“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come! If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.

Matthew 18:6-9

Be careful − this passage isn’t hanging out there all by itself; the scene has not changed from 18:1-5, this is Jesus continuing to speak to their question of who will be the greatest in the Kingdom. In case you missed the last section, they asked the question and Jesus called for a little child to join them and told the disciples that unless they become like that little child they cannot enter the Kingdom, and then He goes on to say the words in our passage above. Thus, the “little ones” are those who have become like a little child so they could enter the Kingdom.

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You don’t see this every day!

Matthew 17:1-13

Just a few days after Peter’s confession that Jesus is “the Messiah, the Son of the living God” and Jesus’ prediction of His death, we have a scene that is unusual to say the least when Jesus takes three disciples, Peter, James and John up a “high mountain” where a conference of sorts is about to take place. I think I’ll let others argue about why Jesus only took these three with Him that day, and I’ll let others speculate on which mountain they ascended; I’ll assume that since Matthew didn’t tell us, that it probably doesn’t matter. What Matthew did tell us is quite enough to keep us busy…

There they were at the top of the mountain when suddenly Jesus was revealed in His transcendent glory, and was joined by two other figures that Matthew identifies as Moses and Elijah. As the three of them spoke, Peter offers to build shelters for each of them, a sign of high respect. In a sense, this would seem to equate them as equals, but note that he said “if you wish” which would seem to indicate Peter’s recognition that of the three, Jesus was the greatest.

But Jesus was not the one who responded, for suddenly there was a “bright cloud” that covered them and the voice of Almighty God spoke:

“This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” (17:5)

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My Yoke is Easy and My Burden is Light

At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.

“All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 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.”

Matthew 11:25-30

Still speaking in reference to the towns He listed in the last section, Jesus extends His offer of grace; there is still time to repent. He begins praising God the Father for the way that He has hidden His salvation from the “wise and learned” while revealing it to “little children”.

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Jesus and His Relationship with the Disciples

“The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household!

“So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the Onewho can destroy both soul and body in hell.Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Matthew 10:24-31


As Jesus prepares His disciples to be sent out to the harvest, He now takes the discussion, made up of instructions and warnings so far, and relates it to the relationship He has with the disciples. You will recall that in 9:34, after Jesus drove out a demon and restored speech to the afflicted man, some Pharisees said that He had done so by the power of the “prince of demons”, He is now telling the disciples that when they go out to proclaim the Kingdom, their opponents will say the same things about them. His rationale for this is simple; they are His servants, and the servant will be treated the same way as their master. Since Jesus is (and will be) encountering opposition, so will we.

Oh, and now you know the name of the “prince of demons”.

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New Wine

Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?”

Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.

“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”

Matthew 9:14-17

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“I never knew you”

Superior Priest, Superior Sacrifice

Text: Hebrews 7:11-28

If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood—and indeed the law given to the people established that priesthood—why was there still need for another priest to come, one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron?  For when the priesthood is changed, the law must be changed also. He of whom these things are said belonged to a different tribe, and no one from that tribe has ever served at the altar. For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah, and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests.  Hebrews 7:11-14

In the last section, we got into the whole Melchizedek issue, and here, the author is applying it to our present situation in Christ.  A careful reading of this text will begin to reveal an amazing aspect of the relationship between the Old and New Covenants, and we quickly discover why the Old Covenant is no more.  To begin, verse 11 brings us a rhetorical question: If perfection could have been attained through the old priesthood, why do we need another?  Simple enough… Let’s understand “perfection” for a minute here, since I think it might refer to something that many might not be thinking about right off.  By “perfection” the author isn’t asking whether or not the Law could make a man perfect through His obedience to it; I’m sure you can recall Paul asking those kinds of questions.  In this case, perfection is linked to the priesthood itself, and the priesthood represents the entire Old Covenant system of atonement for sins.  Since that system cannot take sin away, it cannot bring about perfection. Jesus not only provided for forgiveness of sins, He took them away entirely.

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