Call of Matthew (Matthew 9:9-14)

There are different ways of approaching this incident recorded by Matthew. Obviously, it was the occasion of him meeting Jesus and becoming one of his apostles. It was the commencement for Matthew of a life that he could not possibly have imagined. It would never have crossed his mind while he was working in Capernaum that a group of people in...

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The Beauty of the King (Psalm 45:1-2)

The composer
The unknown author of the psalm was compelled to write thus song. This is obvious from the first verse. We should note that it is a song of love, coming from his heart. In the first verse, he explains what he is doing, which is writing a song for the temple choirs to sing. He tells them that it is a song about a king. What king is...

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Judgement is Coming (Rev. 14:6-20)

Having given to the church the encouraging description of the church triumphant, John now receives details about the Day of Judgement. Those details are given first through the messages of three angels and second through the imagery of two harvests.

The messages of the three angels
The first angel has a message of good news even although the Day of...

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With the Lamb on Mount Zion (Revelation 14:1-5)

In chapter 13, John had described the activities of the two beasts which represented the political and religious powers ranged against the church of Christ. This combination shows itself in different ways. In the days of John, the political authority was Rome and the religious activities that were engaged in supported the authority in Caesar....

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The Healing of the Paralysed Man (Matthew 9:1-8)

Having delivered the two demoniacs in Gadara Jesus returned across the sea to Capernaum, here called his own city. We may wonder why it is so named, given that he lived there for a much shorter time than he did in Nazareth where he had lived for almost thirty years. One answer could be that Capernaum had not rejected Jesus in the manner that...

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The Benediction (2 Cor. 13:12)

We are all familiar with the benediction at the end of 2 Corinthians because it is the one that is usually repeated at the close of a service. As we know, a benediction is not so much a prayer but a statement of what we can expect from God. Of course, we can pray for the blessings highlighted in the benediction. Still it is more an expression of...

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The Two Beasts (Rev. 13)

In this chapter, John describes two ferocious beasts. One came from the sea and the other from the earth. I would suggest that John in referring to their origins says they belong to this creation, to the fallen world, rather than having a heavenly origin. The details given of each beast indicate that the first is mainly political and the second is...

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The Two Demoniacs (Matt. 8:28-34)

We know that this incident is also told in other Gospels and as is the case with such parallel accounts there are one or two differences between them. It would be possible to combine the accounts and have a larger grasp of what took place here. Yet doing so might hide from us why Matthew described the account in his way.

The two obvious differences...

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The Servant and the Spirit (Isa. 42:1-4)

Today is Pentecost Sunday in the church calendar, which is held fifty days after Easter. The Holy Spirit came on the church on the Day of Pentecost, which occurred fifty days after the death of Jesus. It obviously was a very important day in the overall experience of the church and a very full account of what happened is given in Acts 2. Its...

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The Seventh Trumpet Will Sound (Rev. 11)

One could say that this chapter contains one of the most difficult passages to interpret (measuring the temple and the two witnesses) and one of the most straightforward to understand (the day of judgement). Having said that about ourselves and our grasp of things does not have to mean that it was hard for the original readers to grasp what the...

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Discovering Again Who Jesus Is (Matt. 8:23-27)

Life with Jesus must have been full of surprises for his followers. I suspect the disciples were anticipating a surprising experience on this occasion, although the one they went through was probably not the one they had anticipated. What would have been the surprise they imagined? They knew they were going over the lake to Gentile areas, as we...

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Looking to the Lord (Psalm 34:5)

It is the case in the Bible that whenever God’s people found themselves in a situation of difficulty the answer was usually connected to Jesus. This is true in both the Old and New Testaments. Obviously in the Old Testament he appeared in ways that were different from how he appeared when he became a man and lived on earth. But that should not be t...

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Jesus in Capernaum (Matthew 8:14-22)

We might be prone to assume that Matthew is being a bit sporadic here as he details three individuals whom Jesus helped as well as a large number of cases of whom no details are given. But he is not being sporadic. Instead he wants his readers to realise that Jesus is the promised Messiah and then come to a decision about Jesus for themselves, and...

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The Faith of a Centurion (Matthew 8:7-14)

The original readers of Matthew lived under the control of the Roman Empire. They also knew that Jesus was demanding from his followers a higher commitment to him than they could show to the authority of Rome. No doubt they would have anticipated a collision eventually between the representatives of Rome and Jesus or with one or more of his...

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Crying to God (Psalm 130)

Psalm 130 is regarded as one of seven penitential psalms (they are Psalms 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130 and 143). This does not mean that other psalms do not have expressions of repentance. However, many psalms have a particular focus and these ones are concerned with penitence.

As with many other psalms (such as Psalm 23), this psalm has had a profound...

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The Blowing of the Trumpets (Rev. 8-9)

We see from verse 1 that the seventh seal was a period of silence of half an hour in heaven. I would suggest the silence points to two responses. First, it is designed to make us ponder the awfulness of the situations that have been described in the six seals and to prepare ourselves for what is coming next. I think that is what John would have...

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Jesus Heals a Leper (Matthew 8:1-6)

Matthew mentions that Jesus was followed by great crowds and no doubt each of them had a story to tell about what they thought of Jesus and perhaps some of them had received a great blessing from him. Nevertheless, Matthew chooses to describe isolated incidents in which Jesus helped unlikely people.

The Gospel of Matthew was constructed by him so...

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Loving as Jesus Does (Phil. 1:8)

There are numerous surprising statements in the Bible. Some of them are connected to what God has done for sinners as explained in the message of the gospel. Other surprising statements are found in the details connected to God’s amazing plans for the future blessing of his people. But there are also surprising ones connected to the Christian l...

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The Great Crowd (Rev. 7:9-17)

We are familiar with large gatherings at New Year time in many of the major cities of the world. Sometimes the crowd seems so large that there is not any space left for any others to participate. Yet an estimate can be made as to the size of the crowd, indeed to all the crowds and get an overall figure. But that kind of estimation cannot be made...

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The Response of Real Disciples (Matthew 7:13-25)

Jesus, in this section of his sermon on the mount, challenges his listeners (and readers) about where they stand with regard to his teachings. His challenge asks them to avoid assessing things by the here and now and instead assess them by the day of judgement.

With regard to the here and now, he mentions three things that may distort our view of...

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The Risen Saviour (Psalm 16:9-11)

If it had not been for Peter’s reference to this psalm in his sermon on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:25-28) we would have assumed that the psalm was only an expression of David’s dedication to the Lord. Peter tells us, however, that the speaker in the psalm, at least in its closing verses, is Jesus, which means that this is the main way in which we...

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  The Sealed Number (Rev. 7:1-8)

In chapter 7 of Revelation we have a break or an interlude between the sixth and seventh seals. The significance of the six seals is detailed in chapter 6 and the seventh seal is mentioned in 8:1. We know that a purpose of a break or an interlude is to pause and think about an important matter connected to what is being described. As we have seen,

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