The way up is down
270 Days Bible Study Insights Mathew 19-21
19:12. Some have physical limitations that prevent their marrying while others choose not to marry because, in their particular situation, they can serve God better as single people. Jesus was not teaching us to avoid marriage because it is inconvenient or takes away our freedom. That would be selfishness. A good reason to remain single is to use the time and freedom to serve God. Paul elaborates on this in
1 Corinthians 7.
19:21. Should all believers sell everything they own? No, we are responsible to care for our own needs and the needs of our families so as not to be a burden on others. We should, however, be willing to give up anything if God asks us to do so. The kind of attitude allows us and nothing to come between us and God and keeps-us from using our God given wealth selfishly. If you are comforted by the fact that Christ did not tell all his followers to sell all their possessions, then you may be too attached to what you have.
19:22 – We cannot love God with all our hearts and yet keep our money to ourselves. Loving him totally means using our money in ways that please him.
19:29 – Jesus assured the disciples that anyone who gives up something valuable for his sake will be repaid many times over in this life, although not necessarily in the same form. For example, a person may be rejected by his or her family for accepting Christ, but he or she will gain the larger family of believers.
19:30 – Jesus turned the world’s values upside down. Consider the most powerful or well-known people in our world—how many got where they are by being humble, self-effacing, and gentle? Not many. But in the life to come, the last will be first—if they got in last place by choosing to follow, Jesus. Don’t forfeit eternal rewards for temporary benefits. Be willing to make sacrifices now for greater rewards later. Be willing to accept human disapproval, while knowing that you have God’s approval.
20:27 – Jesus described leadership from a new perspective instead of using people, we are to serve them. Jesus mission was to serve others and to give his life away. A real leader has a servant’s heart. Servant leaders appreciate others worth and realise that they’re not above any job. If you see something that needs to be done, don’t wait to be asked. Take the initiative and do it like a faithful servant.
21:19. Why did Jesus curse the fig tree? This was not a thoughtless, angry act, but an acted-out parable. Jesus was showing his anger at religion without substance. Just as the fig tree looked good from a distance but was fruitless on close examination, so the temple looked impressive at first glance, but its sacrifices and other activities were hollow because they were not done to worship God sincerely (see21:43). If you only appear to have faith without putting it to work in your life, you are like the fig tree that withered and died because it bore no fruit. Genuine faith means bearing fruit for God’s kingdom.
21:22. This verse is not a guarantee that we can get anything we want simply by asking Jesus and believing. God does not grant requests that would hurt us or others or that would violate his own nature or will. Jesus’ statement is not a blank check. To be fulfilled our requests must begin in harmony with the principles of God’s kingdom. The stronger our belief, the more likely our prayers will be in line with God’s will, and then God will be happy to grant them.
21:33. The main elements in this parable are (1) the land owner – God.(2) the vineyard – Israel.(3) the tenants – the religious leaders.(4) the landowners servants – the prophets and priests who remained faithful to God and preached to Israel (5) the Son – Jesus(21:38), and (6) the other tenants – the Gentiles. Jesus was exposing the religious leaders murderous plot(21:45).
The way up is down
❇️ Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant and whoever wants to be first must be your slave, just as the son of man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many (v26-28)
❇️ Servanthood is the Christian way to greatness.The world view is that we rise to greatness, while Jesus’ life shows that we descend to greatness.
❇️ Rick Warren says that the world defines greatness in terms of power, possessions, prestige and position. If you can demand service from others you’ve arrived. However Jesus’ view is that the greatest is the one who is last and who is a servant and not the one who is first and served whose rewards are fame, power and wealth .
❇️ When we consider us to be indispensable & more important than the people whom we serve, we may exhibit the following negative attitudes .
▪️Demand agreement with
our views on everything
▪️Hunger for the praise of others
▪️Feel hurt by other’s criticism
▪️Grumble about the way we
▪️Sulk if people are not
grateful to us
▪️Seek security in our
▪️Look for scapegoats for
▪️Expect an immediate
pay off for our service
❇️ Jesus taught his disciples that ‘ Lording it over’ or ‘ exercising authority over’ are not options for a servant leader (v25&26) but delegating with adequate authority without micromanaging them is the norm.
❇️ Greatness consists, not in reducing others to our service but in reducing us to others’ service. Greatness depends on how much we invest in others rather than how much we gain from others in our service. If we love God and obey his words we will love people and serve them without any inner agenda.
✅ Insights learnt:
▪️Path of servanthood is the
way to greatness
▪️Feeling hurt, grumbling and
sulking are hindrance to
▪️Lording it over is not part of
▪️Greatness depends on how
much we invest in others
not how much we gain.
Then people brought little children to Jesus for Him to place His hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
Jesus rebukes His disciples as they try to disrespect children. He loves all those who come to Him. Jesus takes this opportunity to bless the little ones and also uses this moment to teach His disciples that the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.
What does it mean to be like a child?
A child is selfless and dependent. The heart of a child is pure. In a similar way, we need to be selfless and depend on God alone and admit that we need His blessings as we face life’s challenges. When we have a pure state of thought we can truly see and understand God’s kingdom.
Licy John, Hyderabad – 7067