Author Archives: Steve Green

6-25-2019 Walking in Truth Devotional update by Guy Roberson

Walking in Truth Devotional Update

Jesus Heals the Blind Beggar

 (Mat 20:29-34; Mk 10:46-50; Lk 18:35-43)

Guy Roberson

Mark informs us that this blind beggar was named Bartimaeus. This is truly another of the great works of Jesus and proves again that He had power over all nature.

Again, we have some variation in the three accounts. Matthew and Mark report that the incident took place as Jesus was going out of Jericho, but Luke tells us that it took place as Jesus was approaching Jericho. Matthew was there personally; Mark got his story from Peter, who was there; and Luke carefully researched his account from eyewitnesses (Luke 1:1-4). Beggars would often be found at the city gate where people are passing in and out.

Jesus is traveling to Jerusalem, with a great multitude following Him, came near to Jericho when this blind beggar called out to Him, when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.” He apparently believed that Jesus was the Messiah, and that He could heal blindness. When instructed by the multitude that he should be quiet he cried out more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Apparently, this beggar had faith that the Son of David would grant his request. “Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ ‘Lord, I want to see,’ he replied” (18:40-42). One of the great characteristics of Jesus was His compassion. As any human being struggling with the temptations of life, I am so impressed with my Lord’s warmth and compassion. This blind beggar must have been touched with it as well as Jesus stopped and spoke with him.

Why did Jesus ask him, “What do you want Me to do for you?” Obviously, Jesus knew what he wanted. Some have suggested that Jesus wanted him to energize faith and cause it to be vocalized, or to help the person himself determine what he wanted from Jesus. The only parallel is at the Pool of Bethesda, where Jesus asks the paralyzed man, “Do you want to get well? Notice that Jesus said to the blind beggar, “Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God (v. 43). Because Bartimaeus believed and put his faith in Jesus, he received his sight back.

Perhaps we should learn from this great story that our faith should appeal to God based on mercy and not merit. In truth, all mankind is like this blind man. Satan has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory

 

By Guy Roberson

 

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6-18-2019 Walking In Truth Devotional Update; by Guy Roberson

Walking in Truth Devotional Update

The Parable of the Vineyard

(Mat 20:1-16)

Guy Roberson

The disciples had asked the Lord a question, which indicated a misunderstanding on their part about the rewards that God had promised them in the kingdom.  Jesus tells the Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16) in response to Peter’s question in Matthew 19:27: “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?” Peter wanted to know what reward would be given to those who give up everything to follow Jesus. In response, Jesus explains this truth about the kingdom of heaven.  This parable speaks of rewards. It also speaks of God’s sovereignty that allows Him to give rewards according to His own perfect will.
A landowner needed to hire day laborers to work in his fields, and so he went to what we would call the labor pool and hired several workers. He agreed to pay these workers the standard wage – a denarius a day. A denarius was a typical day’s wage for a soldier or a day laborer in the time of the Lord Jesus. Needing more help, he made several more trips to the labor pool, hiring additional workers. But to these workers, he gave no specific commitment. He did not tell them what he would pay, only that he would do “whatever is right.” The last group of workers was hired one hour before the workday ended. The landowner made no specific commitment to them about how much they were to receive.
And when pay time came at the end of the day, the land owner ordered those who came last to be paid first.  That was important for those who went first to work in the vineyard so what they would be paid.  Normally, we would expect the first workers to be paid and each group in the order in which they went to work.  We learn that the way God gives blessings, is different from the way we give blessings and wages, by the very fact that He has those who go out last, paid first.  The second thing that we learn is that all the men are paid the same thing. Those who had worked nine hours, are paid the same as those who had worked twelve hours.  Those who had worked three hours are paid the same as those who worked twelve hours.  Those who had worked one hour were paid the same as those who had worked twelve hours.  Jesus is teaching us the way God’s blessings work and illustrates the principle that “the last will be first, and the first will be last” (Matt. 19:30 and Matt. 20:16).  The most direct interpretation, based on the content of the parable, is that all believers, no matter how long or how hard they work during their lifetime, will receive the same basic reward: eternal life. The thief on the cross (Luke 23:39–43), whose life of service was limited to a moment of repentance and confession of faith in Christ, received the same reward of eternal life as did Timothy, who served God for years. The ultimate reward of eternal life will be given to all equally, on the basis of God’s grace in Christ Jesus, regardless how long and how much one may accomplish as a servant of the Lord.
One of the serious mistakes made was the fact that the ones who went first to work in the vineyard did not recognize the sovereign rights of the owner.  “These last men have worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day.” He gave them exactly what he told them he would give by contract, and he simply decided to be generous with the other men, and yet, they did not recognize his right to do that.  Jesus doesn’t want His disciples to be characterized by the attitude that God has shortchanged us.  We must not think that we must earn the blessings from God.  Rather, we should have a sincere desire to please Him.  Furthermore, we must not be bitter about the things God may do for others but withholds from us.  Every Christian is blessed beyond measure with everything we need to serve and be faithful to our Lord and in the end we will all receive heaven and all of the glories of the throne room of God.  How could we ask for more?

 

by Guy Roberson

 

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6-11-2019 Walking in Truth Devotional Update; Guy Roberson

Walking in Truth Devotional Update

May I Sit at Your Right Hand?

Matt. 20:20-28; Mk. 10:35-45

Guy Roberson

As a parent, I can appreciate the mother of James and John asking Jesus to allow her sons to sit on either side of Him when He came into His kingdom. She wanted the best for them as any loving parent wants for his/her children.
However, some have suggested that Matthew and Mark contradicted each other since Matthew tells us that it was the mother of James and John that asked Jesus, while Mark mentioned only that James and John asked Jesus.
It is often said that the Gospel accounts are not contradictory, but complementary and this is another example, I believe. It is possible that Matthew and Mark simply recorded the same event but focused on different individuals. It is possible also that James and John approached Jesus with their mother to ask such an important question. The fact that the discussion between Jesus and the two brothers following the initial question is virtually identical in both books, there is no contradiction.
This story reminds us of the argument the disciples had regarding who would be the “greatest” (Mark 9:34). Apparently, they didn’t learn anything from the Lord’s teaching at that time, because here two disciples are again concerned about greatness in the kingdom of the Lord. However, there was a third time (Luke 22:24). Upon that occasion Jesus taught humility and service and the key to greatness in His kingdom by washing the feet of His disciples (John 13:4-17). Here is something wonderful. Jesus, God the Word, in heaven left all of that to come to earth to serve the needs of mankind through suffering and death.
Whether we like to admit it or not, this problem is seen over and over among God’s people today. Do you remember the game we use to play as children called, “king of the hill”? Somebody would occupy a position and the rest would try to knock or push him/her off and take the position to be king. Well we find such attitudes in the church. It may be an elder, preacher, deacon or some member who is rich or someone with a great education. In 67 years of preaching I have seen it all, I think. But, one of the things I have enjoyed about the Walnut Street church is the lack of any such efforts to either promote or seek such greatness. Along with three excellent elders and deacons we have brethren from every walk of life, and it is a real joy to see how the brethren work together and assist one another and strive for the glory of God.
Back to our study, James and John did not ask to be servants but for honor and position of power. Jesus asked the disciples “Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They replied, “We are able.” He questions them as to whether they realized the high price that would have to be paid to be counted worthy of the position they were seeking. They will have to be able to “drink the cup” that Jesus was about to drink. So Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink the cup that I drink, and with the baptism I am baptized with you will be baptized; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared.” Jesus is completely submissive to the Father and will not usurp the divine order in any way. This is also a reminder that all that we get from God is according to His grace.
When the other disciples heard about the request of James and John they were indignant concerning the two brothers because they saw them seeking an advantage over them. I am not sure the others were not as guilty. “But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Jesus does not require more than he is willing to give. He modeled service and sacrifice from cradle to grave. While in the form of God, he “emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:5-8). This is the great lesson we must all learn.
What are you striving for in the Kingdom of the Lord, the greatest Kingdom in all the history of mankind?

 

Guy Roberson

 

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