I see the same today. The churches and the world are in the same boat. They are taking people away from Jesus. Instead of teaching people how to live in obedience to the teachings of Jesus to be perfect, stop sinning and keep the Ten Commandments to get their eternal life, they are taking them to church, rituals, feast days, holy days, ceremonies, traditions and entertainment. But none of that is changing the heart to live as Jesus commands.
“The apostle showed that religion does not consist in rites and ceremonies, creeds and theories. If it did, the natural man could understand it by investigation, as he understands worldly things. Paul taught that religion is a practical, saving energy, a principle wholly from God, a personal experience of God’s renewing power upon the soul.” AA 451. “Obeying God’s commandments is everything.” 1 Corinthians 7:19.
We need to get out of our churches and religious systems and go find a quiet place where we can concentrate our focus on Jesus and Jesus only. Listening to Him and reading His Word to find out what He wants for our “personal experience” with God.
Mark 6:30 to Mark 8:38
The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught.
How often we go to our families, pastors, ministers, churches and worldly authorities telling them all that we have done and taught. It is all ego. And yet, how many of us kneel before the Lord and share with Him all that we have done and taught, asking Him to correct us and make us better ambassadors for Him?
And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.
We need to follow the example of Jesus and go “to a desolate place and rest a while”. Our churches, our families, our work and our associations have us all wound up. Few take the time to find that “desolate place” to rest in Jesus and listen to Him. So many are involved in religious programs on TV, radio and the internet. Turn them off. Go to Jesus.
And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves.
You may need to take a boat, a car, a bike or just walk to a “desolate place” by yourself. But do take the time to take that journey. Don’t let life control you. You must take charge of your life and make your relationship with Jesus first priority in all you do. So many are controlled by their cellphones. They can’t put them down or leave them. For many, cellphones have become idols. Oh, don’t go to a church or any religious building to be alone. Go where Jesus took the people, to His “temple”: the outdoors.
Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them.
In one sense, wouldn’t it be wonderful if people saw you going to be alone with Jesus and rushed to follow you? I wonder, do we make our Christianity so attractive that others will want to follow.
When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things.
Do we leave our homes focused on our own agenda, or do we look around at the great crowds around us with compassion? Do we make time in our busy schedules to reach those around us? Do we see those around us as “sheep without a shepherd”? I wonder if, since all we do is “go-to-church”, we feel our own deficiency and shy away from our duty? We need to go to Jesus and learn how to have compassion on the sheep around us. We need to learn from Jesus how to lead people out of church, religious TV programs and to a desolate place to teach them.
And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”
We do the same. We tell ourselves, “It is late and I must get home”. We have all the time in the world for our own wants and wishes, but when it comes to supplying the needs of those around us, it all of a sudden becomes “late”. Many do not want to be bothered and so they try to “send them away” to the church, TV programs, pastors or ministers. But each of us has our own responsibility to teach and train those around us to know and obey Jesus. Stop listening to religious programs and follow Jesus.
But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?”
Yep, that is what He tells us. “You give them something to eat”. But who is listening? You are to know your Bible so well that you can feed the hungry sheep. You are to know Jesus so well that you can lead the lost sheep back to Jesus. “Hundreds, yea, thousands, who have heard the message of salvation are still idlers in the market place (church), when they might be engaged in some line of active service. To these Christ is saying, ‘Why stand ye here all the day idle?” And He adds, “Go ye also into the vineyard.’ Matthew 20:6, 7. Why is it that many more do not respond to the call?” AA 110.
It started with the industrial revolution: the assembly line. People no longer took responsibility for a product, no, they only had to screw a nut in place. The churches soon picked up on that concept and members were no longer required or expected to be missionaries and representatives of Jesus or know their Bibles. No, they could simply play the organ, or lead out in singing, read a verse or two in church, pick up the offering or sit on the platform. We thought we could “assembly line” our churches and make them more efficient. Instead, they have become what all assembly lines have become: soulless, lifeless and destructive to the moral fabric of the soul.
And he said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.”
You don’t need to send people to church or religious programing. You don’t need to call the pastor. You don’t need to spend a lot of money. All you need to do is look at what you have and dedicate it to Jesus. Then go to Him and learn from Him how to use what you have for the salvation of those around you.
Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass.
Instead of looking at the “mass” of people around you, take it slow and easy. Share with one at a time, or in little groups. Use our material. God will bless you.
So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties.
Invite a few friends and neighbors over to sit and enjoy a supper or lunch with you. Share our websites: Facebook, You Tube, Twitter pages and www.jcpm.com with your friends.
And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all.
Ask God to sanctify the little you have to share and watch Him bless and multiply it. The little you know, God will bless and it will feed the multitudes. You may not have a degree in theology or understand much of the Bible, but that is not the problem. God can work with the little you know if you are willing to put yourself out there. As you break off the little you know and share it, it will multiply, and God will fill the multitudes. You also will be fed. Your learning, knowledge and wisdom will multiply as you feed others. If your spiritual life feels unsatisfying, start feeding those around you and soon you will be satisfied. If you have a computer and/or smart phone, you can always access our website and use the material to feed those around you. Share our website. God will bless you as you do.
And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.
God asks you to give what you have. He will divide it up among them all. Then you will look back and be astounded at how much you were able to share. The more you share, the more baskets will be filled. What you once thought to be impossible for a few, will turn out to be a blessing for thousands.
The little this ministry has, as I am able to share, reaches thousands and thousands of inmates, one day at a time. We give to an inmate and he in turn shares with those around him. Each of you, who support this ministry, also share with the thousands we are reaching.
Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd.
Most would have stayed around for the accolades. Jesus will have none of that. All this clapping and praising man is not of God. God gives the talent. God gives the energy. God gives the life. All praise is to go to Him. And the only praise He wants is that which comes from a perfect, sinless and commandment keeping heart.
And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray.
We don’t pray enough. I am in prayer hours each day, but it still isn’t what I should be doing. I do understand the work required to take the time to be with Jesus. And yet, what a wonderful time it is to be alone with Jesus. My best “quality” time with Jesus is either in the early morning, usually between 4 and 6, or late evening - night. We lose so much by not spending enough time with Jesus. Again, Jesus didn’t find a synagogue (church) to go pray in. The examples we have in the Bible are men and women going out into nature to find the peace and quiet in order to pray and be with Jesus.
And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land.
I understand that. Either in bed in the early morning, or when I walk the property late at night, when the stars are out (which we can still see from here), it is as if I am all alone. The presence of God is with me and we walk and talk. Alone, yet surrounded with heavenly beings.
And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, ...
Jesus is so “respectful”, He didn’t want to interfere with their hard work. They were way too busy to think of Him. So, “He meant to pass them by”. I think we find that all too often in our own lives. We become so absorbed in our own “work” against the headwinds of life, we forget to look for Jesus.
. . . but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, for they all saw him and were terrified.
And how often when we do “see” Him, we think it is an omen of destruction. Many times we think that the “help” Jesus has come to give is going to destroy us, our prosperity, our families and our economic success. How sad. I speak from experience. That which I thought was going to be a disaster actually turned out to be a blessing. Remember Joseph?
But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”
We really do need to “take heart” and realize that Jesus is our most trusted Friend. He would do nothing to hurt us. Nothing! He is the One who loves us. I have never had that kind of love, from a human, in my entire life. I am beginning to comprehend it as I see Jesus working in this ministry. I do not deserve any of this, and yet, He is so kind, gracious, compassionate, loving and forgiving. My heart is softened, and I weep for my sins. So often I have been afraid that the ministry was not going to make it for lack of funding. But He tells me, “Do not be afraid.” And sure enough, He is able to touch hearts and provide what we need. I am astounded.
And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.
When I start working so hard, fussing so hard, thinking so hard and fearing so hard, the headwinds are very hard against me. But when I let Jesus in, the winds cease, and all is calm in the ministry. Most people do not understand how hard it is to live “by faith alone” every day. Praying, hoping and agonizing over whether or not we will have what is needed to keep our debts and bills paid is taking a toll on me. It is hard to trust. I’m still learning to understand “about the loaves”.
When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored to the shore.
It is true. When Jesus comes in, I find myself “moored to the shore”. He does bring peace. All the worry is gone. It is so hard to stop the worrying. However, it is diminishing. Step by step. Moment by moment. Degree by degree.
And when they got out of the boat, the people immediately recognized him and ran about the whole region and began to bring the sick people on their beds to wherever they heard he was.
The last time Jesus set foot on this shore the people begged him to leave. Their fears and apprehensions were too strong to comprehend the blessings He had for them. Yet, after giving them time to evaluate and understand the blessings He was willing to give, they were now ready to accept Him. How patient Jesus is. How full of compassion and love. So gracious. How forgiving. I want to be like Jesus.
Interesting to note, Jesus spoke not a word of censure for driving Him away the last time He was there. He did not berate them for their lack of understanding. He did not withhold His healing powers. The past was the past and here they were ready to receive what He had to offer. I want to be like Jesus. Don’t you?
And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.
You don’t need to go to church. You don’t need to go to a counselor. You don’t need to go to the preacher, minister, pastor or religious programs on TV. All you need to do is reach out and touch Jesus. As many as touched Him “were made well”.
Now when the Pharisees gathered to him, with some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem, they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed.
What killjoys! Churches don’t want Jesus, He is free. They want you going to church and paying them money. I have found, over the years, that those who pick up the book “Change Your Life Biblically”, and obey it, find their lives free and healed.
But church members and leaders are always looking to divert the minds away from truth. Instead of Jesus it is “What name to call Him” or “We must keep the feast days and other temple rites and traditions” or “What foods to eat and clothes to wear”, etc. None of that has anything to do with eternal life or changing the heart. It just makes you look like “one of us”! Our ideologies have become our idols. We just aren’t listening to Jesus.
(For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands properly, holding to the tradition of the elders, . . .
All the churches and religious organizations today are holding to the Catholic tradition “of the elders”. It doesn’t matter how nice the music is. It doesn’t matter if they mention the name of Jesus every now and then. It doesn’t matter if they even offer a prayer. It is all about church, systems and traditions that are not needed for your eternal life.
. . . and when they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other traditions that they observe, such as the washing of cups and pots and copper vessels and dining couches.)
Nothing wrong with washing your hands, pots, cups and vessels for health sake. But they were doing it for salvation. It was to keep them “pure” from the contamination of the “unclean”. We do the same today. We go to church to stay clear of the “unclean” homeless, the “unclean” hungry, the “unclean” sinners and the “unclean” inmates. After all, “they” can come to church and be like us, right?
And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?”
While those involved with such disputes are claiming to be honoring God, their hearts are defiled by the sins of ego, pride and arrogance.
And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”
While churches, pastors, ministers, leaders and denominations claim to be following the example of Jesus, they seem to forget that Jesus taught people from the Old Testament for their eternal life. How blind! Today, all that is preached in churches is the New Testament. Did you know, there was no “New Testament” until about 300 years after Jesus? All the early Christians read, studied and obeyed the Old Testament for their eternal life. “All Scripture (Old Testament to Paul) is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16.
An interesting point, after Jesus rose from the tomb He did not say, “OK, the Old Testament is done away with, let’s get on with the “New”. No, He took them back to the Old Testament. “Then, beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them all the passages of Scripture about Himself.” Luke 24:27. How true it is, “in vain do they worship me.”
And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!
How true. No matter how much they may claim to “reverence” or “keep” or “believe” in the Ten Commandments, the churches, ministers and pastors are all rejecting them in truth. Their lives are filled with feast days, traditions, church-going and rituals of their religion, but none are working at keeping the Ten Commandments in their hearts.
For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban”’ (that is, given to God)— then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.”
The same goes with all the religious feast days, ceremonies, traditions and rituals of churches today. They are making void the Word of God. So much attention is spent on such nonsense there is no room for keeping the Ten Commandments.
And he called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.”
All that external show has nothing to do with eternal life. But if the Ten Commandments are in the heart, the life will show it in obedience. If the Ten Commandments are not in the heart, everything that comes out is defiled; even if it looks so righteous in church.
And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding?
It is amazing, after two thousand years of hearing this parable, the churches, religious organizations, ministers, pastors and leaders still are “without understanding”. They just refuse to listen and learn. Money and power are all they are interested in. “It Ain’t What You Don’t Know That Gets You into Trouble. It’s What You Know for Sure That Just Ain’t So.” Author Unknown.
How true that is. The Pharisees and church leaders thought they knew for sure what would get people into heaven. It just wasn’t so! Same today. People “know” they are “saved by grace” or by “going to church”, or by knowing this or that, and it “just ain’t so”.
Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.)
Food was simply the example. But what Jesus is really trying to say is, nothing that goes into a man will defile him. For example, God sees all sins, evil, corruption and every wicked thing on earth. Yet, He is not defiled. Why?
And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
Because the heart of God is founded upon the Ten Commandments and is pure! He does not “dwell” on the wickedness that comes in through His eyes and ears. His heart uses the information that comes in to bring healing. That is what made the Pharisees so angry. They were trying to make a “Heaven-on-earth” by forbidding people to come in contact with “sinners” and things that “defiled”. (Is your church trying to do that?) Yet, Jesus sat, ate and drank with sinners and was not defiled by them. His heart was pure because it was founded on the Ten Commandments. He did not dwell on their wickedness.
I receive the same reproaches for “hanging out” with sinners. What the “good” church members do not understand is, I’m not “hanging out” with them to enter their sins, but to bring them the healing power of Jesus.
And from there he arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And he entered a house and did not want anyone to know, yet he could not be hidden.
He went away. How sad. Our churches are driving Jesus away. They talk of love but show none. They talk of obedience and surrender, but there is none. They talk about “inclusiveness”, yet there is none. They talk about “believe”, “receive” and “become” but they do not believe in the teachings of Jesus in order to receive the character of Jesus to become His children. It is all talk; no obedience. Church has truly become “anti-Christ”.
He left the church hypocrites for the “real” world of sinners. Sinners who were willing to accept Jesus, live in obedience to Him and become His children. The hardest people to “save” are people who go to church. Church and religious programs have become their savior and they are not interested in any Other. Yet, even though the church attempts to hide Jesus and put Him under a church roof or religious cover, there are those who can see past all of that and are finding Jesus away from church and the religious programs on TV, radio and the internet.
But immediately a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard of him and came and fell down at his feet.
While the church leaders, ministers, priests and pastors had a real problem accepting Jesus, she had no problem falling “down at His feet”. Humble acceptance is all Jesus wants. The pride of church cannot be admitted into Heaven. The pride of church, religion and denomination is so destructive, it cannot have any place in Heaven. She believed she was in need, received the fact that only Jesus could fill that need and accepted the healing from Jesus.
Now the woman was a Gentile, a Syrophoenician by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter.
Mark is making it very plain that this woman was not a Jew. This woman was not entitled to the favors of God. This woman was born a Syrophoenician sinner. By Jewish and church regulations and traditions, she was not worthy. Get rid of her, Jesus!
And he said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”
Oh, that’s better. It’s about time Jesus started accepting church religious bigotry. At least this won’t tick off the church leaders as much. Maybe there is hope for us and our little movement to be accepted by the church organization. Jesus must be seeing the “light”!
But she answered him, “Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”
That’s right lady, you are the scum of the earth. You are nothing but a dog. We are the “saved” of God. We are the “church of God”. We “go to church on the Sabbath”. We know the truth. What do you know? Have you ever been to our church? Have you ever read our Bible? Have you ever listened to our music? You scumbag. Go ahead and whine and plead and cry, but Jesus belongs to our church, He is not going to help you!
And he said to her, “For this statement you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter.”
What!? That can’t be! What are you doing, Jesus? This will never sit well with the church leaders. Do we stay with Jesus, learn from Him, even though His way is not the way of our religion or church, or do we leave and go back to what is comfortable and accepted?
And she went home and found the child lying in bed and the demon gone.
Well, she did leave, and she went home. Jesus did not tell her to go to church. Jesus did not tell her to go to a priest or church leader. He didn’t give her “church” material to read. Jesus did not tell her to recite any verses. Jesus accepted her humble spirit, a spirit willing to accept Him as her Savior, had compassion, and healed her daughter.
Then he returned from the region of Tyre and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis.
Jesus was always on the move for His Father. Are we working for our Father as Jesus was for His? He wasn’t going to church. He was going where the sinners were. He was heading to where His compassion was needed. Where are you heading?
And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment, and they begged him to lay his hand on him.
The world today is deaf and definitely has a “speech impediment”. False news, lies, hypocrisy, innuendos and so much more. It would take a lot of “soap” to clean out the “speech impediment” this world has. That “soap” is Jesus Christ and His Ten Commandments. If only we would go to Him and beg Him to lay His hands on our mouths, eyes, minds and hearts.
And taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue.
He took him aside privately. Not much of that going on today. Dirty laundry is being hung out on every street corner, media outlet, social media platform and church socials. Somewhere along the line, the world has forgotten to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. We forget our own sins and rush to expose the sins of others. We need to let Jesus put His fingers into our ears so we don’t hear the garbage of others. We need to let Him open our ears to His love. We need His spit on our tongues to remind us that we are no better than others. Only by the grace of God are we able to change our lives. His “spit” is better than a thousand kisses of the church or the world.
And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.”
God must be doing a lot of sighing today. He wants us to open our eyes, ears and hearts to His truth. He wants us to look to His truth, not the lies and the fakeness of the world and our churches. We are so blind. Our mouths are so dirty. Our hearts are so hard. We need to “be opened” to His Word.
And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly.
When we are obedient to the Word of God, our ears will be opened, our tongues will be released from the wickedness of the world and we will speak plainly the Word of God to others. We will not hide our lights under a church roof. We will not be afraid or ashamed of the Word of God. When His Word has opened up your life, you will see as you have never seen before. You will hear as you have never heard before. You will speak as you have never spoken before.
And Jesus charged them to tell no one. But the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it.
It was not time for these miracles to be so widely broadcast. To do so would have only prevented Jesus from accomplishing more. The hatred of the church leaders toward Jesus was beyond understanding. The greater the compassion of Jesus, the greater the hatred of the church leaders. He was taking the eyes of the people away from the church, church power and church self-imposed honor. Instead of going to church, the people were going to Jesus. However, the people did not understand. It is never good to do what we want. We must always do what God commands.
And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
Yes, He did “all things well” because He believed in being perfect, stop sinning and in keeping the Ten Commandments to get eternal life. Jesus had an example from the Old Testament. “The administrators and regional authorities tried to bring allegations of dereliction of duty in government affairs against Daniel, but they were unable to find any charges of corruption. Daniel was trustworthy, and no evidence of negligence or corruption could be found against him.” Daniel 6:4. We should follow His example. However, just because Jesus did “all things well”, none of that had anything to do with their eternal life. Unless they were living as Jesus lived and commanded, not one of those who were “astonished beyond measure” would make itto heaven.
In those days, when again a great crowd had gathered, and they had nothing to eat, he called his disciples to him and said to them, “I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And if I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way. And some of them have come from far away.”
Do we have compassion on the crowds around us? Do we really take the time to see what we can do to keep them from fainting on their way to Heaven? We have all gone a long way from home. We have all gotten lost. We need people willing to have compassion and give the Word of God to strengthen, encourage and renew our lives for the journey home.
And his disciples answered him, “How can one feed these people with bread here in this desolate place?”
When God called me to this ministry in 1997, I was sure it was an impossibility. When He told me to put the book into the hands of inmates, I knew it was an impossibility. I had nothing. I was on parole. It was impossible! Period!! You must understand, there was no “ministry” when God called me.
And he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven.”
What do you have? I told Him, “nothing”. What about the computer? Sit down and write what I dictate and direct. So I did.
And he directed the crowd to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves, and having given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and they set them before the crowd. And they had a few small fish. And having blessed them, he said that these also should be set before them.
The paper multiplied. The ink multiplied. The postage multiplied. Soon we were sending books to every inmate that requested.
And they ate and were satisfied. And they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. And there were about four thousand people. And he sent them away.
The material we have sent out has probably fed over 100,000 inmates. There is much left over from the original book and it now feeds newsletters, Facebook, Twitter, You Tube and more. We have not left any “broken pieces” to spoil. We are filling as many baskets as possible.
And immediately he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the district of Dalmanutha.
For several years God was moving this ministry around from place to place while preparing our “permanent” place. We have now been here since 2003. That is longer than any place I have been in my whole life. It feels good not to be moving around. Especially as age sets in. Does anyone have an “antidote” for age?
The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him.
All the time. Letters, e-mails, on-line posts, etc., church people come to argue, fight and condemn the truth. They hate it. They love their churches, opinions and all those wonderful TV religious programs, services, feast days, rituals and traditions that make them feel good all over. How Catholic.
And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.”
Jesus was giving sign after sign after sign, but the unregenerated hearts were not willing to accept them. It would not have made any difference if He had given them a “sign”. They were wanting Him to stumble. They would have found a way to argue, condemn and criticize any sign. Even when He did give the final, most convincing sign, they refused to believe. The raising of Lazareth showed Him to be God. He had the power to raise the dead to life. It was no more difficult to raise the dead than it was in the beginning to create Adam. But the wicked heart is so full of ego, pride and arrogance that it will not see truth no matter what the “sign”.
And he left them, got into the boat again, and went to the other side.
Jesus is leaving so many because of their attitudes. They go to church, they sing, they may wave their hands, carry their Bibles and put their tithes in the offering plate, but none of that will get you into Heaven. Jesus has gone to the “other side”.
Now they had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. And he cautioned them, saying, “Watch out; beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.”
We need to be very careful and “watch out” for the leaven of the churches, media, the government, our pastors, denominations and leaders. We must do our own study of the Word of God.
And they began discussing with one another the fact that they had no bread. And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” They said to him, “Twelve.” “And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” And they said to him, “Seven.” And he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?”
No they did not. Hard hearts are very hard to teach. We get so caught up in “things” that we don’t see the “unthings” of God. God can do anything and everything except change the heart. Only you can do that. “The expulsion of sin is the act of the soul itself.” DA 466. He can multiply the bread of this world, open eyes and ears, heal the lame and drive out disease. What He will not do is force you to see or hear. Your heart is your business. It is up to you to change it through the power God offers you. But you must “want” to change and put forth the effort to live in obedience to the Word of God. “Do you not yet understand?”
And they came to Bethsaida. And some people brought to him a blind man and begged him to touch him.
His disciples were not yet able to see. The Pharisees and church leaders were unwilling to see. But here was a blind man begging Jesus to make him see. We just don’t get it. We, with physical sight, should be begging Jesus to open up our spiritual eyes.
And he took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village, and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, “Do you see anything?” And he looked up and said, “I see people, but they look like trees, walking.” Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.
When we come to Jesus and beg Him to open our blind eyes, He will lead us out from the world and our churches. The world and the churches are blinding us. They have the “wool” pulled over our eyes. We must get out from under the “wool” of our churches in order to let Jesus spit on our eyes His Spiritual salve and lay on them His hand of healing. It may take a few times. The “wool” of deception can distort our first few attempts to see clearly. But if we continue allowing Jesus to apply His spiritual salve of healing, we will eventually see “everything clearly”.
And he sent him to his home, saying, “Do not even enter the village.”
Once you are able to see, don’t go back into the church or the world of “wool”. Keep your eyes on Jesus at all times in order to see clearly.
And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?”
We need to be asking ourselves that question. There is so much debate as to what to call Jesus that it is getting in the way of knowing Jesus. In Islam, He is a good “prophet”. For Jehovah’s Witnesses, He is “Son of God” but not God. Some want to use the word “Yahweh”. Yet none of this has anything to do with eternal life
And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.”
It was the same back then as today. Arguing and fighting over words, names and position. Jesus was not interested in any of it. “Remind others about these things, and warn them before God not to argue over words. Arguing does not do any good but only destroys those who are listening.” 2 Timothy 2:14.
And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.”
That is all that mattered to Jesus. Yet, they refused to understand that He was the “Christ”, the “Messiah” who was prophesied to come in Daniel 9:24 to “finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place.” That’s it. That is what He came to do. He put an end to transgression. He did not “transgress” the Law of God. He upheld it. He proved it could be done. He put an end to sin. He refused to sin and showed us how to live without sinning. On the cross He atoned for iniquity and brought in “everlasting righteousness” for those who lived as He did. Those who follow in His footsteps, living as He lived, will experience “everlasting righteousness” in their lives. He fulfilled the vision and prophecy and by His blood, He anointed the “Most Holy Place”: The Ten Commandments as eternal and unbreakable. Who He was, was not important. What He did has eternal consequences. Same in our lives. Who we are is not important. What church we go to, what we call ourselves, etc., has nothing to do with eternal life. Obeying the Ten Commandments is what will determine our eternal destinies.
And he strictly charged them to tell no one about him.
Again, it was not time for the disciples to go around telling who Jesus was. That would come after the cross. At this point in their walk, they did not even believe in the soon-coming death of Jesus. They were looking for a soon-coming earthly kingdom.
And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again.
Since the death of Christ was only a few months away, Jesus was attempting to open their eyes, ears and hearts. They had been so brainwashed by the church they were slow to understand. In the world of religion today, “The Gospel” is taught as the “birth, life, death and resurrection” of Jesus. The churches claim that is the “Good News”: the Gospel. But it isn’t! Matthew, Mark, Luke and John tell us that the disciples and Jesus went about teaching the “Gospel” to the people. And yet, it wasn’t until only a few months before Christ died that He began to share His death and resurrection to the disciples. They did not believe in His death or the resurrection. Even when He died, they could not believe it. Therefore, how could they have been teaching that which they did not believe?
And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
That is correct. Peter did not believe Jesus would die. The “Gospel” Jesus and the disciples taught was the Old Testament “Good News” that the people must live the perfect, sinless and commandment keeping life. That is all you need in order to get your eternal life. Now that is Good News!
But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
The human tends away from trouble, sorrow and pain. The human does not want to “fail”. Death to the disciples was a failure. They were not able to see that “death” for Jesus was His triumphant success. The same goes in our lives. Our greatest failure is continuing to live successfully in sin. We succeed when we die to this world and live the sinless, perfect and sacrificial life of Jesus. Satan does not want you believing you can live without sin. He wants you to believe that you are incapable of such a life. He wants you sitting in church living a sinful life. But Jesus rebukes all who live such a life. He tells them, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
Are you ashamed of the words of Jesus to live the perfect, sinless and commandment keeping life? Do you live it? Do you teach it? If you are ashamed to teach it and share it with others, Jesus will not share His eternal life with you.