Posts Tagged ‘Matthew’

Matthew 7:6 – “JESUS IS SO INSULTING?”

Pig-Dog

Why does the Bible appear to be so JUDGMENTAL, INSULTING and ANTAGONISTIC in it’s imagery at times. Even Jesus calls people dogs and hogs. How can He be so INSULTING? Although this association with being part of the animal kingdom may appeal to the Evolutionists, not everyone likes the idea of being called a WILD DOG, FERAL PIG, GOAT or even a SHEEP.

GOLIATH said to David “Am I a DOG that you come at me with a stick?” (1 Samuel 17:43 NLT). He is obviously insulted by having David as an opponent. Mephibosheth, who has a physical disability, speaks of himself as a DEAD DOG  which doesn’t say much about his self-esteem (2 Samuel 9:8). Shimei, who threw stones at King David is also called a DEAD DOG by Abishai (2 Samuel 16:9) as a term of derision and contempt (with the obvious emphasis on desiring him to be dead). ENEMIES of Israel are called DOGS (Psalm 59:6). Deuteronomy 23:18 calls HOMOSEXUALS (male prostitutes) DOGS. Revelation 22:15 (NLT) includes a host of dogs. It says “Outside the city are the DOGS—the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idol worshipers, and all who love to live a lie.” FOOLS (those who don’t acknowledge God or obey Him) are called DOGS in Proverbs 26:11.

Those who go HALF-WAY in believing are called DOGS AND PIGS? 2 Peter 2:20-22 (NLT) says “And when people escape from the wickedness of the world by knowing our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and then get tangled up and enslaved by sin again, they are worse off than before. It would be better if they had never known the way to righteousness than to know it and then reject the command they were given to live a holy life. They prove the truth of this proverb: “A dog returns to its vomit.” And another says, “A washed pig returns to the mud.”” If you want to insult someone it seems calling them a “DOG” or a “PIG” will do it every time!

Jesus calls a person who is ANTAGONISTIC towards God’s Truth a DOG AND A PIG. Jesus says in Matthew 7:6 (NIV) “Do not give DOGS what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to PIGS. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.” Someone said followers of Christ “… are not to be judges, but, also, they are not to be fools.” Proverbs 9:8 (NLT) says “So don’t bother correcting mockers; they will only hate you. But correct the wise, and they will love you.” Sunshine can hard-bake the earth or melt ice. Discernment seeks an open, receptive heart and not a cynical, antagonistic one.

Jesus refers to a Samaritan woman as a GENTILE “DOG”. Jews in this ancient time did not eat pigs and they despised dogs. He says in Matthew 15:24-26 (NLT) ““I was sent only to help GOD’S LOST SHEEP—THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL.” But she came and worshiped Him, pleading again, “Lord, help me!” Jesus responded, “It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the DOGS”” He eventually heals her daughter but today He would be HOUNDED by the press for such a comment and rejected by a large section of the population. He did not apologise.

Is He saying that Christianity is exclusively for Jews? Back in Matthew 10:5 “Jesus sent out the twelve apostles with these instructions: “Don’t go to the Gentiles or the Samaritans, but ONLY TO THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL—GOD’S LOST SHEEP.” There it is again. ONLY ISRAEL! Israelis are likened to SHEEP. Gentiles were seen as PIGS and DOGS! You would think that JESUS IS A RACIST – only concerned for His own nation. No Gentiles. No Samaritans. No Romans. ONLY JEWS.

But then, just when you think you have Jesus pegged as a RACIST, He says in Acts 1:8 (NLT) “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be My witnesses, telling people about Me EVERYWHERE—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ENDS OF THE EARTH.” That’s about as inclusive as you can get. John 3:16 certainly isn’t racist – “For God loved the world so much that He gave His One and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”

Galatians 3:26-29 (NLT) echoes with all-inclusiveness when it speaks about faith in Christ – “For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on the character of Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are His heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.”

So what’s with the seemingly “RACIST” comments as opposed to the inclusive ones? Gentiles change their PIG-DOG status for SHEEP enfolded in God’s flock, when we believe and receive what Christ has done for us when He died on the Cross for our sins. When I was an ENEMY (opposed) to God’s purposes (a DOG and a PIG), He didn’t give up on me.

The invitation is to be a friend not an enemy of God and His purposes, to be enfolded into His flock not savaging them. For followers of Christ it is to share your faith intentionally with those who will receive it and show some discernment with those who don’t.

Pastor Ross

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Matthew 14:13-21 – THE JESUS DIET

Cross = Love

18 days of demonstrations during 2011 leads to a PEOPLE POWER COUP in Egypt and PRESIDENT MUBARAK resigns. Widespread allegations of corruption, abuse of power including murder are made. Mubarak is put on trial and his role in the assassination of his predecessor Anwar Sadat is investigated.

It had been a turbulent time. John had stirred the crowds to repent and prepare the way for the Messiah. With John’s murder they flock to Jesus, perhaps to see what He will do. If He is the promised Messiah, will He stage a coup, overthrow Herod and usher in a new Government? Instead of people power, He shows them the power of God.

Herod’s banquet ended with a MURDER (Matthew 14:1-12). Jesus’ banquet begins with a MIRACLE. Instead of feeding their vengeance, He feeds them physically and spiritually. Instead of BLOODSHED there is HEALING. He WELCOMES them and TEACHES them about the Kingdom of God, and He HEALS those who are sick” (Luke 9:11 NLT). He HAS COMPASSION on them because they are like sheep without a shepherd. (Mark 6:34 NLT). Herod’s banquet pales into insignificance when Jesus provides a picnic.

He waits until I am well and truly hungry, late in the afternoon. When my resources are not enough. When my humanity is inadequate when faced with the enormity of the need. When I am empty, drained of solutions and concern, and feeling lost. That’s when I want to leave work, go home, forget about those in need and be with my family. Let those in need learn to find a way to meet their own needs (Matthew 14:15)! Ever feel this way? That’s when Jesus says, “That isn’t necessary—YOU FEED THEM” (Matthew 14:16 NLT).

There are times when I am so “NOT moved” to compassion as Jesus is (Matthew 14:14). Pity maybe, but not compassion. Compassion is different. Compassion is committed to lean in and to DO something when pity has been overwhelmed.

Andrew says “There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?” (John 6:9 NLT). Who is this kid, anyway? Are his parents around? If my grandsons had been there, I’m sure it would have been one of them. I like this little guy who gives his lunch to Jesus. He is the only one to come up with the beginnings of a solution to the problem.

5000 men. Some of the women and children would have stayed at home but many were there. 10,000 people? 20,000? “You can have my fish and barley loaves”. It’s absurd to seat ten to twenty thousand people with the view to feeding them 2 fish and 5 loaves. Surely! “Unsatisfactory, insignificant, insufficient, inadequate, deficient, lacking, not enough, a child’s portion!”

Jesus simply says “BRING THEM HERE,” Bring your limited human resources to Me. The blessing is given and Jesus breaks the bread.

Jesus invites the disciples to distribute the bread. It seems that it multiplies in their hands as they go. He takes it, blesses it, breaks it, gives it away. One loaf to every thousand men. The more they distribute the more there is that remains. 12 disciples. 12 baskets left over, untouched.

Healthy too. Omega 3 fish oil, barley bread. Why isn’t there a FISH AND BARLEY LOAF DIET? THE JESUS DIET? (Saw a book once called “What would Jesus eat?”) “Could I have mine battered and with some chips?”

What would the world look like if we brought what was in our hands to Jesus. Compassion and responsibility would accomplish the extraordinary (Matthew 14:15-21). More than enough.

Jesus, using bread as a symbol of relationship says, “I am the bread of life. Whoever COMES to Me will never be hungry again. Whoever BELIEVES in Me will never be thirsty” John 6:35 (NLT). THE JESUS DIET.

Ephesians 3:20 (NLT) says “Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” Jesus says “… pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” (Luke 6:38 NLT) More than enough.

It seems Jesus is deliberately inviting His disciples to look beyond the simple awareness of a need. By the way, these people could go home and have their own food, so this is NOT speaking about feeding the poor.

Jesus is inviting us NOT TO MISS AN OPPORTUNITY to accomplish the EXTRAORDINARY in ANY situation of need. He invites you to be responsive to what God can do through you, to use what you have in your hand. To show COMPASSION and not just pity. To rely on Him to get you through. So take what resources you have to God right now and allow Him to use them for His purposes. God’s EXTRAVAGANCE, your CO-OPERATION. Remain in a place where God wants you to be to see His purposes accomplished despite your reservations and your limitations. Be open to a MIRACLE! Never be hungry! Never be thirsty! Taste and see that the Lord is good. Bread of Life. Cool diet.

Pastor Ross