Right after Jesus told his disciples to go into all the world and make disciples he said, Teach them to do everything I have commanded you. And remember that I am always with you until the end of time. He was about to leave the earth physically, but he said that he was always going to be with them. That's like someone says 'I'll never leave you' as they walk out the door. Jesus didn't mean that he would always physically be with them, but that his Holy Spirit would always be with them. John 14:16-17 says, I will ask the Father, and he will give you another helper who will be with you forever. That helper is the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept him, because it doesn’t see or know him. You know him, because he lives with you and will be in you.
God loves you so much that he sent his Son to be a man and die in your place. When Jesus returned to his Father God sent his Holy Spirit. Jesus lived with us, but his Holy Spirit lives in us. The Holy Spirit comforts, guides, convicts and intercedes for us.
Matthew 28:19 is known as the Great Commission. Jesus told his disciples, 'Go and make followers of all people in the world. Baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit'. The NIV says, go and make disciples of all nations. A disciple is a student or a learner. Jesus was commanding his disciples to tell people about him so that they would follow him too. This instruction wasn't just for the disciples but for all Christians.
God calls some people to other countries to share the good news—we refer to them as missionaries. However, you don't have to go to the other side of the world to make disciples, you can start right where you are. You can share the good news about what Jesus did with your friends and family. In John 13:34-35 Jesus said, 'I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other just as I loved you. All people will know that you are my followers if you love each other.' Sometimes the best way that we can make disciples is to love people.
Matthew 26:36-39 says, Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee. Grief and anguish came over him, and he said to them, “The sorrow in my heart is so great that it almost crushes me. Stay here and keep watch with me.” He went a little farther on, threw himself face downward on the ground, and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, take this cup of suffering from me! Yet not what I want, but what you want.”
Jesus had just shared the passover supper with his disciples and gone to Gesthemane to pray. He knew that he was going to be crucified shortly and he was overcome with grief. You know that kind of anxiety where your guts turn to liquid? It was like that but worse, because he wasn't about to speak in front of the whole school or sit an exam—he was about to take the sin of the whole world! He didn't want to suffer but he prayed that God's will would be done, not his.
This is a principle we can apply to our prayer. We can ask God for what we want, but we should pray that God's will would be done. In the Lord's Prayer in Matthew 6:10 Jesus said we should pray, Let your will be done on earth as it is done in heaven. Try it this week.
In Matthew 25 Jesus was telling the parable of the sheep and the goats. The sheep represent those who follow Jesus and the goats represent everyone else. Matthew 25:35-40 says:
When I was hungry, you gave me something to eat, and when I was thirsty, you gave me something to drink. When I was a stranger, you welcomed me, and when I was naked, you gave me clothes to wear. When I was sick, you took care of me, and when I was in jail, you visited me.” Then the ones who pleased the Lord will ask, “When did we give you something to eat or drink? When did we welcome you as a stranger or give you clothes to wear or visit you while you were sick or in jail?” The king will answer, “Whenever you did it for any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did it for me.”
Basically he is saying that every time you helped or served someone else it was as if you helped God himself. You may not be able to visit someone in hospital or in jail but there are other things that you can do to help others. You can give some of your clothes to charity (check with your parents first), buy some groceries to contribute to hampers for the poor (even if it's just a pack of biscuits), write someone a get well card.
Challenge: think of some ways that you can help and serve others this week, especially those in need.
Jesus is coming again one day but we don't know when. In Matthew 24:42 Jesus said, keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. He explained that if a householder knew what time the thief was coming, he wouldn't let him break in. Don't get caught sleeping (metaphorically speaking). Satan will try to steal you hope, trust, peace and joy. Keep watch so that he doesn't carry out his wicked schemes.
I believe that we keep watch by reading our Bibles, talking to God in prayer, praising him (even when it's hard), meeting together with other Christians, loving others and serving God. That's how we make sure we're ready when he comes. Are you ready?
Jesus was talking to the Pharisees and the teachers of the law when he said, People look at you and think you are godly. But on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and evil. They were concerned about their reputations but neglected their hearts. I think it's easy for Christians to fall into this trap - they go to church and youth group, know their Bible, volunteer at kids church... But they also criticise and judge people, don't love their neighbours, don't help the poor... Jesus described these people as tombs that were decorated on the outside but full of bones on the inside.
Are you more concerned about doing the right thing so that you look good and holy to others? Are there some dead bones such as judgement and criticism that you need to sweep out? I want to be known for the sharing the love of Jesus, not for my faultless church attendance.
In Mark 12 Jesus was asked, 'what is the most important commandment?' In verse 30 he answered, 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.' In the Old Testament, the Jews were given Ten Commandments and many laws to obey. In the New Testament Jesus gave us just two - love God and love others. I love God, but I don't always love him with ALL my heart, ALL my soul, ALL my mind and All my strength. It's my life's goal to learn to do this though. We get distracted by loving the world and our affections are split between God and the world. God wants all of our affection though.
If you follow Jesus wholeheartedly it will be reflected in how you spend your time. if you spend more time on social media, Netflix and listening to the latest hits than reading the Bible, praying, serving others and worshiping, you might want to re-evaluate your life. I'm not perfect. Spiritual growth is a journey. Pick one spiritual discipline, such as prayer, and find more time to include it in your day. Find things to help you do this like setting an alarm, using a prayer journal or finding a quiet place free of distractions to pray. What small step towards loving Jesus with all your heart, soul, strength and mind can you make today?
In Matthew chapter 20 Jesus was leaving Jericho when two blind men kept yelling to him, pleading for him to have mercy on them. No doubt, they had heard the stories of how Jesus had healed people. The crowd told them to be quiet, but they just yelled louder. Jesus said, "what do you want me to do for you? They answered that they wanted their sight. Jesus had compassion on them and healed them.
Here are some more things that Jesus said about asking:
1. You need to ask for good things.
Matthew 7:7 (GNT)
Ask, and you will receive; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you
The passage goes on to explain that human fathers give good gifts to their children, so how much more will your Heavenly Father give us good things. This doesn't mean that God will give us the latest iPhone, a boyfriend, or a million dollars. Even though we may want those things, they may not be good for us.
2. You need to have faith and believe that God can do what you're asking.
Matthew 21:22 (NIV)
If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.
3. You need to ask in the name of Jesus.
John 14:13 (NIV)
I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
Can you think of a time when you asked God for something and you received it?
Matthew 19:30 is a perfect example of Jesus' upside down economy. The world says the first will be first and the last will be last. But Jesus said, many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first. The people we consider being first or winning at life include those who are famous, successful, attractive, wealthy... but many of them do not know Jesus and therefore, won't have an eternal address in heaven. The people that we consider being last are those who are poor, unsuccessful, sick, outcasts... and many of them will find Jesus and spend eternity with him. These are the kind of people that Jesus hung out with when he walked the earth. God doesn't measure success like the world does. In his eyes being successful is loving God and loving others. Jesus doesn't say that everyone who is first will be last, just many. There are certainly people who are successful and famous who love Jesus. So the moral of the story: don't get hung up on being successful the way the world measures success. Love Jesus and love others, then you will be first in heaven.
A rich young guy came to Jesus and asked him what he had to do to be good. Jesus told him to obey the commandments which he said he had done. So Jesus told him, If you want to be perfect, go sell everything you own! Give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven. Then come and be my follower. We can assume that the young man was good because he obeyed the commandments, but Jesus challenged him, that if he wanted to be perfect, he had to sell everything he owned and give it to the poor. The rich young man was sad when he heard this. It's easy to get attached to money and stuff, particularly in western society. In verse 23-24 Jesus said, It’s terribly hard for rich people to get into the kingdom of heaven! In fact, it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to get into God’s kingdom. He used exaggeration to illustrate how difficult it is for someone who is rich to be born again, because they rely on their riches, instead of God. A camel would have possibly have been the largest animal they were familiar with and the eye of a need was possibly the smallest hole they could relate to. He does go on to clarify that with God everything is possible - even a rich man being born again.
The Enduring Word commentary warns us against two mistakes:
The important message in this passage is that we should be prepared to give up everything to follow Jesus and we should share what we have with the poor.
Short and sweet inspirations for Christian teen girls.