Monday, June 1, 2015

New Testament Lessons 81-90

New Testament- Lesson 81

Matthew Chapter 10- Part 5

God values his children much more than he values sparrows- (Matthew 10:29-31)(Luke 12:6, 7)-

Jesus spoke to his disciples regarding God the Father knowing even when a sparrow fell to the ground (dies) and told his disciples that they were of much more value than sparrows. Matthew writes of 2 sparrows sold for a farthing and Luke writes of 5 sparrows sold for 2 farthings (a Roman coin equal to a tenth of a denarius or drachma, nearly equal to a halfpenny)(equal to two lepta; the lepton/mite was the very smallest copper coin). Luke writes of God the Father not forgetting sparrows which have very little value in the eyes of men. Jesus assured his disciples that every detail of their life was known by God, even how many hairs they had on their heads. Once they were consecrated to God and his work, God would be overseeing their lives upto the minutest detail and they were not to fear.


New Testament- Lesson 82

Matthew Chapter 10- Part 6
Confession, Denial & It's Rewards (Matthew 10:32, 33)(Luke 12:8, 9)-
2 confessions are important to every person who desires to be a part of the kingdom of God. One is confession of sins and unrighteousness, which a person does when accepting the offer of salvation by God through Jesus Christ (daily confession & cleansing important too... all through life). That's when the Holy Spirit comes and resides in a person and he/she becomes a child of God when born again by water (Word of God) and by the spirit (Holy Spirit). The other confession that Matthew and Luke write here, as spoken by Jesus to his disciples is equally important....Confessing Jesus publicly. He says "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father (Luke writes angels of God) which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven." Sadly, this is an area where many beliveres fail. Believers are often ashamed of telling the public at large that they are disciples of Jesus Christ. Fear, cowardice and shame are the prime reasons. A public confession/denial is what Jesus is speaking of here and he says that for them who confess, he will confess in heaven (in the presence of the Father and the angels) that they are his disciples and for those who deny, he says that he will deny that they are his disciples. There's room for repentance though as we see in the case of Peter who denied his Master and Savior Jesus Christ, but later on, went on to become a pillar of the early Church.


New Testament- Lesson 83

Chapter 10- Part 7

A sword from the Prince of Peace (Matthew 10:34-39)- No doubt that Jesus is the "Prince of Peace", but because some persons in a family being believers and others not, there are clashes and confrontations between members of that family; thus the term "I came not to send peace, but a sword.." is used by Jesus here. But Jesus also clearly says that believers are not to value earthly relations more than they value their relationship with him, their Savior. If they do, then they are not worthy of him. Above all, is the call to take up one's cross (Luke writes picking up cross daily) and follow Jesus, which if one is unable to do, then he/she is not worthy of him. Picking up own cross means consecrating oneself to Christ, self denial and being obedient. A saying of Jesus found in all 4 gospels is...He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it....Valuing worldy personal gains and successes more than one's relationship with Jesus, the Savior makes one a loser and valuing one's relationship with Jesus more than worldy gains makes one a winner.


New Testament- Lesson 84

Matthew Chapter 10- Part 8

Rewards for honoring God's servants/disciples (Matthew 10:40-42)(Mark 9:41)- Matthew ends Chapter 10 by writing about rewards that Jesus promises to them who receive and honor God's servants ot disciples. Jesus said, " He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me. Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man's reward. And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward."

Anyone who receives or honors a disciple or a servant of God, is in fact, receiving or honoring Jesus and the Father. A prophet is rewarded for his labor with more souls added to the kingdom of God and anyone who supports a prophet by receiving or blessing him or his work will be part of the fruit the prophet reaps for the kingdom of God. The Bible is replete with blessings that a righteous man is entitled to and when a righteous man is received or honored, one becomes entitled to the blessings God reserves for that. Jesus emphasized that the smallest acts of kindness like even giving a cup of water to one of Christ's servants would not go unnoticed but would be rewarded in a righteous manner by the Father in Heaven.
These promises stand true to this day and will remain so till the day of Christ.


New Testament- Lesson 85

Matthew Chapter 11- Part 1

Portions to be read- (Matthew 11:2-15) (Luke 7:18-35)

John, the Baptist, who himself had borne witness to Jesus being the Messiah, now had doubts regarding Jesus' messiahship, because he was in prison and he was not set free even though Jesus knew about it. So he sent two of his disciples to Jesus to ask him whether he truly was the One who was to come or should they look for another. Jesus told them to go tell John all the miracles that they were seeing and hearing and also about the gospel being preached. Jesus also told them that "blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me" which meant that John should not lose his faith because of the circumstance that he was in.
Jesus spoke highly of John, saying that he was a true prophet and a forerunner of him, the Messiah. Of the Old covenant, Jesus said that John was the greatest to be born, but he also added that the least of the believers (in him) of the New covenant was greater than John. Jesus also remarked, "from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force" which meant that John was fearless and determined to fulfill the ministry that he had been entrusted with and so also anyone who is determined will be able to take heaven by force of spiritual power. Jesus affirmed that John the Baptist was the Elijah that was prophesied to come before him.


New Testament- Lesson 86

Matthew Chapter 11- Part 2

Jesus compares the generation of his time to children being indecisive while playing games; Jesus denounces the cities where he did most of his miracles-(Read Matthew 11:16-24, Luke 7:31-35, Luke 10:13-15)

Jesus compared the generation of his time to children sitting in the market place and being indecisive on what game to play; whether to play a game of a marriage by using instruments and dancing or play a game of a funeral by singing a dirge (song expressing grief). Their indecisiveness was compared to the people of his time because they neither would accept the teachings of John the Baptist nor accept what he was teaching. They accused John of having a devil though John was pious and lived a frugal life and they accused him (Jesus) to be glutton and winebibber and a friend of tax collectors and sinners.

Jesus also denounced the cities (Chorazin, Bethsaida & Capernaum) in which most of his miracles had been performed, because the people there, did not repent of their sins. He said that if the same miracles had been done in Tyre, Sidon or Sodom, the wicked there would have repented. Since the people of Chorazin, Bethsaida & Capernaum had not repented, greater judgement was coming on them than that was to come on Tyre, Sidon & Sodom.


New Testament- Lesson 87

Matthew Chapter 11- Part 3

God is sovereign, yet he cares for the lost- Portion to be read (Matthew 11:25-30)(Luke 10:21-24)

There were many who considered themselves wise and prudent in Jesus' time, yet God the Father, hid the matters of the kingdom of heaven from them because they were proud and revealed it to them who were poor in the spirit. According to Jesus, "The full revelation of the Father is only known to Jesus and the full revelation of Jesus is only known to the Father." The Son came to reveal the Father to those whom he chooses. Luke adds Jesus saying that many prophets and kings desired to see and hear the things the disciples saw and heard but could not, because God chose to hide it from them and reveal it to the lowly.

The compassion of Jesus is revealed in his call to those who are weary and burdened by sins and unrighteousness- "Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

An eternal rest is what Jesus promises to those who would come to him, trust in him and live for him. He wants them to take his yoke and to learn from his life. He does not want to place a Pharisical yoke upon anyone, that binds them with legalism. He promises freedom and rest for souls who would trust in him. In this matter, many Christians still live in bondage of a fear that God will punish them if they do not legalistically follow his commands. Jesus says that he is gentle and lowly in heart; his yoke is easy and his burden is light; he wants his followers to love him and live for him and the Holy Spirit has been given to lead in the paths of righteousness, those who trust in him.


New Testament- Lesson 88

Matthew Chapter 12- Part 1

On a Sabbath, Jesus and his disciples were passing through a grainfield and the disciples plucked heads of grain, rubbed it in their hands and ate. When the Pharisees saw it, they brought accusations to Jesus against the disciples saying, "Look, Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath". Jesus reminded them of an event (1 Samuel 21:1-6) when David had escaped from King Saul and had come to Nob to the high priest and asked for bread to eat. Since there was no other bread, the priest had given him the show bread which had been taken away to be replaced by fresh show bread. The show bread kept in the Holy Place was only to be eaten by the priests, but was given to David and his friends. Jesus also reminded them that the priests also profaned the sabbath and are blameless, because they are not supposed to prepare any food on that day but for placing fresh show bread in the Holy Place they have to and also they kill and burn sacrificed animals on the Sabbath. God is a righteous God and allows works of necessity and mercy. Jesus affirmed this by reminding them that he desired mercy than religious legalism (Hosea 6:6) and also told them that if they were of a merciful outlook they would not condemn the guiltless. Mark adds Jesus saying, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath." Sabbath was a rest decreed by God for the Israelites and they were not to value the Sabbath more than God's foremost creation "Man" and his needs. Jesus ended this dialogue with the Pharisees by telling them "For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath" signifying his authority over the created day.

(“Showbread” was called “bread of the presence” because it was to be always in the Lord’s presence. The priests baked the bread with fine flour and it remained on the table before the Lord for a week; every Sabbath day the priests would remove it and eat it in the Holy Place, then put fresh bread on the table. Only priests could eat the bread, and it could only be eaten in the Holy Place, because it was holy.)


New Testament- Lesson 89

Matthew Chapter 12- Part 2

Healing of a withered hand amidst accusers- Read (Matthew 12:9-15)(Mark 3:1-6)(Luke 6:6-11)

While teaching in a synagogue, Jesus was being watched by the Pharisees whether he would heal on the Sabbath. Seeing a man with a withered hand, some asked him "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?"He said to them, "What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lift it out? Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath." Then He said to the man with the withered hand, "Stretch out your hand." And he stretched it out, and it was restored as whole as the other. Then the Pharisees were angry with him and went out and plotted against Him, how they might destroy Him. Jesus withdrew from there, carrying on his God given ministry and healing the sick among the great crowds that followed him.


New Testament- Lesson 90

Matthew Chapter 12- Part 3

Matthew reiterates Isaiah's prophesy regarding Jesus (Matthew 12:18-21)(Isaiah 42:1-4)-
Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen, my beloved in whom my soul is well pleased! I will put my Spirit upon Him, and he will declare justice to the Gentiles. He will not quarrel nor cry out, nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets. A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench, till He sends forth justice to victory; and in His name Gentiles will trust. 
Jesus was God the Father's chosen one; the Father delighted in his son. The Holy Spirit was upon him and he was to declare justice to the Gentiles. The compassion and humbleness of Jesus was prophesied by Isaiah 700-800 years before Jesus ministered. His name Gentiles will trust- John, the Apostle writes, "He came to his own, and his own did not receive him. But as many as received him, to them he gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in his name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:11-13)

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