Jesus explains to His disciples what is going to happen to Him at the journey’s terminus in Jerusalem. Almost immediately his aunt brings his cousins James and John before Him and asks that they be the number two and three men in His kingdom. (For the relationship see John 19:25; Mark 15:40; Matthew 4:21 and 27:56). He informs her (and them) that although they will undergo a portion of the suffering which He will endure (cup), that it is not His choice, but the Father’s as to “order” in the kingdom. He further reminds us all that just as He did not come be BE served but in order TO SERVE, we must emulate Him.
Althuogh the word is not used in this passage, in the New Testament Greek the word for “save” and “heal” are the same. His healing of the two blind men is parallel not only to our coming to salvation in Him, but also our gaining sight (knowledge, comprehension, and understanding) of Him in our lives.
Upon Peter’s questioning Him as to “What’s in it for those of us who have followed You? Jesus answered that not only are the retirement benefits “out of this world,” but that each will be well rewarded in this day and age as well. “However,” He added, “many of those who are first will be last, and the last, first.”
Jesus then gave an example of a landowner hiring workers in his field, and ended with this same cryptic statement of the first and the last. The owner represents God, and the workers in the vineyard represent people coming to service in Christ. Sadly too many who call themselves Christians are envious of God’s generosity towards others. Some resent the fact that those who do not come to Him until the last possible moment still enter heaven. Perhaps they should concentrate more on that statement and realize just why many of those who came to Him “first” will enter last . . . ! Who barely made it after all?
We must be careful that we are not envious of others and we must “reward” envious politicians by voting them out of office at the very least.
The Kingdom of God belongs to children, and presumably to those who will humble themselves like little children and faithfully follow Him. Jesus commands that the children be “let alone,” not bothered or hindered. There is much in our society today that IS hindering them.
The rich young man who came to Jesus wanted a quick fix, or a way to work his way into heaven. Jesus told him that was impossible. It has to be done God’s way (see John 3:16). Jesus said that we must be obedient to God’s commands and named five of the Ten Commandments followed by one of the two commandments He gave elsewhere which He said sum up the entirety of the Law: Love your neighbor as yourself (the other is: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength). It is impossible for man to get into heaven on his own, but with (through) God ALL things are possible.
There weren’t just multitudes following Jesus, there were GREAT multitudes.
The Pharisees came to Jesus and tried to trip Him up. They asked the Giver of the Law about divorce. He turned it back on them by saying that there was never an intent by the Creator for such, but that since they (the Jews and especially their religious leaders) were so hard-deaded and disobedient that God had allowed it. God’s intent and the fact of the matter is that “the two become one flesh.”
In how many areas do we miss God’s point because of our “hardness of heart” (stubborn hard-headedness)?
Remember the context; Jesus has been telling the disciples how to deal with another Christian who has sinned against them.
Peter wants to know how many times he has to forgive someone, seven?
Jesus says seventy times seven. Sounds like He is saying “EVERY time” to me.
Then He tells of a man who owed his master more than could be repaid in many, many lifetimes. He begged time to repay and was completely forgiven. This is representative of us – our sins create a debt that we could never repay, and when we accept Christ and seek forgiveness we are completely forgiven.
Hopefully we are not ungrateful like the man Jesus tells us about. Jesus says that if we want to be forgiven that we must in turn forgive our brother (or sister).
Matthew 17:7-21 It would help your understanding if you begin reading at verse one.
What do you suppose the disciples thought when Jesus “raised them up” and they now saw no one but him any longer?
John the Baptist came “in the spirit of Elijah” but (somewhat like Christ for whom he was a forerunner) he was rejected.
If folks today were honest I fear that many would have to admit what this man admits to Jesus in verse 15! Notice Jesus’ response (v. 17). Have you ever felt like this?
Note carefully Jesus’ response to the disciples as to why they couldn’t heal the boy: 1) the littleness of your faith, 2) if you would exercise even the tiniest amount of faith NOTHING would be impossible to you, 3) it takes a life of trusting God, not just an hour a week (v. 21 prayer and fasting practiced often).
For those who want more on why verse 21 is missing in your Bible or why the footnotes to it, ask and I’ll post.