Just as the women were hurrying from the tomb filled with mixed emotions of fear and joy, they came face to face with the one they were looking for. Jesus Himself was standing in front of them and they fell at His feet and began to worship Him.
The chief priest and the elders started making plans to have Jesus executed. They bound Him and handed him over to the Roman governor Pilate, as executions were under Roman jurisdiction.
We are certainly all-in when we can see Jesus working miracles in our lives. But our faith gets shaken when we cannot see His works and start doubting even the existence of God. If our faith is based on the works of God in our lives then we will not go far with Him but like a drug addict keep coming back to Him only when we run out of money/blessings. Peter was still immature and did not understand what his response should be when Jesus foretold his denial.
The chief priests and the elders were assembling in the palace of the high priest, Caiaphas, and were trying to figure out the best way to dispose of Jesus. They were looking for a way to secretly kill Jesus without riling up His followers. When they were perplexed and could not find a way to dispose of with the Jesus problem, satan presented them with an opportunity that they quickly grabbed on to.
For many of us have been given lamps but only few are wise enough to carry the extra oil that is needed to keep our flame alive.
As the fig tree can let us know if summer is nigh, similarly the signs of the end of days would let us know that Christ’s coming is near.
After stumping the Pharisees with His question, Jesus proceeded to call them out on all their wrongdoings.
Jesus came with the purpose of introducing or reintroducing God to everyone, those who loved Him and even those who hated Him. The questioning session that the Pharisees and the Sadducees had been using to unmask Jesus before His followers, turned into Jesus revealing the identity as the Messiah.
Jesus came down to extend the invitation of His Father’s banquet to everyone as Israel had rejected and rebelled against God by prostituting themselves to the pagan cultures that surrounded them.
The fallout from the temple clearing incident perhaps did not sit well with the chief priests and the elders as surely that would have opened the eyes of the people to the corruption that had infiltrated the walls of the temple.
Kings would usually come back from wars to triumphant welcome by their countrymen. These lavish parades would have the valuables plundered in their latest victory along with the procession of the prisoners of the war who were going to be humiliated and tortured by the locals. The kings would always choose a warhorse or a prized camel, to make their grand entrance back to their palace rather than riding on a colt and that too of a donkey.
In this chapter we see three separate instances of people’s selfishness as they tried to prevent others from receiving what they already had.
A rich man came to Jesus and asked “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life ?” Jesus tells the man to keep the commandments to which he promptly replies saying that he has been doing that for a long time and asks Jesus what he still lacked.,,,
Forgiveness is important but what is more important is to forgive from our hearts. We often miss out the second part and dwell on it. We also tend to forget the huge debt that God forgave us by sending His Son. We are forgiven an unimaginable amount by God, yet we do not show even a part of that to our fellow beings.
Jesus left all His glory and came in a human form to save us from our sins. It is because of our sins that we were driven out from God’s presence and have created a distance between heaven and earth. Jesus came down to bridge that gap and connect us back to our Father.
Sometimes we ask God for signs as proof, but is that wrong? We see a lot of people in the bible asking for signs and God graciously provided them with signs. As long as our intentions are pure, God would be happy to help us if that leads us to understand His will.
Our words reflect the thoughts of our heart and if we do not have God guide our hearts, we will be giving way to the evil one to take over and defile us in the process.
Our walk with God is similar to that of Peter’s, the winds don’t stop raging on us but when our focus is on God, we are able to walk on all waters.
God gives equal chance to the good and the evil doers and allows the evil doers to be among the good. He just wants us to end up in the good bundle at the end.
The Messiah was amongst us and no one wanted to believe in His existence, neither the pharisees nor the teachers of the law and not even Jesus’ own family.
Jesus humbly calls us to take up His yoke and learn directly from Him to help our souls find rest. He wants us to accept His yoke as a connector between Him and us, so that we don’t need to look to anyone or anything else.
We are placed in this world with the purpose of spreading the Kingdom of God to others and God will help us in every way when we are on this mission. He will never leave us nor forsake us just as He taught His disciples while sending them out into the world. It is up to us if we are ready to depend on Him to carry out His mission.
The people chosen to proclaim the good news of the kingdom and His love were busy following traditions and burdening the people with rules and regulations and failed to do their work. We are now the shepherds who have tasted the love of God and should let the others know of that love.
Sometimes when God is convicting us of something our immediate response is to run away from Him rather than take His help in confronting our inner demons.
Jesus compares the person who hears and follows God’s commands as a wise man who built his house upon the rock. This house has a strong foundation hence is able to withstand all the tremors and tribulations of life.
Jesus uses the temple tax as an example, just like he used the fig tree and little children, to teach his disciples important lessons.
Just as the kings of the earth do not tax their own children but only their subjects, Jesus’ followers should not have to pay a religious tax to their heavenly King and Father.
Jesus continues his teaching on the mountain. In this chapter He focuses on five topics.
Jesus goes on to say that what is the point of loving only those whom we like and that even the pagans do that. We have seen the love of God, the unconditional love that God has shown us.
Soon after Jesus was baptized, he was led by the Spirit to the wilderness where he spent forty days and nights fasting.
Jesus and John, both preached in a similar manner but their lifestyles were different. The former lived a normal life and the latter lived in the wilderness. However, not many people took their message. Maybe people went to John not to repent or to get baptized but to see how was he living and similarly, people might have gone to hear Jesus not because they wanted to know his message but probably to find fault in him.
God uses different ways to reveal His plans to people. The shepherds were visited by angels and received the Good news of the birth of Christ and for these wise men, God chose to reveal the same plan through a star.
No one is perfect but what we need to know is that God can use anyone. We shouldn’t hold back ourselves from becoming a part of God’s plan, God has his ways to use us. We shouldn’t think that we cannot go to God now because we are not worthy, that is the deceiver fooling us in to believing that we are not worthy. But God calls us as we are.