Today I want to venture into Matthew 7. Jesus is giving the sermon on the mount and this is the closing part of that sermon. As I’ve mentioned several times it’s important to see this entire sermon (Matthew 5-7) as one line of thought, building on itself. But we are pulling some truths out of it a piece at a time, which is also helpful.
In the opening of Matthew 7 Jesus is talking about the idea of judging others. Here is what He says
Do not judge, or you too will be judged.For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Now this might be one of the most misused scriptures in the bible. People say this is Jesus saying that you should make no judgements. But as we’ll see this is not the main idea here.
This is the third part of a study looking at the story of Jesus and the healing of Bartimaeus the blind man in Mark 10.
Jesus has entered the town of Jericho and the crowd has gathered. Bartimaeus a blind man and beggar is on the side of the road and hears that Jesus is going by. He cries out to Jesus. The crowd tells him to be quiet and stay out of the way. But Jesus stops and tells the crowd to bring him forward. They go and get him and Bartimaeus leaps at the chance and goes to Jesus. Jesus asks him what he wants and when he says he wants to see, knowing that Jesus can give him his sight, Jesus heals him. Bartimaeus is healed and follows Jesus along the road praising God.
In part one we looked at what this story tells us about Jesus. In part two we looked at what the fact that Jesus loves everyone has to do with us. Today I want to go a different direction.
Today we are diving into part two in a series on a story in John 5
Jesus is in Jerusalem and ends up by a pool near the sheep gate. It was believed that when the waters were stirred (perhaps a spring occasionally bubbled up there) that the first person in the water would be healed. Because of this there were many lame, blind, and otherwise ill people laying there. One such man was paralyzed and had been in that condition for 38 years.
Jesus approaches the man and asks him, “Do you want to get well?” Last time we looked at some probable reason why Jesus asks this question. Today I want to look at this man’s response, and ours, to that question.
The man says this, “Sir, I have no one to put me in the pool when it is stirred up. I start to go there but because of my condition someone gets there before me.”
Here is what is interesting about this answer. This man has a plan to get well. He is counting on this plan. He might need a little help to get there but he doesn’t need a new or different plan. His plan is the only one that can work. He’s had 38 years to think about this obviously. It’s not his first rodeo and I’m sure it’s not his first plan.
A few weeks ago I wrote a 5 part study on the parable of the Samaritan. Following that in a related post we looked at the idea of what it might mean to love our enemies. In a way this all points toward the idea of loving our neighbor.
Jesus uses the parable of the Samaritan in response to a Jewish lawyer who had asked what the greatest commandment was. Jesus answered that the greatest commandment was to love God with all of our heart, strength and mind. The second follows; that is to love our neighbor. The lawyer then asks who is our neighbor. Jesus uses the parable to make the point that every person, yes even our enemy, is our neighbor.
Last week we began to look at the parable of the sower from Luke 8. Today I want to take a closer look at what these soils look like.
The first soil is that by the road. This is the soil that the seed falls on but then the devil comes and steals the word before it can take root.
This soil is what we might call the people who reject the word outright. They have a hard heart and therefore the word just stays on the surface. It’s like when I seed my lawn and some of the seed gets on the driveway or sidewalk. It has no chance.
In todays look at the scriptures I’d like to look at what I like to call The Other Parable of Two Sons. When most people think of a parable with two sons they immediately think of the familiar parable of the prodigal son. That is indeed a great parable and perhaps we’ll dive in another day. Today I want to look in stead at the parable of the two sons in Matthew 21.
A few months ago I wrote a post about the idea that if you desire marriage and don’t feel called to Celibacy for the Kingdom that you don’t need to be content with your singleness.
In that previous post I shared where I think this idea comes from: 1. People thinking that if you aren’t looking for someone that’s when you find the one (spiritual platitude reasoning) and 2. Well meaning people who are misinterpreting what Paul says in Philippians 4.
I suggested that Paul never tells anyone to be content with their current status, but instead calls them to be content in Jesus regardless of their status. Paul is speaking against anxiousness, desperation and striving; not for laziness, feigning feelings or lack of growth in life.
The overall point was that it’s ok not to be content with where you life is.
But today, what I want to talk about is the other part. If we are discontent with where we are, perhaps single and wanting marriage, how do we be content in Jesus. How do we not be anxious, desperate and striving. How do we find joy and peace that surpasses understanding when we don’t like our current status or context.