How Do "YOU" Know Him? | Matthew 22:41-46 | 124

jesus-baby
jesus-baby
Mat 22:41 Then, surrounded by the Pharisees, Jesus asked them a question: Mat 22:42"What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is He?" They replied, "He is the son of David." Mat 22:43 Jesus responded, "Then why does David, speaking under the inspiration of the Spirit, call the Messiah 'my Lord'? For David said,Mat 22:44'The LORD said to my Lord, Sit in the place of honor at My right hand until I humble Your enemies beneath Your feet.'Mat 22:45Since David called the Messiah 'my Lord,' how can the Messiah be his son?"Mat 22:46 No one could answer Him. And after that, no one dared to ask Him any more questions.

How do you "know" the Messiah?

The Rebel: We know Him as a really cool person. We think of Him as a rebel or a radical. We think of him as "the Dude of Dude's" who fought the system and "took the man down, maaan"....We want to follow Him because he inspires the "rebel" within us.

The Pacifist: We know Him as the gentle man who would allow others to hurt Him and spit on Him. He is the one who would turn the other cheek and give an angry man His coat.

The Friend:We know Him as our friend. He always listens to our concerns and is there to comfort us and care for us. He listens while we complain about all the daily things we worry about...often He is stuck listening while we do ALL the talking.

The Friend Taker: We know Him as the One who makes us friendless. He makes us different from the world and unattractive to it.

The Psycho Analyst: We know Him as the one that can help us figure out our own heads. Why am I thinking this way? What should I do about this compulsion or that habit? I'm scared of the world, can you give me what I need to move on...?

The Tough Lover:We know Him as the one that tells us to stop being so whiny and move on. Think of others...stop wallowing in your own self pity.

The Safe Place: We know Him as the place we can go when we feel condemnation in our hearts and a need for forgiveness. We go to Him when we know there is not another soul on earth that we can trust with our thoughts and feelings and He will listen.

The Scary Place: We know Him as the one who is so much greater than us, so much holier. He scares us sometimes and makes us wonder if we could ever be good enough. We sometimes are very afraid of Him.

The Soft Place: We know Him as the soft place of rest...deep soul-level rest.

The Whipping Boy: We know Him as the target of our anger because of  a circumstance in life. We sometimes even curse His name and blame Him for the hurt. We lash out at Him and accuse Him of being the cause of all the pain. We accuse Him of being the reason that a loved one is lost or a heart is broken.

The Soothing Balm:We know Him as the place where we can lose our anger and gain fresh perspective on life. He is the one that supplies the balm for our anger and rage.

The Entertaining Artist: We know Him as the creator of visual stimuli and heart melting scenery. We thank Him for the sunny days that make us feel better and for the cute cuddly puppies that make us feel all gooey inside. We glory in the beauty that He has surrounded us with; the majestic mountains and the musical streams.

The General: We know Him as the source of direction and planning. How do I grow the "army" and defeat the enemy, SIR!. What is our strategy Good General?

The Guilt Tripper: We know Him as the source of guilt and shame. We feel His Holiness and it makes us aware of our sinfulness.

The Guilt Taker: We know Him as the one who takes away our guilt and gives us a new life.

The Lover: We know Him as our lover. The one who would do anything for us and would even die for us like any true lover would.

The Hater:We know Him as the angry Master who just wants us to do what He says. Stop being such a vile sinner and listen to me you fools!

So......how do YOU know Him?

The underlying problem is found in the emphasis within the question. "YOU" are the problem. You make Jesus into whatever you want Him to be. Making Him all about you can lead you to see Him in a light that does not lead to salvation.

Look at the simple question in our verse above.

"What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is He?"

Why did the Pharisee's; the single group of people on the face of the planet at that time with the most knowledge and understanding possible, miss the boat with who Jesus was? I submit to you that they did not know HIM. They knew what THEY wanted Him to be. But what they wanted Him to be was not who He really was. The Messiah (false messiah) that they had built up in their minds was not Jesus. Their messiah was:

  • The Political Power Grabber
  • The Judge
  • The Executioner
  • The Lawgiver
  • The Punisher

They had the scriptures, but they missed who He was. They did not know Him. Dear reader, Jesus has told us plainly that knowing Him is easy...

Joh_14:9  Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and dost thou not know me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; how sayest thou, Show us the Father?

...and it is necessary...

Mat 7:21Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven.Mat 7:22Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by thy name, and by thy name cast out demons, and by thy name do many mighty works?Mat 7:23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Do you know HIM...or...Do YOU know Him?

Please friends, read the Bible with the intent of letting God define Himself and the Messiah for you. Remove your preconceived notions about Who Jesus Christ is and was and ask for the Holy Spirit to reveal HIM to you. Do not trust in YOUR own understanding...instead trust in HIS. Submit your will to Him and then ask God to reveal Himself to you as He really is...He may shock you with some new ways of seeing Him!

Prayer:

Dear Father in Heaven,

Lord, You are so many things to me. Every day when I come to Your Word and seek to know You better I am constantly amazed at how much I don't know. You overwhelm me with who You are. Please keep me from thinking of You as anything other than who You are. Keep me on the correct path.

Thank you for Jesus. Thank you for giving me reconciliation and justification. Fill me with the Holy Spirit today so that I may have the mind of Christ indwelling.

Forgive my sins and help me to forgive others. Please protect my family and friends and bring them all "home" safely. You know what I mean Lord...and with all these things I do trust in Your Will and ask that Your Will be done. Amen.

It's All About Relationship | Matthew 22:34-40 | 123

love-neighbor
love-neighbor
Mat 22:34 But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees with His reply, they met together to question Him again. Mat 22:35 One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap Him with this question: Mat 22:36 "Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?" Mat 22:37 Jesus replied, "'You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.'Mat 22:38This is the first and greatest commandment.Mat 22:39A second is equally important: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'Mat 22:40The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments."

Is the God of the old testament a loving God?

Through this interaction between Jesus and the Pharisees there are a few interesting points that I would like to bring out but I also want to keep the main point the main point.

1. The reason that the Pharisees try to trap Jesus again in debate seems to be because the Sadducees had recently been "defeated" by Him. They see an opportunity to gain prestige and favor in the eyes of the people if they can overcome Jesus with their level of knowledge and understanding of the scriptures. Not only would they defeat Jesus in debate but they would come off looking better and smarter than the Sadducees. Their purpose was to gain political points by overcoming Him. So they bring in the big guns. They go and get their best student of the law, in essence a lawyer, and they send him in to ask Jesus a question that was commonly debated in their time.

"Which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?" 

The Jews at this point in history had divided the law into lesser and greater categories, not unlike we do today. We view murder as a much greater sin than adultery. We treat it with punishment that is much more harsh and lasts longer. But, have you ever considered what God might think is the more damaging sin. Read through Proverbs sometime. God seems to hate a lying or gossiping tongue more than anything else. Jesus takes this concept to another level when he talks about "if you have lusted after a woman in your heart, you have committed adultery," and "out of the heart comes all manner of vile things".

Think of the punishment for sin. All sin has the same punishment in the Kingdom of God. Death. But it all has the same remedy as well, Jesus. God understands the root of sin comes from the heart and that all sin leads to death. If left to our own devices, without the glorious love and grace of God in our lives, we would all die eventually. Sin is "self" destructive.

2. Jesus gives the correct answer to the question and it is interesting to note that the "lawyer" receives commendation for his understanding of the law from Jesus. The same interaction, with a little more detail, is recorded in Mark 12:28-34. Here we see that the lawyer understood that all of the law and the demands of the prophets really came down to these two most important commandments. Jesus senses that this lawyer is close to finding the real meaning of everything and I think it is why He adds the necessary emphasis at the end of His statement.."The ENTIRElaw and ALLthe demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments." [emphasis added]

The whole bible can be summed up in these two commandments?

This is the main point. This is the understanding that gets the "lawyer" close to the Kingdom of God. It is an understanding that everything is about love and relationship.

God wants to have a relationship with you. His whole goal from the beginning of human existence, even before sin came into our world, has been to have a relationship with us. Even before you were born, God desired a relationship with you...

Psa 139:13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb. Psa 139:14 Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. Psa 139:15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. Psa 139:16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in Your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. Psa 139:17 How precious are Your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!

Isa_49:1  Listen to me, all you in distant lands! Pay attention, you who are far away! The LORD called me before my birth; from within the womb He called me by name.

Everything God did through the prophets was about bringing the Israelites back to a relationship with God. Each time God "punished" them was because they had lost their relationship with Him and they were falling into self degradation and self destruction. They needed the "shepherd's staff" to bring them back to a loving relationship with Him. That loving relationship was the only thing that would ever give them a chance at having the eternal relationship with God that He so desired to have with them. He has always been a God who wanted to be "with us". Jesus was God with us. Jesus and the Holy Spirit continue to be God with us.

Loving my neighbor isn't so hard, as long as they stay outta my hair.

Let's not neglect the other of the two greatest commandments as well. Our relationship with those around us is also important, and based on what God asks from us, it should be more than just a passing experience.

God knows that how we treat others reflects the relationship that we have with Him. Look at the 10 commandments sometime. [Deut 5:6-22] You can divide them into two parts. The first 4 are about how to LOVE GOD. The last 6 are about how to LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR. The 10 commandments are about relationship.

Do you love God so much that you would never hurt your neighbor?

Do you love God so much that you would never lie, cheat, covet, or commit adultery against your neighbor?

Do you trust Him to be your God?

If you understand that love is even something that you cannot "create" on your own, then you are getting close to understanding the loving God who created you. Because of sin, even the love that you produce on your own is tainted with selfishness. Do not make the mistake of thinking that you can somehow muster up enough love, kindness, and charity to make yourself presentable and worthy of standing in the presence of God. It is ONLY through having the Holy Spirit in us and working through us that we can hope to love the way God wants us to. It is by faith in God, supplying the gift of the Holy Spirit to bring us to that real loving relationship with God and with our fellow man, the same love that Jesus had for His Father and for us; this faith is what can make us "purified" in the eyes of God.

Dear reader. God wants to have that deep abiding relationship with you today. He wants you to understand that He is the source of everything in your life. He is even the source of genuine love. He also wants you to know that He can give you that genuine love, if you ask for it from a sincere heart. He will change your heart. He will replace your heart of stone with a heart of flesh. He will make you more loving. He will cleanse you from all unrighteousness and save you from your sins. PRAISE GOD!

Prayer:

Dear Lord,

I LOVE YOU, though I know that love produced by my sin tainted heart is just that, sinful and tainted...but I LOVE YOU because You have promised me that You will change my heart and give me one capable of loving You the right way. I ask for that gift now Lord, today. Fill me with the Holy Spirit and help me to display YOUR love...not mine. Thank you so much for the gift of the cross and for showing me there what real genuine love is. Thank you for loving me that much while I was a weak sinner. Thank you for covering me with Your robe of righteousness and for knowing that I could never produce that robe on my own.

Please be with my family...my children especially. They need You so badly and they just don't know it. Forgive their sins Lord and cover them with Your grace. Thank you for all that you provide. For my very life and for wanting a relationship with me. Thank you for promising to change my heart. Increase my faith. Help my unbelief. Amen.

Going to a Wedding with Nothing to Wear | Matthew 22:1-14 | 120

Gods wedding feast
Gods wedding feast
Mat 22:1 Jesus also told them other parables. He said, Mat 22:2"The Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a king who prepared a great wedding feast for his son. Mat 22:3 When the banquet was ready, he sent his servants to notify those who were invited. But they all refused to come! Mat 22:4 "So he sent other servants to tell them, 'The feast has been prepared. The bulls and fattened cattle have been killed, and everything is ready. Come to the banquet!' Mat 22:5 But the guests he had invited ignored them and went their own way, one to his farm, another to his business. Mat 22:6 Others seized his messengers and insulted them and killed them. Mat 22:7 "The king was furious, and he sent out his army to destroy the murderers and burn their town. Mat 22:8 And he said to his servants, 'The wedding feast is ready, and the guests I invited aren't worthy of the honor. Mat 22:9 Now go out to the street corners and invite everyone you see.' Mat 22:10 So the servants brought in everyone they could find, good and bad alike, and the banquet hall was filled with guests. Mat 22:11 "But when the king came in to meet the guests, he noticed a man who wasn't wearing the proper clothes for a wedding. Mat 22:12 'Friend,' he asked, 'how is it that you are here without wedding clothes?' But the man had no reply. Mat 22:13 Then the king said to his aides, 'Bind his hands and feet and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' Mat 22:14"For many are called, but few are chosen."

Don't you just hate being invited to a wedding with nothing to wear?

Being invited to a wedding when you have nothing to wear can be uncomfortable. You feel out of place. Or maybe you have a suit and tie but you hate to wear them because it is so stifling and it's something you haven't worn for years. Let's apply this thought to the parable of the wedding feast in Matthew and we'll see where it takes us. First, I would like to compartmentalize the parable and look at each section separately and more closely. 

Preparation for the Feast [Matthew 22:2]

The feast is one that is being prepared by the King. The King is doing the preparation and only after it is ready does he send out his servants to notify those who were invited. But notice that they were already invited. The implication may be that they were supposed to know that they were invited and were simply waiting for the wedding feast day to arrive.

This could speak to the Jews who were already chosen (remember that Jesus is addressing the Pharisees with this parable) and knew about the wedding feast, but when the time came (The Messiah showing up in the personage of Jesus Christ) they weren't ready because they thought it was about making themselves "wedding worthy" rather than simply accepting the invitation, and the wedding garment, (Jesus Christ) when it came.

The Invitation [Matthew 22:3-4]

The feast is ready. The Kingdom of Heaven is open for the wedding celebration. The servants are sent out and given the message of the readiness of the wedding. This message is for the Jews who should already know that they are invited. Think of a wedding and how it works. Everyone gets an invitation, while those who are family might get an official invitation there is an expectation that they really already know that they are invited. Many of them have been asked to play a role in the wedding; bridesmaid, groomsman, usher, coordinator, etc. There is no question that they are invited yet they are still sent an official invitation. They, of all people, should be the most ready for the wedding day...

Burning the Invitation [Matthew 22:5-6]

Instead of welcoming the official invitation, they despise it and burn it.

Have you ever seen that horrible TV show Bridezilla's? It is one of those "reality" tv shows where they follow a young bride around as she prepares for her wedding. She, of course, is not a nice bride and ends up in fights with family and friends. Sometimes the family members become so angry about how the wedding is going to go that they end up refusing to come to the wedding.

Let's apply this to our wedding feast in the Kingdom of Heaven. I see the Jews, who are already a part of the family of God and even have the benefit of a merciful and loving wedding planner, become angry and murderous when the invitation comes. In general, a wedding invitation says, come on this day, wear this attire, and bring a date. They don't want to wear those types of clothes, they're not ready for the wedding, and they don't have a date. However, the Jews don't want to go to the wedding because it doesn't look the way that they want it to. They want to have a say in how the wedding guests should be dressed because they want to wear their own wedding garment. This is the problem with self made or man made religion. It see's God's invitation but instead of doing it His way, they despise Him ("...'the world' hated Me first..." John 15:18) and seek to do it their own way.

Make no mistake reader. God has a specific plan for how the wedding feast will be attended. It is specifically His way and His plan, because if it is done any other way "self" get's the credit instead of the one to Whom the glory belongs to. Let's continue. Things don't turn out too well for those who choose to do it their own way...

The King's Response [Matthew 22:7-8]

The family members have all despised the wedding preparation and the way they were invited. They have burned their invitations and have shown the Wedding Planner that they don't like the way He has prepared the feast. They have despised His wedding clothes and insisted that they be allowed to wear what they want to wear. They have kept themselves out of the wedding because they DID receive an invitation. Because of their treatment of the servants bearing the message (a message that isn't to their liking) the King has them all killed.

Key things to note here. They did get the invitation. They understood it. They did despise it to the point of murder. They were killed not because they tried to come into the wedding without an invitation, but because they despised and murdered the one making the invitation.

Joh 3:18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.Joh 3:19And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.Joh 3:20For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.Joh 3:21But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God."

A Second Invitation and Those Invited [Matthew 22:8-10]

The first to receive the invitation, not the only, just the first; despise it. They want to go to the wedding feast but they don't like the invitation and the way it is presented.

Now let's consider the actual invitation. I picture someone holding this beautiful golden engraved and embossed note card. It is white and clean and pleasing to the eye, but simple. I see the first one holding it saying,

"This invitation looks all wrong. I would have used darker richer colors like purple and I would have been more specific in my definitions. Why doesn't it have ribbons and pearls. I would have used gems and I would have included a photograph of the bride and groom. It says here that I can't even wear my own clothing which I've worked so hard to make beautiful and impressive. Why should I put on the King's clothes...it will make everyone look the same?! Well if the King doesn't like the way I dress then I don't want to have anything to do with Him." 

Now picture those who receive the invitation but never even knew or thought they would get one. I picture a slightly scruffy hand holding the invitation and the person says,

"Wow! Can you believe that I am invited to this wedding feast. What am I going to wear? Oh wait, it says here that I don't have to bring my own clothes, the King will provide them. What an amazing King. How did He know that I had nothing to wear. Look here it says I need to be ready by this date. I must hurry and put the King's clothes on so that I can make it on time. I can't believe he actually invited me. What? You got an invitation too? Wow, look at that everyone has one in their mailbox....I wonder if they know. Maybe I should put them on and go tell them so they have time to get ready."

The Well Dressed vs The Properly Dressed [Matthew 22:11-14]

Once again the King is ready to meet with His invited guests. All of them have received the invitation and have accepted it. They come to the feast and are excited about the idea of being at the wedding. But, some of them didn't like the part about having to wear the King's wedding garment. I picture them maybe even taking the provided wedding garment and embellishing it with gold and jewels to make it more attractive; more "shiny". They have maybe torn off the sleeves to allow their muscles to show through. They might have adjusted the collar so that it accentuates their facial features. They come, expecting that the King will be impressed with what they've done with the wedding garment. But all that the King see's is something that doesn't have any of Him in it.

Notice that the King calls this person "Friend". They do seem to know each other, but the "friend" has still chosen to come with his own garments. In this case, the King is not "furious" but the result is that the invited wedding guest is still removed from the feast. There may also be significance to the binding of their hands and feet. Is it because it is with their hands and feet that they went their own way? Is it because they cannot use the results of what they've done with their hands and feet to replace the fact that they are not wearing the proper attire?

Now, lets look at our original question. We just hate it when we are asked to an occasion when we have nothing to wear. God has invited you and I to the wedding feast. The wedding feast takes place in His Kingdom of Heaven. He has sent an invitation to everyone; all are invited. But, to get to the wedding feast we have to do a number of things...

  1. Accept the invitation
  2. Accept the provided attire.
  3. Do what the invitation calls us to do.
  4. Go to the wedding.
  5. Bring nothing of ourselves.

Dear reader. You have been invited to the wedding feast that ends all wedding feasts. You don't have to provide the clothes. You just have to wear the clothes that the Wedding Planner has provided. Don't try to change God's plan of salvation. Seek to know HIS WILL and not your own. You can do nothing to make yourself more presentable to God. You can do nothing to make Him love you more.

Don't mess with the Wedding Garment; just put it on...and go to the wedding. It may feel a little uncomfortable at first because your not used to wearing it, but give it time. The Wedding Garment will soon be the only clothing you'll ever want to wear.

Prayer:

Dear King,

Thank You for inviting me to the wedding. For so long I thought I wasn't invited and it was because I thought I had nothing to wear. I now see that You have provided the clothing and I need to put them on and keep them on. I want that clothing today. I want to be ready for the wedding; and I praise Your Name because You have given me the clothes. Help me Lord in my unbelief. Help me to never take off the clothes that You provided.

Be with my family, friends and church. Help us all to see what You have done for us. Help us all to not go our own way, but to seek only Your way. Be with those people out there who are trying so hard to make themselves ready for the feast...help them to see that You are the one that provides. I ask for these things in Jesus name, amen.