Tag Archives: miracles

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 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 5 – Discipleship 101

Jesus and His disciples were being surrounded and pursued by crowds of people.  They all wanted to be around Jesus because of His teachings and miraculous works.  So He took His disciples aside, away from the crowds and took them up a mount to meet with and teach them specifically.  As a result, we now have a discipleship primer… Discipleship 101 if you will.

He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying“.  It’s interesting because, the word “saying” here is a word that refers to continually repeating.  These ideas and thoughts were not just things that Jesus said to the disciples one time.  They were thoughts that were repeated over and over and over and over.  These are basic lessons on what it means to understand the kingdom of heaven and how to be a disciple of Christ.  These are the foundational responsibilities of discipleship.  Without understanding and living out these foundational principles, a man cannot move on to the more complex aspects of ministry.  Without these foundations, the reality of discipleship is nothing more than listening to some sermons, watching some miracles and going about your daily life.  It is these principles and actions that separate a “crowd follower” from a disciple.

Have we made these discipleship basics the foundation to our walk in Christ, or are we just hanging around to get the free food, hear some good preaching, and see some amazing things happen?  Are we here for a show, or are we here to be disciples?

John

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Exodus 32 – Sheep & Calf

Well, here is where it all hits the fan!  The people are tired of waiting for Moses to return from the mountain.  He has been there for 40 days and nights.  They are growing impatient with Moses and God taking their time, and they decide to do something about it.  So what do they do?  They decide to make their own god!  They convince Aaron to make them a god so that they can worship it.  Aaron makes them a golden calf and the people begin to worship it!

I have been trying to understand this.  I really have been.  I try to make it a point to understand the situations that the Israelites are going through.  I know that these are people just like you and i.  I can usually get some sort of grasp on some of the insane things that the Israelites do and make some sort of sense of it, but this one absolutely takes the cake!

God has done all of these amazing things for and with the people of Israel.  He has rescued them from Egypt.  He has done miracles and wonders to the Egyptians absolutely destroying their nation.  He brought them across the Red Sea.  He made water come out of the rock.  He even appeared in a cloud to the people and the leaders saw Him.   He spoke His 10 commandments out loud to them; the second of which was not to make for themselves a graven image!  They even agreed!  Yet here they are.  Moses has returned to the mountain, and is gone for only 40 days.  Now here they are doing one of  the most foolish and insane things they could possibly do.

I try to imagine myself in the situation.  I try to picture it and try to process what is going on in their minds, and i just don’t get it.  I mean, i can kind of get it.  When you are in that emotional high and you need a release… you need to release it some how, i can understand needing to be able to worship.  But wow!  I mean really!?!  WOW!  I think that that’s all I can say about that situation.

I look at YHWH’s response, and i am in no way surprised that He wants to destroy them all and start over.  My real amazement is in Moses response.  He sticks up for them and hold’s God’s fury at bay, but he also doesn’t really know what’s going on the time.  Once he finds out… it becomes a bloodbath.  What is a man of God to do?

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Exodus 7 – Signs

What do you do when God does a miracle in your presence?  How do you respond when He sends a message with power?  What does it take to convince you to change your mind and to do the right thing when you are set on the wrong thing?

Pharaoh comes face to face with Moses, and YHWH makes a move.  Pharaoh has a choice to make.  Obey this “God” of the Israelites, and lose all of the cheap labor that has helped to grow cities and his empire?  Or, not?  Moses and Aaron can do these amazing wonders, but so can his magicians.  Now granted, Moses & Aaron’s staff / snake devours his magician’s staff / snakes, but that’s their problems not his.  Why should he be concerned?

Then Moses & Aaron turn the Nile into blood.  That’s a little bit more of an inconvenience, after all, the kingdom relies on the Nile river.  Then again, the magicians can do the same thing.  So what does Pharaoh do next?  He goes back to his house with no real concern for the situation.  However, seven days later, the magicians have not yet figured out how to change the Nile back to water.  I’m sure that that may have become a little disconcerting.

What about us?  Is God / YHWH trying to speak to us?  Does He give us signs day after day that He is real and we need to look to Him?  Do we ignore Him, considering His miracles no more than coincidences and conveniences or inconveniences?  Do we ignore the little things, because they are little, and don’t take seriously where those signs are pointing?

Pharaoh ignored the little things.  As a result, he takes that mentality with him when YHWH begins to do much bigger things.  What will it take for us to come to the point where we cease ignoring the signs pointing at God.  The more we ignore the little things, the more likely it is we will ignore and reject the big things.  We need to open our eyes and see the truth of who God / YHWH is in the little things as well as the big.

LORD, open my eyes and the eyes of the readers.  Help us to see the signs and understand where they are pointing.  Help us to do more than that.  Help us to pursue the God that is pursuing us.  In the name of Jesus, the Christ, Amen.

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