Read Matthew 15 -- 17
In Today's Reading:
Scribes and Pharisees rebuked; 4,000 fed; the leaven; Peter's confession; transfiguration of Jesus; the disciples' unbelief
Caesarea Philippi is located near the northern border of the promised land. It is about 50 miles southwest of Damascus on the southwestern slopes of Mount Hermon. It is situated at one of the four sources of the River Jordan, and it was also a major site of many pagan shrines. Here, in the midst of numerous idol worshipers, Jesus said: I will build My Church (Matthew16:18). The word Church means "called out ones," a fellowship of those who have received Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord and who choose to no longer live like the world.
After the ascension of the Lord Jesus, Peter preached on the day of Pentecost, and they that gladly received his word were baptized. . . . And the Lord added to the Church daily such as should be saved (Acts 2:41,47). Believers in Jesus Christ associated themselves together, and they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine (teaching) and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers (Acts 2:42).
The church fellowship also provided a channel for service (4:32-35). Later, the Apostle Paul organized an offering from the various churches founded by him to meet the needs of the persecuted and poverty-stricken Church in Jerusalem (Romans 15:25-26; I Corinthians 16:1; II Corinthians 8:1-2). A sense of mutual responsibility was recognized and fulfilled as these Christians were reminded of their oneness in Christ with both Jew and Gentile believers from other localities.
To edify the Church, Paul encouraged Timothy to give attention to the public reading of the Old Testament Scriptures, which are able to make you wise to salvation (II Timothy 3;15), as well as Paul's own letters, at public worship (Colossians 4:16; I Timothy 4:11-13; Philemon 1:2).
The Apostle Paul also encouraged the Church at Ephesus: Be filled with (controlled by) the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and Spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord (Ephesians 5:19-21). Have you ever noticed the way that God imparts an amazing joy in our lives when we begin singing praises to Him? Praise lifts our eyes from our circumstances to an assurance that the Almighty Father is more concerned over His children than anything else on earth.
When your spiritual life seems to lack that peace of God, which passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7), stop being overwhelmed with circumstances and say: This is the day which the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24). Never allow Satan to impart a thought of "Why did this happen to me?" We might, at that time, praise the Lord for His faithfulness and for His love beyond compare. He has said: Whoso offers praise glorifies Me: and to him that orders his conversation (daily conduct) aright I will show the salvation of God (Psalm 50:23).
15:17 draught = privy, toilet; 16:6 leaven = evil, false teaching; 16:18 gates of hell = the powers of Satan; 17:15 lunatic = literally "moon struck", one affected by the moon. Epilepsy was one disease then thought to be caused by the phases of the moon; 17:25 prevented him = Jesus spoke before Peter could speak.
For Matthew 15:4: See Exodus 20:12; 21:17; Leviticus 20:9; Deuteronomy 5:16. Matthew 15:8-9: See Isaiah 29:13. Matthew 16:27: See Psalm 62:12; Proverb 24:12; Jeremiah 17:10.
BP Staff: Rita Guerra · Pray for Joe Brashier and the Bible Pathway International Shortwave Radio Broadcasts on WHRI, South Bend IN · Government Official: Rep. George Nethercutt (WA) · Country: Tonga (109,000) in the southwestern Pacific · Major languages: Tongan and English · Religious freedom · 55% Protestant; 22% Mormon; 14% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Humble yourself before the Lord (I Peter 5:5-6).
Memory Verse for the Week: II Corinthians 5:10