5 - Rejoice

Greg Aikins on January 2, 2020

(Commands of Jesus in Matthew) Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.  Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad; for great is your reward in heaven; for so persecuted they the prophets who were before you (Matthew 5:11-12, KJV).                 This exhortation to “rejoice” comes at the end of Jesus’ call to radical discipleship, which we call the Beatitudes.  In these verses he is teaching his followers that following him will distinguish them more and more from those who are not.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote in...

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4 - Follow me

Greg Aikins on December 17, 2019

(Commands of Jesus in Matthew) As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew.  They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.  “Come, follow me, Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”  At once they left their nets and followed him (Matt. 4:18-20, NIV). Jesus calls for repentance - a decision to change my mind about what I have previously believed and head in a different direction.  If I do so and ask, “What’s next after that?” Jesus answers, “Follow me.” We...

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3 - Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near

Greg Aikins on December 6, 2019

When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he returned to Galilee.  Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali – to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah: Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, The way to the sea, along the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles – The people living in darkness have seen a great light; On those living in the land of the shadow of death A light has dawned. From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the...

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2 - Begone Satan!

Greg Aikins on December 5, 2019

Again, the devil took Jesus to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and their glory; and he said to him, “All these things will I give you, if You fall down and worship me.”  Then Jesus said to him, “Begone Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’  Then the devil left him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to him.  - Matthew 4:8-11  (NAS, emphasis mine). While this command of Jesus was directed at the devil, it is nevertheless an important imperative...

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Permit it at this time

Greg Aikins on October 21, 2019

1 – Permit it at this time (Commands of Jesus in Matthew) Then Jesus arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him.  But John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?”  But Jesus answering said to him, “Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he permitted Him. – Matt. 3:13-15, NAS, emphasis mine.                 It may seem strange that I’ve included this particular phrase in my consideration of the commands...

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