. According to verse 7, Jesus was ready to usher in the kingdom right then, had Israel accepted Christ as their Messiah King. This mission has to deal with Israel only, whereas Matthew 28 deals with all nations. Thus as the king’s messengers they were to count on the hospitality of the king’s subjects [fellow Jews] to further them on their way. After the cross, they were commissioned not to go just to the Jews but into all, the world, beginning in Jerusalem and then to all nations. This commission has never been revoked it is still in force today. It has never been fully carried out. The disciples were commissioned to go to Israel first and if Israel had received Christ as King no more gospel would have been written. For very opposite instructions are found to the instructions of the messengers in each instance. Its true that the great majority in Israel had no heart to respond to the message, but the circumstances were different. God had foreseen the rejection of His Son and His sacrificial death was the foundation for the Divine plan for blessing the world. However, that did not lessen Israel’s responsibility as Peter later declared in Acts 2:23. It was fitting that the offer of the kingdom should first be extended to Israel because they were by natural birth the children of the kingdom. That’s why Jesus presented the kingdom to them first. When they refused to accept that Jesus was giving them the kingdom, the kingdom was taken from them and given to another people [Matthew 21:43]. In Matthew 10:2, we find that for the first time they are separated from the other followers and called apostles or sent ones. It was after Israel rejected the kingdom that the kingdom was sent to all, the world. Miraculous powers were given to the king’s ambassadors to accredit their proclamation but they were not to misuse their powers for their own enrichment. They were the king’s representatives going to Israel and they had every right to expect to be cared for by the faithful who were waiting for the kingdom. This carries over today those who preach the gospel are to live by the gospel. Those who rejected them would be marked for judgment a judgment so severe that what fell on Sodom and Gomorrha would seem mild in comparison. This is because Light increases responsibility. How much more are we responsible now are we who have the gospel.

Verses 16-23: the afflictions Jesus describes in these verses go far beyond what the messengers experienced in the short time of the Galilean ministry. It is quite clear that the Lord’s words were intended to describe what they would be called on to face after the crucifixion and resurrection when they continued to witness to Israel and the Gentiles. On the other hand we need to remember the scriptures indicate a future witnessing to Israel by a faithful group of Jewish believers known as the wise or in the Hebrew as the Mascalim. [Dan. 12:3]. They will be those who will witness of the kingdom that was once rejected. Jesus will not have His followers be under any false illusions as to what is involved in representing Him among the people. After all, Israel had stoned and killed the prophets. Under these circumstances we can see how they needed the wisdom that comes only from above. Verse 22 is not talking about spiritual salvation but physical salvation and we can find this in the Book of Daniel and Revelation how God cares for the Jews during the tribulation you will be saved to the end. The last part of Matthew 23 is difficult and there are seven theories as to what this means. Number one Jesus is referring to a special tour in Galilee and that He will finish and overtake the apostles in this tour. Number two some say it refers to the Transfiguration. Number three some believe it refers to the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Number four some believe that Matthew has put the saying in the wrong context and he was just confused. Number five some say that Jesus was confused and didn’t know what He was talking about and when the kingdom would be set up. Number six some say that it refers to the Second Coming of Christ at the end of the Tribulation Period. Number seven and the theory that the professor believes best fits systematic theology is that Jesus would have set up the kingdom of God literally prior to the disciples finishing their missionary tour. First person we need to talk about is King David. To David were given two important revelations. Number one God’s eternal Son would die a sacrificial death [Ps. 22]. Number two that this Son of God would occupy David’s throne forever [II Sam. 7:16-29; Ps. 89:34-37] David reasoned that if God’s Son was to occupy the Throne forever He must first die and be raised again from the dead in order to reign eternally. This conclusion on the part of David was one of the most vital features of Peter’s Pentecostal sermon in Acts 2.

The rejection on the part of Israel was not the rejection of a personal crucified Savior as he is now rejected when the gospel is preached and refused. It was a nation to whom a Messiah King was promised rejecting their King. Israel did not say we, will not believe on this Savior for the saving of our souls. They never said that. What they did say in effect is we will not have this man rule over us [Luke 19:14]. This distinction is important since it determines the precise nature and character of their sin. Remember the Exodus and how they rejected to go into the Promised Land. This is a typological example of what we are talking about here. The two year’s of wilderness experience preceding the first offer of Kadesh-Barnea are typical of the six hundred year’s Israel had been out of their kingdom when Christ came. The entrance of the Israel into the land by Sovereign power at the end of those 38 year’s is typical of the final restoration of Israel to their inheritance which God covenanted to them as an everlasting possession.

1.      The gospel was first and foremost to go to the Jew [Rom. 1:16]

2.      Luke records the commission of the 70 [Luke 10:1ff]. Matthew does not.

3.      Verses 7 & 8 – The Mission

4.      If they were not welcomed, they were no to force the issue

5.      They will be hated for the sake of Christ and the gospel

 

 

 

 

J.                                          The Cost And Rewards Of Being A Disciple [10:24-42]

In these verses Jesus tells of the Heavenly Father’s care over all those who are willing to be identified with Him in the day of His rejection. Notice He says the disciple is not above His master and a disciple is a learned student, someone who in humility comes to learn under a teacher. Christ servants, His disciples are responsible to obey His Word. Why should they expect better treatment than the Master?

1.      Jesus was called Beelzebub [or the devil]

To the best of our knowledge the word Beelzebub literally translates the lord of the flies or the lord of the dung. There are two theories of thought regarding this word; one is that it refers to Satan because he is master over all, the demonic world. However, the Rabbinic scholars look at the word and believe that it refers to a specific fallen angel that Satan has given certain authority to over a vast amount of demons. In any case it means Satan or one of his fallen angels. Flies hang around waste and demons are found around waste. Such as in a bar and the demon possession we talked about in earlier lectures. What kind of people are inhabitants for demons people who live in the trash such as alcoholics, prostitutes, and drug addicts.  Verse 26 can be cross-referenced with Romans 2:16.

2.      They were to fear God alone [reverence] v. 28

The death of the body does not result in the death of the soul. Humanists and New Agers believe that death is the end and this is simply not true. After the body dies the soul lives on to be reunited to the body in the resurrection and in the case of the impenitent cast into hell and there, to wait for the Great White Throne Judgment. In scripture the terms mortal and immortal are connected with the body [Rom. 8:11; I Cor. 15:53]. There is that in man, which disease cannot affect or the murderer’s weapon can kill. Man cannot destroy the soul. God will deal with the soul of man in His own infinite righteousness. This is not the devil they are to fear. [I John 4:4; 5:4-5]

3.      The care of our Heavenly Father. [v. 29]

Nothing is too insignificant for the Father’s care that is what Jesus is saying in this verse. God’s care extends to the minutest detail of our lives.

4.      Confess Jesus – Unity

Christ claims absolute total authority over our lives. We’re to acknowledge Him openly before others and He will confess our names (though we are unworthy without Christ) in the day that we appear before God. If we refuse to own Christ as our Savior now and confess and believe in our heart the Lord Himself will deny He ever knew us.

5.      Jesus brings unity but also division.

Jesus says that He did not come to bring peace but a sword. Hebrews 4:12; Ephesians 6:17; John 1:1,14. The Word of God is the sword. This fits really, really well if you take Matthew 10:34 and these references listed above and tie it in with Psalm 119 which mentions all the precepts, statutes and commandments of God to create quite a message. Title: The Power of the Word of God or the Sword that Jesus sent.

The claims of Christ are paramount to everything and every one else. The disciples need to be ready encounter opposition even in their own homes and the part of their nearest kindred. Verses 36, 37 were found to be literally true in Russia where children were literally turning in their parents for practicing Christianity covertly before the fall of the Soviet Union. Our love for God is to be above every thing or every one else.

6.      Taking up our cross [v. 38]

To take the cross is to acknowledge our identification with Jesus Christ as the rejected One. A man that was carrying his cross was a man that was totally devoted to only one thing, death. I Corinthians 15:31 calls, us to die daily in order that Jesus may be glorified in us. First mention of cross in Matthew, criminals had to carry their own cross to their crucifixion site. Being a disciple of Christ is not easy. The Jews and the disciples completely understood what Jesus was referring to here. For since the days of Antiochus Epiphanes IV and the days of one of the Maccabean rulers Alexander Janus thousands of people had been crucified. So this was not something that was foreign to them. To live for self is to fail to recognize the purpose for our being here. But if we give up all that men of the world value for the sake of Christ we gain eternity. [John 12:24]

[vv. 40-42] – a reward is in store for all who will receive Christ’s messengers and who will aide them in their ministry. To receive one sent by Jesus is the same has to receive Jesus. To welcome a prophet as one speaking for God means to share in a prophet’s reward. What is done for the servant, is appreciated by, the Master. Christ esteems all that is done for them as done for Him. Obedience is the test of true devotion in regards to being Christ disciple.

XII. Discourse On John The Baptist [11:1-15]

A.                                        John The Baptist Imprisoned

John was imprisoned for preaching openly against sin [Matt. 14:1-4] While John preached openly against the public scandal of Herod’s adulterous relationship with his brother’s wife, the Jewish leaders remained silent. They were afraid to touch John the Baptist. John was in prison he did not sense any divine deliverance from the world. He did not see that the world was changing that much. Instead of God triumphing it seemed that Herod in spite of his wickedness was still in power. Why did John send his disciples to ask the question [v. 3] ? John needed reassurance and clarification. In the background were the OT prophecies regarding the Suffering Servant who would also be a glorious Ruler [ I Peter 1:10-12]. John wondered if he should look for another Messiah to bring about the judgment of God upon a wicked world and fulfill the predictions of the glorious reign of the Messiah. It was hard for John to grasp all this. John thought Jesus was going to be the lamb, of God that took away the sins of the world but also ushered in the kingdom. John didn’t see the separation of time in the scriptures. John is asking the same question that has been asked a thousand times, if our God is omnipotent why does He allow the righteous to suffer? The answer is the time of God’s judgment has not yet come but the final triumph is guaranteed. Jesus did not answer John’s question on why judgment on the wicked had not commenced. Instead Jesus pronounces a blessing on those who would not be offended by the apparent delay in fulfilling the predictions of divine retribution. Jesus is boasting about John as He builds John up for John’s work in the ministry. Because of his great mission in preparing the way for Christ, John is declared to be greater than the prophets who had predicted the coming of Christ. John is not, doubting that Jesus is the Messiah, only seeking reassurance.

The kingdom of heaven suffers violence. Both John the Baptist and Jesus were to suffer at the hands of wicked men. Verse 14 needs to be interpreted in the light of Matthew 17:10-13, where John the Baptist is again related to fulfilling the prophecy of Malachi 4:5-6, that Elijah the prophet would come before the day of the Lord. But courageously we will prevail!

 

B.                                         Unreasonableness of Unbelief [11:16-19]

Jesus comments here on the Jews vacillating and unreasonable attitude of unbelief. There are four classes of unbelief in this chapter. Number one, John’s perplexity in verses 1-15. Number two the unreasonable unbelief of Christ’s generation, verses 16-19. Number three the impenitent unbelief of the cities in Galilee in verses 20-24. Number four the unbelief of the wise as compared to the faith of babes in verses 25-30.

Jesus likened the generations of unbelievers that He preached to, to children playing. They played make-believe wedding. When no one joined in they switched to make-believe funeral. The results were the same. Then they complained, “no one will play with me.”  Christ is revealed to men only when they bow before God in repentance. Its been remarked that the same sun which softens wax, hardens clay. And so it is with preaching the gospel some respond to it with gratitude and others turn from it in unbelief and are hardened in their sins. The perfect text to preach regarding this fact is found in II Corinthians 2:15-16.

C.                                        Judgment of the Unrepentant cities of Galilee [11:20-24]

1.      Even with the obvious miracles in their midst they still refused to believe. Belief doesn’t come by miracles, only by faith [Rom. 10:8-12]

2.      The strictest condemnation fell on Capernaum

Remember Jesus moved from Nazareth to Capernaum in chapter 4. Also recall that even in Nazareth, He could do only a few miracles due to lack of faith. Probably less people there believed He was the Messiah. The people in Capernaum absolutely refused to believe. Therefore the prophecy against Capernaum has been literally fulfilled. Dr. H. A. Ironside says this, “the reason why Capernaum will receive the harshest judgment is because the Lord Jesus performed more mighty works there than anywhere else. Hence Capernaum is without excuse because it had the most evidence of the Messiahship of Jesus Christ.

D.                                        Personal Discipleship [11:25-30]

1.      Christ’s prayer of thanks [vv. 25-26]

In commenting on the unreasonableness of unbelief Jesus thanked God in this prayer for those ho come in child-like faith are also recipients of divine revelation concerning the Son. This does not support the concept that the Christian faith is unreasonable but rather that unbelief is not intelligent in the light of revelation concerning God and His Son.

2.      The great Christological passage [v. 27]

Because Christ declares that all things have been committed unto Him by His Father. In keeping with this truth no one fully knows the Son as does the Father, and no one fully knows the Father as does the Son.

3.      Coming under the yoke of Jesus [vv. 28-30]

No one could write such words as this but God, Himself. No man can ever write these words or make such a declaration. A yoke was designed to curb the will and it was put on oxen to bring them under control. He who is willing to exchange sins heavy burden, sin’s yoke for the yoke of subjection to the Lord Jesus Christ doesn’t find it to be a burden. He finds that he is blessed. Many shrink from Christ’s yoke fearing that it involves great sacrifices more than they are willing to make. Those who take Christ yoke and submit their wills find a rest such as this weary world can never know. There are two rests. Number one the rest of conscience in regards to sin. The distressed soul burden with guilt, finds rest in Jesus as the great sin bearer. The second rest is the rest of heart. Perfect rest comes to all who accept Jesus Christ. You can rest in your heart no matter what the circumstances. These two rests are the same as the two aspects of peace presented in the Epistles. [Rom. 5:1; Phil. 4:6-7]

 

XII. The Rejection Of Jesus By The Pharisees [12:1-50]

A.                                                                      The Accusation Of A Sabbath Violation [12:1-8]

The growing discontent among the Pharisees is well documented in this chapter. First there are three incidents relating to the Sabbath in which Jesus is accused of breaking the Mosaic Law, the first 21 verses. Second, Jesus’ power is attributed to the devil in verses 22-37. Third, the Pharisees demand a sign other than miracles in verses 38-45. The Pharisees were watching for any sign of accusation against Jesus and His disciples. The hostility of the Pharisees against Jesus began when He forgave sins in Matthew 9:1-8. It was increased when Jesus began associating with the publicans, tax collectors and sinners. [Matt. 9:9-13] Now it becomes, inflamed by Christ ignoring their petty rules, regarding the Sabbath day. The Pharisees did not accuse the disciples of stealing as plucking a few ears of corn was permitted by Deuteronomy 23:25. But the law forbade any work on the Sabbath [Exodus 20:10] and they equated plucking ears of corn as working and working was forbidden on the Sabbath. Theoretically they could have pushed to the letter of the Mosaic Law and had the disciples stoned to death for working on the Sabbath. Jesus though He didn’t participate in this immediately jumps to the disciples defense by presenting three arguments that are so in-depth. Number one Jesus calls attention to king David’s experiences in [I Samuel 21:1-6]. Number two is derived from fact that the priests in the Temple broke the Law by many of their duties in the Temple work in maintaining the sacrifices and the other rituals. Jesus calls attention to the fact that they were blameless. His third argument was His own person as one who was greater than the Temple. If Jesus could not condemn them and He was the Son of God why should the Pharisees condemn them? Verse 6 points to the fact that everything in the Temple spoke to the redemptive work of Jesus. His words were not simply an announcement of deity; rightly understood this declaration should have made it clear to the Pharisees that man himself means more to God than any building no matter how holy and more than any rules and regulations. [Hosea 6:6] People don’t care how much I know unless they see how much I care.

B.                                                                       Jesus Accused Of Violating The Sabbath By Healing [12:9-14]

1.      On the Sabbath, Jesus confronted by a man in the synagogue Jesus entered the synagogue and was confronted by a man with a paralyzed hand. [Mark 3:1-5; Luke 6:6-11] The question here is what is more important, the law or saving a life? The Pharisees look at this as another opportunity to accuse Jesus. So, Jesus uses the illustration of the sheep and a man’s life is worth more than a sheep. The Pharisees became infuriated because they had neither the scripture nor the logic to refute either what Jesus did or said. So in their frustration the Pharisees hold a council as to how they might murder Jesus.

C.                                                                      Others Healed On The Same Sabbath [12:15-21]

[Cross referenced to Isaiah 42:1-3] Jesus knew what was in the mind of the Pharisees and therefore He withdrew from them, and great multitudes of the common people followed after Him. Many were sick and He healed them and He warned them not to speak about it. Because He did not come to create astonishments in the minds of men by His wonder working miracles. He had come to reveal that meekness and lowliness, which, Isaiah had predicted 700 years earlier, would be seen in the Messiah. This is a literal fulfillment because the Gentiles do trust in Him more than the natural branches, the Jews.

D.                                                                      The Pharisees Accuse Jesus Of Healing By Demonic Power [12:22-37]

A crisis is reached in our Lord’s presentation of Himself to the nation of Israel. He had given proof upon proof of His Messiahship, but those who should have been the first to recognize Christ as the Messiah were determined not to do so. They had all the evidence they needed and they had the oracles of God and they had John the Baptist pointing the way but they were determined not to receive Him. The crowds cry out that Jesus, is the Son of David the king from David’s line, who had come to redeem Israel, they recognized that.

1.      This man in verse 22, was demon possessed, blind and dumb, he was unable to speak.

2.      The people ask if Jesus is the son of David [messianic title]

It was evident that there would be no repentance on the part of the religious leaders. They were bent upon the murder of Jesus Christ whom the people just declared to be the Son of David, the Messiah.

3.      Jesus explains why He cannot be from the devil; this is the key to understanding why people would rather believe a lie than the truth.

In verse 27, who are the children that cast out demons? There are a couple of theories on this. One is that during this time there were Jewish exorcists that were casting out demons. These children are the apostles who had also been empowered by Jesus to cast out demons. Afraid of offending the relatives of the disciples, the Pharisees did not want to say of the disciples what had been said of Jesus. See Matthew 19:27-28; Luke 22:29-30, the apostles will be judging the twelve tribes of Israel. The children and the judges are the apostles and that’s what this verse is referring to. Verse 28 points out that the kingdom of God in its embryo form [Jesus and His apostles] was among them the question was would they receive Him? The answer was no and that is why we are in what is known as the postponed kingdom. Verse 29, the strong man in this verse is Satan. Christ had overcome the strongman in the wilderness and ever since He had gone throughout the land of Israel He was spoiling the strongman’s goods. [John 10:10] Now the time had come for those who heard Him to take a stand. They must be either for Him or against Him. As it was then so it is today there is no such thing as neutrality. To not receive Christ as the Savior is to reject Christ as the Savior.

4.      Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost [Ryrie: pp. 69-72]

The cause of blasphemy; the Pharisees accusation was that Satan is obliging friend of Jesus and by withdrawing his demons from the men who would then want to follow a friend of Satan’s. For the Pharisees to suggest that Jesus was possessed, by Beelzebub was blasphemy of the worst sort. For this would drive the common man away from the Savior. The Lord’s, reply consist of three statements. One, a kingdom or house divided against, itself cannot stand. Two, the charge of diabolical power in Jesus’ case was absurd since the Pharisees recognized that the apostle’s didn’t cast out demons by the power of Satan. So there must be something that was logical to it, yet they wouldn’t admit it. Three, the only logical conclusion that could be reached from these facts is that the kingdom of God had come unto them. The character of sin of blasphemy against the Holy Ghost has three primary characteristics. Number one, it is directed against the Holy Spirit [Matt. 12:31-32] What did it mean then when He declared that a sin against the Son of Man is forgivable but not against the Spirit? Men might have a misunderstanding of Christ’s ministry and while that is deplorable it was forgivable. But they had no excuse for misunderstanding the power of the Holy Spirit for the power of the Spirit was well known even from OT times. [Is. 61:1-2] Number two the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is determined by a special situation. Speaking against the Holy Spirit is not merely a sin of the tongue it is the sin of the heart that was expressed in words. Their words revealed the wicked intention of their hearts. Their sin was committed boldly to the face of Christ. To commit this particular sin requires a special situation; the personal presence of Christ on earth performing miracles. Number three, the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is eternally damning to the soul [Matt. 12:32] The rejection of the Spirit by the hardened heart can never be forgiven not because God withdraws His grace but because people withdraw themselves from His grace.

5.      Good treasure and bad treasure, everyone has a treasure.

In these verses Jesus is addressing the hypocritical religious leaders who were determined to deny Him. So Christ calls for a clean cut distinction between the good and the evil. His life of holiness was testimony to the reality of His claim. The evil lives of the religious leaders were the evidence of their corrupt hearts. That’s why Jesus said we would know them by their fruits. For all the religious leaders manifested the nature of the serpent, the devil in their attitude toward Christ. And out of the abundance of their hearts their mouths spoke. Thus our words are an indication of the inward man.

Verse 36, an idle word is a word or words that do no good. There is simply no value in them. They are not edifying, uplifting, helpful, it is not any of those things. A. T. Robertson says it this way; “An idle word is like pernicious anemia.” Pernicious anemia is a very serious type of anemia and it robs the body of B-12 and eventually untreated it kills the person. So someone who is constantly speaking idle words is destroying themselves, they are destroying their spiritual life and walk and getting farther and farther away from God and eventually will lead that person to what is described in Romans 1 as a reprobate mind.

 

 

E.                                                                       The Unbelieving Pharisees Seek A Sign [12:38-45]

1.      The sign of Jonah is the only sign. [Resurrection]

Jesus refused to give them another sign but directed their attention to the events of the past, which would only make their condemnation greater in the day they have to give an account before the judgment bar of God. One would think that their own self-respect would have prevented them from asking for another sign as they had seen so many already and continually rejected them. In answer to their demand Jesus replied that it was an evil and adulterous generation seeking a sign and no sign would be given to such a generation except the sign of the prophet Jonah. Jesus authenticated the repentance of the Ninevites because they had repented at the preaching of a mere prophet and now the Son of God was there and the people would not repent. The queen of the south was the queen of Sheba. Though the Creator of Solomon and his wisdom was in their midst. They still refused to believe and repent.

2.      Unclean Spirits [vv. 43-45]

Jesus points out the emptiness of religiosity without the supernatural power of God in these verses. He describes the analogy of a man who is delivered from a demon. He proceeded to set his life in order. His house however although swept and garnished, was empty. And by that it means that the demon had left him and permitted some improvement in his life, but that he was far short from being born again and renewed by the Spirit of God. The reference of the evil spirit walking through the dry places is based upon the dessert is a place that demons live in and inhabit when they are not inhabiting human bodies. The evil spirit upon returning brought seven other spirits and dwelt in the man so that the last state was worse than the first. Jesus stated that in like manner the wicked generation of the Pharisees and the scribes will experience the emptiness of their religion, which will in turn only lead to greater spiritual bondage. Dr. Ironside, whom the instructor does not agree with explains Matthew 12:43-45 this way; The unclean spirit in the parable is the spirit of idolatry that was cast out of the nation of the Jews as a result of the Babylonian captivity. Since their return from Babylon they had been like an empty house swept and garnished. They were free from idolatry but on the other hand they had not received the Lord Himself to dwell among them. In a coming day this evil spirit of idolatry will take with himself, seven other spirits even more wicked than he and they will enter and dwell in the apostate nation. This will result in the recognition of the Anti-christ the willful king as the messiah and so their last state will be worse than the first. The wicked generation that rejected Jesus will still be evident in that hour of Tribulation.

F.                                                                        The Central Place Of True Discipleship [12:46-50]

As Jesus was concluding His confrontation with the Pharisees word came to Him that His literal mother, Mary, and brothers were outside and desired to speak to Him. Jesus used the occasion to emphasize the need of discipleship above all earthly relationships. He makes a dramatic statement who are my mother and who are my brethren? Then in verse 49, He stretches forth His hand toward His disciples and says behold my mother and my brethren. There is no doubt that there were some females there who were followers of Christ. He went on in the concluding verses of the chapter to define a disciple as one who does the will of the Heavenly Father. The same Jesus declared is my brother, my sister, and my mother. Coming at the conclusion of this chapter it emphasizes the futility of religion or family relationships. Rather the important issue that Jesus was hammering home was to be a disciple and to do the will of the Heavenly Father.  Jesus was always courteous to His mother however He never attributed to her any special qualities. There is nothing in the scripture to justify the exaltation of Mary to the role that Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy raises her too.

Vatican Council II  - Teaching on Mary

Teaches that Mary was redeemed to a higher level than anyone else. Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix. For more on this listen to tape

 

XIV. The Mysteries Of The Kingdom [13:1-58]

The period between the two advents

A.                                        Introduction To Chapter 13

The 13th chapter of Matthew marks a new division in Matthew’s gospel in which our Lord will address Himself to the problem of what will occur when He goes back to heaven as the rejected King. What will happen when Jesus goes back to heaven and the kingdom that is promised is postponed until the Second Coming?

1.      Jesus addresses a problem

The problem that will occur when He goes back to Heaven, this will discuss the postponed kingdom. The concept of the kingdom postponed must be understood as a postponement from the human side and not from the Divine Side for God’s plans do not change. We can compare this to the entering in of the Promised Land the first time. What is contingent from the human standpoint however is always planned from the Divine standpoint. The rejection of Christ by His own people, His death and resurrection were essential to God’s program. Humanely speaking the kingdom instead of being brought in immediately was postponed. From the Divine viewpoint the plan always included what actually happened. The human responsibility remains however and the rejection of the kingdom from the standpoint we spoke about caused the postponement of the promised kingdom on earth 2000 years ago.

2.      Parables

Intended to reveal the truth only to believers and required explanation in order to understand them. Chapter 13 not only involves a new subject and a new approach but it also involves a new method of teaching. Namely parables. While many of the illustrations, which Christ used, were designed to make plan the truth parables were intended purposely to reveal truth only to believers and they required explanation in order to be understood. In a sense they were truths, which were hidden and required a key. But when the key was supplied and Jesus had to supply the key the truth became known. Jesus deliberately adopted the parabolic method of teaching at a particular stage in His ministry for the purpose of withholding further truth about Himself and the kingdom of heaven from the crowds who had proven themselves repeatedly to be deaf to His claims, to ignore His evidence and to be irresponsive to His demands. From now on in this gospel when addressing the unbelieving multitude Jesus will speak only in parables, which He interprets to His disciples in private. There are eight parables in this chapter. The parables are designed to reveal the mysteries of the kingdom.

3.      Mysteries

What is a mystery? Defined a mystery is a word that was used of secret rites of various religious cults and it refers to truth that was not revealed in the OT but was revealed in the NT. There are more than a dozen such truths in the NT and all follow the basic definition of Colossians 1:26. A mystery truth has two elements. The first is that it has to be hidden in the OT and not revealed in the OT. The second it has to be revealed in the NT. Matthew 13 introduces a different form of the kingdom namely the present spiritual reign of the king during the period He is physically absent from the earth prior to His Second Coming. Seven years after the Rapture. The mysteries of the kingdom accordingly deal with the period between the first advent of Christ, His birth, and the second advent of Christ in Revelation 19. They do not deal with the millennial kingdom, which will follow the Second Coming.

A truth not revealed in the Old Testament but revealed in the New. Basic definition is found in Colossians 1:26.

 

B.                                         The Parable Of The Sower [13:1-23]

The multitudes spoken about in verse 2, is not referring necessarily to the religious leaders but to the common people as well. So Jesus got into a boat and the whole multitude stood on the shore. In the original language this means that the people had taken a stand and so stood. These people by doing this were showing is illustrating to us that there was a lot of them that were committed to Jesus in spite of the Pharisees attempts to dissuade them from following Jesus. The parables of Jesus are vivid word pictures and to understand them you must see them with the eyes of Jesus. The sower sows his seed upon four distinctive kinds of soil.

1.      Wayside: hard-beaten path; the hard beaten path produces no receptivity the fowls came and devoured it.

2.      Stony places: insufficient soil to produce an adequate root system for a strong plant.

3.      Among thorns: Good soil but full of weeds. The thorns got a good start as weeds sometimes do and they choked which, literally means to kill off the good seed.

4.      Good ground: 100, 60, and 30-fold productivity

5.      Because believers would be the only ones who understood the mysteries of the kingdom Isaiah 6:9-10 was fulfilled. Unbelievers will not understand the Word of God because it is not proper for them to do so because they will not hear the message. Only believers will understand is because they choose to hear the Word of Truth. There is a long background of unbelief and disregard of previous revelation, accordingly when additional revelation is given to believers its couched in terms that only they will understand because they chose to receive the Truth. And that’s why even dealing with believers why you can have two believers that get saved on the same day and go talk to them ten years later and one has accelerated in the Word of God and has such a depth of understanding of the Word and the other one just knows the basics of the gospel. It is keeping with the principle that darkness follows light that is rejected.

6.      The parable of the sower explained [13:18-23]

a.       The birds: Satanic influence [wayside], which supports the hardness of the heart that is rejecting the Gospel message. The seed in the heart is not itself responsible but the man who allows the devil through satanic influences to snatch away the seed that is sown in the heart is. This is not a case of bad seed it is a case of bad soil or a bad heart.

b.      The seed on shallow ground: superficial receptivity of the world where the Word cannot bear fruit. This is a man who does not have stability in himself. This man is rooted not like a tree but like a mushroom. He is quick to sprout. It is a picture of converts who get saved but literally drop away overnight because they don’t have the root of the matter grounded into them. [Ps. 119:11] And they give in because of persecution and tribulation that arises in them because of the Word which, was sown in them. The word tribulation comes from the Latin word, tribulum, and the tribulum was a roller used by the Romans for pressing out wheat. Think of it as a steamroller. So when pressure rolls over a Christian they quickly give in if they are not rooted in the Word of God.

c.       Among thorns: cares of the world, speaks of the deceitfulness of riches. The idea of the lust for money and the cares of the world go together and between them they spoil many a man and woman not grounded in the Word. The thorns flourish and the character of the person sickens and dies because of the lack of spiritual food.

d.      Good ground: hearing the Word, understanding it and allowing the word to bring forth abundant fruit. The Word falls into an honest heart and is received in faith and the message is understood as the Holy Spirit opens it up and the result is that the soul is born again and a life becomes fruitful for God. There are differing degrees of fruitfulness all do not bring forth the same amount of harvest. But it is a heart that brings forth fruit, which is why Jesus said you will know them by their fruit.

C.                                         The Parable Of the Tares [13:24-30; 36-43]

1.      Again Jesus uses the figure of a sower.

But this time dealt with the character of the seed rather than its reception. In this parable the sower sowed good seed while in the same field the enemy sowed tares. Seed had already been sowed and after the good seed had been sowed the enemy comes and sows evil seed [tares] on top of the good seed. He sows this bastard wheat [bearded darnel] among the good wheat. This resembles good wheat with one exception when it grows to maturity the grains are black. In its early stages it is absolutely indistinguishable from the wheat stalks so that it must remain until the end of harvest otherwise farmers may pull out the good while they are trying to pull out the bad. The bearded darnel is susceptible to a parasidic fungus that infects the seeds and is poisonous to both animals and humans.

2.      The interpretation of the parable [13:36-43]

a.       The field: world

b.      The sower: Jesus sowed good seed.

c.       The enemy: the devil sowed evil seed.

d.      Tares: children of the devil

e.       Reapers: angels

f.       Harvest time: the end of this world

3.      Conclusion to be reached, destruction of the wicked and the ushering in of the righteous into the millennial kingdom.

D.                                        Parable Of The Mustard Seed [13:31-32]

In this parable the kingdom of heaven was compared to a mustard seed, which starts out small and becomes a very large plant in which the birds are able to lodge in its branches. Christendom as a sphere of profession will grow rapidly from a small beginning to an organization with great power and great wealth. While the plant included both true believers and those who professed to believe [but not actually true believers] the mustard plant was distinguished from the birds lodging in its branches, which were unbelievers. The birds are the unbelievers according to Daniel 4:20-22.

E.                                         The Parable Of The Leaven [13:33-35; Luke 13:20-21]

Leaven represents evil [Matt. 16:6-12; Mark 8:14-21] It is more evident than ever in the age we live in that the Gospel has not permeated the whole world and evil tends to permeate the entire professing church which is exactly what Matthew 13 teaches. In the OT leaven is used consistently to represent that which is bad. Sacrifices, which represent Jesus such as the one on the table of showbread no leaven is permitted. In the parable, the meal represents that which is good. It was made from wheat not from tares. The professing church however is permeated, infected, infested by evil perverse doctrines. It is infected with externalism. It is infected with faithlessness. It is infected with worldliness. Because it is infected with all those things it tends to inflate the church and make it larger in appearance, even as leaven inflates dough, but actually adds nothing of real worth. To understand this we need to see II Timothy 3:1-8. In this passage, Paul is speaking about the church. The word reprobate in verse 8 refers to counterfeit Christians. Tares, among the wheat in the church. The church is filled with such today. Which will continue in the world after the body of Christ is caught up to Christ in the Rapture. Why? Because they never knew Christ.

F.                                         Parable Of The Treasure [13:44]

It is Jesus who sold all that He had in order to buy the treasure Israel. Remember He presented the kingdom to Israel first and they rejected it and so we go into the postponed kingdom. And He purchased it with His own blood. During the present age Israel is a hidden entity in the world. Only to emerge at the end of this age as a major factor in prophetic fulfillment which will lead up to Revelation 19 the Second Coming of Christ and the setting up of the Millennial Kingdom.

G.                                        The Pearl Of Great Price [13:45-46]

1.      Pearl = Church

In the world of precious stones the pearl is unique because the pearl is formed organically not geologically. The pearl is formed because of an irritation in the tender side of an oyster. There is a sense in which the church was formed out of the wounds of Christ and has been made possible by His death and sacrifice. [II Cor. 8:9; Eph. 5:25-27]

2.      Merchantmen = Jesus who bought the church with His own blood

The parable emphasizes the fact that the church has been made possible by the merchant, who sold all that he had in order to secure the great pearl or the church. Christ left the glory of heaven and made the supreme sacrifice going through His passion and death on the cross in order to make possible from His suffering, from His irritation what was born the church. The concept of the church as living organism composed of living stones which are added each time a believer is saved is an apt portrayal of the church in the present age. In the treasure and the pearl are the two major purposes of God for Israel and the church from a spiritual point of view. And His purposes for both are realized even though there is a dual line of development of good and evil, which will culminate in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

H.                Parable Of The Dragnet [13:47-50]

            It is similar to the parable of the wheat and tares and it summarizes the

content of the entire chapter. The net collects a multitude of every kind of fish. Nets of this size about a half mile wide, any fish deemed unusable were cast back into the sea. The good fish were gathered into the vessel and saved. The familiar operation on the shores of Galilee was compared to the judgment at the end of the age. Angels were described as those separating the wicked from among the righteous. The wicked were being described as wailing and gnashing their teeth as they were cast into the fire. The fulfillment of the prophetic truth in this parable will occur at the Second Coming of Jesus when the world is judged and the millennial kingdom is ushered in. It’s clear from this parable as from those preceding it that present age does not end in a postmillennial triumph with the entire world being Christianized. Neither does it fulfill the kingdom promises of the OT, nor does it describe a period when all nations will serve the Lord. Rather it describes the dual line of both good and evil continuing until the time of the end when both the good and the evil are judged according to their true character. It is significant that the net representing the kingdom of heaven as a sphere of profession represents all kinds of fish. Verse 47 says every kind and the separation does, not come until the end. Only the good fish are part of the kingdom of God.

 

I.                   Concluding Statement About The Parables [13:51-52]

After Christ presented these eight parables He questioned His disciples as to whether they understood these things. They said yea, Lord. Though they said they understood these things it is evident that they did not fully comprehend everything Jesus taught them. However, a good groundwork had been laid in their hearts and their minds on which they would later build. The Lord likened them unto scribes instructed unto the kingdom of heaven, who in days to come would be able to bring forth out of their treasures things new and old.

 

J.                  Christ’s Final Visit To Nazareth [13:53-58]

[Luke 4:16-24] They ask the question is not this, the carpenter’s son and the answer is no this is the eternal Son the one born of a Virgin, who was brought up under the fostering care of Joseph. Without scholastic training He was more deeply learned than the scribes, the lawyers and the Pharisees. They were offended because of Him. Because of their unbelief He did not many mighty works [Mark 6:4-6]. God, who can do abundantly more than we could ask or think. May very well be hindered by the stonehearted opposition and unbelief of man. The one great truth that this chapter in the life of Jesus Christ demonstrates clearly is that unbelief on the one hand or faith on the other, are not dependent upon logic or intellect. The secret of both is the state of the human conscience. Miracles do not create faith in God. Miracles will not bring people to faith in God.

Men often use the expression building the kingdom, this expression is not found in the Bible. Men do not build the kingdom Christ is the builder of the kingdom even in its mystery form. [Matt. 16:18] We are commissioned to preach the gospel to every creature and when men believe the message they become members of the church. As such they are in the kingdom of heaven. But are primary objective is to lead them to personal recognition of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. No one comes to the kingdom of God except through Jesus. Yielded lips will not get a person to heaven, yielded hearts do.