Meditating on God’s Word:  Proverbs 2

“My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding;

yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.  

For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints……….”


Help us Lord to remember that true wisdom and understanding comes from You! 

Thank You for providing us with direction and instruction on how we can attain Your knowledge and the wisdom You have stored up for us.

Help us Father have an attentive ear and in inclining heart.  To call out to You for insight and raise our voice to You for Your understanding.

May we have the drive to seek and search for Your wisdom and understanding as we would for something that is of value to us.

We thank You that the wisdom and knowledge You provide will deliver us from the way of evil, will keep us from those who forsake the path of uprightness, and keeps us from the forbidden woman.

Help us realize that Your wisdom will lead us down the path of goodness and righteousness. 


Meditating on God’s Word:  Proverbs 1

“…..The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction…..

…..My son, if sinners entice you, do not son, do not walk in the way with them: hold back your foot from their paths,…..

…..whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.”


Help us Lord to have a healthy, reverent fear of You.  To respect You and be in awe of You so that we may increase in our knowledge of You.

Strengthen us Father so that we will not walk in the way of the wicked.  Help us to hold fast to your guidance and instruction and Your path.

We pray for contentment with the things You have provided.

Give us the courage to love the knowledge that You provide, to rely completely on Your counsel, to listen carefully to Your works and instructions, and to seek the wisdom only You can provide.

Help us to clear our schedules this week so that we can spend more time listening to You as we read from Your scriptures.

A Moment With The Bible


Matthew 13 Introduction

This chapter records the third in five major discourses uttered by Jesus in Matthew’s account. The discourse is unique in that it is wholly given in parables. When we compare all the accounts, we discover that Jesus gave nine parables on this day. The first five parables were given to the multitudes; the last four were given to the disciples privately. There is a unique pattern to these parables. The five given to the multitude all had some picture of growth, and therefore are often called “growth parables.” These parables include, the Sower, the Tares, the Seed Growing Secretly (Mark 4:26-29), the Mustard Seed, and the Leaven. Each of these parables was intended to teach something about the coming kingdom. But why the emphasis on the kingdom? There are at least two reasons. First, Jesus had come to establish His kingdom. It is what all the prophets had foretold and it is what the Jewish people had been waiting for. Second, the Jews had a misunderstanding of the nature of the kingdom. They had interpreted the prophecies to mean that the Messiah would bring an earthly kingdom that would establish Israel as dominate over all the Gentile nations. They looked for a Messiah who would break the power of Rome and give them world rule. Through these parables Jesus taught that the His kingdom would not be earthly and would not have the characteristics of an earthly rule.

In the parable of the Sower, Jesus showed that the kingdom would be received in varying ways, and that the determination of how it was received would be seen in whether or not fruit was born. Further, this kingdom would be received in the hearts of men, not by a conquering by force. In the parable of the Tares, Jesus showed that in the realm of the kingdom both good and bad would be side by side and the good would not root out the bad. In the Seed Growing Secretly, Jesus taught the power of the growth of the kingdom was not in the power of men. In the Mustard Seed, we see that the kingdom would start very small and grow to fill the earth. And in the Leaven, we learn that the kingdom would grow quietly and at times imperceptibly until it spread to all the earth. None of these pictures tell of an earthly kingdom. Those who still look for an earthly kingdom today, miss the point of these parables.

Berry Kercheville



A Moment With The Bible


Matthew 12:43-45

Even though this text gives us some interesting information about demon possession, Jesus’ main point has to do with the condition of the Israel nation. But it is not just the condition of the nation, it is the condition of all who follow the same path as Israel.

First, a few things about unclean spirits. What made it possible for a demon to possess a person, we cannot know for certain. We would assume that an individual practicing wickedness opened the door for the possession. However, since there were also children that were possessed (Mark 14:17-21), there may be other factors involved.

It is also apparent that demons did not have “rest” when they were unable to inhabit a living being. Many of the demons pleaded with Jesus not to “torment them before the time” (Mt. 8:29). Others pleaded with Jesus to allow them to inhabit swine (Luke 8:31-33).

The key to this text is that when this demon could not find rest he went back to the person he had formerly inhabited and found it “empty, swept, and put in order.” Sounds appealing, doesn’t it? The key word is “empty.” This man had not filled his house with spiritual things, which left him vulnerable to return to his sin. Paul repeatedly speaks of the importance of “putting off” the old self and “putting on” the new man (Col. 3:5-16). The primary reason we often have trouble ridding ourselves of a particular sin is because we are only trying to stop the sin without replacing the activity with godly works. The result is that when this man is re-inhabited, that is, goes back to his sin, he becomes seven times worse than before, just as this evil spirit returned with seven spirits worse than himself. Peter also speaks of this principle (2 Pet. 2:20-22).

This was the condition of Israel. God had made them a great nation. But they rejected Him and turned to idolatry. When He cleansed them of this “evil spirit” and brought them out of captivity, they left themselves “empty” with a ritualistic worship void of spirituality. And now, seven demons worse than the first had inhabited them so that they would actually murder their own Messiah, the Son of God.

Berry Kercheville


A Moment With The Bible

Matthew 12:38-42

It seems peculiar that the scribes and Pharisees would ask Jesus to show them a sign. After all, He has been performing a variety of miracles in their presence. So how is it that they ask this question? Mark 8:11 records the incident this way: “The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him.” The phrase “from heaven” is critical in the Pharisees’ mind. As 12:24 indicates, they believed that Satan could also perform miracles. Thus, they are saying, “show us a sign that is unmistakably from heaven.” It is obvious that they have no intention of believing any miracle Jesus would perform. Jesus embarrassed them when He said they were evil trees with evil fruit. Therefore they are trying to save face by their challenge. How dishonest! Healing a man with a withered hand and casting out a demon from a blind and mute man is not enough?


Thus Jesus’ answer is that there is only one sign He will give them that could possibly meet their criteria: He will rise from the dead after three days. But amazingly, even this would not change them. Therefore, because of their disbelief, the men of Nineveh will condemn them in the judgment. Nineveh was a wicked, Gentile city, capital of the Assyrian Empire. But when the prophet Jonah entered that city after spending three days and nights in the belly of the great fish, the city repented on the first day of his preaching, from the king to the pauper. From the Jewish point of view, these Gentiles were despised, and yet they would be saved while the pious Pharisees were condemned because a greater than Jonah was in their midst.


Jesus adds one more comparison that would sting these self-righteous men. The queen of Sheba (a Gentile nation) had traveled about 1500 miles to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and yet these Jews had the Son of God in their midst, and they would not listen.


We in America are in a similar circumstance. Our opportunities are abundant and the opportunity to learn about the God is sitting on our coffee tables. But who seeks it? Who hungers and thirsts to study the scriptures in order to know more about Him? Indeed, the queen of the South will also rise up and condemn this generation!

Berry Kercheville



A Moment With The Bible

Matthew 12:35-37

The Pharisees were considered the most religious people of the day. The multitudes looked up to them as those who were strictly following the law of God in all its implications. However, as we learn from Matthew 23, their “righteousness” was only outward. They only appeared righteous, but inwardly they were “vipers” (12:33). In this text, Jesus proclaims that they are “evil” because their words were revealing what was in their heart. They spoke evil words, therefore their heart was full of “evil treasure.” A person who speaks good words does so out of the good treasure of their heart.


Jesus gives a warning that ought to cause each of us to tremble. On the day of judgment “people will give account for every careless word they speak.” How many times do we utter words that tear people down instead of building them up? How many times have we gossiped? How many times have we spoken words that bring shame on the name of Christ or do not reflect the true nature of a Christian? If we do not get forgiveness for these, one day we will give an account for what we have said.


Our words reveal what is truly in our heart and therefore it is by these words that we will either be justified or condemned. James said, “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless” (James 1:27). It would be possible to never miss a church service, to sing and pray on a regular basis, and to lead others to Christ, but if we do not bridle our tongue, our religion is worthless. The use of the tongue is a serious matter. We must put a harness on it and keep it under control if we expect to be saved.


Berry Kercheville


A Moment With The Bible

Matthew 12:33-34

Jesus is still rebuking the Pharisees about their remark that He was casting out demons by the power of Beelzebub. In this section, Jesus deals with the careless use of their tongue. Notice how strong Jesus’ words are: “You brood vipers! How can you speak good when you are evil?” Vipers in the Middle East are extremely deadly, killing a man in a matter of minutes. To be called a viper spiritually would indicate how dangerous these Jews were to the salvation of others. The words that came from their mouths would destroy the souls of men. What a powerful lesson for us! Think of it: “mere” words can cause a person to lose his soul forever. How cautious we must be in what we say and how we present the teachings of the Lord to others.


But controlling the tongue does not begin with the tongue, it begins with the heart. A good tree will always produce good fruit and a bad tree will always produce bad fruit. If we are to speak wholesome, encouraging words, we will first have to be wholesome and good on the inside. Have you ever seen a garbage can that was overflowing? That is a fair representation of what can happen to our minds. If we continue to allow our minds to be filled with evil, worldly things, it will eventually overflow and come out of our mouth. Thus Jesus states, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” We can know what is in a person’s mind by the things that come out of his mouth. It is interesting that sometimes we hear folks comment about a individual who speaks or acts wickedly as a person who is deep down, “good at heart.” No he isn’t. Evil fruit comes from an evil heart. Evil words come from an evil mind. It is true with others and it is true with us. We must not deceive ourselves: “A tree is known by its fruit.”

Berry Kercheville

A Moment With The Bible

Matthew 12:31-32

Jesus cast out a demon who had caused a man to be both blind and mute. The miracle was so convincing that the Pharisees could not deny the power Jesus displayed. Instead, they said that His power came from Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons. As a result, Jesus warned the Jews that every sin and blasphemy that men commit can be forgiven, but the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit can never be forgiven. What is especially intriguing is that Jesus says that men can even blaspheme Him and still be forgiven, but there is no forgiveness for blaspheming the Holy Spirit.


This passage has caused no little concern among students of the Bible. I have met many who feared that at some time in their past they had blasphemed the Spirit and as a result were now in a state of never being forgiven. Let’s first notice how Jesus’ words fit into the context and then how the text applies today.


The miracle Jesus performed was done by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Pharisees had instead ascribed that power to the Devil. The parallel passage in Mark 3:30 tells us that Jesus gave this warning because they said He had an unclean Spirit. The danger about which Jesus is warning has to do with the work of the Spirit once Jesus went back to heaven. John 16:7-13 tells us that Jesus would send the Spirit who would guide the apostles into all truth. The Holy Spirit revealed the words of the New Testament, words that must be obeyed if a person expects to be saved. Therefore, it would be possible to reject Jesus and speak evil of Him, but later still have an opportunity to listen to the Spirit and be saved. However, if one rejected the words of the Spirit, he would have rejected his only hope of salvation. There would be no future salvation to be revealed. The Spirit has sent the last and only words of salvation. Reject these words and there can never be forgiveness.


Therefore, Jesus was not teaching that there was one particular sin that could be committed and never forgiven. Instead, He was warning about how one treats the words of the Holy Spirit. To reject these words is to reject one’s only hope of salvation. 1 John 5:16-17 teaches a similar principle. A “sin unto death” is a purposeful, unrepentant sin. God will not forgive a rebellious person, only a humble repentant person.


Berry Kercheville


A Moment With The Bible

Matthew 12:22-30 #2

When the Pharisees could not deny the miracles of Jesus, they tried to discredit Him by saying that the source of His power was not from God but from Satan. Jesus proved that such could not be since Satan would not turn against his own kingdom and cast himself out. This being true, we are left with a simple conclusion: if the power did not come from Satan, it could have only come from God. Therefore Jesus states, “If it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” If the Pharisees were honest they would have realized that the casting out of demons was proof that God was now conquering Satan and therefore His kingdom (rule), that had been repeatedly prophesied in the Old Testament, had come.

Notice Jesus’ description of how He was conquering Satan in verse 29. Jesus could not be “plundering the strong man’s goods” unless He had first bound the strong man. The casting out of demons was intended to show to everyone that Jesus was now taking away the power of Satan. Hebrews 4:14-15 says it this way: “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Jesus cast out demons in order to prove that He was destroying Satan and releasing mankind from the bondage of death.

These facts offer two important lessons for us. First, Zechariah 13:1 prophesied that in the days of the Messiah God would cause the unclean spirit to depart from the land. This was fulfilled during the first century by Jesus and the apostles and proved that Satan had been conquered. Therefore, we no longer have demon possession. We certainly have other problems caused by Satan (1 Peter 5:8), but demon possession is not one of them.

Second, since Jesus conquered Satan, we also have the ability to overcome Him. If we will obey Him (Acts 2:37-38) and walk in the light (1 John 1:7), the blood of Jesus will cleanse us from all sins. But we need to heed Jesus’ warning in verse 30. There are only two kingdoms: God’s and Satan’s. We are serving one or the other. Just saying we are serving God does not make it so. If we say we know Him and do not keep His commandments, we are liars (1 John 2:3-5).

Berry Kercheville

A Moment With The Bible

Matthew 12:22-30 #1

At this point in Matthew’s account, the unbelief of the Pharisees is being increasingly challenged. Not only is Jesus doing notable miracles in their presence, the people are beginning to recognize Him as the Messiah (“Can this be the son of David?”). Therefore, the Pharisees must find some way to discredit Him if they are going to keep their power and influence with the people. Here is where their defense gets interesting. Instead of denying that Jesus performed a miracle in healing the demon-possessed man, they deny that the source of His power is from God. But in doing so, they have admitted that Jesus is actually performing miracles and casting out demons. This provides irrefutable evidence that the miracles of Jesus were not faked. If the Pharisees could have denied the miracle they would have. But since they cannot deny it, they deny the source is of God.

This leaves Jesus with the easy task of proving that the power to cast out demons could not come from Satan. Satan would not cast out His own demons without destroying his own kingdom, since a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand.

Jesus then challenges the Pharisees concerning their own disciples who also practiced exorcism. Josephus tells us of Jewish exorcists who practiced elaborate incantations after hanging a root from the nose of the demoniac. The root itself had to be gathered in a special way or else it would be sure death to the person who harvested it. The contrast between their exorcisms and the miracles of Jesus where the demons were cast out with just a word, would have been notable. Therefore, Jesus’ challenge is that if He was using the power of the devil, then what power were the Pharisees using when they used the appearance of witchcraft to cast out a demon?

Have you ever questioned whether or not Jesus actually performed miracles? It is a legitimate question and one that determines whether Jesus is really the Son of God. The answer is in this text. The enemies of Jesus, who were eyewitnesses, could not deny His power. Their testimony offers solid proof to the authenticity of Jesus.

Berry Kercheville

A Moment with the Bible

Matthew 12:1-8 #3

Notice Jesus words, “Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless? I tell you, something greater than the temple is here.”

Three times in this text Jesus indicted the Pharisees for a lack of careful observation of the scriptures and a negligence in applying the words they read. Twice He says, “Have you not read,” and the third time He says, “If you had known.”

The progression of Jesus’ arguments goes like this. David and his men ate the holy bread designated only for priests, but the Pharisees did not condemn David. The disciples simply ate grain and the Pharisees condemned them. David and his company of men had a pressing need, but Jesus and His company had a greater mission. Jesus’ argument concerning the priests and their work on the Sabbath is similar. The priests were laboring every Sabbath for the service of the temple in order to honor God. The Pharisees had not even considered the principle of priestly labor. But Jesus’ disciples were laboring on the Sabbath for the One who is greater than the temple. They labored for the One who was the architect of both the physical temple and the heavenly temple after which it was patterned. If the priests can labor for God on the Sabbath, sacrificing animals and cooking and eating their portion, then certainly the disciples can glean some grain in order to strengthen themselves in service to the One who is the Lord of the Sabbath.

The primary point of this text is that the Pharisees missed the true meaning of the Sabbath. It was intended as a gift to man with the intent that God would be honored. Our worship today is the same. God has given us a great gift in teaching us to pray, sing, give, share His word, and partake of the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of Him. But these are not intended as the goal; these are a means to the goal of growing to be more like Him and honoring Him in our lives. God designed these particular parts of worship with a spiritual goal. If we miss that purpose, we have not truly worshiped.

A Moment with the Bible

Matthew 12:1-8, #1

In the Old Testament, there were three passages that defined restrictions concerning work on the Sabbath: Exodus 20:8-11, “You shall not do any work;” Jeremiah 17:21-24, “Carry no burden;” Exodus 35:3, “Kindle no fire.” In this text, the Jews have accused Jesus’ disciples of violating the command against work. It is interesting that Jesus constantly challenged the Jews concerning the understanding of the Sabbath command. The Pharisees found it necessary to specifically define every imaginable Sabbath violation. If a woman left a needle in her garment and took more than two steps, it was determined that she violated the Sabbath. They had turned the Sabbath command into something oppressive, instead a day of rest and worship.

We must also note that the disciples had not gone into the fields to reap, but to glean. In other words, if they had been reaping a crop, they certainly would have been violating the Sabbath. But gleaning was different. Under the law, the poor were allowed to glean. This would include picking from the corners of the field or gathering that which was dropped by the harvesters. However, Jesus does not use this argument in defending His disciples. Instead, He quotes Hosea 6:6, “I desire compassion, and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” If they had known what this meant, they would not have condemned the innocent. So, in context, what did the Hosea passage mean?

First, we should note what it did not mean. God was not saying, “All I want from you is compassion, I don’t want you to offer sacrifices.” That would contradict all the direct commands for animal sacrifices. In the context of Hosea, the people had decided to return to God in a superficial way. Their lives had been filled with immorality and decadence and God had been sending partial judgments against them. Their solution was to offer a few sacrifices, and by the third day, God will make everything better. But the God was angry with their attitude. Their goodness, He said, was like a morning cloud that went away. It was only a false promise of righteousness. Therefore, God’s rebuke meant, “I desire compassion (Hebrew: steadfast love and from-the-heart service), not simply animal sacrifices. The principle is timeless. God wants no less from us. Just “going to church” is not going to cut it. He requires a complete from the heart service.

A Moment with the Bible

Matthew 11:28-30

Jesus praised God for revealing His will to little children instead of the wise and understanding. Following this, He gave one of the most quoted and beautiful invitations in the scriptures. Jesus appeals to those who are “weary and heavy laden.” Living a life serving self (and therefore, serving Satan) is one of hard bondage. Satan promises us that if we live our lives to the fullest by seeking all the pleasures of the world, we will obtain complete fulfillment. But the truth is that this world’s pleasures provide only a temporary happiness that results in a life of weariness and labor as the consequences of sin and seeking that which has no substance eventually takes its toll. Jesus has the answer. Coming to Him will give a person rest from the constant demands of lust and the promise that just a little more and you will reach your goal of complete contentment.

When Jesus says, “Take My Yoke,” He implies that the world has been pulling a difficult and heavy load. A yoke is intended to make the task easier. Jesus has formed His yoke to perfectly fit our needs. “His yoke” also implies that we are entering into a partnership with Him in His labor. We are working jointly with the Lord to expand the borders of His kingdom. The choice is clear. It is either serve the passions of our flesh, which results in a life of hard and difficult labor and ends in a waste, or we serve the Lord who has an easy yoke and a light burden and through it gives us rest for our souls.

Look carefully at these alternatives. Do not believe Satan’s lies that true living is found in fulfilling our own desires. Satan is a cruel taskmaster who has been a liar from the beginning. Jesus is a gentle Master. He is lowly in heart, not looking to harm us but to come to our rescue and bring us rest from the destructiveness of sin. Which master makes more sense?

A Moment with the Bible

Matthew 11:25-27

This chapter began with Jesus taking a tour of Galilean cities in order to bring the gospel to the common people. However, it is evident by verses 20-24 that most of the people were unimpressed and unrepentant. In Mark 6:5-6 we are told that Jesus marveled at their unbelief.

In the text before us, Jesus reveals why some reject His teaching and some accept it. In light of the rejection He has just experienced, Jesus breaks into a prayer of praise, thanking God that He has revealed His will to “little children” but has hidden it from the wise and intelligent. It is at first a curious statement, but once we understand it, we too will break into praise.

What if God had revealed His word in such a way that only those who had superior intelligence could understand it? What if He had revealed His word in such a way that only those who had superior abilities could respond to it? In that case, the Lord would have left the rest of us out, and those who could understand it would be lifted up with pride. In such a case, the glory would not be given to God, but glory would be given to those who through their superior thinking skills were able to see what no one else could see.

But that is not what the Lord did. Instead, He revealed His word in such a way that only the humble in heart would respond to it. This could include people from all walks of life, whether super intelligent or just a commoner. The key to understanding the will of the Lord is to recognize that there is nothing within ourselves that will enable us to see the “deep things of God” or save us from our own sins. A person may have the education of a microbiologist or a brain surgeon, but such will not help him be reconciled to God from whom he is separated because of sin.

It is to humble people, those who mourn over their sins and seek God through His revealed word, that Jesus has “willed” to reveal the Father.

A Moment with the Bible

Matthew 11:20-24

As Jesus denounces the Jewish cities where He had performed most of His miracles, He compares them to some of the most notoriously wicked cities in history. Tyre and Sidon were Phoenician cities north of Palestine. God marked out Tyre for utter destruction (Ezekiel 26), which was fulfilled by Alexander the Great in about 323 B.C. As for Sidon, God never pronounced complete destruction, but instead prophesied that they would be repeatedly attacked because of their sins (Ezekiel 28). Sodom is well known for perverse sexual sins including homosexuality (Genesis 19). In fact, God destroyed the four cities of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim with fire and brimstone. So complete was their destruction that God even destroyed all that grew on the ground. Prior to their destruction, the area that we know now as being around the Dead Sea, was lush with vegetation. Lot had chosen this fertile area in order to raise his flocks. Today, the area around the Dead Sea is a desolate wasteland. Many believe that the ruins of Sodom and Gomorrah lie somewhere beneath the Dead Sea. The Bible repeatedly uses Sodom as an example of the worst kind of wickedness. God could not even find ten righteous people in the city. Only Lot and two of his daughters escaped the destruction.

But the cities Jesus denounces were not cities known for the gross immorality. However, they were given a greater opportunity than anyone in history to repent of their sins. They were eyewitnesses of the miracles of Jesus and yet they did not change their ways. Because of greater opportunity, Judgment Day would be worse for them than it would be for Sodom and Gomorrah. What exactly is meant by judgment being “more tolerable” for Sodom than for these Galilean cities, we are not told. What is important is the application for us. Though we have not actually seen the miracles of Jesus, our freedoms in America have granted us greater opportunities to know God’s word than any in history. If we do not repent and obey the Lord with these advantages, our judgment will also be worse than for the men and women of Sodom.

A Moment with the Bible

Matthew 11:16-19

After explaining to the multitudes the mission and purpose of the coming of John the Baptist, Jesus goes on to challenge the unbelief of the Jewish leaders and their followers. They were like two groups of children, one calling to the other to join them in a game. When asked if they would like to play a game simulating a “party,” the obstinate group refuses. But when asked to do the opposite and “play funeral,” they also refuse. In other words, nothing that is offered pleases them. In the same way, John and Jesus took opposite approaches in trying to turn people to repentance. John was an ascetic, living an austere life in the deserts, and they accused him of having a demon. Jesus joined in the social activities of the day, and they called Him a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners. Each of their approaches was with “wisdom” and fulfilled the purpose intended. The wisdom in their approaches was justified by the results they received from those who had an honest heart. But the Jews in general were obstinate, rejecting any approach that did not fit their own preconceived notions.

This text offers a strong warning for all of us. We have a tendency to want “our church” or “our religion” to fit perfectly into our own desires. But worshiping God is not about what we want and it is not about pleasing us, it is about pleasing the One who saved us. The very reason the Jews were rejected is because they could not give up their own religious institutions. If we desire to sincerely come to God, it must be from the pure desire to read His word and obey Him regardless of whether it fits into our whims or not.

Notice also that Jesus was accused of being a “friend of sinners.” This may be the only accusation made of Jesus that was true. He was a friend of sinners. He came to seek and save those who were lost. If we are truly His disciples, we will follow His example in this regard. In order to save a lost world, we must break away from our habit of only being a friend to those who are like us. If we are going to reach the lost, we also must be a friend of sinners.

A Moment with the Bible

Matthew 11:12-15

In these verses, Jesus concludes His discussion of John the Baptist. Verse 12 is an explanation of why John is in prison. Beginning with John, the kingdom of heaven was “suffering violence, and the violent were taking it by force.” In other words, a battle was going on as the leaders of the world (in this case the Jewish leaders), tried to take God’s rule from Him. Psalm 2 is an excellent explanation of this text as the rulers of the world even go so far as to kill the Lord’s Messiah. But “He who sits in the heavens laughs…yet have I set My King on My holy hill of Zion” (Ps. 2:4-6). The battle is on for who will rule and God and His Christ will be the victors.

Verse 13 explains part of the reason the battle is waged. The Law and the Prophets were until John. There is now a transition period in which Jesus as the King will now institute His covenant and His laws. This will be in fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets. Galatians 3:24-26 states, “So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith” (ESV). Therefore the Law pointed us to Christ where we could be justified by a system of faith instead of a system of Law where we had to rely on our own goodness and perfect law-keeping in order to be saved.

Jesus’ final statement reveals clearly that John was the “Elijah who is to come.” Malachi 4:1-6 speaks of God sending “Elijah” before the coming of the “great and dreadful day of the Lord.” Jesus already made reference to Mal. 3:1 stating that John was the messenger preparing the way before Him. In Mal. 4, John is the Elijah, that is, he would do just as the prophet Elijah in that he would turn the hearts of the people back to God. He would do this in order to prepare them from the coming of Jesus. However, Jesus’ coming would also bring a “great and dreadful day” in which the Jewish nation would be destroyed by God’s judgment because of their rejection of the Messiah.

We too face a great and dreadful day if we do not serve the Lord. Do not procrastinate! That day will surely come (2 Pet. 3:3-10).

A Moment with the Bible

Matthew 11:11

As Jesus continues to explain the role of John the Baptist, He tells the multitudes that among all of those born until that time none was greater than John. It is important not to misunderstand this statement. Jesus is not saying that John was a better person they everyone before him. As the parallel passage in Luke 7:28 states, His point is that because of John’s mission of preparing the way for the Lord, he was a greater prophet than any who came before him. But notice that Jesus follows this assertion with the words that the one who is least in the kingdom is greater than John. Why would this be so? Once Jesus’ rule began from heaven in Acts 2, the work of the citizens of this kingdom (Christians) would be a greater work than that of John. John only prepared the way for the coming of the Lord and His kingdom, but Christians are given the mission of bringing people into the kingdom and therefore into a relationship with the Lord.

Christian, have you ever thought of yourself as greater than John the Baptist? Jesus said you are greater, but this is only the case if you are fulfilling your mission. John prepared people for the Lord, we are to actually bring people to the Lord. Consider this, if John’s mission was greater than all the prophets who came before him, and our mission is greater than John’s, then what we are to be doing is greater than what all the prophets have ever done. Now, have you taken your work seriously? Are you bringing people into the Lord’s kingdom?

A Moment with the Bible

Matthew 11:7-10

After sending John’s messengers back, Jesus takes the opportunity to explain to the multitudes the importance of John’s work. Jesus begins by suggesting a number of reasons why they might have gone out into the wilderness to see John. Was it because he was a “reed shaken by the wind” (an individual who was moved by the fads of the day and would preach what was popular)? Or, were they going to see a man “dressed in soft clothing” (a wealthy celebrity)? No, these were not the things that moved the multitude. Jesus answers His own question. They had gone out to see a prophet. But now Jesus gets to the point: John was more than a prophet; he was the one preparing the way for the coming of the Lord Himself.


Jesus quotes from Malachi 3:1 to identify John as the “messenger of the Lord.” Notice in the quote that God is sending a messenger to prepare the way for His own coming. Malachi had foretold of the arrival of the Messiah who would be the Lord Himself. The Jewish leaders had never understood that the Messiah would actually be God. The Jews looked anxiously for the coming Messiah who would deliver them from their bondage under foreign nations and restore the greatness of the nation of Israel. However, when we read the entire quote of Malachi 3:1-6, we see that Jesus is giving a strong warning. They looked for the Messiah, but when He arrives “who can endure the day of His coming?” (Mal. 3:2). In other words, He would first come in judgment against the Jewish nation purging out the sinners among them so that they would be pure and holy. Therefore, these Jews needed to examine their own lives in light of who had now come in their midst.


The Lord Himself will come one more time in judgment. Most of the “Christian” religious world sees His coming as a good thing. But for many it will not be a good thing. His coming will purge the wicked even though they have been called by His name. Remember the warning from Hebrews 10:30-31, “The Lord will judge His people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

A Moment with the Bible

Matthew 11:1-6

As we begin chapter eleven, we notice that after Jesus concludes His discourse with the twelve, He goes about their cities teaching and preaching. “Their cities” refers to the Galilean cities. From 4:12 through 18:35, Matthew exclusively covers the Galilean ministry of Jesus. This part of His work lasted about a year and a half, just less that half of His three and half year ministry on the earth.


We will later learn why John the Baptist is in prison (Mt. 14), but for now Matthew relates to us a period of doubt that is expressed by John. Of course, John was the one who originally announced Jesus as the Messiah (Jn. 1:29), which was confirmed to him by a heavenly revelation when he saw the Spirit come upon Jesus in the form of a dove at His baptism (Jn. 1:33-34). Why would John now question whether or not Jesus was the “One?” Though the scriptures do not explicitly answer this question, the most likely answer is that things were not happening the way John envisioned. John may have had the typical Jewish picture of the coming Messiah where He would reign as King or at the very least not allow His servants to be at the mercy of unscrupulous men like Herod.


Jesus’ answer to the messengers sent by John is to first spend the next hour healing all manner of diseases and casting out evil spirits (Luke 7:21). Then Jesus told these messengers to go and tell John what they had seen. It is interesting that Jesus does not just answer John by saying, “Yes, I am the One.” Someone who was a fraud would have answered exactly that way. Instead, Jesus wants John to believe based on evidence. This is the critical point of our text and the lesson we need to learn. Faith in Christ is not “blind.” It does not accept Jesus simply based on His claim to be the Son of God. Jesus never asked anyone to believe in Him without evidence. It is foolish for anyone to believe without being able to give a reason for his or her faith (1 Pet. 3:15). This is exactly the reason Jesus performed such extraordinary miracles. In John 10:37-38, Jesus even challenged the Jews to believe Him based on His works, not simply on His words.

A Moment with the Bible

Matthew 10:40-42

Most people do not realize the critical position in which Jesus placed His apostles. Look carefully at the words, “He who receives you receives Me.” The apostles would preach the words that Jesus gave them. When people accepted those words, they accepted the apostles, and when they accepted the apostles, they were accepting Christ. The implications of this are important for all generations. In order to accept Christ, we must accept the teaching of the apostles because their teaching came from Christ. Many religious people believe that they are accepting Christ when they simply accept that He is the Son of God who died for their sins. After that, they will disregard many of the teachings of the apostles in the New Testament as being unimportant to their salvation or to their relationship with Christ. But according to this text, accepting the apostles and their words is necessary for a person to accept Christ. To reject the apostles’ teaching is to reject Christ because the apostles’ words are the words of Christ.

Consider the words of Jesus to the apostles in John 16:13: “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” Sometimes I hear people saying, “I only read the ‘red letters’ because that is the words of Christ. What they do not understand is, the “red letters” are the words of Christ while He was on the earth, but the black letters are the words of Christ that He sent back to the apostles from heaven. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit back to the apostles so that they could reveal the rest of His words. Therefore, we must not be deceived; anyone who rejects the apostles’ teaching is rejecting Christ Himself.

A Moment with the Bible

Matthew 10:39 What is the vision for your life? What are your plans and goals? Where do you imagine yourself being in ten, fifteen, or twenty years? What possessions do you hope to have? All of these questions are a normal part of our lives. But if we are not careful, we will “lose our life” in the process of trying to find it. A parallel passage to this text reads, “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Mt. 16:25). At first glance, it may appear that Jesus is saying that if we give up any kind of enjoyment in our present life, then we will receive the enjoyment of eternal life. This view is typical of how the world sees Christianity. To live as a Christian, it is believed, would mean sacrificing all that would be fun and pleasurable. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are all searching for the best in life. We want to live our life to the fullest and make it everything it can be. What is interesting is, God wants exactly the same thing for us and in this verse Jesus gives us a prescription for just that kind of life. Since God is our Creator, He knows exactly what will give us the best life possible. Therefore Jesus states that the key to true living is to lose our life for His sake. This is true because this is how He designed us. We were designed to experience the greatest joy when we devote our lives to serving Him. An old beer commercial once said, “You only go around once in life, so get all the gusto!” That is the world’s prescription for living. That is Satan’s lie. The sure way to lose true living, true joy, is to go and get all the gusto. Satan wants us to believe that devoting our lives to finding happiness in recreation, entertainment, and possessions will give us the ultimate happiness. Jesus says it will not and our experiences prove it will not. Each of these areas of life provides us a temporary pleasure at best, but afterward it is empty. As the Preacher in Ecclesiastes states as he describes a life from a purely earthly perspective, “All is vanity and striving after the wind” (Ecc. 2:11). Don’t make that mistake. Lose your life for His sake, and you will find it.

A Moment with the Bible

Matthew 10:38 Those who desire to follow Christ often have discussions on what is necessary for salvation. Questions like, “What is involved in repentance?” or “Is baptism necessary?” are typically part of the exchange. We all are rightly interested in the specifics of what the Lord requires of us in order to have our sins forgiven. But rarely do the requirements of this text come into view. A person who does not take up his cross and follow Christ is not worthy of Him, and a person who tries to “find” or “save” his life will lose it. These may be more generic statements, but they are more important than a discussion on the specifics of salvation. When these statements are understood, all other parts of the salvation process will fall into place. The “cross” is a symbol of death, not just any death, but a painful, agonizing execution. Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I that live…” (Gal. 2:20). In other words our life is no longer our own. We live it for Him and we crucify any part of our life that conflicts with that mission. There are times when I do not want to pray, study my Bible, or worship. There are times when I do not want to love my neighbor as myself or try to share the gospel with someone who is lost. Those are the times I must take up the cross. Those are the times when my own desires must be crucified. The words, “follow after Me” should not be taken lightly. Our whole goal is to become like Jesus. We are to imitate Him; follow His pattern of life. If we expect to live in heaven with the Lord, we must live like Him now. It is foolish and unscriptural to believe that we can live a sinful, fleshly life now and expect God to clean all of that up in heaven. No, His expectation is that we use our time here on this earth to grow to be like Him. We are to be a prepared people for a prepared place. In Matthew 5:48, Jesus expressed this principle clearly: “Therefore be perfect [complete] even as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

A Moment with the Bible

Matthew 10:34-37 Jesus continues to prepare the apostles for the violent reaction they will encounter when they preach the gospel. Possibly the most surprising of all His warnings is that He did not come to bring peace but a sword. Obviously, Jesus did come to bring peace between God and man, but what He did not bring was peace among men. The Greek word for “sword” is a short sword or dagger that was commonly used to sacrifice animals. This indicates that the “sword” was the sword of persecution as Christians were sacrificed for the cause of Christ. Even more surprising is that this sword will come from a person’s own household. This is further proof that Satan is the force behind the strong negative reactions to the gospel. What else in this world would create this type of division within one’s own family? Verse 37 offers one of the most difficult commands Jesus ever gave. If a person loves father, mother, son or daughter more than Him, they are not worthy of Him. The violation of this command is one of the most common sins committed. When a person first becomes a Christian, he invariably faces the challenge of whether God or family will come first in his life. Unbelieving family members repeatedly encourage the new believer to forsake worship or make other compromises for family activities. If the believer decides to put the Lord first, the reaction of his family members is one of betrayal and accusations that he must have joined some type of cult. The disciple who caves in to this pressure not only loses his own soul, but also loses any opportunity of winning his family to Christ. No one will be won to the Lord by a weak and compromising believer. But a believer who stands strong provides for the only possibility of gaining the respect and attention of those around him. It is this strength of faith that causes others to realize that there are worthwhile reasons for considering a life serving God. This is the faith by which Satan is defeated. As Revelation 12:11 states, “They loved not their lives even unto death.”

A Moment with the Bible

Matthew 10:32-33 Jesus has warned His disciples against fearing man more than God as they spread the gospel. In these verses, Jesus explains the seriousness of not being ashamed of Him and His words. A disciple’s salvation is dependent on whether or not he confesses the Lord before men. Notice carefully the Lord’s words. He did not simply require a man to confess Him. He required a man to confess Him before men. Further, the context shows that He is not talking about confessing the Lord before men who serve God. Jesus is dealing with antagonistic circumstances where there is strong pressure put upon a person to deny Him. It is easy for us to confess the Lord before other Christians, but the challenge is to confess the Lord when to do so will require us to suffer negative consequences. Christians today often underestimate the seriousness of confessing one’s faith in Christ before the world. Confession of our faith is not only a requirement for us when we first come to Christ, it is a requirement for salvation through out lives. In the midst of serious persecution by Rome, Revelation 12:11 gave early Christians the key to victory over Satan: “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.” When we the battle against Satan, it is “the word of our testimony” that destroys Satan’s power. Consider one other passage. Revelation 21:8 says, "But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." Notice the word “cowardly.” Some versions translate, “fearful.” In the midst of a list that includes that most serious and degrading sins known to man, the Lord says it will also be the cowardly who will have their part in the lake of fire. Just imagine, we can be everything that Lord wants us to be, but when we are afraid to confess our faith before others, we will lose our souls.

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