Good news from Matthew
An easy English version of the Bible and commentaries (2,800 word vocabulary) on the *Gospel of Matthew
The translated biblical textit has beenthrough Advanced Scan.
The words on the boxes are from the Bible.
A wordlist at the end explains the words with a star * next to them.
The author was a Jewish *Christian who wrote especially for *Jews. One of the earliest Christian writers said: 'Matthew recorded what Jesus taught in the *Hebrew language.' This book contains much of what Jesus taught. Thus, the early Christians named the entire book after Matthew. Matthew collected taxes, but became one of Jesus' 12 special friends (Matthew 9:9). Matthew did not write the first book on the life of Jesus. Mark first wrote about Jesus. And Matthew uses much of what Mark wrote. The *Christian church has placed the book of Matthew first because Matthew frequently refers to the *Old Testament.
1. The author has organized what Jesus taught into five main sections:
1. What Jesus taught on the mountain 5:1 - 7:29
2. King Jesus sends his friends with his message 10:5-42
3. Stories about where God rules 13:1-52
4. Relationships in Christian Society 18:1-35
5. When Jesus returns to earth 24:1-25:46.
Between these sections, the account emphasizes what Jesus did.
2. The author organizes his material into groups of three and seven. This helps your readers to remember you. For example, there are three groups of three *miracles (Matthew 8:1-15; 8:23–9:8; 9:18-34). There are seven stories about where God rules in chapter 13. There are three stories about Jesus' return to Earth in chapter 25.
3. Matthew shows that what God said to his people in the *Old Testament came true in the life of Jesus. Therefore, Jesus was the *Messiah they expected. Matthew refers to *Old Testament words 60 times. He often uses words from the book of Isaiah. It features important words from the *Old Testament in a special way 12 times. He says: 'This shows that the words of the *prophets have been fulfilled.' (See, for example, Matthew 1:22-23; 4:14-16.)
4. Emphasize that Jesus is King.
1. Jesus comes from the family of David (1:1).
2. He was born in the city of David called Bethlehem (2:5-6).
3. The blind men and the woman of Canaan called him the “Son of David” (9:27; 15:22).
4. Jesus is king in the story of the sheep and the goats (25:24-46).
5. He has 'all authority in heaven and on earth' (28:18).
5. Matthew shows that Jesus is the *Messiah. He was the special person the *Jews had been waiting for. But Mateo doesn't leave out the rest of the world. There were also other people who recognized that Jesus came from God (2:11). Matthew records that Jesus healed the *servant of the Roman official (8:5-13). Jesus said, "Many people will come from the east and west." They will join those people where God rules (8:11). The people will tell the good news of Jesus to the whole world (24:14). Jesus' final command was to “make* disciples of all nations” (28:19).
6. Four men wrote the Good News about Jesus. But Mateo is the only one who uses the word '*church'. At Caesarea Philippi, Jesus said that nothing could destroy his *church (16:18). The *local church would resolve disputes among Christians (18:15-17).
7. Matthew shows that he was interested in the end of the world. He writes down much of what Jesus said about the end. Jesus will return to earth and be the Judge (chapters 24 and 25).
The *ancestors of Jesus 1:1-17
v1This is the family record of Jesus Christ. Your* ancestor long ago was David, and Abraham was an *ancestor before that. (Jesus is the son of Abraham.)
Verse 1 Jesus is the 'Christ'. 'Christ' is a *Greek word, and the same word in the *Hebrew language is '*Messiah'. Both words mean "the man God has chosen". Samuel poured special oil on David's head a long time ago. It showed that he was the king. It showed that God had chosen David to be king (1 Samuel 16:13). Jesus was the son of David. In other words, he was a descendant of David, who lived many hundreds of years after David. Therefore, Jesus was the king that the *Jews were waiting for. He would be a great king like David. But Jesus did not come to use military power to establish himself as king. He had to show by his life and death that he came to defeat the devil. He suffered while defeating the devil. He didn't come to rule a place or an area. When you accept Jesus as your king, then he rules your life. As king, Jesus invited people to the place where he rules.
Jesus is also the 'son of Abraham'. This means that he was also a descendant of Abraham. But he lived many hundreds of years later. God called Abraham to start the *Jewish nation. And God promised Abraham that one of his grandsons in the future would bring good things to the whole world (Genesis 22:18). This promise was fulfilled when Jesus came into the world. Abraham was willing to obey God. He was even willing to kill his only son Isaac and offer him to God. He was willing, if God wanted him to do it. Jesus always obeyed God. He offered himself to God when he allowed people to kill him. He died because the people of the world needed a *sacrifice for *sin. He died. And so, all people since then have the offer of a life with God that will never end.
v2Abraham was the father of Isaac. Isaac was the father of Jacob. Jacob had many sons and Judah was the first son.v3Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah, and Tamar was their mother. Perez was the father of Hezron, and Hezron was the father of Ram.v4Ram foi o pai de Aminadab, e Aminadab foi o pai de Nahshon. Nahshon era o pai de Salmon.v5Salmon was the father of Boaz and Rahab was his mother. Boaz was the father of Obed and his mother Ruth. Obed was the father of Jesse.v6And Jesse was the father of King David. David was Solomon's father, and his mother had been Uriah's wife.v7Solomon was the father of Rehoboam. Then Rehoboam begat Abijah, and Abijah begat Asa.v8Asa was the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat was the father of Joram. So Joram begat Uzziah.v9Uzziah was the father of Jotham, and Jotham was the father of Ahaz. So Ahaz was the father of Hezekiah.v10Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh and Manasseh was the father of Amon. So Ammon was the father of Josiah.v11Josiah had several sons and Jeconiah was the first son. At that time, an enemy took the *Jewish people to *Babylon.
v12Then Jechonias begat Salatiel, and Salatiel begat Zerubbabel.v13Zerubbabel was the father of Abiud, and Abiud was the father of Eliakim. So Eliakim was the father of Azor.v14Azor was the father of Zadok, and Zadok was the father of Akim. So Akim was the father of Eliud.v15Eliud was the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar was the father of Matthan. So Matthan was Jacob's father.v16And Jacob was the father of Joseph. Joseph was Mary's husband. She gave birth to Jesus, who is called the Christ.
v17So there were 14 grandparents from Abraham to David. So there were 14 of David's grandparents until the moment the enemy took them to *Babylon. There were 14 more grandmothers from that time until the birth of Christ.
Verses 2-17 Matthew records the *ancestors of Jesus down to Joseph. Jesus was the son of Mary, but he was not the son of Joseph. Matthew explains this in the next section. However, when Joseph married Mary, he became the legal father of Jesus.
Matthew divided the list of these *ancestors into three groups. It made it easy to remember. The first section reminds people of their history all the way back to King David. He was the best king of Israel. The second section records later kings when the people did not obey God. So they went as prisoners to *Babylon. The third section ends with Jesus Christ. He rescued people from the effects of everything they did wrong.
There are four women on the list: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Uriah's wife. It was not customary to put women's names on a family list. But Jesus showed that women are also important to God. Tamar (verse 3), Rahab (verse 5), Ruth (verse 5), and Uriah's wife, whose name was Bathsheba (verse 6), were not even Jewish. The good things Jesus brought are for everyone. They are para*Jews and so is everyone else. Three of those four women were guilty of misconduct. Tamar had sexual relations with her father-in-law (Genesis 38). That was the only way she could have a child. This son would continue with his father's surname. Judah had broken the law. He should have arranged for Tamar to marry one of her other children. Judah says that Tamar is right (Genesis 38:26). Rahab sold herself for sex in the city called Jericho (Joshua 2:1-7). Bathsheba had sexual relations with David before becoming his wife (2 Samuel chapters 11 and 12). God can use people in his plans, even if they've done bad things. Perhaps Matthew included these women to remind us of this. Jesus came to rescue people who had done bad things (Matthew 9:13).
The birth of Jesus 1:18-25
v18This is how the birth of Jesus happened. His mother, Maria, had promised to marry Joseph. They hadn't had sex together yet. But it was clear that she was going to have a baby. She became *pregnant by the power of the *Holy Spirit.v19Her husband, Joseph, was a good man. She didn't want people to think bad things about her. So he decided to secretly divorce her.v20But while Joseph was thinking about this, the messenger of the *Lord* appeared to him in a dream. ‘Joseph, son of David,’ said the messenger of the *Lord*, ‘do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. The baby inside her is from the *Holy Spirit.v21She will have a child. You must name him “Jesus”. This is because he will save his people from their* sins.'
v22All this happened because of what the *Lord had said to the *prophet long ago. It came true.
v23‘The *virgin is going to have a baby. She will give birth to a son, said God. ‘They will call him “Immanuel.”’ This name means “God is with us.”
v24Jose woke up. So he did as the messenger of the *Lord* had commanded. He took Mary home as his wife.v25But he didn't have sex with her until their child was born. And Joseph named him 'Jesus'.
Verses 18-19 Joseph and Mary promised to marry. But Joseph thought that Mary had not been loyal to him. They were *Jews. And the only way the Jews could break that promise was to get divorced. But Joseph was kind. He planned to protect her from public gossip. He wanted to divorce her privately. He himself would risk gossip in public.
Verses 20-21 Matthew and Luke agree that Mary gave birth to the child "by the power of the *Holy Spirit" (Luke 1:35; Matthew 1:20). God showed Joseph the truth in a dream. 'Jesus' is the same as the *Old Testament name 'Joshua'. The name means 'the *Lord saves'.
Verses 22-23 'Immanuel' means 'God is with us'. God's servant Isaiah lived about 700 years before Jesus. He named the son of a young woman 'Emmanuel'. Isaiah wanted to encourage the king and the people to trust in God. God would protect them from their enemies (Isaiah 7:14). Isaiah's words were fulfilled even more wonderfully when Jesus came into the world. The entire *gospel describes how Jesus was “God with us”. Everything he said and did showed the power of God. And he showed how much God loves people.
Verses 24-25 Joseph believed the messenger of the *Lord* and obeyed the message of God.
Magi visit Jesus 2:1-12
v1Jesus was born in a city called Bethlehem. This was in the Judean district. At that time, Herod was the king there. The wise men came from the east to the capital called Jerusalem.v2'Where is the boy who was born king of the *Jews?' they asked. We saw your star in the east. So we came to *worship him.'
v3When Herod heard this, he was very worried. Everyone in Jerusalem was also worried.v4Herod summoned all the chief priests and teachers of the law. He asked them where the Christ would be born.
v5'He will be born in Bethlehem, which is in Judea,' they replied. This is what God's servant wrote long ago:
v6“But you, Bethlehem of the land of Judah,
you are certainly not the least important among the people of Judah.
Because from you will come a sovereign,
and he will guide my people Israel. '
v7Then Herod secretly called the wise men. He found out from them the exact time when the star appeared.v8So he sent them to Bethlehem. “Go and search very carefully for the child,” he said. “As soon as you find it, come and let me know. Then I can go and* worship him too,' Herod told them.
v9After the sages listened to the king, they left. The star they had seen in the east went before them. Then it stopped over the place where the child was.v10When they saw the star again, they were overjoyed.v11The wise men entered the house. There they saw the child with his mother Maria. So they *bow down and *worship him. They also brought him valuable gifts. They gave him gold, *incense and *myrrh.v12But God warned them in a dream not to return to Herod. So they returned to their country by another way.
Verses 1-2 'Bethlehem' means 'house of bread'. It's a small town six miles from Jerusalem. It was the house of David (1 Samuel 16). The *Jews expected a king who would come from the people of David. This king would be even greater than his ancestor King David.
The 'wise men' studied the stars. The *Greek word for them is 'magi'. They probably came from Persia. Christians often call them 'kings'. God's servant Isaiah wrote about this long before that time. He said other nations and 'kings' would come to honor God's light in Jerusalem (Isaiah 60:3). Psalm 72:10-11 describes "kings" bringing their gifts to a great ruler. The idea of 'kings' probably comes from these verses.
Verse 2 We don't know what the 'star' was.
Verse 3 The *Romans allowed Herod to rule as king of Judea. But he was very afraid of losing his power. Herod suspected that some men wanted to be ruler instead of him. So he killed anyone he suspected. He even murdered three of his own children. He thought they were conspiring against him. The great Roman king Augustus said it was not safe to be Herod's son. He said it was safer to be Herod's pig.
The people of Jerusalem were worried. They knew that Herod would take the child. And they knew how he could do it.
Verses 4-6 The 'chief priests' were those who had been high priests. The main *priests came from some special families. The men who taught the law were experts. They explained the *Old Testament. They reminded Herod of what Micah, the servant of God, wrote long ago (Micah 5:2). God had promised that the ruler would come from Bethlehem. They gave the correct answer, but they didn't go to Bethlehem. They didn't go to see if Micaiah's words were fulfilled or not.
Verses 7-8 Herod pretended that he wanted to show respect to the new king. Instead, Herod was making plans to kill him. He wanted to know when the wizards first saw the star. Then he would know how old the child was.
Verses 9-11 The wise men arrived in Bethlehem long after the birth of Jesus. The men tending the sheep had seen the "baby" at first. It was in a box where they used to put food for animals (Luke 2:16). Mateo says that the magicians entered the house. They saw the 'boy' with his mother. The sages may have traveled for nearly two years to find this new king. People think there were three wise men because there were three present. 'Gold' showed that Jesus was a king. '*Incense' showed that Jesus was a *priest. The *priests offered it to God when they *worshipped him in* the Temple. Thanks to Jesus, people were able to approach God. People used to put '*myrrh' on corpses. This gift showed that Jesus was going to die. He would rescue people from their *sins.
Verse 12 The wise men did not tell King Herod where Jesus was.
Joseph, Mary and Jesus escaped to Egypt 2:13-18
v13When the magicians left, a *messenger* from the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. 'Stand! Take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt,' he said to Joseph. "Stay there until I tell you to come back." Herod goes looking for the boy because Herod wants to kill him.
v14So Joseph got up. During the night, he took the boy and his mother to Egypt.v15They stayed there until King Herod died. Thus were fulfilled the words which God had spoken through his servant:
“I called my son from Egypt,” he had said.
v16Herod realized that the wise men had not obeyed him. Then he got very angry. He sent his soldiers to kill all the children around Bethlehem. He remembered when the wizards first saw the star. So he told the soldiers to kill all children two years old and younger.v17In this way the words that Jeremiah had spoken long before were fulfilled.
v18‘People hear a voice in Ramah.
Someone is crying and is very sad.
Rachel is crying for her children.
She refuses to let anyone comfort her.
Your children are dead' (Jeremiah 31:15).
Verses 13-14 Many *Jews went to Egypt in the centuries before Christ. Egypt was a long way from Judea. They found that they could safely live there. So there were many groups of *Jews in the cities there. In the city called Alexandria there were more than a million Jews. So Joseph and Mary would not be among strangers. They would find Jews they could live and work with.
Verse 15 God called the people of Israel his 'son' (Exodus 4:22). God's servant, Hosea, had said that God loved his 'son' very much. He helped Moses lead his son, all the people of Israel, out of Egypt (Hosea 11:1). Jesus, the Son of God, had the same experience as the people of Israel. God called him back from Egypt.
Verses 16-17 Herod did not know which boy was the new king. So he killed all those boys who could have been kings. But Jesus had escaped.
Verse 18 Rachel lived a long time ago. She was the wife of Jacob, who was also called Israel. Therefore, she was the mother of the people of Israel. God's servant Jeremiah imagined that she was sitting by her tomb near Bethlehem (Genesis 35:19). She was weeping for her children when their enemies took them to *Babylon (Jeremiah 31:15). Now Rachel wept for the children of Bethlehem whom Herod had killed.
The family returned to Nazareth 2:19-23
v19When Herod died, Joseph had a dream. The messenger of the *Lord* appeared to him in Egypt.v20"Arise," said the *messenger. 'Take the child and his mother and return to the land called Israel. The people who were trying to kill the boy are now dead.
v21So Joseph got up and took the child and his mother with him. He returned to the country called Israel.v22But then, he heard that Archelaus was ruling Judea. Archelaus was Herod's son, so Joseph was afraid to go there. In another dream, God warned Joseph about this. Then he returned to the land called Galilee.v23He went to live in a city called Nazareth. Thus, what God had said about Jesus long ago came true.
'The people will call him a Nazarene,' said God's servants.
Verses 19-22 After Herod's death, the *Romans divided his land between three of his sons. One of his sons was named Archelaus and became ruler of Judea. He was like his father. He was a very cruel man. But God warned Josephine in a dream not to return to Judea.
Verse 23 Herod Antipas was the ruler of Galilee. He was a better ruler than his brother Archelaus. So Joseph returned to Nazareth, where he and Mary had come from. The city was close to the main trade routes. One path came from Africa and Egypt. Another way was to the eastern countries. The word 'Nazarene' means 'one who comes from Nazareth'.
The work of John the Baptist 3:1-12
v1In those days, John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea.v2He taught the people who came there. You must stay away from doing bad things! Where God rules in heaven is already at hand, he told them.v3God's servant Isaiah spoke of John long ago.
“A voice is crying out in the wild field,” he had said.
“Prepare the way for the *Lord. Make straight paths for him,” says the voice.
v4Juan wore clothes made from camel hair. He had a leather belt around him. He ate insects and wild honey that came from another type of insect.v5The inhabitants of Jerusalem and all the surrounding land flocked to him. They also came from the Jordan River Valley.v6They confessed what they had done wrong. So John* baptized them in the Jordan River.
v7Many *Pharisees and *Sadducees went to the place where John was *baptizing people. “You are like a family of poisonous snakes!” Juan told them. “I don't know who warned you to flee the wrath of God.v8You must do things right and fair. This will show that you have turned from your *sins.v9Do not think that you can say to yourself with satisfaction, "Abraham was our ancestor long ago." I tell you this: God can make children for Abraham from these stones if he wants to.v10The ax is already at the root of the tree. Men cut down every tree that does not bear good fruit. They throw these trees into the fire.v11I *baptize them with water now. This shows that you have turned away from your* sins. But there is someone more powerful than me. He comes later. I'm not even good enough to wear his shoes! He will baptize you in the *Holy Spirit and fire.v12It's like a farmer at harvest time. Your harvesting fork is in hand to shake off the grain. He'll take the straw off your *saw. He will harvest your wheat and store it. But he will burn the rest, which is not good. No one will be able to put out this fire.
Verse 1 'In those days'. Matthew does not tell us exactly when John began his work. But Luke tells us the names of all the rulers of that time (Luke 3:1-2). It was about 30 years after the birth of Jesus.
The wild country of Judea was the desert area on the west side of the Dead Sea. John could have stayed in the desert with the Essenes. They were a group of *Jews who lived a very strict life together. They lived in Qumran, which was close to the Dead Sea. No one had given the people a message from God for over four hundred years. Then John suddenly arrived in the desert.
Verse 2 John said that people should turn from their *sins. They must prepare for God to rule as He does in heaven. The *Jews had great respect for God and his name. They would not use God's name. Instead, they used the word 'heaven'. God rules in heaven. But now God wants to rule in a person's life. It is not a political idea. People must obey Jesus the King. Then they can become citizens where God rules.
Verse 3 John fulfilled the words of Isaiah (Isaiah 40:3). All four *Gospels agree on this. Back then, people had to mend a road before a king traveled on it. Juan was like someone who gave orders to people. He described himself as "a voice crying in the wilderness" (John 1:23). He was telling the people to prepare for the *Messiah.
Verse 4 John had made coarse clothing out of camel's hair. They were like the clothes that God's servant Elijah wore long ago (2 Kings 1:8). The* Jews believed that Elijah would return. He would then announce that the *Messiah would come (Malachi 4:5). John's cooking was simple. He ate some kind of flying insect. These insects can cause problems for farmers. They are called 'lobsters'. *Jewish law allows people to eat these insects (Leviticus 11:22-23).
Verses 5-6 Sometimes people who were not *Jews wanted to become* Jews. So they asked for *baptism. In general, they didn't *baptize people who were already *Jewish. But John *baptized *Jews in water. They had confessed their* sins and wanted to obey God. Water cleanses a person's body. Likewise, *baptism shows that a person is "cleansed" from his *sins. Then they would be ready to meet the *Messiah.
Verse 7 The *Pharisees were *Jews who wanted to obey God's law. There were many good Pharisees. One was named Gamaliel (Acts 5:33-39). But there were also many proud Pharisees. They believed that they were the only people who obeyed God's law. But they destroyed what the law really meant. Over the years, hundreds of additional rules have been introduced by official writers (called "scribes"). The *Pharisees said that people should also obey all these additional rules.
The *Saducees came from families of *priests. They were rich. They wanted to retain their political power. Therefore, they were opposed to any religious idea that could cause them to lose their authority.
John called the *Pharisees and *Sadducees "a family of poisonous serpents." Later, Jesus used the same words about the *Pharisees (Matthew 12:34; 23:33). They were dangerous. They were like poisonous snakes. Juan said they were like snakes trying to escape a forest fire. It meant that God was angry with them. They were trying to escape him.
Verses 8-9 A person's actions show whether he has sincerely changed his way of life. The *Jews believed that Abraham's deeds were good enough for him and all his children and their families forever. Thus, the *Jews thought they were safe after they died. But John said that wasn't enough. A person can have Abraham as their ancestor, but each person must change their own actions.
Verse 10 A farmer cuts down trees that do not bear good fruit and throws them into the fire. God is like a farmer. He will punish those people who don't live the right way.
Verse 11 John knew he was preparing the way for someone. This person was much bigger than he was, Juan said. Only one slave wore other people's shoes. John said that he was not good enough to do even this humble task for the *Messiah. John *baptized people with water. This showed that people wanted to get rid of *sin. The *Messiah would give the *Holy Spirit. The *Jews looked forward to the time when the Spirit would come. “It shall come to pass, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all,” had said the long-ago servant of God (Joel 2:28). The Spirit teaches people to live the true way. The Spirit also empowers people to live the right way. Fire is very powerful. Fire can also destroy. Therefore, it is pictorial language for God's judgment.
Verse 12 At harvest time, people used a tool like a big fork to throw the dry plants in the air. The grain fell to the ground and the wind took the rest. The farmer stored the grain. So he burned the part of the plant he couldn't use. In this picture, John showed that the *Messiah would separate the people. People who believed in him would be like grain. They would be his people. But some people did not accept the *Messiah. They were like the part of the plant that the farmer burned. God would judge them.
The *Baptism of Jesus 3:13-17
v13Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan River. He wanted Juan to *baptize him.v14But John tried to refuse. “I need you to baptize me,” John said to Jesus. 'Then why do you come to me?'v15Jesus answered him. “So be it now,” said Jesus. It is right that we do this. Carry out God's good plan. So John agreed to *baptize Jesus.v16Jesus came out of the water as soon as John *baptized him. At that moment, heaven opened and Jesus saw the Spirit of God. The Spirit descended like a gentle bird on Jesus.v17Then a voice from heaven spoke: 'This is my son whom I love. I'm very happy with him,' said the voice.
Verse 13 Jesus was perfect. He had no sins to confess. Jesus did not need the *baptism of John. But he was proving that John's work was correct. Jesus came to rescue people from their *sins. He wanted to show people that he was a real person too. * His baptism also showed that he would begin his own public work.
Verses 14-15 Only the *gospel of Matthew records that John protested. Jesus was greater than John. So John thought that Jesus should *baptize him.
Verse 16 This meek bird was the sign of peace. It's called 'dove'. Jesus would bring peace between people and God. He would also bring peace between different people. The gentle bird was also a sign of a new beginning. I would like to remind Matthew's readers about Genesis 8:8-11. The same kind of Gentile bird returned to Noah after the flood. This bird was a sign that Jesus would do his job in a kind way. It was also a sign of the *Holy Spirit. The Spirit gave Jesus the power to do the work of God.
Verse 17 The voice from heaven connects the words of Psalm 2:7 and Isaiah 42:1. Psalm 2 describes the "son" of God. He is the king, and all rulers on earth must serve him. Bible teachers call Isaiah 42 one of the 'Songs of the Servant.' God was very pleased with this special Servant and he would have the Spirit of God. This Servant would then be able to do God's work. The last of the 'Servant Songs' was in Isaiah 53. It spoke of a Servant who would suffer and die for others.
The Devil Tests Jesus 4:1-11
v1The *Holy Spirit led Jesus into the desert. The devil tested Jesus while he was there.v2For 40 days and 40 nights, Jesus had no food. He was very hungry.v3Then the devil came to him. 'If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread,' he said to Jesus.v4Then Jesus answered him.
‘The*Scriptures say: “Man shall not live by bread alone.
He needs every word that God speaks to him," said Jesus.
v5Then the devil took Jesus to Jerusalem, which is the holy city. He led Jesus to the highest point of the *Temple.v6'If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down,' the devil told him.
‘The*Scriptures say: “The *Lord will command his *messengers to watch over you.
They will take it in their hands.
Then your foot will not tread on stone,'' the devil reminded him.
v7Then Jesus answered him again.
‘The *Scriptures also say: “Do not put the *Lord your God to the test.”’
v8Then the devil took Jesus to a very high mountain. He showed Jesus everywhere in the world that kings rule. He showed Jesus that everything was very splendid.v9'All this I will give you if you will bow down and worship me,' the devil said to him.v10Then Jesus answered him again. 'Go away, *Satan!' said.
‘The*Scriptures say: “*Worship the *Lord, who is your God.
He is the only person you should serve." ',
Jesus told him.
v11Then the devil left him. *The messengers of God came and took care of Jesus.
Verse 1 Jesus was the servant of God, the *Messiah. He had to decide how he should do his job. The desert was a lonely place where Jesus could pray for his work. The devil wanted Jesus to use his power in the wrong way. So the devil tested Jesus in three different ways.
Verses 2-4 Forty (40) days and nights is a long time to be hungry. Because Jesus was so hungry, he could have used his power for his own benefit. The hot, flat rocks out there in the desert looked like bread. He could have made those stones fit for food. Jesus could have given people bread to follow him. But that would have been a mistake. Food satisfies a hungry body. But it does not help people to have a relationship with God. Jesus used words from the Bible (Deuteronomy 8:3) to answer the devil instead of his own words.
Verses 5-7 The highest point of the *Temple in Jerusalem was about 137 meters above the Kidron Valley. Jesus could jump into the Cidrón valley or into the *Temple courtyard. It would surprise people. Then they would follow. The devil used the promise of Psalm 91:11-12 which spoke of God's protection. But Jesus knew that a sign like that was of no use. He could attract people in the first place. But people soon forget the things that once surprised them.
Jesus would not take foolish risks. I knew this was wrong. He wouldn't try to show that God cared. This would show that he did not trust God. Instead, Jesus used words from Deuteronomy 6:16.
Verses 8-10 The devil took Jesus to a mountain, from where he had a wide view. I could think of every country in the world. He could compare them to the place where God rules. He could use force to become a political ruler. He could deliver his people from the *Roman rulers. But Jesus came to deliver people from their *sins. He refused to use the devil's methods. Jesus would show the people of the world that he is their king. He would do it, since he loved them. He also suffered for them. He answered the devil with words from Deuteronomy 6:13. He emphasized that people should give honor to God alone.
Verse 11 Jesus defeated the devil. So God gave Jesus everything he needed.
Jesus moves to Capernaum 4:12-17
v12Herod put John in prison. When Jesus learned of this, he returned to the Galilee district.v13Jesus did not stay in Nazareth. He went to live in a city called Capernaum. This city was on the shore of Lake Galilee, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali.v14Then God's promise was fulfilled. God's servant, Isaiah, had told the people this promise long ago.
v15‘Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali, lands along the road to the sea and west of the Jordan River!
Galilee, land where people who are not *Jews!
v16People who live in darkness have seen a great light.
That light began to shine on them.
It is like the sun when it rises at dawn,” said Isaías.
v17From that moment, Jesus began to tell his message to the people. ‘Repent and forsake your *sins. Heaven is near now. Heaven is where God rules.
Verse 12 Matthew does not explain here why Herod put John in prison. Matthew tells the whole story in Matthew 14:3-12. He did it because Herodias wanted him. She had been the wife of Herod's brother Philip. So Herod Antipas married her. John had said that Herod should not have married her. The details of what happened are in Matthew 14:3-12. Juan had finished his work. He had prepared the way for the *Messiah. So Jesus could start his own work now.
Galilee was an area very rich in crops. There lived a large number of people. Josephus lived at that time and wrote history books. He said there were 204 villages. Each city had thousands of inhabitants. It was an area with many foreigners. There were also foreign lands that surrounded Galilee. So people called it the 'Galilee of the non-Jews'. (People who are not *Jews are called 'Gentiles'.) The main roads for trade ran through Galilee. The people of Galilee were more willing than the people of Judea to believe new ideas. The people of Judea did not know many foreigners. Therefore, the people of Judea were less willing to change their minds. Therefore, Galilee was an ideal area in which Jesus chose to work.
Verse 13 Matthew does not give details of Jesus' visit to his own town of Nazareth. Luke tells us about this (Luke 4:14-30). Jesus went after that, he had already worked for a while in Capernaum.
Verses 14-16 In the time of Isaiah, soldiers from Assyria attacked the region called Galilee. They made the people of Galilee suffer. Galilee was the territory of the two *tribes, Zebulun and Naphtali. Isaiah's message promised good things for people in the future. It was like the sun rising after a dark night (Isaiah 9:1-2). Jesus came to Galilee. This proved that Isaiah's message was true. In the dark, people cannot see the right way forward. Sleeping is like being in the dark. Jesus came to Galilee as a light. It was like the sun rising at dawn. I would show people the right way to live. Later, Jesus described himself as the "light of the world" (John 9:5).
Verse 17 Jesus brought the same message that John brought to the people. Jesus spoke with authority. He commanded the people to turn from their* sins. God's rule was about to begin. Jesus the king would invite the people to choose God's government.
Jesus chooses the first *disciples 4:18-22
v18One day, Jesus was walking by the lake of Galilee. He saw two brothers there. There was Simon, who was also called Peter. And there was his brother named Andrew. They were casting a net in the water because they were working. His job was to fish.v19Jesus spoke to them. Come and follow me. I'll show you how to fish people,” he said.v20They immediately left their nets and followed him.v21Jesus continued from there. Then he saw two other brothers. They were the sons of Zebedee. Their names were Santiago and Juan. They were in the boat with their father, Zebedee. They were preparing their nets to use them. So Jesus called them.v22They immediately left the boat and their father and followed Jesus.
Verses 18 and 21 Simon and Andrew, James and John had never met Jesus before. John tells us in his *gospel that they were *disciples of John the *Baptist. (See John 1:35-42.) They had already talked with Jesus and probably heard him several times. Now Jesus was telling them to leave their jobs and their families. They wouldn't fish anymore. He wanted the common people to follow him and learn from him. He wanted them to help him with his work.
Verse 19 People who fish have special qualities. Their work prepared them to lead men and women to God. They needed patience. When people fish, it is sometimes difficult to get quick results. This is how people also talk to other people about God. The person who fishes is like the person who tells people about God. You both need to continue your efforts even if there are difficulties. Men who fish every day need courage. They often sail their ships in dangerous seas. Some people will want to teach the truth, but they may find others who oppose them. And men and women don't always want to hear the truth. Teachers will tell people that they need to change. And that can make people angry.
Verses 20 and 22 The words 'immediately' and 'immediately' tell us that there should be no delay. We must follow Jesus when he calls us. The four men had to leave their businesses and their families. Jesus became the most important person in their lives.
Jesus heals the sick 4:23-25
v23Jesus went through the entire district of Galilee. He taught the *Jews in the houses where they met. And he explained the Good News to them. He exhorted them to choose God's government. He also healed people suffering from all kinds of illnesses and diseases.v24The news about him spread throughout the country called Syria. So the people would bring to him everyone who was sick or in pain. They suffered from all kinds of diseases and illnesses. Some suffered from evil spirits that possessed them. Other people suffered from '*epilepsy' and other people were unable to move. Jesus healed them all.v25Then great crowds of people followed him. They came from all over the Galilee district and the Ten Cities district. They also came from the city of Jerusalem and the rest of the Judean district. And they came from the land across the river Jordan.
Verses 23-25 The news that Jesus could heal people spread quickly. And people with all kinds of illnesses came from far and wide to seek his help, even from foreign countries. Many other people came just to hear it. They wanted to see him heal people. And they wanted to hear what he was wasting. *Epilepsy is a terrible disease. It suddenly makes people shake a lot and lose control of themselves.
Jesus teaches 5:1–7:29
This is the first of five main sections that inform what Jesus taught in the *gospel of Matthew. Chapters 5–7 are where Jesus taught his* disciples. He explained to them how they should live. He probably gave his instructions on more than one occasion. Luke also writes about this, but it appears in different parts of his *Gospel. In these chapters, Matthew compiled the things that Jesus probably taught at different times. Jesus expected his *disciples to have the same character and qualities that he had. Matthew includes the things Jesus taught about the *Law and about*worship. Jesus wanted his *disciples to know these things. They must know what these things really mean. Jesus wanted people to know the truth about God. They need to trust God and serve him. Then they will know that God cares for them.
v1Jesus saw the crowds. So he went up to a mountain and sat down there. His *disciples found him there.v2So Jesus began to teach them.
Verse 1 A master 'sat down' when he was giving official instruction to his *disciples.
Verse 2 He 'began to teach'. The *Greek phrase here means that the words will be serious and important. They also mean that Jesus taught them more than once. Although Jesus was speaking first to his *disciples, there were other people there. And they heard his message at the same time. Matthew tells us in Matthew 7:28 that "the people marveled at his teaching".
What makes people really happy 5:3-12
The Latin word for "really happy" is "beatus". So people often call these words the 'Beatitudes'. Latin is the language spoken in Rome. People talk about God 'blessing' us. God's blessing makes us very happy. People tend to think of life as "happy" when there are no difficulties. But "happy" here means joy that no difficult circumstances can take away. The Beatitudes do not speak of future happiness. They describe the present joy that *disciples of Jesus can know. "No one can take away your joy" (John 16:22).
v3'How happy are those people who are poor in spirit.
They know that they must depend on God alone.
They belong to the *kingdom of heaven.
v4How happy are those people who are very sad.
God will comfort them.
v5How happy are humble people!
The land will be theirs
because they will receive what God has promised.
v6How happy are those people who want to make things right.
Your greatest desire is to do the right thing.
God will satisfy them.
v7How happy are those people who feel sorry for other people.
God will pity them too.
v8How happy are those people whose thoughts are pure.
They will see God.
v9How happy are those who work for peace.
God will call them his children.
v10Some people suffer because they do the right thing.
How happy these people are.
They belong to the *kingdom of heaven.
v11How can you be happy when people insult you because of me. People can hurt you. They can tell all kinds of wicked lies about you because you follow me.v12But you can be happy and you can be very happy. I tell you that your reward in heaven will be very great. In the same way, people hurt the servants of God who lived a long time ago.'
Verse 3 The 'poor in spirit' refers to people who know they need God. They need you to forgive them. They need him to help them. They depend on God for everything they need. Then they will be able to live the right way. They will be able to live as citizens where God rules.
Verse 4 People can be very sad because their relatives or friends have died. People can be very sad because they are very sorry for their own *sins. They can be very sad for all the suffering people in the world. They will all find comfort because God loves them. He will forgive them. God will help them to change unfair situations.
Verse 5 Some people are humble. They know they need God to forgive them. They need God to teach them. Then they can obey you. They trust God instead of trusting themselves. Jesus reminds people of God's promise (Psalm 37:11).
Verse 6 A starving man is desperate for food. A man may be dying because he has no water. He's desperate for a drink. A *disciple must be desperate to be good. It's like being hungry or thirsty. His greatest desire is to obey God completely. He is eager to do what God wants. And he wants to see other people obeying God too. Then you will find joy because God satisfies you.
Verse 7 A person who pities other people will forgive other people. He or she will forgive even when other people don't deserve it. We hope that God forgives us. Therefore, we must forgive other people. God really loves everyone in the world. He felt sorry for the people, so he sent Jesus into the world (John 3:16). Someone who sympathizes with people will also understand someone else's problems. They will be as kind as the foreigner who helped a *Jew in the story of Jesus (Luke 10:29-37).
Verse 8 'Pure' means clean and sincere. People may think that a person's actions are good. But he could have acted so that other people would praise him. Or maybe he wanted to be proud of himself. God told Samuel, “The* Lord looks deeply into a person” (1 Samuel 16:7). There are people whose thoughts are "pure". And they will be able to 'see God' because they will understand more and more about God all the time. When they die, they will be able to 'see God' very clearly. This is impossible for us to imagine now.
Verse 9 God is the 'God of peace' (Philippians 4:9). People who 'work for peace' are like God. He wants people not to have problems with him and with each other. People who are at peace with God will not have problems with themselves. Then they can work and fight to establish right relationships between other people and between nations.
Verse 10 The first Christians often suffered because people sometimes commanded them to *worship a false god. Sometimes it happened at work or during social times and they refused to *worship false gods. So the authorities punished them. Family life is important. But sometimes the family also suffers when a Christian is loyal to Christ.
Verse 11 Jesus further explained the last beatitude. He spoke directly to the *disciples: 'How can they be happy...' he said. He warned them how difficult it can be to remain loyal to him. After Jesus returned to heaven, people told many evil lies about Christians.
a) People changed the meaning of the words about the “body and blood of Christ” (Matthew 26:26-28; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26). They accused Christians of terrible things. They said Christians *sacrificed children and ate them.
b) Christians greeted each other with the kiss of peace (Romans 16:16). Then people said that Christians led a life that was not moral.
People have also said many other bad things about Christians.
Verse 12 In the past, people hated God's special servants. When Christians suffered, they were like those special servants of old. The people of the world hated Christ (John 15:18-20). So the *disciples are also like their Master. They can rejoice because they will be with him forever.
Salt and Light 5:13-16
v13'You are like the salt among all the people who live on earth. But suppose the salt loses its flavor. It can never be real salt again. It is of no use anymore. People will throw away the tasteless salt and walk on it.
v14You are like the light in the world. Everyone can see a city that people built on a hill.v15And no one lights a lamp and puts it under a bowl. Instead, they place a light bulb high up to light everyone in the house.v16In the same way, let your light shine so that people can see you. They must see the good things you do. Then you will praise your Father who is in heaven.
Verse 13 Salt adds flavor to food so that it tastes better. Like salt, Christians are supposed to make the world a happier place. Salt is a good thing to add to food. That way the food doesn't spoil. Christians should make it easy for other people to be good. They must live as God wants them to live. If you live pure, you can be an example to others. In Jesus' time, salt was not as pure as it is today. It may lose its pure taste. Sometimes Christians may not show that they are happy. Or other people can make them misbehave. They can become less pure and honest. Then they are like salt that has lost its savor. That salt is no longer good for anything.
Verses 14-16 Jesus said that he was the light of the world (John 8:12). Therefore, * his disciples must also be light in the world. It would be foolish to hide a lamp under a bowl. A lamp illuminates people in a dark house. Alight also shows you the right way to go. Therefore, Christians must let people see their correct actions. Christians must obey God because they believe in him. People need to see this. Then the light of Christians can show people the right way to live. They can alert others that they may make bad decisions.
A city on a hill is easy to see. The *disciples of Jesus are like such a city. They cannot hide the way they live. A Christian's good deeds should be so attractive that other people praise God.
Jesus' attitude towards *Law 5:17-20
v17‘Do not think that I came to abolish the Law. I didn't come to destroy everything that God's servants wrote a long time ago. But I came to prove it completely true.v18I'm telling you the truth. Heaven and earth will disappear before the smallest letter of the *Law disappears. Even the smallest detail will not disappear from the *Law. Everything will happen exactly as the *Law says.v19A person must obey all the commandments of the *Law. Some people think that some commands are less important. Therefore, they do not obey such unimportant orders. They could also teach other people not to obey such commands. But these people will be the least important where God rules. You must practice all these commandments of the *Law and teach them. Then you will be important in the *kingdom of heaven.v20Therefore I say to you that you must do better than the *Pharisees. And you must do better than the men who teach the *Law. If you are not a better person, you will certainly not enter the *kingdom of heaven.'
Verses 17-18 Jesus said that he came to teach the *Law more clearly. He showed that God's ancient messages were completely true. He would show with six examples in verses 21-48 what he meant. The smallest letter written by God's servants was the Hebrew *jodh (some translations call it ita 'jot'). It's like a very small brand. The 'small detail' is a small line that a pen makes (some translations call it a 'title'). Shows the difference between two letters. Jesus says that the *Law is very important. Even the smallest detail is important and will not change.
Verse 19 Everything in the *Law is important. It is easy to keep some parts of the *Law and neglect other parts.
Verse 20 The *Pharisees were proud of themselves because they obeyed the *Law. The men who taught the *Law had many additional rules. They used these rules to explain the *Law. The *Pharisees were also willing to obey these additional rules. They looked good. But Jesus knew that the *Pharisees were not sincere. Instead, they worried about little things. They blamed Jesus when he healed people on God's holy day. They blamed people if they wore something on God's holy day. Or even if they wrote something that day. Jesus obeyed the true meaning of the *Law. He showed what it really meant to respect God and others. He showed how we can truly live God's way.
The authority of Jesus 5:21-48
Each of the examples Jesus gave in these verses begins with the same words. 'You heard what God said to the people a long time ago...' Then Jesus reminds them of one of the commandments and continues: 'But here's what I tell you...'
When Jesus had finished teaching the people, Matthew tells us: 'His words amazed the crowds because he taught with authority. He did not speak like the men who taught the 'Law' (Matthew 7:28).
Long ago, God's special servants used to tell people what God told them. 'Thus saith the *Lord...', they said. In Jesus' time, the men who taught the *Law did not give an opinion of their own. They would only refer to what other people had said in the past. Jesus did not argue about the meaning of the *Law. He spoke on his own authority and told what was the true meaning. Not surprisingly, his words surprised people.
v21Have you heard what God told people long ago: “Don't kill. Anyone who kills will be brought before a judge. Then the judge will decide what punishment to apply to that person.”v22But that's what I tell you. Don't be mad at your brother. Whoever is angry with his brother will be brought before the judge. Angry people may say that your brother is worthless. They must appear before the *Jewish leaders. And angry people can say 'Fool!' for a brother Then they will be in danger of hellfire.
v23Suppose you are in the *Temple and you are offering your offering to God. Then you remember that your brother is mad at you. You did something to hurt him.v24Then leave your gift there. First, go back to being friends with your brother. Then return to the *Temple and offer your gift to God.
v25Suppose someone wants to accuse you in court. Make friends with him quickly while he's still in court. If you don't solve the problem, he will hand it over to the judge. Then the judge will hand you over to the policeman and he will put you in prison.v26I'm telling you the truth. You won't get out of prison until you pay every penny!
Verses 21-22 Murder is wrong (Exodus 20:13). However, a person can feel angry and become more and more angry. So he's guilty too. People sometimes used the word 'Raca' which meant a person was stupid. It had little value. The word 'fool' has the same meaning as in Psalm 14:1, 'The fool said there is no God.' Man denied that God exists. This person wants to continue living a bad life. So the word 'fool' means someone with a bad moral character. Someone could accuse this person because he was not behaving well. But that is putting yourself in God's place as judge. 'Gehenna' was another name for the Valley of Hinnom. It was outside the city of Jerusalem, and the *Jews threw their rubbish there. They burned bonfires there all the time. Thus it became the name of the place of God's chastisement. People often translate it as "hell". God will judge people by the way they think. He will also judge them by the way they speak. And he will judge them by the way they behave. God will judge anger. He says that evil, insults are like murder. "He who hates his brother kills him" (1 John 3:15).
Verses 23-24 A person should only offer something to God when he is everyone's friend. A sincere relationship with God is only possible if people forgive each other.
Verses 25-26 The advice to solve problems quickly is very practical. Otherwise, the situation gets worse. A fight between two people can turn into a fight between two families. The dispute can last for many years and cause big problems. Also, Jesus probably meant that we don't know the future. We don't know when life will end. Therefore, people must resolve disputes quickly. We all have to stand before God, for he is the judge.
v27You've heard what God told people long ago: "You must not have sex with another man's wife."v28But that's what I tell you. Don't even have wrong thoughts when looking at a woman. A man can look at a woman and want her. So he is already guilty in his thoughts.v29Suppose your right eye makes you *sin like this. Pull it out and throw it away. Your eye is just one part of your body. It's better to lose that one-eyed. Don't make them throw your whole body into hell.v30And suppose your right hand makes you *sin with a woman. Cut and throw away. It's better if you miss this part of your body. Don't let your whole body go to hell.
Verses 27-28 Everyone knows someone who is already married. If they have sex with that person, both are guilty. This is called *adultery. The act is wrong and they have not obeyed the seventh *commandment (Exodus 20:14). Jesus said thinking is also wrong. The tenth commandment says that a man must not love his neighbor's wife (Exodus 20:17). Thought can lead to a wrong act, and more wrong acts can follow. King Herod Antipas began to desire Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip. So Herod and Herodias were guilty because they lived together. John the Baptist told them they were wrong. And that led to the murder of John (Matthew 14:3-12).
Verses 29-30 Jesus did not mean that people should take their eyes or hands. I was using an image. People want to do bad things. Therefore, they must eliminate anything that causes these *sins. Many things in the world cause people to do something wrong. Some books and pictures can stir up wrong thoughts and desires. People can choose to keep looking at these things. But they would not be obeying God's commandments. It can be painful to cut those things out of your life. But that would be better than destroying your entire life now and after death.
v31You've heard what the teachers say. “Suppose a man divorces his wife. You must write divorce papers and give them to her.v32But that's what I tell you. A man can divorce his wife only if she is not loyal to him. Otherwise, it will make her guilty if she remarries. And the man who marries her will also be guilty.
Verse 31 Divorce was common among *Greeks and *Romans in Jesus' time. It was easy for a man to divorce his wife. People often thought that sex outside of marriage was normal. God had said, “I hate divorce” (Malachi 2:16). *Jewish law allowed divorce if the husband found something “indecent” or wrong with his wife (Deuteronomy 24:1).
Verse 32 There was a difference of opinion about the word 'indecent' used here. Shammai was an important *Jewish teacher. He taught what it meant to have sex outside of marriage. That was the reason for the divorce. Hillel, another leading *Jewish teacher, made divorce much easier for a man. A husband can find many reasons to divorce his wife. He may have put too much salt in the dinner. Maybe he said too much. Jesus told the *Pharisees that the *law allowed divorce (Matthew 19:8-9). But God intended marriage to last a lifetime (Genesis 2:24).
v33‘You heard what God said to the people a long time ago. “You must obey the promises you made to the *Lord. You must do what you promised God you would do. Especially when you use his name when you promise something” (Numbers 30:2).v34But that's what I tell you. Don't make promises like that. Heaven is God's special seat. So don't use the name "heaven" when you promise something.v35The earth is where God rests his feet. So don't use the name 'earth' either. And don't use the name 'Jerusalem', because that is the city of the Great King.v36Don't use the name in your own head when you promise something. You cannot make even a hair turn black or white.v37Just say, "Yes" and say, "Yes." Say “No” and mean: “No”. Anything beyond that comes from the devil.
Verse 33 A serious promise before God is often called an "oath". Someone can demand that a person tell the truth. Or the person may want to do something special. He will then call on God to act as a witness to his promise. However, God will punish anyone who fails to keep that promise. People must keep the promises they make in front of him.
Verses 34-35 The *Jewish teachers said that there were differences between the promises. A person can make a promise before God or he can call a different witness. If they did not appeal to God, it was not so serious a promise. A person can pledge 'to heaven' or 'to earth' or 'to Jerusalem'. But Jesus said that God hears all these promises. He's in heaven. The land belongs to him and Jerusalem is his city.
Verse 36 A person's hair will always continue to grow. It will change to white as it grows. But you can't change just because you want to. Aman's life belongs to God.
Verse 37. A man's good character must show that he is telling the truth. You don't need to promise something in a special way. You must say what you mean honestly. Sometimes people have to make serious promises in court. This is necessary because there are bad things in human nature. Sometimes people think it's hard to tell the truth.
Don't hurt people who hurt you 5:38-42
v38‘You heard what God said to the people a long time ago. “A person should lose an eye for an eye to someone they hurt. You should lose a tooth because of someone's tooth that hurts."v39But I tell you this. Don't fight with a person who did something bad to you. Suppose someone hits you on the right cheek. Turn the other cheek at him and let him hit you too.v40Someone might want to sue you in court because they want your shirt. Let him have your coat too.v41Someone can force you to carry your load for a kilometer. Then go two miles with him.v42Give the person who asks you for something. Someone else might want you to borrow something. Then lend it to him.
Verses 38-39 People generally want to hurt people who hurt them. Before they made this law (Deuteronomy 19-21), hurting a person often led to family feuds. These struggles can go on for years. The *Law wanted a limit to this. The punishment must be equal to the injury. However, the *Law came to mean something different. Perhaps a guilty person has hurt someone. Then you will have to pay them money. A judge decided how much money the culprit should pay. Jesus said that his *disciples shouldn't want to hurt people that way. Someone can insult them. People could hit them on the cheek. But they must not fight back or fight back. Jesus' enemies often insulted him, but he did not respond.
Verse 40 The shirt was the man's underpants. The coat was big. One person wore it over his shirt and also used it as a blanket. Therefore, no one should keep a man's cloak after sunset (Exodus 22:26-27). Jesus said that a Christian should not fight for his legal rights. Christians must think responsibly. That should be more important to them than their rights. Paul blamed the Corinthian Christians for taking legal action against each other (1 Corinthians 6:1-8).
Verse 41 The *Romans controlled the country of the *Jews. And a *Roman soldier could make a *Jew serve him. He could have the *Jew guide him or carry his load a mile. The *Romans had Simon of Cyrene carry the *cross of Jesus. Someone may demand something that is not fair. But Christians must act cheerfully. A Christian should not think of his right to do as he pleases. You need to think of ways to help other people. It must serve beyond what anyone expects.
Verse 42 Christians should not encourage others to become lazy or greedy. But they must still love people. There are many people who need things. Therefore, Christians must help them. Christians must not be selfish with their possessions. They must be generous to other people.
Christian love 5:43-48
v43‘Have you heard what God told people long ago: “Love your neighbor. Hate your enemy.v44But that's what I tell you. Love your enemies. Pray for those who hurt you.v45Then you will be like your Father who is in heaven. He makes the sun shine on the bad and the good alike. He sends rain on people who do the right thing. And he also sends rain to people who do bad things.v46You can love people who love you. But God will not reward you for that. Even men who collect taxes do this.v47Suppose you only greet your own people. So you're not doing more than anyone else. Even people who don't believe in God do the same.v48Then you must be perfect, because your Father who is in heaven is perfect.'
Verse 43 The *Old Testament Law* said that people should love their neighbor (Leviticus 19:18). There was no command to hate your enemies. But the *Jews believed that they should hate the enemies of God. It would mean that they could hate their own personal enemies. For most *Jews, 'neighbor' just meant another *Jew.
Verse 44 People love in different ways. There are several different Greek words to show this. Parents love their children in a particular way. This is because they are part of a natural family. Friends love each other in a different way. But the word here is another word. This word describes how a Christian should act. You must want to be nice to other people. You might not like them. You might not want to love them. But still you must decide to love them. It can be difficult to do this. Jesus also said that Christians should pray for their enemies. God wants to help everyone and wants to forgive everyone. Christians recognize that their enemies need God. And Christians know that God loves them too.
Verse 45 God's gifts are for everyone. Both good and bad people receive God's goodness. To be a true child of God means that a person will act like God the Father.
Verses 46-47 If Christians only love their friends, they are not acting like God. They would be no better than the men who collected taxes for the *Romans. (People hated those men.) They would be no better than other people who don't believe in God.
Verse 48 These words are like Leviticus 19:2: 'You must be *holy because I am *holy. I am the *Lord your God and am *holy'. We should want to be like God. We need to please him in all areas of our lives. To be “perfect” means to have the same character that God has. If we want to become like God our Father, we must forgive people. We must also forgive our enemies. As Christians, we are to love everyone.
The proper way to give gifts 6:1-4
v1Be careful not to show how good you are in front of other people. Don't do your good deeds for other people to see. If you do that, you won't get any rewards. Your Father in heaven gives these rewards.
v2You give things to the poor. But don't let everyone know. Don't be like those people who just pretend to be *saints. They announce their good deeds in houses where people gather and on the streets. They say good things will do. They just want other people to honor them. What I say is true. They received their full reward.v3You must donate to people who need help. But don't let anyone know.v4Then your gift will be a secret. But your Father sees what you do in secret. And he will reward you.
Verse 1 The *disciples of Jesus must be careful how they act. They may want other people to praise them. But they must try to please God alone. Jesus then gives three examples of what he means:
1. The right way to give, verses 2-4
2. The correct way to pray, verses 5-15
3. The right way to act when you are not eating, verses 16-18.
Verse 2 The *Jews taught that giving to the poor was a special duty. It was a duty people did to God. Jesus showed that his *disciples should continue like this. But they must give in secret, and they must not be proud of it. He used an example of the wrong way of giving. Some *Jews made their gift very visible. It was like making a big noise to announce it. They wanted people to look up to them. They wanted other people to praise them. But that would be the only reward they would receive. Jesus used a word that came from business. If someone bought something, he got a receipt. Other people may praise you when you do something good. This is like a "receipt" for the good deed. There will be no reward from God.
Verse 3 When we give things to people or to God, it should be a secret to other people. Some translations say, "One hand must not know what the other is doing." Here's a way to use an image to say it. We shouldn't even want to praise ourselves. God knows how we think. And he knows how we act. Then he will reward us accordingly. And on judgment day, God will praise us (1 Corinthians 4:5).
The right way to pray 6:5-15
v5“When you pray, don't be like proud and selfish people. They love to get up and pray aloud in houses where people gather and on street corners. They want other people to see them. What I tell you is the truth. They have already received their full reward.v6But when you pray, go to your room alone. Close the door. And pray to your Father who is in heaven, even if you don't see him. Your Father sees what you do privately. He will reward you.v7When you pray, don't be like people who don't believe in God. They keep saying a bunch of things that don't make sense. They think they must talk a lot. Then their gods will hear them.v8Don't be like them. Your Father knows what you need. He knows this before you even ask.
v9This is how you should pray:
“Our Father in heaven, we pray that people will respect your *holy name.
v10We want your *kingdom to come. The things you want to happen in heaven. We want the things you want here on earth.v11Give us the food we need every day.
v12Forgive us for the bad things we do. Other people do bad things to us. But we know that we must also forgive these bad things.
v13Don't test us with things that are too difficult. And save us from the devil.
v14Forgive people when they do bad things to you. If you forgive them, your Father in heaven will also forgive them.v15But if you don't forgive them, your Father won't forgive you either.
Verses 5-6 *The Jews generally rose when they prayed. They prayed three times a day. A *Jew can choose to be in the house where people gather. Or you can choose to be outside when praying. Then people would notice. They were selfish and proud people, sometimes called "hypocrites". Jesus said that such people were not really praying to God. The *Pharisee in the story of Luke 18:9-14, prayed 'for himself'. Each of us must pray to God in a private place. God can see what we do in secret. He will reward us. Jesus did not mean that no one should participate in public meetings with other people. But he wanted people to be sincere every time they prayed. Christians should not pray that other people will look up to them.
Verses 7-8 The people who did not believe in God also prayed. They wanted their gods to hear them. Often they would repeat the same word or phrase over and over again. They were like Baal's special servants who shouted at Baal. “Baal, hear us,” they cried for half a day (1 Kings 18:26). (Baal was a false god). These people also said as many names of god as possible. They expected the god to respond to one of these names. God knows what we need. We don't need to convince him to answer us. Christians can repeat the prayers. But they shouldn't repeat the words without really thinking about them. They really need to mean those words.
Verse 9 Matthew introduces the 'Our Father' here. It is like an example of the right way to pray. Jesus said this prayer to them also in the *Gospel of Luke. He was responding to a request from the *disciples. They wanted to learn to pray (Luke 11:1). This is a phrase in itself and is a model for other phrases. The prayer is to be used by the *disciples. God and how he rules are the most important parts of prayer. So Jesus mentions them in the first three parts of the prayer. The next three parts are about people's needs. They are for the present, the past and the future.
'Our Father in Heaven'. The *Greek word 'Abba' is a special word for 'father'. A child would wear it on his father. It reminds us that God loves his children. 'In heaven' shows that we respect God. He is * holy and his name is * holy. A parent doesn't always know everything about their child. You may not always know what is best to do for your child. It may not be able to help you. You may not have the resources. But God has all wisdom and power. You can combine perfect love with perfect discipline. 'Our' reminds us that we are just a part of God's family. We should think of other people as much as we think of ourselves. 'We pray that people respect his *sacred name'. It means more than just saying the word 'God' the right way. We have to think about who he is. In *Hebrew, a 'name' meant the whole character of a person. 'The name of the *Lord is a *mighty tower.' The *Lord's people can be safe with him (Proverbs 18:10). The writer knew that God is love. He is also a mighty God we can trust. *Disciples are to help others understand God's character. People can think strange things about God. *Disciples must be careful what they say.
Verse 10 We want more and more people to accept Jesus as their king. God's rule on earth expands as people obey him. There are people who live in heaven. And they do what God wants. So we pray that more people on earth will also want to obey God. We want God to rule completely.
Verse 11 People depend on God who created them. He gives them food for their bodies. Long ago, God gave the *Israelites their food every day in the wilderness (Exodus chapter 16). That's why we ask God to give us food for each day. The *Israelites had to go out and gather their food. God expects us to work. So we can get our food. We need to pray and work. Then God will provide what we need. The writer in Proverbs 30:8-9 asks only for his "daily bread". "Give us" he reminds us not to be selfish. Some people might be hungry because other people are greedy. Jesus also called himself “the bread of life” (John 6:33-35). Bread is the food that strengthens a person. Jesus can strengthen our character to do good things. Jesus also said that we need the 'word' of God (Matthew 4:4). Therefore, we too should pray that we learn the truth of the Bible. Then God will give us strength for our minds and for our spirits.
Verse 12 Everyone needs God to forgive them. We fail to love God. We stop loving other people. Jesus died. And that made it possible for God to forgive us. But we also need to forgive other people. Otherwise, God cannot forgive us. Verses 14–15 repeat this truth.
Verse 13 It is never necessary for anyone to do something wrong. God does not act that way (James 1:13). But it allows testing situations. We must ask God to help us. In this way we can avoid situations that would be a very difficult test for us. We need God to protect us. We must not let the devil win. The work of the *Holy Spirit is to guide us. Then we will live the right way that God wants.
The right way to act when you're not eating 6:16-18
v16“When you don't eat, don't look miserable like proud and selfish people. They make their faces look very pale. They want to show people that they are not eating. What I'm going to tell you is true. They have already received their full reward.v17But you can choose not to eat. So, style your hair as usual and wash your face.v18Then other people won't know you're not eating. Only your Father, whom you cannot see, will know. He sees what is happening in secret. And he will reward you.
Verse 16 When we do not eat by choice, we are 'fasting'. At the time of Jesus, there was only one time a year that the *Jews had to stop eating. It was the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:31). Some *Jews chose to 'fast' at other times. It was a sign that a *Jew did not want to do bad things. He wanted to get away from bad things. At times, the entire nation decided to take notice. The people recognized that they had not obeyed God (1 Samuel 7:6). Many* Jews chose to 'fast' twice a week, on Mondays and Thursdays. Some wanted other people to see how good they were. Hence they were seen disheveled, miserable and pale. Jesus said this form of 'fasting' was wrong. These people got their reward when other people noticed them.
Verse 17 It was clear to Jesus that people would choose not to eat at times. It can be a valuable way to prepare. Then you can wait for God to show you his plan. Jesus chose not to eat when he was in the wilderness (Matthew 4:2). The Christians in Antioch “fasted” and prayed. So they sent Barnabas and Saul along the way and God blessed them* (Acts 13:2-3).
Valuable things in heaven 6:19-24
v19'Do not store things valuable for yourselves in the earth. Bugs and *rust can destroy them. Thieves can break in and steal these things.v20But keep valuable things for yourselves in heaven. Bugs and rust don't destroy things there. Thieves cannot break in and steal things there.v21Your heart will always be where your valuables are.
v22The eye is like a lamp for the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light.v23But if your eyesight is bad, your whole body will be filled with darkness. If there is only darkness within you, how dark will it be for you!
v24No one can serve two masters at the same time. You will hate one of them and love the other. Or he will be loyal to one and hated by the other. You cannot serve God and serve money at the same time.
Verse 19 A rich man can lose his wealth on earth. Jesus describes three ways this can happen.
1. Beautiful clothes were valuable in the East. But small insects can destroy the beauty and value of clothes. The insects are called 'moths'.
2. * Rust destroys metal things.
3. Thieves can break into a house. Then they can steal a person's money.
verses 20-21 'valuable things' are completely safe in heaven. Nothing can attack them there. They are still there after a person's life on earth ends. A relationship with God is more valuable than any wealth on earth. God's rewards await us in heaven. The rich young man (Matthew 19:16-22) was sad. But he wasn't willing to let God come first in his life. So he lost the joy he could have had. His thoughts were of "valuable things" that couldn't last forever. But he could have "valuable things in heaven."
Verses 22-23 The way we see things makes the difference. Change the way we speak. Change the way we act. Someone with a "good" eye and light inside is generous. A "bad" eye means that a person cannot see clearly. Someone is dark inside if they are greedy or selfish. It will be like a person who is in the dark. You cannot clearly see other people as the ones you are supposed to love. John writes: 'One can say that he is in the light. But if he hates his brother, he is still in darkness” (1 John 2:11).
Verse 24 It was impossible for a slave to serve more than one master at the time Jesus lived. A slave had no free time, as it was his owner's property. The owner could do whatever he wanted with his slave. 'Mammon' is the Aramaic word for money. Aramaic was the language spoken by Jesus' family. God wants us to serve him. He doesn't want us to serve money. It's impossible to do both. God expects us to be completely loyal to him. If money is more important to us, then "things" become more important than people. The desire to serve God can disappear. Paul writes, "The love of money is the beginning of all evil" (1 Timothy 6:10).
Don't Worry 6:25-34
v25'I tell you, don't worry about your life. Don't worry about what you're going to eat or drink. Don't worry about your body and what you're going to wear. Life is worth more than food. There are more important things for the body than clothes.v26Look at the birds in the sky. They neither plant nor reap. They don't store crops. But your Father in heaven feeds the birds. And you're worth so much more than they are.v27No one can increase his life even by an hour by worrying about it.
v28You shouldn't worry about clothes either. Watch how the wildflowers grow. They don't work or make clothes.v29But I tell you that not even Solomon, with all his splendid wealth, had clothes like theirs.v30God clothes the wild grass. Because he can do it, he will dress you up even better. The grass is just here for today. Tomorrow people will throw you in the fire. You believe so little in God!
v31So don't worry and ask yourself, “Shall we get something to eat? Shall we drink something? Will we have something to wear?v32People who don't believe in God worry about all these things. But your Father is in heaven. And he knows you need those things.v33Let God rule your life. Do what he wants you to do. Then you will get all those things too.v34Don't worry about tomorrow. It's time to worry about him when tomorrow comes. Each day has enough of its own problems.
Verse 25 Jesus had spoken about the danger of riches and possessions. Here he is talking to *disciples who have few possessions. They can be quite poor. There is more to life than the basic needs of food and clothing. God gave us life. Then he will give us the things we need to live.
Verse 26 Birds don't care. They don't store food for the future. They don't work to grow their food. And they don't work to make their clothes. But God provides for them. And people are more valuable than birds.
Verse 27 Worry is useless. No one can increase his life span by worrying. Worry is likely to make your life shorter rather than longer. This verse could also mean that no one can get taller by worrying.
Verses 28-30 The wild flowers are more beautiful than the rich clothes King Solomon wore. These flowers last a short time. Then they can become fuel for the fire. Someone can use them to heat an oven. A flower may soon die, but God still gives you great beauty. God does this for the flowers, so he will take care of people even more.
Verse 32 Someone who does not believe in God worries about things. They don't know what God is like. They may believe in a jealous god who can act sometimes kindly and sometimes hatefully. A Christian knows that the *Lord God himself is different. He is a Father who always acts with love. It provides everything your kids need.
Verse 33 If God rules our life, worry will disappear. We can trust God for everything.
Verse 34 One day at a time is enough to think. Every day brings problems and difficulties. Worrying about the future is foolish in two ways:
1. It will make dealing with today's problems more difficult.
2. The things we worry about may never happen.
Don't judge other people 7:1-6
v1‘Don’t be judges of other people. If you do, God will be your judge.v2Just as you act as a judge over others, God will act as a judge over you. You measure with rules when you are the judge of other people. God will measure you by those same rules.v3You look at the small amount of dust in your brother's eye. But you don't pay attention to the big piece of wood in your own eye.v4You say to your brother, 'Let me dust your eye.' You shouldn't say that when you have a big piece of wood in your own eye.v5You have two different patterns! First, remove the piece of wood from your own eye. Then you will be able to see well to dust your brother's eye.
v6Don't give *sacred things to *dogs. Don't throw your valuables to pigs. If you do, the pigs will trample them. Then those pigs can turn around and tear you apart.
Verses 1-2 Jesus does not forbid us to have an opinion about other people. But we must not judge and blame them. Only God is the perfect judge. He knows the reasons why people do things. It is very easy to blame other people. We don't know a person's circumstances or thoughts the way God does.
Verses 3-5 The word 'brother' here does not mean a next of kin. It means another person who believes in Jesus. He is part of the same “family” as the people of God. A man with a heavy piece of wood in his eye cannot see anything. Your offer to wipe some dust out of someone else's eye is stupid. This humorous image would make people laugh. That's how they would remember it. It's wrong to talk about other people's faults if we refuse to acknowledge our own. Our own flaws can be much worse than the flaws we notice in other people.
Verse 6 Pigs trample on anything people throw at them. They cannot tell the difference between what is valuable and what is not. *Wild dogs bite those who feed them. They don't care if food is part of a special gift from God. Jesus used the words 'pigs' and '*dogs' here to refer to certain people. They do not recognize the value of things. They don't recognize the value of what we offer them. The 'holy things' and 'valuable things' probably refer to Christ's message. Jesus told his *disciples not to go on teaching people who would not listen (Matthew 10:13-16). This image can also mean something else. Perhaps we should be careful in teaching God's truth. There are people who are not prepared to appreciate it.
v7Keep asking and God will answer you. Keep looking and you will find the answer. Keep knocking and the door will open.v8Everyone who asks God will receive something from him. He who seeks will find the answer. And the door will open when someone knocks on it.
v9Suppose your child asks you for bread. None of you would give him a stone.v10Or suppose he asks you for a fish. None of you would give him a snake.v11They might not be good people. But you know how to give good gifts to your children. Your Father who is in heaven is good. And he gives good gifts to all who ask for them.
Verses 7-8 Jesus teaches that Christians should continue to pray. They must believe that God will answer their prayers. We don't need to persuade God to answer us. He is our Father. He wants us to ask him for things. We depend on God if we keep praying. And our relationship with God is strengthened.
Verses 9-10 Bread and fish were the usual food in Jesus' time. Sometimes human parents can misbehave. But they wouldn't give their children something that was useless or dangerous.
Verse 11 God is much more willing to give than human parents. He always wants to give good gifts to his children. You know what we ask of you. He knows if it would be a "good" gift. Then he will respond in the way that suits us best.
Best behavior rule 7:12
v12“Always do to others what you want them to do to you. This is what the *Law and all God's special servants teach.'
Verse 12 Jesus gave many examples of this rule. We can also express it negatively: "You shouldn't do to other people what you wouldn't want them to do to you." This is not really a *religious rule. The law of the land would punish someone who hurt someone else. A man can never hurt another person in any way. But he may not be a good, helpful citizen. We would like other people to do what is best for us. Jesus showed what the Christian attitude should be. Christians are to act with generous love toward others. The *Law and what God's special servants wrote were the two main parts of the Jewish *Bible. (These special servants were called 'prophets.') In these two books, God gave people rules. They must always have the right attitude towards other people (Deuteronomy 15:1-9; Isaiah 1:17). Jesus' rule of behavior here brings together all the *Old Testament rules in one short statement.
The *Old Testament often speaks of choosing between two paths. Moses said that the *Israelites had to choose between life and death (Deuteronomy 30:19). Jeremiah told the people that the *Lord had shown them two paths to follow: “the way of life and the way of death” (Jeremiah 21:8). Psalm 1 shows that there is a difference between people. There is the person who obeys God. And there is the person who is bad. Matthew 7:13-27 shows that people have a choice:
There are two ways they can go.
There are two fruits they can choose from.
And there are two types of houses you can build.
The two ways 7:13-14
v13'You must enter through the narrow gate. There is also a wide gate to a path that is wide. But it leads to ruin. But many people follow this path.v14There is a small gate to a narrow path. This narrow path leads to life, but it is difficult. And only a few people find it.
Verse 13 Many people like to choose their own way of life instead of following Jesus. But that easy path doesn't lead to real life.
Verse 14 Things can be difficult if we decide to follow Jesus. There are many people who oppose your *disciples. It will not be easy to obey Jesus. Matthew recorded part of what Jesus taught the people (Matthew chapters 5-7). But the few people who choose this narrow path become * his disciples. And they will obtain *eternal life.
The two fruits 7:15-23
v15‘Beware of fake people. They say they are special servants of God. They come to you and look like sheep. But in fact, they are like wild animals that attack.v16You will know these people by what they do. *Grapes do not come from spiky bushes. Nor do figs come from sharp weeds. Likewise, good things don't come from bad people.v17Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit. But a bad tree bears bad fruit.v18A healthy tree cannot produce bad fruit. And a bad tree cannot bear healthy fruit.v19Men cut down any tree that does not bear good fruit. They throw it in the fire.v20You can recognize each tree by its fruit. Likewise, you can recognize these fake people by what they do.v21Not everyone who says to me, “*Lord, *Lord”, will enter the *kingdom of God. My Father is in heaven. And only people who obey him will enter there.v22Many will speak to me on that day. “*Lord, *Lord,” they will say, “you know that we speak messages from God in your name. You know that in your name we cast out *evil spirits. You know we have done many wonderful things in your name!”v23So I will answer clearly. "I never knew you. Get away from me. You only do bad things!'' I'll tell them.'
Verses 15-20 In the *Old Testament, God's special servants were faithful to him. Also, there were those people who were fake and not loyal to him. Jeremiah said that the true ones told people to turn from their *sins. The false pretended to speak well of God. They said they had a message from God. But then they encouraged people to do bad things. The people continued to do bad things, and the false teachers did not obey God's laws (Jeremiah 23:16-22). People recognize a tree by the fruit it produces. Likewise, good servants of God live a good life. The fake ones show that they are fake. They prove it by their bad life.
Verses 21-23 Simply saying “*Lord, *Lord” is not enough. Unless the speaker obeys God, the words mean nothing. God's false servants have done wonderful things in the name of Jesus. Even that was possible. But God knew what they really were. An early Christian rule book was called the Didache. He told how to tell the difference between good and bad people. He showed who God's special servants really were. A person who asked for money for himself was not faithful to God. I would be lazy and not like to work. He expected other Christians to take care of him for a few more days. If a person is teaching the truth, he will show it. He will make things right. Jesus demonstrated that he had the authority to judge people. And he will deny that he has ever met fake people. These are people who act without a sincere desire to please God. Jesus used words from Psalm 6:8: “Depart from me, all you evildoers.” Dismissing someone like that was a very serious punishment.
The two houses 7:24-27
v24‘Some people will listen to my words and obey them. They are like a wise man who built his house on rock.v25The rain fell and the rivers overflowed. The winds blew hard and hit against that house. But the house didn't fall because it was on the rock.v26Other people will hear my words but not obey them. They are like a fool who built his house on sand.v27The rain fell and the rivers overflowed. The winds blew hard and hit against that house. Then it landed with a loud bang.
It's easy to build a house on sand by a river. But the wise man makes a point of building his house on a solid place. When the rain comes, the river becomes a flood. That torrent of water and strong winds would destroy a house if someone built it on sand. A foolish man does not obey the words of Jesus. Then you will not continue to believe in Jesus when trouble comes. All kinds of problems are like storms that attack us. A person needs to obey Jesus' words to remain strong in such troubles.
The end of Jesus' teaching on the mount 7:28-29
v28Jesus finished saying all these things, and his words amazed the crowd.v29He taught as one with real authority. He did not speak like the men who taught the *Law.
Every section of teaching in the *gospel of Matthew ends with words like these. Jesus spoke with true authority. Then the crowd said it was awesome or amazing. The men who taught the *Law usually referred to what other teachers had said. Yet Jesus declared, 'I tell you.'
*Miracles when Jesus healed people 8:1–9:38
Matthew showed Jesus' authority by what he taught in chapters 5-7. Now Matthew shows the authority of Jesus by his actions. There are nine incidents. We can divide these *miracles into three sets of three with some teaching in between.
The first group of three is:
1. Jesus heals the man who had a very serious skin disease 8:1-4
2. Jesus heals the *servant of the Roman official 8:5-13
3. Jesus heals the city called Capernaum 8:14-17.
The next group of three is:
1. The storm on the lake 8:23-27
2. Men with *evil spirits in Gadara 8:28-34
3. The man who could not walk 9:1-8.
The next group of three is:
1. Jesus created a girl and healed a woman 9:18-26
2. He made two blind men see 9:27-31
3. He healed a man who could not speak 9:32-34.
1. The man who had a very serious skin disease 8:1-4
v1When Jesus came down from the mountain, large crowds followed him.v2A man who had a very serious skin disease came to him then. He knelt before Jesus. '* Lord, if you want, you can clean me ', he said.
v3Then Jesus reached out and touched the man. "I want," said Jesus. 'Stay clean!' Immediately the disease left the man.v4Then Jesus spoke to him again. Make sure you don't tell anyone. But go and show yourself to the *priest. There you must offer a gift to God just as Moses commanded. It will show people that you are better off now. Then you are able to return to society.
Verse 1 The word leprosy appears in many Bibles and can mean various skin diseases. It also means leprosy, which is the disease we now know as 'leprosy'. Anyone with 'leprosy' had to stay away from other people. These people with leprosy had to warn people by shouting 'I'm not clean!' Thus, the sick person suffered both from the disease and from the fact that people avoided him.
Verse 2 The man believed that Jesus could heal him. But he wasn't sure if Jesus wanted to heal him. He was humble in the way he approached Jesus. He behaved as if he were worshiping Jesus. He was humble and asked for help.
Verse 3 The *Law said that a person with 'leprosy' should not come within 6 feet (2 meters) of another person. They weren't "clean" so they could make the other person "not clean" as well. But Jesus is very kind. So he touched the man who had this serious skin disease. Then he caused the disease to leave the man.
Verse 4 Jesus ordered the man not to spread this news. No one must know that Jesus healed him. The *Jews were already looking for someone to be their leader. They wanted to fight the *Romans, who ruled over them. The crowds wanted to make Jesus their king when they heard about these* miracles. Jesus had to warn them. Jesus also commanded the man to go to the *priest. The *priest was also acting as a medical officer at the time. He would examine the person who had been sick. Then that person had to offer certain gifts to God (Leviticus 14:1-32). The *priest needed to make sure the patient was clean. Then that person could return to society. Jesus wanted to show that he respected * the Law. That's why he told the man to do this.
2. The *servant of the Roman official 8:5-13
v5When Jesus entered the city called Capernaum, a *Roman official approached him. He asked Jesus to help him.v6'*Lord,' he said, 'my slave is lying in the house. He cannot move. And he is really suffering.
v7“I will go and heal him,” Jesus told the man.
v8'*Sir, it is an honor that you come to my house. I don't deserve this,' replied the policeman. 'But if you just say the word, I know my servant will recover.v9There are other officers who give me orders. And I give orders to my soldiers. I tell him to go away and he leaves. I tell him to come, and he does. I say to my servant, "Do this," and he does it.
v10The officer's words surprised Jesus. Then he spoke to the people who followed him. "I'm telling the truth," he said. 'I haven't found anyone in Israel who believed in me like this man!v11Many people will come from east and west. They will take their place at the special meal in heaven. They will sit with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.v12But God will drive many people out of their families. They must be outside in the dark. There they will cry and rub their teeth.v13Then Jesus said to the *Roman officer: “Go home! It will happen exactly as you thought it would. And his slave recovered in that very hour.
Verses 5-7 This *Roman official was a "centurion". That means he was in command of a hundred soldiers. He was not *Jewish. He was in the *Roman army or in the army of Herod Antipas. In Luke's account, the *Jewish leaders asked Jesus to help this official. Matthew records that the officer came to ask for help. It was unusual for anyone to care about their slave. Most people didn't care if their slaves suffered. They owned the slaves, so they thought of them as "things" rather than people. And slaves had no rights. Its master could easily get another slave if one died. But this officer cared for his slave. He didn't want to see the slave suffer.
Verse 8. This man was an important officer in the army, but he washed himself. He said he wasn't good enough to have Jesus in his house. You may also have thought that Jesus would not want to enter his house. *Jews didn't want to be with people who weren't *Jews. They did not like to enter the homes of foreigners. They thought this would make them not 'clean' for their religion.
Verse 9 It was customary for the officer to receive and give orders. Senior officers had the authority to give him orders. Furthermore, he knew that his slave and his soldiers would obey him. He could order things to be done because someone had authority over him. This showed that he believed in Jesus. He just wanted Jesus to use his power and give an order. This order would heal the slave, because Jesus had authority from God.
Verse 10 Jesus was surprised that this foreigner believed in him more than God's own people, the *Jews.
Verses 11-12 The *Jews believed many things about the future. They believed that when the *Messiah came, there would be a very special feast. They would enjoy a special meal with those who started their nation: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They never thought that any foreigners would be there. Jesus said many more people would come to share this special meal. The 'Wizards from the East' (also called 'Wizards') had already come to *worship Him (Matthew 2:1-12). Many other people who were not *Jews would later believe. The *disciples of Jesus would go 'to many parts of the world' to tell people their message (Matthew 28:18-20). Many *Jews, who should be in God's house, will lose their place at the special meal. Although they belong to the families of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, they will be in the dark. Confidence in being a member of “the nation God has chosen” is not enough. People can only enter where God rules when they believe in Jesus.
Verse 13 Jesus was far from the slave when he healed him. The *Roman official believed that Jesus could give such an order. So Jesus did so.
3. Jesus healed people in Capernaum 8:14-17
v14Then Jesus entered Peter's house. He saw Peter's wife's mother there. She was lying in bed because she was sick and very hot.v15Jesus touched her hand and the disease left her. So she got up and started to prepare food for Jesus.v16When evening came, the people brought many sick people to Jesus. *Evil spirits controlled some of these patients. But when Jesus spoke to them, the *evil spirits left them. He healed all the other people who were also sick.v17Long ago, God spoke through his special servant named Isaiah. Jesus now showed that Isaiah's words were true:
He took our weaknesses and carried our diseases.
Verses 14-15 Peter's house was in the city called Capernaum. Jesus could have used Peter's house as his own home. Jesus healed Peter's wife's mother immediately. Usually people feel weak after being so sick. But she immediately got up and served Jesus food.
Verse 16 We know that it was God's rest day. Mark and Luke write that they left the synagogue that day (Mark 1:29; Luke 4:38). The synagogue was a building where *Jews gathered to pray. No one could go out for a walk until the evening, when that special day ended. They couldn't travel very far. Also, they couldn't carry a sick person.
Verse 17 Matthew added the words of Isaiah's poem about a servant (Isaiah 53:4). Jesus made those words come true. All his life he sympathized with those who suffered. He healed those who were sick.
Other people wanted to go with Jesus 8:18-22
v18Jesus saw the crowd surrounding him. Then he ordered his *disciples to cross the lake to the other side.v19At that time, a man came to him who taught the *Law. 'Master, I will follow you wherever you go,' he said.
v20Jesus answered him. Foxes have dens and birds have nests. But the Son of Man has nowhere to lie down and rest.
v21And another man, who was one of his *disciples, spoke with Jesus. ‘*Sir, first let me wait until I bury my father,’ he said.
v22But Jesus told him so. 'Follow me. Let the dead bury their own dead.
Verses 19-20 Jesus attracted a man who taught the *Law. This man recognized that Jesus was teaching differently from him and other teachers. Jesus was honest. He never taught that it was easy to be * his disciple. He wanted the man to think about the kind of life he would have with Jesus. Jesus used Peter's house in Capernaum. There were also women who helped him and provided many things he needed (Luke 8:2-3). But it was true that he had no home of his own. Even animals and birds have their own place to live. But Jesus was not sure.
Jesus used the words 'Son of Man' to describe himself. It's like the name '*Messiah'. This idea comes from the book of Daniel (Daniel 7:13-14). One who was "like a son of man" came to God. He "was given power and honor and became king."
Verses 21-22 This man was already a *disciple, but he did not want to be fully loyal to Jesus. It was a son's duty to bury his father. But this man's father was probably still alive, so his funeral wouldn't be soon. The man wanted to follow Jesus, but he also wanted to delay. He wanted to wait until his father died. That could still be years later. Jesus knew the man just wanted to delay. Jesus' response was, "Follow me." He showed that a *disciple must make Jesus the most important thing, even more important than family relationships.
"Let the dead bury their own dead" could mean that someone would make sure to bury the man's father. Or it could refer to people who did not follow Jesus. They were the people who were *spiritually dead. People who did not follow Jesus were allowed to perform the funeral ceremonies.
In the second group of three *miracles, Matthew shows Jesus' power over nature, over *evil spirits, and over *sin.
1. The storm on the lake 8:23-27
v23So Jesus got into the boat and his disciples went with him.v24Suddenly, a terrible storm arose on the lake. It was so terrible that waves washed over the ship. But Jesus was sleeping.v25The *disciples went to him and woke him up. ‘Lord, save us! We're going to drown!' they said.
v26You almost don't believe me! There is no reason for you to be so afraid. Jesus answered. Then he got up in the boat. He ordered the wind and waves to stop. And he was completely calm.
v27Everyone was amazed. 'What kind of man is this?' they asked each other. Even the wind and waves obey him!
Verse 23 True *disciples went wherever Jesus went.
Verse 24 The lake is below sea level and the hills surround it. So storms can come without warning. Matthew calls this storm 'seismos', which means that the earth shook. So you're suggesting that there was unusual movement under the lake. It was like the sudden strong wind. The waves were so high that they passed directly over the boat. But Jesus was very tired and was sleeping. Mark's record (Mark 4:1, 35-36) shows that Jesus was teaching from the boat.
Verse 26 It is possible for a wind to subside very quickly. But the waves are usually choppy for some time. Jesus' command showed his authority over nature.
Verse 27 These were the men who followed him. They called him '*Lord'. They probably thought of the Psalms, where God makes water calm (Psalm 89:9; 107:29).
Christians are often reminded of this story when they encounter "storms" (problems) in their lives. They remember not to be afraid. Troubles can be a sudden illness or danger. Perhaps they are attracted to something that is not good. Or there could be other problems. When Jesus is with us, there can be calm in our lives.
2. Men with *evil spirits in Gadara 8:28-34
v28Jesus reached the other side of the lake, in the region where the Gadara lived. Two men found him there, but the evil spirits controlled them. These men came from the caves where people buried the dead. They were so wild that no one could travel there.v29‘You are the Son of God, so what do you want from us? Have you come to punish us before the time when God judges us?
v30Not far from them, a large group of pigs was eating.v31The *evil spirits incited Jesus. Send that bunch of pigs to us if you want to force us out!
v32Then Jesus answered them. "Go!" he said.
So they left the men and went to the pigs. The whole group of pigs went down the steep slope into the lake and drowned in the water.v33The people who were looking after the pigs ran to the village. They reported all this to everyone there. They included what happened to men with evil spirits.v34So everyone went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they begged him to leave their region.
Verse 28 Some Bibles say Gergesenes, or Gerasenes, which means 'people of Gergasa' or 'people of Gerasa'. The correct word is probably "gadarenes".
Mark gives many details about this event that Matthew omits. But Matthew writes about *evil spirits possessing two men. Mark mentions only one man. The caves where the dead were buried were in the rocks. (The caves were also called "tombs"). Men could find refuge there. People believed that *evil spirits lived among these 'tombs'. The men were so wild and strong that other people were afraid to approach them.
Verse 29 But Jesus was not afraid. It was the *evil spirits who were afraid of him. They called Jesus the 'Son of God'. They knew that God would judge them one day. They knew that God would punish them then. These evil spirits* feared that Jesus would immediately punish them.
Verses 30-32 The death of the pigs convinced men that the evil spirits were gone forever. People who tried to expel *evil spirits from other people in those days used all kinds of special words and ceremonies. Jesus gave only a brief command and the *evil spirits obeyed. People sometimes blame Jesus for killing the pigs, but a human being is much more valuable than an animal.
Verse 34. The people of Gadara wanted Jesus to go away. They were afraid of someone with such great power. Jesus never forced people to listen to him. So he left that region.
3. The man who could not walk 9:1-8
v1Then Jesus got into a boat. He crossed the lake again and arrived at his own city.v2Some men brought him a sick man. The man was unable to walk and was lying on a mat. Jesus saw that those men believed in him. Then he spoke to the man who could not walk. "Cheer up, son," he said. 'God has forgiven your *sins'.
v3Some men who taught the *Law became angry. 'This person must think he is God!' they told themselves.
v4Jesus knew what they were thinking. So he spoke to them. 'You shouldn't have such bad thoughts in your mind.v5Is it easier to say “God has forgiven your *sins”? Or is it easier to say “Get up and walk”?v6I want you to know that the Son of Man really does have authority on earth to forgive *sins.” So he said to the man who couldn't walk, “Get up. Take your stretcher and go home.v7The man got up and went home.v8When the crowd saw this, they were afraid. They had great respect for Jesus. So they praised God for giving such authority to men.
Mark and Luke also record this *miracle (Mark 2:1-12; Luke 5:17-26). They provide much more information, but Matthew has included the essential facts. He showed that the incident was very important.
Verse 1 We know that Jesus returned to Capernaum (Mark 2:1). Matthew also tells us that Jesus lived there (Matthew 4:13). This city was the main place where he taught. So it was his 'own people'.
Verses 3-4 Jesus told the man that he had forgiven his *sins. But the teachers of God's law thought that Jesus was insulting God. The teachers correctly believed that only God can forgive *sins. But Jesus was the Son of God. Therefore, he had authority to forgive *sins. He had already shown his authority over wind and waves (Matthew 8:27).
Verses 5-8 Jesus could easily say that God had forgiven the man. But that was hard to prove. The *Jews believed that man was sick as a result of his *sin. So Jesus showed his authority and healed the man. And this is how he proved that God had forgiven the man.
Jesus called himself the 'Son of Man' again. (See Matthew 8:20.) He had many different names.
Jesus calls Matthew 9:9-13
v9As Jesus continued on his journey, he saw a man named Matthew. Mateo was sitting in the office where he collected taxes. 'Follow me,' Jesus told him. Then Mateo got up and followed him.
v10Later, Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house. There were many other men who collected taxes. And there were also many people who did not obey the law. They all ate with Jesus and his *disciples.v11The *Pharisees saw this and spoke to the *disciples. 'Why does your teacher eat with people who collect taxes? And why does he eat with people who* sin?” they asked.v12Jesus heard this and answered them. “Healthy people don't need a doctor. Those who are sick need a doctor,” he said.v13“I want you to feel sorry for people. I don't just want you to give me gifts,” God said a long time ago. Go and learn what God meant. I didn't come to call people who are already good. I came to call bad people to follow me.
Verse 9 Mark and Luke give Matthew's other name, Levi (Mark 2:14; Luke 5:27). Only Matthew calls himself 'Matthew'. Mark and Luke have a list of the 12 *disciples. Matthew's name is on those lists. But only Mateo calls himself: "Matthew, the man who collected taxes". Mateo was probably collecting taxes on the goods that people imported. Or maybe they were exporting the goods to Herod Antipas' territory. Men who collected taxes could cheat other people. So they got rich. People hated them because they worked for foreign authorities (the *Romans). Matthew may have heard of Jesus before this. You may even have heard Jesus speak publicly to the people of Capernaum. Proud people who obeyed the law thought they were "good" people. And they refused to respect some people in their society. But Matthew knew that Jesus was everyone's friend. So when Jesus called Matthew, he quit his job immediately. And he followed Jesus.
Verses 10-11 Matthew invited his friends to meet Jesus. He invited them to eat with him. The Pharisees saw them all together. They wouldn't eat with people like that. They believed it was wrong. The *Pharisees said that people like Matthew's friends did not obey God's laws. But the *Pharisees were also referring to all the additional rules that the teachers had added over the years. The teachers had invented these extra rules. The *Pharisees did not enter Matthew's house to ask their question. But Jesus heard them and answered them publicly.
Verse 12 The sick need a doctor. Jesus meant that bad people need help.
Verse 13 Jesus reminded them of a verse from the book of Hosea (Hosea 6:6). God wants people to love one another and be kind to one another. God wants more than gifts from people. These 'gifts' were usually special animals that people brought to the *Temple. These gifts were called "sacrifices". The officers killed them and offered them to God. Sometimes people would bring these gifts because they were truly sorry for their *sins. Sometimes they just wanted to pay God to forgive them. True religion is not just about ceremonies. It's the right kind of life when people care about other people. Jesus said that he came into the world to rescue people who needed his help (Matthew 18:11). Some people thought they didn't need God. These people thought that God approved of them. The *Pharisees were like that and did not recognize their own *sins. They were proud and saw only faults in others. So Jesus couldn't help them.
A question about not eating 9:14-17
v14Then the *disciples of John came and said to Jesus: Sometimes we don't eat because we want to obey the rules. Sometimes the Pharisees don't eat. Why do your *disciples keep eating every day?'v15Then Jesus answered them. The groom's guests cannot be sad while he is still with them. The time will come when people will take their boyfriend away. Then they will be sad and stop eating.
v16People do not sew a piece of new cloth over old clothes. When the fabric is washed, the new piece will come out of the old fabric. It will make the hole much worse.v17People don't put new wine in old leather bottles. If they do, the leather bottles will burst. Then the wine will run out and the skins will be useless. No, people put new wine in new leather skins. Then you two will be safe.
Verse 14 Jesus had spoken about the proper way to stop eating (Matthew 6:6-18). When people stop eating for a special purpose, this is also called "fasting". Luke suggests that the *Pharisees also asked the question (Luke 5:32). They wanted another reason to blame Jesus.
Verses 15-17 When Jesus answered, he told three short parables:
1. Wedding guests are happy, so they eat a lot. Jesus was like a boyfriend. John the Baptist had described Jesus as the bridegroom (John 3:29). The *disciples were like the bridegroom's friends, and Jesus was still with them. Therefore, they must be happy as guests at a wedding. Jesus knew that the people would take him away to die soon. The *disciples were sad, so they stopped eating. It would show how sad they were.
2. A new, strong piece of cloth cannot be used to mend a hole in an old garment. Jesus came to offer something completely new. It was like new clothes to completely replace old clothes. Jesus came to offer a new relationship with God, not just a set of *religious practices.
3. People stored wine in leather bottles made from animal skins. The old wineskins, which once contained wine, have hardened. New wine, as it continues to mature, pushes away the tough old skin. Then the wineskin bursts and the wine spills out. Jesus offered a new way of life, like new wine. The way of life of the *Pharisees was like an old hard leather bottle. I couldn't contain what Jesus taught. The *Pharisees emphasized rules, but Jesus emphasized love.
The third group of *miracles shows that Jesus has authority over death:
1. He created a girl and healed a woman 9:18-26
2. He made two blind men see 9:27-31
3. He healed a man who could not speak 9:32-34.
1. Jesus created a girl and healed a woman 9:18-26
Matthew omits some details that are in the *Gospel of Mark. But the main points are clear. The story of the woman who was bleeding comes in the middle of the story of the employee's daughter.
v18While Jesus was saying this, an officer came. He knelt before Jesus. ‘My daughter just died. But come and lay your hand on her. Then she will live again.v19Jesus got up and went with him. * His disciples also went.
v20At that moment, a woman who had been bleeding for 12 years came after Jesus. He touched the edge of his coat.v21She said to herself, "If I touch his coat, I'll be fine again."v22Jesus turned and saw her. 'Be happy, daughter,' he told her, 'God healed you because you believed in him.' And from that moment on, the woman stopped bleeding.
v23When Jesus entered the official's house, he saw the musicians and a noisy crowd.v24'Leave. The girl is not dead. She's sleeping,” he said. But everyone laughed at him.v25After dismissing the crowd, Jesus entered the girl's room. He took the girl's hand and she got up.v26The news of what Jesus had done spread throughout that region.
Verse 18 Matthew just says 'an officer'. Marcos says his name was Jairo. He was a ruler or official in the place where the *Jews gathered. This place was where they worshiped God. It was called a "synagogue". Jairo was responsible for organizing the ceremonies there. So he was an important person in the city. *The religious leaders had already begun to oppose Jesus. So Jairus needed courage to ask Jesus for help. She loved her daughter so much that she approached Jesus in a humble way. Jesus began to go with Jairus to his house.
Verse 20 Because of her illness, the woman could not enter the house where the *Jews gathered. If she obeyed *Jewish rules, she should not be in the crowd. The rules stated that anything or anyone she touched would no longer be "clean".
Verse 22 Jesus encouraged the woman. He called her 'daughter' and didn't consider her 'dirty'. He wasn't mad at her for touching her clothes. He respected her. But he didn't want anyone to think badly of him. There was no magic in her clothes. She said that God had healed her. He healed her because she believed in him. So that she wouldn't feel guilty when she left. She knew that Jesus had healed her permanently.
Verse 23 It was customary to hire musicians for a funeral. They used to play the flute (a kind of musical flute). Even a poor family would hire two people to play musical instruments. They also hired a woman to cry out loud. Jairus was an important man. So many people would go to his house. Probably many professionals went to play and cry at their daughter's funeral. So there would be a lot of noise and a lot of confusion.
Verse 24 Jesus sometimes refers to death as "sleep". In the Gospel of John* (John 11:11-13) Lazarus had died. But Jesus went to 'wake him up'. When Christians die, *New Testament letters also refer to this as “sleep” (1 Corinthians 15:6, 10).
Verse 25 Matthew says that Jesus drove the crowd out of the house. Mark gives us more details. Jesus allowed Peter, James and John to accompany him to the girl's room. They were witnesses like their fathers.
Verse 26 Jesus told the parents not to say anything (Mark 5:43). But that kind of news spreads fast. Many people knew that the girl had died. And then she turned up alive again, so a lot of people would soon find out about it.
2. Two blind men can see 9:27-31
v27As Jesus walked away, two blind men followed him. They call you. Son of David, have mercy on us! they shouted.v28When Jesus entered the house, the blind men approached him. Then Jesus said to them: "Do you believe that I can heal you?" he asked them. 'Yes *Sir', they replied.v29Then Jesus touched his eyes. "It will happen to you because you believed in me," he said.v30That they might see, Jesus gave them a strict command. "Make sure no one finds out about this," he said.v31But they left and spread the news throughout the region.
Verse 27 'Son of David' was another name for *Messiah. Long ago, God's servant Isaiah spoke about when the *Messiah would come. He had said that the blind could see (Isaiah 35:5). We see here that Isaiah's message was true.
Verse 28 Jesus wanted to know if men had really believed in him. So they had to follow Jesus and stay away from other people.
Verse 30 Jesus did not want the news of this *miracle to spread. He was not a political leader as the people wanted the 'Son of David' to be. He also didn't want to be just a doctor. He came to tell people God's message. He wanted to forgive your *sins and make you citizens of God. People had to know what kind of *Messiah he was.
3. Jesus heals a man who cannot speak 9:32-34
v32When the men left, some people brought another man to Jesus. The man couldn't speak because he had an evil spirit in him.v33Jesus sent the evil spirit into the mute man, and then the man could speak. All the people were amazed. 'No one has ever seen anything like this in Israel!' they said.
v34But the Pharisees didn't like it. 'He sends evil spirits because the prince of evil spirits has given him power,' they said.
Verses 32-33 The crowd saw what Jesus did. They hadn't seen anything like this before. Jesus had delivered the mute from an evil spirit *so that the mute could speak again. People often refer to an *evil spirit as a "demon". This news could not remain a secret.
Verse 34 The Pharisees accused Jesus. They did not believe that his authority over evil spirits came from God. They said that his authority came from the main evil spirit. The *Pharisees said this again in Matthew 12:24-28. But then Jesus showed that this idea was very foolish.
There are only a few workers 9:35-38
v35Jesus passed through all the cities and villages. He taught in the buildings where the *Jews gathered. He told them the good news about the places where God rules. And he healed every sickness and disease.v36When he saw the crowd, he really felt sorry for them. They worried a lot and were very weak. They were like sheep with no one to care for them.v37Then Jesus spoke about this to his *disciples: 'The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.v38Ask the *Lord of the harvest to send workers to his harvest field,' he said.
Verse 35 People often refer to the buildings where *Jews gather as "synagogues". Matthew repeats the words he wrote in Matthew 4:23. From the end of chapter 4 to the end of chapter 9, Matthew shows how Jesus did this work.
Verse 36 In the *Old Testament, the people of Israel were often called “sheep”. Kings and *religious leaders had a duty to care for their “sheep” for God. Many times they failed. (See 1 Kings 22:17; Ezekiel 34:1-10.) In Jesus' day, people were weak and worried. They were like tired sheep that wanted to eat some grass. They wanted to know God. But the religious leaders could not guide them. All the laws they made were like a big weight. This weight pushed people down, so they became more worried. Jesus cared deeply for these 'sheep'. He wanted the *disciples to also care about people.
Verse 37 Jesus could not speak to everyone alone. He needed other people to help him. The *disciples were like farmers harvesting grain. They are to bring a harvest of people to God. Large crowds were ready to hear the good news. They were like a large field of ripe grain (John 4:35-38). But the people needed workers to tell them. Jesus told the *disciples to pray to God for more workers. Many people still pray to God for the workers. Sometimes God calls them to be workers too.
These verses show that Jesus needed more workers. These verses also present what Jesus taught in the next section. This begins in chapter 10, when Jesus sends his *disciples on his journey. Matthew describes the instructions Jesus gave them.
Jesus chooses 12 men and sends them out as his workers 10:1-4
v1Jesus called his 12 disciples to come to him. He then gave them authority to cast out evil *spirits from people. He gave them authority to heal all diseases and illnesses.
v2These are the names of the 12 men he sent. First are Simón Pedro and his brother Andrés. Then there are the sons of Zebedee, James and his brother John.v3Then there was Felipe and Bartolomé. Also, there were Thomas and Matthew. Mateo collected taxes. Two others were James, son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus.v4The last two were Simon, called the Anxious, and Judas Iscariot. This Judas Iscariot then handed Jesus over to his enemies.
Verse 1 Jesus had many *disciples. He chose 12 of them as his special workers 'to send' on his behalf. Another name for these *disciples he sent is "apostles". He sent them with his authority. It was better for these workers to go out in pairs. They shared the good news about where God rules. And they showed that God didn't want sickness or disease. Long ago, Jacob had 12 sons and started 12 *tribes. These 12 *tribes became the nation called Israel. Now, 12 of Jesus' *disciples were beginning a new work for God.
Verses 2-4 The four men whose business it was to fish are at the top of the list. Peter is always first on the list. He, with his brother Andrew, and James with his brother John, were *disciples of John the *First Baptist. Jesus wanted people to catch fish instead of fish (Mark 1:16-20). Bartholomew is probably the same person as Nathanael (John 1:44-45). Philip and Nathanael came from Bethsaida. Thomas the *twin (John 11:16) is a relative of Matthew, who collected taxes for the *Romans. Simon belonged to the group of *Jews who wanted to expel the *Roman rulers from their country. They were called 'the anxious men'. But Jesus managed to get Matthew and Simon together while they were serving him. James, son of Alphaeus, has the same name in all three lists. But Thaddeus is probably Judas, son of James, in Luke 6:16. And he is Judas, not Iscariot, in John 14:22. Judas Iscariot is always last on the list. Perhaps he was the only *disciple who did not come from the Galilee district. Iscariot probably means 'man from Keriot', and Keriot was in the Judean district. Jesus chose him to be an apostle (a special worker). But for some reason he stopped being loyal to Jesus. He was the man who handed Jesus over to his enemies.
We don't know much about most of these men that Jesus sent out as special workers. But the important thing is the work, not the workers. Paul had to explain this truth to the Christians in Corinth (1 Corinthians 3:5-7).
Jesus gives instructions to his 12 special workers 10:5-15
v5So Jesus sent these 12 men. He gave them these orders. ‘Don’t walk among people who are not *Jewish. Do not enter any city in* the land of the Samaritans.v6Go to the people of Israel instead. They are like lost sheep.v7Go and tell them this message. “Heaven is near now. And that's where God rules."v8Heal the sick. Bring dead people back to life. Heal people with skin diseases to make them clean again. Force *evil spirits out of people. You didn't have to pay for everything you got. Then give it to other people and don't make them pay.v9Don't take gold with you. Do not carry silver or copper in your belts.v10Do not take a suitcase for the trip. Do not bring extra clothes or extra shoes. Do not take a stick. The people must give the worker what he needs”.
v11Enter a city or town. Then find someone to provide it. Stay at that person's house until you leave that place.v12Enter his house. Say hello to the people who live there. “We pray that the people in this house are at peace,” you might say.v13If that family takes you in, you must let God answer your prayer for them. But maybe that family won't get it. Therefore, do not ask God for peace for them.v14Some people may not listen to your words. In that case, leave that house or city. And shake the dust off your feet when you leave.v15I'm telling you the truth. On judgment day it will be easier for the people of Sodom and Gomorrah than for the people of that city.
Verse 5 This command meant that the *disciples would only work in the Galilee district. This was a wise decision. They would be more successful because they worked in a small area. Probably the 12 workers were not yet ready to announce the good news of Jesus to the foreigners. Later, God sent Paul to people who were not *Jews. He had experience with them in the city of Tarsus, where he had lived. Jesus did not give this order as a standing order. Jesus gave his final command to his *disciples in Matthew 28:19-20. He then told them to go to all parts of the world.
Verses 6-7 Special workers were to preach the good news to the *Jews. The *Jews could enter into God's government. The king had already arrived. This king was Jesus and they could follow him. They would no longer be like straying sheep.
Verse 8 The *disciples had to do the same work that Jesus did (9:35). They had to heal people's bodies and minds. They had to take care of the whole person. A Jewish *teacher (called a 'rabbi') had to teach his *disciples, but could not charge them money. The *disciples did not have to pay Jesus when he taught them. So now, they had to go and teach other people. They had to teach what they learned from Jesus.
Verses 9-10 Jesus said they should not take money with them. They must not carry additional supplies. They had to trust God to provide for them. They could wait for someone to be ready to help them. People usually provided a teacher with food and shelter. They considered it an honor. Pablo also said that a worker deserves his salary. (See 1 Corinthians 9:14.)
Verses 11-13 The workers had to find someone to welcome them. They had to stay in the same house while they were in that place. They couldn't have found a more comfortable place. They couldn't look for someone to give them better food. They had to ask for God's peace in that house.
Verse 14 They were taking their message to the *Jews. The *Jews expected God to do good things for them. If no one received the good news about Jesus, the *disciples were not responsible for these people. They proved it when they shook the dust off their feet. This was a *Jewish custom. The *Jews did this when they returned from another country. Everything the *Jews played among the foreigners made the *Jews dirty. So they cleaned those things before entering your house.
Verse 15 The people knew that Sodom and Gomorrah were two very bad cities. The people there behaved very badly towards Lot's guests (Genesis 19:1-11). They refused to accept men with God's message. So God destroyed them. But the people of Sodom and Gomorrah had no chance of rejecting the message about Christ. The people of the cities and towns of Galilee now had this opportunity. Then his punishment would be more severe.
Jesus warns his workers that the people will oppose them 10:16-25
v16“I send you out like sheep among wild beasts. Therefore, you must be wise like snakes, but you must also be like gentle birds.v17Watch out! The men will hand it over to the local courts. They will flog you in their synagogues (buildings where *Jews gather).v18You will be brought before rulers and kings because of me. You will witness them. You will also tell foreigners everything about me.v19When you are arrested, do not be afraid. Don't worry about what to say to them. Don't worry about how to say it. At that time, you will be given the right words to say to them.v20You will not speak for yourself. Your Father's *Holy Spirit will help you.
v21Brothers will hand over their own brothers for people to kill. Parents will hand over their own children. Children will oppose their parents and even allow people to kill their parents.v22Everyone will hate you because you are my friend. But God will save you if you believe me until the end.v23When people attack you in one place, run away to another place. I'm telling you the truth. You will not finish your work in all the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
v24A student is not more important than his master and a servant is not more important than his master.v25It is enough for the student to be like his teacher. And it is enough for the servant to be like his lord. They call the head of the family Beelzebub, which is the name of the devil. So the rest of the family can expect the same bad names.
Verse 16 Fierce wild animals called 'wolves' attacked the sheep. Jesus was honest. He told his workers that the people would oppose them. The *disciples must be wise in announcing the good news to the people. They must be kind to people. And they should live good and honest.
Verse 17 Jesus' words were fulfilled in the future. The *Jewish authorities opposed the *disciples. They had to respond to these authorities about their message in local courts. They could receive 39 lashes in the buildings where the *Jews gathered. Paul himself said that the *Jews punished him in this way five times (2 Corinthians 11:24).
Verse 18 The state would oppose them. At that time, rulers were *Roman officials. *Jewish kings like Herod Agrippa tried to please the *Jewish and *Roman authorities. So they attacked and opposed the Christians. Herod Agrippa ordered his men to kill Zebedee's son, James. He also put Peter in prison (Acts 12:1-4).
Verses 19-20 Jesus said that the *disciples should not worry. People could arrest them because they were Christians. But the *Holy Spirit would give them the right words to say at those times. The men of the *Jewish* religious government were amazed at the way Peter and John spoke to them (Acts 4:13).
Verses 21-22 Even members of the *disciples' own household may oppose them. The writer Tacitus was not a Christian, but he wrote books about Christians. He thought they were "a bunch of people who were acting up. People hated them". He also said that Christians "hated all people".
Christians considered slaves to be real people. Slaves were called "brothers" if they were Christians. The *Roman authorities thought this was dangerous to their rule. The *Romans considered slaves to be just "things". They bought and sold them. Christians also bullied people who made money from their religion. In Ephesus there were people who made false gods out of silver. They lost their trade when Paul told the good news about Jesus to the people there. The people believed the message and God changed their lives (Acts 19:24-27).
Verse 23 *The disciples must be wise enough to escape danger. They must not die if it is not necessary. After Stephen's death, many Christians left Jerusalem. They went to safer places. And the result was that the good news about Jesus spread even further (Acts 8:1-4). Paul and Barnabas also left the places where they were in danger (Acts 14:5-7). It is clear that Jesus is referring to himself when he says 'Son of Man'. But the phrase: 'before the Son of Man comes' is not very clear. So people explained these words in many different ways:
Idea 1. The *disciples went before Jesus to other places. He would follow them later. This idea agrees with Luke 10:1. He says that Jesus sent out *disciples "into every city and place where he would later go".
Idea 2. Jesus was talking about after he died and when he would be alive again. Then he would come back to help the *disciples. They would spread the good news about him in all the cities of Israel.
Idea 3. Perhaps he was referring to the future time when he will return to this earth. His *disciples did not finish their work before* the Romans attacked Jerusalem in *70 AD In Matthew 24:15-30, Matthew records what Jesus said about this event. He connects it with what some of God's servants had said to the people long before. They told them about the time when Christ will return.
Verses 24-25 * The disciples would suffer the same as their master and teacher. The Pharisees accused Jesus. They said he worked with Beelzebub, the main evil spirit. It means the devil or Satan (9:34). Then people would also insult the *disciples. 'Beelzebub' means 'master of the flies'. *The Jews probably changed the name from 'Beelzebub', which means 'the owner of the house'. This was the name of a false god in the *Old Testament (2 Kings 1:1-6). Now, it was another name for the main *evil spirit.
Jesus encourages the *disciples 10:26-33
v26'Don't be afraid of anyone. There are secrets now, but then everyone will know them. People cannot understand everything now, but later everything will become clear.v27I tell you things in the dark, but you must say them in the light of day. When someone whispers something in your ear, shout it out loud. Then everyone will hear these words.v28Don't be afraid of people who can kill your body. They cannot kill the person you are inside. God can destroy both your body and the person inside you in hell. You just have to be afraid of it.v29People sell two little birds for just one cent. But your Father knows when each of those birds hits the ground.v30He even counts every hair on your head.v31So don't be afraid. You are worth more than many birds.
v32Someone can say in public that they know me. I will also tell my Father in heaven that I know this person.v33But someone else can say in public that they don't know me. Then I will tell my Father who is in heaven that I do not know that person.”
Jesus gave four reasons why true *disciples should not be afraid of anyone:
Reason 1. Verses 26-27. If the words and actions of the *disciples are correct, God will later prove them right. God will be the judge. You will recognize people who have told lies about Christians. No one will be able to hide their true character. God will praise Christians, that they may look forward to that time.
They must listen carefully to what Jesus teaches in private. So they must be bold when teaching others in public.
Reason 2. Verse 28. People can kill someone's body. But they cannot harm the person inside. The part of a person that lives forever we call the "soul". However, God can destroy both. God is very, very special, so people should respect him. They should honor it. Then they will not be afraid of other people.
Reason 3. Verses 29-31. God is the Father who cares about everything he has done. The little birds were called 'sparrows'. They were very cheap. The poor bought them to eat. Luke 12:6 says people could buy five birds for two cents. 'Fall to the ground' probably means 'die'. But it could also mean that a sparrow lands and jumps on the ground. God cares for these cheap common birds. So he certainly cares a lot more about people.
Reason 4. Verses 32-33. Some people are not ashamed of Jesus. They declare in public that they know him. And Jesus will say that he knows those people. But some people will be embarrassed in public, and Jesus warns these people. He will refuse to say that he knows them. There are several ways in which a Christian cannot declare his *faith. Sometimes a Christian can be silent when it comes to talking about Jesus. Sometimes he can speak against Jesus. Sometimes a Christian can behave in a wrong way. Thus, other people will have wrong ideas about the *Lord whom we claim to obey.
Jesus tells them that trouble will come to families 10:34-39
v34“Do not think that there will be peace on earth. I didn't come to bring peace. I came to bring trouble.
v35because I came,
Children will turn against parents.
Daughters will refuse to obey their mothers.
Daughters-in-law will quarrel with mother-in-law.
v36A person's enemies will be members of his own family.
v37Whoever loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy to be my *disciple. And whoever loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy to be my *disciple.v38Anyone who does not take up his *cross and follow me is not worthy to be my *disciple.v39If anyone tries to save his own life, he will lose it. If anyone loses his life for my sake, he will gain it again.
Verse 34 Jesus came to give people peace with God. And he wanted them to have peace with each other. Some people accepted him and he changed their lives. Other people opposed him and this caused problems. This problem divides some families. Family members do not always have the same attitude toward the message of Christ.
Verses 35-37 Jesus taught that husbands and wives should be loyal to each other (Matthew 5:31-32). He taught that children should take care of their parents (Matthew 15:3-6). But people must be loyal to Christ first. This can sometimes cause quarrels in a family. In verses 35-36, Jesus used words that Micah, the servant of God, wrote long ago (Micah 7:6). Jesus himself knew what it was like to have his own family against him. They thought he was crazy (Mark 3:21). Furthermore, his brothers tried to force him to make the wrong decision (John 7:1-5).
Verse 38 Everyone would have seen people carrying wooden crosses. They were going to die. When the *Roman authorities said someone must die, they often nailed him to a *wooden cross. The person had to carry the beam himself to the place where he was killed. Judas of Galilee attacked the *Romans in the year *6 AD. So Captain *Romanus killed 2,000 *Jews on *crosses in Galilee. This shows us what Jesus means here. 'Take up your cross' means that people must be prepared for difficult times. They may not die on a *real* cross, but they must give up their own desires and ideas. Rather, they are to do what Christ wants them to do.
Verse 39 A person can live selfishly. Then your life will have no real meaning or value. The way to a happy life is to serve God, whether it's difficult or not. Then we will serve other people because that is what God wants.
The reward of those who welcome Christ's workers 10,40-42
v40'Anyone who says 'Welcome!' to you is saying 'Welcome!' for me. At the same time, that person is saying 'Welcome!' to whom not mev41Someone might say 'Welcome!' to the servant of God because he is a servant of God. That person will receive the same reward that the servant of God receives. Or someone might say 'Welcome!' to a good man because he is a good man. That person will receive the same reward as the good man receives.v42Someone can give just a glass of cold water to one of these little people because they are my *disciples. Such a person will certainly receive his reward.
Verse 40 Jesus said that God had sent him into the world. Therefore, who says "Welcome!" a Jesus is saying "Welcome!" to God at the same time.
Verse 41 The servant of God speaks God's message. The good man shows what God's message is by his example. People who say 'Welcome!' one of God's servants will receive the same reward as the servant of God receives. Likewise, God will reward the good man and the person who says Welcome!
Verse 42 “Little ones” can mean little children. It can also mean people who believed in Jesus for a short time. Or it could mean humble people. Here it refers to the *disciples Jesus is sending out. A person will receive a reward from God if he gives even a little help to one of these *disciples. The best reward will come from God. He'll say, 'Very good. You are a good and loyal servant” (Matthew 25:21).
In the next section, Matthew 11:1–12:50, Matthew shows how some people told him "Welcome!" for Jesus. They were happy to see this. But other people refused to accept it. Especially religious leaders began to oppose him.
John the Baptist asked a question 11:1-6
v1Jesus finished giving instructions to his 12 *disciples. From there he left for other cities in the Galilee region. He taught the people and told them God's message.v2Juan was in prison at the time. But he heard what Jesus was doing. So he sent his disciples to talk to Jesus.v3'John said someone was coming. Are you the person John was talking about?' they asked. Or should we wait for someone to come?v4Jesus answered them. "Go back to John," he said. Tell him what you hear now. Tell him what you see here.v5They were blinded and now they can see again. People who couldn't walk properly can now walk with ease. People who have had terrible skin conditions are doing well again. The deaf came and now they can hear. Some dead people are alive again. And the poor are hearing the good news about me.v6The person who continues to trust me will be happy."
Verse 1 Jesus finished what he was teaching in chapter 10.
Verses 2-3 John was in prison. Matthew refers to this in Matthew 4:12 and explains more in Matthew 14:1-12. John had shown that Jesus was the *Messiah (John 1:29-33). But now, in prison, John wasn't so sure. 'The person John was talking about' means 'the *Messiah'. John had spoken of judgment and a *mighty Messiah (Matthew 3:10-12). But Jesus was being kind to people and helping them. Perhaps John thought that Jesus should have freed him from prison. Jesus did not announce that he was the * Messiah. John may have wondered why he didn't announce himself.
Verses 4-5 God's servant, Isaiah, had promised what the *Messiah would do (Isaiah 35:5-6; 61:1-3). Jesus showed by his actions and words that these promises were true. The *Messiah had arrived. Jesus wanted John's *disciples to tell John about this. They were witnesses. Then John would know he wasn't wrong about Jesus.
Verse 6 Jesus sent this message to John the Baptist, but it is true for all who trust in Jesus.
Jesus praises John the Baptist *Baptist 11:7-15
v7As John's disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John. What kind of man did you go out to see in the desert? Have you ever seen a man like tall grass that the wind blows to and fro? Not!v8What kind of man did you go out to see then? Have you seen a man wearing expensive clothes? Not! People who wear expensive clothes live in kings' palaces.v9So what did you go out to see? Have you seen any of God's servants? Yes! And I tell you he is more than that.v10*Scripture spoke of him long ago:
“I will send my messenger ahead of you,
He will prepare the way before you arrive,” says God.
v11I'm telling you the truth. John the Baptist is more important than anyone else who ever lived in the world. But the least important person where God rules in heaven is more important than Johnis.v12Since John the Baptist came until now, the place where God rules has been heavily attacked. Anxious people are paving the way for this.v13God's Law and all the books that God's servants wrote long ago spoke of God's message. They said what would happen until Juan arrived.v14They said Elijah would come. And if you believe, John himself is Elijah.v15Anyone who wants to understand has to listen!
Verse 7 John began to doubt that Jesus was the *Messiah. When the people heard John's question, they might have doubted too. Furthermore, Jesus' words in verse 6 may seem to blame John. So now, Jesus commended John and told the truth about him to the people. No one would have gone into the desert to see a very ordinary man. Tall grasses were very common in the Jordan River. The wind blew the grass in one direction and then blew it in a different direction. Likewise, weak people keep changing their minds. But John had strong opinions. He had the courage to speak the truth to God. He even told King Herod Antipas that he had done something wrong (Matthew 14:1-12).
Verse 8 John wore coarse clothes and ate simple food (Matthew 3:4). He didn't live in luxury in a king's palace. He hasn't had an easy life.
Verses 9-10 Jesus agreed that John was the servant of God. But he was even more important than all the other servants of God. He was the *special messenger of God. He prepared the way for the *Messiah. See Malachi 3:1.
Verse 11 John was the most important. He announced that a new era was beginning. But he didn't see what this new era meant for the world. He didn't see all the evidence of how much God loved the world. John did not see Jesus die (John 3:16). Therefore, the humblest Christian has a far greater advantage than John.
Verse 12 People have explained these words in many different ways:
1. Fierce men attacked the idea that God rules people. They started when John was in prison. They continued to attack him because they wanted to rule people's thoughts.
2. The words can refer to 'Anxious Men' (see Simon the Anxious in Matthew 10:4). The anxious were *Jews trying to establish God's only government in their land. They did this while fighting the *Romans. The people wanted to force Jesus to become their king (John 6:15).
3. People were eager to get the good things God offers. But they wanted to take them by force. They were like people trying to force their way into a city.
Verses 13-14 Jesus was saying that John was like another Elijah. He spoke the words of the *Old Testament about the return of Elijah (Malachi 4:5). The people believed that Elijah would announce that the *Messiah had arrived. Finally, the *Jews leave an empty chair at their *Passover dinner for Elijah. God's messenger* from heaven spoke to John's father before John was born. He promised Zechariah that John would be like God's servant Elijah. John would have the same kind of courage and power that Elijah had (Luke 1:17).
Verses 14-15 God may send his *messengers, but people may refuse to listen to them. So Jesus appealed to the people to listen.
People's attitudes toward John and Jesus 11:16-19
v16I don't know what to say about people these days. They are like children sitting in the market place. They call another group of children.v17“We played music for you, but you didn't dance. We sang a dirge, but you didn't cry," they say.v18John came. He didn't eat or drink as much as you did. So people say he has an evil spirit.v19The Son of Man came. He ate and drank just like you. And that's why people talk about him. "This man is always eating and drinking too much!" they say. “There are people who collect taxes and others who* sin. They are your friends! they say. But you can know what is really wise. Just look at the results. Then you will know.
Verses 16-17 Jesus said that the people around him were like children. One group of children complained that the other group did not play with them. They wouldn't play happy games and they wouldn't play sad games. None of them could agree.
Verses 18-19 John the *Baptist lived a strict life, so people said he was crazy. Jesus joined the social events. I spent time with people other people avoided. So people said that Jesus lived a wicked life. The people did not want to accept either John or Jesus. So these people behaved like selfish children. They made excuses and didn't listen to God's message. The results showed who was right. John led a strict life as he prepared for work. It changed the attitude of many people. Jesus spent time with the common people. He showed them that God loved them. Both John and Jesus chose the right path for them. Wise people should be able to understand this.
Jesus warned some towns in Galilee 11:20-24
v20Then Jesus began to warn the people of the cities where he had performed most of his *miracles. He was disappointed that they had not turned from their *sins.v21"How terrible it will be for you in Chorazin!" he said. ‘How terrible it will be for you at Bethsaida! Suppose I had done the same *miracles in Tire and Sidon that I had done in your cities. The people there would have turned from their *sins a long time ago. They would have worn rough clothes. They would have put ashes on their heads to show they were sorry.v22I tell you, on the day of judgment it will be easier for the people of Tire and Sidon than for you.v23And what about you from Capernaum! You think you're on your way to heaven. But no, you will go down to where the dead go. Suppose the people of Sodom had seen the same *miracles that I did in their cities. Sodom would still be here today.v24But I tell you: on judgment day it will be easier for the people of Sodom than for you.
Verses 21-22 The *gospels do not tell us all that Jesus did (John 21:25). Therefore, we have no record of what Jesus did in Chorazin. Tire and Sidon were two cities that were on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The people there were very rich because they had many merchant ships. But they were proud and cruel. Then the servants of God told them that God would judge them (Isaiah chapter 23; Ezekiel chapters 27, 28; Amos 1:9). These cities were in the Galilee district. They heard what Jesus taught. But they haven't changed their behavior. They had seen your *miracles, but they weren't interested. They had seen what Jesus did. So they got the upper hand over Tire and Sidon. And God will judge them more severely than he will judge the people of those two non-Jewish cities. Sometimes the *Jews deeply regretted having done something wrong. So they wore very rough clothes called 'sack'. And they put ashes on their heads. It showed that they were very sorry.
Verses 23-24 The people of Capernaum were very proud. They said that their city "reached the sky". Isaiah had used this phrase to describe the proud king of *Babylon (Isaiah 14:13). Jesus had labored in the Galilee district. He used Capernaum as the central city. So the people there saw him do a lot of *miracles. The people of Sodom were so wicked that God had destroyed their city long ago. But the people of Capernaum had fewer excuses than the people of Sodom. In Capernaum they had seen all that Jesus had done. Thus, they would receive a more severe judgment from God.
Jesus shows people the Father and offers them an *easy yoke 11:25-30
v25At that moment, Jesus spoke to his Father. “I praise you, Father,” he said. ‘You are the *Lord of heaven and earth. Thank you because you hid these things from the wise. And you hid these things from people who know a lot. But you showed them to people who know very little.v26Yes father. This is what you wanted.
v27“My Father gave me everything. The Father is the only person who knows the Son. And only the Son knows the Father, along with the people the Son chooses to speak about him.v28Come to me if you are tired. And may all who carry a heavy load come to me. I give you the rest.v29Take my yoke and place it on your shoulders. Then you will learn what I teach you. My attitude is kind and humble, that's why you will find rest.v30The yoke I give you is easy, and the burden I give you is light.
Verse 25 The people who taught the *Law of God did not believe in the message of Jesus. People who thought they were wise did not believe his message. Humble people knew that Jesus was speaking the truth. They were like little children. Some people pride themselves on knowing a lot about God. But they really don't understand it.
Verse 27 Jesus said that he is the Son. He is the only person who knows God the Father. Only Jesus can show people what God is like. This statement is similar to that of the *Gospel of John (John 14:9). "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father," he says.
Verse 28 In those days, the *Jewish religion had many laws. The leaders made a great series of laws. People who tried to obey everyone became very tired. Laws were like a heavy burden that people had to carry.
Verses 29-30 A *yoke is a special piece of wood. The farmer puts one around the neck of his oxen (large cows) when they work for him. Jesus had worked with wood. So he knew how to make good *yokes. They fit well and the animal's neck did not hurt. The *Jews used the word '*yoke' as pictorial language. They talked about how they should obey the law. Peter spoke of the '*yoke' that the *Jews found hard (Acts 15:10). In these verses, Jesus was referring to his own experience and theirs as *Jews. He invited people to follow him. They would find their life with Jesus "easy". It's 'easy' because Jesus cares about his *disciples. They would find their load light. It is 'light' because a *disciple follows the example of Jesus. A *disciple does not have to obey hundreds of rules. Jesus is meek and humble. It allows people to be free. So they obey him because they love him.
Questions about using God's rest day 12:1-14
Matthew gives two examples of the '*yoke' of the *Jewish law:
1. The *disciples in the corn 12:1-8
2. The man with a hand he could not use 12:9-14.
1. *Disciples in the corn 12:1-8
v1At that time, Jesus was walking through the cornfields on God's Sabbath. His disciples were with him and they were hungry. They started harvesting some corn. They ate the beans.v2Some Pharisees saw them do this. So they talked with Jesus. 'To watch! Your *disciples are breaking our Law!' they said. 'They are working on God's rest day.'v3Jesus answered them. ‘Surely you read what David did. He and his friends were hungry.v4So they entered the house of God. And he and his friends ate the bread that the people had offered to God. Our Law did not allow them to eat that bread. Only *priests had the right to eat it.v5You have read in the Law that the *priests in the *Temple work on God's rest day. But they remain blameless.v6I'm telling you the truth. Someone who is greater than the *Temple is here now.v7You must know what God's words mean. “I want you to be nice,” said God. 'I want this more than your gifts.' If you understood this, you would not blame these people. they are not guiltyv8for the Son of Man is *Lord of the Sabbath of God.'
Verses 1-2 The *disciples were not stealing corn. People could eat some corn passing through a cornfield. The *Law allowed them to do this (Deuteronomy 23:25). God said that people should not work on the Sabbath (Exodus 20:8-11). But the men who taught the *Law added hundreds of strict rules to that command. There were 39 extra basic rules, and the *disciples had broken some of those rules. So the *Pharisees said they were "guilty". They said that the *disciples had
harvested the corn;
he separated the grain from the chaff;
prepared a meal.
Jesus responded to the Pharisees in four ways:
1. Verses 3-4 They reminded the *Pharisees about King David. He and his men had eaten the bread that only *priests should eat (1 Samuel 21:1-6). This was a special bread. It was a sign that God provided food. As David and his men were hungry, they needed to eat the bread. So the *priest allowed them to break the law.
2. Verses 5-6 The *priests had to work in the *Temple, even on God's Sabbath. The *Law did not allow an ordinary person to light a fire on that day. But the *priests could light a fire on the *altar to burn the animals. This was part of the ceremony of *worshiping God in the *Temple. Jesus said that he himself was greater than the *Temple.
3. Verse 7 Jesus used the words of God to his servant, Hosea, long ago (Hosea 6:6). I want you to be nice. I want this more than your gifts. The Pharisees had not understood what God meant. They erred in blaming the *disciples. They should have understood that the *disciples needed food. That was more important than the rules.
4. Verse 8 Mark 2:27 has the words “God made his Sabbath for man. God did not make man for his Sabbath.” God told the people to rest on his Sabbath. But God did not try to control people's freedom. Rather, he wants to help people. 'Son of Man' is another name for 'the *Messiah', and Jesus is the *Messiah. So he had the right to decide what should happen on God's rest day.
2. The man with a hand he could not use 12:9-14
v9Jesus left that place. Then he entered the building where they met to *worship God.v10A man with a hand he couldn't use was there. The *Pharisees were also there. They were trying to find a reason to accuse Jesus. 'Does the law permit one to be healed on God's Sabbath?' they asked.v11And Jesus answered them. ‘Suppose one of you has a sheep. And suppose the sheep fell into a deep hole on God's Sabbath. You would grab it and lift it.v12But a man is worth much more than a sheep! Therefore, the *Law allows us to help someone on God's Sabbath.'v13So Jesus spoke to the man with a hand he couldn't use. "Hold out your hand," he told her. Then the man stretched out his hand and he was well again. It was just as good as the other hand.
v14Then the Pharisees left. And they planned how to kill Jesus.
Verses 9-10 The *Pharisees met Jesus again in the building where they were meeting. So they asked Jesus a question, because they wanted to accuse him. They didn't want Jesus to teach them.
Verses 11-13 Jesus showed that the *Pharisees were willing to redeem a valuable animal on God's Sabbath. But they would not allow anyone to heal a sick person. But a person is worth much more than an animal. So his question is not correct. The question should be: 'Does the law allow people to help someone on God's Sabbath?'
Verse 14 The *Pharisees were very angry because they could not answer Jesus. They had decided that Jesus was wrong. So they started making plans, because they wanted to destroy it. Their ideas about the meaning of the law were very important to them. They thought their ideas were more important than a person's life. So they even made plans against God's order. "You must not kill anyone," said God.
Jesus is the servant of God 12:15-21
v15Jesus discovered the evil plans of the *Pharisees, so he moved out of that place. Many people followed him. And he healed all who were sick.v16But he warned them not to tell other people about him.v17God had spoken through his servant Isaiah long ago. Jesus made his words come true.
v18‘Here is my servant whom I have chosen.
I love him and am very happy with him.
I will give you my *Holy Spirit.
He will announce my judgment to the people of all nations.
v19He won't fight and he won't scream.
He will not speak loudly in the streets.
v20It won't break a weak stalk of grass.
He will not put out a flame that is burning weakly.
You will continue your efforts until you have done everything right and fair.
v21Then people of all nations will trust him for their future.'
Verse 15 Jesus knew that he shouldn't be around those Pharisees. So he walked away from danger and the people followed him. They wanted him to help them. So he healed everyone who asked him.
Verse 16 Jesus was the *Messiah, but people had wrong ideas about the *Messiah. They believed that the *Messiah would be a military ruler. They thought he would be like King David long ago. But Jesus did not come to establish a political government. He came to serve and love people. Therefore, he still did not want to be considered the *Messiah.
Verses 17-21 This is part of one of the "servant" poems that Isaiah wrote much earlier (Isaiah 42:1-4). It describes the character of God's special servant.
Verse 18 Jesus heard some of these words at his *baptism, when God gave him the *Holy Spirit. People should behave in the right way towards God and each other. Jesus taught us how to do this.
Verse 19 Jesus did not argue with people. He didn't make speakers. He didn't try to excite people. He taught calmly.
Verse 20 A 'weak stalk of grass' is an image of a type of person. Bad things happened that hurt this person.
'A flame that is burning very low': this means that someone does not believe very much. The *Pharisees didn't think people like that were worth much. So they didn't notice or help these people. But Jesus was kind and patient with people. When he encouraged the people, then they believed more.
Verse 21 People from other nations would also believe in Jesus later on. They would know his character. Therefore, they can rely on him for their future life.
Jesus has power over evil *spirits 12:22-32
v22So they brought a sick man to Jesus. The man was blind and dumb because he had an evil spirit in him. Jesus healed him so that he could speak and see.v23It surprised everyone. “Is this Jesus the Son of David?” they asked one another.v24But the Pharisees also discovered this. 'Beelzebub, who governs evil spirits, gives power to this man. That's why he can cast out 'evil spirits from people', they said.v25Jesus knew what they were thinking. So he spoke to them. "If two groups of a nation fight each other, they will ruin that nation," he said. “Any city or family that divides into groups will destroy itself.v26So if *Satan forces *Satan out, he is fighting himself. Then he will destroy himself and all that he rules.v27You say that Beelzebub gives me power to cast out evil *spirits from people. So who empowers his people to cast out *evil spirits? They can answer that question for you.v28But I cast out *evil spirits by the power that the Spirit of God gives me. This proves that the government of God has come to you.
v29And suppose someone wants to break into a strong man's house to steal his goods. That person must first bind the strongman. Then he can rob the strong man's house and steal everything.v30If a person is not on my side, he is against me. Who does not reap with me, spreads.v31And that's why I'm telling you this. God can forgive every *sin or insult that people speak against him. But God will not forgive an insult that people speak against the *Holy Spirit.v32God can forgive anyone who says bad things about the Son of Man. But God will not forgive anyone who speaks ill of the *Holy Spirit. God will not forgive you now or in the future.
Verses 22-23 The crowd began to wonder if Jesus was the *Messiah. They expected the 'Son of David' to do other things for them. But Jesus was not doing all these things.
Verse 24 The *Pharisees were angry with Jesus because he did not obey God's Sabbath rules. They were also jealous of his power. They knew that Jesus had performed a *miracle. Then they suggested that he himself was working with the main evil spirit. 'Beelzebub' was another name given to *Satan.
Verses 25-26 Jesus showed that the *Pharisees' idea was stupid. A war within a nation destroys that nation. Divisions within a family will ruin that family. *Satan rules *evil spirits. Thus, * Satan would be very foolish if he helped Jesus. *Satan would be fighting against himself.
Verse 27 Some of the *disciples of the *Pharisees also tried to cast out *evil spirits from the people. Then Jesus asked who gave power to those *Jews. They used all kinds of magic and special words. Jesus just needed to give an order. But the *Pharisees did not accuse their own *disciples.
Verse 28 Jesus was sending *demons because the power of the *Holy Spirit was in him. Thus, God's government in heaven began to grow in this world.
Verse 29 * Satan is like a strong man. But Jesus is more powerful than *Satan. *Satan made people his slaves. They were *the property of Satan. But Jesus entered the kingdom of *Satan and took people out of it. And *Satan couldn't stop Jesus.
Verse 30 People either belong to God's government in heaven or belong to *Satan's government on earth. There are only two sides. If people are not on Jesus' side, they are his enemies. A person who is on the side of Jesus gathers people for Jesus. One person who is against Jesus disperses the crowd. He makes them turn away from Jesus.
Verses 31-32 Jesus gave a stern warning to the *Pharisees. They were in danger of *sinning 'against the *Holy Spirit'. God would never forgive that *sin. People said and did many things against Jesus. When Jesus was on the cross, he asked God to forgive him for all these things. But the *Pharisees refused to understand what God wanted. They had long thought that their own ideas were correct. They even said that a good deed was a bad deed. Isaiah had said, 'Things will be bad for people who say bad things are 'good'. And they say good things are 'evil' (Isaiah 5:20). The *Pharisees would not understand that God worked through Jesus. The *Pharisees did not say that they had *sinned. They wouldn't regret it. Therefore, God could not forgive them.
Sometimes a person is afraid that he has *sinned against* the Holy Spirit. But that person is not guilty. He worries that he has sinned. But you might regret it. You can ask God to forgive you. But the *Pharisees did not know that they had *sinned. So they didn't *repent.
Words show what a person's character is like 12:33-37
v33You can tell what a tree looks like when you see its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad.v34You are a nest of poisonous snakes! You are bad. You can never say anything nice. Your words come from whatever is in your spirit.v35The good man says good things. These come from the good things you've kept inside. A bad man says bad things. These come from the bad things he has stored inside him.v36I tell you this. On judgment day, people will be held accountable for every careless word they uttered.v37Your words will show that you are not guilty. Or your words will show that you are guilty.
Verses 33-35 These verses emphasize what Jesus had said about the *Pharisees. They had accused Jesus. And they said he helped *Satan. His words showed what kind of people they were. They were like a bad tree bearing bad fruit. His words were as dangerous as the venom that comes out of a snake.
Verses 36-37 Many times we don't think carefully about what we say. These words are not good or helpful. Instead, they might hurt other people's feelings. No one can back down with careless words. Saying 'I didn't want to' doesn't set a person free. He's still in charge. God knows what each one said. And God will decide whether a person is guilty. Or whether a person is free from guilt.
Pharisees and teachers ask Jesus for a sign 12:38-42
v38Then some of the Pharisees and some of those teaching the law said to Jesus: “Teacher, we want to see evidence from you that will surprise us.”v39Jesus replied, “People ask for evidence that surprises them. But only the wicked who are not loyal to God ask for this. The only evidence they will receive is from the *prophet Jonah.v40Jonah was in the stomach of a big fish for three days and three nights. The Son of Man will be in the grave three days and three nights.v41The people of Nineveh and these people now living will stand together on the day of judgment. The people of Nineveh will prove these people guilty. Jonah preached *to the people of Nineveh. They turned from their *sins. Now someone who is more important than Jona is here.v42The Queen of the South and the people living now will stand together on judgment day. She will prove them guilty. He traveled far to hear Solomon's wisdom. Now someone greater than Solomon is here.
Verse 38 The *Pharisees wanted Jesus to do something extraordinary. That would prove his authority. *Satan had *tempted Jesus to jump off the *roof of the temple (Matthew 4:5-6). Jesus had done *miracles and healed people. This was evidence that God loved people. The *Pharisees did not believe that these *miracles demonstrated the authority of Jesus.
Verse 39 The phrase 'not loyal' describes how a wife leaves her husband because she loves another man. Jesus said that the *Pharisees had not been loyal to God. The *prophet Jonah* preached in the *gentile city called Nineveh.
Verse 40 Jesus said he would be in his grave for three days and three nights. For *Jews, this meant any part of three days. He compared this to Jonah's time with the huge fish. The *Resurrection would be the final evidence.
Verses 41-42 When Jonah *preached to the wicked in Nineveh, they changed their ways. Jesus warned the Jews many times, but they paid no attention. The 'Queen of the South' was the queen of the country called Sheba. This was a place in southwest Arabia. He made a long journey to hear Solomon's wise words. Jesus was present among the *Jews, but they refused to listen to his words of wisdom. On judgment day, both the people of Nineveh and the Queen of Sheba will show how the *Jews were guilty. The* Jews were able to hear the message that God gave them through Jesus. But they didn't know how to take advantage of their great opportunity.
The *parable of the empty house 12:43-45
v43‘When an evil spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places. You are looking for a place to rest. But can't find a place.v44Then he says: "I will return to the house from which I left." When the evil spirit arrives there, he finds an empty house. The house is clean and tidy.v45Then the *evil spirit leaves. He receives other 7* spirits that are more evil than he is. And they all enter the house and live there. Then the man becomes worse than before. This is what will happen to the bad people living today.
Verse 43 People thought that evil spirits lived in deserts.
Verses 44-45 People should shun evil thoughts and actions. But they have to do more than that. They must replace bad things with good things. They must have good thoughts. They must do good deeds. The *Holy Spirit must live in a person to protect him.
The *Pharisees thought they had made their religion morally "clean". They tried to remove the bad stuff. The *Pharisees told the people hundreds of things not to do. But the Pharisees refused to accept the new life that Jesus offered them. So they were making everyone's lives worse.
The true family of Jesus 12:46-50
v46While Jesus was still speaking to the crowd, his mother and brothers were outside. They wanted to talk to him.v47Someone said to him, 'Your mother and brothers are outside. They want to talk to you.v48Jesus answered, 'Who is my mother and who are my brothers?'v49He pointed to his *disciples. He said, 'Here are my mother and my brothers.v50Because whoever does what my Father in heaven wants, that one is my brother, my sister and my mother.
Verse 46 Jesus had four brothers and some sisters (Mark 6:3). Jesus was the “first” son of Mary (Luke 2:7). This suggests that Mary and Joseph were married and had children in the normal family relationship. Matthew does not say why Jesus' family wanted to talk to him. Mark says they've come to take care of him. Maybe they thought Jesus was spending too much time with the crowd. Maybe his family was worried. They heard that the *religious leaders were opposing him (Mark 3:21).
Verses 48-50 Jesus knew that family life was important. However, the *Pharisees changed the rules about families. It became possible for a son not to take care of his parents (Mark 7:9-13). When Jesus was on the cross, he was still taking care of his mother. He made sure she had a home (John 19:27). But in these verses he emphasized that his work was very important. The people who become his *disciples are part of the Christian family. The Christian family has even closer relationships than a natural family. Jesus' mother and brothers were "out there." It shows that they did not adhere to his work at that time. The *disciples of Jesus were near him. They wanted to join his work.
Stories about where God rules 13:1-52
Matthew wrote down many of the things that Jesus taught. This chapter is the third of those sections. Jesus told these stories for three reasons:
1. His stories were about things in the lives of ordinary people. Everyone could understand them. People didn't have to be very smart to understand them.
2. The stories made people think about their meaning. The *Pharisees knew that the story of the *evil husbandmen described them (Matthew 21:33-46).
3. People who wanted to obey God would understand these stories. People who didn't want to obey God wouldn't understand them.
Often these stories are called *parables.
There are seven such stories. And Jesus explained two of them.
The story of the man who sowed some seeds 13:1-9
v1That same day, Jesus left the house. He sat by the lake to teach the people.v2Large crowds of people gathered around him. Then he got into a boat on the lake. He sat in the boat while all the people were on the shore of the lake.v3Then he told them many things in *parables.
‘A farmer went out to sow.v4As I scattered the seeds, some fell on the road. Then some birds came and ate all those seeds.v5Some seeds fell on rocks, where there wasn't much soil. The seeds grew quickly because the soil was shallow.v6But when the sun shone, it burned the young plants. Then they withered and died. They didn't have deep roots.v7Other seeds fell on the bush. The weeds grew faster and bigger, so the good plants couldn't grow.v8Still other seed fell on good ground. They grew and produced a crop. Some seeds produced 100 times more than what the farmer planted. Some produced 60 times more and others 30 times more than what the farmer sowed.v9Those who have ears must hear and understand.'
Verse 2 The large crowd could hear Jesus clearly as he spoke from the boat. A farmer may have worked near them.
Verse 3 A farmer scattered seeds with his hands.
Verse 4 People walked along the paths and this made them very difficult. So the seeds were left on top and the birds could eat them quickly.
Verses 5-6 In many places there was only a very thin amount of soil on top of the rocks in that country. The seeds would begin to grow quickly. But its roots could not grow properly because of the rock. Then the plant would soon die under the scorching sun.
Verse 7 There were already weeds in this soil. Weeds grow faster and consume all space. The good seeds started to grow, but the light couldn't reach the young plants. Then the plants could not last.
Verse 8 The good land had much land. So the seeds could take root deep and find water. There were no weeds and the plants could continue to grow strongly. So there was a good harvest.
Verse 9 Jesus wanted to say that people should think about this story. They should try to understand the additional meaning it teaches.
The reason Jesus taught with stories 13:10-17
v10The *disciples approached Jesus. 'Why do you talk to people in *parables?' they asked him.v11Jesus replied, “You have had the opportunity to understand some of God's secrets. You know heaven where God rules. But people who are not *disciples do not understand.v12All who understand will hear more. They will see and understand a lot. But not everyone really understands. And even if they understand a little, they won't remember.v13That's why I talk to people in *parables. They look, but they don't really see. They listen, but they don't really hear or understand.v14So these people show things about themselves. The things the *prophet Isaiah said about them are true.
Isaiah wrote this:
"You will hear,
but you will never understand.
You will look and you will see.
But you'll never know what you're looking at.
v15Deep down these people don't want to understand.
So they covered their ears,
and closed their eyes.
Otherwise they could see with their eyes,
and they could hear with their ears.
They could really understand.
Then they could turn to me, and I would heal them.
v16But you are happy. That's because you have eyes that see. And you have ears to hear.v17I'm telling you the truth. Many servants of God and many of God's people wanted to see what you are seeing. But they didn't see him. They wanted to hear what you're hearing. But they didn't listen.
Verses 10-11 The real things about God's government are "secrets". People cannot discover them for themselves. God shows the people that Jesus is speaking. He shows it to people who are willing to believe him. People who don't want to learn don't understand.
Verse 12 Some people want to obey the authority of God. These people will understand more and more what Jesus teaches. Other people listen to what Jesus teaches but do not obey Jesus. They will become less able to understand.
Verses 13-15 Stories can only show the truth to people who are willing to listen. But many people didn't understand why they didn't want to obey God. Jesus reminded them of what Isaiah had said long ago. God called Isaiah to be his special servant. But God warned Isaiah that his work would be difficult (Isaiah 6:9-10). The people hadn't obeyed God for a long time, so they didn't want to listen to Isaiah's message. They didn't want to understand what he was saying. Isaiah's words were also true about people who did not accept Jesus. They didn't want to leave their *sins. So Jesus couldn't give them the gift. His gift is life that never ends.
Verses 16-17 The *disciples had an opportunity to see and hear the *Messiah. God had promised to send the *Messiah to the *Jewish nation. Many of God's people looked forward to the coming of the *Messiah. But he did not come during their lifetime. God gave a gift to the * disciples because he allowed them to meet Jesus, the * Messiah. They saw that God's promise had been fulfilled.
Jesus explains the story of the man who sowed some seeds 13:18-23
v18‘Hear what the story of the farmer means.v19Some of your seeds fell on the hard way. The seed is like a message about where God rules. But some people don't understand because they are the hard way. Then comes *Satan and takes away the message.v20Some of its seeds fell into the shallow soil of the rocks. This shallow land is like some people hearing the message. They really listen and are very happy.v21But they don't really believe that. They are like little plants with little roots. They did not think about the difficulties, so they are short-lived. Problems come and they stop believing. Other people are against them because they believe the message, so they soon stop being loyal.v22Some seeds fell to the ground with weeds. This land is like other people who hear the message. But they worry about what will happen to them in this life. And they believe that money will make them happy. These things take away the message from your thoughts. Therefore, the message cannot produce good things in their lives.v23But some seed fell on good ground. That soil produced a good harvest. It was 100, 60 or 30 times more than what the farmer had planted. That solo is like the people who really hear the message. They understand and believe. So they produce a lot of good things in their lives."
These verses show the different ways in which people believe the Christian message. God's word is like seed and people are like soil in a field.
Verse 19 Some people hear the message but immediately forget it. A person can be very proud of their own opinions. You won't listen carefully. He refused to obey God for a long time. It's like a rough road. God's word cannot even begin to make a change in your life.
Verses 20-21 People may be anxious to believe God's message at first. But they didn't seriously think about the results. So don't believe too much. They are like fine earth on rock that does not allow the roots of plants to grow. These people do not understand that they can suffer. They will have the same problems as people who don't believe the message. Family difficulties, illness or other problems can affect them. Also, people may insult and attack them because they believed the message. But because they believe just a little, they don't last. Your belief dies like a plant under the scorching sun.
Verse 22 Some people want to own money or property. They think about them too often. They work very hard to earn a lot of money. Some people have a lot of responsibilities and interests, which takes a lot of time. So these things drive the Christian life. So these people are too busy to pray. They don't have time to study the Bible. God is no longer first in their lives. They don't realize what they are doing.
Verse 23. There are people like the good soil that yields a harvest. They are never too proud or too busy to hear God's message. They believe it, even when they expect trouble. They realize what could happen to them as a result. They believe the message. So they change the way they live. In addition, they carry the message about God's government to many other people. Isaiah said long ago that God's word would succeed (Isaiah 55:10-11). *The disciples must 'sow' the message of God. There will certainly be a 'crop' of people who will believe this. They will understand and believe the message about Jesus.
The story of the tares among the wheat 13:24-30
v24Jesus told them another story.
“Where God rules from heaven, it is so. A man planted good seed in his field.v25But while everyone was sleeping, their enemy arrived. The enemy sowed tares among the wheat and left.v26Then the wheat began to grow. When it started producing seeds, they could see the tares among the wheat.v27The owner's servants came to him: “Sir,” they said, “you have sown good seed in your field. So where do weeds come from?v28“An enemy did it,” replied the owner. So the servants asked him, "Do you want us to pull up the weeds?"v29"He did not answer. "While you are pulling up the tares, you can uproot the wheat with him.v30Let the tares and wheat grow together until the harvest. At that time, I will tell the workers what to do. I will say, 'First gather up the tares. Tie them in bundles to burn. Then gather the wheat and bring it to my shop.'" '
Verses 24-27 Jesus referred to a particular kind of weed. When it first started to grow, this herb looked almost like wheat. Often, people couldn't tell the difference between them. But when the plants had mature seeds, you could see the difference. The *Romans had a law against people throwing weeds in other people's fields. So that all who heard Jesus would understand this story.
Verses 28-30 It was not possible to uproot the tares without damaging the wheat plants. But at harvest time, the servants could sort out the weeds and burn them. Then they could store the good wheat.
The stories about the smallest seed and the *leaven 13:31-33
v31Jesus told them another story.
“Where God rules from heaven, it is so. Someone took a mustard seed and planted it in a field.v32It is the smallest of all your seeds. But when it grows, it becomes the largest plant in your garden. It becomes a tree. This is how birds come to perch on its branches.
v33Then Jesus told them yet another story.
“Where God rules from heaven, it is so. A woman mixed* leaven with a large amount of flour to make bread. The *yeast made the whole lot rise.'
These two stories go together because they are both about growth.
Verses 31-32 Although a mustard seed is very small, it can grow into a very large bush. The mustard bush is like a small tree and birds can rest on it. God ruled only a few people's lives when Jesus was alive. There were only a few *disciples who followed him. But their numbers grew until they spread throughout the world later on.
In the *Old Testament, a tree was a mighty nation in pictorial language. The birds on its branches were the nations it gave protection to (Ezekiel 17:22-24). People of all nations will find their security when God rules over them.
Verse 33 Jesus had looked at his mother while she was baking bread. A very small amount of *yeast raises a large amount of bread mix. The mixture rises slowly. People fail to see how this happens. Likewise, when people become Christians, they gradually affect society in a positive way. The people of the city of Thessaloniki realized that Christians were making a difference in their society. “These Christians completely changed what happens in the world!” they said (Acts 17:6). Christians trust Jesus. They believe he is the king. When they believe that, it changes people's character forever. And then they change the character of their society in a good way.
The way Jesus used the stories 13:34-35
v34Jesus told all these things to the crowd in stories. He didn't tell them anything without using a story.v35Thus were fulfilled the words that the special servant of God spoke long ago:
'I will tell people things in stories.
I'm going to talk about things that people didn't know.
These things have been secret since the world began.
Verse 34 Jesus used to use stories to teach the crowds. They would have to think about what those stories meant.
Verse 35 These words come from Psalm 78:1-2. The person who wrote the psalm spoke the words of God. That's why Matthew calls him "God's special servant." Jesus used these stories to teach new things. Nobody really knew where God rules before. People who believed in Jesus would understand its meaning. Many people in the crowd did not believe him. So they didn't understand what their stories meant.
Jesus explains the story of the tares among the wheat 13:36-43
v36So Jesus left the crowd and went into the house. And his disciples came to him. 'Tell us the story of the weeds in the field,' they said.
v37So Jesus said to them. “He who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man.v38The field is the world. The good seed means all people who accept God's rule. The tares are all the people who belong to the Evil Person (the devil).v39The enemy who plants these weeds is the devil. Harvest means judgment day. Workers are God's messengers.v40Harvest workers pull weeds and burn them. And so it will be on judgment day.v41The Son of Man will send his *special messengers. They will not let anyone or anything cause *sin. They will destroy all who do evil things.v42God's messengers* will throw them into the blazing fire. And there, people will cry and bite their teeth.v43Then the people who belong to God will shine like the sun. They will live where God their Father rules. The person who really listens will understand this!
Verses 36-39 Some people belong to God because they have accepted his government. Other people belong to the devil. It can be very difficult to tell the difference between them. But people shouldn't try to judge other people. Judgment must wait until God decides the right time for it. Only God has the right to be the judge. You can decide because you can see the entirety of a person's life.
Verses 40-43 In the end, God will take away all that is bad. He will not let anything bad remain where he rules. Jesus speaks of the judgment of the wicked. Jesus uses pictorial language when he talks about fire. Fire means punishment.
Matthew uses the words "weep and gnaw their teeth" in several places (Matthew 8:12; 13:50; 22:13; 24:51). It means that people are very sad. Also, they suffer a lot of pain. The wicked will receive punishment, and it will be terrible for them. God's people "shall shine like the sun." This idea comes from Daniel 12:3.
The stories about the *hidden treasure and the *pearl of great price 13:44-46
v44“Where God rules from heaven is a very valuable thing. Someone hid that valuable thing in a field. When another man found him, he was overjoyed. He hid again and went home. So he sold everything he owned. And so he bought that field with what was valuable in it.
v45Where God rules from heaven, this is also so. A merchant was looking for beautiful, valuable stones.v46Then he found one that was very valuable called *pearl. So he went from there. He sold everything he had. So he bought that *pearl.'
Verse 44 In those days, people often kept money underground. Also, people buried their valuable possessions when they needed to escape during a war. Sometimes they never dug them up again. The man was working in a field. He found the valuable thing by accident. So he was willing to sell everything he owned. He really wanted to win this valuable thing more than anything else. We call something like that a 'treasure'.
Verse 45 The merchant was looking everywhere for precious stones or '*pearls'. At last he discovered a very valuable one. So he sold everything in order to have that *pearl.
Both stories compare where God rules with something that is valuable. It is more valuable than anything. The first man discovered something he didn't expect. Likewise, a person can suddenly discover the truth about Jesus. This person may want to get into where God rules. The man sold everything to buy the field. And if God rules people, they must give up their own desires, relationships and habits. But they know it's worth it. The merchant is like one who seeks the valuable things of the world. You can find beautiful things in art, music, books and human relationships. But he discovers that the most valuable thing of all is to become a servant of God. So he does what God wants him to do. And he is very happy.
The story of the net with good and bad fish 13:47-50
v47“Where God rules from heaven, it is also like a net for fishing. The men cast their nets into the lake and caught all kinds of fish.v48When the net was full, the men hauled it onto the beach. So they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets. But they threw the bad fish.v49So it will be at the end of time. The *messengers of God will come. They will separate the wicked people from the people who belong to God.v50The *messengers of God will cast the wicked into the blazing fire. There the wicked will weep and gnaw their teeth.
Verses 47-50 This story is like the story of the wheat and the tares. It was natural for Jesus to talk about fishing. At least 4 of his disciples had worked in fishing. And they were by the lake called Galilee. There are at least 24 types of fish in that lake. Some fish were good and useful. Other fish were not fit to eat. The net would attract a mixture of fish to shore. The *disciples of Jesus were like fishermen. They drew all kinds of people into the 'net', which is where God rules. God's government includes people who truly believe in Jesus. It also includes people who don't really follow Christ. God will separate these people at the end of time.
The owner of a house who has valuable things both old and new 13:51-52
v51Then Jesus asked them, 'Do you understand all these things?' 'Yes,' they replied.
v52Then Jesus spoke to them again. 'Some men who teach the *Law have entered where God rules from heaven. They are like a man who owns a house. This person has things new and old that he has kept at home. And that person brings these new things and those old things.
Verses 51-52 Jesus wanted the *disciples to understand him correctly. Then they could teach others about where God rules. They must be like good men who teach the law of God. They could use everything they already knew from the *Old Testament. That would be like the old stuff. Jesus also helped them to understand new things. Matthew himself was like a householder. In his *Gospel he used both the *Old Testament and the new stories that Jesus taught.
The next section of the *gospel of Matthew mainly records the actions of Jesus. Matthew records how some people believed in Jesus. It also records how some people opposed him.
The people of Nazareth refuse to accept Jesus 13:53-58
v53When Jesus finished telling these stories, he moved on.v54He came to his own city called Nazareth. He went to the building where they met to *worship God. And he started teaching people there. It surprised them. ‘Where did this man get this wisdom? Where did he get the power to do *miracles?' they asked each other.v55'This is just the *carpenter's son. His mother's name is Maria. His brothers are Santiago, José, Simón and Judas.v56And all her sisters are here with us. So where did this man learn all these things?' they said.v57And they weren't happy with Jesus. Then he spoke to them: “God's special servants are honored everywhere except in their own cities or in their own homes,” said Jesus.v58And there he did not do many miracles, because they did not believe in him.
Verses 53-56 The people of Nazareth thought they knew everything about Jesus. They've known him all their lives. He was the son of the *carpenter, the man who made his tools and furniture out of wood. They did not say Joseph's name. That probably means he was dead. They knew Jesus' mother and his other family members. So they couldn't understand how an ordinary country person could speak so well. They couldn't believe that he could act so wonderfully.
Verse 57 Jesus used a phrase that the people knew well. People don't believe someone they know well. Other people may honor that person, but his own people do not honor him.
Verse 58 Luke also records this visit to Nazareth. Some people didn't like what Jesus said. So they tried to kill him (Luke 4:16-30). And Mark says that Jesus 'could not' perform a *miracle in Nazareth (Mark 6:5). Jesus had the power to do *miracles anywhere. But people need to believe in him before Jesus can help them.
John the Baptist dies 14:1-12
v1At that time, the ruler named Herod heard reports about Jesus.v2So he spoke to his servants. This is John the *Baptist. He rose from the dead! That's why he has the power to do *miracles',' he said.v3Some time before that, Herod had John arrested because Herodias wanted that. Herodias was the wife of Herod's brother Philip. Herod ordered his men to tie John up. So they put him in prison.v4John was talking to Herod: "It's against the law for you to have her as a wife," John told him.v5So Herod wanted to kill John, but he was afraid of the people. They thought that John was God's special servant.v6On Herod's birthday, Herodias' daughter danced for Herod and his guests. This pleased Herod very much.v7So he made a promise. He promised to give her whatever she asked for.v8Then her mother told her what to order. 'Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a large plate,' he said.v9This upset the king, but he had promised in front of his dinner guests. So he ordered her to fulfill her wish.v10So they went to prison and cut off Juan's head.v11They brought out Herod's head on a large platter and gave it to the girl. And he took it to his mother.v12Later came the *disciples of John. They took his body and buried it. So they went and told Jesus.
Verse 1 This Herod was Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great. He ruled over the areas called Galilee and Perea after his father's death. People sometimes call him "the tetrarch", which means "ruler of a quarter of the earth". Later it simply meant 'ruler'.
Verse 2 The news about Jesus scared Herod. He had a guilty conscience. He had ordered someone to kill John the *Baptist. Then Herod feared that Jesus might be John. Maybe John was alive again. Herod thought John had returned to punish him in some way.
Verses 3-11 describe why John was killed.
Verses 3-4 On a visit to Rome, Herod had seen Herodias. She was the wife of his brother Felipe. This Philip had a private business in the city of Rome. He is a different Philip than the ruler Luke mentions (Luke 3:1). Herod divorced the Arab princess who was already his wife. So Herod stole Herodias from his brother. John the Baptist was not afraid of Herod. John told Herod that he had done something wrong. Herod was guilty because he already had a wife. And Herodias was his brother's wife. It was wrong to marry your brother's wife unless he had died (Leviticus 18:16).
Verses 6-7 The daughter of Herodias was a princess. But she didn't seem shy about dancing in public. So Herod made him a foolish promise. She could have anything she asked for.
Verses 8-9 Herodias hated John. She wanted him dead. And now she had the chance. Herod would have pleased Herodias before that, but he was afraid of public opinion. He was more afraid of his guests' opinion, so he didn't change his mind about his foolish promise. He didn't want his guests to think he was a weak leader. He granted Herodias' wicked request and broke the *Law. ‘You must not kill,’ says the *Law. Many guests would not want to look at someone's head on a plate. But they had probably had too much wine, so they didn't care.
Verses 10-12 John was imprisoned in Macheronte's castle. Herod and his friends were probably there for his birthday party. John's *disciples managed to bury John's body. So they went to Jesus. And they told him what had happened.
Jesus feeds 5,000 people 14:13-21
v13Jesus heard what had happened to John. So Jesus wanted to be alone. So he crossed the lake by boat to a quiet place. But the crowd learned of this and followed him. They left their villages and walked around the lake by land.v14And when Jesus landed, he saw a large crowd of people. He felt great sympathy for them. So he healed people who were sick.
v15When it was almost late, the *disciples approached Jesus. "There's nothing here," they told him. It's already getting late, so you have to say goodbye to the crowd. Then they can go buy food in the villages.”
v16But Jesus answered them. "You don't have to leave," he said. Give them something to eat.
v17'We only have five loaves and two fish,' they replied.
v18“Bring them here to me,” said Jesus.v19He then ordered people to sit on the grass. He took the five loaves and the two fish. He looked up to the sky and thanked God. Then he broke the loaves into pieces and gave them to the *disciples. Then the *disciples gave the food to the people.v20Everyone ate and had enough to eat. Later, the *disciples picked up 12 baskets full of broken pieces that the people had left behind.v21There were about 5,000 men who ate the food. There were women and children who also ate.
Verses 13-14 Matthew says that Jesus wanted to go alone. He was sad because John the Baptist had died. Furthermore, Mark and Luke say that he wanted to lead the 12 weary disciples out of the crowd (Mark 6:30-31; Luke 9:10). But Jesus and his disciples did not escape. The crowd of people saw where Jesus was going. So they skirted the upper part of the lake and got there first. Jesus in the boat took longer to cross the lake. The people in the crowd wanted Jesus to heal them. He felt sorry for them, so he healed them. He helped people and did not please himself.
Verses 15-17 The *Israelites asked, "Can God provide food in the wilderness?" (Psalm 78:19). God had answered. He sent special food from heaven for them. The people had to gather it every day (Exodus 16:13-18). The *disciples felt that the food supply was too small. They thought there wasn't enough food for such a large crowd. Jesus saw what the crowd needed. He then relied on God's great power and provided abundant food.
Verses 18-19 The *Jewish people thanked God before eating a meal. Jesus did that too. He used what the *disciples had. Then he increased. God uses any gift we bring him. And he increases them. Jesus asked the *disciples to distribute the food. God helps people. But he also needs disciples to help him in his work.
Verse 20 Everyone had enough to eat. In addition, they filled 12 baskets with the extra parts. Jesus had performed a *miracle to satisfy the hunger of the people.
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John record this *miracle. Matthew omits some of the details that Mark and Luke write about. This *miracle reminds us of two things:
1. This reminds us of God's *harvest miracle. It provides enough food for everyone in the world. But some people and nations are greedy and selfish. They make some people hungry. God is generous, but people should not waste his gifts.
2. The *Jews had many strong ideas about the *Messiah. They thought he would feed them "bread from heaven." John tells us more (John 6:1-15). The crowd believed that Jesus was the *Messiah. So they wanted him to be their king. They wanted him to lead them against the *Romans (John 6:15).
Jesus walks on the lake 14:22-33
v22Immediately afterwards, Jesus told the *disciples to get into the boat. He sent them ahead across the lake. But he stayed and dismissed the crowd.v23After dismissing the people, he went up the hill alone. He went there to pray. So when night came he was there alone.v24The ship with his *disciples was already far from land. The ship was in trouble because a strong wind was blowing against it. And the waves were very high.v25Early the next morning, Jesus went out to the *disciples at the lake. He walked on water.v26The *disciples saw him walking on the lake. So they got really scared. 'It's a *ghost!' they shouted. They screamed because they were so scared.
v27Immediately Jesus called them. 'Be brave! It is me. Don't be afraid," he said.
v28'* Lord, if it's really you, talk to me. Tell me to come to you in the water, Peter told him.v29"Come," replied Jesus. So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water towards Jesus.v30But when Peter saw the wind, he was afraid. He began to sink under the water and cried out to Jesus. 'Lord, save me!' he cried.
v31Immediately, Jesus reached out and grabbed Peter. “You really don't believe me!” he said. “There was no reason for you to doubt it.
v32When they got into the boat, the wind became less strong.v33Then the *disciples who were in the boat *worshipped Jesus. 'You really are the Son of God,' they said.
Verses 22-23 Jesus needed to get on with his work and not cause political trouble. So he sent them all away. He then went to talk to Godalone.
Verses 24-25 'Early the next morning' was between 3 and 6 am. The *Jews called this the fourth period of the night. In Mark 6:39 we read that the people sat down on the “green” grass. So the time of year was probably April. Jesus knew the *disciples were in trouble. They were trying to row against a strong wind. In the other storm that Matthew talks about (Matthew 8:23-27), Jesus was with them in the boat. That was during the day.
Verses 28-31 Only Matthew records Peter's request. But Peter could no longer look at Jesus. So he had problems. He knew that only Jesus could save him then.
Verse 33. The *disciples may have known the words of Job 9:8. 'Only God... walks on the waves of the sea.' They knew that no common man could walk on water like that. So they got scared and *worshipped Jesus. They would not fully understand that Jesus was the 'Son of God' until after the *Resurrection.
This story encouraged Christians in difficult times. Jesus is always there when we are struggling with circumstances, temptations or sad events. It tells us not to be afraid. He tells us to trust him. Peter flinched as he looked at his situation. I should have kept looking at the power of Jesus. When Jesus got into the boat, the wind calmed down. Thus, in any moment of great difficulty, the company of Jesus can quiet our mind.
Jesus heals the sick at Gennesaret 14:34-36
v34Having crossed the lake, they landed at Gennesaret.v35The men who lived there recognized Jesus. So they sent a message about him to everyone who lived in the entire neighborhood. So they brought all the sick people to Jesus.v36They asked Jesus to let the sick touch the hem of their garments. And all the people who touched his clothes were all right again.
Verse 34 Gennesaret was an area on the northwest side of the lake.
Verses 35-36 All who believed that Jesus could help them were welcome. Jesus did not refuse to help anyone who needed his help. There is no record here that he taught the people. He showed with his actions what God is like.
This short section contrasts with the beginning of chapter 15. The people of Gennesaret were happy to see Jesus, but the *religious leaders did not like him. The people who touched Jesus recovered. But the* Pharisees would not touch someone they considered 'unclean.'
The three sections of chapter 15 show Jesus' attitude toward people who were not *Jews. He wanted them to be happy with the good news in his message:
1. Verses 1-20 Jesus taught about clean food and unclean food. This eliminated the idea that non-Jewish people are different.
2. Verses 21-28 Jesus healed the daughter of a non-Jewish woman.
3. Verses 29-39 Jesus fed the multitude of hungry people who were probably not *Jews.
The *Law of God and the Jewish *tradition* 15:1-9
v1Then Pharisees and men who taught the law came from Jerusalem to Jesus.v2'Why don't your *disciples obey the *traditions our grandfathers gave us?' they asked. 'Your *disciples do not wash their hands before eating!'
v3Jesus answered them. 'Why don't you obey God's command?' he asked. 'Why do you only obey what you teach?v4God told us, "Give honor to your father and mother." God also said, "Anyone who speaks ill of his father or mother must be put to death."v5But you allow people to avoid these commands. “I was going to help you with a gift, but now I've given that gift to God,” people might say to parents.v6So they don't need to help their parents, you say. They no longer honor their parents. In this way you make God's command mean nothing. You make your tradition more important.v7You act like you're good! Isaiah was right when he wrote God's words about you a long time ago.
v8“These people say they give me honor.
But they never really think about me.
v9They don't sincerely adore me.
Instead, they teach rules that men made,” said the *Lord.'
Verses 1-2 Usually people wash their hands to get rid of dirt. This helps to prevent disease. But the *Pharisees' question did not refer to this common action. They had a tradition that they taught people. And this tradition said how people should wash in a special way. That was the only way to remove everything that was impure. The *Pharisees considered certain foods unclean. And whoever touched a foreigner wouldn't get any cleaner. Every day they could touch something or someone that would make them clean.
Verses 3-6 Jesus spoke to the *Pharisees and to the men who taught the *Law. They considered their *traditions more important than God's commandments. Jesus reminded them of a commandment as an example. God said that people should honor their parents. When parents need something, their children have a responsibility to help. But the *Pharisees had another *tradition. People could put aside the things their parents needed. Then they could say that they had given these things to God. Sometimes they just pretended to give these things to God. But this avoided the need to help his parents. The *Pharisees made serious promises before God which they must keep. But they were making a *tradition more important than their responsibility to parents.
Verses 7-9 Jesus used words from Isaiah (Isaiah 29:13). He said they didn't *worship God sincerely. They weren't saying what they were really thinking. They said they served God, but they didn't obey him.
Clean food and things that aren't clean 15:10-20
v10So Jesus gathered all the people together and spoke to them. 'Listen and understand,' he said.v11A person eats things. But these things won't hurt you. A person will say things. These are the things that will cause you to go wrong.v12Then the *disciples approached Jesus. ‘The Pharisees were furious when they heard this,’ they told him. 'Did you know that?'
v13There are plants that my Father in heaven did not plant, Jesus replied. ‘God will uproot these plants.v14Leave them! The Pharisees are blind guides. And when the blind lead the blind, they both fall into a deep pit.
v15Then Peter spoke to Jesus. "Explain it to us," he said.
v16"You are no wiser than other people!" replied Jesus.v17'Even you don't understand! Everything that enters the mouth goes to the stomach. Then he leaves the body.v18But the words that come out of the mouth come from the depths of the person. Those are the things that make someone wrong.v19Bad thoughts come from the depths of a person. These thoughts lead people to commit wrong acts like murder. Or they may steal someone else's wife or perform inappropriate sexual acts. They can steal or tell lies. They may lie and falsely gossip about other people.v20These are the things that make a person wrong. But someone can eat it even if they don't wash their hands first. That doesn't make a person wrong."
Verses 10-11 Jesus continued to teach a multitude of people. A person can obey all the rules about food, but this does not make his thoughts good. What a person says shows how deep within himself he is. People could obey all the *Jewish rules about food, but they still wouldn't please God in other ways. People of good spirit will see God (Matthew 5:8).
Verse 12 The *Pharisees wanted to keep the *Jewish religion pure. Perhaps the *disciples respected them because they were the leaders of the *Jews. But the *disciples knew that Jesus had angered the *Pharisees.
Verse 13 This verse is like the story Jesus told about the wheat and the weeds (Matthew 13:24-30). It may mean that God "planted" his commandments. Later, however, the *Pharisees also 'planted' their *traditions. God will destroy plants that are not really his. John the Baptist had spoken about God's judgment. He said it would be like an axe. He would cut down a tree that did not bear fruit (Matthew 3:10). God's special servant, Jeremiah, also said that God "planted" in the world and that he "plucked up the roots of the plant" (Jeremiah 45:4).
Verse 14 Jesus told the *disciples to stay away from* the Pharisees. They should have shown the people the way to God. Instead, they turned people away from God.
Verse 15 Matthew identifies Peter as the *disciple who asked Jesus to explain. Mark only says that the *disciples asked. Matthew takes a special interest in Peter.
Verses 16-20 Jesus looked astonished because the *disciples did not understand. Eating food is normal and natural. Food cannot change people. But bad thoughts come from the depths of a person's spirit. And they make a person behave wickedly. They change a person so that the person is no longer *clean. Matthew lists four of God's commandments in the correct order (Exodus 20:13-16). A person cannot wash his hands before a meal in the way the Pharisees commanded. But that wouldn't change a person if he is clean deep down (in his spirit).
Some of the dietary laws in Leviticus 11 helped people stay healthy. They helped them choose foods wisely. But Jesus showed that food traditions can be wrong. What people eat does not affect their character. Jesus taught that all food is good for food. This put an end to the food traditions of the *Pharisees. We read this in Mark 7:19.
A woman believes in Jesus 15:21-28
v21Then Jesus left that place. He went to the region around the cities called Tire and Sidon.v22A *Canaanite woman from that region came to Jesus. she yelled at him. ‘Sir, you are the son of David. Please feel sorry for me! *Evil spirits control my daughter and she is suffering a lot.'
v23Jesus did not answer him. Then his disciples came and spoke to him urgently. Send her away. She follows us around and yells at us the entire time.
v24“I came only for the people of Israel because they are like sheep. But those sheep went astray, Jesus replied.
v25Then the woman approached and fell in front of him. '*Lord, help me!' she said.
v26It's not right for someone to take food from children. So they just throw that food to their *dogs', Jesus replied.
v27'It's true, *sir,' she said. 'But even the little dogs* eat the pieces that fall from the master's table.'
v28“Woman, do you really believe me?” Jesus answered. 'I will give you what you asked for.' And his daughter was fine from that moment on.
Verse 21 Jesus left partly because the *Jewish* religious leaders opposed him. In Tire and Sidon lived people who were not *Jews. Furthermore, the crowds in Judea prevented him from teaching his *disciples. He didn't have time to prepare them or himself for the future.
Verse 22 The woman was *Canaanite. They were enemies of the Jews since the time of Joshua, long ago. Somehow she heard about Jesus and called him the 'Son of David'. David was king of the nation when the *Jews defeated the *Canaanites.
Verse 23 Jesus did not answer right away. He was probably testing her. He wanted to know how much she believed in him. God doesn't always answer people's prayers right away. But the *disciples thought that the woman was a hindrance. They wanted Jesus to send this foreigner away.
Verse 24 Jesus' main work was with the *Jews. The *Old Testament writers had prepared them for when the *Messiah came. His *disciples could then take the message of Jesus beyond the *Jews to the rest of the world. Jesus had already spoken of the people of Israel as lost sheep (Matthew 10:6).
Verses 25-26 Jesus had not sent the woman away. Then she repeated her request very humbly. *Jews called foreigners '*dogs' as an insult. They were referring to the *wild and dirty dogs that lived in the streets. But Jesus used a different word when he spoke to the woman. It meant the 'little dogs' that people kept as pets. Saying this, Jesus could have smiled. He wasn't insulting her. He was just reminding her that she was a stranger to him.
Verses 27-28 Generally, Jesus only helped the people of Israel. But the woman knew that Jesus had more power than that. He had enough extra power to help her as well. Jesus knew she believed him. Likewise, he acknowledged that the army officer believed. And that officer wasn't a Jew either (Matthew 8:10-11). He had healed the officer's slave without going there to see him. Jesus didn't go to see the woman's sick daughter either. But he still healed her.
Jesus heals many sick people 15:29-31
v29So Jesus left there. He passed through the sea called Galilee. So he went up a hill and sat down.v30A large crowd rushed to him, bringing the sick with them. They brought people who couldn't walk, blind people and many other people. They brought in people who had sore arms and legs. They laid them all before Jesus, and he healed them.v31This surprised everyone. They saw that the mute was speaking. He healed people with bad arms and legs. People with weak legs could walk and the blind could see. Then they all thanked the great God of Israel.
Verse 29 In Mark 7:31-37 we read that Jesus traveled a long way to the north. Then he returned through the Decapolis, which was the region of the Ten Cities. Most of the people who lived in that region were not *Jews.
Verses 30-31 Because Jesus healed all kinds of diseases, the people gave thanks to "the great God of Israel". So it appears that Jesus healed other people who were not *Jews. Jesus' main work was for the "sheep of Israel that had gone astray." But he also cared about other people.
Jesus feeds 4,000 people 15:32-39
v32So Jesus called his *disciples. “I feel a lot of sympathy for these people,” he said. “They have been with me for three days and they have nothing to eat. I don't want to fire them when they're hungry. If I send them away, they'll be very weak on the way home.
v33The *disciples answered Jesus. 'Where could we get enough bread to feed such a crowd?' They asked. 'There's nothing in this place and it's far from anywhere.'
v34'How many loaves do you have?' asked Jesus.
'Seven,' they replied, 'and a few small fish.'
v35Then Jesus told the crowd to sit down on the ground.v36So he took the seven loaves and the fish and gave thanks to God. He broke them and gave the food to the *disciples. And then the disciples gave it to the people.v37Everyone ate and had enough to eat. After that, the *disciples took seven baskets full of extra pieces.v38About 4,000 men ate the meal that day. And there were women and children who also ate.v39After dismissing the crowd, Jesus got into the boat. And he went to the area near Magadan.
Some people think that Matthew told the same story twice. They think this is the same event as the story he told in Matthew 14:13-21. But in Matthew 16:9-10 Jesus refers to both *miracles. The main facts are similar. But there are several differences in the details:
1. At that time there were 5,000 men in the crowd. This time it was 4,000.
2. This time the crowd was with Jesus for 'three days'.
3. There are seven loaves this time, and before there were only five.
4. These fish are "small" and before there were only two fish.
5. This account does not mention marijuana. People sat on the 'floor'. This suggests a time of year after April. So probably the grass had dried up.
6. The word for 'basket' is different. In Matthew 14:20 the word means a small narrow basket. A *Jew could carry his food in such a basket when traveling. The word in this account was a large basket that could be big enough to carry a man.
7. The* disciples collected enough pieces to fill 12 small baskets at the first count. On this count, they collected enough to fill 7 large baskets.
Jesus fed 5,000 people at the first event. This showed that God is very good to the *Jews. He fed 4,000 people this time. And it showed that he also cares about people who are not *Jews.
*Jewish leaders ask for a *miracle 16:1-4
v1Some Pharisees and Sadducees approached Jesus, wanting to put him to the test. So they asked him to show some evidence from heaven.
v2Jesus answered them. When night comes, you say, "The sky is red, so the weather will be fine."v3In the morning you say, "The weather is going to get stormy because the sky is red and cloudy." You can interpret what you see in the sky. And then you know what the weather will be like. But you cannot interpret what you see now.v4You are a wicked nation that does not believe in God. So you're looking for an extraordinary sign. But the only *miracle they'll ever see is what happened to Jonah. So Jesus left them and went away.
Verse 1 Both the *Pharisees and the *Sadducees were important people, but they had different ideas. The *Pharisees believed in the *Law of God, but they added many other rules from their own *traditions. But the *Sadducees refused to accept them. The *Pharisees believed that people would live again after death. But the *Sadducees denied any afterlife. Many *Pharisees commented on what Jesus taught. He was not a Pharisee. So they thought he shouldn't be teaching people. The Sadducees didn't like Jesus either, but they had a political reason. They saw Jesus' actions and knew he was popular. The *Saducees feared that this would cause trouble with the *Romans. Then they would lose their authority. They only had authority because they worked with the *Romans. So both the *Pharisees and the *Sadducees opposed Jesus. They wanted me to show them a sign. They wanted to see a *miracle. Maybe they wanted to hear God speak from heaven. Or maybe they wanted to see wonderful events related to the sun or moon. Jesus had already refused to do something that would shock people (Matthew 4:5-7).
Verses 2-3 Jesus said that they knew how to interpret the evidence in heaven for good and bad weather. But they couldn't interpret what they saw happening now. This word 'now' is the *Greek word 'kairos'. It means "right time". People had the opportunity to follow Jesus. They had already seen their *miracles. They didn't need more proof. But they refused to see what the *miracles meant.
Verse 4 God sent Jonah with a message to the people living in Nineveh. He gave the message that saved the people of Nineveh from God's judgment. When Jonah told the people God's message, they believed him. So they changed the way they behaved. And so God forgave them and did not destroy them. The sign was in the way Jesus behaved. Message from him was also a sign. Furthermore, his *burial and *resurrection were like Jonah's time with the huge fish. (See Matthew 12:39-40.) But the *religious leaders refused to believe this. They refused to believe Jesus' message about heaven, where God rules. So the people of Israel opposed the *Romans, and the *Romans destroyed their city, Jerusalem, in *70 AD.
What the *Pharisees and *Sadducees taught 16:5-12
v5The *disciples crossed over to the other side of the lake in a boat with Jesus. They had forgotten to take bread with them.v6'Be careful,' Jesus told them. 'Beware of the *leaven of* the Pharisees and *Sadducees.'
v7The *disciples talked about this among themselves. 'He said that because we didn't bring bread with us,' they said to each other.
v8Jesus knew what they were saying. 'They don't believe me very much,' I told them. “You must not tell each other that you have no bread.v9You still don't understand about me. Remember the 5 loaves that fed 5,000 people. Remember how many baskets full of parts you collected.v10Remember the 7 loaves that fed 4,000 people. And remember how many baskets full of scraps you collected in that time.v11You should understand by now that I wasn't talking about bread. But beware of the leaven of the *Pharisees and *Sadducees.'
v12Then the *disciples understood. Jesus was not telling them to be careful with the leaven in the bread. He was warning them about what the *Pharisees and *Sadducees were teaching.
Verses 6-7 '*Leaven' is something that grows. People put *yeast in flour and water to make bread. It makes the mix bigger. Only a very small amount of *yeast is needed. The *disciples immediately thought of bread when Jesus mentioned *leaven. Then they were very worried because they didn't bring bread with them.
Verses 8-10 Jesus reminded them that one day he fed 5000 men and another day 4000 men. He had started with very little bread, but there was plenty. And there were many pieces of bread that they took later. So if they trusted him, they didn't have to worry about bread.
Verses 11-12 The *disciples finally realized that Jesus was not talking about real bread. In the local language, '*yeast' sometimes refers to a perverse way of persuading other people. Jesus was warning them not to listen to the *Pharisees and *Sadducees. His teaching could change the *disciples' way of thinking.
The *Pharisees had the wrong idea about religion. They thought that people simply had to obey a set of rules. But *disciples must not think that God's way is only rules and ceremonies.
The *Sadducees were wealthy. And they thought political action would help God. They thought that God could rule through them. But Jesus didn't want the *disciples to believe that possessions are very important. And they must not think that political effort would make God rule the earth.
The *disciples must be neither like the *Pharisees nor like the *Sadducees. *Disciples should encourage people to change their inner attitudes towards God and towards other people. That was the most important thing.
Peter declares that Jesus is the *Messiah 16:13-20
v13Jesus went to the region of Caesarea Philippi. There he asked his *disciples: “I am the Son of Man. Who do people say I am?
v14‘Some people say you are John the Baptist,’ they replied. 'Other people say Elijah, or Jeremiah, or another special servant of God who lived a long time ago.'
v15"But what about you?" Jesus asked them. Who do you say I am?
v16Simon Peter answered him. “You are the Christ. God is alive and you are the Son of God,” he said.
v17Then Jesus answered him. 'Simon, son of Jonah, you are a happy man!' he said. 'No person on earth could have shown this to you. It was my Father in heaven who showed you this.v18I tell you that you are Pedro. And that name means "a rock". Upon this rock I will build my* church. And the powers of death will never be strong enough to destroy him.v19I will give you the keys to the *kingdom of heaven. And what you lock up on earth, God will lock up in heaven. And whatever you unlock on earth, God will unlock in heaven.
v20Then Jesus warned his *disciples not to tell anyone that he was the *Messiah.
Verse 13 Caesarea Philippi was a town about 25 miles northeast of the Sea of Galilee. It was in the area that Philip, son of Herod, ruled. He called the place "Caesar's City" and added his own name. Philippi means 'belongs to Philip'. This showed that this city was different from the city called Caesarea on the coast. The Jordan River originated in the region of Caesarea Philippi. And there were many places where people worshiped their own gods in that area. Jesus asked if his *disciples understood who he was. First, he asked them what others were saying about him.
Verse 14 The *disciples gave four answers. They were all people who were dead.
1. John the Baptist. Herod feared that Jesus was John. Herod was responsible for the death of John (Matthew 14:2). But he thought that John had come to life again.
2. Elijah. The* Jews believed that Elijah would return. He would prepare the way for the *Messiah (Malachi 4:5-6).
3. Jeremiah. He suffered because he spoke God's true message to the people. He had spoken of a new covenant that God would make with his people.
4. Another special servant of God from the past.
Verse 15 One can know what other people think about Jesus. But this is not enough. All must think of Jesus for themselves. Then Jesus asked his disciples, 'What do you think of me?' Jesus asks every person the same question today.
Verses 16-17 'Christ' is the *Greek word for the *Hebrew word '*Messiah. Prior to this, the *disciples may have thought that Jesus might be the *Messiah (John 1:41). Now they had heard what he taught. They had seen their *miracles from him. And Peter was sure that Jesus was the *Messiah. But Peter did not understand this alone. Jesus said that God had shown Peter the truth.
Verses 18 The name 'Peter' means 'rock'. In the *Old Testament, the word “rock” often describes the security God gives his people. For example, 'The *Lord is my rock' (2 Samuel 22:2). Jesus used the word “rock” or Peter as a name for Simon (John 1:43). There are several ways to explain what Jesus meant here.
1. The rock is Jesus himself. In Ephesians 2:20, Paul calls Jesus the "cornerstone" (the most important part) in God's building.
2. The 'rock' refers to what Peter said. He believed that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. Anyone who can say the same is like a stone in God's building (1 Peter 2:4-8). They are the 'church'. The *Greek word for *church does not refer to a particular building or organization. It refers to all people who believe in Jesus. They realize that he is the Son of God.
3. Peter himself is like the first stone in God's building. Jesus is the true foundation. And the building of God is the *church. But Peter was the first person to declare that he believed in Jesus. And Peter became a leader and teacher in the *church. He was the first to speak to the crowd at *Pentecost about Jesus, the *Messiah. 3,000 people became Christians that day (Acts 2). Later he had a dream when he was in Joppa. As a result, people who were not *Jews believed. And Peter welcomed them into the *church (Acts 10:1–11:18). He supported non-Jewish believers at the *Council in Jerusalem (Acts 15).
Peter's authority was not his alone. God's special servants and men sent by Jesus were also the foundation of the *church (Ephesians 2:20).
Nothing could destroy the *church. The *Greek word here means 'the gates of Hades'. And Hades was the place where the dead go. The *Jews thought it was a place with gates. Death was not strong enough to imprison Jesus in Hades (Acts 2:27; Psalm 16:9-10). The *church is also stronger than death, so nothing can destroy the *church. People can attack and kill Christians. But the whole *church does not die. Instead, it gets stronger.
Verse 19 Keys are a sign of authority. Jesus said, 'I am alive. I was dead, but now I'm alive again. And I have the keys of death and of Hades” (Revelation 1:18). In Isaiah's time, Eliakim was a servant with a responsible job. He had to open and shut the door (Isaiah 22:22). Peter was like that servant. He 'opened the door' to God for thousands of people. They became part of God's stones in his building. Every Christian has the same duty. He or she must show people the way to God. Peter led the *church. He taught Christians how to behave the right way. That was an honor and a responsibility. Peter shared this authority with other *church members (Matthew 18:18).
Verse 20 The *disciples now knew that Jesus was the *Messiah. But he told them not to spread the word. He didn't want people to start a fight against the *Romans. He wanted to teach his *disciples that he was going to suffer. They needed to know that he would die.
Jesus speaks of his death 16:21-23
v21From that moment Jesus began to explain to his* disciples what was going to happen to him. 'I must go to Jerusalem,' he told them. ‘There, the leaders of our nation, and the chief *priests and the men who teach*the Law will make me suffer many things. They will kill me. but on the third day I will live again.
v22Peter took Jesus aside and began talking to him. 'Never, *Lord!' he said. 'That will never happen to you.'
v23Jesus turned and spoke to Peter. 'Get away from me, *Satan!' said Jesus. You are like an obstacle in my way because you are thinking only human thoughts. You don't understand how God thinks!
Verse 21 Jesus had to suffer and die. The word 'must' shows that Jesus knew this was God's purpose for him. But this was the first time Jesus spoke clearly to his disciples about this.
Verses 22-23 Peter answered in a very natural and human way. But Jesus realized it was a test. He must not become this different kind of *Messiah. It was like the test that *Satan had used (Matthew 4:8-10). Then he told *Satan to go away. But he said the words: 'Depart from me, *Satan' also to Peter. Peter did not realize the meaning of what he said to Jesus. But he was trying to persuade Jesus to follow *Satan's way. Therefore, Peter must depart from Jesus for the time being. You must learn to follow what Jesus decided. Peter must not follow his own human ideas.
How to follow Jesus 16:24-28
v24Then Jesus spoke to all the *disciples. If anyone wants to follow me, he must say no to himself. You must bear your cross and you must follow me.v25If you want to save your own life, you will lose it. But if he loses his life for me, he will find it.v26Someone can win everything in the whole world. But that's for nothing if he loses his life. There is nothing anyone can change in your life.v27The *Son of Man is coming soon in his Father's very bright light. His servants from heaven will come with him. And he will reward each one for what each one has done.v28I'm telling you the truth. There are some people who are here. They will see the Son of Man when he comes in his *kingdom. They won't die before seeing this.
Verse 24 A *disciple must refuse to obey his own selfish desires. The *Romans killed criminals by nailing them to cross-shaped wooden beams. They made the criminals carry their wooden beams. Then they nailed them to *crosses so that they would die outside the city. Jesus used this image to teach his *disciples. They must obey him even if people punish them. They must be loyal to him even when it is very difficult.
Verses 25-26 People must choose. They can live their lives their own way or they can give up on their own ambitions. They can suffer and even die with Jesus. But these people will find real life. People can earn everything the world has to offer. They may have great wealth, power or fame. But all this is useless if they lose their real life. Jesus means life that will go on forever with God.
Verse 27 Everyone will have to give an account to God for the way they lived their lives. They must do this when Jesus returns to earth in his Father's bright light.
Verse 28 People understand this promise in three ways:
1. Jesus would return with his servants from heaven while some of the *original disciples were still alive. But Jesus said that no one knew when the end times would come. Only the Father knew when Jesus would return (Matthew 24:36).
2. Jesus was talking about when his whole appearance would change. But that change came just a week later (Matthew 17).
Many years later, in 2 Peter 1:16-18, Peter writes about the *Lord Jesus Christ, his power and the fact that he will return. Peter, James and John were there when Jesus' appearance changed. They had seen him shine like the sun. But Peter still hoped that he would return to earth again.
3. After Jesus died, he came back to life. Later he returned to his Father in heaven, and then the *disciples were empowered by the *Holy Spirit. Many people became Christians. So the *disciples could see the change when Jesus is king in people's lives. They saw the greatness and power of God at work in the world.
Jesus changed his appearance 17:1-13
v1Six days later Jesus took with him Peter, James and John (who was James' brother). He led them to a high mountain where they were alone.v2Suddenly, Jesus looked completely different. His face shone like the sun. His clothes turned white as light.v3At that moment Moses and Elijah appeared in front of them. They were talking to Jesus.
v4Then Peter spoke to Jesus. ‘*Lord, it is good that we are here,’ he said. If you want, I will build three shelters, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.
v5While he was still speaking, a luminous cloud covered them. A voice spoke to them from the cloud. “This is my Son whom I love,” said the voice. I'm really happy about it. And you must hear it!
v6When the *disciples heard this, they were terrified. They fell flat on their faces.v7But Jesus came and touched them. "Get up," he said. 'Do not be afraid.'v8And when they looked, they saw no one but Jesus.
v9As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus spoke to them earnestly. Don't tell anyone what you saw. Wait until the Son of Man rises from the dead.
v10So the *disciples asked him about it. ‘The men who teach the *Law say that Elijah must come first. Why do they say that?' they asked.
v11Jesus answered them. 'That's right. Elijah will come first,' he said. He will prepare everything.v12But I tell you that Elijah has already come. The people did not recognize him. And they did whatever they wanted to do with it. They will also make the Son of Man suffer.”
v13Then the *disciples understood that Jesus was speaking to them about John the *Baptist.
Verse 1 Matthew does not tell us the name of the mountain. It is probably Mount Hermon, which is near the city called Caesarea Philippi.
Verse 2 For a short time, the *disciples could see Jesus as he really is. His face shone as Moses' face had shone (Exodus 34:29-30). Mark and Luke find different ways of describing Jesus' clothing at this time. They were shiny and they were white. Mark says that nobody could make them whiter. Luke says they were bright, like lightning.
Verse 3 Moses was God's special servant. He received the *Law of God for the people. Elijah was the greatest of God's special servants. Jesus was more important than these two men. He explained what the *Law meant. God gave his message to his special servants to deliver to the people. Jesus made that message a reality. Both Moses and Elijah left the land in strange ways. His appearance with Jesus now suggested that there is life after death. Luke says they were talking with Jesus about his death in Jerusalem. Luke used the word 'exodus' for 'death', like the 'exodus' in the time of Moses. Moses rescued the people of Israel from Egypt (Exodus 12). When Jesus died, she saved people from *sin.
Verse 4 Peter offered to make three temporary shelters. He didn't know what to say. Maybe he wanted to stay on the mountain. Perhaps he wanted this experience of Jesus' power to last longer. Sometimes Peter would speak before really thinking of his words.
Verse 5 The bright cloud was a sign that God was present. It was called a 'shekinah'. It appeared on Mount Sinai when God gave the *Law to Moses long ago. God also spoke the same words when John *baptized Jesus.
Verses 6-8 The *disciples were greatly afraid. But Jesus approached them and touched them. So they knew he was real. He told them not to be afraid. Then they realized that what they had seen had disappeared. But they heard words, so the experience was real too. They must listen to everything that Jesus told them. Peter later wrote about this experience. “We ourselves heard the voice that spoke from heaven” (2 Peter 1:16-18).
Verse 9 Jesus warned his *disciples. You must not tell anyone at this time what you have just seen. He didn't want people to think of him as the wrong kind of *Messiah. These three *disciples did not fully understand until Jesus died and was resurrected. So they couldn't explain properly until then what they had seen.
Verses 10-12 They were confused because they saw Elijah on the mountain with Jesus. The men who taught the *Law believed that Elijah would return before the *Messiah arrived. They didn't know how that could be true. They thought Elijah hadn't come. But they wanted to believe that Jesus was the *Messiah. Jesus told them that 'Elijah' had already arrived. The new Elijah was John the *Baptist. He came to prepare the people to receive the *Messiah. Then there could be a new relationship between the people and God. There can also be new relationships between people (Malachi 4:5-6). But Juan suffered because the people did not believe his message. Then Jesus would also suffer. But Jesus also said that Elijah will return to the *Jews one day.
Jesus heals a child who had an *evil spirit 17:14-23
v14When they reached the crowd of people, a man approached Jesus. He fell on his knees before Jesus.v15‘Lord, have mercy on my son,’ he said. 'He has a terrible '*epilepsy' and suffers a lot. He often falls into fire or falls into water.v16I brought him to his *disciples, but they could not cure him.'
v17'You are difficult people who don't believe in God!' Jesus replied. 'It's hard for me to be with you. It's hard for me to be with you. Bring me the boy here.v18Then Jesus commanded the evil spirit* to come out of the child. And he got out of it, so that was good from that point on.
v19Then the *disciples approached Jesus privately. 'Why couldn't we send the *evil spirit?' they asked.
v20'Because you really don't believe me,' Jesus told them. 'I'm telling you the truth. If you really believe a little, it's enough. A very small seed, like a mustard seed, can grow into a plant. If you believe, you can talk to this mountain. "Move from here and go there", you might say. And it would move. Nothing would be impossible for you.' [v21But that kind of *evil spirit doesn't come out unless you pray. You have to keep praying and not eat.']
v22When they were all gathered in the region of Galilee, Jesus spoke to them again. ‘Someone will hand over the *Son of Man to the authorities.v23They will kill him, but on the third day he will rise from the dead. Then the *disciples were very sad.
Verses 14-16 The three *disciples returned to the crowd from their wonderful experience alone with Jesus. They found the other *disciples with a problem because someone was suffering. There was a lot of confusion in that place and Mark gives us more details. There was a curious crowd of people, including some men who taught the *Law. And they argued with the *disciples. The *disciples were probably embarrassed and confused. Before they could cast out *evil spirits (Matthew 10:8), but this time they could not. But the sick boy's father believed in Jesus. So she kept coming to him, even after the *disciples failed to heal her son. Her father called his son's illness "*epilepsy". This disease causes the person to shiver and fall. The child had fallen into dangerous places. You could get burned or even drown.
Verses 17-18 Jesus used the same words that described the people of Israel in the desert long ago (Deuteronomy 32:5). People also did not believe in God. In Mark's account, the father asked Jesus to help him. I really wanted to believe more. Matthew emphasizes that the *disciples failed to heal the sick child. Jesus healed the boy with an order.
Verses 19-20 The *disciples wanted to know why they had not succeeded. Jesus told them that they just needed to believe in him a little bit. Then they could handle the toughest problems. The *Jews used pictorial language. Moving a mountain meant removing something very difficult.
Verse 21 is missing from many of the ancient copies people made of the *gospel of Matthew. So many modern translations leave it out. The same words are found in Mark 9:29.
Verses 22-23 This is the second time Jesus speaks of his death. He also spoke about the time after his death. He said someone would 'hand him over to the authorities'. We read that Judas handed Jesus over to the chief *priests (Matthew 26:15). The *chief priests handed Jesus over to Pilate (Matthew 27:2). Pilate handed Jesus over to the soldiers who killed him (Matthew 27:26). The *disciples did not understand how Jesus would rise from the dead "on the third day". They only knew that God would be the judge in a terrible day after death.
The *Temple Tax 17:24-27
v24Then Jesus and his disciples arrived at the city called Capernaum. And the men who collected the temple tax approached Peter. 'Does your teacher pay the *temple tax?' They asked.
v25"Yes, it does," replied Peter.
When Peter entered the house, Jesus spoke first. “What do you think, Simon? I ask. The kings of this world collect payments and taxes. Who do they collect this money from? Do they pick it up from their own children or from other people?
v26"From other people," replied Peter.
“Then your children don't have to pay,” Jesus told her.v27But we don't want to offend these men. Then head to the lake and drop your line to fish. Take out the first fish you catch. Open its mouth and inside you will find a coin. Give this coin to the men who collect taxes. It will be enough to pay both my tax and yours.”
This passage is only in the *gospel of Matthew. Peter is on this account. Matthew likes to write about Peter.
Verses 24-25 Every *Jewish male over the age of 20 had to pay an annual tax to the *Temple. The tax was half a 'shekel' penny (Exodus 30:13) and equaled two days' wages. This tax provided the necessary money for the *Temple in Jerusalem. Men used to pick her up in cities and villages from March 15th to March 25th. After that date, people had to go to the *Temple to pay the tax. The men who caught him probably thought that Peter was the leader of the *disciples. Men may have asked a normal question to get information. But maybe they wanted to know if Jesus was a loyal Jew. Jesus could have refused to pay, for, as God, the *Temple belonged to him. But people didn't understand that. Then they would think he didn't care about the *Temple. That's why Jesus asked Peter about taxes.
Verses 26-27 Peter agreed that kings do not tax their own families. We don't know if Peter understood Jesus. He probably realized years later what Jesus meant. Jesus and his *disciples were citizens where God rules. They were part of the king's family. So they didn't have to pay the tax. But Jesus didn't want to deceive people about their financial obligations. Here “to offend” means to put something in the way that causes people to fall. Then Jesus told Peter how to find the tax for both of them. Christians sometimes have a responsibility to do something that limits their own freedom. They want to avoid offending other people. They don't want people to misunderstand what they believe.
There is a fish in the Sea of Galilee that has a very big mouth. People call it 'San Pedro fish'.
Chapter 18 is the fourth section of what Jesus taught. It ends in the same way as the other sections 'When Jesus had finished saying these things...' (Matthew 7:28; 11:1; 13:53; 19:1). In this section, Jesus teaches about the relationships between the *disciples. They must be humble. They must be responsible for people who have just started to believe. And they must be willing to forgive each other.
People need to be humble 18:1-5
v1At that moment the *disciples approached Jesus. 'Who is greatest where God rules?' They asked.
v2Jesus called a boy and the boy stood in their midst.v3“Truly I say to you,” Jesus told them. “You must change and become like children. If you don't change, God cannot accept you. And you will never enter where God rules.v4Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest where God rules.v5Whoever welcomes a child like this in my name, welcomes me.
Verse 1 Luke tells us that the *disciples were arguing (Luke 9:46). They were arguing about who was the greatest. They may have asked the question why Jesus chose only Peter, James and John to go up the mountain with him.
Verse 2 The children knew that Jesus was their friend, so they were not afraid of him.
Verses 3-4 Children need to rely on adults to provide for them. The*disciples needed to trust Jesus completely. Back then, children weren't important. They may have had a family that loved them. But even the *disciples thought that children were a hindrance to Jesus. So they tried to fire them (Matthew 19:13-15). Jesus told his *disciples that they should change their ways. You must not try to make yourself important. They must be humble if they want to become great in the *kingdom of God.
Verse 5 People like to think they are friends with someone important. But Christians want to do what Jesus wants. Thus, the person who loves Jesus will welcome a child. Jesus said it is the same as welcoming Jesus himself.
Do not lead others to sin *18:6-9
v6'These little people believe in me. But suppose a person makes one of them stop believing in me. It would be better to hang a large millstone around that person's neck. So it would be better to drown that person in the depths of the sea.
v7There will be problems in the world because of the things that cause people to sin*. Things like that have to come. They will stop people from believing me. But how terrible for the person who causes such things to happen!
v8Your hand or your foot can make you *sin. Then cut it off and throw it away. You're better off going into life with one hand or one foot. It's worse to go to hell, even if you have two hands and two feet.v9Your eye can make you *sin. Remove it and throw it away. It is better that you enter life with one eye. It's worse to have two eyes if you become trash in the fires of hell.
Verses 6-7 “Little ones that believe in me” means children. It also refers to young Christians. They are like children when they begin to believe in Jesus. There are many things in the world that are attractive. But they can make people sin. These attractive things are like something in people's way. Such things make people stumble. Jesus gave a special warning against leading a child or a new Christian astray. It is very serious to make someone sin. It would be better to lose life. Jesus suggests a terrible death. They used a huge stone to turn the corn into flour. Furthermore, the *Jews sanctified the sea. They didn't used to drown people to punish them. For the *Jews, heaven would be a place where "the sea is no more" (see Revelation 21:1). Then they would have thought that drowning someone was a terrible punishment.
Verses 8-9 Jesus did not mean that the *disciples should remove a hand, a foot, or an eye. I was using image language. He meant that they should turn away from *sin. We use our hands and feet to do bad things. We use our eyes to see the wrong things. Therefore, we must control our hands, feet and eyes. Jesus had already used this image when he taught about the wrong sex (Matthew 5: 28-30). It can be hard to stop going to the wrong places. It's hard to stop doing something that isn't good. It can be hard to stop looking at the wrong kinds of books or pictures. But the punishment is the fire of 'Gehenna'. Gehenna was the valley outside Jerusalem that had become the city's rubbish heap. There were always bonfires burning there. The word Gehenna came to mean Hell. Described the place where God will send bad people. They will not have hope.
The sheep that man lost 18:10-14
v10Don't think any of these little people are worthless. I tell you this The servants of God in heaven who represent them are always close to my Father in heaven. [v11The Son of Man came to save the lost.]
v12Think of a man who has 100 sheep. If one of them gets lost, he will leave the other 99 sheep in the hills. He will look for the sheep that has strayed.v13I'm telling you the truth. He will be very happy if he finds that sheep. He will be happier for that one sheep than for the 99 that didn't go astray.v14The same is true of your Father who is in heaven. He doesn't want any of these little people to get lost.
Verse 10 Jesus showed that little children and new believers are precious to God. God's servants in heaven are very important. They are always close to God. They are called 'angels'. Jesus said these servants were responsible for the children.
[Verse 11] Someone may have copied this verse from Luke 19:10. The most important ancient copies of the *gospel of Matthew do not have these words. Most modern translations leave them out.
Verses 12-13 Luke has this story of the lost sheep as a response to the *Pharisees. They blamed Jesus because he mixed with '*sinners'. He also mingled with men who collected taxes (Luke 15:1-7). Matthew uses the story to show how much God cares about 'these little people'. It's like a man looking for his lost sheep. If this man found his sheep, he would be very happy. God looks for anyone who has strayed from the right path of life. God is happy when that person returns to the Christian family again. True disciples will act like people tending sheep. They will try to bring back anyone who has strayed from the correct path in life. 'If you find that sheep' suggests that they won't always be successful. But when they succeed, they'll be happy to get the bum back. They won't try to make you feel silly and miserable. Later, Peter urged Christian leaders to be like people tending sheep. They are to serve and care for their people (1 Peter 5:1-4).
When a *disciple hurts another *disciple 18:15-20
v15'If another *disciple hurts you in any way, go to him. Tell them what they did wrong. They must speak privately. If they hear you, you've made it.v16But they might not hear you. Then take one or two more *disciples with you. God's Word says you must prove every matter. You must have the testimony of two or three witnesses when you accuse someone.v17If they refuse to listen to these witnesses, tell the whole *church. But they can refuse to listen to even the whole *church. Then deal with them the same way you would with an unbeliever or a tax collector.
v18'I'm telling you the truth. Whatever you forbid on earth, God will forbid in heaven. Whatever you allow on earth, God will allow in heaven.
v19And I tell you more. Suppose two of you on earth agree on something you ask. Then my Father who is in heaven will do it for you.v20Where two or three gather in my name, I am with them.
Verses 15-17 These verses show what a Christian should do if another Christian wrongs him. In the *Old Testament Law, a person can be blamed for having done something wrong. But there had to be two or three witnesses to the crime (Deuteronomy 19:15). There are a number of actions they can take:
1. First, they must go to the person themselves. The person may agree that they did something wrong. If they do, then the relationship between two Christians will be right again. But that person may refuse to apologize. Then the Christian who has been hurt must try again to heal the relationship.
2. They should go again with two or three other Christians if necessary. Here, 'a *disciple or two' can help to persuade the person that he has done something wrong.
3. If the person still doesn't realize it, they should talk to the church about it. The word '*church' here means the local group of Christians. It is different in Matthew 16:18, where '*church' means Christians everywhere and at all times.
4. The culprit can refuse to listen to all *church members. Therefore, members must consider that the culprit is now outside their group. But Jesus believed that unbelievers and *tax collectors could go where God said. Thus, the guilty person could realize his guilt in the end. But you should stay out of the Christian group unless you really regret the problem. A group must not allow the wrong relationships to continue. The Christian group would be weak if that happened. And then I would be a poor witness to the world.
Verse 18 The decision of the local group must be in line with what Jesus taught. Then God will approve of his action.
Verses 19-20 "Two or three" who pray together have Jesus with them. That promise came true after Jesus died and was resurrected. Jesus wanted Christians to know this. He would be with them even if they couldn't see him. When he was on earth, his body could only be in one place at a time. But God doesn't just think about big groups. A small group that is worshiping together has Jesus with them. A family at home sometimes prays together. Then Jesus will be with them. God hears when "two or three" people pray. When two people agree with Jesus about something, they can pray with complete confidence. God will answer your prayers.
The question about forgiving others 18:21-22
v21Then Peter came to Jesus. '*Sir, if my brother keeps hurting me, how many times should I forgive him?' he asked. 'Should I forgive him seven times?'
v22“No, not just seven times, but forgive him seventy times seven,” said Jesus.
Verse 21 The *Jewish teachers said that a person should forgive another up to three times. God had told Amos that he would punish the wicked nations “for three sins and for four” (Amos chapter 1). This is probably why the *Jewish teachers only said it three times. Peter thought he was being very generous when he said "seven times".
Verse 22 It is not clear whether Jesus said 'seventy times seven' or '77' here. Of course he meant 'boundless'. Long ago, Lamech said he would pay damages seventy-seven times (Genesis 4:23-24). But Jesus told Peter that he should always forgive. No one should count the times he has forgiven someone.
The story of the unforgiving servant 18:23-35
v23'Where God rules, he is like a king. The king wanted to collect all the money his servants owed him.v24So he started doing this. So they brought him a man who owed him millions of pieces of silver.v25The man could not pay. So the master ordered them to sell the man, his wife, his children and all his possessions. The master would receive this money to settle the servant's debt.v26Then the servant knelt before the king. "Bear with me," he said. "I'll pay back whatever I owe you."v27And the master took pity on him. So he forgave the servant all that he owed. And he released the servant.
v28That servant then went out. But he found one of the other servants who only owed him a few silver coins. The first servant held the second servant firmly. He began squeezing the second servant's neck. "Pay back what you owe me!" he demanded.
v29The second servant knelt before him. "Bear with me and I'll pay you back," he said.
v30But the first servant refused. Instead, he had the authorities throw the other servant in prison. And he had to stay there until he paid off the debt.v31The other servants saw what had happened. And they were very upset about it. Then they told their master all that had happened.
v32So the master called the first servant to come back to him. “Bad servant,” he said, “I forgave you all your debt to me because you asked me to.v33You should feel sorry for the other servant, just as I felt sorry for you!v34His teacher was very angry. So he handed the servant over to the prison guards to be punished. He must remain in prison until he has paid everything to his master.
v35You must forgive your brothers. My Father who is in heaven will act like this king with each one of you. Therefore, you must forgive them from the bottom of yourself.
Only Matthew wrote this story, but Jesus told it as an example. He shows why he responded to Peter this way in verse 22. He told Peter that we should always forgive. Emphasize what Jesus taught earlier about the need to forgive (Matthew 6:12-15). People want God to forgive them. Therefore, people must forgive each other.
Verses 24-27 The first servant owed his master a large sum of money. The *Greek words say he owed '10,000 talents'. 10,000 was the largest *Greek number, and a "talent" was the largest coin. This is the same as the value of millions of coins today. The servant could never repay such a huge debt. But his lord forgave him and canceled the debt.
The 'debt' we owe God refers to our *sins against God and other people. We will never be able to pay that debt. But God forgives those who trust in Jesus. He forgave all * his sins.
Verses 28-30 The second servant's debt was very small. The difference in value between the two debts was staggering. But the first servant refused to forgive the second servant. It's like someone who refuses to forgive another person. They forget how much God has forgiven them. Paul wrote to Christians about this. 'Be kind to each other. Forgive one another, as God forgave you for Christ's sake" (Ephesians 4:32).
Verse 35 People must forgive “from the bottom of themselves”. It must be sincere. A person should not say: "I will forgive, but I will never forget." You are not really forgiving the other person if you say that.
The next main section is from chapters 19 to 23. It includes some of what Jesus taught his *disciples. It also includes how Jesus responded to authorities who opposed him.
Marriage and Divorce 19:1-12
v1When Jesus finished saying these things, he left the region of Galilee. He went to the other side of the Jordan River. This was part of the region of Judea.v2Many people followed him, and there he healed them.
v3Some Pharisees came to test him. 'Does the *Law allow a man to divorce his wife for any reason?' they asked him.
v4'Surely you have read that in the beginning God made everything. He made people, male and female,” replied Jesus.v5That's why a man will leave his father and mother when he marries. He will join his wife and the two people will be as one person.v6They are no longer two persons, but one person before God. So let no one separate what God has joined together," said Jesus.
v7Then they asked another question. So why did Moses command a man to give his wife a bill of divorce? Then he can send her away,' they said.
v8“Moses allowed you to divorce your wives because your spirits are hard. But it wasn't like that at first.v9And that's what I tell you. Unless his wife has had sexual relations with someone else, a man should not divorce her and marry another woman. If he does, he is guilty of *adultery.'
v10Then his disciples spoke to him. 'If that's the situation between husband and wife, it's not worth getting married!', they said.
v11“Not everyone can believe that now,” replied Jesus. 'Only those people to whom God gave it can believe it.v12Some people have reasons from birth for not being able to get married. Other people became unable to marry because people forced them to do so. And other people stayed single to better serve God. The person who can believe this must believe it.
Verse 3 Two prominent *Jewish teachers had different views on divorce. The *Pharisees wanted Jesus to decide between these two opinions. One teacher had a rigid opinion. He said there was only one reason for a man to divorce his wife. It was only if she had sex with another man. The other teacher wasn't as strict with husbands. He said that a man could divorce his wife if he didn't like her in any way.
Verses 4-6 Jesus knew that they had read the *Old Testament. Then he reminded them by saying: 'Certainly you have read...'. Rabbis (*Jewish teachers) also used these words. Jesus did not speak directly about divorce. Instead, he spoke about God's purpose for people who marry. God made male and female in the beginning (Genesis 1:27). Therefore, a man must leave his parents and be united to his wife. They will become one body (Genesis 2:4). It was not God's purpose that no one should break the unity of marriage.
Verses 7:9 The *Pharisees then referred to Deuteronomy 24:1-4. They asked what Moses had commanded. Should a man give his wife a divorce letter and then fire her? Jesus disagreed with the word "command". He said that Moses had "allowed" the divorce. And that's just because people don't really know how to love each other. They are weak and fail. Therefore, your marriage unit does not last. God's purpose was that the marriage unity should be permanent. The only exception was if the wife was not loyal to her husband. A wife who is not loyal destroys the union with her husband.
Verses 10-12 The *disciples thought that the married state looked difficult. And divorce was impossible because of what Jesus said. Then it would be better not to marry. Jesus said that not everyone would be able to live like this. God gives some people a special gift. Only such people can do this. Jesus gives three examples of people who do not marry:
1. Some people are born with medical problems. It is impossible for them to have children.
2. Servants sometimes worked in a palace among the king's wives. So someone stopped them from having sex.
3. Some people choose to remain single. They think they can better serve God on their own. A man or a woman can work in a difficult situation. They would not be able to properly care for a wife, husband or children. Pablo says that a married man has to think about his wife. A married woman has her husband to think about. So they cannot think of God all the time. They may not be able to serve God all the time (1 Corinthians 7:1-10, 32-35). But not all who serve God need to remain single. It is for these people that God wants to remain single.
Jesus and the children 19:13-15
v13Then some people brought children to Jesus. They wanted him to lay hands on them. They wanted him to pray for them. But the *disciples told the people to take the children away.v14“Let the children come to me,” said Jesus. 'Don't try to stop them. Such people belong to whom God commands!'v15Then Jesus laid hands on them and went out.
Verse 13 In those days, people thought that children were not important. So the *disciples thought that Jesus would not have time for children. They tried to stop the parents when they brought the kids. Perhaps the *disciples were trying to protect Jesus. They knew he was tired. And they thought the kids were interrupting their work.
Verses 14-15 Jesus had already said that only people like children will enter where God rules (Matthew 18:2-4). People who humbly trust in Jesus belong to the kingdom of God (also called “the kingdom of heaven”). Jesus welcomed the children. He laid hands on them and prayed for them.
Matthew placed these verses immediately after the verses about marriage and divorce. When parents have a good relationship, their children feel safe. They can become responsible adults. Divorce makes children suffer. They can suffer in many different ways. But they are just as important as adults. Often they can no longer see both parents together. They may find it difficult to be loyal to both parents.
A rich young man approaches Jesus 19:16-22
v16A man came to Jesus one day. 'Master, what good shall I do?' he asked. 'I want to receive life that lasts forever.'
v17'Why do you ask me about what is good?' Jesus replied. “There is only one person who is good. If you want to enter into life, obey the commandments of God.'
v18"Which of your orders?" the man asked.
Jesus told him. Do not kill. Do not have sex with another man's wife. Do not steal. Do not bear false witness.v19Honor your father and mother. And love your neighbor as you love yourself.
v20'I have kept all these commandments,' said the young man. 'What else do I have to do?'v21“If you want to be perfect, go and sell everything you have”, replied Jesus. 'Give the money to the poor and come with me. Then you will be rich in heaven.
v22When the young man heard this, he left. He was sad because he was very rich.
Verses 16-17 Mark, Luke, and Matthew say that this man was rich. Only Matthew calls him 'young man' (verse 20). And only Luke says he was a "ruler" (Luke 18:18). The man wanted to have "a life that lasts forever". He wanted to have God's life, both on earth and after his death. But he thought he had to work to get that life. Many people have the same misconception. They think they must earn their way to heaven. Jesus reminded the young man that only God is good. The young man should have thought of the character of God. Then he would have realized that he could never be good enough. Jesus said that God had said what people should do. The youth must obey these orders. Then the man asked which of these orders he should obey. I still did not get it.
Verses 18-19 Jesus reminded him of 5 of the 10 commandments of God. These 5 all have to do with relationships with other people. He put 'give honor to your father and mother' at the end. But he ranks fifth in the order we read of in Exodus 20:1-17. Perhaps Jesus wanted to make the man think. Had he done everything he had to do for his parents? Jesus also added words from Leviticus 19:18. He said that a person should love other people as much as he loves himself.
Verse 20 The young man replied that he had obeyed these orders. In a legal sense, he had. He hadn't killed or stolen or lied. But he still felt he had to do something more for God to accept him.
Verses 21-22 Jesus told him to sell all his possessions. Then you must give the money to the poor. Then he would be rich in heaven. So Jesus invited him to come and be a *disciple. Jesus knew that the young man needed to strengthen his relationship with God and with others. Money shouldn't be that important to him. Money should not be like a god to him. And he should care about other people if he wants to be good like God. But the young man could not accept this demand. I loved things and money more than I loved God or other people. He loved himself more than he loved God or other people.
The rich and the place where God rules in heaven 19:23-26
v23Then Jesus spoke to his *disciples. What I'm going to tell you is true. It is very difficult for the rich to enter where God rules.v24I repeat, it is much more difficult for a rich man to get into where God commands. It is more difficult for him than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.
v25When the *disciples heard this, they were amazed. 'Then who can God save?' they asked.
v26Jesus looked directly at them. With people, this is impossible. But with God all things are possible,” he said.
Verse 23 Jesus explained about the rich. This was after his conversation with the rich young ruler. It is very difficult for the rich to enter where God rules for two reasons:
1. Because of their wealth they may feel they don't need God. This is because their money makes them feel secure. This allows them to buy whatever they want. Perhaps they believe that their money can save them from any trouble.
2. Rich people can easily forget that life on earth doesn't last forever. They can be like the rich fool in the story Jesus told (Luke 12:13-21). They can forget about life that lasts forever in heaven.
Verse 24 People try to explain the graphic language Jesus uses here in different ways.
Some people say that there was a narrow gate in the city wall called the "pinnacle hole". If a camel had a load on its back, it would not be able to pass through that narrow gate.
But the words were probably a familiar way of describing a very difficult action. The camel was the largest animal in Israel. The hole in a needle is very small.
Verse 25 The *disciples were surprised by Jesus' warning. They thought that the rich would always have a place in the *kingdom of God. They believed that God gave wealth to people he approved of. Now they thought that no one had a chance of getting into where God rules.
Verse 26 Jesus did not say that it was 'impossible' for a rich man to be his *disciple. The rich can become citizens where God rules. God will help them, but it's hard for them to forget their money. Matthew himself left his good work to follow Jesus (Matthew 9:9). Zacchaeus promised to return all the money he had taken from the people. He also said that he would give half of his money to help the poor (Luke 19:1-10). There were also Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, who were *Jewish leaders (Matthew 27:57-60; John 19:38-40).
The rewards for the *disciples 19:27-30
v27Then Peter spoke to Jesus. We left everything to be able to follow him. What are we going to get?
v28“What I say is true,” Jesus told them all. God will make everything new again. The Son of Man will sit on his splendid royal throne. So you who followed me will also sit in 12 royal seats. You will govern the 12 groups of the people of Israel.v29All who have left home, brothers, sisters, father, mother, wife, children or fields for my sake will receive a hundredfold. They too will receive life that lasts forever.v30But many people who are now first will be last. And many people who are now last will be first.
Verse 27 Peter thought that he and the other *disciples were very different from the rich man. The rich man had refused to go with Jesus. The* disciples left homes, families, and possessions to follow Jesus. Peter wanted to know what his reward would be.
Verse 28 Jesus told them that *loyal disciples would have three special rewards.
1. God will make everything new (Isaiah 65:17). "I will make new heavens and a new earth." John tells us in Revelation 21:1 that he saw "a new heaven and a new earth". At that time, the *disciples will share the splendid position of Christ. The 12 special friends of Jesus will have the right to govern the 12 groups of the people of Israel.
2. *Disciples may need to give up their own family life. But they will become part of a much larger family of God. In all parts of the world, Christians have brothers and sisters who also believe in Jesus. Christians sometimes love each other more strongly than their average families.
3. They will have a life that lasts forever.
Verse 30 Jesus warned Peter and the other *disciples. God does not think the way people think. People may decide that someone deserves a reward. They think a person is really important. They can see them as serving God. But God knows whether a person is sincere or not. God knows what a person is thinking. And God understands a person's actions. Thus, people who are humble on earth can become important in heaven. Those who are important on earth can become insignificant in heaven.
The story of the landlord's workers 20:1-16
v1“Where God rules, it is so. A man who owned a piece of land went out early one morning. He employed men to work for him.v2He decided to give them normal pay for a day's work. So he sent them to work among his *vine vines.
v3Around nine in the morning he left again. He saw other men who were at the market. They weren't doing anything.v4“You too go and work among my *grapes,” he told them. "I will pay what is right."v5Then they left.
He went out again around noon and three in the afternoon and did the same.v6Finally, around five o'clock, he left again. He found still other men standing there. So he spoke to them. “Why have you been here all day doing nothing?” he asked.
v7"Because no one employed us," they replied.
“You too go and work among my *grapes,” he told them.
v8Evening came. Then the owner spoke to the person in charge of his workers. “Call the workers,” he said. Pay them their salaries. Start with the last ones I hired. Then continue with the first ones I hired.”
v9So first he paid the workers the owner had hired around five o'clock. Each man received a day's wages.v10Then those whom the owner had hired first came to receive their wages. They expected to receive more. But each of them received the same amount.v11Upon receiving it, they began to complain to the owner.v12“You last employed these men. They only worked for an hour, ”they said. You paid them what you paid us. But we did most of the work and were out in the sun all day!
v13Then the owner answered one of them. "Dude, I'm not being unfair to you," he said. “You agreed to work for the normal daily wage.v14Take your payment and go. I wanted to give the last man the same salary I gave you.v15I have the right to do whatever I want with my own money. You shouldn't be jealous because I'm generous." '
v16Then Jesus added: 'So the last will be first, and the first will be last.'
This story is only in the *gospel of Matthew. Describe a situation that might have occurred in Jesus' day. Jesus' purpose here was not to teach how people should receive wages. He was teaching about where God rules. So this story was about the way God deals with people.
Verses 1-7 When the owner gathered his fruit, called 'grapes', he needed many workers. The men who had no work waited in the market place. They expected someone to use them. This owner hired the first workers first thing in the morning. He decided how much he would pay them. He then hired more workers later on. He promised to pay the second group what was "right". Finally, he hired the men who had been waiting for work all day. He just told them to go work for him.
Verses 8-10 The workers received their wages nightly (Deuteronomy 24:14-15). The owner talked to his manager and told him to pay everyone the same wages. You should start with the men who started the job last. And finally, he paid the men who started work first.
Verses 11-15 Those first workers thought that the owner had not been fair to them. So they complained. The owner responded to the man who was probably complaining the loudest. He said that he had fulfilled his promise to them. He had the right to use his money however he wanted. They were jealous because he was generous. The men who arrived last needed the money as much as the other men.
Verse 16 This verse shows that this story is in part an answer to Peter's question in verse 27 of chapter 19. Jesus repeats the words He used there in Matthew 19:30: "Many who are now last will be first." And those who are now first will be last. Peter's question about what they should receive was not a good question. God invites people to live where he rules. He invites people over because he's generous. They can work for God there. God is always generous in dealing with people. No one deserves God's gifts. No one can earn a reward where God rules. God welcomes everyone, sooner or later where he rules.
Jesus speaks a third time of his death and then 20:17-19
v17As Jesus went up to Jerusalem, he called the 12 *disciples aside. So he spoke to them privately.v18“We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said. ‘Someone will hand the Son of Man over to the chiefs of the *priests and to those who teach the *Law. They will order him to die.v19They will hand it over to foreigners. These foreigners will laugh at him. They will beat him with a whip. Then they will tie him to a *wooden cross to die. But on the third day after that, he will live again!”
Verses 17-18 Jesus knew he was going to suffer and die. This was the third time he warned his *disciples about this. Matthew emphasizes that they were going up the hills towards Jerusalem. This was their capital and the *Jewish place of *worship. There the *Jewish leaders would demand that Jesus die.
Verse 19 Jesus gives more details about what will happen there. He knew he would suffer severe physical and mental pain. But he also knew that he would "live again on the third day".
The petition in James and John 20:20-28
v20Then Zebedee's wife came to Jesus with her children. She knelt down in front of him and asked him to do something nice for her.
v21What do you want? asked Jesus.
“Promise me that one of my two sons will sit at your right hand when you are king,” she replied. Promise me that the other son will sit on your left.
v22"You do not know what you are asking," said Jesus. 'Can you suffer as I will suffer?' he told his children.
'We can,' they replied.
v23“Surely you will suffer as I will suffer,” Jesus told them. But I cannot say who will sit on my right or left in the future. These places belong to the people my Father prepared them for.
v24When the other ten *disciples heard about this, they were angry with the two brothers.v25Then Jesus called them all together. "You know about men who rule foreign nations," he said. They have absolute power over their people. Its important officials proudly command the people to obey.v26Don't be like that. Rather, whoever wants to be great among you must serve everyone else.v27And whoever wants to be first and foremost must be his slave.v28Be like the Son of Man. He didn't come to this earth for other people to serve him. He came to give his life and die. That was the price to set the people free.
Verses 20-21 The *gospel of Mark says that James and John made the request (Mark 10:35-45). His mother had the same ambition as her children, but they were responsible. Jesus spoke directly to them when he answered. They believed that Jesus would become king. And Jesus had chosen them, along with Peter, to be witnesses when he changed his appearance (Matthew 17:1-2). They also saw Jesus raise Jairus' daughter from the dead. But Jesus said he would suffer. And they did not understand why the king should suffer.
Verses 22-23 Jesus asked if they would share what he was going through. They said they could. But they probably didn't understand what that really meant. James died early in *church history because he believed in Jesus. King Herod Agrippa ordered his men to kill James (Acts 12:1-2). John lived to be very old. But he probably had a tough life in prison, so he may have suffered a lot too.
Verses 24-27 The other *disciples were not pleased that James and John were asking for special places. But they had the same ambition. Lucas says that even at the Last Supper they argued with each other. They argued about who was the greatest and most important among them (Luke 22:24). Jesus told them that in foreign nations important people tell their servants what to do. They expect their servants to obey their orders. But where God rules, it is different. People who want to be great must serve other people. They must be prepared to act like slaves.
Verse 28 Jesus then spoke about why he came into the world. He is our example because he came to serve. He would give his life to deliver people from their *sins. Then they could enter where God rules. It was Jesus who would lay down his life for many people (Isaiah 53:11). Jesus made a way back to God for people. But to do that he had to live in this world. So he had to die in a terrible way.
The blind man in the city of Jericho 20:29-34
v29Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho and a large crowd was following him.v30Two blind men were sitting by the roadside. And they heard that Jesus was passing by. So they yelled at him. 'Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!' they shouted.
v31The crowd told them to stop screaming. They wanted them to shut up. But the two men screamed even louder. '*Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!'
v32Then Jesus stopped and called them. What do you want me to do for you? I ask.v33'*Sir', they replied, 'we want to be able to see'.
v34Jesus really felt sorry for them, so he touched their eyes. They could see it right away and followed him.
Verses 30-31 Mark describes how Jesus healed blind Bartimaeus (Mark 10:42-52). Mateo says there were two blind people. He didn't know or didn't write down their names. The blind man called Jesus the 'Son of David', which was a name for the *Messiah. The crowd tried to stop the screams of the blind. They were a nuisance because they were interrupting people's journey to Jerusalem. And they were using the name 'Son of David', which could be dangerous. It was just before the time of the *special Jewish ceremony called 'Passover'. At that moment, the *Jews remembered that God had rescued his people from Egypt long ago. It was not wise to shout the name of the *Messiah. It may seem that the people were demanding their freedom from their *Roman rulers. But the blind believed that Jesus could help them. Then they continued to scream for your attention.
Verses 32-34 Jesus would have perceived that they were blind. But he wanted them to say what they needed to. God knows what we need. But he wants us to pray to him. He wants us to show that we trust him. Matthew, Mark, and Luke record this event, but only Matthew writes that Jesus touched their eyes.
This is the last *miracle that the *Gospels record. After that, Jesus left on his last journey to Jerusalem. This incident contrasts with the story of James and John. They were blinded because they didn't realize the truth about Jesus. To be a *disciple meant that they would suffer. They were "blinded" in a different way than the *physical form the two men suffered. There is a link to the following story about Jesus entering Jerusalem. The crowd called Jesus "Son of David", just as the blind man had done.
Jesus enters Jerusalem 21:1-11
v1As they approached Jerusalem, they came to a town called Bethphage. He was on the Mount of Olives. So Jesus sent two disciples ahead.v2“Go into the city ahead of you,” he told them. 'Once you get there, you'll find a donkey. They tied her to a post and her donkey* will be with her. Release them and bring them to me.v3If someone tells you something about that person, tell them that the *Lord needs them. The owner will send them to me immediately.
v4This happened to fulfill what God had said long ago through his special servant.
v5'Say to the city of Zion,
“Look, your king is coming your way.
He is kind and humble. He is mounted on a donkey.
He is riding on the colt of an ass,'' said God.
v6The *disciples did what Jesus told them to do.v7They brought him the donkey and the chicken. So the disciples put their cloaks over the animals and Jesus got on top of them.v8A very large crowd spread their coats on the road in front of them. And some other people cut branches from trees to put on the path.v9Some people went ahead of Jesus. Some people followed him. And everyone shouted:
‘Praised be the son of David!
We pray that God *blesses the man who comes in *the name of the Lord!
Praise him in the highest heavens!
v10When Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem, everyone was very excited. 'Who is this?' they asked.
v11Then the crowds responded with Jesus. 'This is Jesus,' they said. 'He is a special servant of God who comes from the town of Nazareth in the Galilee district.'
Verses 1-3 Bethphage was a town near Bethany. Both cities were on the Mount of Olives. It was only about two miles from Jerusalem. A '*donkey' is like a small horse that people ride. Jesus had probably arranged this with the owner of the animals some time before. The words 'the Lord needs them' would show that the *disciples were not stealing the animals.
Verses 4-5 Jesus was fulfilling what the special servant of God said in Zechariah 9:9. Jesus chose a *donkey. It was a sign that he came with peace. A military leader always rode a horse. But Jesus was not a king who surrounded on horseback. He was everyone's servant.
Verses 7-8 The *disciples used their garments to make a saddle for Jesus. Then the crowd spread their coats on the road. In the *Old Testament, the officials placed their garments under Jehu when they made him king (2 Kings 9:13). It was a way of showing his authority as king. John tells us that what they cut off were branches from trees called palm trees (John 12:13).
Verse 9 When the *Jews went to Jerusalem for their big *religious meetings, they sang Psalm 118. People use verses 25-26 of this psalm here to praise Jesus. 'Praise' or 'Hosanna' means 'You save us'. Jews used to welcome travelers who arrived in Jerusalem. Now they received Jesus. 'In the highest heaven' is the *Jewish way of saying 'God', who lives in heaven. 'He who comes' and 'Son of David' were ways of describing the *Messiah. People sang 'Hosanna' or 'Praise' to Jesus. They were thinking that Jesus, the *Messiah, would 'save' them from the *Roman rulers. Probably some of the same crowd shouted 'Put him on a cross!' later (Matthew 27:22), because Jesus let them down. They hoped this would bring political freedom to their nation.
Verses 10-11 The people in Jerusalem did not know why there was such an uproar. The crowds that were with Jesus joyfully told who he was.
Jesus' actions in the *Temple 21:12-17
v12Jesus entered the courtyard of the *Temple. He kicked out all the people who were buying and selling there. There were people there who exchanged money. Other people sold birds called 'doves'. Then he overturned their tables and seats.v13And he spoke to them. “God says in his book, 'My house will be called a house where people can pray,'” he said. “But you're turning this house into a 'place where thieves hide'.
v14The blind and those who could not walk straight came to Jesus in the *Temple. And he healed them there.v15The chief *priests and *scribes saw the wonders that Jesus was doing. They also saw screaming children in the *Temple courtyard. "Praise be to the son of David," they shouted.
Then those important men got angry.v16'Do you hear what these children are saying?' they asked him.
'Yes,' replied Jesus. Perhaps you have never read these words:
“You made sure that children and babies praised you perfectly.” '
v17Jesus then left them and went out of town to Bethany. He stayed there that night.
Verses 12-13 The court of the *Temple contained several sections. The foreigners' part was the only place where non-Jews and women could worship. But it had become a noisy market. People were trying to pay the temple tax. But they could only pay with a special currency. So they were exchanging their other money for these special coins. Men often charged a lot for special coins, so people might have argued about it. Everyone had to give perfect animals and birds for the *priests to offer to God. Therefore, it was best to buy these animals in the *Temple courtyard, where a *priest examined them. But the *priests profited from the sale of these animals and birds. Often *priests were not honest. They said other animals and birds weren't good enough. So people had to buy different birds. Jesus used words from Isaiah 56:7. Isaiah said that the *Temple was a place where all people could pray. Jesus also used words from Jeremiah 7:11. Jeremiah had accused the *Jews. He said that they used the * Temple as a hiding place for thieves. So Jesus became angry for two reasons:
1. The place where people worshiped God had become a noisy marketplace. Therefore, no one could pray there.
2. The *priests encouraged people to cheat during trade. People had to pay a lot of money for animals to offer to God and for special coins.
Verse 14 The *Jews believed that 'the blind and those who cannot walk' should not enter the *Temple. King David said so (2 Samuel 5:8). A man who could not walk was sitting outside the Beautiful Gate of the *Temple (Acts 3:2). But Jesus was a greater king than David. He let these people come to him there and he healed them.
Verses 15-16 The leaders were not pleased when Jesus healed the people in the *Temple. The children were copying what the crowd had said. 'Praise be to the son of David,' they shouted. The authorities allowed all noisy traders and animals to be there. But they thought that children shouldn't scream in a holy place. They also didn't want people to call Jesus the 'Son of David'. So they wanted Jesus to stop the children. But Jesus refused. He referred to Psalm 8:1 to show that God wanted his children to praise him.
Verse 17 Jesus had friends in Bethany, among them Martha, Mary and Lazarus. It is possible that he stayed with them that night.
Jesus and the *fig tree 21:18-22
v18The next morning, Jesus was on his way back to Jerusalem. He was hungry.v19He saw a *fig tree by the road. He approached it, but found no fruit on it, only leaves. 'You will never bear fruit again!' he said to the tree. Immediately, the tree withered.
v20The *disciples saw this happen and were amazed. 'How did this fruit tree wither so quickly?' they asked.
v21Truly I say to you, Jesus answered them. “You must believe and you must not doubt. Then you can do what I did with this fruit tree. You can also say to this mountain: "Go and jump into the sea." And it will happen.v22You must believe when you pray. Then you will receive everything you ask for.
Matthew wrote a shorter account of this incident than Mark (Mark 11:12-25). Marcos tells the story of the *fig tree in two parts. Record the incident in the *Temple between the parties.
Verse 19 * Fig trees are very common fruit trees in Israel. This fig tree did not bear fruit because it was not the right season. It seems strange that Jesus destroyed it because it had no fruit. But Jesus was probably acting in the same dramatic way that God's special servants acted long ago. For example, Jeremiah threw a pot and it broke into pieces. Jeremiah had destroyed the pot. He was showing that God would destroy Jerusalem (Jeremiah 19:10-11). Luke tells the story of Jesus about a *fig tree that had no fruit (Luke 13:6-9). The owner kept it for a while. He waited to see if it would bear fruit. Matthew's story showed that the tree had failed. Then it was the right time to destroy it. The *fig tree represented the nation called Israel. A fig tree produces small green fruits before the leaves appear. This tree had only produced leaves. This showed that it would not bear fruit. The incident represented God's judgment on the *Jews who were the people of Israel. They refused to listen to Jesus. The *worship in the *Temple was impressive, but not sincere. In this story, 'bearing fruit' means 'obeying God'. The Jews of Israel were a nation that had not produced this 'fruit'.
Verses 21-22 Jesus said that when people really believe in him, the results may surprise other people. 'Remove mountains' was the *Jewish way of saying 'remove great difficulties'. Jesus was encouraging his *disciples to believe in him when they prayed. Jesus said 'this' mountain. He was probably referring to the Mount of Olives. Zechariah had spoken about the Mount of Olives in Zechariah 14:4. He said it would be divided into two halves. This would happen when God's new age arrived. So maybe Jesus meant that they really needed to believe in him more. Then God's new age would come sooner.
The question about the authority of Jesus 21:23-27
v23Jesus entered the *Temple area. As he was teaching, the chief priests and other leaders approached him. 'What right do you have to do these things?' they asked him. 'Who gave you this authority?'
v24“I will also ask you a question,” Jesus replied. If you answer me, I will answer your question. And I'll tell you who gave me this authority to do these things.v25Where does John's authority to *baptize people come from? Did it come from heaven or did it come from men?
They talked to each other about it. We could say that it came from heaven. But then he will ask us why we don't believe Juan.v26We could say that it came from men. But then we are afraid of people. Everyone believes that John was one of God's special servants.v27So they responded to Jesus. 'We don't know,' they said.
Then Jesus answered them. 'Then I won't say who gave me authority to do these things either.'
Verse 23 The *religious leaders were responsible for what happened in the *Temple. But Jesus had driven out the merchants. He had also taught there. So he was claiming that he had more authority than they did.
Verses 24-25 Jesus taught in the usual *Jewish manner. People asked teachers to answer a question. Teachers often asked another question when answering. Jesus wanted to know what they thought. Did John baptize *with the authority of God? Or did they think that John's work was just one man's doing?
Verses 25-26 The *Jewish authorities had a duty to tell the difference between true and false teachers. They must say whether someone was really a special servant of God or not. But the *religious leaders did not agree that John was doing God's work. Jesus was the man that John identified. But they would not believe that Jesus was the *Messiah. However, they couldn't say that John's job was just one man's job. They were afraid of the crowds. People believed that John was God's special servant. Then the *religious leaders were ashamed. They had to say, 'We don't know.'
Verse 27 The leaders could not decide about John. But John had announced who Jesus was. Therefore, Jesus was not prepared to say anything more about his own authority.
The story of the two sons 21:28-32
v28"What do you think?" continued Jesus. 'There was a man who had two sons. He went to see the major. “Son, go to work today among our grapes,” he said.v29"I don't want to," replied the son. But then he changed his mind. And he went to work.v30So the father went to the other son and told him the same thing. Teson replied, "I will, sir." But it was not.v31Which of the two sons did what the father wanted them to do?
'The first son,' replied the leaders.
Then Jesus spoke again. "What I'm going to tell you is true," he said. '*Tax collectors and *prostitutes will enter where God rules before you.v32Because John came to show you the right way to live. And you didn't believe him. But the *tax collectors and *the prostitutes believed in John. But even when you saw his example, you did not turn away from your* sins. And you didn't believe him.
Verse 28 The *religious leaders were not able to respond to Jesus. Now I was going to tell them a story and ask their opinion.
Verses 28-31 The first son refused to obey his father. But he changed his mind. He then went to work as his father had asked him to do. The second son was educated. He stressed that he would. But he wasn't sincere and he wasn't.
Verses 31-32 None of the sons were perfect, but the eldest son later obeyed. He was better than his brother. The youngest just said he would obey. *Tax collectors and women who received money for sex (prostitutes) were like the first child. When they heard John the Baptist, they changed their attitude. The *religious leaders did not follow this example. Their religion was all about words and rules. They claimed to be servants of God, but in reality they did not obey God. They didn't do what Juan said.
The story of the wicked husbandmen 21:33-46
v33“Listen to another story,” continued Jesus. 'A man who owned a piece of land planted *bushes of grapes in a *wine. He put a wall around the bushes and dug a big hole. They squeezed the ripe grapes into the hole to make wine. He also built a high place to watch over his land. So he leased this *vineyard to some farmers and went on a journey.v34When harvest time came, the owner sent his servants into the vineyard. He told the servants to gather their share of the harvest.v35But the landowners arrested their serfs. They beat a servant and killed another servant. A third servant was then stoned to death.v36So the owner sent other servants to the farmers next time. And this time he sent more servants than the first time. But the farmers did the same to them.v37Finally, the owner sent his son to them. “They will respect my son,” he said.
v38But the farmers saw their son coming towards them. “This is the person who will one day receive his father's estate,” they said to each other. "We `ll kill him. Then the property will be ours."v39Then they arrested the son. They threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.
v40'When the owner of the land returns, what will he do with those farmers?' asked Jesus.
v41'He will surely kill those wicked people,' they replied. 'Then he will rent the vineyard to other farmers who will give him their share at harvest time.'
v42Jesus spoke again to the leaders. Have you never read what God made people write long ago?
“There is a stone that the builders refused to use.
That stone became the most important stone of all.
The *Lord did this,
and what a wonderful sight it is.”
v43So that's what I tell you. God will not allow you to be where he rules. He will make room for people who bear fruit for him.v44Whoever stumbles on this stone will be shattered. But the stone will completely destroy anyone it lands on.
v45The chief *priests and *Pharisees heard the stories of Jesus. They knew he was talking about them.v46So they looked for a way to arrest him. But all people believed that Jesus was God's special servant. So the Pharisees were afraid of the crowd.
Verse 33 Long ago, God's servant Isaiah referred to Israel as God's vineyard (Isaiah 5:1-7). A *wine is a field where people grow fruit bushes called *grapes. Isaiah spoke about how God protected his vineyard with a wall. The "high place to watch over the land" was a small shelter with a flat roof. Someone can climb on your roof. He could look into the vineyard and see animals or thieves. He could take care of the *grapes. He could also store *grapes in the building. The big hole had two sections. At the top of the hole, workers pressed the *grapes with their feet. The juice then flowed into the bottom section to make wine. Isaiah's image meant that God expected a good harvest in Israel. I didn't expect the fruit called *grapes. But he expected the people of Israel to obey him. He wanted them to live a good life. But God was disappointed that the people of Israel did not produce this kind of 'fruit'. Also in the story of Jesus, God is like the owner and Israel is like his *vineyard.
Verse 33 An owner often rented out his vineyard to other farmers. So he received a share of the *grapes at harvest time. The *Jewish leaders were like farmers. God had given them the responsibility. God expected them to take care of people. They must be a good example.
Verses 34-36 The servants who went to gather the *grapes were like special servants of God long ago. God is very patient. Many times he sent his servants to the people of Israel. They reminded the people that God wanted 'fruits' from his '*vineyard'. God wanted them to obey him. Then they would live good lives. God gives us every opportunity to obey him. But the leaders of Israel did not listen. Rather, they made God's servants suffer. For example:
They insulted Amos (Amos 7:12).
They beat Jeremiah and put him in prison (Jeremiah 37:14-15). The king destroyed the book in which Jeremiah had recorded his message (Jeremiah 36:20-26).
They killed Zechariah (2 Chronicles 24:20-21).
Later, Stephen told the leaders of Israel about all of God's special servants. He said that his relatives who lived long ago made God's servants suffer (Acts 7:52).
Verses 37-39 Finally, God sent his own Son. Jesus knew that he was different from God's special servants. They were servants, but he was the Son. Jesus knew that the *Jewish leaders would plan to kill him. The husbandmen drove the son out of the vineyard. Soldiers killed Jesus outside Jerusalem.
Verses 40-41 The farmers thought the owner was far away. They thought I didn't know what they had done. Many people today behave like this. They think that God doesn't know what they are doing. Some of the* Jewish leaders were listening to the story of Jesus. They agreed that the owner would come back. And he would punish the wicked farmers. It would certainly kill them. This became true for the *Jews in *70 AD, when the *Romans destroyed the city of Jerusalem.
The owner would lease his *wine to others, they agreed. But they didn't like the idea that God would *bless other people. They could not accept the idea of a new *kingdom, where people would believe in Jesus.
Verses 42-44 Jesus used verses 22-23 of Psalm 118. He referred to himself as a stone which the builders use. But the builders thought the stone was useless. So that stone became the most important stone in the building. It became the stone that joins the two parts at the top of a curve. Or it became the stone that joins two walls at the base of the building. This rock is a strong foundation, and Jesus is the strong foundation of the Christian church. Peter used the same verse to describe Jesus (Acts 4:11; 1 Peter 2:7).
Jesus also spoke of himself as a stone over which men would stumble. These words from Isaiah 8:14-15 speak of what happens to people who oppose Jesus. The second image word speaks of a stone falling on someone. This image comes from Daniel 2:34-35. A stone destroyed an image in the king's dream, and the image broke into pieces. In both paintings, Jesus is like the stone.
Verses 45-46 Jesus told these stories about the two sons and the wicked farmers. The *chief priests and *Pharisees realized that these stories were about themselves. They were so angry that they wanted to arrest Jesus. But they were afraid of the crowd of people. People believed that Jesus was one of God's special servants. Because it was the time of *Passover, these *Jewish leaders did not want any crowds to cause trouble. The *Roman rulers were watching and would punish the *Jews.
The story of the wedding meal 22:1-14
v1Jesus told them some more stories.v2“Where God rules, that's how it is,” he said. 'A king prepared a wedding meal for his son.v3The king had invited the people to a special meal. When he was ready, he sent his servants to those people. They went to tell them to come, but the people refused to come.v4So the king sent some more servants. "Talk to the people I invited," he said. Tell them I cooked my dinner. I killed my cows and my fattest young cows. Everything is ready. Come for the wedding meal.
v5But the people paid no attention and went on with their own work. A person went to his field. Another person went to your business.v6Other people arrested the king's servants. They injured the servants and then killed them.v7Then the king was very angry. He sent his army to destroy those people. The army killed the people who killed the king's servants. So they burned their city.
v8Then the king spoke again to his servants. "The wedding food is ready," he said. “But the people I invited didn't deserve to eat it.v9Go to the street. And invite anyone you meet there.
v10Then the servants went out into the streets. They gathered all the people they could find. They brought together good people and bad people. Then the wedding hall was full of guests.v11The king entered the hall to see the guests. And he noticed a man who was not wearing proper wedding clothes.v12"Friend," he asked, "how did you get in here without wearing wedding clothes?" The man couldn't answer.v13Then the king said to his servants, “Bind him hand and foot. Play it in the dark. Outside, people will cry. and they will bite their teeth.”
v14Many people receive an invitation. But God chooses only a few people,' said Jesus.
Verse 2 The *Jews thought there would be a special meal when the *Messiah came. Jesus told of a king who invited guests to his son's wedding dinner. God was inviting the *Jews. He wanted them to receive his Son Jesus. Then they could be very happy.
Verses 3-4 At that time it was customary to send two invitations. The first invitation informed guests about the special meal. Then, when the food was ready, the guests received a second invitation. It was time to go eat the special meal.
Verses 5-6 In the story of Jesus, the guests refused to eat. They acted as if the king's invitation didn't matter. First they left to mind their own business. The deal itself wasn't bad. But they put their own affairs before the king's invitation. This seriously insulted the king. Likewise, the *Jewish leaders were insulting God. They turned down the opportunity to come where he rules.
Verses 7-8 The king punished those people who killed his servants. And he burned his city. These details seem to refer to the events of *70 AD. It was then that the *Romans destroyed Jerusalem.
Verses 9-10 None of the people in the streets expected an invitation to be the king's guests. Both were ordinary "good and bad" people. Jesus welcomed *sinners too. The new guests were Jews and foreigners. They gained a place where God rules.
Verses 11-14 These verses have a special meaning. *Jewish teachers told similar stories about a king and wedding clothes.
It doesn't seem fair for the king to blame the man. The man had come from the street, so he wasn't wearing special clothes. But the king could have provided wedding clothes for his guests, as that was the custom. The man came to the wedding meal without proper clothing. But he had no excuse because he knew the customs. He had insulted his host. Isaiah says people try to become good. However, to God, all your efforts are like very dirty clothes (Isaiah 64:6). But God gave Isaiah special clothes because it saved him. So Isaiah praises and thanks God (Isaiah 61:10). Paul exhorted the Ephesian Christians to 'take off' or leave the old way of life. They must “put on” or change to the new way of life. They must obey God (Ephesians 4:22-24).
In this story, the special wedding clothes are pictorial language. This shows that God saved the person. The man's clothing was not suitable for a wedding. They are pictorial language of the bad way he lived. The other guests stripped and donned their special wedding attire. This means that God has forgiven them. He had saved them.
Verse 13 God offers to save people. The story refers to the time when God will be the judge. He will punish all people who rejected his offer. Darkness was something they should fear. So Jesus warns them about it. People who are in the dark will be very miserable. They will likely be hurt and angry with themselves. That's why they will be biting their teeth together.
Verse 14 History shows that God invites many people. But few fully accept the invitation to enjoy a place where he rules.
The question about taxes 22:15-22
v15So the Pharisees withdrew and gathered together. They made plans to get Jesus to say something bad.v16So they sent him some of their *disciples along with some so-called *Herodians. 'Master', they said to him, 'we know you are an honest man. The things you teach about God's way are true. You respect everyone. You don't realize how important they are.v17Tell us then, what do you think? Is it right for us to pay taxes to the *Roman king named Caesar? Or is it not okay?
v18But Jesus knew their evil plan. 'You are not being honest,' he replied. You are trying to test me.v19Show me the currency people use to pay tax. So they brought him a silver coin.v20'Whose image and name is this coin?' he asked them.
v21'It is from Caesar,' they replied.
"Give back to Caesar what is Caesar's," said Jesus. "And give to God what is God's."
v22When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.
Verses 15-17 The *Herodians were family friends of King Herod. They generally did not join the *Pharisees. They didn't want to obey all the rules the Pharisees obeyed. What they said about Jesus was true. He always said what God wanted. He didn't allow other people to change what he taught. The Pharisees praised Jesus. But they just wanted the question to sound sincere. They thought they could taste Jesus. They thought your plan was very smart. And they thought so. Any answer Jesus gave would make people angry. The *Jews agreed to pay taxes to their *Roman rulers. It reminded them that they were not a free nation. Some *Jews thought it was against God's commandments. They were paying money to people who didn't believe in God, they said. Jesus could agree with them. Then he said it wasn't right to pay the tax. This would cause problems with the *Romans. Jesus could say that they should pay the tax. Then people got angry. And they would stop listening.
Verses 18-19 But Jesus saw what the *Pharisees were trying to do. The coin he asked for was called a 'denarius'. It was a silver coin. It was equal to a man's wages for a day's work. There was an image of Tiberius Caesar's head on one side. On the other hand, the words describe him as *high priest of the *Roman religion.
Verses 20-21 The *Pharisees had to say that the image and name were of Caesar on the coin. Then Jesus told them to pay Caesar what belonged to him. It was the payment owed him. The state provided security, good roads, and other public services. Therefore, a Christian has a duty to pay his taxes. You are a citizen of the country you live in. But a Christian is also a citizen of heaven. He also has a duty to God. A good citizen where God rules will be a good citizen in his own country on earth as well. They will pay what they owe to God and other people.
Verse 22 The plan failed. Then the Pharisees left.
The question about the afterlife 22:23-33
v23That same day, some *Sadducees approached Jesus to ask him a question. The *Saducees say that there is no life after death.v24'Master,' they said, 'this is what Moses told us about the death of a married man. If he has no children, his brother must marry the widow. Then the brother can have children in the name of the deceased.v25Now there were 7 brothers between us. The first married, but later died. As he had no children, his brother married the deceased's wife.v26But the same thing happened to the man's brother. The same thing happened seven times when each brother married the woman.v27In the end, the woman died.v28Now, whose wife will she be when everyone lives after death? The 7 brothers married her.
v29Jesus answered them. "You are wrong," he said. ‘You don’t know the *scriptures. And you don't know the power of God.v30When people return to the afterlife, they will not marry. And parents will not give their sons or daughters in marriage. People will be like *messengers of God in heaven.v31But God spoke of life after death. Surely you read what God told you.v32“I am the God of Abraham. I am the God of Isaac and I am the God of Jacob.” He is not the God of the dead. He is the God of the living.
v33The crowd listened to what Jesus taught. And what he taught them surprised them.
Verse 23 The *Sadducees were the wealthy *Jewish leaders. Many of them were *priests. They worked with *Roman rulers to maintain their own power. And they feared that Jesus might cause a difficult political situation. Then the *Romans would get angry and the *Sadducees could lose their power. They did not believe that people would live again after death. And they did not believe that God had *angels (see Acts 23:8). They expected that Jesus would not be able to answer his question. Then he would look like a fool and the crowd would lose interest in him. They no longer wanted to hear what he taught them.
Verses 24-28 They told a story about marriage and the *Jewish* Law (see Deuteronomy 25:5-6). A husband can die. But if he has no children, his brother or a close relative must marry his widow. The widow's first child and her new husband would carry on the deceased's surname. People would also consider him the son of the first husband. The *Saducees told the story of a woman who married seven brothers in succession. But none of them had children. Whose wife would she be when everyone lived again after death? They thought that such a situation would be impossible to resolve. They thought that Jesus could never give a satisfactory answer.
Verses 29-30 Jesus showed that their question was absurd. The *Saducees thought that life in heaven would be the same as life on earth. They didn't know the power of God. God is able to give people new life. There will be no marriage in heaven and people will not need to continue the human race. People will be like the *messengers of God, who do not die. In heaven, God will give people new life. And he will provide suitable bodies.
Verses 31-32 The *Old Testament tells us about life after death. But the *Sadducees denied it. Jesus said they didn't know what God had said. The *Saducees thought that the five books of the *Law were the most important part (the first five books of the Bible). Jesus reminded them of a statement in Exodus, which was one of those books. God spoke to Moses. “I am the God whom Abraham * worships. I am the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob” (Exodus 3:6).*The Jews who lived long ago are alive with God. He said, "I am." He didn't say, "I was". Nothing can end the relationship with God. It begins on earth and continues after *physical death. (The *Pharisees believed in God's messengers* and in the afterlife.)
Verse 33 The *Sadducees tried to make Jesus less popular, but failed. The people in the crowd were amazed at the clever way in which Jesus answered the question.
The greatest commandment 22:34-40
v34Jesus had shown the *Sadducees to be wrong. The *Pharisees found out, so they rallied.v35One of them was an expert in the *Law and tested Jesus with a question.v36'Master, which is the greatest commandment in the *Law?' he asked.
v37Jesus answered him. "Love God with all your person: all your heart, all your interior and all your mind."v38This is the first and most important command.v39And the second important command goes like this. "Love your neighbor as much as you love yourself."v40Everything that God's special servants wrote in the *Law and in his other books depends on these two commandments.'
Verses 34-36 Jesus answered the *Sadducees. Now the *Pharisees (the other *Jewish leaders) prepared to test Jesus. The *Jewish teachers said that the *Law contained 613 commandments of God. Some of these laws were more important than other laws. The expert in the *Law asked Jesus which was the most important commandment.
Verses 37-38 Jesus used words from Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18. The most important commandment is part of what the *Jews call the Shema. It's their statement of what they believe. Thus, *Jews say the Shema every day. The most important of God's commandments is that people love him. You must love him with all your *soul: all your thoughts, all your feelings and all your life.
Verse 39 Jesus added a second commandment. When people really love God, they love other people. We are to love others as much as we love ourselves, Jesus said.
Verse 40 The man asked about the *Law and Jesus answered in the books of the *Law. But he added the other books that special servants of God had written. The *Law and these other books are the two great divisions of the *Old Testament, which is the *Jewish Bible. Therefore, these two commandments are the sum of everything the *Old Testament taught.
The question about David's son 22:41-46
v41While the Pharisees were together, Jesus asked them a question.v42‘What do you think of Christ? What family does it belong to?
'He is the son of David,' they replied.
v43Jesus spoke to them again. But David called him “*Lord,” because the *Holy Spirit spoke through David long ago.
v44“The*Lord spoke to my *Lord:
sit on my right side
until I put your enemies under your feet," he said.
v45So if David calls him “*Lord,” how can he be David's son?
v46No one could answer Jesus. And since that day no one has dared to ask him any questions.
Verses 41-42 Jesus asked this question after the Pharisees questioned him. He wanted them to think more of Christ, their *Messiah. They should have been thinking about the kind of Christ (*Messiah) they expected. They believed he would belong to King David's family. But the popular idea was that he would be a soldier like David. The *Messiah would deliver the people of Israel from their *Roman rulers and defeat other nations. Then Israel would have great political power in the world.
Verses 43-45 Jesus agreed that he belonged to the family of David. But he reminded them of Psalm 110:1. This psalm showed that Jesus was more important than David. The *Jews knew that David wrote many psalms. And Psalm 110 was about the *Messiah. The first words, 'The *Lord', refer to God. So God is inviting the man whom David called 'my Lord'. The *Lord of David is the* Messiah, Christ, and God is giving him the most important place with him. He would remain with God until God defeated all of his enemies.
Verse 45 David called the *Messiah "*Lord". So Jesus wanted to know how the *Messiah could be David's son. Jesus wanted to show that the *Messiah was not a military hero like David. He was a different kind of king who came to rule in peace. I would invite people into where she rules. He was someone much greater than David, for which he received a place of honor in heaven with God.
Peter also used the message of Psalm 110:1 when speaking to the crowd on the day of *Pentecost (Acts 2:34-35). He said that Jesus was "both * Lord and Christ" as the words of Psalm 110.
And Paul used this message when he wrote to the Christians in Corinth. Christ will destroy all his enemies, even the last enemy, which is death (1 Corinthians 15:25-26).
Verse 46 The people who opposed Jesus asked him many questions. He answered everyone with great wisdom. They weren't able to win this battle of words. And now they had no answer to his question. Then they couldn't ask any more questions and left.
These chapters are the last section on what Jesus taught. Jesus is warning the crowds and his *disciples. First, Jesus warns them about the *Pharisees.
Jesus accuses the Pharisees 23:1-12
v1Then Jesus spoke to the crowd and to his disciples.v2“The men who teach the *Law and the *Pharisees speak with the authority of Moses,” he said.v3So you must obey them. Do whatever they tell you to do. But don't follow his lead. They don't practice what they teach.v4They tie heavy loads and put those loads on other people's shoulders. But they themselves are not willing to use even a finger to help carry the loads.v5They go out of their way to get other people to see them. They write verses from the Word of God and put them in boxes. See how many of these boxes they carry in their arms and on their heads! And they want you to admire the very long corners of their prayer garments!v6They love to sit in the most important places when they are at parties. And they love to sit in the most important places in the building where they gather to *worship God.v7They are very happy when people greet them respectfully in markets. And they love to hear people call them 'Master'.
v8But you shouldn't allow people to call you 'Master'. You only have one teacher, and they are all brothers and sisters.v9Also, don't call anyone on earth 'dad'. You have a Father, and he is in heaven.v10Nobody should call any of you 'teacher' because you all have only one teacher. And he is the Christ.v11The most important person among you will be your servant.v12If anyone tries to make himself important, God will make him unimportant. And God will give honor to those who are humble.
Verse 1 Jesus is talking to everyone around him.
Verses 2-3 God had given the *Law to Moses long ago. The *Jews were to obey the laws of God. The men who taught the *Law and the *Pharisees were responsible for teaching the *Law to the people. They taught that people should respect God and respect other people. Therefore, all *Jews must obey them. But the *Pharisees had hundreds of rules of their own to explain the *Law of God. They said that people must obey all these rules. But they often avoided their own rules. Jesus didn't want people to copy this bad behavior. These teachers tried to look good, but they wanted more honor for themselves than for God.
Verse 4 All his rules were like a great burden that people had to carry. For example, there were many rules about how to make God's day special. It should be a day when people rest and are happy. But there came a day when people were worried about all the rules. Therefore, these rules have become a very heavy burden. But the *Pharisees made no effort to help with the load.
Verse 5 The *Pharisees liked people to think they were very* holy. They carried small leather cases containing small rolls of paper. They called these boxes “phylacteries” and wrote four passages of God's Word on each parchment. *Jews wore one or more on their arms and one on the front of their heads. They reminded people of God's commandments. The Pharisees wore very large "phylacteries". They wanted people to notice them. People could see how well they obeyed God's laws. The man wore his special spiked coat when he prayed to God. These garments also reminded people of God's laws. But the *Pharisees made the chants longer so that people would notice them.
Verse 6 The *Pharisees liked people to think they were important. So they wanted seats next to their hosts at parties. They liked to sit in the chairs facing everyone in the building where they gathered to *worship God. Then they could look at everyone who was there. And everyone would notice who was sitting in the front seats.
Verses 7-10 They liked people to give them the utmost respect. They liked titles that gave them honor. Some translations use the word 'Rabi', which means 'My teacher'. They even liked being called 'dad' by people. Jesus said Christians have only one teacher. And that teacher is Christ. Christians have only one father who raised them. That Father is God. And with God as their father, Christians are all brothers and sisters.
Verses 11-12 Jesus emphasized that a Christian should serve other people. And he or she must be humble. God gives honor to whom he deserves. Proud people don't really praise God. Instead, they just flatter themselves. But God will destroy your pride. You will also know which people are truly humble. He will reward you and honor you.
Jesus warns the *scribes and *Pharisees 23:13-36
Verse 14 is missing from most early copies of Matthew. It's extra. Perhaps someone copied from Mark 12:40 and Luke 20:47 a long time ago. Without verse 14, there are seven times Jesus warns the *Pharisees and *scribes. Jesus accused them of double standards. Many translations use the word “hypocrites” here. This means that they are like actors who hide their true character.
v13“How terrible for you who teach the *Law and for you *Pharisees! You have double standards! You close the door to where God rules. You close it in people's faces so they can't get in. But you are not going alone. People are trying to get in, but you stop them.
[v14How terrible for you who teach the *Law, and for you *Pharisees! You have double standards! You rob widows by taking their homes. So you say long sentences in public! Your punishment will be very severe!]
v15How terrible for you who teach the *Law, and for you *Pharisees! You have double standards! You travel to other countries everywhere, even across the sea. You do it to gain one more person who believes like you. So you make him twice as ready for hell as you are.
v16How terrible for you blind guides! You teach bad things! “One can refer to the *Temple when making a pledge. It means nothing," you say. "Another person may refer to the gold in the *Temple when making a promise. Then he must keep his promise," you say.v17You are blind and foolish. Perhaps you think that gold is more important than the *Temple. Certainly, the *Temple is more important because it sanctifies the gold.v18You also teach this. “One may refer to the holy table in the *Temple when making a pledge. It doesn't mean anything. But someone else may refer to the gift that is on the sacred table. Then he must fulfill his promise,” you say.v19blind! Perhaps you think that the present is more important than the holy table. Certainly, the sacred table is greater because it sanctifies the gift.v20Therefore, one can refer to the holy table when making a promise. Then they will also make a pledge with whatever people offer at that table.v21And one can refer to the *Temple when making a promise. They will also promise with the name of God because he lives there.v22One can refer to heaven when making a promise. They will also make a pledge with the royal throne of God there. That person pledges in the name of God because he is sitting in that seat.
v23How terrible for you who teach the *Law, and for you *Pharisees! You have double standards! When you have ten little garden plants like mint, fennel, and cumin, you give one to God. But you neglect the most important matters of the *Law. You weren't fair to people or pitied them. You haven't been honest with people. You should have practiced the last things without neglecting the first.v24Blind guides! Make sure there are no small bugs in your drink. But are you ready to swallow a camel!
v25How terrible for you who teach the Law and for you Pharisees! You have double standards! You clean the outside of the cups and plates. But inside they contain everything you got wrongly. You are greedy and just want to satisfy yourself.v26Blind * Pharisees! First, they must clean the inside of the cups and plates. Then the outside will also be clean.
v27How terrible for you who teach the Law and for you Pharisees! You have double standards! You are like the tombs in the rock that people paint white. They look beautiful on the outside. But inside it's full of dead bones and other things that aren't clean.v28It's the same with you. You want people to look up to you. You always seem to do the right thing. But inside you're just pretending to be nice. You're full of what's wrong.
v29How terrible for you who teach the Law and for you Pharisees! You have double standards! You build magnificent stone tombs for special longtime servants of God. You also make the graves of good people look prettier.v30“If we had lived a long time ago, we wouldn't have done bad things as the first people in our families,” you say. “We wouldn't have helped them kill God's special servants,” you say.v31Then you are witnesses against yourselves. You say you belong to these people's families. And they killed God's special servants.v32So go and end the bad things these people started a long time ago!
v33You are like poisonous snakes in a nest! But you hope to escape punishment in hell!v34So I am sending you more special servants of God, sages and teachers. I know you're going to kill some of them. And you will fix some on *crosses so they die. You will whip other servants in the buildings where you gather to *worship God. And you will chase them from one city to another city.v35You shed the blood of the good on earth. God will call him guilty of these murders. It started with the blood of Abel, who obeyed God. The murders continued until Zacharias, who was the son of Berechías. You murdered him between the *Temple and the holy table.v36I tell you the truth. God will punish the people who are alive now for all these murders.
Jesus warned the *religious leaders seven times:
1. Verse 13 Most of the men who taught the *Law and the *Pharisees were opposed to Jesus. He wanted people to go where God rules. But these leaders refused to listen to Jesus. Also, they tried to stop other people from listening. They didn't want anyone else to accept Jesus' invitation. It was like shutting a door so people couldn't come in, Jesus said. When Jesus healed a blind man, the man's parents were afraid to answer questions about their son (John 9:20-23). Some people accepted Jesus as the *Messiah. But the *religious leaders refused to allow such people to stay in the buildings where they met to *worship God (John 9:22).
2. Verse 15 The *Pharisees strove to teach the foreigners. They wanted them to believe as the *Jews believed. But the *Pharisees really did not help them to know God. They just tried to get people to accept all their rules. They tried to get people to follow their lead. When someone changes religions, they are usually very anxious to obey the new religion's rules. So that was the danger to other people who believed in the *Pharisees. They can become worse than the *Pharisees themselves.
3. Verses 16-22 Jesus had already spoken of serious promises (Matthew 5:33-37). There were different types of promises. The *Pharisees thought that they only had to keep certain promises. They didn't have to fulfill other promises. If they didn't promise with the name of the *Temple, the holy table or the sky, they could break that promise. But Jesus said that everything belongs to God. And it shouldn't be necessary to make promises in the names of holy things. Jesus said they must be honest. They must mean what they said.
4. Verses 23-24 The *Levites worked in the *Temple. They don't own any land. The other *Jews had a duty to support the *Levites. So out of all their grain, oil and wine, the *Jews had to give them a share of ten. But the *Pharisees also gave them one out of ten even of the little plants in their gardens. These tiny plants were her medicine and gave extra flavor to her food. Jesus showed that the *Pharisees were emphasizing the wrong things. It's much more important to be fair to other people. It's better to help people who need help. It is better to be loyal to God and honest with others. The *Pharisees wanted to avoid anything that they thought was not 'clean'. So Jesus suggested an impossible verbal image. They were careful to remove any small bugs from your drink. But they were prepared to swallow something as big as a camel! This funny picture showed that the *Pharisees were stupid. Some things are important and some things are less important. The *Pharisees did not notice the difference.
5. Verses 25-26 The many rules of the *Pharisees included how to wash the dishes. They had to make sure the outside of a cup or plate was clean enough for God. It may not have looked dirty. But nothing your rules deem 'impure' should touch the outside. That touch would make it 'not clean'. They didn't care much about more important wrong things. When someone cheated, they didn't care. When someone stole food and drink, they didn't care. So the *Pharisees were like their own cups and plates. They made sure they looked neat on the outside. But they were greedy on the inside, where it didn't show. They wanted to please themselves instead of pleasing God.
6. Verses 27-28 *The Jews believed that a person should not touch a dead body. This would make the person 'unclean' (Numbers 19:16). In some places, there were tombstones along the road. Someone could touch a tomb by accident. Then they would no longer be "clean". If this happened on *Easter, that person could not participate in the *Easter ceremonies. So, in the spring*, the Jews painted the tombs white. They looked beautiful, but inside they were full of corpses or just bones. Jesus said the Pharisees were like white tombs. They looked so good from the outside. But deep down, the* Pharisees were just as terrible as they were inside the tombs.
7. Verses 29-32 The *Pharisees intended to honor the special servants of God who were long dead. They made their tombs look beautiful. Sometimes they even built new stone tombs for them. The *Pharisees said that they would not have killed the servants of God. But Jesus was bringing God's message, and they planned to kill him. He had shown that he knew their thoughts in his story about the wicked husbandmen (Matthew 21:33-41). Throughout Jewish history, men killed God's special servants and refused to listen to his message. The *Pharisees were the same.
Verses 33-36 Jesus used words which John the Baptist had also used. He warned the Pharisees about punishment in hell. God had sent his special servants with messages in the past and would send more in the future. But they would all suffer because they were doing God's work. And Jesus knew that he too would be nailed to a cross to die. All of *Jewish history showed how the *Jews had murdered God's servants. Abel was the first. His brother Cain murdered him (Genesis 4:8). Zechariah was the last because Chronicles is the last book of the Jewish *Old Testament. He told the people that God would punish them for their bad behavior. But King Joash encouraged the people to throw stones at Zechariah. And those stones killed him (2 Chronicles 24:20-22). In Genesis, the murder of Abel meant that God would judge Cain (Genesis 4:10). Before dying, Zechariah prayed to God. He asked God to judge his murderers (2 Chronicles 24:22). Jesus said that the people living at that time would suffer because of the murders in his history. Jesus gave them a very serious warning. I knew what would happen. The nation always refused to believe God's message and soon God would punish them. The *Pharisees were among those who opposed Jesus. But Jesus was God's final message to them.
Jesus weeps for the people of Jerusalem 23:37-39
v37Jerusalem, Jerusalem! His people kill special servants of God. They throw stones to kill people when God sends them to you. Many times I wanted to gather your people. I've wanted to be like a hen that gathers her chicks under her wings. But you didn't leave me.v38See, your *Temple will be empty and alone.v39I'm telling you the truth. You will not see me again until you say, "We pray that God blesses the man who comes in the name of the Lord." '
Verse 37 Jesus loved the city of Jerusalem very much and he loved his own people, the *Jews, very much. Luke says (Luke 19:41-44) that Jesus wept as he approached the city. He wanted people to go where God ruled and be safe. Because he loved them, he wanted to protect them. It was like a hen that protects her chicks under her wings. Matthew, Mark, and Luke record only one *Passover visit to Jerusalem. This visit took place after Jesus began his public work. Jesus says 'Many times', which shows that he visited Jerusalem many times. And the *Gospel of John records some of these other visits.
Verse 38 Jesus was giving a last and sad warning to his people. But I knew they wouldn't listen. And the foreigners would destroy the house of God, his *Temple.
Verse 39 The crowd shouted, “Let us pray that God blesses the man who comes in the name of the Lord!” when Jesus entered Jerusalem (Matthew 21:9). One day Jesus will return. Then the welcome words will be sincere.
Jesus says what will happen to the *Temple 24:1-2
v1Then Jesus left the *Temple. He was walking when his *disciples approached him. They wanted him to notice all the *Temple Buildings.v2But Jesus answered them. Yes, you see all these buildings. And I'm telling the truth. Not a single stone will be left here in its place in the building. The soldiers will throw all the stones.
Verses 1-2 The *disciples admired the *Temple. They found it very beautiful. They were amazed at what Jesus said because the stones were huge (Mark 13:1; Luke 21:5). Jesus could see that the *Temple was beautiful. But it was useless unless sincere people went there to *worship God. Jesus knew that the *Jews would oppose the *Romans later on. And then the *Romans would deal with the *Jews. There would be war and the *Romans would destroy Jerusalem. They would completely destroy the *Temple itself. Jesus' words were fulfilled in *70 AD.
Problems will come in the future 24:3-8
v3Later, Jesus was sitting on the hill called the Mount of Olives. His *disciples came to him privately. 'Tell us,' they said, 'when will all this happen? What will be the evidence that you will return? What will be the evidence that this age is ending?
v4Jesus answered them. 'Take care! Don't let anyone make you believe lies.v5Many men will say they came in my name. “I am the *Messiah!” they will say. So many people will think this is true.v6You will hear about wars. And you will hear news about other wars. Make sure you don't worry. These things must happen. But they don't mean the end has come.v7Nations will fight each other. One king's men will fight another king's men. People will starve and the earth will shake in many places.v8Pain comes before a child is born. And all these events are like these pains.
Verses 3-4 The *disciples wanted to know when the *Temple would end like this. They also asked Jesus when he would return. Matthew used the *Greek word 'parousia' to indicate when Jesus will return. It has become a special word. It referred to the time when Jesus would return to earth. And that would happen when 'this age is ending'.
Jesus answered both of these questions in the next few verses (verses 5-44).
Verse 5 Jesus warned the *disciples that there would be many false *Messiahs in the future. They told the people that God had sent them. Many people said that they were the *Messiah after Jesus' death. And there are false *Messiahs to this day.
Verses 6-8 Jesus spoke about wars and terrible natural events. Such events can make people think that the end of the world is near. But Jesus said these problems were like the beginning of a new era. They are like the pains that occur before the birth of a baby.
Jesus warns that people will suffer 24:9-14
v9"Then people will hand him over to the authorities," continued Jesus. They will punish you and you might get killed. People of all nations will hate you because you trust me.v10At that point, many people will stop believing me. They will give themselves up to their enemies and hate each other.v11Many false teachers will tell lies about the future. They will make many people think that they really have a message from God.v12Because bad things will increase, many people will stop loving me.v13But God will save everyone who believes in him to the end.v14*The disciples will teach people around the world about where God rules. They will tell this good news to people in all nations. Then the end will come.
Jesus warns his *disciples about four things:
1. Verse 9 *Disciples should expect people to hate them. The* disciples will suffer wherever they go to announce the good news. They will suffer because they belong to Christ. The people will oppose them and attack them. People will really hurt them and might even kill them.
2. Verse 10 There will be confusion in society. People will stop believing in God. They will not be able to trust each other, so they will help each other's enemies.
3. Verse 11 False teachers will say that they are giving messages from God. But they will only teach their own ideas, because they want to make themselves important.
4. Verse 12 Many people will love God less and less. They will see all the bad things happening in the world. And they will allow those bad things to destroy what's good in their lives. Then they will stop believing in God.
Jesus made two important promises:
1. Verse 13 God will say, 'Welcome!' to the people when they enter where he rules. But these people must believe in him until the end of their lives (Revelation 2:10). "Until the end" can also mean until God finishes his work here on earth. Some people will still be alive when Jesus returns.
2. Verse 14 The good news about where God rules will spread throughout the world. *The disciples must share this good news in all nations and then the end of the world will come.
The people will suffer in Jerusalem 24:15-22
v15Jesus continued to speak to them. ‘A long time ago, Daniel, God’s special servant, spoke of “what people hate and destroy everything. You will see him standing in the holy place,” he said. (The reader must understand what this means.)v16You live here in Judea. Seeing this, you should immediately flee to the mountains.v17If someone is out of his house at that time, he should not be long in coming back. They must not take anything from home.v18If anyone is out in the field, he should not go home to get his coat.v19In those days it will be terrible for women who are expecting babies! And it will be terrible for mothers who are feeding small babies!v20Pray that you don't have to flee in the winter. And pray that they don't have to flee on God's rest day.v21People will suffer terrible things in those days. It will be worse than anything that has gone before. And there will never be anything like that again.v22If God does not shorten the time, no one will live afterwards. But God decided to shorten the time. That's because he feels sorry for the people he chose.
Verse 15 “What people hate and destroy everything” is a description of Daniel 9:27. People everywhere recognized that the *Temple was the most *holy place for the *Jews. So the rulers who defeated the *Jews put something there to represent their own gods in God's holy place.
'The reader must understand what this means.' Matthew likely wanted his readers to think about the reference to Daniel. He described a dangerous situation. Therefore, people must be prepared for a bad moment like this. Foreign kings tried to destroy the *Jewish religion. And when Matthew wrote, the *Romans were already waging war with the *Jews.
Verses 16-18 When the first signs of trouble appear, people should flee quickly. They must not spend time trying to collect any good. They must escape as soon as possible. Jesus advised them to flee to the mountains. This was practical advice because caves could provide shelter for people.
Eusebius, a writer, said that the Christians abandoned Jerusalem when the* Romans attacked it later. The Christians crossed the Jordan River and found safety in a city called Pella. The *Jewish writer named Josephus describes the actions of other people. They thought they would be safe. So they stayed in Jerusalem because the city had strong walls. The *Jews believed that the*Temple would protect them. But Titus, the *Roman leader, camped outside the city for five months. He waited for people to starve and die.
Verse 19 When this happened, some women were expecting babies. Other women would have very young children. Jesus warned that it would be terrible for them. Mothers would suffer when they could not feed their children. Josephus said that the people of Jerusalem were very hungry during the Roman attack. One mother even killed her baby and ate it.
Verse 20 In winter, it was difficult to travel. The weather was bad and the roads were muddy. The river would have filled with water. People could only slowly escape. And the *Jews believed they should only travel a short distance on God's Sabbath.
Verse 21 The *Jewish writer Josephus tells how the people suffered terribly in Jerusalem. Thousands of *Jews died as the *Romans fought them. Their corpses were still in Jerusalem when the *Romans entered the city. (This was 70 years after the birth of Christ. It happened in the year *AD70). And they hated the sight of all the dead bodies. Thousands of other *Jews became slaves when the *Romans took them prisoner. The *Romans took many prisoners to other countries.
Verse 22 God controls the events of the world. He doesn't want people to suffer for a long time. He will not allow anyone to destroy the people he has chosen. The *Jews were the people he had chosen. Therefore, these words may refer to when the *Romans defeated the *Jews in Jerusalem. But Christians are also the people God has chosen. Thus, the words can refer to other times when people also suffer. Many of these bad times will happen before the world ends.
Jesus warns against the false *Messiah 24:23-28
v23'At that time someone can talk to you,' said Jesus. ' "See! Here is the Christ!" You may say, “There it is!” another person may say, don't believe him.v24False Christs and false teachers who announce events will appear. They will do great signs and *miracles. They would persuade God's people to believe wrong ideas if they could.v25Take notice! I told you this before it happens.
v26Someone might say to you, "It's too far out in the desert." But don't go out there. Or someone might say, "He's hiding inside the house." But don't believe them.v27When lightning shines in the east, people in the west can see it. So it will be very bright when the Son of Man comes.v28The vultures (big birds) always go to the place where there is a corpse”.
Verses 23-24 In verses 5 and 11, Jesus warns the *disciples about *false Messiahs and false teachers who announce future events. Many people came with false messages and said that God had sent them. This was before the *Romans defeated the *Jews in Jerusalem. Now Jesus is talking about events even farther into the future. One day, Jesus, also called the Son of Man, will return to this earth. He will return to earth with power and authority. He will arrive like a king. But people will try to get Christians to believe the wrong things about him. Before Jesus returns, false teachers and false *Messiahs will even perform 'signs and *wonders'. False *Messiahs can be people who oppose Jesus the Christ. Sometimes they say they are Christians. But they teach false things. Christians must be very careful. You must not believe false teachers.
Verse 25 Jesus told his disciples about this so that they would be prepared. They will be able to protect themselves against what is false.
Verse 26 They must not believe that Christ is in the desert, far from people. But some Christians went there to avoid the bad things in society. Christ does not hide in the inner room of a house. There are no secrets about him that only special people can discover.
Verse 27 Jesus, the *Son of Man, will come suddenly and with great light, just like lightning. People everywhere will be able to see it.
Verse 28 Vultures are big black birds that eat dead things. They always gather around a dead animal. They give clear evidence that there is a dead animal there. This verse probably means that there will be clear evidence when Jesus returns. No one will miss him. Everyone will see this.
The *Son of Man will return 24:29-31
These verses describe how the story will end. and how the *Son of Man will come. The language is similar to the words of the *Old Testament (Isaiah 13:10; 34:4; Ezekiel 32:7; Joel 2:31; Zephaniah 1:14-15 and other verses). They describe how God controls everything in human history.
v29“Soon after those days are over, the days when people have to suffer,
"The sun will darken
And the moon won't shine
The stars will fall from the sky
and the powers in heaven will tremble.”
v30At that moment, the sign of the *Son of Man will appear in the sky. The people of all the nations of the earth will wail and cry then. They will see the *Son of Man when he comes on the wonderful bright clouds of heaven. He will come with great power and light.v31He will blow a great trumpet * and send his servants from heaven. They will gather the people he has chosen. They will bring them from one end of the earth to the other.
Verse 29 The words of this verse come from Isaiah 13:10 and Isaiah 34:4. These signs refer to God's judgment on the people of *Babylon in the beginning and on the people of all nations.
Verse 30 In Daniel 7:13-14, we read about when the *Son of Man will come. He will come with great power and wonderful bright light. Jesus used these words about himself when he was answering the high priest (Matthew 26:64). Zechariah wrote about the *Jews. They would look at the man they had killed. Then they would be sad (Zechariah 12:10).
Verse 31 * Trumpets are brass musical instruments that are played. People used them to call everyone together. They also warned people about the danger. When God gave the *Law on *Mount Sinai, the people heard a loud*trumpet. And Jesus said that the loud trumpet blast would also be part of that event. The *Lord will come with a great pure light so that all may honor him. The *Old Testament speaks of a time when God will gather the *Jews. He will bring them from all the places where he has scattered them. Likewise, the *Son of Man will send his servants from heaven with his message. They will call Christians from all over the world. Then everyone will be with him.
The lesson of a fruitful tree 24:32-35
v32Take a lesson from the *fig tree. When its branches become soft and green, the leaves appear. Then you know that summer is near.v33In the same way, you will see all these things happen. Then you will know the time is at hand. God is ready to begin.v34I'm telling you the truth. Some people who are alive will not have died until all this has happened.v35Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.
Verse 32 All who were listening to Jesus recognized this common fruit tree. They were always happy to see the new leaves because summer was surely coming.
Verses 32-34 These verses may be a warning of the time when the *Romans would defeat the *Jews in Jerusalem. This would happen in less than 40 years. But Jesus had described different things in verses 29-31. In them he was referring to the time just before returning to earth at the end of the world. And he talked about the signs that people will see when the world is ending.
Verse 34 Many of the *disciples of Jesus believed that Jesus would soon return to earth. They thought they would still be alive. Christians in Thessalonica did not carry on with their normal work because they expected it. Pablo had to correct his ideas. While they waited, they were to work as usual, he told them (2 Thessalonians 3:6). Jesus had promised his disciples that he would return for them (John 14:18). That promise came true when he returned to his afterlife. And it happened when the *Holy Spirit came on *Pentecost. But Jesus will return to earth in wonderful light and power sometime in the future. People who are still alive will see this event.
Verse 35 Everything will end. Heaven and earth will disappear because they are no longer useful. But Jesus' authority will never change. He is always the same (Hebrews 2:17).
Jesus is coming back, so be prepared 24:36-44
v36‘Nobody knows when that day or that hour will be. Not even God's servants in heaven know it, nor does the Son know it. Only the Father knows.v37You remember what it was like in the days of Noah. So it will be when the *Son of Man comes.v38In the days before the flood, people ate and drank. They were getting married. And they were giving their daughters to marry young men. They did all these things until the day Noah got into the big boat.v39They didn't know what was going on. Then came the flood. And the flood took them all. And so it will be when the *Son of Man comes.v40Two men will be working in a field. Jesus will take one man, but he will leave the other man.v41Two women will make flour with a hand mill. And Jesus will take one woman but leave the other woman.
v42So always be ready. You don't know what day your Lord will come.v43You must understand this. Suppose a householder knew what time of night a thief would come. Then I would be awake and ready. He did not allow the thief to enter his house.v44Then you must also be ready. The *Son of Man will come when you are not expecting him.'
Verse 36 Some people try to imagine when the world will end. Sometimes people say they know the actual date. Jesus said that the Son would return to earth in power and in that wonderful bright light. But he said that only God the Father knew when that would happen. Jesus was the Son of God. But as a human person, he didn't know the date.
Verses 37-39 Jesus gave the example of the people who lived in Noah's time. While he was preparing the great ship, other people were leading ordinary lives. Noah was ready, but other people weren't ready. Noah was safe in the big boat, but the other people died in the flood.
Verses 40-41 Jesus explained that he would come and bring judgment. A man who was working would be ready for Jesus. The other man wouldn't be ready. Two women would be making flour. But only a woman would be ready for Jesus. The other woman wouldn't be ready.
Verses 42-44 The *Son of Man will return. People don't expect a thief to come overnight. And the people did not expect Jesus to return. Later, Paul wrote to Christians in Thessalonica. He repeated what Jesus had said (1 Thessalonians 5:2).
The Story of the Wise and Wicked Servants 24:45-51
v45Think of a loyal and wise servant. His lord put him in charge of the other servants of his household. This main servant must feed the other servants on time.v46Your master will come home later. If the server chief does his job well, he will do very well.v47I'm telling you the truth. The master will make that servant the head of everything he has.v48But suppose the main servant is evil. Suppose you say to yourself, "My master is going to be away for a long time!"v49He then proceeds to beat up the other servants. And he eats and drinks with the drunkards.v50The master will come back one day when his servant is not waiting for him. He will come back. But the servant does not know what time he will return.v51Then his master will cut that servant to pieces. He will send you to join other bad minions. They only pretended to serve their master. In that place they will cry and bite their teeth in pain.
Verses 45-47 The servant did his work well while his master was away. The teacher rewarded him with more responsibility. Christ wants his servants to be just as loyal. They must work for Christ until he returns.
Verses 48-51 This servant thought only of his own happiness. He didn't care about the other servants or his master. But his master would give him severe punishment when he returned. In the end, the servant would join those who only pretended to serve the master. This is a picture of people just pretending to live the good life. But they don't please God. "Crying and biting their teeth in pain" was a way of saying "They were saddened and regretted past actions".
The story of the ten young women 25:1-13
v1'At that time it will be like this where God rules: Ten young people carried their lamps to a wedding. They went out to meet the bridegroom.v2Five of the girls were foolish and the other five were wise.v3The foolish girls took their lamps, but they didn't take extra oil with them.v4The wise ones, however, took some bowls with oil.v5The groom took a while to arrive. All the girls got tired while waiting. Then they fell asleep.
v6At midnight, someone screamed. “Here comes the groom. Come out to meet him!"
v7Then all the girls woke up. They made sure their lamps burned properly.v8So the fool spoke to the wise man. “Give us some of your oil. Our light bulbs are going out,” they said.
v9“No”, replied the wise ones. “Maybe there isn't enough oil for all of us! You have to go to the people who sell oil. And you must buy yourself some oil.
v10But while they were going to buy the oil, the boyfriend arrived. The five girls who were ready came in to eat the wedding meal with him. And they closed the door.
v11Later, the other girls also arrived. "Lord! Lord!" they called. "Open the door for us!"
v12But the bridegroom answered them. "I tell you the truth. I don't know you," he said.
v13So get ready. You do not know the day or the hour when the bridegroom will come.
Verse 1 The girls would be waiting with the bride. The groom would come to fetch the bride. He would take her to her new home. In the *Old Testament, writers often call God "husband" or "groom". The whole nation of Israel is called a 'wife' or 'bride' (Hosea 2:16; Isaiah 62:5). In the *New Testament, the entire *church is called the bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:23).
Verse 5 The bridegroom was late in coming. Christians at first thought that Christ would return very soon. But Jesus has not yet returned to earth. He still hasn't claimed his girlfriend who is the *church.
Verses 2-13 This story warns us that Jesus will return. People have the opportunity to be ready for it. He's the boyfriend. The wise women prepared their lamps for the bridegroom, so they were ready. However, all the girls went to sleep.
The fools couldn't get any more oil. Perhaps this shows that people should have their own relationship with God. They cannot depend on the experience that other people have. In the Bible, oil is sometimes pictorial language for the *Holy Spirit. The people must have their lamps well lit. This means they prepared themselves (Luke 12:35-36). *Disciples must always be ready to receive Jesus.
Once the wedding meal began, they closed the door. No one else could enter the room. So this story warns us that someone may be too late.
The story of the three servants 25:14-30
v14This is another story about how this is where God rules. A man wanted to go on a journey, so he sent for his servants. He told them to be responsible for their property.v15The man knew what each servant could do. So he gave five thousand gold pieces to a servant. So he gave two thousand coins to another servant. And he gave a thousand coins to the third servant. So the man set out to undertake his journey.v16The servant who had received five thousand gold pieces left. He used the money to profit. He won another five thousand coins.v17The servant who had two thousand coins did the same. And he won another two thousand coins.v18The servant who had received a thousand coins also left. But he just dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money in the hole.
v19After a long time, his teacher came back. He wanted to know what they had done with their money.v20So the man who received five thousand gold pieces brought them along with the remaining five thousand pieces. "Master," he said, "you entrusted me with five thousand coins and I won another five thousand coins."
v21“You did very well,” replied the teacher. “You are a good and loyal servant! You've been loyal to a few things, so I'm going to hold you responsible for a lot of things. Come in and be happy with me!”
v22Then the man who had received two thousand coins also approached him. “Master,” he said, “you entrusted me with two thousand gold pieces. Look, I won another two thousand coins.
v23"You did well," replied the teacher. “You are a good and loyal servant! You've been loyal to a few things, so I'm going to hold you responsible for a lot of things. Come in and be happy with me!”
v24Then the man who had received a thousand coins approached him. “Master,” he said, “I know you are a stern man. You reap crops where you didn't sow. You reap crops where you didn't plant seeds.v25So I was scared. I went out and hid his money on the floor. Here is everything that belongs to you."
v26“You evil and lazy servant!” replied the teacher. “Did you know what kind of man I am! I reap crops where I did not sow. I reap crops where I did not sow.v27Well, then you should have put my money in the bank. When he returned, he would have welcomed him back. Also, he would have received the extra money that the bank gives.”
v28So their master ordered the servants. Take the money. Give it to the servant who has ten thousand coins.v29Everyone who has anything will receive more. Then they will have a lot. But the person who doesn't have much of anything will lose everything he has.v30This servant is worthless! Throw it in the dark." People will cry and bite their teeth in pain there,' said Jesus.
Verses 14-15 The master distributed large sums of money. Each servant had as much as he could work with.
Verses 16-17 Two servants used their money wisely. History does not tell us how they used the money. But they were able to increase the amount.
Verse 18 In those days it was difficult to take care of something that was valuable. People hid the object on the ground.
Verses 19-23 The master praised the two servants in the same way. As a reward, they were given greater responsibility. Being happy with your master can refer to having a special meal with him. The *Jews often thought of the special food of the *Messiah.
Verses 24-27 The servant with a thousand coins tried to apologize because he had not worked with the money. He even insulted his master. Then the master called him 'evil and lazy'. Sometimes people do something wrong. Other times, people don't do the right thing. But this is also wrong. We all know the good things we should do. If we don't, we are *sinning' (James 4:17).
Verses 28-30 People should use what God gives them. You will see these gifts increase. But people will lose their gifts and opportunities if they don't take advantage of them. This happens throughout life. But one day God will judge people and how they used their gifts. The punishment will be the same as the punishment of the bad servants in these stories. (See verse 30 at the end of this story and Matthew 24:51 at the end of the previous story about the servants.)
The Story of the Sheep and the Goats 25:31-46
v31The *Son of Man will come and shine brightly. All the *angels will come with him. Then he will sit on his royal throne as King in heaven.v32All nations will be gathered before him. He will separate people into two groups. It will be like a man separating his sheep from his goats.v33He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
v34Then the king will speak to those on his right. "Come closer. My Father has blessed you," he will say. "Take your rightful place. Come where God rules. God prepared this place for you when He made the world in the beginning.v35When I was hungry, you gave me something to eat. When I was thirsty, you gave me something to drink. When I was a stranger, you made me feel welcome.v36When I needed clothes, you gave me clothes. When I was sick, you took care of me. When I was in prison, you visited me.
v37Then people who did the right thing will respond to him. “*Lord, when did we feed you because you were hungry? When did we give you a drink because you were thirsty?v38When did we see you as a foreigner and invite you in? When did we give you clothes because you needed them?v39When did we visit you because you were sick or in prison?
v40The king will answer them. "I tell you the truth," he will say. “You did this for these lesser people who belong to me. So you did it for me too.
v41Then the King will speak to those on his left. “You must receive God's punishment. Get away from me. Enter the fire that burns forever. God prepared him for the devil and his *messengers.v42When I was hungry, you didn't give me anything to eat. When I was thirsty, you didn't give me a drink.v43When I was a foreigner, you didn't invite me into your homes. When I needed clothes, you didn't give them to me. When I was sick and in prison, they didn't take care of me."
v44Then those people will ask him: “*Lord, when were you hungry, or *thirsty, or needed clothes? When have you been sick or in prison and we didn't help you?
v45He will answer them. "I tell you the truth," he will say. “You didn't do this for any of those lowly people who belong to me. So you didn't do it for me.v46Then they will go away and your punishment will never end. But people who have done what is right will live with God forever.
Verses 31-33 In Israel sheep and goats were mixed together. They looked very similar. The man who took care of them sometimes had to separate them.
Verses 34-40 The '*Son of Man' is the King. So Jesus is the King. At the end of time, Jesus will be the judge. He knows the way people behave here on earth. Some people may not seem very important. But everyone must be willing to help these people, even in small ways. If you want to help the King himself, then you must help the poor. Some people acted the right way. They didn't realize they were helping the king.
Verses 40 and 45 'These less important people who belong to me'. Jesus was probably referring to the people who were present. People who follow the *Son of Man are with him when he judges. Paul wrote, “You know that the saints will judge the world” (1 Corinthians 6:2). Saints are people who believe in Christ and have a relationship with him.
Verses 41-45 Those on his left were surprised when the king blamed them. They hadn't noticed the people who needed help. Therefore, they could not help the king himself.
Verse 46 “live with God forever” refers to the age to come. Therefore, “punishment that will never end” means that people cannot share this life with God. The 'fire that burns forever' (verse 41) probably refers to Gehenna. It was a valley on the outskirts of Jerusalem where people dumped all their rubbish. Fires were burning there all the time. Jesus used this image to compare life with God and life without God in hell.
This story increases Christians' sense of responsibility. They must serve people who need help. But it also shows that it is good to serve others. The story does not mean that a person's good deeds will save him. God saves a person who believes in him. Because of his great kindness, he saves people who trust him. We cannot earn a place in heaven by what we do, but we must show that we really believe in it. If we love people, then we are obeying God (James 2:14-26).
the secret prison
The *trial before the authorities
How did he live again after death
Plans to kill Jesus 26:1-5
v1When Jesus had finished teaching these things, he spoke again to his *disciples.v2"As you know, Easter is two days away," he said. 'At that time people will hand over the *Son of Man to die. They will fix it to a *wooden cross with nails.'
v3Then the chief priests and the other leaders of the people gathered together. They met in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas.v4They made plans to arrest Jesus in a cunning and secret way. They wanted to kill him.v5‘But we shouldn’t arrest him during the party,’ they said. "People can cause problems."
Verse 1 The story of the sheep and the goats closes the last section of teaching in the *gospel of Matthew. Each section ended with similar words. (See Matthew 7:28; 13:53; 19:1.)
Verse 2 Jesus again warned his *disciples. He said he would die during Passover. The *Jews celebrated this important ceremony every year. During the ceremony, they remembered how God rescued his people from Egypt long ago.
Verses 3-5 The *Romans dominated the *Jews, so they appointed the *high priest. The *priest named Caiaphas was *high priest for 18 years. For a long time he remained a friend of the *Roman rulers. So Caiaphas must have been very skilled in working with them. He would have lost his job if there had been any kind of trouble in town. There were thousands of *Jews in Jerusalem for the *Passover ceremony. And many came from Galilee, where Jesus was popular. So Caiaphas decided to wait. They could arrest Jesus later, when he caused less trouble.
A woman poured *perfume on Jesus in Bethany 26:6-13
v6Jesus was eating at Simon's house in the city called Bethany. Simon had a skin disease, so they called him Simon the leper.v7A woman approached where Jesus was at the table. She was carrying a special bottle of *very expensive perfume. Then he poured the *perfume on Jesus' head.
v8When the *disciples saw this, they became angry. 'Why did he waste that *perfume?' they asked each other.v9'She could have sold this *perfume for a large sum of money. So that money could have helped the poor.”
v10Jesus knew what they were saying. So he spoke to them. "Don't bother this woman," he said. 'She did a beautiful thing for me.v11You will always have poor people with you, but I won't always be here.v12He put this *perfume on me to prepare my body because they are going to bury me.v13What I tell you is true. People will talk about your action all over the world. When they tell the good news about me, people will tell this story. They will always remember her.
Verse 6 Simon would not have been with other people if he really had a skin disease at that time. Perhaps he had a skin disease and recovered. Perhaps Jesus had healed him. Or he may have gotten sick afterwards, but before Mateo wrote this.
Verses 7-9 The woman's expensive gift showed how much she loved Jesus. The *disciples could not understand this.
Verses 10-11 Jesus used words from Deuteronomy 15:11. There would always be poor people and they could be generous to those people. But Jesus would not always be with them. The woman seized the opportunity. She had shown that she loved Jesus in that special way. Sometimes there are too many opportunities to do something good. But sometimes there's only one chance.
Verse 12 Jesus was called *Messiah, which means that God chose him for this special work. When God chose someone in Israel, his custom was to pour oil or * perfume on that person's head. God sent Samuel to do this for King David long ago (1 Samuel 16:1-13) and for other men. This was called 'anointing' a person. No one had 'anointed' Jesus during his lifetime. This woman showed by her action that he was the * Messiah. Jesus said that she had 'anointed' his body. She had done this even before he died. Normally, women "anointed" a corpse by rubbing it with *special perfumes. Some women wanted to do this for Jesus after he died. So they went to the place where the men had buried him. But they could not 'anoint' Jesus' body because Jesus had already been resurrected (Mark 16:1-6; Luke 24:1-3).
Verse 13 Jesus knew that Christians would spread the good news about him to all parts of the world. What the woman had done for him was part of the good news. She had shown that Jesus was the *Messiah. He was a king who was going to die. People would always remember his action. They would remember how much he loved Jesus.
Judas plans to hand Jesus over to his enemies 26:14-16
v14Then one of the 12 *disciples went to the chief* priests. This *disciple was called Judas Iscariot.v15'What will you give me if I hand Jesus over to you?' he asked them. So they counted 30 pieces of silver and gave them to him.v16After that, Judas waited for the right moment, so that he could hand Jesus over to them.
Verse 14 Judas and the *priests made a plan. Her actions contrast with the woman who 'anointed' Jesus (see note on verse 12). He acted because she loved Jesus. They acted because they hated Jesus. Judas belonged to the 12 *disciples. Jesus had taught Judas for three years. And Jesus had trusted him as a friend. This emphasizes how evil Judas' action was. He was not loyal to Jesus. Judas knew where Jesus would flee from the crowd. So he went to tell the *priests where they could arrest Jesus. No one knows why Judas agreed to help the *priests. Some possible reasons for his action are:
· He was greedy for more money. John says that Judas handled the money of the *apostles. He used to steal small amounts for himself (John 12:6). You might have expected more than the 30 silver coins. He asked how the *priests would reward him (verse 15).
· His name 'Iscariot' may mean that he was a 'man from Keriot'. The village called Queriot was in the region of Judea. The other* disciples came from the region of Galilee. Perhaps Judas thought he was more important than they were. Perhaps he thought he deserved a special honor. But Jesus had not given him that honor. Rather, Peter, James, and John were with Jesus on a few special occasions.
· It is possible that he was a secret member of the 'Zealots'. They were a *Jewish group who wanted to free the nation from *Roman rulers. And they were prepared to use force. Perhaps Judas thought that Jesus would become a king or political ruler on earth. Judas wanted to be important. Perhaps he hoped to have an important position in Jesus' government. But then he saw that Jesus did not intend to make himself king. Then Judas would have been disappointed. Maybe that's why he turned against Jesus. Or he may have wanted to force Jesus to show his power. He thought he knew what Jesus was supposed to do.
· Judas realized that Jesus would soon be in serious trouble. He wanted to protect himself, so he helped the *priests.
Verse 15 A slave cost 30 pieces of silver (Exodus 21:32). This was also the amount they paid God's special servant (Zechariah 11:12). He worked for God and cared for the people of Israel. But they only paid him 30 pieces of silver as an insult.
Preparations for the *Passover Meal 26:17-19
v17It was the first day of the ceremony in which they ate unleavened bread. The *disciples came to talk to Jesus. 'Where do you want to have dinner at Easter?' they asked him. Where do we prepare for you?
v18“Go into the city and speak to a certain man,” said Jesus. ‘Tell him that the teacher said: “My time is at hand. My* disciples and I will eat the *Passover meal in your house.” 'v19So the disciples did what Jesus told them to do. And they prepared *Passover in the man's house.
Verse 17 The ceremony when they ate *unleavened bread' is also called the '*feast of *unleavened bread'. This recalled the *Jews of the past. Long ago, his people had escaped the country called Egypt. God rescued them, but they had to leave very quickly. So they didn't have time to make their own *leavened bread (Exodus 12:17-20). They usually put *yeast in the mix to make it rise. On the first day of the *Passover ceremony, the* Jews removed all *leaven from their homes.
Verse 18 Jesus had already made plans. Matthew only speaks of a "certain man." He does not give the details. Mark and Luke write about a man carrying a vessel of water (Mark 14:13; Luke 22:10). But Mateo includes an important detail. Jesus said, 'My time is at hand.' In the *Greek language, there are two different words for 'time'. 'Chronos' refers to hours, days and years. 'Kairos' means the special moment when something important happens. Jesus used 'kairos' because the special time had come for him. It was right for him to finish his work on earth.
Verse 19 The *disciples had to get everything they needed to feed themselves. They needed the special leaves that had a nasty taste. The *Jews suffered as slaves in Egypt and these sheets reminded them of that. They had to make a mixture of fruits and nuts to remind them of the soil of Egypt. * Jewish slaves made bricks for their masters from the mud there. The* disciples also had to supply wine. They had to fill four cups and distribute them throughout the meal. They had to eat a young sheep as the main part of the Passover meal.
Jesus says someone will hand him over to his enemies 26:20-25
v20Jesus was eating with his 12 disciples that night.v21As they ate, he spoke to them. 'I'm telling you the truth. One of you will surely hand me over to my enemies,' he said.
v22The *disciples were very sad. One after another they asked him this question. 'Surely you don't mean me, *Sir?'
v23Jesus answered them. “One of you who has dipped his hand in the dish with me will hand me over.v24The *Son of Man will die just as they wrote about me long ago. But how terrible for the one who delivers the *Son of Man to his enemies. It would have been better for that man if he had never lived.
v25Judas was the man who would hand Jesus over to his enemies. Then he said: 'Surely you don't mean me, master?'
And Jesus answered him. 'Yes and you'.
Verses 20-21 Sharing a meal was a sign of friendship. Giving up a friend to your enemies is especially perverse. Jesus probably remembered the words of Psalm 41:9. 'Even my intimate friend turned against me. He was the man I trusted. He shared my food.
Verse 22 The *disciples could not believe that one of them would hand Jesus over like this. No one suspected that Judas would do such a thing. Her question to Jesus meant, "I can't believe I would hand you over to the enemy!"
Verse 23 There was a dish that contained the mixture of fruits and nuts. People usually put bread in it to eat it.
Verses 24-25 Jesus' words were a last call to Judas to change his mind. Jesus also warned them of the terrible fate that awaited their enemies. That fate would also befall the person who handed it over to him. Jesus could have stopped Judas. The other *disciples would have helped him immediately if they had known about Judas. But Jesus knew that his death was in God's plans. At the same time, Judas was responsible for his own actions. God didn't force him to help Jesus' enemies. Jesus knew what Judas had planned. But Judas was free to make his own decisions. Knowing something is going to happen doesn't make it happen.
Judas asked the same question that the other *disciples asked Jesus. They would have noticed if I hadn't said anything. Jesus did not allow the other *disciples to suspect Judas. So Jesus probably answered quietly, so that only Judas could hear.
The *Lord's Supper 26:26-30
v26While they were eating, Jesus took a piece of bread. He thanked God and broke the bread into pieces. So he gave it to his disciples. 'Take this and eat,' he told them. 'This is my body.'
v27Then he picked up the wine glass. He thanked God and offered them the cup. 'All of you, drink from this,' he said.v28'This is my blood to represent your new agreement with God. I will shed my blood so that he can forgive the sins of many people.v29I'm telling you the truth. I will not drink wine again until I drink it with you where my Father rules.
v30So they sang a song to God and went to the *Mount of Olives.
Verse 26 The head of the family thanked God before a meal. Jesus would probably have prayed the same prayer. ‘Thank you, *Lord our God. You are the king of the world and you bring food from the earth. Jesus broke the bread into pieces and called it his body. This was a pictorial way of telling them about his death. He was telling them that he was going to die for them. He told them to get the bread. They must eat it. This showed that they accepted God's deal. They were free to do so. God would forgive your *sins because Jesus died.
Verse 27 They used four cups of wine at *the Passover meal. These drinks reminded the *Jews of the promises that God had made long ago. He promised to rescue them from the country called Egypt. And he promised to make them his special people (Exodus 6:6-7). Jesus probably spoke at the time of the last cup of wine because they drank it last. Paul also wrote about this in 1 Corinthians 11:23-25. He said that Jesus drank the cup 'after supper'. 'All' the *disciples had to drink from the same cup of wine. This was to show their unity.
Verse 28 Jesus said that the wine represented his blood. Shed from his body when he was on the cross. The relationship between God and the people of Israel depended on how much they obeyed the *Law of God (Exodus 24:3-8). But the people of Israel had broken that relationship. Jeremiah spoke of a new covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34). The blood of an animal represented "the old deal". When Jesus laid down his life, he represented the new covenant. It made it possible for God to forgive people's *sins. And that repairs his relationship with God. So people want to obey God. They realize how much he loves them. The old covenant had been just between God and the *Jews. The new deal is for 'many' people.
The *Christian Church has always remembered what Jesus did at this special dinner. They use bread and wine too. Different churches give it different names, such as: the * Lord's Supper, the Eucharist, the Holy Supper, the Breaking of Bread.
Verse 29 Jesus spoke about his death. But he knew it wasn't the end. He spoke of the time when he would drink wine with his* disciples in the future. That would be where his father rules. I knew I would come back to life. On *Easter, *the Jews thanked God for making wine. So Jesus was using pictorial language about the special food of the *Messiah.
Verse 30 This song was one of the Psalms sung at special events. It could have been Psalm 118. So they 'went out' of their worship. They left the city for the hill where the olive trees grew. This was called the Mount of Olives. Jesus knew that he would soon be suffering.
Jesus warned Peter 26:31-35
v31Then Jesus spoke to his *disciples. “Tonight all of you are going to stay away from me,” he said. Someone wrote about this night long ago: “I will smite the man who tends the sheep. Then all your sheep will be scattered,” they wrote.v32But after I die, I will come back to life. Then I will go before you into the region of Galilee.
v33Peter answered him. “All the other *disciples may turn away from you, but I will never turn away,” he said.
v34"I tell you the truth," Jesus said to Peter. Tonight you will say three times that you don't know me. You will say this before the male sings.
v35But Peter answered him. I will never say that I don't know you. I may even have to die with you, but I won't deny you.
And all the other *disciples said the same.
Verse 31 Jesus knew how easily the disciples would lose heart. They would say they didn't know him. He carefully cared for them as if they were his sheep. The man who takes care of the sheep is called a "shepherd". When he is not there, the sheep scatter. Jesus used this image of Zechariah's sheep and shepherd (Zechariah 13:7).
Verse 32 Jesus was confident because he knew the future. I would die, but I would be alive again. He said he would go 'before' them. A 'shepherd' in that country always walked ahead of his sheep. Matthew records that Jesus met his disciples later in the Galilee region (Matthew 28:10, 16). They were still his 'sheep' even after failing him.
Verses 33-35 Peter believed he was strong as a rock. He was sure that he would always remain loyal to Jesus. It was easy to say that he would die with Jesus. But when it became a really dangerous situation, he got scared. The male hen sings very early in the morning. But this 'chicken' may refer to the *trumpet blast of *Roman soldiers. It played at the end of third period, while they were on night watch. This was at 3am. Before the night was over, Peter would have broken his promise. The other *disciples agreed with Peter that they would not run away from Jesus.
The prayer of Jesus 26:36-46
v36Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane. He spoke to them there. 'Sit here. I will go there and pray," he said.
v37He took with him the two sons of Peter and Zebedee. He started to get very sad and anxious.v38So he told them about it. “I am very sad inside of me. I feel like I'm dying right now. Stay here and stay awake with me.
v39Then he went a little further. He fell on his face to the ground and prayed. “My Father, if it is possible, do not make me suffer like this. But don't do what I want. Do what you want.'
v40Then he returned to his *disciples. He saw that they were sleeping. "You men could certainly stay up with me for an hour," she told Peter.v41Stay awake and pray now. Then you will not fail when tested. I know you want to do the right thing. But their bodies are weak.
v42Jesus went a second time to pray. 'My father, is it possible that I don't have to suffer like this?' he said. ‘But if there’s no other way, I’m ready. I want what you want to happen.
v43Then he returned to the three *disciples. He saw that they were asleep again. They couldn't keep their eyes open.v44Then he left them and departed once more. He prayed to his Father a third time and he prayed the same way.v45Then he returned with the *disciples. "You shouldn't go on sleeping and resting," he said. Look, the time has come. Evil people come to arrest the *Son of Man.v46Stand! We will! Here comes the man who will hand me over to them.
Verse 36 Gethsemane was a place on the hill called the Mount of Olives. The name Gethsemane means there was special equipment there. It was a place where they pressed oil from the *olive tree. John said that Jesus used to go there with his disciples (John 18:2).
Verses 37-39 Jesus took his three closest friends with him. I knew I had to die. When they nailed people to a *cross with nails, they caused the person to suffer terribly. Jesus' body will ache. But he will suffer in other ways. In the *Old Testament, the *prophets wrote of the 'cup' of God's judgment as punishment for *sin (Isaiah 51:17). As the *Messiah, Jesus was the 'Suffering Servant'. Jesus knew the words of the 53rd chapter of Isaiah. There the servant suffered and died because other people *sinned. Jesus was in deep mental pain. He knew he would take responsibility for other people's *sins. He was the only person who never *sinned. But he knew that he would be responsible for * everyone's sin. This caused her great mental struggle. But he was willing to die in this painful way to do what his Father wanted.
Verses 40-41 Jesus warned them that there would be a test. I was especially thinking of Peter. The only way to be strong was to pray. Jesus knew they were willing to help him. But they were very tired. So they weren't able to control their desire to sleep.
Verses 42-45 Jesus was disappointed three times because his friends would not stay with him. And they hadn't prayed for him or for themselves. Later that night, Peter denied meeting Jesus three times. Maybe he remembered the three times he hadn't prayed for strength.
'The time has come' meant that the special moment had arrived. Jesus would complete his work for his Father. He knew Judas was coming. And Judas was going to hand Jesus over to his enemies.
Men arrest Jesus 26:47-56
v47While Jesus was still speaking, Judas arrived. He was one of the 12 *disciples. A large crowd came with him and they were carrying swords and heavy clubs. The chief priests and other leaders of the people had sent them.v48Judas, who was going to betray Jesus, arranged a sign with them. 'The person I kiss is the man,' she said. 'Arrest him'.
v49So Judas immediately went to Jesus. 'Hello teacher!' Judas said as he kissed him.
v50"Friend, do what you came to do," Jesus replied.
Then the men advanced. They grabbed Jesus and arrested him.v51Then one of Jesus' companions took his sword and struck the high priest's servant with it. He cut off the servant's ear.v52"Put your sword back in its place," Jesus told him. Many people use the sword to fight. And they will die by the sword.v53You know I can ask my Father for help. He would send a large army of his *messengers to help me.v54But then everything they wrote about me in the *scriptures a long time ago would not come true. They said this must happen.
v55Then Jesus spoke to the crowd. I'm not leading a gang of dangerous criminals. You don't have to come with swords and clubs when you arrest me. Every day I sat in the *Temple and taught the people there. They didn't arrest me there.v56But all this happened exactly as God's special servants wrote long ago. Now his words have come true.
Then all the *disciples left him and fled.
Verse 47 Matthew identifies Judas as 'one of the 12 *disciples'. This again emphasizes how evil Judas was. He handed Jesus over to his enemies. But the *religious leaders expected Jesus to fight. They thought that his *disciples could defend him. So they sent their soldiers ready to fight them. People said that Jesus was the *Messiah. So the leaders feared that he would try to establish himself as a political king by force.
Verses 48-50 Judas had arranged to kiss Jesus. Then the soldiers would know who the right person was. Then they could arrest him. It was probably dark among the olive trees. So it was difficult to identify Jesus. Judas did not attend the *trial of Jesus and soon after committed suicide.
Verses 51-52 John tells us more details (John 18:10-11). It was Pedro who attacked the servant. The servant was Malchus, and the high priest was Caiaphas. Luke also tells us that Jesus healed the servant's ear (Luke 22:51). Jesus did not want his *disciples to defend him. It wasn't like a war. It only leads to more war. Jesus chose to show how much he loved people.
Verses 53-54 In the scriptures of the *Old Testament* God has spoken of his purpose. Jesus knew it had to come true. He spoke of God's special servants of long standing (also verse 56) whose words must come true. He could have asked God for thousands of his *messengers to protect him. But in Gethsemane, he accepted his Father's purpose for him.
Verses 55-56 Jesus said that he could have been arrested at any time in the *Temple. He was teaching there every day. But they came secretly when it was dark. And they came ready to fight. He told them that he was not a criminal like the Zealots. (The Zealots were *Jews. They wanted to use force to drive the *Romans out of their country. Their actions led to war.) All the *disciples said they would remain loyal to Jesus (verse 35). But Jesus' words of warning came true (verse 31). All the *disciples fled.
They took Jesus to Caiaphas 26:57-68
v57The people who arrested Jesus took him to the high priest's house. This high priest's name was Caiaphas. The men who taught the *Law and the other leaders had gathered in his house.v58But Peter followed Jesus at a distance to the high priest's court. Then he went out into the courtyard and sat down with the guards. I wanted to see what would happen.
v59The chief *priests and the entire *Jewish government wanted to kill Jesus. So they were looking for false evidence against him.v60Many false witnesses came to them and lied about him. But the leaders could not find any real evidence against him. Finally, two more witnesses came and spoke to them.v61'This person said: 'I can destroy the *Temple of God and I can rebuild it in three days,' the men told them.
v62Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, 'Are you not going to answer these men? What can you say about it?
v63But Jesus remained silent. Then the high priest spoke to him again. I order you to answer me. God, who is alive, is seeing! Then tell us the truth! Tell us if you are the Christ or not. Are you the Son of God?
v64'Yes, what you say is true,' replied Jesus. But I say this to all of you. In the future they will see the *Son of Man. He will be seated in the important place at the right hand of the mighty God. And he will come on the clouds of heaven.
v65Then the high priest rent his clothes. 'This man has cursed God!' he said. We don't need more witnesses. You heard him say that he is God.v66What do you think now?'
'He is guilty and must die,' they replied.
v67So they spit in his face. Some men beat him with their fists and others slapped him.v68* Prophesy to us, Christ! Who hit you? they told him.
Verse 57 The *Jewish government was called the 'Sanhedrin'. This was the main *Jewish court and had the power to deal with *religious matters. But the court broke many of the rules by delivering its decision that night. They met in the *high priest's house, but they should have met in a special room in the *Temple. It was night and an official trial* should not have taken place at night.
Verse 58 Peter had the courage to continue. He wanted to know what would happen to Jesus. Peter didn't realize he was in a dangerous place. It would be very difficult for him to admit that he was one of the *disciples of Jesus.
Verse 60 The witnesses told lies about Jesus. But they disagreed because they all told different lies. And the law said that a witness could not make a person guilty of himself. Two or three witnesses had to agree with each other in every detail (Deuteronomy 17:6).
Verses 60-61 Finally, two witnesses accused Jesus of a crime. Jesus had warned the people that someone would destroy the *Temple (Matthew 24:1-2). He had also spoken to the Pharisees. “Something greater than the *Temple is here,” he said (Matthew 12:6). The Jews did not understand what he meant. "I destroyed this *temple and in three days I will rebuild it", he had said (John 2, 19-22). Jesus had said '*temple', but he was referring to his own body. The Jews could kill his body, but he would come back to life. The *Jews thought he meant to do something evil. They thought this would destroy their *Temple.
Verses 62-63 Jesus did not answer the high priest's question. He knew no answer would help. The *Sanhedrin had decided to kill him. Long ago, Isaiah had written a poem about God's special servant:
'A sheep makes no noise when people are shearing its wool.
Therefore he opened not his mouth” (Isaiah 53:7).
Jesus was God's special servant and he was like the sheep.
Verse 63 The high priest was guilty because he broke his law again. He should not have ordered Jesus to answer while God was watching. This is called 'under oath'. Jesus told them the truth. But they said he was guilty.
Verse 64 Jesus agreed that he was the *Messiah. He used the name '*Son of Man' when referring to himself. Then he used words about his important position. I would be with God, who is mighty. He would sit at the right hand of God. This is the place that has honor. He said he would come in clouds and with power. He was using words from Psalm 110:1 and Daniel 7:13 to refer to himself. Jesus knew that the *Jewish authorities could judge him now. But in the future, he would have the power to judge them.
Verse 65 The *high priest chose to describe Jesus' words as 'evil words against God', which are also called 'blasphemy'. Then the high priest returned the clothes to him. It showed that he was angry and sad. He thought that Jesus had insulted God.
Verse 66 They said that Jesus was guilty. But they should have waited until the next day before making their decision. Again, they did not behave in the right legal way towards Jesus.
Verses 67-68 Mark tells us that they covered Jesus' eyes. So he couldn't see when they hit him (Mark 14:65). So they asked him: 'Who hit you?' He had said that he was God's special servant. So I should know the answer, they thought.
Peter denies Jesus 26:69-75
v69While Peter was sitting in the courtyard, a maid approached him. "You were also with Jesus, who comes from Galilee," he said.
v70But in front of everyone Peter said he was not with Jesus. "I don't know what you're talking about," he said.
v71Then he went to the door that led into the courtyard. And another maid saw him there. Then she said to the people, "This man was with Jesus, who comes from Nazareth."
v72Again Peter said he was not with Jesus. God is my witness that I tell you the truth. I don't know the man!” he told them.
v73After a while, the people who were there approached Peter. 'You must be one of them,' they said. We know by the way you talk.
v74So Peter told them. I want God to punish me if I don't tell the truth. God is my witness! And I say I don't know the man!
He immediately called a male chicken.v75Then Peter remembered what Jesus had said before. You will say three times that you don't know me. You will say this before the male sings.
Then Peter left. And she cried like she could never stop crying.
The record of Peter's failure is in the four *Gospels. Matthew's account is very similar to Mark's account. But the *gospel of Mark has even more details (Mark 14:66-72). Many people think Mark wrote down what Peter told him. So Peter was honest about his failure.
Verses 69-70 Peter had the courage to follow Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest's house. But the maid said he was with Jesus of Galilee. Then Peter lost his nerve. The girl may not be accusing Peter. She might have been curious about him. But Peter told his first lie and denied his master.
Verses 71-72 He did not leave the courtyard, but walked towards the gate. Maybe he thought people wouldn't notice him as much there. He told his second lie knowing that God was watching him. He could have said "through heaven" or "through the *Temple" to support his answer (Matthew 5:34-37).
Verses 73-74 The people who lived in the region of *Judea spoke with a particular accent. People who came from the Galilee region spoke with a different accent. So Peter's accent showed that he came from Galilee. Jesus also came from Galilee. When asked the third time, Peter was very afraid. So he asked God to punish him if he was lying.
Verse 75 The bird screamed or sounded the *Roman trumpet. Then Peter remembered what Jesus had told him. Tears from him showed that he was very sad. He had said that he did not know his close friend and teacher.
This incident warns us how easy it is to become disloyal to Jesus. Peter could have said this to show that even a close disciple can fail. But Peter was very sorry. And Jesus promises to forgive all who truly repent. So this incident is also a promise.
Judas commits suicide 27:1-10
v1It was very early in the morning. All the chief priests and other leaders decided that Jesus should die.v2So they tied him up and took him away. So they handed him over to Pilate, who was the *Roman ruler.v3Judas had handed Jesus over to them. Now he saw that Jesus was going to die. And he felt guilty and ashamed. Then he returned the 30 pieces of silver to the chief *priests and other leaders.v4‘I have sinned,’ he said. 'I delivered a man who is not guilty.'
'We don't care,' they replied. This is your responsibility.
v5So Judas threw the money in the *Temple and left. So he went and hanged himself.
v6The chief *priests took the money. 'It is against the law to put this money in the funds of the *Temple', they said to each other. It's the money that paid for a man's life.
v7So they decided that they would buy a field with the money. Then foreigners would have a place to bury their dead. This field belonged to a man who made clay pots.v8And people call it the 'Field of Blood' to this day.v9Then were fulfilled the words that Jeremiah, the servant of God, spoke long ago. 'They took the 30 pieces of silver,' he said. 'The people of Israel had agreed to pay this price for him.v10They then used the coins to buy a field. The field belonged to a man who made clay pots. This happened just as the *Lord had commanded me.'
Verses 1-2 The *Jewish government (called the Sanhedrin) had the power to decide *religious matters. But the *Romans did not allow killing anyone as punishment. Only the *Roman ruler could decide to do this. The name of the *Roman ruler was Pontius Pilate. He ruled the *region of Judea from the year *26 AD. until *36 AD He ruled from the city called Caesarea. But he had come to the city of Jerusalem with his soldiers for the Passover. Crowds of *Jews were in the city of Jerusalem at *Passover time. They remembered how Moses had led his people out of Egypt long ago. Moses led them to freedom. These crowds could easily cause problems for their *Roman rulers. They might even attack them to regain their freedom. The soldiers were there to stop such an attack.
Verses 3-4 Judas saw that the *priests had handed Jesus over to Pilate. Then Judas realized how serious his action had been. He tried to return the 30 pieces of silver to the *priests who had paid him. But they didn't care that he was sorry now.
Verse 5 Only Matthew records that Judas committed suicide. But Acts 1:18-19 says he bought a field with the money. And he died because he fell in the field. In both Matthew and Acts they say that the people called the field 'Akeldama'. It means the 'Field of Blood'. They paid money as the price of a man's life. Furthermore, Judas died there.
Verses 6-8 The *priests were guilty because they had acted against the law. They didn't worry about it. But they thought it wrong to use the money from the *Temple funds. So they used it to buy a field for a good purpose. This field was for foreigners to bury their dead.
Verses 9-10 Matthew used a verse from Zechariah 11:13. There, the salary of God's special servant was only 30 pieces of silver. So he threw them to the man who made earthen vessels in the house of God. This was a picture of what would happen later. Mateo said this came true. Judas' salary bought the field from the man who made vases. Matthew says these were the words of Jeremiah. Perhaps this is because the book of Zechariah was on the same larger scrolls as the book of Jeremiah. The Jews called this large scroll 'Jeremiah'.
Pilate questions Jesus 27:11-14
v11Meanwhile, Jesus stood before the *Roman ruler. And the ruler asked him. 'Are you the king of the *Jews?'
'Yes, what you say is true,' replied Jesus.
v12Then the chief priests and other leaders accused Jesus, but he did not answer.v13So Pilate questioned him. Can't you hear them? They are accusing you of all these crimes.v14But Jesus didn't answer anything. And his attitude really surprised the * Roman ruler.
Verse 11 The *Sanhedrin had to accuse Jesus of a political crime. They accused Jesus of 'speaking evil words against God.' But they knew Pilate didn't care about that. Then they said that Jesus had caused trouble for the *Romans. He said he was the *Messiah of the *Jews, a king (Luke 23:1-2). But *Roman law did not allow the *Jews to have a king. Pilate's question to Jesus emphasized the word "thou". 'They areyou guysThe king of the *Jews?' I couldn't believe that Jesus was a king. Jesus didn't seem like someone who was trying to gain political power. Pilate realized that the *Jewish authorities hated Jesus. He had been accused before a *Roman ruler. Jesus replied that he was fishing. But 'what you say' depended on how Pilate understood the word 'king'. Jesus was not trying to rule a territory. He was a king. But he wanted to rule people's hearts because he loved them.
Verses 12-14 Most people would protest that they are innocent. Especially if the soldiers pin them to a cross to die. That's why Pilate was surprised that Jesus remained silent. *Roman law said that a person who refused to answer was guilty. The chief priests wanted Jesus to die. They wanted Pilate to order his soldiers to kill him on the cross. So Jesus knew that an answer to them was useless. He was also aware of what God wanted. He knew he was obeying God, his Father.
Pilate offers the choice between Jesus and Barabbas 27:15-26
v15It was the custom of the *Roman ruler at *Passover to release a *Jew from prison. The people could choose the man they would set free.v16At that time, they had a well-known man named Barabbas in prison.v17So, when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, 'Which of the men do you want me to release? Do you want Barabbas to be free? Or do you want Jesus who is called Christ?v18Pilate knew that the *religious leaders were jealous of Jesus. That's why they gave up.
v19While Pilate was sitting in the judge's chair, his wife sent him this message: 'Don't get involved with this man. He is not guilty. Today I suffered a lot because I dreamed about him.
v20But the chief priests and other leaders persuaded the crowd to demand Barabbas' release. And they asked for the death of Jesus.
v21"Which of these two men do you want me to release?" asked the *Roman ruler. 'Barabbas,' they replied.
v22"Then what am I to do with Jesus called Christ?" Pilate asked. 'Put it on a *nailed cross!', they all replied.
v23'Why? What crime did he commit? Pilate asked them.
But they screamed even louder. 'Put it on a cross with nails!'
v24Pilate saw that he could do nothing more. Rather, the mob would soon disturb the peace. Then he got some water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. "I am innocent of this man's death," he said. It's your responsibility.
v25The whole crowd responded to him. We and our children will be responsible for his death!
v26So Pilate released Barabbas. But he told the soldiers to beat Jesus with whips. Then they must take it out and nail it to a *cross.
Verses 16-17 Pilate thought he could get out of his trouble. It was customary to release a prisoner as a sign of *Roman kindness. He would offer the crowd a choice. Barabbas was in prison because he had attacked the * Romans. He had killed people during the attack. But the *Jewish people probably thought he was a hero. He had opposed the *Romans. Barabbas means 'son of a father', so he may have come from a good family. Perhaps not using the father's name protected the family from the son's mistakes. Or his character may have been similar to his father's character. Jesus was the 'Son of the Father'. He was like his Father because he loved others. Some writers record Barabbas' first name as 'Jesus'. Other writers may have omitted the name on purpose.
Verses 17-18 Pilate then offered to choose between Jesus and Barabbas. Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent. I should have released him immediately, but he was afraid of the *Jewish people. They complained several times to their superior officers about their actions:
1. When he first went to the *region of Judea, he brought the *Roman flags to Jerusalem. But they had the image of the great king of Rome. The *Romans regarded their king as a god. So this went against what the Jews believed. Pilate had to remove the banners. The *Jews would rather die than allow images of any other god in their city.
2. Pilate improved the water supply to Jerusalem. But he used the money that the *Jews had given for the *Temple.
3. He ordered his soldiers to kill some of Galilee in the *Temple (Luke 13:1-4). It was against *Jewish Law for foreigners to enter the *Temple. It was also against the *Law to kill people like that, especially in that holy place.
4. Pilate wanted to release Jesus. But the *Jews accused him of not being loyal to Caesar, the great king (John 19:12).
Verse 19 Pilate's wife may have come from an important family. She may have been interested in what the *Jews believed. You may have even heard Jesus when he was teaching. *The Romans believed that dreams could warn people about bad events. Therefore, Pilate may have tried to further persuade the crowd when he received his message. He may have thought that people would actually choose Jesus.
Verses 20-23 A crowd can be dangerous. Someone can easily encourage them to cause trouble. *Priests and other *Jewish leaders may have found ways to excite the crowd. Some of Barabbas' friends could be in the crowd to cause trouble. Some people would have supported anyone who opposed the *Romans.
Verses 24-25 It was a *Jewish custom for one to wash one's hands in this way. It proved that he was not responsible for a crime or sin. And the *Jews said they would accept responsibility for Jesus' death. They and their children suffered because they refused to accept Jesus. The *Romans attacked the city of Jerusalem and destroyed it in *70 AD. Since then, some people have been saying that all *Jews are responsible for Jesus' death. Because of this, some people were cruel to the *Jews. And they rejoice when the *Jews suffer. But it is wrong to blame only the *Jews. The *sins of each person caused the death of Jesus. Therefore, all people everywhere share the responsibility.
Verse 26 Pilate wanted to protect his work. So he released the culprit named Barabbas. And he ordered his soldiers to kill Jesus. They beat him before nailing him to the cross with the nails. It was a terrible punishment. They made the whips out of long pieces of leather and attached pieces of sharpened bone or metal to them. Men in prison suffered terrible injuries from these whips. Even strong men went mad sometimes. Some men even died before soldiers could pin them to a cross.
The soldiers insulted Jesus 27:27-31
v27Then the *soldiers of the Roman ruler took Jesus to the ruler's palace. All the other soldiers also gathered around him.v28They took off her clothes and put her in a bright red coat.v29Then they twisted *thorns together to make a crown. They placed the crown on his head and placed a stick in his right hand. They then knelt down in front of him and laughed at him. 'Welcome, King of the *Jews!' they said.v30They spat on him. They took the bat and hit him several times on the head.v31When they had finished laughing at him, they took his coat. They put their own clothes back on him. So they took him to pin him to a cross.
Verse 27 The soldiers belonging to Pilate lived in the ruler's palace with him.
Verses 28-29 The *Jews accused Jesus of being king. The soldiers knew this, so they laughed at him. They intended to honor a king. A soldier wore a red coat that looked like the king's clothes. So they put a red robe on Jesus. They made the crown out of '*thorns', which were the small, very sharp branches of a tree. *Roman rulers wore crowns. Perhaps the soldiers wanted their crown to look like the *Roman crown. The images in *Roman coins show crowns. They had rays of light like the sun. Instead of light, Jesus' crown had sharp thorns that hurt him. The cane looked like the special cane that a king carried. He showed that he had authority. The soldiers would have received the great king in Rome. So they pretended to receive Jesus in the same way. People knelt down to show respect to important officials. The soldiers knew that the *Jews had no king. So they insulted and made fun of Jesus and the *Jews.
Verse 30 Then the soldiers became more cruel. *They spit on Jesus and hit him with the stick.
Jesus is killed on a cross 27:32-44
v32As they went, they met a man. He came from a place called Cyrene. And his name was Simon. The soldiers forced him to carry the *cross of Jesus.v33They arrived at a place called Golgotha. (Golgotha means 'the Place of the *Skull').v34There they offered Jesus a mixture of wine and pain medicine. But after tasting it, Jesus refused to drink it.v35Then the soldiers nailed Jesus to the cross. Authorities allowed soldiers to store people's clothes on the *cross. So they played a game to see who would win Jesus' clothes as a prize.v36So they sat down to take care of him.v37Above his head they placed a sign. He told why he had been nailed to the cross. 'This is Jesus, the King of the *Jews', they wrote on it.v38Two criminals were killed on the *cross at the same time as Jesus. One was on a cross on the right side and the other on a cross on the left side.
v39The people who passed by the *cross insulted Jesus. They shook their heads at him.v40'Then you will destroy the *Temple! And you said you'd build it again in three days! So save yourself! Come down from the *cross, if you are the Son of God!”
v41Likewise, the *chief priests, the men who taught the *Law, and the other leaders insulted him.v42'He has saved other people,' they said, 'but he cannot save himself! If he is the king of Israel, come down from that *cross now! So let's believe him.v43Trust in god. “I am the Son of God,” he said. So may God rescue him now, if God really wants him to.
v44The criminals, who died on the cross beside him, also insulted him in the same way.
Verse 32 Jesus was on his way to die on a *cross. So he had to carry the cross himself. Jesus had spent the night with the *Jewish leaders and then with Pilate. The soldiers beat him so badly that his back hurt a lot. For these reasons, he was too weak to continue carrying his cross. So the soldiers forced Simon to carry it for him. Simon was a foreigner. He came from Cyrene, which is in North Africa. Mark tells us that Simon was the father of Alexander and Rufus (Mark 15:21).
Paul mentions someone named Rufus in Romans 6:13. This could be the same person as Simon's son. Then, years later, the people of Rome may have known these men who converted to Christianity after Jesus' death. And Simon may be the same person as the Simon Niger that Luke mentions in Acts 13:1. He had seen Jesus die. So maybe he became a Christian then. He was a leader in the Antioch church.
Verse 34 Some women in Jerusalem gave drink to men who were about to die. It was the wine that contained a drug. It would make the pain a little less terrible. It was offered to a person before soldiers nailed it to a cross with nails. But Jesus rejected him. I wanted to be aware of what would happen until the end. He needed to show how much he loved other people.
Verses 35-36 The soldiers guard the clothes of the dying. Matthew's readers will remember the words of Psalm 22:18: “They divided my garments among themselves. They played a game to win my clothes. The soldiers had to stay there to take care of the *cross. They waited until the person on the cross died. They prevented any friend from trying to rescue him from the cross.
Verse 37 The plaque on the *cross of Jesus reads: "This is Jesus, the King of the *Jews". The *priests complained to Pilate about this. They wanted to change the words. They didn't like 'the King of the *Jews'. Instead, they wanted the words: “He said that he was the king of the *Jews” (John 19:21-22). Pilate refused to change the words. So the sign stood and showed the truth. Jesus was really a king. The *Jews were their own people, though they refused to accept them.
Verse 38 Jesus was always the friend of *sinners. Now I was with two *sinners, two criminals. This made Isaiah's words come true. He had said that the Suffering Servant of God would be among those who were criminals (Isaiah 53:12). James and John asked for places of honor beside Jesus (Matthew 20:20-23). Now thieves were in those places, but no one gave honor to these thieves.
Verses 39-44 record the different ways in which the people insulted Jesus. Cruel insults show how mean people can be. But they also show what was true about Jesus.
1. Verses 39-40 The people passing by accused him. He had said that the people would destroy the *temple. They thought that he himself would destroy the *Temple. And he said he could build it again. If he could do that, surely he could save himself, they said. If he was the Son of God, he could come down from * the cross. Insults from him remind readers of Psalm 22:7-8. But Jesus was really the Son of God. He spoke of his body as the *temple. And he would build it again after the *Jews had destroyed it. They didn't understand what he meant. He rebuilt his body when he came back to life.
2. Verses 41-43 The *religious leaders spoke the truth, but they did not believe. 'He saved other people,' they said. Jesus rescued people from sickness, sin, and death. They also said that Jesus could not save himself, which was not true. Jesus could have saved himself, but he refused to do so. It was because of his painful death that he was able to save other people. The *priests said that a *miracle would make them believe in him. They would even believe he was the *Messiah. As Jesus didn't come down from the cross, those important people missed the chance to believe in him. But many people have since believed in him and become Christians. Jesus suffered. But it showed how much God loves everyone.
3. Verse 44 The two criminals beside Jesus also insulted him. Luke records that a man changed. He asked Jesus to remember him later. He believed that Jesus was King (Luke 23:39-43). So even when Jesus was suffering painfully, he cared for those around him. He promised the believer life forever with him. So he separated the believer from someone who refused to accept him.
Jesus dies 27:45-56
v45From noon to three o'clock darkness covered the whole land.v46About three o'clock, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" It means: "My God, my God, why did you leave me alone?"
v47Some of the people who were there heard this. 'He is calling Elijah,' they said.
v48Immediately, one of them ran and got a *sponge, filled it with sour wine and put it on a stick. So he offered Jesus to drink.v49But the rest of the people did not help. 'Leave him alone. We want to see if Elias comes to save him," they said.
v50Jesus shouted again with a loud voice. Then he died.v51At that moment, the great curtain of the *Temple was torn from top to bottom. So it was in two parts. The earth shook and the rocks also split.v52The graves were opened. And many saints who died came back to life.v53They came out of their tombs. And after Jesus was resurrected, they entered the holy city. Many people saw them there.
v54The *Roman officer and the men with him were guarding Jesus. They saw the *earthquake and everything that happened. So they got really scared. 'He really was the Son of God!' they said.
v55Not far away, many women were watching. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to take care of him.v56Mary Magdalene was among them, and also Mary, who was the mother of James and Joseph. And Zebedee's wife was also there.
Verse 45 The darkness may have had a natural cause. It could have been a sudden sandstorm. But it couldn't be the moon hiding the sun. This could not happen at *Easter time because there was a full moon at night. In the *Old Testament, darkness was a sign to show God's judgment. In Egypt, the ruler did not allow the *Israelites to leave his country. There was darkness for three days (Exodus 10:22). Amos also wrote about God's judgment. 'At that time I will cause the sun to go down at noon. The land shall be darkened at midday' (Amos 8:9).
Jesus had said that he was the Light of the World (John 8:12). The darkness was a sign of God's judgment because people *sinned. So Jesus took our place. Paul explains this in 2 Corinthians 5:21. “Christ never *sinned. But for our benefit, God punished him as if he had*sinned,” wrote Paul.
Verses 46-49 Jesus wept on the *cross in Aramaic. (This was the language his family spoke.) He was reciting the first verse of Psalm 22. Jesus had lost track of God being with him. He even said 'my' God. But he felt completely alone and desperate. Jesus understands every emotion people feel. His *disciples fled and left him alone. Now he felt that God was no longer with him. The people who heard the words of Jesus did not understand them. The *Jews thought he was calling Elijah. They believed that the ancient servant of God would come to them. He would come to help people in trouble. *The Roman soldiers may have thought he was calling the sun god, named Helios. Then someone brought him some sour wine on a sponge. Perhaps Matthew thought of the words of Psalm 69:21. 'I was thirsty. Then they gave me sour wine to drink,” says the psalm. Other people were curious. They wanted to know if Elijah would really come back to help Jesus.
Verse 50 The great cry was probably the cry, 'It is finished!' John recorded this in his *gospel (John 19:30). See Psalm 22:24. The psalm says that God heard Jesus. God heard him when he cried out for help. God had given Jesus a job to do. And Jesus knew that he had finished that work. Then he screamed because he was happy to be complete. Luke records that Jesus gave up his spirit to the Father (Luke 23:46).
Verse 51 The curtain in the *Temple separated the main room (the *Holy Place) from the special room (the Holy of Holies). Only the high priest could enter the Holy of Holies. He went once a year to pray. He asked God to forgive him along with all the *Jewish people (Leviticus 16:11-19). Jesus died for the *sins of people. Therefore, there was no longer any need for people to offer dead animals to God. The curtain was torn "from top to bottom". God tore. A person would have torn from bottom to top. This was a sign that from now on everyone could go directly to God. A *priest on earth no longer needed to act between the people and God. Now, Jesus himself is the *priest of the people (Hebrews 10:11-12). After Jesus came back to life, some of the *Jewish priests* believed and trusted him. These *priests probably gave the information about the curtain (Acts 6:7).
Verses 52-53 The *earthquake opened the graves of the *holy people. They died in the past. And that was a sign that Jesus had defeated death. After Jesus came back to life, these *holy people appeared in the city. Perhaps this emphasizes that people should believe that there is an afterlife. Jesus was the first person to rise from the dead forever. Jesus brought some people back to life, but then they died. Jesus will never die again. Because he came back to life, people no longer need to fear death (1 Corinthians 15:20).
Verse 54 What happened surprised the *Roman officer and the soldiers with him. And they were very afraid. They said, 'This really is the Son of God.'
Jesus had spoken about it (John 12:32). “When they lift me up on the cross, I will draw everyone to me,” he had said. His statement was a sign. This meant that many other people who were not *Jews would believe in Jesus in the future.
Verses 55-56 The women of Galilee took courage and stood near the *cross. They saw Jesus die. They may be less afraid of authorities because they were women. The 12 *disciples were all men. People did not consider women important in that society. Rulers would not think that women were dangerous. But those women followed Jesus to the end because they loved him.
Mary Magdalene came from Magdala. It was a city on the west coast of the Sea of Galilee.
The mother of James and Joseph, Mary, was the wife of Cleopas (John 19:25) or the mother of Jesus, Mary (Matthew 13:55).
Zebedee's wife was Salome (Mark 16:1). She was probably the sister of Jesus' mother.
They buried Jesus 27:57-61
v57In the evening a rich man named Joseph arrived. He came from a town called Arimathea and also became one of Jesus' disciples.v58He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate ordered the soldiers to hand him over.v59Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean sheet.v60He placed the body in its new grave. He had already carved this tomb into the rock like a cave. He then rolled a large stone over the gate to close it. And gone.v61Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting opposite the tomb as they looked at it.
Verse 57 Joseph's house was in a city northwest of Jerusalem. Both Mark and Luke say that he was a member of the *Jewish government (the*Sanhedrin). Luke also says that Joseph had not agreed with the decision to kill Jesus (Luke 23:51). John wrote that Joseph was a *secret disciple (John 19:38). The *Jewish holy day of each week begins at six o'clock on Friday night. They couldn't work on the holy day, so there was little time. It was already night. Furthermore, the *Jews believed that one should bury a dead person before sunset on the same day. Especially if the person was hanged on a stake (Deuteronomy 21:22-23). A *Roman* cross was made of wood like a tree.
Verses 58-60 Joseph risked danger. People might think he was a friend of Jesus. Pilate could have refused his request. Pilate allowed him to have the body of Jesus. But Mark tells us more about this (Mark 15:44-45). Pilate was surprised that Jesus was already dead. He waited until the *Roman officer informed him. It was true, so he agreed to Joseph's request. Joseph used a 'clean linen cloth' to wrap the body. * Linen is usually a white fabric and this fabric was likely new. The tomb (also called "the tomb") was a large cave. He had carved it into the rock. This tomb belonged to Joseph, and he never had a body before. Matthew describes Joseph as a "rich" man. This reminds us that the Suffering Servant was buried with the rich (Isaiah 53:9).
Verse 61 Matthew notes that the women were sitting near the tomb. They saw where Joseph had placed the body.
The guard at the tomb 27:62-66
v62The next day was the holy day after the Day of Preparation. And the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate.v63'Sir', they said, 'this man told lies while he was still alive. We remember what he said. “After three days I will be alive again,” he told people.v64So please order your men to guard the tomb until the third day. If they do not keep it, their *disciples may come there. They can steal your body. Then they will tell people that he came back to life. This last lie will be worse than the first lie he told.
v65'Take some soldiers,' Pilate told them. Go and make the tomb as secure as possible.
v66So they went and secured the tomb. They set the stone in front with the *seal of the ruler. So they left the soldiers there to guard the tomb.
Verses 62-63 The time of preparation was between three and six o'clock on Friday afternoon. The next day was the holy day of the *Jews (called the *Sabbath). The *priests and *Pharisees probably went to Pilate that day. If they were then, they violated the *Law. They opposed Jesus because he healed people on the Sabbath. They said he broke the *Law. So they plotted to kill him (Matthew 12:9-14). Now they wanted to make sure Jesus was out of the way. Then they themselves violated the *Law. They knew what Jesus had said. He had said that he would live again after three days. Jesus said this to his *disciples on several occasions. But his words were more public when he spoke about Jonas. And some *Pharisees were present that day (Matthew 12:40).
The *priests spoke to Pilate respectfully. But they referred to Jesus as a man who told lies.
Verse 64 They said that the *disciples could steal the body. Then the *disciples could say that Jesus had risen. It would upset the public. Then there would be worse problems than when he was alive.
Verse 65 Pilate's words to them may mean:
· “You have a guard. This would mean that they could use their own *Temple police.
· 'Take a watch'. This would mean a guard of Pilate's soldiers. So he was allowing *Roman soldiers to guard the tomb.
Verse 66 They used something soft to join the stones together. They then made the ruler's mark over them and allowed it to harden. Anyone who broke the ruler's mark (also called a "seal") would suffer.
Jesus comes back to life 28:1-10
v1The holy day is over. It was now dawn on the first day of the week. Then Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb.v2Then the earth shook a lot and one of the angels of the *Lord* came down from heaven. The *angel went to the front of the tomb. So he rolled the stone away and sat on it.v3He shone like lightning and his clothes were as white as snow.v4The guards were so afraid of him that they trembled. Then they fell and were as dead.
v5But the *angel spoke to the women. "Don't be afraid," he said. I know you're looking for Jesus. The men killed him on a cross.v6But he is not here now. God made him live again. Jesus said he would do it. Come here and see the place where he lay.v7So go quickly and tell your *disciples. "He came back to life," tell them. "He goes before you into the district of Galilee, and there you will see him." This is the message I came to tell you.
v8So the women hurried out of the tomb. They were scared, but they were very happy. And they ran to tell their *disciples.
v9Suddenly, Jesus found them. "Greetings!" he said and they approached him. They supported his feet and worshiped him.v10Then Jesus spoke to them again. "Don't be afraid," he said. ‘Go and tell my brothers and friends to go to the Galilee district. They will see me there.
Verses 1-4 The *Sabbath ended at six o'clock on Saturday afternoon. Early on Sunday morning, the two women named Mary went to the tomb. They had seen the men bury Jesus in the cave. Mark 16:1-2 and Luke 24:1 say the women brought "spices". They prepared these 'spices' from plants that smell beautiful. And they were going to put them on the body of Jesus. The accounts of this day have different details in each of the four *Gospels. But everyone agrees that the women got the news first. Nobody saw Jesus when he came back to life. But the stone rolled away and the tomb was empty. Only Matthew records that an *angel rolled away the stone.
Verses 5-7 The *angel said he knew why the women were there. God knows everything about us. 'Jesus said he would do this' reminds us that God always keeps his promises. The man who wrote Psalm 145 knew this. ‘The *Lord does all that he has promised to do’ (Psalm 145:13). The women were to tell the *disciples that Jesus would "go ahead" of them into the Galilee district. Jesus 'goes ahead' of his people in every situation. He guides and comforts them.
Verses 8-10 Jesus told the women to tell their 'brothers and friends'. The *angel told them to "tell your *disciples". Jesus may have used the word 'brothers' to include his own family. His own family did not believe him during his public work. But after he returned to heaven, they were with the other *disciples (Acts 1:14). Paul records that Jesus later appeared to his brother James (1 Corinthians 15:7).
The report of the guards 28:11-15
v11While the women were on their way, some of the guards entered the city. They informed the chief *priests. They reported everything that had happened.v12So the *chief priests met with the other leaders and made a plan. They gave a lot of money to the soldiers,v13and gave them orders. 'You must say that your disciples came during the night. And they stole your body while you were sleeping,' they told the soldiers.v14‘If the *Roman ruler discovers this, we will explain to him. We'll make sure you stay out of trouble.
v15Then the soldiers took the money. They did what the chief priests told them to do. And this same story has spread among the Jews to this day.
Verses 11-14 The *priests were in despair. They didn't want anyone to know the real story. They wanted the soldiers to tell lies about Jesus' body. So they had to pay a lot of money to the soldiers. This was a very serious matter. A *Roman soldier should never have slept while on duty. The *priests promised that they would deal with the ruler. There would be no problems for the soldiers.
Verse 15 The story was weak because it was a lie. But people were still listening to him when Matthew was writing this *gospel. No one could deny that the tomb was empty. It is strange that *priests did not look for *disciples. The *priests probably knew they would not find Jesus' body. And some *priests later believed that Jesus was alive again (Acts 6:7).
Jesus gives his last instructions 28:16-20
v16So the 11 *disciples went to Galilee. They went to the mountain that Jesus had told them about.v17When they saw Jesus there, they worshiped him. But some of them doubted that it was really Jesus.v18So he approached and spoke to them. “God has given me all authority in heaven and on earth,” he said.v19'Then you have to go to people in all nations and make them my *disciples. *Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son and the *Holy Spirit.'v20Teach them to obey everything I've told you. And you can be sure that I will always be with you. I will be with you until the end of the world.
Verse 16 Jesus had called his first *disciples in the district of Galilee. Now it was the place where he gave them his last instructions. He had promised to go to Galilee before his disciples (Matthew 26:32). Both the *angel and Jesus repeated this message (Matthew 28:7, 10).
Verse 17 It is not clear who doubted him. There may have been as many as 11 *disciples present. Some people could not believe that Jesus was really alive again after his death.
Verses 18-20 Matthew records how Jesus demonstrated his authority. He showed this in everything he did. And he showed it with everything he taught. Jesus has universal authority. Therefore, he can command his *disciples to obey him. Jesus' authority is more powerful than that of any ruler or official in this world. Thus, his disciples serve a powerful master. His instructions were clear.
1. His *disciples were to go to 'the people of all nations'. Jesus meant that both *Jews and other people should hear the *gospel. Jesus had trained his *disciples. He told them that all the people of the world would hear the *message of the gospel (Matthew 24:14).
2. The book called Acts tells us about the first Christians. From the beginning, Christians *baptized people. And Peter declared that baptism was a sign. He showed that the people trusted Jesus (Acts 2:38). He showed that God had forgiven the people. Water cleans people's bodies. Likewise, *baptism shows other people that the new *disciples are 'cleansed' from their* sins. Jesus said that they should use the full name of God during *baptism. Believers trust that God is their Father. They believe that Jesus saved them. They know that the *Holy Spirit will give them power. With the *Holy Spirit they can live a new life.
3. “Teach them to obey everything I have told you,” said Jesus. The *disciples needed to teach the new Christians how to behave like believers. They had to think of new things. *Jews may have learned from the *Old Testament. But they needed to fully understand what the *Law meant.* Gentiles often misbehaved. So they had to learn to behave in a different way. Matthew wrote in five sections what Jesus had taught. And new* disciples could learn from it. Many of them came from places where no one knew the truth about God. Later, Paul wrote his letters because it was necessary to teach these people.
4. Jesus gave his *disciples an enormous task. He had warned them that people would hate them. The people would oppose them. But I didn't want them to be afraid. So he promised them that he would always be with them. Then they could obey his orders. He will be with his *disciples every day. When the 'end of the world' arrives, they will have finished their work for him.
Jesus told some stories that we can only read in the Gospel of Matthew*. To watch:
The tares among the wheat 13:24-30;36-43
The *hidden treasure 13:44
The *pearl of great price 13:45-46
The net with good and bad fish 13:47-50
The owner of a house 13:52
The story of the unforgiving servant 18:23-34
The story of the landlord's workers 20:1-16
The story of two sons 21:28-32
The story of a wedding meal 22:1-14
The story of ten young men 25:1-13
The story of the three servants 25:14-30
The Story of the Sheep and the Goats 25:31-46
ANNOUNCEMENT~ after the date Jesus was born.
adultery~ steal someone's wife or husband.
altar~ a table on which people placed *sacrifices.
ancestors~ people in the past from whom the parents came.
anjos~ God's *special messengers.
apostle~ one of the 12 special men Jesus sent.
Atonement~ the special day when *Jews ask God for forgiveness.
Babylon~ an *Old Testament country. Today it is part of Iraq.
baptize~ putting a person under water or putting water on a person to show that they want to follow Christ.
baptism~ when they put a person under water or put water on a person to show they want to follow Christ.
bautista~ someone who *baptizes people.
to be~ a person or animal that is alive.
to bless~ say or do a lot of good to a person; call something *sacred; ask for good things to happen; to avoid bad things.
arco~ lean your body forward as a sign of respect for someone.
burial~ when you place a dead body in a tomb.
Canaanites~ people who lived in Canaan. This was the land that God gave to Israel.
carpenter~ a person who works skillfully with wood.
church~ a group of Christians meeting each other. A church is not just the building where they meet. It can also mean all Christians in the world.
cleaned~ when someone does good things and thinks good thoughts.
bring~ young animal.
commandments~ God rules.
Advice~ important men who meet to discuss and decide events.
Cruz~ two pieces of wood that someone joined together in the shape of a cross.
Devils~ bad *spirits.
downward~ a son, a grandson, etc.; a person in your family who lives after your death.
disciples~ those who follow another person to learn from them.
puppy~ an animal that some people have at home.
Burro~ animal with big ears related to a horse. People use it to transport people and goods.
earthquake~ when on the ground it shakes.
epilepsy~ a disease that causes the person to fall to the ground, sometimes with strange movements of the muscles.
Eternal~ without beginning or end.
faith~ belief in someone or something; things people believe about Jesus.
banquet~ a special meal; a *religious ceremony.
FIG~ small soft fruit full of tiny seeds, people eat it fresh or dried.
incense~ a substance that people burned in *religious ceremonies to give a pleasant smell.
Gentiles~ people who are not *Jewish.
ghost~ a *spirit; when someone believes they have seen the spirit of a dead person.
Gospel~ 1. good news; 2. one of the first four books of the *New Testament.
uva~ a small, sweet fruit that people make wine from.
Greek~ the language in which the authors wrote the *New Testament.
Hebrew~ the language in which the *Jews wrote the *Old Testament.
the herodians~ a political group. They supported the *Roman government.
santo~ all good with nothing wrong; separated from *sin.
Holy Spirit~ one person of the three persons who are God. He comes to help Christians become more like God. We cannot see this. He comes to give people the power to do what God wants.
Israelite~ a *Jew.
Jewish~ a person who is from the family of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; a person who believes in the *faith of the Jews, called Judaism.
Jewish~ a word describing a *Jew or anything related to a *Jew.
Judea~ a part of the country where the *Jews lived.
Kingdom~ people or places ruled by a king; or people whom God governs.
kingdom of heaven~ where God rules.
lei~ the rules that God gave to Moses for the *Jews.
high~ a person from the *tribe of Levi. God chose them to work for him in his *temple.
linoleum~ a kind of material that is like cotton. Linen is a very good quality material.
Mr~ teacher; a name we call God or Jesus; we call God or Jesus Lord when we obey them.
delivery courier~ a person who gives a message.
messiah~ the word of the *Jews to the king who would come to rescue them.
miracle~ a great thing that only God can do.
Mount~ a short word for mountain; small mountain.
myrrh~ pleasant smelling oil.
new testament~ the last part of the Bible, which the writers wrote after the life of Jesus.
Old testment~ the first part of the Bible, which the writers wrote before the life of Jesus.
Oliva~ a tree with small fruits (or the fruits themselves) that people use to make oil. They use the oil to cook food.
parable~ a story with a hidden meaning.
Easter~ the time when the *Jews remember that God delivered them from Egypt.
perla~ a white ball of hard material that glows. It's very valuable. A small, soft animal that lives inside a shell (a hard thing that surrounds it) makes pearls. This animal lives in the sea.
Pentecost~ 1. the moment when *Jews thank God for their food; 2. the time when God gave the *Holy Spirit to the *church.
perfume~ something that smells good to put on the skin.
Pharisee~ one of a group of *Jews who thought they obeyed all of God's rules. They didn't like the things Jesus taught. They thought they had done nothing wrong. So, they thought they were very important and intelligent.
physicist~ in the body.
preach~ tell and explain the good news about Jesus.
pregnant~ when a woman carries a child inside her body before birth.
padre~ a man whom God has chosen to do a special work for him. The *priests worked in the *Temple.
prophesy~ tell people what God thinks and will do; count things before they happen; speak with the help of God (or a false god) and in the name of God (or a false god).
A Prophet~ a person who told people what God wanted.
prostitute~ a person who has sex with another for money.
religious~ something people do as part of worshiping God.
lament~ switch from doing bad things to obeying God.
Resurrection~ when someone comes back to life again.
romano~ Rome was the capital of the rulers of the time. What belonged to Rome was Roman.
oxide~ the stuff that comes in wet metal.
Saturday~ the seventh day, *Jewish day of rest.
sacrifice~ a gift to God to ask him to forgive sins; or thank you for something. A gift to God, usually an animal or bird, from *Jews to ask God to forgive their *sins. Jesus gave himself up to die as a sacrifice for our *sins.
Sadducee~ one of a group of *Jews who did not believe in heaven and *resurrection; a significant group of Jews at the time of Jesus. They used only the five books from the beginning of the *Old Testament. They believed that people would not live again after death.
Samaritan~ a person from Samaria.
Sanhedrin~ the group of *Jews *priests and other leaders.
Satan~ the boss of evil *spirit.
scribes~ writers, especially the *Jews who taught the*law.
scriptures~ the books of the *Old Testament or the Bible.
Path~ a long sheet of paper or animal skin; people fixed it around two pieces of wood; it usually had something written on it.
village~ a sign that something is genuine.
sin~ when we do not obey the commandments of God.
sinners~ those who do bad things.
skull~ the bone of the head.
son of the man~ a name Jesus called himself. See Daniel 8:17.
alma~ the part of a person that we cannot see. He lives after we die.
spirit~ the part of us that lives when our body dies; unless it is alive, even without a body; the part of a person that will always be alive, even after their body is dead. There are good spirits, like the Spirit of God and his *angels. And there are evil spirits, like *Satan and his* angels.
spiritual~ belonging to the spirit or *soul.
cuspir, cuspir~ to make the mouth water very quickly.
sponge~ soft material that holds liquid.
tax collector~ a man who collected taxes for the *Romans.
Temple~ the special building in Jerusalem where the *Jews* worshiped God.
try~ try to make someone do bad things.
temptations~ test; efforts to make someone do bad things.
tenants~ people who pay rent to use someone else's property.
thirsty~ when someone wants or needs a drink.
Thorn~ sharp, hard edge on a plant or bush.
rolando~ hitting the wheat or other plants so that the grains fall; to separate the wheat from the chaff.
torre~ a very tall building.
traditions~ habitual beliefs that pass from person to person.
treasure~ anything of great value.
Test~ a legal examination by which a judge decides whether a person is guilty of a crime; the examination of a person in a court of law to find out whether or not he is guilty of a crime.
tribe~ the entire family of one of the 12 sons of Jacob; family of the same father.
Trumpet~ musical instrument; you blow into a tube.
twin~ someone born at the same time as a brother or sister; one of two children born together from the same mother.
I'm soaked~ without *yeast.
vineyards~ a place where people grow *grapes.
virgin~ a woman who has never had sex with a man.
Worship~ showing honor to God, usually with other people.
yeast~ people put yeast in flour and water to make bread. The yeast grows in the bread and makes the bread bigger. It is sprinkled on all bread, so Jesus compared it to other things that are sprinkled.
yugo~ 1. a wooden bar that joins two animals together;2. something that brings people together in a common task.
William Barclay ~ The Gospel of Matthew ~ Revised Edition Daily Study Bible, 1975
FF Bruce ~ St. Matthew in the Daily Commentary, 1974
Francis Foulkes ~ A Guide to the Gospel of St. Matthew ~ SPCK International Study Guide 37, 2001
Craig S. Keener ~ Matthew ~ IVP * New Testament Series, 1997
Alfred Plummer ~ An Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel According to St Matthew, 1909
Chamber's 21st Century Dictionary, 1996
Thesaurus Inglês ~ Geddes & Grosset, 1999
new international version
New Light Bible (New International Version for Readers)
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This post is written in EasyEnglish Level B (2800 words).
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The book of Matthew is the first Gospel (an account of Jesus' life and ministry) in the New Testament. In Matthew, Jesus teaches people what it means to be part of his kingdom, the “kingdom of heaven.” He is betrayed and crucified. He rises again and commissions His disciples to spread the good news.What is Matthew 5 commentary in easy English? ›
Jesus is telling the people that everyone has done wrong things to God. They do not obey him in the way that they should. Jesus says that we should believe in him now. If we do not, then God will judge us.What is the main message of the Gospel of Matthew? ›
Writing for a Jewish Christian audience, Matthew's main concern is to present Jesus as a teacher even greater than Moses.What is Matthew 7 easy English commentary? ›
We should not speak against other people. 1 Jesus then said, 'Do not say to anyone, “You are a bad person.” If you do that, God will say to you, “You are a bad person.” 2 God will think about you in the same way that you think about other people. He will use the same rules for you as you use for other people.What does Matthew teach us about Jesus? ›
Matthew uses "fulfillment citations" to prove that Jesus was the Jewish messiah. Matthew further emphasizes Jesus' importance to Judaism by modeling his birth and ministry on Moses' birth and mission: Jesus is the new Moses who has been appointed by God to free his people from bondage and to give the (new) law.What is unique about the Gospel of Matthew? ›
As the only gospel that makes a direct mention of the church, much of the instruction recorded in Matthew is especially appropriate for particular situations that arose in the Christian churches of the first century. Matthew begins with a genealogy of Jesus that traces his ancestry as far back as Abraham.What is the commentary of Matthew 6 24? ›
Jesus teaches that people cannot love both God and wealth. They must choose one or the other. We can do what God commands, which is to serve and love other people; or we can love wealth and obey what its lusts require.What is Matthew 7 13 14 in easy English? ›
'Go in through the narrow gate to get true life with God. There is a wide gate that is easy to go through. The wide path is easy to travel on. Many people find that wide gate, but it is the way to hell.What is Matthew 5 22 commentary? ›
When Jesus says that one who unjustly calls a brother or a sister raka, “empty one,” or “fool” should suffer severe consequences, he specifically refers to an insult that suggests a misunderstanding of Torah laws.What is the commentary of Matthew 7 16? ›
Jesus states that one will be able to identify false prophets by their fruits. False prophets will not produce good fruits. Fruits, which are a common metaphor in both the Old and New Testaments, represent the outward manifestation of a person's faith, thus their behaviour and their works.
Jesus said to them, 'If a man is a prophet from God, people everywhere will say good things about him. But the people in his own town will not accept him. Even the people of his own house will not say good things about him. 'What is the commentary of Matthew 7 22? ›
In this verse he notes that even some who have performed miracles in his name would also be excluded. The verse does not deny that these unholy may have made correct prophecies and driven out demons. These were acts that in that era were commonly attributed to teachers and mystics.What is the commentary on Matthew 6 24 34? ›
Having faith in God entails that you give God the right to lead you, you render yourself to Him, and you trust Him with your life. Reverence life requires us to have a loving and caring relationship with God and see the world with the “eyes of faith”. God will provide our needs.What are the main points of this Matthew chapter 6? ›
There are three major biblical themes in Matthew chapter 6, which are the kingdom of God, God's providential care and spiritual acts/acts of righteousness. The three are seen throughout the chapter and other times in the teaching of Jesus, especially kingdom of God, which is a common theme throughout the Gospels.What is the meaning of Matthew 6 19? ›
In Matthew 6:19–24 Jesus taught his followers to use an accurate scale to weigh the value of things. He called his disciples to understand and recognize the treasures of those whose only hope is found here on earth are susceptible to rust and moth.What does Matthew 7 14 15 mean? ›
Matthew 7:7–14 describes God as a generous Father eager to give good gifts to His praying children. Jesus commands His followers to continually ask and seek, with confidence that they will receive and find. Christ summarizes the intent of God's commands in the Old Testament: doing for others what we want done for us.What does Matthew chapter 7 verse 13 mean? ›
He urges His disciples to seek life by entering through the narrow gate that runs counter to the way of the world. The way of the world is commonly traveled but its end is destruction and ruin.What is Matthew 7 2 easy translation? ›
The World English Bible translates the passage as: For with whatever judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with whatever measure you measure, it will be measured to you.What is the commentary in Matthew 5 32? ›
Some scholars feel that in Matthew 5:32 Jesus is endorsing the view of Shammai over Hillel, and arguing for the adultery only rule. Some scholars feel that under the liberal divorce policy of Hillel men had been marrying women and then casually divorcing them after they lost interest, deeply injuring the women.What is the meaning of Matthew 5 20? ›
Jesus is "contrasting the external righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees with the interior righteousness that proceeds from the heart and which is to characterize his followers. Jesus is telling his disciples how to be righteous--not how to look righteous.
Matthew 5:27–28 may be a reference to Exodus 20:17, as a reminder that sin does not begin with adultery, but already when a man covets his neighbor's wife. While coveting your neighbor's wife may involve sexual desire, it is unlikely that coveting a neighbor's house or field is sexual in nature.What is the commentary of Matthew 7 25? ›
Jesus commands His hearers not to pronounce shallow or hypocritical judgment. He describes God as a generous Father eager to give good things to His children when they ask. He commands His followers to enter the narrow gate and walk the hard road to life.What is the commentary of Matthew 7 14? ›
The metaphor in this verse implies that the path of sin is an easy one to follow, and that one will do so without conscious effort not to. Davies and Allison note that the notion of vice being a far easier path than virtue is a common one to most religions.What is the commentary in Matthew 7 23? ›
Commentary from the Church Fathers
God does not know sinners because they are not worthy that they should be known of God; not that He altogether is ignorant concerning them, but because He knows them not for His own.
This means that on Earth, good and bad people will grow and live together. The Kingdom of God will be present amongst the evil of the world. At the end of time people will be separated into their eternal destiny.What is the key verse of Matthew 13? ›
The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it.What is the main point of Matthew 13? ›
Jesus entered into a boat that he might be the less pressed, and be the better heard by the people. By this he teaches us in the outward circumstances of worship not to covet that which is stately, but to make the best of the conveniences God in his providence allots to us.What is the message of Matthew 7 24? ›
The Word of God is sufficient for those who trust upon the Lord, which is why Jesus said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.What is the main message of Matthew 7 21 27? ›
We have to go to God by finding him present in the world around us and helping others to be aware of that loving presence also. We will not do that by piously calling on God's name while ignoring the needs of our brothers and sisters. To do that is to build our house on sand.What is the main message in Matthew 7 12? ›
Jesus commands His disciples in every circumstance to treat people the same way we want them to treat us. This is both a distillation of everything He has been teaching throughout His Sermon on the Mount, and a distillation of the Old Covenant delivered through Moses.
Jesus says that he has the authority to forgive sins and then proves it by healing the paralysed man. Jesus calls himself “Son of man” – a safe title for him to use. The title was originally used by the prophet Ezekiel to describe himself. He wanted to show that he was an ordinary person.What is Jesus saying in Matthew 5? ›
Bible Gateway Matthew 5 :: NIV. "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.What is the reflection of Matthew 5? ›
The Gospel tells us that when we are facing a certain trial in our life, don't forget that there are also blessings attached to it. The “Kingdom of God” or the experience of God's blessings will be given to those who will believe like what happened to our dear Saints in the Heavens.What is the message that the Beatitudes are trying to teach you? ›
The Beatitudes are a radically bold statement of Jesus' intent to establish the kingdom of heaven on earth, which will bring true peace and freedom for all who dare to follow him as his disciples. It is through those disciples that his kingdom will bring blessing to all of the peoples of the earth.What do we learn from the healing of the paralyzed man? ›
Some men came carrying a paralyzed man but could not get inside, so they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and then lowered the man down. When Jesus saw how faithful they had been, he said to the paralyzed man, "Son, your sins are forgiven."What is the meaning of the healing of the paralytic? ›
That the paralytic, being healed, is able to take up his bed is a. picture of what Jesus has and is doing for us: "He not only turns away souls from sin, but gives them the. power of working out the commandments" (St.How did Jesus help the man with the paralyzed hand? ›
But Jesus knew what they were thinking. He said to the man with the crippled hand, “Get up and stand here where everyone can see.” The man got up and stood there. Jesus looked around at all of them and then said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” The man held out his hand, and it was healed”, (Luke 6:7, 8, 10).What does Matthew chapter 6 mean? ›
In Chapter 6, He explains how good deeds are only righteous when done out of sincere devotion to God, rather than for other people's approval. He also provides a model for prayer. Jesus explains how excessive worry, such as over money, interferes with faith in God.What is the message of Matthew 5 17? ›
Jesus summarized his relationship to the Old Testament with this surprising statement in the Sermon on the Mount: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matt. 5:17).What is the message of Matthew 5 17 20? ›
revenge nor hold grudges to those who have wronged us. It is hard for people to avoid sins, but if one is with the Lord, he will be guided, for God is in control.
“Blessed Are the Merciful, for They Will Receive Mercy” (Matthew 5:7) If you are blessed with sorrow for your own failings (the second beatitude) and with right relationships (the fourth beatitude), you will not find it difficult to show mercy to others on the job or anywhere else.How many Beatitudes are there in Matthew? ›
In the Revised Standard Version, the nine Beatitudes of Matthew 5:3–12 read as follows: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.What is the message of Matthew 5 12? ›
After listing the beatitudes, Jesus says, “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account” (verse 12). The kingdom of heaven belongs to those who suffer because of their faithfulness to Jesus.What are the 4 most important teachings in the Beatitudes? ›
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.Who are the poor in spirit? ›
'Poor in spirit' is an odd phrase to modern ears, outside religious circles anyway. The traditional explanation, especially among evangelicals, is that it means people who recognise their own spiritual poverty, their need for God. Blessed are those who mourn is taken to mean people who repent and mourn for their sins.What are the main differences between the 10 Commandments and the Beatitudes? ›
The Ten Commandments are regarded as the fundamental moral laws that all Christians are to conform to. They teach us how to stand firm and worship God on a physical, emotional, mental and spiritual level. The beatitudes teach us how to build the kingdom of God on earth and live in the heavenly kingdom.