Archive for the ‘Matthew’ Category

Perception, Power and Puccini

December 15th, 2012
Old canal in Milan, Italy

Old Canal

In 1 Samuel 9 and 10, we find the narrative about the beginning of the United Kingdom under Saul. One of the signs by which the Lord confirmed his selection of Saul as king involved lost donkeys (9:1-5). But, the donkeys were not the main show; the kingdom was the power to be perceived (10:2, 16). This origin story of the Kingdom of Israel introduces an important point, that the communications in Scripture often involve information which requires a searching and contrite heart to get it.
Recently, my wife and I were walking in our neighborhood of Porta Nuova, Milano. We had just turned the corner, when upon looking up, I noticed a plaque on a building (palazzo). It read that Giuseppe Puccini, the famous Italian composer had once lived there. This information was new and surprising to us! Now, if we had not known of the work of Puccini, the information would have been meaningless or not well appreciation. But, since we knew Puccini, we were able to drink it in and be glad about this serendipity.
The parables of our Lord are also like this. These parables contain coded messages for those who are able to see, able to hear, and able to understand (Matthew 13: 14-16). But, for those who are unable, they become a hindrance and a problem resulting in spiritual resistance.

In front of La Scala Theatre, Milan, Italy

In front of La Scala Theatre

When Jesus described the kingdom he likened it to small things, common things, insignificant things, which in turn become grand, uncommon, and significant. The seeds (such as the mustard seed, the smallest of all seeds); the little coins; the one lost sheep (Luke 15), these all serve to show the nature of the mystery of the Kingdom of God. In other words, the kingdom has arrived (Colossians 1:13), but not with irresistible force. God allows for humans to reject it, if they wish; which, of course, is not his wish at all.
In Luke 17:20-21, Jesus explains that the kingdom is not subject to observation in the common sense.  When he says that the kingdom is “within (entos) you,” [rather than among you] there is good reason to prefer this meaning which infers within your hands; that is, in your power of choice, if you choose it (See Zerwick and Grosvenor, 251-252).

So, who was that Puccini fellow?

Solitude and Spiritual Strength

June 14th, 2009

“And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed”

(Mark 1:35, KJV)

We sometimes look upon the whole monastic movement of historic Christianity as an aberrant form of the faith, and in many respects this is accurate (see 1 Tim. 4:1-8).  However, there is something spiritually profound about spending personal time alone with God with disciplined regularity (see Matt. 6:6).   The Lord gives spiritual strength to the spiritually seeking.  David said, “Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!” (1 Chron. 16:11).

It is this strength through solitude that Jesus models for us:

1.                   Matt. 4:1-11      When preparing for public ministry

2.                   Matt. 14:13       Upon news of the death of John

3.                   Matt. 14:23       When pressed by the crowds

4.                   Lk. 6:12-13       Before choosing the twelve

5.                   Jn. 6:14-15        When confronted with others’ agenda

Psalm 46:10 still remains significant:

“Be still and know that I am God”

Be still and know

Be still


-Robert M. Housby

Are You Going the Extra Mile?

May 22nd, 2009

“And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile,

go with him twain”

(Matthew 5:41, KJV)

“And if anyone forces you to go one mile,

go with him two miles”

(Matthew 5:41, ESV)

Going the Extra Mile has become a hallmark of the Christian faith.

Going the extra mile has several important features:

1.   It is a belief in the words and example of Jesus himself (see Mk. 15:20).

2.   It is taking one’s religious commitment beyond what is considered normative (compare Matt. 5:47,48).

3.  It is certainly an action at a cost to oneself (note the singular personal pronouns).

4.  It is seeing farther and living larger-“extra”

Are you going the extra mile?  Are you even going the required and reasonable mile? Jesus urged his people to be people of the extra mile.  May the Lord bless your journey!

-Robert M. Housby

Categories: Bible, Extra Mile, Matthew, New Testament, Topical Tags:


May 14th, 2009

(100-600 Levels)

“The heavens are the Lord’s heavens,

but the earth he has given to the children of man”

(Psalm 115:16)

On the 100 Level, providence involves-

1.    Definition

2.    Usage (Acts 24:2, from pronoias)

On the 200 Level, providence involves-

1.        A reference to God in the world (Eccl. 3:1-11)

a.   Hebrew world view believes in purpose on earth (3:1)

b.   And, transcendent purpose in heaven (3:11; Isa. 55:8-9)

2.        Christian world view unites God’s purpose in Christ (Eph. 1:10)

On the 300 Level, providence involves-

1.         A long and loud praise of God’s universal providence (Ps. 104)

2.         Psalm 104 begins and ends with a summons for the individual to participate in this providence (104:1,35).

On the 400 Level, providence involves-

1.         The comprehensive terminology of heaven (shamayim; ouranos)

2.         Our deepest reality is that we were meant for heaven-made for earth (2 Cor. 5:1-8)

On the 500 Level, providence involves-

1.         Kingdom of God in personal dailiness (Matt. 5:45; 6:25-34; 10:29-31)

2.         Kingdom of God in personal discernment of kingdom reality (Matt. 13)

On the 600 Level, providence involves-

1.         Living 100-600 level revitalization (Finding your place in His plan)

2.         Revelation 11:15!

-Robert M. Housby

The Moon

March 21st, 2009

Do you have a Christian worldview about the Moon? Look up into the night sky with the following data in mind (Ps. 19:1-2; 2 Cor. 10:5,NASB).

1. Gen. 1:14-16 (the principal luminary of the night has interdependence with the sun)

2. Ps. 72:5 (both the sun and the moon are expressions of permanence)

3. Ps. 8:3 (the moon is the work of the Lord; set it in place by him)

4. Mk. 13:24 (portrayed as eclipsed at the coming of the Son of Man)

5. Matt. 4:24 (the moon is associated with mental affliction, literally “moon-struck” (from selena, the moon = lunatics, NASB Zondervan Interlinear.  Other translations interpret as epileptic, etc.)

6. Ps. 121:5 (the moon was once thought to influence the mind-loony thinking).

7. Job 31:26-28 (the moon is associated with idolatry-worship; Nanna, Sumerian/named Sin by the Assyrians)

8. The moon’s appearance is that of highlands (craters); maria (lava); mnt. ranges (debris); and, valleys (1000’s of km).  The moon is geologically dead.  Its average distance from Earth is 3.8 x 10.   It is the only satellite of the Earth.  Its diameter is 3,476 km./ .25 that of Earth’s.    All lunar rocks are formed by cooling lava (igneous).  Its gravity is 1/6 that of Earth’s.  Its period of rotation is 27 1/3 days; period of revolution is 29 ½ days.

9. Four Major Theories of Lunar Origin – (1)  Condensation (same material and time of formation as Earth)  (2)  Fission (the moon was once part of the Earth and split away)  (3)  Capture (a separate stellar object captured by Earth’s gravity, and (4)  Large impact theory (a Mars sized object hit Earth; splashed off and formed the moon).

-Robert M. Housby

An Equation of Blood and Grapes

February 27th, 2009

“And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them saying, Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.  I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom”

(Matt. 26:27-29)

The early Christians met upon the first day of the week to partake of communion, as instituted by Jesus himself in Matthew 26:26-29 (see also Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:17ff.).  Have you ever wondered why “the fruit of the vine” was chosen to represent the blood of Jesus?    Consider that-

1.      The Passover Feast (Ex.12:43-51; Deut. 16:1-8) centered around the blood of a lamb.  Christ is the Christian’s Passover Lamb (1  Cor. 6:11).  His blood is redemptive (Eph. 1:7).

2.      Grapes had to be pressed to make a drinkable beverage [Gr., oinos]       (fresh or fermented). Jesus could “tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God” (Rev. 19:15) because he, himself, was pressed upon the cross (2 Cor. 5:21; Isa. 53:2,4,7,10,12).

3.      Genesis 49:11 contains an unmistakable connection between blood and grapes. It is an ancient correlation with contemporary Christian relevance.

Before there were government grants to study grapes, there was a plan to grant pardon by the fruit of the vine which flows from Immanuel’s veins.

-Robert M. Housby

The Gospel Must Be Accepted

February 19th, 2009

“Behold now is the favorable time; behold now is the day of salvation”

(2 Cor. 6:2)

The gospel was meant to be accepted (2 Cor. 11:4).  The gospel must be accepted because it was meant to be accepted; meant by the Lord to be received by men (Acts 11:1; 1 Thess. 2:13).  The appeal of the gospel always has urgency and expectancy within its message (2 Cor. 6:2).

1. Accepting the gospel is an individual affair.  Notice the emphasis upon “each one” in 2 Corinthians 5:10, and throughout the New Testament.  Individual responsibility is clearly meant.

2.Accepting the gospel entails ownership. Ownership also infers responsibility-a right of possession.  2 Peter 1:1,3,4,8,12, etc.  indicate ownership by verbs such as-“have obtained,” “granted to us,” and “you have.”

3. Accepting the gospel means accepting the consequences of following Christ (1 Pet. 4:12-19).

My son has a personal web site which displays the Sphinx of Egypt; the Eiffel Tower of Paris; and the Tower of Pisa.  All of these are places which he has visited in person.  They are not mere hopes nor dreams; but for him they are realities, facts, moments of his life.  Is the gospel such a reality for you?   Have you owned it yet?

Robert M. Housby

New Archaeological Discovery—The Saqqara Pyramid

November 21st, 2008

Katarina Kratovac reports in the Associated Press (Southeast Missourian, Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2008)-Archaeologists have discovered a previously unknown pyramid under the sands of Saqqara, [Egypt]…The 4300-year-old monument most likely belonged to the queen mother of the founder of Egypt’s 6th Dynasty, and was built several hundred years after the famed Great Pyramids of Giza, antiquities chief, Zahi Hawass said while announcing the find. The discovery is part of the sprawling necropolis and burial site of the rulers of ancient Memphis, the capital of Egypt’s Old Kingdom, about 12 miles south of Giza…the structure had been buried under 65 feet of sand. There was so much sand dumped here that no one had any idea there was something buried underneath, Hawaas said….To find a new pyramid is always exciting,..And this one is magical. It belonged to a queen (likely Queen Sesheshet). Calculations suggest that the pyramid was originally some 45 feet tall. The article concludes, “This find is important because it adds to the understanding of the 6th Dynasty, which reigned from 2,322 B.C. to 2,151 B.C. It was the last dynasty of the Old Kingdom…considered the first peak of phararonic civilization.”

The interest of the pyramids to Bible students, although not mentioned in the Scriptures, per se, seems to us to be nestled in several scriptures. These references include: Genesis 12:10; 47:7-11,21; Exodus 1:11; and Matthew 2:13-15. Memphis was in the south-east corner of the land of Goshen. We are not told who, among the Lord’s people, actually viewed the pyramids; but, the possibilities are present.

-Robert M. Housby

Restoration Series Review

October 3rd, 2008

“I have not come to bring peace, but a sword”

(Matthew 10:34)

“… I have come to do your will, O God…’ “

(Hebrews 10:7)

Matthew 10:34-39

We often assume that once a person receives the truth of the gospel, without added church creeds; catechisms; or extra-biblical non-sense, he or she will obey the gospel, become a New Testament Christian, and continue to live faithfully for the Lord and his church (Eph. 3:21).

But, this is not always the case. Therefore, when we speak of the need to go Back to the Bible (a restoration theology) which respects the word of God and reveres the person of God, we must teach personal discipleship (Matt. 10:34-39; 28:19).

1 Timothy 4:1ff./2 Timothy 4:1ff.

The primary reason for the need of a Restoration Movement is the Great Apostasy, spoken of in First and Second Timothy. Most modern churches and individuals just gloss over this fundamental New Testament doctrine.

2 Kings 18:1-7 (2 Chron. 29:1-6)

The reforms of Hezekiah point out the restoration principle as valid and the Lord’s chosen method for returning after a religious apostasy. Here, we learn, that you can’t do right without tearing down the wrong.

2 Kings 22:1-8

By the reforms of Josiah, we are reminded of the great role that the Bible must play, if there would be a restoration movement.

– Robert M. Housby

The Restoration Plea

March 16th, 2008

Years ago, brother Walter Scott, wrote in his periodical, The Evangelist (1840) [reprinted by College Press, Joplin, Missouri] a series entitled, Cleansing of the Sanctuary. In this series, Scott enumerates the great points of the Plea for Restoration:

1. The Bible Alone.
2. The True Gospel.
3. The Name Christian.
4. The Apostolic Order of the Church
5. The Perfection of Individual Character.

Walter Scott would eventually qualify these main points of restoration (Vol. VIII. Cincinnati, Ohio, December 1, 1840. No. 12) by saying: “It is important in all our attempts at reformation that ends and means be carefully distinguished from each other. In the following schedule of reform the first four elements are means; the last is an end.

1. The Bible
2. The Gospel
3. The Name
4. The Order, and
5. The Perfection of Character

The Bible is our sole authority—neither human creed; church catechism; nor, extra-biblical revelation is above it. The gospel, as revealed in the Bible, is our only plan of salvation. The name, Christian, is the desirable name of all followers of Christ. The New Testament order of worship and procedure in faith and practice (sometimes called the ancient order) is, in fact, the only authorized and approved method of pleasing God today. And, one’s personal and spiritual devotion is required holiness (Matthew 5:48; Hebrews 12:14). -Robert M. Housby