Pastor's Pen
The Bread of Life - Matthew 15:29-39
Multitudes of people had thronged to Jesus at the Sea of Galilee. They brought those with physical infirmities to Him to be healed. The people were so amazed to see the lame walking, the blind seeing, and the dumb speaking that they glorified the God of Israel.
Our God is a compassionate God. No matter what sorrow, heartache, or trouble we may face, He is there. Psalm 86:7: “In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me.” Daniel 9:9: “To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him.” Exodus 34:6 records the experience of Moses when the Lord invited him to return to Mt Sinai. Moses had destroyed the first set of stone tablets containing the Law because of Israel’s sin. “And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.”
In the Old Testament, the High Priest had to repeatedly offer a sacrifice for his own sin before he could offer sacrifices for the sins of the people. Jesus, an unchanging High Priest, did not have to offer any sacrifice for His sin, because He is sinless. He speaks directly to the Father on our behalf (Hebrews 7:25-28). In Matthew 15:30, we see Him healing people of their physical infirmities. This healing was temporary, because eventually they would die. The most important healing is a spiritual healing.
Jesus’ compassion extended to the multitudes’ need for food. In Matthew 15:30-39, 4,000 men plus women and children had been with Him for three days without food. Jesus commanded them to sit down, and He gave thanks to God. With seven loaves of bread and a few fishes, everyone was fed, plus there were seven baskets of food left over. Jesus is the Bread of Life (John 6:31-40). What we need most is  food of our souls, and this comes through the Lord Jesus Christ.
How important is physical healing if you die without having received Jesus as your Savior? You will face the judgment of God. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Jesus died on a cross, was buried, and rose again for your justification. 2 Corinthians 6:2: “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” Only a relationship with Jesus can save you and give you an eternal home in heaven. Call upon Him to save you and allow Him to transform your life. 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things become new.”
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.1/26/2023 7:53:52 PM

Real Faith - Matthew 15:21-28
The Bible has a lot to say about faith. Hebrews 11:6: “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” Real faith is not blind or a leap in the dark. It is fully trusting in the Lord Jesus. Just as a young child willingly steps from a high place into the open arms of his father, we are to cast ourselves into the arms of Jesus. Real faith trusts in the God of the Bible, not in the vain imaginations of men.
Real faith crosses cultural, social, and economic barriers to come to God. (Matthew 15:22) “And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.” A woman of Canaan sought out Jesus for mercy and recognized Him as the Messiah (“Thou Son of David”). She was a Gentile and came from a very wicked area. There are no barriers in coming to God. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).
Real faith does not trust in self but humbly calls upon God (Matthew 15:22). The woman of Canaan called Jesus by His Messianic tile, Son of David, and humbly submitted to Him. She pleaded for her child: “My daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.” An unsaved person can open themselves up to dangerous practices that could result in demon possession. Christians cannot be indwelt by demons, but they may be oppressed and come under the influence of Satan.
Real faith continues to persevere and pursue truth even when others get in the way or when life is hard (Matthew 15:23-26). At first Jesus did not answer the woman, and the disciples tried to send her away. Jesus said He was sent to the house of Israel (not the Gentiles). Nevertheless, the woman worshipped Him and again appealed for help. In verse 26, Jesus again tested her: “It is not meet (fit) to take the children’s bread (blessings for Israel), and cast it to dogs (Gentiles).” She acknowledged Jesus Christ as the only source for the help she needed.
Real faith is pleased to receive crumbs from the Master's table (Matthew 15:27-28). These crumbs satisfy. Jesus is the Bread of Life. Can we say, “All I want is You?” Jesus said to her: “O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.”
God answered this woman’s sincere plea.  He does great works through those who follow Him. Real faith cannot be fabricated but rests upon Jesus. Do you have real faith? Do you know Jesus who died on the cross, was buried, and rose again for your justification? Real faith satisfies and provides forgiveness, hope, peace, and all we could ever need.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.1/12/2023 9:46:57 PM

Who Is Jesus? - Matthew 4:23-25
The main focus of the four Gospels is to explain who Jesus is.  He claimed to be God, and he shows through His ministry of teaching, preaching, and healing that He is God.  He established His deity through His words and His works.  
Jesus proved who He was through His teaching (Matthew 4:23a).  He went throughout Galilee teaching in Jewish synagogues where He was often asked to read and expound on the Old Testament Scriptures.  Luke 4:16-21 is a good example of Jesus teaching from the book of Isaiah.  He pointed out that these Scriptures were speaking of Him.  
Jesus proved who He was through His preaching (Matthew 4:23b).  Jesus’ first proclamation is of good news.  God’s marvelous offer is to deliver us from the power of darkness, to redeem us, and to forgive our sins (Colossians 1:13-14).  Had the Jews accepted Jesus as the Messiah, His kingdom would have come on earth.  Even though they were amazed at the words of Jesus, they rejected His message.  
Jesus proved who He was through His healing (Matthew 4:23c-25).  Some people are sick and unhealthy as a direct consequence of their sin.  God sometimes also uses physical affliction to discipline His people.  Ananias and Sapphira lost their lives for lying to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:1-10).  Yet the Scriptures make it clear that all suffering and disease are not caused by sin, ignorance, errors in judgment, or God’s discipline.  Job suffered greatly even though he was blameless and upright and feared God.  
Jesus’ healing was a divine proof of His words.  These miracles of healing by Jesus were proof of His deity and also proof that He was the Messiah.  A miracle by definition is something that occurs against the laws of nature.  Jesus healed many kinds of sicknesses and diseases.  
The preaching, teaching, and works of Christ all point to Him as the long-awaited Messiah.  He alone can bring salvation and hope to a lost and dying world.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.12/29/2022 3:01:40 PM

Mary’s Praise - Luke 1:46-56
Around 1010 BC, God made a covenant (unbreakable promise) with a young king named David. The Davidic Covenant: God promised land and protection, as well as the Savior (2 Samuel 7:4-17, 1 Chronicles 17:4-15).
The angel’s message to Mary in Luke 1:31-33 reveals that the child Mary was to give birth to is the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant. This child is the Savior - He is the one promised in Genesis 3:15. He is divine  - Son of the highest. He is the one to continue David’s throne. He is the one Who will reign forever.
Mary submitted to God’s request as the Lord’s humble servant (Luke 1:46). In Luke 2:47-55, Mary praises God for Who He is.
1.  God is Mary’s Savior. Mary needed salvation because, we are all sinners. (Verse 47)
2.  God took note of Mary’s lowly estate - poverty, humility. (Verse 48)
3.  God is mighty. He is able to perform this miracle. (Verse 49)
4.  God is holy. God is separate from sin. His choices are holy, right, and just. (Verse 49)
5.  God is merciful. He extends grace instead of wrath. (Verse 50)
6.  God is strong. Nothing is beyond His abilities. He is able to keep His promises. (Verse 51)
7.  God is sovereign. He raises people up, and He can knock people down. (Verse 52)
8.  God is wise. God in His wisdom knows how to fill us up. (Verse 53)
9.  God is faithful. He keeps His past promises. (Verses 54-55)
We are a long way from a teenage girl giving birth to a baby in a manger and yet, we still talk about it. Why is this birth so important? This birth is the fulfillment of God’s covenant promises down through the ages. This birth, as recorded by Simeon, is salvation. Luke 2:27-32: “And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.”
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie, Jr. 12/14/2022 7:37:35 PM

Christ, The Promised One - Matthew 2:1-12
Matthew records the genealogy of the Messiah in Matthew 1:16: “And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.” Matthew goes on to say that the child was conceived of the Holy Spirit. This means that Mary was a virgin when she conceived and that this birth was unique compared to all others in human history.
In Matthew 1:18-25, Matthew continues to explain more concerning the birth of Christ. From this passage, we learn:  
1)  Mary was a virgin (Matthew 1:18, 20).
2)  Joseph was not the father of Jesus by his reaction (Matthew 1:19).
3)  Jesus came to save people from their sin (Matthew 1:21).
4)  The birth of Christ was a fulfillment of the promise to Eve (Genesis 3:14-15) and the rest of humanity (Matthew 1:23).
Satan could not sit back and let this promise be fulfilled. He attempted to destroy humanity and all that was good in the world. Satan could not allow the child to live. Why did Satan have to destroy this child? John 3:16-18 gives us the answer: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
Satan’s plan even included the tyrant king named Herod. Herod, the Great, was afraid of losing his throne to the newborn king of the Jews. In Matthew 2:1-12, he attempted to trick the wisemen into telling him where Christ would be born. He had every male child in Bethlehem and the surrounding areas killed in order to save his throne (Matthew 2:16).
The sad truth is the child that Herod feared and attempted to destroy was the only One Who could save him and give him the peace and security he needed. He sought to destroy the promised Savior. What about you? Are you trying to live in your own righteousness or are you willing to submit to Christ for salvation? He is the only way. Acts 4:12: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.12/1/2022 2:15:48 PM

Things That Defile - Matthew 15:1-20
In Matthew 15:1-2, the scribes and Pharisees asked Jesus why His disciples transgressed the traditional ceremony of washing their hands before eating. They were looking for a way to accuse Him and the disciples of doing something wrong. This tradition became more important than the Word of God.
Obedience is always more important than the traditions of men (verses 3-9).
Jesus challenged them, “Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?” Traditions of men can get in the way of following the Word of God. Unless a man’s heart is right with God, his worship is unacceptable. Jesus said in verse 8: “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.” God wanted the Pharisees’ hearts to be right. He did not want them following their traditions. If our hearts are disobedient and far from God, He is not impressed when we talk about Him.
Obedience is more important than what we eat (verses 10-11).
“Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man” (verse 11). It is not what you eat that makes you unholy but what is in your heart. Amos 5:21-24 clearly shows God’s hatred of religious ceremonies as an outward show of holiness. He wants our obedience.
Obedience to the Word of God is more holy than following the crowd (verses 12-14).
The Pharisees were offended at Jesus’ words. He called them “blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch” (verse 14). When you refuse to follow God’s Word, you can “fall into the ditch.” Be careful who you follow. They may lead you away from God.
Obedience to the Word of God is the only way to deal with issues of the heart (verses 17-20).
“Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile a man”(verse  17-18). Again, it is not what we eat that makes us unholy, but what comes from our hearts. Jeremiah 17:9: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
The Lord knows our hearts. May we learn to measure them by His Word and not by the traditions of men. Our only hope is in Jesus Christ. May He bless our daily walk in a way that gives Him all the glory and honor.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.11/17/2022 7:53:17 PM