February 2, 2019

MATTHEW 11-13   


Focus Verses: Matthew 13:47-50


Take some time to read today’s journey, Matthew chapters 11-13. Pray, asking God to help you understand the true meaning of His intended meaning, Matthew chapters 11-13.  Take another moment to contemplate what you have just read. Now it is time to journey together. 


Chapter 11 reveals the threat that Jesus was to the Jewish establishment of that time. 

The Jews claimed John the Baptist was a demon because he proclaimed the message of the coming Messiah without eating or drinking. The Jews called Jesus a gluten and a drunkard because He came eating and drinking. John the Baptist and Jesus stirred up the hierarchy of the Jewish religious leadership, by John the Baptist’s preaching the Messiah is coming and Jesus preaching that He, in fact, was the long awaited Messiah. It seems that the only issue considered, by their opponents, was what it would cost in status and position. The question which was not addressed sincerely is, “ Was Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God.”  What was wrong?  The Jewish establishment had the law and the prophets to measure this man, the man who claimed to be the Messiah, but they failed to use it? Do you believe Jesus is the promised Messiah of the Jew? Do you believe Jesus is the Savior of the world? Do you love the here and now more than you love Jesus?  Do you? Do you!  Today, we are richly blessed, nearly everyone has access to the complete Bible: with what are you measuring yourself to establish your eternal journey? 


Chapter 12 reveals that Jesus is a healer and, more importantly to the Jewish establishment, that He is Lord of the Sabbath. As you read chapter 12, you will quickly notice that the Jewish leadership found fault, in the form of breaking a Sabbath law, with everything Jesus and his disciples did on the Sabbath. Plucking wheat to eat broke Sabbath law in their eyes. Healing a man with a shriveled hand broke Sabbath law in their eyes, while saving one of their sheep mired in mud did not. What’s going on here? Where is the joy in restoration of the man’s hand? Jesus casts demons out of a man, and the Jewish leadership called Him a devil? Are they, the Jewish leadership, afraid of what they did not understand? Maybe it is simpler than mere lack of understanding or fear. It may be the way they measure. They measured Jesus using a standard that assumed accepting Him as Lord and Savior meant loss to them. It is a finite measuring system. An infinite measuring system would measure a relationship with Jesus by what would be gained: eternal life and joy with the Creator of all. Which system of measure do you use: Finite or infinite! 


In chapter 13, Jesus begins teaching in parables. A parable is a story that lends itself to a greater meaning than obvious facts of the story depict. The parables told in chapter 13 depict two principle themes: one is the way a person lives his life ultimately determines that persons eternal destination. The second is about separation of sinners from the righteous when Jesus returns to reign over His eternal Kingdom, as depicted in the parable of the net in Matthew 13:47-50:


47“Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. 48When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. 49This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous 50and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 13:47-50, NIV)


Once again we must consider the Law and the Prophets. The Jewish leadership of Jesus’ time on earth struggled with Jesus being the Messiah whom they expected. They wanted to rule the world. Reign over their captors. They were about themselves. The Messiah was about His creation and what was best for it. Ultimately Jesus is rejected by the Jewish leadership. 


Our journey is beginning to reveal that the law is not a way to righteous and in fact was used as a means of justification: self justification. Our journey has revealed that the law’s purpose is to identify sin and not to save from sin.  Our journey has revealed that justification by faith is the only acceptable avenue to righteous that God acknowledges.



Take a few moments. Pray asking God to reveal the spiritual depth of the parables Jesus taught in chapter 13.  What is Jesus teaching?  Forget the Jewish hierarchy; put yourself in the sandals of a Jew of that time. What are you hearing? What are you thinking? Would you trust this man Jesus? Would you follow the Jewish leadership of the time, they were the keepers of the law appointed by God. Who would you follow? The decision you would have been called on to make would have either turned your life upside down or allowed you remain a member of the status quo? What would you do? Do you seek God’s guidance in your decision making today? Seriously seek His guidance! An honest answer to this question reveals the choice you would have made during Jesus’ ministry on earth. Whom would you follow?  Time to reflect, contemplate and journal. Godspeace! 


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