February 16, 2019

MATTHEW 17-19    


Focus Verses For Today: Matthew 18:21-35


Take a moment to pray for God’s understanding of His Word for our journey.  Today our journey take us through The Gospel of Matthew chapter’s 17-19.  Are you ready?  Let’s begin!


Matthew 17 tells the story of Jesus’ Transfiguration on top of a high mountain.  Peter, James, and John accompanied Jesus.  The Transfiguration is God confirming and acknowledging Jesus as Lord and God.  (Matthew 17:13) After coming down from the mountain, Jesus heals a demon possessed boy whom His disciples could not heal.  Jesus told His disciples they couldn’t heal the boy because they had “so little faith.” This is sobering.  Jesus is talking to His disciples.  This gives us something to think about.  (Matthew 17:14-21) Jesus predicts His death and being restored to life.  His disciples are confused.  (Matthew 17:22-23) Jesus tells Peter to pay the temple tax.  (Matthew 17:24-27)


Matthew 18 reveals the curiosity of Jesus’ disciples.  They wanted to know who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?  Jesus tells them to become like a little child.  A little child has unwavering trust for their parents.  Was Jesus asking His disciples if they had unwavering trust in Him, their Heavenly Father?  Do you?  (Matthew 18:1-5) Jesus warns of the consequence that will be faced by anyone who causes a person to forsake Him.  Think about the number of interactions with people we encounter every day: scary verses!  (Matthew 18:6-9)  The Parable of The Wondering Sheep concerns followers of God who wander away from their faith.  Jesus compares God’s love for a straying believer to that of a man who had a sheep wonder off.  He rejoices when He finds him.  (Matthew 18:10-14)  Jesus continues with instruction for dealing with sin in the church.  (Matthew 18:15-20)


Our focus verses for today are Matthew 18:21-35 and will be returned to later.  

In the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 19, Jesus deals with divorce.  Jesus is approached by a group of Pharisees asking Him if it is lawful to divorce your wife for any and every reason.  Jesus’ answer was simple and not what the Pharisees wanted to hear.  No!  The only grounds for divorce which God recognizes is marital infidelity.  That is it.  Jesus continues to explain that any person who divorces his wife for any other reason and marries another has committed adultery.  Whose law governs your life?  The government’s?!God’s?!  (Matthew 19:3-12) Jesus shows His love for little children, confirming that bringing little children up in the way of the Lord is a parental obligation.  (Matthew 19:13-15) The chapter concludes with the story of the rich and Heaven.  Here a rich man comes to Jesus asking what he needed to do to have eternal life.  Jesus told him to give away all his riches and follow Jesus.  The rich man turned and walked away.  His security, his false security, was in his riches and not in Jesus.  Did he forfeit eternal life for temporal riches?  (Matthew 19:16-30)


Returning to our focus verses for today:


21Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me?  Up to seven times?”

22Jesus answered,“I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

23“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.  24As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him.  25Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

26“At this the servant fell on his knees before him.  ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

28“But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins.  He grabbed him and began to choke him.  ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

29“His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’

30“But he refused.  Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt.  31When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.

32“Then the master called the servant in.  ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to.  33Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

35“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” (Matthew 18:21-35 NIV)


It is time to take out your journal if you are so inclined!  It is time to warm up the contemplator if that suits you best!  If neither of these options are your way to travel; journey with us as you please!  How did you understand Peter’s question to Jesus?  Was he asking how little he has to do to qualify in God’s sight as a forgiving person?  Was Peter, merely, trying to get a grasp on what forgiveness truly is?  Jesus’ answer is that we have to forgive everyone who has wronged us just as God has forgiven us for the wrongs we have imposed on Him.  Living in ill will, wanting revenge exacted upon someone who has wronged you, is Satan’s response to your situation.  God’s response is forgiveness.  The message in today’s focus verse is simple.  God’s forgiveness of your sin is predicated on your forgiving others who have wronged you.  Is your pencil sharpened, or contemplator warmed for contemplation, you journeyer’s ready to journey?  Have you forgiven, from your heart, everyone who has sinned (wronged) you?


This can be hard.  Make a list of their names.  Have you completed the list?  Now it is time to pray.  Ask God to remove your hard feelings toward them.  Pray for God to bless them.  (Matthew 5:43-44) Do this prayer everyday until you are no longer bound with ungodly thoughts toward them!  If you are seeking God’s help to forgive someone: you have taken the first step toward freedom from the bondage of unforgiving heart.  Forgiveness is not optional.  Godspeace!


Learn more on your relationship with God and forgives at Forgiveness is Hard! (part 2, part 3)



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