Last night we had friends around our table. It was such a good time. We talked a little about present day attitudes, so as I read Matthew 20 this morning the attitudes jumped off the page at me.
First the bad attitudes.
The workers grumbled.
The mother was pushy.
The disciples were indignant.
The crowd told the blind men to be quiet.
Wow! Have you ever stepped back and listened to your own attitudes? The other day I heard myself speak and thought, “That is terrible!” I had to confess it to the Lord. And ask my husband to forgive me. Wow!
Then the good and right attitudes.
The landowner was generous.
Jesus was generous. He asked the blind men what they wanted. I love this part!
And Jesus stopped and called them, and said,
"What do you want Me to do for you?"
They said to Him,
"Lord, we want our eyes to be opened."
Moved with compassion,
Jesus touched their eyes;
and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him.
Jesus was moved with compassion!
In the middle of all the bad attitudes and the lovely Jesus are these important verses.
"It is not this way among you,
but whoever wishes to become great among you
shall be your servant,
and whoever wishes to be first among you
shall be your slave;
just as the Son of Man did not come to be served,
but to serve,
and to give His life a ransom for many."
And there it is! The way to be great is to serve.
We need the servant’s attitude! (Luke 17:10)
Jesus, who is God, who should be served,
came to serve. Philippians 2 comes to mind. Check it out.
We can follow in His train. Today is a good day to shun bad attitudes and be a servant of the Lord! Those are my marching orders for the day!
"And everyone who has left houses
I love a glimpse into the heart of God. God is no man’s debtor and the believer who leaves what is loved by him and familiar to him in order to serve Christ, God will take care of him. Bill Mac Donald explains it this way:
In this life, they enjoy a world-wide fellowship of believers that more than compensates for severed earthly ties. For the one house they leave, they receive a hundred Christian homes where they are warmly welcomed. For lands or other forms of wealth forsaken, they receive spiritual riches beyond reckoning.
This doesn’t mean you earn your salvation by serving Christ. No, salvation is a gift. It is free. But following Christ costs. And following Christ is rewarded.
Mark adds present persecutions as part of the reward for following Christ.
I’m thinking over these things today. And thinking about eternal realities.
With eternity's values in view, Lord.
So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying,
This story is a picture. I had a debt against God that I could not pay. Jesus, in great love, died on the cross for my sin. He paid my debt. He then released me from my debt! What compassion! What forgiveness! Amazing grace. I'm a debtor to mercy!
Now I have the responsibility and grace to forgive others as I have been forgiven. From my heart! I love it! And what if someone doesn’t forgive me this way? What if they hold my debt over my head and choke the life out of me? I know that God will deal with them. All this is freeing. Wonderful! So many songs come to mind.
He paid a debt He did not owe
While he was still speaking,
a bright cloud overshadowed them,
and behold, a voice out of the cloud said,
"This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased;
listen to Him!"
This is the second time in Matthew that God has spoken from heaven.
Remember Jesus’ baptism?
And behold, a voice out of the heavens said,
"This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased."
I noticed this time the addition of “Listen to Him!” There He was with Moses and Elijah. Great prophets! But Jesus is greater than the prophets!
God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets
in many portions and in many ways,
in these last days has spoken to us in His Son,
whom He appointed heir of all things,
through whom also He made the world.
Hebrews 1:1, 2
Lord, tune our ears to listen to Him!
From that time
Peter was acting like Satan in counseling the Lord to skip the cross. Jesus was born to die. This was the work He set His face to do. If Jesus skipped the cross I would be lost forever. My life came from His death!
Jesus then proceeds to say it is the same for everyone who wishes to follow Him. I am to deny self any rights over me. That's hard! I should be willing to suffer and die for the cause of Christ. If I try to save my life and live a self centered life, I will lose my life. If I die to myself, I will really live! Others may live as a result of that kind of death too!
Yesterday I heard a wonderful message reminding me of these verses.
Truly, truly, I say to you,
If you are a believer, anyone who counsels you to take the safe route, the easy route, is acting like Satan. Refuse to listen. The path to life is through death! What a great reminder! Today is a good day to die. This will mean life for you. And life for others. I’m thinking of Amy Carmichael today… she said this…
“One day I felt the “I” in me rising hotly, and quite clearly — so clearly that I could show you the place on the floor of the room where I was standing when I heard it — the word came, “See in it a chance to die.” To this day that word is life and release to me, and it has been to many others. See in this which seems to stir up all you most wish were not stirred up — see in it a chance to die to self in every form. Accept it as just that — a chance to die.”
I’m reading Psalm 145 over and over because I will be sharing some thoughts from it soon.
This stood out to me today.
You open Your hand And satisfy the desire of every living thing. Psalm 145:16
This reminded me of our reading the past week in Matthew.
Ordering the people to sit down on the grass,
To satisfy means to meet the expectations, needs, or desires of someone.
Only Jesus can do that. Only Jesus really satisfies. I'm so thankful for Him!
Friends all around me are trying to find
For out of the heart come evil thoughts,
We are learning the ten commandments in Sunday school and I just noticed that the above sins go in the order of the ten commandments! Jesus cuts to the heart of the matter! What’s important is not outward show, but what is in the heart. He knows your heart. Do you? It's not a pretty sight.
The heart is more deceitful than all else
Have you acknowledged the wickedness of your own heart and turned to Jesus for salvation? That's why I got saved. It was the sight of my wicked heart. It was the grace of my wonderful Lord!
Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul,
But Jesus said to them,
“Bring them here to me.” I love it! The job of the disciples was to bring to Jesus what they had. He would use it and make it something.
This reminded me of God speaking to Moses.
The LORD said to him, "What is that in your hand?" And he said, "A staff." Exodus 4:2
What happened? Moses staff became the staff of God! He made something of it!
We have nothing that we haven’t received. What a thrill to use what we have been given for the One who gave it and watch what He will do with it! I’m loving that thought today!
Take my life and let it be
He came to His hometown and began teaching them in their synagogue,
We have seen the rising opposition against Jesus in the past few chapters. The religious leaders reject the Messiah. But the end of Matthew 13 is different. This is the reaction of His hometown.
Astonishment at His teaching.
Offense at Him.
“And He did not do many works there because of their unbelief.”
That is a sad sentence. As a result of their unbelief, they missed out on blessing. I wonder how many times in our lives we miss the blessing because of unbelief. Just wondering. Sobering!
Jesus is greater than the temple (verse 6)
God wanted to dwell with His people. Jesus is Immanuel. God with us. Greater!
Jesus is greater than Jonah (verse 41)
Jonah was a man. Jesus is God. Jonah died and rose again in picture. Jesus really died and rose from the dead. Jonah took a message to Nineveh of judgment. Jesus brings a message to the world of salvation. Greater!
Jesus is greater than Solomon (verse 42)
Solomon was the wisest man that lived. Jesus has become to us wisdom. Greater!
I’m so thankful for Him!
Far above all! Far above all!
Jesus the crucified far above all!
Low at His footstool adoring we bow.
God hath exalted Him far above all!
More than anything I would like to encourage you in your walk with God!