Friday, February 24th, 2017
Matthew 16 (Part 1)
God's Chosen People
The Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven.
Matthew 16:1 (NKJV)
For you are a holy people to the Lord your God, and the Lord has chosen you to be a people for His Own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.
Deuteronomy 14:2 (NASB)
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him Who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.
1 Peter 2:9 (NIV)
Those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.
Revelation 17:14 (NKJV)
Matthew 16 is a pivotal Chapter. It centers around God's chosen people: their past mistakes and future promises. Matthew 16 reveals the grave danger in man's religious hypocrisy, and it redefines the criteria true men and women of God must possess.
Because in the days of Jesus the Man, Israel was ruled by Roman warlords. They were powerful and idolatrous. Toward other faiths they were indifferent, if laws were followed and taxes were paid. By them, God's chosen people were oppressed.
But even worse than Rome's brutal rulers were Israel's spiritual leaders. By them, God's chosen people were confused. Sadducees, Pharisees and smaller sects fought among themselves and separated God's Word from His Heart to further themselves.*
Actors, models and talent for Christ: Jewish sects in the time of Jesus are few compared to modern churches. God's saints are split by many thousands of rules, ways and denominations. Back then, factions fought for higher seats, each believing its worship was right. Today, factions fight for dominion, each proclaiming its own righteousness.
But houses divided cannot stand.** The Prayer Christ prayed for believers, His last Prayer in the Book of John, was a passioned Plea for unity.*** Sadly, the opposite has happened, and we must consider the reasons: what went wrong and how we are directed.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: I believe you're God's chosen people for such a desperate time as this: a time to rise above division, confusion, arrogance and judgment; a time to redefine God's glory in the ways your Director modeled; a time to stand up and be counted as called, chosen and faithful to Him.
To Be Continued...
* Short article: Who were the Sadducees and the Pharisees?https://www.gotquestions.org/Sadducees-Pharisees.html
** 'If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand' (Mark 3:25).
*** John 17:20-26: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+17%3A20-26&version=NKJV
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Matthew 16 series.