IT IS ALMOST TIME!
The first 16 verses of Matthew 20, which we did not read, contain the parable of the workers in the vineyard. This parable can teach us of more than one application. We are not going to go into this parable today. We will leave it for another time, but I will point out Jesus is continuing the theme of the first being last and the last being first. Jesus closed out what we read in the 19th chapter of Matthew with that statement and he repeats it again in the 16th verse of Matthew 20. Let us move on to what Jesus is trying to prepare the disciples for in verses 17-19. Jesus is getting really specific with describing what is about to happen to himself. Whether the disciples really understood Jesus was telling them real details of how he would die and how he would be treated we do not know. Jesus was being this detailed so they would ultimately have their faith strengthened.
Moving ahead in the 20th chapter, we see what my Bible entitles “A Mother’s Request.” Jesus’ disciples, James and John, were brothers. They were called the “sons of thunder.” Their mother made a bold request. The request she made when they first became disciples was that when Jesus came into his kingdom that one son would sit on his right and the other son would sit on his left. The interesting thing about this request is that whether the disciples understood fully who Jesus was and what he would be doing in the future. James and John’s mother seemed to understand what Jesus would ultimately be doing. Going back to the request, Jesus is reminding their mom and James and John as well that you really do not know what you are asking. Things are going to get bad really soon and there is no way any of you realize what it will be like. James and John quickly spoke up. “We can do whatever it takes, Jesus!” (This is my paraphrased version.) Whether James and John realized it or not, Jesus did warn them, you will pay a heavy price for following me. Jesus ultimately told James, John and their mother whoever sits on the left or right of me is not going to be my decision. It will be God the Father’s decision. While all of this is going on, the other 10 disciples hear about it. They are not happy with James and John or their mother. They apparently made sure Jesus knew they did not think what had happened was right. Jesus then proceeded to tell them what anyone that wants to be part of his kingdom should do. Jesus pointed out that the Gentile rulers make sure everyone knows who is in charge and that they must show proper respect and pay homage to the leaders. Jesus then went on to say that in God’s kingdom those who want to be great must be willing to be a servant. Jesus also reminded the disciples that the Son of Man did not come to the world to be served but came into the world to serve others. Jesus once again pointed out he was going to give his life to pay for not only the disciples sins but also the sins of everyone past, present and future who believes. Jesus knows it is almost time and he is using every teaching moment he can to not only help them understand what is about to happen but also what their role would be in the not-so-distant future.
In the 20th chapter of Matthew, there is one more teaching moment that occurs. Beginning with verse 29, two blind men were sitting along the road Jesus was traveling on. When they heard the commotion, they realized Jesus, whom they had heard about, was passing by. They cried out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us.” The crowd was mad these men were bothering Jesus. They probably were wanting to get something from Jesus themselves. Jesus stopped in front of the men and asked a very direct question. “What do you want me to do for you?” Two men quickly responded, “We want to be able to see.” We read Jesus had compassion on them, touched their eyes and immediately they had their sight. Once this happened, these men followed Jesus.
What can we learn from all these things that we read about in Chapter 20? First of all, the verses we did not read of the parable of the workers in the vineyard, one of the things Jesus is telling whoever will listen is that while it is in your best interests to receive God’s mercy and love as early in life as possible, the fact is whether you receive Jesus Christ as Savior early in life or whether it happens to be later in life, all who accept God’s gift of forgiveness will be welcomed in God’s kingdom. Jesus also reminds us all of how much God loves us by taking the punishment for us. We should also realize that if we are followers of Jesus Christ, we will be expected to make sacrifices and we should not complain when we are asked to sacrifice. The last thing we are reminded of is God is never too busy to listen to what is going on in our lives. God is willing to provide us with what we need when we need it. God may not always give us what we want, but he will give us what we need. God also wants us to be specific with our requests. It is almost the time that Jesus will accomplish what he came to this earth to do. What God is asking us to do is put as many of Jesus’ teachings into practice as we can. We will be better for it, our church will be better for it, and our community will be better for it. All the things we have been reading simply reminds us how much God loves us.
Every Tuesday 9:30 Bible Study. All are invited to attend.
One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) special offering will be collected on March 28. We will have envelopes at the back of the sanctuary for you to use. Denominations across the country support OGHS.
March 28 Palm Sunday
April 4 Easter 7:00 Sonrise Service at Veteran’s Park
10:00 Worship here with bread and cup communion
April 14 7:00 Executive Committee
Mowing volunteer sign up sheet is on the bulletin board.
Mowing volunteer sign up sheet is on the bulletin board.
Submissions for April newsletter due March 30 to Carol.
Care packages: bring snack items by the end of March please. We know of 6: Madison Warren, Michelle Wright, Jordan Wright, Sadie Sawyer; Robert Cripe; Shawn Cain (sugar free goodies for him)
Donation Box: Camp Emmanuel
First Sundays: food donations for food banks
Pastor Larry Traxler- (217) 454-2362
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District: iwdcob.org (click on newsletter link) and on facebook
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Keep in Your Prayers
Oren Wright; Terry Marvin; Tera Runyan; Holly Flenner; Carl and Wilma Cable; Larry Albro; Mike McCleery; Sherry Wright; Tim and Betty Sue Laird; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker; Sonna Hall; Brittany Wright; Evelyn Eads; Anna Gentry Thompson; Marlene & Arnold Schultz; Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Adiline Young; Kim Lehmann; Dylan Junior; Doug Fansler; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Anna Rose Larrick; Gary Jesse; Norm & Marge Starr; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo & Darlene Hanaver; Zola Copeland; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; Coronavirus crisis; healthcare workers and first responders; the families of the 540,000+ people who have died from COVID-19; those who are ill from the virus; the unemployed; school teachers, staff, and students; victims of natural disasters; District of IL/WI search committee; nursing home residents; the Nigerian church; our nation’s government
Military and Other Services and their families
Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers
Families of Richard Chenoweth and Harold Phelps
Our Mission Statement:
Love God, grow with others, serve faithfully, reach the lost, find peace.