Monday, May 18, 2015

New Testament Lessons 61-70

New Testament- Lesson 61

Matthew Chapter 7- Part 4

5. Narrow gate, difficult way; Wide gate, broad path (Matthew 7:13, 14) - Jesus exhorted his followers to enter by the narrow gate. For one to be his disciple, he/she has to adhere to the commands of God and live a holy life bearing much fruit that would bring glory to the Father in heaven [Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful (Psalm 1:1)]. This way is difficult and there would not be many takers according to Jesus, but eventually it would lead to eternal life. Contrasting with this is the wide gate and broad path that leads to destruction and there are many on that path [serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another Titus 3:3]. Jesus is, in fact, the gate and the way and only a few walk through this gate and way and find eternal life.


New Testament- Lesson 62

Matthew Chapter 7- Part 5

6. Marks of false prophets (Matthew 7:15-20)- Jesus taught that...

a. They come in sheep's clothing but are ravenous wolves- Sheep's clothing means they are religious, speak smoothly, have knowledge of scripture and seem to know and preach the right path with fine sounding arguments, but are teaching doctrines contrary to the Word of God. Ravenous wolves means they are misleading people for their own selfish ends.

b. They bear bad fruit which means their deeds and doctrines are wrong and they lead people astray.

Jesus compared true and false prophets to good and bad trees respectively, saying good trees bear good fruit and bad trees bear bad fruit; their good and bad deeds and doctrines are the fruit and they will be known by them.

c. False prophets are not truly regenerate, but falsely claim to have fellowship with God and their end will be destruction with eternal fire.


New Testament- Lesson 63

Matthew Chapter 7- Part 6

7. Wise & Foolish Builders (Matthew 7:24-27) (Luke 6:47-49)- Jesus ended the "Sermon on the Mount" (Matthew Ch.5-7) as it is called, with the parable of the wise and foolish builders. He compared his followers who would hear and do the things that he said, to a wise builder who built his house upon a rock. When the rains descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, it did not fall, because it was founded on the rock. Interestingly Luke adds that this man dug deep before he laid the foundation on the rock. Jesus compared his followers who would hear and not do the things that he said, to a foolish builder who built his house upon the sand, and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell; and the fall was great. Luke adds that this man built without a foundation.

This ends the 1st discourse in the Gospel of Matthew (Ch.5-7). 


New Testament- Lesson 64

Matthew Chapter 8- Part 1

1. Healing/Cleansing of a Leper (Matthew 8:1-4) - In Old Testament times, many believed that leprosy was a curse from God for a person's sins. Lepers were despised and not allowed to live with family or in the community of the healthy. A leper wasn’t allowed to come within six feet of any other human being and when the wind was blowing within 150 feet of anyone. Lepers lived in a community with other lepers until they either got healed or died. The leper who had the disease had to wear torn clothes and let the hair of the head hang loose, and had to cover the upper lip and cry out, ‘Unclean, Unclean". The leper who came to Jesus perhaps had heard of or watched secretly the healing powers of Jesus and since Jesus did not cast away anyone from his presence; he came confidently albeit risking public ire. Firstly he worshipped Jesus and secondly he told Jesus that He can cleanse/heal him if he willed. Jesus was all too willing; he touched him (which no one would dare to do during those times for fear of catching the dreaded disease) and said, "I am willing; be clean" and immediately his leprosy was cleansed. Then Jesus asked him

a. not to publicize the miracle (to avoid premature interference from the enemy to his real mission and so that the people may not look on the miracles but listen to him about the kingdom of heaven).

b. to go show himself to the priest for it was the priest who was to decide whether he was healed and grant permission to come back in the community.

c. to offer the gift that Moses commanded as a testimony to the priests which was a sacrifice of two birds, one of which was killed and the other set free.

Mark ends the story (Mark 1:40-45) in this manner- Instead he went out and testified freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places.....(Mark 1:45) In this matter the leper disobeyed Jesus.


New Testament- Lesson 65

Matthew Chapter 8- Part 2

2. Healing of the centurion's servant (Matthew 8:5-13) (Luke 7:1-10)- Matthew writes that when Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him pleading for his servant who was grievously ill with palsy. Jesus told him that he would go to his home and heal the servant. But the centurion showed his faith by telling Jesus that he knew what "authority" was, because he himself had servants under him and they did as they were commanded and he believed that Jesus had greater authority and he was not worthy enough for Jesus to even enter his house; all he had to do was speak the word for healing. When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, "I say to you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel." The servant was healed instantaneously after Jesus told him that he may go for it will happen as he believed. Before that Jesus rebuked the Jewish people for their unbelief which would result in eternal punishment for them, while the Gentiles would gain entry in to the kingdom of heaven.

There are slight differences in the accounts of Matthew and Luke.

Luke writes that the centurion sent the elders of the Jews to Jesus, seeking the healing of his servant. They told Jesus that he should do this for the centurion; for he loved the nation and had built the synagogue. Jesus went with them. When Jesus neared the centurion's house, he sent friends to him to tell him that he should not take the trouble to come to his home and anyway he was not worthy of that honor. The rest is as Matthew writes except that Luke does not mention Jesus rebuking the Jewish nation.


New Testament- Lesson 66

Matthew Chapter 8- Part 3

3. Peter's mother-in-law healed and many healings and deliverances effected by Jesus (Matthew 8:14-17; Mark 1:29-34; Luke 4:38-41) -

The account of Jesus healing Peter's mother-in-law is mentioned by 3 Gospels writers. When Jesus entered Peter's home, people told him of Peter's mother-in-law suffering from fever. Matthew writes that Jesus touched her hand and the fever left her, Mark writes that Jesus raised her up, taking her by the hand and the fever left her and Luke writes that Jesus rebuked the fever, and it left her. All three write that she waited upon Jesus after her healing.

All three writers mention Jesus healing many that were sick and casting out devils from those afflicted by them that evening. Matthew mentions an additional truth- He writes that this was the fulfillment of Isaiah 53:4- He Himself took our infirmities, and bore our sicknesses (surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows).


New Testament- Lesson 67

Matthew Chapter 8- Part 4

4. A few desire to follow Jesus (Matthew 8:19-22)- There came a scribe who told Jesus that he will follow him wherever he went. He was a scribe (one who writes books or records by hand) and different from others of his profession for he, atleast asked such a thing of Jesus, but his motive did not seem righteous and that can be judged with the reply that Jesus gave. Jesus said, ""Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head."

Perhaps the scribe was looking for security from an earthly kingdom with Jesus at the helm, but Jesus spoke of himself being betrayed and left destitute.

One of his disciples had a sudden change of mind from following him perhaps because he thought of the cost involved (sacrifice) and said, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father." Jesus had an apt answer for him, though the hearers may have thought that his command to the disciple was harsh and selfish. Jesus said to him, "Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead."

In the first place, if his father had died and the burial was that day, he would not have been there following Jesus; perhaps he was giving an excuse to escape. Secondly, Jesus knew that this disciple's heart lacked commitment and he stressed the point that the spiritually dying could take care of their own, for he had been chosen for a greater work and mission.


New Testament- Lesson 68

Matthew Chapter 8- Part 5

5. Jesus rebukes the winds and the waves (Matthew 8:23-27) (Mark 4:36-41) (Luke 8:22-25)- All three Gospel writers give almost similar accounts of this event- As Jesus and his disciples were sailing in a boat, Jesus fell asleep and a furious storm hit the boat and the disciples felt they would drown. They awoke their master from his slumber and implored him to save them from drowning. He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. Jesus rebuked his disciples for their fear and lack of faith. They were amazed that they were with One who had authority even over nature (the winds and the waves). Jesus, in fact, did many miracles to increase the faith of his disciples, so that they believed in him and his power and when he would be gone from their midst, they would stand strong and carry on the work that he had started. 


New Testament- Lesson 69

Matthew Chapter 8- Part 6

6. Matthew ends Chapter 8 with the deliverance of 2 demon possessed men by Jesus (Matthew 8:28-34) (Mark 5:1-20) (Luke 8:26-39)- Mark and Luke mention only one demon possessed man. The storm before this event must have been a device of the devil to hinder Jesus from landing at Gergesenes/Gaderenes and setting the demon possessed man/men free. Here was a man (or 2 men) who was/were fierce, naked, living among the tombs and mountains, uncontrollable by any, inflicting wounds on self and in the most depraved state. Jesus on landing was confronted by this man/men and the devils in him/them cried out when Jesus commanded them to leave......

a. recognizing Jesus as the son of the most high God

b. questioning him why he had come to torment them before the appointed time (the appointed time of torture being Revelation 20:10 - And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever).

c. Naming themselves as Legion on being asked by Jesus (Roman legions usually consisted of 6,000 men- gives an indication of the large number of devils involved)

d. Requesting Jesus not to send them away from that region but give access to enter around 2000 swine feeding on the mountains.

When Jesus gave permission to them to go and enter the swine, they swiftly did so and the large herd ran violently and jumped and perished in the sea.

The shepherds ran the other way to the city and almost the whole city gathered and requested Jesus to depart from there because they were filled with fear, even though they saw the (once) demon possessed man now sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind. The man who was set free wanted to be with Jesus, but Jesus told him to go home and witness to his friends the deliverance that he had received and how the Lord had compassion on him. He witnessed in Decapolis (10 cities) all that the Lord had done for him.


New Testament- Lesson 70

Matthew Chapter 9- Part 1

1. Jesus heals a paralytic at Capernaum (Matthew 9:2-8; Mark 2:1-12; Luke 5:18-26)-

Jesus returned to Capernaum (his ministry base) after preaching elsewhere, and word got around that he was in the house (his/Peter's/some other), so a great crowd gathered, and as he taught, 4 men brought to him a paralytic on a bed, so that Jesus may heal him. But they were not able to get in to the house because of the great crowd. They removed part of the roof and lowered the paralytic to where Jesus was and Jesus seeing the faith of the four, said to the paralytic, "Son, I forgive your sins." Hearing this, a few scribes and Pharisees sitting there started whispering among themselves, "That's blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins. How can he do the same?" Jesus knew what they were thinking, and said, "Why do you reason in this manner in your hearts?" Tell me, which is simpler? To say to this man, "I forgive your sins,' or to say, "Get up, take your bed, and go home"? And to prove that he had power on earth to forgive sins and to heal, he said to the paralytic, "Arise, take up your bed and go home. And immediately he rose up before them, and took his bed and departed to his house, glorifying God. And all the people gathered there were amazed, and they glorified God, saying that they had seen strange things that day.

Jesus, thus proved to all there that he was the Son of God (divine) and Son of Man (human) and had authority to forgive sins and also to heal.

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