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Bible Pathways 10/04/2002

  • 2002 Oct 04
  • COMMENTS

October 4

Read Matthew 10 -- 11

In Today’s Reading:

Mission of the 12 apostles; John the Baptist's questions; judgment on unrepentant cities; great invitation.

John the Baptist proclaimed the need to repent of sin and be baptized in preparation for the long-awaited Messiah. All eyes were upon Jesus on the day when He approached John, who declared: Behold the Lamb of God, which [takes] away the sin of the world (John 1:29). This was revealed to John who said: I saw the Spirit descending from Heaven like a dove, and it abode upon Him (1:32).

Later Jesus commended John, saying that he was more than a prophet. . . . There [has] not risen [one] greater than John the Baptist: [but] he that is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the Kingdom of Heaven [suffers] violence, and the violent take it by force (Matthew 11:9,11-12).

All the prophets of God were fearless in proclaiming His Word, but Jesus said that John was the greatest because he was chosen to introduce the Messiah. Other prophets had only foretold His coming.

After giving John such high praise, it might seem surprising that Jesus would say: [But] he that is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he. The least in the Kingdom . . . is greater because they know Jesus as personal Savior.

The religious leaders refused to repent of their sins and be baptized as John preached, nor would they submit to Jesus as their Messiah. Jesus said they were like . . . children sitting in the markets, and calling [to] their fellows, And saying, We have piped [to] you, and [you] have not danced; we have mourned [to] you, and [you] have not lamented (11:16-17). Like undisciplined children who are never satisfied, they had made up their minds not to cooperate and not to be pleased. The Heavenly Father had sent John to them, [but] they [said of him], he has a devil (11:18). And they said of Jesus: Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners (11:19).

The worldly-minded today hate the godly-minded and will suggest evil motives, misrepresent their conduct, and smear the character of the very best of people, even of Jesus. The self-righteous will always find something wrong with all preachers and churches, saying: “The members are hypocrites, the deacons are unfriendly, and the preachers are uninteresting.” Consequently, they try to clear their consciences to use the Lord’s Day to satisfy their own self-serving desires. Like. . . children sitting in the [marketplace], these people are proud hypocrites.

Our responsibility is not to succumb to the pressures of a self-centered world, but rather let us be like the Apostle Paul, who declared: Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace; And labor, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world. . . . Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me (I Cor. 4:11-13,16).

Thought for Today: The meek are patient with others.

Word Studies:

10:25 Beelzebub is the fly god idol of the Philistines meaning dung god or filth god, since the fly finds its food in refuse; 10:29 a farthing is a very small coin; 10:35 variance = a state of disagreement; 11:20 upbraid = to rebuke, denounce, condemn.

Cross References:

For Matthew 10:11, 35-36: See Mic. 7:6. Matt. 11:5: See Isa. 35:5; 61:1. Matt. 11:10: See Mal. 3:1. Matt. 11:23: See Ezek. 26:20; 31:14; 32:18,24. Matt. 11:29: See Jer. 6:16.

Prayer Needs:

Government Official: Sen. Chuck Hagel (NE) · Pray one more person to read through the Bible · Country: Zambia (10 million) in south-central Africa · Major languages: English and 70 indigenous languages · Religious freedom · 30% Roman Catholic; 25% Protestant; 24% ancestor worship, magic, and witchcraft; 19% cults · Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord for wisdom as you read His Word, and it will be given to you (James 1:5).

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 15:4

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