Memory Verse: Matthew 17:20
17:14-21 Jesus Heals A “Lunatick” Boy
- 17:14-16 After Jesus transfigure before three of the disciples, they came down from the mountain. When they were come to the crowd, there came to Jesus a certain man that kneeled down before Him and told Him all about the problem with his son. He respectfully addresses Jesus as “Lord”. Then he requested Jesus to “have mercy” on his son—meaning He was wanting Jesus to heal his son of his problem. The problem was the son was a “lunatick”—meaning that he acts “insane” or he has seizures that make him act weird. Because of this He is “sore vexed”—meaning he badly suffers pain. For example, he often will fall into the fire or water. Finally, the man tells Jesus that he brought his son to His disciples, but they “could not cure him.” This seems like a hopeless situation because the son is helpless, the father of the son is helpless, and even Jesus disciples have proven to be helpless in this situation. But the father came to the one person who wouldn’t be helpless—Jesus. He is this man’s last hope.
- 17:17-18 Jesus answers him (and the crowd around him) with two answers: (1) Jesus calls them a “faithless and perverse generation”—meaning they lack belief and trust in God but they were also morally bad or wrong in their understanding of God. Then Jesus shows His frustration saying, “How long shall I be with you? How long shall I suffer you?” (2) Next, Jesus tells the father to bring the son to Him. Jesus rebuked the demon (devil) that was possessing the boy and the demon departed out of him. The son was cured from that very hour—meaning there was no delay, the boy was instantly healed. It seems all the problems of the boy were because of the demon that possessed him.
- 17:19 Then Jesus’ disciples came to Him privately and asked, “Why could not we cast him out?” They must have been confused because before Jesus had given them power “against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.”
Matthew 10:1, 8
- 17:20 Jesus answered their question saying, “Because of your unbelief”—most likely meaning they eventually misunderstood the purpose behind the “power” that Jesus bestowed upon them, treating it more like magic (they twisted it) than a supernatural act of God. Then Jesus goes on to explain that (1) if they have faith as a grain of mustard seed—a mustard seed is one of the smallest of all seeds and was used proverbially as “the smallest” (the least) of all seeds (even though we know some seeds are smaller than it). But the smallness of the seed is often contrasted to how large it becomes when it is fully grown. It even becomes a tree that stands 8-12 feet tall where birds can lodge in its branches. (2) they can say, “Unto this mountain, remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove”—mountains are metaphorical for doing the impossible or doing a very difficult task. Jesus finally ends with telling His disciples that, “Nothing shall be impossible unto you”—this is an incredible promise to any person who is willing to have faith in God and act in faith according to God’s will. Application: Real faith is not “magic” that we can use to accomplish our will, like healing whenever we want to or just give us our “best life now,” but real faith submits to the will of God and always points to the glory of God.
- 17:21 Finally, Jesus says that, “This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting”—meaning that we as believers should spend time in prayer and fasting when acting in faith so that we ask according to the will of God and not twist our faith to fulfill our will. The Bible tells us, “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”
1 John 5:14
- Prayer is submitting to God’s will. We should pray for God’s will to be done over our personal preference. Jesus asked God to deliver Him and then He said that if there is no other way, let Your will be done. As we ask God to intervene in our lives, we should always be willing to submit to His will over our own.
Luke 22:41-45; 1 John 5:14
- Prayer is an expression of faith. Whatever we ask in prayer through faith, believing that it will come to pass, we will receive it and it will be ours.
Matthew 21:18-22; Mark 9:14-29; 11:20-25
- Prayer can be hindered. Not asking, asking with wrong motives, unbelief, doubt, sin, praying without understanding (praying in tongues), or even having a bad relationship with your spouse can hinder your prayers.
1 Peter 3:7; 1 Corinthians 14:13-15; 1 Peter 4:7; James 4:2-3
17:22-23 Jesus Foretells His Death And Resurrection (Again)
- 17:22-23 While Jesus and His disciples abode in Galilee, He told them that He (the Son of man) will be betrayed into the hands of men and killed, but also that He will be raised again on the third day. He already told His disciples that He would die and that He would be raised again the third day. Although they didn’t understand what this meant. Thus, they were exceeding sorry. Jesus emphasis here on the resurrection is to understand that although the His death is necessary, the ultimate victory comes when He is resurrected.
Matthew 16:21; 17:9
- God showed His grace towards us through the revelation of Jesus Christ. You need to understand who Jesus is and what He did.
- Jesus is the Son of God. He came and lived on this earth being 100% God and 100% man. He was sinless. He was equal with God. He came as the Savior of the world. This was all testified by the Prophets, by Jesus’ own works, by the Scriptures, and by God Himself.
Matthew 11:27; John 5:33-40
- Jesus willingly died in our place on the cross. He did not have to die for Himself because He had no sin; He loved us though and chose to die in our place. He became sin for us, so that our sin debt could be paid.
John 10:18; Romans 5:8; 6:23; 1 Peter 2:24
- Jesus rose again from the dead. This proved that God accepted His death as our payment for sin. It proved that everything He said and did was true. He lives and reigns today, seated at the right hand of God the Father.
- Jesus is The Way, The Truth, and The Life. There is no other way of salvation. There is no other god or person that can pay the price for your sin. Therefore, salvation is only through Jesus’ death and resurrection.
John 14:6-7; Acts 4:12
- Who were the disciples trying to heal?
- Why couldn’t the disciples heal the boy?
- Could Jesus heal the boy?
- What promise did Jesus give to the disciples?
- What did Jesus tell the disciples would happen to Him?
Memory Verse: Matthew 17:2
17:1-2 Jesus Transfigures Before Three Of The Disciples
Mark 9:2-3; Luke 9:28-30
- 17:1-2 After Jesus tells His disciple the cost of salvation and discipleship, He declared to His disciples that some of them who were standing there with Him would not die until they saw Him (the Son of man) “coming in His kingdom”. Six days after telling them this, Jesus takes Peter, James and John up into a mountain alone. Then as they were alone in the mountain with Jesus He “transfigured” before them. He changed in appearance as to show a change in is nature or essence—meaning He was revealing to these three disciples who He really was. He was “coming in His kingdom” and they became eyewitnesses of “His majesty”. His face shone as the sun and His clothes were white as light—Jesus physical appearance and clothes change from an “earthly appearance” into a splendid and glorious “heavenly appearance”. It was obvious that Jesus was not just any ordinary man—He truly was the Christ, the Son of the living God.
Matthew 16:28; 2 Peter 1:16-18
17:3-4 Moses And Elias Appear With Jesus
Mark 9:4-6; Luke 9:30-33
- 17:3 Then Moses and Elias appeared unto the disciples, but they were talking with Jesus. This was another miracle because both of these men have already died. Thus they were witnessing these two men of God in the afterlife (there is life after death). Moses was the lawgiver and represents “the law of God”. Elias was a great prophet and represents “the prophets of God”. Together they represent the whole of God’s revelation to mankind that pointed to the promise of God to save His people through the coming Christ. The law and the prophets all foretold of Jesus death and this was the subject they were discussing. Thus Jesus being together with them represents the coming fulfillment of God’s promise through the death of the Christ for the redemption of mankind.
- 17:4 Next, Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here”—he understood the incredible event that was taking place and how they were blessed to be an eyewitness of it. Then he goes on to ask Jesus “if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles” which seems to be referring to the same kind used in “the feast of tabernacles” and wanted to make one for Jesus, Moses, and Elias—possibly so they could stay in these “tabernacles” for a period of time and rejoice together. Although, we don’t know Peter’s full intention with this suggestions.
17:5-8 Jesus Is God’s Beloved Son
Mark 9:7-8; Luke 9:34-36
- 17:5 It doesn’t really matter that we know Peter’s intention because while he was still speaking he was interrupted by a bright cloud that overshadowed them and a voice from out of the cloud that said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him.” The bright cloud and voice is representative of God the Father speaking. He made it very clear that Jesus wasn’t equal with Moses and Elias. They were their as an indicator that Jesus was the promised Messiah. The Messiah is loved by God and God’s soul is well pleased by Him. When Jesus was baptized God from heaven, said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” It confirmed Jesus as the Son of God (meaning He is equal with God), as well as that Jesus is fully loved and all of His actions are pleasing to God Himself. Finally, God tells them to listen to Jesus—signifying that God had spoken through the law, he had spoken through the prophets, but know He is speaking through Jesus because Jesus is God in the flesh.
Matthew 3:13-17; 12:18c
- 17:6-8 The three disciples who were present fell on their faces and were extremely afraid when they heard the voice of God. This was a common responses to those who were confronted with the reality of God. It represents the high view of God and the lowly view of man that they had. This was an awesome experience. Next, Jesus came and touched the three disciples who were prostrate on the ground and said to them “Arise, and be not afraid.” There was no need to be afraid for Jesus was with them. Finally, they lifted up their eyes and only Jesus was there (Moses And Elias were no longer there).
17:9 Jesus Points To His Resurrection
- 17:9 Jesus and the three disciples came down from the mountain. Jesus charged them to not tell “the vision” to anyone until “the Son of man be risen again from the dead.” Jesus had a plan. He was on a mission. He was training His disciples and He still had work to do before He would die on the cross. He already told His disciples that He would die and that He would be raised again the third day. (Although they didn’t understand what this meant.) Jesus emphasis here on the resurrection is to understand that although His death is necessary, the ultimate victory comes when He is resurrected from the dead and then His disciples will have the courage to spread the news of the Messiah.
17:10-13 Jesus Explains John the Baptist
- 17:10-13 Finally, they ask Jesus, “Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?” It seems that they were confused about fully understanding the prophecy of the Messiah and the order of events that must take place. Jesus answered and said unto them, “Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.” But He goes on to say, “Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed.” Elias (Elijah) was a prophet who was prophesied to return before “the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” But John the Baptist was the fulfillment of this prophecy, not physically being Elijah (John denied that), but “in the spirit and power of Elias” accomplishing the work that it was prophesied for him to do. Finally, Jesus tells His disciples, like they killed this prophet, He too would suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.
Matthew 11:14; 11:21-24; 14:1-2; 16:14; Malachi 4:5
- Jesus transfigures before who?
- Who appears with Jesus?
- Who is God’s beloved Son?
- What does Jesus point to?
- Who does Jesus say Elias is?
Memory Verse: Matthew 16:24
16:21-23 Jesus Reveals The Cost Of Salvation
- 16:21 The turning point: “from that time forth”—from the time that Jesus made it clear that He indeed was the Christ, the Son of the living God and declared He was building a church (16:13-20), He began to reveal to His disciples that one day He would be killed but also be resurrected. This would help correct their understanding of what the mission of “the Christ” was (Suffering Servant)—not to setup up a physical earthly kingdom but to save people form their sins and establish God’s kingdom in the hearts of mankind. He began to outlined the events that would happen: (1) how that He must go unto Jerusalem (the holy city of the Jews)—He will go to the center of Jewish life to accomplish His mission; (2) how that He must suffer many things of the elders; chief priests and scribes (all leaders in Jewish society)—He will be judged and endure suffering from the highest authorities in the land; (3) how that He must be killed—He will endure suffering unto death on a cross on mount calvary; (4) how that He must be raised again the third day—but there will be victory because after Jesus is put to death He will arise on the third day.
- 16:22 But it seems the disciples didn’t fully understand why Jesus had to go through the suffering and be killed. Therefore, Peter took Jesus and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.” Peter had confessed Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the living God” and couldn’t see how this disgrace, humiliation and shame through suffering and death (he overlooked the part about the resurrection) could be part of Jesus’ plan. He was against Jesus’ plan, but He didn’t understand it.
- 16:23 Then Jesus turned to Peter and rebuked him for his suggestion to avoid the plan Jesus just reveal to the disciples. What Peter didn’t understand was that the only way to redeem mankind from the consequences of sin was though the death and resurrection of the Christ. Therefore, for Peter to suggest anything different was to act like Satan—an enemy of God and one who tries to thwart His sovereign plan. His suggestion was that of being on the side of Satan and Jesus refers to Him as such. If Jesus followed Peter’s suggestion He would disobey the will of God and cause Him to sin (like Satan tried to tempt Jesus to do in 4:1-11). Peter was thinking on the things of men and not God. Thus Jesus tells him to “get thee behind me”—meaning he needs to stop and go away because his temptation to sin would not be heeded to. Jesus has revealed and is committed to the cost of salvation: selfless sacrificial love.
16:24-28 Jesus Reveals The Cost Of Discipleship
- 16:24 After Jesus finished rebuking Peter, He addressed His disciples and tells them the cost of discipleship: selfless sacrificial love. Just like there is a great cost (suffering, death) for salvation, there is also a great cost (suffering, death) for those who want to be a disciple of Jesus. Jesus says that, “If any man will come after me”—meaning that if any person (including today) is willing to accept and submit to Jesus as Lord (to be a committed disciple of Jesus) then they are also called to live a life of selfless sacrificial love just like Jesus. First, Jesus says, “Let him deny himself”—like Jesus they no longer live for themselves, but for the will of God. (Jesus made Himself of no reputation, was an obedient servant, and humbled Himself.) Second, He says, “Take up His cross”—symbolizing a person, like Jesus, who carries a cross to the place of crucifixion, which symbolizes suffering and even possible death of those who follow Jesus. (Jesus became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.) Third, Jesus said, “Follow me”—like Jesus they are to be faithful to the end. They are to keep following Jesus as disciples no matter how hard the pathway of discipleship is. (Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.)
Matthew 10:38; Philippians 2:5-11
- Jesus reveals the cost of discipleship to His disciples. Not only did He let them know that He himself would suffer and be killed but that He also expected them to follow in His footsteps. This goes against our natural sense of security (note Peter’s response to Jesus), but that is why Jesus tells us to deny ourselves—it isn’t about us, there is something greater to live for than self. Then we are to faithfully follow the path that God has prepared for us with selfless sacrificial love.
- Jesus is calling His disciples to full surrender—meaning you give up your whole way of life to follow Jesus. Your life is no longer about “your plans” for your life but it is about “God’s plans” for your life.
- 16:25 God is calling you to discipleship because (1) there is a greater meaning to life than living for yourself. Jesus continues with a great paradox. All who concentrate on obtaining life for themselves (live for themselves and not God) will loose their lives, but those who loose their lives for Jesus’ sake (live for God and not themselves) will find it. The paradox is that we have to concentrate our lives on Jesus, not ourselves, to really find it. He is asking you to give everything up so that He can give you something greater. If you live for Jesus you will find life in the fullest sense—now and in eternity. On the contrary, if you live for yourself then life has no purpose—now and in eternity.
- 16:26 God is calling you to discipleship because (2) your life is the greatest thing you have. Jesus asks us two questions to help us consider the importance of our lives. If we sell (disregard God and live for worldly pleasures) our souls (lives) in exchange for the whole world (everything in the earthly realm so that we are financially and materially wealthy), how will it benefit us? Answer: It has no benefit because our lives are the most valuable thing we have. So then Jesus asks, what can we give to buy back our souls that we gave up? Answer: Nothing. On Judgement Day, we can do nothing to buy back our souls from eternal punishment and damnation. Is it worth living for your own pleasure but end up in hell? It makes no sense to live for this temporary life at the expense of losing eternal life.
- 16:27 God is calling you to discipleship because (3) there is a day of judgment that has eternal consequences. Jesus (the Son of man) tells His disciples that there will be a day when He returns (after His death and resurrection) as a “Reigning King” (“in the glory of his Father with his angels”) and at that time there will be a judgment where He will reward every man according to his works—meaning He will reward or punish based on what we deserve. Those who choose God are rewarded. Those who reject God are punished
Romans 2:5-11; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10
- 16:28 Finally, Jesus declares to His disciples that some of them who were standing there would not die until they saw Jesus (the Son of man) “coming in His kingdom”—which most likely refers to the event that follows in 17:1-13 where Jesus transfigures before three of the disciples and they become eyewitnesses of “His majesty”.
2 Peter 1:16-18
- From “that time forth” what did Jesus began to reveal to His disciples?
- Why did Jesus call Peter Satan and rebuke him?
- What did Jesus tell those who wanted to be disciple to do?
- Why is God calling us to discipleship?
- What is the cost of salvation and discipleship?
Memory Verse: Matthew 16:18
16:13-16 Who Do You Say That Jesus Is?
- 16:13 Jesus warned His disciples of the danger of false doctrine, especially that of the Pharisees and Sadducees (legalism and liberalism). Then when they came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asked His disciples another question saying, “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?”—meaning, in general, who do people think that Jesus is? Jesus often refers to Himself as the “Son of man” which points out His humanity or that He is 100% human—but there is one big difference: He is without sin. This is possible because He is also the “Son of God”—meaning He is 100% God.
- 16:14 The disciples answered Jesus’ questions with all the different things that they have heard about Jesus. (1) Some people say Jesus is John the Baptist—a man who was a prophet preparing the way for the Christ. John had already died, but people thought he must have come back from the dead (this is not logical since Jesus and John lived at the same time). (2) Some people say Jesus is Elias (Elijah)—a man who was also a prophet but was prophesied to return before “the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” But John the Baptist was the fulfillment of this prophecy, not physically being Elijah (John denied that), but “in the spirit and power of Elias” accomplishing the work that it was prophesied for him to do. (3) Some people say Jesus is Jeremias (Jeremiah)—a man who was also a prophet that preached a message of judgement like Jesus, so maybe they thought Jesus was similar enough that this prophet returned. (4) Some people say Jesus is one of the prophets—they don’t know if He was a prophet risen from the dead or a new prophet that God had chosen, but they thought His works and teachings placed Him in the category of a being a “prophet”.
Matthew 11:14; 11:21-24; 14:1-2; Malachi 4:5
- 16:15 Then Jesus makes the question extremely personal and says to His disciples: “But whom say ye that I am?” The public might have different ideas about who Jesus is, but Jesus wants to know who do you think He is? If Jesus were to ask you this question, how would you respond?
- 16:16 Simon Peter answered and said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Peter believes Jesus to be much more than a prophet, He was: (1) The Christ—the anointed One, the Messiah, the promised Saviour of the World. (2) The Son of the living God—the closest relationship with God that anyone could have and a term that basically means that He is claiming Jesus to be equal with God.
16:17-20 The Start Of The Church
- 16:17 Jesus responds to Peter by saying: “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona (son of Jona)”—Peter is blessed meaning to be happy or fortunate and in this context a holy joy. The reason for this holy joy is because he understands who Jesus really is and because this truth wasn’t revealed to Him by human effort (flesh and blood) but because God (my Father which is in heaven) had revealed it to Peter. At that time, apart from God, those Jesus was speaking to had not fully understand who Jesus was. Jesus was claiming something higher than human observation could understand—that God was revealing Himself to mankind through His Son Jesus and that He would ultimately save them.
- 16:18 Jesus continues saying: “That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church”. This is the first time that Jesus has used the word “church”. This is the beginning of the church being started. There are three important things about the church that we learn: (1) The church’s foundation is Jesus and those who confess Him as the Christ, the Son of the living God—being revealed to them by the Heavenly Father. Peter was the first such person. (2) The church’s builder is Jesus. The church is also called the “body of Christ,” with Jesus being the Head. (3) The church’s owner is Jesus. He will purchase it with His own blood through His death on the cross. (4) The church’s victor is Jesus. Finally, Jesus says, “The gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Hell is the place that holds the human soul prisoner at death, thus the “power of death” will not overpower the church. Death is strong, its gates hold the dead within and people do not come back from it. But Jesus will overcome death by His resurrection from the dead—thus paving the way for all members of the church to do the same.
1 Corinthians 3:11; 10:4; 15:52-57; 1 Peter 2:6-8; 2 Timothy 2:19; Acts 20:28; John 10:14-18
- Every person who repents and believes automatically becomes part of the church in general. The church is also called the “body of Christ,” with Jesus being the Head. Although all believers are part of the body of Christ, Jesus carries out His will through local churches. The local church started with Jesus and His disciples, and it was established when they received and were filled by the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 16:13-18; John 20:22; Acts 2:47; Ephesians 1:22; Colossians 1:18
- A local church is a group of believers who consistently gather together in one place for the common purpose of carrying out the will and work of God and to grow in the grace and knowledge of their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 3:18; Hebrews 10:23-25
- Today, a local church exists when believers: regularly gather for edification in the Word of God desiring to obey it; are willing to baptize new believers as a testimony of their faith in Jesus alone for salvation; and eat the Lord’s Supper together in remembrance of His death, looking forward to His return.
Acts 2:38; 4:31; Colossians 1:24-26; 1 Corinthians 11:20-26
- 16:19 Jesus ends by telling Peter that He will give him the keys of the kingdom of heaven (the gospel of the church) and that whatever He binds on earth shall be bound in heaven and whatever he looses on earth will be loosed in heaven (the discipline of the church). This is establishing authority within the church. This authority is first given to Peter but is also passed to all members of the church. The key that opens the entrance to the kingdom of heaven is the gospel. Then as the church functions it also has authority to excise its authority.
Acts 2:1-47; Matthew 18:15-18
- 16:20 Finally, Jesus precisely ordered His disciples to not tell anyone that He was Jesus the Christ. They were to take the same position of Jesus—of course He knew He Himself was the Christ, but He didn’t tell everyone. Why? The multitude most likely would have misunderstood the role of the Christ—thinking He came to violently overtake the governmental authorities of their day and setup His kingdom on earth. Thus, Jesus probably didn’t want the wrong information to be spread around.
- Who did people say that Jesus the Son of man was?
- Who did Peter say the Jesus was?
- How did Jesus respond to Peter?
- What four things did we learn about the church?
- Why didn’t Jesus want anyone to know?
Memory Verse: Matthew 16:12
16:1-4 The Signs Of The Time
- 16:1 Jesus is now in the coasts of Magdala (or the region of Magadan). The Pharisees and Sadducees came together to Jesus to put Him to the test with a desire that He would fail and they would show the true nature of Jesus according to what they believed about Him. Therefore, they asked (desired) Jesus to show them “a sign from heaven.” They wanted Jesus to perform an undeniable miracle that would verify that was divine in nature and therefore proving Jesus is who He claimed to be. They weren’t asking out of sincerity, but they were antagonist—actively hostile and opposing Jesus—thus it seems they were looking for another reason to find fault with Jesus according to their own standards, even if the miracle was performed.
- The Pharisees (legalist) are a Jewish religious sect who hypocritically try to follow the law, making their own rules and regulations, and who are proud of their own righteousness after the tradition of man. They believed in angels, heaven, and life after death. They didn’t welcome cooperation and compromise with others.
- The Sadducees (liberals) were also a religious sect who denied supernatural things. They only accept the first five books of the Old Testament. They denied belief in angels, heaven and life after death. They welcomed cooperation and compromise.
- 16:2-4 Jesus responds to their request in the following manner:
Matthew 4:5-7; 12:24, 38-40
- First, He points out their ability to distinguish the weather based on the sky. They knew that if the sky was red in the evening there will be fair weather the following day. But if the sky is red and gloomy (lowring) in the morning there will be foul weather that day.
- Second, He called them hypocrites because they could discern the face of the sky but they couldn’t discern the signs of the times—meaning they couldn’t discern who Jesus was from all the signs that He as already given to them. Jesus, the Son of God, was among them but they were so set in their ways that they couldn’t understand who He was.
- Third, Jesus calls them a “wicked and adulterous generation”—meaning they were morally bad or wrong and they had gone after other gods and not been faithful to the one true God, therefore, no sign would be given to them—especially not the kind of sign that is demanded by skeptics. Signs are received not by demanding for them but received as God freely gives them according to His own purposes. They are only useful to those who have faith and not to the faithless. We are not to tempt God and put Him to the test. It shows our lack of faith, trust and dependence on Him and His word. Jesus knew this and would not play their games or do “magic tricks” for their entertainment.
- Fourth, the only sign that will be given to them is the sign of the prophet Jonah (Jonas). This sign will be sufficient for them. Like Jonah was in the whale’s belly for three days, so will Jesus be buried for three days and then resurrect from the dead. Jesus’ resurrection will be the sign and infallible proof that He is the Messiah. Finally, He left them, and departed. Application: Jesus resurrection is the greatest sign that we have that Jesus is the Christ. We don’t need to seek any other signs, but we need to put our faith in the sign that we already have. Trust Jesus.
16:5-12 Beware Of False Doctrine
- 16:5-6 When Jesus and His disciples arrived on the other side of the lake, His disciples realized they had forgotten to take bread with them. Jesus uses this as a teaching time and says to them “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.” At this time, people often made their own bread. Leaven is a substance (often some of the dough from last week’s bread) that is used to produce fermentation in the dough and causes the bread to rise. The focus is on the changing power of the leaven in the meal or the “influence” of the leaven. So Jesus is clearly telling His disciples to be careful, prudent and on guard about the influence of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Even though their teachings were different (legalism and liberalism), they represented a common adversary against Jesus and His teachings (grace).
- 16:7-12 But the disciples didn’t understand Jesus’ meaning and they reasoned among themselves thinking that Jesus’ saying had something to do with them not taking bread with them. When Jesus perceived that they didn’t understand His saying, He responded by saying:
- First, He points out their little faith. Even if Jesus was referring to the fact that they didn’t bring bread with them on the trip, did they not understand and remember the two miracles that Jesus already performed among the hungry multitudes. He fed over five thousand people with five loaves of bread with twelve baskets of leftovers. He also fed over four thousand people with seven loaves of bread with seven baskets of leftovers. If the lack of bread was a problem, then they are to have faith in Jesus to provided for them. Application: How often do we forget what God has done for us and even though we have seen Him do great things, we don’t trust Him to do the same when we run into problems in the future?
Matthew 14:13-21; 15:32-39
- Secondly, Jesus is still a little baffled at how is it that they did not understand what He said about the bread. He then repeats the warning: “that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.” Finally, after this explanation from Jesus they understood its meaning. Jesus told them to beware of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. Therefore, “leaven” is referring to the doctrine or the teachings of these two groups and the negative influence that it has. Application: We are to “be on alert” against false teaching or any teaching that is against Jesus. It doesn’t matter that actually teaching, as the teachings of these two groups were different, because their teachings is unified in their antagonism—to actively oppose Jesus and His mission in this world.
- What were the Pharisees and Sadducees seeking?
- How did Jesus respond to them?
- What is the greatest sign we have from Jesus?
- What were the disciples confused about?
- How did Jesus respond to them?
Memory Verse: Matthew 15:31
15:29-31 The Multitude Wondered At Jesus’ Healing Power
Mark 7:31-32, 37
- 15:29 Jesus was into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon (north of Galilee) when He departed from there and came nigh unto the sea of Galilee, in the region of Decapolis. This was still the region of the Gentiles (those who were not Jews, did not follow the Old Testament, nor did they worship Jehovah). He went up into a mountain and sat down there.
- 15:30 The news that Jesus was a Healer started to spread. Maybe the news about the gentile mother who had her request granted by Jesus thus causing her daughter to made be made whole instantly was spread. Whatever the reason was, great multitudes came unto Jesus and they brought those who had physical problems and cast them down at Jesus’ feet. This included the lame (unable to walk), blind (unable to see), dumb (unable to speak), maimed (part of the body is crippled) and many others—is wasn’t limited to just certain kinds of disabilities or problems but it included all different kinds of people who had physical problems and suffering. What did Jesus do? He healed them. Application: You have a greater problem than any physical problem, it is called sin. Are you willing to come to Jesus for healing? All His physical healing points to the spiritual healing that He offers through faith in Himself.
- 15:31 Jesus’ healing was complete and undeniable. Instantly the dumb were able to speak, the maimed were whole and no longer crippled, the lame were able to walk and the blind were able to see. Note: This wasn’t like many modern day false healers who pray “in Jesus name” but there is no real healing that is complete and undeniable. Jesus healed the hardest problems that could be verified—not just headaches or backaches. This caused two reactions from the multitude of gentiles:
- Wonder—the multitude was amazed that Jesus could really heal them. It caused them all to marvel when they started to see all those of physical problems be heal of their problem and start doing something they couldn’t do before.
- Glory—the multitude glorified the God of Israel. They positively acknowledge God for what He did through Jesus. They were thankful and responded in praise. The term “God of Israel” refers to their understanding of God’s relationship with the Jewish people. We don’t know how much they understood about God, but in the Old Testament healing and miracles (such as causing the blind to see) are done by God, thus Matthew recorded this story of healing to also witness to the Jews and each new generation that Jesus was sent by God.
Exodus 4:11; Psalm 146:8
- Conclusion: Jesus’ miracles prove that He was sent from God and He was here on a mission. Jesus wants to be the Healer of your life. You have a great problem called sin. Only Jesus has the power to heal you of your sickness. Humbly cast your self at His feet to seek for forgiveness and you will find it. Hear the testimony of those who have had their sins pardoned and you will be amazed at what Jesus has done. Only through Jesus can you be reconciled to God and truly glorify Him.
15:32-39 The Multitude Are Satisfied With Jesus’ Providing Power
- 15:32 After healing all those who came to Him seeking healing, Jesus called His disciples unto Him and told them that He has “compassion on the multitude”— He was moved in His inner being and willing to show kindness, favor, grace and mercy to these people. He was moved with compassion because they continued with Him three days up to that point, but they didn’t have nothing to eat. Jesus wasn’t willing to send them away fasting because they might faint on the way. Note: Jesus cared about the physical concerns of those He was around and didn’t focus on just the spiritual—although He never focused on the physical and neglected the spiritual. Application: Jesus knows your situation and He is willing to have compassion on you if you would come to Him.
- 15:33 Jesus’ disciples looked at the situation without “eyes of faith.” They asked Jesus where they could get enough bread in the wilderness to feed such a great multitude of people. The disciples understood the situation: they couldn’t send everyone away because they didn’t have enough strength for the journey as Jesus said but also they are in a desolate place where they can’t get any food to give to the people. To the disciples the situation must seem hopeless. Thankfully, Jesus specializes in hopeless situations. He would again use this as a time to teach His disciples to have confidence in Him. Application: Jesus knowns your needs and wants you to rely on Him.
- 15:34-37a Jesus asked His disciples, “How many loaves have ye?” They responded telling Jesus that they only have seven loaves of bread and a few little fishes. Then Jesus commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground—(last time He commanded them to sit in the grass, thus we see this was a different season and a different event than the other miraculous feeding). Then Jesus took the seven loaves of bread and the few little fishes and performed a miracle. First, He gave thanks and then He brake them, and gave them to His disciples, and the disciples gave them to the multitude. The miracle was that the supply of bread and fish never ended (they kept giving) until the multitude all ate and were filled. Application: Jesus shows us grace. His miracle points to who He really is.
- 15:37b-38 Not including women in children, there were at least 4,000 men. That means there could have been between 4,000-14,000 people there. Every person there ate and was filled. They didn’t get food from anywhere else because the place they were was uninhabited. Finally, after they finished eating they took up seven baskets full of the broken meat that was left. Application: Jesus provides us with more than need—His generosity points to the abundant life for all those who trust in Him. Application: Jesus provides us with more than need—His generosity points to the abundant life for all those who trust in Him.
- 15:39 Finally, now that the multitude had energy for the journey, Jesus dismissed them and sent them away. Then He got onto the ship and went into the coasts of Magdala (or the region of Magadan).
- What kind of people were brought to Jesus?
- What did Jesus do when these people came to Him?
- Why did Jesus have compassion on them?
- Why could have the situation seemed hopeless to the disciples?
- How did Jesus deal with the situation?
Memory Verse: Matthew 15:26-28
15:21-22 A Humble Faith In The Helper Seeking Healing
- 15:21 After Jesus finished teaching His disciples an important truth about what truly makes a person unclean (what comes out of the heart, not what a person consumes), He went away from there and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon (north of Galilee). This was the region of the Gentiles (those who were not Jews, did not follow the Old Testament, nor did they worship Jehovah). Most of Jesus’ ministry has taken place in areas that are predominately Jewish, but Jesus leaves these areas and entered into a house hoping that, “No man know it,” possibly as a chance to get away from the crowds and accusations of the religious leaders of the Jews for a time of rest and disciple training, “but Jesus could not be hid”.
- 15:22 Then a certain women of Canaan (the woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation) from that region heard of Jesus. She came, fell at His feet and cried (loudly shouting out) unto Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil (unclean spirit).” We learn several things about this woman’s faith from what she said:
- Her faith comes from her humility: “Have mercy on me”—she was wanting Jesus to show leniency and compassion towards her. But this also means she was aware of her own unworthiness for the request she was about to ask. She was a Gentile and rejected by the Jews. But she is willing to humbly come seek out Jesus (a Jew), and to completely disregard herself so that she could find mercy. Is your pride keeping you back from seeking out mercy? Do you lack faith because you lack humility?
- Her faith is in the Helper: “O Lord, thou Son of David”— she refers to Jesus as a descendent of David and uses a term that refers to the Messiah. The use of this term and referring to Jesus as Lord could mean that she came to an understanding of who Jesus was and was expressing faith in Him as the Lord and the Christ. However we understand these terms, she means them as terms of respect and understood that Jesus was someone great who could help her in a miraculous way. Faith is only useful if it is based in the right person. Who do you think Jesus is?
- Her faith seeks healing: “My daughter”—she asked Jesus to cast the devil out of her daughter. She had learned enough and had faith enough to believe that Jesus could cast out the devil in her daughter who was badly under its power, control and influence. We don’t know how this demon possession manifested itself in the life of the daughter, but it was severe. The mother is at the end of herself and needs Jesus to work a miracle. Have you come to the end of yourself and realized your need of Jesus in your life? Are you seeking truly spiritual healing?
15:23-24 Understanding Jesus’ Faithfulness To His Mission
- 15:23-24 Surprisingly, Jesus didn’t say anything in response to her. He was silent. But His disciples seemed annoyed. They came to Him and asked Him to send her away because she “crieth after us”—meaning she was continually and loudly shouting out to them for mercy. It seemed as if the disciples wanted Jesus to just grant her request so that she would stop shouting. Jesus answers His disciples by saying that He is not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Again, we learn a few things from this response:
- “Sent”—Jesus was on a specific mission while He was here on earth. He wasn’t sent on world-wide healing ministry nor would He setup His own government and kingdom on the earth. But He was conscience of His specific mission from God to be the Saviour of the world through His death and resurrection.
- “House of Israel”—His earthly mission was specifically to the chosen people of God “Israel” and not to the entire world. As you read through the gospels, you will notice the places He traveled and the majority of His workings were all among the Jews. The gospel would eventually be spread to the whole world, but Jesus specific mission was to focus on Israel.
Matthew 10:6; 22:9
- “The lost sheep”—the people of God were “lost” meaning they have become spiritually alienated from God. They have left faith in God and were now trusting in their traditions and the works of the law as a way to become righteous. Jesus came to show them the right way and then through them establish the church which would spread the good news of salvation to the entire world.
15:25-28 Jesus Works A Miracle Because Of Great Faith
- 15:25-26 The woman finally caught up with Jesus and worshipped Him, saying, “Lord, help me.” Her faith was humble and persistent. She knew she needed Jesus’ help. But Jesus responds to her in a surprisingly manner that seems almost offensive on the surface (because we don’t know the tone and manner in which he said it) saying: “It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.” This proverbial statement refers to the woman who is a Gentile as the “dog,” the Jews as the “children,” and God’s blessings as the “bread.” What Jesus is saying that in family life the children will be cared for first and then the pets will be cared for second. No family would first take care of the pets at the expense of the children. This points to the priority of Jesus mission to reach the Jews first.
- 15:27 The women responds to Jesus. First, she agrees with Jesus, saying, “Truth, Lord.” Second, she adds to the proverbial statement by saying that even the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. She was not trying to say that she was part of Israel (she knew her place in the illustration), but she was hoping that there would still be some mercy shown to her even though she wasn’t the main aim of Jesus’ mission on earth. She was showing that even though she wasn’t in the realm of the “people of God” that she still had faith in the Jesus to meet her needs.
- 15:28 Jesus recognizes that her answer showed her faith in Him and said unto her, “O woman, great is thy faith.” Jesus says her faith was remarkable or that it was more than just the ordinary degree of faith. Because of that, He granted her request to be done and her daughter was made whole instantly.
- Who came seeking Jesus?
- What did we learn from her request to Jesus?
- What was priority in Jesus earthly mission?
- What proverbial statement did Jesus say to the women? How did she respond?
- Did the women get her request granted? Why?
Memory Verse: Matthew 15:11
15:1-9 Jesus Challenges Hypocrisy
- 15:1-2 After Jesus miraculously feeds over 5,000 people (14:1-21), walks on water, and heals all the sick that were brought to Him (14:22-36) the scribes—(Jews who could read, write and acted as a secretary making copies and interpreting the Old Testament. Thus becoming teachers and authorities concerning the law) and Pharisees—(a religious sect who hypocritically try to follow the law by making their own standards and tradition) from Jerusalem came to Him in Galilee (in the land of Gennesaret). They asked Jesus the following question: “Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they wash not their hands when they eat bread (food).” Two things: (1) This wasn’t a problem of personal hygiene (as it is a good thing to wash your hands before you eat) but it was a misunderstanding of the law (probably Exodus 30:17-21) that prescribed the priest to wash their hands. Through tradition this was extended to the common people as a sign of righteousness and outward obedience to God. This was false. (2) They didn’t accuse Jesus directly but His disciples, but this was equally a charge against Him since it would have been understood that it was Jesus who deliberately taught them to not do this.
- 15:3-6 Jesus answers their question with a question: “Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?” Jesus’ question pointed directly to the problem that the scribed and pharisees had: they elevated their own tradition over God’s commands. Jesus continues to give an example of this problem:
- God’s command: “Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.” God wants children to highly esteem their parents including the way they speak about them.
Exodus 20:12; 21:17; Deuteronomy 5:16; Leviticus 20:9
- Their Tradition: “Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift (offering), by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free.” Their tradition means that a child takes everything he/she would have used to financially support his/her parents and gives it to God, when the child’s parents are in their old age or in a time of need, the child would not have the responsibility to give them a helping hand and not need to honor his/her parents in this instance.
- Result: They made the commandment of God of no effect by their tradition. They made a vow against the command of God, meaning that their tradition forces them to break the commandment of God. This is the definition of hypocrisy—the practice of claiming to live by God’s commands but your own behavior does not conform.
- 15:7-9 Jesus calls them “hypocrites” because they allowed an “offering to God” to cause them to “disobey God”. Then Jesus quotes a prophesy and applies it to them. From this we learn: (1) Outwardly they draw close to God and honor him but inwardly they are far from God and don’t honor Him. They might say all the right things, but they believe all the wrong things. (2) They teach the commandments of men as doctrines of God, thus their worship of God is to no avail (real worship is based in truth). The Bible is sufficient for us to know God’s will and it is the only way for us to be certain about God’s will. There are no traditions, teachers, other books or anything else that has higher authority than the Bible itself. This is why we need to read, study and understand the Bibles teachings.
15:10-20 Jesus’ Focus Is The Heart
- 15:10-11 Next, Jesus calls the multitude to Him so they could hear and understand the truth: a man is defiled by what comes out of him and not that which goes into him. This went directly against what the Pharisees believed. The reason they washed their hands was because they were afraid that they could have touched something that was “unclean” and if they touch their food it would become unclean and then if they ate it, they would become unclean or defiled. Jesus says this was a misunderstanding of the truth.
- 15:12-14 Of course the Pharisees were offended by what Jesus said. His disciple came to Jesus and told Him they were offended. But Jesus responded to them by saying: (1) Every plant that His heavenly Father did not plant will be rooted up—this metaphor probably means that God’s truth is planted by God and it is the only thing that will last, all other teachings will not last. (2) They should leave the Pharisees alone—meaning they aren’t to regard them as teachers of truth nor should they be worried about them being offended. They are blind leaders of the blind—meaning they have no spiritual enlightenment about the truth and they just like their followers are blind, which if the blind leading the blind, they both will fall into a ditch—meaning that disaster is their future.
- 15:15-20 Finally, Peter asked Jesus to declare this parable (15:10-11) to them. First, Jesus address His disciples lack of understanding because they should have understood this truth. Second, Jesus starts to explain the parable: (1) Whatever enters the mouth goes into the belly, and then it is cast out into the latrine. Nothing about what a person eats or how they eat (even with unwashed hands) effects the heart of a person. Therefore, this can’t defile a person. (2) Anything that proceeds out of the mouth comes from the heart. Some of the things (these are examples not a complete list) that proceed out of the heart are: evil thoughts—evil thinking which lead to evil deeds or sin; murders—killing that starts with hatred in the heart; adulteries and fornications—all sexual sins that start with wrong desires in the heart; thefts—often pre-planning in the heart to take what isn’t yours; false witness—thinking and creating a false testimony in the heart about something, to lie; blasphemies—to think in the heart and then speak evil or slander against God or others. Therefore, because it starts and comes from the heart these things defile a person.
- The heart represents the “inner person” or the real orientation, belief, motivation and attitude of a person. It is from the heart that we think, feel and make decisions. It is the source from which everything we do in life is issued from. The problem is that our hearts are born sinful—meaning it is not neutral but deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked or incurable on its own and if left untouched will lead to destruction. Each person is born a sinner in rebellion against God. Therefore, the biblical purpose of God’s commandments are to guide our hearts to be oriented towards God and the gospel so that we can be restored to God.
Proverbs 4:23; 13:20; 22:6; Jeremiah 17:9; Psalm 58:3; 51:5
- What question did the scribes and pharisees ask Jesus?
- What was Jesus’ response to their question?
- Why did Jesus call them hypocrites?
- What was the parable Jesus told them? What did it mean?
- Why is the “heart” so important?
Memory Verse: Matthew 14:27
14:22-33 Jesus Spends Time In Prayer
- 14:22-23 After Jesus miraculously provided food for over 5,000 people (14:1-21), He perceived that there were those who wanted to come and make Him king. So He immediately compelled His disciples to precede Him by getting into a ship and going to the other side. Jesus would stay behind and send the multitudes away. Once He had sent the multitudes away, He went up into a mountain alone to pray. By the time evening was come, Jesus was alone in the mountain praying. Application: After doing a great miracle among the multitudes, Jesus also knew the importance of private prayer. This is a reminder of our need of private individual prayer between us and God the father.
- Prayer is when a believer speaks to God. We have faith that God can hear them and that He will respond according to His will. Believers should be constantly praying and paying attention to what is going on so that they can make their requests known to God and thank Him for when He answers prayer.
- The Example Prayer: Jesus gave us an example prayer so that we would know how to pray. He addressed God and asked Him to do many things. His prayer included: His desire to see God glorified and God’s will to be done; asking God to provide for that day’s needs, for God’s grace, and help to live right.
Matthew 6:9-13; Luke 11:1-4
14:24-33 Jesus Walks On Water
- 14:24-26 The disciples were well into their journey and the ship was now in the midst of the sea. The wind was contrary to the direction they were going and the ship was being tossed with waves. Then in the “fourth watch of the night” which is sometime between 3 to 6 in the morning (this is based on the Roman system which divided the time from 6 PM to 6 AM into four watches) Jesus went to the disciples in the ship among the storm by walking on the sea. When the disciples saw Jesus walking on the sea, they were troubled or distressed because they didn’t know it was Jesus, but instead believed it was a spirit or ghost and they cried out for fear. Application: In the midst of obeying Jesus or living the Christian life we will go through hard times and our faith will be tested.
- 14:27 Immediately Jesus spoke unto His disciples, saying: (1) “Be of good cheer”—meaning they are to have confidence and assurance which results in optimism. (2) “It is I”—meaning He was identifying Himself reassuring His disciples that it was Him and not a spirit, but also possibly referencing an expression that points to Himself being God. (3) “Be not afraid”—meaning they didn’t need to continue to be fearful, anxious, or apprehensive about their situation in the storm or the event of Jesus walking on the water towards them. Application: Jesus is calling His disciples to live by faith in the midst of the storm. As believers, we don’t live lives of doubt, fear, anxiety, etc., but instead we live our lives by faith in Jesus which gives us confidence, optimism and boldness.
Matthew 1:20; 9:2, 22; 10:26, 28, 31; Exodus 3:14
- 14:28-31 Peter responded to Jesus by asking if He could come to Jesus on the water. Jesus told him to “Come”. Then Peter got out of the ship and started to walk on the water towards Jesus. But the wind was still boisterous—the storm had not been calmed. Thus he concentrated on the storm and became afraid. He panicked and began to sink in the sea. He cried out to Jesus to save him. Immediately Jesus stretched forth His hand and caught Peter and said to him, “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” Application: Peter was expected to express faith in the midst of the storm. Faith in Jesus who was walking on the water should have been greater than the fear of the storm that was happening around Him. Peter was the only one who had the faith to get out of the boat and to walk on the water for a moment, but Jesus calls Him to an even greater faith. His doubt hindered the miraculous. We can learn two important points from this: (1) Jesus wants us to do great things, He invites us to get out of the boat, but our faith has to have endurance, it is a lasting faith. (2) Jesus doesn’t want us to live a life of doubt, panic and anxiety, but wants us to overcome those fears by a constant faith in Him. No matter what is going on in your life right now, no matter what problems you are dealing with, Jesus wants to overcome them by a steady faith in Him.
- 14:32-33 Finally, Jesus and Peter got on the ship and the wind ceased. Then the disciples and whoever else was in the ship came and worshipped Jesus, saying that He truly is the Son of God. They responded to what happened in worship and recognition of who Jesus really is. They were no longer doubting. Application: What is your response to Jesus? Everything that Jesus does points us to understanding who He is and calls for us to respond in worship because He truly is the Son of God—meaning He is equal with God.
- If you aren’t a believer, then your first step is faith in Jesus. You are a sinner in need of God’s salvation, otherwise you will be cast into hell. Jesus wants to save you from hell. You must recognize who He is, what He has done and place your faith in Him.
- If you are a believer, then get out of the boat and attempt great things for God. Stop allowing the fear of your circumstances to keep you from getting out of the boat. After you get out of the boat, you might fail or have doubts, but don’t worry, Jesus is there with you. Learn to have great faith—keep your focus on Jesus as you attempt great things for God.
14:34-36 Jesus Heals the Diseased
- 14:34-36 Finally, when they were gone over to the other side they came into the land of Gennesaret. When the people of that place had knowledge of Jesus, they sent out into all the nearby regions and brought unto Him all that were diseased. Apparently Jesus’ testimony as a healer was well known in that area. Maybe they heard about the women who was healed from her issue of blood when she touch the hem of Jesus’ garment because they too besought Jesus that they might only touch the hem of His garment. The result was the same for them: as many as touched were made perfectly whole. They came to Jesus by faith seeking healing and they found it. At that moment, they were completely healed of whatever disease they had. Jesus is Lord, have faith in Him.
- What did Jesus do after He sent the multitudes away?
- Who walked on water?
- Why did Peter start sinking?
- What happened when Jesus got on the boat?
- When they got to the other side, what did Jesus do?
Memory Verse: Matthew 14:14
14:1-2 Herod’s Guilty Conscience
Mark 6:14-29; Luke 9:7-9
- 14:1-2 At that time Herod (Herod Antipas, one of the sons of King Herod the great) the tetrarch—(a sovereign ruler over a certain area but doesn’t have as much authority, power or land as a king does) heard of the fame of Jesus. Because of Jesus’ teaching and working of miracles, the news about Him was spreading. Herod became nervous that Jesus might actually be John the Baptist risen from the dead. He thought that the mighty works that Jesus was doing was evidence of this (this is not logical since Jesus and John lived at the same time). But really this feeling that Herod was having was guilt from murdering John the Baptist. Do you have a guilty conscience?—Don’t ignore it.
- John the Baptist was a prophet preparing the way for the Christ. He preached a message of repentance and the coming kingdom.
Matthew 3:1-17; 4:12; 9:14-17; 11:1-6, 14:1-12; John 1:29-36
- John the Baptist was also more than a prophet because He was the fulfillment of prophecy—He was the one that would prepare the way for the coming Christ.
14:3-12 Herod’s Meal Exemplifies The Depravity Of Mankind
Mark 6:14-29; Luke 9:7-9
- 14:3-4 Herod was a corrupted ruler. Herod was a married man but he decided that He wasn’t satisfied and he married his brother Philip’s wife Herodias. This was clearly contrary to the Old Testament law. Thus John told Herod it was not lawful for him to have her. Therefore, Herod apprehended, bound and imprisoned John. Application: Mankind is often controlled by their sinful appetites. They persecute those who show the right way. But God’s laws apply to everyone, not matter who you are, and it points out our depravity.
Leviticus 18:16; 20:21
- 14:5 Herod and Herodias both want to kill John for speaking out against their sinful actions. The only thing that kept Herod from killing John was that He feared the multitude because they counted John as a prophet. He feared the reaction of the people. But He also feared John because He knew that He was a just and holy man. Application: Mankind often chooses their sin over righteousness, which leads to more sin and despair.
- 14:6-9 It was Herod’s birthday and he hosted a banquet. At the banquet the daughter of Herodias danced before Herod and those that were at the banquet. This dancing pleased Herod. Therefore, Herod promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. The girl asked her mother what to ask for. The mother, who was obviously resentful towards John, told her to ask for John’s head in a charger to be given to her immediately. When Herod heard this request he was sorry. It is evident that he was not expecting her to ask for this kind of request. Nevertheless, Herod commanded for it to be done because of the oath and the guests—meaning those who sat at the banquet would have also heard the oath and known whether he would keep it and this would hurt his reputation and political future. Application: Mankind is often motivated by the fear of man and not the fear of God. We think about the problems horizontally but not vertically. This leads to uncontrolled sin.
- 14:10-12 After the command was given, John was beheaded in prison and his head was brought in a charger and given to the daughter, who brought it to her mother. Corruption, fear and resentment all resulted in murder. Herod is a failed king because he didn’t punish evil and reward good. Finally, John’s disciples came and took His body, buried it and then went and told Jesus all that happened. Application: Mankind often follows the example of Herod, they reward evil and punish good. Mankind left to himself is hopeless.
14:13-21 Jesus’ Meal Exemplifies The Hope Of Mankind
Mark 6:32-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-13
- 14:13-14 When Jesus heard of Herod’s reaction to the news about Himself (14:1-2), He departed from there by ship into an uninhabited (desert) place alone. But when the people heard where Jesus went, they followed Him on foot out of the cities. Then when Jesus got out of the boat and went ashore (went forth) He saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion toward them and he healed their sick. He was moved in His inner being and willing to show kindness, favor, grace and mercy to these people. Application: Jesus sees our depravity but He is willing to have compassion on us.
- 14:15-16 When it was evening, Jesus’ disciples came to him saying that the day was over and because the place they were at was uninhabited that they should send the multitude away so they could go into the villages to buy food (victuals) for themselves. But Jesus wasn’t worried about the situation. He told them that the multitude didn’t need to depart, but instead they should give them food to eat. There was no food to give the multitude, but as usual, Jesus was using this as time to teach His disciples to have confidence in Him. Application: Jesus knowns our needs and wants us to rely on Him for them.
- 14:17 Jesus’ disciples weren’t as confident as Jesus. They told Him that they only had five loaves and two fishes. This obviously wasn’t enough to feed the “multitude.” Jesus confidently tells His disciples to bring the bread and fish to Him. He commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass. Then He took the five loaves and the two fishes, looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Finally, He broke the loaves and gave them to His disciples. Then the disciples gave it to the multitude. Jesus performed a miracle. As the disciples were passing out the bread from the baskets, there was a never ending supply until everyone received something to eat. Application: Jesus shows us grace—He gives us what we don’t deserve. His miracle points to who He really is—the Messiah. He teaches us to trust Him with everything.
- 14:20-21 Generosity: Not including women in children, there were at least 5,000 men. That means there could have been between 5,000-15,000 people there. Every person there ate and was filled. They didn’t get food from anywhere else because the place they were at was uninhabited. Finally, the disciples took up of the fragments that remained and there were twelve baskets full. Application: Jesus provides us with more than we needed—His generosity points to the abundant life for all those who trust in Him.
- Why was Herod feeling guilty?
- What was the story of Herod’s meal?
- How did Herod’s meal exemplifies the depravity of mankind?
- What was the story of Jesus’ meal?
- How did Jesus’ meal exemplifies the hope of mankind?