But many who are first will be last, and the last first. (Matthew 19:30, NKJV)
Jesus had corrected the apostles’ implication that only the rich could enter the kingdom of God and have the blessings of salvation and honor (Matthew 19:23-28). All who sacrificially give their lives to faithfully serve Jesus are blessed now and eternally (Matthew 19:29). Jesus summed up this exchange with His apostles by reverting to where it began. Those who seek and expect places of honor from men will not find it in the kingdom of God. Such will not enter His kingdom with that as their expectation. The humble in heart, who do the will of the Father, are “first” (blessed) in the kingdom. Jesus had earlier taught the one who humbles himself as a little child “is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:4). Let us remove every vestige of prideful expectation from our hearts and seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33). Remember, the kingdom of Christ is not of this world (John 18:36). We must not expect it to conform to our expectations. Kingdom citizens conform themselves to the king’s will, and are eternally blessed for doing so (Romans 12:2).
15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Him in His talk. 16 And they sent to Him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor do You care about anyone, for You do not regard the person of men. 17 Tell us, therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” 18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, “Why do you test Me, you hypocrites? 19 Show Me the tax money.” So they brought Him a denarius. 20 And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” 21 They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 22:15–21, NKJV)
In their vain attempt to ensnare Jesus, the Pharisees and Herodians assumed intrinsic conflict between the government of God and the government of men. Yet, the kingdom of God is spiritual; it is “not of this world” (Jno. 18:36). The kingdoms of men exist by the will of God, who is Sovereign over all (Acts 17:26; Dan. 4:25, 32). Therefore, there is no inherent conflict between God and “Caesar.” God commands us to pay our taxes and honor our rulers (Rom. 13:7; 1 Pet. 2:17). Christians willingly submit to the ordinances of men unless doing so violates the revealed will of God (Rom. 13:1; 1 Pet. 2:13-16; Acts 5:29). Christians are not anarchists, but patriots, who “honor the king” as they “fear God” (1 Pet. 2:17).
27 “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.” (John 12:27–28, NKJV)
The moment of trial is the very moment our heavenly Father is glorified. Although Jesus desired to escape the approaching cup of suffering, His greater desire was to fulfill the Father’s purpose which had brought Him to this hour (cf. Matt. 26:39). When we suffer for the sake of righteousness, let us do so with faith, never doubting God’s revealed will, and never exalting ourselves (Matt. 5:10-12). God is magnified and honored when you freely, willingly and faithfully suffer trials in order to be true to His purposes. The Father spoke from heaven that day, giving miraculous testimony to the people that Jesus is the Christ (read John 12:30-36). God’s word, the Scriptures, continue to testify that Jesus Christ died to cast out the ruler of this world, to draw sinners to Himself, and to light our way to heaven. Follow Jesus, the light of the world, and the darkness of sin will not overwhelm you.
9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9–11, NKJV)
It is mind-numbing to watch so many people speak so carelessly and irreverently of Jesus. His life was above reproach, His death was the epitome of love and sacrifice, His resurrection from the dead cannot be successfully refuted, and His word is the truth that illuminates the meaning of life and the hope of eternity. Still, people refuse Him. Still, people mock Him. Still, people do not believe. Every rationale offered for doing so becomes an excuse for faithlessness, for thoughtlessness, and for bad behavior. His present position at the right hand of God heralds His exaltation, and declares that now is the time to “kiss the Son” (Psa. 2:11-12). A great day is coming when every knee will bow to Him, and every tongue will confess Jesus is Lord. That will be the day when each of us will give an account to God for our lives (Rom. 14:11-12). Then, all will answer the question, “Did you believe and obey the Son?”
1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: 3 “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” (Ephesians 6:1–3, NKJV)
God knows the importance of children obeying their parents. When God spoke the Ten Commandments to Israel from Mt. Sinai, He made honoring their parents the condition upon which He would bless them with long life in the promised land (Exo. 20:12). The home is the training ground for honoring and obeying God Himself. Obeying parents develops moral accountability in children, preparing them to also honor and obey God. Disrespectful, disobedient children grow up to disrespect and disobey the heavenly Father (Rom. 1:28, 30; 2 Tim. 3:1-4). While the obedient child obtains blessings from God and men, the rebellious child equips himself for a painful life and eternal sorrow. “My son, keep your father’s command, and do not forsake the law of your mother” (Prov. 6:20).
24 The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, and he who begets a wise child will delight in him. 25 Let your father and your mother be glad, and let her who bore you rejoice.” (Proverbs 23:24–25, NKJV)
A godly mother is a great blessing to her children. She guides her household in the path of righteousness with loving wisdom and enduring patience. She rejoices to see her children walk uprightly, doing the will of God. Her heart aches when those she bore refuse her guidance, ignoring the right ways of the Lord. Today is Mother’s Day, and mothers across the land will be honored by their children. The wise child honors mother every day through kind words, generous deeds, and righteous obedience to the will of God. That is the best Mother’s Day gift the godly mother will ever receive from her children. Honor your mother this day by giving her these reasons to rejoice and be glad.
40 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” So he said, “Teacher, say it.” 41 “There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have rightly judged.” (Luke 7:40–43, NKJV)
The debt of sin is owed by all, since “all have sinned” (Rom. 3:23). Yet, all do not feel the burden of their debt and fail to honor Jesus Christ – the only one through whom God forgives sins (Rom. 3:24; Acts 4:12). Failing to do so, their sin remains. Every sinner must love and honor Jesus to be forgiven. If you have unforgiven sin, then put your faith in Jesus, bow before Him and in love obey His will. He commands everyone lost in sins to believe His gospel, confess faith in Him, repent of sins and be baptized to be forgiven (Rom. 10:9-10; Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:37-38). Your sin remains unless you have loving, obedient faith. Knowing the debt of sin compels those of faith to come to Jesus for His forgiveness on His terms.