Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

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Jesus goes teaching and preaching in the Synagogues – Matthew 4:23-25

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Jesus goes teaching and preaching in the Synagogues – Matthew 4:23-25 – 05/11/2016

Matthew 4:23 (ESV) And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. 24 So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them. 25 And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.

This is a series in the Gospel of Matthew which looks to visit the text from the Gospel of Matthew on a line by line and verse by verse teaching and Lord willing we will get through the full book of Matthew, this is part of a New Testament bible study series that you can read all other studies in this section on this link.

Let’s start our bible study in verse twenty three of chapter four.

V23 And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.

Jesus went all about his mission from the get go, he knew the customs of the day that would allow visitors to teach in their synagogues and can you imagine being there and hearing the most holy words be read by the author himself? These Galileans did not know how blessed they were! Where better to start his ministry than the very house that they dedicated to God?

We read that Jesus was both teaching and preaching and although we have lumped them together in modern Christianity there is quite a difference in what he was doing, let’s look at that here…

  • Teaching – was where he was delivering the content and explaining what the matter meant.
  • Preaching – Is giving exposition on the scriptures and this is why the ESV uses the word proclamation because he was proclaiming the truth of what was written and its literal fulfillment in flesh before them. Who could argue with that?

In addition to his verbal ministry, Jesus was also healing people and was becoming quite famous for healing and I do wonder if people were coming to Jesus just looking for the temporary fix, you have to remember though that Jesus can see the heart and he knew who wanted what from him. Jesus did not seek fame and was simply looking to display the power that he had over sickness, and he had a genuine compassion for those who sought his help. We see what types of people in the next verse…

V24 So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them.

As stated above people wanted to meet the man who was healing all these people and his fame spread as far as Syria and they brought him to the author of all creation and he was able to demonstrate in a powerful way that he had power over creation and who better to fix someone than someone who was there and saw the original draft when the world was created.

I read this verse and it gives me great hope because as a spouse of someone who has a chronic pain issue and it reinforces my belief in the power of prayer because I know that Jesus can heal according to his will and here we see in a historical record written by a man who was so meticulous that the Romans had him collecting tax for them. He even goes as far to catalogue the types of people that Jesus healed. I love passages of scripture like this when I hear the skeptics argument that “the Bible is so vague”.

I also love that Jesus is mentioned to have healed people who were “demon possessed” and showed that he was indeed greater than he who was in the world. It was also a glimpse into the ease that Jesus will make all things new in the book of Revelation.

V25 And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.

Such as his fame attracted the numbers and here is a lesson for Pastors and leaders who worship the idea of having a mega ministry. I would state to you that it is not wrong to have such a united movement of people all pointing in the one direction as long as it is all about Jesus. I would state to follow Jesus example when he had the multitudes.

HE TAUGHT THEM! The temptation is there to not “go against the grain” or “talk about things that will lose numbers” Jesus never did that and Jesus frequently taught them the truth. Jesus wasn’t into impressing them with “holy tricks” or “miracles” he was looking to change their hearts and that is still the case today, if you have not accepted Jesus into your heart then I would urge you to get in contact and I would love to speak to you more. We are not promised tomorrow and the point of this blog is to introduce you to your Messiah, Jesus Christ.

Lord willing, in our next article in Matthew we will start in verses one through twelve of chapter five studying when teaches the part of scripture known as the beatitudes. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
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Why Christians should J’adore Paris

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Matthew 5:4 (ESV) “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

It has been quite a week hasn’t it, last Friday we learned of multiple assaults on the French capital Paris that were attributed to a terrorist group called ISIS. Personally having been there I know that it is a beautiful, vibrant and a city that is very proud of whom they are and it is a city that is no stranger to being attacked in such a violent manner.

As Christians it is difficult not to get caught up in the idea that “the perpetrators must pay” and “revenge is the only option” and whilst I am not surprised nor unhappy that France chose to retaliate within 48 hours and I would never criticize their national policy, I do feel that as Christians it is as the verse above states our job to comfort the mourning.

This attack was not just an attack on France it was an attack on our way of living. It was a reminder and a reinforcement that we do have people out there who do wish to harm us and wish us harm. As Tony Blair stated on the day of 9/11 when he said “We are all Americans today” I would say that “Je suis Parisiens” (We are Parisian) And for me that is why it has hit us on a level that we have not been hit since that fateful day in September 2011 and made us remember how we felt on that day.

Jesus spoke the words above as part of a greater sermon called “The Beatitudes” where Jesus said some words that were quite revolutionary at that time of Roman occupation where the mourning were not comforted, the meek were not inheriting the earth, the merciful did not always receive mercy. Jesus spoke words directly from heaven and touched men’s hearts in a way that empty religion could not. We as Christians should do likewise.

This suffering is temporary

Romans 8:18 (ESV) For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

Paris you have been given a sucker punch right to the gut of the heart of your country and I pray for you and yours at this time. They have struck right at the heart of a city that was just beginning its weekend at the core of national pride, the national stadium where the beloved “Les Bleus” were playing an old foe Germany in an association football match to warm the team up before the big games in the same city the following year.

I grieve for those people who lost loved ones in the 129 souls that perished that night between the various places that attacks took place. My prayer is that they knew Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and I pray with condolence and sympathy for you oh loved ones that you may find comfort in the “great comforter”.

I take solace in that I believe there will have been more people praying for France this week than at any other time since WW2. I stated on my Twitter feed this week the truth that is pictured above that “The last time France had so many allies was WW2” and despite the great sufferings you experience and grief is a real heart wrenching thing to go through, but there is Salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ and I pray for the nation of France to turn to Jesus at this dark time.

I shared this week on my Facebook wall the incredible testimony of my brothers at Calvary Chapel Paris who met for a service two days after the attacks and they did not just have an increase in numbers but in the fragility of death being so close it allowed people to examine where their faith was. It really made people look at the truth of Paul’s writings in 1st Corinthians 15…

1st Corinthians 15:54 (ESV) When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” 55 “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

I would urge you that behold now is the accepted time and now is God’s day of Salvation, (2nd Corinthians 6:2) and if you are not assured of your place in heaven I would urge you to either contact me to discuss or please let a pastor or minister know and we would be happy to talk you through accepting Jesus into your heart and being born again.

He heals the broken hearted

Psalm 147:3 (ESV) He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

And this is the truth of the whole Bible that there is no hurt, there is no valley to deep, to depths in which we can plunge to that would not be able to be healed by God. I serve a big God that created us in his image, knows our innermost parts before we were knitted in our mothers wombs one who cares about you regardless of the wrong you have done or how far you think you have travelled to God, he is willing to have a relationship with you, that is why Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins.

This message is for the Parisian as much as it is for the ISIS terrorist that you today could be in heaven if you put your faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus said in the Gospel of John chapter 14 verse 6 that “he is the only way to heaven” no one comes unto the father (God) except through him. I pray for a true revival in the city in a movement that moves hearts and minds and the nation repents and follows Jesus Christ. I read the following in 2nd Chronicles 7…

2nd Chronicles 7:14 (ESV) if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

And this is my prayer, an abundance of prayer in Paris and a healing of the land! Please know my Parisian friends I do grieve with you and lament that this had to happen to you and as a Scotsman I have a special affinity towards the French due to our shared royalty and history. Most Frenchmen I have met have been good sorts and a credit to your country and my overall opinion of your country is favorable due to time spent there and people met. I have a great love personally for Paris as a city and have my own personal feelings about the attackers.

To any Muslims looking in

Jihad is not the answer! ISIS is not the answer! Jesus Christ is! He is the Son of the one true God and he spoke about how to recognize his true disciples and that is “if you had love for one another” (John 13:35) There are no virgins awaiting you in Paradise and you do not have to kill infidels in order to be assured of celestial paradise. I would love to speak to you regarding a relationship with Jesus. I pray for you and grieve that you have not found him as your Savior.

I pray this article was a blessing, feel free to share, comment or like on whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads.
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Solemn 9/11 thoughts

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Solemn 9/11 thoughts – Pray for our enemies

1 Peter 2:13 (ESV) Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution,fn whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

That dark day

It is that date again, the dark date that has appeared when I stare at my calendar this morning. 9/11, September 11th.

Not since that date in 2001 has that day been “just another date in late summer/autumn”. The date that struck so many, not just in the cities that were affected, but the whole world wide. People in New York went to work as normal that day not realizing that as the clock went closer to 9am they were that step closer to imminent attack.

Those of us who are old enough to remember that horror that happened that day, personally I was working at an American company called “Morgan Stanley” at the time, it happened around 2pm our time in Glasgow Scotland and I had just came out of a meeting to see Sky news on the big TV at the boardroom, it was replaying what had happened in New York.

By the time I was on my first break two planes were down and we were hearing unconfirmed reports (at that point) that the Pentagon had been attacked by a passenger plane. We all know how that day played out and how devastating that day was for the American people and the west as a whole.

The British Prime minister at that time, Labour leader Tony Blair judged the mood of the British people well by stating that “we were all Americans” specifying that in adversity the “special relationship” between London and Washington D.C. was very much intact. It also told the world that if you attack our friends, be prepared that we “have their back”.

Since 9/11 – A new patriotism

There is nothing like adversity to bring a people group together, whether that is based on ethnicity, skin pigmentation, religion or in this case nationality. When the back is against the wall you find a joint identity to band together and use the strength in numbers psyche.

There became a new surge in American pride, flags were raised, people backed their leaders, and people came together and wanted to recover together. People questioned themselves in matters of faith and many people sought out answers from God.

This morning when I drove out of my small town where I live in Central California I saw that all up the main street is American flags hanging from every lamppost. As a non-American, I am happy to see this. I believe that a strong America is the one who has worth in who they are.

I am good with a new patriotism as long as it does not take us further away from God.

New America – Forgive and rebuild

The strong America that I speak of is the one that forgives their enemies, as we learn to rebuild, New York has already done so and buildings will rise again, we will remember the fallen on many nations who have fallen defending that right called freedom.

Many folks remember those in the services in the NY/NJ Port authority area and rightly so, but 9/11 was the beginning of a military campaign where many young men of many nations gave so much, in many cases gave their lives to protect the way we live.

This may shock people but I do forgive the folks who planned, executed and carried out these terrible attacks in both September 2001 and beyond, in places like Washington DC, London, Paris, New York, Benghazi, and Jerusalem and many other places.

Pray for your adversaries

This part will not be popular and frankly I don’t really mind. My savior Jesus Christ taught many messages that were uncomfortable for the people to hear but does not make them any less correct. Despite your feelings on your enemies you have to be willing to humble yourself and pray for them.

We are commanded by Jesus to “love your enemies” don’t get me wrong, this is all temporary, beyond what we do for the kingdom of God, everything whether it be wealth, health or whatever is top of mind for you today, it is all temporary.

I cannot do anything about the terrorist who wishes to terminate me because of who I believe in as my savior, I can however love him and pray for him. If we genuinely believe in Jesus Christ, regardless of whom the enemy is, we have to be prepared to humble ourselves and pray for the salvation of that enemy.

If we get them saved and following the true Jesus, then we can eliminate that foreign threat. How is that for foreign policy?

Go to Hell terrorists!

I will be frank and say that I don’t think I have never hated anyone enough to actually want them to be thrown in the lake of fire. I don’t write these words because I want the terror threat to go away. I do, but I also want people to be saved.

Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world, for everyone, of every nation, every tribe, every ethnicity and every religion that has been embraced, Jesus came to save them all. Remember the words in John chapter 3 “God so loved the _____” (the word is world)

There is a place in heaven for people who were born into the Muslim culture, if they seek out the way (John 14:6) the truth and the life and accept Jesus as their savior, they will be saved.

Jesus loves you

This message is for you ISIS, This message is for you Al-Queda, This is for you rebels in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Eastern Europe, Israel, Jordan, Syria, India, Kuwait, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Turkey, Sudan and anywhere else that breathes hate to the west.

To our enemies both domestic and foreign, I want to pray for you! I want you to find the love I have in the Jesus of the Bible!

The message is simple; the Jesus in the Qu’ran is not the Jesus of the Bible. Jesus is the Son of God, equal with God and is the only way to heaven (or paradise) it is not through Jihad or holy war.

Imagine if 9/11 was the gateway to getting our enemies saved and into heaven? Would you pay that price? That is probably the toughest question to answer and I mean it with all reverence and with no disrespect to those who have lost so much due to this conflict

God bless and I pray this was a blessing, challenge and please share to whom you wish to see this, comment and like below
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