Predicting the End

READ : Matthew 23–25 As the Truth, Jesus had to tell people the truth about themselves. He called the religious leaders hypocrites. God hates hypocrisy, which is the opposite of genuineness. A hypocrite is different on the outside than on the inside. He makes believe he is more pious than he really is. Other people may or may not realize his hypocrisy, but even worse is the hypocrite who doesn’t realize he is one himself. Having thus spoken to the …

Calling for a Decision

READ : Matthew 21–22 When we proclaim the gospel, we ought always call the hearers to make a decision regarding the place Christ is to have in their lives. The actions and words of Jesus, as he entered Jerusalem for the last time, called for such a decision. Previously Jesus had told his disciples to keep quiet about the fact that he was the Messiah. Now by riding into Jerusalem publicly on a donkey, he is openly proclaiming himself as …

Practical Issues

READ : Matthew 19–20 Divorce is one of the greatest causes of heartache today. Jesus emphasizes the permanence of marriage, yet there are illustrations in the Gospels of his gentleness toward those who had failed in that area. On the one hand, we must do everything possible to encourage people to be faithful to their marriage vows. On the other hand, we need to minister lovingly to people who have fallen short of God’s perfect will in this area of …

Pharisees and Followers

READ : Matthew 15-18 The Pharisees appear frequently in the Gospels. Their original purpose had been good. In the period between the Old and New Testaments, the great threat to true religion was the infiltration of pagan Greek culture in the life of God’s people. The Pharisees emerged as first-century theological conservatives and sought to maintain the true faith. But they used the wrong method, that of emphasizing obedience to the letter of all of their traditions, so that by …

Parables of the Kingdom

READ : Matthew 13,14 A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. Jesus uses the physical to illustrate the spiritual. The parables tell us what the kingdom of heaven is like. Jesus came preaching the kingdom. He taught us to pray, “Your kingdom come.” The kingdom is the rule of God in the lives of people. The kingdom of heaven comes in two stages. When Christ came to earth, the King came; the kingdom was established. All who …