Getting Spiritually Prepared

Reading Time: 6 Minutes Today’s article is the second parable that Jesus told concerning his return to earth. Imagine being seated around Jesus on the Mount of Olives, listening him relate this parable. He said, “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. […]

God Has No “B” Team

Reading Time: 6 Minutes I think it is important to remember that what we read in Matthew 24 and 25 was first addressed to people who had followed Jesus from Galilee. The crowd was comprised of people who had experienced such things as healing, deliverance, miraculous feeding, and daily instruction from Jesus. They have witnessed […]

Be Prepared and Alert

Reading Time: 6 Minutes The second coming of Jesus to the earth is a central teaching of the New Testament. The particular details of his coming are often debated. One of my seminary professors wrote a book on Revelation. He told the class, “I read over 30 books for my research and they all had […]

The Beginning of the End

Reading Time: 7 Minutes Once again, an imaginary follower of Jesus will narrate the words of Jesus about the beginning of the end. The narrator continues the account that began in Matthew 24.3 when the disciples asked Jesus, “Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of […]

The Coming of the End

Reading Time: 9 Minutes For part of our study of the past chapters we have used an imaginary follower from the region of Galilee to narrate the story. We will return to that method to explore the message of chapter 24. The narration begins with these words: All of us who had been following Jesus […]

When God Leaves Town

Reading Time: 9 Minutes When people reject God to such a degree that he must withdraw his presence, it causes him great grief. During the time of the prophet Ezekiel, he was given a vision of God’s glory leaving the city. Before we read Jesus’ words, let’s hear from Ezekiel. He reported the vision like […]

Heed These Warnings

Reading Time: 8 Minutes The passage we consider today contains some of the strongest words that Jesus ever uttered. They were not directed to criminals and overt sinners. Rather, they were spoken to the religious leaders of their day. Once again, let’s ask ourselves how we are like the “bad guys” in this teaching of […]

Religious Leadership Examined

Reading Time: 8 Minutes In Matthew 22.37-40, we examined two commandments that summarized the Law. In short, Jesus told us to love God with our entire being and to love other people like we love ourselves. Matthew 23 pictures the same crowd of people that had gathered within the grounds of the Temple complex. The […]

Jesus On Love

Reading Time: 7 Minutes Think for a few minutes about all of the things that people argue about in 2020. Discussions can be quite heated and often end up injuring relationships and personal feelings. The Pharisee who questioned Jesus, attempted to draw him into a debate that was designed to divide the crowd and make […]

Resurrection Power

Reading Time: 8 Minutes Today’s passage is a bit complicated. However, once I understood what Jesus was saying, it became one of the most important passages in the Bible for me. If you have any questions, please write a comment either on Facebook or on the real-voices.com website. I will attempt to answer it. Once […]

Jesus Responds to a Trap

Reading Time: 8 Minutes The setting has not changed, since we listened to Jesus tell the last three parables. There is a crowd of pilgrims to the Passover Celebration, who are listening to Jesus. He is somewhere within the 33 acre Temple complex. Religious leaders are part of the crowd, but they are there to […]

Don’t Miss This Invitation

Reading Time: 8 Minutes This is the third parable that Jesus told to the same audience. The scene is somewhere in the Temple complex. We can expect a large crowd of listeners, along with the chief priests and elders of the Temple. The air is thick with tension, given the conflict between Jesus and the […]

A Parable About Leadership

Reading Time: 8 Minutes Once again, this section is narrated by an imaginary person who has traveled with Jesus to Jerusalem from Galilee. Jesus seemed to take a break to let the last parable sink in. I heard the chief priests and elders murmuring against him. As for me, I was shaken by what I […]

Who is in Control Here?

Reading Time: 6 Minutes As we meditate on the events leading up to Jesus’ death on the cross, we are viewing these passages through the eyes of an imaginary eye witness. This person has traveled with Jesus the 100 miles from Caesarea Philippi and has seen Jesus enter the city and pronounce judgment on activities […]

Jesus’ Third Symbolic Act

Reading Time: 8 Minutes This is the third symbolic act that Jesus performed after he arrived in the vicinity of Jerusalem. His entry into the city and the cleansing of the temple were the first two acts (Matthew 21.1-17). Once again, I will try to highlight this episode from Jesus’ life with an imaginary observer, […]

Cleaning House!

Reading Time: 6 Minutes Yesterday, I mentioned that I would approach the remainder of Jesus’ visit to Jerusalem from the point of view of a person who had traveled with Jesus and his followers from Galilee. Jesus had just entered the city in a procession that resembled a peaceful king’s entrance into the city. The […]

Jesus’ Arrival in Jerusalem

Reading Time: 6 Minutes For the remainder of our study in the Gospel of Matthew, I am going to write from the perspective of an ordinary person in the crowd, who is able to listen in to what Jesus said and who saw what he did. We have just traveled 100 miles on foot from […]

Spiritual Blindness Revealed

Reading Time: 6 Minutes I think John was speaking for all of the Gospel writers when he penned these words, “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, […]

A Life of Service

Reading Time: 6 Minutes For the third time, Jesus announced his upcoming crucifixion in Jerusalem (Matthew 20.17-19). And for the third time, his close followers failed to appreciate what he was telling them (Matthew 20.20-24). This led Jesus to speak to them about a life of service. He said, “You know that the rulers of […]

Everyone Wins!

Reading Time: 8 Minutes Peter watched a rich young man walk away from Jesus. Then, he heard Jesus talk about how hard it is for rich people to enter the kingdom of God. This led Peter to ask Jesus, “Look, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” (Matthew 19.27). Jesus […]

A Conversation with Jesus

Reading Time: 7 Minutes If you had a chance to have a face-to-face meeting with Jesus, what would you ask him? Please take a minute and think about that question. Here are the first three thoughts that came to my mind, when I tried to answer the question. (1) How can I be a better […]

Why and How to Forgive

Reading Time: 8 Minutes The cheapest and most vicious way to attack someone is through the words we use. When the Psalms speak of evil, the most frequent evil they describe is speech that is used to injure another person. So-called “civilized” nations, like the one we live in, use words as their primary means […]

Stumbling Blocks

Reading Time: 7 Minutes One of my seminary professors told a class I was in, “Whenever you run into a Bible-thumper watch your wife and your wallet.” Given what has transpired in the ministry since his words were uttered in the early 1970s, that was great advice. However, Jesus didn’t put the responsibility on the […]

Relationships in the Church

Reading Time: 8 Minutes Once again, let’s put ourselves within the story of what took place with Jesus and his followers. As you know, there were twelve men who were among the primary followers of Jesus. In addition, there was a group of women who accompanied them and helped provide for the basic needs of […]

Lessons Learned in Failure

Reading Time: 7 Minutes When Jesus returned from the mountain where he was transfigured (Matthew 17.1-8), he was confronted with the failure of nine of his close followers. The scene is as follows: When they came to the crowd, a man came to him, knelt before him, and said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, […]

The Added Dimension of Jesus’ Glory

Reading Time: 6 Minutes After the discussion about the nature of Jesus’ role as Messiah, he said, “Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom” (Matthew 16.28). Matthew recorded what happened next, “Six days later, Jesus took with […]

A Picture of the Messiah

Reading Time: 6 Minutes As we have journeyed with Jesus and his followers, we have witnessed the healing of countless people, miraculous events, confrontation with the authorities, and instruction to his disciples. These events have taken place in the Galilee region of Israel. The dialogue in this section between Jesus and Peter marks a turning […]

Who is Jesus?

Reading Time: 6 Minutes Dave Mason, an old British rocker, had these lyrics in one of his songs, “Who is God and what’s on his mind?” Instead of a rock singer asking about God, Jesus asked his followers who they thought he was. Here’s how Matthew recorded the conversation between Jesus and his disciples. Now […]

Show Us a Sign

Reading Time: 8 Minutes If you are reading along with these articles in the Gospel of Matthew, you will notice that I have skipped two sections of chapter 15. One of the sections was a summary of Jesus’ healing ministry. The other section was the feeding of 4000 Gentiles. I have skipped these passages, because […]

Great Faith

Reading Time: 6 Minutes I love the Gospels. I love reading the way Jesus interacted with people and the way his message is vibrant and relevant to today. Today’s passage shows God’s amazing love, grace and power through his Son. Jesus was not ready for a confrontation with the religious and governmental authorities. Therefore, he […]

Your Heart is Showing

Reading Time: 8 Minutes The scene is one where the religious authorities have arrived from Jerusalem to confront Jesus and to put an end to the movement he has started. Matthew records a continuation of the interchange that began with the first verses of Matthew 15. He wrote, “Then he called the crowd to him […]

Traditions in Conflict

Reading Time: 8 Minutes Chapter 15 begins with authorities coming from Jerusalem to confront Jesus in the northern reaches of Israel. Matthew records their accusation and Jesus’ response like this: Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not […]

Walking On Water (Another Look)

Reading Time: 8 Minutes If you have been in church for any length of time, you may remember this memorable episode from the life of Jesus. Once again, let’s place ourselves within the story, and ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate any meaning he has for us. Then, let’s look at the story from the […]

A Banquet with Jesus

Reading Time: 8 Minutes In yesterday’s article we visited a banquet held in honor of Herod, complete with drunkenness, seduction, and murder (Matthew 14.1-12). Today’s article features a banquet that Jesus provided for 5000 people. Matthew wrote, “Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. […]

Systems of Power and Prophets

Reading Time: 8 Minutes John wrote, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2.15). There is a world’s system that opposes the things of God. We are told multiple times in God’s word to not […]

Jesus Disrespected

Reading Time: 8 Minutes Careful readers of Matthew will notice that I have skipped comments on some verses in this chapter. There is no doubt that they are important, but their message is very similar to what we have already studied in this chapter. Therefore, today we will travel with Jesus to his hometown. Matthew […]

What’s It Worth To You?

Reading Time: 5 Minutes Several years ago, I read a story about a dictator in Africa who got a $6,000 haircut every month. For his monthly grooming experience, he traveled from his country to New York City, so he could be styled by his favorite barber. This ruler literally had a “Rich Man and Lazarus” […]

What Is Wrong With Me?

Reading Time: 8 Minutes Yesterday’s article asked the question, “What is wrong with the world?” It wouldn’t hurt us to ask today, “What is wrong with me?” The two parables of today’s article will help us think about moving our lives from “wrong” to “right.” Two Parables “Jesus put another parable before them, saying, ‘The […]

What’s Wrong With The World?

Reading Time: 8 Minutes Jesus declared that God’s kingdom was at hand, when he began his ministry. He said, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4.17). We have frequently defined the kingdom of God with Dallas Willard’s definition as the effective reach of God’s power. I don’t think it is too […]

Why Parables?

Reading Time: 7 Minutes Matthew 13 contains a collection of parables that Jesus used to communicate his message. His followers wanted to know why Jesus used parables, because they seemed so hard to understand. They “came and said to him, ‘Why do you speak to them in parables?’” (Matthew 13.10). Jesus responded like this: “To […]

The Parable of the Sower

Reading Time: 8 Minutes If you’ve been reading the Gospel of Matthew, you may have wonderedhow the religious authorities could have been so blind. Jesus spokewords that have been quoted for centuries with his famous Sermon onthe Mount message, but they seemed to be completely unresponsive tothem. He healed people all over the northern reaches […]

Living Within The Story

Reading Time: 5 Minutes As we’ve done before, let’s put ourselves in the scene of Matthew 12. The chapter has been full of opinions, evaluations and judgment. Let’s imagine that we followed Jesus through every event of this chapter, beginning with his argument with the religious leaders over what was acceptable on the Sabbath (Matthew […]

A Failed Generation

Reading Time: 8 Minutes If you’ve been reading Matthew 12, you will have noticed some astounding claims that Jesus made for himself. He claimed to be: — Greater than the Temple (verse 6) — Lord of the Sabbath (verse 8) — Someone who acts by the power of the Spirit (verse 28) — Someone whose […]

Our Heart and Our Mouth

Reading Time: 7 Minutes I don’t know about you, but some of my deepest grief, disappointment, embarrassment and hurt has come from words that should never have left my mouth. Jesus identifies the problem of wrongly spoken words in the Bible passage for today’s article. He said, “Either make the tree good and its fruit […]

Blasphemy!

Reading Time: 8 Minutes The followers of Jesus never get tired of miracles. This is true today and was true when Matthew recorded the healing of a blind and mute man: “Then a demon-oppressed man who was blind and mute was brought to him, and he healed him, so that the man spoke and saw. […]

A Model for Living

Reading Time: 8 Minutes The book, “Imitation of Christ,” by Thomas a’Kempis has been influencing Christians for over 500 years. What if someone attempted to imitate Jesus Christ in thought, word and deed? A’Kempis answered that question in a compelling book that has been read and re-read by thousands over the years. In 1896 Charles […]

Gentleness Revealed

Reading Time: 8 Minutes Jesus invites us to come to him, knowing that he is gentle and humble in heart. We remember his invitation to come to him and his “gentle and humble in heart” nature (Matthew 11.28-29). Jesus revealed the true nature of his gentleness as he entered the synagogue in Capernaum. This experience […]