Gospel of Matthew

What is your biggest fear ?


There is a litany of Scriptures counselling us against fear. Scriptures like:

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34. And: “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.

Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn, yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” Luke 12:22-26, are among some of the most quoted ones.

Still, despite the positive energy those Scriptures emit, everybody has fears. And, depending on one’s priorities, fear can either be spiritual or temporal. And sometimes both.

According to my dictionary, “Fear is a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, whether real or imagined”.

Honestly, my biggest fear is spiritual. And it has to do with Jesus’ return, and I am not ready. There is no one among us who can predict the future. One could be in a state of readiness today, and the Bridegroom returns tomorrow and you are not ready.

Everybody remembers the parable of the ten virgins Jesus told His disciple on the Mount of Olives. (Matthew 25:1-13). The only reason the five foolish virgins did not meet the Bridegroom was because they ran out of oil. And it could happen to you.

What is your biggest fear?

Up from the grave He arose


Matthew 27 and 28, 1 Corinthians 15:55-57

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So, the Romans nailed Jesus to the cross and waited until He was dead. (they thought that was the end of the trouble maker)  Then they handed the body over to Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea. Joseph wrapped the body in a long sheet and placed it in his personal tomb which was carved out of a large rock. He then rolled a great stone across the entrance.

The Bible says on the next day, (the Sabbath), the leading priests and Pharisees went to see Pilate. They told him, “Sir, we remember what that deceiver once said while he was still alive: ‘After three days I will rise from the dead.’ So we are requesting that you seal the tomb until the third day. This will prevent his disciples from coming and stealing his body and then tell everyone he was raised from the dead!
Pilate replied, “Take guards and secure it the best you can.” So they sealed the tomb and posted guards to protect it.

But something spectacular would happened on Sunday morning. The Bible says, early on Sunday morning, as a new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb.

  • O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?
  • For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Suddenly there was a great earthquake and an angel came down from heaven, rolled the stone aside, and sat on it. The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint.

Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here! He is risen from the dead, just as He said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and He is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember what I have told you.”

The women ran from the tomb quickly. They were frightened but also filled with great joy. They rushed to give the disciples the angel’s message. And as they went, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they ran to Him, grasped His feet, and worshiped Him. Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid! Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there.”

So you think you know the time of Jesus’ arrival


The second coming of Christ is imminent. It is not a myth as some people think. We know this as fact from a conversation Jesus had with His disciples. After braking the news to His disciples that He must leave them and go to His father, their countenance changed. “Do not let your hearts be troubled”. He said. “Trust in God. Trust in me also. There are many rooms in my father house. If this were not true, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. If I go and do that, I will come back, and I will take you with me. Then you will also be where I am” (John 14:1-3).

However, the time of arrival of Jesus’ is not known. He said so himself. “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating, and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and devoured them. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at a hand-mill; one will be taken and the other left.

Therefore, keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. Nevertheless, you should bear this in mind: If the owner of the house had known at what time during night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and deny the thief access. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him” (Matthew 24:36-44).

Likewise, if the five foolish virgins had known what time the bridegroom comes they would have stayed put instead of going out to buy oil for their lamps. Still, it should not matter whether Christ returns today or tomorrow. The main thing is to get our acts together and live in readiness and anticipation of His impending return

A love song to Jesus


I chose to dedicate this song to Jesus because the lyrics explain exactly how I feel. I do not know about anybody else, but I honestly do not feel this way every day. Some days I get overwhelmed with daily activities that I have to dig deep to come up with a “praise”. However, over the past three weeks I have this renewed vigor and vitality for Jesus, and I am not ashamed to express it

This new thing that has come over me is hard to put into words. It reminds me of a famous quote from a famous song: “When I think of the goodness of Jesus and what He has done for me, my soul cries out hallelujah thank God for saving me”. It is like an Epiphany. It brings joy, peace and happiness to my soul.

Folks this man Jesus is real. This is not a joke. When we surrender all to Him, exciting things will happen in our lives. In the book of Matthew chapter 11:29-30 Jesus entreat us: “Take my Yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls. Yes! My Yoke is easy, and my burden is light”. Knowing what we know about Jesus, how can anyone continue to resist such an offer.

I dare anyone to do what I did. I shed the cares and burdens of this world and took the Yoke of Jesus upon myself. Today, I can see and feel the results. “O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man who trust in him” (Psalm 107:1).

Should We Make The Gospel Easier To accept?


English: Illustration of the Parable of the Un...

English: Illustration of the Parable of the Unjust Judge from the New Testament Gospel of Luke (Luke 18:1-9) by John Everett Millais for The Parables of Our Lord (1863) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Certainly.

A majority of today’s preachers and teachers of the gospel is stuck in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and even earlier. Their style and presentation are bland, unattractive and out dated. Many of them consistently use terms and jargon most people do not understand. Some of them even fail to recognize that sinners do not need courses in theology and Christology. Sinners need alternatives; solid concrete reasons why they should turn from their way of living and stand up for Jesus. Let’s face it, the gospel is adaptable. Whether we use music, art or any other method; the gospel should be easy to accept. Jesus used parables to get His audience’s attention.

A parable is a short story that illustrates a universal truth, one of the simplest of narratives. It sketches a setting, describes an action, and shows the results. It often involves a character facing a moral dilemma, or making a questionable decision and then suffering the consequences.

Parables appear in both the Old and New Testaments but are more easily recognizable in the ministry of Jesus. After many reject him as Messiah, Jesus turned to parables. When His disciples asked, “Why do you use parables when you speak to the crowds?”

Jesus replied, “Because they haven’t received the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but you have. For those who have will receive more and they will have more than enough. But as for those who don’t have, even the little they have will be taken away from them. This is why I speak to the crowds in parables: although they see, they don’t actually see; and although they hear, they don’t actually hear or understand. What Isaiah prophesied has become true for them:.

You will hear, but never understand; and you will certainly see but never recognize what you are seeing. And they’ve become hard of hearing.

And they’ve shut their eyes so that, they won’t see with their eyes or hear with their ears or understand with their minds, and change their hearts and lives that I may heal them. “Happy are your eyes because they see. Happy are your ears because they hear. I assure you that many prophets and righteous people wanted to see what you see and hear what you hear, but they didn’t.

To Have and Have Not


I have adopted the title for this post– “To Have and Have Not” from a 1944 romance-war-adventure film. This Howard Hawks directed classic stars Humphrey Bogart, Walter Brennan, and the young and beautiful Lauren Bacall in her first film. By all accounts, the movie is a thriller and was a tremendous success. I have never seen the movie, but I have heard and read a lot about it.

However, recently while I was watching the Turner Classic Movies channel, I got a peek at a promo for “To Have and Have Not”. The title grabbed me violently, and I impetuously thought about Mark 8:36: “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” This scripture suddenly came alive, and I was force to ask myself, “What good is it to have all the riches this world has to offer; including its glitz and its glamour if I do not have Jesus?”.

Rest assured my friends the things of this world are temporary. Most of us will get to that dreaded point in life when things become meaningless, and we become dependent. At that point, nothing matters–only Jesus and your salvation. I have seen many people in this state over the years. Some were miserable; trying to relive the past. Others were cheerful and optimistic.

The optimistic ones remind me of the apostle Paul, who, at the end of his life and in his last letter to young Timothy, writes: “I have fought a good fight. I have finished my course. I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is waiting for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day, but not to me only, but unto all that love his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8). There is a tremendous amount of optimism, and joy, and hope, and cheerfulness in those words. Sadly, not all of us will have that end of life experience. Some of us will be miserable.

Some years ago I asked a man who was supposedly at the end of his life, if his current situation upsets him at all. He said, “No! It is part of the life cycle”. To him, one lives and one dies and that is it. He believes that death is final. He is wrong. The Bible says, “And just as man can only die once, after death comes the Judgment, ” (Hebrews 9:27). For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to what he has done, whether virtuous or sinful. Further, “The Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works”. (Matthew 16:27).

What did I do wrong?


English: Saint paul arrested

English: Saint paul arrested (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My failures and disappointments often move me to question God. Nevertheless, I never do. I am a man of faith and I have learned not to blame or question God. I heed the advice of the apostle Paul instead: “Count it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when face with trials of various kinds. Take comfort that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. So let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

If anyone lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach. However, let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that the wind drives and tosses. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (James 1:2-8).

Still, when I am face with disappointments, I engulf myself in the mire of my failures and short comings. I keep asking myself, “What did I do wrong?” I have dotted all my I’s, and crossed all my T’s, yet there are times when I feel hopeless and incompetent and unworthy. Even a sense of emptiness creeps up on me when I least expect. What did I do wrong? Could it be that the old cliché, “What goes around comes around,” is catching up to me?

I need answers and fast. So I fall on my knees before the throne of grace and have a little talk with Jesus. He turned to me and said. “Son, I know why you have come”. You need to make peace with your guilty conscience. “For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me nothing to drink. I was a stranger, and you did not invite me in your house. I needed clothes, and you did not clothe me. I was sick, and in prison and you did not look after me”.

“Then I say to Him, ‘Lord, when did I see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

“He reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me’. (Matthew 25:42-45)

Do you neglect the poor and needy? If you do, the Bible says in Matthew 25:46 you will go away in everlasting punishment.