THOUGHTS FROM MATTHEW

June 7

Text: Matthew 18:18

"Truly I say to you, whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.Ē (NASB)

In this text, Jesus talked to the twelveónot to people of today.  Jesus made the same statement to Peter in Matthew 16:19 after Peter confessed that Jesus was the Christ.  Jesus made this statement because of his confidence in the 12ís faithfulness to his teachings and emphasis.

This was not permission to do whatever they wanted or agreed on.  It was not turning the future of Jesusí mission over to human desire or understanding.  Rather it was a statement of encouragement and responsibility.   Then they did not even understand the challenges of spiritual greatness (Matthew 18:1), but later they would.  These men would be filled with Godís guidance (the Holy Spirit, see Acts 2:4), and would not reject that guidance even when it led to new, unpopular insights.

Perhaps the best example of this is Acts 10.  Note (1) all it took to convince Peter to go to a Gentile.  (2) Peterís willingness to go even though he did not understand (Acts 10:29).  (3) Peterís new understanding announced in Acts 10:34, 35.  (4) Peterís willingness to act on the basis of his new understanding (Acts 10:47, 48).  (4) The unpopularity of Peterís act evident in Acts 11:1-3.

Dedication to and the willingness to follow Godís ways revealed through Jesus will result in new understandings, and the courage to adopt those new ways in personal behavior and the way we use life.

Too rarely do we consider the enormous responsibility that rested on and was accepted by the 12.  We are more likely to think about what we regard as their privileges rather than their responsibilities.  Jesus trusted these men to respond in full faithfulness to him in understanding and implementing new insightsóeven when those insights were personally costly and unpopular.  It is difficult to deliberately do things that you know will make you unpopular!  The privileges of responsibility are often heavy!

Suggestion for reflection: How much should Jesus trust you?  (Read Philippians 2:9-11.)

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