Showing posts from June, 2022

Who Are You?

Hearing Jesus tell the people that He was the light of the world, the Pharisees disputed the validity of His statement: “You are testifying about Yourself; Your testimony is not valid.” Jesus replied, “Even if I testify about Myself, My testimony is valid, because I know where I came from and where I am going. But you do not know where I came from or where I am going. You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. But even if I do judge, My judgment is true, because I am not alone; I am with the Father who sent Me. Even in your own Law it is written that the testimony of two men is valid. I am One who testifies about Myself, and the Father, who sent Me, also testifies about Me.” “Where is Your Father?” the Pharisees asked Him. “You do not know Me or My Father,” Jesus answered. “If you knew Me, you would know My Father as well.” Jesus spoke these words while teaching in the temple courts, near the treasury. Yet no one seized Him, because His hour had not yet come. Again Jesus said to

Jesus, the Light of the World

Another ceremony of the Feast of Tabernacles was called the "Illumination of the Temple." Each afternoon of the feast, the priests and pilgrims gathered at the Court of the Women. The priests would light the four large, golden oil lamps that illuminated the court. Each lamp was a huge menorah. The lamps would shine all night. The light reminded the people of the pillar of fire that had guided Israel in their wilderness journey. The light also reminded the people of God's promise to send light into a sin-darkened world. It was said that the brilliance of the lamps illuminated all of Jerusalem. Teaching at the temple, with the lights still fresh in the memories of the people, Jesus said to them, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life.” See John 8:12 -

Caught in Adultery

After Jesus left the woman, everyone went to their home, but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning, Jesus left the Mount of Olives and went back into the temple courts. All the people came to Him, and He sat down to teach them.  But the scribes and Pharisees brought to Jesus a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before them and they said, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such a woman. So what do You say?”  Now, some clarifications. First, it should be noted that the punishment for adultery applied to both parties. And since the woman was caught "in the act," it is assumed that both parties were known to the accusers. And yet only the woman was brought to Jesus. Second, the law said nothing about how the transgressors should be put to death, but it seems that stoning was the common practice at the time. Now, the scribes and Pharisees had brought the woman and asked the question in order t


The Feast of Tabernacles was an eight-day celebration, lasting from Sabbath to Sabbath. About halfway through the feast, Jesus went up to the temple courts and began to teach. The Jewish leaders knew that Jesus had not attended their schools. And so, they were amazed by His teachings and asked, “How did this man attain such learning without having studied?” Jesus heard them and replied, “My teaching is not My own. It comes from Him who sent Me. If anyone desires to do His will, they will know whether My teaching is from God or whether I speak on My own. They who speak on their own authority seek their own glory, but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is a man of truth; in Him, there is no falsehood. Has not Moses given you the law? Yet not one of you keeps it. Why are you trying to kill Me?” Some in the crowd had come from some distance and were not aware of the dark plans the Jewish leaders had for Jesus. They were surprised by His statements and said, “You have a demon. W

In Secret

Now, the time was near for the autumn pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles, also known as the Feast of Booths. And Jesus' brothers came to Him. They did not believe in Jesus. So they came with contempt and mocked Him, saying, “Leave here and go to Judea, so that Your disciples there may see the works You are doing, for no one who wants to be known publicly acts in secret. Since You are doing these things, show Yourself to the world.” Jesus knew the leaders of the Jews wanted to kill Him. So, He told His brothers, “Although your time is always at hand, My time has not yet come. The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify that its works are evil. Go up to the feast on your own. I am not going up to this feast, because My time has not yet come.”  After speaking with His brothers, Jesus remained in Galilee. But sometime after His brothers had gone, Jesus also went up to the feast—not publicly, but in secret. The leaders of the Jews were looking f

Apostle Authority

“I tell you truly, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. “Again, I tell you truly that if two of you on the earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by My Father in heaven. For where two or three gather together in My name, there am I with them.” See Matthew 18:18-20 Notes: bind and loose: In Matthew 16:19, Jesus gave this authority to Peter. But in this passage, Jesus extends the authority to all His apostles. -

Discipline Believers

“If your brother or sister sins against you, go and confront them privately. If they listen to you, you have won your brother or sister over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If your brother or sister refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if your brother or sister refuses to listen even to the church, regard them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” See Matthew 18:15‭-‬17: Deuteronomy 19:15 Note: “against you”: For the Gospel of Matthew, only two of the source manuscripts—Nestle 1904 (NE) and Westcott and Hort (WH)—include the portion “against you.” -

Lost Sheep

Jesus then admonished His apostles to care for all believers: "See that you do not look down on any of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of My Father in heaven. "What do you think of this? If someone has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will they not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go searching for the one that is lost? And if they find the sheep, truly I tell you, they rejoice more over that one sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. In the same way, your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish." See Matthew 18:10-14 -

Temptation Warning

Then, Jesus seemed to use hyperbole to teach His apostles the importance of removing things from their lives that could offend and cause others to sin. He said, “If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two hands and go into the eternal and unquenchable fire of hell. If your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and be thrown into the eternal and unquenchable fire of hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where ‘their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched.’ For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good, but if the salt loses its saltiness, with what will you season it? Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with one another.” See Matthew 18:8-9; Mark 9:43-50; Isaiah 66:24

Causing a Believer to Sin

Jesus continued: "But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.  Woe to the world for the causes of sin. These stumbling blocks must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!  See Matthew 18:6‭-‬7; Mark 9:42 -

Deeds in His Name

John said to Jesus, “Teacher, we saw someone else driving out demons in Your name, and we tried to stop him because he does not accompany us.”  “Do not stop him,” Jesus replied. “For no one who performs a miracle in My name can turn around and speak evil of Me. For whoever is not against us is for us. Indeed, if anyone gives you even a cup of water because you bear the name of Christ (Messiah), truly I tell you, they will never lose their reward.  See Mark 9:38‭-‬41: Luke 9:49-50 -

Greatest in the Kingdom

Back in the house in Capernaum, Jesus asked His disciples, “What were you discussing on the way?” But they were silent, for on the way to Capernaum, the apostles had been arguing about which of them was the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Jesus, knowing the thoughts of their hearts, sat down and called the twelve apostles to Him and said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the last of all and the servant of all.” There were children in the house and Jesus invited one of the children to stand beside Him. “Truly I tell you,” He said, “unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."  Then Jesus took the child in His arms and said to them, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in My name welcomes Me, and whoever welcomes Me welcomes not only Me but the One who sent Me. For whoever is the least among all of you, he is the

Coin from a Fish

When Jesus and His disciples arrived in Capernaum, they were noticed by men who were collecting for what was sometimes called the Temple tax. This was a payment required from adult male Israelites and Levites. The collected funds originally went toward the upkeep of the Tabernacle, and later was continued for the upkeep of the Temple. This practice was still observed in the time of Jesus' earthly ministry. Historically a Jewish half-shekel was required. But it appears that at this time a Greek two-drachma coin was also acceptable. And so, the collectors approached Peter and asked,  “Does your Teacher pay the two drachmas?” “Yes,” Peter answered. But when Peter entered the house, Jesus preempted Peter's question. “What do you think, Simon?” He asked. “From whom do the kings of the earth collect customs and taxes: from their own sons, or from others?” “From others,” Peter answered. “Then the sons are exempt,” Jesus declared. “But so that we may not offend them, go to the sea, cas

Death Predicted, Again

Jesus and His disciples returned to Galilee. But Jesus did not want anyone to know He had returned, because He was teaching His disciples. Jesus said to them, “Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill Him, and on the third day He will be raised to life.” Jesus' disciples were deeply grieved. They did not understand His statement. It was veiled from them so that they could not comprehend it, and the disciples were afraid to ask Jesus about it. See Matthew 17:22-23; Mark 9:30-32; Luke 9:43b-45 -

Faith as a Mustard Seed

Soon after Jesus drove the unclean spirit from the boy and had given the boy back to his father, Jesus left the crowd and went into the house where He and His disciples were staying. His disciples came to Him privately and asked about the unclean spirit: “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”  Jesus answered, “This kind cannot come out, except by prayer.” Jesus continued: “You have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:19-21; Mark 9:28-29 Notes: "except by prayer": For the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Mark, two of the source manuscripts—the Byzantine text-type (BYZ) and the Textus Receptus (TR)—record this statement as "except by prayer and fasting." -

Father and Son

The next day, Jesus, Peter, James, and John completed their descent of the mountain, and they reached the other disciples, who had been waiting for them. A large crowd was gathered around the disciples, and scribes were arguing with them. But when the people saw Jesus, they were filled with awe and ran to greet Him. Jesus addressed His disciples: “What are you disputing with them?” He asked. A man in the crowd came forward and knelt before Jesus, saying, “Teacher, I beg You to look at my son, for He is my only child. He has a spirit that makes him mute. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. I brought him to Your disciples and I begged them to drive it out, but they were unable.”  “O unbelieving and perverse generation!” Jesus replied. “How long must I remain with you? How long must I put up with you?” Then Jesus turned to the man. “Bring your son here to Me.”  So they brought the boy and seeing Jesus, the spiri


Roughly six to eight days after speaking about discipleship and the coming kingdom, Jesus took aside Peter, James, and John the brother of James. And Jesus led them up a high mountain to pray. The gospels do not record that Jesus and His disciples had moved from Caesarea Philippi in the previous few days. If they had, then the mountain might be Mount Tabor, seven miles to the south. But if they had not changed their location, the mountain would be Mount Hermon. Well, as Jesus was praying, He was transfigured before His disciples. His face shone like the sun. And His clothes became radiantly white, brighter than any launderer on earth could bleach them. Suddenly two men appeared before them—Moses and Elijah. They appeared in glory, and they began talking with Jesus. They spoke about His departure, which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.  Peter, James, and John had been overcome by sleep. But when the three awoke, they saw Jesus' glory and Moses and Elijah talking with Him. As

Discipleship and the Kingdom

There were crowds of people that had gathered. And Jesus called the crowd to Him along with His disciples, and He told them, “If anyone wants to come after Me, they must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for My sake and for the gospel will save it. What will it profit a person if they gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can a person give in exchange for their soul? If anyone is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of them when He comes in His glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. But truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom and the kingdom of God coming with power.” See Matthew 16:24-28; Mark 8:34-9:1; Luke 9:23-27 -

Confession and Rebuke

Jesus and His disciples left Galilee, again, and journeyed to the villages around Caesarea Philippi, 25 miles north of the Sea of Galilee at the base of Mount Hermon. The region had one of the largest springs that fed into the Jordan River. The fertile area was very popular for worship by many cultures. One day, as Jesus and His disciples were praying in private, He asked them: “Who do people say the Son of Man is? Who do they say I am?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and still others say Jeremiah or one of the prophets of old has arisen.” “But what about you?” Jesus asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 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. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build My church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the

Blind at Bethsaida

The boat with Jesus and His disciples arrived on the shore near the village of Bethsaida. And some people brought to Jesus a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. So, Jesus took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village. Then Jesus spit on the man’s eyes and placed His hands on the man. “Can you see anything?” He asked.  The man looked up and said, “I can see the people, but they look like trees walking around.”  Once again Jesus placed His hands on the man’s eyes, and when the man opened them his sight was restored, and the man could see everything clearly. Then Jesus sent the man home and said, “Do not go back into the village.”  See Mark 8:22-26 -


After they had departed in the boat, Jesus told His disciples, “Watch out! Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees and Herodians.” Now, the disciples had forgotten to take bread with them, except for one loaf they had in the boat. And so, at hearing Jesus' warning, they discussed it among themselves and concluded, “It is because we did not bring any bread.” Aware of their conversation, Jesus said, “You of little faith, why are you debating among yourselves about having no bread?” Jesus then spoke to His disciples in words that recalled the Books of Deuteronomy, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. “Do you still not see or understand? Do you have such hard hearts? 'Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear?' And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of broken pieces did you collect?” “Twelve,” they answered. “And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of broken


In the region of Magadan and Dalmanutha, the Pharisees and Sadducees came and began to argue with Jesus, testing Him by demanding from Him a miraculous sign from heaven to prove His authority from God. Jesus sighed deeply in His spirit and said, “Why does this generation demand a sign? When evening comes, you say, ‘The weather will be fair, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning you say, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but not the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation demands a sign. But truly I tell you that no sign will be given to this generation except the sign of Jonah.” And He and His disciples left them. They got back into the boat and crossed to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. See Matthew 16:1-4; Mark 8:11-13 -

Feeding 4000

After three days the crowd had grown very large and the people had nothing to eat. So, Jesus called His disciples to Him and said, “I have compassion for this crowd because they have already been with Me three days and they have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may faint along the way. For some of them have come a great distance.” His disciples replied, “Where in this desolate place could we find enough bread to feed all these people?” “How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked. “Seven,” they replied, “and a few small fish.” And Jesus instructed the crowd to sit down on the ground. He took the seven loaves and the fish, He gave thanks and He broke them into pieces. Then Jesus gave the pieces to the disciples and ordered that the bread and the fish be set before all the people. And the disciples did this. All the people ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. About four thousand men were fe


Jesus and His disciples left the region of Tyre and traveled north, to Sidon and the surrounding area. At some point, they left Phoenicia and returned to Galilee. The gospels do not record the specifics, but Jesus and His disciples probably returned to Capernaum and maybe paused there to rest. From there, they may have boarded one of the disciples' fishing boats and then sailed to the southern shore of the Sea of Galilee, to the Decapolis, a confederacy of ten Greek cities located in a region southeast of the Sea of Galilee. There, Jesus went up on a mountain and sat down. Large crowds came to Jesus, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others, and the people laid them at His feet, and Jesus healed them.  Some people brought to Jesus a man who was deaf and hardly able to speak, and they begged Jesus to place His hand on the man. So, Jesus took him aside privately, away from the crowd, and put His fingers into the man’s ears. Then Jesus spit and touched the