Matthew 5:1-12 (1)


People whom Jesus bless
Reading: Matthew 5:1-12

Jesus would bless these 8 kinds of people.
Let's see who they are.

1. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus will bless the poor in spirit.
Who are they?
They are spiritually hungry.
They want to know God.
They are hungry for God.
They desire to know the eternal God.
They pray to get to know God and obey God.
They know that they could not live without God.
So they pray:
“God, help me.”

They will have the kingdom of God.
God will say:
“The Kingdom of God is for you.
You take it.
You are hungry after me.
You trust me.
You depend on me.
So have all of me and have what is mine.”

2. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Who are mourning today?
Who are sad about injustice and inequality in this world?
Who desire to turn things around?
Who are feeling sorrow for what is going on in this world?

Who are mourning for what they lost?
Who are sorrowful for their wrongdoings?
Who repent because they are sorrowful of their sins in their hearts?
Who weep for their past spiritual laziness?
Who regret things?
Who regret that they didn’t pay attention to what God is saying to them?
Who regret that they didn’t help those in need?
Who regret that they didn’t maintain their heart pure before God?
Who mourn in Jesus Christ?
Who pray that Jesus may redeem their lives?

Jesus will comfort them and restore their life.
Jesus bless them to live wisely.
Jesus will bless them to make good choices according to God’s will.
Jesus will bring them to the right places where they can be fully alive and be useful to God.

3. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

David also said: Psalm 37:11
“The meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.”

David seems to say that the meek are those who wait for the Lord.
David said: Psalm 37:9
"Those who wait for the Lord shall possess the land."

The meek means gentle and patient.
The meek in God are also hopeful.
So they wait.

What else do the meek do: Psalm 37:5–8
They commit their way to the Lord.
They do not worry, when people succeed carrying out their wicked schemes.
They are not annoyed, when the wicked prosper.
They do not worry or not be annoyed, because it leads to evil.
Instead they refrain from anger and turn away from wrath.

The meek trust in God.
They know that God has the power.
God is in control.
God knows what God is doing.

So the meek trust their way to God, because God is gracious and will work out for the best.
They wait for God’s work in their lives.
So they are quiet and steady in the midst of all the changes.
They are calm and still before the Lord and wait patiently for God.

Then God does his work and rewards them.
God defends them and calls them righteous.
God gives them the land where they can work and rule.

In the Bible we meet some people who are meek.
For example, God said Moses was meek.
How meek was he? Numbers 12:1–16

One time his sister and brother, Miriam and Aaron criticized Moses:
They spoke against Moses, as Moses married a non Jewish woman whose skin was darker.

Then they said:
"Has the Lord spoken only through Moses?
Has he not spoken through us as well?"

Moses was humble and didn't say a word.
He didn’t worry because he knew God is in control.
So he waits for the Lord.

Then God came to his defense.
The Lord said to Moses, Aaron and Miriam:
"Come out, you three, to the tent of meeting."
Then the Lord rebukes Miriam and Aaron before Moses.

Jesus said something like this, too: Matthew 11:29
"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Jesus was saying:
“I am meek and humble.”
Jesus has the meek and humble character of God.

God who is meek helps the meek to help people to know who God is.
Jesus will make the way for them to inherit the earth.

Paul said: Galatians 6:1–2.
“If a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of meekness.”

James also said something like this: James 3:13 and 17.
“The truly wise person is the truly meek person.
True wisdom is peaceable, gentle, and open to reason.”

4. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Who is hungry for the right thing?
Who wants what is right for this world?
Who has to have peace and justice?
Who desires the right thing to be done?
Who is eager to have what is totally good?
Who pray to create something good and right for God and for people?
Who is hungry and thirsty for what Jesus is hungry and thirsty for?
Who prays that Jesus may accomplish his will in their life?
Who prays “God, help us”?
Who is thirty for the mercy of God?

Who wants to know the whole truth?
Who desires to understand the mind of Jesus?
Who studies what Jesus says?
Who desires to know the life of Jesus?
Who obeys Jesus and speaks for Jesus?

They will be satisfied, because Jesus God will satisfy them.
Jesus trains them to know the whole truth.
Jesus will guide them to know the whole truth.
Jesus will inspire them and guides their minds.
Jesus will show them the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus will do his works to accomplish God’s will on earth.
Jesus will use them.

5. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

Who are merciful in God’s way?
Who are merciful according to God’s plan?
Who wants to help people in God’s way?
Who are kind?
Who love and support the poor?
Who works for the poor?
Who build homes for the poor?
Who serve the poor, even when they are not appreciated?
Who look after the poor, even when they are persecuted?
Who practice the love and mercy of Jesus God?

To them God will show his mercy.
God will use people to show his mercy.

6. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

Who has a pure motive in heart?
They will see God whom other people don’t see.
Who has a pure intention and motive toward God?
They will serves God as they have a loving relationship with God.
They may do what is right in the eyes of God and live purely with God.

Watch out for those who live a holy and pure life in Jesus.
Watch out for those who are honest with God and with people.
Their words will purify this world.
Their lives make people purer.

Jesus will approve them and say about them:
“They see God.
I will guide them to see God.
They will see me.
I will show them the mind of God so that they understand God.
I will protect their heart to be purer.
I will help them to maintain their heart pure before God.
I will send them the Holy Spirit who makes them even purer.
The Holy Spirit creates a new and pure heart in them.
The Holy Spirit removes various obstacles from their hearts so that they may have purity in heart.
The Holy Spirit will live with them and love them.”

The Bible says: Proverbs 16:2
“All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord.”

So Jesus may ask people:
“Who do you say I am?
Who am I?
Do you think I don’t see?
Do you think you can serve me in whatever way you want?
Who do you think I am?”

Jesus knows people not through their words and actions.
Jesus God sees their hearts.
People may deceive others including themselves.
But Jesus God sees and understands.
Eventually their fruits will show who they were.

7. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

Who are peacemakers?
As God empowers them, they make peace and harmony between God and humans beings; and among people.
They patiently try to include everyone into their circle of love?
They pray to build a society where every innocent culture is welcome.
They seek peace and pray for peace.

They know that God loves them.
So they have the heavenly peace in their soul.
As God dwells in their hearts, they have the inner heavenly peace.
As their heart is filled with God’s peace, so, they choose peace.
And they share inner peace with others as they know that God loves everyone.

So they pray for peaceful relationships and peaceful societies.
They pray to build up a peaceful families and churches of God.
They pray for peace between denominations and between religions.
They constantly promote peace.
They pray to build a peaceful world.
They pray and help people to live peacefully.
They will pray to keep their nations safe.
They will pray to suggest a godly system for their nations.
They may travel far and wide in order to create peace.
They seeks the wellness of everyone.
They see Jesus as the Prince of Peace.

Jesus will call them the children of God, as they do the workers of God.
Jesus will give them his energy of love and discernment.
Jesus will use them to speak to this world.

8. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus knows that people would be persecuted because of him.
Those who live to speak for Jesus may be persecuted because they speaks what is right.
Those who speak what God asks them to speak may be persecuted.
But who is going to keep on speaking the truth when people complain about them?
Who is courageous enough to speak and follow Jesus like that?
Who want what God wants?
Who understand God’s righteousness?

Jesus who is God came to show God.
But there were people who tried to kill Jesus God, because he spoke the truth.
They didn’t like Jesus and the truth.
They lied about him and fought against the truth.
They hated Jesus and beat him.
They spit on the face of God.
They might have wanted to be God instead of serving Jesus the Son of God.

These people would not like those who follow God who is Jesus.
So they would resist to when God’s people say the truth.
They may treat God’s people not nicely.
They may persecute God’s people.
They may insult God’s people.
They may lie about God’s people.
They may kill God’s people.

But God’s people want to live for Jesus.
So they bless those who persecute them.
They rejoice and are glad because Jesus is with them.
Jesus continually empowers them to speak for God in this world.

Then Jesus will give them the kingdom of God.
Jesus will give them the Holy Spirit, because God has chosen them.
Jesus will reigns with them

Jesus came to bless these kind of people.
God bless these 8 kinds of people.
May we also bless these people.

And by the grace of God, if we live like God’s people, we rejoice because God is with us.
We are glad, because God will take good care of us.
God will show up.
And we will see the result.

Let's pray:
Jesus, our Savior, thank you for blessing your people.
So we had hope.
We are glad you are our God.
May you receive all the praises, worship, glory and thanks forever and ever.
In Jesus’ name we pray.


Matthew 4:12-23 (2)


Jesus and his prophets
Reading: Matthew 4:12-23
Additional reading: Joel 2: 28, Acts 2:14 – 21
Blanks: Come along with me

There are many prophets in the Bible.
Do you remember their names?

Now what does prophet do?
Right, prophets speak for God.

So in order to speak for God, what do they need to do?
Right, they need to listen to God first.
Then they can speak for God.
Then they know what God wants to say.

Now let’s think about the prophet Samuel.
Have you heard about the prophet Samuel?
He lived about 1000 years before Jesus was born.

What else do you know about him?
Right, when he was about 12 years old, God spoke to him.
God told him what God was about to do.

From that time on, Samuel let people know God’s will and God’s plans for them.
And what he said always came true.

Then some people learned the importance of listening to God.
So they wanted to hear God as well.
So Samuel guided them to listen to God; worship God; and experience the Holy Spirit.
They also learn to discern what they are hearing as well.
Then through Samuel, God raised many prophets who spoke for God.

Some of these prophets lived together in their prophetic communities.
They served God together and learned together and worshiped God together as the Holy Spirit empowered them.

It was about a thousand years before the time of Christ.
In this time of Samuel, the people of Israel they didn’t have a king.
But the people of Israel wanted to have a king instead of having a prophet who protected them by the power of God.
So they asked Samuel that they wanted a first king.
Then Samuel told them that a king would take away a lot of freedom they experienced at that time.
But for their worldly pride, they wanted to have a king like other nations.
They wanted to have a military power that they could see.

God asked Samuel to yielded to their request.
God said to Samuel:
“They didn’t reject you.
They rejected me.”

Then Samuel learned that God chose Saul for their king.
Then Samuel guided Saul to meet his prophetic community first.
Samuel told Saul who was yet to become a king: 1 Samuel 10:5-8
“You will meet a procession of prophets.
They will come down from the high place, playing their musical instruments and prophesying.
When you meet them, the Spirit of the Lord will overpower you.
You will prophesy with them.
You will be changed into a different person.
Then, do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you.”

This prophecy came true.
Saul met prophets.
Saul was suddenly prophesying with them.
The Holy Spirit overpowered Saul and gave him a gift to serve as a king.
Then for a while it went well.

But even though Saul had God’s gift, his heart has not changed yet completely.
Saul didn’t learn how important it was to obey God.
That is, Saul thought he could be a king without obeying God completely.
Saul didn't trust in God enough to wait for God.
Instead, Saul feared people more than God.
So Saul failed God.

Then God looked for another king.
Then God asked Samuel to anoint David to be a future king.
David was different.
He had a different heart.
David loved God and loved to spend time with God.
David constantly sought for God's guidance and God's help.
David could learn to wait on God and obey God.
God helped David to hear God and God’s intention.
Then David became a prophet: Matthew 22:43-45

But still before Samuel died, Samuel sent some prophets to help David.
One of them was Nathan.
When Nathan heard from God, he spoke to King David: 2 Samuel 12

Since then in the Bible, we read about many prophets appeared to kings and leaders of nations and spoke to them.
They asked them to obey God.

Samuel’s prophetic communities continued for about 300 years.
Then we meet Elijah and Elisha.
Elijah and Elisha also helped their prophetic communities in their days.
So many people were able to hear God.

This ministry of prophets continued for another 300 years.
Then we meet Isaiah and Jeremiah and Ezekiel as God spoke through them.

God was speaking through his prophets:
These prophets appeared and spoke to kings and leaders.
But sometimes kings and leaders of nations ignore them, persecuted them or killed them even though they were speaking for God.
They disobeyed God continually and failed God like King Saul.

But God knew this would happen even before he tried.
So, from the beginning, God had another plan.
So God talked about the necessity of the Messiah, the Promised One who would come and restore everything.
Because of this Messiah, God said over and over to his people:
"Nothing to worry about. Do not be afraid. I can help you. Do not be afraid. God is with you. Trust me. I will do it."

Then Jesus came.
Even when Jesus was young, he listened to God as God’s prophet.
He was listening, praying and paying attention to God.
Jesus was discerning God’s voice and obeyed God’s will for all his life.

Then about 800 years before Jesus was even born, the prophet Isaiah prophesied: Isaiah 9:1-2
“Land of Zebulun and Naphtali, the Way of the Sea, Galilee of the Gentiles, the people living in darkness have seen a great light!
On those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”

The prophet Isaiah said the Messiah would come to serve at Zebulun and Naphtali, Galilee of the Gentiles.
That is what happened:
Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.
From Galilee Jesus preached:
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
From Galilee, Jesus brought heavenly Salvation to the world.

From there Jesus gathered his new prophets.
First, he saw two brothers, Simon Peter and Andrew.
They were fishermen.
Jesus said:
“Come, follow me and I will send you out to fish for people.”
They left their nets and followed him.

He saw two other fishermen, James and John.
They were preparing their nets.
Jesus called them, and they left the boat and their father and followed him.

Then as Jesus follows God, they follow Jesus.
Jesus prepared them as God’s people, God’s prophets, God’s servants, God’s wise people, God’s teachers, God’s apostles.
Since Jesus could hear God, he speaks what God says.
Then Jesus taught them the importance of obeying God.
Then his prophets listen to God and understand God’s will.
They experience God and understand how much God loves them.
They understand that God sent his Son Jesus to save them.
In this way, they become God’s prophets.

Jesus helped them to live together as God’s community.
Then, after training them for three years, Jesus was ready to ask them to take care of his people until he comes back.

Then Jesus died for them on the cross to forgive their sins and purify them.
Then Jesus rose back up and taught them for 40 days.

About three hundred years before Jesus rose back up, the prophet Joel prophesied something like this: Joel 2:28, 29, 32
“God is about to pour out God’s Spirit on all people so that they may prophesy and speak for God.
God will pour out God’s Spirit on them.
Young people will see God’s visions.
The elderly will dream God’s dreams.
God will pour out his Spirit on God’s servants, both men and women.
And everyone who calls on the name of Jesus will be saved.”

So right before going up to heaven, Jesus asked his prophets to wait for the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem, because Jesus was about to pour out God’s Spirit on them.

Jesus asked them to wait for the Holy Spirit.
So, they waited.
They were waiting, singing to God and worshiping God for about 10 days.
Then Jesus poured out God’s Spirit on them.
They received the Holy Spirit.
Then they prophesied and spoke for God.
They were even prophesying in languages that they didn’t know.
But people from other nations, understood it.

The Holy Spirit used these prophets to change many people’s lives.
On that day, many people were saved.

The students of Jesus continually speak God’s words because they are God’s prophets.
They share the message that Jesus share with them.
Then God works miracles through them in the name of Jesus.

But then Jewish leaders ordered them to stop.
These Jewish leaders had the authority to kill them if they didn’t listen to them.
But these new prophets were different.
They boldly spoke to them like this: Acts 5:29-32
“We need to listen to God instead of you.
We must obey God rather than human beings!
We are God’s prophets.
We are to speak for God.
And remember you killed Jesus the Son of God.
But the God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead, whom you killed by hanging him on a cross.
God lifted him up to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins.
We are witnesses of these things.
So is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Jesus.”

Then the students of Jesus rejoiced because they overcame the fear of men.
Now they could stand and speak for God and for their Jesus.

They obeyed Jesus.
Jesus already spoke to these prophets: Matthew 10:18-20
“On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles.
When they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it.
At that time I will give what to say.
It is not you speaking.
But the Spirit of your Father speaks through you.”

“Do not be afraid of people. Matthew 10:26-27
Because everything will be known.
Nobody can hide anything.
What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight.
What I whisper in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.”

Today Jesus is still doing this ministry.
Jesus is still training his people to listen to God.
Jesus is still training his people to serve God.
Jesus is still training his people to get to know God’s way.
Jesus continually make his prophets for God.

Today Jesus appeared in people’s vision and dreams.
Then Jesus even chooses Muslim, Jews, and unreached people, and helps them believe in Jesus and become God’s servants, God’s prophets.
Jesus pours out the Holy Spirit on them.
Jesus helps them to worship God and pray to God.
The Holy Spirit guides them and teaches them.
The Holy Spirit trains them to walk with God and to follow the way of Jesus; so that they may guide other people to worship and serve God in the power of the Holy Spirit; so that they may help other people to know God and his thoughts.
So more people learn to live according to God's will.

God’s prophetic community continues today.
God may call us to be part of it.
Jesus helps us listen to God.
Jesus helps us to understand God’s ways of life.
The Holy Spirit may empower us to pray and spend enough time with God.
As we understand God, we may be able to serve God.
When we hear from God, we may speak for God.

Jesus may speak through us.
Then we may speak to leaders of nations to obey God.
Or as God’s prophets, we may say to God’s people:
“Nothing to worry. God will do it. Do not be afraid. Trust God. God can help you. Do not be afraid. God is with you."

May the Holy Spirit empower you to follow Jesus like prophets.
May we learn to be with God and work with God and understand that Jesus is God.
May we continually learn to listen to God and obey God.

Let’s pray:
Jesus, speak to us so that we may obey you today.
May we listen to you, get to know you and get to know you as you speak to us.
May we obey what you’ve obeyed in your life.
May we live your life on earth.
May we be your prophets who serve you and follow you.
In Jesus name, we pray.


Leviticus 25: 23-28


Jesus the redeemer
Reading: Leviticus 25: 23-28, Galatians 3:13, Colossians 1:13-14,
Additional reading: Isaiah 61:1-2, Luke 4:18-19, Leviticus 25:1-28, Mark 2:23-28, Leviticus 25: 3-5, 23-28, 47-55, Isaiah 59:20, Luke 1:68-79
Blanks: land, relative, go back, forgiveness, Christ

Have you seen this statue?
Do you know where this is?
Right, it is in Brazil.
Do you know what the name of this statue is?
They call it, Christ the Redeemer.

What does the word, “redeemer” mean?
Let’s learn about the word, because it explains the ministry of Jesus.

In order to learn this word, we need to learn about jubilee land law.
About 3200 years ago, God gave the people of Israel this jubilee land law.
God said like this: Leviticus 25:23
“The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you reside in my land as foreigners and strangers.”

God told the nation of Israel not to buy or sell the land permanently.
It is OK to buy and sell their lands temporarily.
But God is not allowing them to buy and sell their lands permanently.

What does that mean?
God ordained each Jewish family to have their lands, because their children and offspring also need to use this land.

So if they bought the land of their neighbors.
This new additional land should not be theirs forever.
They should return that land to its original owner at Jubilee.
Jubilee comes every 50th year.
On that Jubilee year, they returned this new land to their neighbors.
This is jubilee land law:
In Jubilee, all the lands go back to its original families.
So, everyone has a land.

Why do they need to practice this jubilee land laws?
In those days, if you have a land, you can make a living.
Otherwise, your life is very tough.
So having a land is like their human right.
God wants to provide that land they need to have in order to live.

That is what it means, when God said something like this: Leviticus 25: 23
“The earth is mine.
You cannot sell or buy them permanently.
Use the land like this according to my wish.
I am the creator.
I am the owner.”

Let us learn again this land law practice with these pictures.
Let’s say that there were two families: the family A and the family B.
Let’s say the family B became poor and had to sell their land.
So, the family A bought the land and used the land to produce more crops.

Now you know what happened in the year of Jubilee, the 50th year?
The family A returned the land to the family B.
The family B received the land back for free.
Then they and their children can start a new life.
Then they may take better care of their land because they learned a good lesson about keeping their lands.

This is called the redemption of the lands:
God said: Lev 25:24
“Throughout the land that you hold as a possession, you must provide for the redemption of the land.”

Then there is “redeemer.”
Who is a redeemer?
There can be this kind of situation.
After selling the land, the family B needs to wait until the Year of Jubilee to receive the land back for free, right?
But the family B has a rich relative: C.
This relative C decides to buy back the land and gives back to the family B so that they can live a better life.
This rich relative is called, redeemer.

Do you remember the story of Ruth?
In that story, Boaz was the redeemer of Naomi, the mother-in-law of Ruth.
He bought the land from Naomi and married Ruth.
Then Ruth gave birth to carry the family name of her first Jewish family.

Anyway, Boaz is the redeemer.
This is how the book of Ruth explained about Jesus who redeems us.

Anyway, this is what God said: Lev 25:25-28
“If one of your fellow Israelites becomes poor and sells some of their property, their nearest relative is to come and redeem what they have sold.
If, however, there is no one to redeem it for them but later on they prosper and acquire sufficient means to redeem it themselves, they are to determine the value for the years since they sold it and refund the balance to the one to whom they sold it; they can then go back to their own property.
But if they do not acquire the means to repay, what was sold will remain in the possession of the buyer until the Year of Jubilee.
It will be returned in the Jubilee, and they can then go back to their property.”

In this way they solved some problem of poverty in Israel.

But about 2800 years ago, when people ignore this kind of land laws, God spoke against them like this.
Isaiah said: Isaiah 5:8
“Woe to you who add house to house and join field to field till no space is left and you live alone in the land.”

So some people thought about how to apply this jubilee land laws to our modern days.
How to practice this jubilee land laws in our industrial society today?
How can a nation help each family to use lands equally?

Some say what if each nation increase the land value tax and decrease other taxes.
When the nation provides road and various infrastructure, the value of the land increase.
So each nation may get their taxes from land owners and decreases other taxes.
Then those who really need that land will buy, use and develop.
And those who don’t need that lands would not buy, because they pay taxes based on the value of the lands.
People would not buy and wait until its land price goes up.
Then the poor may be able to use lands that is available for them.

Anyway, God sees that having a land is an important human right.
People need the land where they can live or work.
So God says the land belongs to God.
And God wants people to use the lands equally as a gift from God.

Now let’s talk about spiritual meaning of the redeemer:
Originally people were created to live with God forever.
But they have sinned against God and lost their relationship with God.
So they lost their blessing as well.
Spiritually speaking, they lost their lands.
They lost what they had.
They lost their previous blessing and their true meaning of life.
So they could not live forever anymore on earth.
Instead they experienced death.
And because their relationship with God was broken, they knew less and less about God than before.

But then they have a relative, a rich relative: Jesus.
He is a rich relative, because Jesus is God, the Son of God who became a human to be their relative.
Jesus, the Son of God became the Son of Man to redeem people.

But how can he redeem people who have sinned against God?
First Jesus needed to obtain their forgiveness of sins.
He needed to pay the price to obtain their forgiveness.
But, he could not get it for free.

Then what was the price that he needed to pay to redeem people?
The Bible explained like this: Hebrews 9:22
“The law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”

In order to obtain the forgiveness of sins of all people, Moses also explained someone has to shed his blood.
To explain this, Moses described many types of animal sacrifices for their forgiveness of sins in Leviticus.
In this way, Moses was explaining about the Christ who would shed his blood to gain the forgiveness of sins of all people.

Moses said: Leviticus 17:11
“For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar.
It is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.”

The blood was the price to obtain the forgiveness of sins for all people.
This is how Moses understood how Jesus would redeem people.

Moses also explained this blood has to be from the innocent.
A sinner’s blood could not pay the price.
This blood has to be from the innocent, the Holy Person.
So the price was the death of the Holy Person.
So, in order to pay the price, Jesus is to be pure and holy without sin.

Then Moses also explained like this: Deuteronomy 21:22-23
"If someone guilty of a capital offense is put to death and their body is exposed on a pole, you must not leave the body hanging on the pole overnight.
Be sure to bury it that same day, because anyone who is hung on a pole is under God’s curse.
You must not desecrate the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance."

What is it saying?
Jesus is innocent but in order to redeem us and free us from our curse, Jesus received God's curse for us: Galatians 3:13
Jesus committed no sins, but received God’s curse so that everyone can be free.

In this way, Jesus can offer people the total forgiveness of sin.
Jesus can redeem their life, because Jesus pays the price for them.
Through his blood, through his holy death on the cross, Jesus obtained the forgiveness of sin.

Paul explained: Colossians 1:13-14
“God has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

But Isaiah said that God said: Isaiah 59:20
“The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins.”

(Matthew 11:20 "Then Jesus began to denounce the towns in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent.")

Even though Jesus took all the responsibilities of our sins, we also need to repent to receive God’s salvation.
When we repent, we come closer to God and have a living relationship with God.
And we are restored.

So Jesus says, rising from the death:
“I have redeemed you for my God.
You are forgiven.
So you can live the eternal life without the judgement.
So, now you can be God’s best friends forever.”

So Jesus is our redeemer because Jesus is the Son of God, and the Son of Man, who suffered and died for us.
Jesus can open the door of our hearts and the door of God’s heart so that we can have a living relationship with God.
Jesus the redeemer buys back our blessings and gives back to us.

We can understand like this, for our everyday life:
God wants to give us many blessings.
God gives us good opportunities so that we can be happy and blessed.
But we might reject God’s offer and have gone to a wrong path.
So we lost a heavenly opportunity.
We missed the good chances to serve God and experience God’s blessings.
We have sinned and we wasted our life and then barely survived.
We lost what God wanted to give us.

So we pray that Jesus the Redeemer may redeem our life so that we may have what he wants us to have.
We repent and pray to move into the place where he prepares for us.
Then we experience Jesus the Redeemer who provides and restores us.

This redemption is possible because Jesus lived the holy life and died on the cross to pay the price to obtain our forgiveness of sin.
Now we are forgiven, if we believe and repent.
Now we can live forever with God again.

This blessings and redemption is available for a person, a family, a church and a nation:
Let’s say there is a church that has done wrong things.
Let's say that they didn’t do the works of God.
So then we can pray that Jesus may redeem her.
Then Jesus redeems her and helps her to be the church of God again.

Like this Jesus can redeem our family and our nation and our world.
Jesus can redeem all people so that all people may have the everlasting peace, the everlasting forgiveness and the everlasting rest in Jesus the Christ.

We believe that Jesus is our redeemer; so God forgives us.
We believe that Jesus is the redeemer of our neighbors, so we forgive people and pray that Jesus may redeem them.
Then they also become God’s people.

So we call Jesus our redeemer.
Let’s pray that Jesus may continually redeem us and our world for God.

Let’s pray:
Jesus, thank for redeeming us.
May you redeem our life, our family, our church and our nation so that we may live according to your good plan.
May you redeem this world so that all may live and know you as their redeemer.
We pray this in your name.


Matthew 2:13-23 (1)


Jesus and Herod
Reading: Matthew 2:13-23
Additional reading: Heb 2: 10-18, Matthew 21:33-46
Blanks: Stay there until I tell you, Get up

It was when Jesus was about two.
Jesus was still growing up in Bethlehem.
For some reason, the family of Jesus has been staying in Bethlehem for about 2 years, instead of returning to Nazareth.
God asked them to wait in Bethlehem.
Wait for what?
God knew some scholars from the east was coming following the star.
They were late.
But still God wanted them to see Jesus in Bethlehem where Jesus was born.

So the family of Jesus waited for about 2 years.
As for these scholars, there was nothing more important than this.
They had to see this child.
So they were very happy when they saw Jesus.
Then they said that this child is the King of the Jews and offered their gifts to him.
That is their worship.

But the King Herod also heard about this child.
Because these scholars met him first, and told him about the child before they came here.
They did this, because they didn’t know who Herod was.

Who is Herod?
Herod killed people to maintain his Hellenistic kingdom.
He killed his sons and wives and other his family members because he was suspicious of them.
You see, Herod suffered from paranoia.
So, he was suspicious of other people without no good reason.
Then he became aggressive feeling that he needed to protect himself.

Herod also suffered from depression.
So when it was so severe, he even tried to commit suicide.

But also he desired to become the King of Jews.
So he renovated the temple.
And Herod built and built what people needed.
Herod built palaces, theaters, houses, synagogues, roads, port, fortress: e.g., the fortress at Masada.
People came, use and admired what Herod built.
Herod was news making, and changing landscapes.
So some people accepted his leadership.

But Pharisees didn’t want him to be their king, because Herod brought Roman Civilization and Humanism to Jerusalem.
Pharisees resisted Herod’s effort of bringing Roman culture to Jerusalem.
Then Pharisees asked Jewish people to obey their traditions, not Herod’s.
Pharisees asked this question continually resisting:
“What is like to be a true Jew?”
Then they were making their Jewish life form against Herod's Roman cultures and belief.

But Pharisees was also misled.
Later, they ignored to love and obey God from their hearts.
They lost their love toward God.
Then they could not enjoy being with God.

Anyway, Herod knew his place in the Roman world.
So he tried to bring an unity in his kingdom under the Roman Empire.
Then Herod became powerful dominating and ruling.
Then Herod was the king for about 35 years.

Anyway, back to our reading, so, Herod was not happy to hear that a Jewish boy was born to be the King of the Jews.
He decided to get rid of this mysterious boy who Maji came to see.

God knew what Herod was trying to do with this information.
So the angel of God appeared in Joseph’s dream and said:
“Go to Egypt with Jesus and Mary.
Stay there until I tell you, because Herod is trying to kill the boy.”

So Joseph’s family packed everything and went to Egypt.
But they didn't need to stay long in Egypt, because Herod died within a year.

When Herod was about to die, he built a burial place for himself at the mount Herodium.

What is Herodium?
He built this about 20 years before his death.
First, Herod built this mountain.
And on the top of the mountain, he built a small town.

Also when Herod was about to die, Herod was concerned that no one would mourn his death.
So he commanded a large group of local elders to come to Jericho, where he was.
Then he gave an order to kill them when he died so that people might mourn and show grief.
That is Herod.

But Herod's son Archelaus and sister Salome did not carry out his wish.
And Herod was buried at Herodium.

After his death, the angel of God appeared in Joseph’s dream and said:
“Go back to the land of Israel, because those who were trying to kill the boy are now dead.”

So they came back to Israel.
But Herod’s sons became kings over Israel.
One of his sons, Archelaus became the king over half of the lands: Jerusalem and Bethlehem, Samaria, Idumea and Judea area.

Joseph felt something not so good about this new king as well.
And since Joseph already registered the names of his family in Bethlehem, they might still look for the boy Jesus.
It is unlikely.
But Joseph hesitated to be settled in Bethlehem which was near Jerusalem and Herodium.

Then he went to Galilee and settled in Nazareth, where Herod’s another son, Antipas was a king over there.

About 9 years later, King Archelaus was removed because he killed so many people.
So later, Pilate was sent from Rome.

Anyway, Jesus’ family settled in Nazareth.
Jesus lived there until he was thirty years old.
So he was called, Jesus of Nazareth.
Later people didn’t even know that Jesus was born in Bethlehem.

When he was about thirty, Jesus spent his time with John the Baptist at Judea.
Then Jesus came back to Galilee area and started his ministry.

Some people said that they learn leadership from the Bible.
But then they need to be careful.
Because they don’t want to learn from Herod.
In the Bible, there are many kings like Herod.
If they read the Bible in a wrong way, they may become like Herod instead of Jesus.

But if you remember, at first, even the students of Jesus wanted to be like Herod when they were in charge of God’s nation and church.
They thought that they would rule over other people like Herod, and say that they give benefit.

So Jesus said like this to his students:
“No, if you want to be a leader, you need to become servants of all people.
See I came here to serve.
So you need to be humble and obey God and serve.”

Then looking at Herod’s achievement, Jesus might have said this: Mark 8:36-37
“What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?”
Then later, Jesus commented that the temple that Herod renovated would be destroyed.
Jesus ignored Herod’s leadership completely.

In Israel, there were people like Herod.
And there were people like Pharisees who resisted Herod’s Roman Civilization and lifestyle.
But Jesus ignored both of them.
Jesus didn’t follow Pharisees’ lifestyle either.
Instead, Jesus called Pharisees “Hypocrites.”
This was the reason why he didn’t follow them.
Jesus was looking at their hearts and said that they didn't love God anymore.

Then people like Herod and Pharisees didn’t like this Son of God.
So they were ready to attack.
But Jesus didn’t compromise.
Also Jesus didn’t run away from them and go to somewhere else.
Because God sent him to Jerusalem.
Jesus was called to speak to people in Jerusalem and Israel.
Jesus was called to speak the truth there.
But for a while, whenever they tried to kill Jesus, God saved him.

Then Jesus said to his students:
“If you want to follow me, you need to deny yourself, and take up your cross, and follow me.
If you desire to save your life will lose it, but if you lose your life for me and for the gospel’s sake will save it.”

Then Jesus continued talking about the kingdom of God.
This kingdom is very differently.
Through this kingdom, the mind of God, the thoughts of God, the will of God and the truth for God manifest in God’s way.
Sinners and common people loved Jesus, as Jesus showed them how God really loves them.

But, Jewish religious leaders tried hard to get rid of Jesus.
They didn’t want to repent and do what Jesus was asking.

Then Jesus knew what would happen to him in Jerusalem.
Jesus knew that he would be killed.

So Jesus told this kind of story:
There was a rich and powerful leader.
He built a nice-looking building.
He rented out every space of the building.
Then he hired some managers to take care of the building.
Then, he left for another project in other country.

But when these managers started to receive the rents, they didn’t want to share with the owner.
It was crazy.
They didn’t want to give the owner his portion.
The owner sent his people to receive his portion of the rent.
But they beat them and killed them.
Many times like this, these managers treated the servants of the owner as their enemy.

Then the owner sent his son.
They were supposed to obey his son and give the portion of the rents.
But when they saw the son, they wanted the whole inheritance that this son would have.
So they got him out of the building and killed him.

After telling this kind of story, Jesus asked:
“What do you think?
What should the owner do?”

People shouted:
“He should kill these managers and hire some good people who could give back his rent.”

Telling this kind of story what does Jesus say?
God chose some people to take care of God’s nation and church.
But they didn’t want to listen to God.
They wanted to live in their greed and sinful ways.
So God sent many prophets to persuade them.
But they beat these prophets or killed them.
Then they became God’s enemy.

But still God decided to send the Son of God, the author of life.
So Jesus came.
He showed the nature, character and heart of God.
He peacefully came to take good care of his father’s nation and church.
He knew how to serve God.

But those managers wanted to have what this Son of God has, even though they do not deserve.
So they treated Jesus badly and killed him.

They also acted like King Herod.
They would kill to have more power.

In this world, there are people like Herod.
They followed Herod’s bad example.

So Jesus must show another way of living.
And Jesus must prove that his way is better.
Jesus chose to live humbly for God.
Jesus chose to follow God.
Jesus chose love and obedience toward God.
Then God raised Jesus up from the dead.
God honors Jesus and values his obedient life.
God gives everything to Jesus and made Jesus the King over everything.

We also need to choose.
Do we want people to worship us or honor us, like Herod wanted?
Or will we refuse to receive any praise?

Are we going to listen to Jesus?
Do we want to understand Jesus and become like Jesus?
Do we want to become good managers who worship only God?
Do we want people to honor and praise only God, because God has done everything?

This is the best life.
For this life, we need to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit, the living water quenches our thirst.
Then we know in God we have everything.
We don’t want anything else.
Then the Holy Spirit guides us and empowers us to live the life of Jesus.

When we know this that Jesus is the most important person in the world, we are happy because we learn the truth.
And Jesus is stronger than anyone and anything.
Jesus is stronger than any spirit.
So what a joy to have Jesus our best friend!
What a joy to feel the presence of the Holy Spirit with us forever!
And no one can take that joy from us.

Then as we serve God, we sense his presence and working with us always.
We know Jesus is with us.
We know that the Holy Spirit is with us and protect us.
We experience God as our best friend.
We learn to enjoy being with Jesus.
We are truly satisfied.

Let us pray:
Jesus, thank you for giving your life.
We also want to obey you.
Help us to see more clearly what God wants for our life.
Help us to want what you want.
May we obey God in your name.
We pray this, in Jesus name.