Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral virtue, and in your moral virtue,
knowledge ;

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Matthew Chapter 14

This chapter starts with the account of what ultimately happened to John the Baptist. There are more details of that fateful evening in  Mark  6 :17-30. There are also interesting historical details in The Complete Works of Josephus. Josephus gives interesting cultural details and the family relationships of the Herods.
The girls name was Salome. We find that out from Josephus who was a Jewish historian paid by the Roman government to write the history of the Jews. The Eerdman pulpit commentaries, say that she was likely to be at least 17 or18 at the time because a child would not have been admitted into the audience of Herod and his  friends. This whole dance was considered shocking behavior for a girl considered royalty. To be a woman in the presence of a group of men and to be entertaining them with a dance was scandalous. Her mother, Herodious , obviously knew what the outcome of the dance would be. Mark, 6:19 tells us that Herodious had a grudge against John the Baptist and wanted to put him to death. Herod had kept her from killing him up until the time of this fateful dance.
This is the kind of biblical account of history that I find very interesting. It is easy to read this and forget that these, in fact were, flesh and blood people. I can imagine every bit of the details of this story. From John's point of view, I'm sure that his life did not turn out the way he expected it to. I'm sure he was expecting to be rescued from prison. He was the heralder of the Great King. Born to proclaim the coming of the Messiah. If I were him, I would have been expecting a miracle of deliverance, from those sinners, even up to the last second before that sword took my head. I am convinced that even John did not understand who Jesus was and what He would do for all mankind. John was a man, a human, just like us.

In Verses 13-21 we have the account of Jesus feeding the 5,000. I know that this isn't the best picture, but the point I want to make is that it is easy to overlook what feeding 5,000 people would actually be like. The caption with this picture estimated that the crowd was about 2,000 people. The bible says in verse 21 that the number given of 5,000, was only the men. That number, of 5,000, did not account for the women and children present. A conservative estimate for the actual number of people who ate  was more than 7,000.
This was an incredible miracle.  The disciples actually served  at least 7,000 people that day.  They knew that Jesus had fed 7,000 people with fish and bread that He multiplied from 5 loaves and 2 fish. I have heard commentators and pastors talk about the fact that the loaves and the fish were very small. Even if the were huge there was not enough to feed 7,000 people. All of these facts together make it very interesting that in Chapter 16 we learn that the disciples are concerned about the fact that they didn't bring any bread with them on a later journey. The disciples were people just like us.

In verses 22-33, we have the account of Jesus and Peter walking on the water. In verse 22, it tells us that immediately, Jesus compelled, (made, just short of forced) the disciples to get into a boat and leave Him alone in that place. He had  them leave because the crowds were wanting to make Him king (John 6:15) Of course, the disciples probably thought that the time had come. This was going to be the moment when Jesus would finally be able to become the long awaited king. The people " wanted Him".  From the disciples point of view, everything was ready and in place.

It is possible, that before Jesus rose from the dead and gave them the gift of the Holy Spirit,  that they looked back on this moment in time and thought that when  Jesus sent them away and did not proclaim His kingdom as come, that He made a monumental mistake. Remember, they were human, just like us.

I'm sure, none of this was making sense to them. They were then in a boat for 8 hours trying to cross a very contrary, windy,sea with huge waves. The Greek in verse 24, says that the boat was actually "tormented" by the waves. Eerdman says that they had been rowing for at least 8 hours and had only gone 3 1/2 miles. Then our amazing God came walking on the stormy sea. Next we read of Peter walking on the water .
 I like to think that I would have made it all the way.  In my imagination, I would stand there looking back at the other water tormented disciples, having successfully made it to Jesus. But then I realize how cold that water must have been. We usually see pictures of Jesus walking on the water with  calm seas. It is very possible and probable that the waves were still smacking into Peter and Jesus, and the boat, as they were trying to walk. It wasn't an easy thing to walk on that storm tossed, wind beaten sea. I think this because verse 30 says Peter "saw the wind " and became afraid. If you "see the wind" you are seeing the effects of the wind, the big waves crashing, the water sloshing. It is not until verse 32 that the bible says that they got in the boat and the wind stopped. After that whole adventure, the disciples proclaim Him the Son of God (14:33)

Ok, so to remember this chapter, THE 4 IN THE 14 LOOKS LIKE A LITTLE HATCHET. That is to remind you that John's head was cut off in this chapter.We will also use this little rhyme. JOHN THE BAPTIST LOSES HIS HEAD, WALKS ON WATER, FIVE THOUSAND FED.

With this chapter we are half way through the book of Matthew!!! I hope you are as excited as I am.
Keep practicing! Keep reading!
I am having surgery on one of my feet tomorrow. It might be awhile before I post Chapter 15. But it will come. In the meantime, use this time to catch up and practice. I am praying for everyone who reads this Blog. My prayer has been that the Lord will bring His word alive to you. That He will give you forever remembrance of His word.
God Bless you ladies,
Love Nancy

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Book of Matthew Chapter 13

This chapter starts by saying "on that day". The sentence is referring to the day discussed in the previous chapter where Jesus's family had come to get Him from a house that was so crowded with people trying to see Him that His family couldn't get in (12:47) He obviously left that crowded house and went to the sea side where an even greater crowd gathered. This is probably only important in that it sets the scene for some of Jesus's most well known teachings. According to Eerdman's pulpit commentaries, the original language is specific about Jesus sitting in the boat and the crowd being so great, that they had no choice but to stand, willingly, on the sandy place (or beach). I can imagine that kind of crowd. I have been in that kind situation myself. We have been to Disney world a few times and the crowds that wait to see the fireworks literally force you to stand.

Jesus starts in verse 13:3,  with the parable of the sower. He clearly gives the meaning of this parable in verses , 13:18-23. But, what happens in between is very interesting. 
It is apparent after the crowded beach scene, that the disciples were able to speak to Him in  a more private situation because they ask Him why He was speaking to the crowd in parables. In verse  13:11, He begins to answer their question. The one verse that I want to focus on here is Verse  13:12. I have heard many explanations for this verse  but I believe that the meaning  and intent of this verse is right there in the passage. In verse 13: 9 He says, "He who has ears, let him hear"  Jesus is referring back to this "ears to hear" passage in verse  13:12 when He says. "For whoever has (the willing ears to hear), to Him shall more be given. But whoever does not have (the willing ears to hear) even what he has shall be taken away from him." I base the "willing" part on verse  13:15 where Jesus is quoting Isaiah when He says."The heart of this people has become dull (the Greek is bloated or fat) and with their ears they scarcely hear and they have closed their eyes. Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and return and I should heal them". Look this up and see what you think. The cross references that I think also support this view are Luke 18:18 and Mark 4:23 and 25. I heard a pastor say this once but wasn't sure until I looked it up myself. Two different commentaries that I tried to use as references, do nor even address this verse. Let me know what you think. 

To briefly discuss the rest of the parables; the Wheat and the Tares and the Dragnet 
are similar in that they all discuss the fact that God will decide who is a true believer in Jesus Christ, at the end of the age. We are not to be deciding who is really a believer or who is really saved by their actions or words.  I know I have been very upset over what some people have done in the name of Christ. I mourn over their representation of Him to the rest of the world. We do not have to worry about denouncing them to the world. The Lord is going to take care of all of that.
The parable of the mustard seed speaks of the unnatural growth of the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth. The mustard seed normally grows into a large bush, not a tree big enough for birds to nest in although, I have read that flocks of Gold finch love to rest in these bushes. Reading about this passage in Eerdman's commentaries, He says that the Greek  does not necessarily assign any thing negative to it's meaning but most pastors will say  that Jesus was giving us a negative picture of what would happen to the church in the years to come. They base this on the places in scripture where other large overgrown trees are mentioned and where birds are used as an insult and a curse on the future of a people or an individual. The books of Jeremiah and Ezekiel are full of passages which refer to people's dead bodies being thrown out or left out to be picked apart by birds. There is the passage in Genesis 40:17 where the  baker for Pharaoh has asked Joseph to interpret his dream.  In the dream, the birds come and eat the bread from his basket which foreshadows his death by losing his head. In Daniel (4:12) we see Nebuchadnezzar described  as a very large tree that the birds of the air find sanctuary in  but Nebuchadnezzar was a Chaldean king who held the people of Israel captive and in  Dan.4:33 we see that when God's judgement came upon Nebuchadnezzar, he became bird like with  hair  like long feathers ,and long bird like claws. And lastly we see in Matthew 13:4 that the birds came and ate up the seed sown on the side of the road. So, the church will become a large overgrown
entity with many branches that evil ravenous influences can nest in? I don't know. You tell me.

The simplest understanding of the parable of the leaven for me is that the woman represents the bride of Christ, or the church, by which the kingdom of God is worked into the world until the whole world is permeated with the knowledge of His kingdom.
We know that Jesus used the example of leaven to represent the evil influences and ideas of the Pharisees and Sadducees or any other evil that can easily permeate the church. He tells us that in Chapter 16:6-12. But I think to assume that in all cases leaven is used to denote evil would be a mistake especially because He specifically says in verse 13:33 that the Kingdom of God is like the leaven not the peck meal.
I have heard people teach from a negative point of view, that it is significant that it is a woman who kneads the leaven into the bread and that part of Jesus's  warning was about  the propensity for women to sow discourse and sin in the church. Again, I will refer back to Eerdman. He says that the Greek shows no special emphasis on the fact that it is a woman kneading in the leaven. In their culture, as well as ours, It is women who do the bread making. 

 I think the two parables about the costly pearl and the treasure, speak of the importance of each person knowing  and embracing the value of the gift of salvation on an individual basis. The people in the parables are willing to forsake everything else for this rare, precious treasure. In both parables, Jesus says that the people "sell all that they have" to obtain the treasure they have found. 

We finish this chapter with Jesus going back to His own home town of Nazareth where everyone knows Him and His family. His brother's names are listed here and His sisters are mentioned although not by name. We see the people of Nazareth reject His teaching because they have known Him since He was a child. The bible says that He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief. How sad.

Ok, so I would say that this chapter is mostly comprised of parables. So we will use verse 13:13 "therefore I speak to them in parables" to remember this chapter. Isn't that incredible how that worked out! God is good! FOR CHAPTER 13 REMEMBER VERSE 13:13 "THEREFORE I SPEAK TO THEM IN PARABLES"

Keep reading! Start reading chapter 14 if you haven't already. Read the chapter you are on, over and over again so that it will be set in your memory and as you read the chapters in order, the book you are studying will become successive and clearer to you and easier to understand and remember.

I am praying for all of you! Let me know what you think,

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


 This is the list of what we are using to remember what is in the different chapters. Of course the idea isn't to remember the entire chapter (although that would be good). The idea is to remember key points  and information about subjects that are frequently discussed. The goal is to give you the ability to quickly turn to important subjects in the book of Matthew. I was listing all of the tools at the end of each blog but that was making each blog too long. So now I will just update this list anytime a new chapter is posted.
Let me know If I can do anything to help you with be able to better succeed at this. It can be done! I have been working on the book of John along with the book of Matthew and can
now remember something from every chapter of the book of John.

CHAPTER 1, the first 17 verses are genealogy, then if you turn the 18 0n it's side it looks like a swaddled baby. Verse 18 starts the Christmas story.

CHAPTER 2, Jesus turns 2, the wise men come, Herod slaughters the 2 year olds.

CHAPTER 3, h20, AND TRINITY, John the baptist baptizes Jesus and we see the Trinity as Jesus leaves the water.

CHAPTER 4, THINK FAST,  fast has 4 letters , Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights, Jesus appointed 4 apostles, Peter, Andrew, James and John.

CHAPTER 5, BLESS YOUR HEART. Bless and heart have 5 letters, the beatitudes are here and the verses about committing adultery in your heart are here.

CHAPTER 6,  PRAYER (6 letters) and WORRY, the Lord's prayer is here and Jesus talks about worrying here.

CHAPTER 7, JUDGING (7 letters) and PROPHET (7 letters), The verse about the log in your own eye is here and the verse about fruit inspection of prophets is here.

CHAPTER 8, VERSE 8:8," Lord I am not worthy for You to come under my roof but just say the word and my servant will be healed". The story of the centurion with the great faith is here. LET THE DEAD BURY THEIR OWN DEAD AND PIGS OVER A CLIFF.

CHAPTER 9, In verse 9:9, Matthew is called by Jesus to follow Him, Double the 9 and you get 18. Verse 9:18 is the story of the woman with the issue of blood for 12 years and Jesus bringing the little girl back to life.

CHAPTER 10, TEN SENDS OUT THE 12, Jesus sends His disciples out to preach the good news.

CHAPTER 11, the 11 looks like prison bars. John the baptist was in prison and if you let the two ones of the 11 fall inward, you will get and X, the verse about the Ox and yoke are here.

CHAPTER 12 Verse 12:12 says "It is lawful to  do good on the Sabbath" also the word UNPARDONABLE has 12 letters. The verse about the "unpardonable sin" is here.

CHAPTER 13 VERSE 13:13" Therefore I speak to them in parables" this chapter has the "wheat and tares ", "the leaven," "the mustard seed" ect.

CHAPTER 14, the 4 in the 14 looks like a little hatchet to remind you that John the Baptist was beheaded here. Also we will use this little rhyme, JOHN THE BAPTIST LOSES HIS HEAD, WALKS ON WATER, FIVE THOUSAND FED. I know! great huh?

CHAPTER 15, we are using 15 words to remember this chapter.  PHARISEES INSULTED, HEART OF MAN, CANAANITE WOMAN WITH CRUMBS UNDER THE TABLE, FOUR THOUSAND FED.( I'm going to change this one to just can't decide what to change it to.)

CHAPTER 16, We are using "GET BEHIND ME SATAN"  (16 LETTERS) This verse is known by Christians and non Christians alike. Jesus says this to Peter.


Chapter 18, *** 18:9 ***If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. (the other was too hard even for me to remember so I decided that this verse was the most familiar to Christians and unbelievers alike.)



Chapter 21** 21 is T.E. time  (triumphal entry)


Chapter 23** VERSE 23:23 (well part of it) WOE TO YOU SCRIBES AND PHARISEES

Chapter 24*** There are 24 hours in a day. No one knows the day or the hour***

Chapter 25**10 virgins and 15 talents equals 25*** The parables of the virgins with lamps and the buried talents is here.

Chapter 26*** Verse 26:26, "Take and eat this is my body"

Chapter 27*** verse 27:37, "This is Jesus the king of the Jews" it has 27 letters.

That's it for now.On to chapter28
God Bless