All posts by Gordon Nesbitt

Mathew 16

Matthew 16

Matthew 16:15-17 NIV

[15] “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” [16] Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” [17] Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.

There is no confusion in this text, Jesus is indicating that he indeed is the Son of God. Unbelievers May say that Jesus never proclaimed that he is the Son of God but it is clear here that he is affirming that Peter is correct in saying this.  The one question we will all face is whether we believe that Jesus is the Son of God. 

Matthew 16:22-23 NIV

[22] Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” [23] Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

 

Peter is praises for recognizing that Jesus is the Son of God and then is rebuked when he tells Jesus that he won’t fulfill his purpose. As Satan tempted Jesus early in his ministry, he is tempting him again with not having to suffer. 

Matthew 15

Matthew 15

Matthew 15:7-9 NIV

[7] You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: [8] “ ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. [9] They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules. ‘ 

How many people attend church but don’t actually connect with God?  They go to church on Sunday but are far from God the rest of the week. Jesus tells us to love our enemies but our hearts are filled with hate and fear. We don’t welcome strangers in we lock them out and keep them away. 

Matthew 15:16 NIV

[16] “Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them.

The disciples spent roughly three years with Jesus but were still clueless about the bees for him to be crucified.  I have spent years listening to sermons and studying the Bible and I feel just as clueless about what god really wants from me. A friend recommended the book God Is Stranger: Finding God in Unexpected Places by Krish Kandiah which talks about the passages in the Bible that seem really strange and I am really thinking long and hard about what it means to be in relationship with god. 

Matthew 15:22-28 NIV

[22] A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.” [23] Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” [24] He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” [25] The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. [26] He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” [27] “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” [28] Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.

The disciples show no compassion for the woman asking Jesus to send her away. At first it seems that Jesus will do just that. But, the woman has the audacity to rebuke Jesus’ statements and he responds by saying what great faith she has. He ultimately has compassion on her. During these times when so many are trying to enter the US illegally should we be showing compassion?  During this tome of thanksgiving should we show more compassion to those less fortunate?

Matthew 14

Matthew 14

Matthew 14:10-12 NIV

[10] and had John beheaded in the prison. [11] His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother. [12] John’s disciples came and took his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus.

Normally the eldest son would bury someone who died, but John’s disciples fulfill this role for him. Later on we see the Jesus’ disciples fail to fulfill this act for Jesus.   Would you have taken the risk of asking for Jesus’ body?

Matthew 14:13-14 NIV

[13] When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. [14] When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

Jesus withdrew to deal with his grief alone. There are times when it is good to be alone in our grief and times when we need to be with others. We need to allow others to grieve in ways that feel right to them and not force what feels right to us on them.   Jesus “had compassion on them.”  He cared about people as he cares about us to this day. How can I “have compassion” on people in the coming days?

Matthew 14:27 NIV

[27] But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

I am trying to imagine how I would react to seeing someone walking across the lake in the early morning hours. The disciples were terrified. Is it more terrifying to experience something supernatural like Jesus walking in water or to know what will happen to those who don’t believe in him?

Matthew 14:28-31 NIV

[28] “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” [29] “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. [30] But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” [31] Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

At first peter shows great faith and does the extraordinary. But, he loses sight of Jesus and begins to falter. How hard it is to persevere against the trials and tribulations of this fallen world when we lose sight of Jesus. By believing we have hope in the promises recorded in the Bible and can rest assured that we will one day live in heaven with god. It is this hope that separates believers from the rest of the world. 

Matthew 12

Matthew 12

Matthew 12:6-8 NIV

[6] I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. [7] If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent. [8] For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

The temple was a place for the people to come to God. Jesus is claiming to be greater than the place where God resides and is available to the people. Through belief that Jesus is the Christ, God in the flesh, we have access to the living God and don’t need a priest or a temple as go betweens. 

Matthew 12:32 NIV

[32] Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

The notes in my bible indicate that the unpardonable sin is the deliberate refusal to acknowledge God’s power in Christ. It indicates a deliberate and irreversible hardness of the heart. Similar to the hardening of Pharoahs heart in exodus. 

Matthew 12:39-40 NIV

[39] He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. [40] For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Jesus is foretelling what will happen to him but the people, even the disciples, are looking for a military kingdom and they all miss the prophecy. What am I missing in spite of what I know?

Matthew 12:43-45 NIV

[43] “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. [44] Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. [45] Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”

Being saved is wonderful but if we are not filling ourselves up with God and Jesus we are just waiting for Satan to overcome us. 

Matthew 12:48-50 NIV

[48] He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” [49] Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. [50] For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

If we do the will of God then we are brothers with Christ. 

Matthew 13

Matthew 13

Matthew 13 is filled with parables that have deep meaning for those who delve into it.

Matthew 13:3 NIV

[3] Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed.

The seed is the word of god in the gospel of truth. There are many ways to sow the knowledge of the gospel – living it out, preaching, teaching or leading a bible study, or by sharing your own story with someone.   How can you share the joy of the gospel with someone this week?

Matthew 13:4 NIV

[4] As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.

 

Matthew 13:19 NIV

[19] When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path.

How often do we read or hear things that we don’t understand yet fail to ask questions or search deeper?  Do we go to church on Sunday and hear a sermon yet on Monday can’t remember what was said?  Whose fault is this? The pastor/preacher or yours?

Matthew 13:5,20-21 NIV

[5] Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 

[6] But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. [22] The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.

[20] The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. [21] But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.

Many people are willing to accept Christ when good things are happening but when bad times happen they are like Job’s wife who said “you should curse God and die.”  Jesus does not promise us an easy life. In fact Nero used many early Christians as torches setting them on fire to light the way into Rome.  Here in the US people might make fun of us or think badly of us for being believers but in many parts of the world believers are imprisoned, tortured and killed for following Christ. I wish my faith was as strong as these believers. 

Matthew 13:7,22 NIV

[7] Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. [22] The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.

One of the fruits of the Holy Spirit is peace. When we worry we don’t have peace. If we have faith that God has a plan for us then we don’t need to worry and we can have peace. 

Interesting interpretation here: “the deceitfulness of wealth.”  As I am writing this someone has won $1.6 billion in the lottery. Too many lottery winners end up broke and down on their luck or worse. We say “if only” rather than being thankful for what we have. There is always the illusion that if we just had a little more then things would be better. 

Matthew 13:8-9,23 NIV

[8] Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. [9] Whoever has ears, let them hear.” [23] But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

That big jump between hearing the word and understanding it. As a former pastor used to say “where the rubber hits the road!  We don’t truly understand scripture until it becomes woven into our daily life. Are we living out scripture? Does anyone see Christ through what we do?  If we truly understand and put it into action then we will be making disciples of all the nations. 

Matthew 11

Matthew 11

Matthew 11:4-6 NIV

[4] Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: [5] The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. [6] Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”

Isaiah 35:4-6 NIV

[4] say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.” [5] Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. [6] Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.

Jesus proclamation to John the baptists disciples mirrors Isaiah 35:4-6.  With so much evidence it is clear that Jesus is more

Than a prophet. Who is Jesus to you?

Matthew 11:19 NIV

[19] The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”

Deuteronomy 21:20-21 NIV

[20] They shall say to the elders, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a glutton and a drunkard.” [21] Then all the men of his town are to stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid.

Deuteronomy 21:20-21 indicates that a habitual drinkers should be stoned to death. In Matthew 11:19 Jesus claims that he is portrayed as a glutton and a drunkard foreshadowing his death at the hands of the religious leaders?

Matthew 11:28-30 NIV

[28] “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. [29] Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. [30] For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Why is something that sounds so easy actually so hard to do on a daily basis?  I leave home in the morning with good intentions to follow Jesus and then life happens and knocks me off track.  Fortunately, tomorrow is another day and God’s Grave is endless. 

Matthew 10

Matthew 10

Matthew 10:16-18 NIV

[16] “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. [17] Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. [18] On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles.

There are televangelists making a lot of money on what the call the prosperity gospel. Jesus never says that following him is easy. On the contrary, he indicates over and over that there will be trouble and hardship because of him. 

Matthew 10:21-22 NIV

[21] “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. [22] You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.

These are not comforting words. If you have family members that are not believers then you may have experienced their discomfort or even anger. Only those who stand firm in their belief will enter the kingdom of heaven. I have found that those that question me actually help me grow deeper in my faith by making me defend my faith and search out the truth. 

Matthew 10:32-33 NIV

[32] “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. [33] But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.

Matthew 10:34-36 NIV

[34] “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. [35] For I have come to turn “ ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— [36] a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’

These words appear to be Jesus advocating for war or fighting. We must remember that Jesus’ overall message is love. Love for god and then love for your neighbor. Because of sin in the world, and Satan working to tear us down, the message of love will cause non believers to hate and kill believers. We see this going on around the world even today. 

Matthew 9

Matthew 9

Matthew 9:2-3 NIV

[2] Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” [3] At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!”

In this passage, Jesus is forgiving the mans sins which is something only god can do. The religious leaders claim that Jesus is blaspheming which means that he is claiming to be god. 

Matthew 9:5-6 NIV

[5] Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? [6] But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home.”

Jesus calls himself “the Son of Man” which is a reference to Daniel and refers to the messiah. Jesus is also saying that he has the authority to forgive sins which is something only god can do so he is claiming to be god. I have heard people say that Jesus never claimed to be god but in these passages he is clearly doing so. 

Matthew 9:15 NIV

[15] Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.

Jesus often prophecies about his death but no one seemed to catch on as to what was going to happen. 

Matthew 9:16-17 NIV

[16] “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. [17] Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”

These passages confused me for a long time but I learned that they are referring to Jesus new teaching and how people that cling to the old teaching will not understand. It is human nature not to like change and radical change is even more frightening.  What changes am I afraid to make for Jesus?

 

Matthew 8

Matthew 8

Jesus performs many miracles. Heals a man with leprosy. Heals a centurions servant. Heals Peters mother in law. Calms the storm. Sends the emphasis into a herd of pigs. 

Matthew 8:2-3 NIV

[2] A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” [3] Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy.

Are we willing to trust Jesus that he will heal us as he healed the leper?  Is there anything afflicting is that Jesus cannot heal?

Matthew 8:10-12 NIV

[10] When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. [11] I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. [12] But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Believers come from around the world but many who say they are Christians wi be left out of the kingdom. 

Matthew 8:21-22 NIV

[21] Another disciple said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” [22] But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

This man was asking for time, possibly until his father actually died before he would follow Jesus. Jesus’ response indicates that the time is now. What is holding us back from following Jesus right now?

Matthew 8:25-26 NIV

[25] The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” [26] He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

The disciples had been with him yet they were still afraid.   The gospel clearly states who Jesus is yet I still find myself afraid of completely following him. Jesus is asking us to calculate the cost of complete submission and balance that with the promise of eternity spent with god. 

Matthew 7

Matthew 7

Some hard teaching in Matthew 7

Matthew 7:1-2 NIV

[1] “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. [2] For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

In John 8 a woman caught in adultery is brought to Jesus. John 8:7 NIV

[7] When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Since we are all sinful we should not “throw stones” at or judge others.  There are many Christians today that are very judgmental and often turn people away from Jesus due to this judgmental attitude. Until I take care of my own son I should not be so quick to judge others. 

Matthew 7:7-8 NIV

[7] “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. [8] For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Do I ask? Do I seek? Am I knocking on the door wanting to get to know Jesus better?  The Bible is full of promises if we are truly seeking god. 

Matthew 7:13-14 NIV

[13] “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. [14] But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

This and the next verse are hard teachings as they indicate that few will enter into the kingdom of heaven.  Being a true follower of Jesus is the narrow path and few truly take it. Are you on the right path?

Matthew 7:21-23 NIV

[21] “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. [22] Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ [23] Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

Many preach and talk about Jesus but what he wants is a relationship. Are we spending time with god?  All relationships require time and energy. If you are not investing time and energy into people then there really isn’t a good relationship there. We can get pulled away from relationships for many reasons like work and even good works like church committees and mission or volunteer work. Even if they are good things, if the force is to sacrifice time with family or god then those relationships will fail. Just like in the song “cats in the cradle.”

Matthew 7:29 NIV

[29] because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.

Another indication that Jesus is the son of god. He teaches with authority that can only be given to him from

God.   His authority is above the teachers of the law.