Matthew 18:7-9 Temptation Comes, But Woe to the Bearer

Sin blocks the flow of love

Sin blocks the flow of love

Jesus is still in Capernaum in an unspecified house. He is still addressing His disciples. I’m not sure if He is also addressing other people in the home or not. This lesson is pertinent for everyone, but Jesus and His disciples may actually be having time alone currently.

Jesus’ first couple of statements really caught my attention today. “Woe to the world for temptation to sin! For it is necessary that temptation comes, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes!” (verse 7). When I first read it, I wasn’t grabbed by these statements. They were just part of the passage. But as I reread it, I was reminded of the Garden of Eden. Read more »

Matthew 18:1-6 Who is the Greatest In the Kingdom of Heaven

Become as little children

Jesus and His disciples are still in Capernaum at someone’s home. It may have been Jesus’ home or Peter’s or James and John’s home. We are not told that there were a lot of people there but there must have been at least a few, otherwise where would the child used in today’s illustration come from. Besides all that, Jesus always drew crowds, especially when He was at home.

I’m assuming Jesus’ disciples had been hashing this question out before they brought it to Jesus. Were they upset because the tax collectors singled Peter out as the one to approach regarding Jesus’ behavior? Was Peter still down by the sea fishing during this discussion? What place of importance were they arguing for? We know that they were expecting an earthly kingdom. Were they planning out the seating order at their “King’s table?”

The disciples brought their question directly to Jesus for His input. Apparently they hadn’t come to any consensus among themselves. Jesus threw them a HUGE curve with His answer. I wonder what they were thinking as Jesus calls for a nearby child and gets him/her settled on His lap for the lesson. “Can’t we ever just get a straight answer?! Does everything have to be another lesson?” Read more »

Matthew 17:24-27 To Pay or Not to Pay

Peter's fishy bank

Peter’s fishy bank, not piggy bank

Jesus and His disciples have come home to Capernaum. They have been on the road for some time, teaching and healing wherever they went. The first thing that Matthew records when they get home is getting hit up for taxes.

Did the tax collectors ask Jesus for His taxes before they went to Peter? Apparently they didn’t get any from Jesus, if they did ask, so they went to Peter. They didn’t ask Peter to pay a tax for himself. Why was that? Why did they come to Peter in the first place? Did Peter look like the one in charge of such things? Why didn’t they talk to Matthew? He used to be a tax collector. Is it because he would know they were asking for taxes Jesus shouldn’t have had to pay? Matthew doesn’t mention that any of the other disciples were asked to pay the tax. Why is that? Read more »

Matthew 17:22-23 Jesus Tells of His Death and Resurrection

"Wait and see what I will do" -God

“Wait and see what I will do” -God

Jesus and His disciples were somewhere in Galilee. I don’t know if they had left Caesarea Philippi for Capernaum yet, which is the next setting Matthew resumes his story telling in. I’m certain Jesus and His disciples were alone during this portion of scripture though. Jesus didn’t tell the crowds this much detail about His upcoming death. These talks were reserved for His disciples alone.

The disciples had been walking with Jesus for some time now, so they knew the political and religious atmosphere that surrounded Jesus and His teachings. The Scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees all hated Jesus and wanted Him dead.

Jesus, for the second time, tells His disciples that He is going to be killed and raised from the dead. For the second time they hear the first statement and breeze past the second. All they hear is that Jesus is going to be killed. When Jesus says He is going to “be delivered into the hands of men”, do they realize someone is going to betray Him? Do they even entertain the thought of it being someone from their own group that would be the culprit? Read more »

Matthew 17:14-21 Jesus Heals the Boy with a Demon

I want THAT KIND of faith!

I want THAT KIND of faith!

Jesus, Peter, John and James are coming down from the mountaintop. Jesus has just finished telling this small group to keep quiet, for a time, about what happened on the mountaintop. They approach the place where the rest of the disciples and a crowd have gathered. The disciples had been ministering to the people in Jesus’ absence. Jesus had given them the authority to do so a while back. As they approach though, something is obviously wrong.

Matthew, Mark and Luke all record this event in Jesus’ ministry. You can find Mark’s account in Mark 9:14-29. Luke’s record can be found in Luke 9:37-43. There are many things that are recorded by all three of these gospels, but not a lot of the miracles make the cut across them all. All three accounts tell of the demon’s final hurrah on the way to Jesus and also mention Jesus’ remarks about the multitude being faithless. John’s is the only gospel that doesn’t record this event.   Read more »