The Study of Discipleship

Friday, December 31, 2021

Sincerity Having Peace Instagram Post. 12/31/2021 8:00am

24-25 “A student doesn’t get a better desk than her teacher. A laborer doesn’t make more money than his boss. Be content—pleased, even—when you, my students, my harvest hands, get the same treatment I get. If they call me, the Master, ‘Dungface,’ what can the workers expect?

26-27 “Don’t be intimidated. Eventually everything is going to be out in the open, and everyone will know how things really are. So don’t hesitate to go public now.

28 “Don’t be bluffed into silence by the threats of bullies. There’s nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life—body and soul—in his hands.

Forget About Yourself

29-31 “What’s the price of a pet canary? Some loose change, right? And God cares what happens to it even more than you do. He pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head! So don’t be intimidated by all this bully talk. You’re worth more than a million canaries.

-Matthew 10:24-31 The Message

The Meaning of Discipleship

Verse 24: “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master.

Verse 25: It is enough for the disciple that he may become like his teacher and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they insult the members of his household!

Verse 25 study: Beelzebul was known as the lord of flies and the prince of demons. The Pharisees accused Jesus of using Beelzebul’s power to drive out demons (12:24). Good sometimes is labeled as evil. Meaning this; Jesus was labeled evil, and as perfect as he is, his followers will get the same label and accusations. Those who endure will be vindicated (10:22).

Verse 26: “So do not fear them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed or hidden that will not be known.

Verse 27: What I tell you in the darkness, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim on the housetops.

Verse 28: And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul, but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Verse 29: Are two sparrows not sold for an cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.

Verse 30: But even the hairs of your head are all counted.

Verse 31: So do not fear; you are more valuable than a great number of sparrows.

Verses 29-31 studies: According to Jesus, God is aware of everything that happens, even to sparrows. You are far more valuable than they are. To show us we are valuable, God sent his Son, his only Son, to die in place of us (John 3:16). Since you are valued, you don’t have to fear threats of any kind or difficult trials. This type of behavior doesn’t shake God’s love or dislodge his Spirit from within you.

But, it doesn’t mean that God will take away all your troubles (10:16). The test of value is how well something holds up under fear, wear, tear, and abuse of our daily lives. But, despite these troubles, those who stand up for Christ will have lasting value and will receive great rewards (5:11-12).

Cross References

10:24

Luke 6:40; John 13:16; 15:20

10:25

Matthew 12:24, 27; Mark 3:22; Luke 11:15

10:26

Mark 4:22; Luke 8:17; 12:2; 1 Corinthians 4:5

10:27:

Luke 12:3; Matthew 24:17; Acts 5:20

10:28

Hebrews 10:31

10:30

Luke 21:18; Acts 27:34

10:31

Matthew 12:12

10:32

Luke 12:8; Revelations 3:5

Father, discipleship is an essential part of understanding you. We don’t need to be selfish to knowledge you. Let us be selfless in helping others and welcoming others into our lives. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

The Study of Jesus Preparing The Disciples for Persecution

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Sincerity Having Peace Instagram Post. 12/30/2021 8:00am

17-20 “Don’t be naive. Some people will question your motives, others will smear your reputation—just because you believe in me. So don’t be upset when they haul you before the civil authorities. Without knowing it, they’ve done you—and me—a favor, given you a platform for preaching the kingdom news! And don’t worry about what you’ll say or how you’ll say it. The right words will be there; the Spirit of your Father will supply the words.

21-23 “When people realize it is the living God you are presenting and not some idol that makes them feel good, they are going to turn on you, even people in your own family. There is a great irony here: proclaiming so much love, experiencing so much hate! But don’t quit. Don’t cave in. It is all well worth it in the end. It is not success you are after in such times but survival. Be survivors! Before you’ve run out of options, the Son of Man will have arrived.

-Matthew 10:17-23 The Message

Verse 17: But be on guard against people, for they will hand you over to the courts and flog you in their synagogues;

Verse 18: And you will even be brought before governors and kings on My account, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles.

Verses 17-18 studies: The disciples did experience hardships (Acts 5:40; 12:1-3), not just from the government and courts, but personal as well, friends and family (10:21). Following God does bring persecution, but that brings an opportunity to tell the Good News of salvation. Be confident during the persecution, be confident because Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33). Those who endure to the end will be saved (10:22).

Verse 19: But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given you in that hour.

Verse 20: For it is not you who are speaking, but it is the Spirit of your Father who is speaking in you.

Verses 19-20 studies: It was a matter of when the disciples were arrested for preaching the gospel; Jesus told them not to worry about what they will say in their defense. God’s Spirit will speak through them. For a case in point, Acts 4:8-14 is recorded of this promise. Something to remember is that most people make the mistake of thinking that God will take care of everything by not preparing to present the gospel. On the contrary, Scripture teaches us to prepare ourselves thoroughly, meaning carefully thought out statements (Colossians 4:6). To sum it up, Jesus is telling us to stop worrying and stay prepared.

Verse 21: “Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death.

Verse 22: And you will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.

Verse 22 study: The evidence behind being saved is a person’s commitment to Jesus and not by endurance to the end. Earn salvation is not by persistence; it is by a truly devoted life.

Verse 23: “But whenever they persecute you in one city, flee to the next; for truly I say to you, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes.

Verse 23 study: Christ warned the disciples against premature martyrdom. They were to leave before the persecution got too great. There is plenty of work that needs to be done before Christ’s return, plenty of people to reach out to. After his return, the world will realize his true identity (24:14, Romans 14:9-12). 

Cross References

10:17

Luke 12:11; Acts 5:40; 22:19, 26:11

10:19

Mark 13:11-13; Luke 21:12-17; Matthew 6:25

10:20

Luke 12:12; Acts 4:8; 13:9; 2 Corinthians 13:3

10:21

Mark 13:12; Micah 7:6

10:22

Luke 21:17; John 15:18; Matthew 24:13

10:23

Matthew 23:24

Father, being prepared is what we train our whole lives to do. Work, personal lives, and through you. It is as essential now as ever. Let us be prepared, open-minded to share the gospel through your words, not our own. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

How Will You Respond?

Sincerity Having Peace Instagram Post. 12/29/2021 8:00am

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

9-10 “Don’t think you have to put on a fund-raising campaign before you start. You don’t need a lot of equipment. You are the equipment, and all you need to keep that going is three meals a day. Travel light.

11 “When you enter a town or village, don’t insist on staying in a luxury inn. Get a modest place with some modest people, and be content there until you leave.

12-15 “When you knock on a door, be courteous in your greeting. If they welcome you, be gentle in your conversation. If they don’t welcome you, quietly withdraw. Don’t make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and be on your way. You can be sure that on Judgment Day they’ll be mighty sorry—but it’s no concern of yours now.

16 “Stay alert. This is hazardous work I’m assigning you. You’re going to be like sheep running through a wolf pack, so don’t call attention to yourselves. Be as shrewd as a snake, inoffensive as a dove.

-Matthew 10:9-16 The Message

Verse 9: Do not acquire gold, or silver, or copper for your money belts,

Verse 10: or a bag for your journey, or even two tunics, or sandals, or a staff; for the worker is deserving of his support.

Verse 10 study: Those who minister should be cared for according to Jesus. The disciples could expect food and shelter to help those in spiritual need for the services they provided. Who ministers to you? Take care of those pastors, missionaries, and teachers who serve God by serving you (1 Corinthians 9:9-10; 1 Timothy 5:17).

Mark’s account in 6:8 says to take a staff aka, walking stick, and in Matthew and Luke in 9:3 tells not to. Jesus could have meant not to take an extra pair of sandals, staff, and bag. The main idea is to be prepared for duty and travel unencumbered by excess material goods.

Verse 11: And whatever city or village you enter, inquire who is worthy in it, and stay at his house until you leave that city.

Verse 12: As you enter the house, give it your greeting.

Verse 13: If the house is worthy, see that your blessing of peace comes upon it. But if it is not worthy, take back your blessing of peace.

Verse 14: And whoever does not receive you nor listen to your words, as you leave that house or city, shake the dust off your feet.

Verse 14 study: Jesus told the disciples to shake off their feet in a city or home who didn’t welcome them because pious Jews often shook the dust off their feet to show separation from Gentile practices. If it happened, the disciples shaking the dust would show separation from Jews who rejected their Messiah. This action would show the people that they were making the wrong choice, and the opportunity probably won’t show again. Are you hesitant to teach about God? It’s a good chance that if you ignore the Spirit’s prompting, you probably won’t get another chance.

Verse 15: Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that city.

Verse 15 study: If you go back to Genesis 19:24-25, it mentions that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by fire from heaven because of their wickedness. Anyone who rejects the gospel when they hear it will be far off more than the wicked people killed in those cities who never heard the gospel.

A Hard Road Ahead of Them

Verse 16: “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be as wary as serpents and as innocent as doves.

Verse 16 study: The opposition of the Pharisees would be like ravaging wolves. The disciples’ only hope is to look to their Shepherd for protection in this case. We may face similar hostility. The disciples were not to be sheeplike in their attitude, just like we shouldn’t be. We should be sensible and prudent. We shouldn’t be gullible pawns but not deceitful connivers either. We should find the balance between wisdom and vulnerability to accomplish God’s work.

Cross References

10:9

Luke 22:35

10:14

Acts 13:51

10:16

Luke 10 :3; Genesis 3:1; Matthew 24:25; Romans 16:19, Hosea 7:11

Father, let us be reminded not to ignore the opportunities you present to us. Let us be wise in our thinking and decision-making. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

The Study Behind God’s Calling To You

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Sincerity Having Peace Instagram Post. 12/28/2021 8:00am

The Twelve Harvest Hands

10 1-4 The prayer was no sooner prayed than it was answered. Jesus called twelve of his followers and sent them into the ripe fields. He gave them power to kick out the evil spirits and to tenderly care for the bruised and hurt lives. This is the list of the twelve he sent:

Simon (they called him Peter, or “Rock”),

Andrew, his brother,

James, Zebedee’s son,

John, his brother,

Philip,

Bartholomew,

Thomas,

Matthew, the tax man,

James, son of Alphaeus,

Thaddaeus,

Simon, the Canaanite,

Judas Iscariot (who later turned on him).

5-8 Jesus sent his twelve harvest hands out with this charge:

“Don’t begin by traveling to some far-off place to convert unbelievers. And don’t try to be dramatic by tackling some public enemy. Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood. Tell them that the kingdom is here. Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously, so live generously.

-Matthew 10:1-8 The Message

The Twelve Disciples; Instructions for Service

10 Verse 1: Jesus summoned His twelve disciples, gave them authority over unclean spirits, cast them out, and healed every disease and sickness.

Verse 1 study: Jesus called his 12 disciples. He didn’t draft them, force them or ask them to volunteer. He left the option to them. He chose them to serve him uniquely. Christ does call on us. He doesn’t force us or make us do what we don’t want to. We have an option to join or remain behind. How do you respond when Christ calls on you?

Verse 2: Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew; and James the son of Zebedee, and his brother John;

Verse 3: Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew, the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus;

Verse 3 study: Bartholemew is probably another name for Nathanael. We met him in John 1:45-51. Thaddeus is also known as Judas, son of James.

Verse 4: Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, the one who also betrayed Him.

Verse 4 study: Simon, the Zealot, may have been a member of the Zealots, a radical political party working for the violent overthrow of Roman rule in Israel.

Verses 2-4 studies: The list of the 12 doesn’t give a lot of details. One reason could be that there aren’t many unusual details to share. If you notice, Jesus calls people from very different backgrounds, such as fishermen, politicians, tax collectors, non-leaders. He called on everyday people, rich or poor, educated or uneducated. Many people think that only certain people are fit to follow Christ. That is not true, as Jesus doesn’t have that attitude. God can use anyone, no matter what. When you feel small and useless, God uses ordinary people to do his extraordinary work.

Verse 5: These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them, saying, “Do not go on a road to Gentiles, and do not enter a city of Samaritans;

Verse 6: but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Verse 5-6 studies: Jesus didn’t send any of the disciples to the Gentiles or Samaritans, possibly for a few reasons. A Gentile is not a Jew, and the Samaritans were a race that resulted in marriages between the Jews and Gentiles after the Old Testament captivities (2 Kings 17:24). Jesus did ask for the disciples to only go to the Jews because he came first to the Jews (Romans 1:16). God picked them to tell the rest of the world about him. Jewish disciples and apostles preached the gospel of the risen Christ all around the Roman empire. The Gentiles were pouring into the church. The Bible clearly states that God’s message of salvation is for everyone, regardless of race, sex, or national origin (Genesis 12:3, Isaiah 25:6; 56:3-7, Malachi 1:11, Acts 10:34, 35; Romans 3:29, 30; Galatians 3:26).

Verse 7: And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’

Verse 7 study: The Jews were waiting to be ushered into his kingdom by the Messiah. They hoped for a political and military kingdom that would free them from Roman rule and bring the glory days back under David and Solomon. Jesus was talking about a spiritual kingdom. The Kingdom is still at hand today. Jesus already started his kingdom on earth in the hearts of his followers. The kingdom will be fully realized when evil is destroyed, and all people will live in peace with one another.

Verse 8: Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those with leprosy, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.

Verse 8 study: The disciples got a principle guide given by Jesus to guide their actions when ministering to others. “Freely you received, freely given.” God showered us with His blessings; we should give our time to others and our love and possessions.

Cross References

10:1

Mark 3:13-15; 6:7; Matthew 9:35, Luke 9:1

10:2

Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6:14-16; Acts 1:13

10:3

John 1:43; 11:16, 14:5; 20:24; 21:2; Matthew 9:9; Mark 15:40; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13

10:4

Matthew 26:14; Luke 22:3; John 6:71

10:5

Luke 9:52; 10:33; 17:16; John 4:9, 39; 8:48; acts 8:25

10:6

Luke 22:35

Our calling comes at any time from you. I pray today that we can answer your call with grace, wisdom, and encouragement. Thank you for guiding us through our lives. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

The Study of Praying for Workers

Monday, December 27, 2021

Sincerity Having Peace Instagram Post 12/27/2021 8:00am

35-38 Then Jesus made a circuit of all the towns and villages. He taught in their meeting places, reported kingdom news, and healed their diseased bodies, healed their bruised and hurt lives. When he looked out over the crowds, his heart broke. So confused and aimless they were, like sheep with no shepherd. “What a huge harvest!” he said to his disciples. “How few workers! On your knees and pray for harvest hands!”

-Matthew 9:35-38 The Message

Verse 35: Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness.

Verse 35 study: The Messiah had a long-waited promising moment for the gospel of the kingdom, meaning that his miracles were a sign that his teachings were true.

Verse 36: Seeing the crowds, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and downcast, like sheep without a shepherd.

Verse 36 study: Ezekiel compared Israel to sheep without a shepherd found in Ezekiel 34:5-6. Jesus went there to be the shepherd, the One who could show others how to avoid life difficulties (John 10:14).

Verse 37: Then He *said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.

Verse 38: Therefore, plead with the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”

Verses 35-38 studies: One thing Jesus needed was workers who knew how to deal with people’s problems. We have all been helped with our problems by God and his laborers, so we can show comfort and point them the right way. (2 Corinthians 1:3-7).

Verses 37-38 studies: Jesus took one look at the crowds following him and referred to them as fields ripe for harvest. Many people are ready to give their lives to Christ if someone shows them. Jesus commands us to pray that people respond to this need for workers. When we pray for something, God answers us by using us. Be prepared for God to use you to show another person the way to him.

Cross References

9:35

Matthew 4:23; Mark 1:14

9:36

Matthew 14:14; 15:32; Mark 6:34; 8:2; Numbers 27:17, Ezekiel 34:5; Zechariah 10:2; Mark 6:34

9:37

Luke 10:2

Father, from the way this sounds, this is going further than just praying for co-workers or a family member. This is about praying for those you call to do the work to help bring people closer to you. I pray today that we can do that. Give us the wisdom, the encouragement we need to do it. Everybody will have that call, and it is not a scary call to do. Yes, it is nerve-racking, but not frightening because the approach doesn’t allow it to be. Let us be ready for your call. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

The Study of Patience and Faith

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Sincerity Having Peace Instagram Post. 12/26/2021 8:00am

Become What You Believe

27-28 As Jesus left the house, he was followed by two blind men crying out, “Mercy, Son of David! Mercy on us!” When Jesus got home, the blind men went in with him. Jesus said to them, “Do you really believe I can do this?” They said, “Why, yes, Master!”

29-31 He touched their eyes and said, “Become what you believe.” It happened. They saw. Then Jesus became very stern. “Don’t let a soul know how this happened.” But they were hardly out the door before they started blabbing it to everyone they met.

32-33 Right after that, as the blind men were leaving, a man who had been struck speechless by an evil spirit was brought to Jesus. As soon as Jesus threw the evil tormenting spirit out, the man talked away just as if he’d been talking all his life. The people were up on their feet applauding: “There’s never been anything like this in Israel!”

34 The Pharisees were left sputtering, “Smoke and mirrors. It’s nothing but smoke and mirrors. He’s probably made a pact with the Devil.”

-Matthew 9:27-34 The Message

Verse 27: As Jesus went on from there, two men who were blind followed Him, crying out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!”

Verse 27 study: The way of addressing Jesus by “Jesus the Messiah” is known to us because it is the Messiah. “Son of David” is the same way. He is known as the descendant of David found in Isaiah 9:7, but this is the first time it is being used in the book of Matthew. Jesus’ ability to give sight to the blind is found in Isaiah 29:18; 35:5; 42:7.

Verse 28: And after He entered the house, the men who were blind came up to Him, and Jesus *said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They *said to Him, “Yes, Lord.”

Verse 28 study: The blind men were persistent. They went to the house where Jesus was staying. They all know Jesus can heal them, and they went through measures to make sure no one stopped them from finding him. This is a real example of action in faith. If you believe Jesus is the answer to all your needs, no one shouldn’t stop you from reaching out to him.

Verse 29: Then He touched their eyes, saying, “It shall be done for you according to your faith.”

Verse 30: And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them, saying, “See that no one knows about this!”

Verse 30 study: Jesus did tell them to keep quiet about his healings because he didn’t want to be known as only a miracle worker. He healed because he had compassion for people and wanted to bring spiritual healing to a sin-sick world.

Verses 27-30 studies: The test here is faith. That’s why Jesus didn’t respond to the blind men’s requests when they asked. So Jesus waited to see if they would have faith in waiting. But, unfortunately, not everyone believes God will help. So Jesus continued to wait and question the men to understand and increase their faith. Consider this when you believe God is slow to answer your prayers; he may be testing you as he did the blind men. Do you think God can help you? Do you really want to be helped?

Verse 31: But they went out and spread the news about Him throughout that land.

Verse 32: And as they were going out, behold, a demon-possessed man who was unable to speak was brought to Him.

Verse 32 study: Demonic forces were active while Jesus was on earth. We can’t be sure why or how demon possession occurs, but we know it causes physical and mental health problems. In this case, the demon made man unable to talk.

Verse 33: And after the demon was cast out, the man who was previously unable to speak talked, and the crowds were amazed and were saying, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.”

Verse 34: But the Pharisees were saying, “He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons.”

Verse 34 study: In chapter 9, we learn Jesus is accused of four different sins according to the Pharisees. Blasphemy, befriending outcasts, impiety, and serving Satan. Matthew shows how Jesus was slandered by those who should have received him most gladly. So why did the Pharisees do this?

  1. Jesus bypassed their religious authority.
  2. He weakened control over people.
  3. He challenged their beliefs.
  4. He exposed their insecure motives.

Meanwhile, while the Pharisees were questioning, debating, and scrutinizing Jesus, they failed to see that people’s lives were changing right in front of them. People were being healed. Their skepticism is based on evidence that is insufficient and by their jealousy of Jesus’ popularity.

Cross References

9:27

Matthew 1:1; 12:23; 15:22; 20:30; 21; 21:9; 15; 22:42; Mark 10:47, 48; 12:35; Luke 18:39; 20:41

9:29

Matthew 8:13; 9:22

9:30

Matthew 8:4

9:31

Matthew 4:24; 9:26; 14:1; Mark 1:28, 45; Luke 4:14, 37; 5:15; 7:17

9:32

Matthew 12:22, 24; Matthew 4:24

9:33

Mark 2:12

9:34

Matthew 12:24; Mark 3:22; Luke 11:15; John 7:20

Faith and patience are some of the biggest concerns on earth. If people are not patient with themselves, how can they be patient around family, friends, and strangers? So, father, I pray today that this lesson can teach some structure of faith and patience to begin with. Let this be the life-changer in their life. In Jesus’ name. Amen. 

The Study of Hopefulness

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Just a Touch

18-19 As he finished saying this, a local official appeared, bowed politely, and said, “My daughter has just now died. If you come and touch her, she will live.” Jesus got up and went with him, his disciples following along.

20-22 Just then, a woman who had hemorrhaged for twelve years slipped in from behind and lightly touched his robe. She was thinking to herself, “If I can just put a finger on his robe, I’ll get well.” Jesus turned—caught her at it. Then he reassured her: “Courage, daughter. You took a risk of faith, and now you’re well.” The woman was well from then on.

23-26 By now, they had arrived at the house of the town official and pushed their way through the gossips looking for a story and the neighbors bringing in casseroles. Jesus was abrupt: “Clear out! This girl isn’t dead. She’s sleeping.” They told him he didn’t know what he was talking about. But when Jesus had gotten rid of the crowd, he went in, took the girl’s hand, and pulled her to her feet—alive. The news was soon out and traveled throughout the region.

-Matthew 9:18-26 The Message

Miracles of Healing

Verse 18: While He was saying these things to them, behold, a synagogue official came and bowed down before Him and said, “My daughter has just died, but come and lay Your hand on her, and she will become alive again.”

Verse 18 study: Mark and Luke say that the man’s name is Jairus (Mark 5:22, Luke 8:41). Jairus was responsible for administration, looking after the building, supervising worship, running the school on weekdays, and finding rabbis to teach on the Sabbath.

Verse 19: Jesus got up from the table and began to accompany him, along with His disciples.

Verse 20: And behold, a woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years came up behind Him and touched the border of His cloak;

Verse 21: for she was saying to herself, “If I only touch His cloak, I will get well.”

Verse 22: But Jesus, turning and seeing her, said, “Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well.” And at once, the woman was made well.

Verses 20-22 studies: This woman suffered for 12 years with bleeding (maybe a menstrual disorder). In our times of desperation, we don’t have to worry about the right way to reach out to God. This woman reached out in faith, which is good enough. God will respond.

Verse 22 study: God changed situations that have been a problem for years. The leper, the demon-possessed men, and this woman with a disease. She was considered unclean. For 12 years, she had been “untouchable” and couldn’t lead an everyday life. But Jesus changed all that and restored her. We may be tempted to give up on people or situations that have not changed in years. God can change that unchangeable moment by giving us a new purpose and hope.

Verse 23: When Jesus came into the official’s house and saw the flute players and the crowd in noisy disorder,

Verse 24: He said, “Leave; for the girl has not died, but is asleep.” And they began laughing at Him.

Verse 25: But when the crowd had been sent out, He entered and took her by the hand, and the girl got up.

Verse 26: And this news spread throughout that land.

Verses 23-26 studies: The synagogue official went to Jesus too late, after his daughter died. At that point, it was too late for anyone to help. But Jesus went to her and raised her. In our lives, Christ can make a difference when it seems too late for any one of us to help. He can heal broken relationships and healing to emotional scars. If your situation looks hopeless, remember Christ can do the impossible.

Cross References

9:18

Matthew 8:2

9:20

Numbers 15:38; Deuteronomy 22:12; Matthew 14:36; 23:5

9:21

Matthew 14:36; Mark 3:10; Luke 6:19

9:22

Matthew 9:2; Matthew 9:29; 15:28; Mark 5:34; 10:52; Luke 7:50; 8:48; 17:19; 18:42

9:23

2 Chronicles 35:25; Jerimah 9:17; 16:6; Ezekiel 24:17

9:24

John 11:13; Acts 20:10

9:25

Acts 9:40; Mark 9:27

9:26

Matthew 4:24; 9:31; 14:1; Mark 1:28, 45; Luke 4:14, 37; 5:15: 7:17

It’s a time of rejoicing. It’s your birthday. Father, I pray for a safe holiday for all. Let us remember this day as your day. Hope is brought up a lot during the holiday season. There are hopeless situations we don’t know about. I pray for those situations that you will put your hand in it. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Merry Christmas to you all. I hope everyone has a safe holiday.

The Study of Fasting

Sincerity Having Peace Instagram Post. 12/24/2021 8:00am

Friday, December 24, 2021

Kingdom Come

14 A little later, John’s followers approached, asking, “Why is it that we and the Pharisees rigorously discipline body and spirit by fasting, but your followers don’t?”

15 Jesus told them, “When you’re celebrating a wedding, you don’t skimp on the cake and wine. You feast. Later you may need to exercise moderation, but not now. No one throws cold water on a friendly bonfire. This is Kingdom Come!”

16-17 He went on, “No one cuts up a fine silk scarf to patch old work clothes; you want fabrics that match. And you don’t put your wine in cracked bottles.”

-Matthew 8:14-17 The Message

The Question about Fasting

Verse 14: Then the disciples of John *came to Him, asking, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?”

Verse 14 study: John’s disciples did go without food. In other words, they fasted. They fasted because it was a sign of mourning for sin. and to prepare for the Messiah’s coming. Now, Jesus’ disciples didn’t fast because they were with the Messiah, and he was with them! But, if you remember, Jesus fasted and is recorded in 4:2. So, he didn’t condemn fasting; he wanted people to know to fast for the right reason.

John’s message was harsh, and it was focused on law. Think about this; when you look at God’s law and compare it to yourself, do you realize how far short you are and need to repent? I admit, I’m always short of the law and need to do some serious repenting. Jesus’ message focused on life, resulting from turning sin and turning to him. Now, John’s disciples had the right start, but they had to take the next step and trust Jesus. Where do you see your focus? On the law or on Christ?

Verse 15: And Jesus said to them, “The attendants of the groom cannot mourn as long as the groom is with them, can they? But the days will come when the groom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.

Verse 15 study: With the bridegroom present, it wasn’t suitable to fast for the disciples because the arrival of the kingdom of heaven was like a wedding feast with Jesus as a bridegroom. The disciples were filled with joy, so it didn’t feel suitable to fast.

Verse 16: But no one puts a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch pulls away from the garment, and a worse tear results.

Verse 17: Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins; otherwise, the wineskins burst and the wine pours out, and the wineskins are ruined, but they put new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.”

Verse 17 study: Wine was not kept in glass bottles. It was held in goatskins sewn around the edges to form watertight bags. New wine did expand, which stretched its wineskin. The stretched skin burst if more wine was poured into it after it aged. Therefore, the new wine was always put into fresh wineskin.

Jesus’ purpose in coming was not to clean up the religious system of Judaism with its rules and traditions. If he did that, it would have damaged it. His purpose is to bring something new, even though it was prophesied for centuries. The new message, the gospel, said that Jesus Christ, God’s Son, came to earth to offer all people forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with God. The system they had, the old rigid, legalistic system of religion, did not fit with the gospel. So, it needed a new start. The message will always remain “new’ because it is and must be accepted and applied to every generation. When we follow Christ, we have to be prepared to live in new ways, look at people in new ways, and serve in new ways.

Cross References

9:14

Luke 18:12

There is more to life when you are in our lives. Fasting helps me focus on you and focus on what I shouldn’t be focused on. So, father, I pray today that fasting is part of everyone’s lives. That not only focuses on you but also on the new ways to do things. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

The Study of Hanging Around Sinners

Sincerity Having Peace Instagram Post. 12/23/2021

Thursday, December 23, 2021

9 Passing along, Jesus saw a man at his work collecting taxes. His name was Matthew. Jesus said, “Come along with me.” Matthew stood up and followed him.

10-11 Later, when Jesus was eating supper at Matthew’s house with his close followers, a lot of disreputable characters came and joined them. When the Pharisees saw him keeping this kind of company, they had a fit and lit into Jesus’ followers. “What kind of example is this from your Teacher, acting cozy with crooks and misfits?”

12-13 Jesus, overhearing, shot back, “Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? Go figure out what this Scripture means: ‘I’m after mercy, not religion.’ I’m here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders.”

-Matthew 9:9-13 The Message

Matthew Called

Verse 9: As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man called Matthew sitting in the tax collector’s office, and He *said to him, “Follow Me!” And he got up and followed Him.

Verse 9 study: Matthew is a Jew appointed by the Romans to be the area’s tax collector. He collected taxes from citizens and from merchants that were passing through town. Tax collectors take a commission on the taxes they collected, but most went overboard by charging too much and keeping the profit. If you wonder why most people don’t like tax collectors, that’s why. Their reputation for cheating and their support for Rome.

Matthew didn’t hesitate when Jesus called him to be one of his disciples; Matthew left a promising career to be with Jesus. God will call you to follow and obey; the question is, do you do it as Matthew did it with abandonment? Sometimes, these decisions are painful and difficult choices. But, like Matthew, we must decide to leave those things that keep us from following Christ.

Verse 10: Then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and began dining with Jesus and His disciples.

Verse 11: And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?”

Verse 12: But when Jesus heard this, He said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick.

Verse 13: Now go and learn what this means: ‘I desire compassion, rather than sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Verses 10-13 studies: Jesus hurt his reputation when he visited Matthew. Matthew cheated the people; Jesus found and changed him. We shouldn’t be afraid to reach out to people living in sin because God’s message can change anyone.

Verses 11-12 studies: The Pharisees always tried to trap Jesus, and they believed that the people he hung out with were a perfect opportunity. They were concerned with their own appearance of holiness that helping others. It happens with criticism, not encouragement, outward disrespect than practical help. God is concerned for everyone, which includes the sinful and hurting ones. The Christian life is not about a popularity contest. In following Jesus’ example, we should shame the gospel with the poor, immoral, lonely, and outcast and not just with the rich, moral, popular, and powerful.

Verse 13 study: For those who are sure they are righteous can’t be saved because the first step in following Jesus is acknowledging our need and admitting we don’t have all the answers.

Cross Reference

9:9

Matthew 10:3, Mark 2:14; 3:18, Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13; Matthew 8:22

9:11

Matthew 11:19, Luke 5:30; 15:2

9:13

Mathew 12:7, Hosea 6:6, 1 Timothy 1:15

Father, I know some people who separate themselves from sinners. They talk down to them; they constantly are wrapped in their religious minds instead of being themselves. I pray today that the lesson of Jesus eating with sinners doesn’t make you wrong. On the contrary, it makes you a better person because you are invested in a different lifestyle. Let us be humble enough to continue sharing your Word with others as it can be more potent than we think. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Healing A Paralytic

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Sincerity Having Peace Instagram Post. 12/22/2021 8:00am

Who Needs a Doctor?

9 1-3 Back in the boat, Jesus and the disciples recrossed the sea to Jesus’ hometown. They were hardly out of the boat when some men carried a paraplegic on a stretcher and set him down in front of them. Jesus, impressed by their bold belief, said to the paraplegic, “Cheer up, son. I forgive your sins.” Some religion scholars whispered, “Why, that’s blasphemy!”

4-8 Jesus knew what they were thinking and said, “Why this gossipy whispering? Which do you think is simpler: to say, ‘I forgive your sins,’ or, ‘Get up and walk’? Well, just so it’s clear that I’m the Son of Man and authorized to do either, or both. . . .” At this, he turned to the paraplegic and said, “Get up. Take your bed and go home.” And the man did it. The crowd was awestruck, amazed, and pleased that God had authorized Jesus to work among them this way.

-Matthew 9:1-8 The Message

A Paralyzed Man Healed

9 Verse 1 Getting into a boat, Jesus crossed over the Sea of Galilee and came to His own city.

Verse 1: Jesus’ base of operations is in his own city of Capernaum, which is a good challenge for Jesus. It’s a wealthy city because of its trade and fishing. Capernaum sits on the Sea of Galilee in a populated area that housed the Roman garrison that kept peace in the region. The city is a cultural melting pot, influenced by Greek and Roman manners, dress, architecture, and politics.

Verse 2: And they brought to Him a paralyzed man lying on a stretcher. And seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man who was paralyzed, “Take courage, son; your sins are forgiven.”

Verse 2 study: The first words to the paralytic is, “Your sins are forgiven.” Jesus then healed him. We shouldn’t concentrate on God’s power to heal physical sickness. God’s power to forgive spiritual sickness is more powerful because sin needs to be forgiven. Jesus didn’t see just physical sickness; he saw spiritual health, which is the only way to get it is from Christ.

The man’s body and spirit were paralyzed; he couldn’t walk, nor did he know Jesus. The man’s spiritual state was Jesus’ first concern. Sometimes, God won’t heal someone we love physically because physical healing is not always Christ’s first concern. We all will be healed entirely in Christ’s coming kingdom, but we have to know Jesus.

Verse 3: And some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming!”

Verse 3 study: The word blaspheming (/blasˈfēm,ˈblasˌfēm/) is claiming to be God and applying his characteristics to yourself. Religious leaders saw that Jesus was claiming to be God. However, they didn’t understand that Jesus is God and has the authority to forgive sin and heal.

Verse 4: And Jesus, perceiving their thoughts, said, “Why are you thinking evil in your hearts?

Verse 5: For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?

Verse 6: But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—then He *said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, pick up your stretcher and go home.”

Verse 7: And he got up and went home.

Verse 8: But when the crowds saw this, they were awestruck, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.

Verses 5-6 studies: Isn’t it easy to tell someone that their sins are forgiven? In the case of paralysis, it’s not that easy. So Jesus backed his words by healing the man’s legs. Jesus is always true to his words; he had the power to forgive and heal. Talk is cheap, but our words lack meaning if our actions don’t back it up. We can say we love God, but do our actions show it? If it doesn’t, it is empty words and meaningless. How well do your actions back up your words? What practical steps are you taking to improve your actions and words?

Cross Reference

9:1

Matthew 4:13; Mark 5:21

9:2

Matthew 4:24; 9:6; 9:22; 14:27; Mark 6:50; 10:49; John 16:33, Acts 23:11

9:3

Mark 3:28, 29

9:4

Matthew 12:25; Luke 6:8; 9:47

9:5

Matthew 9:2, 6

9:6

Matthew 8:20, John 5:27; Matthew 4:24; 9:2

9:8:

Matthew 5:16; 15:31; Luke 2:20; 7:16; 13:13; 17:15; 23:47; John 15:8; Acts 4:21; 11:18; 21:20; 2 Corinthians 9:13; Galatians 1:24

We continue to read the miracles you perform. We learn that we can’t always be worried about physical wellness when healing because it is not always your top priority; it is always spiritual sickness. So, Father, I pray today that in a healing situation, we understand the difference and know that you are in control. Let us know that your top priority may be different from ours. In Jesus’ name. Amen.