Matthew Chapter 13 The Sower

Matthew 13:1-23 MKJV In that day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the seaside. (2) And great crowds were gathered to Him, so that He went into a boat and sat. And all the crowd stood on the shore. (3) And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, Behold, the sower went out to sow. (4) And as he sowed, some seeds fell by the wayside, and the birds came and devoured them. (5) Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth. And they sprang up immediately, because they had no deepness of earth. (6) And the sun rising, they were scorched, and because they had no root, they withered away. (7) And some fell among thorns. And the thorns sprung up and choked them. (8) And some fell on the good ground and yielded fruit, indeed one a hundredfold, and one sixty, and one thirty. (9) He who has ears to hear, let him hear. (10) And the disciples said to Him, Why do You speak to them in parables? (11) He answered and said to them, Because it is given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven, but it is not given to them. (12) For whoever has, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance. But whoever does not have, from him shall be taken away even that which he has. (13) Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they see not, and hearing they hear not; nor do they understand. (14) And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah which said, “By hearing you shall hear and shall not understand; and seeing you shall see and shall not perceive; (15) for this people’s heart has become gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and they have closed their eyes, lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” (16) But blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear. (17) For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which you see, and have not seen them; and to hear what you hear, and have not heard them. (18) Therefore hear the parable of the sower. (19) When anyone hears the Word of the kingdom and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and catches away that which was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown by the wayside. (20) But that which was sown on the stony places is this: he who hears the Word and immediately receives it with joy. (21) But he has no root in himself, and is temporary. For when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the Word, he immediately stumbles. (22) And that sown into the thorns is this: he who hears the Word; and the anxiety of this world, and the deceit of riches, choke the Word, and he becomes unfruitful. (23) But that sown on the good ground is this: he who hears the Word and understands; who also bears fruit and produces one truly a hundredfold; and one sixty; and one thirty.

Jesus sat watching the sun rise over the hills, reflecting shades of blue and red from the tiny waves upon the water. The sky was already a light blue. The contrast made Him think of the images in His mind of Heaven with the translucent pavement of blue like a sea of glass mingled with fire. He let out a deep sigh, as a sign of being a little homesick. As His thoughts and prayers focused on the people He had served the day before, and began turning toward the coming demands of the day, He could hear people beginning to gather behind Him. Jesus remained in meditation with the Holy Spirit as the people respectively waited. Jesus already knew, this was not a day centered on physical healing, but spiritual. As the water turned to shimmering blue and silver every word of His sermon flowed through His mind. The Spirit was working in Jesus to pull in bits and pieces from different parts of scripture to teach a lesson many had prayed for, but few had experienced.

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His disciple made their way through the crowd to be at His side. Jesus’ mind was still focused on the Spirit, His heart pleading for the time when the Holy Spirit will one day cover the earth and be heard again. A deep feeling impressed Him to provide a visual image of the Spirit of God moving upon the waters. Jesus got into a boat and cast out a little way into the water as the people gathered upon the shore.

Jesus looked upon the faces of the people sitting on the shoreline, and those standing behind them. He could see His prayers had been answered as He gazed upon the hunger and wonder in their eyes. He knew the Spirit had prepared the hearts and minds of each individual called to hear Him speak that day.

Jesus began His parable, “Behold, the sower went out to sow.” As He spoke, He motioned with His arms the movements of a farmer sowing his seed in a field. Jesus hesitated a little while, while He shifted His weight from side to side in the boat, making it rock, creating tiny splashes of water, like rain. This helped the people to see beyond His words, and the physical scene.

Timing was everything for the farmer. If he planted too early, he may risk a late frost on the tiny plants. Plant too late the crop may not properly develop. The sower spread his seed and relied upon God to send the proper amount of sunlight and rain.

For as the rain comes down, and the snow from the heavens, and does not return there, but waters the earth, and makes it bring out and bud, and give seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so shall My Word be, which goes out of My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall certainly do what I sent it to do. Isaiah 55:10-11 MKJV.

Jesus continued His parable, “And as he sowed, some seeds fell by the wayside, and the birds came and devoured them.” As He spoke a little boy threw a few bread crumbs in the air, which landed in the water, and were instantly scooped up by a few nearby sea gulls. One of them flew near Jesus, who made a motion like trying to catch the bird in a net.

A little laughter was heard from those gathered. Once it was silent Jesus continued, “Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth. And they sprang up immediately, because they had no deepness of earth.” As Jesus spoke, He bent down to pick up a few small stones lying on the bottom of the boat, and tossed them into the calm water. One after another they formed tiny rings which quickly expanded in the water. The people watched as the ripples intersected and then disappeared. Pointing up at the sun, Jesus continued, “And the sun rising, they were scorched, and because they had no root, they withered away.” The timing was perfect, as the sun reached an angle reflecting off the water into the eyes of those listening. They had to shade their eyes with their hands to see Jesus, His human image in contrast to the light of the sun shinning off the water. To God, the image of the symbols was as important as the words.

After the dramatic scene was accomplished, Jesus held up one corner of a fishing net as His next prop and said, “And some fell among thorns. And the thorns sprung up and choked them.” Some people remembered a field they have seen over grown with weeds. Some times in those fields, a flower will grow. The tiny flower will struggle to compete for sunlight, moisture and nutrients. The weeds will do all they can to smother the little plant. They will crowd around the plant to rob it of sunlight, while in the unseen struggle beneath the ground, roots will try to strangle the tiny plant from below. No one remembers what the weeds looked like, but most people will never forget the tiny plant with it vibrant color, and delicate pedals trying to survive in a world doing its best to gain complete domination.

Sitting down in the boat, Jesus finished His parable, “And some fell on the good ground and yielded fruit, indeed one a hundredfold, and one sixty, and one thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” He called out to John, who immediately began pulling Jesus and the boat in by the rope he had been holding. As Jesus neared the shore, He reached over and began splashing water onto those on the shore, each time sending hundreds of drops or water into the air, and onto those who came to hear Him preach.

Jesus sat down to a simple breakfast with His disciples with others sitting near and far along the shoreline. A cool breeze was blowing off the water, making for a comfortable setting when combined with the sunlight filtering in through the scattered clouds. As the clouds cleared away and the sun cast it rays, Jesus turned His face to capture the warmth, and the disciples said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” Jesus stood up, walked behind John, put His hands on his shoulders, and leaning over He answered and said to them, “Because it is given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven, but it is not given to them.” Jesus walked over towards Peter, picking up three cakes of bread on the way. Placing them on Peter’s plate He said, “for whoever has, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance. But whoever does not have, from him shall be taken away even that which he has.” Jesus positioned Himself in the middle of His disciples and continued, “therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they see not, and hearing they hear not; nor do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah which said, By hearing you shall hear and shall not understand; and seeing you shall see and shall not perceive; for this people’s heart has become gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and they have closed their eyes, lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” Walking among His disciples Jesus first touched Philip’s eyes, then Mark’s ears, “blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear. For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which you see, and have not seen them; and to hear what you hear, and have not heard them.”

Jesus gave the disciples a minute to think about what He had just told them, and discuss it in hushed tones. They could tell this was one of the most significant lessons Jesus would teach. Imagine, learning things from the Son of God the prophets yearned to hear, see, and understand. Their attention was now totally focused on their Great Teacher.

The disciples had been following Jesus for more than a year. They had seen Jesus speak, heal, and raise people from the dead, but never had they seen such an excited look in His face. The excitement on His face told them He was about to share something very important. They listened with joyful anticipation as Jesus began, “Therefore hear the parable of the sower. The sower sows the word.”

The disciples knew, Jesus is the one who sows the word. Jesus’ words and the Holy Spirit began to inspire John as he thought to himself, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and without Him not even one thing came into being that has come into being.” (John 1:1-3 MKJV)

Jesus continued, “When anyone hears the Word of the kingdom and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and catches away that which was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown by the wayside.” As the disciples listened they remembered how quickly the birds had snatched the bread thrown by the boy on the shore. They knew the devil would work on people quickly to steal the Word from them before the seeds had a chance to sprout in their hearts. Knowing this they wondered to themselves, how does Satan steal the Word away? They remembered the words of Hosea, “The prophet is a snare of a fowler in all his ways, and hatred in the house of his God.” (Hosea 9:8 MKJV) Satan used false prophets to mislead people. They also remembered how David used birds to represent people. “Our soul has escaped like a bird out of the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we have escaped.” (Psalms 124:7 MKJV). The bird represented people who snatched God’s Word from their hearts. They also wondered why a bird sometimes represented a person facing a trap, and realized, a false prophet is one facing a trap laid by Satan.

The disciples also knew how David used a wayside, or road to represent life. “O Jehovah, keep me from the hands of the wicked; keep me from the violent man who purposed to trip up my steps. The proud have hidden cords and a trap for me; they have spread a net by the wayside; they have set snares for me. Selah.” (Psalms 140:4-5 MKJV). The disciples began to understand they were never safe along life’s road. Using symbols which led to scripture, Jesus showed how quickly the Word can be stolen, how people used by Satan were stuck in a trap, and became a trap themselves for Satan to use. They began to understand how one error would lead to another. Realizing the road ahead of them will be filled by traps to steal the Word from their hearts, and their souls, they focused all their attention on Jesus’ words.

Jesus kicked at the stones upon the ground making a little pile in front of the disciples. He took a few seeds out from a plate, held them up over the stones, and let them drop one at a time as He explained, “that which was sown on the stony places is this: he who hears the Word and immediately receives it with joy.”

This instantly brought one or two verses to everyone’s mind. “And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you. And I will remove the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 11:19 MKJV). There was no doubt Jesus was referring to seed falling on a heart that was not prepared to accept it. As the disciple’s minds compared Jesus’ words to scripture coming to their memory, Jesus said, “he has no root in himself, and is temporary. For when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the Word, he immediately stumbles.”

The disciples could remember the struggles they faced inside themselves when they first heard Jesus’ words. Peter remembered His response to Jesus’ invitation, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, Lord.” (Luke 5:8 MKJV). These were words Peter wished he could have taken back. The memory of that day gave Peter the strength and determination to dedicate his life to Jesus.

The disciples knew the road they would travel will be full of temptations and trials. Logic told them they needed to concentrate on how to avoid and over come the trials and temptations. They knew worrying about them would do no good at all. With their minds focused on the word root, they knew it represented their dedication. Their minds were drawn to the words of Solomon. “A man shall not be established by wickedness, but the root of the righteous shall not be moved.” (Proverbs 12:3 MKJV). They knew they had to be rooted in Jesus’ words and on the scriptures He taught.

Jesus walked to the edge of the clearing to a path of thorns growing just outside of the woods where He broke off a section of a thorn bush as long as His arm. Standing in front of the thorns and trees, He held up the crooked branch with long pointed thorns sticking out in all directions as He spoke, “that sown into the thorns is this: he who hears the Word; and the anxiety of this world, and the deceit of riches, choke the Word, and he becomes unfruitful.”

The thorns had one meaning to Jesus, and another for His disciples. The thorns reminded Jesus of what He knew He had to suffer. Some of the disciples were immediately drawn to the consequences of the first sin in the garden. “And to Adam He said, Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree, of which I commanded you, saying, You shall not eat of it! The ground is cursed for your sake. In pain shall you eat of it all the days of your life. It shall also bring forth thorns and thistles to you, and you shall eat the herb of the field.” (Genesis 3:17-18 MKJV). This instantly brought to mind a whole new light upon the curse in Eden. It not only applied to the ground, but everyone would face trials in whatever occupation the worked at.

Others thought of scripture that identified people as thorns. “I will not drive them out from before you, but they shall be thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare to you. (Judges 2:3 MKJV) They could see how people living outside of God’s will cause trials which bring anxiety to others. Each of the disciples had personally experienced people bringing trials into their lives. They considered those trials and how they had become such distractions, they could not work, it effected family life, and other aspects in their lives. They could see how these distractions made them unfruitful in the past, and how they could effect their future ministries.

Seeing the expressions on their faces, Jesus knew they were really thinking about everything they had just learned. After a few moments, Jesus answered the question he knew was on their mind, “that sown on the good ground is this: he who hears the Word and understands; who also bears fruit and produces one truly a hundredfold; and one sixty; and one thirty.”

They all knew the seed represented the Word, and the ground the heart. They began to realize the Word needed to go past the ears into the heart. If the heart would not open, Words could not have the proper effect. The Word only has an effect when it reaches the heart and is applied, shared. The seed when planted in a fertile heart produces more seed. The Word must be shared. One person tells another, and another, until thirty, sixty, and a hundred people share in the experience of the Word, and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Key Words in Understanding all Parables

It may be a little difficult to explain what key words are, and how the Bible uses them, but an example should answer a lot of questions. First off we need to review the general Bible Study rules related to Key Words.

  1. Key words are words the author repeated to draw attention to his main thought, point, or lesson. Key words are words that are the SAME, SIMILAR, or RELATED. Highlighting key words helps to show the main thought in scripture as well as patterns you may otherwise miss. It may take a bit of practice to develop a pattern highlighting key words. I look at it as a fundamental and necessary way for God’s Spirit to slow you down and get you to listen. It’s difficult to thoroughly highlight all the key words in one pass. You have no choice but to go back and forth over scripture to do a complete job.

  1. Key words are also contrasts. In this case a simple contrast is shown between new and old. Always look for contrasts used as key words. When contrasting key words are used, look for contrasting examples teaching the same lesson in the chapter.

  1. Authors repeat key words to draw attention to their use as symbols. Remember, symbols always point to something far greater.

The best thing to do is read through the example. Look at how key words are grouped together in sets, and how key words are used in parables.

Thank you for reading the introduction to this study. This study explains how to highlight words in scripture. Unfortunately WordPress will not work with highlighted words. But PDF will. Please click on the PDF link below to view this study in full color.

Chapter 3 Key Words in Understanding all Parables

Jesus Calms the Sea

This story is from a collection of short stories in a book I released on the Gospel of Matthew. You can download that series of books and books on the other Gospels as well as an excellent collect of books on the Tabernacle, and Prophecies Jesus fulfilled. Each series of books has a unique style and are packed with lessons.

Matthew 8:23-27 MKJV And He entering into a ship, His disciples followed Him. (24) And behold, a great tempest arose in the sea, so much so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. (25) And His disciples came to Him and awakened Him, saying, Lord, save us! We perish! (26) And He said to them, Why are you afraid, little-faiths? Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. (27) But the men marveled, saying, What kind of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!

James and John stood in the shallow water, one on each side of the small ship, holding it steady as first Jesus, then the other disciples entered in. James and John shoved the boat out into deeper water before leaping in. The ship drifted along on the calm glassy water as the two fishermen arranged the oars and began rowing. Looking up at the stars visible beyond the clouds Peter commented, “we could not ask for a more peaceful night.”

The disciples exchanged memories of the people they had just seen Jesus heal. They were all talking at once when Simone chimed in, “wait, wait, wait! The best one was the little girl with the old woman who coughed so much she couldn’t speak. I think the little girl was her voice. Like there was some type of spiritual connection between them.” Philip added, “I remember those two. I think you are right. Remember Jesus placed His hand on the child’s head, and the old woman stopped coughing.” Simone added, “yes, and remember the first words the old woman spoke? Thank you Melissa. That was touching. I think everyone expected her to thank Jesus.” Philip replied, “we don’t know how long the little girl stood by the old woman’s side. I may have been years.” As they talked Judas sat quietly dropping one coin at a time from the fingers of his right hand into the palm of his left, appreciating the chinking sound of each coin.

Sitting on the floor of the ship leaning back against the side, Andrew began to tell his favorite story. “The one I will never forget was the old farmer. He came to Jesus with one finger and a thumb on his right hand. I remember thinking, he must have become accustomed to his condition by now. He acted as if he had only come to observe, not to be healed. It was as if Jesus sought after him, reached out, took his hand, and made his hand whole. How did Jesus put fingers back on a hand that was missing them?”

Everything grew silent for a moment as small waves began to splash against the side of the ship. Thomas questioned, “I wonder how many of those people really needed healing, and how many came just to see if Jesus could cure everyday aches and pains?”

A low rumble of thunder was heard in the distance. John said to his brother, “we better pick up the pace, it sounds like a storm is rolling in.” James and John rowed at a quickened pace. Years of working together taught them how to work as a single unit in perfect rhythm. Peter looked back up into the sky, “the stars disappeared.” John assured him, “this is not the ocean, we will eventually hit land.” John had confidence in his ability, that of his brother, and the special connection they shared which allowed them to match each others pace, and keep the ship on course.

A flash of lightening lite the sky for a second showing the small ship was surrounded by nothing but water. The wind came rushing down the distant mountains like an army of battle horses charging the enemy for a quick and decisive victory. The disciples were first hit by the wind, followed by waves, and finally a torrent of rain which came down in buckets. John shouted out orders, “bail, keep low, row for your life!”

In a second the disciples were soaked by the rain, then the waves coming up over the sides of the ship. John and James put every muscle, every ounce of energy into their efforts to row against the wind and waves. They were determined to triumph against the elements. Large muscular arms toned and refined by years of manual labor were no match for the relentless storm. Aching backs and tired arms were soon over come by fatigue. Fear kept them battling on.

The weight of the water began to bring the ship lower and deeper into the water. Judas tied his purse to his belt, allowing him to use both hands and joined the others in a loosing battle against the elements of the wind, rain, and sea.

The rain was heavy, great flashes of lightening allowed them to see only a short distance into the darkness. Hopelessness began to set in as the wind and rain attacked them like screaming demons. Amid the physical turmoil they were facing the unseen Spirit of the Lord turned their minds to Jesus. As a single unit the disciples went to the back of the ship where they found Jesus sound asleep, wrapped in a wet blanket. Raising their voices in scattered pleas they said, “Lord, save us! We perish!” Jesus looked up at His frightened group of followers and questioned them, “why are you afraid? Where is your faith?” Amid the raging waves and roaring winds Jesus stood up. His stature was a stark contrast to the group of men now huddled below Him. With a determined look on His face, Jesus raised both His arms towards Heaven and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. The wind and rain stopped as suddenly as it had begun. The sea was once again calmed. Jesus looked down at the surprised faces looking up at Him, praying they all learned the lesson from the trial they had just faced. But the men marveled, saying, What kind of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!

Jesus sat down in the back of the small ship and asked, “are we ready to continue on our journey?”

Foxes have Holes Matthew 8

Matthew 8:18-22 MKJV And seeing great crowds, Jesus gave orders to depart to the other side. (19) And a certain scribe came and said to him, Master, I will follow You wherever You go. (20) And Jesus said to him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head. (21) And another of His disciples said to him, Lord, allow me first to go and bury my father. (22) But Jesus said to him, Follow Me, and let the dead bury their dead.

After healing every person who came to Him, Jesus turned to His disciples and told them to make ready to sail to the other side of the sea. As John and James prepared the humble craft for the evening voyage Jesus looked upon the crowd pondering the seeds which had just been planted. He looked to His left where a small group of priests and scribes stood witnessing the miracles.

They moved forward as a group approaching the Son of God. Knowing they had questions Jesus prayed for guidance from the Spirit. The group stopped a short distance away while one of the scribes continued on his course. Standing in front of Jesus the Scribe spoke, “Master, I will follow You wherever You go.” And Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” One of the priests commented, “foxes come in the night to steal our chickens much like this man comes to steal from our flock.” His tone was intentionally loud making certain all within hearing distance knew his thoughts. Jesus pondered the response for a moment, while praying for guidance.

A few moments later John proclaimed the craft worthy and ready for the short journey. As Jesus turned toward the shore one of his disciples came between Him and the priests, asking Jesus, “allow me first to go and bury my father.” Making eye contact with the boastful priest Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their dead.” Without another word, Jesus entered the ship with His disciples.

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Jesus Learned

Matthew 1:22-23 KJV Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, (23) Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

God spoke His word, and in the proper time it was fulfilled, “Behold, a virgin shall be with child.” For the first time in earth’s history a virgin was found bearing a child. What must have gone through Joseph’s mind when an angel appeared, telling him to accept his wife in her pregnant state? This was a test of faith. If Joseph had questioned the word delivered by the angle of God, consulted with others, and accepted the traditions of the world, Satan would have found a foot hold in his doubt. Joseph may have placed the customs of the world before the word of God, and would have lost the opportunity to be an earthly father to God’s child. I can see two miracles here. Mary’s conception by the Holy Ghost, and Joseph’s faith. Did the Spirit bring God’s word to his mind when He appeared to Joseph?

Isaiah 7:14-16 KJV Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (15) Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good. (16) For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings.

Through faith Joseph believed his son was the Son of God. The little baby growing inside of Mary had already made an impact on the world. Joseph and Mary knew, God was with them. God had provided three forms of guidance and evidence. The Spirit appeared to Mary, appeared to Joseph in a dream, and God’s written word through His prophet. Joseph and Mary were also witnesses to one another. God will often answer prayers in the same manner, through His word, and the witness of others lead by His Holy Spirit.

Jesus had just entered this world, and His influence was already evident, showing how important love and trust is at the very beginning of life.

 

In Isaiah we find an important aspect of Jesus’ life, His education was centered on God’s word. As a young boy, He would accept the simple truth of the milk of the word. “Whom shall he teach knowledge and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.” (Isaiah 28:9 KJV).

As Jesus grew in knowledge He could see connections between one text and another. As a child, Jesus would study God’s word by comparing scripture with scripture to gain a better, fuller understanding of its meaning, and how it applies to life, and relationships. “Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good. Surely the churning of milk bringeth forth butter.” (Isaiah 7:15, Proverbs 30:33 KJV)

Not only the destiny of the world relied fully on Jesus’ understanding of the scriptures, but the eternal life of countless individuals He met throughout His life. Jesus’ major interest centered on individual relationships. The gospels are filled with examples of how Jesus reached people in a way they had never experienced before. Jesus often spoke only a few words to a person. His words were always the encouragement they needed at that particular moment. Just a few words from Jesus were often times a life changing experience.

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Jesus also had to know how to make all the right decisions all of the time. One sin, one slip, one wrong word would place the fate of this world in Satan’s control forever. Everything Jesus needed to know was contained in God’s letter to His son. As Jesus studied the words sent from Heaven, they opened His eyes, and focused His heart on His Father. To Jesus the scriptures were much more than a manual for eternal life, they were a love letter from His Dad. It was God’s way of being with His Son. Jesus’ diligent study of His Father’s word allowed Him to show His Father to the world.

Jesus was the Son of God and the son of man. Jesus was, and is God with us. Every aspect of Jesus’ life was an illustration of God. As He washed the feet of His servants, He showed how He will serve in Heaven. As He healed the sick, He showed God’s passionate concern. As He forgave sin, He showed God’s eternal judgment. As He died on the cross, He showed God’s love, forgiveness, and His role in Heaven as our mediator. “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34 KJV) God is with us.

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Matthew 8:5-13 The Centurion

Matthew 8:5-13 KJV And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, (6) And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. (7) And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. (8) The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. (9) For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. (10) When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. (11) And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. (12) But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (13) And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.

Riding home after a long week of military maneuvers under the relenting middle eastern sun and cold lonely nights, Marcus lingered for a moment to experience the scene before him. He marveled at the sight of the setting sun which seemed to pause, resting upon the horizon. His first thought was the fact he was glad it was going down, as he looked forward to the coolness of the night. Slowly his mind drifted to the wonders of the world and the sun that rose every morning, and its setting every evening. He admired the perfect form, and the vivid colors highlighted by the red hue of the setting sun, Marcus let out a deep soothing sigh as he thought of being in the arms of his wife, and the greeting he was about to receive from his son. It’s been the same routine every time he returned home, but also one that he would not give up for anything.

The Stories of Jesus' Ministry
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Riding up to the stable Marcus dismounted, wondering why Lucas was not there to greet him. Assuming Lucas had more important business to attend to, Marcus tied his horse to the fence post, and headed for the house looking forward to a quick bath, then social activities and company of the evening meal. Opening the door Marcus was not met by the usual happy smile and embrace of his wife, or the excited greeting of his son. Instead his ears heard the sound of weeping. Marcus walked in. As he turned the corner, he saw the family and a few servants gathered around his son’s bed. Looking up, his wife Anna, leaped forward, wrapping her arms around him for comfort. Marcus felt her tears upon his neck and shoulder. Looking at the bed he saw Lucas lying there. With both arms Marcus gently held his wife to one side so he could make his way to the bed. Kneeling, he put the back of his hand on Lucius’ forehead asking, “what’s wrong?” Anna informed him of the days events. “About noon time Lucas suddenly fainted. We tried to revive him. I thought it was heat stroke, so we placed wet towels on his forehead and tried to get him to drink. There was no response, so we carried him in and placed him on Cato’s bed.” Marcus inquired, “have you called the doctor?” Anna replied, “yes.” Handing Marcus a small clay bottle she continued, “he provided this to administer to him, but we cannot get him to do so much as drink.” Taking the bottle Marcus gave it a sniff. Not that smelling it would reveal anything, but give the impression he was actively pursuing a resolution. At this point Marcus’ anticipated homecoming turned into a time of grief and reflection.

Marcus never looked at Lucas as a servant. Years ago Lucas was purchased as a slave by Marcus’ father. His dedicated service and sincere concern for the family quickly gained him his freedom. When Marcus was transferred to serve Rome in Judea, his father asked Lucas to accompany his son. Realizing this was a sign of trust and respect, Lucas accepted the awesome responsibility. Thus Lucas was more than a dedicated and free servant, he was in fact a father figure for Marcus.

Dinner was a solemn experience. Conversation centered around Lucas and ideas of what to do about the situation. After commanding a legion all week, Marcus felt unsure, bewildered, and powerless. He tried his best to give the impression he was still in control of the situation, and everything would turn out fine. However, doubts filled his mind and heart like an enemy who had been planning his demise for years.

 

The heat of the day captured within the house did not escape into the darkness of the night. Worries of Lucas kept Marcus awake. Anna sensed Marcus’ concern. Turning along side of him, she placed a hand on his chest. Her intuition told her to wait a moment. Before speaking, Marcus’ mind must first grow to realize, she was there to comfort him. When she heard Marcus’ sigh, she knew he was ready to listen. “Are you still thinking about Lucas?” Marcus sighed, “yes.” Anna whispered so not to wake anyone, “we have done all we could for him.” Marcus whispered back, “there must be something we can do, I cannot lie down here and do nothing.” In the silence of the night Anna drew circles along Marcus’ chest, then placed her hand flat upon it. Feeling the pattern of his deep silent breathing and pace of his heart, she felt her husband’s concern. Finally she added, “you know there is one thing. You may not believe this, but the other day a man visited. He claimed he was a leper, and was healed. The way he was dressed, I believed his story. It was so touching. I gave him a change of clothes to go along with his change of life and heart.” Anna paused a moment, waiting for a response. Receiving none she continued with her story. “The man claims he was healed by a man named Jesus.” Marcus chimed in, “I have heard of Him. He is one of the reasons for the increased activity, my longer hours, and our heightened state of alert.” Anna viewed this as a typical response based on his position and responsibility. She continued. “Some claim this man Jesus is a prophet with the ability to heal.” Marcus responded, “I am familiar with the stories. That is one reason for the governor’s concern.” Anna asked, “do you think they are true?” Marcus answered in a bewildered tone, “reports would indicate yes, the stories are true.” Anna could sense a questioning faith by the tone in his voice. She asked, “should we find out if these stories are true? If they are, could this Jesus help Lucas?”

Worry robbed Marcus of sleep that night. Rising early he walked to the door in time to watch the sun rise, his thoughts immersed in the stillness of the morning, and the beauty of the scene. The sun cast a multitude of red, pink, orange and yellow highlights upon the contour of the clouds. The sky transcended the talent of every artist, changing from the deepest purple in the west to the brightest blue in the east, highlighted by a yellow horizon, and the blazing red of the rising sun. The scene painted a glimmer of hope in Marcus’ heart.

Calling his servants together he inquired if anyone had any information about this mysterious man Jesus. Much to his surprise, almost all his servants shared a story of his teaching, and the miracles He performed. Marcus asked if anyone knew where to find Him. He received as many stories on where Jesus had been, and where He was going, as those concerning His miracles. Marcus gave his servants instructions to find this Jesus, and beg Him to come to the aid of Lucas. He reminded them of the contributions he had made in building the local synagogue. He dispatched his servants in teams of two, and sent them off in three directions. Marcus decided to travel to Capernaum himself, based on updated reports he had been given yesterday.

Upon entering Capernaum, Marcus first visited the synagogue he helped finance, donating the funds in the names of his servants. After he was warmly greeted by a number of elders, and asking them for help he explained the situation. After learning of Lucas’ condition, which melted away the prejudice they held towards Jesus, the elders were more than happy to help. They informed Marcus of the latest reports received about Jesus, indicating He was on his way to Capernaum. Marcus divided the elders into small groups, assigning each to the main roads leading into Capernaum. Marcus would wait at the synagogue to receive reports.

The instant one group of elders reached the edge of the city, they saw a large group traveling along the road. As soon as they confirmed Jesus was leading the group, the elders sent a messenger to Marcus. The elders waited for Jesus to enter the city, and sought an audience with Him. Sensing their need, Jesus granted their request.

The scene seemed rather odd, considering the back ground of the characters. A few hours before, these Jewish elders were actively seeking faults in Jesus, but now they were seeking His favor. Even more strange was the fact, they had relayed the request of a Roman centurion. When Marcus arrived, the three groups were not only represented, but working together to save one person. Only God could bring these three, Jesus, Jewish elders, and a Roman centurion together under a common cause. When people are facing a trial it creates a situation for God to show His wondrous powers.

Jesus’ heart, always filled with love, may have reached an even higher level when viewing the scene of cooperation between the Jewish elders and a Roman centurion. In this miracle He recognized the work of His Father.

After listening to the elders praising Marcus, Jesus waited for his request. Finally Marcus spoke up. “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant will be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, Go! And he goes; and to another, Come! And he comes; and to my servant, Do this! And he does it.”

Jesus paused for a moment while silently praying that the elders understood the message Marcus had just delivered. It was a message and claim they would not receive if Jesus had offered it.

Finally Jesus answered Marcus’ request. “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say to you that many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of Heaven. But the sons of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And Jesus said to the centurion, Go. And as you have believed, so let it be to you.”

As quickly as Lucas fell sick, he recovered. The moment Jesus spoke His blessing, Lucas opened his eyes, sat up in bed asking for something to drink. Instantly the servants who had gathered around his bed began rejoicing, praising God, and the name of Jesus. Tears filled Anna’s eyes as she joined in, praising Jesus, and dedicating her life to learning more about this mysterious man she had heard so much about.