I recommend Tim McGrew, a Christian apologist and philosopher. Many YouTube videos about the gospels and Acts of topics such as: who wrote them, internal and external evidence of their reliability, alleged contradictions and historic errors.

The gospel of Matthew was written in Hebrew (Aramaic) for the Jewish Christians living in Palestine. Matthew was himself Jewish, a tax collector, and was one of the apostles. Other apostles were still present in Palestine when this gospel was written. This gospel is not chronological but is structured to fit into a one year Jewish liturgical cycle.

The gospel of Matthew was written before the Jewish War which ended in 70 A.D. with the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem.

Certain topics that fundamentalist evangelical Protestants emphasize in the extreme are barely mentioned in the gospels. These are...

  1. The creation of the world in six days — not mentioned.
  2. Adam — only in Luke's genealogy
  3. Noah's flood — mentioned in passing in one story. Certainly no mention of a global flood.
  4. Abraham — mentioned a few times as father of the Jews via promises and of Jesus.
  5. Moses and the Exodus stories — The transfiguration. The burning bush. The serpent on the pole. Manna. Many references to the law given by Moses.
  6. David — Jesus is a descendent of David. The promise of a kingdom to David. Eating the shewbread. David referring to the Messiah as his Lord.

 3 days and 3 nights       The word "immediately"


(Matthew 1:1) The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Since the audience of this gospel is Jews, it is important to establish Jesus' pedigree. The nation of Israel was founded on being descendants of Abraham and Israel. The promise of a nation was given to Abraham and David and others.

(Matthew 1:2) Abraham(1) begat Isaac;(2) and Isaac begat Jacob;(3) and Jacob begat Judas [Judah](4) and his brethren;

This genealogy starts with Abraham and traverses through Judah. Jesus is the Lion of the tribe of Judah.

I find it odd this genealogy only goes back to Abraham. Luke's genealogy goes back to Adam invoking God's promise of a Messiah. Matthew begins his gospel establishing Jesus' pedigree as a descendant of Abraham. Perhaps he feels his audience, the Jews, won't even read his gospel unless he does this.

(Matthew 1:3) And Judas [Judah] begat Phares [Perez](5) and Zara [Zerah] of Thamar [Tamar]; and Phares [Perez] begat Esrom [Hezron];(6) and Esrom [Hezron] begat Aram [Ram];(7)

(Matthew 1:4) And Aram [Ram] begat Aminadab [Amminadab];(8) and Aminadab [Amminadab] begat Naasson [Nahshon];(9) and Naasson [Nahshon] begat Salmon;(10)

(Matthew 1:5) And Salmon begat Booz [Boaz](11) of Rachab; and Booz [Boaz] begat Obed(12) of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse;(13)

(Matthew 1:6) And Jesse begat David(14) the king; and David(1) the king begat Solomon(2) of her that had been the wife of Urias [Uriah];

(Matthew 1:7) And Solomon begat Roboam [Rehoboam];(3) and Roboam [Rehoboam] begat Abia [Abijah];(4) and Abia begat Asa;(5)

(Matthew 1:8) And Asa begat Josaphat [Jehoshaphat];(6) and Josaphat begat Joram [Jehoram];(7) and Joram begat Ozias [Uzziah];(8)

Notice some missing names when compared with the list in 1 Chronicles:

And Solomon's son was Rehoboam,(3) Abia [Abijah](4) his son, Asa(5) his son, Jehoshaphat(6) his son, Joram(7) his son, Ahaziah(???) his son, Joash(???) his son, Amaziah(???) his son, Azariah [Uzziah](8) his son, Jotham(9) his son, Ahaz(10) his son, Hezekiah(11) his son, Manasseh(12) his son

(Matthew 1:9) And Ozias [Uzziah] begat Joatham [Jotham];(9) and Joatham [Jotham] begat Achaz [Ahaz];(10) and Achaz [Ahaz] begat Ezekias [Hezekiah];(11)

(Matthew 1:10) And Ezekias [Hezekiah] begat Manasses [Manasseh];(12) and Manasses [Manasseh] begat Amon;(13) and Amon begat Josias [Josiah];(14)

(Matthew 1:11) And Josias [Josiah] begat Jechonias [Jeconiah](1) and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon:

Jeconiah is missing in the historical account. Clearly there is an error somewhere. I have no interest in trying to sort it all out, merely to document the error...

(Matthew 1:12) And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias [Jeconiah] begat Salathiel;(2) and Salathiel begat Zorobabel;(3)

(Matthew 1:13) And Zorobabel begat Abiud;(4) and Abiud begat Eliakim;(5) and Eliakim begat Azor;(6)

(Matthew 1:14) And Azor begat Sadoc;(7) and Sadoc begat Achim;(8) and Achim begat Eliud;(9)

(Matthew 1:15) And Eliud begat Eleazar;(10) and Eleazar begat Matthan;(11) and Matthan begat Jacob;(12)

(Matthew 1:16) And Jacob begat Joseph(13) the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus,(14) who is called Christ.

This genealogy traverses Joseph's family line. Since Jesus was not a biological offspring of Joseph, this list is legal, not biological.

In Matthew's gospel the father of Joseph is Jacob but in Luke's gospel the father of Joseph is Heli. How do we resolve this? In the Protoevangelium of James (not necessarily factual) we learn that Mary's mother is Anna and her father is Joachim, so treating Luke's genealogy as that of Mary doesn't solve it. Certainly Matthew's version is compressed with gaps to fit the 14 x 3 motif. The solution from the early church fathers: Jacob was Joseph's biological father (the word "begat"). Jacob and Heli were brothers with different fathers but the same mother and so the genealogies diverge. Heli died before having a child so his brother Jacob married his wife to carry on his name and they begat Joseph who was therefore Heli's son in name. Matthan married Matthat's wife after Heli was born and after Matthat died.

(Matthew 1:17) So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.

There are 14 x 3 generations in this list, but notice some missing names. The purpose of a genealogy is to demonstrate a person's heritage, not to ensure every last detail is documented. In addition, these lists must be memorized so they have built-in memory aids such as groupings, numbers, etc.

Critics of the Bible claim there is a miscounting here, that one list doesn't have 14 names. I've marked it for you; you have to count David twice as mentioned and you don't count the person carried away to Babylon until list #3; list #2 says "until", not "including".

Why 14, you might ask? Why not 7, or 10? Likely they chose the nearest special number giving the required names and splitting into several groups, dropping off a few names as needed to make it add up.

The Miraculous Conception of Jesus

(Matthew 1:18) Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost [Spirit].

Referring to the period of a Jewish marriage before they begin living together.

(Matthew 1:19) Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily [secretly].

Apparently Joseph could have brought legal charges against her.

(Matthew 1:20) But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost [Spirit].

(Matthew 1:21) And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

(Matthew 1:22) Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,

(Matthew 1:23) Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

This is from a prophecy of Isaiah. In that passage, the virgin becomes Isaiah's wife and they have a son; none of the rest of the story refers to Jesus being born of a virgin. It seems to be grasping at straws to apply that passage to the conception and birth of Jesus by Mary.

(Matthew 1:24) Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:

(Matthew 1:25) And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

The point is that Jesus was miraculously conceived, not whether Joseph and Mary began having conjugal relations as soon as Jesus was born.

(Matthew 2:1) Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea [Judea] in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,

Magi: probably astrologers (who are also astronomers) and priests from Persia. It is striking that heathens with clearly false views about the heavens would figure prominently in the story of Jesus. Perhaps the point is that if such as these could recognize who Jesus was, surely the Jews should have.

We don't know whether the Magi gave up their un-Christian practices and beliefs as a result of this encounter. This gives credence to the idea that the key to redemption is in recognizing Jesus as Messiah and worshipping him, not in adhering to correct church doctrine. Certainly there are many throughout church history with incorrect doctrine, in fact, you could make the case that there is no one (except for me) who has correct doctrine in every topic. As long as the basic facts of Jesus as Messiah are recognized, God allows for our errors in non-essentials.

From the east: The Magi likely lived in Persia perhaps 400 or 500 miles away (the reverse route of Abraham, from Jerusalem; first north, then east, then southeast).

The Magi may have been priests of the monotheistic Zoroastrian religion. The Magi have influence in the court much as Daniel did; perhaps Daniel acted as an early Magi. This religion has the concept of a savior. Perhaps the Magi thought that Jesus was this savior.

(Matthew 2:2) Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

King of the Jews: The Jews believe the Messiah will be a king. In fact, one of the reasons they reject Jesus as being the Messiah is because he was not a king! Some Old Testament passages indicating the Messiah would be king...

Star in the east: Jerusalem was to the west but the star was in the east. This implies this star was an astronomical event, not a supernatural star guiding their journey. They went to Jerusalem because they knew from the Old Testament that is where the Messiah would be, not because the star pointed the way.

In 5 B.C. there was a very bright comet which appeared first in the east, then shifting position in the sky slowly southward for 70 days. When the Magi arrived in Jerusalem, the comet was in the sky above the direction of Bethlehem to the south. This comet "pointed" downwards, with the tail upwards, like an arrow pointing towards the town of Bethlehem.

For the previous two years there had been unusual and important astronomical events.

From the date of this comet, we should assume Jesus was born in 5 B.C.

Worship: The king of the Jews was to be worshipped and it was worth spending perhaps 6 months of your life to do so. Notice that the Magi made a pilgrimage in their worship of Jesus.

(Matthew 2:3) When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

Herod was jealous of Jesus, the king. This jealousy led to the slaughter of the innocents: the children 2 years old and under. Probably the Magi mentioned the astronomical events over the past two years; their chattiness with Herod the tyrant cost these children their lives. We should wonder why John the Baptist was not also killed at this time; perhaps Joseph warned Zacharias.

(Matthew 2:4) And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.

Herod assumed that the Jewish leaders would know something about the Messiah, in particular, where he was to be born. This fact was important to Herod because he planned to execute him. It is ironic that decades later it was these same Jewish leaders who executed Jesus even though Pilate wanted to release him.

(Matthew 2:5) And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea [Judea]: for thus it is written by the prophet,

The Jewish leaders knew the Messiah was to be from Bethlehem. But later, they don't know that Jesus was born there (and they don't even bother to ask — they don't want to know the truth.)

(Matthew 2:6) And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda [Judah], art not the least among the princes of Juda [Judah]: for out of thee shall come a Governor [ruler], that shall rule my people Israel.

This is a quote from Micah...

(Matthew 2:7) Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.

It seems odd this passage would inform us that Herod asked when the star appeared but not reveal to us the answer. The Magi seem to be rather naive in dealing with Herod; after leading Herod to the young child Jesus they head back to Persia.

(Matthew 2:8) And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.

The infant Jesus had probably just returned back to Bethlehem from being offered in the temple.

Herod is a liar. He has no intention of worshipping Jesus.

(Matthew 2:9) When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.

(Matthew 2:10) When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

The star which they saw in the east now guided them to the precise location of Jesus in Bethlehem. This second star could not be merely an astronomical conjunction of planets; it was probably an apparition which guided the way. This apparition probably looked like the astronomical conjunction of planets that had led them to travel to Jerusalem, that is why verse 9 refers to it as "the star which they saw in the east".

The star guided them to the very house in which Jesus was.

They rejoiced when the saw the star. After a long 3 month journey they were probably quite relieved to find that their quest was not in vain. It seems the heavens were confirming that the prophecies concerning the birth of the Messiah that led them to Jerusalem were true.

(Matthew 2:11) And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

Often overlooked is what became of these gifts. Presumably they were very valuable, enough to make Joseph and Mary wealthy. Perhaps they lived off the money from these for decades. Perhaps Jesus used the money to pay for his ministry and to pay for renting the upper room. There is a tradition that Mary lived in a small room attached to the same building as the upper room.

It is a Catholic tradition to worship the child Jesus but Protestants reject this idea. They seem to think that Jesus wasn't deity until he became an adult.

Part of their worship involved giving material gifts of great worth. These likely paid for the care of Jesus for many years, especially after Joseph died.

Jesus is no longer in the manger. Likely he has already been presented by Mary in the temple. He is perhaps as old as 2 years old since Herod killed all the children up to that age based on his diligent inquiry into the time the Magi first saw the star...

(Matthew 2:12) And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

This is a strange trip of the Magi. They unwittingly guide Herod to Jesus so he can kill him. They are rather dull-witted. They made no effort to try to save Jesus from the danger they placed him in; they merely went back to Persia self-satisfied that they had worshipped him, oblivious to the fact that he would have to be uprooted and taken to Egypt for years for safety. With friends like these who needs enemies.

(Matthew 2:13) And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.

(Matthew 2:14) When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:

(Matthew 2:15) And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.

(Matthew 2:16) Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.

(Matthew 2:17) Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy [Jeremiah] the prophet, saying,

Yes, Jeremiah said these words. But this is not a fulfillment of his prophecy; he had no intent his statement would be used as Matthew used it. Probably Matthew had heard this kind of thing about Rachel and adopted it — but he shouldn't have. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the whole account of the Magi is fiction anyway with Matthew all-too-happy to pass on these stories, not intending them as historical fact but, rather, stories.

(Matthew 2:18) In Rama [Ramah] was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.

I suppose you can say, anytime anything bad happens to the Jews of Bethlehem, Rachel feels sorrow since she was buried near there. She had a hard labor with Benjamin and died. And Ramah is in the territory of the tribe of Benjamin. But this is all very spooky and unchristian — I'm surprised Christians don't reject this kind of interpretation of events by the writers of the New Testament, in this case Matthew.

(Matthew 2:19) But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,

(Matthew 2:20) Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life.

(Matthew 2:21) And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel.

(Matthew 2:22) But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea [Judea] in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee:

(Matthew 2:23) And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.

There is no Old Testament prophecy stating this. Some have tried to explain it by using some alternate meaning for the word Nazarene based on a linguistic similarity in sound. In my opinion, this attempt fails miserably, delving into extreme allegory and revisionism, and providing raw material for the attacks of skeptics of Christianity. These are the words used in this scheme...

  1. Branch — Nazareth has lots of branches and foliage and shrubbery. The Messiah was called "Branch".
  2. Despised — The people of Nazareth were despised, and so was the Messiah in Old Testament prophecies.
  3. Guard — Nazareth geographically guards because it is: (1) on a hill, or (2) secluded.

My theory: There were false Messiahs leading up to the Jewish War of 66 to 70 A.D., radical revolutionaries, with factions and disagreements among different groups of these. One group, the Sicarii of Galilee, was a subgroup of the Zealots, having three well-known leaders: Eleazar ben Simon, Mehahem ben Judah, and Judas of Galilee. Perhaps to discredit these, someone started a rumor that the Old Testament said the Messiah would not come from Galilee. When people learned Jesus was from Nazareth, they applied this to him since Nazareth is in Galilee. Then Matthew used this (false) information in this verse.

The word "Nazarite" cannot linguistically be connected with "Nazarene".

John the Baptist

(Matthew 3:1) In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea [Judea],

(Matthew 3:2) And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

(Matthew 3:3) For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias [Isaiah], saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

(Matthew 3:4) And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.

(Matthew 3:5) Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea [Judea], and all the region round about Jordan,

(Matthew 3:6) And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.

(Matthew 3:7) But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

It sounds like the Pharisees and Sadducees expect there to be a future time of judgment by God and they are running away from this instead of embracing it. True disciples of John the baptist would enjoy coming into God's presence for judgment since they have repented of their mortal sin and would, therefore, enjoy God's mercy. But for those who come to John as mere onlookers in scorn and disdain, to oppose his work of God, their fate is at risk.

(Matthew 3:8) Bring forth therefore fruits meet [suitable] for repentance:

True repentance results in good works: you stop doing bad things and start doing good things.

(Matthew 3:9) And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to [as] our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto [of] Abraham.

The Pharisees and Sadducees look to the past and to their being descendants of Abraham, mistakenly thinking this makes them right with God. But John the baptist brings the message and ministry of repentance from sin as the key ingredient.

Can stones become descendants of Abraham? Apparently so. The phrase "children of Abraham" refers to being in right standing before God just as Abraham was in faith. The entire physical universe is corrupted in the spiritual realm but God will fix this when he finally casts Satan into the lake of fire where he can no longer influence this world.

(Matthew 3:10) And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn [cut] down, and cast into the fire.

John is referring to God's judgment of sin and the trees are people being judged. This is one of those rare unannounced figures of speech.

If we interpret the fire literally, the wicked are annihilated (I reject this view). The image is of burning useless trash. Hell is therefore a place where those who don't bear spiritual fruit, who reject God, are discarded from God's plan and purpose. They are eternally being destroyed but never destroyed.

(Matthew 3:11) I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes [sandals] I am not worthy to bear [remove]: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost [Spirit], and with fire:

Critics of the New Testament claim Matthew (and Luke) copied from Mark. But this verse illustrates this is not so. In verse after verse of so-called copied verses, the sentence structure is different and the words are different. Why would someone copying change it completely? This would be a lot of work. Perhaps they were referring to a previous document to remind them of the story, but it is written in their own hand. Even the structure of most so-called copied passages are different. And all this without modern computer word processors!

(Matthew 3:12) Whose fan [winnowing fork] is in his hand, and he will throughly purge [clear] his [threshing] floor, and gather his wheat into the garner [barn]; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

Baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist

(Matthew 3:13) Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.

The was probably autumn of 29 A.D. when Jesus was about 30 years old (between 26 and 34 years old), in fact, he was 33 years old.

(Matthew 3:14) But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?

(Matthew 3:15) And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer [allow] it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.

(Matthew 3:16) And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway [immediately] out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:

Immediately, meaning, the next significant event of the story.

(Matthew 3:17) And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

(Matthew 4:1) Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.

(Matthew 4:2) And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.

(Matthew 4:3) And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.

(Matthew 4:4) But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

(Matthew 4:5) Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,

(Matthew 4:6) And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.

Since Jesus quoted scripture, now Satan tries it, thinking quoting scripture must have magical powers. But Jesus can't be fooled so easily. Just because you could jump off the temple safely doesn't mean you should. This is an absurd argument Satan uses thinking Jesus seeks attention just as Satan does and that Jesus would, of course, want to show off his miraculous powers.

The passage in Psalms refers to warriors who trust in God. Because they do, God will protect them in battle.

(Matthew 4:7) Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

Notice the nature of this temptation: that Jesus would be motivated by the same self-serving desires as Satan.

(Matthew 4:8) Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;

This event occurred in the spiritual realm looking into the future of human history. Jesus could have prevented all the disasters that would occur to untold millions of people if he became the ruler of the world — but they would all have ended up in eternal hell if Jesus agreed to Satan's plan.

We should wonder why Jesus allowed Satan to lead him anywhere? Apparently Jesus needed to endure temptation when in a weakened condition (from fasting) and submit to temptation; this to fully integrate humanity into his nature. Jesus was tempted and suffered and died just as we do. He was fully human.

(Matthew 4:9) And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.

(Matthew 4:10) Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

(Matthew 4:11) Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

(Matthew 4:12) Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee;

(Matthew 4:13) And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim:

(Matthew 4:14) That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias [Isaiah] the prophet, saying,

(Matthew 4:15) The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles;

(Matthew 4:16) The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.

(Matthew 4:17) From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

(Matthew 4:18) And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.

(Matthew 4:19) And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

(Matthew 4:20) And they straightway [immediately] left their nets, and followed him.

Immediately, meaning, the next significant event of the story. People usually assume they dropped their nets to the ground in place and ran off behind Jesus bringing nothing with them. More likely, they finished what they were doing first, passed-on the tasks to others, probably servants or employees or slaves, gathered up some belongings, then, finally left with Jesus. They may have even offered a meal to Jesus and perhaps he spent the night.

(Matthew 4:21) And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.

(Matthew 4:22) And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.

Immediately, meaning, the next significant event of the story.People usually assume they dropped their nets to the ground in place and ran off behind Jesus bringing nothing with them. More likely, they finished what they were doing first, passed-on the tasks to others, probably servants or employees or slaves, gathered up some belongings, then, finally left with Jesus. They may have even offered a meal to Jesus and perhaps he spent the night.

(Matthew 4:23) And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.

(Matthew 4:24) And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers [diverse] diseases and torments [pain], and those which were possessed with devils [demons], and those which were lunatick [seizures], and those that had the palsy [paralyzed]; and he healed them.

(Matthew 4:25) And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea [Judea], and from beyond Jordan.

Sermon on the Mount

(Matthew 5:1) And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:

(Matthew 5:2) And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,

(Matthew 5:3) Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

(Matthew 5:4) Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

(Matthew 5:5) Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

(Matthew 5:6) Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

(Matthew 5:7) Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

(Matthew 5:8) Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

(Matthew 5:9) Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

(Matthew 5:10) Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

The phrase "kingdom of heaven" doesn't begin until after the righteous die, until after those mentioned are persecuted — this occurs during their lifetime.

(Matthew 5:11) Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

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

(Matthew 5:13) Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour [taste], wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

Christians are to fulfill their proper role in society, and this is to be a public and visible role. If they neglect to do this, they are worthless.

Parable:lamp on stand

(Matthew 5:14) Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

(Matthew 5:15) Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

(Matthew 5:16) Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

(Matthew 5:17) Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

Some think Jesus abolished the law, that Christians are not bound by Old Testament law. But to what does the word "law" refer? Some possibilities...

  1. 10 commandments — still binding on Christians
  2. Animal sacrifices — no more need for these because of Jesus' sacrificial death
  3. Ceremonial law — not binding on Christians
  4. Laws added afterwards but not in the Old Testament

Notice Jesus refers to both the law and the prophets, meaning, the Old Testament. Certainly Christianity is based on the Old Testament and Jesus as Messiah fulfills it.

(Matthew 5:18) For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

(Matthew 5:19) Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

(Matthew 5:20) For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

(Matthew 5:21) Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:

(Matthew 5:22) But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

(Matthew 5:23) Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;

(Matthew 5:24) Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

(Matthew 5:25) Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.

(Matthew 5:26) Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.

(Matthew 5:27) Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:

(Matthew 5:28) But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

(Matthew 5:29) And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

(Matthew 5:30) And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

(Matthew 5:31) It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:

(Matthew 5:32) But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

(Matthew 5:33) Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time [long ago], Thou shalt not forswear [swear falsely] thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths [vows]:

(Matthew 5:34) But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne:

(Matthew 5:35) Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.

(Matthew 5:36) Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.

(Matthew 5:37) But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

(Matthew 5:38) Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:

(Matthew 5:39) But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

(Matthew 5:40) And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.

(Matthew 5:41) And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.

(Matthew 5:42) Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.

(Matthew 5:43) Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

(Matthew 5:44) But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

(Matthew 5:45) That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

(Matthew 5:46) For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?

(Matthew 5:47) And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?

(Matthew 5:48) Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

(Matthew 6:1) Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.

(Matthew 6:2) Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

(Matthew 6:3) But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:

(Matthew 6:4) That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

(Matthew 6:5) And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

I am reminded of those Christian sports figures who insist in kneeling to pray in the middle of the field, in public, to be seen by others. Some of these say God called them to do this. This verse says otherwise: God calls them to not do this. Maybe their motives are different than those Jesus has in mind. But notice the only motive Jesus mentions: they want to be seen praying publicly. Maybe they are not hypocrites and so therefore Jesus is not referring to them and it's OK for them to do it.

This verse implies we are to expect benefits from praying, to receive rewards for it. We ask God to bless us and others with health, prosperity, joy, holiness, and etc. expecting to receive these. (No one should pray to be sick, destitute, unhappy, miserable, and etc.) But without faith, our prayers are neutralized and the acclaim of others becomes our only reward. This implies that anything we do in life should be done for God to express our relationship with God. Seeking fame is not bad or wrong, but should not be our primary driving motive.

(Matthew 6:6) But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

(Matthew 6:7) But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

The ingredients of vain repetition: (1) it is to a false god; (2) it may be repetition to wake up the god to energize him or coax him into action. Repeating lines in worship songs is not vain repetition. Neither is repeating prayers in which the mind meditates on the meaning each time.

(Matthew 6:8) Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

Lord's Prayer 

(Matthew 6:9) After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

Note that this prayer is given to all the disciples, not just the 12.

(Matthew 6:10) Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

(Matthew 6:11) Give us this day our daily bread.

(Matthew 6:12) And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

We should only expect God to forgive us if we forgive others; thus, works have a role in our salvation. Jesus asks us to pray that God would forgive our debts to him the same way we forgive the debts others owe to us. The word "debt" refers to wrongs done through sin. We may forgive the person but still expect restitution, and likewise for God: he may forgive the sin granting us redemption but still expect us to pay for the damages in purgatory as well as in this life. Of course, we can never pay all the damages so at some point God's grace will decree it to be paid. An example: a child breaks a neighbor's window with a ball; the neighbor forgives him by not hating him forever, but still expects him to fix the window and to pay for it.

(Matthew 6:13) And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

(Matthew 6:14) For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:

(Matthew 6:15) But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

(Matthew 6:16) Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

(Matthew 6:17) But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;

(Matthew 6:18) That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.

(Matthew 6:19) Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

(Matthew 6:20) But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

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

How is it possible to lay up treasures in heaven? Based on my idea that all life lives in the spiritual realm, and that the physical realm is inert, everything must, of necessity, reside in the spiritual realm anyway. The difference between treasures in heaven and treasures on earth is that the treasures on earth correspond to realities on this earth whereas treasures in heaven concern our practice of the virtues.

The example given in this passage of storing up treasures on earth is that of fasting in such a way as to draw attention to yourself, of telling the world how spiritual you are.

Some claim that these treasures stored up in heaven can be utilized for various purposes. This is not what Jesus intended to teach at all.

When we die and encounter Jesus, all those treasures stored up for us in heaven, all those memories of having done things pleasing to God, these will all remind us of our deep desire to spend eternity with the Lord — and we will choose to follow him.

(Matthew 6:22) The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.

(Matthew 6:23) But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!

(Matthew 6:24) No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

(Matthew 6:25) Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

(Matthew 6:26) Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

(Matthew 6:27) Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

(Matthew 6:28) And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

Even though flowers do absolutely nothing, they are, by God's power, beautiful. This illustrates that God is concerned for our welfare, however, it is not a guarantee that we will never have unfulfilled needs. But Jesus' point to all this is that we should trust God. Even Jesus was tortured and murdered but he trusted God.

(Matthew 6:29) And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

(Matthew 6:30) Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

(Matthew 6:31) Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

(Matthew 6:32) (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

(Matthew 6:33) But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

(Matthew 6:34) Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

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

(Matthew 7:2) For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete [measure], it shall be measured to you again.

The Lord's prayer says the same thing, that God will forgive us our sins based on how we forgive other's sins toward us. But since God doesn't forgive unrepented sin, we have no obligation to forgive someone who has sinned against us but is unrepentant; in fact, it is impossible to forgive them. True forgiveness requires repentance; without that important ingredient, we simply cannot forgive them no matter how much we may think we have forgiven them. Perhaps in such cases it is better to say that we have decided not to hold their sin against them in our dealings with them. But to forgive them requires they come before us and admit of their sin and beg for forgiveness; only then is forgiveness possible. Forgiveness is not a one-sided activity; it requires participation by both parties. Just as God cannot forgive someone who doesn't call out to him in repentance, so also, we cannot forgive others who don't do this. It's not that God doesn't want to forgive them, certainly he does, but it is impossible to forgive if the ingredient of repentance is missing. Maybe we discover that the person seems to be repentant based on hearsay — perhaps that is sufficient. Or maybe we merely assume they must have repented and forgive them based on that. They key ingredient is that we must wish to forgive people. We may not be their best friends after they have wronged us even if we do forgive them; but that is not a requirement of forgiveness. If someone continually rips you off, you may forgive them but shun them also.

Do we really expect God to forgive us if we have not repented of our sin? Why would God do this? If this was how God operated there would be no need of the gospel — God would forgive everyone no matter what they did and whether or not the repented of it. But God clearly doesn't operate this way.

(Matthew 7:3) And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

(Matthew 7:4) Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

(Matthew 7:5) Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

(Matthew 7:6) Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

(Matthew 7:7) Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

If we ask, seek, and knock, God will grant our request. This is a hard verse to understand. If we don't ask, seek, or knock, God simply cannot grant our request because there is no request. But does asking, seeking, and knocking guarantee God will answer our request? Well, yes and no. God will consider our request and whether it is beneficial for us and others; this is guaranteed. God gives us whatever we ask for based on his divine knowledge of what we are asking for. He doesn't grant our requests leading us to sin more; he simply doesn't hear these requests. Neither does he hear requests to harm others. So if we think God is not granting our requests, it is because he doesn't hear our true requests if they are not based on love of God and charity for others. Thus, if we ask to win the lottery, God simply doesn't hear us. It we ask to be conformed into the image of Christ and we are open to changing into this image, God will certainly grant us this.

(Matthew 7:8) For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

(Matthew 7:9) Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?

(Matthew 7:10) Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?

(Matthew 7:11) If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

(Matthew 7:12) Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

(Matthew 7:13) Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

(Matthew 7:14) Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

(Matthew 7:15) Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

Jesus is not here speaking of the Old Testament prophets but, rather, of contemporary and future prophets claiming to teach true Christianity. John the Baptist was one such contemporary true prophet. Later we read of prophets in the book of Acts; of both true prophets and false prophets. Later still the Didache warns of false prophets so this is an ongoing concern for all Christians of all ages.

I make this point is because there are plenty of passages in the New Testament referring to the statements of the Old Testament prophets and we must take care not to confuse those prophets with these contemporary prophets.

One characteristic of false prophets and teachers is that they claim to teach true Christianity and pretend to be members of the flock of sheep, true followers of Jesus the Good Shepherd.

On a side note, I believe that the Church leaders should never have done away with prophets and that the Church should still have prophets today. I suppose gifted, inspired teachers fulfill this role.

(Matthew 7:16) Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

(Matthew 7:17) Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

(Matthew 7:18) A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

(Matthew 7:19) Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

This imagery speaks of eternal judgment in hell. The necessary ingredient to prevent this is having good fruit.

(Matthew 7:20) Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

Jesus is speaking of all people. He had just referred to false prophets, but his previous words about entering at the gate and his following words about doing his sayings indicate he is not limiting this teaching to only false prophets — everyone is known by their fruits.

(Matthew 7:21) Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

This should be a disturbing verse for those who reject the role of works in salvation. Calling out to God with emotion is not sufficient to be saved — works are required. The required works are doing the will of God. God's will for us is that we be holy. He provides various guides such as the 10 commandments and the abundant moral teachings of the Bible.

(Matthew 7:22) Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils [demons]? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

We should expect that doing things in the name of Jesus would indicate we are saved, but this is not so. This verse reveals the misguided perspective of certain of the bishops of church history who have claimed to infallibly teach the truths of the faith passed-on from the apostles but who have neglected their pastoral duties and who have been anything but holy. In order to be saved we must emulate the life of Jesus; we must seek to be holy as he was. Protestants should study the topic of mortal sin.

Notice that Jesus grants power and gifts to those who seek these things in his name: such as the gift of prophesy, the power to cast out wicked spirits, the power to perform miracles such as Jesus performed.

(Matthew 7:23) And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Parable:wise and foolish builders

(Matthew 7:24) Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

(Matthew 7:25) And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

(Matthew 7:26) And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:

(Matthew 7:27) And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

(Matthew 7:28) And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:

(Matthew 7:29) For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

(Matthew 8:1) When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him.

(Matthew 8:2) And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.

(Matthew 8:3) And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

Immediately, meaning, the next significant event of the story. It may have taken hours or days for the leprosy to disappear. Not all the healings of Jesus were instantaneous.

(Matthew 8:4) And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.

(Matthew 8:5) And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him,

(Matthew 8:6) And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.

(Matthew 8:7) And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him.

(Matthew 8:8) The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.

(Matthew 8:9) For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.

(Matthew 8:10) When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

This non-Jewish Roman centurion had more faith than any of the Jewish people because he recognized that Jesus' healing power did not require his direct presence. He figured out that Jesus had rulership over the wicked powers of the spiritual realm. Ultimately, this will finally be realized in the new heavens and new earth.

Upon occasion God gives a preview of this utopian ideal by providing perfect health or abundant prosperity to people in this current world of original sin. But it is wrong to claim this is our right and we should all expect it, even demand it. After all, we all die; and there are no exceptions.

(Matthew 8:11) And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus informs us that the kingdom of God is not limited to Jews. The Old Testament saints are already members of the kingdom of God; thus, the kingdom of God includes the souls of those redeemed who are in the spiritual realm. The Old Testament saints were already in the kingdom of God before the Church was founded. In fact, the kingdom of God was founded when the first saint, Abel, entered it.

Matthew uses the phrase "kingdom of heaven" to refer to the kingdom of God. Heaven is the higher portions of the spiritual realm where those who are redeemed reside after death. They are close to God there.

(Matthew 8:12) But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

(Matthew 8:13) And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.

(Matthew 8:14) And when Jesus was come into Peter's house, he saw his wife's mother laid, and sick of a fever.

Apparently Peter was married.

(Matthew 8:15) And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them.

(Matthew 8:16) When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils [demons]: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick:

(Matthew 8:17) That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias [Isaiah] the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.

(Matthew 8:18) Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave commandment to depart unto the other side.

(Matthew 8:19) And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever [wherever] thou goest.

I wonder whether this scribe followed Jesus to the other side? Probably not.

(Matthew 8:20) And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.

Jesus seems to be informing the man that in following him he will be choosing a life without the comforts of having a home to live in.

(Matthew 8:21) And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer [allow] me first to go and bury my father.

Jesus must have asked one of his followers to come with him as he wandered to another region. The man was afraid to leave so abruptly because he had obligations and responsibilities. Perhaps he would have been more trusting and would have been able to come back home in time to deal with whatever duties he had at home.

(Matthew 8:22) But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.

It is unlikely that Jesus intends here to abolish the burying of the dead. Jesus did not try to change customs and traditions except those that were exploitative. It sometimes seems that Jesus commands his new disciples to abruptly abandon their worldly and family commitments; perhaps he knows that allowing the extended interactions will cause them to remain tangled-up in these affairs and to forsake their calling to follow the Lord. In this case, perhaps the reading of the will and the new family dynamics would change this man's heart as he realized he had new riches, responsibilities, and obligations to the family. Perhaps he would be tapped to take care of people and would not be able to follow Jesus after all. There are plenty of examples in church history in which people seemingly abandon their responsibilities to others to begin a religious life, and this, to me, seems unrighteous. In this case, at the very least it would be rude to not attend the funeral, and if the father were still alive, to remain by his side until he had died.

Some confidently insist the father of the story had not yet died and would not die for perhaps decades. I have no such confidence unless, perhaps, he was in the process of dying and would be dead in a couple of months of less.

(Matthew 8:23) And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him.

(Matthew 8:24) And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep.

(Matthew 8:25) And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.

(Matthew 8:26) And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.

(Matthew 8:27) But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!

(Matthew 8:28) And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils [demons], coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way.

(Matthew 8:29) And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?

(Matthew 8:30) And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding.

(Matthew 8:31) So the devils [demons] besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer [allow] us to go away into the herd of swine.

(Matthew 8:32) And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters.

(Matthew 8:33) And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils [demons].

(Matthew 8:34) And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts.

(Matthew 9:1) And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city.

(Matthew 9:2) And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.

(Matthew 9:3) And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth.

(Matthew 9:4) And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?

(Matthew 9:5) For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?

(Matthew 9:6) But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.

(Matthew 9:7) And he arose, and departed to his house.

(Matthew 9:8) But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.

(Matthew 9:9) And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom [tax collector's booth]: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.

This reaction from Matthew is quite different than from those in Chapter 8. Perhaps Jesus was calling those to be apostles just as he is here calling Matthew. Perhaps abruptly commanding them to follow him was a test he used in selecting the apostles.

Notice the writer Matthew refers to himself in the third person. Skeptics consider this significant, claiming it proves the gospel of Matthew was not written by Matthew. But it was common in the writing of the time to do this.

(Matthew 9:10) And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat [meal] in the house, behold, many publicans [tax collectors] and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.

This meal was at Matthew the tax collector's home but he doesn't mention this detail as Mark and Luke do. Perhaps Matthew is being humble to omit it.

(Matthew 9:11) And when the Pharisees saw [knew of] it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans [tax collectors] and sinners?

We should wonder why the Jewish religious leaders were invited to attend this event? (and many others like it?) Perhaps it merely means, "when they learned of it?"

(Matthew 9:12) But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.

(Matthew 9:13) But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have [desired] mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Jesus is very bold in calling these self-righteous religious leaders sinners. I wonder if they are aware he is doing this?

(Matthew 9:14) Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft [often], but thy disciples fast not?

I'm surprised the disciples of John clump themselves with the Pharisees. Perhaps there were many varieties of disciples of John, these still identifying themselves with the Pharisees and still wishing to be considered as such.

Elsewhere Jesus chides his disciples for not fasting and praying enough.

(Matthew 9:15) And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.

Parable:unshrunk cloth on old garment

(Matthew 9:16) No man putteth a piece of new [unshrunk] cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh [pulls away] from the garment, and the rent [tear] is made worse.

Presumably the topic is still the disciples celebrating their close contact with Jesus while he is with them in person; later they can perform rigorous discipline and penance. The theme is: doing the appropriate thing at the appropriate time.

When you repair clothing you have to use a patch that won't shrink, cloth that is similar to what you are repairing. Not to do so is unwise.

Parable:new wine old wineskins

(Matthew 9:17) Neither do men put new wine into old bottles [wineskins]: else the bottles [wineskins] break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles [wineskins] perish: but they put new wine into new bottles [wineskins], and both are preserved.

Presumably the topic is still the disciples celebrating their close contact with Jesus while he is with them in person; later they can perform rigorous discipline and penance. The theme is: doing the appropriate thing at the appropriate time.

I suppose fresh wine is still chemically active creating pressure, too strong for weakened older wineskins.

(Matthew 9:18) While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live.

(Matthew 9:19) And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his disciples.

(Matthew 9:20) And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment:

This woman was ritually impure due to her bleeding yet dared to touch a rabbi; no wonder she attempted the act secretly. In touching someone they would become ritually unclean also, yet she had no regard for that. Perhaps in her desperation she thought it OK to ignore Jewish custom and law, or perhaps she believed Jesus to be above all that, immune to it.

Touching the hem of garment was a common practice for miraculous healing; it is unknown whether the woman was the first and everyone copied her or vice versa or whether it was a long-standing Jewish tradition.

(Matthew 9:21) For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.

(Matthew 9:22) But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.

(Matthew 9:23) And when Jesus came into the ruler's house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise,

(Matthew 9:24) He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn.

(Matthew 9:25) But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose.

(Matthew 9:26) And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land.

(Matthew 9:27) And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou son of David, have mercy on us.

(Matthew 9:28) And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord.

(Matthew 9:29) Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.

(Matthew 9:30) And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it.

(Matthew 9:31) But they, when they were departed, spread abroad his fame in all that country.

(Matthew 9:32) As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil.

(Matthew 9:33) And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel.

(Matthew 9:34) But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils [demons] through the prince of the devils [demons].

(Matthew 9:35) And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.

(Matthew 9:36) But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.

(Matthew 9:37) Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;

(Matthew 9:38) Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.

(Matthew 10:1) And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.

(Matthew 10:2) Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;

(Matthew 10:3) Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican [tax collector]; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus;

Matthew puts himself second in the list with Thomas out of humility. Not so in the other lists of apostles. And only Matthew refers to himself as the tax collector.

(Matthew 10:4) Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.

(Matthew 10:5) These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:

They were to selectively choose who to minister to, healing some but not others. We each have no obligation whatsoever to help every person in the whole world; we can choose.

The Jews were the first recipients of God's grace and much is made of this in the New Testament but we can ignore all this today; it's ancient history. Some today think we are to preach the gospel to the Jews first but this makes no sense. Think about it. Do you first have to find a Jew to evangelize before you preach to a non-Jew?

(Matthew 10:6) But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

(Matthew 10:7) And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.

(Matthew 10:8) Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils [demons]: freely ye have received, freely give.

(Matthew 10:9) Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses,

(Matthew 10:10) Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.

(Matthew 10:11) And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence.

(Matthew 10:12) And when ye come into an house, salute it.

(Matthew 10:13) And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you.

(Matthew 10:14) And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.

(Matthew 10:15) Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.

(Matthew 10:16) Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

(Matthew 10:17) But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;

(Matthew 10:18) And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.

(Matthew 10:19) But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.

I wonder why they would be concerned with what they say? I doubt if Jesus is assuring them that the Holy Spirit will give them something to say that will cause their captors to let them go free. Nor is he likely assuring them that their words will result in their captors' salvation. I suppose we should be so unconcerned for our life or our honor that we just say the first thing that occurs to us, presumably because it is of the Holy Spirit. Certainly we need to filter our thoughts to not say things that are hurtful or impolite or that don't have a good effect.

(Matthew 10:20) For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.

(Matthew 10:21) And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.

(Matthew 10:22) And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

(Matthew 10:23) But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.

(Matthew 10:24) The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.

(Matthew 10:25) It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?

(Matthew 10:26) Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.

(Matthew 10:27) What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.

(Matthew 10:28) And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Notice that we have two parts: body and soul. Some Christians insist we have three parts: body, soul, and spirit; but this verse refutes this. Some church fathers taught that the soul dies when the body dies, and that only the spirit lives on.

Jesus is not here teaching that we are to foolhardily seek out death, after all, Joseph was warned in a dream to flee with Jesus and Mary to Egypt. Nor should we risk death doing something having no benefit. However, when the circumstances present themselves and God calls, we are to boldly share our faith even if it results in our being killed for it as a martyr. Many in the early church did just this.

In the eternal hell, both body and soul are continuously being destroyed, but they are not destroyed. They are burned but never consumed. They are in an eternal state of being destroyed, of being rejected by God, of being condemned for their rejection of God and his mercy. Those of faith are to be afraid of the God who has the power to perform this — in fact, fear of hell is not such a bad motivator for those who are strongly attached to their sins. Fear of God is not as good a motivator as a true love of God, but if it keeps them from sinning... This is why the doctrine that we are saved by faith only is so dangerous; for those who need to be afraid that they might end up in hell, they are instead wrongly taught that there is nothing to fear — their confession of faith during an altar call saved them and their salvation is guaranteed no matter what.

We should wonder whether the will be such an event as the resurrection of the wicked? A few verses indicate the answer is yes.

(Matthew 10:29) Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.

(Matthew 10:30) But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

(Matthew 10:31) Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

(Matthew 10:32) Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.

(Matthew 10:33) But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

No Peace

(Matthew 10:34) Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

Christianity certainly has not brought peace to the world. We've seen Christians fighting against non-Christians, non-Christians fighting against Christians, and Christians fighting against each other.

(Matthew 10:35) For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

There is even division among Christians of the same family as I experienced when I became Catholic to the horror of the fundamentalist evangelical Protestants in my family.

(Matthew 10:36) And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.

(Matthew 10:37) He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

There are plenty of people who choose to not become a Christian because a loved one begs them not to. Sometimes people will not become a Christian because they don't want to disturb the harmony of their family, or because they don't want to be rejected by their relatives or friends. But we should choose truth above all else; we should choose Jesus no matter what the consequences.

(Matthew 10:38) And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.

I suppose most people of that day had seen people carrying their cross on the way to being crucified. Only those who were not Roman citizens were crucified and most Jews living in Palestine were probably not Roman citizens. People were crucified for various capital offenses.

Just a few verses earlier Jesus mentioned that they would be brought before governors and kings, presumably in chains. This whole extended passage is in the context of Jesus sending the twelve disciples out to teach and preach in the cities; to evangelize.

People commonly interpret this passage figuratively saying that the phrase "take up the cross" means something else. The problem with this view is that you can interpret it to mean anything you want, anything at all. I prefer to interpret it literally as follows: In pondering the significance of evangelizing there should be a moment in which we imagine ourselves having incurred the wrath of the political authorities and that we are on our way to be crucified. Since the imagination of the soul in the spiritual realm is real this is a literal experience and tests our resolve and commitment.

To illustrate: if you are about to do something dangerous, for example skydiving, you should imagine the scenario of what happens if the parachute doesn't open. Then, if you choose to skydive anyway, your dedication to this activity is of a more serious-minded nature than if you never thought about the possible consequences.

Our faith in Christ is to be like this. For the many Christians who were martyred in the early centuries of the Church, their faith was like this — they knew their life was at risk in choosing to become a Christian.

(Matthew 10:39) He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

(Matthew 10:40) He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.

(Matthew 10:41) He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward.

(Matthew 10:42) And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.

(Matthew 11:1) And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities.

(Matthew 11:2) Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples,

(Matthew 11:3) And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?

(Matthew 11:4) Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see:

(Matthew 11:5) The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.

(Matthew 11:6) And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.

(Matthew 11:7) And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind?

(Matthew 11:8) But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings' houses.

(Matthew 11:9) But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet.

(Matthew 11:10) For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.

(Matthew 11:11) Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

(Matthew 11:12) And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence [has been forcefully advancing], and the violent take it by force.

(Matthew 11:13) For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.

(Matthew 11:14) And if ye will receive [accept] it, this is Elias [Elijah], which [who] was for to come.

From Malachi.

(Matthew 11:15) He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

(Matthew 11:16) But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows,

(Matthew 11:17) And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented.

(Matthew 11:18) For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil.

(Matthew 11:19) The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.

(Matthew 11:20) Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not:

(Matthew 11:21) Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.

Woe: they would experience extreme grief from their impending calamity; ultimately from not being redeemed from their sins.

(Matthew 11:22) But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.

(Matthew 11:23) And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.

(Matthew 11:24) But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.

(Matthew 11:25) At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.

(Matthew 11:26) Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.

(Matthew 11:27) All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.

(Matthew 11:28) Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

(Matthew 11:29) Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

(Matthew 11:30) For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

(Matthew 12:1) At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears [head] of corn [grain], and to eat.

Plucking grain from a field was not in violation of the law; I'm surprised Jesus didn't point this out.

The religious leaders added extreme detail to what was and was not allowed on the Sabbath. We should wonder why they were following Jesus to the fields, apparently the distance travelled did not constitute work. And certainly putting food in your mouth and eating was allowed. So the question is whether a hungry person can harvest grain by hand. The objection by the religious leaders illustrates their lack of mercy.

(Matthew 12:2) But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day.

(Matthew 12:3) But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him;

(Matthew 12:4) How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?

(Matthew 12:5) Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?

(Matthew 12:6) But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.

(Matthew 12:7) But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.

(Matthew 12:8) For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.

(Matthew 12:9) And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue:

(Matthew 12:10) And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him.

(Matthew 12:11) And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out?

(Matthew 12:12) How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.

(Matthew 12:13) Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.

(Matthew 12:14) Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.

(Matthew 12:15) But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all;

(Matthew 12:16) And charged them that they should not make him known:

(Matthew 12:17) That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias [Isaiah] the prophet, saying,

(Matthew 12:18) Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.

(Matthew 12:19) He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets.

(Matthew 12:20) A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.

The word "until" doesn't imply there was a change of condition afterwards. In this case, Jesus never discourages the poor and weak, he is always merciful.

(Matthew 12:21) And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.

(Matthew 12:22) Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw.

(Matthew 12:23) And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David?

(Matthew 12:24) But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils [demons], but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils [demons].

(Matthew 12:25) And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:

Jesus argues that Satan would never cast out demons because of the principle that in doing so, his kingdom of darkness would collapse. Therefore, anyone who casts out demons must do so by the Spirit of God.

In claiming this, Jesus is in effect saying that the Pharisees are part of the kingdom of God because they cast out demons. But how can people be part of the kingdom of God who state that Jesus is casting out demons by the power of Satan?

In claiming that casting out demons is a sign of being part of the kingdom of God, Jesus does not allow for the possibility that Satan might allow those in Satan's kingdom to cast out demons if it suits his nefarious purpose.

The solution to these questions is in the idea that Satan's kingdom of darkness will not stand because those in his kingdom are divided against one another. Satan's kingdom of darkness is a kingdom of division, disunity, and discord. Thus, anyone who is not a member of the kingdom of God is in active opposition to the kingdom of God and they will seek to draw people away from the light of God. The Pharisees can perform works of Satan. An example of this is in accusing Jesus of being of Satan.

(Matthew 12:26) And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?

(Matthew 12:27) And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils [demons], by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges.

(Matthew 12:28) But if I cast out devils [demons] by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.

Jesus mentions two ways of casting out demons, two powers that can cast out demons...

  1. by Satan (Beelzebub, the prince of the devils)
  2. by the Spirit of God

Jesus mentions two kingdoms...

  1. Satan's kingdom
  2. the kingdom of God

(Matthew 12:29) Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.

(Matthew 12:30) He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.

Not with me is against me. Not against me is with me.

Talking about Satan, and binding the powers of wickedness and evil, and of casting out evil spirits by the power of evil. Jesus came to earth to destroy Satan's kingdom, to destroy his house. Those spirits not united with Jesus are against him and against God.

(Matthew 12:31) Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost [Spirit] shall not be forgiven unto men.

(Matthew 12:32) And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost [Spirit], it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

(Matthew 12:33) Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.

(Matthew 12:34) O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.

(Matthew 12:35) A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.

(Matthew 12:36) But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

(Matthew 12:37) For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

(Matthew 12:38) Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would [want to] see a sign from thee.

Jesus had already given many signs in performing miraculous healings. The scribes and Pharisees should have accepted these signs. Then they rejected the sign of the resurrection of Jesus which he mentions in verse 40. They are insincere in seeking a sign to validate that Jesus is the Messiah.

(Matthew 12:39) But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas [Jonah]:

Jonah was a sign to the people of Nineveh who weren't seeking for a sign; perhaps many of them in their hearts were calling out to God to rescue them from the wickedness of their culture. God sent a sign in the form of a prophet with bleached skin proclaiming and exhorting the people to repent. They did repent.

(Matthew 12:40) For as Jonas [Jonah] was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

The sign Jesus gives was yet future for his audience. His resurrection was to be a sign to them that he was indeed the Messiah, the son of David.

These three days were not 24 hours. The first day was probably part of a day, starting in the daylight portion of the day when he was swallowed until the end of the day at 6 P.M. — this first day did not include night at all! He was not spit out on shore at exactly 6 P.M. so this third day was also less than 24 hours. Therefore, the phrase "three days and three nights" is an idiom meaning only that three days are involved, not necessarily 72 hours. Idioms are not figures of speech, at least not according to several dictionaries.

The use by Jesus of this story from the book of Jonah does not imply it's not fiction. Jesus merely takes the three days and three nights from the story and applies it to himself. Jesus uses fictional stories in his teaching all the time to illustrate aspects of the gospel message and of moral and spiritual truth. It is nonsense to say Jesus here proves the book of Jonah is not fiction by referencing aspects of it.

(Matthew 12:41) The men of Nineveh shall rise [stand up] in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas [Jonah]; and, behold, a greater than Jonas [Jonah] is here.

Jonah was a historical character.

Jesus here claims those people of Ninevah who heard Jonah's preaching and repented will condemn those of Jesus' day who rejected his teaching. The only time such a thing could occur is the Great White Throne Judgment.

Jesus compares the heathens of Nineveh with the scribes and Pharisees; no wonder they wanted to kill Jesus. It is not necessary for the story of the book of Jonah to be factually true for this comparison to be effective; traditional stories can be used to impart meaning.

When interpreted strictly literally this verse supports the basic events described in the book of Jonah as historically true. Or, Jesus could be speaking in a similar manner as to the cities of Chorazin and Bethsaida in which he says if Tyre and Sidon had witnessed the miracles of Jesus, they would have repented but Chorazin and Bethsaida saw the miracles and didn't repent. The men of Nineveh in the story of the book of Jonah repented upon hearing Jonah's preaching, but Jesus is greater than Jonah so surely people should believe his claims to be the Messiah.

(Matthew 12:42) The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.

One purpose for the Great White Throne Judgment is for everyone to testify about the good and bad done to them by others. I doubt if we will tattle on each other. Probably God will reveal all the effects of their words and deeds to each person. Perhaps others won't be privy to this info except as it affects them. If someone thinks that God's judgment of a person is unjust, I suppose God will reveal the minimum amount of info about the bad effects of that person's words and deeds to demonstrate his just judgment.

(Matthew 12:43) When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none.

(Matthew 12:44) Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.

(Matthew 12:45) Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.

(Matthew 12:46) While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him.

(Matthew 12:47) Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee.

(Matthew 12:48) But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?

Are we really to believe that Jesus is disowning his mother in this passage? Nonsense!

(Matthew 12:49) And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!

(Matthew 12:50) For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.

Jesus is as close to his disciples as he is to his mother. Being adopted into God's family really means something!

(Matthew 13:1) The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side.

(Matthew 13:2) And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.

Jesus speaks to many people in the passages that follow.

Parable:sower and four kinds of soil

Jesus interprets this below.

(Matthew 13:3) And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;

(Matthew 13:4) And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:

(Matthew 13:5) Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:

(Matthew 13:6) And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.

(Matthew 13:7) And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:

(Matthew 13:8) But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.

(Matthew 13:9) Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

(Matthew 13:10) And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?

(Matthew 13:11) He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

Only those close to Jesus, those instructed personally by Jesus, have full knowledge about the topic of redemption (and the meaning of the parables). This does not mean to say those others are not redeemed. Ultimately, finally, Jesus will reveal all that is needed about himself and the truth to everyone, and they will then be given the opportunity to choose to follow God into eternal redemption, into the new heavens and new earth.

(Matthew 13:12) For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.

(Matthew 13:13) Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.

Parables are figurative fiction, but notice this leads to confusion, not clarity.

(Matthew 13:14) And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias [Isaiah], which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:

(Matthew 13:15) For this people's heart is waxed [become] gross [dull], and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

People become dull to the things of God, to God's word, by their own choice. God wishes to (spiritually) heal and convert everyone, but he can't — people must present a fertile soil for God to work with.

(Matthew 13:16) But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.

(Matthew 13:17) For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.

Parable:sower and four kinds of soil

Jesus gave the parable above.

(Matthew 13:18) Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.

(Matthew 13:19) When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.

(Matthew 13:20) But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;

(Matthew 13:21) Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.

(Matthew 13:22) He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.

(Matthew 13:23) But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

Parable:wheat and tares

(Matthew 13:24) Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:

Jesus interprets this parable a few verses down...

  1. field = world
  2. good seed = children of the kingdom
  3. sower of good seed = Son of man
  4. tares = children of the wicked one
  5. sower of tares = Satan
  6. harvest = end of the world
  7. reapers = angels

The good seed is the wheat. Notice that only the wheat ends up in the new heavens and new earth. Therefore, the wheat are the redeemed of all ages.

Many commentators claim the field is the Church (even though Jesus says it's the world). The side effect of their view is they must admit the unredeemed as members of the Church. This is madness! Certainly Old Testament Israel had wicked priests and kings and, in like manner, the institutional aspect to the various Christian Churches include both good and wicked members. But is Jesus teaching here that the Church is a mere institution?

In the gospels Jesus refers to the Church twice...

  1. Matthew 16:18 — Jesus builds his Church upon Peter the rock and his confession of faith. Does Jesus intend to build his Church upon unredeemed bishops and popes throughout Church history?
  2. Matthew 18:17 — The Church is to judge wicked members and reject them. Does Jesus mean to say that wicked unredeemed Church leaders are justified in burning so-called heretics, some of whom were fellow Christians? How is it even possible for wicked bishops and popes to judge justly, based on true moral values?

Only individuals are judged at the great white throne judgment. Therefore, the wheat and tares are individuals since they are individually judged.

(Matthew 13:25) But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.

Since the wheat are the redeemed, the tares are the unredeemed of all ages.

(Matthew 13:26) But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.

(Matthew 13:27) So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?

(Matthew 13:28) He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?

(Matthew 13:29) But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.

(Matthew 13:30) Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

The harvest is the great white throne judgment.

The tares are the wicked people of the world. The reapers who harvest are the angels who act on God's behalf at the second coming of Christ to gather up everybody to present to God for judgment. The barn is the new heavens and new earth, the eternal home of the redeemed. The wicked are cast into the eternal hell to be burned for all eternity (they are not annihilated). The wheat are those in the Church, the body of Christ, the redeemed, as well as all others who will ultimately end up in the new heavens and new earth.

There are various wrong interpretation of this parable. A couple...

  1. Those who want to demonstrate that corrupt bishops are truly the teachers and defenders of the faith (who we should obey as we would obey Christ); these interpret the field to be the Church, having both good teachers (wheat) and bad (tares). But we should reject unholy and corrupt bishops, not embrace them.
  2. Others interpret the field as being the Church having both unholy and holy members. Satan sows his seed into the Church, meaning that there will be wicked and unsaved people in the Church. But this interpretation has an unintended side-effect: it means that the Church is not the body of Christ, the set of all true believers but is, rather, a human institution having both good and bad members. Ironically, those of this interpretation typically reject the notion of this kind of institutional Church! They should pay better attention.

Parable:mustard seed

(Matthew 13:31) Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field:

(Matthew 13:32) Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.


(Matthew 13:33) Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.

(Matthew 13:34) All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them:

(Matthew 13:35) That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.

Parable:wheat and tares

(Matthew 13:36) Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field.

Jesus interprets this parable for them.

(Matthew 13:37) He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;

(Matthew 13:38) The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;

Satan has had children since the first humans; this did not begin only at the time of Christ.

Righteous people were children of the kingdom since the first humans, long before the time of Jesus.

(Matthew 13:39) The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.

There is only one harvest, at the end of the world, the great white throne judgment. Notice the tares are not only those living at the final judgment but, rather, includes the wicked humans of all time.

(Matthew 13:40) As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.

(Matthew 13:41) The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;

(Matthew 13:42) And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

(Matthew 13:43) Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

The kingdom exists even in the new heavens and new earth but the Church does not. Therefore, the good seed is not the Church but, rather, all the redeemed of all time.

Even those since the first humans are among the redeemed. In fact, the Church did not yet exist when Jesus told this parable: it was born on Pentecost.

Parable:hidden treasure

(Matthew 13:44) Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.

Parable:valuable pearl

(Matthew 13:45) Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:

(Matthew 13:46) Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

Parable:fishing net

(Matthew 13:47) Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind:

(Matthew 13:48) Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.

(Matthew 13:49) So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,

(Matthew 13:50) And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

(Matthew 13:51) Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord.

Parable:owner of house

(Matthew 13:52) Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.

(Matthew 13:53) And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence.

(Matthew 13:54) And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works?

(Matthew 13:55) Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?

(Matthew 13:56) And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?

(Matthew 13:57) And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.

(Matthew 13:58) And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

(Matthew 14:1) At that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus,

(Matthew 14:2) And said unto his servants, This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead; and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him.

(Matthew 14:3) For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife.

John the Baptist was imprisoned on the east side of the Dead Sea about 60 miles from Jerusalem.

(Matthew 14:4) For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her.

(Matthew 14:5) And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet.

(Matthew 14:6) But when Herod's birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod.

(Matthew 14:7) Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask.

(Matthew 14:8) And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist's head in a charger.

(Matthew 14:9) And the king was sorry: nevertheless for the oath's sake, and them which sat with him at meat, he commanded it to be given her.

(Matthew 14:10) And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison.

John the Baptist was imprisoned on the east side of the Dead Sea about 60 miles from Jerusalem. It would take 2 days to make this round trip journey if the rider changed horses several times. Presumably the feast was a days' long event.

(Matthew 14:11) And his head was brought in a charger, and given to the damsel: and she brought it to her mother.

(Matthew 14:12) And his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus.

(Matthew 14:13) When Jesus heard of it, he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities.

(Matthew 14:14) And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.

(Matthew 14:15) And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert [remote] place, and the time is now past [already late]; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals [food].

Notice the disciples initiate this, having concern for the people and their welfare. Perhaps they were themselves hungry and wanted the people gone so the could eat.

This is not the only time the disciples wanted Jesus to send people away. Probably because they were looking to ensure Jesus got enough rest and solitude and because they did not themselves have miraculous powers to help people as Jesus did so they didn't think anything could be done for people in need. It took them a long time to learn this lesson.

(Matthew 14:16) But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat.

(Matthew 14:17) And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes.

This doesn't seem like much food for 13 people. I suppose they were used to not eating a lot and to carrying their food with them while on foot.

(Matthew 14:18) He said, Bring them hither to me.

(Matthew 14:19) And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.

(Matthew 14:20) And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.

One basket per disciple which they then had to carry around.

(Matthew 14:21) And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.

This is the first of two miraculous feedings.

(Matthew 14:22) And straightway [immediately] Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.

Immediately, meaning, the next significant event of the story. They were not on shore next to a boat when Jesus fed the multitudes so they had to walk down to the water and obtain a boat; perhaps it was one of the disciples boat which they kept handy, maybe with a servant guarding it.

(Matthew 14:23) And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.

(Matthew 14:24) But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.

It was so windy and stormy that Peter was afraid for his life should he end up in the water.

(Matthew 14:25) And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.

(Matthew 14:26) And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.

People sometimes mock the disciples for not recognizing Jesus, but note: it was night, there was mist and spray from the turbulent waves, Jesus was some distance away, no one was ever seen walking on water before. It was natural they would think it was a spirit, a phantom, an apparition, a ghost. Some Christians reject the notion that there are ghosts, disembodied spirits, but the disciples believed in them.

I remember being in the desert on a windy night walking in the moonlight and sensing spirits flowing around me with the wind.

This would make a good movie scene, these grown men shouting in fear.

(Matthew 14:27) But straightway [immediately] Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer [take courage]; it is I; be not afraid.

The KJV translation "be of good cheer" doesn't seem right to me and Strong's Concordance confirms this.

Immediately, meaning, the next significant event of the story.

(Matthew 14:28) And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.

The word "if" probably means something more like "forasmuch as" or "since"; Peter was not questioning whether or not it really was Jesus.

That Peter's first thought was to join Jesus on the water is remarkable; Peter was a great man of faith. This was just after the first miraculous feeding of the multitudes which apparently impressed Peter.

Notice Peter doesn't presume to step out onto the water until he first commands Jesus to command him to. There is a great lesson in this. We may be inspired to do some great work mimicking Jesus, but we must submit ourselves to his will. Just because Jesus did something doesn't mean we should do it whenever and wherever. But how to discern Jesus's answer when we ask? that is the challenge. I doubt if the first mental impression or image that pops into your head after asking is necessarily from God.

(Matthew 14:29) And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship [boat], he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.

Simply amazing! Only Peter did this.

(Matthew 14:30) But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.

Peter was a seasoned fisherman and well used to the water. His fear indicates there was a real threat to his life from sinking in the water; the waves were so large he would drown. Likely he was not worried about the cold temperature of the water and the ensuing hypothermia since even in the dead of winter the water temperature is not so cold.

I suppose this verse illustrates the essence of saving faith: we become aware of our mortal peril and our helplessness, and, in response, we call out to God to save us from the impending doom.

Peter didn't sink very far, just a little.

People often use this verse as sermon material to illustrate how weak Peter's faith was, that he looked around at the wind instead of keeping his eyes and mind focused on Jesus. I don't care for this kind of Peter bashing which is all-too common. Another example of this is Peter following at a distance.

As a fundamentalist evangelical Protestant I was bombarded with the teaching that we should each one of us "get out of the boat and walk with Jesus". This implies our Christian life is to have more than the following...

  1. Repentance from sin
  2. Looking to Christ for eternal redemption
  3. True and infallible Christian doctrine
  4. Devotions, prayer, and meditation (not Eastern philosophy-style meditation but, rather, Christian meditation)
  5. Living a virtuous life and avoiding sin
  6. Charity and love of others
  7. Having a relationship with Jesus
  8. Worship of God

I had no idea what it meant to "get out of the boat". (In fact, to this day I have no idea what fundamentalist evangelical Protestant preachers are talking about most of the time — it all sounds to me like allegorical mush.) As a consequence of being bombarded with this idea that if I were a true, faith-filled Christian I would "step out onto the water" I forever felt I must do some extraordinary ministry. I should note that this is a total works-based mentality but I didn't notice it at the time. Anyway, I attempted to start a church which fortunately failed rather quickly (several years) so I didn't have to waste decades in stress and mental anguish.

Certainly if someone is clearly and crisply called by God to a task, they should step out in faith and do it. But it is wrong to teach that every Christian has some super-glorious mission here on earth.

(Matthew 14:31) And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore [why] didst thou doubt?

This verse does not match the typical Protestant notion of faith just as the heros of the faith in Hebrews don't match so well either.

Jesus did not carry Peter, but Peter continued to walk on the water when Jesus was guiding him by the hand.

Immediately, meaning, the next significant event of the story. Perhaps Peter nearly drowned in the stormy water before Jesus finally helped him, perhaps even calling out that Jesus was the Son of God?

(Matthew 14:32) And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.

(Matthew 14:33) Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.

They were all in the little fishing boat so they didn't have to go far — maybe only a few feet.

As part of their worship they acknowledge Jesus as the "Son of God". This phrase means Jesus is God otherwise they would not worship him. Groups denying the deity of Jesus can't worship him — too bad about that. Thus we see that wrong doctrine affects our faith life, even interfering with redemption.

(Matthew 14:34) And when they were gone over, they came into the land of Gennesaret.

(Matthew 14:35) And when the men of that place had knowledge of him, they sent out into all that country round about, and brought unto him all that were diseased;

(Matthew 14:36) And besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole.

Perhaps the people did this because it worked for the woman  or maybe it was the other way around. In any case, this became a common practice.

(Matthew 15:1) Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying,

(Matthew 15:2) Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.

The hand washing ritual requires you have sufficient water and a container. As usual, these rituals are sometimes difficult for those who are poor, or who travel constantly, or who live on the open land rather than in a house. Probably these fisherman didn't bother with such things in daily life because it was too burdensome. Religious practices should fit comfortably into a person's lifestyle. An example: on Fridays during Lent, Catholics are not supposed to eat meat (it's a mortal sin to do so they say — how idiotic). But I rarely eat meat except for when I feel I need it which might be on a Friday. Why should I follow the custom of people who eat meat several times a day?

(Matthew 15:3) But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?

These comments don't mean much to us today; they specifically pertain to the Jewish leaders. Some people apply them indiscriminately to the leaders of various Christian groups they don't like, especially against Catholic bishops and popes by Protestant anti-Catholics.

(Matthew 15:4) For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.

(Matthew 15:5) But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;

(Matthew 15:6) And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.

(Matthew 15:7) Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias [Isaiah] prophesy of you, saying,

(Matthew 15:8) This people draweth nigh [near] unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

How can we know whether someone who claims to love and worship God really does? The passage in Isaiah refers to people who follow precepts of men, not of God. Jesus uses this to refer to the Pharisees who added laws and traditions and who exploit the weak people in their society. The have a historical continuity with the nation of Israel established by Moses, and they relate to the same God, but they have lost the essential ingredient of the Old Testament religion which is love of God and neighbor.

This verse can be applied to the Church as well. Those who claim to be following the gospel and who have a historical continuity with the apostolic Church have all-too-often distorted the true Church and have placed Christians into bondage and into a works-based religious system. The important thing is a heart-felt relationship with Jesus and a desire to please God, not the mere practice of rites and rituals and obedience to bishops.

(Matthew 15:9) But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

(Matthew 15:10) And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand:

(Matthew 15:11) Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.

(Matthew 15:12) Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?

(Matthew 15:13) But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.

(Matthew 15:14) Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.

(Matthew 15:15) Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable.

(Matthew 15:16) And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding?

(Matthew 15:17) Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?

(Matthew 15:18) But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.

(Matthew 15:19) For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:

(Matthew 15:20) These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.

There is no comparison with the mortal sins listed in the previous verse and failing to perform the ritualized hand washing procedure before eating. It's hard to imagine how someone could get this backwards even if Old Testament specifies circumstances in which you must ritually wash your hands.

The woman of Canaan

(Matthew 15:21) Then Jesus went thence [from there], and departed [withdrew] into the coasts [region] of Tyre and Sidon.

Probably is was a relief for Jesus to get away from the corrupt and unholy religious leaders who were seeking to discredit him and even to harm him.

(Matthew 15:22) And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts [region], and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed [tormented] with a devil.

Word spread quickly that Jesus had come into the area. Probably this woman had heard Jesus was a miracle worker and that the was a descendant of David, the Messiah. She probably instantly dropped whatever she was doing and made a long journey by foot to find him, asking everyone she passed, "where is he?" Perhaps the prayers of people such as this woman is what drew Jesus into the area.

We should wonder how she knew he was a descendant of David? It seems people in other non-Jewish regions of Canaan had various conceptions of the Messiah.

(Matthew 15:23) But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought [urged] him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.

At first Jesus ignored the woman, probably to give the disciples time to react. Perhaps they noticed his action and responded as they did thinking he was annoyed by her. Perhaps she was too far away for him to speak to her without shouting and he was waiting for her to come closer, which she did.

This is not the only time the disciples wanted Jesus to send people away. Probably because they were looking to ensure Jesus got enough rest and solitude and because they did not themselves have miraculous powers to help people as Jesus did so they didn't think anything could be done for people in need. It took them a long time to learn this lesson.

(Matthew 15:24) But he answered and said, I am not sent but [except] unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Jesus says he is only sent to the people of Israel, to Jews. Yet he went outside their land, probably preaching along the way.

This statement appears to be directed to the disciples, not to the woman. But I suppose in the poetic sense the lines could be out of chronological sequence and his is, after all, speaking to the woman. It's hard with the Bible to be certain that every story is told strictly in a chronological sequence; there is so much jumping forward and backwards and time to address the relevant information in its proper context.

This is an odd comment in response to the disciples asking Jesus to send the woman away. Perhaps he means his mission was not to non-Jews and that he couldn't minister to them by calling them nor by sending them away. But of course Jesus is not constrained by the dictates of his "official" ministry and he could minister to the woman's needs.

(Matthew 15:25) Then came she and worshipped [knelt or bowed down before] him, saying, Lord, help me.

This implies she knew him to be deity, that the Messiah was to be more than a mere human, that God could manifest in human form, or at least that God could be worshipped by worshipping a human Messiah.

Probably she blocked his path so he would have to either step around her or stop and bless her. I imagine this scene happening along a path as Jesus was walking.

(Matthew 15:26) But he answered and said, It is not meet [proper] to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.

I think this dialog was just for this woman, Jesus knowing she was clever with words and a quick thinker. Her faith consisted in...

  1. Knowing Jesus was a miracle worker.
  2. Persistence; not taking no for an answer.

(Matthew 15:27) And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.

Three points...

  1. Dogs were domesticated and begged for food. I wonder what they usually ate, if they had dog food? Was the city full with unleashed, barking dogs scavenging everywhere? Who cleaned up after them?
  2. They had tables with four legs tall enough for the dogs to beg below. This implies they had chairs too. Did the dogs jump up on the table?
  3. The woman's clever answer constituted faith.

(Matthew 15:28) Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt [wish]. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

Notice the content of her faith: she recognized Jesus as Messiah, the son of David, and that he had the power to perform miracles. Her faith was expressed in her actions and her stubbornness in demanding Jesus grant her what she asked for. Faith requires action, it requires works in order to be faith — without works it is not faith, but mere belief or intellectual assent or some such thing, but it's not faith until there are works.

Notice the mention of faith, but no mention of salvation, or of going to heaven if you were to die today, or of God forgiving them of their sins, or any of that kind of evangelistic stuff. Apparently faith leads to redemption even when it is not in the context of someone calling out to God for forgiveness of their sins. Certainly this was the case with Abraham's faith.

(Matthew 15:29) And Jesus departed from thence, and came nigh [near] unto the sea of Galilee; and went up into a mountain, and sat down there.

(Matthew 15:30) And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus' feet; and he healed them:

(Matthew 15:31) Insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel.

(Matthew 15:32) Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way.

Jesus initiated this miraculous feeding of the multitudes this second time. Perhaps he had been waiting for the disciples to bring it up as they did the first time?

(Matthew 15:33) And his disciples say unto him, Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude?

This is the second miraculous feeding of the multitudes. The first time, the disciples suggest sending the crowds away so they can buy food in the villages. We should expect them this time to remind Jesus of the previous miraculous feeding, perhaps even hinting or suggesting Jesus do it again. Perhaps they don't because they are afraid Jesus will make them miraculously multiply the food and they will fail. Or perhaps the didn't want to carry all the baskets of leftover food. (Where did they get these baskets anyway?) Or perhaps Peter remember his sinking in the water and was ashamed to fail again due to his weak faith.

(Matthew 15:34) And Jesus saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven, and a few little fishes.

(Matthew 15:35) And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground.

(Matthew 15:36) And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.

(Matthew 15:37) And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full.

The first time they had 12 baskets left over, one for each disciple. This time they had only 7. Perhaps they had a pecking order of who had to carry them and who didn't.

(Matthew 15:38) And they that did eat were four thousand men, beside women and children.

This is the second of two miraculous feedings.

(Matthew 15:39) And he sent away the multitude, and took ship, and came into the coasts of Magdala.

(Matthew 16:1) The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven.

(Matthew 16:2) He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red.

(Matthew 16:3) And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?

(Matthew 16:4) A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas [Jonah]. And he left them, and departed.

(Matthew 16:5) And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread.

We should wonder what happened to the 7 baskets of food they had? Perhaps some time transpired since then and they ate it. (Were they still carrying around the empty baskets?)

(Matthew 16:6) Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven [yeast] of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

Yeast is mixed thoroughly and completely with the dough. Likewise, teaching and doctrine has this kind of pervasive influence affecting our concepts of God and salvation. Doctrine informs our world view.

As teachers of false doctrine adding to the Old Testament, the Pharisees and Sadducees were not to be trusted. Perhaps this verse is a reference to the Exodus from Egypt and the Passover meal having no leaven. Or, perhaps the Jewish leaders allowed bringing bread having leaven for an offering even though this was forbidden.

In the spiritual realm, images such as yeast are real, and false doctrine can appear as yeast. Similar to the image of Christ as a lamb that was slaughtered — John sees a literal lamb in the spiritual realm, and this lamb is Christ.

(Matthew 16:7) And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread.

This is a silly verse. Jesus mentioned leaven (yeast) and the disciples thought of bread. They were so concerned with forgetting to bring bread that they interpreted the word "leaven" as "bread".

(Matthew 16:8) Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread?

(Matthew 16:9) Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?

Reference to the first miraculous feeding of the multitudes by Jesus.

(Matthew 16:10) Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?

Reference to the second miraculous feeding of the multitudes by Jesus.

(Matthew 16:11) How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees?

Leaven, such as yeast, is mixed with dough to make it rise. The key is that it is thoroughly and completely mixed.

(Matthew 16:12) Then understood they how that he bade [told] them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

Doctrine intermingles with the whole spiritual walk; it provides a foundation for the spiritual life. Some like to pretend doctrine is not needed in the Christian life; Jesus says otherwise. True doctrine is needed to counteract the false doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Perhaps it would have been better for Jesus to specify the false doctrines of the Pharisees since many of their teachings were actually true; the way it is stated sounds like everything they teach is false.

(Matthew 16:13) When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?

(Matthew 16:14) And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias [Elijah]; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.

(Matthew 16:15) He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

(Matthew 16:16) And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

This confession by Peter occurred in the context of the second miraculous feeding of the multitudes and of Jesus reminding them of how many baskets there were of leftover food each time. (But where did they get all the baskets?)

(Matthew 16:17) And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

(Matthew 16:18) And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Jesus gives Simon a new name, Peter, meaning rock. New names are significant. Jesus will build his Church upon Peter and his confession of who Jesus is. The Church is founded upon a rock, it is stable, it will endure forever, it will not be washed away by the waves.

The wicked powers will not prevail against the foundations of the Church, in other words, the gospel message will continue to be shared and the apostolic teaching of Peter will not be corrupted.

The Catholic Church uses this verse as the primary support for their doctrines of the papacy. But interestingly, the bishops of Rome did not use this verse this way for centuries; only slowly did they strengthen and enhance the powers of the bishop of Rome, the pope, and this in response to political and cultural influences.

How do the gates of hell prevail and what are these gates anyway? In the walled cities of that day, the rulers and other influential people of the city met at the gates to rule and judge. Also, since goods entered and exited through the gates, they could see what was brought into the city and levy taxes. No doubt people were occasionally stopped and questioned and searched and denied entry for various reasons.

Similarly in the spiritual realm: the wicked spirits are consigned to various regions. Some inhabit the spiritual earth and vex those living on it; some are trapped in the abyss, the pit; some apparently hide just near hell's gate, perhaps to gloat when someone who rejected God's mercy is admitted. Perhaps these wicked spirits are the rulers of all the wicked spirits, that is why they are consigned to living so close to their own final home. Anyway, these gates of hell, these wicked powers, will not prevail over the gospel and the Church as I noted above.

I should note that I do not interpret this verse figuratively but strictly literally. The rock is a literal rock and the gates are literal gates. In the spiritual realm symbols are literally real and living. For example, Christ is literally a lamb as if slain. (He is many other things besides this.) Somewhere there is this rock and somewhere there are these gates. Just as the lamb is also the person of Jesus, so also, the rock is the person of Peter and the gates are the persons of the wicked spirits. This is a small point I admit, but I'm trying to avoid the trap of declaring that things are figurative when it suits me, this being an all-too-common habit among Bible interpreters.

Some make much of the idea that gates are defensive, not offensive. They claim that these gates of hell, therefore, are not attacking anyone, rather, they merely guard entry to hell or to Satan's kingdom of darkness. This only makes sense if you rename these "gates of hell" to "gates of the wicked powers" — then the Church can offensively break down these gates and conquer the city having these gates. Notice how all this quickly becomes very figurative and subjective; words no longer mean what they mean and seemingly arbitrary meanings are assigned to these words. This is a good example of why I have settled-in on a strictly literal approach.

(Matthew 16:19) And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

(Matthew 16:20) Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

(Matthew 16:21) From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.

Does the phrase "third day" refer to 72 hours? These many quotes show it doesn't.

(Matthew 16:22) Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.

(Matthew 16:23) But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

(Matthew 16:24) Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

(Matthew 16:25) For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

(Matthew 16:26) For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

(Matthew 16:27) For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

(Matthew 16:28) Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.

The Transfiguration 

(Matthew 17:1) And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,

Luke says 8 days, Matthew and Mark say 6 days. What gives? Perhaps Luke is counting from about the start of a several day long teaching episode? only he mentions it. Or some other counting anomaly, including or excluding the first and last days. What's the distance between 4 and 3? Why, it's 1 of course, except in music where it's 2.

(Matthew 17:2) And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.

(Matthew 17:3) And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias [Elijah] talking with him.

(Matthew 17:4) Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles [tents]; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias [Elijah].

It takes time to construct these tents of branches, the kind constructed on the feast of tabernacles. Peter likely assumed this event would endure for many hours, or at least hoped to prolong it, but it was to be brief.

Peter was always willing to spring into action to help out. Some deride him for this but there must first be action in order for it to be corrected and improved. Those who forever wait to act until they're certain of the right course may have a long lonely wait.

(Matthew 17:5) While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.

(Matthew 17:6) And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore [painfully = very] afraid.

Perhaps this should be the model for worship of God: (1) enter in to God's presence, (2) fall on your face. I think bowing and such was common in those days, they did it often.

(Matthew 17:7) And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid.

God doesn't want us to be afraid. In the new heavens and new earth we will not be. Notice Jesus uses the sense of touch to shift their mood, to impart blessing.

(Matthew 17:8) And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.

(Matthew 17:9) And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.

(Matthew 17:10) And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias [Elijah] must first come?

They thought Elijah would come again. Probably they were confused as to why Elijah came, then so quickly disappeared. If Elijah were to come first, he should linger for a while and make himself known publicly.

(Matthew 17:11) And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias [Elijah] truly shall first come, and restore all things.

From Malachi.

(Matthew 17:12) But I say unto you, That Elias [Elijah] is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed [wished]. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them.

Apparently the Jewish leaders did not recognize the spirit of Elijah working in John the baptist. We should wonder what they did to John the baptist; after all, it was not they who killed him but, rather, Herod.

(Matthew 17:13) Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.

(Matthew 17:14) And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying,

(Matthew 17:15) Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water.

(Matthew 17:16) And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.

(Matthew 17:17) Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.

(Matthew 17:18) And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.

(Matthew 17:19) Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?

(Matthew 17:20) And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.

They only need a tiny bit of faith to move mountains and perform miraculous healing. This should surprise us. Presumably they need even less faith for redemption. In the new heavens and new earth we will finally have faith like this.

(Matthew 17:21) Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.

I wonder if Jesus is chiding the apostles for not praying and fasting enough? In the book of Acts they seem to finally understand their proper role.

It seems that combating the powers of darkness requires having a corresponding spiritual power sufficient to defeat the enemy, just as victory in war requires having a better equipped and better trained army. This supports the word-faith teaching but, of course, that teaching is utterly false. While we should strive to increase our faith, the power of faith is not the purpose of Christianity but, rather, the purpose is to worship God and to please God.

(Matthew 17:22) And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men:

(Matthew 17:23) And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.

(Matthew 17:24) And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute [two-drachma temple tax] money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute [two-drachma temple tax]?

Only Matthew, who was a tax collector, tells this story of the temple tax. But this was a temple tax, not a Roman tax, so we should wonder why Matthew was interested in Jewish taxes. Presumably, tax collectors mentioned in the gospels, such as Matthew was, collected taxed for the Romans, not the Jews, and that is why these tax collectors were so hated. Probably Matthew told this story because it interested him, being as it was about taxes, a subject he was familiar with.

(Matthew 17:25) He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented [spoke first to] him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers?

(Matthew 17:26) Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free [exempt].

(Matthew 17:27) Notwithstanding, lest we should offend [scandalize] them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money [standard coin = shekel = four-drachma coin]: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.

Governments spend tax money on unrighteous and immoral things, but we should still pay taxes.

Presumably, this fish swallowed a coin someone had lost; Jesus merely returned it back into the money supply. Therefore, Jesus supports economics.

Those charging taxes didn't realize that Jesus and the apostles should be exempt from paying taxes, similar to modern tax-exempt organizations. Isn't this just the way it is with the secular world, not recognizing the spiritual superiority of God's ways?

Jesus did not wish to stir up trouble for the gospel by opposing society regarding taxes. Similarly for slavery and women's rights. Yet today, many Christians do just this and, in the process, damage the cause of Christ.

Yes, this miracle really occurred. The miracle was in guiding a complex series of improbable events: someone lost a coin; a fish swallowed it; Peter's hook just happened to catch that fish.

Peter paid taxes for Jesus and they didn't object. This implies the tax collectors had written records having lists of names with dates and amounts. Both Jesus and Peter were on the same list. Perhaps the other apostles were on a different list or paid their own taxes. Jesus apparently was no longer working for money and resorted to this scheme thinking it was just fine to pay with money someone else lost. Peter got the benefit too.

(Matthew 18:1) At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?

(Matthew 18:2) And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,

(Matthew 18:3) And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

(Matthew 18:4) Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

(Matthew 18:5) And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.

(Matthew 18:6) But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

(Matthew 18:7) Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!

(Matthew 18:8) Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.

(Matthew 18:9) And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

(Matthew 18:10) Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.

Presumably this means each child has a guardian angel watching over them and these are good angels. I wonder whether our angel continues to watch over us throughout our entire life?

(Matthew 18:11) For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.

Parable:lost sheep

(Matthew 18:12) How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?

(Matthew 18:13) And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.

(Matthew 18:14) Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.

(Matthew 18:15) Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.

(Matthew 18:16) But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

(Matthew 18:17) And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

There was no Church until after the time of Jesus, so this statement was not of Jesus. And he likely wasn't referring to the Jewish synagogue. In fact, there was no congregation of believers during the lifetime of Jesus, only a loose band of followers and disciples.

(Matthew 18:18) Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

(Matthew 18:19) Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.

People misunderstand this.

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

(Matthew 18:21) Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven [7] times?

(Matthew 18:22) Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven [7] times: but, Until seventy times seven [70 x 7].

Parable:unmerciful servant

(Matthew 18:23) Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.

(Matthew 18:24) And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.

(Matthew 18:25) But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.

(Matthew 18:26) The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

(Matthew 18:27) Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.

(Matthew 18:28) But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.

(Matthew 18:29) And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

(Matthew 18:30) And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.

(Matthew 18:31) So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.

(Matthew 18:32) Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:

(Matthew 18:33) Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?

(Matthew 18:34) And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.

I am uncomfortable with stories such as this in which Jesus describes graphic violence by the protagonist, the main character, the good guy.

(Matthew 18:35) So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

(Matthew 19:1) And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these sayings, he departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judaea [Judea] beyond Jordan;

(Matthew 19:2) And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there.

(Matthew 19:3) The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away [divorce] his wife for every cause [any reason]?

Mark omits the detail of divorcing for "any reason".

(Matthew 19:4) And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,

(Matthew 19:5) And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?

(Matthew 19:6) Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

(Matthew 19:7) They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?

(Matthew 19:8) He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered [allowed] you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.

A remarkable verse. Those verses in the Old Testament saying "Thus says the Lord" were not really from God after all. Or, sometimes Moses is speaking the word of God, sometimes not — but we have no way of knowing which is which.

(Matthew 19:9) And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

The question is whether the adultery is because of the putting away by the man or of the subsequent sexual relations between the divorced wife and her new husband.

Regarding the man's role: The man who divorces his wife is said to commit adultery but there is no mention of his having sexual relations with another woman. Jesus' point in this passage seems to be that the marriage contract between husband and wife is a contract between God as well (it is "sacramental", if you will) and that in breaking this covenant without just cause, one who divorces is guilty of adultery with God.

Regarding the divorced woman's role: She was not the perpetrator of the divorce yet she must never remarry. She commits adultery in remarrying, not in having conjugial relations with her new husband. Perhaps the conjugial relations are implied.

Regarding the second husband's role: He must not marry a divorced woman whose former husband is still alive. He commits adultery in marrying her, not in having conjugial relations with her. Perhaps the conjugial relations are implied.

Many passages in the Old Testament and New Testament use the word "adultery" to refer to apostasy, to turning from God to the cares of the world or, worse, to false religion. Commonly, fundamentalist evangelical Protestants interpret this use of the word as figurative (they claim to interpret the Bible literally but all-too-often slip into figurative and analogy and typology). But it is not figurative at all! It is, rather, strictly literal as Jesus demonstrates in this verse. The word really means this.

(Matthew 19:10) His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.

(Matthew 19:11) But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.

(Matthew 19:12) For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.

Three kinds of eunuchs...

  1. Born that way; probably refers to those with physical defects or those having no interest in sexual relations
  2. Castrated
  3. A vow of celibacy as an aid to living a holy devotional life

Some use option 1 above as referring to those born gay, but this is just plain baloney. Jesus is talking about those who abstain from sexual relations; being gay refers, by definition, to those having sexual relations. A eunuch is someone who does not have sexual relations.

(Matthew 19:13) Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them.

(Matthew 19:14) But Jesus said, Suffer [allow] little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

(Matthew 19:15) And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence.

(Matthew 19:16) And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?

(Matthew 19:17) And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

Only God is good. Jesus said this to challenge whether this man would consider Jesus as the Son of God, as deity, as the second person of the Trinity.

Notice Jesus considers following the 10 commandments as necessary for salvation; it is not by faith only.

Jesus uses the word "life" to mean eternal life, redemption.

(Matthew 19:18) He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,

(Matthew 19:19) Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

(Matthew 19:20) The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?

(Matthew 19:21) Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

(Matthew 19:22) But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.

This would have taken the fun out of being rich; every time he enjoyed his riches he would remember Jesus' words and feel that sorrow again. Perhaps this is the point: those with wealth should be always pondering on what if their wealth was gone. This applies to everyone, not just the wealthy. But ultimately in the new heavens and new earth, all the redeemed will enjoy radical health, wealth, joy, love — a utopian world in God's presence.

(Matthew 19:23) Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Notice the phrases "kingdom of heaven" and "kingdom of God" mean the same thing.

(Matthew 19:24) And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

Notice the phrases "kingdom of heaven" and "kingdom of God" mean the same thing.

A camel cannot go through the eye of a needle period. I've heard all sorts of explanations for how it is possible, just very difficult. But the point is that rich people have to first become poor.

(Matthew 19:25) When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?

Notice the disciples understood Jesus to be talking about more than just the rich. If they can't be saved surely no one else can either.

(Matthew 19:26) But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

Without God's intervention no one can be saved, including the rich.

(Matthew 19:27) Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?

(Matthew 19:28) And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

(Matthew 19:29) And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.

(Matthew 19:30) But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.

Parable:workers in vineyard

(Matthew 20:1) For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.

The purpose of this parable is to teach about the kingdom of God, not social justice.

(Matthew 20:2) And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.

(Matthew 20:3) And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace,

(Matthew 20:4) And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way.

(Matthew 20:5) Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise.

(Matthew 20:6) And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?

(Matthew 20:7) They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.

(Matthew 20:8) So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first.

(Matthew 20:9) And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny.

(Matthew 20:10) But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny.

(Matthew 20:11) And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house,

(Matthew 20:12) Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.

(Matthew 20:13) But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny?

It is common to hear talk of how everyone should be treated the same no matter their circumstances. Certainly regarding redemption and eternity in the new heavens and new earth this is true in the spiritual realm as well; everyone with saving faith will be equally redeemed. This applies to someone who was faith-filled since early childhood and someone who had a deathbed conversion.

We should wonder whether someone who converted in early life will enjoy a different experience in eternal life as a result. Certainly, they will have memories of spending many years in prayer and devotion which the other will be missing. This is a similar question as whether the eternal life of a redeemed sea gull will be in some way inferior to that of a redeemed human. Why would God create different kinds of creatures with different attributes knowing they will have different experiences? All we can say is that anything God creates is good and any kind of relationship with him is good. I doubt if there is any use in comparing experiences, especially when trying to determine which is better.

So back to the parable. Does the employer really have a moral obligation to pay each worker the same based on the kind of work and the number of hours worked? Some even wonder why people should get paid different amounts per hour, after all, all kinds of work is equally dignified and important to a smooth-running society. In verse 15, Jesus refers to the law, and that settles the question.

Notice the key to this interaction: a contract, in fact, a verbal contract. As long as the employer honored his contract, there was no injustice done. This assumes, of course, that the contract is morally just to begin with and, in this case, every contract with every worker certainly was. There was no obligation on the part of the employer to pay everyone the same per hour. Some might think this was favoritism, and I suppose it was. In our society today we don't like favoritism, especially when based on race, gender, age, and even stranger criteria.

(Matthew 20:14) Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee.

(Matthew 20:15) Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?

Jesus refers to the legal system to determine what is and what is not morally justified. I suppose this is why he does not attempt to abolish slavery or to advance the cause of women's rights. As long as the laws are not morally unjust, as long as slaves are not mistreated or women exploited, Jesus does not address the topic. This does not mean that we should not attempt to improve society. This is a good example of what is wrong with Sola Scriptura; the Bible ignores this important topic but we should not. We can't look to the Old Testament as our guide either because there we find the most hideous examples of how to structure society.

It seems Jesus assumes employers have the right to pay people different wages for the same work as long as they pay at least a fair hourly amount. Not only that, employers can do so based on a mere whim with no thought-out philosophical framework as a guide. Not so in our society. People think employers must treat everyone the same — equal pay for equal work, or so they say. Actually, wage rates vary considerably from job to job, often for no understandable reason.

(Matthew 20:16) So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

(Matthew 20:17) And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them,

(Matthew 20:18) Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death,

(Matthew 20:19) And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again.

(Matthew 20:20) Then came to him the mother of Zebedee's children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him.

(Matthew 20:21) And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.

(Matthew 20:22) But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able.

(Matthew 20:23) And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.

(Matthew 20:24) And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren.

(Matthew 20:25) But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.

(Matthew 20:26) But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;

(Matthew 20:27) And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:

(Matthew 20:28) Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Jesus' ransom for many is to pay the price for redemption of humans who are in bondage to original sin. Some say Jesus had to pay a ransom to Satan to free us but why would this benefit Satan in any way since he will ultimately be destroyed in the lake of fire? and would that mean there is a swap like in a ransom of prisoners of war? Certainly Jesus is not swapping himself into Satan's kingdom. I think the ransom is limited to Christ preparing a way for us to follow him by his conquering of death and in deifying humanity.

(Matthew 20:29) And as they departed from Jericho, a great multitude followed him.

(Matthew 20:30) And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou son of David.

(Matthew 20:31) And the multitude rebuked them, because they should hold their peace: but they cried the more, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou son of David.

(Matthew 20:32) And Jesus stood still, and called them, and said, What will ye that I shall do unto you?

(Matthew 20:33) They say unto him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened.

(Matthew 20:34) So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him.

Immediately, meaning, the next significant event of the story.

(Matthew 21:1) And when they drew nigh [near] unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples,

(Matthew 21:2) Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway [immediately] ye shall find an ass [donkey] tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me.

Immediately, meaning, the next significant event of the story. It may have taken quite a while for the disciples to find the two animals once they arrived in town.

(Matthew 21:3) And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway [immediately] he will send them.

Immediately, meaning, the next significant event of the story. How is it possible for the disciples to take the two animals and at the same time the man sends them? Perhaps the intent is that the man will give the OK for them to take the animals; perhaps this man is the owner, or perhaps he rents them.

(Matthew 21:4) All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying,

(Matthew 21:5) Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass [donkey], and a colt the foal of an ass [donkey].

(Matthew 21:6) And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them,

(Matthew 21:7) And brought the ass [donkey], and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon.

(Matthew 21:8) And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way.

(Matthew 21:9) And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.

(Matthew 21:10) And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this?

(Matthew 21:11) And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.

(Matthew 21:12) And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,

(Matthew 21:13) And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.

(Matthew 21:14) And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.

(Matthew 21:15) And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the son of David; they were sore displeased,

(Matthew 21:16) And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?

(Matthew 21:17) And he left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and he lodged there.

Later they spend the night on the Mount of Olives.

(Matthew 21:18) Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered.

(Matthew 21:19) And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.

(Matthew 21:20) And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!

(Matthew 21:21) Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.

In the new heavens and new earth we will routinely be able to perform feats such as this. Generally we cannot do things such as this (in spite of the word-faith teachers proclaiming otherwise!) Yet at times, especially for the apostles in the apostolic Church, God uses miraculous occurrences to validate the claims of the gospel. (This occurred also in the Old Testament.)

(Matthew 21:22) And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

(Matthew 21:23) And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?

(Matthew 21:24) And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things.

(Matthew 21:25) The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him?

(Matthew 21:26) But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet.

(Matthew 21:27) And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.

Parable:two sons

(Matthew 21:28) But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard.

(Matthew 21:29) He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.

(Matthew 21:30) And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not.

(Matthew 21:31) Whether [which] of them twain [two] did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans [tax collectors] and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.

Other translations use the phrases "are entering" or "will get into" — all these indicate the kingdom is yet-future for everyone before their death.

(Matthew 21:32) For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.

Parable:wicked tenants

(Matthew 21:33) Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country:

(Matthew 21:34) And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it.

(Matthew 21:35) And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.

(Matthew 21:36) Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise.

(Matthew 21:37) But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.

(Matthew 21:38) But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.

(Matthew 21:39) And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.

(Matthew 21:40) When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?

(Matthew 21:41) They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.

(Matthew 21:42) Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?

(Matthew 21:43) Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.

Notice the kingdom had not yet begun; only when Jesus died a sacrificial death on our behalf did the kingdom begin.

Unrighteous Jews who believe they are exclusive members of the kingdom of God based on their being descendants of the Mosaic covenant would discover they must choose Jesus to enter the kingdom. Those who died before Jesus would encounter him when went into "hell" to preach to them and redeem those who chose to follow him. After that time, everyone meets Jesus at death.

(Matthew 21:44) And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.

(Matthew 21:45) And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them.

(Matthew 21:46) But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.

Parable:invitation to the wedding banquet

(Matthew 22:1) And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said,

(Matthew 22:2) The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,

(Matthew 22:3) And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.

(Matthew 22:4) Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.

(Matthew 22:5) But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:

(Matthew 22:6) And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.

(Matthew 22:7) But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.

(Matthew 22:8) Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.

(Matthew 22:9) Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.

This is odd; why would anyone want to invite lots of strangers to their wedding? Don't they have enough invited guests?

(Matthew 22:10) So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.

(Matthew 22:11) And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:

(Matthew 22:12) And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.

(Matthew 22:13) Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

I am uncomfortable with stories such as this in which Jesus describes graphic violence by the protagonist, the main character, the good guy.

(Matthew 22:14) For many are called, but few are chosen.

Calvinists use this verse to support their view that God elects only certain individuals for salvation — all others have no hope. But this verse says the exact opposite. It says God calls many; in fact, God calls everyone. God also chooses many; those who have not disqualified themselves by (1) hating God, (2) living a life a debauchery, or (3) involvement with wicked spirits as spiritual practice.

Notice in the above parable those rejected were those who refused the invitation or who refused to dress appropriately.

God wishes for everyone to spend eternity in the new heavens and new earth with him, but he simply cannot endure sin and wickedness. Those who will not submit to being purified are disqualified; God cannot choose these. God only chooses those who have faith, good works, and love of God and neighbor.

(Matthew 22:15) Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk.

(Matthew 22:16) And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men.

The Pharisees bring witnesses with them to hear Jesus say they should not pay this tribute. Presumably if Jesus said this, these Herodians would have assisted in getting Jesus arrested.

(Matthew 22:17) Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?

These are very devious and dishonest people, not caring for truth; more like politicians who lie to get elected.

This question is impossible to answer. Either yes or no would result in some group of people against him, possibly as a cause for arresting him. This was not the kind of society you wanted to be arrested and jailed in; they were cruel and barbaric having no regard for the dignity of people.

Some thought you shouldn't pay taxes to Rome, especially the tribute mentioned here, because the Romans were occupiers. This is a political topic, not a religious one. Notice these Pharisees are very political, disguising it as religion.

(Matthew 22:18) But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?

(Matthew 22:19) Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny [denarius].

Notice the terrible translation of the King James Version, using the word "penny" for the coin. A denarius is a day's wages. It's hard to understand how the "King James Only" advocates can claim this translation to be nearly inspired when they make errors such as this.

(Matthew 22:20) And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription [inscription]?

The image of Caesar is on the face of the coin, in the middle. Around the edge of the face of the coin is an inscription possibly indicating that Caesar is divine. When teaching about this verse people often forget to mention the inscription.

People don't worship the coin so Jesus doesn't mention that this image and inscription violate the law of Moses. He merely states that Caesar issued the coin, not God.

(Matthew 22:21) They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.

(Matthew 22:22) When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.

The Sadducees & Resurrection 

The Sadducees' Question

(Matthew 22:23) The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him,

The Sadducees did not believe the soul survives death; this is the meaning of the word "resurrection" here, that the soul lives on after death.

They give an absurd example to prove their point.

(Matthew 22:24) Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.

Levirate Marriage.

(Matthew 22:25) Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother:

(Matthew 22:26) Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh.

(Matthew 22:27) And last of all the woman died also.

(Matthew 22:28) Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her.

The Sadducees believe the human soul dies at the time of physical death. In verse 32 Jesus demonstrates from the Torah that this is not correct, that humans live on after death.

The Sadducees are trying to trip-up Jesus by demonstrating the logical absurdity of the resurrection. But their view of the resurrection is not the same as Jesus' view — their concept of the resurrection is flawed...

Jesus' Answer

Jesus does not discuss conditions in the new heavens and earth but, rather, merely refutes the Sadducees' wrong view of no life after death using their own terminology (they use the word "resurrection" to mean simply, life after death, not to the bodily resurrection at the end of the world).

Based on Revelation 20:4-6 it is clear the term resurrection refers to both the first resurrection (at the death of a believer) as well as to the second resurrection (the bodily resurrection after the second coming of Christ). It is clear from the context in Jesus' debate with the Sadducees that he uses the term resurrection to refer to the first resurrection. Since they reject the notion of life after death Jesus doesn't need to move on to the topic of the bodily resurrection at his second coming — he wins the debate without even mentioning that aspect of the term "resurrection".

(Matthew 22:29) Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.

Jesus is speaking to people who have practically memorized the Old Testament. Therefore, in claiming they don't know the scriptures, he is saying they don't understand their meaning. It's not the actual words of the Bible that are the thing but, rather, the meaning, the message. It is true that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible word of God; but the words on the page mean nothing except for the information they convey. To illustrate: when you read the news on the internet it is not the electronic signal from the news source to your computer which is the news, rather, it is the content you consume on your browser which is the news.

There are two ways the Sadducees could have noticed their error: (1) through the proper interpretation of the Old Testament, and (2) by considering the power of God.

This verse is used by nearly everyone to prove that there will be no marriage in the new heavens and new earth, but this is based on a wrong interpretation. The Sadducees view of resurrection is that it is life after death — and they reject this. They think that when you die your soul is annihilated. Jesus is discussing this topic with them in their own terms; thus, he uses the word "resurrection" to refer to the soul remaining alive after the body dies. The book of Revelation makes the distinction between two resurrections as well — those whose souls are taken to heaven because they are of the redeemed enjoy the first resurrection. Jesus demonstrates from scripture that the patriarchs are still living even though they have died. Jesus' answer has nothing to do with the resurrected body nor with the new heavens and new earth; rather, it concerns only the state of the soul of the redeemed after death. After death and before receiving the resurrected body, there is no marriage; this is true, as Jesus states.

(Matthew 22:30) For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.

Jesus uses the term resurrection just as the Sadducees used it — to refer to the after-death state.

After death the soul lives in a disembodied state in a spiritual realm. In this state people do not get married. They are spirit beings just as the angels are and there is no marriage. Marriage only exists in the physical world; in the current fallen world and again in the new heavens and new earth. Jesus is not addressing this topic in his discussion with the Sadducees. Rather, he is refuting their false views.

(Matthew 22:31) But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying,

(Matthew 22:32) I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.

In Moses' day Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had died and were in Abraham's bosom. Jesus states they were at that time living, but in verse 31 he refers to this as referring to the resurrection of the dead. Therefore, Jesus is not addressing the topic of whether or not there will be marriage in the new heavens and new earth after the bodily resurrection of the dead at the second coming of Christ.

Jesus uses the term "resurrection" to refer to the first resurrection. Since they reject the notion of life after death Jesus doesn't need to move on to the topic of the bodily resurrection at his second coming — he wins the debate without even mentioning that aspect of the term resurrection.

(Matthew 22:33) And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine.

(Matthew 22:34) But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together.

Jesus targeted the essence of the Sadducees' objection in a way they could not refute.

(Matthew 22:35) Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,

(Matthew 22:36) Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

(Matthew 22:37) Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

(Matthew 22:38) This is the first and great commandment.

(Matthew 22:39) And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

(Matthew 22:40) On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

(Matthew 22:41) While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,

(Matthew 22:42) Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The son of David.

Jesus asks the Pharisees about the Messiah, about whose son he is. He expects them to say "the son of David" which is exactly what they say. But their concept of the Messiah was flawed and Jesus wishes to correct them.

(Matthew 22:43) He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying,

Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit who empowers the writers of the Bible to write only divine revealed truth. He assumes the Pharisees believe in divine infallible revelation but stretches their view of how this works in using the word "Spirit"; they would later reject the Trinity once Christians clearly began teaching it but Jesus strongly hints at it. A spirit is not an impersonal force but, rather, a living presence, a person. If the spirit of each person is living, certainly the Spirit who inspired divine Truth would also be a person.

The significance of the Messiah being deity is that he would provide more than merely ushering in a utopian Jewish nation once again having temple worship. As deity the Messiah would also offer eternal redemption for sin along with eternal union with God.

David refers to his descendant, the promised Messiah, as Lord. But how can someone who is not yet born until long after you die be your Lord unless that person is deity, eternal? Thus, if the Jews were paying attention, they would notice that the Old Testament teaches Jesus is deity, the second person of the Trinity, the Son of God. Jews argue this point but is seems clear to me.

(Matthew 22:44) The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool?

Jesus uses this passage from David to demonstrate that Messiah would be deity, and that God was a Trinity of persons having kinship among the Father and the Son. The Pharisees denied both, claiming the Messiah would be a mere human (but later some did ponder whether the Messiah was deity). The concept of the Trinity never occurred to them, but notice in discussing the correct view of Messiah, the Trinity must be invoked. Thus, to properly understand God and his workings in the world it is necessary to understand God as Trinity. Those who reject the Trinity will fail to properly understand God's redeeming work. (But this does not mean they necessarily worship a false God, in fact, all conceptions of God are incomplete, but some more so than others.)

Enemies of God will one day become his footstool. This image is one of subjection in which God has conquered his enemies and rendered them powerless. In my view this scene will literally occur in the spiritual realm on the day of judgment. Perhaps these vanquished enemies of God will remain in this undignified status for a long time until finally being cast into the lake of fire after the Great White Throne judgment.

The word "until" doesn't necessarily mean that Jesus stops sitting at God the Father's right hand after his enemies are all vanquished. Perhaps Jesus has always been seated at God's right hand in his role as second person of the Trinity.

The entire universe is God's footstool.

(Matthew 22:45) If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?

(Matthew 22:46) And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.

They were stumped by the question but this didn't affect their hearts. Rather than trying to understand the answer or implications of the point Jesus mentions, they stop talking to him so he won't raise further difficult question that don't fit in to their world view. They pretend to love truth but this love has limits; it must not call into question their cherished teachings which they simply will not modify even in the face of irrefutable evidence.

(Matthew 23:1) Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,

Apparently there were scribes and the Pharisees present in the audience because Jesus soon begins referring to them as "you".

(Matthew 23:2) Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat:

Jesus mentions both scribes and Pharisees; thus, he is not specifically referring to only the Pharisees and their distortions of the teachings of the Old Testament.

(Matthew 23:3) All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.

They were to observe and do whatever Moses said, what was in the Old Testament, not what the scribes and Pharisees said that added to or subtracted from the Old Testament. These scribes and Pharisees read aloud and taught from the Old Testament but they did not do it because they added to it and subtracted from it. These additions and subtractions are to be rejected; only the Old Testament is to be obeyed.

There are some Hebrew versions of the gospel of Matthew in which the word is he [Moses], not they [the scribes and Pharisees]. Some say Matthew wrote his gospel in Hebrew as attested to in the early church father Papias as reported by Eusebius, but I don't wish to take sides on this question.

(Matthew 23:4) For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.

(Matthew 23:5) But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,

(Matthew 23:6) And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,

(Matthew 23:7) And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.

(Matthew 23:8) But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.

(Matthew 23:9) And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.

The apostles Paul and John later call people father: Paul, Abraham, certain Christians.

(Matthew 23:10) Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.

(Matthew 23:11) But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.

(Matthew 23:12) And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

Scribes and Pharisees

Jesus begins addressing directly the scribes and Pharisees.

These comments don't mean much to us today; they specifically pertain to the Jewish leaders. Some people apply them indiscriminately to the leaders of various Christian groups they don't like, especially against Catholic bishops and popes by Protestant anti-Catholics.

(Matthew 23:13) But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer [allow] ye them that are entering to go in.

Woe #1: The 3 woes of Revelation concern the spiritual condition of humans and God's judgment of them.

Woe: they would experience extreme grief from their impending calamity; ultimately from not being redeemed from their sins.

(Matthew 23:14) Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence [pretending] make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.

Woe #2: The 3 woes of Revelation concern the spiritual condition of humans and God's judgment of them.

(Matthew 23:15) Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass [travel on] sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

Woe #3: The 3 woes of Revelation concern the spiritual condition of humans and God's judgment of them.

(Matthew 23:16) Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor!

Woe #4: The 3 woes of Revelation concern the spiritual condition of humans and God's judgment of them.

Blind #1:

(Matthew 23:17) Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold?

Blind #2:

(Matthew 23:18) And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty.

(Matthew 23:19) Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift?

Blind #3:

(Matthew 23:20) Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon.

(Matthew 23:21) And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein.

(Matthew 23:22) And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon.

(Matthew 23:23) Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment [justice], mercy, and faith [faithfulness]: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

Woe #5: The 3 woes of Revelation concern the spiritual condition of humans and God's judgment of them.

The various Jewish groups added to the Mosaic law over the many centuries. Their accusations that Jesus violated the law are false.

The commands of the law have different degrees of importance. It is useless to do the least important things if you neglect the most important. For some reason the religious dropped off these most important elements and this is why Jesus pronounces his woe upon them. The most important elements of the law involve love of God and neighbor: justice, mercy, and faithfulness.

People often assume Jesus is cursing these religious leaders in pronouncing his woe upon them but this is not the case. This is a similar error as misinterpreting the word "anathema" found in Church councils which merely means excommunication from the Church and is not a curse. Jesus expresses his profound sorrow at the plight of those who claim to live for God but who mislead the people and themselves. Probably they set up class boundaries between themselves and the people to avoid interaction with them.

(Matthew 23:24) Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.

Blind #4:

(Matthew 23:25) Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter [dish], but within they are full of extortion [stealing] and excess [self-indulgence].

Woe #6: The 3 woes of Revelation concern the spiritual condition of humans and God's judgment of them.

(Matthew 23:26) Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter [dish], that the outside of them may be clean also.

Blind #5:

(Matthew 23:27) Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres [whitewashed tombs], which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.

Woe #7: The 3 woes of Revelation concern the spiritual condition of humans and God's judgment of them.

(Matthew 23:28) Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity [unrighteousness].

(Matthew 23:29) Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of [for] the prophets, and garnish [decorate] the sepulchres [burial-vaults] of the righteous,

Woe #8: The 3 woes of Revelation concern the spiritual condition of humans and God's judgment of them.

(Matthew 23:30) And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers [ancestors], we would not have been partakers [taken part] with them in the blood of the prophets.

(Matthew 23:31) Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children [descendants] of them which killed the prophets.

(Matthew 23:32) Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers [ancestors].

(Matthew 23:33) Ye serpents, ye generation [offspring] of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?

Jesus is speaking to Jewish religious leaders who, he says, are unredeemed, who are headed to hell. They are serpents and vipers. I interpret this literally; there is nowhere in the Bible where serpents are figurative except as similes in which things are said to be like a serpent in some way. Even the serpent that deceived Eve was a literal serpent. Just as Jesus is the lamb as if slain, so also these corrupt religious rulers are serpents and vipers. All this symbol imagery occurs literally in the spiritual realm where symbols have a real and living existence. The demons have become ugly, grotesque, animal-like creatures because their attitudes and corruption have deformed them. In like manner, in behaving like serpents who beguile others, the souls of these corrupt religious rulers have taken on their form.

(Matthew 23:34) Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes [writers]: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city.

Jesus is speaking specifically to the Scribes and Pharisees, to the Jewish religious leaders. He is not referring to Roman emperors or to Gentiles, nor is he referring to the Jewish people at large. Notice the reference to synagogues; the Romans would not scourge people in a synagogue, only Jews would do this.

Jesus tells the Jewish leaders they would crucify prophets and teachers of God, probably referring to the Christian bishops. This does not refer to crucifying Jewish prophets nor to Christians at large.

I don't know of any examples of Jews crucifying Christians. So when did Jewish religious leaders crucify Christian prophets and teachers? Perhaps this refers to their pointing out Christians to the Romans who then crucified them.

According to Preterism, these events would occur before the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 A.D. Is there a time matching this? Why yes there is. In 66 A.D. Nero blamed the Christians for the fire in Rome and crucified many including Peter.

(Matthew 23:35) That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias [Zechariah, Zachariah] son of Barachias [Berechiah, Berekiah, Barachiah], whom ye slew [murdered] between the temple and the altar.

Zechariah the prophet was the son of Berechiah referred to here, but there was another Zechariah who was stoned in the temple. That Zechariah was the son of Jehoiada the priest.

This appears to be an error. Luke doesn't mention the father's name. Possible explanations...

  1. Perhaps Zechariah the son of Berechiah was killed in the manner mentioned but it is not recorded. (But how did Jesus know?)
  2. Perhaps Matthew wrote it down wrong; the apostles did make errors.
  3. Perhaps this is an error or addition by a copyist, but there is no way to demonstrate this.
  4. Perhaps Jehoiada was also named Berechiah.
  5. Josephus in War of the Jews (book 4, chapter 5) writes of a Zacharias son of Baruch who was murdered in 68 A.D.; Jesus didn't say who the father was but Matthew added it. However, the past tense of "slew" contradicts this view.

(Matthew 23:36) Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.

This verse deals with the topic of imminency, that the events will occur soon. The Jewish leaders attempted to destroy Christianity and Jesus was put to death by the intervention of the Jewish leaders.

(Matthew 23:37) O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

(Matthew 23:38) Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.

(Matthew 23:39) For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

Olivet Discourse 

Often overlooked is the context of unrighteous Jewish religious leaders. These would allow for false Messiahs, that is to say, religious revolutionaries who even used the temple as a military base under their oversight.

(Matthew 24:1) And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew [show] him the buildings of the temple.

It is curious that the disciples called-out the temple buildings. Perhaps they were like children, showing everything to Jesus to hear him speak about the topic.

(Matthew 24:2) And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

Jesus mentions the future fate of the temple. This occurred in 70 A.D. from the Romans.

The phrase "all these things" refers to the corruption of the Jewish leaders he had just finished talking about.

This verse provides evidence the gospel of Matthew was written before the temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. Otherwise we should expect mention of the stones being taken apart by the Romans retrieving the melted gold.

(Matthew 24:3) And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

They crossed over to the mount of Olives where they had a crisp view of the temple — it probably took a half hour or more — and it was still on their minds, probably they had been mulling it over the whole time so they asked these questions...

  1. When will the temple be destroyed?
  2. What are the signs that Jesus would establish his political, earthly kingdom? (This was their false notion of the kingdom of God.)
  3. What are the signs of the end of the world? (Presumably they expected some sort of utopia after this.

We should expect Jesus to discuss those topics, to correct their mistaken views, and to give the true perspective of it all. We should expect him to tell them the following...

  1. The temple will be destroyed within a generation by the Romans in a bloody war.
  2. Escape the city before it is too late. (And he provided signs which the Christians heeded and escaped to Pella.)
  3. The Jewish revolutionaries provoked this conflict with Rome and many would declare themselves as the Messiah, the political ruler who would free the Jews from Roman rule.
  4. The true kingdom of God to be established by Jesus was to be spiritual, not physical.
  5. Ultimately, there will someday be a utopia on earth, the new heavens and new earth.
  6. The will be false Messiahs proclaiming all kinds of false views.

I should note that the Jews did not have the concept of a Messiah who was God; their Messiah would be a man who would free the Jews from oppression and usher in some sort of utopia. They should have considered Daniel's 70–7's. They had no excuse and should have been counting the days.

(Matthew 24:4) And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.

(Matthew 24:5) For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

Jesus is referring to the corruption of the Jewish leaders.

(Matthew 24:6) And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

Jesus tells them things that are not signs; they should ignore these. Wars are not signs of the end.

(Matthew 24:7) For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers [diverse] places.

Jesus tells them things that are not signs; they should ignore these. Wars and famine and pestilence and earthquakes are not signs of the end.

(Matthew 24:8) All these are the beginning of sorrows.

(Matthew 24:9) Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.

(Matthew 24:10) And then shall many be offended [shall fall away], and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.

Christians throughout church history have endured many unhappy episodes and continue to do so. In the violent eras before ours, churchmen sometimes tortured and executed true believers. We should reject church leaders who are unworthy of their office. Today, we have Christians accusing each other of being unsaved using any number of derogatory terms. But we as Christians must strive for true unity.

Throughout church history Christians have apostatized for any number of reasons. Often these dedicate their lives to stamping out Christianity and harming Christians.

They turn away from the faith because of persecution. False prophets deceive the people. This happens during the entire church age. These events happened early in Jesus' prophecy and seem to refer to events that will take place throughout the church age.

(Matthew 24:11) And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.

(Matthew 24:12) And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax [grow] cold.

(Matthew 24:13) But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

Even in difficulty and persecution Christians are to persevere; we are to remain faithful to Christ and to live holy lives until our dying moment. Then at that time, there is a judgment and those faithful are at that time saved.

(Matthew 24:14) And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

According to the book of Acts, this was fulfilled by the apostles before they died. Likely only John the apostle was still alive after the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. but in any case, their apostolic ministry was well advanced and they had preached the gospel and planted churches all over the Roman empire and even beyond.

Some claim this is a yet-future event and that someday everyone on the planet will hear the gospel. This is unlikely. Some claim the second coming of Christ will not occur until after this but there is nothing preventing it from occurring anytime.

The Jewish War — 66 to 70 A.D.

(Matthew 24:15) When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)

This notable misuse of the temple began a few years before the final destruction of the temple when the revolutionaries stopped the sacrifices on behalf of the Romans triggering the start of the Jewish War. After that: (1) The rebels used the temple as a military base, (2) Eleazar allowed armed terrorists into the temple to live, and (3) there were murders and massacres in the temple.

Jesus is not referring to the same event as Daniel 11:31. That was during the time of Antiochus Epiphanes whereas here Jesus refers to a time yet-future for the disciples, during the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. The reference here is to Daniel 12:11.

(Matthew 24:16) Then let them which be in Judaea [Judea] flee into the mountains:

We may wonder what event caused the Christians to flee, but they recognized it and fled to Pella. Probably when the armed Jewish revolutionaries began using the temple as a military base.

This verse demonstrates the gospel of Matthew was written long before the Romans invaded Jerusalem. The Christians living in Jerusalem would have needed time to hear this warning and discuss it and prepare for it.

This verse proves that Jesus is not talking about a yet-future Antichrist but, rather, about events surrounding the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D.

(Matthew 24:17) Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:

(Matthew 24:18) Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.

(Matthew 24:19) And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!

(Matthew 24:20) But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:

(Matthew 24:21) For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

Jesus is referring to the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 A.D. Notice that he tells the Christians to flee the city, which they did. There have been many severe tribulations in human history. Apparently, this Jewish War with the Romans was the worst because it affected God's chosen people, the Jews. We would think that the genocide of Jews during Hitler's days would be worse but apparently it wasn't. Perhaps it was the fact of Jews slaughtering Jews that is referred to — the Jewish War was as much a civil war among the Jews as an invasion by the Romans, in fact, the civil war precipitated the Roman invasion.

Millennialists interpret this verse as referring to a yet-future great tribulation, but such an event is not biblical in the least. Anyway, the context is clearly referring to an event that would occur soon for those hearers of Jesus.

(Matthew 24:22) And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.

There were survivors of this Jewish war; these were sold into slavery. Had the war persisted for much longer, everyone trapped in the city would all have starved.

The word "elect" refers to Christians. There were 3 categories of these...

  1. Jewish converts who remained Jewish in practice and mindset
  2. Gentile "God-fearers" who had partially converted to Judaism (but remained forever outsiders) then converted to Christianity
  3. Gentiles, usually Greeks, who had no connection whatsoever with Judaism

If the Jewish war had not ended with the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem it would have drastically impacted the Christians who surely would have become tangled-up in it all.

(Matthew 24:23) Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.

There were many competing factions of Jewish revolutionaries, each with a leader proclaiming himself to be the Messiah, the political leader who would lead Israel to independence from Roman rule.

(Matthew 24:24) For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

The Jewish Christians, the elect, were tempted by some very unusual natural events during the Jewish war. Those who were looking for liberation from Roman rule would have been enticed by those calling themselves Messiah, meaning, a political liberator.

(Matthew 24:25) Behold, I have told you before.

(Matthew 24:26) Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.

Some of the Jewish revolutionaries hid out in the desert at times.

Second Coming of Christ

(Matthew 24:27) For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

Everyone will see the coming of Jesus in judgment just as everyone in a lightning storm sees the lightning; this judgment comes at the death of each of us.

At Christ's second coming everyone will see him as he comes to usher in the new heavens and new earth. His coming will be in phases, perhaps first as apparitions visible in the sky to the whole world.

Those false prophets (such as the gnostics) who claimed Jesus came in some hidden secret manner were liars.

Notice the strong transition in this verse to the topic of the second coming of Christ.

The destruction of the Jewish temple in 70 A.D. was a sign of Christ's coming. It should have signalled to the Jews that the Mosaic covenant was at an end.

(Matthew 24:28) For wheresoever the carcase [carcass] is, there will the eagles be gathered together.

A second illustration that Christ's coming will be clearly visible to all.

(Matthew 24:29) Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

Events immediately preceeding the second coming of Christ. In my view, these kinds of images in the Bible all refer to the second coming of Christ. These images are literal, not figurative.

The phrase "tribulation of those days" refers to the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 A.D. The images of the dark sun and moon and the falling stars and the shaking of the powers of the heavens all refer to the time of the second coming of Christ. There are no more prophetic events to occur until then and haven't been since 70 A.D.

Immediately, meaning, the next significant event of the story. There is a long gap between the time the temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. and Christ's yet-future second coming, perhaps billions of years in the future.

(Matthew 24:30) And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

This is a key verse used to support the Preterist view that the second coming of Jesus occurred in 70 A.D. Certainly this verse strongly supports that view but it must be rejected out of hand on multiple other grounds.

People will mourn over their sin and how it displeases God.

Jesus comes with clouds.

(Matthew 24:31) And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

At his second coming, Jesus does finally gather together all the souls of the deceased Jewish Christians, and all Christians, who have died throughout the ages, the elect.

This is the second resurrection, a resurrection into a glorified body to inhabit the new heavens and earth.

Parable:fig tree

(Matthew 24:32) Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh [near]:

Jesus is done talking about his second coming and returns to previous topics.

Everyone knows fig trees grow new leaves in the spring and that summer follows a few months later.

(Matthew 24:33) So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.

The key is identifying "all these things", who it is that sees them all, and what it is that is near.

  1. all these things — the temple and the people associated with it
  2. who sees them — those in "this generation"
  3. what is near — the destruction of the temple and the yet-future second coming of Christ.

(Matthew 24:34) Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

A triple prophecy, all literal...

  1. The Romans destroyed the temple in 70 A.D. — within a generation.
  2. John wrote the book of Revelation in 96 A.D. — again, within a generation. In the book of Revelation we see the final judgment of the wickedness of the world as God vanquishes sin and evil. Although many of the events John describes are yet-future, they were fulfilled in a prophetic manner when he wrote down his visions from God.
  3. Each person dies and encounters Christ within their own generation.

This verse does not refer to a yet-future rapture, great tribulation, and earthly 1,000 year millennium — such events are not biblical (except via misinterpretation).

(Matthew 24:35) Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

(Matthew 24:36) But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

Since they are waiting for Christ's coming, this implies he comes at their death; that everyone encounters Christ at death and they are received into the kingdom of heaven at that time. It doesn't make sense for them to be exhorted to wait for Christ's coming if it occurs thousands (millions?) of years after they have died.

(Matthew 24:37) But as the days of Noe [Noah] were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

This is the only mention of Noah and the flood in the gospels, and this only as a side mention in passing to illustrate the story at hand. Apparently it is not that important.

(Matthew 24:38) For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe [Noah] entered into the ark,

Judgment was upon them, but they did not know it because they didn't believe there was such a thing; they rejected Noah's preaching.

Fundamentalist evangelical Protestants assume that if Jesus refers to a story this proves it must be a historically true account. I don't see why. You can use a fictional story to illustrate your point just as well as a factual account. The key is in the similarities of the story with the account. Anyway, I'm not insisting the flood is fictional. But notice, there is no mention the flood is global.

(Matthew 24:39) And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

When the flood came it killed everybody except those in the ark.

This verse does not imply Noah's flood was global. The word "all" doesn't mean "each and every one".

(Matthew 24:40) Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

(Matthew 24:41) Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

Just as the flood killed everybody, so also death kills everyone. The difference is that the flood killed everyone at the same time but, in the image of the two woman, death comes at different times. These verses do not mention that one woman was redeemed and one was not — perhaps they are both redeemed, but the death of each and, therefore judgment, occurs at different times.

These verses are not about a rapture because the flood didn't take people away to safety; it killed them. The woman of the two who is taken is taken by death, just as the flood took everyone by death. The woman who was left must watch and remain ready because someday, she too will be taken in death.

There is no such thing as the rapture, nor the great tribulation, nor the 1,000 year earthly millennium. These were invented in the 1,800's and were never taught by the apostles nor passed-on to the early church fathers.

(Matthew 24:42) Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

(Matthew 24:43) But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered [allowed] his house to be broken up.

(Matthew 24:44) Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.

Notice that the point of this extended passage is that we should watch and be ready at all times. What good does this do us if Jesus doesn't come back for thousands of years? (Certainly that was the case for all the Christians of history so far.) Rather, this topic is urgent and relevant for everyone everyday of their lives because none knows the day of death, the day of judgment, the day of Christ's coming (which occurs at the death of each).

Parable:wise and foolish servants

(Matthew 24:45) Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat [food] in due season?

(Matthew 24:46) Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.

(Matthew 24:47) Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.

(Matthew 24:48) But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;

(Matthew 24:49) And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;

(Matthew 24:50) The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,

(Matthew 24:51) And shall cut him asunder [in pieces], and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

If someone dies when they are not ready, when they encounter Jesus, they may reject him leading to eternity in hell.

I am uncomfortable with stories such as this in which Jesus describes graphic violence by the protagonist, the main character, the good guy.

Up to this point, Jesus has been discussing his coming in judgment to each of us at death and that we should be ready for that moment because at that time, we will choose to spend eternity with him in heaven and ultimately in the new heavens and new earth.

The various kingdom of heaven parables all refer to people having the correct attitude and perspective about their eternal relationship with God. Those who finally enter in to the fullness of the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom of God, achieved this by performing various works in expressing their faith; by being ready and watching; by loving God with heart, mind, and soul.

Parable:wise and foolish virgins

(Matthew 25:1) Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.

It is hard to understand just why the five foolish virgins did not ensure their lamps had oil; after all, their whole purpose for having lamps in the first place was to meet the bridegroom with lighted-up lamps. Misunderstanding the eternal goal of life causes people to do the wrong things, such as, pleasure seeking instead of seeking God, or, worshipping nature or spiritual entities instead of God.

(Matthew 25:2) And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.

(Matthew 25:3) They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:

(Matthew 25:4) But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

(Matthew 25:5) While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.

The only qualifications for meeting up with the bridegroom and entering into the wedding were: (1) having the lighted lamps, and (2) following him to the marriage when he came. The foolish virgins missed both: (1) their lamps were unlit, and (2) they went into town instead of following the bridegroom.

Once the five wise virgins had their lamps with oil, they just sort of waited around until the bridegroom appeared; they slept. It is like this for us with Christ; we prepare to spend eternity with him then wait around until finally we die, then we meet him face to face, light our lamps (by choosing redemption), and follow him to the marriage feast.

(Matthew 25:6) And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.

(Matthew 25:7) Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.

(Matthew 25:8) And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.

Why do these five foolish even need lamps anyway? It seems they should have tossed them aside and followed along groping in the dark as best as they could. Probably, they were part of some celebration at the marriage ceremony in which lines of people with lamps greeted the bridegroom as he passed by. Not having lighted lamps would render them useless for the task at hand.

Apparently a condition for entering in to the marriage event was having lighted lamps. This means that a condition for entering into heaven is performing works in faith. Not having faith shining light disqualifies the foolish.

(Matthew 25:9) But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.

The redeemed can do nothing of themselves to assist the unredeemed. Each of us must go it alone.

(Matthew 25:10) And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.

(Matthew 25:11) Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.

(Matthew 25:12) But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.

(Matthew 25:13) Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

The point of the story of the ten virgins is the same as the previous verses (in chapter 24); we must watch and be ready at all times because Christ might come at any time. The reason we are to watch and be ready is because, when we die, we will encounter Christ and will choose our eternal fate at that time. Those who have been neglecting God all their lives are at risk of making the wrong choice. Those who have been practicing up for this moment of judgment will choose Christ.

What good is it for someone to watch and be ready their whole lives for a yet-future rapture or 1,000 year millennium if they die before the said event occurs? (The teaching of the rapture and 1,000 year millennium doesn't make any sense at all and is not taught in the bible.) And what good is it for someone to watch and be ready their whole lives for a yet-future second coming of Christ if they die before it occurs? Death is the moment we watch and wait for in readiness; death is when judgment occurs, when we finally choose our fate.

Parable:servants given talents

(Matthew 25:14) For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.

(Matthew 25:15) And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway [immediately] took his journey.

Immediately, meaning, the next significant event of the story.

(Matthew 25:16) Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.

(Matthew 25:17) And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.

(Matthew 25:18) But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.

(Matthew 25:19) After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.

(Matthew 25:20) And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.

(Matthew 25:21) His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

This parable appears to be talking about salvation.

(Matthew 25:22) He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.

(Matthew 25:23) His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

(Matthew 25:24) Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:

(Matthew 25:25) And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.

(Matthew 25:26) His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:

(Matthew 25:27) Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.

(Matthew 25:28) Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.

(Matthew 25:29) For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.

(Matthew 25:30) And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

The parable is clearly about redemption. Notice the message is that we are not saved by faith only; works are required.

I am uncomfortable with stories such as this in which Jesus describes graphic violence by the protagonist, the main character, the good guy.

Parable:sheep and goats separated

(Matthew 25:31) When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

(Matthew 25:32) And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:

(Matthew 25:33) And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

(Matthew 25:34) Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

(Matthew 25:35) For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

Jesus didn't command us to help the poor, nor did he do so himself. The only thing he did for the poor was miraculously heal them (which we can't do except when given this power from God; a rare occurrence).

Jesus established the idea that, in doing acts of kindness and charity to others, we are doing such for Jesus himself.

(Matthew 25:36) Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

(Matthew 25:37) Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

(Matthew 25:38) When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

(Matthew 25:39) Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

(Matthew 25:40) And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

In this passage, the King is the one who judges at the White Throne Judgment; this is clearly a reference to God. Apparently, we demonstrate our love for God by our love for the needy. If we wonder how we can connect with God who is invisible and how we can express our love for him, this verse has the answer. In loving and serving others, especially the needy and our fellow Christians, we are loving and serving God. I doubt if this means we are to allow those we are attempting to help exploit us or rip us off. Nor are we to pander to their sins and fund their alcohol, tobacco, and drug addictions.

(Matthew 25:41) Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

I am uncomfortable with stories such as this in which Jesus describes graphic violence by the protagonist, the main character, the good guy.

(Matthew 25:42) For I was an hungred [hungry], and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

Hungry and thirsty.

(Matthew 25:43) I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

Needing a place to stay (or else would have to sleep outside in the cold and rain). Needing clothing, especially for warmth. Visit the sick. Visit those in prison (who were probably starved, freezing cold, without proper hygene or medical care, lonely, depressed, likely there unjustly for being poor, tortured, not given basic humane living conditions).

(Matthew 25:44) Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred [hungry], or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

Obviously Jesus had none of these conditions himself, so their question was strictly correct. The problem was they didn't really care about the plight of their fellow human, nor did they care about Jesus. Notice the mocking tone to their question. They should have instead said: teach us, master, the meaning of this parable. The proper attitude of a true disciple of Christ is love, respect, awe, obedience.

(Matthew 25:45) Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

(Matthew 25:46) And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

Notice who the righteous are: those who did good works, who helped those in need.

The unredeemed are those who didn't recognize Christ in the ordinary aspects of daily living; who couldn't make the connection between loving neighbor and loving God.

It is tempting to say you must perform good works of charity to be redeemed, but this makes salvation based on works. Then we have the questions: how much charity is necessary? Can we ever deny helping someone in need and still retain our salvation? Should we sacrifice the well-being of our family to find the money and time to help the poor? Should we enable those who are destitute caused by substance abuse? Is it ever OK to say no to the needy?

We should note: Jesus never did any of this himself.

(Matthew 26:1) And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples,

(Matthew 26:2) Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.

Perhaps Jesus is referring to Nissan 14, Friday in the year 33 A.D., the day Jesus would be crucified and the day the Passover lambs would be slaughtered.The religious leaders noticed the connection between Jesus' death by crucifixion and the slaughtering of the Passover lamb.

Perhaps he was referring to Tuesday night, the day the Essenes celebrated Passover. In this case, the religious leaders were probably annoyed that Jesus publicly acknowledge the validity of the Essenes rather than condemning them.

(Matthew 26:3) Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas,

(Matthew 26:4) And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill him.

You would think they would not have Jesus killed at this time, especially by crucifixion, since he had predicted this very event. Surely they could have waited a month to do it? That would have been much more subtle. Why were they in such a hurry?

(Matthew 26:5) But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people.

Jesus is arrested Thursday night, Nissan 13, one day before the feast day.Jesus was taken off for crucifixion the morning of the day the Passover lambs were slaughtered. The people would be very busy that day preparing for Passover and getting the lambs, etc.

They wanted to arrest Jesus secretly without commotion, preferably at night, away from the crowds. Perhaps they were worried Jesus would make a public appearance during the feast and proclaim himself as the Messiah or something and getting the crowds all excited. If so, they would have to have him arrested in public resulting in a riot. They had to avoid irritating the Romans at all cost or they would send in troops to quell the riot. They especially wanted to avoid this during the feast with so many extra people in the city of Jerusalem attending the celebrations.

At Simon the Leper's House at Bethany 

Apparently a similar event involving anointing Jesus with perfume occurred three times...

  1. While in Galilee
    • At a rude Pharisee's house
    • The Pharisee is named Simon
    • There is no mention of him being a leper
    • A woman known to be a sinner anointed the feet with Jesus and wiped them with her hair while weeping
    • The Pharisee doubts Jesus is a prophet or he would have know the woman was a sinner
    • Jesus forgives the woman's sins
  2. The day before the triumphal entry
    • The presence of Lazarus, who had been raised from the dead, drew crowds
    • Martha served
    • Mary anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped them with her hair
    • Judas was annoyed by this
  3. The day before preparations for the last supper
    • At Simon the leper's house (Judas Iscariot's father)
    • A woman poured perfume on Jesus' head
    • Judas betrayed Jesus to the chief priests afterwards

(Matthew 26:6) Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper,

Presumably Jesus left the Mount of Olives and went to Bethany for the night.

Simon was Judas Iscariot's father.

(Matthew 26:7) There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat ["at meat" is not in the text].

(Matthew 26:8) But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste?

Probably Judas got the others all stirred up and troubled by this. When a Christian abandons their loyalty to Jesus they do much harm to themselves and others.

(Matthew 26:9) For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor.

Judas preferred that the money bag be enlarged so he would have more to pilfer.

(Matthew 26:10) When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me.

(Matthew 26:11) For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.

Due to the realities of economics there will always be poor people. If you try to relieve their plight by welfare, their numbers will increase. If you lower unemployment, inflation increases, resulting in a weaker economy and layoffs. If you empower government to create jobs for the poor, the rulers will become totalitarian and will ultimately destroy the moral fabric of society resulting in religious people and others with high moral standards being discriminated against and losing their jobs. Unscrupulous employers want to pay rock-bottom wages to increase their profits and, unfortunately, these often influence government — it is probably correct to say, "the powerful unscrupulous you will have with you always". Only in the new heavens and new earth will this pattern be finally abolished because people won't require food. In a world with scarcity and uncontrolled ambition, there will be pain and suffering.

Jesus never once fed the poor; he only preached and miraculously healed. He fed those twice who followed him for days into the wilderness to hear him preach.

(Matthew 26:12) For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial.

(Matthew 26:13) Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.

(Matthew 26:14) Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests,

Notice that after this incident Judas made arrangements with the chief priest to betray Jesus.

(Matthew 26:15) And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.

(Matthew 26:16) And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.

Preparations for Last Supper 

(Matthew 26:17) Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover?

This cannot refer to the day of preparation, the day the Passover lambs are slaughtered because the last supper and arrest of Jesus would then occur that night after the Passover meal. John mentions the last supper was before the Passover.

The Essenes celebrated Passover Tuesday night, so the first day of unleavened bread would be the next day, Nissan 12th in this case. The upper room was in the Essene quarter of the city, at the SW end.

Presumably the disciples already knew Jesus planned to celebrate the last supper on the date with the Essenes.

We should wonder about Jesus' involvement with the Essenes...

  1. John the Baptist probably at times lived in the Essene community in the desert before beginning his public prophetic ministry.
  2. Perhaps Jesus only celebrated Passover with the Essenes on this one occasion because he was to die at the same time the Passover lambs were being slaughtered.
  3. Perhaps Jesus' involvement with the Essenes was part of the reason the chief priests were distressed by him — they were concerned the people would become Essenes.
  4. Jesus was not an Essene. He appears to be friendly with them since he never mentions them in a negative way and uses the upper room in the Essene district of Jerusalem.

3 days and 3 nights. Nissan dates in 33 A.D. Days begin and end at 6 P.M.

  1. Wednesday 12th
    • The Essenes celebrated Passover Tuesday night, so the first day of unleavened bread would be the next day, Nissan 12th in this case. The upper room was in the Essene quarter of the city, at the SW end.
    • In the morning, the disciples rent the upper room and prepare for the last supper. This is not a Passover celebration.
    • The last supper in the afternoon
    • Judas goes off before nightfall to betray Jesus
  2. Thursday 13th
    • They go to the garden of Gethsemane after 6 P.M.
    • Sometime between 10 P.M. and 4 A.M. Jesus is arrested
    • Trial of Jesus by the chief priest and others at night, before dawn
    • In the morning, they take Jesus to Pilate
    • Later that morning, Pilate sends Jesus to Herod
    • That afternoon, Pilate hears testimony but doesn't decide the case
    • Everyone sleeps that night
  3. Friday 14th (April 3rd) — preparation day, sometimes called Passover since the 8 days of Passover begins
    • Just after dawn Pilate issues sentence of crucifixion; the crowd has returned
    • Jesus crucified 9 A.M. to 3 P.M.
    • Dust storm 12 P.M. noon causing darkness
    • Passover lambs slaughtered 3 P.M. to 5 P.M.
    • Jesus dies 3 P.M. just as passover lambs slaughtered — day one (3 hours)
    • Jesus placed in tomb before 6 P.M.
    • Women rush off to prepare burial spices before 6 P.M.
    • There was a 60% partial lunar eclipse just after nightfall with the "bite" taken out of the top. This, combined with the dust still in the air would make the moon red — a "blood moon".
  4. Saturday 15th — Passover day = Feast of Unleavened Bread (begins 6 P.M.), a high holy day, no work allowed
    • Jews consume the Passover lamb with ceremonial supper
    • Sunset at 7 P.M.
    • Jesus in the tomb all day — day two (24 hours)
    • 60 % lunar eclipse at 7 P.M. looks red because it's low in the sky and because of dust
    • Women must wait 36 hours for dawn Sunday to take burial spices and perfumes to the tomb of Jesus
  5. Sunday 16th
    1. Sunrise at 6:30 A.M.
    2. The women leave home to go to the tomb
    3. Meanwhile, Jesus rises and the soldiers run away — day three (12–1/2 hours)
    4. The women arrive at the tomb at 7 A.M. and the tomb is empty

(Matthew 26:18) And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples.

This is such a mysterious scene; it is almost as if Jesus had made prior arrangements with this man. He likely had occasion to do this since we see plenty examples of Jesus going off by himself or sending the apostles off on errands.

Jesus' time was nearly at hand. And what was his time? It seems to be his crucifixion and it is related to the Passover which was the covenant of redemption for the Israelites.

The dialog suggests Jesus had made previous arrangements with the owner or manager of the building having the upper room.

Notice there is no mention of the man carrying the pitcher of water; Matthew gets right to the point excluding extraneous details, probably because he is educated, having formerly been a tax collector.

(Matthew 26:19) And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover.

The Last Supper 

The key events of the Last Supper in proper chronological sequence (there are differences in the sequences among the 4 gospels for the sake of emphasizing and grouping topics)...

  1. Jesus arrives after the disciples prepare the room (notice there is no Passover lamb)
  2. They eat a meal
  3. Jesus washes their feet
  4. They have a snack
  5. Jesus provokes Judas to betray him
  6. Judas dips his bread in the bowl and leaves to betray him
  7. The Eucharist
  8. Long interactive dialog including Jesus predicting Peter's denial of him
  9. They sing a hymn then leave for the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives. After this the mood is somber.

(Matthew 26:20) Now when the even [evening] was come, he sat down with the twelve.

Evening is technically before the transition to the next day occurring at 6 P.M. Since this is not a Passover meal (there is no mention of slaughtering a lamb or preparing it) they perhaps ate in the afternoon and Judas likely left to betray Jesus before dark.

(Matthew 26:21) And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.

Jesus provokes Judas to betray him; perhaps Judas would not have had the courage otherwise. We see a similar kind of thing in the book of Job with God asking Satan to consider Job. I would not want God to ask Satan to consider me!

(Matthew 26:22) And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?

The disciples were insecure in their relationship with Jesus, worrying they might deny him. This topic gains prominence again days later.

(Matthew 26:23) And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me.

This happened after supper was over. Notice that the Eucharist occurs after this; it is not part of supper.

(Matthew 26:24) The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.

It's better to not exist than to spend eternity in hell. This proves the soul of the unredeemed lives forever; it is not annihilated as some teach.

(Matthew 26:25) Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.


Before the institution of the Eucharist several key events occurred...

  1. they had supper
  2. Jesus washed their feet
  3. they sat down again to have a snack
  4. Jesus repeatedly mentioned the one who would betray him
  5. Judas dipped his bread into the dish
  6. Satan entered him (for the third time) and he left

(Matthew 26:26) And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.

(Matthew 26:27) And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;

(Matthew 26:28) For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

(Matthew 26:29) But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.

Off to the Mount of Olives

Luke and John have the correct sequence of events. All the long speeches including reference to Peter's denial of Jesus occur while yet in the upper room. In the Garden of Gethsemane the only events that occur are Jesus' prayers followed by his arrest; it is a somber affair.

(Matthew 26:30) And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.

They partake of the Eucharist, sing a hymn, then leave; just like at Church.

(Matthew 26:31) Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.

(Matthew 26:32) But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee.

(Matthew 26:33) Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended [fall away] because of thee [you], yet will I never be offended [fall away].

Technically, Peter never fell away from Jesus. Even in denying him he still knew in his heart who he was; he didn't reject him in denying him.

(Matthew 26:34) Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.

First Peter would deny he is a disciple of Jesus 3 times, then the rooster would crow. Critics of the Bible think this contradicts the story in Mark but it doesn't.

(Matthew 26:35) Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples.

(Matthew 26:36) Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.

(Matthew 26:37) And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.

(Matthew 26:38) Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.

(Matthew 26:39) And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

(Matthew 26:40) And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?

(Matthew 26:41) Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

(Matthew 26:42) He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.

(Matthew 26:43) And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.

(Matthew 26:44) And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.

(Matthew 26:45) Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.

Jesus is Arrested

(Matthew 26:46) Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.

(Matthew 26:47) And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people.

(Matthew 26:48) Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast.

(Matthew 26:49) And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him.

(Matthew 26:50) And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him.

(Matthew 26:51) And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest's, and smote off his ear.

(Matthew 26:52) Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.

(Matthew 26:53) Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?

(Matthew 26:54) But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?

(Matthew 26:55) In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me.

(Matthew 26:56) But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.

Jesus tried and condemned by the High Priest 

(Matthew 26:57) And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled.

Phase 1 of the trial: the high priest and others. This occurs at night.

They first went to Annas, but only John mentions this. John often adds details not mentioned by the other gospel writers.


(Matthew 26:58) But Peter followed him afar off [at a distance] unto [to] the high priest's palace [=courtyard], and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end [outcome].

Probably Peter was outside in the courtyard; he warmed himself at the fire.

Luke refers this place as the high priest's "house", and the word translated "palace" in the KJV also means courtyard which is clearly the proper translation in this case since Peter went into it with the other servants and warmed his hands by the fire.


(Matthew 26:59) Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death;

They looked for some false witnesses but couldn't find any. Perhaps they sent some people out into the streets at night but everyone was sleeping. It seems their plans were not very well thought out; they should have had the trial in the daytime, but they were afraid of too many witnesses of what was going on.

It's easy to see why Jesus was so condemning of these with their utter disregard for truth and ethics and morality.

A large group of Jewish leaders of various categories. It seems unanimous, to get rid of Jesus. Of course many of the common people didn't feel that way.

(Matthew 26:60) But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses,

These false witnesses weren't very good at giving false testimony. Perhaps they were afraid their lies would be discovered by the Romans and they would be crucified too. Apparently there was no basis for condemning Jesus if all you had were true facts and accurate accounts if what he did and said.

(Matthew 26:61) And said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.

An example of needing to compare the gospels with one another. Critics who deny the historical accuracy of the New Testament forbid these comparisons (except when they aid their arguments). John mentions this statement by Jesus but the others don't.

The only thing false in the testimony of this false witness was his saying that Jesus himself would destroy the temple.

We should wonder how Matthew came to know of this dialog, and of the exact words used? Perhaps some of those present became Christians later and shared the story. But the exact words? After all, even the best eyewitness makes errors while thinking their memory of the events is 100% accurate. I suppose that under the influence of the Holy Spirit a person's memory could improve.

(Matthew 26:62) And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee?

Apparently the high priest didn't find this previous testimony particularly damning. So he had to resort to another tactic. Jesus was not condemned for what others said about him but rather, what he said about himself. And of course his words were true.

(Matthew 26:63) But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure [command] thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.

The high priest expects Jesus to try to defend himself against lies. But Jesus doesn't; nothing good can come from it. Everybody already knows they are lies, that is the whole point, so what more needs saying?

Notice the high priest knows of a Messiah and son of God. But calling yourself either one is not considered blasphemy. Only when Jesus says he is the "I am" do they object.

At the time of Jesus, the Jewish concept of Messiah did not include "son of God" (but it's in the Old Testament). Jesus refers to himself as "son of God". Perhaps the high priest knew of this and uses the phrase because it sounds so blasphemous, even though it probably doesn't really mean anything to the Jews.

The high priest's question is reported in two other gospels but the wording is different in all three. Therefore, these are not intended as accurate verbatim historical quotes but are, rather, historical fiction. Sorry; you can't harmonize these into a single question by mixing and matching bits and pieces of each account like a jigsaw puzzle. All we can say is the high priest asked something like what is reported in all three. (There are many many many many examples of this kind of thing.)

Was there an eyewitness who reported these events to others? Perhaps someone present told others who told others etc.

(Matthew 26:64) Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.

Jesus comes with clouds.

We should wonder why it's emphasized so strongly that Jesus sits at the right hand of God, after all, as second person of the Trinity he is God also and has always been so. The only sensible explanation is that he deified human nature.

(Matthew 26:65) Then the high priest rent [tore] his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy.

Many scholars claim Mark was written first; later Matthew and Luke copied many verses. But rarely is it word for word. Perhaps during the lengthy process of writing a gospel, a scribe first read sections from other gospels, then the gospel author dictated in his own words and the scribe polished up the grammar and writing style. Therefore, the other gospels on hand functioned more like a detailed checklist rather than a source document which was copied.

(Matthew 26:66) What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death.

(Matthew 26:67) Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands,

(Matthew 26:68) Saying, Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee?


(Matthew 26:69) Now Peter sat without [outside] in the palace [=courtyard]: and a damsel [servant girl] came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee.

Notice that Peter was in the courtyard of the palace. He got as close as possible, risking his life in the process.

(Matthew 26:70) But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest.

(Matthew 26:71) And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth.

(Matthew 26:72) And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man.

(Matthew 26:73) And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee.

(Matthew 26:74) Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew.

Immediately, meaning, the next significant event of the story.

(Matthew 26:75) And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.

Jesus turned around and looked at Peter.


(Matthew 27:1) When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death:

Notice the high priest is not involved anymore; the chief priests and elders do the rest.

This occurred probably not in the early early morning.

(Matthew 27:2) And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor.

They were able to get on Pilate's agenda first thing. Probably Pilate was concerned whether the people would riot and he needed to address this with high priority. Perhaps the Triumphal Entry of Jesus had provoked a revolutionary zeal in the populace.

Pilate likely spoke Greek, not Aramaic, and, therefore, Jesus spoke to him in Greek.

(Matthew 27:3) Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,

(Matthew 27:4) Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that.

It seems that Judas repented of his sin since he publicly admits to having sinned; but Jesus says otherwise. Some think all that is required for God to forgive us of our sin is that we admit we did it. Apparently this was not enough in Judas' case. So, what else is required for true repentance, the kind of repentance that allows God to forgive us? King David did many wicked deeds yet he was considered by God as a man after God's own heart. We can see that David loved God and depended on God and clung to God's mercy. Rather than call out to God for mercy and forgiveness, Judas killed himself; the ultimate act of self-centeredness. He was not trying to get to God but, rather, merely to relieve his misery. Unfortunately, he was not a wise man. He relieved his misery only temporarily, if at all.

Notice how cold-hearted the religious leaders were; they could care less about Judas. They had a similar opinion about the people in general. Sadly, many of the leaders of the Church throughout church history have demonstrated their similar disregard for the Christians they were supposedly in charge over. We should reject unholy Church leaders. In my view, these are not really Church leaders at all but, rather, corrupters and deceivers.

(Matthew 27:5) And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.

(Matthew 27:6) And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood.

(Matthew 27:7) And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in.

(Matthew 27:8) Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day.

(Matthew 27:9) Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy [Jeremiah] the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value;

There is no verse in Jeremiah like this. Some answer by referring to verses in Jeremiah having to do with breaking pottery, or buying a field, or potters; but this is grasping at straws. Rather, this strongly resembles a passage in Zechariah. Possible answers...

  1. Matthew made an error
  2. Jeremiah did say or write this, but it's now lost to us (but how did Jesus or Matthew know this?)
  3. The Talmud lists Jeremiah first, so perhaps it's being used to refer to the writings of the prophets since possibly several are in mind

The ingredients of this verse: (1) This was a fulfillment of a prophecy by Jeremiah, (2) 30 pieces of silver, the price of a slave, (4) the value of someone according to the people of Israel. We should wonder why the value happens to coincide with the price of a slave.

(Matthew 27:10) And gave them for the potter's field, as the Lord appointed me.

The ingredients of this verse: (1) They (the people of Israel) gave the money away, (2) to buy a potter's field.

We should note that Judas did not give back the money for the purpose of buying a potter's field.

(Matthew 27:11) And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest.

(Matthew 27:12) And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.

(Matthew 27:13) Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee?

(Matthew 27:14) And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly.

(Matthew 27:15) Now at that feast the governor was wont [accustomed] to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would [chose].

(Matthew 27:16) And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas.

After having scattered for a while, they collected together as a group again.

(Matthew 27:17) Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?

(Matthew 27:18) For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.

(Matthew 27:19) When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.

Pilate's final judgment was probably the next morning, the morning of the day the Passover lambs are slaughtered.

(Matthew 27:20) But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask [for] Barabbas, and destroy [execute] Jesus.

(Matthew 27:21) The governor answered and said unto them, Whether [which] of the twain [two] will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas.

(Matthew 27:22) Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified.

(Matthew 27:23) And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.

(Matthew 27:24) When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.

Pilate was a vicious man. He probably publicly placed the guilt on the Jews for political reasons, not because he thought Jesus was innocent and was too weak to save him.

(Matthew 27:25) Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.

All the people answered, probably by shouting approval at the words spoken by the chief priest. I suppose they were so worked up they would have agreed to anything. This is what mob rule looks like, when a tyrannical ruler gets a majority to agree with whatever they want done. Democracy is ever in danger of descending into mob rule of the majority of the 51% in which the 49% are abused, persecuted, exploited, harassed, and worse.

(Matthew 27:26) Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.

(Matthew 27:27) Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers.

(Matthew 27:28) And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.

(Matthew 27:29) And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!

(Matthew 27:30) And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head.

(Matthew 27:31) And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him.

(Matthew 27:32) And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross.

(Matthew 27:33) And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull,

(Matthew 27:34) They gave him vinegar [sour wine] to drink mingled with gall [bitter herb, in this case myrrh]: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.

Jesus was rejecting the wine, not the myrrh. In order to ingest myrrh you have to dissolve it in wine first. Myrrh is a painkiller, offered by the Romans as an act of mercy. If they really wanted to be merciful they would not use torture in the first place. This wine was cheap sour wine. Perhaps at times they used vinegar with myrrh and Jesus had to first sample it to notice that it was, indeed, wine, which he rejected. Jesus didn't drink the wine; probably he smelled the alcohol when they placed it on his lips so he didn't open his mouth. The wine soon evaporated away.

Several errors in interpreting this verse...

  1. That Jesus drank wine after saying he would not.
  2. That this verse contradicts Mark 15:23: one saying gall; one saying myrrh. But the word "gall" merely means an unspecified bitter herb; in this case, the herb was myrrh which is bitter.
  3. That he rejected the painkiller myrrh because he wanted to endure the full extent of the pain. Perhaps so, but this verse doesn't actually say this.

It sounds like Jesus was at first willing to consume whatever it was being offered to him but, for some reason changed his mind once he tasted it. Perhaps so, but it is also possible he was not aware of what was happening, having his eyes closed, and only becoming aware of it once the sponge touched his lips and he smelled it. I suppose they would have been talking about it down below the cross, perhaps even yelling their intentions at him.

(Matthew 27:35) And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.

(Matthew 27:36) And sitting down they watched him there;

(Matthew 27:37) And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

(Matthew 27:38) Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.

(Matthew 27:39) And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads,

(Matthew 27:40) And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.

(Matthew 27:41) Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said,

(Matthew 27:42) He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.

(Matthew 27:43) He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.

(Matthew 27:44) The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.

(Matthew 27:45) Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.

(Matthew 27:46) And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Probably Jesus was reciting Psalm 22 since it contains prophetic images of his suffering. Probably doing so provided comfort to him. Just so, we receive comfort from God's word.

Usually we pronounce this "EE-lie". Probably should pronounce it "EL-ee" or "EL-i" since it uses God's name "El".

(Matthew 27:47) Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias [Elijah].

(Matthew 27:48) And straightway [immediately] one of them ran, and took a spunge [sponge], and filled it with vinegar [sour wine], and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink.

Is this a repeat of the same event as earlier? And why would anyone think that Jesus' calling for Elijah warranted giving him some wine?

Immediately, meaning, the next significant event of the story.

(Matthew 27:49) The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias [Elijah] will come to save him.

(Matthew 27:50) Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.

Jesus was probably 37 years old when he died.

(Matthew 27:51) And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;

An earthquake shifted some of the stones just enough to tear the veil but not enough to cause any damage to the structural integrity of the temple.

(Matthew 27:52) And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,

Probably the earthquake caused cracks in the tombs or shifting of the large stones blocking the entrance, enough that, three days later, they could squeeze out of the tombs when coming back to life. For these, the coming back to life was similar to that of Lazarus.

(Matthew 27:53) And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

(Matthew 27:54) Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.

The text states this was an earthquake, and so it was.

(Matthew 27:55) And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him:

(Matthew 27:56) Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's children.

(Matthew 27:57) When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple:

(Matthew 27:58) He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.

It's odd that they gave over Jesus' body so willingly but later, placed guards to protect it. Perhaps this is because the appearance of the blood-red moon due to a lunar eclipse just after sunset disturbed them, since this was an omen of misfortune.

(Matthew 27:59) And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,

(Matthew 27:60) And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre [tomb], and departed.

(Matthew 27:61) And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre [tomb].

(Matthew 27:62) Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,

(Matthew 27:63) Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.

They don't expect Jesus to rise in 72 hours but, rather, sometime during the third day.

(Matthew 27:64) Command therefore that the sepulchre [tomb] be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.

(Matthew 27:65) Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can.

(Matthew 27:66) So they went, and made the sepulchre [tomb] sure [secure], sealing the stone, and setting a watch [guards].

Only Matthew mentions this detail of securing the stone. As a tax collector he was attuned to detect fraud on the part of those being taxed who wished to evade payment of taxes, so this detail would have caught his attention.

(Matthew 28:1) In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre [tomb].

The Sabbath ended at sunset Saturday night, but the two Marys waited until just before dawn Sunday morning to go to the tomb so they could see.

(Matthew 28:2) And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.

(Matthew 28:3) His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:

(Matthew 28:4) And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.

(Matthew 28:5) And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.

(Matthew 28:6) He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

(Matthew 28:7) And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.

(Matthew 28:8) And they departed quickly from the sepulchre [tomb] with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.

(Matthew 28:9) And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.

(Matthew 28:10) Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.

(Matthew 28:11) Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done.

(Matthew 28:12) And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers,

(Matthew 28:13) Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept.

Imagine this; religious leaders commanding people to spread a bold-faced lie. Weird.

(Matthew 28:14) And if this come to the governor's ears, we will persuade him, and secure you.

These guards were not Pilate's so we should wonder why they said this to embolden them to spread this lie.

(Matthew 28:15) So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.

(Matthew 28:16) Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.

(Matthew 28:17) And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.

(Matthew 28:18) And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

(Matthew 28:19) Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost [Spirit]:

The goal of teaching and preacing the gospel is that they will join the Church via baptism and thereby be saved.

(Matthew 28:20) Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

King James Version