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March 20, 2013
Walk with Jesus : last ten days on earth prior the cross
There are ten days to the cross. This year’s Easter falls on 29th-31st March. The watchman is led to read Matthew from chapters 19-28 daily one chapter with Jesus.
He invites everyone who wants to walk this journey with the Lord to join in. Today the reading is for spiritual background covering chapters 16-18.
The goal of the entire reading is to walk with Jesus on His last journey to Jerusalem, to Calvary, to the cross, and finally to the resurrection. Know Him as the Son of God. What are His last concern while on earth? His last concern is all about His disciples. His own. Will they learn to be led by the Lord, the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of Christ) after He left this earth (as a human, Son of Man)? will they see and understand spiritual matters and set their mind on the Spirit (the unseen and can only be discerned in the spirit) and not on the flesh (what they can see in the physical)? Will they mind the things of God and not the things of men?
This is a unique spiritual journey. Only the Lord Holy Spirit can bring us along and guide us all the way. Angels too will line up and minister to every disciple / follower of Jesus. (Hebrews 1:14)
BACKGROUND: WHO MAY WALK WITH JESUS? WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO WALK WITH JESUS?
Chapter 16 JESUS WANTS HIS DISCIPLES TO REALLY KNOW HIM BEFORE THEY COULD WALK WITH HIM TO THE CROSS
verses 15-17 MAKE SURE WE KNOW WHO JESUS IS
Jesus made sure His disciples knew Who He really was. He asked them, “But who do you say I am?”
Peter answered correctly, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.”
Then He knew they could hear God after all and He was ready to go. He described this ability to hear God ‘blessed’. Then He explained, “My Father in heaven revealed this to you. You did not know this from any human being.”
Ability to respond according to God’s view point is called, “blessed”. (Today, believers and followers of Jesus have the Holy Spirit Who tells us
God’s viewpoint. No excuse not to know or understand what the Bible is saying to each of us!)
v 21-28 EITHER BE BLESSED OR BE CURSED
v21-23 BE CAREFUL TO SEE JESUS IN GOD’S VIEWPOINT (Peter’s example)
Only then He began to tell them His readiness to go to Jerusalem where He would suffer, be killed and on the third day be raised from the dead.
When Peter responded from his flesh (human view point), he was classified as ‘Satan’ and dangerous trap for Jesus. Here Jesus clearly stated that human viewpoint is equivalent to Satan’s viewpoint!
V24-28 TWO VIEWPOINTS, TWO RESULTS
Human viewpoint: always look out for self. The key words are: keep ‘my ways’, save ‘my life’, gain ‘my whole world’.
God’s viewpoint on your viewpoint: ‘your selfish ways’, ‘you cannot save your life’, ‘your gain means loss’. The loss will be terrible because Jesus said you need to exchange your world with your soul (life)!
Outcome: Only God’s way can save your life (soul), but you need to first give up your self, your ways and your life. Jesus’ demand is meant for all His followers, i.e. disciples.
Chapter 17Jesus further made sure His disciples knew Who He really was and told them again what His mission on earth was
V1-13 TRANSFIGURATION: He showed three of the disciples Who He really was. God also testified from heaven just to make sure the three got the message. “This is My dearly loved Son Who brings Me great joy. Listen to Him.” (Up to that late time, they had not been listening to Jesus!)
v 22-23 Later Jesus and all His disciples gathered and He told them again that He would be betrayed, killed and on the third day He would be raised. (v23 “the disciples were filled with grief.” They were still not listening to Jesus.)
WALK BY FAITH VS WALK BY SIGHT
V14-20 BY FAITH: Jesus said, even mustard seed size faith can move mountain. Unbelief hindered faith in operation. Unbelief of disciples is due to walking by sight (seeing the evil manifestation in the boy under torment, the boy’s father’s exasperation, the bystander crowd).
V24-27 BY SIGHT: (regarding temple tax) Peter viewed Jesus as an ordinary man like any Jew who must obey the temple law to pay temple tax. Jesus brought up two spiritual points. In the spiritual realm Jesus was far above the man-made temple and even Moses law. Jesus is the Son of God. The second point is that only those who had been conquered need to pay tax to the conqueror. Jesus is the Conqueror and not the conquered!
(This is very relevant today: why are the citizens paying taxes? Because the citizens are actually the ‘conquered’ by the political and related ‘conquerors’ who receive the taxes /benefits from the taxes!)
Chapter 18Jesus’ answer to “Who is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?”
V1 The disciples asked the ultimate question of a human mind, “Who is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?” In the human political system, physical (material) power and status are fought over naturally. Even the devil runs his subordinates with hierarchical levels of authorities ( Ephesians 6:12).
V2-14 Jesus answered in great details to make sure His disciples knew how the Kingdom of Heaven operates.
HE WARNED THEM OF THEIR PRESUMPTIONS (V2-10)
1. Make sure you get into heaven first before you ask for heavenly positions. The requirements are: repent for your sins and humble yourselves.
2. Make sure you do not sin further. Just as heaven is real, hell and eternal fire are real. Jesus warned specifically of causing others to sin as well as sinning yourselves.
3. Angels (messengers of God) are always watching and making reports of what you do.
4. Don’t ever look down on the humble. In God’s view, they rank high!
JESUS TOLD THEM OF HEAVEN ACCOUNTING PRIORITY (BASED ON GOD’S WILL) (V12-14)
The number ‘one of them‘ is of great priority in Kingdom of Heaven’s accounting.God’s will is ‘Not one lost’, ‘Not one perished’. Jesus made sure the disciples got their priority aligned with the will of God first! (distributing political / governmental post is of the least priority as Jesus clearly showed here).
KINGDOM OF HEAVEN’S POWER COMES IN TWO FORMS: EXECUTIVE AND SPIRITUAL WARFARE (V15-20)
EXECUTIVE POWER: (v15-17) Jesus taught them how to operate this power which was an administrative authority. The goal was to gain back the erring or sinning brethren so his soul would not be lost.
SPIRITUAL POWER: (V18-20) Jesus also taught them how to use spiritual power in the heavenly realm. This power is used to release the captives and set the oppressed free from from spiritual imprisonment. Indeed Jesus had given His disciples this power and they had used it effectively. (Luke 4:18)
HOWEVER, JESUS KNEW WHAT HIS DISCIPLES NEEDED MOST AND HE WARNED THEM FURTHER! (V21-35)
UNFORGIVENESS IS A BIG ISSUE AND UNLESS THEY RESOLVED THIS MATTER THEIR ENTRY INTO THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN REMAINED QUESTIONABLE.