Here are three suggestive descriptions, all from the gospel of Matthew, in close proximity to each other. These three, within their context, say powerful things about him. Continue reading
What was so wrong about the one-talent man hiding the talent in the ground? Because it belonged to his master:
“But the one who had received one talent went out and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money in it” Mt 25.18 NET (emphasis mine).
It wasn’t his to do with as he wanted. He had received it from his master with instructions about what to do with it. Continue reading
Hypocrites prayed long prayers to get people’s attention. They wanted to be recognized as devoted people. Christians don’t pray with this motivation. In fact, they don’t need to make lengthy prayers.
Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
Matthew 6.8 NET Continue reading
God lets anyone enter his kingdom, but he doesn’t allow them to come any old way they please.
But when the king came in to see the wedding guests, he saw a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ But he had nothing to say. Then the king said to his attendants, ‘Tie him up hand and foot and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth!’ For many are called, but few are chosen.”
Matthew 22.11-14 NET
To participate in the party without the appropriate clothing means to lack the necessary preparation — faith and obedience — that the Lord requires. Continue reading
And whoever has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.
Matthew 19.29 NET
There are seven items in the list of things that the disciple can and must leave for Jesus’ sake. Seven is the number that represents the totality of human interests and relationships. Continue reading
It doesn’t matter what you have to give up in order to gain Christ. What the Lord offers is a thousand times better than any pleasure, relationship, or sin that we might prize. Continue reading
After proclaiming the nature of the kingdom of God in parables (Matthew 13) and surrounding the building of the church with the twin truths of his identity and mission (Matthew 16), Jesus now turns to its essence in chapter 18. Continue reading
A physical cure is little hope for man, so Jesus forbade people to reveal his identity. First, because they did not understand properly who he was and what his mission was. Second, because the greatest power was not in the miracles, but in his message and, later, in his death for eternal salvation. Continue reading
At the heart of discipleship lie right motivations and exclusive service. While pagans choose man and money, disciples seek divine approval and trust in divine providence. The essence of hypocrisy is religion performed for man. God approves discretion and simplicity as marks of true faith. Continue reading