Weeds or Standards

Church it is time!  As Pentecost approaches, I think it is time for a check-up.  This post has been stirring inside of me for a while but a verse in Psalm 74 finally put a voice to what I have been feeling.

This started with a “kingdom parable” in Matthew 13: 25.  Good seed was sown, but while we were asleep the enemy came in and sowed weeds. The master of the field had an unusual response – leave the weeds alone so you do not pull up the wheat!  And all of the gardeners said, “What!”  And all the church people said, “But that is not how I read the Bible, my doctrine must be correct.” 

Weeds – a plant that is not wanted were it is.  Unfortunately, that is a huge definition when it comes to plants.  I have cut down some huge weeds because I did not want that tree there.  But I quit fighting the false dandelions in my lawn just because they are pleasant to look at when in bloom.   Another example is penny and dollar wort, I don’t like them in my lawn and they are a pain in a garden/flower bed.  To get rid of them I can pull them up or poison them.  One method may work in a flower bed and the other may be okay in the lawn, but it is a decision that must be made carefully.  Oh, if those plants are in a sand dune they are wonderful at helping establish the stability of the dune along the beaches here in south Texas. 

The weeds the enemy has sown come in many shapes and sizes.  Throw in the human condition of pride and it can be war in the printing presses.  The “weed” that set me off is found in Genesis 1. The problem was not that God created the world, a Christian should agree to that, but how long it took and how it was done.  I have followed this argument for many years.  Some of this “weed pulling” comes from what Study Bible you use.  So, the Church of my Living God has battled itself for truth and let evolution take over the education system!

The verse in Psalm 74 that divided weeds from standards is #4.  “Your foes roared in the place where you met with us; they set up their standards as signs.” (NIV) Pick your favorite translation the meaning is clear!

Acts 2:36 needs to be a common point for all Christians – Jesus is Lord and Christ.  Unfortunately, weed seeds have been sprinkled into the rest of Peter’s sermon, that first birthday of the Church!  Verse 40 holds the last part of this post. “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Church, they are in our meeting halls – roaring their standards.  New Age thought has been brought in, and we have let postmodernism change definitions in the Church.  Postmodernism works by changing (usually it is a slow change) the meaning of words!  Words they are changing or at least trying to change – Father God, Jesus, Christ, love, sin, family, and others!  The Great Commission has not changed and that needs to be the work of the Church.  Asaph is credited with writing Psalm 73 to 83; as I have read them recently, many sound like prayers against the foes of God and the Church of Jesus.           

Additional Thoughts – fellow Christians should not be an enemy, you may not agree with them on everything; the Seed is still good; Jesus has confidence in the Seed/Plants even with weeds trying to suck the life from the plants’ roots; Jesus still wins in the end! 

On His Way to Jerusalem #2 and Heaven

I am borrowing the title of this post from my Easter post and I got that from Luke.  Luke also uses this idea for the third phase/block of Jesus’ ministry by saying He was getting ready to go to Heaven.  (This will not look polished because Word Press does not play nice when you import some things from Word.  This is more of a study than a “telling”.  I am trying to connect where Jesus was with the teachings and actions of others and focus on “kingdom”.)  Jesus’ movements and His teachings are very purposeful in this phase of His ministry as He is preparing the disciples for Easter/Passover and for the Book of Acts/Pentecost.  Matthew and Luke have different events in this time period, I will try to join them but that has proven hard.  One idea that might help join all the events is that the disciples (the Twelve) were not always by Jesus’ side in this time period.  Another fact is the Holy Land is not a huge area, several days of focused walking will get you from Jerusalem to Caesarea Philippi and Tyre and Sidon to the East Bank.   

From Matthew 13: 53 to 28: 20 there are eighteen times/parables that the term “kingdom” is used. (actual number of times it appears is higher, I counted groupings) I will add material from Luke and John when it seems right.  Some of this will be subjective because Luke adds many things not found in Matthew or Mark, John’s focus is just different! 

Matthew 13: 53– His hometown (Nazareth) – rejected as He taught in the synagogue – “prophet without honor” I have wondered if that is why He never went back to Bethlehem!  The mention of what happened to John the Baptist not only signals this is a different section of Jesus’ ministry but clears the stage for things to come.

Matthew 14: 13 – a solitary place – feeds the 5000 and walks on water.  The miracles reflect events of the Exodus and the march to Sinai (days to Pentecost) and Jesus’ authority over nature.

Matthew 14:34 – Gennesaret – Pharisees from Jerusalem asked about the Law (washing hands). Teaching on clean and unclean.

Matthew 15: 21 – the region of Tyre and Sidon.  This is as far west as Jesus traveled, it is also as far north as He went; Caesarea Philippi is about the same latitude north.  Jesus found “great faith” in a woman who the disciples wanted to send away.  She wanted mercy for her daughter’s healing.

Matthew 15: 29Sea of Galilee. Feeds the 4000.

Matthew 15: 39 – vicinity of Magadan, by boat– Pharisees wanted a sign from Heaven.

Matthew 16: 5 – crossed lake.  Yeast of Pharisees and Sadducees.

Matthew 16: 13 – Caesarea Philippi *Kingdom (2) * – Who I am, Peter’s confession, started explaining His suffering at Jerusalem, Peter’s rebuke, denying self 

Matthew 17: 1 – high mountain for Transfiguration.  This could be in Caesarea Philippi or “the mountain” in Galilee.  I vote for Galilee because of Jesus wanting them to go back there during the days of “counting the omer” or waiting on Pentecost.

Luke 10: 1 to 17: 11– My main interest here is that Jesus sends out seventy-two disciples to at least thirty-six towns.  Luke puts many parables/teachings in these chapters that may appear somewhere else in a different Gospels.

Matthew 17: 22 – they came together!  Matthew does not say any more than that!  This is why I put Luke 10 into the list.  Realizing that the disciples (the 12) may not have always been “right there” helped the possibilities and melding of the Gospel accounts.

This section is from the first post and overlaps a little. I will add some from Matthew for #8. 

  1. John 10: 22 has Jesus in Jerusalem at the Feast of Dedication or Hanukkah.  He makes the Jews mad so He “escapes”.
  2. Jesus goes to where John baptized on the east bank of the Jordan. John 10: 40.
  3. Bethany is Jesus’ next destination to raise Lazarus from the dead. John 11: 17
  4. Because of a plot to kill Him, He goes to a village called Ephraim that is in the desert.  John 11: 54 We would call it wilderness – English and Hebrew ideas on this topic are opposites of each other. 
  5. Capernaum– dealing with the Temple tax. Matthew 17: 24
  6. Samaria and Galilee border – healed ten lepers. Luke 17: 11
  7. Crosses the Jordan River to be on the east bank. Matthew 19: 1
  8. Crosses back to the west bank and goes to Jericho.
  9. Goes to Bethany/Bethphage and the Mount of Olives for the “Triumphal Entry”. Matthew 21: 1, Luke19: 28

    Jesus on the Donkey

Matthew 18 to 21 – There are seven references to the * kingdom* in this section of Matthew.  Six are by Jesus and one by “the mother of Zebedee’s sons” (James and John).  

Matthew 20: 17 – going up to Jerusalem.  He probably was on the east bank of the Jordan going to Jericho.  This period of time reflects Joshua’s entry into the Land and his Passover (#8).

Matthew 20: 29 – Leaving Jericho going to the Mount of Olives (#9) for His ride into Jerusalem.  Jesus only visited the Temple and then He left for Bethany (Mark 11:11). This is Palm Sunday, I will switch to days of the week so that it will be easier to visualize. 

Monday– To put this is context with Passover, the next four days are when the Passover lamb was separated, “inspected”, and taken care of before it became the main part of the remembrance of what God had done for the people.  I am also going to focus on where Jesus went during these days, not what He taught or said. The links will take you to another post that adds more to the story.  I will extend this section to the Ascension.  Jesus’ movements are scattered throughout the Gospels, so they are not in one place for reference.  Matthew 21: 12 – the Temple and back to Bethany.

Tuesday– Matthew 21: 18, Mark 11: 27 – to the fig tree and the Temple Court where He taught. Matthew has seven references to the *kingdom* on Tuesday; Luke has one.

Wednesday– Matthew 26: 6 – Jesus is in Bethany at the house of Simon the Leper.

Thursday– Matthew 26: 17 the Upper Room, (26: 30) Mt. of Olives/Gethsemane, (26: 57) Caiaphas house.  There is one reference to the *kingdom* during Jesus’ last supper; Luke has three.

Friday– Matthew 27:1 Jesus goes to Pilate, (27:27) Praetorium, (27:33) to Golgotha and the Cross. He was then put in the Tomb.  Luke has three mentions of the Kingdom- one to the Thief and one about Joseph of Arimathea.

Saturday – Jesus went into Hell and got the Keys back and while He was there He preached and set captives free.

Sunday (Easter) Matthew 28 – the Garden Tomb, (Luke 24:13) Emmaus, (Luke 24:36) the first visit to the Upper Room.

One week later – John 20: 24 + 26 – the Upper Room for the second time for Thomas.

To Galilee – To the mountain and the Sea of Tiberias (Galilee).

Mt. of Olives/Area of Bethany – for the Ascension.

I wrote a post called – After the Cloud to envision what may have taken place next and where He went.

pics –  

Kingdom – On His Way to Jerusalem


This part of the study on Jesus’ Kingdom is going to appear to be rough in its style and appearance, because it is my study format:)

I am looking at Jesus’ movements loosely after the feeding of the 5000.  I want Matthew to be my reference point but Luke and John add interesting movements and stories that need to be added.  I will try to join them as best as I can.  That means I will start in John about five months before Jesus’ Passion.

  1. John 10: 22 has Jesus in Jerusalemat the Feast of Dedication or Hanukkah.  He makes the Jews made so He “escapes”.
  2. Jesus goes to where John baptized on the east bank of the Jordan. John 10: 40.
  3. Bethanyis Jesus’ next destination to raise Lazarus from the dead. John 11: 17
  4. Because of a plot to kill Him He goes to a village called Ephraim that is in the desert.  John 11: 54 We would call it wilderness – English and Hebrew ideas on this topic are opposites of each other. 
  5. Capernaum– dealing with the Temple tax. Matthew 17: 24
  6. Samaria and Galilee border – healed ten lepers. Luke 17: 11
  7. Crosses the Jordan Riverto be on the east bank. Matthew 19: 1
  8. Crosses back to west bank and goes to Jericho.
  9. Goes to Bethany/Bethphage and the Mount of Olivesfor the “Triumphal Entry”. Matthew 21: 1, Luke19: 28

From Capernaum to Jerusalem is about eighty miles. I believe all of this walking was for a reason.  Jesus went to the east bank in order to cross the Jordan, like Joshua, “conquer Jericho” and then proceed to Passover.  Yes, it is out of order from what Joshua did but I still see the symbolism in the travels. 

My Study on Jesus’ Kingdom


This study is going to go on for a while!  I hope to use this page to list links to the post as they are written.  Several TV programs on Christian networks prompted my study, especially one show on the Sid Roth program.  As usual I started with my concordance, dictionaries, and the Bible Gateway app.  I found that Matthew has the most references to the kingdom and Luke is second.  An argument over kingdom of heaven or God had been a big deal.  But since the same stories in different gospels use different terms it hopefully has settled that they are talking about the same thing. 

Much of my study will revolve around the Gospel of Matthew.  Here are my reasons for that decision. 

  • Matthew has the most references/usages of the word kingdom.
  • Matthew was an eye-witness for much of Jesus’ ministry.  So was John and for some of the three years, Mark was there.  The Holy Spirit uses Luke to tell a story from what he had gleaned by talking with other eye-witnesses for a Greek believer; I find story placement in Luke very valuable.  
  • Matthew uses the term kingdom of heaven for his Jewish readers and sprinkles in Kingdom of God at specific times.  The Kingdom of God is used by the other writers, for the most part (it is more of a Greek term).

In reading Matthew and focusing on the word kingdom, I circled the word by using Bible Gateway as an aid, it seemed that there were three sections of teaching on the kingdom. 

  1. The first is Matthew 3: 2 to 8: 12.  
  2. The second is 9: 35 to 13: 52. 
  3. The third block of teachings is 13: 53 to the end of the gospel.  

The first two blocks of teachings start with messages about John the Baptist and Repent.  The third one begins with Jesus going home (Nazareth) and being rejected by the town.

This third block contains the feeding of the 5000, which is in all four Gospels, and covers Holy Week. I will use these two events to frame this third block.  Comparing and injecting teaching/parables and events from the other Gospels that occur during this time is proving interesting. Themes and ideas are repeated but they get more intense with each block.  My next post will be about Joseph of Arimathea (from Luke).  I am starting with the third block because of Holy Week, Passover/Easter, and Pentecost.  I will list and link them from this page.

Joseph of Arimathea – Easter 2019 

The Thief – Easter 2019, On His Way to Jerusalem

On His Way to Heaven

The Thief – Easter 2019


Psalm 42: 10 – My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, “Where is your God?” (NIV)

The fulfillment of this verse is in Mark 15:32 and Matthew 27:44 when Jesus hung on the cross and the Pharisees and the two thieves heaped insults on Him.  John 19: 32 adds to the story of the thieves when their legs were broken so they would die faster.  

Luke 23: 39 – 42 are the verses, about the thieves, that I am interested in for this post!  Here one thief is insulting Jesus and the other is asking to be remembered when Jesus comes into His kingdom.  The thief that switched is the one we will talk about. Why the switch in behavior?  Did Jesus even know his name?  Had the thief seen Jesus before this day?  Had he heard of Jesus before this day?  I will get to these later, first I want to focus on the “threes” Jesus had before the crucifixion and some of the “shadows” that go with this day.

  • Isaac as a type of Jesus.  The story is in Genesis 22.  The fire, the wood, and the burnt offering (sacrifice) are the three elements in this story.  The wood for the fire was on Isaac, this symbolizes the cross.  Abraham, the father of the faithful, had the fire (judgement) and God was going to supply the ram (offering).
  • Nehustan – Numbers 21 is the story of the copper snake that Moses made to save the people if they were bitten by serpents.  Moses lifted it up on a pole (cross).  I think of it hanging between the living and the dead.  Just like Jesus hung between the thief who would live again and the one who went to hell.  2 Kings 18:3 tells of the abuse of the symbol and its destruction.
  • The Transfiguration – 1. Again, I put Jesus at the center (or in-between) of the disciples and Moses (the Law) and Elijah (the prophets).  The Law and the prophets were “dying” and the disciples were about to be saved by grace.  2.If we view this “three” a little differently, Jesus was in-between Moses and Elijah with the disciples looking on.  A thought here is that Moses had died while Elijah had not.  Jesus was between the living and the dead, or the Law was now “finished” and the prophets were still “living”. 

Answers to some questions will come only in heaven.  But it would be probably that the one thief had at least heard of Jesus since His fame was spread around the country.  For sure though the thieves saw everything that occurred from when they left the prison. Jesus’ behavior was different!  He was not yelling and cursing.  People were harassing Him about God and Jesus was not answering them back.  Add in the darkness and the other things Jesus did and all of this made the one thief change his mind/words about Jesus.

That one little request by the thief actually carries a lot of deep truth.  First, he acknowledged the divine nature of Jesus by referring to His Kingdom and that He was going there after death.  Second, the thief saw past the military aspect of a Messiah and realized the Kingdom was not limited to the physical earth.  That is really impressive since he did not have the learning of Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus.

Was the redeemed thief on Jesus’ left side or on His right? I will give you two verses and let you form your own opinion – Matthew 25: 33states that the sheep will be on the right hand and the goats on the left on the day of judgment.  Ecclesiastes 10: 2states the heart of the wise goes to the right while the heart of the fool goes to the left.

Pic – http://www.freebibleimages.org/illustrations/tis-jesus-cross/