Thursday, January 18, 2018

Jesus is Not a Genie

By Mary Vee
Matthew 12:38-42, Luke 11:29-32



From Matthew's Journal 

Photo by Mary Vee. View down to the Sea of Galilee from
the Mountain where it is believed Jesus was at this time.
Capernaum is down and to the left by the shore.

My name is Matthew, I am a disciple of Jesus. The other disciples are here with me as well. 

We have been at a home where Jesus is talking to Pharisees. 

The Pharisees aren't the only ones in the home. Actually the house is so full of people we, the disciples of Jesus, and Jesus didn't have a place to eat the meal offered by the host. 

You know that look on someone's face when they want to cause trouble. They haven't said a word yet but the intent is there. Their eyebrows are lowered. Their eyes a bit squinted. They whisper to their buddies. These words describe the Pharisees at this moment. 

One of the Pharisees took the lead and said to Jesus, "Teacher, we want to see a miraculous sign from you."

Even I knew this is not Jesus' purpose for His work. He is not a genie.

"Only a person with no respect would say, "Do a miracle for me," like they wanted to see magic or entertainment. 

Jesus said, "Only an evil, faithless nation would ask for a sign of proof of My Words. I won't give any except the sign that was given to the prophet Jonah, which was a sign for all mankind. 

"Just as Jonah lived for three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so I, the Messiah, will be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights. 

"The men of Ninevah will rise up at the judgement and condemn you.

"When Jonah preached to them, they repented of their evil ways and, believing the message, turned to God.

"And now, one far greater than Jonah is here. And you, the leaders and teachers of the people refuse to believe in him.

"Even the Queen of Sheba will rise up against this generation in the judgement. How is this so? She came from a distant land to hear the wisdom of Solomon. And now one far greater than Solomon is here and you, the leaders and teachers of the people refuse to believe in him.

"This generation is like a man who has an evil spirit. When the evil spirit is forced to leave, it goes through the aired places looking for a place to rest and does not find it. The evil spirit says, 'I will go back to the man.' When it arrives, it finds the man's heart clean but empty. The evil spirit calls seven spirits, all more wicked than itself and welcomes them to live in the man's heart. The man, who once had been free of the evil spirit, is now in far worse condition."

A woman who heard what Jesus said to the Pharisees shouted, "Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and fed you."

Jesus said, "Yes, but even more blessed are all who hear the Word of God and put it into practice."

The Pharisees did not leave. They seemed bent on starting an argument. I will continue the next time. 

 Come back to read the next story.


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sources: 
*A Harmony of the Gospels for Historical Study, An Analytical Synopsis of the Four Gospels by William Arnold Stevens and Ernest DeWitt Burton, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York 1932
*New International Version, New King James Version. 
*My Bible College training.
*My notes and walk through classes I've taught in Children's church. Answers to student questions, etc.
*Pastoral sermons on this time
*Matthew Henry Commentary
*F. LaGard Smith Commentary
*My notes from my trip to Israel.
*Photos from my trip to Israel.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Venomous Fruit

By Mary Vee
Matthew 12:31-37, Mark 3:21,28-30



From Matthew's Journal 

Photo by Mary Vee. View down to the Sea of Galilee from
the Mountain where it is believed Jesus was at this time.
Capernaum is down and to the left by the shore.

My name is Matthew, I am a disciple of Jesus. The other disciples are here with me as well. 

We have been at a home where many curious men and women followed us. They've come to hear what Jesus says.

Among these men and women are Pharisees, the learned men of our society. They have spent their whole lives training in the law of Moses and legal issues.

Jesus, although not a Pharisee, seems to gladly accept the intellectual challenges presented by these men. It's like the Pharisees are trying to trap Jesus in one of their arguments, and each time they try, they fail. 

On this night, Jesus and the Pharisees had already been talking. The conversation began in the last post, which you can scroll down to see.

Jesus said to the Pharisees there, "Every sin can be forgiven except disrespect in any form against the Holy Spirit. Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, will be forgiven, but whoever speaks a word against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven either now, or in the age to come. This is an eternal sin.

"You can tell a tree by it's fruit. A good tree will have good fruit. A bad tree will produce bad fruit. You are nothing more than evil snakes incapable of speaking good. You deceive the very people you teach. A man's heart is determined by what he says. A good man's words will show the treasures deep inside, but an evil man's words show the venom inside.

The Pharisees looked at each other and scoffed.

"Know this," Jesus said, "You will be held accountable on the Judgement Day for all the misleading, venomous words you have and will continue to say. Your words are the evidence of your faith. You will be judged by them and proved  justified or condemned."

The Pharisees didn't seem the least bit bothered by Jesus' words. We disciples could see they didn't come to learn from him. They came to trap Him using the laws they had studied. 

To this date they have not been successful, and I am convince they never will be. Men and women continue to come to hear what Jesus teaches. Some, I believe, see the good fruit in Him, and understand He is the living Son of God. The Messiah.


 Come back to read the next story.



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sources: 
*A Harmony of the Gospels for Historical Study, An Analytical Synopsis of the Four Gospels by William Arnold Stevens and Ernest DeWitt Burton, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York 1932
*New International Version, New King James Version. 
*My Bible College training.
*My notes and walk through classes I've taught in Children's church. Answers to student questions, etc.
*Pastoral sermons on this time
*Matthew Henry Commentary
*F. LaGard Smith Commentary
*My notes from my trip to Israel.
*Photos from my trip to Israel.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Divided We Fall

By Mary Vee
Matthew 12, Mark 3, Luke 11



From Luke's Journal 

Photo by Mary Vee. View down to the Sea of Galilee from
the Mountain where it is believed Jesus was at this time.
Capernaum is down and to the left by the shore.

My name is Luke, I am a disciple of Jesus. The other disciples are here with me as well. 

Jesus entered a home he'd been invited in to rest. Many people followed him filling the house completely. 

The host wanted to serve a meal, but due to the crowds that entered the home, we could not eat.

One family brought a demon-possed man to Jesus. The man could not see or speak. When Jesus saw the man, he had compassion and healed the man so that he could both talk and see. 

The people were astonished when the man spoke and walked without bumping into walls. They asked, "Could Jesus be the Son of David?"

At the same time that the people asked this question, the Pharisees interrupted, "No! This man is driving out the demons with Beelzebub, the prince of demons."

Jesus had shown us more and more every day that he truly knew what was in the hearts of men. He faced the Pharisees and said, "Every kingdom that is divided, fights itself and will be ruined. Every city or household that is divided against itself will not stand. So, if Satan drives out Satan, he is fighting himself. How then can his kingdom stand if that is true? 

"And if I drive out demons using Beelzebub, then by whom do your people drive them out? 

"They will be your judges.

"But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

"I will explain in a way you might better understand. If an evil man enters the house of a strong man and carries off all the possessions, he must first tie up the strong man in order to carry out his evil deed. 

"What I am saying to you is this: He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not  help me gather souls, scatters them." 


The Pharisees didn't say a word at this point. 

But Jesus had more to say to them. Those words will be continued in the next story.

I can say this, though, I am one who will help Jesus gather souls, not work against him to scatter them.




 Come back to read the next story.


*********************************************************************************************


sources: 
*A Harmony of the Gospels for Historical Study, An Analytical Synopsis of the Four Gospels by William Arnold Stevens and Ernest DeWitt Burton, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York 1932
*New International Version, New King James Version. 
*My Bible College training.
*My notes and walk through classes I've taught in Children's church. Answers to student questions, etc.
*Pastoral sermons on this time
*Matthew Henry Commentary
*F. LaGard Smith Commentary
*My notes from my trip to Israel.
*Photos from my trip to Israel.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The Special Thank You Gift

By Mary Vee
Luke 8



From Luke's Journal 

Photo by Mary Vee. View down to the Sea of Galilee from
the Mountain where it is believed Jesus was at this time.
Capernaum is down and to the left by the shore.

My name is Luke, I am a disciple of Jesus. The other disciples are here with me as well. 

You may imagine these disciples to be the close twelve men Jesus chose as His disciples.  

Actually, many more followed Jesus. Some could not devote all their time and money for traveling and meals. They came to hear Jesus when they could. Some joined us when we visited their village and nearby cities. Others took a leave from their work and spent weeks or more with us.

These followers had seen Jesus help the blind to see, the lame to walk, heal sicknesses, and cast out demons. Some of these followers were the ones healed by Jesus. 

The last time I visited with you, we had supper at a Pharisee's home. You can scroll down to read that story. The Pharisee was not happy about what Jesus did there. The next day we left the city. Jesus told us we would travel to each city and tell them the good news about the kingdom of God. 

We became very busy, too busy to cook or buy food. 

A few women who had been healed by Jesus joined as followers. They listened to Him speak about the kingdom of God. They listened to his teachings. As a special thank you gift to Jesus they devoted their money and lives to HIs work.

At meal time, these women brought food to Jesus and we twelve disciples. When there wasn't a place for them to cook, they bought food in nearby villages. Because of these women we had food.

Their kindness overwhelmed all of us. These women followers were: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had come out. Joanna, the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod's household. Susanna, and many more.

Jesus never once sent any of them away like some teachers who thought ill of women. He answered their questions, and welcomed them with the other disciples.

Truly God sent these women to join us in following Jesus, and I am thankful.


Jesus said we will continue visiting villages tomorrow. 

 Come back to read the next story.


*********************************************************************************************


sources: 
*A Harmony of the Gospels for Historical Study, An Analytical Synopsis of the Four Gospels by William Arnold Stevens and Ernest DeWitt Burton, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York 1932
*New International Version, New King James Version. 
*My Bible College training.
*My notes and walk through classes I've taught in Children's church. Answers to student questions, etc.
*Pastoral sermons on this time
*Matthew Henry Commentary
*F. LaGard Smith Commentary
*My notes from my trip to Israel.
*Photos from my trip to Israel.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The Woman With the Alabaster Jar.

By Mary Vee
Luke 7



From Luke's Journal 

Photo by Mary Vee. View down to the Sea of Galilee from
the Mountain where it is believed Jesus was at this time.
Capernaum is down and to the left by the shore.

My name is Luke, I am a disciple of Jesus. The other disciples are here with me as well. We went to an interesting dinner. Here's what happened:

A Pharisee invited Jesus to have dinner at his house. In our time, when an invitation went to such a teacher like Jesus, the host knew his disciples would come as well.

We arrived at the Pharisee's home and were shown to the table. In our time, people did not sit on chairs to a table. We reclined. It's true!

Jesus reclined at the table along with other guests. 

One more difference in a special dinner like this, sometimes men or women came into the home after hearing a certain guest was there. They expected to be let into the home and were.

I mention this because a woman happened to come into this Pharisee's home. She had an alabaster jar of perfume in her hands and whispered to the man at the door that she'd heard Jesus dined here tonight.

She walked into the dining area and stood behind Jesus's feet, (remember he is reclining at the table). Tears fell down her face first slowly then with great sorrow.

One of the other guest lived in this town. He told us this woman was a great sinner. One who usually was not welcome in most places. 

She wept more and more, sobbing and wiping her tears that fell on Jesus's feet. She kissed His feet, showing Him honor then poured the expensive perfume from her jar onto his feet. All the while she wept and wiped his feet with her hair.

The Pharisee who was the host looked at the woman and scowled. He sipped his drink then said softly so only one or two near him heard. "If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is. She is nothing more than a sinner."

Jesus looked at the Pharisee and said, "Simon, I have something to tell you."

The Pharisee smiled with such pride. "Tell me, teacher."

"All right. Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay the money lender back. Out of compassion, he canceled the debts of both. Which of the two borrowers will love the moneylender more?"

Simon the Pharisee answered, "I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven."

"You have judged correctly," Jesus said.

Jesus turned to the woman kneeling at his feet and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman?" He paused. "I came into your house. You didn't give me any water for my feet as is customary for guests, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 

"You didn't give me a kiss of welcome as is the custom, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 

"You didn't put oil on my head as is the custom for guests, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 

"Her many sins have been forgiven because she loves much, but he who has been forgiven little, loves little." 

Jesus then said to the woman, "You sins are forgiven."

The guests around me and across the table looked at each other and said, "Who is this who forgives sins?"

Jesus said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you. Go in peace."

Those in the Pharisee's home were surprised at Jesus' words and His kindness to the woman.

Jesus said we will continue visiting villages tomorrow. 

 Come back to read the next story.


*********************************************************************************************


sources: 
*A Harmony of the Gospels for Historical Study, An Analytical Synopsis of the Four Gospels by William Arnold Stevens and Ernest DeWitt Burton, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York 1932
*New International Version, New King James Version. 
*My Bible College training.
*My notes and walk through classes I've taught in Children's church. Answers to student questions, etc.
*Pastoral sermons on this time
*Matthew Henry Commentary
*F. LaGard Smith Commentary
*My notes from my trip to Israel.
*Photos from my trip to Israel.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Jesus Confirms Who John the Baptist Is

By Mary Vee
Matthew 11, Luke 7



From Matthew's Journal 

Photo by Mary Vee. View down to the Sea of Galilee from
the Mountain where it is believed Jesus was at this time.
Capernaum is down and to the left by the shore.

My name is Matthew, I am a disciple of Jesus.

Jesus led us southwest from the Galilee area. While visiting villages along the way, we had a surprise visit from a few of John the Baptist's disciples. They had a question for Jesus. Rather than answer them with words, He showed them proof that He is the Son of God come to do the will of His heavenly father.

John's disciples stayed with us a few days. They watched, marveled, then left to take their report back to John.

Many people had gathered around Jesus, anxious and excited to hear more of what He had to say and show. Jesus asked for the crowds attention. Everyone knew that John the Baptist preached to those who heard him in the desert. What they might not have known is what Jesus said about John. "What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes?"

The people smiled at that question. Anyone who saw John knew he wore clothes made from camel's hair. Hardly fine clothing.

"But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. These words have been written about John:

I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.

I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he."

Jesus said, "From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it. For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. If you are willing to accept this, John is the Elijah who was to come. Those among you who have ears, let them hear." 

See, all the people, even the tax collectors said they agreed that God's way was right after hearing what Jesus said. This was because they had been baptized by John. 

But the Pharisees and experts in the law rejected God's purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.

Jesus said, "John the Baptist didn't come eating fancy breads and wines yet you say John has a demon. I say, the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, 'Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.' But wisdom is proved right by all her children."

From there Jesus walked on a ways.

 Come back to read the next story.


*********************************************************************************************


sources: 
*A Harmony of the Gospels for Historical Study, An Analytical Synopsis of the Four Gospels by William Arnold Stevens and Ernest DeWitt Burton, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York 1932
*New International Version, New King James Version. 
*My Bible College training.
*My notes and walk through classes I've taught in Children's church. Answers to student questions, etc.
*Pastoral sermons on this time
*Matthew Henry Commentary
*F. LaGard Smith Commentary
*My notes from my trip to Israel.
*Photos from my trip to Israel.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

John the Baptist's Big Question

By Mary Vee
Matthew 11, Luke 7



From one of John the Baptist's Disciple's Journals 

Photo by Mary Vee. View down to the Sea of Galilee from
the Mountain where it is believed Jesus was at this time.
Capernaum is down and to the left by the shore.

I am a disciple of John the Baptizer. I have been following him for some time. He has told those who listened to his words to prepare yourself. The Promised One is coming. 

As Jews, we'd waited such a long time for the Messiah to come. Never before had one spoken so strongly as John the Baptizer about the Promised One coming. 

We wondered if the One we should be looking for was here already. Somewhere in the country. If this was so, I didn't want to miss meeting Him.

I had witnessed the man named Jesus doing great miracles. He'd healed a centurion's slave. He raised a widow's son back to life.  John hadn't seen these events. He worked night and day preaching and teaching about the coming promised one.

This morning I and another disciple of John went to the prophet. "John, we have witnessed a man performing great miracles. Only recently, a funeral procession walked out the Nain city gates just as this man and the crowd following him happened by. Jesus, that was the man's name, was so taken by the widow that he stopped the procession and said to the her son, "Young man, get up!" Before our eyes the widow's son breathed and color returned to his face as he sat up."

John listened to us tell what we'd witness. "You say his name is Jesus?"

"Yes."

He stroke his beard and gazed off to the side before looking back at us. "I have a task for you two."

"We'll do anything you ask."

"Good. Go to the man called, Jesus and ask him if he is the one who was to come or should we expect someone else?"

We gathered our staffs and set off right away to where we'd last seen Jesus. By mid morning we found him and requested an opportunity to speak with him. His disciples introduced us. "These are disciples of John the Baptizer. They have a message."

Jesus welcomed us. He had a compassionate look in his eyes. If I didn't know any better, I'd say he already knew what we were going to ask. "Yes?" 

We bowed in respect as anyone would before a rabbi or prophet. "John the Baptizer has sent us to ask, 'Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?'"

He didn't answer right away. Instead he allowed us to stay near him. "Come." That day he walked through the villages among the people, listening to them, answering their questions. 

To those who were sick, he healed their diseases and sicknesses. 

To those who brought loved ones with evil spirits he freed them. 

To those who were blind, he restored their sight. 

To those who could not walk, he brought strength to their legs so they could walk again. 

For those who had leprosy he healed their skin and rid their body of the disease. 

To those who were deaf, he restored their hearing. 

He visited the homes of those who had died and brought them back to life. 

He preached the good news of God's love and forgiveness to the poor. 

After spending a few days with Jesus, he said to the other messenger and me, "Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard. Blessed is the man who does not fall away from believing in the Father because of me."

And so we did. I must admit we were very excited to tell John what we'd seen. So excited that as we neared him, we shouted, "John. John the Baptizer. We have news!"

He stopped his work and waited for us to run to him. We were so out of breathe from running. We were so excited to tell him the news. We laughed at our own babbling words! 

But John the Baptizer waited for us to speak. He sat down as we told him all we'd seen. Everyone who had come to hear the prophet, John's words that day listened to our witness of what Jesus had said and done.

It was then I knew, He is the One. 
Jesus. He is the Promised One. 
Of this I am more than sure. 
And believe.


Just like that, the news of what happened spread through all of Judea and the surrounding country about Jesus and all He had done. 



 Come back to read the next story.


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sources: 
*A Harmony of the Gospels for Historical Study, An Analytical Synopsis of the Four Gospels by William Arnold Stevens and Ernest DeWitt Burton, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York 1932
*New International Version, New King James Version. 
*My Bible College training.
*My notes and walk through classes I've taught in Children's church. Answers to student questions, etc.
*Pastoral sermons on this time
*Matthew Henry Commentary
*F. LaGard Smith Commentary
*My notes from my trip to Israel.
*Photos from my trip to Israel.