Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Compassionate Lord Jesus


Matthew 12: 14-21

Story & Lessons

The Lord Jesus Christ was aware of the murderous intention of His enemies.

So He departed from that place.

Great crowds continued to follow Him and He healed them all.

The Lord Jesus Christ warned them not to make Him known.

This was in fulfilment of what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah.

God the Father had chosen the Lord Jesus Christ to come to the earth as a servant.

Why did the Lord Jesus Christ humble Himself and come to the earth as a servant?

It was because man is a rebel and our disobedience to God calls for a Saviour who is perfectly obedient to God.

The Lord Jesus Christ came as a servant to do His Father's will in order to save us from our sins.

God the Father delights in Him.

The Holy Spirit is upon Him.

He has come to save Gentiles as well as Jews.

He does not not quarrel or rave like His enemies who stirred up the mob to cry out for His crucifixion.

He is gentle in His dealings with us.

Though the world may despise us, our gracious Saviour does not cast us off.

He patiently and tenderly works in our lives, healing and restoring.

The scribes and Pharisees were callous and indifferent to human need. They asked "Is it lawful?" but never "Is it kind?"

When religion makes men callous, something is terribly wrong!

There is all the difference in the world between having a cloak of religion and having a heart of compassion that comes from knowing the love of Chrst in our lives!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Lord's Day


Matthew 12: 1-14

Story & Lessons

The scribes and Pharisees made Sabbath keeping a great burden and misery with all their petty rules and regulations.

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They were very quick to criticize the disciples for plucking ears of corn on the Sabbath in order to feed themselves.

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The Lord Jesus Christ showed their blindness to the teaching of the Scriptures when He asked them twice, "Have you not read?" (3, 5).

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He reminded their critics that David had done an unlawful thing by eating the showbread.

Sabbath laws must be overruled when there is a need to be met.

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The Lord Jesus Christ pointed out that the Jewish priests were obliged to desecrate the Sabbath because of their necessary duties.

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The Lord Jesus Christ taught that human need must be met on the Sabbath just as it is on any other day.

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The Sabbath was made for man, not to be a burden but a blessing.

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Mercy is far more important than outward religious observance.

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The Lord Jesus Christ reminded them, "The Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath".

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The Pharisees tried to make the Lord Jesus Christ say that He would break the law when they saw a man in the synagogue with a withered hand.

They asked him, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?"

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The Lord Jesus Christ pointed out that if they had a sheep which is trapped in a pit on the Sabbath, they would certainly rescue it.

A man is more important than a sheep!

Jesus said, "Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath" and He healed the man.

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The churlish Pharisees had no compassion for the handicapped man.

They were annoyed to see him healed on the Sabbath.

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They were so rigid in their interpretation of the law.

Yet they plotted to murder the Lord Jesus Christ on the Sabbath!

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Is Jesus the Lord of our Sabbaths?

If He is, the Lord's Day should be the highlight of our week.

We are able to worship God with His people.

We are to do good.

And we are to show compassion to those in need.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Rest For Your Souls


Matthew 11: 25-30

Story & Lessons

The invitation of the Lord Jesus Christ to sinners is preceded by a prayer of thanksgiving to God the Father.

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The Lord Jesus Christ addressed God the Father as the "Lord of heaven and earth".

God is absolutely sovereign over the universe.

He cannot be toppled from His throne!

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The Lord Jesus Christ thanked God the Father for His sovereignty in revealing the gospel to sinners.

He hides the gospel truth from those like the Pharisees who considered themselves to be wise and prudent.

He reveals it to babes, who have a childlike trust in Him.

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God the Father has given His Son all authority and the Lord Jesus is sovereign in revealing Him.

He is the only Mediator between God the Father and men.

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Though the Lord Jesus Christ is sovereign in bringing salvation, He invites sinners to come to Him:

"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

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The word 'labor' means to toil and be exhausted in that toil.

There are many who have labored to find happiness, satisfaction and meaning to their lives, but have not been able to obtain these things.

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If we are to have rest:

  • We must come to the Lord Jesus Christ. He alone is able to take the burden of sin from us. There is no other person who is able to save us.

  • We must take His yoke. The yoke speaks of submission and service under the Lordship of Christ. The religion of the scribes and Pharisees with its man-made regulations was a heavy and burdensome yoke. The yoke of the Lord Jesus Christ is easy and His burden is light.

  • We must learn from the Lord Jesus Christ by following His example. He is gentle and humble.

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There is a wonderful promise here for all who respond to the invitation of the Lord Jesus Christ:

"You will find rest for your souls."

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We live in a troubled and restless world but the Lord Jesus Christ gives rest of soul which we can never obtain from this world.

This rest comes as a result of forgiveness of sin and flows from the enjoyment of peace with God and His love in our lives.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Call To Repent And Trust In Christ


Matthew 11: 16-24

Story & Lessons

The Lord Jesus Christ compared His generation to children playing in the market places.

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One group wanted to play weddings.

Some pretended to be flute players, obliged with merry music.

But there was no dancing because others would not join them.

The 'flute players' then pretended to be mourners wailing their laments.

But that also still did not suit them.

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The Lord Jesus Christ likened this childish behavior to the petty attitude of those who opposed both John the Baptist and He Himself.

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They opposed John the Baptist because His ministry was too severe.

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They condemned the Lord Jesus Christ because He attended feasts.

They falsely accused Him of being a glutton and a drunkard.

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The Lord Jesus Christ also befriended those who were considered to be the dregs of society when they turned from their sin to follow Him.

He was called "A friend of tax collectors and sinners"

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The enemies of the Lord Jesus Christ were implying that the Lord Jesus Christ was condoning sin, but that was not true.

He offers forgiveness to the worst of sinners if they will repent and trust in Him.

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The wisdom of John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus Christ was justified by the changed lives of those who followed them.

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The Lord Jesus Christ reproached the cities which had been privileged to witness most of His mighty works.

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They would face greater punishment on the day of judgment than the wicked cities of Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom.

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The people of Tyre and Sidon would have repented had they seen the mighty works of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The city of Sodom would have remained until this day if the mighty works of the Lord Jesus Christ had been done there.

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If we are Christians, let us rejoice and give thanks to God for His sovereign grace and mercy.

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If we are not Christians, let us repent of our sin and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.

The consequences of rejecting Him are too dreadful to contemplate!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Beset By Doubts


Matthew 11: 1-15

Story & Lessons

John the Baptist had condemned Herod Antipas for his adultery and was thrown into prison.

He began to have doubts about who Jesus was.

He sent two of his disciples to Jesus to ask, "Are you the Coming One, or do we look for another?"

John had affirmed the greatest of the Lord Jesus and had heard the voice from heaven saying, "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased".

He had also heard about the wonderful works of Jesus.

Why was he beset by doubt?

Perhaps he was expecting Jesus to purge the nation of wickedness and hypocrisy?

He may have wondered why the Lord allowed him to languish in prison.

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The two disciples saw for themselves the mighty power of Christ over sickness and demons.

The Lord Jesus Christ told them to tell John about the things that they heard and saw.

He said to them, "Blessed is he who is not offended because of me".

Jesus was very kind and tender in His assessment of His disheartened servant.

John was greater than all the OT prophets and yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than him.

This does not mean that John was not a saved man, but that the least in the kingdom were more privileged because they were seeing the wonderful effects of the Messiah's ministry.

Verse 14 does not mean that John was Elijah returned to earth; he had denied this (John 1:21).

His ministry was in the spirit and power of Elijah fulfilling the prophecy that Elijah would come again.

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Are we beset by doubts or despair because of some perplexing trial?

Do not be offended (stumble) at the Lord for His dealings with us.

He promises, "Blessed is he who is not offended because of me".

We may not be able to trace the ways of God, but do trust Him.

He is wise and kind and he will never fail us!