“Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me” (Matthew 16:23, ESV)
Peter is the only disciple who was called “Satan” by Jesus. It was the strongest rebuke ever uttered by the Lord to any of the twelve – Judas included.
Moments after Peter was commended for his confession of Jesus as the Christ of God, he was being rebuked for insisting that Jesus need not die in Jerusalem. It was an echo of the temptations Jesus endured from Satan himself (Matthew 4:1-4).
Like Peter, Satan knew Jesus was the Son of God. Like Satan, Peter encouraged Jesus to avoid the cross. Peter had become “Satan’s catspaw” (Robertson).
Continue reading “Satan’s Catspaw”
“Who do men say that I the Son of Man am?” (Matthew 16:13).
The replies to Jesus’ question were varied: “John the Baptist.” “Elijah.” “Jeremiah.” “One of the prophets.”
Today, the replies still vary: Continue reading “Who is Jesus?”
“But seek ye first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33, ASV).
The New Living Translation says, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”
There is a big difference between these two translations. Continue reading “Righteousness, or righteously?”
“Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 6:1).
Followers of Christ are forbidden from blasting our horns – doing our good works to be seen of men (Matthew 6:1).
Yet, Jesus also encouraged his disciples to illuminate the world, “that they may see your good works” (Matthew 5:16). Is this a contradiction? Continue reading “Saints do not have horns”
“Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God” (Matthew 4:7).
Following Jesus’ baptism, God said: “This is my beloved son” (Matthew 3:17). Immediately afterward, Jesus was taken to the wilderness to fast and be tested 40 days.
Satan tempted him there. His temptations all began with, “If you are the son of God…” He began with something that seemed perfectly reasonable: make stones into bread and feed yourself.
Men easily err when they think of what is perfectly reasonable to them, but fail to consult God. Why not turn stones to bread? He had the power. He had the opportunity. Continue reading “Logically right but spiritually wrong”
“If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell…” (Matthew 5:29-30; see also: Mark 9:43-47).
Would you be surprised to learn that heaven will cost you an arm and a leg? And maybe even an eye?
I believe the above passage presents a great – indeed, an insurmountable – difficulty for those who believe that we incur no cost in our own salvation. Does our obedience to the gospel turn God’s grace into a payment for services rendered? Continue reading “Are you pulling my leg (off)?”
No saying of Jesus is more perplexing than this: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34).
I’ve tried most of my life to understand this saying. I’ve heard preaching on it, read books and chapters of books and commentaries about it. It all seems satisfactory in some ways, unfulfilling in others.
Invariably, I will say that it puzzles me, and someone retorts with a statement that sounds as if they figured it out years ago. I’m sorry (not sorry) if I don’t believe you. Continue reading “God’s “theory of everything””
“…from the beginning it was not so” (Matthew 19:8)
In 17 years of ministry (part and full-time), I have met with numerous married, and to-be-married couples. One thing I’ve found by this experience is that to-be-married couples generally understand the concept of adultery, and see it as a legitimate – if not the only – reason for divorce. Even if their Bible knowledge is somewhat limited, or they are not Christians, they will often say that this is the only legitimate grounds for a biblical divorce. I have this in writing from almost every couple I’ve married.
Yet, in nearly every troubled marriage that I’ve tried to help, one or both have a completely different, and non-biblical view of divorce and/or adultery. Continue reading “Five (unpopular) things Jesus said about divorce”
“He will be raised on the third day” (Matthew 17:23).
Last Sunday (2/5/17), the New England Patriots mustered the greatest comeback victory in Super Bowl history. They were down 25 points late in the game, but rallied to score 31 straight points to win 34-28 in overtime.
When a team cannot be held down and refuses to lose, you can’t help but be inspired.
But no comeback in history was greater than Jesus’. Continue reading “The greatest comeback of all time”
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21).
The Christian assigns proper value, and prioritizes accordingly. The most valuable things in life are spiritual things. Worship, prayer, study, goodwill, example, influence, sharing the gospel.
These are easily lost in the mix of life’s activities.
These are easily shuffled to the bottom of the deck.
These are easily forgotten or misplaced. Continue reading “Attaching or detaching the heart?”