On a day we call Palm Sunday, Jesus entered Jerusalem to the cheers of the people. They welcomed him as their Savior King. But Jesus wasn’t and still isn’t the kind of king many people want. He enters the city humbly, not in force, riding on a donkey. He doesn’t force his way into our lives either. But that doesn’t mean Jesus is a wimp. When he gets to the temple and discovers the only place the Gentiles can worship and pray has been turned into a noisy, busy market place, Jesus goes ballistic. His passion is to reconnect people with God the Father. Any time we do or allow or profit from anything that would prevent people from connecting with God in worship and prayer, look out. Jesus didn’t come to enforce rules and rituals. He came to save us from sinNed death. He came to forgive us and gives us a new life. He wants us to have the same passion.
The Super bowl is only three days away and will decide who is the greatest team in the NIL this year. This game shows us the world’s idea of greatness. In Matthew 20 Jesus say to be great be a servant. He said this on his final journey to Jerusalem to be the suffering servant and die on the cross to pay for the sins of the world. The disciples didn’t get it. James and John ask for the top two spots in Jesus’s kingdom. Jesus show them what greatness means by giving site to two blind men. He wants us all to not only but also to follow his example of greatness.
Matthew 19:13-30 gives us two events that show us the Jesus looks at things in a different way. First the disciples don’t want to be bothered with little children so the try to send them and their parents away. Jesus welcomes the children and says God’s Kingdom belongs to them. Then a rich, respectful young man came to Jesus asking what good he had to do to get (earn) eternal life. I think this is the kind of person the disciples would have welcomed with open arms. But Jesus looks into the heart and could see that this man loved his money and possession that he loved God and others. The rich man couldn’t buy his way into God’s kingdom. No one can. It is a gift that God gives. A gift that is received in faith. The difference between the Christian faith and all other religions is that they tell us what we have to do to make ourselves better, to earn “god’s” favor. The Christian faith tells us what God has done for us in Jesus to pay for our sins, to forgive us and give us life. That’s good news because I know I could never be good enough, do enough, or give enough to earn God’s favor. It is God’s gift! Thanks God for it!
1. Matthew 21:23-46
2. Matthew 22:1-33
3. Matthew 22:34-23:12
4. Matthew 23:13-39
5. Matthew 24:1-28
6. Matthew 24:29-51
7. Matthew 25:1-30
8. Matthew 25:31-26:13
9. Matthew 26:14-46
10. Matthew 26:47-68
11. Matthew 26:69-27:14
12. Matthew 27:15-37
13. Matthew 27:38-66
14. Matthew 28:1-20
Jesus told the story of the forgiving master and the unforgiving to make the point that forgiveness is not an option. God forgives us. We forgive others. It’s that simple. Forgiveness is letting go of the past, not seeking to get revenge. In the process of forgiving others we set ourselves free from the anger or hatred that comes from holding a grudge. We have been blessed to be a blessing, forgiven to forgive others. When I first meet someone and they ask what I do, l tell them l’m in the forgiveness business. Are you?
In Matthew 18:1-20, Jesus begins another public teaching section. First Jesus tells us that greatness is not personal power, but service. He calls his followers to child like, trusting faith. He uses the example of a shepherd looking for one loose to tell us important each individual person is to God. Then he tells us how to try to restore a broken relationship by talking one on one with the person who has offended us instead of talking about that person. It may not be easy, but it is worth it.
It has been said the only two certain things in life are death and Taxes. In Matthew 17 Jesus makes another prediction of his death and resurrection. Then he pays the tax to support the Jerusalem temple.No one is a fan as either death or taxes. But Jesus introduce the section with the call to faith,reminding us that a little faith can go a long. That is what we need, faith in the Lord who defeated sin and death for all people.
This reading from Matthew 16 and 17 asks the question, who is Jesus. The people respected Jesus. The Holy Spirit revealed the truth to Peter that Jesus is the Christ, the promised Savior. When Jesus told the disciples that he would die and then rise from the dead, Peter objected. So Jesus put Peter in his place and told him not to fight against God’s plan. When Jesus appeared with Moses and Elijah on the mountain of transfiguration, the disciples told to listen to Jesus. We need to do the same thing. Jesus doesn’t limit himself to our expectations. He exceeds them by meeting our greatest need for forgiveness.
Sometimes we think God doesn’t care about us, but he does. Look at the miracles is these verses. Jesus cares about people and heals them. He cares about people and feeds them. Jesus cares about the disciples and warns them not to be mislead by the false teachings of the religious elite.He cares for us too.
The religious leaders ask for a sign after Jesus fed 4,000 people with only a few small loans of bread and a couple of fish. If they couldn’t see that as a sign, they would not believe in Jesus’s resurrection (the sign of Jonah). If we open our eyes in faith and take the time to look, we can see that God cares for us too.
Jesus didn’t pull any punches when it came to the Pharisees because they were more concerned about what they did than what was right. They were the kind of judgmental legalistic that give “religion” or faith a bad name. Jesus said faith is a matter of the heart, of responding to God’s love blogging others. So it doesn’t matter what we eat,but it does matter if our thoughts pollute our hearts.
The non Jewish woman who begged Jesus for help had it right. She knew God’s love was for all people. Remember two of Jesus’s female ancestors were not Jewish, Rahab and Ruth. Even the crumbs from God’s table are enough to meet our needs.