Jesus’ Transfiguration – Matthew 17:1–13

Read the Passage: Matthew 17:1-13

Context (17:1–3)

Matt. 17:1–13 contains one of the most interesting and well-known narratives in Jesus’ ministry—that is, the account of the transfiguration of Christ. This narrative is given in each of the Synoptic Gospels, is mentioned by Peter at 2 Pet. 1:17–18, as well as John (cf. John 1:14). The reason why Jesus chose to reveal His divine glory, which he had earlier set aside (cf. John 17:5; Phil. 2:7), to the disciples is unclear. Perhaps this event was for the disciples’ later benefit (cf. Rom. 15:4). Continue reading

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Teaching and Miracles – Matthew 15

Read the Passage: Matthew 15:1-39

Tradition (15:1–20)

This passage begins with the scribes and Pharisees accusing Jesus of allowing His disciples to “transgress the tradition of the elders” (Matt. 15:2), namely the practice of ceremonially washing hands before a meal. Note that Mark gives a more detailed account of this event and the elders’ tradition at Mark 7:1–5. This practice was not a part of the Old Testament law, which only required the priests to wash before eating holy offerings (cf. Lev. 22:6–7). Continue reading

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The Ministry of Jesus – Matthew 14

Read the Passage: Matthew 14

Mourning (14:1–12)

Earlier, in Matt. 4:12, we saw that John the Baptist had been imprisoned. In Matt. 11:2–6 we saw how John was questioning whether or not Jesus was the Christ. This was likely on account of the difficulties he faced in prison and the fact that Jesus had not enacted a physical rule over Israel. Here in Matt. 14:1–12 we finally learn the reason for John’s imprisonment, which is that he had confronted Herod about his marriage to Herodias (cf. Mark 6:14–29; Luke 9:7–9; 7:19–30). Continue reading

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Parables of the Kingdom – Matthew 13

Read the Passage: Matthew 13:1-43

Parable of the Soils (13:1–9, 18–23)

Matthew chapter 13 is a theologically rich chapter, as here Jesus gives eight parables to describe the Kingdom of God, five of which only occur in Matthew’s Gospel. Note that the word “parable” means “to come [or cast] alongside,” as parables were short stories given in order to teach listeners on a certain topic. The parables contained in this chapter are: The Parable of the Soils (13:1–23), The Parable of the Wheat and Tares (13:24–30, 34–43)*, Continue reading

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Jesus and the Pharisees – Matthew 12

Read the Passage: Matthew 12

Rejection of Jesus (12:22–30)

This chapter begins with an account about Jesus’ interaction with the Pharisees concerning the Sabbath. Two narratives are recorded. The first account details the Pharisees’ critique of Jesus’ disciples plucking of grain on the Sabbath. The second narrative reports Christ’s healing of a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath. Both of these accounts are given in order to make clear the point that the Pharisees’ understanding of the law—and by implication, the One who gave the law—was wrong. Continue reading

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Jesus’ Identity – Matthew 11

Read the Passage: Matthew 11

Dialog with John (11:1–15)

In Matt. 4:12 we read that John the Baptist had been put in prison. The details of this imprisonment, as well as his death, are not given until Matt. 14:3–12. In Matt. 11:1-6 we see that John sends his disciples to ask Jesus if He is indeed the Christ. This question is surprising, for in Matt. 3 John had boldly baptized Jesus, clearly recognizing Him as the Messiah. Yet, perhaps the combination of his imprisonment and Christ’s non-political agenda had worked to erode John’s faith. Continue reading

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Sending of the Disciples – Matthew 10

Read the Passage: Matthew 10

Sending & Instructions (10:1–15)

After giving his command to “pray [to] the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Matt. 9:38), in Matt. 10:1–8, Jesus fulfills this prayer by sending out his disciples into Israel. The list of the twelve apostles in Matt. 10:2–4 is one of four such lists in Scripture (cf. Mark 3:16–19; Luke 6:13–16; and Acts 1:13). While all four lists differ in order, they appear to indicate three distinct groups of apostles, with a definite leader of each group. Continue reading

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Miracles, Questions, and Teachings – Matthew 9

Read the Passage: Matthew 9

Miracles (9:1–9, 18–34)

In Matt. 9:1–8 we read of Jesus meeting a man so severely paralyzed that friends must carry him to Jesus. Interestingly, without even asking for healing or forgiveness, Jesus declares, “So, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you” (Matt. 9:2). The narrative is clear that Jesus was not implying that this man’s condition was because of his sin (cf. Luke 13:1–5; John 9:1–3); rather, Jesus was teaching the onlookers—the scribes—a truth about himself. Continue reading

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Jesus’ Miracles – Matthew 8

Read the Passage: Matthew 8

A Leper is Cleansed (8:1–4)

As we’ve noted previously, in an attempt to draw parallelism with the Pentateuch, Matthew structures his Gospel around five discourse/narrative cycles. Matt. 5–7 contains the teaching portion of the first of the five discourse/narrative cycles in this Gospel. Matt. 8–9 contains the narrative portion of this cycle, which focuses on Jesus’ miracles. Jesus’ miracles can be divided into two broad categories: (1) miracles of restoration, which show Christ’s power over sickness/death and power over evil, Continue reading

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Sermon on the Mount, Part 3 – Matthew 7

Read the Passage: Matthew 7

Judging Others (7:1–6)

Probably one of the most quoted and misapplied verses in the Bible is Matt. 7:1, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” It seems that some people understand this verse to be teaching that we are never to make moral evaluations of others. Of course, this is a ludicrous idea, as even the idea that we are not to make moral evaluations is a moral evaluation. Continue reading

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