Matthew Chapter 28

The Resurrection of Jesus:   
(Read Matthew 28:1-15)
All four Gospels report of the resurrection of Jesus. Matthew gives only a brief account of it.  Early Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to the tomb (Matthew 27:56; 28:1).   By the time the women reached the tomb, it was empty.  Suddenly there was a great earthquake, the angel came down and rolled away the stone. The angel said to the women “Fear not, Jesus is not here: for he has risen as he said.  Come, see the place where he lay”.   The empty tomb and the angel’s testimony of Jesus’ resurrection filled the women with fear and great joy.   On their way to tell others, the risen Christ appeared to them, and they worshiped him. Jesus said to them “Don’t be afraid! Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and they will see me there” (Matthew 28:7, 10).  Matthew gives the falsified report of the guards (28:11-15).  The religious leaders bribed them to say the ridiculous and fabricated story that “The disciples stole the body while guards were sleeping”.  How could these defeated and coward disciples overpower the Roman guards and steal Jesus’ body? Christ’s enemies circulate this story even today (Matthew28:15).  The resurrection of Jesus is the proof of his deity (Romans 1:4). The burial of Jesus is the proof of his death. Christ’s death and resurrection were the fulfillment of the scripture (John 20:9; Acts 26:23; Psalms 16:10).  Christianity stands or falls on this doctrine. “If Christ is not risen; our preaching is vain, our faith also in vain, we become false witnesses and we are still in our sin. The dead in Christ are perished and we are of all men most miserable”(1 Corinthians 15:14-19).  The doctrine of resurrection is vital to the historical preaching of the gospel.  It is also vital to the prophetic preaching of the gospel. It gives hope and encourages to those who suffer for the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:29-34).   The truth of Christ’s resurrection has prevailed in the lives of millions of people in the church history.  Jesus appeared to hundreds of disciples (1 Corinthians 15:3-8).  They went on telling this story because they could not help but speak of what they had seen and heard.
The Great Commission: 
(Read Matthew 28:16-20)
The risen Christ sent his disciples to preach the gospel and to make disciples of all the nations.  This is called the great commission. They are sent forth with his authority as Ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20).  Making disciples is fundamental to the mission of the church.   All authority and power are given to them to carry out the great commission. Disciple making involves two basic tasks, baptizing and teaching (Matthew 28:19-20).  Making disciple is not merely a matter of education but the process of teaching and training beginning with conversion. It is teaching people to obey what Christ has commanded.  When believers identify with Christ, they experience his presence and power in their lives.  His love motivates them to love and obey Christ.  If the church does not have a disciple making agenda as its central goal, it fails in its mission. The first step in making disciples is recognizing that we are under the Lordship and authority of Jesus Christ.  Only the believers should be baptized. The water baptism is the first step of obedience to Christ.  It symbolizes the inward cleansing God performed in us. Only Christ can forgive sin. Baptism means “To dip or immerse”. It is demonstrating our identification with Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection.  The believers are baptized in the “Name” (singular) of “the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”.  This indicates the unity in the Godhead.
Christ promised his disciples that he will be with them always, even to the end of the age. Christ guarantees the success of their mission.  Christ sends us with his authority and power to make disciples. In the New Testament two different words are used for authority and power.  The Greek word used for authority is “exousia” which means authority of a king (Matthew 28:18).  The word used for power is “dunamis” which means ability (Acts 1:1). In Jesus we have both the authority and the power.   Authority without power is useless and power without authority is dangerous. The church is empowered to make disciples. There is no excuse for not obeying the great commission. To become a disciple, one must answer Christ’s call and count the cost of it. It is a lifelong commitment.  The more we experience Christ’s presence, the more we realize the unlimited resources we have in him (2 Peter 1:13).  The calling to make disciple is fundamental to the mission of church and every Christian.  Pray that God would give us the power to do that. God bless you all.

Matthew Chapter 27

Jesus Delivered over to Pilot:   
(Read Matthew 27:1-26)
This chapter gives great hope for sinners. When the morning came, the religious leaders delivered Jesus over to Pilot the governor.   When Judas realized that Jesus had been condemned to die, he regretted, through the money in the temple and hanged himself. He never repented and sought forgiveness.  His sorrow led him to despair.  Feeling sorry for sin is not repentance. The priests used the thirty pieces of silver to buy the potter’s field in the name of Judas and made it a cemetery for strangers. Thus, the prophecy of Jeremiah 32:6-9 was fulfilled. When Peter repented, he was forgiven and restored. The gospel gives hope for all those who want to count their lives for Christ. From verses 11 to 26, we see the account of Jesus’ trial before Pilate. He knew that Jewish leaders had arrested Jesus out of envy. Pilate asked Jesus “Are you the King of the Jews? Jesus replied “Yes, you have said so”. Then Pilate said “Don’t you hear their charges? To Pilate’s surprise, Jesus said nothing.  Pilate could find no good reason to sentence Jesus to death and desired to save Jesus.  It was the Governor’s custom to release one prisoner each year during the Passover. There was a notorious criminal in the prison, a man named Barabbas. Pilate asked the crowd “Which one do you want me to release to you-Barabbas or Jesus, who is called Christ?”  They replied “Barabbas”. Pilate asked, “What I should do with Jesus who is called the Christ?” They shouted, “Crucify him”. Pilate washed his hand before the crowd and said “I am innocent of the blood of this man. The responsibility is yours”.  The people said, “Let His blood be on us and on our children”. Pilate release Barabbas and delivered Jesus to be crucified.  Barabbas was released at the expense of Jesus the righteous.  For our sake Christ was made sin, who knew no sin, so that we might be made right with God (2 Corinthians 5:21).  This is the greatest exchange ever happened.
The Crucifixion: 27:27-44. 
(Read Matthew 27:27-44)
After scourging, Pilate released Jesus to be crucified.  The soldiers mocked Jesus by clothing him with a scarlet robe and crowned him with a crown made of thorns. They gave a reed in his right hand and bowed before him by saying “King of the Jews”. They humiliated the prince of life. The soldier spit on his face and struck his head with rod.  They stripped Jesus of the robe and put his own cloths on him and led him to be crucified.  Jesus was too weak to carry the cross. So, they compelled Simon of Cyrene to carry his cross. Later his sons, Alexander and Rufus became well-known believer among Christians (Mark 15:21).  They gave Jesus, vinegar mixed with gall to drink. But he refused to drink. Jesus willingly suffered the full pain of our sin on the cross. Jesus was nailed to the cross.  They crucified him between two thieves at Golgotha, a place of a skull.  The people passing by abused him by shaking their head in mockery and by challenging him to come down from the cross.  The religious leaders mocked Jesus by saying “He saved others, but he can’t save himself”.  You, who destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself”.  The criminals in both side of Jesus also insulted him. Many prophecies were fulfilled during this time (Psalms 22:7,18).  From stable to his cross, Jesus was treated like nobody.  But for those who are saved, Jesus is the “Lamb worthy to receive power, wealth, wisdom, might, honor, glory and blessing” (Revelation 5:12).
The Death and burial of Jesus:  
(Read Matthew 27:45-66)
The final three hours of Jesus’ life were full of anguish. From the sixth hour there was darkness over the land.  Jesus was on the cross from 9 A.M to 3 P.M.  The darkness at 12 P.M was supernaturally imposed since an eclipse of the sun at noon was impossible. At the ninth hour (3 P.M) Jesus cried out with a loud voice “Eli, Eli, Lama Sabachthani” in Aramaic. Which means, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me”? The bystanders thought he was calling Elijah.  Christ bore our sin in his body on the cross and died as our substitute (Galatians 3:13). Father looked away from His son at that moment. Our sin separated Jesus from the Father. He suffered the wrath we deserve (2 Corinthians 5:21).   Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and gave up his spirit. The events following Jesus’ death were remarkable.  The veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The veil that separated us from God is removed.  Now people have access to the very presence of God.  The tombs were opened, and many Old Testament saints were raised.  The earthquake and other events were so dramatic that even the Roman Centurion openly confessed that “Truly this was the Son of God”.  Many women witnessed this including his burial from a distance (Matthew 27:56).  Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus gave Jesus an honorable burial in the new tomb. They were devoted disciples of Jesus. It was a fulfillment of prophecy of Isaiah 53:9.   A great stone was placed at the entrance of the tomb.  Scholars suggest that such a stone would be humanly impossible to roll back by one man. At the request of religious leaders, the tomb was sealed with Roman seal and guarded by soldiers. This was to prevent anybody from stealing the body of Jesus.  It does not make any sense to suggest that Jesus was only passed out and when he was revived, he got out of the tomb.  God did all things according to his eternal council.  If God could use the death of his Son for our good, He can use the difficulties in our life for our good as well. Spend time meditating the agony and shame our Lord endured on our behalf to save us and appreciate all that he has done for you.

Matthew Chapter 26

Jesus Anointed at Bethany: 
(Read Matthew 26:1-16)
Jesus made a final prediction of His death two days before the Passover.  The feast of the Passover was celebrated to commemorate the deliverance of Israel from Egypt. This was great annual feast, and it was followed by the seven-day feast of Unleavened Bread.   Christ’s death was the fulfillment of Passover (1 Corinthians 5:7). The high priest and religious leaders potted to arrest and kill Jesus. But they did not do that during the Passover, lest there be an uproar among the people.  God controlled even the timing so that Christ could die at the very hour of the slaying of the Passover lamb.  Meanwhile Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper where Mary anointed Jesus with very costly ointment.  This incident is mentioned in Mark 14:3-9 and John 12:1-8.  Simon the leper was most probably healed by Christ.  It was a thanksgiving service where Mary, Martha and their brother Lazarus were present. Mary expressed her lavish gratitude by anointing the head of Jesus with the very expensive ointment.  Usually, it was saved for her wedding or funeral. She found Jesus more valuable than her financial security. This ointment costs three hundred Denarii.  This was equal to the wage of a person’s three hundred day’s work.  Judas Iscariot thought that Mary’s generous gift was a waste, and she could have sold it and given to the poor.  He was a thief.  Jesus rebuked Judas and said “Mary has done this to prepare me for the burial. Truly wherever the Gospel is preached, what she has done will be told in memory of her”.  What a contrast; Judas’ greed led him to betray Christ for thirty pieces of silver, but Mary’s devotion drove her to worship Christ. Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters, he will hate the one and love the other” (Matthew 6:24).     
Jesus Celebrates Passover with Disciples:  
(Read Matthew 26:17-35)
Jesus shared the final Passover meal with his disciples. At this meal Jesus said, “One of you shall betray me”.  They were exceedingly sorrowful and asked “Lord is it I?   It seems the entire disciples feared the possibility of failure.  Jesus said, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me will betray me”.  Also, He added “It would have been better for that man if he had not been born”.  Judas asked “Is it I Rabbi?  Jesus said to him “You have said so”.  At this meal Jesus established the Lord’s Supper. Jesus took the bread, blessed, and broke and gave it to his disciples and said “Take, eat; this is my body”.   Also, He took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them saying “Drink from it, for this is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I will not drink wine again until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Matthew 26:26-29). Then they sang a hymn and went out to the mount of Olives. The bread and wine were only symbols. They remind us of Lord’s death and the cost of our redemption (Luke 22:19; 1 Corinthians 11:25).  They don’t contain any special grace or sacrament. Nothing in the gospel indicates that they are necessary for one’s salvation.  Jesus sealed the new covenant with his blood.  He is the lamb of God who takes the sin of the world. The new covenant is not an agreement between two equals, but the covenant God made for the benefit of us.  Christ shed His blood for the remission of our sins.  Jesus did something we could not do for ourselves (Romans 5:8).  Jesus predicted peter’s denial. Jesus said Peter will deny Him three times before the rooster crows. Peter said, “Even if I have to die with you, I will not deny you”.   All the disciples said the same thing.   They all abandoned Jesus before his death.
Jesus’ Prayer in Gethsemane: 
(Read Matthew 26:36-56)
Then Jesus went to the garden of Gethsemane with his disciples. Gethsemane means “Olive press”.  The scene in this garden is one of the most moving one.  Jesus took Peter, James, and John further into the garden. He said, “My soul is very sorrowful and troubled, even to death, remain here and pray with me” (Psalms 43:5).   He fell on his face and prayed saying “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me, not as I will but as you will”.   Jesus came to the disciples and found them sleeping.  He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you stay awake and watch with me even one hour?” The disciples slept due to their physical exhaustion. Jesus said to them “Watch and pray, that you enter not into temptation.  The second time, Jesus went away and prayed “My Father if this cup cannot be taken away until I drink it, your will be done”. Again, he found the three disciples sleeping. The third time Jesus went away and prayed.  Then he came to the disciples and found them still sleeping. He said to them “Sleep and take your rest, “Behold the hour is at hand, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going, see, my betrayer is at hand”. The disciple failed to stay awake with Jesus during the most stressful night of his life.  The religious leaders have sent a mob with swords and club to arrest the Prince of peace. Judas promised them prearranged signal. “The one I kiss is the Jesus; arrest him”.  Judas came to Jesus “Greeting, Teacher and he kissed him”.  Jesus said to Judas “My friend, go ahead and do what you came to do”.  Peter made a desperate effort to protect Jesus by slashing off the ear of the high priest’s servant.  Jesus healed the servant by replacing his ear. His name was Malchus (John 18:10).  Jesus rebuked Peter and said “Those who take sword shall perish by the sword.  Jesus did not come to wage a war with sword. He secured victory over Satan and sin by his sacrificial death on the cross. He could have called twelve legions of angel to aid him.  Each Roman legion has six thousand soldiers. Jesus willingly obeyed the Father and fulfilled the scriptures.  All his disciples forsook Jesus and fled. 
Jesus before the Sanhedrin: 26: 57-75.  
(Read Matthew 26:57-75)
Jesus was led to Caiaphas, the high priest.  The religious leaders were assembled there.  Peter followed Jesus at a distant.  They tried to find fault with Jesus and forced false witnesses to testify against Jesus. Finally, two men said, “This man said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to rebuild it in three days”.  Jesus remained silent before them.  At the trial the high priest asked Jesus whether or not he is “the Christ, the Son of God” (Matthew 26:63).   Jesus said “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven”.   It was a reference to Christ’s ascension and second coming.  Then the high priest tore his robes and said “He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need?”  The Jewish court sentenced Jesus to death (Matthew 26:66).  Then they violently abused and mocked Jesus (Matthew 26:67-68).  Peter’s three denials occurred during the trial.  Peter followed Jesus at a distance as far as the courtyard of the high priest.  He sat and warmed himself by the fire prepared by the servants of the priests. His first denial was before a servant girl and said, “I don’t know what you are talking about”.   Then in the porch Peter was confronted by another maid and said, “this fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth”. This time Peter denied Jesus with an oath and said, “I do not know the man”. Third time he was confronted by the bystanders and said “You must be one of them. We can tell by your Galilean accent”. The Peter said, “I swear by God, I don’t know the man”.  And immediately the rooster crowed.  Peter remembered what Jesus had said to him.  Luke says, “The Lord turned and looked at Peter” (Luke 22:61).  Peter went out and wept bitterly.  This did not stop Jesus from being merciful to Peter.  Jesus restored Peter. Our failures are not obstacles for Christ to forgive and use us if we are willing to repent. What a gracious Lord!

Matthew Chapter 25

The Parable of the Ten Virgins:
(Read Matthew 25:1-13)
Jesus continues to prepare his disciples so that thy will be ready for his return. This parable explains the need of personal preparation for the return of Christ. These virgins are the attendants at the wedding. The bride of Christ is the church.  John the Baptist is the best friend.  Jesus prepares the believers for his return. The timing of his return is unpredictable. Therefore, those who are wise keep themselves ready for Christ’s coming. The “lamps” seems to refer to the readiness of the believers. The oil speaks of the Holy Spirit. While the bridegroom tarried, all ten virgins lay down to sleep.  The five foolish virgins had no oil in their lamps.  This is the picture of unprepared professing Church. The five wise virgins with oil in their lamps speak of personal readiness for the eminent return of Christ.  People are saved by personal commitment to Christ and not by lineage or by good works. False profession will not save anyone.  This parable is given to warn the believers and not to paralyze us with fear.  The believers must remain ready to receive Christ always.  Though warnings are not pleasant, they are important and necessary for our readiness.  Christians should be eager for the return of Christ, making ourselves ready as we wait. Be prayerful and watchful. 
The Parable of the Talents:
(Read Matthew 25:14-30)
This parable is emphasizing the need of faithfulness in Christian service.  Christ distributes talents according to ability (Matthew 25:15).  “Far country” indicates the time between Jesus’ first coming and his return. Not all are expected to produce the same results. The believers should live in anticipation of Christ’s return and make use of every opportunity to serve God. They should not serve to impress people but for the glory of God.  We are saved to serve Christ. The great mistake of the unfaithful servant was that he misjudged the character of his Master.  He failed to understand the generosity of his Master.  Those who are faithful in their service will be commended by the Lord (Revelation 22:12).  They will hear from the Lord “Well done good and faithful servants”. Those who are slothful and unprofitable will be cast into darkness. True believers will serve the Lord faithfully. They get involved in witnessing and in church growth.  They will be prayerful and watchful.  The faithful service includes helping people who are in need. Their life bears the fruit of love which is the mark of true discipleship. 
The Final Judgment:
(Read Matthew 25:31-46)
Christ will return in glory and power to judge the world. This is not the white throne judgment.  He will judge the nations that survived the tribulation. Christ will separate the sheep from the goats.  Christ will say to the sheep on the right hand “Come you blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world”.  The basis of their acceptance is how they treated Israel during the tribulation period.  Christians should help others in need. Those who are saved during this period will enter the Millennial Kingdom and share its blessings.  The Goats on the left hand represent the gentile nations who failed to support Israel during the tribulation period. They will be cast into eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons (Matthew 25:41). Christ’s return is our blessed hope (Titus 2:13). Are you ready for the return of Christ by receiving him as your Lord?