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Matthew 16:1-4

We have read in the account of the evangelist Matthew (chapter 16) how once again Jesus was tested and how the Sadducees and Pharisees expressed what many people today also want to see, namely signs of Jesus and/or signs of God.

The religious leaders asked Jesus for a sign from heaven. They wanted proof that Jesus was sent from God (Matthew 16:1). Today there are still many who doubt Jesus was sent by God. There are lots of people who have made Jesus into their god but still are not quite sure what to believe and for sure do not really follow him.

At the beginning of our era the Nazarene master teacher Jeshua was in the midst of the chosen people of God. They had enough scrolls with ancient writings from sent ones from God or prophets who told about the man who would come to save the world. The son of man Jeshua or Jesus gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, cleansed lepers, cast out demons, and preached with astounding authority. It seemed not enough to come to see he was a special man with special gifts which could only come from the Most High God above all gods.  What more did they want?

For those who could see that preacher and miracle maker, many did not come to realise the Son of God was standing right in front of them. Today a lot of people still can not see who Jesus really is.

A member of a small country Missionary Baptist Church who calls himself

a regular guy, who loves God and God’s Word. {About Me}

got to see how Jesus was

not a shy retiring type of man who always spoke words designed to make everyone feel “included.” {Jesus’ Challenge To Follow Him}

and writes

He sometimes told it just as it was, without mincing words. He rebuked evil and demanded obedience. No one was excluded from following, but those who chose to do so found the company to be exclusive. {Jesus’ Challenge To Follow Him}

Jesus knew for what reason he was here on earth. He knew very well his chosen position and wanted to do God His Will instead of following his own will. Naturally in case Jesus would have been God than Jesus would always have done His own will. But Jesus knew he had to deny himself and asked the same of his followers. They too had to become one with him and one with his God, the God of Israel, Who is Only One God Who is One and God of gods.

Jesus was willing to give his life for others and required this too from those around him. Jesus said to his disciples and to the people around him

“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.” {Matthew 16:24}

Anyone who wants to call himself “Christian” should followChristJeshua the Messiah. We must know it is not so easy as many think because discipleship is costly. As followers of Christ Jesus we must deny ourself [set aside selfish interests], and “take up his cross (or his stake)” [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow him, which mean we have to believe in him and be conforming to his example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in him. That last bit may be not something we have to face in these times, but in several countries many believers still have to do, plus it can well be we shall have to face a time where it shall happen or that we shall be tested in very fearful circumstances.

After Jesus had died and had shown himself after his resurrection, the apostle Paul was ready not only to be bound, but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the master Jesus. {Acts 21:13} His knowledge of Christ led Paul to reassess the ways of truly pleasing and serving God. His re-evaluation indicates the profound and lasting effect of his experience of the meaning of Christ on the way to Damascus some twenty years before (Gal 1:15–16; Acts 9:1–22). He therefore wrote

But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. {Philippians 3:7}

What are the things you would not mind counting a loss or to consider as worthless for Christ, with the knowledge that Christ has shown you that what you once thought was valuable is worthless. We are surrounded with a lot of materials which seem to be very valuable, costing a lot. Lots of people give a lot of attention to what they have and like to show off their earthly goods. Today there is not so much interest in Jesus or in God.

For those who are interested in Jesus, the majority consider him to be God and do not see that he is the sent one and the anointed one from God (Moshiach; Mashiach; Messiah; Kristos or Christ). Jesus is anointed to be ‘King‘ in the Kingdom of God. This is a huge deal and a turning point for the disciples of which Peter recognised him as the Kristos or Christ and said

“You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God!” {Matthew 16:16}

Those who want to call themselves Christian should, like the apostles, grasp that Jeshua or Jesus of Nazareth is Messiah, or recognise Jesus as the Kristos – Christ or Messiah and as the son of the Living God. At the same time they should try to come to live and to be like Christ and should take him as their foundation of the church (not Peter). Paul the apostle in 1 Corinthians 3:11 ,tells us:

“For other foundation can no man lay, then that is laid, which is”,

not Simon Peter, but Jesus Christ.

“No other foundation can man lay, but that which is”.

From the early Messianic writings we learn the disciples of Christ talked about the gatherings they had and of small groups or congregations that formed. Jesus wanted that people became united under him and would come together to congregate, to gather, to meet as brothers and sisters. At their meetings they had to learn about the Word of God, studying the Scriptures. That would be the best way to come to learn the truth and to have a thoroughly grounded faith. And the roots have to go deep and become strong. Therefore each member in the group has to help the others. One of the difficulties being not to focus any-more on the worldly goods and aspects but on the heavenly matters.

The biggest thing Jesus wants from us is….us. As we grow in faith we put what we think we want aside, and come to see what He wants. Ultimately we will come to desire the same for ourselves as He desires for us. {Jesus’ Challenge To Follow Him}

To get to know what Jesus wants we have to read the gospels and learn from them. In a certain way it is also a matter of wanting to become a slave Of Jesus instead of being a slave of this world. When you want to call yourself a Christian you too should want to become a disciple, which means to be a “follower,” someone who adheres completely to the teachings of Jeshua (Jesus Christ), making them his rule of life and conduct. The Pharisees prided themselves in being disciples of Moses (John 9:28) but they had entered a lot of human teachings and rules in their teachings, like the contemporary churches also have done. The majority of so called Christian churches give more importance on human teachings and church doctrines instead of Biblical doctrines. As members of such churches people, like in the time of Jesus, are also confronted with the choice they should make.

The church in our Western capitalist society a is undergoing historical realignment. Until recently Christians have been divided mostly along denominational lines. But now Christian denominations are dividing within themselves between those who believe the Bible and those who do not.

Today we are confronted by the same choice the disciples of Jesus  and the people around Jesus had. We can either keep following those who keep to human doctrines and heathen rites or go for those who want to follow Jesus in all aspects. We can see that those who trust Scripture are now a remnant in many denominations. In some cases they are leaving their institutions behind because they can no longer participate in the disobedient course being taken by spiritually darkened leaders.

Our times are characterized by increasing scepticism towards God’s word and expanding secularism in every facet of life. As a result, biblical illiteracy is growing by leaps and bounds, and church participation is faltering.

We should know that Jesus should be our most important teacher, but that all the words of the other prophets are also of importance and that we, like Jesus, should always follow God’s Word and do the Will of God.

Though we can not be a direct disciple of Jesus, by his teachings, given to us by the Bible, we have enough instructions and guidance to become a real follower.

Christian discipleship is summed up in the Great Commission. After the resurrection and before Jesus ascended into heaven, the master teacher appeared one last time to his disciples (they were eleven in number at that time, since Judas Iscariot had betrayed Jesus and hanged himself). Christ had given such convincing proofs of his resurrection, as made their faith to triumph over doubts. He now solemnly commissioned the apostles and his ministers to go forth among all nations. This is the moment that he delivered the famous calling for disciples known as The Great Commission:

18 Then Jesus came and spoke to them, saying,

“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Amen. {Matthew 28:18-20}

Christian discipleship continued to grow when the followers of Jesus gathered in Jerusalem and Peter outlined criteria for selecting a twelfth disciple to replace Judas Iscariot. The Scripture says they drew lots and the lot fell to Matthias. These men, who had previously been disciples, or followers of Jesus, were now to become apostles, or messengers. Their intention was to spread the Word, and beginning with Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came and indwelt them for the first time, they did! (See Acts 1 and 2.) The purpose of the church of Christ is to teach the words of Jesus and bring unbelievers to belief in Christ as their Lord and Saviour; baptizing them, and teaching them to lead other unbelievers to saving faith in Jesus. A Godly environment of each community or church is key to the good health and continued success of the congregation.

even when you are only with a few nothing should resist to come together in somebodies house, like the first Christians did. They gathered in private as well in public houses. We too still can hold a gathering in our own house or find a place to meet with others. No matter our nationality, gender or bloodline we can call others to join us in peace to study the Word of God and to praise the Most High. We should spread the message of Christ and get others to believe they should have faith in the sent one from God.

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. {John 3:16-17 New International Version}.

We should show to others the one who can be a light for everybody. We can proof to them that when they together with us want to follow Jesus they don’t have to walk in darkness any more, because they will have the light that leads to life. {John 8:12}

Thanks to the faithfulness of those apostles, who clearly understood their role as messengers of Christ, we have their gospels and letters to go by. Later, when Paul was added to their number (by virtue of his Road to Damascus encounter with the risen Christ), he wrote letters to all the churches he helped create. These books and letters became part of the New Testament of God’s Word, and unlike those first disciples, we have all of Christ’s instructions at our fingertips!

Sharing the message of Jesus we can give everybody around us the opportunity to come to see that Jesus is the way to God and God’s ultimate means of revealing Himself to us.

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. {Hebrews 1:3 New International Version}

We have Jesus now as our mediator between God and us. We need no other mediator between God and us. He is also our best high priest. For making “church” we all have to work together in the spirit of Christ. Our faith in Jesus and in his heavenly Father should be the fuel that keeps our aircraft of our life flying.

With faith, you are on the go, there is no stumbling block on the way. All mountains are made plains. {Understanding the power of faith}

United as brethren and sisters, as sons and daughters of God, you shall find you shall be able to accomplish more than on your own. Surrounded by big institutions or well-known denominational churches it demands courage to step out of them and to go for a smaller church or just for meeting with other people who prefer just to keep to the inspired and infallible Word of God. But be sure it pays to choose the right path and to believe in the sent of God who gave his life for sinful humanity.

Are you a person who wants more signs than the one God has given the world? Do you need other proofs that Jesus is the sent one from God, His only begotten son, who by giving his life brought salvation by paying the full ransom price?

Are you preferring to belong to the main churches which keep to human doctrines, feasts and rites, or do you prefer to follow Jesus and keep to the God given feasts and rituals?

Are you willing to keep following the world or willing to follow Jesus?

+

Preceding

Ezekiel 18:4 – What the Bible teaches about Soul and Spirit

More than just a man with authority of speaking

Matthew 7:13-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The True Disciple #5 Matthew 7:28-29 – The Crowd’s Reaction

Matthew 9:32-34 – How others look at the blind, speechless and demoniac being healed

Matthew 9:35-38 – Looking at Jesus our shepherd

Matthew 10:24-31 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Do Not Fear – Preach!

Matthew 10:32-39 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: I Came to Cause Division

Matthew 12:46-50 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The True Family of Messiah

Matthew 16 Asking for signs from heaven

Matthew 16 Calvin’s view

Matthew 16 Spurgeon’s view

Matthew 16:1-4 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Signs of the Times

Matthew 16:5-12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Watch Out for the Leaven of False Teaching

Matthew 16:13-20 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Building a Hades-Proof Congregation

Matthew 16:21-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Think God’s Thoughts

Matthew 16:24-28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: A Disciple Must Disown Self

++

Additional reading

  1. Jehovah God Almighty greater than all gods
  2. What sort people of faith do we want to be
  3. Truth, doubt or blindness
  4. Knowing The Truth and Loving The Truth
  5. The true light in recorded words
  6. A Book to trust #2 Book of Truth
  7. A Book to trust #6 True God and true words
  8. Torah hanging on two commandments and focussing on a Mashiach
  9. Messianic prophesies 1 Adversary – Root of the first prophecy
  10. Messianic prophesies 2 Adversary – Root of the first prophecy
  11. Fog, brass and light for the eyes
  12. The Right One to follow and to worship
  13. Why think that (2) … Jesus claimed to be something special
  14. Concerning Christ #1 A god or the God, a son of man and son of God
  15. Concerning Christ #2 Divine source, connection and divine human being
  16. The sent one from God
  17. Jesus begotten Son of God #3 Messiah or Anointed one
  18. Anointing of Christ as Prophetic Rehearsal of the Burial rites
  19. What Jesus did: First things first
  20. Necessity of a revelation of creation 3 Getting understanding by Word of God 1
  21. Salvation, trust and action in Jesus #3 as a Christian
  22. A call easy to understand
  23. Holiness and expression of worship coming from inside
  24. The first on the list of the concerns of the saint
  25. Discipleship way of life on the narrow way to everlasting life
  26. Fellowship
  27. Seeds and weeds for being the greatest nation
  28. Americans their stars, pretension, God, Allah and end of times signs #2 War on God’s Plan, Name and title
  29. Jesus, A way given to find the right way to God
  30. Authority given to him To give eternal life
  31. Sayings of Jesus, what to believe and being or not of the devil
  32. That everyone may honour the Son and sent one from God
  33. Thought for Wednesday Believe in the one God has sent
  34. The saviour Jesus his human side
  35. Not being saved by faith in Christ alone
  36. Memorizing wonderfully 70: Philippians 2:6 Who, being in the form of God
  37. The habitual misreading of John 1 and the ‘Word being God’ #1
  38. The habitual misreading of John 1 and the ‘Word being God’ #2
  39. Memorizing wonderfully 42 Equality with God & doing nothing of himself
  40. Memorizing wonderfully 44 Showing the works from his Father
  41. Memorizing wonderfully 46 Believe in the sent one from God, who is the Way to God
  42. Memorizing wonderfully 49 John 17:1-11 The sent one from God and eternal life
  43. Memorizing wonderfully 52 Acts 7:56: the Son of man standing on the right hand of God
  44. Our life depending on faith
  45. Which is worse–works without faith, or faith without works?
  46. Beautiful feet of those who announce the good news
  47. An atoneless religious system or a hope giving religious system
  48. Catholicism, Anabaptism and Crisis of Christianity
  49. Christianity primarily a matter of imitation
  50. United people under Christ
  51. Congregate, to gather, to meet
  52. Jewish and Christian traditions of elders
  53. A House for God in our 21st century

+++

Related

  1. You are Invited
  2. The Set Up
  3. Sent by Christ; March 27, 2018
  4. 15th Sunday of the Year: Sent by God for work in the world.
  5. 15th Sunday of the Year: Called by God. Catholic Inspiration
  6. Are You Willing to Submit Your Will to God?
  7. Submitting Your Will to God Simplifies Your Life
  8. God First, Then Extras
  9. Discipleship
  10. Why Discipleship Weirds Me Out
  11. The Tree of Life: thoughts on discipleship and roots
  12. “Evangelism” or “telling God’s story”?
  13. A Worthy Life
  14. Out of the Abundance of the Heart
  15. Saved, healed and delivered
  16. Grasping the Gospel
  17. Get Down With the Program, Preacher!
  18. When Process Stops So Progress Can Happen
  19. The Theology of Jesus: Part 9 Ecclesiology
  20. Christ Is The Light Of The World.
  21. Following Jesus
  22. Take Up Your Cross And Follow Christ
  23. Lenten readings – Christ is the way to the light – the truth and the life
  24. Follow, Carry the Cross

Comments on: "Demanding signs or denying yourself" (4)

  1. Thank you for the link. Much appreciated

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  2. […] Demanding signs or denying yourself […]

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