Monday, February 27th, 2017
Matthew 16 (Part 4)
Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him...*
Matthew 16:1 (NKJV)
That very day Pilate and Herod became friends with each other, for previously they had been at enmity with each other.
Luke 23:12 (NKJV)
The kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against His Christ.
Acts 4:26 (NKJV)
Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.
1 Peter 4:12-13 (NKJV)
Matthew 16 starts with a new normal. Previous enemies have united in hatred for the popular Prophet, Who has become a threat to their power. Even worse, He catches them in deceit and publicizes their hypocrisy. Therefore, they join to conspire against Him. They also threaten Jews who support Him with religious excommunication.
Jesus foretold not just His Own future, but also the future for every saint. 'You will be hated by all for My Name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved' (Matthew 10:22).
The past shows overwhelmingly bad odds are nothing new to heroes of the Lord. Neither are their miraculous outcomes. Because God Himself promises this end: sometimes on earth, but always beyond it. Great conclusions are what the devil dreads. His armies (demons and human allies) seek to stop God's rising stars from shining.
But if stars hide, retreat or surrender, then Satan has prevented their witness. If he can't steal their hearts to beat for him, then he'll try to stop their forward movement, scare them away with intimidation, and push them back underneath their church roofs. Therein, their light is covered and contained.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: God says people aren't your enemies.** But people can become Satan's pawns. Still, knocking out pawns is meaningless when earth's king sits proudly on his throne.
If the devil is calling their shots, human enemies will join forces for the bigger cause of fighting Christ. But that's okay for these two reasons:
1) If you're high on Satan's radar screen, high enough to unite former foes, you life is focused and on target. Be thankful you are counted worthy. Who wants to be inconsequential?
2) Dress each day in the armor of God,*** renew your mind with the Word of God**** and know that God has got you covered. 'Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you' (Luke 10:19).
To Be Continued...
* 'The Pharisees and Sadducees were opposed to each other in principles and in conduct; yet they joined against Christ...' (Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary re: Matthew 16:1-4). http://biblehub.com/commentaries/matthew/16-1.htm
** 'For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand' (Ephesians 6:12-13).
*** The armor of God: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=eph+6%3A10-18&version=NKJV
**** Verses about renewing your mind through the Lord and His Word: https://www.openbible.info/topics/renewing_your_mind
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Matthew 16 series.