Matthew 21:23-32 – By What Authority?

Read Matthew 21:23-32

Jesus smelled a trap. “By what authority?” the religious leaders asked. By God’s authority or Satan’s or maybe just of men. Jesus knew this was not a simple question. Obviously we know the truth. Jesus’ authority is from God.

Yet, Jesus wanted to take back the control. He was willing to provide an answer but needed to hear their response first. They evaded a response, so Jesus didn’t give them what they wanted.

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Matthew 21:18-22 – Bye Bye Fig Tree

Read Matthew 21:18-22

We are getting ready for another big purge in our household. We did one when we moved to Mexico, and now it’s time to do one again. When you aren’t using something, or when something becomes useless and doesn’t work, get rid of it. Today’s reading confirmed that for me, and it may be exactly the push I need to get started. One cool thing here in Mexico is that people re-purpose things, find new ways to use, fix the broken. Our purging will be another’s blessing and not just adding to the trash pile.

Jesus let out a little of his frustration with the poor fig tree. It didn’t have the fruit he was looking for, so he cursed it. The tree withered and died. My first impression was, “Boy that was harsh!” What if it wasn’t blooming season? But then Jesus would know that. He had no patience for this tree without fruit when his hunger was telling him to eat.

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Matthew 18:1-14 – Child-like Ways

Read Matthew 18:1-14

I heard something the other day. It takes us a year or two to learn to talk and another sixty years to learn how to shut up! That might be a little harsh. We have also heard that children should be seen and not heard. Rubbish in my opinion. We would miss out on so many delightful things that only children without filters can come up with. If only I had written down some of the adorable things my children have said.

Jesus was also a fan of children. One of my favorite images of Jesus is when he is sitting with a crowd of children all around him. They are hanging on to every word he says. We need to be more like that. Even Jesus thinks so.

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Matthew 17:14-21 – Not Enough Faith

Read Matthew 17:14-21

Have you ever attended a Bible conference or an especially moving worship concert? You are then familiar with the “high” you feel from having spent some serious time in God’s holy presence. You may feel like you have a superpower. You may see everything in a beautiful light. You are certainly in a place of calm, expectant hope, with the joy of the Lord overflowing.

Then you step back into reality. There are bills to pay. There are meetings to attend. It may be time to go back to work and face that stress. The dose of reality waiting for you after your “mountaintop experience” can be especially cruel and abrupt. So, too, for Jesus and his disciples today as they came down from the mountain. A situation had arisen that needed Jesus’ attention.

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Matthew 15:32-39 – 4,000 More!

Read Matthew 15:32-39

This may seem very similar to verses we read in the last chapter when Jesus fed 5,000 men (plus women and children). These are two distinct happenings. We see the number of people following Jesus expanding. In Jesus’ own words, “I have compassion for these people.”

For three days the people have stayed. Jesus has healed many. People were amazed and gave praise to the God of Israel. They understood that much, where the power came from. So what about the disciples? Having already seen a miraculous feeding, where was their faith?

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