Tag Archives: Matthew

Matthew – Conclusion

It looks like i got ahead of myself.  I went and did the word cloud before i finished the last post!

I finished the book of Matthew, and i need to give my post-copy impressions.  This is kind of hard for me as i haven’t really noticed a difference in my view and attitude about the book since i did the work.  So there aren’t really any “BIG” new impressions.  I knew going into this that Matthew is a book for the Jews.  It was written to  a Jewish audience in order to make clear the events that occurred and to make a clear case for Jesus, the Christ.  You can see this as you go through Matthew’s gospel.  In the very first chapter you see Jesus genealogy and how He is a clear descendant of David.  Also, throughout the book there have been numerous purposeful reference back to the (O.T.) Scriptures, and especially referring to Jesus fulfilling the prophesies about the coming Messiah / Christ.  But all this i knew ahead of time.  And I really wanted to get a new impression after having finished this book.

Although, the more i process all of this, and the more I think about it, the more i do have a bit of a different outlook on it.  One thing that i have liked about posting about Matthew has been the chapter titles.  I really put a lot of thought into my chapter / section titles, and it can be pretty frustrating when i just can’t find the right descriptor that communicates about not just one section of the chapter, but the whole thing.  The nice thing about Matthew, is that the author kept everything neat and clean.  At the same time that Matthew talks about Jesus healing the blind man so he can see, you also get Jesus reprimanding the Pharisees and talking about how even though they have eyes, they just can’t see (ch. 20).  You can also see this in Chapter 16 – Response.  In the beginning of the chapter we see the Pharisees starting to get fed up with Jesus.  So they respond to Him by attempting to test / trick Him, but it fails.  Jesus responds to them in ways that blow them away so badly that they decide not to ever do that again.  So first we have the Pharisees’s response to Jesus, then His response towards them, then finally Jesus asks Peter for his response to who people say He is.  It’s all very beautiful the way it’s all laid out.  Each and every section / chapter seems to have its own theme, which in turn just makes it all the more fun, seeing / finding those common themes.

In all honesty, I’m definitely pretty glad that i made the jump to Matthew at this time, and I think that interspersing the NT books in with the OT books will continue, for the time being!  Well, that’s been my thoughts on Matthew, and I’m glad to share them.  I hope you get half as much out of my notes as i have by doing the project.

God bless, and onward to Numbers!   Woo Hoo!

Rev. John

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Matthew – Word Cloud

It’s that time again!  The book of Matthew has been finished.  So now we have these fun Word Clouds compromised of all the words from all of the posts.

As seems to be tradition, we have a light background version and a dark background version.  Keep in mind, the vertical version is my intended version.  But obviously vertical does not necessarily mean work as wallpaper for most people’s monitors.  So we also have the flipped, horizontal version.  Enjoy!

P.S. I give a shout out to Wordle for the word cloud image maker!

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Matthew 27 – 1 – Trials

Wow!  These Jewish leaders!  They seem like such bitter and angry people!

Judas comes and seeks remorse and a restitution of sorts for his involvement in this situation.  He knows he is wrong and that he is at fault.  So he comes in remorse and repentance, and they basically say, “Yup!  You da man!  You are at fault and in judgment, and we’re not lifting a finger  to help you.”

They bring Jesus before the secular, gentile law because they cannot sentence Him to death on their own.  If they could have avoided Pilate and dealing with the spited gentiles, they would have.  Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, they could not sentence Jesus to death on their own.  Pilate, having dealt with these Jews before, had some major issues with what was going on.  He knew that the Pharisees and religious leaders were doing this because they were so angry and bitter, and they hated Jesus for what He did and stood for.

Pilate knows that this is a sham trial, and he tries to stop it.  But what God / YHWH has put into place, Pilate certainly cannot stop.  So Pilate does what he can to help end this fiasco, but to no avail!  He risks a riot and if that happens again, he could lose his jurisdiction and even his life if Caesar is in a foul mood when he hears of it.   His wife even sends him a message telling him to have nothing to do with this man because of a dream she has, but in all truth, there is nothing that he can truly do to stop it.  It’s all going forward like a train wreck, and all he can do is stand back and watch.  “Let it be…”

It’s sad when i consider the Pharisees.  They go through all of this work and trouble.  Why?  Because they truly believe that Jesus is a threat to God / YHWH; because they are constantly trying to fight the Roman invasion and raping and pillaging of their culture, religion, and people and are taking it out on Jesus; or because their pride has been hurt hurt by this teacher that makes them look like fools and idiots when they are the most dedicated and learned men of their times?  Here are “men of God” doing everything that they can to destroy what they should be rejoicing to have.  The Pharisees have spent all of their lives pursuing the truth the only way they know and have been taught how.  Now this young upstart turns around, is attempting to destroy so much of what they have worked so hard to build, and the only way to stop him is to break the very laws that they have spent their lives dedicated to studying, understanding, living and teaching.  I look at that, and I come to the conclusion… “If not but for the grace of God, there go I”

Christ is on trial, but the trial is not His.  It is theirs.  It is mine.  They have been placed in the balance and have been found lacking.  Yet, if not for a 2000 years difference, and they could have been me.  “If not but for the grace of God…”

Rev.  John

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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 25 – “The End is Near…”

This is the last chapter of teaching in Matthew before Passover comes, Jesus has His “last supper” with His disciples, and He is betrayed by Judas.  There are three parables here.  All three deal with Christ’s relationship with His people at the end of the age.  All three are preparation for the kingdom to come.

Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to 10 virgins…”  Are we living our lives in preparation for the kingdom to come?  Are we ready to work and be prepared for the bridegroom to come any time?  Are we pursuing God’s / YHWH’s purposes for us, or are we simply living life as if it doesn’t matter.  Christ is returning, and He could return at any time.  Are we foolish virgins who have not prepared for a long wait and sudden entrance, or are we the wise virgins who are expecting Him at any time and living life as if it matters?

For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them.  To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey.”  We have each been given talents and financial provision.  What are we doing with those gifts?  What is our purpose and what does it mean?  Are we investing what we have and helping it to grow, or are we ignoring and burying our gifts and finances using it only for our own good?  God is expecting a return on what He has given us.  He is expecting us to use what we have for something more than we started with.  He has not blessed us for our sake, but rather for the growth of the kingdom.  If we are not working towards kingdom growth (not our own), all that we have will be taken away.

All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left…”  The judgment is coming; what’s the difference between the sheep and the goats?  Christ says that the difference between the sheep and the goats is that the sheep don’t just sit on what they have been given.  The difference between the sheep and the goats is that the sheep have passion / compassion for others (or just obedience towards God).  They reach out and help those in need.  They step out of their own lives and into the lives of others.  They do the opposite of what our culture teaches.  They reach out and touch the lives of those around them.  Do We?

John

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Matthew 24 – Be Ready

The time is coming near in which Jesus the Christ’s earthly ministry is to end.  He has taught His disciples so much and has been preparing them for His being gone.  Now, He needs to help them understand and prepare for what is to come in the much further future.

It’s interesting to me how CEO Jesus thinks and works.  He starts His ministry, but he doesn’t do it alone.  First He preps and plans, but it’s not just His plan.  He takes on the plan of the Master Architect.  He sees the need (the people’s need for a redemptive relationship with the Father / YHWH) and works toward providing for that need.  He brings along a team of people to help Him do the work, and in the process He is also training them up (mentoring them) to take over the work when He leaves.  He trains and prepares them to rise up, take the reigns, and make the work succeed.  He brings in not just the front runners, like Peter, James and John, who are continually involved as part of the face of the work, but also those who are behind the scenes making things happen like Mary, Martha, Simon the Zealot, Judas, etc.  He genuinely cares about what He is doing and the long, long-term of what He is building, even if it means stepping on some toes and going toe-to-toe with some powerful people.  He sacrifices everything He has for this work, even to the point of giving up His own life to make it happen.  Yet when He does this, He does not leave His followers unprepared or without the support that they need to make the work succeed.  He knows what is going to happen and He is prepared to send “the helper” to them at the right time.

Yet what we see here in this chapter is Jesus forecasting.  He is looking to the future.  He understands what He is building and what His people need to prepare for future problems and trials.  He is giving them insight into the long-term plans and goals, the overall vision of the work, and what kinds of problems and trials they can expect in the decades to come.  He gives them an overall understanding of not only what the work is, but WHY the work needs to be done, and what they can expect to see and do.  He needs His people to look to His return; to see the BIG picture and to Be Ready!

Are we looking at the BIG picture?  Are you ready?

Rev. John J. Camiolo Jr.

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Matthew 20 – Eyes Blinded & Opened

This parable about the vineyard seems to bug me.  So early in the day this man goes out and hires a bunch of people.  They start working and keep working all day.  As the day goes on, he goes out and hires more and more people.  As the day goes on he continues hiring people until, an hour before finishing time he hires the last group of people.  So then at the end of the day he pays the workers their wages… starting with the last first.  So now he’s paying the last, those that have only worked an hour, not only the same as those who have worked all day long, but also he pays them all the same.  Those who have worked all day long are kind of ticked off, they have families and lives that they need to get home to.  They are tired from working so hard, and these other guys not only get paid as much as they do, they have to wait to get paid until these others do.  I mean come on!  Give these guys a break!  But the owner doesn’t.  He responds to their frustration by saying, “This is what we agreed to, so why are you so upset about how I paid these others?”‘

I’m pretty sure that i understand the meaning behind the parable.  The workers are people.  Some have been serving God all their lives, others reject Him until not long before they die.  Yet they both get paid the same.  Why?  Because God wants to do it that way.  Being one that has served Him since i was young, i struggle with this one quite a bit.  I think that part of it is a pride thing, and part of it is an envy thing, and part of it is a blind thing.  I feel like I DESERVE more because I have worked SO HARD for SO LONG (pride).  I feel like as i see others doing the wrong things (what they want) for so long, yet they seem to have all that they want / need, and they will get the same payment at the end it just doesn’t seem fair (envy).  It’s also a blind thing.  I don’t know what i’ve been missing out on.  I can’t see 5 dimensionally.  I can’t see what could have happened if i had made a different choice, but i wonder.

In the parable, the owner of the vineyard says, “Take what is yours and go, but I wish to give to this last man the same as to you.  Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?’”  I have to be careful of how i react to these kinds of things.  Matthew 18:8-9 says, “If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than to have two hands or two feet and be cast into the eternal fire. If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than to have two eyes and be cast into the fiery hell.”  I have to be careful.  If my envious eye is not brought under conviction and dealt with (removed), it can lead to my own downfall.

There is so much more to this topic that i don’t have time to go into, but i did want to touch on one more thing in this chapter.  At the end of the chapter, there are two blind men sitting.  They heard that Jesus was passing by and they cried out for mercy!  What had they done wrong to deserve blindness that they needed mercy for?  Christ asked them what they wanted Him to do (significant).  He had compassion and healed them.  When we are physically blind, or blinded by by pride and envy.  Only one can have mercy on us and bring healing to our eyes.  He is the one we serve, and who has served us.

Rev. John J. Camiolo

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Matthew 16 – Response

It’s interesting to look at (compare & contrast) the responses of the action’s / reactions between Jesus, the disciples, and the Pharisees.  I’d say that by this time many of the Pharisees are getting a little fed up with Jesus.   So they decide that they are going to respond to Him by testing Him.  They ask Jesus for a sign that He is who He says He is.  Of course you know that Jesus is not going to just make things easy for them.  He already knows what’s in their hearts, so He criticizes them for not seeing (or ignoring) the signs that are there right in front of them.

So Jesus, understanding the Pharisees, turns around later and tells His disciples to beware of the leaven (teachings) of the Pharisees.  They don’t get it at first, but after some prompting, they catch on.  So Jesus finally comes to them and asks them about their response to who He is.  Peter is the only one who seems to give a real and solid response.  He tells Jesus, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  Jesus response is high praise of Peter.

So now, because of the response He is given, Christ begins to put a little more depth / meat into His teachings.  He foretells His death and explains the cost of following Him.  Of course we know how the (hi)story goes, but they didn’t at that time.

I wanted to touch on Peter’s “good’ confession here as it has some very interesting facets.  I love the play on words that Jesus does here.  Peter says to Jesus, “You are the Christ (Kristos) the Son of the Living God.”  Jesus responds that this is not something that Peter discovered, but rather something that was revealed to him by the Father.  It’s what Jesus says that is so interesting:  “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.”  The name Peter is the Greek word “petros”.  It means a small stone.  The picture that i get here is of a rock that you would use to skip on a pond.  The word “rock” in this verse is “Petra”  which means a very large rock, a bedrock, or a foundational stone.  So we have Jesus telling Peter, “You are a small stone, and on this huge froundational stone I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will on overtake it.

So if the foundational stone is not Peter, then what is it?  It is this truth; “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  This is such an amazing picture, because out of the small stone, the pebble if you will, comes the bedrock of truth.  The pebble speaks forth the mountain.  Isn’t that an amazing picture?!  The pebble is not the foundation / mountain, but out of the small stone / pebble comes that which is the foundation / mountain.  It is an amazing picture!

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Matthew 15 – Man’s Heart

“If you want to know where your heart is, look to where your mind goes when it wanders.”  A young lady that i know posted this quote on facebook a couple of days ago.  This is the type of quote that i would normally “like” and comment about how true it is, but the more i began to think about it, the more uncomfortable i became with it.  This is definitely the kind of statement that seems good, and that seems right, but that if lived out can lead to destruction.

If i let my mind wander (unrestrained) invariably it will end up drifting into sin.  It will drift into thoughts and areas where it should not be.  Verses 16-20 of Matthew 15 say; “Jesus said, ‘Are you still lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that everything that goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and is eliminated?  But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man.  For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. These are the things which defile the man; …‘”  Is that where my heart is, or is that the sin in my life trying to rise up and consume me?

Once you get to know me, you can get a pretty good idea as to where my heart is… what i am passionate about.  Two big things that i’m passionate about are family and God / the Scriptures / Christianity / the church / Christian life.  These are things that mean a whole lot to me.  They are life consuming.  But, if i let my mind wander, too often my mind will meander to the areas of raw passion.  To emotions and desires unmet.  If you would, to areas of the ID (related to the Ego and Superego).  Are those thoughts my heart, who i am as a person?  They can be if i allow them to be!  Those are my raw emotions and passions, and if i allow them to be, they are my heart!

Colossians 3:2 says: “Set your minds on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”  II Corinthians 10:5 says, “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,”  We must take every thought captive.  We must make it a decision to set our minds in the right direction.  If we let a meandering mind set the direction of our hearts, we will end up being consumed and ruled by our passions which will end up destroying us and all that we care about.

If you want your heart to be more than just your destructive raw passion and emotions, you must take your thoughts captive lest you become consumed.  The only way to have the strength to truly overcome your raw passions and reach all that you are meant to be, is to seek the one who created you in His image and from whom emotion and passion originated.

Rev. John J. Camiolo Jr.

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