Pastor's Pen
Miracles - Matthew 4:23-25
Matthew 4:23 points out that Jesus went about Galilee teaching, preaching and healing all manner of sicknesses and diseases. The definition of a miracle is something that occurs against the laws of nature or is a supernatural act of God. We must be careful not to confuse God’s acts of providential care with a miracle. His timing in providing our needs, keeping us from harm, and answering our prayers do not qualify as miracles. Miracles are supernatural acts of God, and He still operates on that level to heal as He chooses.
 
There are three broad areas in which Jesus performed miracles (Matthew 4:23-25). Spiritual - He dealt with demonic afflictions. Mental - He healed a Greek lunatic whose actions were just not right. Physical - He healed paralytics and those with palsy and physical handicaps.
 
Why did Jesus perform miracles? It was a proof of His deity (John 10:37-38; John 14:11; John 20:30-31). It showed God’s compassion toward those who suffer (Matthew 9:35-36, 14:14). The Old Testament predicted the Messiah would perform miracles, so it showed Jesus was the prophesied Messiah (Isaiah 35:5-6). Jesus performed miracles to prove that the coming kingdom was a reality. This was a foretaste of what life in the kingdom would be like had Jesus not been rejected at that time.
 
There were three key waves where miracles occurred. Moses and Joshua - 25 recorded miracles. Elijah and Elisha - which began the ministry of the prophets.  Jesus and the Apostles - 50 recorded miracles. The fourth wave will be in the Tribulation Period and into the Millennial Kingdom, when the Messiah is present again (Isaiah 35:5-6).
 
The Purpose of Miracles: Miracles introduced new eras of revelation, but the Canon of Scripture is now complete. Miracles authenticated the messengers of the revelation. Miracles called attention to new revelation as it related to each era. We now live in the Church Age. 2 Peter 1:12-21 says we have “a more sure word of prophesy”, which is the Bible. God has spoken to us through His Son. Hebrews 1:1-2: “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.”
 
As the Apostolic age faded, so did miracles. Today we are commanded to follow and obey Scripture. We are to hope in God’s Word and not in quick fixes or miracles.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.2/25/2021 7:57:18 PM

Who Is Jesus?
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.2/11/2021 1:36:12 PM

Fishers of Men - Matthew 4:18-22
The setting of Matthew 4:18-22 is by the Sea of Galilee. This body of water is 650 feet below sea level, and is surrounded by hills. Its topography made it subject to sudden and dangerous storms. In Jesus’ day, there were about thirty small towns around the perimeter, and the people were mostly fishermen.
 
Matthew 4:18: “And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishers.” Jesus was not a stranger to these men. Andrew, who had been with John the Baptist, had pointed out Jesus as the Lamb of God. Andrew brought Peter to Jesus (John 1:35-42)
 
Matthew 4:19-20: “And He saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed Him.” Jesus chose Peter and Andrew for what He knew He was going to accomplish through them. When Jesus asked them to follow Him, it was a great honor which they immediately acted upon. Following Jesus meant to become His disciples (learners). Jesus has called us to follow Him, and become fishers of men, too. Here are some qualities that make a good fisherman and a good evangelist. A fisherman needs to be patient and must learn to wait.  A fisherman must have perseverance. A fisherman must have good instincts for going to the right place. A fisherman must have courage. It is not always easy to share your faith with others. A fisherman must keep himself out of sight as much as possible. We are to present Christ, not ourselves.
 
Matthew 4:21-22: “And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.” In obedience, James and John left their father and followed Jesus (Mark 1:20). When Jesus calls, people must be willing to realign their previous plans and goals, and sometimes leave something important in order to follow Jesus. Jesus is not satisfied with half-hearted Christians.
 
Every believer has been called to follow Jesus. As Christians, do we hide our faith, by not sharing it? A statistic shows that 95% of all Christians do not share their faith. How about you? We should be ready and willing to talk about Jesus (I Peter 3:15).The Church is called to reach the lost for Jesus Christ and to train them in the things of God. This must be our purpose and passion.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.1/28/2021 9:59:31 PM

The Ministry of Christ - Matthew 4:12-17
In Matthew 4, we see the beginning of Jesus’ ministry on earth. He went about meeting the needs of the people. He took the time to be the Light of the World.
 
Matthew 4:12: “When Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee.” This was a signal for Jesus to begin His ministry.  Jesus left Nazareth and went to Capernaum to begin His earthly ministry to deal with man’s sin. Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” No one can stand up under the scrutiny of God’s standard, the Ten Commandments. James 2:10 makes it clear: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”
 
Matthew 4:14: “That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet.” Isaiah 9:2: “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” Jesus came to be the light (John 1:4, 8, 9).  John 3:19: “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” In John 8:12, Jesus said: “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” Have you been called out of darkness to the light?
 
Matthew 4:17: “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” During this time of His earthly ministry, Jesus experienced fatigue, hunger, and physical limitations. He was obedient to the Father in proclaiming the message of repentance that was necessary to enter into the kingdom. He made it clear to Nicodemus in John 3:3-7: “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.”
 
In time, Israel rejected Christ. He was crucified for the sins of the world, and He rose again for our justification. Israel wanted to experience the miracles of Jesus and have Him meet their physical needs. They followed Him for the good times and for deliverance from their trials. Are we not often guilty of the same thing? We love the good times, prosperity, wealth, and good health, but we neglect our real need. It is imperative to remember why Jesus came and why He began His ministry. “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.1/14/2021 9:58:48 PM

The Temptation of Christ - Matthew 4:1-11
The Holy Spirit leads Christ immediately following His baptism into the wilderness. Here Christ would demonstrate victory over temptation, prove His divine kingship, and provide a pattern for us to follow. Matthew 4:1-2: “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was after an hungered.” It was Satan’s goal to tempt and try Jesus. The negative aspect of this goal was to destroy and defeats Jesus’ upcoming ministry. The positive aspect proved that Jesus was God.
 
Jesus fasted 40 days and nights. The purpose for fasting is for prayer and time with God. Jesus used this time to commune with His Father. At the end of this fast, He was hungry. His hunger was not the problem. The devil was the problem. We too must be alert for temptations and trials when we are tired, hungry, depressed, or spiritually weak. God’s testings are meant to build us up in the faith (James 1:2-4).
 
The Temptations  (Matthew 4:3-10)
1.  Lust of the flesh (verses 3-5). Satan affirms Christ’s deity, but he tries to deceive by appealing to Christ’s physical need for food.  This solicits rebellion against God in an attempt to fulfill personal needs outside the will of the Father, which would be sin. Christ uses the Word of God to repel this attack. We need to hide the Word of God in our hearts and not rely upon man’s wisdom when we are tempted in the flesh (Psalm 119:9-11).
2.  Pride of life (verses 5-9). Satan has power to move around rapidly. Christ went from the wilderness to the pinnacle of the Temple in Jerusalem. He was tempted by Satan to prove God loved Him and would protect Him from harm if he cast Himself from the roof. Christ knew this was not the will of God, and He answers Satan using the Word of God. We must beware of sensationalism as a means of proving God loves us and will take care of us. Many believers live recklessly and test God.  
3.  Lust of the eyes (verses 8-10). Satan shows Christ all the kingdoms of the world and requests that He bow down this one time and worship Satan. Satan tempts Christ with what will in time be His. Satan wants us to think that the ends justify the means. Christ’s response: “Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” Let’s use this response when tempted.
 
God is really in charge. Satan’s power is limited by God. We have the same choice to obey God or fall under Satan’s temptations. Our victory comes through knowing and applying Scripture. God will give victory and deliverance.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr. 1/1/2021 1:38:33 PM

Reasons for the Virgin Birth - Part 2
2.  The virgin birth was necessary in order for Christ to fulfill prophecy.
Jesus fulfilled over 300 prophecies.  We can trust Him.  Here are a few:  
Genesis 3:15 states He would be born of a women.
Genesis 22:18 states He would be a descendant of Abraham.
Genesis 49:10 narrows His coming through the tribe of Judah.
2 Samuel 7:8-16 states He would descend through the line of King David.
Isaiah 7:14 points to His virgin birth.
Micah 5:2 gives His birthplace as Bethlehem which made it possible for the wise men to find Him. (Matthew 2:1-2)
Jeremiah 31:15 describes the mourning that would result from Herod’s murder of innocent children in his attempt to destroy Jesus.  (Matthew 2:16-18)
Isaiah 8:14-15 states He would be a stumbling stone and rock of offense to Israel.  (Romans 9:32-33, 1 Peter 2:6-8)
 
3.  The virgin birth was necessary in order that Jesus could receive the throne of David.
David’s throne continued through his son, Solomon.  Because the last descendants of Solomon were so sinful, the monarchy ceased around 600 B.C.  Jeremiah 22:30: “Thus saith the Lord, Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah.”  If Joseph had fathered Jesus, it would have contradicted this prediction.  Therefore, the physical descent of Jesus came through the line of David by Mary.  Mary was a descendant of David through Nathan, another son of David (Matthew 1:17, Luke 3:31).
 
4.  The virgin birth was necessary in order for Jesus to provide salvation for sinful mankind.
Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Leviticus 17:11 states that blood has to be shed to provide the atonement for sin.
Hebrews 10:4 clearly states that the blood of bulls and goats cannot take away sin.
Good news!  Hebrews 2:9-10 tells us that Jesus by God’s grace would taste death for every man.  He is the captain of our salvation. John 3:16-17: “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.”
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.12/18/2020 12:16:54 PM

Reasons for the Virgin Birth - Part 1
Many try to refute the Bible and put its tenets on the level with hoaxes and mythology.  Denying the virgin birth is saying that the Bible contains lies and makes God a liar.  If this is true, our salvation would be jeopardized.  The Gospel contains Christ’s virgin birth, death, burial, and resurrection.  Paul states in 1 Corinthians 15:14, 17: “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.”
 
Matthew 1:18-25:  “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.  Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus.”
 
The name Jesus means Savior.  Jesus received His human nature from His mother, Mary, in fulfillment of prophesy.  Isaiah 7:14: “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”  Joseph had nothing to do with the physical birth of Jesus.  His responsibility was to be the protector of Mary and Jesus.
 
1.  The virgin birth was necessary in order that we might have a sinless Savior.  
How does this effect Christ’s sinlessness?  The answer is found in Romans 5:12, 19-21:  Wherefore, as by one man (Adam) sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. For as by one man's (Adam’s) disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one (Jesus) shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”
 
(To be continued)
Posted By: Rev. Dr Ernest Brodie Jr.12/4/2020 2:27:18 PM

An Attitude of Gratitude
We are commanded by God to give thanks.  Psalm 50:14: “Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High.”
We are told in the Bible that giving thanks is a good thing.  Psalm 92:1: “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O Most High.”
We are directed to give thanks in every situation.  1 Thessalonians 5:18: “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
We are instructed to pray with an attitude of thanksgiving.  Philippians 4:6: “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”
We are compelled to do all things with an attitude of gratitude. Colossians 3:17: “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”
 
How can we maintain an attitude of gratitude in our day?  (2 Corinthians 4:6-18)
—By focusing on God instead of self (verse 6).  John the Baptist focused on Christ rather than himself (John 1:27).  In John 3:30 he said: “He must increase, but I must decrease.”  Are we focused on God or ourselves?
—By thanking God for what we have (verse 7).  We have a treasure in the Word of God.  What better treasure could we have?
—By learning how to forgive (verses 8-12).  The Apostle Paul was threatened with the loss of his life. He faced many trials, yet he never gave up. He chose not to become bitter.  Beware of bitterness in your heart.  Ephesians 4:31-32 tells us to put away bitterness, wrath, and anger and to forgive one another.  Let’s keep our focus on God.
—By ministering to those less fortunate (verse 13).  Paul tells believers that they are to follow his example.  People need to hear the gospel of salvation, and believers need to be encouraged in the Lord.
—By maintaining a proper Christian worldview (verses 14-16).  These verses tell us that our life on earth is only temporary, but heaven is eternal.  1 John 2:15-17 exhorts us not to love the world or the things that are in the world.  They will pass away, but God abides forever.
—By knowing Who holds the future (verses 17-18).  Whatever we go through here on earth is a light affliction in light of eternity.  Paul said this even with all the difficulties he endured for the gospel’s sake.
 
Apart from God, an attitude of gratitude is impossible to maintain.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.11/20/2020 1:41:01 PM

Thankful for God
I am thankful for God, because He is there.
Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”  
John 1:1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
Psalm 90:2: “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.”
 
I am thankful for God, because He cares.
Romans 8:26-39: Even in the vastness of the universe and with multitudes of people, God cares about each individual. We are “fearfully and wonderfully made” and created to give Him glory. What’s more: nothing can separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:39). He cared so much, that He sent His Son to die for us and to intercede on our behalf.
Mark 4:35-41: The disciples were with Jesus in a boat. While Jesus slept, a great storm came causing the disciples great fear. They cried out to Jesus. He calmed the storm and took them safely to the other side. Remember Jesus is in the boat with us. Colossians 1:27: ”Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
 
I am thankful for God, because He can make a difference.
Romans 11:33-36: “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” (Verse 33)
John 14:15-27: God has given us the Comforter, and He promises to be with us, love us, and give us peace.
 
I am thankful for God, because He has my future in His hand.
Romans 8:18: “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
John 14:1-4: Jesus is preparing a place for us. I Peter 1:4: “To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.”
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18: Dead or alive, we are assured that God will take us home to be with Him.
 
The great heroes of the faith went through many dark times. What set them apart was their relationship with God and their willingness to follow Him no matter how dark the valley. The arm of flesh and political alliances may fail, but God never fails. Whatever the difficulties we face, He is there, He cares, He makes a difference, and best of all He promises a bright future for those who are in Christ.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.11/6/2020 2:26:30 PM