Tag Archives: disciples

Matthew 28 – The End Begins

Part 1 of all of time and life has ended.  Part 2 now begins.  Christ has risen.  He has risen indeed.  This is an interesting rendition of this his-story.  It is short and sweet.  It hits the highlights of the main story.  It tells of the reactions of the guards and the religious leaders, and it tells of the directions given to the disciples.

It’s at these directions that i want to dwell.  I learned something a long time ago.  It is something that has changed my outlook on this great commission.  It’s may not be super deep and life redefining, but it is an interesting revelation none-the-less.

First off, I love how Christ starts this.  It is classic YHWH.  “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  (You) Go therefore…”  It’s just like when God spoke to Moses, “I am going to free My people Israel… now you go and tell Pharaoh to let My people go!”  YHWH says He is going to do it, then He tells us to.  It’s great!

My big note relates to vs 19-20.  Jesus tells the disciples to go and make disciples… baptizing in the name of the Father and of the the Son, and of the Holy Spirit…  Yet, when you look at the scriptures talking about the disciples baptizing in Acts, these are the statements you get (2:38) Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”  (8:14-16) Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.  Nowhere else does it give an account of what is said during the baptism.

What you notice here is that there is nowhere in these or any other accounts in which it is said that they baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  In the accounts of water baptism the people are baptized in the name of Jesus, the Christ.  Yet when we baptize, WE say, “…in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”  Why?  Because in the book of Matthew, Christ tells us to.  But, isn’t that what He told the disciples as well?  Is there something we’re missing here or was it something the disciples were neglecting?

The more I’ve studied this, the more I’m convinced that we’re missing something here.  For instance, no where in the great commission does it say anything about coming to God in repentance, or even to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.  It’s not there.  But when you do look at what the disciples did, there was more to the story than just water baptism.  Acts 2:38 says, “Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’”  There are three parts to this.  1) Repent  2) Water baptism in the name of Jesus, and 3) Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  So how are these connected to being baptized in the name of…

In order to understand that, you have to understand what baptism is.  Baptism is in essence the representation of a death, a burial, and a resurrection (what Christ did for us).  In water baptism you “die” are “buried” in the water (hence not sprinkled), and are “resurrected again into new life.  When we are water baptized it is a physical representation of what, that we have already done?  It is a physical representation of our repentance… 1) death of self 2) burial in God / YHWH’s grace, and 3) resurrection as a new man.  Thus repentance is a baptism.  Water baptism is an outward baptism expressing what we have already done in our heart, and baptism in the Holy Spirit is a baptism of the Holy Spirit’s power.  Thus it is baptism in the name (name represents power) of the Father (repentance) and of the Son (water baptism), and the Holy Spirit (the HS’s empowerment for the building up of the saints for the work of service).

So what does this mean for us?

 

Rev. John J. Camiolo Jr.

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Matthew 26 – 2 – Revenge of the Pharisees

Preparations have been made and the time has come.  There is only to wait, and rest, and meet the promised fate.  Jesus takes the disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray.  The disciples, having had a very busy week, having just completed a big meal, and being unaware of what is about to happen simply cannot keep their eyes open to pray.  Thus Jesus last moments alone with his disciples end up with Him being truly alone.  Just Him speaking with His Father, YHWH.

It’s rather sad that Jesus, the Son of God, is being betrayed by one of His own.  These 12 disciples have followed Him for three years now.  They have seen the miracles He has done.  They have seen Him walk on water, heal the blind, cast out demons, raise the dead, and more.  They have heard Him teach.  They have heard all the stories about the Kingdom of Heaven, that it is at hand, what it is like,  the need for repentance, and what role they will play there.  They have even gone out and done and taught the same things with people healed at their hands.  Yet, one of their own.  One from the big 12 is in the process of betraying Him…  of betraying them all.  Yet there it is.  Not only does he betray Jesus, he betray’s Him with a kiss… and they all go tumbling down.  His disciples, including His closest three, all scatter.

What happens next is absolutely amazing.  The Pharisees, high priests and elders have Him arrested.  That’s a great idea!  Only they don’t exactly have their act together.  They are fumbling around trying to figure out what to charge Jesus with, and even bringing forward people bear false witness against Him (the 10th commandment).  Yet even with all of this, they still can’t seem to get their act together.  There seems to be a bit of a spirit of confusion about the place.  It takes Jesus Himself giving them the ammunition that they need before they are able to clearly bring a case against Him.

Meanwhile, Peter is watching all of this from the sidelines, full of fear of what is going to happen and what could happen to Him if he is caught.  In the process, he is caught.  People recognize him, and call him out.  So while Judas, the least of the Apostles, betray’s Judas to the Pharisees; Peter, the greatest of the Apostles deny’s Him for fear of the Pharisees.  It looks like the Pharisees are getting their revenge.

Yet, there is always hope…

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Matthew 26 – 1 – Preparation (Last Supper)

Well, I’m a few days further behind on my writing than on my copying.  I’m actually in Matthew 27 today in my copy work, but I’m writing about the beginning of Matthew 26.

Time seems to be speeding up here.  Final preparations are being made.  Jesus is where He often seems to be.  He is with His flock; at the home of Simon the leper.  A woman comes and pours out over his head a vial of very costly perfume.  This is so very significant in so many ways.  This kind of vial of perfume is often used as a life savings.  When a person has extra money that he / she wants to save long term (for when they are old / retired) they would invest it in perfumes and burying spices.  It held it’s value well, and was less likely to be stolen than Roman coin.  When this woman pours this perfume / burial incense & spices out on Jesus, she is giving up her best, her future for Him.  She is preparing Him for burial, and trusting God to provide for her future.  This is a huge sacrifice on her part, and everyone knows it.  Thus what she has done is remembered.

Next we see Judas preparing as well.  The Passover meal is coming, and he goes to the chief priests to sell out his master.  He takes the silver, and provides the direction to allow the leaders to take out their wrath through the destruction of something beautiful.

Finally, we come to an extremely important event.  One that is celebrated at least monthly in churches around the world.  The last supper and communion.  It’s funny that we use this official word “Communion” for this process.  What is communion?  Communion can be defined as: “The sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings”.  It is two or more people coming together for a common purpose to share / celebrate together with one another.  It is a process of celebration, joy, hope, sharing, and intimacy.  When i think of taking part in communion at church, i do not think of celebration, joy, hope, sharing, or intimacy.  It is more like seriousness, melancholy, monotony, dividing up, and self-focus.  That’s not to say that it is those things, but that certainly is what it seems like at times.

This Last Supper is that final time that Jesus has to share and be in relationship with His disciples.  He knows that this is His last chance to just be able to relax and spend time with them.  Imagine what it would be like if you knew that your next meal would be the last meal you would spend with your family.  The last chance you had to really BE with them, and enjoy their company.  Would you want it to be remembered as a stuffy occasion in which everyone passes around little tiny crackers and little tiny cups of juice and they sit there holding their little  tiny cups trying not to spill them and stain the carpet?  There are a whole lot of things that the church does really well, but I really think that we miss the target on this one.

Celebrate communion with someone today.

 

Rev. John J. Camiolo Jr.

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Matthew 17 – Metamorphosis

Things are beginning to change (even more).  The disciples have seen and gone through so many things with Jesus.  They have even begun to change (metamorph) and have done things they could never have imagined being able to do before.  Yet the wonders never cease!  Here they go again.  Back up to the mountain to get away and spend some time in prayer.  Yet again, all their expectations are going to be blown apart by reality.  Jesus and His inner circle three go, pray, and there they become a part of something never seen before by human eyes.  Jesus was transfigured / transformed / metamorphosed in front of them.  He is no longer the “Man” that they have known Him to be.  What’s more, not only is Jesus there, but so are Moses and Elijah.  How they knew that it was Moses and Elijah i have no idea.  The text does not tell us, but there it is, the disciples meeting Moses and Elijah face to face!  It’s interesting, the three disciples see the three transfigured, one of whom is one part of the trinity.  Maybe  there’s more here to look at?

So the disciples bear witness to this transformation of the son of man, and a voice from heaven says, “This is my beloved son with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!”  Wow!  To have been there!

We go on through the chapter and we see yet another transformation.  A man comes and falls at Jesus feet begging for healing for his son.  The disciples had not been able to heal the child (another message for another time), so he came to the Source, Jesus.  So Jesus brings transformation into the life of the little boy and the father.

Are we experiencing and living out transformation?  Are we being metamorphosed by the Holy Spirit, or do we look similar now to how we did before we met Christ.  Before we accepted and began to live out the gospel (good news) of Christ?  What new metamorphosis still needs to happen?

John Camiolo

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Matthew 11 – Reactions

When Jesus had finished giving instructions to His twelve disciples, He departed from there to teach and preach in their cities.”  When i read this, I take it as Jesus instructing and sending out the disciples and while they are sent out to do the work of ministry, He is going to their home cities to teach and preach.  It seems almost like a mentality of, “You go take care of these places and meanwhile I have your back.  I am going to make sure your families and friends are taken care of. ”  It’s like His reaction to their stepping out is to take care of those they care about.

Meanwhile, John the Baptist, the one who recognized Jesus conception from the womb and leapt in his mother’s womb at His presence, the one who prepared the way for Jesus, the one who told Jesus that he couldn’t baptize Him because he was not even worthy to untie His sandals, the one who heard the voice of God (YHWH) speaking and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Jesus, the one who said, “He must increase, and I must decrease”, that John; He has set for too long and has come to the point of wondering and doubting that which He had previously known beyond a shadow of a doubt.  So he sends his disciples, the ones that are left, to Jesus to ask if He is the one.  Jesus reaction is not one of disgust that John is even asking such a thing and reacting in such a way, but His reaction is to tell them to observe and report.  That that is the answer for John’s doubt.  There is no criticism of John, only comfort.

Meanwhile, Jesus begins to respond to the reaction of the cities He has already been to.  He had preached, and taught, and healed, and done miracles, and called them to repentance, yet they had not.  They had continued doing what they knew was wrong and treating Jesus teaching like a passing fad.  So Jesus pronounces “Woe” on them.  They rejected the message, so that reaction is going to affect their standing on the judgment day.

Finally, Jesus calls for a reaction from the people.  The conclusion to the chapter is, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.

So what is your and my reaction to His message?

 

John J. Camiolo Jr.

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Matthew 9 – Responses

As time goes on, Christ continues ministering.  It doesn’t matter where He is, or what He is doing, He keeps ministering.  However, as you will see, the people’s response to Him contrasts greatly.  A paralytic is brought to Him.  He tells him that his sins are forgiven, and not long after that, to get up and walk.  The scribes (educated folk) criticize him for the first thing, and the people were awestruck and praise YHWH for both.  Jesus eats with tax collectors and sinners.  The Pharisees criticize Him for mingling with the rabble.  Meanwhile, the tax collectors and sinners come to repentance.  John (the Baptist)’s  disciples critically question him about why they and even the Pharisees disciples fast, but Jesus’ don’t.  Jesus replies that now is not the right time.  If you expect too much from someone or something at the wrong time, you can destroy the work that needs to be done.

Day by day, people keep coming to Him, in spite of the scribes and Pharisees criticisms.  We actually begin to see deep contrasts in who and how people come to Him.  A synagogue official (public VIP figure) comes boldly to Him pleading with Him to heal and revive his dead daughter.  Meanwhile an unclean woman with an issue of blood comes to Him secretly hoping to get a scrap from the master’s table.  She wants to be healed.  While she comes in secret, He heals her publicly.  While the leader calls to Him publicly, Jesus heals his daughter in secret.

As He goes on and casts out demons, the religious leaders follow along with the gentile beliefs and decide that the only way for a demon to be cast out is if you send in a stronger, tougher demon to kick the first one out.  But then you end up with a different, stronger, demon to deal with.

Yet none of this matters to Jesus.  He feels compassion for the people for they are like sheep without a shepherd.  So, what’s His response?  That answer is in chapter 10.

John Camiolo

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Matthew 8 – Ministering

It’s amazing how even simple daily chores and tasks can be so very different day-by-day when we are connected to other people.  Our lives can have set schedules and predefined plans, but once you add in the “other person” factor, everything we plan and do suddenly changes.  Our “set schedule” suddenly becomes a possible plan or a good idea or a guarantee of what WON’T happen.  This is the case while Jesus is ministering as well.

Jesus ministers to a leaper, and all is normal… or as normal as they can be when you heal a leaper with a touch.  Then along comes a Centurion, a solider, many of whom dislike and mistreat the Jewish people.  Only this one is asking Jesus for help.  Not only does Jesus help him, but Jesus then turns around and says that He has not seen such faith in all of Israel!  Next we see people desiring to be His disciples, but then Jesus pushes them away.  What kind of teacher doesn’t want students?

After a long day, Jesus and His disciples head out in a boat and cross the sea.  Suddenly a tempest strikes and it looks like they will all drown.  When His disciples wake Him to help with the boat, He rebukes them.  Then He rebukes the storm and it immediately stops!

They all reach the other side only to run into a pair of men who are demon possessed and who have been driving people out of the region.  They free them from the demons only to be driven out of the region by the rest of the people BECAUSE they freed these men from being held captive by demons!  (I have my own theories as to why they kicked them out, but i’m not going to say them here and now.)

When you minister day by day directly with people, these are the kinds of unusual days and situations you are going to run into.  If you are in the ministry, and your schedule is well defined and set.  If you don’t have days where your plans and schedule are messed up by people, then i would wonder if you you are “ministering”, or if you are “doing the ministry”.  If you are doing the ministry I would challenge you to consider what your call and purpose is.

Jesus did not sit in an office all day.  He was hands on, and if we are to be like Him, we need to reconsider what it means to “minister” to the flock.

Rev. John J. Camiolo Jr.

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