Matthew 11

Matthew 11:

John: More than a Prophet 

                Jesus departs to go and teach His gospel throughout the surrounding cities. John the Baptist, who is now in prison, hears of Jesus and sends his disciples to learn of him. The disciples of John reach Jesus and ask Him if He is the one that was spoken of in ancient times. Jesus tells them that He is the one and to relay a message back to John; “For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there’re hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist…” (Matthew 11:11)

                Jesus tells the multitudes that all shall come unto him; “…all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

Advertisements

Matthew 10

Matthew 10:

12 Apostles – Authority from Jesus Christ 

Jesus calls Twelve Apostles; Simon, Peter, Andrew, James, John, Phillip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James, Simon, Judas Iscariot. He “…gave them power…” (Matthew 10:1), or in other words Jesus gave the twelve Apostles “Authority” to act in His name. Therefore YOU need Authority to be an Apostle of the Lord.

“These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 10:5-6)

Jesus commanded the twelve to go among the lost sheep that they might be brought back into the fold. Jesus commanded them to; “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils; freely ye have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:8)

Jesus also reminds them that they have no need for money, for they would be provided for in the service of the Lord. He tells them to “…enquire who in it [the city] is worthy…” (Matthew 10:11) and that any house which rejects them to “…shake off the dust of your feet.” (Matthew 10:14), essentially leaving behind no blessing on the house.

Jesus reminds the Apostles, that as missionaries they need to move forth as sheep amongst wolves, wise as a serpent, and harmless as a dove. Missionaries need to always be cautious and wise, yet caring and harmless. Jesus tells them that many will reject them, and if that be the case to not worry about what to respond with, “…for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.” (Matthew 10:19) Sadly, those who follow Jesus and His gospel will be persecuted, Jesus said; “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved” (Matthew 10:22)

We are reminded of the importance of REVELATION, when Jesus said; “…for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hi, that shall not be known.” (Matthew 10:26) Everything that we don’t understand will someday come to light and we will understand. Revelation is not dead, and the prophets continue to give us revelation in these Latter-days!

Jesus tells His Apostles that no one should love anyone or anything more than God, for “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matthew 10:39)

Matthew 9

Matthew 9:

Jesus Forgives Sins

In this chapter, in a way that only Jesus could, shoots down those who criticize him.

Jesus is lead to a man who is sick on a bed, afflicted with Palsy. He tells them afflicted man; “…Son, be of good cheer, thy sins be forgiven thee.” (Matthew 9:2) Some of the scribes that overhead this, said to themselves that Jesus blasphemeth, by telling a man his sins were forgiven. Jesus, knowing their thoughts asks them men; “…Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins…” (Matthew 9:4-6) Jesus then turns to the afflicted man and tells him to; “…Arise, take up thy bed ad go unto thine house.” (Matthew 9:7) Jesus put the scribes in their place.

Jesus passed by the tax office and saw Matthew sitting outside, he tells Matthew to follow him, and Matthew agrees. Later Jesus joins publicans and sinners for a meal. The Pharisees, trying to capture Jesus in some sort of scandal, asks Him; “…Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?” (Matthew 9:11) Jesus responds again in a way that shoots them down and puts them in their place; “…They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick…. For I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Matthew 9:12-13)

While speaking to these men, a ruler came to Jesus and begged him to come and bless his daughter, who had just passed away. Jesus agrees and goes into see the young lady. While he is traveling to see the young lady, an old woman, who was stricken with a blood disease, touches the hem of Jesus’s garment. The lady, having so much faith said to herself; “…If I but may touch his garment, I shall be whole.” (Matthew 9:21) Jesus having felt her touch, turns (in a crowded area) and told the lady; “…Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made me whole…” (Matthew 9:22)

When Jesus arrived at the young lady’s house he tells them men there, that she is not dead, but sleeping. The men laugh at Jesus, but Jesus took her by her hand and caused that she would arise from her sleep.

After leaving the house of the young lady, two blind men approach Jesus and ask to be healed. Jesus asks them, testing their faith; “…Believe ye that I am able to do this? And they said unto him, Yea, Lord.” (Matthew 9:28) Jesus then touched their eyes and they were healed, having the ability to now see. They were very grateful, and the Lord swore them to secrecy. However, they spread the word of this miracle throughout the land. The fame of Jesus was spreading throughout the land, and his criticism spread as well.

Matthew 8

Matthew 8:

Jesus Heals a Leper 

                Jesus ends his Sermon, and begins to come down off the mountain when a leper approaches him and asks him; “…Lord, if thou wilt, canst thou make me clean.” (Matthew 8:2)

Jesus then puts forth his hand and made him clean. Jesus tells the man to depart to a priest and cleanse himself according to the Law of Moses. Jesus then goes to Capernaum and while there is asked to heal a man suffering from Palsy. The man explains that his servant is ill, but that he is not worthy for the Lord to enter into his house to heal the man. Instead, the man asks Jesus to heal him from a distance, and remarkably Jesus agrees, even stating that the man had more faith than most. Jesus tells the man; “…Go thy way; and as thou has believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.” (Matthew 7:13) One thing that we can learn from this experience, is that we need faith to be healed.

While speaking to the man, Jesus also mentions part of the Plan of Salvation. He speaks of the lowest level, or “hell” as “…outer darkness…” where there shall be “…weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 7:12)

                Jesus then continues on to heal and cast out evil spirits. Jesus even healed Peter (the apostle) mother in law. This is very interesting because it proves that Apostles were allowed to marry.

“…Jesus was come into Peter’s house, he saw his wife’s mother laid, and sick of fever.” (Matthew 7:14)

                Jesus, presumably near the docks, is told by a scribe; “…Master, I will follow thee withersoever thou goest… suffer me first to go and bury my father.” (Matthew 7:19,21) We can assume that this scribe had just lost his father, and wished to join Jesus before he left the area. However he asks Jesus to give him enough time to bury his father before following him. Jesus answers him in a very interesting way; “…Follow me; and let the dead bury the dead.” (Matthew 7:22) I don’t believe that Jesus was being insensitive; rather he was expressing how important missionary work is. Jesus essentially told the man that if he wished to follow him, he needed to do it NOW, and not wait.

Jesus then gets on ship with his disciples and sails out into the waters. While in the water, a storm arises and causes the ship to be shaken and covered with waves. The disciples/apostles get nervous and worry that they might perish. During this event, Jesus was fast asleep, so out of desperation and panic the men awake Jesus; “…Lord, save us: we perish.” (Matthew 7:25) Jesus then turns to them and says; “…Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.” (Matthew 7:26)

                In shock and awe, as if the apostles and disciples had not seen enough miracles of Jesus healing the sick and casting out devils, the men on the ship question what they just saw… “…What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!” (Matthew 7:27)

                Jesus and his disciples arrive on the other side of the country in Gergesenes, where they meet two men possessed of devils. The devils cry out to Jesus and ask Him, if He was there to torment them. Notice how the evil, fears Jesus? The evil spirits knew that Jesus would cast them out of their human host, and in desperation of having a body, the evil spirits ask Jesus to allow them to possess a group of pigs. Jesus allows this and after leaving their human host, they possess a herd of swine. After they were in their new host, the “…whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea and perished in the waters.” (Matthew 7:32)

One thing that we can learn from this is that evil spirits EXIST. They are capable of possession, but only if we allow them into our bodies. Jesus had the power to cast them out of their human host and into a pig. The evil spirits are so jealous that they will never receive a human body, that they are desperate enough to possess a pig! Although shortly after entering the pig, and realizing that it is not the same as having a human body, they commit suicide by running over a cliff to their death.

I find this to be a wonderful, short film that helps us to understand the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. It is not a full account. but a short and condensed version for those who wish not to read, or would like something to supplement their reading…

Matthew 7

Matthew 7:

The Sermon on the Mount: Part 3 

                Jesus starts this chapter with the simple and very famous;

“Judge not, that ye be not judged.” (Matthew 7:1) 

Jesus asks His disciples; “…why beholdest thou the mote that is in they brother’s eye, but considereth not the beam that is in thine own eye?” (Matthew 7:3) Essentially Jesus asks, why do you criticize or gossip about your neighbor/friend/stranger etc., when you, yourself have your own things to be criticized or gossiped about? If you allow yourself to be critical of others, without considering that you are not without flaw, then you are a hypocrite.

Jesus encourages us to ask, for if we ask; “…it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you.” (Matthew 7:7) How hard is it to ask our Father in Heaven for something? It is easy, pray and ask him. Are you confused by doctrines? What job to take? Who to marry? Etc… anything can be asked for!

Jesus then tells his disciples to enter into the straight and narrow path, which leads back to our Heavenly Father. For “…wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction…” (Matthew 7:13) The path back to our Heavenly Father, the path that leads us to righteousness is not a broad path, it is a path that is EASILY accessible, but only if WE CHOOSE to take that path. If we decide to take the righteous path, it won’t be easy. But the reward is worth the obstacle! Jesus warns us about the other path, which is wide and easy to travel, for that path will lead ONLY to DESTRUCTION. He sadly adds that “…few there be that find it.” (Matthew 7:14), referring to the path that leads back to our Heavenly Father.

Jesus warns His disciples about False Prophets; “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits… every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree cannot bring forth evil fruit.” (Matthew 7:16-17) In the last days many false prophets will arise, but by their fruits we can determine which prophets are true prophets of God. Joseph Smith was one of those prophets called of by God. Smith’s fruit or evidence that he is a prophet is the Book of Mormon, which was written thousands of years ago and translated by Joseph Smith.

Jesus also proclaims that it is not JUST by grace that you are saved, you must also do good works. For “…Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many shall say unto me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils?…And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:21-22)

Jesus ends his Sermon on the Mount by explaining that we should be wise and build our house upon his rock [the Gospel], instead of the foolish man who built his house upon sand, which washed away in the rain storm. We must do as the Lord has done, He has set an example and we would do good to follow him. The disciples explained that Jesus spoke as “…one having authority, and not as the scribes.” (Matthew 7:29), therefore in the ending of the Sermon on the Mount we learn of the great importance having authority from God is.

Matthew 6

Matthew 6:

The Sermon on the Mount: Part 2 

                Jesus opens this chapter by addressing his disciples on the importance of keeping your alms [righteous acts] out of the viewpoints of others. Jesus tells them to not do as “…the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have the glory of men…” (Matthew 6:2) Jesus explains that they righteous acts should be done in private or secret, so as to not desire praise of men, but rather of God.

Jesus continues by stating that prayer should be done in secret as well, you should not draw attention to yourself when you are praying; “…thou shalt not be as the hypocrite are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets… when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” (Matthew 6:5-6)

Jesus expounds on prayer and tells us that we should not use “…vain repetitions, as the heathen do; for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking…” (Matthew 6:7)

In the end, Jesus reminds us that “…your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.” (Matthew 6:8) So with prayer, we should not make it a public thing, at least not to gain praise of man. We need to keep prayer as sacred as possible, avoiding repetitions. Why do we do this? Because prayer is not about reciting, and it is not about memorization. Prayer is about COMMUNICATION! We pray to our Heavenly Father to have a CONVERSATION with him. Therefore we need to speak to Him just as we would with an earthly parent. Tell Him how your day went, tell Him about your struggles, and tell Him about your desires and wishes. Then listen, ponder, and study the scriptures to receive your answer.

Jesus speaks much about prayer in this chapter of Matthew, but HOW SHOULD WE PRAY?

Jesus gives us some instruction on how to pray, here are the steps that He has given us:

1.       Start your prayer by addressing our Heavenly Father. “…Our Father which art in haven, Hallowed by thy name.” (Matthew 6:9)

*Remember God does not like vain repetitions, therefore do not memorize the prayer Jesus gave, but use it as a guide for a prayer in your own words.

2.       Thank Him for everything; “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)

3.        Ask Him for the things that you need; “Give us this day our daily bread.” (Matthew 6:11)

4.       Ask Him for the ability to forgive others that they might forgive you also; “…forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12)

5.       Ask Him for help to avoid temptation and sin; “…lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil…” (Matthew 6:13)

6.        End your prayer in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ “…Amen.” (Matthew 6:13)

                         *Note that because Jesus was saying the prayer, to His Father, Jesus did not end in His own name. However, because Jesus died for our sins we need to end the prayer in Jesus’s name.

Besides prayer, Jesus also gives us some commandments when it comes to Fasting. Fasting is a period where your body abstains from water and food for a period of time. This helps your soul to have control over your earthly tabernacle, your body. This helps to control spirit over mind, and giving the spirit control over earthy desires of the flesh. Jesus warns us to not be “…as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast…” (Matthew 6:16) Again, fasting and prayer should not be done to gain recognition from men.

Jesus speaks out about earthly and heavenly treasures. We should not focus on material things, but rather the things that we can take back with us into heaven. Greed and the desire for fame can change people and cause them to lose focus on what matters most. Jesus exclaims; “No man can serve to masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will hold to the one and despise the other….” (Matthew 6:24), essentially if we love money and material things, then we cannot serve God or love His gospel.

                “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:21)

Jesus ends this chapter by yet again reminding us to first seek “…the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things will be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)

Matthew 5

Matthew 5:

The Sermon on the Mount: Part 1

                Jesus preaches the famous, Sermon on the Mount. After seeing a multitude of people, Jesus goes to the top of a mountain and began to teach his disciples. In this one chapter, which comprises only 1/3 of the Sermon on the Mount, we learn a vast amount of important doctrine.

Jesus begins his address by addressing those who are blessed;

Blessed are…

  • “…the poor in spirit…” (Matthew 5:3)
  • “…they that mourn…” (Matthew 5:4)
  • “…the meek…” (Matthew 5:5)
  • “…they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness…” (Matthew 5:6)
  • “…the merciful…” (Matthew 5:7)
  • “…the pure in heart…” (Matthew 5:8)
  • “…the peacemakers…” (Matthew 5:9)
  • “…they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake” (Matthew 5:10)
  • “…ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.” (Matthew 5:11)

“Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which before you.” (Matthew 5:12)

What is Jesus saying here? He is saying that as a disciple of Jesus Christ you WILL be persecuted, and you will mourn. These things are just part of life. However, those who are meek, pure in heart and are persecuted for righteousness’ sake will be rewarded. It wasn’t easy for Jesus, he was persecuted, and so were the prophets after him. Where good prevails, evil will always follow behind in jealousy. Good men and women suffer, so that they might understand what the true joys of the world are. For you cannot have comfort, without pain. For how would you know the difference? The same is with the gospel of Jesus Christ, we must be tried, so that we can be corrected and put on a straight and narrow path.

Jesus continues his address by saying; “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick… let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16)

As disciples of Jesus Christ we are the salt of the earth, if we lose our flavor, what are we good for? Nothing! Therefore it is important that we set the example for the rest of the world. We need to show the world our good works and do as Jesus would do. The popular Christian “WWJD: What Would Jesus Do?” fits perfectly in this scenario. OR perhaps we can use the LDS version of “CTR: Choose the Right”. Either way, we need to Choose the Right, and do, as Jesus would do! We should never set our talents aside. We need to shine brightly before all men, doing good and representing Jesus as our savior.

Jesus continues his address, by altering some of the most basic LAWS of MOSES. At the time of his Sermon, I can imagine people confused and possibly upset by the words of Jesus. After all he was contradicting some of the most basic laws of the time.

Jesus says that whoever is angry with his brother, shall be in danger of judgment. Those who commit adultery will be judged, but the same is also applied to those who look after women to “…lust after her…” (Matthew 5:28), this is also committing adultery in your heart.

Jesus also contradicts the common “eye for an eye” and a “tooth for a tooth” law of the time, by stating; “…whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (Matthew 5:39)

Jesus teaches about compassion and love for not only your neighbor, but for your enemy; “…Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44)

Jesus taught that we should be compassionate and not worry about the wrongs of others. If someone wrongs you, we are not to judge them. We should try to love those that hate us, use us or persecute us. We should try to help those in need and if necessary turn our other cheek to those who wish to smite us. In the end, we are here on the earth to become more like our Father in Heaven. We are not perfect, but our goal is to strive to be perfect; “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48)