I am just a girl who loves Jesus Christ more than I could ever express in words. I am the wife to my husband of twenty-one years and a mommy to six precious children. This blog reveals the presence of God in the midst of my life story.
24 After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma temple tax came to Peter and asked, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?” (Matthew 17:24)
This was a temple tax, not a tax from the Roman government. This tax was collected once a year from every male over the age of twenty for the upkeep of the temple. (Commentary)
25 “Yes, he does,” he replied." (Matthew 17:25)
I love that Jesus paid the taxes. He was on earth for a heavenly reason, but because He was on earth, so, He followed it laws and rules obediently.
"When Peter came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak. “What do you think, Simon?” he asked. “From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes—from their own children or from others?”
26 “From others,” Peter answered.
“Then the children are exempt,” Jesus said to him.27 “But so that we may not cause offense, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.” (Matthew 17:25b-27)
1- My commentary says, 'the sons are exempt. The implication is that Peter and the rest of the disciples belonged to God's royal household, but unbelieving Jews did not."
2- Jesus says, "But so that we may not cause offense..." Jesus was teaching them not to offend. I love it. We can choose to hold our tongue and keep from offending people or not. We have the choice.
3- Jesus pays the tax from the money Peter gets from inside the mouth of a fish! If that doesn't tell you that 'God owns the cattle on a thousand hills' (Psalm 50) I don't know what would. "He Owns the Cattle on a Thousand Hills" is an article I wrote about how God answered my prayer- it is a truly great story!
Pray with me:
Jesus thank you that nothing worries you. Money doesn't even worry you. I seem to worry about money all the time. I worry about the house, books for homeschooling, braces for the kids, etc. Father, help me to remember that I am your child and you own the cattle on a thousand hills. I do not need to worry about any of it. You have always provided for me. I love you, Lord. Help me to trust you in every area of my life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
22" When they came together in Galilee, he said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men.23 They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised to life.” And the disciples were filled with grief."
Well, today's reading is rather short- only two verses. Here Jesus gathers His disciples around Himself and tells them about His death and resurrection for the second time. He tells them:
1) Who He is: "The Son of Man..."
2) "...going to be delivered into the hands of men." The first time Jesus told the disciples that He was going to die was in Matthew 16:22: "21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life." He didn't tell them that He would be 'delivered' to the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law. I believe He is trying to prepare them for the betrayal of Judas. Judas delivered Jesus into the hands of the elders. I am sure the disciples didn't catch this prophecy, but how devastated they must have been when they realized one of their own betrayed Jesus. Grief upon grief.
3. "They will kill him..." Who will kill Him? He had already told them- the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, (Matthew 16:22) but here He simply states that He will be delivered into the hands of men and they will kill Him. I am personally still stuck on what Jesus said in chapter 16: elders, chief priests and teachers of the law. Jesus was killed by the 'holy' men of the time. He was killed by the 'pastors' of the synagogue. He didn't die by 'gunman' - a bad man, no, He was killed by those who knew the Scriptures, that lead the people 'closer' to God. If I had been there and Jesus had said who would be responsible for His death I would have been like, "Wait, what? Jesus, say that again." And then every time after that I would have stared down any teacher, preacher, or holy man and not let him near Jesus.
4. "and on the third day he will be raised to life." He tells them the good news- He will not be dead forever, He will be raised to life on the third day! What is interesting to me is that in both accounts in Matthew 16 and 17 Jesus doesn't tell them why He will suffer, die and rise again. We know today that He did it to take our punishment, triumph over death so we can be with Him in heaven, but so far in the Scriptures, He hasn't told them. Again, I would have been the one in the group raising my hand and asking question after question or at least had questions rolling around in my head and asked the disciples later. I wonder what it was like to hear JESUS speak. Did everything around them become quiet? Did a holiness fall? Did everything make sense? The disciples don't ask questions so I am thinking all of the above must have happened.
The last line of today's reading is: "And the disciples were filled with grief." I cannot imagine my pastor, who I love, telling me all of what Jesus shared. In Matthew 16:22, "Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things..." He MUST GO..." There was nothing that they could do about it- He must go. Everything in me would wanted to fight to protect Him, to save Him, but 'He must go...' The disciples heard the news, accepted it and grieved. I would have too.
The part of all of this that astonishes me is that Jesus knew. Jesus knew all of this was going to happen and He faced it anyway. I remember when I became pregnant with my first child I did not want to know how an epidural was administered. I knew I wanted it, but was too afraid to know the details. A friend had researched it and really felt I should know, but I refused. I thought, 'If I have to go through it, why know all the scary details?' But Jesus knew all the details: He knew about Judas, the crown of thorns, the flogging, the nails, the cross and yet He still went through it for love for us.
Pray with me:
Thank you, Jesus, that you knew what God had called you to do and you were faithful to do it all for us. Thank you for obeying the Father even unto punishment and death. Thank you for defeating Satan. Thank you that we are free! Thank you that we have victory in your name! Thank you that we can face anything that the Father asks us to do and be faithful, as you were faithful. Thank you, Jesus, for loving me so much that you endured the cross for my sins, so that I could be in relationship with you today. I love you, Lord and give you my life. In Jesus' name, Amen.
14 "When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him." (Matthew 17:14) "When they..." They, are Jesus, Peter, James and John. They had come down from the mountain where Jesus was transfigured right before them. (Matthew 17:1-13) Jesus had told his disciples that He was the Son of God- the Messiah, but up on the mountain he showed them. The apostles saw Jesus transfigured, they saw Moses and Elijah AND heard God the Father's voice speaking from a cloud. The three apostles now knew for sure- Jesus is the Son of God.
15 “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water.16 I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.” (Matthew 17:15-16) This man approached Jesus telling him that Jesus' disciples couldn't heal his own son. It cannot be Peter, James and John that tried to heal the boy, it had to be the others that did not go up the mountain with Jesus.
17 “You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.”18 Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment."
19 Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”
20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:17-20) I believe Jesus was truly worried here. He had been with them, preached and taught them so much, healed hundreds of people in front of them, and yet they did not have enough faith to heal the man's boy. If it had been me, trying to heal that boy, I wouldn't have thought it was a demon giving the boy his seizures. I would have thought to say be healed from these seizures in Jesus' Name. It's hard for me to read Jesus words. "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed..." (Matthew 17:20) I pray over my children whenever they get sick and they are not miraculously healed. Is my faith smaller than a mustard seed? Possibly so. And like I said before, I wouldn't have had the discernment to know that a demon was within the boy. That makes me sad too.
Pray with me:
Jesus thank you for yesterday's reading of how you showed yourself transfigured to the apostles. Thank you for doing whatever you could to grow their faith. Thank you for today's story too. Thank you that it only takes a mustard seed of faith to do all things in your name. Help me Lord to believe. Help me to have even that small size of mustard seed faith. I pray for Holy Spirit to give me a deeper discernment. I love your people and would love to bring healing to them in your name. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
17 "After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus." (Matthew 17:1-3)
This story takes place six days after, 'Peter Declares That Jesus is the Messiah,' Matthew 16:13-20 and 'Jesus Predicts His Death,' Matthew 16:21-28. In both of those stories, Jesus told the apostles that He is the Son of God, the Messiah and how He will be die and rise again. I wonder if they struggled with what Jesus told them. I wonder if it had sunk in that Jesus was GOD in the six days after He told them. I wonder if it was all beginning to fit together: the things they felt in their heart, with the things they saw Jesus doing along with what Jesus had said to them. In today's story, Jesus took with Him, Peter, James, and John up a high mountain and was transfigured before them. Jesus didn't have to take anyone with Him up that mountain. He could have gone alone for a quiet time, but He took the three apostles that He trusted and allowed them to see the absolutely, most amazing thing they or anyone since then would ever see! Jesus transfigured, Jesus in His heavenly form, on earth!!! "His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light." (Matthew 17:2b) I honestly, cannot imagine witnessing it. I think I would have fallen to the ground, prostrate, and been quiet and still, but not Peter...
4 "Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (Matthew 17:4) How funny is Peter? He speaks like this is a totally normal event, and that Elijah and Moses have come down from heaven to camp on the side of a mountain with them for days. I think he's cute, but not really understanding the power of the moment.
5" While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him, I am well pleased. Listen to him!” (Matthew 17:5) "While he was still speaking..." Peter was still rambling on and on with what he could do for Jesus, Elijah, and Moses, that GOD HAD TO CUT HIM OFF! Peter apparently didn't see a 'bright cloud covering them' and close his mouth. God had to begin talking to wake Peter up from seeing all of this as a casual event and get him to see it as it really was- a one-hundred percent God moment! I personally feel like Peter many times. I not quick to see the supernatural in my own life. Many times, when I am going through a difficult time and I am praying day in and day out for a release, I fail to see all the little things God is doing for my freedom. I get overwhelmed by what I can see, that I don't see what God is up to. So, what does God say to Peter, James and John? "This is my Son, whom I love; with him, I am well pleased. Listen to him!” (Matthew 17:5b) If the apostles had, had any doubt who Jesus was, this should have killed all and any doubt. His transfiguration AND God the Father speaking directly to them from a cloud, should really have made it all very clear. How amazing is Jesus, God, for allowing them to be a part of His transfiguration! I would like to think that they never forgot it. I'd like to think that it was this event that helped them get through Jesus' death and resurrection and ascension. I've never had a God moment like they did, but I have had God encounters in my life and when I think back on what Jesus has done for me I have the faith to keep on going.
6 "When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified.7 But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.”8 When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus." (Matthew 17:6-8) Now that seems more like it..."they fell facedown to the ground, terrified." They got it! They understood the holiness of the moment. I love that Jesus tells them, "Don't be afraid," because it seems like the right thing to be, but Jesus assures them that it's all going to be okay, (as He always does).
9 "As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”
10 The disciples asked him, “Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?”
11 Jesus replied, “To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things.12 But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.”13 Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist." (Matthew 17:9-13)
I think after an event like that I would have been quiet for days, but they felt free enough to ask Jesus questions so they could accept all that they had seen. So, my understanding is that Moses appeared to represent the Old Covenant-the promise of a Savior, and Elijah came as the one who restores. They were asking, 'If you are the Son of God, how come Elijah hasn't come to all the people first?' Jesus tells them that he did come, through John the Baptist.
It is all clear. Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus is the promised One. Now they know.
Pray with me:
Jesus thank you for being all we ever need. Thank you for your patience in seeing the truth of who you are. Help me to trust all that you say. Help me to grow in your truth. Help me to see you in my daily life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
21 "From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life." (Matthew 16:21)
If we look back to Matthew 16:13-20, or Morning Moments with God: Day 70, we read, "Peter Declares Jesus as Messiah." In that passage we find Jesus asking His disciples, "Who do you say that I am?" and Peter declares, "You are Messiah, Son of the Living God." (Matthew 16:16) So, in today's verses we find, "From that time on..." (Matthew 16:21a) which refers to the time that Jesus confirms Peter's statement of truth, that Jesus is indeed the Messiah, Son of God. From the time in which Peter declares the truth of who Jesus is, Jesus began to explain to the apostles about His own future suffering and death and resurrection. He was preparing them for the future.
22 "Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” (Matthew 16:22)
I honestly cannot imagine living side by side with Jesus, seeing His kindness, compassion, and miracles and then hearing the words about His brutal death. For me, in accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior I have never known such love, forgiveness, and healing. I feel like I would have blurted out the same words of Peter. My brain would not have been able to comprehend losing Jesus and losing Him in that way. I could see myself doing whatever I could to keep Him alive and protecting Him- the One person who loves me unconditionally.
23 "Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” (Matthew16:23)
Ouch! Jesus wasn't saying that Peter was Satan, but that because Peter didn't speak what was of God, then Peter was speaking what the enemy, Satan, had put in Peter's mind to say. Why do we always think that in following Jesus life will be easy? Clearly, for the disciples' life wasn't going to be easy, but I love how Jesus began to prepare them for the things they would have to face if they stayed true to Him.
24 "Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.
28 “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” Matthew 16:24-28)
And here it is, the Call to follow Jesus: 1) 'deny themselves,' 2) 'take up their cross,' and 3) 'follow me.' Each statement is hard. 'Deny yourself'- deny what you want for your life- surrender everything to God. Dreams, ambitions, traditions etc. Surrender everything and allow the Lord to put in your life what He has for you. 2) Take up your cross- my commentary states, "Cross-bearing is a willingness to suffer and die for the Lord's sake. and 3 Follow me- Live the life that Jesus did. That is what Jesus calls each of us to do: Deny, bear the cross, and follow Him. Can we do it?
Pray with me:
Jesus thank you for being so beautiful, so wonderful, so loving, so forgiving, that it makes following you desirable. Jesus, I pray that I will, with each day, deny myself, pick up my cross and follow you. Help me, Jesus, to be faithful. Help me to run to you when I am afraid. Help me to stand strong. I surrender my life to you now and pray against a rebellious spirit that wants to do things my way, and pray for a humble, gentle spirit. I accept the plans you have for my life and surrender my plans. I want to follow you with a whole heart. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Take a moment. Answer Jesus' question: "Who do you say I am?" Who do you believe Jesus is? I've been thinking about how to describe my faith to someone and I've come up with: God is God and I believe Him. That's my faith in a nutshell. It answers every question. Why does God love me? God is God and I believe Him. Why did God allow Dad to die? God is God and I believe Him. I believe Jesus is God- God of the universe and creator of all living things. I believe God-Jesus died for my sins, rose again with healing in His wings and sits on the throne of God in heaven. I believe that Jesus is greater and smarter than me. I believe He loves and is more compassionate than me. I believe God has a plan and it is a good one. I believe whatever happens in my life, as I have yielded my life to Him, He is with me and is guiding me on the best path for my life. I trust Him.
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”20 Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah." (Matthew 16: 13-20)
There are many different interpretations of what Jesus meant when He said, "And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it." I'm not sure exactly what Jesus meant, but when I look at Peter's life and what He allowed God to do through him, I think Peter was the rock of the church. He was the one who waited for Holy Spirit and the tongues of fire to come! He was the one who had the vision, "11 He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners.12 It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds.13 Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.” (Acts 10:11-13) It was through Peter that the converted Jews were set free from the Law of only eating certain foods. But what comes to me as I'm rereading Jesus' words to Peter is that Jesus knows that Peter will betray Him and still God will use him to spread the Gospel of our risen Lord to the ends of the earth. Jesus' words may have been to encourage Peter in the time Jesus was suffering on the cross and Peter felt guilt and shame. Maybe these very words of Jesus were ringing in his ears when Peter was at his lowest. I know for me, when I am at my lowest I run to the words of Jesus. He is my comfort.
Pray with me:
Jesus, thank you for who you are. Thank you for being my God- the God who heals the masses, the God who selflessly gives up His own quiet time to allow the crowds to follow you, the God who is wise, the God who is not afraid of man, the God who speaks truth no matter the consequence, the God who rewards His followers and encourages them. Thank you for calling me your own. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
5 "When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread.6 “Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
7 They discussed this among themselves and said, “It is because we didn’t bring any bread.” (Matthew 16:5-7) I am truly enjoying these verses. It reminds me of what seems to happen between my kids and I EVERY day! In this story we see the disciples were thinking about earthly matters, but Jesus was thinking about heavenly ones. The disciples forgot the bread. I'm sure they were worried about what they were going to eat and worried about disappointing Jesus. Jesus was thinking about His last encounter with the Pharisees and Sadducees and how they demanded a sign. (Matthew 16:1-4) And just at that moment, when both were deep in thought, Jesus said, "Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees." The disciples thought Jesus was talking about the yeast in the bread -the bread, that is, that they forgot to bring! Perfect confusion! Happens every day! But no, Jesus was comparing the Pharisees and Sadducees teachings to yeast. The yeast of sin, and pride! Once the yeast of sin is in your life it will multiply out of control. Jesus was warning them to be careful of the lies the Pharisees and Sadducees spread.
8 "Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread?9 Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered?10 Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered?11 How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”12 Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees." (Matthew 16:8-12) Here Jesus reminds them of the miracles of feeding the four and five thousand people, which was how He can make something from nothing. The disciples did not need to worry about forgetting the bread because Jesus could have remedied that in one second. What He wants them to be concerned about and on guard about is the teachings of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Pray with me: Jesus, I am sorry for all the times, every day in fact, that I have my eyes fixed on the concerns of this world and not on you. Forgive me for not trusting you and seeing the big picture. Lord, thank you for your patience and desire to see me made whole. I love you with all my heart. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
16 "The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven." (Matthew 16:1)
Whenever I see, 'The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus...' I know the following verses aren't going to be good, but when I read, '...and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven,' well, let's just say, I get a pit in my stomach and have a hard time reading what follows. It makes me think of a scary scene in a movie. All of a sudden, everything is silent. Then, you begin to see a dark, silhouette looming around. You close your eyes in fear. And then it happens! It's the gripping scene that makes you wish the murderer had been caught or the police arrived on the scene before he had a chance to commit his crime. In other words, I wish the Pharisees and Sadducees had not approached Jesus. I wish someone would have talked sense to them. I wish the ending of this story was that they got saved, but the truth is-it never happens.
2 "He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’3 and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.4 A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Jesus then left them and went away." (Matthew 16:2-4)
Whew! Jesus saves the day! He is wise and not tricked by the Pharisees and Sadducees. (Not that I thought He would be, but it is hard to watch them try to trap Jesus). Jesus points out their failure to understand who He really is. These men, His accusers, of all people should know the Scriptures and know that it was time for the Son of God to come and save His people, but they chose not to. I say, 'chose' not to because, like everything we do in our lives, we have choices. The choice to believe that Jesus is who He says He is or deny His deity. The choice to follow Jesus or go our own way. The choice to obey what we know Holy Spirit is telling us to do or ignore it and do what we want. The choice to spend money we don't have, and live a life we are not able to sustain or to live simply and have peace. The choice to stay in a church that is not challenging us to grow in the Lord, or leave and find one that does. The Pharisees and Sadducees had a choice and their decision denied Christ.
Pray with me:
Jesus, I pray that I will never be like the Pharisees and Sadducees. I pray that I will read the Scriptures, understand them as you intended, and obey you completely. Help me to respond to you and Holy Spirit. Lord, I pray to be close to you all my days. I want to know you more and more each day. May I never be far from your heart. In Jesus' Name, Amen.