Matthew 14:13-14 Jesus’ Mourns His Cousin John

John would be missed

John would be missed

Yesterday we heard the story of how Herod murdered John. Herodias finally got her way. John’s disciples came and removed John’s body. After dealing with John’s remains, they went and told Jesus about it. We join Jesus after He receives the news.

John was Jesus’ cousin. He was also Jesus’ forerunner in ushering in the new covenant. Jesus knew that John’s ministry had to end before His own could be completed. Jesus knew that this would also include John’s death, but that didn’t make the process any easier. Jesus loved John and it grieved Him when John was killed.

Jesus needed some time alone after getting the news about John. He went by boat to the most isolated place He could find. He didn’t go completely alone because He brought His disciples with Him. I imagine the disciples are the ones that captained the boat that took Him there. I assume He was there to pray and spend time mourning John with His disciples. Some of Jesus disciples were John’s disciples before joining Jesus. They knew John very well and were probably hurting too. They were probably sharing stories about John on the way out. Read more »

Matthew 14:1-12 John the Baptist Murdered

The dance that ended in death

The dance that ended in death

The main character in our story today is Herod. He is beside himself with guilt and worry. He has good reason to feel guilty. He just murdered John the Baptist. Now he hears about what Jesus is doing and is terrified that John has risen from the grave.

Herod and John have history together. Somehow their paths crossed when John was preaching and calling for repentance. Did Herod go down to see John preaching? Was he interested in the message? Did he go just to see what all the fuss was about? Or did John come to him? Maybe Herod rode by on his way somewhere and John stopped him to talk to him. Maybe Herod requested John to come and speak to him. How did John get an appointment with Herod? How many meetings did they have? In chapter 6 of Mark, we are told that Herod heard John gladly, even though John’s message confused him.

However and how often they met, John would confront Herod during their meetings. John wasn’t shy about confronting anyone about their sins. That was his mission from God. To prepare the way for the coming Kingdom and to call the people to repentance. You won’t repent if you don’t believe you have sinned. Most of us recognize when we sin, but we are also VERY good at justifying anything we really don’t want to deal with. I believe Herod was in this same boat. Somehow Herod had ended up with Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife. I’m not certain if she divorced Herod’s brother before she started sleeping with Herod or not, or even if she divorced Philp at all. Whatever the sequence was, John told Herod straight out that he was in sin with this relationship. Somehow Herodias had even heard John’s rebuke of their relationship. Read more »

Matthew 13:53-58 Jesus Rejected by His Hometown

Family dinner with Jesus

Family dinner with Jesus

Jesus goes home for a visit. Jesus just finished teaching and explaining many parables. He taught only in parables to the crowd but provided explanations to many of His parables privately with His disciples. During one of His times of teaching His earthly family came to take Him away. They thought He had gone off the deep end and were trying to save Him from Himself. Jesus refused them an audience and distanced Himself from them. Is He returning to Nazareth to make amends? Let’s see how it goes.

Jesus has been teaching, drawing HUGE crowds, and performing miracles for some time. The other day His family came by and asked to talk with Him. Normally, hearing from one’s family is a happy event. But He knew the real reason they had come. They thought He was making a fool of Himself with all His references to being the Messiah and running around healing people. Sure, He was able to handle what was thrown at Him, so far, but sooner or later He was going to get Himself into real trouble, and then what? He had to realize how dangerous His actions were, especially for someone like Him. He was just a carpenter’s son. He didn’t even have any training for what He was doing. His family believed that it was time to put a stop to all His foolishness. Read more »

Matthew 13:51-52 Old and New Treasures

Treasures come in all forms and sizes

Treasures come in all forms and sizes

Jesus is continuing to teach His disciples in parables. He started by explaining one He had shared with the crowd prior to retreating into the home with His disciples. That first parable was about the wheat and the weeds. He is preparing to share the fourth one since the initial explanation.

Before Jesus begins this parable He asks if His disciples if they have understood what He had been sharing with them. I find this question interesting because when Jesus finished explaining the original parable He said, “He who has ears, let him hear” (verse 43). Usually this statement was reserved for the crowds listening and denoted that the message was actually hidden from many of those listeners. When Jesus asked the question of, “did you understand” to His disciples they said they did. Did they really understand? Did a few of them understand while a few remained confused? Or did they say they understood so they wouldn’t look foolish? Read more »

Matthew 13:47-50 Jesus’ Parable of the Net

yes, no check boxes. yes checked

Only two choices. Which will you make

Jesus is continuing to share private parables with His disciples. The group came into the house after Jesus had been teaching and right away Jesus’ disciples asked Him the meaning of the parable of the weeds. I’m not sure if Jesus found a REALLY teachable moment or if He was emphasizing a point, but He is now into His third parable since His explanation. This parable is actually a lot like the one about the weeds, minus the enemy part.

The parable of the nets breaks mankind into two camps again; those that are with Jesus and those that are against. There is NO third option. The parable actually says, “The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous” (verse 49).  This is a GREAT introductory parable for discussing how one moves from the “evil” label to the “righteous” one. There is only one way to get there. We can’t do it ourselves. In fact it is not us who moves us from one category to the other. It is Jesus who does it. But it depends on a decision we make. Here are the facts we need to consider before making that decision. Read more »