TODAY’S READING: MATTHEW 8-10
Christ presents Himself as Israel’s King by fulfilling the signs and wonders prophesied of the Messiah in the Old Testament (chapters 8 and 9); the twelve are “sent forth” to preach the Gospel of the “Kingdom” (chapter 10).
HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:
There are several overarching errors Christians tend to make that pretty well insure that their biblical interpretation and application will not be correct. One of the most critical (and often made!) mistakes is thinking that the Bible is a Christian Book that has primarily to do with us. You say, “Oh my, that must have been a terrible typographical error, or Pastor Mark had one incredible brain cramp, because that last sentence actually said that it is a mistake to think that the Bible is a Christian Book that has primarily to do with us.” No. You read it right. That came out exactly as it was intended.
The fact is, if we’re ever really going to “get it” in terms of understanding the Bible, we must face the fact that the Bible is a Jewish book that has to do with their King, and a kingdom that has been promised to them! How very stereotypical of Laodiceans (i.e. believers in the last days – Rev. 3:14-22, whose chief characteristic is that they are “lovers of their own selves” – II Tim. 3:1-2) to think that the Bible is all about “us,” that its theme is “salvation” (which, of course, is first and foremost about “us” and for “us”), and how nice, and thoughtful, and unbelievably gracious of God to allow the poor Jews to have a part in it all! No, no, no! A thousand times, no! No wonder we get messed up!
The fact is, the Bible is predominantly about a 7000 year period of time in which we are merely a 2000 year parenthesis! It is certainly a glorious parenthesis, and most definitely benefits us, and obviously, was planned before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4), but to view the “parenthesis” as the theme or main subject, or to interpret the Old Testament, and even more specifically, the Gospel of Matthew, through “Christian” glasses, is a grave error that will take the most sincere student of the Bible down a zillion rabbit trails, not to mention, down the path of false doctrine!
Always keep in mind that at least 95% of false doctrine is really nothing more than true Bible doctrine being applied to the wrong group of people and/or the wrong period of time (i.e. dispensation). And thus, yesterday’s comments about the Jew, in a devotional sense, being the “ancient landmark” in the Bible, and when that distinction is moved or removed, will cause us to make a beeline right into “the fields of the fatherless” doctrinally (Prov. 22:28; 23:10).
Much of the problem, particularly in Matthew’s Gospel, is that Christians fail to recognize that this Gospel is written to the Jews, to present Christ as their Messiah-King, over the kingdom promised to them in the Old Testament. Just about every commentator you will read, however, will teach that very thing! The problem, however, is that after talking about the Jewish nature of this Gospel, they will go right from making that observation, to trying to apply the teaching of the Book to Christians living in the Church Age, when the Gospel of Matthew doesn’t actually have anything to do with the Church Age from a doctrinal standpoint, at least until the death of the Testator (after Matthew 27). You must keep in the forefront of your thinking that this Gospel is all about the “Kingdom of Heaven.” It is called that because it is about a kingdom promised to the Jews, and that is why Matthew’s Gospel is the only Gospel that uses the phrase (32 times). Contrary to what most co!
mmentators say, it is not the same as the “Kingdom of God” (found repeatedly in the other three Gospels), and the two phrases are not used interchangeably in the New Testament. (More will be said about the “Kingdom of Heaven” vs. the “Kingdom of God” in tomorrow’s comments.) Be sure as we make our way through Matthew that you understand that the things contained in this Gospel have to do specifically with God’s intention to establish a literal kingdom in Israel over which His Son will preside, and rule the whole world from a literal throne in the literal rebuilt Temple in the literal earthly Jerusalem. To apply the vast majority of the teaching found in Matthew to the parenthesis we call the Church Age is poor hermeneutics, not to mention, an invitation to false doctrine. (A great case in point in today’s reading is in chapter 8 and verse 12. If you lose sight of the fact that the subject is the “kingdom of heaven,” you might end up believing something as biblically lud!
icrous and ridiculous that someone who at one time was a born!
hild of God could end up in hell!)
A few pithy comments about some of the verses in today’s reading:
8:12 – Without factoring in the “kingdom of heaven,” so much for eternal security!
8:14 – The so-called first “Pope” had a wife!
8:16 – Nobody in Jesus’ healing line went away “unhealed” because of their “lack of faith.”
8:21 – Circle the word “Lord” and “me first.” They are mutually exclusive, yet characterize the church in the last days (II Tim. 2:1-2)!
8:26 -27 –The wind and the sea recognize the voice of the One who spoke them into existence!
8:29 – Demons make an identification the religious leaders of Jesus’ day (Scribes and Pharisees) were never able to make: Jesus is the Son of God!
8:32 – The pigs do a “swine dive” off the cliff and commit “suey – cide.” (Sorry!)
8:34 – The people were more freaked out by Jesus in their midst than by those who were demon possessed in their midst!
9:2 – Great practical lesson here about doing whatever we can to bring lost to Jesus!
9:11 – Hallelujah! Jesus has time for sinful people like me!
9:27 – Even blind people could “see” what the Pharisees couldn’t – Jesus is the promised Messiah!
9:35 – The “gospel of the kingdom” is not the same gospel Paul talked about in I Cor. 15:3-4!
9:37-38 – Though we are in a different dispensation these verses are extremely true!
10:1 – To this point, the “twelve” are referred to as “disciples.” As they are “sent forth” in this passage (10:5), they receive the title “apostles” (see 10:2). The word “apostle” means “sent one.” The word apostle in Latin is the word “missio” from which we get our word “missionary” to refer to ones who are “sent forth.”
10:5-6 – How about this for the Jewishness of this gospel?!
10:22 – This is a doctrinal back-breaker unless you keep it in the context of the “kingdom of heaven”!