Matthew 19:13

Verse of the Day Devotion Matthew 19:13  

“Then some children were brought to Him so that He might lay His hands on them and pray; and the disciples rebuked them.” – Matthew 19:13 

There was a time when some children were brough to Jesus so He could lay His hands on them and pray for them.  We see this in our focus verse.  This was most likely the parents who brought them to Him.  However, the disciples rebuked them for doing this.  Now it is important to know that just before this occurred, the Pharisees had come to Jesus and had asked Him about divorce.  “And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” Matthew 19:3.  Then Jesus counters their argument, essentially rebuffing them.  Now a rebuff is essentially a rejection of something said in an abrupt manner.  However, when the parents brought the children to Him, He allowed them to go right up to Him and he laid His hands  on them and prayed over them. 

Now the disciples rebuked the parents for bringing them to Him.  However, Jesus said to them, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14.  Jesus told them leave the children, and ultimately the parents, alone.  “Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14.   Mark’s version says Jesus was indignant about what they did.  This showed that He basically rebuked them, telling them they had no business telling them to go away.  And after a time, He went off after laying hands on them. “And after laying His hands on them, He departed from there.” Matthew 19:15.

It is important to remember that children in Jesus’ time were not necessarily regarded as special or particularly endearing, with the exception of their own family. Many cultures today look on children as especially sweet, innocent, and even wise at times. It seems that the Jewish culture in that day did not see children in such optimistic terms. The disciples most likely rebuked those bringing the children to Jesus because they felt bringing children to Jesus was socially improper or possibly they thought the children would bother Jesus. It is likely that their move to hinder the parents from bringing their children to Jesus was motivated not by unkindness but by a desire to respect Jesus’ position as a teacher. But Jesus wanted the children to come to Him, for He told them, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14. I believe He wanted to bless them before He left.

It is wonderful to think of Jesus interacting with children. They are often needy and dependent, and they know almost nothing about this life. They react on emotion rather than reason. Yet Jesus said, “for the  kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14.  Jesus’ command to “let the little children come to me” reveals several truths.  First, children are as important to Jesus as anyone else, and therefore we must help them be introduced to Jesus as well.  The Lord wants to bless children, and He corrected His disciples when they tried to send them away.  Parents should be encouraged to bring their children to Jesus at as early an age as possible and teach them His ways. Second,  Jesus has regard for the weakest and most vulnerable among us. No matter how compassionate Jesus’ followers are, Jesus Himself is more compassionate. And those who come to Christ must do so in childlike humility, faith, and simplicity.  Remember what Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:4-5.   

Like children who naturally follow their parents, believers must come to Him in the same basic way. Faith is not about knowing everything or doing everything right. It is about knowing that no matter what happens, our Father will take care of us. That trust in Him, even when life is extremely troubling and sad and makes no sense, is what makes a believer like a child. “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.” John 6:37.   God loves His children, His people.  And we should see Him as a child sees His wonderful parents, as someone who loves us, cares for us, and will always be there at all times.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries. 

Mark 4:21

Verse of the Day Devotion Mark 4:21 

“And He was saying to them, A lamp is not brought to be put under a basket, is it, or under a bed? Is it not brought to be put on the lampstand?” – Mark 4:21 

Today we will look at the Parable of a Lamp under a basket.  Here is this parable as found in Matthew’s gospel.

And He was saying to them, A lamp is not brought to be put under a peck-measure (basket), is it, or under a bed? Is it not brought to be put on the lampstand?  For nothing is hidden, except to be revealed; nor has anything been secret, but that it should come to light. If any man has ears to hear, let him hear.  And He was saying to them, Take care what you listen to. By your standard of measure it shall be measured to you; and more shall be given you besides. For whoever has, to him shall more be given; and whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.” Mark 4:21-25.

In order to get a full understanding of this parable, we must look closely at our focus verse.  In the New American Standard Bible (NASB) which I predominantly use, along with most other translations, the wording is “A lamp is not brought”.  However, in the Greek the wording is much more interesting. It is literally saying, “The Lamp does not come”.  The imagery is of the Messiah, coming down to bring the truth to mankind.  We read the following in the Gospel of John. “Again, therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12.  And, “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” John 1:4. And again, “We must work the works of Him who sent Me, as long as it is day; night is coming, when no man can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” John 9:4-5.  There are some who say the lamp represents the Kingdome of God.  But based on Christ’s claim in various places that He was the light of the world, I believe it must be Christ

Therefore, the way the Greek puts it makes sense.  He did not come into the world to be put under a basket or under a bed.  He did not come to conceal His message. He came to declare it, and He uses parables many times to present them.  Then He says, “For nothing is hidden, except to be revealed; nor has anything been secret, but that it should come to light.” Mark 4:22. This verse seems to contradict verse 21. However, Jesus and His kingdom were concealed temporarily, for He was not fully revealed until after the resurrection.  On earth He took on the form of man, just as any other man.  But after the resurrection, He was fully revealed for who He truly was, the promised Messiah, the Son of God.  However, the kingdom will not be fully revealed until the consummation of all things. 

Then next he says, “If any man has ears to hear, let him hear.” Mark 4:23. And then Mark clarifies what He meant. “And He was saying to them, “Take care what you listen to. By your standard of measure, it shall be measured to you; and more shall be given you besides.” Mark 4:24. Jesus was telling them to listen carefully to what they are taught.  However, they were not simply to learn themselves, but they were called to teach others what they learned.  Because the mere hearing and receiving cannot be seen as measuring out, what He is saying is that as you teach others the truth, the more diligence you give in this teaching then their knowledge will also increase, which will allow them to teach even more.  Basically, the willingness and effort that are necessary for paying close attention to Jesus’ parables will be proportionately rewarded. The next phrase and still more will be given you underscores the positive, rich reward that comes from careful consideration of Jesus’ parables.

In closing, Jesus came as a light to this world.  When He left, He placed that office upon us.  Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp, and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:13-16.  The disciples were taught by Christ the truth of the gospel and were then called to go out and spread it.  We are now those who are called to tell our world the gospel message.  “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20.  We are now the ones to reveal the truth of Jesus to all we come to.  Are we diligent in this work? 

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries. 

1 Timothy 6:7

Verse of the Day Devotion: 1 Timothy 6:7 

“For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.” – 1 Timothy 6:7    

This seems like an obvious statement, however, when we look into this verse a bit, it says a lot more than what many have seen.  Let us first look at the verse just prior to this one.  “But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.” 1 Timothy 6:6. When we live a godly life, we are living as He has commissioned us to live.  We make God our ultimate priority, we live as He has called us to live, we share the gospel with all who need to hear it, we love everyone, seeing them as more important than ourselves.  These are but a few of the characteristics of a godly life.  And when we find ourselves content in living this life then we receive great gain from our Father. However,  this is not mean in worldly possessions. 

What Paul is referring to is a life content with what we have, no matter how little that may be.  If we are satisfied with what God provides, then we will not be looking at how we can get more things, but how we can strengthen the relationship we have with God.  Looking forward we see a picture of what this means.  “If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.” 1 Timothy 6:8. If we have these basic resources, then we should be happy and content, because we also have access to the almighty God who desires to spend time with us.  Contentment has the idea of satisfaction.  Whatever God’s provision is, in that we should be content / satisfied.  Remember God’s promise to us as stated again by Paul.  “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19.  God will provide all of our needs.  If He does not provide it, then we really do not need it.  Often, we say we need something when in reality we just want it.  And He did not say He would provide our wants, though He may.  But He did say He will provide our needs. 

Now, back to our focus verse.  When we were born, we could not bring anything into this world.  He created us and placed us in our mother’s womb.  Everything we have then is provided after we are born.  And likewise, we cannot take anything of this world with us when we die.  No matter how much importance we place upon it, we must leave it behind.  This is so because these things are not actually necessary in the next life, whether it be in Heaven or the lake of fire.  And to be perfectly honest, they are not all the important here also. I am not saying our possessions are bad, I am saying that we place too much importance on them.  As Christians, what really matters is our relationship with God Almighty.  Things do not really matter that much, except for as Paul said to the Timothy food and covering. He will provide what we need to live here and to fulfill His calling on us. 

It is a good idea sometimes to examine ourselves regarding what we find important, and if we discover we desire or place too much attention on ‘worldly things’ than maybe we need to make adjustments with the help of or Father in heaven.  God is to be of ultimate importance, and we need to be content with what He provides us while here in this life.  He will provide our needs.  Let us not be dissatisfied because we do not have certain things found here.  Be content with God and His provisions.  The satisfaction we will have will be worth much more than anything the world has to offer.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.