I thought it might be good to update you on where are in our verse-by-verse study at CrossHope Chapel through the Gospel of Matthew and I am going to that by just hitting some highlights…
Matthew 14 was a great chapter that transitioned us from the previous parables of the Kingdom of Heaven to the account of John’s beheading, Jesus’ feeding the 5000, and Peter walking on the water.
I don’t know about you, but I am still thinking on the lessons we read in the account of Peter walking on the water. Sadly, it’s easy for any of us to take our eyes off Jesus and give our attention to the “waves” around us. Sometimes wave watching can have good intentions, but the enemy of our souls doesn’t care what sinks us, as long as we have turned our attention off the Savior.
Matthew 15 illustrated for us the difference between the religion of the Pharisees and the faith of the Canaanite women. We saw that the legalistic attitude of the Pharisees in the matters of their “clean and unclean” laws was the result of their hearts being far from God (Matthew 15:7-9).
The Canaanite women, on the other hand, had a faith in her heart that trusted in Jesus for the healing of her daughter. When our hearts are set toward the Lord and not on our own selves we have a peace from Jesus that overcomes our fears.
Matthew 16 led us to examine the religion without faith that demands a sign, evidence, or a visual assurance before extending belief in God’s Word. The Pharisees and Sadducees would not trust in the promises of God’s Word regarding the Messiah, so they demanding a sign. Don’t be like the Pharisees and Sadducees.
We also were able to have a discussion on the influence of disbelief being like yeast to the bread baking process. Jesus used this analogy when speaking to His disciples about the Pharisees and Sadducees.
Yesterday we finished up the 16th chapter of Matthew by discussing the conversation Jesus had with Peter regarding the church. In this recorded conversation in this chapter we have an introduction to the church, by Jesus, that sets the groundwork for the remainder of the New Testament.
Matthew 16:17 points to the power of the church as coming from God the Father, not man or things of this earth. Matthew 16:18 points the apostles as the foundation of the church and Heaven’s use of mortal man in its assignment. Matthew 16:19 points to the church as its intention as a reflection of Heaven’s Kingdom on earth.
We also took notice that it was after this conversation with Peter and the Apostles that Jesus began to talk openly about His nearing death and sacrifice for the sins of mankind.
In Matthew 16:24 we are introduced to the cross and in Matthew 16:25 we are introduced to the eternal value of losing our lives but not our souls. In fact, in the next verse we read the very popular statement from Jesus, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Matthew 16:26).
Then in Matthew 16:27 we have the very important introduction by Jesus of His second return as our blessed hope and the judgment of the lost. “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.”
I find a great deal of comfort in reading that Jesus tied in His return to the conclusion of this portion of the conversation. To me, salvation is not complete until the Lord returns and the dead in Christ are resurrected. That’s just how I understand Scriptures in its big picture of redemption.
In case you are wondering, I did not comment on the final verse, Matthew 16:28, because it points to what we’ll read in Matthew 17, next Sunday.
See you then!