The Disciples Learned How To Pray Part III

Eyewitness: p. 146
Eyewitness Stories: Matthew 6:9-13
NLT: Matthew 6:11
Amplified Bible: Matthew 6:13
In Your Bible: Matthew 6:9-13

Jesus gave an example of how to pray. The believer first must honor, revere, and praise our Father God. After these honest statements of how great our God is, humbly he can make petitions. The disciples learned how to pray.

Daily Bread

Jesus continues teaching, “Give us today the food we need . . . “ (Matthew 6:11 NLT). This refers to the manna God provided daily for the Jews in the wilderness. Today we must also ask for provision of daily needs—not wants. This is a believer’s rightful request.

Forgiveness

Believers must ask for forgiveness of our sin. Jesus Christ paid for the sin of mankind by death on the cross. Jesus paid it all. To be forgiven we must forgive, and that is a condition only the power of the cross can provide the believer. *

Temptation

Jesus went on to say “And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13a Amplified Bible). Evil can come from without, from within, from friends and loved ones.

Commentaries * guide us to the fact that the best defense against evil is the presence of Jesus Christ. The living Presence of Christ empowers the believer.

Kingdom

Some translations add the following statement to the prayer: For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen (Matthew 6:13b Amplified Bible). In this powerful teaching, Jesus guides believers to enter into Kingdom thinking (not our normal thinking). Indeed the disciples learned how to pray.

Prayer: Father, what a wonder you are. Jesus taught us our prayers should include praise, esteem your holiness, and honor you above all else. Thank you. Abba Father.

Questions: Have you asked for the bread of life from God’s Word? How would that impact your understanding of these verses? In what ways are you under temptation?

Ponder this from the book Jesus Calling: When you worship Me in spirit and truth, you join with choirs of angels who are continually before My throne. Though you cannot hear their voices, your praise and thanksgiving are distinctly audible in heaven. Your petitions are also heard, but it is your gratitude that clears the way to My Heart. With the way between us wide open, My blessings fall upon you in rich abundance. The greatest blessing is nearness to Me—abundance Joy and Peace in My Presence. Practice praising and thanking Me continually throughout this day. **

* The Daily Bible Study Series, The Gospel of Matthew, Volume 1, William Barclay, Westminster Press, Philadelphia, pp. 219-228.

** Jesus Calling, Enjoying His Peace and Presence, Sarah Young, Thomas Nelson, 2004, p. 195.

The Agenda For Rejoicing

Eyewitness: pp. 137-138
Eyewitness stories: Luke 10: 1-24
The Message: Luke 10: 23,24

Jesus selected disciples to go to every town he planned to visit. The first are recorded in the Gospels of Matthew 10; Mark 6; and Luke 9. In these three Gospel chapters he sent his closest 12 disciples. Then it’s recorded in Luke 10, that Jesus sent an additional 72 disciples out too. They told people in these towns the good news, that the kingdom of God is near. Yes, the agenda for rejoicing

Sent Ones

Just as he had done before, Jesus gave all of them direction and authority to meet needs, heal the sick, and more. The direction (do what I [Jesus] tell you to do) and authority (Power in his Name) are key.

Message Received

When the disciples returned on each occasion, they rejoiced over their miraculous power over the evil one. Jesus corrected them. He pointed to the value of their task – their power to bring people into the Kingdom of God.

“The great triumph is not in your authority over evil, but in God’s authority over you and presence with you. Not what you do for God but what God does for you — that’s the agenda for rejoicing” (Luke 10:19,20 The Message).

Bringing people into the Kingdom is the believers’ continual task. Jesus emphasizes that the messenger of the Gospel is also blessed . . .”Rejoice because citizenship in heaven has been recorded” (Luke 10:20b Eyewitness Stories).

True Blessing

Jesus then turned to his disciples privately. “Fortunate the eyes that see what you’re seeing! There are plenty of prophets and kings who would have given their right arm to see what you are seeing but never got so much as a glimpse, to hear what you are hearing but never got so much as a whisper” (Luke 10:23,24 The Message).

In a wonderful manner, many more people had the opportunity to know the agenda for rejoicing.

Prayer: Father, what a wonder you are! You use all willing believers’ of any age to bring your message to those who do not know You.

Questions: What differences do you see in these accounts of sending disciples out and their return with joy differ? How do you think the ministry of the 86 disciples impacted the Kingdom of God Imagine yourself as one of these 72 disciples.

Mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven

“If you have ears, pay attention to what I am saying” (Eyewitness Stories Matthew 13:9).

Eyewitness: pp. 86-88
Eyewitness Stories: Matthew 13
In Your Bible: Matthew 13

The Kingdom of Heaven is not merely a location, a body of believers, or a view of what will happen. It is living for the Lord God Almighty with right purpose, right attitude, and right perspective – right now.

Jesus captivated listeners with a treasure trove of parables in Matthew chapter 13. Here, nine times he mentions the Kingdom of Heaven.

He Gathers Them

Jesus tells us that we are not to judge who believes in God. God/His reapers/His angels (depending upon which Bible version you read) will gather those who truly believe to Himself. We see one role the angels/reapers play in these two parables: – the Tares (Eyewitness Stories, Matthew 13: 24-30) and the Fishing Net (Eyewitness Stories, Matthew 13: 47-50).

Our assignment is to spread the Word. Some will accept it and some will reject it. We must keep sowing the gospel message. Do not be discouraged when some refuse to accept the good news.

Priceless Gift

Salvation is a priceless commodity. A believer must commit everything he has to the Lord and even risk all – salvation is that valuable. These two parables exemplify the value of God’s gift: – the Hidden Treasure (Eyewitness Stories, Matthew 13: 44) and the Costly Pearl (Eyewitness Stories, Matthew 13: 45,46).

Transformation Process

Through faith, Jesus initiates a transformation process greater than the believer can understand. Likewise the church triumphant starts small but will become very big. That same concept applies to our own faith. These two parables reveal this: the Mustard Seed (Matthew 13: 31,32 and Leaven (Eyewitness Stories, Matthew 13: 33).

Consider reading Matthew 13:44-46 slowly – out loud. Hearing the parable (not merely reading it) will replay what Jesus’ disciples heard. They said yes, when Jesus asked if they understood what he’s told them these parables concerning Kingdom of Heaven.

Prayer: Father, thank you for sending Jesus Christ with such a powerful teaching on Your Kingdom. Help us grasp all He taught.

Questions: What words, that you read today, inspire you to continue to tell people the gospel message? How can you best cultivate a friend’s openness to Jesus?

God’s Attitude Toward Material Things

“…..Your heavenly Father already knows what you need. Seek first his Kingdom, and he will give you everything you need” (Eyewitness Luke 12:30b).

Eyewitness: p. 152,153
In Your Bible: Luke 12:13-34

Maybe it has always been that man believes “more is better” especially when it comes to wealth. This includes bank accounts no one else sees and things people do see like clothes, cars, and homes. Jesus warned those with much and comforted those with little – to take God’s attitude on material things.

THOSE WITH MUCH

When asked to settle a dispute between two brothers concerning a family inheritance, Jesus avoided giving personal advice, instead he taught how possessions effect people. Jesus said, “Look, do not be greedy. Satisfaction in life does not come from having an abundance of possessions” (Eyewitness Luke 12:15).

Jesus told a story about a rich farmer whose land produced a terrific crop one season, which made him richer. The farmer reasoned, I’ll build bigger barns to store it, take it easy, eat, drink, and have the time of my life.

The farmer’s thinking was far off target, so Jesus pointedly put it into perspective. “But God said, ‘You Fool! Tonight you will die, so what good is all the wealth you have accumulated?’ This is what happens to all who store treasure for themselves and are not rich toward God in their giving” (Eyewitness Luke 12:20,21).

Jesus challenges those with much to see God wants his people to be benevolent givers. He desires selflessness not selfishness – sharing and giving, not hoarding or keeping excess.

THOSE WITH LITTLE

Jesus encourages his followers, using examples of God’s provision in nature. See how God, our source, looks after and provides for the birds and flowers. They don’t possess anything. If that is so, and it is, why should a believer worry or be anxious? He challenges those with little not to be weak in faith.

“Your heavenly Father knows what you need. Seek first his Kingdom, and he will give you everything you need” (Eyewitness Luke 12:30b). These comforting words apply to mankind and nature alike. Jesus makes sure that listeners hear the Father delights in believers’ seeking the Kingdom.

Application: Jesus sums it all up with this comment: “If you sell what you have and give to those in need, you will store up for yourselves treasure…..For wherever your treasure is, your heart will be there also” (Eyewitness Luke 12:33,34). This is not a command. Selling some of our “stuff” and giving to the poor may be something we need to do. God is our source. The aim is to stay Kingdom focused, seek God and be generous.

Prayer: Father, keep me balanced, not distracted by material things. Show me daily how to keep you first in my life.