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Monday: Jesus’ Method and Response — 16 Comments

  1. Don't you just love lawyers? They know how to think up trick questions. We have a couple of lawyers in our extended family so we are experienced in this tactic.

    This lawyer was a Jew and had intimate knowledge of the scripture. He was a son of Abraham and knew that he "inherited from him". So why did he have to ask the question;

    Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

    And Jesus turned the tables on him and asked him for what he had read in Scripture. The Lawyer was prepared for that and had the quote ready for Jesus.

    Jesus rewarded him with a tick. "You have done well. Do this and you shall live!"

    But that response was too slick for the lawyer and he just had to respond, "Who is my neighbor?" I can almost hear Jesus saying, "Gotcha!"

    Then Jesus told a story that the lawyer did not want to hear.

    Essential to understanding this story is the notion that Jesus was interacting with a conservative religious leader of the Jews. They had forgotten the really important thing about their purpose and had become inward-serving and anxious to maintain the status quo.

    Sometimes I hear Seventh-day Adventists who are more interested in our inheritance and status quo that advancing the cause of the Gospel. Which question is more important?

    "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" or "Who is my neighbour?" Can we ask one without the other?

  2. Although I value all 66 books of the The Holy Bible; King Jesus has instructed me to focus solely on His quoted words in the book of Matthew.

    I test all teachings against His words here & "reject any philosophical or theological reasoning that" is in opposition to His words here.

    I hold closely to His words in Matthew 16:6 KJV.

    • Rather than "focus solely" I prefer to think of Jesus as the lens through which I view the rest of scripture. After all, Jesus quoted extensively from the Old Testament and gave meaning to its messianic message.

    • Brendan,
      Putting faith in Jesus words is a safe thing to do. Jesus words are found in more than just Matthew so curious why only Matthew at this time?

      I have interpreted that the leaven Jesus spoke of in Matt 16:6 was the leaven of continuing to ask for a sign Matt 16:1 and not accepting the Messiah when God had given all prophecy and multiple signs and miracles to show that He was the Messiah and the Son of God. Jesus went on to give them the sign of Jonah (Matt 16:4 & Matt 12:40) which, as I understand, was basically that they would not even accept Him even after He rose from the dead. I have interpreted the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus to further confirm this always seeking signs but never becoming converted.

      I think Paul also touched on this problem in 1 Corinthians 1:22-22 where he says that the Jews look for a sign and the Greeks look for wisdom but neither seems to be able to accept a crucified Jesus.

      I agree that philosophies and theologies if they do not move the person to Jesus are dangerous areas that can grow and deceive many into self- gratifying pride in wisdom and truth that does not lead to the acceptance of the "Truth" / Jesus as one's personal Savior.

      Once again, I must say you cannot go wrong when following the words of Jesus. And if Matthew is where you hear Him speaking to you right now ... Praise the Lord!

      • J Petersen 🙂

        "...so curious why only Matthew at this time?"

        Trust & Obedience 😉 ... like my favourite hymn by John H. Sammis.

        • Have you ever watched the Gospel of Matthew? It is a word for word reading of the Bible with enactment. Watched it many times with my kids and really enjoyed it. Hearing the scripture read over and over really has helped many verses stick in my mind as well. Thought you might like it if you have not already seen it. 🙂

          • Thank you J Petersen 🙂

            I have not seen it. I did a quick search now and saw that the 4 hours movie is available on YouTube: "The Gospel According to Matthew starring Bruce Marchiano, Richard Kiley, Gerrit Schoonhoven"

            Interestingly it was shot on location in Tunisia, Morocco, and South Africa and was released in 1993, just 1 year before the end of Apartheid. Most of the cast, director and writer have South African names. I hail from South Africa.

            Thank you again.

            I have recorded (in MP3 format) the 644 verses of King Jesus' quoted words verse-by-verse from Matthew 3:15 KJV to Matthew 28:20 KJV in my voice. I play this when I am alone in my little Datsun Go whenever I am on errands & going to a student (I am a maths tutor).

            In addition, I have extracted these 644 verses into a PDF document for quick reference without the "clutter" of Matthew's words.

            To answer an earlier interpretation of yours, look at Acts 23:6 KJV.

            Sole focus is very important:
            "The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.", King Jesus in Matthew 6:22 KJV.

            I treat of each and every one of His words here as gold for my soul.

    • Brendan, you are aware that Matthew was not likely even the first gospel written, right? If you are testing anything by a gospel, it should actually be Mark as most scholars agree that it was written first and Matthew actually drew from the gospel of Mark.

      I don't see anything in the gospels that indicates that there is a Canon within the Canon or that one book is to test the truth of another so I would suggest you be very careful with the approach you use. It's perfectly fine to have a favorite gospel (I am partial to Luke myself) but each one has a purpose and shouldn't really be tested against another. I say this as someone who just recently finished a year long in depth study of Mark, which I used to think was a semi-useless gospel due to it being short and almost all of it also existing in Matthew or Luke. I definitely don't believe that anymore. Each gospel has a purpose and should be approached with that in mind, knowing that God uses different perspectives to reach different people.

  3. One of the most incredible things about the Gospel is that Jesus is an individual experience. At the same time, He unites people and respects their individuality. When Paul says, "I am a slave of the Gospel," he means he is bound to Jesus in Love. Because in faithful Love, there is freedom. Although Love can start with some slight feeling such as "curiosity," we can all choose to develop this intriguing force to understand the feeling or walk away. Let's not walk away from the Love Jesus offers individually to each of us TODAY. Moving from "curiosity" to getting to know and learn from the fountain of Love means learning a lot about oneself and how to love others. Everything gets deeper meaning when Jesus is part of the life equation.

  4. "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free".
    "Thy word is truth".

    Thankfully, the inspired meaning of the words in Acts 17:11 have reminded me often to do the same after hearing a minister's presentation that doesn't sound biblically sound. I get perplexed until I re-study the subject over and over, praying the rest of the congregation has done the same.

    What next? Approach the pastor? Pray for the pastor? Go to another church? I'm just asking what you would do in a situation such as this. It happens in our church. I heard one sermon that said there a lot of SDA ministers that don't know the Bible very well. That's shocking.

    • Tom, to me it would determine exactly what it was the pastor had wrong. We all interpret things differently. Some believe the 24 elders in Revelation 4 and 5 are those raised when Jesus was crucified. Others believe they are representatives from other worlds. There is really no reason to argue about that. We don't have to confront every person who has a different opinion or interpretation than we do. However a while back someone told me their Adventist pastor did not believe in the 2300 days and the cleansing of the sanctuary. I told them to talk to the pastor and ask him to study it out with them. By all means pray for the pastor when he is wrong, but also realize he may be right about other things where you are wrong. Invite the pastor to study these things out with you.

      • Tom,
        I would agree that speaking with the pastor in private would be the best 1st step (Matt 18:15). This can be a difficult situation, and I have been in a similar experience.

        Pray a lot! Especially for your own heart and motives. That through this conflict anger and bitterness do not remove your 1st love. I do not say this to judge you but only because I experienced this struggle amid the myriad of feeling and confusion about what to do. I was reminded in my situation that we are here to save people not just defend doctrines / beliefs. Not that the doctrines are not important but that the doctrines are there to save people and if dealt with in the wrong way it can cause people to be lost.

        Love covers a multitude of sins (1Peter 4:8). I am not suggesting that we love and forget the errors but we must deal with others considering what is the easiest way to reconcile and not expose a brother or sister to more difficulty / pain than necessary.

        My heart goes out to you, your pastor, and your church family. Will add you to my prayer list. Remember that God is powerful to deal with situations that we don't have a clue about. Don't stop praying and take time to remember your first love as well so that you do not become consumed by the problem at hand. God is big enough... praise His Name!

  5. Christ life of mission is an answer to our prayer, which should be. " Show me Your ways, O Lord ; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day."
    Psalms 25:4‭. NKJV
    Psalms 25:5. NKJV

    Christ showed us the answer to this
    prayer of ours. We are drawn to His method of reaching our neighbor, which is tactfully pointing those we come in contact with to His Word. We can do this by being in the Word ourselves, taking the Holy Spirit with us, letting ourselves being used by the Holy Spirit. In the words of David, this is putting our trust in God, that we may declare His works. Psalms 73:28.

    We are now partners with God in good works. He has put a smile on our face, not of bragging of good works, rather the peace that comes with being with God in good works.

    If, however, you are [really] fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself [that is, if you have an unselfish concern for others and do things for their benefit]” you are doing well.
    James 2:8. AMP.

  6. We ask questions because the answer escapes us. Someone always has an answer. For instance how many of you hear this question "What is the meaning of Life?". Many people have tried to answer this some with half of the answer but Jesus gave the full answer and it was in scripture before he was even here on earth. Luke 10:27 sums up not only the law of all prophets, that we are to love are neighbors and who are are are or neighbors again scripture points out who are neighbors are in Luke10:30-37. The first 2 people are from Gods own chosen people, a priest and a Levite both passed him by but a Samaritan stopped and helped all that he could.

  7. I am not sure how I would describe my approach to keeping the Faith of Jesus Christ, though I know that I do not doubt anything which I accept to believe about Him. A believe in anything has to be rooted in something. The process of forming a ‘believe’ or the act of ‘believing’ does not happen in a vacuum; they are sourced from that which we allow to come into our heart and mind in the form of an impression through observation/experience, a rational thought, or by 'intuition'.

    What makes the Christian’s faith-experience so unique is that we can draw from all possible sources to satisfy the senses as well as our intellect, including the heavenly source which explains or substantiates all that pertains to our faith which we 'experience'.

    As I see it, the most crucial part of ‘understanding’ is provided by inspiration through the Holy Spirit. How does He work? Does He just confirm what we already sensed or thought, or does He provide an entirely new, different, spiritually sourced, environment/setting in our heart and mind from which we perceive his spiritually based ‘information/impressions/understanding’?

    Jesus states: John 15:26 – ”But I will send you the Comforter from the Father. When he comes, he will give evidence about Me. He is the Spirit of Truth wo comes from the Father.” The man Jesus was God’s vessel just like we are, working in/by the power of the Holy Spirit. Being in the body, it is the work of the Holy Spirit which conveyes the Father’s Truth to others.

    In response to Peter declaring: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”, Jesus tells Peter: "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by My Father in heaven.” God reveals His Truth to those whom He calls to be carriers/vessels and teachers of His Truth – 1Cor.2:10-12; John 6:44-51.

  8. I guess I'm a little puzzled with what the lesson today is trying to convey. I believe that Scripture is the supreme authority that everything must be tested by, but I'm not sure that pointing secular people to the Bible right away and in every situation is the best method to use. If they don't believe in the Bible, it has no authority in their lives. It's like Paul in Acts 17 - he didn't start with the Bible. He met the Athenians where they are. Now if the lesson is meant for us as believers, I agree, but I'm not sure how this relates to ministry to my neighbor. I guess I will see what the rest of the week brings.


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