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Matthew 16

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SEND ME A SIGN SO I KNOW THE LAST SIGN YOU SENT WAS A SIGN... We're over halfway through Matthew's gospel, and we've read about dozens of signs & miracles that Jesus has performed and seen how all sorts of Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled in Him. These Pharisees saw this and much more unfold right before their eyes, but still it was not enough for them to put their faith in the Son of Man. Jesus knew that no matter how many signs He would perform, nothing would crack their hearts of stone. How many dozens... hundreds... thousands? of times haven't you seen God at work, yet too often our instinct when times get tough is to ask God to remind us of his presence with some sort of sign. Instead of asking for signs or miracles, ask God to strengthen your faith.

MMM... BREAD (WITH APOLOGIES TO HOMER SIMPSON). This is the second time now we've paused to laugh at the disciples confusion about not having bread (Mark mentioned the same incident). Although the disciples had far different motivations than the Pharisees, they fell into the same exact trap: making yourself the center of the universe. The Pharisees did this by demanding one proof after another rather than submitting themselves to God in faith, and the disciples did this by letting their insecurities take charge instead of submitting themselves in faith to what Jesus was teaching.

THIS IS GOOD NEWS, NOT BAD NEWS: Isn't it interesting how the disciples react to Jesus in v23? Jesus made two claims: 1) They will kill me; 2) I will be raised to life. The disciples were then 'filled with grief.' Our human nature focuses in on bad news, and in this case, when the good news far outweighs the bad, it is not even heard. Right now we are being inundated with bad news. Spend some time meditating today on the good news God is communicating at the same time but that you're not seeing or hearing because you're focused on bad news.

ROCK-N-ROLLER COASTER: Peter goes from receiving the keys to the kingdom of heaven in v19, to having the next words Jesus speaks to him be "Get behind me, Satan!" (v23a). Peter fell back into the trap: he put his own wants and ambitions ahead of God's (v23b), and then tried to make God conform to his own plan rather than the other way around.

Prayer Tips:

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who is in glory with His angels, to whom the Son of Man has returned (v27)

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that God will strengthen you to take up your cross and follow Him (v24).




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