John T. Willis

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Biblical Teaching of Disciples--10

Matthew 17 and 18 contain four accounts involving DISCIPLES.

1. The Transfiguration. Matthew 17:1-13.
     a. Six days after Jesus told his disciples to deny themselves and take up their cross and follow him, Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them to a high mountain to be by themselves. Jesus was transfigured before them, his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly, miraculously, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking to Jesus. This set of events is beyond our fondest imagination. All we can do is accept the biblical testimony. 17:1-3.
     b. Peter immediately responded, "It is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings or tents here, one for Jesus, one for Moses, and one for Elijah. While Peter was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, "This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him." Obviously, this is the miraculous voice of God the Father, and God is declaring that ONLY JESUS is the true guide for human life, not Moses or Elijah, or anyone else. 17:4-5.
     c. When THE DISCIPLES [in this context, Peter, James, and John] heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. Jesus came and touched them, saying, "Do not be afraid." When they looked up, they saw no one but Jesus himself alone, indicating that Jesus is superior to Moses and Elijah. 17:6-8.
     d. As Jesus and his three disciples descended from this mountain, Jesus strictly told them not to tell anything about this event until the Son of Man shall be raised from the dead. Thus, this report became public AFTER Jesus arose from the dead, and is now written in the Book of Matthew. Then, these three DISCIPLES asked Jesus, "Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?" Jesus replied that Elijah is indeed coming and will restore all things, but Elijah has already come but the scribes and other people did not recognize him but did to him whatever they pleased, that is, they beheaded him. Then these DISCIPLES understood that Jesus was talking about John the Baptist. [See Matthew 11:2-19; 14:1-12]. 17:9-13.

2. Jesus drive out a Demon from an Epileptic Boy. Matthew 17:14-21.
    a. When Jesus and the three disciples came to a crowd,  a man knelt before Jesus begging him for mercy because he has a son who is a epileptic. He said he brought Jesus' DISCIPLES to him for help, but they could not cure his son. 17:14-16.
    b. Jesus called his disciples "a faithless and perverse generation" and said he is tired of putting up with them. 17:17.
    c. Then Jesus rebuked the demon and it came out of the boy, and the boy was cured instantly. Then the DISCIPLES came to Jesus privately asking him why they could not cure the boy. Jesus answered, They could not cure the boy because of their LITTLE FAITH. He told them that if they had faith the size of a mustard seed [a tiny seed indeed] they would said to this mountain, Move from here to there, and it will move; NOTHING WILL BE IMPOSSIBLE FOR YOU. 17:18-21.

3. Jesus paid his taxes. Matthew 17:22-27.
     a. When Jesus came into Galilee, he told his disciples that he would be betrayed, killed, and raised from the dead.  17:22-23.
     b. When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the temple tax asked Peter whether Jesus paid his taxes. Peter said, Yes, he does. 17:24.
     c. When Peter came home, Jesus asked him, Do kings ask tribute from their children or from others. Peter replied, From others. Then Jesus says, The children are free. But in order not to offend the authorities at the Jerusalem temple, Jesus told Peter to fish, and when he catches a fish, he will find a coin in his mouth. Take that coin to the temple tax collectors for Peter and Jesus. 17:25-27.

4. Then the DISCIPLES asked Jesus who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:1-5.
     a. The composer begins by saying that THE DISCIPLES asked Jesus, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" 18:1.
     b. Jesus brought a child into their midst and said, "Unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." Whoever becomes humble like a child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes a child in the name of Jesus welcomes Jesus. 18:2-5.

These four scenes emphasize great truths about DISCIPLES.
    1. Disciples are NOT LEADERS, but learners, followers, servants.
     2. Disciples regularly misunderstand the great truths and events of God.
     3. Disciples must be humble like little children to serve God truly.

Share YOUR aspirations and desires and fears and anxieties and mistakes with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis


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