Matthew 18:21 and 22

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me?  Up to seven times?”  Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

First: let us note that this doesn’t say the brother must ask for forgiveness,  just that we must forgive.  How can we, who have had all our sins forgiven, with hold forgiveness from a brother or sister in Christ?

Remember, forgiveness isn’t letting the person “off the hook”.  It is treating then with grace and mercy as we have been so treated.

Matthew 17: 11 and 12

Jesus replied, “To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things.  But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished.  In the same way the Son of Man is going  to suffer at their hands.”

They knew John the Baptist had been killed, and now Jesus is indicating the same will happen to Him.  When they understood, they must have been very sad.  Then, He confirms it – verses 22 and 23 – “When they came together in Galilee, he said to them, “the Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men.  They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised to life.”  He is going to die.

They had just been on the mountain top in the midst of the transfiguration (vs 1-9), and suddenly, they are deep in the valley of sorrow.  Let us take note: HE IS WITH THEM IN BOTH PLACES!


Matthew 16:24

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”

What is your cross?  (Take a minute to think about this.).  Is it a spiritual cross, or a physical one, or perhaps a relationship?  Take up that cross and follow Jesus.  Where is He leading you?  What will it cost to follow Him?  First, I think of people like Joni Eareckson Tada, or those with diseases like M.S. or those fighting cancer.

Don’t miss the first part of this verse…must deny himself.  This can mean forgiving hurtful words spoken by a spouse or dear friend.  Actions that are misunderstood in the workplace, betrayal by a family member.  Denying yourself can mean being quick to be merciful to others when what you want to do is lash out and protect yourself.  Following Jesus is not always easy, but He never leaves us alone to carry our cross.  He is right there with us.

Matthew 15: 8 & 9

You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.’ 

“…people who honor me with their lips but their hearts are far fom me…Examples:  those who say they love God, but hate their brother and despise their neighbor.  Those who pray and sing songs of praise yet dishonor their parents.  Those who read their Bibles, attend church and gossip about their brothers and sisters.  According to this verse, their hearts are far from God.  Lord, keep us close.  Let us be people of clean hearts and clean lips.

Matthew, Chapter 14

This is a chapter of “hands on” stories.  Jesus took the bread in His hands, and it multiplied miraculously.  People touched His cloak, and they were healed. When Peter is in danger of drowning because of his own lack of faith, Jesus reaches out and grabs him to save him from drowning.  Don’t be afraid, no matter what the circumstances of your life.  Cry out to God, His hand will be there.  He may not change your circumstances, but He will give you rest and peace.

Note:  Jesus rescued Peter first, then He scolded him for his lack of faith.  (Matthew 14: 25-31].  Let us be more like Jesus.

Matthew 13: 31-32

He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field.  Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.”

I don’t have experience with mustard seed, but I do have experience with growing corn on the cob.  From one tiny kernel comes a huge stalk with many ears of corn, and probably thousands of kernels of corn.  Here it is: you don’t need to be a huge, powerful, wealthy person to be used by God.  If you are willing, He will take the seed that is your life and He will plant you, and you will grow.  Just think of it – our “tiny”  lives, which the book of James describes as “but a mist” (James 4:14), God will multiply to the good of His kingdom on earth. 


Matthew 12: 6-8

I tell you that one greater than the temple is here.  If you had known what these words mean, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice,” you would not have condemned the innocent.  For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.

vs. 6…One greater than the temple is here.

vs.7…you have condemned the innocent.

vs. 8…the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath

Jesus is rocking the spiritual boat.  His claims, His mercy, His boldness, coupled with miraculous healings must seem overwhelming to the Pharisees.  How can a man who is upsetting their religious  apple cart perform miracles the power of which can only come from God?

Isn’t that exactly what Jesus does in our lives?  He comes to us when we are full of our own wisdom, our own religious activities, our own way that we have designed to make it through this life, and there He upsets our apple cart.  “Follow me,” He says, and I will change your life.  No longer will you seek your own wisdom, nor seek to comfort yourself ,now you will find true wisdom and true comfort in Me.

Matthew 11: 25 – 27

At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven ad earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.  Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.  All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

A person – man woman orchild – can know the wise things of God, the truths of the kingdom of heaven, and have intimacy with God because Jesus chooses to reveal these things to him/her.  One needn’t be a scholar to be wise in the things of the Scriptures or the ways of love and grace.  It is the Father’s good pleasure to share with those who belong to His Son.