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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!

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

Matthew 19:16-24 – Difficulty of Rich Entering the Kingdom

|| Mark 10:17-25; Luke 18:18-25

MT19:16 And, look! a [young] person[1] approached Jesus, asking, “Teacher, what good shall I do[2] so that I might have everlasting life?”[3] MT19:17 Jesus told him, “Why do you ask me about some ‘good’?[4] [Only] One is ‘good’.[5] But if you wish to enter Life,[6] observe the commandments.”[7] MT19:18 This person answered, “Which [commandments]?” Jesus responded: “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false testimony,’ MT19:19 ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” [Exodus 20:13-16] MT19:20 The young man told Jesus, “I have guarded myself regarding all of these.[8] What more am I lacking?”[9] MT19:21 Jesus said to him, “If you wish perfection[10] leave and sell your belongings[11] and give to the poor[12] – then you will have treasure in heaven – and [then] come be my follower.”[13] MT19:22 But having heard this statement the young man departed very depressed,[14] for he had many possessions.[15] MT19:23 Now Jesus told his disciples, “I tell you this truth: Rich people will only enter the Realm of Heaven with great difficulty.[16] MT19:24 In addition I tell you this: It is easier for a camel to enter through a needle’s eye[17] than for rich people to enter the Realm of Heaven.”

*

[1] A [young] person: Revealed in verse 20.

[2] Teacher, what good shall I do: Mark 10:17 adds, “… a certain man ran up and fell upon his knees before him and put the question to him: ‘Good Teacher, what must I do…’” He addresses Jesus as “Good Teacher.” Luke 18:18 adds, “… a certain (religious) ruler.” Therefore, a young rabbi. The Received Text (KJV) has, “Good Teacher.”

[3] Everlasting life: The Greek is ZOEN AIONION. Or, KJV: eternal life; RHM: life age-abiding; TCNT: immortal life; BECK: everlasting life. See word studies else where by researching AION or everlasting life.

[4] Why do you ask me about some ‘good’: This response has resulted in much commentary. If Jesus were “God” one wonders why he would resist a title with the word “good” in it. The Lesson of Eden is that only Yehowah can determine what is ‘good’ and this is not the responsibility of Messiah. Research the word good or AGATHOS (from which the name Agatha comes). Note that the Nazarene’s response is to point to the Ten Commandments and the Law. He does not originate his own philosophy.

[5] [Only] One is ‘good’: Or, KJV: none is good but one, that is, God; ASV: One there is who is good; KNX: God is good, and he only; WMS: there is only one who is perfectly good; ABUV: One is the Good. The subject is absolute or ultimate Good. No one would argue that Jesus was no a “good man.” Note John 7:12. Compare also how others are described as “good.” (2 Samuel 18:27; Proverbs 14:14) Jesus recognizes there are good people (Matthew 12:35; Luke 6:45; Romans 5:7). Surely Jesus refers to his Father, Yehowah.

[6] To enter Life: It may be argued that “Life” here is something like John 5:24 and 1 John 3:14. Thus “Life” means the new Life within the Realm of Heaven – the Church. Others will limit it to that future Life though both may be include.

[7] Observe the commandments: It is possible Jesus speaks to a young Jewish rabbi. Note the commandments Jesus lists. It will startle some what he has omitted in a list of his own choosing: the Name and the Sabbath. Jesus goes on to quote Exodus 20:13-16 then skipping back to Exodus 20:12. He also quotes what he calls late the Second Greatest Commandment: Leviticus 19:18.

[8] I have guarded myself regarding all of these: The KJV version adds: “… from my youth up.” Or, ASV: all these things have I observed; WEY: carefully obeyed.

[9] What more am I lacking: Or, NEB: where do I still fall short; BER: how do I still fall behind; WEY: what more is required. One wonders if there is some self-righteous hypocrisy here. However, Paul himself claims such rigorous righteousness or obedience to the law (Philippians 3:6).

[10] If you wish perfection: Or, KNX: if thou hast a mind to be perfect; NEB: if you wish to go the whole way; NASB: to be complete. To the Nazarene spiritual perfection will involve charity. See notes on Matthew 5:48. – Perfect: This is the Greek word TELEIOI from TELOS (= “end”) and may be rendered “complete, mature, fulfilled.”

[11] Leave and sell your belongings: Or, RHM: withdraw! sell thy substance; go and sell your possessions. Note how in Luke 12:32, 33 Jesus tells his “little flock” the same thing. Note their response in Acts 2:44, 45; Acts 4:34-37.

[12] Give to the poor: The man could divest himself of his possessions in any manner of ways: giving it to his family, hiding investments. Jesus gives no hint that he expects the man to contribute to him though never was there a poorer man on earth (2 Corinthians 8:9). The young rabbi must say goodbye to all his belongings – strip himself from material attachment and desire.

[13] And [then] come be my follower: Note he must do this before becoming a follower or disciple of Jesus. It is possible “follower” means a member of the Nazarene’s private entourage of apostles.

[14] The young man departed very depressed: Or, KJV: he went away sorrowful; NASB: he went away grieved; KNX: sad of heart; RIEU: in gloom; WMS: in deep distress; PME: crestfallen. We watch our Lord’s eyes as he follows the young man as he leaves and we note a slight expression of pity. We would like to know the future of this young rabbi. Did he follow later, become an angry opposer screaming for crucifixion, or merely indifferent. We wonder at his death what thoughts he must have had.

[15] Many possessions: Or, NASB: owned much property; NEB: a man of great wealth; BECK: very rich.

[16] Rich people will only enter the Realm of Heaven with great difficulty: Perhaps of all the teachings of the Nazarene this is the one most disliked by western capitalist society. While the world struggles to be rich Jesus warns of the great difficulty in such conflicting lifestyles and ideals. Compare the notes on Matthew 5:42 and Matthew 6:25. Or, KJV: a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven; ASV: it is hard for a rich man; MON: a rich man will find it difficult. Though the celestial realm of God is the final goal, Jesus makes it clear that it will be very hard for a rich person to become a Christian and gain membership in the Realm of Profession. Note Paul’s counsel to the rich at 1 Timothy 6:17-19. Throughout the Gospel Age there have been wealthy Christians who gave all to help others, while others used their riches to forward the Gospel message. Research the words rich and riches. In Bible terms “rich” means having a surplus (Mark 12:44; 2 Corinthians 8:14).

[17] Camel to enter through a needle’s eye: The Lamsa translation of the Aramaic has this ‘a rope through the needle’s eye.’ Some understand it is the difficulty a camel has in crawling through a very narrow gate to enter a city. It must get on its knees and move forward with difficulty. The Nazarene does not say it is impossible nor does he rule it out altogether. He just says it will be difficult for a rich person to give attention to discipleship while torn over riches. The conflict between love and greed is the struggle between self and others.

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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-like

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

Matthew 19:3-9 – Grounds for Divorce

|| Mark 10:1-12

MT19:3 And now Pharisees approached Jesus to tempt him,[1] asking, “Is it permissible to divorce[2] a woman for any cause?”[3] MT19:4 Jesus responded to their question by saying, “Did you never read[4] that the One who created male and female[5] [Genesis 1:26, 27] from the Beginning[6] made them MT19:5 and He said:[7] ‘On account of this a man will leave behind his father and mother and he will stick[8] to his woman; and the two will become one flesh’? [Genesis 2:24] MT19:6 So, they are no longer two but one[9] flesh. Therefore, whatever The God[10] has yoked together,[11] let no person divide them.”[12] MT19:7 Now the Pharisees asked him, “So why does Moses command a paper of dismissal and divorce?”[13] [Deuteronomy 24:1-4] MT19:8 Jesus answered them, “Moses conceded the divorcing of your women because of your hardheartedness.[14] But it was not so in the Beginning. MT19:9 I tell you this: that whoever divorces his woman[15] not for the reason of sexual immorality[16] and marries another,[17] commits adultery.”

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[1] To tempt him: See Matthew 16:1 where they first test him.

[2] Is it permissible to divorce: One wonders why the Pharisees ask this question as a test of Jesus. It is possible that because there was considerable disagreement on this subject among the Jews, they had found a perplexing question very difficult to answer without offending someone (Shammai versus Hillel schools of thought). We are very interested in how Jesus will handle this. Will he compromise? Will he rationalize an answer favorable to all? The question may also be rendered: RSV: Is it lawful.

“Divorce” in Hebrew carries several meanings: Deuteronomy 22:19, “send away”; Leviticus 22:13, “drive out”; Deuteronomy 24:1, 3 “a bill of divorcement” means literally in Hebrew, “a book of cutting off.” Regarding Jewish divorce see Josephus (Jewish Antiquities, XV, 259 [vii, 10]; 4. 8. 23). Note that in Malachi 2:16 Yehowah says, “I hate divorce.”

[3] For any cause: The problem resulted from the Jewish interpretation of Deuteronomy 24:1-4. Jewish men could divorce for almost any reason. This could include, according to at least one rabbi, that if a man found a more desirable and lovely woman. Note, however, that the Law did not provide for a woman divorcing her husband. On this compare the notes on Matthew 19:9.

[4] Did you never read: This introduction has a degree of cutting sarcasm to it: these are pompous and arrogant teachers of the Law who have studied the Torah completely. Jesus is not unaware of their hidden agenda.

[5] The One who created male and female: Jesus means Yehowah in the designation “the One.” He alludes to Genesis 1:26, 27.

[6] Beginning: Jesus uses the word in relation to the creation of humankind. It is the Greek ARCHES.

[7] He said: Jesus nowhere hints that he believed this One to be himself as Jehovah. We also may draw the conclusion that Jesus believed the account of Genesis. Jesus here quotes Genesis 2:24.

[8] Stick: Or, KJV: cleave; RSV: joined. The Greek is KOLLETHESETAI. It is drawn from the root KOLLA which means to “glue.”

[9] No longer two but one: Or, NEB: it follows that they are no longer two individuals; PME: no longer two separate people, but one. We must make a note that this word “one” is taken by Trinitarians in some mystical form as if it proves their doctrine. On this issue research the text Genesis 2:24 in Nazarene Commentary as well as the Hebrew echad.

[10] The God: The Greek is HO THEOS as it is in most cases of designating the Father of Jesus, Yehowah. Research the Greek HO THEOS.

[11] Yoked together: Or, KJV: joined together. Marriage is the “yoking” of two different people. The word conveys the idea of two equal beasts of burden under the same yoke (Numbers 19:2; Deuteronomy 21:3; 1 Samuel 6:7). The Law forbade yoking animals of different strength. The Greek word-group, ZYGOS, ZEUGOS has the thought of a yoke and are rooted in ZEUGNYMI meaning “yoke; couple; join; bind; unite together.” The Greek ZEUGOS may include “a pair” or “yoke” as in Luke 2:24; 14:19, a “pair of turtledoves.” Birds such as these mate for life.

[12] Let no person divide them: Or, KJV: put asunder; TCNT: must not separate. The main “person” or “man” here would be the husband.

[13] A paper of dismissal and divorce: A reference to Deuteronomy 24:1-4. Or, KJV: a writing of divorcement; KNX: a writ of separation; TCNT: serve his wife with a notice of separation.

[14] Because of your hardheartedness: The Nazarene gives the reason for divorce: the hard hearts of males. Or, KJV: the hardness of your hearts; NEB: because you were so unteachable; WMS: because of your moral perversity; PME: because you knew so little of the meaning of love.

[15] Whoever divorces his woman: This verse has come in for considerable debate and discussion because Matthew, Mark and Luke read each differently. Only Mark 10:12 adds, “…and if ever a woman, after divorcing her husband, marries another, she commits adultery.” This liberated women to seek their own divorce. However, the grounds for divorce remain the same in both cases.

[16] The reason of sexual immorality: Jesus gives only one reason. The Greek here is PORNEIA and is worthy of considerable research. The word is also rendered: RHM: unfaithfulness; RSV: unchastity; GDSP: her unfaithfulness. The root of PORNEIA is from “to buy” as in the purchase price of a prostitute and so “fornication” first became synonymous with “prostitution.” (Genesis 38:24; Exodus 34:16; Hosea 1:2; Leviticus 19:29) The word occurs about 65 times in the Bible. Most often in Hosea (17) and secondly in 1 Corinthians (11). In the Christian Bible fornication is incest (1 Corinthians 5:1), adultery (1 Thessalonians 4:3), a sin against one’s own body (1 Corinthians 6:18), “unnatural” sex (Jude 7). Paul alludes to Numbers 25:1+ and the fornication of Israelite men with Moabite women, possibly temple harlots as religious worship is associated.

  1. F. Westcott, Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians (1906, p. 76) defines PORNEIA: “This is a general term for all unlawful intercourse, (I) adultery: Hos. 2:2, 4 (LXX); Matt. 5:32; 19:9; (2) unlawful marriage, 1 Cor. 5:1; (3) fornication, the common sense as here [Eph 5:3].” Bauer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (revised by F. W. Gingrich and F. Danker, 1979, p. 693) defines PORNEIA as “prostitution, unchastity, fornication, of every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse.” “Fornication” is generally related to adultery, rape, and prostitution (Genesis 34:1, 2, 6, 7, 31; Genesis 38:24-26; Genesis 39:7-9).

The question may be raised whether sexual intercourse between two consenting persons who intend to marry is “fornication.” Some would state that it is. However, we are unable to find a single case where sex between engaged persons is considered “fornication.” Virtually every occurrence of “fornication” is limited to rape, adultery, incest, or prostitution. Indeed, the word “prostitution” could replace “fornication” in the Prophet Hosea and most of the cases elsewhere. While adulterous persons were stoned under the Law, couples (engaged or not) who had sexual intercourse were not stoned but required to marry, the male giving up divorce rights and required to pay a fine to the father of the woman (Exodus 22:16, 17; Deuteronomy 22:28, 29).

Since “fornication” is strongly prohibited to Christians it is necessary that each disciple research fornication, read and meditate on these verses and their related principles.

[17] Marries another: If one divorces and does not remarry adultery is not committed. Compare Mark 10:11, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her.” Luke 16:18, “Everyone that divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he that marries a woman divorced from a husband commits adultery.”

 

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Preceding

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

Find extra verses to think about: Matthew 19:3-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Grounds for Divorce – additional verses

The Hater of Jesus and Jesus’ followers having become a speaker for him

Concerning the forgiveness of God we have an incredible le example in the Scriptures. We find a figure who really loved God, but did not want to see that Jesus was a favourite of God. He even thought the followers of that Jesus had to be killed and those teachings of that Nazarene silenced.

In the Book of books we can find the Roman man who was monstrous and unmerciful; breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord. He made havoc of the church, entering into every house and hauling away men and women, putting them in prison. Indeed, some he even put to death.

On his way to Damascus, going to do away of those followers of Christ, he got stricken by light and blinded. He came to understand he was blind though he could see and now when he was blind he came to see and understand who that sent one from God was and why that man of flesh and blood was so important.

When Paul of Tarsus was called by Jesus it was because God loved this man and wanted to use that man to proclaim the truth about the Nazarene man of flesh and blood, who gave his life for mankind. For sure God forgave Paul his horrible acts, killing so many in the name of God. Can you imagine the difficulty the followers of Christ had by having to accept this vengeful killer of fellow brothers having chosen by Jesus and by god to become a speaker for Christ?

The talmidim and other followers of Christ may have found Paul his conversion to be a bit of a stretch. But clearly they underestimated the power of the Most High. Once more in history we can see that God forgave a person and was willing to use him for his Plan. By the act of Jesus, giving his life, by doing the Will of his heavenly Father, salvation or liberation of death and whitewashing of sin came unto mankind and as such also on Paul.

“Paul was indeed a new creation in Christ, old things had passed away and all things were becoming new. He came a stayed with me for about two weeks and we talked at great length about many things. And one thing towered above all others in Paul’s mind – it was the Grace of God.”

Peter at first had at first not such a good eye on the choice of Jesus to use Paul for his work. He also had an other idea about the Grace of God.

“His understanding of grace was different than what we had been taught from our childhood. We had viewed grace as God’s favour, given in kindness to the undeserving. But this was not the message Paul brought to me.

“Grace is the power of Christ working in me and through me,”

he said with such passion and conviction, one could hardly resist him.

“I got this directly from the Lord Jesus himself,”

he would add; underscoring his resolve in making sure I understood it.

Paul was not only convincing; he was right.

The apostles remembered how Jesus had told them that there would come to them a Spirit of Truth, who was going to guide them into all the truth. (John 16:12-13) They also remembered that the Most High was going to reveal what was Christ’s. When Jesus said that the Spirit would take the things that are his and will reveal or disclose (transmit) it to them (Joh16:15) they did not understand it. But now they were confronted by some other ideas which they would never have thought of before. Peter confesses

“I myself had indeed experienced the grace of God on many occasions, but did not fully understand it at the time. I just knew that the power of the Lord was surging in me and through me in ways that left me amazed with what happened. Think about it – my shadow healed a man! I guess you could say I took the heat off of him. Yet, it wasn’t me; it was the grace of God in me.

After the conversion of Paul they came to see how his work pulled others to recognise Jesus as the Way to God. They also understood God must have forgiven Paul for what he did against followers of Jesus and even made him in a new

“Fisher of men.”

Peter had experienced the Lord’s power many times; but when he was fifteen days with Paul, it helped him to understand more fully that it was the grace of God in him – and through him. It was the power of Christ helping him to do His will. Paul and Peter became fast friends. He wrote

Our visit together also showed me that, while Paul was an apostle to the Gentiles, and I to the Jews – we both were life-long friends on one mission: Proclaiming to all the Gospel of God’s Grace!

The love of God giving forgiveness to Paul opened new doors. The forgiveness of the prosecuted followers of Christ, members of the sect The Way, now forgave Paul for what he had done and gave him full credit for doing the work of God and being a righteous preacher in the name of Christ.

Today we too should always be open-minded, even to people who are against us, or who do everything against our movement. We should forgive their attacks against us and should try with friendly words to have them to come to open their eyes. We also should pray for those who do not yet see that Jesus is the way to God, the sent one from God, who is now sitting at the right hand of God, as a mediator between God and man.

Even when they keep attacking us, we should keep forgiving them, even perhaps thinking

“Please God forgive them, because they do not know what they do.”

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Preceding posts

Matthew 18:1-6 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Children and Stumbling

Matthew 18:1-6 Reborn and pliable as a child

Matthew 18:7-11 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Danger of Stumbling-blocks

Matthew 18:12-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Searching for Lost Sheep

Matthew 18:15-17 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Three Steps to Gaining a Brother

Matthew 18:18-20 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Authority of Two or Three

Matthew 18:21-22 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Forgive 77 Times!

Matthew 18:23-35 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Kingdom and Forgiveness

Ableness to forgive those who wronged us

Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

Forgiveness a command given for our well-being

A heart full of love is a fundamental requirement

Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

When looking at Matthew 18:23-35 we can compare the human way and the godly way of forgiving and reactions about debts and attitudes towards others.

Once again we can find the master teacher using a story or parable to give a lesson. Jesus illustrates his view of unending mercy with a parable demonstrating how real lovers of God should think about the way God treats people. They also could look at the examples Jesus gave them and therefore could find enough reasons to extend unlimited forgiveness to others.

It can well be that the Nazarene rabbi had in mind a corrupt Herodian bureaucrat who has used his position to make himself wealthy, but has instead lost the Herod’s court a massive amount of money. Slaves could be in important roles in the Empires, so that they could accumulate wealth and power, even if they were in a master-slave relationship with the Emperor.

How often do we not encounter situations where we are confronted with matters that trouble us and with people who own something to us or should still have something to arrange for us? How often does it not happen that we are hurt by some one and that we have to arrange something to restore the relationship again?

John Nolland points out the annual income of Herod’s kingdom when he died in 4 B.C.E. was about 900 talents, to be divided between his sons (Nolland, Matthew, 756). This servant’s debt is more than ten times the value of Herod’s kingdom. In fact, the word translated as ten-thousand is often translated, “myriad,” an uncountable number.

When confronted with a person who did us wrong, him asking to have mercy with him, how much mercy do we want to give?

In Jesus’ parable we find a servant who has experienced an audacious act of mercy and has been released from the bondage of his debt. Though his reaction to others who had debts to him is not in comparison. In this story the man goes looking for the debtor to threaten him. He laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying,

‘Pay me what you owe.’ (Matthew 18:28b)

This time we also find the fellow servant asking for forgiveness, using the exact same words as the unmerciful servant. He also asks for more time to raise the cash to pay the debt. This time the unmerciful servant is not willing to extend him additional time to pay. The debt may also been large, but not unmanageable as the debt of the one who asks to be paid back. As a reaction for not being paid back straight away the debtor is being put in the same prison in which the unmerciful servant was going to go if he had not been shown mercy by his master.

Have you thought about it how Jesus came to pay our debts? And can you imagine how his heavenly Father was willing to accept Jesus his ransom offering, so that we could be liberated of our debt to God?

You may perhaps not go around seeking to plot your revenge or wallow in a cesspool of bitter emotions and animosity, but how would you react to those who have debts (in all sorts of ways) to you? For people who did wrong to you would you like to erase them from your memory, as if they never existed, and as such would think you do not have to forgive that person or that all matters would be set?

We should know that it is no healthy situation if we want to save ourselves trouble of seeking to be the mature one by absolving and letting go, not having to carry around the pain of what a person did to hurt you.

The ones who want to call themselves Christian should be followers of Christ and try to have the same attitude as Christ. The way we act against people who did wrong against us is very important in the eyes of the Lord. Vengeance is a word and an act which should not be in our way of life. we should be careful not to let the ego and pride provoke us to create mountains out of mole holes in situations where a simple, it’s okay never mind, would have solved the problem.

Today it seem a fashion to offend people or to point a finger at some one. We should know that nobody is perfect and as such people could do things to us we do not like. It also can well be that people will mess things up, irritate and will disappoint you in ways that will astound you, and indeed worse still you are just as capable yourself of doing the same actions to them, nobody is above being the wrong at any point in time.

This parable should get us thinking about the attitude we want to take to others, who we think have wronged us.
It might not be easy but we we should strive to provide for grace for everybody, and should be humble enough to approach the other with love to forgive.

We live in a fallen world where terrible events happen to us beyond our control, but as justified as it may seem emotionally, holding on to that pain does us more harm than good, it can never make us happy in the long run.

Forgiving may not always be easy, it takes a lot of maturity and spiritual growth for us to come to a place where we can truly let go of hurts, but it is a gift that is worth offering to yourself.

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Preceding posts

Matthew 18:1-6 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Children and Stumbling

Matthew 18:1-6 Reborn and pliable as a child

Matthew 18:7-11 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Danger of Stumbling-blocks

Matthew 18:12-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Searching for Lost Sheep

Matthew 18:15-17 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Three Steps to Gaining a Brother

Matthew 18:18-20 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Authority of Two or Three

Matthew 18:21-22 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Forgive 77 Times!

Matthew 18:23-35 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Kingdom and Forgiveness

Ableness to forgive those who wronged us

Matthew 18:23-35 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Kingdom and Forgiveness

Matthew 18:23-35 – The Kingdom and Forgiveness

MT18:23 “For this reason the Realm of Heaven may be compared to a human king who wished to settle his logs[1] with his slaves. MT18:24 Having started to settle the accounts one debtor owing ten thousand talents[2] was brought forward. MT18:25 But not having the resources to pay off his debt the master commanded that he, his woman, his children, and everything they possessed, be sold so the debt could be paid.[3] MT18:26 As a result the slave fell forward prostrating himself at the feet[4] of his master, pleading, ‘Be long-suffering[5] with me and I shall pay back everything I owe you!’ MT18:27 Now the master of the slave was moved by compassion[6] and so released[7] the slave including his loan. MT18:28 However, after that slave left he found one of his fellow slaves who owed him one hundred denarii.[8] He grabbed his fellow and began choking him, screaming: ‘Pay me everything you owe me!’ MT18:29 Now the fellow slave fell on his knees and pleaded, ‘Be long-suffering with me and I will pay back what I owe you!’ MT18:30 But the first slave was unwilling to wait and he left to have his fellow slave thrown into prison until everything he owed was repaid. MT18:31 Now the other slaves saw all this and were deeply distressed. They went to their master and clarified the whole matter so he knew everything that had happened. MT18:32 Then the master demanded the first slave appear before him, telling him, ‘Wicked slave, I released you of all your debt because you begged me so. MT18:33 Was it not necessary for you also to be charitable[9] to your fellow slave just as I had been charitable to you?’ MT18:34 And having now become extremely angry the master turned the slave over to the tormentors[10] until he had repaid everything he owed. MT18:35 Just so my heavenly Father will do to you[11] if ever you do not forgive from your hearts every one of your brothers!”[12]

*

[1] Settle his logs: The Greek is LOGON and may be rendered: KJV: take account; ASV: a reckoning; RHM: settle accounts.

[2] Ten thousand talents: NEB: ran into the millions; MOF: three million pounds; MON: fifteen million dollars; PME: millions of dollars. If a slave made 16 cents a day one can see the debt was enormous.

[3] Sold so the debt could be paid: It seems impossible that a slave could repay such a debt.

[4] Fell forward prostrating himself at the feet: Or, KJV: fell down, and worshipped him; RHM: falling down began to do homage. See notes else where on PROSKUNEO or prostrate. Research also the word worship.

[5] Long-suffering: The Greek is literally “longness of spirit.” Or, KJV: have patience; WMS: give me time.

[6] Moved by compassion: Or, RIEU: sorry for him; GDSP: heart was touched; NOR: took pity on.

[7] Released: Or, KJV: loosed him; RIEU: let him go free and canceled the loan.

[8] One hundred denarii: Or, TCNT: ten pounds; MON: fifty dollars; GDSP: hundred dollars; PME: few dollars. The difference between the two debts is unthinkable. The scholar Kennedy contrasted the difference in the two debts: the later one could be carried in a pocket; the former was so huge it would require 8,600 workers each carrying 60 pounds! The larger debt was more than that of whole provinces in Judea.

[9] Charitable: Generally this word is rendered by “mercy” but we can see that this is not a matter of judging someone but canceling debt, thus charity. Or, NOR: pity. Read and meditate on James 2:13.

[10] Tormentors: The Greek is BASANISTAIS. Or, BER: scourgers; GDSP: jailers. Research the word basan and torment for the original meaning of confinement or punishment with or without torture.

[11] Just so my heavenly Father will do to you: This is a most serious matter. Those who refuse to forgive will learn a side to the Almighty they will not like. It is a mistaken notion that the Nazarene and his Father were all-forgiving all the time. This matter of forgiveness is one in which the individual chooses his own destiny. See notes on Matthew 6:14, 15 and Matthew 7:1, 2. The lesson is simple and straightforward: we have been a debt so great it is impossible to repay; therefore, we ought to reflect our appreciation in forgiving our fellows.

[12] Forgive from your hearts every one of your brothers: Or, KNX: with all his heart; BER: if each of you does not heartily forgive his brother. Read and meditate on Ephesians 4:23 and Colossians 3:13.

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Preceding posts

Matthew 18:1-6 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Children and Stumbling

Matthew 18:1-6 Reborn and pliable as a child

Matthew 18:7-11 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Danger of Stumbling-blocks

Matthew 18:12-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Searching for Lost Sheep

Matthew 18:15-17 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Three Steps to Gaining a Brother

Matthew 18:18-20 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Authority of Two or Three

Matthew 18:21-22 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Forgive 77 Times!

Ableness to forgive those who wronged us

Matthew 17:1-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Transfiguration Vision

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN:
A TRANSFIGURED SON AND AN EMPTY POCKET

[“Glory and Taxes”]
(Key word: “Listen!”)

Matthew 17:1-9 – Transfiguration Vision

|| Mark 9:2-8; Luke 9:28-36

MT17:1 Now after six days[1] Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John[2] (the brother of James) and ascended with them to a very secluded place on a tall mountain.[3] MT17:2 And right before them Jesus was metamorphosed[4] – his face illuminated like the sun[5] and his cloak as white light.[6] MT17:3 And, look! they could see Moses and Elijah[7] speaking with Jesus. MT17:4 Peter responded and said to Jesus, “Master, if you wish I shall make three tents[8] – one for you and Moses and Elijah.” MT17:5 Yet while Peter was talking, look! a shining cloud rested over them, and, look! a Voice came from the cloud,[9] saying, “This is my beloved Son whom I approve[10] – listen to him.”[11] MT17:6 Now, hearing this the disciples were frightened and fell on their faces. MT17:7 Jesus approached the disciples and touching them, he said, “Rise and do not be afraid.” MT17:8 But, when the disciples looked up they saw nothing but Jesus himself. MT17:9 Now while descending the mountain Jesus charged[12] the three disciples: “Tell no one[13] about the vision[14] until the Son of Humankind[15] is raised from among those dead.”[16]

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[1] After six days: Mark 9:2 agrees though Luke 9:28 says, “But it happened about eight days after…” Some see the transfiguration as the fulfillment of what the Nazarene said earlier (Matthew 16:28). It ought to be observed that there is nothing in the “vision” which speaks of the arrival of Jesus’ kingdom in power.

[2] Peter, James, and John: Are these the primary foundation stones of the Congregation? Note in Mark 13:3 Andrew is added to a select group among the apostles.

[3] A very secluded place on a tall mountain: Or, KJV: into an high mountain apart; KNX: where they were along; LB: a high and lonely hill. Some believe this is that 9,000-foot mountain nearest Caesar Philippi, Mount Hermon.

[4] Jesus was metamorphosed: The Greek is METAMORPHOTHE. Or, KJV: transfigured; RHM: transformed; WMS: his appearance was changed; PME: his whole appearance changed before their eyes. Note a form of the word at Romans 12:2 and 2 Corinthians 3:18. According to Luke 9:29 this occurred “as he was praying.”

[5] Face illuminated like the sun: Or KJV: his faced did shine as the sun. Compare Daniel 12:3; Matthew 13:43; Revelation 1:14. Note, Exodus 34:29: “Moses did not know that the skin of his face emitted rays.” (NW) It is impossible not to include as a cross reference 2 Corinthians 3:7, 10, 15, 18 and the relationship with the “new covenant.”

[6] His cloak as white light: Or, ASV: garment became white as the light; RIEU: white as light itself. Mark 9:3 adds: “… far whiter than any clothes cleaner on earth could whiten them.” (Revelation 1:16)

[7] Moses and Elijah: Some see these two as representing the Law and the Prophets pointing to Messiah. The three are called “prophets.” The three all fast for 40 days. All three hear the Voice of God. All three are associated with the Name of God. All three are involved in the saving acts of God. Compare Malachi 4:4, 5. See notes on Revelation 11:5, 6.

[8] I shall make three tents: We note the spontaneity of Peter. Perhaps he expects these three to remain during the chilly night. He may create an evening bivouac from boughs and limbs of trees.

[9] Voice came from the cloud: This is the second of three cases where the Voice of God is heard, all in the presence of Jesus (Matthew 3:17; John 12:28). Peter gives his own inspired interpretation of this event at 2 Peter 1:16-18. The Voice is “God the Father.” The main point is the revelation of the “power and presence (PAROUSIA)” of our Lord Jesus Christ. Some wish to make this the second coming or that Parousia future from the days of Jesus and the disciples. (Matthew 24:3; 1 Corinthians 15:23; 1 Thessalonians 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; 5:23; 2 Thessalonians 2:1, 8; James 5:7, 8; 2 Peter 3:4; 1 John 2:28) Others see the parousia here as that first coming of the Nazarene.

[10] This is my beloved Son whom I approve: These are the words heard by John the Baptist and the Nazarene at his baptism (see notes at Matthew 3:17; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22). Peter records the Voice at 2 Peter 1:17. The phrase is similar to a conflate of Psalm 2:7 and Isaiah 42:1. Peter is to quote the context of Psalm 2:7 later at Acts 4:24; and, Paul Psalm 2:7 exactly at Acts 13:33, 34. Both apply Psalm 2 to that period upon the resurrection and ascension of Jesus to heaven as envisioned by Daniel 7:13. It is curious that this is witnessed only by three of the apostles and these are later told not to tell anyone (the other apostles?) of the vision (Matthew 17:9).

[11] Listen to him: Here is the main point of the whole episodic vision: to charge these three apostles to hear or listen in obedience to the Son (Note Hebrews 1:1). Matthew was not present on this occasion so must have learned the details from Peter, James, or John; and this after the resurrection of the Son of Humankind. “Listen” is a word occurring often in the Gospels: Matthew 11:15; 13:9, 18, 43; 15:10; Mark 4:3, 9, 20, 23, 33; 7:14; Luke 8:8, 18; 14:35; John 10:3, 16, 27.

[12] Jesus charged: Or, ASV: commanded; KNX: ward; MOF: ordered.

[13] Tell no one: We may assume this included the other nine apostles. What an awesome charge to confidence – a lesson for many an elder to keep confidentiality. On this matter compare Paul’s own at 2 Corinthians 12:4.

[14] The vision: The appearance of “Moses” and “Elijah” were visionary not the real persons alive. One may ask how these men recognized Moses and Elijah?

[15] Son of Humankind: Search or Find Son of Man or Son of Humankind.

[16] Raised from among those dead: Or, KJV: risen again from the dead; MON: raised from the dead. The dead themselves are not to be raised until, a) the Parousia of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:23); and, b) the end of the Thousand Years (1 Corinthians 15:24; Revelation 20:5).

 

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Preceding

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

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Related

  1. “Listen to Him!”
  2. Matthew 17 – The Mount of Transfiguration
  3. Matthew 17:1-8 The Terrifying Transfiguration
  4. Tip of the Day, September 19 Lessons of the Transfiguration
  5. Monday Motivation: The Revealing of Glory
  6. On a high mountain
  7. On the Mountain
  8. What Happened On The Mountain; Learning Under Jesus
  9. Transfiguration
  10. The Transfiguration
  11. The Transfiguration the Feast of the Transfiguration,
  12. Here We Read About The Wonderful Transfiguration Of Jesus!
  13. The Transfiguration of Our Lord
  14. Divine Glory and Sacrificial Love
  15. God’s Voice is Heard at the Transfiguration
  16. The Glory of Jesus Christ is Revealed at the Transfiguration
  17. They Saw No One but Jesus Only
  18. Does the Father affirm Jesus the Messiah is his Son?
  19. She Reads Truth | Matthew 17 & 18
  20. Transfiguration – Divinization and the Transmigration of Souls
  21. Transfiguring Humanity—Reflections on the Transfiguration of Christ
  22. Moses, Elijah and Jesus (Plus Four) Meet on a Mountain: The Feast of the Transfiguration
  23. The Transfiguration of Christ
  24. The Transfiguration of the Lord
  25. 4. Witnessed the Transfiguration of Jesus
  26. Elijah & Elisha
  27. How Not to Be Terrified
  28. Acknowledge the Glory In You
  29. The Disciples’ Response to the Transfiguration

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