John was put in prison by Herod, Herod had married his own sister-in-law and John publicly rebuked Herod sin. As John sat in prison he got an idle mind and began to entertain doubt. He sent two of his disciples to go see if Jesus really was the Son of God. When Jesus heard this, He didn’t rebuke John or criticize him for his doubt. He simply told the disciples to tell John the works they see and then told everyone that no other human being had yet done His masters will as greatly as John had been doing, even though he had a moment of doubt. Jesus didn’t get mad or offended by Johns doubt, He simply sent proof for Him and peace for his mind and used this is a great learning lesson for others. Don’t feel guilty when you feel doubt, instead, know that Jesus loves you and seek what He says on the situation that is causing you doubt and stand on it and move forward.

            Jesus condemned the attitude of His generation, all the works that were done right in front of their faces yet many still chose not to repent or turn to God. They were cynical and didn’t want to listen because they knew after they heard and believed and chose the word of God they wouldn’t have to make changes in their lives. These changes weren’t bad but any change for people no matter good or bad can be a scary and unsure thing so often time people will turn away because they are afraid of the change.

            Jesus thanks God for hiding these things from the wise and prudent, the ones whose hearts who cold and wouldn’t be accepting of God. He thanked God for revealing these things to the babes, the ones pure of heart who were open to God and His truth. All things have been delivered to Jesus by God and no one knows Jesus except God and no one knows God except Jesus and the ones who Jesus wills to reveal Him. The word Know here means more than knowledge of, it means to have an intimate relationship with. The way to God is through Jesus and they way to God is if Jesus wills to reveal HIm. If you are seeking God than that means you! Praise God!

            Jesus says to take His yoke upon us, and learn from Him for His yoke is gentle and His burden is light and in Him we find rest for our souls. A yoke is a heavy wooden harness that goes over the shoulders of an ox to carry a load that the ox then pulls. To take Jesus’ yoke means to allow Him to be with you, to have Him pull your load, to take that burden and carry it for you, in Him you find rest and He does the work with you pulling the weight for you. There is always some form of work to be done, but when you allow Jesus to be with you and carry the burden for you then your work load seems light and for some may not even feel like work at all even though to the secular it is still a work load.

 

            Jesus called His twelve disciples to Him and gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out and to heal sickness and disease. He sent them out to find the lost sheep of Israel (the Jews), the Bible notes show that they were to go to the Jews because that was who God chose to tell the rest of the world about Him.

            Jesus told the disciples not to take clothes or food or money with them, that they would be cared for and people of peace would take them in. If they went to a house that didn’t have people of peace, they didn’t need to leave their peace with them but move on to the next who has people of peace who will be accepting of their mission. This is why churches give money to people actively discipling in the mission field 24/7. They need their needs taken care of so they can do Gods work and that is why giving to people in the mission field is so good, that is why God will put it on peoples hearts to give to disciples in the mission field. Its important to remember if you aren’t a full time missionary, you can still be a disciple of God and pray over people and cast out demons even if you work a regular nine to five job. We should all be open to God using us as His disciples 24/7 in whichever unique way He chooses for us.

            Jesus told the disciples to go out and be as wise as servants and gentle as doves. This is important to follow. Whats it mean to be wise as a serpent? A serpent doesn’t freely announce itself when it enters a new environment, it camouflages itself, hides and assess the are first without being seen. They don’t act fast, they assess situations and strike at the perfect moment. They don’t act impulsively. Just as doves are gentle birds, they are not vicious or mean, unlike some snakes. The combination of the two is what the disciples were told to act like. Blend in, take it slow and assess the situation to allow God to show them the perfect time to strike, but then to strike with gentleness and grace so they don’t scare people off when they share the gospel. We need to follow this when we share the gospel with others, we need to assess the situation and let God show us what to say or do and at the perfect moment that He shows us gently share the gospel unless He shows you a different way which would be the exception. We don’t need to dwell over what to say or how to say it because we don’t know the persons heart or soul like Jesus does, He will show the perfect thing to say when the perfect moment has arrived we just need to be gentle and calm and patient so we can hear it.

            Whatever God tells us in the dark we are to share in the light and we are not to fear. Not a single sparrow falls to the ground aside from Gods will and we are much more valuable than a bird. There is no need to fear. He knows how many hairs are on our head, His love is that strong and He is the most powerful and in charge, there is no reason to fear.

            Whoever confesses Jesus before men, Jesus will confess him to His father. Whoever denies Jesus in front of men will be denied before God. As christians we can loose cool points because we believe in God. But at the end of days it won’t be so cool in hell. Never turn away from your faith or God to impress others. There will be ones who are rejected for their faith, and that is ok, it is far better to be rejected by someone than it is to spend an eternity in hell. If the person truly loves and cares about you they will accept you for your beliefs and if they don’t, well when you get born again God will put like minded people in your life to replace the ones who refuse to show you love with your beleifs. There may be a day when you have to make a choice between someone you love and God. We are to always choose God. If the thought scares you because you don’t want to give that person up then pray to God and ask for help on this, hopefully it won’t come down to it but if it does we need to always make the right choice. We must always choose God before anyone. I have had to make the choice a few times and some of them finally found God and are back in my life again only the relationship is better than ever, and they not only accept my faith but respect it. The point is, we always need to make God first in our lives, and if this is hard to do then talk to Him about it so He can help you to have a better relationship with Him so putting Him first won’t be scary it’ll be as easy as breathing.

            Judge not, Jesus commands us to judge not. We set the standard for which God judges us by how we follow this command. It is hypocritical of us to judge others, and it is one of the main reasons people get turned away from Christianity. Instead of judging others we need to look at ourselves and see what we need to fix in us, what we need to allow God to mold in us to match what He intended us to be. After, we can then help someone else who is struggling with the same stuff, but we don't judge anyone. There is a huge difference between offering help to someone and judging them.

            We are to ask, and keep on asking and it will be given to us, seek and keep on seeking and we will find, knock and keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you forever. We must always keep seeking Jesus in all things, go to Him for your needs whether it be fleshly or spiritual He wants to give you all your needs. God is our father, He is the best father because He can give reckless and unconditional love like no one else, after all, He created it. If your child asked you for food for dinner, you wouldn't say no and send them to bed starving. You would get your child whatever you could to make sure they were fed and not starving. So if us, sinful in nature, know how to give good to our children, how much more will God who is perfect give to those who keep on asking?

            We are to treat others the same way we would like to be treated. If someone is treating you poorly, don't add fire to fire. Instead be kind and treat them the way you would be treated and you would be surprised how that holy water will put the fire out. Its easier if you put yourself in their shoes and try to see things from someone else’ view point, if you can try to understand them you can have more compassion towards them and it will make it easier to forgive their actions and let it go. We are to be compassionate, we are to forgive, and we are to treat people the way we wouldn't want to be treated.

            Wide is the gate and broad is the path that leads to destruction. It is easy to conform to secular view points and paths but that is not the way we are meant to go. Though we are in the world we are not of the world and shall not conform to secular mindsets. Narrow is the path that leads the way to everlasting life and there are few who find it. There are many who dont believe in Jesus who are on that wide path, surprisingly, there are many believers who are on that path as well. It is always important to lead by example, be the light in the darkness and the salt to the earth, dont preach people away but lead by example so they may be able to see through your actions that they are on the broad path and will hopefully want to switch over.

            Be aware of false prophets/teachers who come to you on the outside appearing to be a man of God but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will sadly see many false prophets/teachers/ pastors who are not spirit filled and give words that will spiritually confuse you in attempts to pull you away from the path God wants you on.You must always seek Gods guidance to know who is false and who is a true spirit filled man/woman of God. Before listening to a new teacher pray that the Holy Spirit will show you if this is a false prophet or a spirit filled teacher with an anointed teaching for you. We can also tell if its a false prophet by their fruit, by their contrived doctrine and self-focus. Match what they say to the bible, if its not a perfect fit its not true, disregard it and move on. How blessed are we to know that pastor skeet is not a false prophet! Amen.

            Not everyone who says “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven but only he who does the will of the Lord. Many will say to Him on the day He judges them that they have prayed in His name and driven out demons in His name and He will say “I never knew you, depart from me you are banished from My presence, you who act wickedly disregarding My commands”. Anyone who hears these words of His and acts on them will be like a wise man who built His house on a rock solid foundation. Those who hear this word and dont act on it will be foolish men who build their houses on sand, and when the winds and floods came the house fell and didn't withstand it, and great was its fall. After Jesus finished His teachings everyone was astonished, because He didn't teach like the scribes, He spoke and taught with great authority.

 

            This chapter is about lots of Jesus's healings and begins with Jesus healing the paralyzed man. The scribes thought to themselves that Jesus was a blasphemer and Jesus read their minds and called them out for their evil in their hearts. This is a reminder to us that Jesus knows our hearts, better then we do. 

            Jesus left and walked by a tax collector named Mathew and told him to follow Him, and Mathew did just that.  Tax collectors were known for stealing some of the tax money so they werent very liked by the Jews. Despite what others thought of tax collectors Jesus saw past that and saw Mathew for who he really is and asked him to follow Him.  Mathew left a good paying job to serve Jesus. Sometimes we have to choose between Jesus and obstacles in our lives that could keep us from Jesus.  We need to follow Mathews example and choose Jesus and let Him carve out anything in our lives we dont need. 

            The Pharisees constantly tried to trap Jesus, they asked why He was eating with a tax collector and Jesus told them that He came to save the sinners and bring them to repentance,  the ones who realize they need Jesus not the righteous.  

            Then the disciples of John came and asked why Jesus's disciples didnt fast.  Jesus responded with, "Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them?" It was before the time becuse Jesus was still with them in the flesh. 

            Jesus then heals the woman who had a bleeding problem, she had heard of Jesus and her faith was strong, she thought all she had to do was touch His robe and she would be healed. Jesus told her that her faith has made her well. After He healed a girl who was dead, He rose her from the dead. He walked into the mourning room filled with people crying and told them that she was merely asleep and they ridiculed Him for it. But He grabbed her hand and she rose from the dead and word of this spread everywhere like wild fire. 

            Jesus then came across two blind men, they begged for mercy and He asked them if they beleived that He could heal them and they said yes. Jesus told them by their faith let it be done to them. Another example of healing coming by their faith. Jesus asked them not to tell anyone but they did the opposite and told all in that country. 

            Next, Jesus delivers a mute/demon possessed man and the man began to speak. But the Pharisees heard of this and said that He was casting out demons by the ruler of demons and they didnt like it. 

            Jesus went to all the villages and cities and preaches the gospel too them. He saw the multitudes and felt compassion for them because they were lost like sheep without a shepherd. Jesus wanted to help all that He could see, He went around healing every sickness and disease. 

            The chapter begins with a Leper coming to Jesus for healing. In these days, if someone was diagnosed with leprosy they were banished from the town to live out the remaining days of their lives in isolation. Leprosy was contagious and they didn't have a cure for it so self isolation was what they did, and if anyone saw a leper they wouldn't touch them or go near them, they would pretty much run the opposite direction. But when Jesus saw this leper, He didn't run away or tell them to go away because they were contagious. The leper asked Jesus to heal him if He was willing and Jesus not only said He was willing, be clean, but He touched the leper. Jesus had no fear, He saw love and compassion for this man who had lived in self isolation.

            Jesus commanded the healed leper to tell no man but to go straight to the priest and show himself to the priest. If anyone was casted away due to a contagious sickness like leprosy, if the person was to somehow get healed the priest would have to confirm it before the person could go back to civilization. It was important that the healed leper went straight to the priest so the priest could see he was healed first hand.

            Next a centurion (officer in the army of ancient Rome, they got their names because they commanded 100 men) came to Jesus for healing over his servant who was at home paralyzed. Jesus told him that He will come and heal him and the centurion said that he was not worthy of Jesus to come to his home, but simply asked Jesus to just say the word and he will be healed. When Jesus heard this He was amazed and said to all who were following that He had not seen such great faith. He told the centurion to go on his way and as he had believed, so it will be done for him. This is key, as we believe, it will be done for us. We receive off of our belief in His word. The centurions servant was healed that same hour. We can follow suit with this on both parts. We need to have such strong faith like the centurion. But we also can pray for people to receive healing in Jesus name without being their to lay hands on them. God has no limits.

            When Jesus had arrived at Peter’s house, Peters mother-in-law was sick with a fever. Jesus simply touched her hand and she rose up and began to serve Him. When evening had come, they brought to Jesus many who were demon possessed and He cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick so that it would fulfill what was spoken by Isaiah, “He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.”

            Then a scribe came to Jesus and said he would follow Jesus wherever He goes, and Jesus could see this mans heart and his thoughts with following Jesus. Jesus wanted to make sure that the scribe new what he was signing up for. He told the scribe that even though the foxes have holes and birds have nests the Son of man has no where to lay His head. To follow Jesus doesn't mean a life of fame and being rich and having materialistic items beyond need. We shouldn't follow Jesus to expect to receive richness in money and fame and fortune. Our hearts must be in it for the right reason and He always knows whats on our hearts. Jesus was very honest with the scribe in what it would be like to follow Him.

            Then another one of His disciples said to Jesus that he needed to go and burry his father but Jesus said to him instead, “Follow me, let the dead bury the dead.” In this time, when someone said they needed to go and burry the dead it didn't necessarily mean that the person was yet dead, it could mean that they were on the verge of it and near death whether it be by a few days or a few years away. The notes say that it isn't known if the mans father had actually died or was just in his last years, the point being made is the man was choosing this over being a disciple and following Jesus. Jesus didn't want the mans father to be left alone, or have the physically dead burry him (that wouldn't even be possible or make sense). Jesus was stating that there are others who can take care of him who are not needed in this gospel journey because perhaps they are spiritually dead, so let them take care of the burying of the dead and that way the ones who are spiritually alive can go forward and share the gospel and follow Jesus.

            There will always be an excuse available to not follow Jesus and share the gospel and disciple others. Its up to us to choose Him over the excuses. Saving souls is more important.

            Jesus and His disciples then got onto a boat and Jesus took a nap. Then a violently windy storm arose and created huge waves that appeared as if they were going to overtake the boat. The disciples woke up Jesus begging for Him to save them because they thought they were going to perish. Jesus simply replied, “ Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea and then there was a great peace and calm. The disciples were amazed wandering who this man was that could control the wind and the sea.

            This is a lesson within a lesson, first Jesus points out that if there is fear present then your faith is low and weak, for if your faith was high and strong then you wouldn't be fearful. Whenever we feel any sort of fear its a sign that we need to get back in the word and feed on it and feed on Him and build are faith and get rid of that fear. Faith is like a muscle and wont be strong if you never work on it. Secondly, Jesus rebuked the weather, He would not have rebuked the storm if it was something that God created which shows us that storms can be spiritual attacks from the devil. We know that rain is good and is a blessing and when we pray for rain clouds and God sends them that is a blessing from God to water our land. However a violent storm is different than some rain clouds, Jesus rebuked that storm and sent it away. When we see storms that look violent we need to follow suit and rebuke it. Often times I have heard people blame violent storms on God or say something silly like its his judgment on sinners in that area, but thats not true. Mathew 8:26 is proof that Satan can manipulate the weather because if it was Gods doing to create that storm when they were on the boat Jesus wouldn't have rebuked it, He wouldn't rebuke something from God. God is good, all the time and thats why when the storm came Jesus simply rebuked it and everything became peaceful and calm.

            When they got to Gergesenes two demon possessed men who lived in the cemetery came charging down exceeding fierce. The demon possessed men said, “what have we to do with thee Jesusl, Son of God, have you come to torment us before the time?” Demons are fallen angels who work for satan, they knew who Jesus was, they begged him that if He was going to cast them out to send them to the herd of swine near by. Jesus simply said, “Go” and the demons went into the herd of swine and the whole herd ran violently into the sea and perished into the waters. (Think of how many demons were in those two men to fill an entire herd of swine, and Jesus simply said ‘Go’ and they all fled!) They that kept them fled into the city and told everyone what had happened. The whole town came, met Jesus and begged him to leave their city.

            No matter how amazing the miracle is, some people will not open their hearts to Jesus. It is sad but shouldn't discourage you, Jesus didn't argue and debate when they asked Him to leave. Quarreling could have made people even more closed off then they already were. A seed was planted when Jesus casted out the demons and that was all that was needed in that moment.