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Matthew 21:12-14 – From a den of thieves to a house of prayer

In Jesus time we could already find temples where money was handled. Those who wanted to exchange money could go for that to the temple. Though God had not let build temples for worldly actions like exchanging money, selling and buying.

“12  And Jesus entered the temple and cast out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of those who were selling doves. 13 And He *said to them, “It is written, ’MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER’; but you are making it a ROBBERS’ DEN.” 14 And the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them.” (Mt 21:12-14 NAS)

John’s Gospel records a similar cleansing of the temple at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry (John 2:13–17).

“13 And the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the moneychangers seated. 15 And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the moneychangers, and overturned their tables; 16 and to those who were selling the doves He said, “Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a house of merchandise.” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “ZEAL FOR THY HOUSE WILL CONSUME ME.”” (Joh 2:13-17 NAS)

Because being around the same festival (the passover – 14-22 Nisan) both writers could have been writing about the same event. But it can well be that John spoke of an earlier incident. It is commonly supposed that Jesus observed three Passovers in Jerusalem  — one recorded in Luke 6:, another in John 6:4, and the last one on the night before he was crucified, John 11:55. By John we also find Jesus who went up to Jerusalem and found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting.

John also says something about the temperament of Jesus. Jesus was not at all pleased with what went on in what should be a House of God. Annoyed with what he saw, Jesus in a burst of rage, made a scourge of cords, and cast all out of the temple, both the sheep and the oxen; and he poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew their tables and the seats of them that sold the doves. For Jesus it was clear that a Temple for God should not be a house of merchandise. His disciples also remembered that it was written,

“For zeal for Thy house has consumed me, And the reproaches of those who reproach Thee have fallen on me.” (Ps 69:9 NAS)

Interpreters have proposed two explanations:

(1) there was only one cleansing, but John narrated the action at the beginning for thematic/theological purposes, while the Synoptic Gospels narrate the actual historical chronology;

(2) there were indeed two similar but distinctly different temple cleansings. The differences of detail seem to indicate the latter, for while the initial action is similar, Jesus’ statement (Matt. 21:13) and the challenge from the Jewish leaders (vv. 15–16) are entirely different from what John records.
In addition, John places the event so early in his Gospel that it would be difficult to think he wanted readers to take it as anything but an event that happened early in Jesus’ ministry. Thus Jesus cleansed the temple at the beginning as a warning, and at the end of his ministry as a statement of judgment on the leadership of Israel.

You could wonder why the first cleansing had no success at all. But that indicates how the gaining of money was more important than keeping the temple only for worship.

This incident Matthew is talking about, is placed on the Monday morning, when they were come out from Bethany, by the evangelist Mark (Mark 11:12–19).

“12  And on the next day, when they had departed from Bethany, He became hungry. 13 And seeing at a distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to see if perhaps He would find anything on it; and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14 And He answered and said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” And His disciples were listening. 15 And they *came to Jerusalem. And He entered the temple and began to cast out those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of those who were selling doves; 16 and He would not permit anyone to carry goods through the temple. 17 And He began to teach and say to them, “Is it not written, ’MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL THE NATIONS’? But you have made it a ROBBERS’ DEN.” 18 And the chief priests and the scribes heard this, and began seeking how to destroy Him; for they were afraid of Him, for all the multitude was astonished at His teaching. 19 And whenever evening came, they would go out of the city.” (Mr 11:12-19 NAS)

Jesus wanted nobody to carry a vessel through the temple or doing business. After his outburst of anger Jesus taught those around him that it was written,

  My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations.

referring to what his heavenly Father, the God of Israel had told His people

“Even those I will bring to My holy mountain, And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar; For My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.”” (Isa 56:7 NAS)

Therefore what would be acceptable in the Temple or God’s House are burnt offerings and people their sacrifices brought to the altar. All had to understand that the house of Jehovah God shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples. (Isa 56:7)

“A house of prayer for all peoples” indicates that first of all it had to be a place where people of all nations should be able to come in to pray. Jesus indicated that within the temple there is no place for a sort of market where commercial activity would take place.

In Matthew 21:13 Jesus compares the temple and its keepers to a den of robbers. Thieves often used caves to store their ill-gotten wealth and to plot future crimes. A temple for God does not have to be a place of secret actions, nor for worldly activities. It should be a place where people come without fear nor hesitation to gather in unity, to express their faith and for worshipping God. Everything belongs already to God, so people should know they can not tempt Him with money nor worldly sacrifices.

God allowed people to bring burnt offerings and sacrifices, but any sacrifice of a wicked person is an abomination to Jehovah God.

“The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, But the prayer of the upright is His delight.” (Pr 15:8 NAS)

God is willing to incline His ear for those who come in honesty to His House (the temple) (Ps 10:17) where pepole also could come to confess their sins to one another, and could gather to pray for one another, so that they might be healed. This with the knowledge that the effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. (Jas 5:16)

Also today we should wonder what is acceptable to be done in a House of prayer, be it called a synagogue, temple, prayer hall, kingdom hall, church hall, or simply church. We can find a lot of churches where financial activities take place. When you go and visit places have a look into many churches and see how they have stalls for selling things and often also have a lot of statues of people (called saints) with underneath a collecting box. In many churches we not only can see such sculptures of human beings but also of gods, like Jesus (the son of God – for many god the son) and God the Father, which is against God His commandments.

“’Cursed is the man who makes an idol or a molten image, an abomination to the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and sets it up in secret.’ And all the people shall answer and say, ’Amen.’” (De 27:15 NAS)

All going to such a House of prayer should know that God looks down at the earth and sees all people, knowing what goes on in their heart. All should be aware that everything which goes in against the commandments of God is an abomination in His eyes and considered evil. (Exodus 20:4-5; Deuteronomy 4:15-19; Acts 17:29; Proverbs 15:29; 1 Samuel16:7; 1 Peter 3:12; 1 John 3:22). When people live according God’s Will He is willing to listen to them, at any moment, but in a House of prayer they can find a special place to be in contact with their God.

“and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.” (1Jo 3:22 NAS)

In Jesus ‘ time but also later, as well as today, we can find pepole misusing their prime location, taking advantage of people’s religiosity to over-charge and cheat. In many places of worship and of pilgrimage we can find people deliberate making misuse of religion for personal gain. Look for example to Lourdes a.o. so called ‘sacred places’ and notice the whole ‘circus market’.

Jesus wants to see an atmosphere of pure, God-centred worship, free of man-centred worldly distractions. The House of God should be a place to gather to study the Word of God, to meditate and to pray. The Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed, but Jesus had already given a sign that in each person there was a place for a temple.

Today we do not have to go up on the mountain, nor to Jerusalem,to worship the Father. As true worshippers we can go to any place where nothing is against the Will of God to worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such to be his worshippers.

“21 Jesus *said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, shall you worship the Father. 22 “You worship that which you do not know; we worship that which we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.” (Joh 4:21-23 NAS)

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Preceding

Matthew 12:1-8 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Something Greater than the Temple

Matthew 21:1-3 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Sent Ahead for a Donkey

Matthew 21:4-5 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Your King Is Coming upon a Donkey

Matthew 21:6-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Blessed the One Coming in God’s Name!

Matthew 21:10-11 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Who Is This?

Matthew 21:12-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Temple Cleansed

Good or bad preacher

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Additional reading

  1. Today’s thought “Cleansing of the leper under the Law” (March 7)
  2. Memorizing wonderfully 13 Elija, Elisha, Mordecai, Job, chariots and a house for God
  3. Memorizing wonderfully 20 Mountain and Kingdom of God
  4. Having a small church mentality

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Further related

  1. He Was Moved with Compassion
  2. Watch Well Thy Faith
  3. How Many Christians Are Abusing the Label?
  4. The House of God
  5. House of God The house of God reaches upwards to meet with the cloudy firmament
  6. 5 – The House of God
  7. In the house of God
  8. Cornerstone
  9. This is a House of Prayer
  10. The Proper Place – I Timothy 2 – Part 1
  11. Church at Sardis-2 ‘Of whose house are we?’
  12. Of His House
  13. Today’s Theme Song: House of God
  14. I Miss Reverence
  15. Why You Must Be Glad when You’re Invited to church
  16. God’s Holiness
  17. The Church
  18. Welcome to the house of God

Fellowship over meals

After God made a covenant with the People of Israel at Mount Sinai, Moses and the 70 leaders of Israel

“saw God, and they ate and drank.” (Exodus 24:11)

the did not literally saw God but felt His nearness. Every year Gods People also came together for a special meal, remembering how the Most High was willing to come to the help of those that worshipped Him. It was the most significant meal in the Tanakh (Old Testament) that God required the People to eat and as such Jesus (the Nazarene Jeshua, being a devout Jew) also took every year, as required by Scriptures, the occasion to have a Passover meal with those he loved.

And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever. Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel. And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you. And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever.

(Exodus 12:14-17 KJB:PCE)

Jesus had more than once had meals with common people, sinners and publicans as well intimate meals with his beloved ones. We may not forget it was not generally accepted to have friendship with publican, because they were detested by the Jews at that time, because they were the tax collectors and had a reputation of adding their own greedy motives to the amount they collected. Just like the fishermen, when the master teachers asked the tax-collector Matthew to follow him, he went with Jesus, who wanted those who wanted to be his disciples to follow him in his word and not to be slaves of sin. When Jesus knew his time was coming to an end the master wanted to have the yearly memorial meal with his beloved in an upper-room in Jerusalem.

This coming week, on the first night of Passover (Passover Seder: Friday, April 19), believers who participate in the traditional Jewish Passover meal (known as a Seder) will have the opportunity to celebrate and enter into fellowship with Jeshua (Jesus Christ) as he instructed his disciples to do, the night he was betrayed and arrested.

Over the centuries, this Passover meal evolved into a lengthy ritual, and we don’t know for certain which parts of the custom existed at the time of Jeshua. We do know that Messiah’s last meal with his disciples included the breaking of bread and drinking of wine, as do Jewish meals to this day, and that is the part Jeshua or Jesus wants us to remember the most.

As Jeshua’s disciples gathered together for their final meal with him, Jesus blessed the bread, broke it, and said,

“This is My body given for you; do this in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19).

In Christendom we can find lots of people who first of all think Jesus is God, Who would have come to earth and Who would through a mysterious process come into the bread itself. This is called transubstantiation and is practised by Catholics, Anglicans, and Orthodox Christians, such as Greek, Ukrainian, Ethiopian, etc. as well as other denominations.

However, in the ancient Jewish practice of sacrificial offerings that God instituted, nothing ever transformed from one substance into another substance.  Rather, most of the animal offerings were killed and eaten.

When Jesus said

“This is my body”

he did not have the intention to have those around him to believe the bread would have become part of his body.

Jesus often spoke about himself in metaphors, especially in terms of bread and life.

He said,

“I am the bread of life”

and

 “I am the living bread that came down from heaven.”  (John 6:35, 51)

Throughout history we can see how God provide the food (literal and spiritual) for His people. The manna was bread for man. The spiritual manna now was this sent one from God, the Nazarene master teacher Jeshua, Jesus Christ.

Jesus his teaching about eating his body and drinking his blood should be taken as a figure of speech, having the spiritual manna provided and represented by those symbols.

Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.
(John 6:53-58 KJB:PCE)

Symbolically consuming the Word of God is not a foreign concept in Judaism and Jesus is seen as that Word of God having come into the flesh.

When we shall come together this Friday night we shall have a gathering where we remember those last hours of our master teacher. Assembled we shall feel united with brothers and sisters all over the world, gathering in private houses or in prayer halls (Kingdom halls or churches).

When we at the meeting come to eat the bread and drink the wine at the Passover meal this coming Friday night (April 19), we shall remember how we have been delivered from an eternal spiritual death that God provided through the sacrifice of His only begotten beloved son Jesus (Jeshua) him being
“the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29).
With our sins paid for, his sacrifice heals any broken fellowship we had with God so we can freely commune with Him.
Coming together several times a year, we remember that moment of the Last Supper and once a year we remember it especially for two reasons, the liberation of Israel from Egypt, standing for the liberation of slavery from man, and secondly the liberation from the curse of death, by Jesus giving himself as a ransom for the sins of all.
All those meals we share in the year are just a reflection of that exceptional meal Jesus had in Jerusalem. The one night of fellowship on 14 Nisan is especially to remember those liberation acts provided by the Most High. By our gathering we show our thankfulness, but also our unity with all those who remember that Pesach Seder, all over the world. With all of them we have a united fellowship as brothers and sisters, being part of One Great Family, as children of God.
Christ has made know the path of freedom by his word to those who believe him and live in the truth. When calling ourselves “Christian”, “Jeshuaist” or “children of God” we should show others our unity and our “family”, showing them we are really following the real Christ and not the false dogmatic person who is part of a so called “holy Trinity”. Jesus worshipped not himself, but his heavenly Father, the Only One true God, the God of Abraham Who is an eternal Spirit (having no beginning or no birth and no end or no death). At the Memorial Meal Jesus had with his apostles he honoured that Singular God and expects from all his followers also to praise that One Supreme Being Who gave light and salvation to the world.
So, let us come together Friday night to remember how the Most High provided for the liberation of Israel and provided also for a lamb that brought salvation for Jews and non-Jews, to be liberated from the chains of death, being thankful that those who live in Christ’s word are free.
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Additional reading

  1. Egypt, Moshe and Those who never felt they belonged there
  2. At the Shabbat HaChodesh: readings about blood, liberation and purification
  3. Commentary on Parashat Tazria
  4. Why Fuss over a Little Leaven (Yeast)?
  5. Purification and perfection
  6. Shabbat HaGadol in preparation for Pesach

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Related articles

  1. Leaving Egypt – the story of our deliverance
  2. You don’t have to try to be children of God [1064a]
  3. Adopted by God
  4. Children In His Arms
  5. Bible verses on Children of God.
  6. “Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” — Galatians 3:26
  7. A Gift from God
  8. How Do We Make a Difference as a Christian? (Part 3)
  9. Prayer: Our Home is in You (Genesis 17)
  10. Day 10: He Ate with Publicans and Sinners
  11. Prepping For Pesach
  12. 4 Ways Of Personal Preparation For Easter
  13. I Need Your Help: Invite Someone Extra to Your Seder – Shabbat HaChodesh 5779
  14. Pesach: Jumping for Passover (Part 1/2) ~ Rabbi Reuven Chaim Klein
  15. Day 11: Go and Do Likewise
  16. Daily Scripture, 4-10-19
  17. “Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts.” ~Apostle Paul
  18. Let My People Go!
  19. Torah Portion – Pesach A
  20. Torah Portion – Pesach B
  21. Torah Portion Bo
  22. God’s name on Seder Night
  23. Faith and courage at Pesach time
  24. The Order of the Passover Seder
  25. Passover Pieces
  26. For the Seder-challenged
  27. The Usual Suspects of… Pesach Prep
  28. Here’s how to connect with Or Shalom over Passover
  29. Pesach – The Feast of Passover
  30. My Pascha as of the lasts few weeks
  31. Pascha Basket Cover
  32. Passover Exodus
  33. The Gospel of Luke – The Passover MealThe Gospel of Luke: Teaching at the Passover Table
  34. Lords Supper #Communion
  35. Palm Sunday, Passover and The Passion of Christ
  36. Holiest of holy days: For Only 4th Time in a Century, Passover and Good Friday Coincide
  37. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ…please wake up!
  38. Keeping Passover as a Believer in Jesus
  39. Easter, Passover and a lot of candy

Matthew 20 Are you willing to work for Jesus?

In the previous articles we could see how people are invited to become labourers for the Lord.

We are told in the parable given in Matthew 20 that the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a house, who went out early in the morning to get workers into his vine-garden, and proposed rewards to them. We also looked at how this human landlord went out about the third hour, and saw others in the market-place doing nothing; and also called them to come to work for him, which they did. The same happened later in the day (about the sixth and the ninth hour and about the eleventh hour) .

When those who had come first to work, they had the idea that they would get more but looked surprised they, like the rest, were also given a denarius or penny. (Mt 20:10) For us, who live in the capitalist world it might sound very unjust that the ones who laboured longer got only the same reward as the ones who started later and laboured lesser hours. But we have not to look at it with our capitalist eyes. We should look at it from the point of view that as soon as people answer the call of God and come to follow His sent one, willing to work for Jesus, that it becomes important for them working together with those who were there already longer. Together they should go for the right goal and as a team should try to run the race together, making sure that everybody reaches the finish.

 

If one chooses for Jesus, one must dare to draw clear lines. It is not true to follow him but halfway or to adhere to a different Jesus than the one from the Bible. We must clearly choose the Jesus from the Holy Scriptures, whom God called His son. When choosing for Jesus one also does not have to be afraid to tell others that one is following that Biblical figure instead of the person certain churches made of him.

If you are willing to answer God’s call when things matter most it is important to keep to the Biblical teachings and not to fall for the many false human teachings or so called dogmas. Having been bought by a price we should honour that price. We should show full commitment to the one who offered himself for our sins. Jesus paid the ransom and asks us to follow him. As followers of Jesus we should keep to his teachings and keep to the task he has given, which means that we should go out into the world teaching and preaching like Jesus did.

As workers for Jesus and his heavenly Father we should not be afraid of the world and should show the world who we want to follow and for Whom we want to work. Many opportunities are there for workers for the Lord. Are you willing to step in or to stand up?

What if you were prompted to go out and share the gospel on the streets? Would you do it?
How about if you knew that God was preparing a person in need for you to meet and talk with, would you go and meet that person?
What if you felt that God was calling you to help a family member, friend, co-worker or neighbour in need. Would you do it?
What if you were told to stop your car and help a homeless man in need. Would you do it?

Do you want to belong to those who are recognised as the “doer“, willing to help others as if you are helping Christ?

“34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’” (Mt 25:34-40 NIV)

“7 If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hard-hearted or tight-fisted towards your poor brother. 8 Rather be open-handed and freely lend him whatever he needs. 9 Be careful not to harbour this wicked thought: “The seventh year, the year for cancelling debts, is near,” so that you do not show ill will towards your needy brother and give him nothing. He may then appeal to the LORD against you, and you will be found guilty of sin. 10 Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. 11 There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be open-handed towards your brothers and towards the poor and needy in your land.” (De 15:7-11 NIV)

“13  “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Mt 5:13-16 NIV)

As a worker for God you can not stand in the shadow, you have to come out in the light.A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid and therefore you should show the world the city of Christ Jesus and be light of the world.

What if God needed you even when your life and your families lives could be at stake?
Would you still be God’s witness?

You could very well attempt to get out of the situation by denying Jesus or lie about your belief system. We hear that a lot, people not wanting to be clear by their name, just saying

“I am a Christian”

avoiding to tell that they are real followers of Jesus Christ and as such saying for example

“I am a follower of Jesus”

or saying

“I am a Jeshuaist”

making it very clear that you are a follower of the Nazarene Jewish master teacher Jeshua, Jesus Christ, who worshipped not himself but the Only One true God, the God of Abraham Who is One and not three.

Or would you dare to say?

“I am a witness for Jehovah”.

Saying so you would bring up a point of discussion or of clarification.

Avoiding to be clear of your standpoint willing to follow the real Jesus, the son of God, and not a three-godhead, makes you not wanting to be open and bringing yourself on a destructive path also. However, to go through the situation at hand in all faithfulness to God, is what He asks. What we do in persecution shows a lot about our true character and our belief in Christ, even when lives are at stake. So the question is, are you willing to die for Christ?

Now read what Jesus said about persecution and how these people are blessed for His sake below…

“10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Mt 5:10-12 NIV)

Shall you be willing to work for it, that you shall be one of the heirs or partakers of that Kingdom?

May every person that says that they are a believer, also obey Jesus and his heavenly Father and do like Jesus did, doing the Will of God and not holding fast on doing only their own will.

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Preceding

We are redeemed; we are “bought with a price”

Matthew 20:1-7 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Kingdom and Vineyard Workers

Matthew 20:8-16 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Last, First; First, Last

Matthew 20:17-19 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Onward to Jerusalem!

Matthew 20:20-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: A Selfish Request Rejected

Matthew 20:24-28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Authority Not the Way – Serve Others

Matthew 20:29-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Two Blind Men Pitied and Healed

Matthew 20 It is never too late

 

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Additional reading

Atonement and the race been bought

Matthew 20 It is never too late

In the twentieth chapter of Matthew we can once more come to hear about the position of Jesus and our position concerning the Kingdom of God.

Jesus compares that Kingdom or the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire labourers for his vineyard. he wants us to to understand the secrets about that kingdom of heaven and how it shall be for those able to enter into the Kingdom of God.

Each person has a different path in life. For some it may take a long time before they come to God or before they come to realise who Christ is and what he really has done. We must understand that it may happen that a person comes later in the Biblical Truth than us, but shall receive the same promised salvation as us.

In our lifetime we also came to a point where we had to decide which way we wanted to follow. We too like every individual had to make the right choice. By choosing to follow Jeshua or Christ Jesus we had to know we had to become workers for him. When coming under Christ we have to follow up his teachings but also have to fulfil the tasks he has given his disciples to do. They and all those who say to be followers of Christ have to become labourers in ‘God’s garden’. Having become a Jesus follower (or a Jeshuaist if you want) we can all share in the fruit of our labours together, with all the saints who participate, we should not wait before taking action. As soon as you have chosen to follow Christ you should get at work for him.

Many people think that just because they have been a Christian longer than another, they are entitled to have a higher ranking place or to receive more rewards in heaven than a ‘newly born Christian’. People also should be aware that just because somebody may have believed in Jesus longer, it does not mean that they were actively seeking him or doing his will or where really giving their life to him. God is the Only One Who can see in the heart of a person. But He is also a righteous Father Who wants all to come to Him and all having the same rights in His Kingdom. He is not going to favour one above an other because that one has become first to Him or has been longer a follower of Christ.

To each person, God simply asks that we work in His vineyard. These are those that are part of the kingdom of heaven and are saved. All others that stand idly by, doing nothing, have nothing to show for themselves and therefore, have no rewards in heaven.This is one of the parables Jesus tells us to make sure we shall come to recognise we have to do works and should not sit on our ass to do nothing or should not worry any more about good and wrong, with the idea that we are saved and as such can do wrong without loosing the grace of salvation.

We should know that Jesus is the householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. He might find in this world many who own things, while God continually calls unto them, but are so taken by the materialistic goods of this world they have not much interest in the heavenly goods. At the other hand Jesus also may find people who own less in this world, but who are with their heart by his heavenly Father . At a certain time in their life they may respond and by doing so shall be blessed by God.

We should know that everyone that loves and serves God is equal in the amount of blessings they receive. Therefore, it is better to work together in this world, going in union for God’s kingdom. For pride may bring you to a point where you no longer serve the Lord and shall come to see that his reward shall not be for you.

To those that are new to the faith, we should be pleased that they at last found the way and should welcome them in with our whole heart. They may not be treated differently. We also may never forget that many are called but few are chosen, this means that not everyone excepts the invitation to work in God’s garden or kingdom. The harvest is ripe but there are only few labours that listen to God’s calling and enter it, in order to do God’s will.

+

Preceding

Matthew 20:1-7 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Kingdom and Vineyard Workers

Matthew 20:8-16 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Last, First; First, Last

Matthew 20:17-19 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Onward to Jerusalem!

Matthew 20:20-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: A Selfish Request Rejected

Matthew 20:24-28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Authority Not the Way – Serve Others

Matthew 20:29-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Two Blind Men Pitied and Healed

Matthew 20:1-7 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Kingdom and Vineyard Workers

CHAPTER TWENTY:
EQUAL PAYMENT, A CUP TO DRINK,
AND SERVING OTHERS

[“Not Equal Pay for Equal Time”]
(Key word: Ransom)

Matthew 20:1-7 – The Kingdom and Vineyard Workers

MT20:1 “The Realm of Heaven may be compared to[1] a human landlord who went out early to hire workers [to work] in his vineyard. MT20:2 Having agreed with the workers for a denarius per day,[2] he sent them off into his vineyard. MT20:3 Now about the third hour[3] he saw other persons out of work[4] standing in the marketplace. MT20:4 And to these he said, ‘Go into the vineyard and I will pay you whatever is fair.’[5] MT20:5 These departed [for the vineyard]. Then again the landlord went out during both the sixth and ninth hours[6] and he did the same. MT20:6 Finally, about the eleventh hour[7] he went out and found still others standing around, and to these he said, ‘Why are you just standing around the whole day without work?’ MT20:7 These [unemployed] responded to him, ‘Because nobody hired us.’ The landlord told them, ‘Go [work] in my vineyard.’

*

[1] Realm of Heaven may be compared to: There is something about the Church, the realm of profession, that is compared to the story that follows.

[2] A denarius per day: Or, KJV: a penny; GDSP: a dollar; NEB: the usual day’s wages; PME: a silver coin a day; WMS: twenty cents a day. Some estimate this at 16 cents (US). Whatever, it may be viewed as the day’s wage of a farmer worker. If the USA standard minimum wage were applied it would amount to $5.00 per hour or about $40 for a days work. The first workers he found at sunrise.

[3] Third hour: 9:00 AM, three hours after sunrise.

[4] Other persons out of work: The Greek is literally “non-work(er).” Or, KJV: others standing idle; BER: other workmen in the bazaar without employment; NOR: loafing, with nothing to do.

[5] I will pay you whatever is fair: Or, KJV: whatever is right.

[6] Sixth and ninth hours: Or, 12:00 noon and 3:00 PM.

[7] Eleventh hour: An hour before sunset.

+

Preceding

Matthew 19:30 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: First Last – Last First

Matthew 19 Concerning the saved ones and those able to enter the Kingdom

Hardships for choosing to follow the real Christ

In this world where most people want to keep to traditions and want to prefer to follow human doctrines instead of Biblical doctrines, the one wanting to believe what God says about Jesus often feels how difficult it is to follow in line with God’s Words.

Many of us have had to endure hardships because we chose to follow Jesus. For many who came to the Truth it took several years before they dared to take the steps in the right direction. Some do know the Biblical Truth and do follow the real Jesus, Jeshua the Nazarene teacher who is also called the son of man and son of God, but do not want to tell it to others. As such, for example, we had a friend who did not believe in the Trinity but kept working as a pastor in a trinitarian preaching company. He told us he could not say openly he did not believe any more in the Trinity because than he would loose his job as minister and would have no income any-more. That is often a very difficult factor, certainly for priests and ministers.

But also lay people have it difficult to make the right choice. Some of them have had to lose friends and family relationships, and on many occasions even had to endure verbal attacks. There are people all over the world who are being put in prison and literally risking their life to follow Jesus.

So the big question for most people is,

“Why?”

Yes

Why do we choose to risk it all to follow this person who we believe rose from the dead? What do we get out of it?

When they were fishermen Jesus had asked those simple men to follow him, what they did.  At that time they gave up their profession and their income. The thought of sacrifice very naturally suggests as its correlative that of compensation; so it is not at all to be wondered at that, before this conversation ended, Peter, the impulsive disciple, so much given to think aloud, should blurt out the honest question:

“Behold, we have forsaken all and followed Thee; what shall we have therefore?”

Peter asked Jesus what they would get, and that is perhaps the question which would be on most lips when wondering to follow Jesus or any other person. Certainly (for today) when it is all about a person who lived so many centuries ago and who seemed to have caused so many problems. Peter could not but remember that while the Master had insisted on his disciples denying self to follow him, he had spoken no less clearly of their finding life through losing it, and of their being rewarded according to their deeds. {see Matthew 16:24-27 } A more cautious man would have hesitated before he spoke; but it was no worse to speak it than to think it: and then, it was an honest and fair question; accordingly our Lord gives it a frank and generous answer, taking care, however, before leaving the subject, to add a supplementary caution, fitted to correct what was doubtful or wrong in the spirit it showed.

People should know that everybody is free to choose what or whom to follow. God has given man the free choice. His sent ones, the many prophets often asked people to follow their sayings. Every time they left the choice to the people themselves, never forcing them into doing something what they would not want to do of free choice. The same for the Nazarene master teacher. He never pushed people to come to listen to what he had to say. He never pushed people to come to see what he did. When he walked around in the area people came from their own to see and hear this special man. Not everybody could make up his mind about that special figure and many doubted his position or wondered who he really was and what he came to do.

The word recalls what is said in the book of Genesis as to

“the generation of the heaven and of the earth.”

Nobody can escape to this system and shall have to make the choice to be part of this world or to be part of God’s World. That is what it makes so difficult, man can not live in both worlds. Man can not keep to the human traditions with the many heathen festivals and at the same time claim he worships God. The Divine Creator demands complete submission to the Divine values and norms. One cannot eat from the two walls. God requires an honest surrender to Him. He also has given His son to bring salvation to the world and expects that the world shall come to recognise His only begotten son.

Coming closer to the end-times more adversaries of Gdo shall try to get people away from the Only One True God. They shall do their utmost best to confuse people and to make them to worship an other god than the God of Israel, Who is an Unseen Spirit.

People who come to see Who God is and who His son is and want to follow that son, with the knowledge that this son of God the way to god is, may find it difficult to persevere because the majority is against such an idea that a man would be able to do God’s Will and to offer himself for the sins of others. When you believe that you should be not ashamed and should not go hiding, but should dare to tell about your faith, that you believe that son of man is the son of God who gave his life as a ransom for the sins of many. The belief in the son of God should make you stronger than those who do not believe in that man of flesh and blood who gave his life, was killed, put in a grave but was also taken out of the dead by his heavenly Father. That resurrection of a man is for us the ultimate proof that a human being can stand up from the death. In case Jesus would be God, we naturally would not have any proof at all for the resurrection of man.

That resurrection may give us something to fight for. People may bully us, hurt us and even could kill us, but we do know there is much more behind the ‘curtain of this life’.

No matter what you have had to endure or give up to follow Jesus, the reward in the end is so much greater than what you ever would be able to gather here on earth. We should not be afraid to face those who are against us because we do not want to go for that false teaching of a three-headed god. We should believe in what the Bible tells us and should not be bluffed into silence by the threats of bullies and by those who want to push us in the world of human doctrines. You should know such people may harm you in this life but there shall be nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Therefore are not afraid for such human beings who ignore the Words of God and Who, as a God Who tells no lies, declared Jesus to be His only begotten son. Save your fear for that God of Israel Who is a Spirit and not a man of flesh and blood who could be killed. That God of Abraham is an eternal Spirit Being, Who holds your entire life — body and soul — in His hands.

“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Mt 10:28 NIV)

Our reward for following Jesus is that we shall be able to find the way to God. Jesus is the right way to go. By listening to his words and by doing what he requires from us we shall be able to grow in his teachings and shall find enough strength to continue on the right path.

We may be sure there shall come a moment that the Son of man shall come to sit on the throne of his glory and at the end of times no one shall be able to escape his judgement. therefore let us not worry but look for Jehovah and do what God wants and not so much what the people want from us.

“Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the LORD’s anger.” (Zep 2:3 NIV)

When doing what God wants and step in the footsteps of His only begotten son, then we shall be able to go on the right path to the small gate leading to immortal, perfect life where there shall be no more sickness or sorrow any more. Following Jesus worshipping his God we shall come to see the heavenly gates and shall come to see that those who do not believe the Biblical Truth like us may also find death, but shall not be able like us to see their loved ones again who have died.

“”For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, {Or his only begotten Son } that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NIV)

“3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,

“Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”” (Re 21:3-4 NIV)

“13  Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14 We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord for ever.” (1Th 4:13-17 NIV)

What more could we possibly ask for?

Jesus has promised us everything we can dream of if we choose to suffer now, just like he did. So be encouraged today that you have a tremendous, indescribable reward waiting for you when our king returns!

+

Preceding

Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 5 Matthew 6: 24-34: e) Anxiety and neighbor love

Matthew 19:1-2 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: From Galilee to Judah

Matthew 19:3-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Grounds for Divorce

Matthew 19:3-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Grounds for Divorce – additional verses

Matthew 19:10-12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Celibacy

Matthew 19:13-15 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Kingdom Belongs to Child-lik

Matthew 19:16-24 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Difficulty of Rich Entering the Kingdom

Matthew 19:25-26 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Who Can be Saved

Matthew 19:27-29 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: We Have Left Everything for You!

Matthew 19:30 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: First Last – Last First

Matthew 19 Concerning the saved ones and those able to enter the Kingdom

Matthew 19:27-29 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: We Have Left Everything for You!

Matthew 19:27-29 – We Have Left Everything for You!

|| Mark 10:28-30; Luke 18:28-30

MT19:27 Then Peter responded to Jesus, “Look! We [apostles] have left everything behind[1] and followed you! Truthfully, what will there be for us?”[2] MT19:28 But, Jesus told them, “I tell you [apostles] this truth: In the New Genesis[3] [Job 14:14 LXX] – when the Son of Humankind is gloriously enthroned [Daniel 7:13, 14] [for the Judgment][4] – those who have followed me[5] will also sit upon twelve thrones judging[6] the twelve tribes of Israel.[7] MT19:29 Everyone who leaves behind[8] houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children, or fields[9] because of my name[10] will receive many times more:[11] he will inherit everlasting life.[12]

*

[1] We [apostles] have left everything behind: Or, KJV: we have forsaken all; KNX: and what of us who have forsaken all; BECK: we gave up everything. We must ponder this emotional outburst by Peter as if he need assure his Master. Jesus had told the young rabbi to sell everything and give to the poor. Had Peter and the others actually done that? We know they “left” their fishing boats with family, but had they sold all? Note that after the death of Jesus the apostles have returned to their fishing business. Indeed, the Risen Lord must ask Peter what he loved most: Jesus or the fishing business (John 21:3-19). We may suspect Peter and the others had not done as Luke 12:32, 33 directed the “little flock.” However, observe that in the Book of Acts all the disciples have sold everything as Jesus directed and then distributed to the needy (Acts 2-4).

[2] Truthfully, what will there be for us: Or, KNX: what is left for us; RIEU: what shall we get by that; WEY: what then shall be our reward; PME: what is that going to be worth to us. The idea is probably: “what will be our lot?”

[3] In the New Genesis: The Greek is PALIN(=again)GENESIA(=genesis). Or, KJV: regeneration; RSV: new world; KNX: new birth; RIEU: when the world is born anew; NEB: in the world that is to be; MON New Creation; WMS: new order of life; BER: new age; AMP: birth of the world. We know the Nazarene originally spoke these words in Hebrew (Aramaic) and Matthew later translated these words into Greek. In the Jewish Greek Septuagint of the second century BC a very similar phrase is found in Job 14:14, PALIN GENOMAI. This whole verse is rendered in Bagster’s: “I will wait until I exist again.” Translations based on the Hebrew text read: KJV: till my change come; NJB: for my relief to come; ASV: till my release should come. In this same context the root for the word “resurrection” also occurs: ANASTE (“rise again”) and the root to “memorial tomb” (or, memorium) – MNEIAN (“remember me”) (Job 14:12, 13). The context is surely that of the resurrection and the after-life. Based on this the “new genesis” may refer to the resurrection in general and specifically that time when Messiah and his associate judges (1 Corinthians 6:2; Revelation 20:4) judge all resurrected mankind (Revelation 20:5, 12-14; Acts 24:15). {the Lord’s people judging the world + resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked + 1000 years}

A similar phrase occurs in Peter’s writings: “Blessed be The God… who gave us a new genesis (ANA[=again]GENESAS[=genesis]) a living hope by means of the resurrection of Jesus.” (1 Peter 1:3) Judging from 1 Peter 1:23 this seems limited to that “new birth” following the justification of the saint (James 1:18; John 3:3-5).

[4] When the Son of Humankind is gloriously enthroned [for the Judgment]: This is an interpretive paraphrase. Similar language occurs in Matthew 25:31 but there the King comes with his angels (and without his Saints), for this is the parousia-Judgment. Compare Daniel 12:2; John 5:29; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 John 2:28; 1 John 4:17. We feel this phrase has a prophetic context related to the Thousand Years or thereafter (Revelation 20:4-6, 12-14; 1 Corinthians 6:2; Acts 17:31; Luke 22:30).

[5] Those who have followed me: Read and prayerfully meditate upon 1 Peter 2:21 and Revelation 14:4.

[6] Sit upon twelve thrones judging: Though there are more than twelve judges (1 Corinthians 6:2; Revelation 20:4) the Nazarene here concentrates on his “little flock” – his apostles (Luke 12:32). Note the foundation stones of the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:12-14. There can be no question the original “twelve” (including Matthias) hold a paramount position in the Father’s Kingdom.

[7] Twelve tribes of Israel: We feel this refers to the many millions of Israelites and Jews during: a) the Thousand Year judgment (Isaiah 65:17-23); and, b) the last judgment at the general resurrection of all humankind (Acts 17:31; 24:15; Isaiah 26:19 LXX; Revelation 20:5, 12-14; compare Romans 2:12-16; Hebrews 6:2; 9:27; 1 Corinthians 15:20-24).

[8] Everyone who leaves behind: Or, KJV: every one that hath forsaken; ASV: hath left. Jesus exemplified this and his apostles thereafter. Compare also Paul’s example (Philippians 3:8, 13).

[9] Houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children, or fields: Mark 10:29 adds, “… houses… for the sake of the good news.” Luke 18:29 adds, “… wife…” Luke 18:30 adds, “… get many times more in this period of time.”

[10] Because of my name: We note this is the name of Jesus and not his Father, Yehowah.

[11] Will receive many times more: Or, KJV: receive an hundredfold; RIEU: shall be many times repaid; BER: shall be refunded a hundred times.

[12] Everlasting life: See notes else where on the phrase ageless life or everlasting life.

+

Preceding

Matthew 19:1-2 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: From Galilee to Judah

Matthew 19:3-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Grounds for Divorce

Matthew 19:3-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Grounds for Divorce – additional verses

Matthew 19:10-12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Celibacy

Matthew 19:13-15 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Kingdom Belongs to Child-lik

Matthew 19:16-24 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Difficulty of Rich Entering the Kingdom

Matthew 19:25-26 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Who Can be Saved

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