Reflection on Matthew 22:34-46

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+22.34-46

Scripture

No one was able to give Jesus an answer, and from that day on, no one dared to ask him any questions.

Observation

The Pharisees get together to try to trick Jesus, One of them asks Jesus, “What is the most important commandment?” Jesus replies that the whole of the Lawcan be summarised in “Love God with all your heart, soul and mind” and “Love your neighbour as you love yourself. ”

Jesus then turns the tables on the Pharisees by asking them some questoins. They are unable to answer Him, and from that time on they do not ask Him any more questions for fear of looking stupid.

Application

Right across New South Wales at the moment, thousands of students are sitting their Higher School Certificate examinations. Thousands of people are answering thousands of questions to determine their level of knowledge in various subject areas.

People challenged Jesus then, and now, not to determine His understanding but to trick Him into some political or theological error. He seemed quite accomplished in seeing through the questions to the true motive of the questioner.

It remains right to ask Jesus questions when our hearts are soft towards Him.

He will give helpful answers to everyone who comes to Him with questions that genuinely seek knowledge, but He will rebuff those who merely want to show how clever they are.

Those who seek Him will find Him.

Those who seek truth will find it in Him.

But those who come to God with arrogant hearts will be rejected. It is only when we recognise that we have no answers, no knowledge and no wisdom from our own thinking that we can begin to know Him.

Prayer

Lord, cleanse my heart from all vain thinking. Let me see you as you really are. Amen.

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Reflection on Matthew 22:15-22

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+22.15-22

Scripture

Jesus told them, “give the Emperor what belongs to him and give God what belongs to God.”

Observation

The Pharisees start to plan how they can trick Jesus into saying something to offend either the Romans or the people. They try to butter Him up with flattery before unloading their question- is it right to pay taxes to the Emperor?

The Pharisees think they have in in a trap, but Jesus sees through their plan. If He says it is not right to pay taxes to Rome, they can have Him charged with treason. If He says it is right to pay taxes, then the people will lose faith in Him.

Jesus responds by getting a coin and saying it is right to the Emperor the coin with his name and image on it, but we must give to God what belongs to God.

Application

Some Christians rile against paying taxes to Governments that they see as ungodly. But other parts of Scripture encourage us to submit to the powers that are over us because the authorities are God’s gift to us, even when they fail to exercise their power justly.

Here Jesus says that the Emperor’s name and image are on the coin so really he owns it all anyway. It is right to pay taxes even if we find them unfair.

On the other hand, the name and image of God are on our souls, so we should give all that we are back to God. Caesar can have his money, but let God have the one thing that truly matters, and that is your whole being.

It is easy to get obsessed with money even to the exclusion of worshipping the Lord. My life is to be totally dedicated to Him. I want to be found honouring God, not worshipping mammon.

When I die, money and taxes will end, but my love for God will last for eternity.

Prayer

Today Lord I recognise that it is your image that is stamped on my soul. I will give myself to you in every way. Amen.

Reflection on Matthew 22:1-14

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+22.1-14

Scripture

Many are invited, but only a few are chosen.”

Observation

Jesus tells another parable that speaks about the great grace of God and the hard- heartedness of His people.

A king gives a wedding feast for his son. The invited guests ignore the invitation, offering lame excuses and some even beating and killing the servants.

Enraged, the king sends his servants to go the street corners and invite everyone to the feast. One of these guests turns up not wearing the correct clothes, and so the king orders him thrown out into the darkness.

Application

God’s heart for humanity is bigger than we can imagine. He invites everyone to come to His wedding banquet.

The response of the invited guests is appalling. They treat the invitation as something of little importance. A royal wedding is always a social event, but here the chosen ones treat it with contempt.

Many people treat God’s invitation to the biggest wedding party ever with similar contempt. They would rather tend to their business or carry on with ordinary life than to think of God’s offer of eternal life.

Often christians feel guilty for not sharing the gospel enough. I don’t think that for many people at least in the West the problem is not hearing the gospel. The problem for many is that having heard it, they reject the offer,

Many are invited but only a few are chosen” may more accurately be written only a few allow themselves to be chosen.

This is the time for salvation. Do not put this offer off to one side or reject it completely. Let God into your life and let Him transform you.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, thank you for opening eternity to all who will say “Yes” to you. May all who read these words accept your invitation. Amen.

Reflection on Matthew 21:22-46

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+21:33-46

Scripture

I tell you that God’s kingdom will be taken from you and given to people who will do what he demands.”

Observation

Jesus continues to talk to the chief priests and leaders in the Temple area. He tells a parable about a landowner who plants a vineyard, builds walls and a tower as well as digging a crushing pit. He then rents it out and leaves.

At harvest time, the owner sends some servants to collect his share of the grapes. The tenants beat and kill the servants. The owner sends a bigger contingent of servants but with the same result. Finally he sends his son, thinking that they will respect him. But they kill the son as well.

Jesus then asks the priests and leaders what will happen to the tenants. They reply that surely the owner will kill then and find more suitable tenants,

Application

The religious leaders of Israel had lost track of their responsibilities to God. Over many years, they had killed the prophets who rebuked them. The parable suggests that they will treat God’s Son in the same way.

The warning to all of us is that if we claim to be followers of Jesus, we had better take this seriously. If we don’t, then the Kingdom of God will be taken away from us and given to someone else.

We must remain faithful and obedient to Jesus. That means reading the Word and putting it into practice. It means praying for people and asking Father God , “What do you want me to do for this person?”

God’s kingdom is not just about words but deeds. The sinner’s prayer is the starting point of discipleship not the finish line.

God is looking for a people who will die to every selfish ambition and live only for Christ.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, once again I give myself to you. Let my whole life be surrendered to you and your purposes. Amen.