Friday, April 26, 2019

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday April 28, 2019

Over 198,000 readers worldwide

(Disciples must make and teach disciples)
(Matthew 28:16-20)

   Here we come to the end of Matthew’s account of JESUS’ thirty-three year mission as a “sacrificial human being” here on earth. Before ascending into Heaven however, there would be a final and critically important meeting between JESUS and HIS remaining, eleven closest disciples. Over the years the message of this gathering has come to be known as “the Great Commission” by the “Church Age” followers of CHRIST.
    In verses 16-20 of Matthew’s Gospel account we find JESUS’ disciples leaving Galilee and going up into the mountain where JESUS had earlier instructed them to go. When saw JESUS on the mountain they began to worship HIM, even though some of them still, even at that time, doubted HIM.
    Nevertheless JESUS began to speak, first, assuring them of HIS power and deity-like authority, telling them, “I have been given complete authority in Heaven and on earth” (NLT). Here in this statement we see JESUS claiming authority in Heaven (a shared authority with GOD the FATHER) for the first time. Up unto this point HE had only claimed authority over all the earth. However, now, HE had completed the task assigned to HIM by HIS FATHER GOD, and as HIS reward, GOD had given HIM power over all creation, and, indeed, over the entire universe. And HE would soon be seated on HIS throne in Heaven, at the right hand of HIS FATHER.
    Secondly, JESUS gives HIS men a commission; “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the FATHER and the SON and the HOLY SPIRIT. Teach these new principles to obey all the commands I have given you” (NLT). JESUS sends all who pledge themselves to HIM, out to the nations of the world, armed only with the Good News of the Gospel. HE taught us with HIS own life, that, a man (100% human), born of woman, can live and overcome all of the pressures of satan and his world, and be resurrected into a new life, not just in Heaven, but right now, here on earth. And we as disciples can also teach others to do the same.
    In the Greek the word used for “promise” is “eppagelleia” (ep-ang-ge-lee-ah), and it is “an announcement of divine assurance of good”. Finally in verse 20b, JESUS leaves HIS disciples with a “promise”. It is a promise, not only to HIS original disciples, but also, it is a promise of assurance to all who will accept the responsibility of being one of HIS disciples, for all time.
    Here JESUS tells HIS faithful followers this; “And be sure of this: I AM with you always, even to the end of the age” (NLT). As Christians, we are sent out to perform the greatest task that one can ever be given in this world. It is a great privilege, and perhaps even a greater responsibility. And it is for that reason that JESUS needs to encourage us by letting us know that we are not alone in our quest, but rather, HE HIMSELF will be with us, even unto the end of the age.
    And even though JESUS would no longer remain with HIS disciples physically, HIS spiritual presence is with anyone who earnestly chooses to follow HIS lighted path through the trials, tribulations, and gravitational pull of this dark world. HIS “spiritual presence” will accompany us until our assigned tasks on this earth as disciples, is finished.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

                                           LARRY DALEXANDER- Official Website


Friday, April 19, 2019

an international Sunday school lesson commentary

For Sunday April 21, 2019

Over 197,000 readers worldwide


(JESUS replaces fear with hope)

(Matthew 26:1-15)

   Sin ushered into the world, “physical death”. The resurrection of CHRIST JESUS ushered into the world, “spiritual life”. The resurrection of JESUS is the essence of the Christian Faith and the core of all of the apostles’ teachings, and mine.

    It was William Barclay who wrote, “Cleverness can never be the basis of true religion, and true religion can never be the product of a man’s mind”. By that he meant that, no man is capable of producing or concocting a “true religion” or “faith”, because only GOD is capable of meeting and setting the qualifications of perfection that every man can benefit from, by following.

    Man, through his imperfections, will never be able to, “rightly”, spiritually rule over another man. And so, with that being said, Christianity, without denominational attachments, is the only “true religion” simply because it is the only religion that is a product of GOD’s mind.

    In Matthew chapter 28, verses 1-15, the Apostle Matthew, give us his account and eyewitness recollections of the events surrounding the resurrection of our LORD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST. Here he tells us that on the dawn of the first day of the week following JESUS’ crucifixion, Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary (the mother of James and Joseph) went to the cave where JESUS had been entombed on the previous Friday by Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus.

  The two ladies, along with Salome and Joanna had faithfully watched from a distance as the two men anointed JESUS’ body with about 75 pounds of embalming ointments and spices, and wrapped it in cloth before rolling a heavy stone over the entrance of the cave (Matthew 27:57-61 and John19:38-42. They had returned to the site on this Sunday morning, after the Sabbath (Saturday) was over, apparently to anoint JESUS’ body again (Mark 16:1-2).

    Matthew records that there was a great earthquake, associated with the appearance of an angel of GOD, who came down from Heaven and rolled away the heavy, sealed on, stone covering from the entrance of the sepulcher. The Roman soldiers who were guarding the tomb became so frightened that they actually fainted. The angel, who appeared like lightening (very swiftly), was dressed in clothing that was as white as snow.

    The angel then proceeded to issue a proclamation to the women that JESUS had been raised from the dead as HE said HE would. He even invited the women up to the entrance of the cave to see that it was empty, and then, instructed them to go and tell the disciples the good news. He told them to tell the men (JESUS disciples) to meet HIM in Galilee.

    As the women were hurrying along to tell JESUS’ closest disciples the wonderful news, JESUS HIMSELF suddenly appeared before them and greeted them. Upon hearing HIS greeting, the women recognized who JESUS was, and immediately fell down at HIS feet and began to worship HIM.

    It was altogether fitting that these women would become the first people on earth to actually see the risen LORD, and receive HIS good news. They had been faithfully there at HIS cross during HIS crucifixion, and they had also been there when HE was laid in HIS tomb. And now, as their just reward, they were allowed to become the first to experience the joy of the resurrection of CHRIST JESUS.

    No man can give us that kind of religion, for it is something that only GOD can do. Through the birth, ministry, passion, death, and resurrection of CHRIST JESUS, GOD is saying to us, that, HE loves us with an everlasting love that can withstand all of the suffering that this world has to offer, both, now, and, in the future.

A Sunday school lesson by,

Larry D. Alexander

LARRY DALEXANDER- Official Website

Friday, April 12, 2019

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday April 14, 2019

Over 196,000 readers worldwide

(JESUS anointed at Bethany)
(Matthew 26:1-13)

   Matthew 26 records events from the last week of JESUS’ physical “human life” here on earth, and is known as part of the “Passion Narratives” of the Holy Bible. In the biblical Greek, the word used for “passion” is “pascho” (pas-kho). It is used only one time in Scripture (Acts 1:3) and it means, quite literally, “experiencing the sensation or impression of pain”. In that instance, it refers to the suffering and death of CHRIST JESUS by crucifixion on the cross, by Roman method. Each of the four Gospels, thereby, contains narratives concerning “the Passion of CHRIST”.
    This chapter opens up in Bethany just as JESUS is completing HIS, now famous, “Mount Olive Discourse”, with HIS lecture concerning HIS “final judgment” of man. Here HE reminds HIS disciples of the upcoming Passover feast, which was only two days away. Matthew now records that, at this time, in nearby Jerusalem, there is plot being hatched by the High Priest, Joseph Caiaphas, and the other religious leaders, to secretly arrest, and subsequently, have JESUS nailed to a cross with the help of the Roman official (Governor), Pontius Palate.
    In verse 6, the story shifts back to Bethany, just east of Jerusalem, near the slopes of Mount Olive, where JESUS is now a guest in the home of Simon, a leper, whom everyone else would normally take care to avoid. We see in this passage however, that, as far as JESUS was concerned, this deadly disease was such a nonfactor that it is not even mentioned again in this passage. This is because when JESUS shows up, it is understood that all sickness and disease has to vacate that space. Remember also that, in all of New Testament Scripture, there is no instance where a person even died while JESUS was around.
    And so the story now moves on to the supper table where suddenly a woman enters into this all male gathering, and boldly pours a bottle of expensive perfume over the head of JESUS. The Gospel of the Apostle John describes this same event in greater detail in chapter 12, verses 1-8 of his account. There he actually gives us the names of the individuals involved. He tells us that the woman was Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, close friends of JESUS’, who also lived in Bethany. He also tells us that the disciple who objected so strongly and verbally by saying, “What a waste of money. She could have sold it for a fortune and given the money to the poor”, was Judas Iscariot (Matthew 26:8-9 - NLT).
    However, Judas’ objection was not motivated by his concern for the poor. In verse 6 of chapter 12 of John’s account, he tells us that Judas was a thief, and he wanted the money to put into the disciple’s treasury, which himself controlled. JESUS steps into this mood of indignation by HIS disciples, and asks them, “Why berate her for doing such a good thing to ME?” (v.10). Then HE tells them here in verse 11, that, “You will always have the poor among you, but I will not be here with you much longer. She has poured this perfume on ME to prepare MY body for burial. I assure you, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be talked about in her memory”.  
    Here JESUS tells us that this action by Mary, prepared HIM for HIS burial, which at that time, was only a few days away. It is the story of a lovely thing that contains several very special truths. First we see the extravagance that true love must contain. Mary’s alabaster jar contained perfume that was valued at an average year’s wage for a common working man. She gave it because it was the most precious thing she owned. However, true love never calculates, it never considers how little it can decently give, but rather, it desires to give the utmost it can possibly give, and then, still doesn’t feel it has given enough.
    Secondly, with true love, the commonsense view of things, fails us, because true love only obeys the dictations of the heart. Thirdly, love shows us that some things must be done when the opportunity arises, or we may never have the chance to do them again. And while some things can be done any old time, this anointing of JESUS could only be done once, and for Mary, it could only be done at that precise moment.
    And finally, it is said that the fragrance of a lovely deed will last forever, and a lovely deed done in a world full of darkness is exactly symbolic of what JESUS’ life was here on earth. HE was a lovely deed done by GOD, with the intention of lighting up a world that had long ago been rendered dark by the sins of man.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

                                           LARRY DALEXANDER- Official Website

Friday, April 5, 2019

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday April 7, 2019

Over 195,000 readers worldwide

(JESUS sends out the twelve apostles)
(Matthew 10)

   In the biblical Greek there are two words that are used for “power”. One of those words is, “dunamis (doo-nam-is)”, and it is “physical power or might”. The other word that is used for power is, “exousea” (ex-oo-see-ah), and it is “the power of authority, jurisdiction, superiority, or control over another being or entity”. It is “authoritative power” that is extended to someone in order that that person might be able to get things done in the absence of the person who is actually in charge.
    In Matthew chapter 10, JESUS, WHO at this time had already declared that HE had been given authority (power) by GOD the FATHER, over all the earth (Mark 2:10, John 5:22 and 27, John 17:2), calls HIS closest disciples together and delegates to them, some of that “authoritative power” (exousea), so that they would be able to “cast out evil spirits” and to “heal every kind of disease and sickness”.
    After giving them this spiritual authority over demons and the sicknesses that they cause, JESUS sent HIS disciples out on their first mission without HIM being physically present. Before sending them out, however, JESUS, first, gives HIS eager group of aides, specific instructions on how to travel light when they go, because the person, who travels light, travels long, and, travels fast.
     On this first mission, JESUS also instructed HIS men to go and witness only to the people of Israel, whom HE calls, “GOD’s lost sheep”. They were not to go to the Gentiles, or to the Samaritans, at least, not yet. However, we know now that later on, HE HIMSELF, would minister to them, and then posthumously, HE would commission Paul and many others to do the same.
    This first missionary task would be an urgent undertaking, and the disciples wouldn’t have time to socialize with people all over town. JESUS instructed them to make themselves guests in only one home (v.11)(Luke 9:4), and if they weren’t welcome in a town or village that they entered into, they were to “shake even the dust of that place from their feet” and move on to the next city. They were not to linger in any place that rejected GOD’s message and plan for them, as there could be no preaching or teaching in the wrong atmosphere.
    JESUS further instructed HIS disciples that, when they were invited into someone’s home, they were to give that home their blessing, and if the home ultimately displayed unworthiness or rejection of their message, they were to take back that blessing. And JESUS assured them that those people in those rebellious places would be worse off in the end, than the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah back in the days of Abraham (Vs.12-15).
    JESUS told HIS disciples that HE was sending them out as sheep among the wolves, and HE warned them to be as “wary as snakes”, and as “harmless as doves” while they were out there performing their mission. HE warned them that they would suffer many persecutions because of their allegiance to HIM, even in the Church, and while all these things were happening, they should not worry so much as even what they would say. For the HOLY SPIRIT would be there with them, instructing them on all matters (VS.16-23).
    In all generations, the student shares the fate of the teacher, especially the home. What a child is taught by a parent, good or bad, will always affect their life down the line in some way. The parent, especially the father, should always make sure that the things they teach their household in privacy are those things that will not bring them shame in the public.
    Teaching the family the things of GOD in the privacy of the home will always be backed by the power and strength of CHRIST JESUS and the HOLY SPIRIT before the world. The believer should never be afraid to espouse those things loudly from the rooftops, which they have been taught from the Word of GOD privately. Remember, people can only kill the body, which is scheduled to die one day anyway, however, GOD, the holder of everyone’s fate, can destroy, both, the body, and, the soul, in hell (Vs.24-28).
    In verse 32-33 JESUS declares that, “If anyone acknowledges ME publicly here on earth, I will openly acknowledge that person before MY FATHER in Heaven. But if anyone denies ME here on earth, I will deny that person before MY FATHER in Heaven”. JESUS says “HE did not come to bring peace on earth” (in other words, “make us comfortable in our sin”), but rather, HE came to separate us from the enemy (satan), who already resides in every home, working through family members.
    That is why we must be able to love JESUS more than we love family members, and “we must take up our own cross” (confess and take responsibility for our own sins) and follow the ONE, JESUS, WHO can save us, and, our family members. However, if we try to cling to “our old life”, which is destine for “eternal death in Hell” with satan, we will forfeit the opportunity to find new “Eternal Life” in Heaven with GOD (Vs.34-39).
    Any household that welcomes true men of GOD welcomes JESUS, and thereby welcomes GOD WHO sends us. In fact, that household will receive the same reward that is preserved for prophets who speak for GOD. And if we get in the habit of welcoming GODly people (people who are seeking GOD) into our homes, we will, in effect, store up treasures for ourselves in Heaven. We are rewarded for everything that we do to aid GOD’s people, and promote GOD’s cause (Vs.40-42).     
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

                                           LARRY DALEXANDER- Official Website