Tag Archives: Matthew


When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Matthew 5:1

There it is again — the separation.

That distance between the crowds and the disciples in coming near to Jesus.

In here, Jesus goes up the mountain. The crowd stays on the plain. The disciples follow his trail.

Are you part of the crowd?

  • You saw the climb is stiff, so don’t bother to hurdle it.
  • You were healed or fed earlier; you decide stay and rest your body.
  • You heard enough insights, so keeping that distance is all right.
  • You counted the time Jesus took from his walk up to his sit down and said that’s too long.
  • You wanted to go up but saw only twelve men are following him closely so why take the courage, why take the risk.

Are you a disciple?

  • You saw how stiff the mountain is but you also see your Master, sitting pretty, at the top of the mountain. Thus, you climb the mountain.
  • Your following requires no rest: body, mind and soul. Where he is is where your heart is. His place is your place — he is your resting place.
  • You thirst for more than his words, you long to be in his presence.
  • You count your blessings, you don’t count the cost in loving and serving him.
  • You follow with your all and on your own, your loyalty to him is not dictated by the decision of others.

How much distance you keep from Jesus defines if you’re one of the crowd or if you’re a disciple.


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He Understands

As soon as Jesus heard the news, he left in a boat to a remote area to be alone. Matthew 14:13

He has been where you are.

He takes a time out. He separates himself from the flock. He goes alone. After all, he is human. Knowing how precious John is to him, he may have felt in his heart the feeling you may have felt when someone dear to you past away or went away. Sadness. May be despair. Feeling of losing somebody you love, you value. May be the thought that you will never see that face again. May be the thought that you will never hear that voice again.

This is why this passage is so much important for you and me.

For us to know that Jesus had the same feeling. For us to know that we are not alone when we feel this way. For us to know that he has been there. For us to know that he understands our feeling of being abandoned. That he understands our agony. Our need to be alone. Our need to take some time out. A time to cry and may be celebrate the memories of your loved one. A moment to trace the moments with that somebody.

And because God understands, he knows how to comfort you. He knows how much strength and time you need to recover. He knows the path how you will recover. He knows whom he will send for you to lean on. He knows where to bring you to so you can muster yourself altogether. He knows when to give you whatever you need to stay in the valley and whatever you need when you emerge out of it.

So go ahead. If you need to take some time alone by yourself, take it. Jesus did. He understands.


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I don’t want me to be still me

At that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the reputation of Jesus and said to his servants, “This man is John the Baptist… Matthew 14:1-2a

He sees John in Jesus.

Not the other way around — see Jesus in John. And he has all the reasons to get startled. He is the same man who sent John to the valley of death. He is the same ruler who gave orders to put to stop John’s breath. Then Jesus appeared to start his ministry, this tetrarch saw John not Jesus. In every miracle, for every healing, for every driving-out-of-demons, he saw John not Jesus.

Sounds like our neighbors.

When I was starting my relationship with the Lord, they told me that I will, at some point, go back to my old life. That night, our conversation gave me a deeper reflection which is still challenging me today. Though I told them about my new found life in God and the ways I was serving him, the way our discussion went through and as they were predicting I’m about to slip from this narrow road, the bottom line is this — they still saw me in me. They did not see Jesus in me.

This gave me enough time on my knees to pray to God to change me, to turn my life upside down. I pleaded to him to let his face shine upon mine so they will see him not me. I cried out to the Lord to give me grace to repent from my old ways and that I may love him above all else. For no matter how many miracles or healing God can do through me. No matter how many people will hear me and get inspiration from my talks or preaching. No matter how many hours I can dedicate for his service. No matter how many hits this blog can record. Everything is in vain if they still see me in me. It won’t matter if they don’t see Jesus’ life in the way I live my life. Paul confirms this, “So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17.

Until today, my prayer still reverberates to his ears, “…change me oh God, make me like you…”

I don’t want me to be still me.


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The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Matthew 13:44

The hunter saw the treasure but he came back and bought the field.


Wait what?

He had to sell all of his stuff to buy the field. When he found this treasure, he had to bury it again and sell all he had to buy the whole field. There’s something with that treasure which is attuned with the field. It seems he can’t just ask for a treasure hunting permit from the city hall, dig and pull out the treasure and go home and live happily ever after. He had to make the field his home, his own. He saw something in the treasure worth  all his belongings and even beyond as he decided to buy not only the treasure but the whole field.

Look at this angle — this hunter decided to live with the treasure and not the other way around.

When you find the Treasure of treasures, you are encourage to live with him. You are encourage to embrace his church, love his people, share your life with his followers, and serve his children. You just can’t pull him out from his church and go, like a man on an island. Yes, you live for Jesus and with Jesus and Jesus will do the same for you, but he also calls you to live with his disciples and followers.

Look at this another angle — the treasure was buried by his time.

Today, do your best not for the treasure to be buried. Allow people to see Jesus in you. Don’t keep him out of your family’s eyes. Expose him in your workplace. Tell about him in your friend’s party. People are looking for this Treasure. People are hunting for this Treasure. Live your life as if its their shovel so they may discover the Treasure.

Give your all for him, who is your Treasure. And do this out of joy.

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Dream Team

The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus; Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him. Matthew 10:2-4

They are considered the best sports team ever assembled.

They are the Dream Team. Eleven NBA players and a college baller assembled to represent the USA in the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. They were handpicked because they were simply the best. At that time, they were considered future hall of famers which has become true at some point. They were called for they deserved to be called. And they did not let down. They exceeded expectations by winning each game by large margins. This team was invisible and up until this time many sportsmen will agree that on any given basketball court, no team will ever beat this team.

Does God assemble a dream team like this?


His first apostles were not considered the best. No theology training. No records of preaching. No traces of missionary blood. In fact, they were shall we consider as ordinary people. Fishermen. Tax collector. Men who were afraid in the midst of the storm even if their Lord is with them. Men who were fearful and scampered at his arrest before his execution. Men who made mistakes in those times of following Jesus.

But the question is, how come of all men Jesus called these men? Let me give my personal answer — Jesus knew their hearts. Their hearts were not perfect but their hearts were just simply stubborn in following God. They kept coming back each they fell. They darted back their eyes on the prize each time they were blinded by their sins and wrongdoings. They got the call, not because they were the best, but because their hearts what counted the most. For his call was not to win but to love him and to be with him.

God does not need the best or the most decorated perfect team, he needs a team passionate of his heart and of his work. Men who will leave their nets. Men who will leave their tax collection tables. Men who will admit to their mistakes and strive to correct them. Men who will come back and rise up so pursue his love and his grace. Men who will mirror your life. Men who are just like you.

You can be part of God’s dream team.

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Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Matthew 18:21-22

His death turned our world upside down.

He is my brother. I was a new college kid trying to come home to get ready and collect my grades for my first semester when something unusual was at our house. There were many people. My father is not there. My mother and my sisters seem to be confused and distraught. That’s where I suspected something not good happened. I was told my brother died.

He was shot in the head. He was a new civil engineer who was a topnotcher in the nationwide board examinations. He was a new employee in this construction firm who was working in a horizontal project in a flung neighborhood where these goons might have mocked him for doing what is right and killed him on the spot. Afterwards our world was never the same.

Our father stopped actively running the family business. The dead son was his best son. Our mother cried an ocean if not a lake. The dead son was her best son, too. Our aunt, who lived with us, was devastated. The dead nephew is her favorite among tens of nieces and nephews. And us, his brothers and sisters, were hurt and pain resided as if another sibling can go anytime.

His killers were not imprisoned for their crime, as far as we know. Actually, only our father met them. We never knew their names. We never saw their faces. We were hopeless in depending with the justice system and allowed the crime to get into the bottom of the police files. As our brother’s passing changed our lives, these ruthless people changed our hearts.

Each time, my heart claws down into its deep and brings out these moments, there is a feeling of unforgiveness. A question pops out, “Why would I forgive when there was no justice?”. An answer replies, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Matthew 18:22. When Peter asked Jesus on this, he was not referring to any justice. He did not include if the sinner asks for mercy. Peter only implied forgiveness on the part of the offended.

Thus, every time I remember this crime against our family, I forgive. Every death anniversary of our brother, I forgive. Every time I look back on how our family suffered through this, I forgive. When I see our family picture with my dead brother in it, I forgive. Every time, I hear the same injustice is being done, I forgive. Every time I visit that day, I forgive. When the hurt comes back, I forgive.

Forgiving is for giving yourself a chance to change your heart. Forgiving is for giving others a chance to change.

Forgiveness is not a one time deal. Forgiveness is a lifetime virtue. It is an on-going part of the healing and growing process. It is seventy-seven times.


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Sending Humans

When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted. Matthew 28:17

They saw the risen Jesus. They worshiped him. And then, they doubted.

That’s what we read from Matthew.

And yet, also according to Matthew, Jesus approached these worshipers–doubters and sends them to go out to the whole world to make disciples out of men. Jesus further gives them the authority to baptize people in the name of the Holy Trinity plus the position to teach people regarding how to follow and love him. Most importantly, Jesus promised them of his presence until the end of time.

That’s right.

Jesus sent doubters to the world to bring his life giving and life saving message. He is sending imperfect disciples to preach to imperfect people. He does not commission people who have no flaws, he sends men who are just like us, humans. He sends men, who even in their prayers, have doubts into their hearts yet they continue to lift their hearts to him. He sends men, who even in their time of worship, have worries in their minds and yet they rest in their ever dependable God.

God sends humans to humans. Imperfect to imperfect. Sinners to sinners. Doubters to doubters. So maybe they can empathize with them. So maybe they can accept them and love them. So maybe they can understand their situation for they are in their situation.

When you feel you are unfaithful to him to serve him in your church, read that verse again. When you feel your weakness pulls you before you are able to offer your time and skills for him, reflect on that verse again. When your imperfection or spiritual inadequacy prevents you in volunteering for a ministry, come back to that verse again. When a doubt or a sin blocks you to make disciples out of men, be encouraged by that verse.

God is not sending superheroes. He is sending humans.

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