Matthew 20

Matthew 20:

Parable of the Laborers 

                  Jesus addresses his disciples and gives them the Parable of the Laborers:

The Kingdom of Heaven is likened unto a man that hired laborers, who he agreed to pay 1 penny per day. Three hours after the original laborers had started the work, he found more idle workers in the market place and agreed to pay them 1 penny per day for their labor. Into the 6th hour he finds more laborers and gives them the offer for 1 penny per day for their labor. Then finally in the 11th hour he finds more laborers and offers them the same deal, 1 penny per day for their labor.

At the end of the day the man tells the steward to call the laborers and give them their pay for their labors of that day, from last to the first. Each laborer received 1 penny for their laborers, which caused the laborers who had worked longer to murmur against the man of the house. The man of the house explains to one of the murmuring laborers; “…Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny?” (Matthew 20:13)

Even though the workers were murmuring the man of the house had made a deal with them and was being fair according to the deal that he made with each individual laborer.  The man of the vineyard asks the laborer who was murmuring; “Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil because I am good? So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen” (Matthew 20:15-16)

                  Jesus then addresses the group gathered and foretells about his crucifixion and resurrection. “…the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28)

Matthew 19

Matthew 19:

Marriage/Judgment of the 12 

                  After Jesus had ended his speaking, He departed from Galilee and came to the coasts of Judea, where multitudes followed him and came to be healed of Jesus. The Pharisees quickly joined him to criticize and tempt Jesus by asking Him seemingly difficult questions; “…Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?” (Matthew 19:3) Jesus responded to their criticism; “…Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” (Matthew 19:4-6) Jesus makes it clear that marriage is not only a sacred communion, but also something done between man and woman. The Pharisees then asked Jesus why Moses was able to grant writings of divorcement. Jesus explains that because of the hardness of people’s hearts it had to be done. But He made it clear that this was not mean to be, and for anyone divorcing for anything other than adultery, will cause both to commit adultery

After Jesus had spoken these words, some little children were not permitted to come unto Jesus, of course after just speaking to the Apostles about little children in Matthew 18, Jesus said; “…Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for such is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:14) After Jesus had blessed the little children, a man came unto Jesus asking him what he should do to enter into the kingdom of heaven. The man explained to Jesus that he had followed all the commandments. Jesus tells the man to sell all his possessions, give them to the needy and then follow Him. The man went away in sadness, because he had great riches. Jesus then explains to His disciples that it is difficult for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven.

So here is the important question: Does having money, or being rich, make you bad? Can you still enter into the kingdom of heaven with riches? Money, in of itself is not a bad thing. There are plenty of wealthy individuals throughout the world that do MUCH good. However, if one were to focus on nothing but money, being obsessed with it, then it is bad. So can a rich man enter into heaven? YES. Can he enter with his riches? NO. Therefore it is important to gain not only earthly treasures, but heavenly treasures that you can take with you into the next life.

Jesus ends his address in this chapter by telling the Twelve Apostles with Him, that they will become judges in the last days and that for anything a disciple of Christ loses in this life, it will be given; “…an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.” (Matthew 19:29-30) If we work to do good in this life, and we have to give up or lose things in this life, Jesus has given us a promise that we will receive it back in heaven 100 times.

Matthew 18

Matthew 18:

We need to forgive our brothers 

The Twelve Apostles come to Jesus and ask him; “…Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” (Matthew 18:1) and Jesus responded to them by having a little child come before the midst of them;

“…Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever shall humble himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3-4) Essentially Jesus taught His disciples and now those reading the Bible that we need to become as humble and submissive as a little child. Does that mean that we need to act like children on that level of maturity? No. It means that we need to become as innocent as a child, clean without blemish.

Jesus goes on to elaborate “…whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he was downed in the depth of the sea.” (Matthew 18:5-6) It is clear that children are pure and innocent; children are the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. If this is true why do they have need for baptism? The answer is simple, baptism for children is unnecessary, baptism is for those who need to be clean, not for those who are already clean. It is also clear that those who harm children will be punished for their sins. Those who do ANYTHING to offend one of God’s little ones, would have done better to drown in the depths of the sea. “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones…” (Matthew 18:10)

                  Jesus goes on to explain His mission on the earth and the mission that we, as disciples, must follow. “For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.” (Matthew 18:11) Jesus tells a story about a man who had 100 sheep, and one went astray. He explains that sometimes you need to leave the 99, to go and find the 1 that got lost. When the man finds the one that got away, his joy is greater that with those who did not go astray. In this manner we need to seek out those who are lost, even if it means abandoning, for a time, those who are not lost.

Jesus continues to explain some very important doctrine;

                  “…in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.” (Matthew 18:16)

                  2 or 3 witnesses can establish the truth. This is why it is important for Mormon Missionaries to go out 2 by 2.

                  “…Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 18:18) 

In the end of the Old Testament (Malachi 4:5-6), it was prophesied that Elijah would come to turn the hearts of the children to the father and vice versa. This was the power given by Elijah in the last days to seal families together forever, through the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, and through His church in the Last Days; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

                  “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20)

                  Wherever a few people are gathered, there will also be the Spirit of God. This does not mean that because 2 or 3 are gathered that churches should be formed without Authority from God, but it does mean that if those 2 or 3, or even more people are bound together with similar desires and moral aptitudes that the Spirit of God will be with them.

After Jesus had done much speaking, Peter asks Him; “…how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18:21-22) Does that mean that we are only supposed to forgive someone 70 x 7= 490 times? What Jesus meant is that we need to always forgive someone, especially if their desires are pure and their intentions are great. Jesus continues to address forgiveness with a story about a man who owed a great debt. This man was unable to pay the debt and begged his creditor for mercy. The creditor had mercy on him and forgave his debts. However, that same debtor who was forgiven of his debts, went and found a man who owed him money. This man was not as kind and did not have mercy on him, but instead cast him into prison. When the original creditor found that he did not forgive as he was forgiven, he was upset. Jesus explains that; “…likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hears forgive not everyone his brother their trespasses.” (Matthew 18:35)

Matthew 17

Matthew 17:

Transfigurations – Restoration

Jesus leads Peter, James and John upon a high mountain, and is transfigured before them: his face shines, his clothes become as white as the light. Moses and Elias [Elijah] appear, and talk to Jesus. Peter, out of the blue, suggests they make three tabernacles; one for Jesus, one for Moses and one for Elias. A voice then comes from heaven and declares; “…This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: hear ye him.” (Matthew 17:5) Upon hearing this, the Apostles fall to the ground and were afraid. After lifting up their heads they see only Jesus and He tells them not to reveal their vision until after the Resurrection.

The Apostles then ask Jesus why the scribes said that Elias [Eliajah] must come first. Jesus confirms this and states that “…Elias [Elijah] truly shall first come, and restore all things.” (Matthew 17:11), however they were confused that Elijah had already come, but Jesus was referring to John the Baptist. Because Elijah would come a lot later to RESTORE the gospel in the last days. “…the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things…” (Acts 3:19-21) Jesus then runs into a man who pleads for Him to come and heal his son, because he had previously brought the child to His Apostles and they could not heal him. So Jesus takes the child and casts the devils out of him. The Apostles then ask Jesus “…Why could not we cast him out?” (Matthew 17:19) Jesus tells them; “…Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” (Matthew 17:20)

Jesus again prophesies of his death and Resurrection. Jesus explains that He is not liable to pay the temple tax, because kings demand taxes of strangers, not of their sons. Jesus pays the tax anyway, by miraculous provision of a coin that Peter finds in a fish’s mouth. (see Matthew 17:27)

Matthew 16

Matthew 16:

Peter Recieves the Keys

                The Pharisees and the Sadducees came again tempting Jesus, by asking Him to show them a sign from heaven. Jesus responds to them; “…When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is lowring [gloomy], O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?” (Matthew 16:2-3) Jesus pointed out that smart men can discern the weather, and even know the scriptures. But if they don’t recognize that Jesus is the Son of God, then they are foolish. Jesus reminds them that; “A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it…” (Matthew 16:4)

The disciples meet up with Jesus, and He warns them; “…Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.” (Matthew 16:6) Both the Pharisees and the Sadducees become confused of what Jesus had said, and go as far as to ask Jesus if it was because they had not partaken of any bread.

Jesus tells them; “Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand (see Matthew 14:17-21)… Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand (see Matthew 15:34-38), and how many baskets ye took up?” (Matthew 16:9-10) Both the Pharisees and the Sadducees failed to see that Jesus was referring to their doctrines and not about bread.

Jesus came to the coasts of Caesarea Philippi and asks His disciples; “…Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? …Some say that thou art John the Baptist: Some Elias; and others Jeremias… He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? …Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:13-16)

This answered please Jesus and he tells Simon; “…Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 16:17) Seeing is not believing, but believing is seeing!

Jesus then blesses Peter; “…thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shalt be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:18-19)

                Matthew 16:18-19 is one of the scriptures that the Catholic Church will use to claim their power and authority. Jesus did build His church upon a Rock, which the gates of Hell would never prevail against. But what is the Rock? The Catholics claim that the Rock is Peter, but is it Peter? No, Jesus Christ is the Cornerstone (head of the Church) and upon the Rock of REVELATION will the church prevail. Christ is also mentioned as the “Stone of Israel”.

Jesus then tells His Apostles that He would be: betrayed, killed and be resurrected again on the third day. Peter was shocked by what Jesus said and tells Him; “…Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.” (Matthew 16:22) Jesus finds Peters lack of faith in His words to be troubling; “…Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me…” (Matthew 16:23) Jesus reminds them to continue the work after He is gone. Those who lose their life in the work will only find their life. “For 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)

                We need to not only believe in Jesus Christ, but also do good works in His name.

Matthew 15

Matthew 15:

Contending Against Jesus 

                A group of scribes and Pharisees came to Jerusalem to speak to Jesus, saying; “Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For the wash not their hands when they eat bread.” (Matthew 15:2) Talk about digging for something to accuse Jesus. But Jesus had an answer waiting for them; “…Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightiest be profited by me; And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free…” (Matthew 15:3-6) Jesus condemns the scribes and Pharisees for not providing for their parents, because they say that it is a gift from God. Jesus tells them that they are hypocrites and that “…in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matthew 15:9)

                Jesus then calls the multitude to come and listen to His words; “…Hear and understand: Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth man.” (Matthew 15:10-11) Essentially saying that the scribes and Pharisees need to be quiet, because they are only defiling themselves with the filth that comes out of their mouth. One of those in the multitude says; “…Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended…” (Matthew 15:12) and Jesus responds; “Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.” (Matthew 15:14) In other words, Jesus is saying that He doesn’t care that it offended them, because eventually they will fall into the ditch, because it is the BLIND LEADING THE BLIND.

Peter comes and asks Jesus for clarification, where Jesus explains that anything that enters the belly that is not clean, will be cast out one way or another. The body will process the good and eliminate the bad. Whereas the evil words that come out of the mouth, come from the heart. Where there is an evil heart, there are evil thoughts. These are the things that defile man, not having washed your hands before eating.

Jesus then departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon where a woman from Canaan comes to Jesus and begs for Him to heal her daughter, who was vexed with a devil. Jesus responds; “…I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 15:24), in other words, He was on a different mission and did not have time to come and heal her daughter. However, the woman persists and asks again. Jesus is impressed with her faith and rewards her, by healing her daughter. From here, great multitudes come to Jesus and ask to be healed; he heals those who were lame, blind, dumb and maimed. There he performed these great miracles for three days, and has compassion on the multitude that had been following him without food for those three days. Jesus, then commands the multitude to sit, while he performed a similar miracle to that of the five loaves of bread and two fish. This time Jesus feeds four thousand men, besides women and children with seven loaves of bread and a few fish. We learn that there was even left over food, of seven baskets.

Jesus then departs to the coasts of Magdala.

Matthew 14

Matthew 14:

John the Baptist Dies 

                Herod hears of the fame of Jesus and fears that it is John the Baptist raised from the dead. We learn that John the Baptist had attacked Herod for marrying Herodias, who was John’s sister in law. Because John spoke out about and said it was not lawful for Herod to take Herodias to marry, he was thrown into prison. The daughter of Herodias dances for Herod’s Birthday and pleased him. Because of this Herod promised to give Herodias’s daughter anything she wished. Having been instructed of Herodias prior to dancing, Herodias’s daughter asks Herod for the head of John the Baptist to be delivered on a platter. Herod was grieved of this, but because he made a promise he commanded his men to behead John in prison.

When Jesus gets word of this, he departs unto a desert place, where his followers follow on foot. When they stop, Jesus is filled with compassion and heals their sick and when the evening came, the disciples began to depart to eat in their homes. Jesus, however, says to one of his Apostles; “…They need not depart; give ye them to eat.” (Matthew 14:16) At this moment I am sure the Apostle was puzzled, because he responds; “…We have here but five loves, and two fishes.” (Matthew 14:17)

After having seen all the miracles He has performed in front of the Apostles, I am sure Jesus was a little disappointed when he said; “…Bring them hither to me. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took five loves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.” (Matthew 14:18-19) Jesus ends up feeding about five thousand men, excluding women and children. So he probably fed more like ten thousand people with only five loaves of bread and two fishes. How amazing is that? Yet the Apostles are still in shock and awe. Jesus sends the multitude away and commands the Apostles to leave on a boat, while Jesus goes up into a mountain to be alone and pray.

“…the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit, and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.” (Matthew 14:24-26)

The Apostles had just witnessed Jesus feed over five thousand men, and probably ten thousand or more people with only five loaves of bread and two fishes, yet they are amazed that Jesus could walk on water. This is what Jesus meant by understanding in your heart. Those who have seen him or heard him might not gain a testimony of Him or His Gospel, only those who see with their heart. Therefore seeing is NOT believing, believing is seeing. Signs can be asked for, and even given… but without an understanding of the heart, one will never know for themselves.

Peter answers Jesus from the ship; “…Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink. He cried, saying, Lord, save me.” (Matthew 14:28-30) Even in his unbelief, the Lord permitted Peter to see for himself, but seeing for himself was not enough, because he had fear in his heart. That fear caused him to lose focus of what was important and because of that he began to sink. But the Lord knows our weaknesses and in this situation understood that even Peter lacked faith; “…immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? (Matthew 14:31)

When we are put into situations where storms rise and winds bolster, we need not lose focus on what is right. We need to go let our fear go and walk the stormy waters of life. If we do so, Jesus will walk with us and every once and a while he will pull us up from the dark and dreary waters and ask, Why did you doubt?