(59 verses, 5:25 to read)
What I am about to READ:
- Christians do not need to worry or be afraid since they belong to the God who loves, cares for, provides for, and protects them. Jesus’ followers must always be ready and busy in the Lord’s kingdom, doing his will while there is still time before he returns.
MARK & LEARN
- 2-4: At first glance, many will say Jesus is referring to Satan. But He is referring to God, for only God can destroy a person in hell. Jesus is encouraging Christians who are tempted to give in to their fear of men to weigh carefully who holds the greater threat of suffering. Those who reject God will suffer more than those who reject men.
- 8-10: When we’re tempted to claim we don’t know Jesus (as Peter did), we should remember that if we deny Him, He will deny us before God, His Father. But if we confess that we are His disciples, He will confess that we are His brothers and sisters before God.
- 10: The “Unforgivable Sin,” blaspheming against the Holy Spirit — to blaspheme means “to speak evil against,” and thus “to reject.” A person, out of ignorance, might reject Jesus, but if a person rejects the Holy Spirit, who is working to create faith in that person’s heart, that person excludes himself from faith and forgiveness.
- 13-21: The most important thing in our lives ought to be the kingdom of God, which is ours through Jesus’ death and resurrection. That treasure outlasts our deaths, unlike the treasures of this world.
- 22-34: Christians do not need to worry or be afraid since they belong to the God who loves, cares for, provides for, and protects them. We need more things to live than food and clothing. God values you. We can accomplish nothing through worry. God takes care of the grass of the field. Will he not take care of us? Our most important treasure is God’s kingdom; if we seek that, we can rest in knowing God will give us everything else we need. God wants us to seek His kingdom and His riches that will never end.
- 35-40: Jesus desires that we actively serve Him. Disciples who do this show their faith and, as a fruit of faith, they show their serious concern for God’s kingdom.
- 40: “At an hour you do not expect”— this is an important statement in regard to determining when Jesus will come again. It is not just that we cannot discover from biblical evidence when Jesus will come again. Rather, he will come when we do not expect him. This is the strongest way of saying it.
- 41: Peter wants to know if Jesus’ words apply to everyone, or just to the disciples. Jesus explains his point more fully and, from the general nature of his sermon, makes it clear that he is speaking to all Christians, using whatever gifts they have received from God and whatever position they have in his church.
- 42-48: Jesus warns all members of the church, but it is especially directed against those who have been richly blessed with wisdom and knowledge. If they should reject what they know to be true and fall away, they will receive a greater punishment.
- 49-53: Divisions. “Fire on the earth . . . baptism to be baptized with . . . division”—The growth of the kingdom of God, which could happen only after Jesus suffered and died for the world’s sins, and which started at Pentecost, was mingled with the fire of suffering. Jesus’ baptism was the fire of the cross and hell he suffered for us. Our lives, as blessed as they are, will be filled with the fire of battling temptation and rejection for the sake of the cross. Some will believe in Jesus and some will not. Those who don’t believe in him will invariably resent and perhaps persecute those who do. During times of persecution, when pressure is put on unbelievers to betray their family members, the division will be most apparent.
- 54-56: All the miracles and other works Jesus was doing in fulfillment of the Old Testament.
- 57-59: Apart from Christ, we would all be dragged before the magistrate (God) and pay the ultimate price (eternal death in hell). But we are reconciled to our judge through Christ. If we lose him, we are once again on the path to the courtroom to be sentenced.
How Firm a Foundation (LSB 728)
“Fear not! I am with you, O be not dismayed,
For I am your God and will still give you aid;
I’ll strengthen you, help you, and cause you to stand,
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.” (st. 2)
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Pastor Kevin Zellers, Jr.