“Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." Matthew 20:28 NASB
And Jesus stopped and called them, and said, "What do you want Me to do for you?"” Matthew 20:32 NASB
If Jesus is our example, then Matthew 20:28 should help fashion what we ask Him for (Matthew 20:32). We often ask for things that are “urgently pressing on us,” or which relief a need or fulfill a want in our lives. Nothing inherently wrong with that except that it really doesn’t fit the model of Jesus. Jesus came as a servant and calls us into servanthood for others.
Jesus said He is a ransom for many. The Word ransom means to loosen. Ironically, in connection with the context of Matthew 20:20-28 it means to loosen from money, or prestige, or place of honor.
In verse 32 the 2 blind men cry out to Jesus for mercy. He asks them, what do you want Me to do for you? He is asking, what do you want Me to loose you from (to ransom you from)? What are you asking Jesus for as you cry out to him? Places of honor like the mother for her sons? Finances? Possessions. Nothing wrong with that if it fits within Jesus model of servanthood.
I think it’s interesting that Jesus in response talks about loosening the brothers from their request for a place of honor rather than feeding into it. Jesus loosened the 2 blind men from their blindness so they could see. What are you asking Jesus for?
To be ransomed (loosened) from something holding you in bondage, or something that may actually put you into bondage, like a place of honor.
As I sit with Jesus and listen to Him ask me, what do you want Me to do for you? What can I ransom you from (loosen you from)? My heart requests shift from the “me” things to the needs of others. What do you want Jesus to do for you?
Praying for you today!
“Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;”
Matthew 10:1-2 NASB
There is an interesting transition that takes place in these verses, one that is easily overlooked because we tend to use words so interchangeably. But in Matthew 10:1 Jesus calls a His disciples (His followers; students; those who are learning from Him) and gives them authority to do ministry. But then in verse 2 when Matthew lists who the disciples are he refers to them as apostles (sent out ones with a message; ambassadors; delegates of someone).
Why is this important? As followers of Jesus we will always be His disciples. But Jesus doesn't intend for us to just remain disciples who follow and learn. He wants us to become apostles who go and do and tell as well. Too many stay disciples, soaking in everything Jesus says. Jesus is calling His disciples to now become apostles, doers of the Word.
How long have you been a disciple? Is Jesus prompting you to become an apostle? A doer of all you've learned?
Don't think there is a certain time you have to be a disciple first. There 12 had not been with Jesus all that long before He sent them out as apostles.
Be a disciple (follower of Jesus) always; but become an apostle (doer) ready to be sent.
... it is fitting for us (Part 1)
“But Jesus answering said to him, "Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he permitted Him.” Matthew 3:15 NASB
Is Jesus coming to you with something that seems completely out of your ability or spiritual standing or “job description?” Have you tried to make an excuse as to why you’re not the one to do what He is asking? Jesus came to John the Baptist to be baptized by him. Rightly so, from a human perspective, John tried to say no, but that Jesus did not need John to do this. But Jesus was not concerned with what John thought of himself or his own spiritual standing/ability. Rather Jesus called John into helping to fulfill ALL righteousness.
Is Jesus coming to you asking you to do something for him? Are you making excuses as to why you can’t do whatever it is? Are you looking for a way out? The good news is it is not about you or me. We are being invited into Kingdom work, fulfilling a duty, an obligation to Christ is the meaning here, living out John 15, Christ in me, me in Christ, as Christ is in the Father. He’s calling us to be in unity with Him to fulfill ALL righteousness.
Consider what Jesus is asking. Consider your excuses and see how they stand up to His righteousness in you (and how He is not concerned with your excuses). Join in the work He asks. He wouldn’t ask you if it wasn’t fitting. It is fitting for us (Jesus and us) to do whatever He is asking so that His righteousness may be fulfilled. This is a power packed verse. But for now let’s start here and see where Jesus takes us. It is fitting that you are called on be Jesus...
“... it is fitting for us...” (Part 2)
“But Jesus answering said to him, "Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he permitted Him.”
Matthew 3:15 NASB
Are you leaving something that Jesus is asking you to do undone? For whatever reason you are hesitant to do what Jesus is asking?
For John, he was hesitant to baptize Jesus. But Jesus told John that it was fitting so that God’s purpose throughout history could find fulfillment in that moment. It was fitting for John to fulfill in obedience what Jesus was asking.
The whole idea in this story is that of Jesus taking an eternity of righteousness and literally cramming it into that moment of baptism. That’s why it was fitting for a John to be obedient to what Jesus was asking. It set in motion Jesus public ministry and salvation history in Christ.
So, is there anything Jesus is asking you to do that you’re hesitant to do? It is fitting that He’s asking you to join in His Kingdom work. It may not make sense. It may be intimidating and even scary. It may not be safe, in fact probably won’t be. But it is fitting.
He’s inviting you in to His Kingdom work and expansion. It is fitting!
You are loved and highly valued today.
What do you see?
“And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw Him, they implored Him to leave their region.”
Matthew 8:34 NASB
This is an interesting conclusion to a short story of 2 demon possessed men being set free by Jesus. But the story is connected to the previous 2 chapters as recorded by Matthew.
Matthew records for us in Matthew 6-7 how Jesus spoke of the Father knowing our needs before we ask, but yet wanting us to bring our needs to Him. How our Father will provide and take care of our needs when we ask.
But Jesus also teaches about the danger of misplaced trust. Matthew 7:6 is the link between Jesus teaching on God’s provision and our story:
“"Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” Matthew 7:6 NASB
Do not cast your pearl before swine or the swine will devour it and turn on you. The meaning behind the message is do not put your trust in your wealth or income stream (pearl) above the Father’s provision because it will turn on you and consume you.
How do we know? Look at our story today. When the people heard that Jesus had set 2 demon possessed men free and went out to see Him, what did they see? 2 men set free or their income stream (their pearl) gone? I think they saw their income stream gone and that was more important than 2 men set free from the chains of hell.
What do you see when you go out to see what Jesus is doing? People, or how what Jesus is doing affects you (and possibly your income stream or pearls)?
“"So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34 NASB
In a twist of irony, Matthew is written for the Jewish audience. Jews despise swine as dirty and unclean. But when it is your livelihood even what you despise becomes of great value. Especially when having Jesus manifest presence costs you that livelihood in order that the bound and oppressed might be set free. Following Jesus has great cost but our Father knows what we need before we ask and is faithful to provide when we’re willing to place the people He lives before ourselves.
This are big chapters in Matthew 5-8. Spend some time there this week and let Jesus words speak to you. I’m anxious to hear what He might say.
The Father loves you and has your every need in His hand. His bigger issue is what you see? People bound and oppressed or what you think you’ll have to give up to follow Jesus and reach those people?
Tough thoughts. Jesus we love you. Father, thank You for knowing and meeting our needs as we choose to follow You. May we see You setting people free (and us from the chains that bind us) and not what we think we may lose.
Original plan; present reality; future hope
“... and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle (His Presence) over them.” Revelation 7:15 NASB
"... Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men (His Presence), and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them,” Revelation 21:3 NASB
“I saw no temple in it (the new Jerusalem), for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.” Revelation 21:22 NASB
God’s greatest desire throughout the history of humanity has been to live with us. In the garden, through wilderness wandering, promised in the prophets, lived out in Jesus, given in the Holy Spirit, and foretold in eternity, God’s greatest desire is to “tabernacle” or to be in and amongst His children.
It is His original plan, a present reality for us in Christ if we choose Him and in and through Him His tabernacling presence is felt in the Holy Spirit, and it is our future eternal hope that God Himself dwells among us.
Live in God’s greatest desire for you today. I pray that you sense a His Presence (His tabernacle) over you and with you today. Embrace and be called into the truth of His original plan for us, His reality in Christ, and His future hope.
How wonderful it is to have God tabernacle, be present in and among us.
Sometimes I forget...
Sometimes I forget that in Christ I am a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). No matter what I have been, or what I am allowing to dominate my thoughts at the moment, in Christ I am a priest in His Royal Kingdom. I am part of His Kingdom. “and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father-to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” Revelation 1:6 NASB
“But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;” 1 Peter 2:9 NASB
Satan loves to lie to us so that we live with a spiritual pauper mentality. He loves for us to get into the comparison game, which is always a losing game to play because we’ll either not measure up or we’ll inflate ourselves to be better than...
I forget and need God in His Word to remind me that in Christ I am made to be a Kingdom, part of His Kingdom rule and reign with the high calling of a priest to the glory of God the Father.
I forget that my Kingdom role of priest is part of the royal priesthood and that His Kingdom needs each of our priestly roles stepped into and lived into so that His Kingdom May advance.
In Christ you are, I am, we are Kingdom; royal priests to the glory of God the Father. And not just in a temporary tile, but forever and ever.
That puts unction in my step today. Step into and live into your Kingdom priestly role today as it is just as important and vital as that of others. Together, we all make up His Kingdom.
Two Part Harmony
“They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” Revelation 12:11 NIV
We give testimony to A LOT of “things” in our lives but often fail to give testimony to the foundation of all other testimony; the blood of Jesus which overcomes sin, death, and the evil one.
We love to quote the Scripture above but often forget its context; the war between Michael the Arch Angel with the angels of heaven versus Satan and those angels cast out of heaven. This war was fought for us, the brethren, who are accused falsely by Satan day and night (verse 10). But the victory is in our testimony of the blood of Jesus.
Testify of God’s goodness and grace and mercy in your life today. But let us (may I never) forget that ALL testimony is founded upon my testimony of the blood of Jesus. His blood, it is our victory even unto death.
Be victorious today in ALL things by the testimony of Jesus blood in and over your life.