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Kingdom of Heaven (ACAD: Matthew 11)

Now when Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and proclaim his message in their cities.

When John heard in prison what the Messiah[a] was doing, he sent word by his[b] disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers[c] are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them.  And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.”

As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? Someone[d] dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces. What then did you go out to see? A prophet?[e] Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written, ‘See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’

Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence,[f] and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John came; and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come.  Let anyone with ears[g] listen!

“But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.’

For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon’; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”[h]

Then he began to reproach the cities in which most of his deeds of power had been done, because they did not repent. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the deeds of power done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, on the day of judgment it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will be brought down to Hades.

For if the deeds of power done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you that on the day of judgment it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom than for you.”

At that time Jesus said, “I thank[i] you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.[j] All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

 


Source: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+11&version=NRSV

Footnotes

  1. Matthew 11:2 Or the Christ
  2. Matthew 11:2 Other ancient authorities read two of his
  3. Matthew 11:5 The terms leper and leprosy can refer to several diseases
  4. Matthew 11:8 Or Why then did you go out? To see someone
  5. Matthew 11:9 Other ancient authorities read Why then did you go out? To see a prophet?
  6. Matthew 11:12 Or has been coming violently
  7. Matthew 11:15 Other ancient authorities add to hear
  8. Matthew 11:19 Other ancient authorities read children
  9. Matthew 11:25 Or praise
  10. Matthew 11:26 Or for so it was well-pleasing in your sight
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Kingdom of Heaven (ACAD: Matthew 3)

In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’”

Now John wore clothing of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him, and all the region along the Jordan, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit worthy of repentance. Do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

“I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”

New Revised Standard Version: Matthew 3:1-17 – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Matthew%203:1-17&version=NRSV

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Kingdom of Heaven (ACAD: John 1)

The Word Became Flesh

[aka God’s Thoughts for Humanity Manifested]

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. (John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’”) From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.

The Testimony of John the Baptist

This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, “I am not the Messiah.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” He answered, “No.” Then they said to him, “Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’” as the prophet Isaiah said. Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. They asked him, “Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?” John answered them, “I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.” This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing.

The Lamb of God

The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.” And John testified, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.”

The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Anointed ). He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter ).

Jesus Calls Philip and Nathanael

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”

New Revised Standard Version: John 1:1-51 – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=John%201:1-51&version=NRSV

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A Chapter a Day: John 1

Source: http://sharingthegoodnews.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/in-the-beginning.jpg
Source: http://sharingthegoodnews.files.wordpress.com

John 1, New Century Version (NCV)

Christ Comes to the World

In the beginning there was the Word.[a] The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were made by him, and nothing was made without him. In him there was life, and that life was the light of all people. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overpowered[b] it.

There was a man named John[c] who was sent by God. He came to tell people the truth about the Light so that through him all people could hear about the Light and believe.  John was not the Light, but he came to tell people the truth about the Light. The true Light that gives light to all was coming into the world!

The Word was in the world, and the world was made by him, but the world did not know him. He came to the world that was his own, but his own people did not accept him. But to all who did accept him and believe in him he gave the right to become children of God. They did not become his children in any human way—by any human parents or human desire. They were born of God.

The Word became a human and lived among us. We saw his glory—the glory that belongs to the only Son of the Father—and he was full of grace and truth. John tells the truth about him and cries out, saying, “This is the One I told you about: ‘The One who comes after me is greater than I am, because he was living before me.’”

Because he was full of grace and truth, from him we all received one gift after another. The law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. But God the only Son is very close to the Father,[d]and he has shown us what God is like.

John Tells People About Jesus

Here is the truth John[e] told when the leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him, “Who are you?”

John spoke freely and did not refuse to answer. He said, “I am not the Christ.”

So they asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?”[f]

He answered, “No, I am not.”

“Are you the Prophet?”[g] they asked.

He answered, “No.”

Then they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to tell those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”

John told them in the words of the prophet Isaiah:

“I am the voice of one
calling out in the desert:
‘Make the road straight for the Lord.’” Isaiah 40:3

Some Pharisees who had been sent asked John:  “If you are not the Christ or Elijah or the Prophet, why do you baptize people?”

John answered, “I baptize with water, but there is one here with you that you don’t know about.  He is the One who comes after me. I am not good enough to untie the strings of his sandals.”

This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan River, where John was baptizing people.

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him. John said, “Look, the Lamb of God,[h] who takes away the sin of the world! This is the One I was talking about when I said, ‘A man will come after me, but he is greater than I am, because he was living before me.’ 31 Even I did not know who he was, although I came baptizing with water so that the people of Israel would know who he is.”

Then John said, “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven in the form of a dove and rest on him. Until then I did not know who the Christ was. But the God who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘You will see the Spirit come down and rest on a man; he is the One who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen this happen, and I tell you the truth: This man is the Son of God.”[i]

The First Followers of Jesus

The next day John[j] was there again with two of his followers. When he saw Jesus walking by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”[k]

The two followers heard John say this, so they followed Jesus. When Jesus turned and saw them following him, he asked, “What are you looking for?”

They said, “Rabbi, where are you staying?” (“Rabbi” means “Teacher.”)

He answered, “Come and see.” So the two men went with Jesus and saw where he was staying and stayed there with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon.

One of the two men who followed Jesus after they heard John speak about him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and say to him, “We have found the Messiah.” (“Messiah” means “Christ.”)

Then Andrew took Simon to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas.” (“Cephas” means “Peter.”[l])

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.”

Philip was from the town of Bethsaida, where Andrew and Peter lived. Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the man that Moses wrote about in the law, and the prophets also wrote about him. He is Jesus, the son of Joseph, from Nazareth.”

But Nathanael said to Philip, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”

Philip answered, “Come and see.”

As Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said, “Here is truly an Israelite. There is nothing false in him.”

Nathanael asked, “How do you know me?”

Jesus answered, “I saw you when you were under the fig tree, before Philip told you about me.”

Then Nathanael said to Jesus, “Teacher, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”

Jesus said to Nathanael, “Do you believe simply because I told you I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than that.” And Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open and ‘angels of God going up and coming down’[m] on the Son of Man.”

Footnotes:

a.  1:1 Word The Greek word is “logos,” meaning any kind of communication; it could be translated “message.” Here, it means Christ, because Christ was the way God told people about himself.

b.  1:5 overpowered This can also be translated, “understood.”

c.  1:6 John John the Baptist, who preached to people about Christ’s coming (Matthew 3Luke 3).

d.  1:18 But . . . Father This could be translated, “But the only God is very close to the Father.” Also, some Greek copies read “But the only Son is very close to the Father.”

e.  1:19 John John the Baptist, who preached to people about Christ’s coming (Matthew 3Luke 3).

f.  1:21 Elijah A prophet who spoke for God. He lived hundreds of years before Christ and was expected to return before Christ (Malachi 4:5–6).

g.  1:21 Prophet They probably meant the prophet that God told Moses he would send (Deuteronomy 18:15–19).

h.  1:29 Lamb of God Name for Jesus. Jesus is like the lambs that were offered for a sacrifice to God.

i.  1:34 the Son of God Some Greek copies read “God’s Chosen One.”

j.  1:35 John John the Baptist, who preached to people about Christ’s coming (Matthew 3Luke 3).

k.  1:36 Lamb of God Name for Jesus. Jesus is like the lambs that were offered for a sacrifice to God.

l.  1:42 Peter The Greek name “Peter,” like the Aramaic name “Cephas,” means “rock.”

m. 1:51 ‘angels . . . down’ These words are from Genesis 28:12.

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The Zechariah Complex

By Cyndy Lavoie, Founder & Executive Director of Capturing Courage, www.capturingcourage.org

 

Scripture Reference : Luke 1:13-18 ESV
13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, 17 and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” 18 And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.”

With this vision, God who had been silent for 400 years effectively broke His silence and ushered in a new era. Yet in the wake of this stunning announcement, Zechariah unfortunately found himself merely preoccupied with the logistics of the plan. He was an old man. His body didn’t work as it once did.

Would he be up for the task?

We find the angel graciously laying out the full plan about this coming babe. Zechariah and Elizabeth would personally find great joy and this joy would extend to many about them. The Holy Spirit would mark this child right from conception and he would have great standing before the Lord. John’s role would be instrumental in ushering in a new era for God’s chosen people and freedom from sin would be the result.

Yet it is as though Zechariah heard none of this.

We can almost hear the self-talk in his head, “But how will I get Elizabeth pregnant. If we were ever going to be pregnant wouldn’t it have been by now…” So preoccupied with earthly realities he exhibited no room in his understanding for the extraordinary, for the miraculous, nor for the import, and the real point of the message. Messiah was close at hand! We get the impression that Zechariah missed most of the angel’s prophecy and promise; he was stuck on his humanity.

My, how easy it is to be in this same place!

But as we all know, Zechariah did come through, he did have what it takes, he did rise to the challenge. For after all, all Zechariah really had to do was show up. It was God’s plan and God’s work. And when it is God’s plan and God’s work He purposes to bring it about. We merely show up, and God does the rest. When we are faithful to do our part, to respond as He invites, to fully engage His visions and plan, risking to see if we have what it takes, our Messiah proves Himself to be very close at hand.

And the rest becomes history.