Acts 12:7-177 And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands. 8 And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me. 9 And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision. 10 When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him. 11 And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews. 12 And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying. 13 And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a damsel came to hearken, named Rhoda. 14 And when she knew Peter’s voice, she opened not the gate for gladness, but ran in, and told how Peter stood before the gate. 15 And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel. 16 But Peter continued knocking: and when they had opened the door, and saw him, they were astonished. 17 But he, beckoning unto them with the hand to hold their peace, declared unto them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, Go shew these things unto James, and to the brethren. And he departed, and went into another place.
This was a wild miracle. The angel roused Peter by poking him sharply in the side and telling him to get up. Take note of the urgency in all the angel does. Peter was awakened out of a dead sleep by circumstances so unusual, he didn’t realize it was real. He thought it must be a dream or vision. Following the angel’s word, he put on his garments and followed him out of the cell. Peter had been housed in the innermost maximum security ward. Passing by two manned checkpoints, they came to the front gate of the Antonia; a huge locked iron gate that required two strong men to open. As they approached, the locks opened, the bars lifted, and the door swung open automatically. Once clear of the prison, the angel led Peter down the street, and then disappeared. Once the angel was gone, Peter came to himself and realized it was no dream. God had just staged a rescue operation and he was free.
Neither Herod nor the Jewish authorities would get their way. The first time Peter and John had been busted out of prison by an angel, they were told to go right back to the temple and continue preaching. This time, the angel breaks him out and once clear, jets back to heaven. Peter knew the that God wanted him to pursue his continued deliverance. Though it was late, he knew a place likely to have a group of believers. Mary, Barnabas’ sister and John Mark’s mother had made her home one of the primary meeting places for the Church in Jerusalem. Peter went there quickly, knowing as soon as the guards realized he was gone, a search would be mounted. The door Peter knocked at was the gate in the stone wall that bordered the street. Just inside it would be an open courtyard, then the house with another more secluded open area on the other side. That’s where the disciples were gathered for prayer.
Rhoda was a young servant girl whose job was to welcome guests into the home by washing their feet. Her station would be to sit within earshot of the gate so that if someone came, she could hear them knocking. Peter arrived – knocked and she went to perform her duty. But it was well past the time when guests were welcome, so she asked who it was. Peter whispered it was he. Though young, Rhoda was a believer, and had heard Peter preach many times so she knew his voice. Realizing it was he and knowing the prayer meeting was dedicated to his release, she went running to them to give the good news he was at the door.
So Rhoda knows that it is Peter, but she leaves him there. Why? Could it be because she was so excited, she got flustered and wasn’t thinking clearly? Or is it possible that she did not let him in was because God wanted to teach us an important lesson through what follows? She goes running to her master and the disciples and tells them Peter’s at the gate. They said, “You’re crazy”! When she insisted, they tried to silence her by saying that what she heard must be Peter’s guardian angel. It was a lame reason but all they were trying to do was shut her up – why? So they could pray for Peter’s release? Funny that – their prayers have been answered – but not the way they expected Peter to be released. Peter kept knocking, becoming more insistent. They needed to let him in because it wouldn’t be long before guards came looking for him. Finally, they realized someone was at the gate and went to check it out. When they opened and Peter stepped in, they were stunned. Sure enough, it was he!
It’s their reaction we have so much to learn from. They we astonished. When Rhoda first told them Peter was at the gate, they didn’t believe and felt no inclination to go see. Yet what were they doing there at Mary’s house in the early hours of the morning? What had they been doing for the last week? Praying; earnestly, fervently, intently and intensely. However, a crucial element of prayer had been lacking – expectation. Prayer had become form – even their intense, fervent prayer – it had become routine. There was no sense of expectation in their prayer. They prayed for Peter because they knew it was the right thing to do. James had already been executed and Peter was in the most secure prison in all Israel. There was nothing that gave hope or encouragement to their prayers – but they knew it was still right to pray for him.
Our prayers, especially earnest prayers like this, need to be coupled to an eager expectation that God hears and He will do what’s best. That expectation will keep us in the right place so that we can receive the answer when it comes and praise God for it. God hears and answers every prayer. The answer is a “Yes”, a “No” or a “Wait”. What we need to remember is that HOWEVER God answers – it is the right and best one. We must never lose that sense of expectation that He will answer our prayer.
The Christians had no expectation of Peter’s deliverance while the Jewish authorities had everyexpectation of his death. Their expectation was thwarted while the unformed expectation of the believers was realized.
Time was short and Herod’s search parties would soon be scouring the City. He needed to get away. So he told them to carry word of his release to the other leaders.
The entire church at Jerusalem had spent a week praying for Peter. On the eve of his trial they called an all-night prayer meeting for him. God heard and answered their prayers. Peter was miraculously delivered! But they couldn’t believe it when it happened! So, it wasn’t the greatness of their faith that accomplished Peter’s release – It was the grace and power of God.
Numbers 20:7-117 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 8 Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink. 9 And Moses took the rod from before the LORD, as he commanded him. 10 And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock? 11 And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also.
The rod was to act was a sign pointing to Moses and Aaron’s authority and calling. There at Kadesh where they were camped was a large rock. Moses and Aaron were to simply speak to the rock and the water would flow – enough to water every soul & beast in the camp.
But here he is speaking to the people…..“Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock”? Moses has never spoken this way before. When being accused and criticized by the people, he’s always taken it to the LORD in prayer. He would then return with the simple directions God had given him. But now his frustration and anger is showing through. Moses is probably thinking – “Oh happy days! Here we go again.”
He’s had it and his anger comes out in his words “Hear now, ye rebels; must WE fetch you water out of this rock”? This is just wrong. First of all – Moses is taking a very uncharacteristic place for himself here by making himself a partner with God in the miracle. Second – it was precisely his duty as the leader of the nation to provide for them.
Anger is a dangerous thing because it can drive us to say and do things that we ought not say or do. When anger becomes the motivating force behind our words and actions, we’ve erred.
Ephesians 4:26 Be ye angry, and sin not; let not the sun go down upon your wrath.
God had never told Moses to strike the rock. The instructions were quite clear; he was to SPEAK to the rock – water would then flow. Moses struck the rock – with Aaron’s budded rod! What happened to the branches, blossoms and fruit on it? Broken, torn, stripped off. A precious memorial to God’s miraculous power and Moses and Aaron’s calling was shredded – in that shredding – their calling was ended. That was it for Moses. A little harsh one may think, since Moses had been so faithful for almost 40 years in leading the children of Israel to the Promised Land. Now – because of his anger, he would not complete his mission leading them to the Promised Land.
Moses’ error at the rock in Kadesh is a really serious one for this reason: He knew what God had told him to do, and he did something else. Another reason Moses and Aaron faced such severe judgment was because as God said in verse 12, they had not “hallowed” or “rightly represented” God before the people.
Moses and Aaron were charged with the solemn task of representing God to the nation – Moses politically. Aaron – religiously. Both misrepresented God in a most grievous manner. For this, they forfeited their ability to lead.
God had intended to use the whole rock at Kadesh incident as a means of putting in play another picture of the Coming Messiah. The history of Israel was a tapestry God was weaving depicting the Coming King. So when they arrived again at Kadesh and cried out for water, God planned to use it as the way to install yet another picture of Jesus.
God told Moses what part he was to play. What thread in the tapestry he was to insert. He was to speak to the rock – and water would flow in abundance. Moses had already struck the rock at the command of God way back in Exodus 17:6 when the people arrived at Mount Sinai. When he struck the rock, the water flowed. Here now at Kadesh – once the rock had been struck – all that was needed was to speak, and the water would flow once more.
Exodus 17:6 Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.
As Paul makes clear in:
1 Corinthians 10:4 and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
God intended the “Rock” to be a picture of Christ. He was smitten at the cross for our sins. When He was struck, the blood flowed, and this provided the cleansing we need. The spear went into His side and the blood and water flowed – by which we are made the children of God. But now that Christ has beensmitten – His death atones for our sins once for all, as it says in:
Hebrews 7:27Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.
Now, all we need to do is speak to the Rock of our salvation and the abundance of the Spirit is ours. The Word of God is quite clear – Jesus was offered once and His one offering forever atones for our sin.
God intended the events here at the rock at Kadesh to be a picture of all this – but Moses threw a wrench in the works by angrily striking the rock.
Mark 7:31-3731 And again departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, He came unto the Sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis. 32 And they bring unto Him one that was deaf and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech Him to put His hand upon him. 33 And He took him aside from the multitude; and put His fingers unto ears, and He spit, and touched his tongue. 34 And looking up to heaven, He sighed and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is “be opened”.35 And straightaway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain. 36 And He charged them that they should tell no man; but the more He charged them, the more a great deal they published it. 37 And they were beyond measure, saying He hath done all things well. He maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.
Located to the North and Northwest of Galilee, Decapolis was another Gentile region sprinkled with a few Jews. Those born deaf usually do not speak because they do not know the sound of words. That this man had some measure of speech means he had probably become deaf as a child and had only a rudimentary form of speech, now further complicated by the fact he had lost his hearing altogether. Imagine how hard it would be to speak if you could not hear your own words?
Jesus “took him aside from the multitude”. Ordinarily, He wrought His miracles publicly before all the people, to show that they would bear the strictest scrutiny and inspection; but on this occasion He did it privately, to show that He did not seek His Own glory, and to teach us to avoid everything that savours of ostentation – a show to impress others. Let us learn of Christ to be humble, and to do good where no eye sees, but His only.
Jesus also used more significant actions, in the doing of this cure, than usual. (1) He putHis fingers into his ears, as if He would syringethem, and fetch out that which stopped them up. (2) He spat upon His own finger, and then (3)touched His tongue, as if he would moisten his mouth, and so loosen that with which his tongue was tied. These were no causes that could in the least contribute to his cure, but only signs of the exerting of that power which Christ had in Himself to cure him, for the encouraging of his faith, and theirs that brought him. The healing of this man was all from Himself, it was His own fingersthat he put into his ears, and His own spittle that He put upon his tongue; for He alone heals.
Practical part of the miracle done, Jesus now looked up to heaven, to give His Father the praise of what He did; for He sought His praise, and did His will, and as a Mediator He acted in dependence on Him, and with an eye to Him. Thus He signified that it was by a Divine power, a power He had as the Lord from heaven, and brought with Him that He did this. For the hearing ear and the seeing eyethe Lord has made, and can remake even both of them. He also directed his patient who could see, though he could not hear, to look up to heaven for relief.
Exodus 4:11 And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? Or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? Have not I the LORD? Moses with his stammering tongue is directed to look that way.
Jesus sighed – not as if He found any difficulty in working this miracle, or obtaining power to do it from His Father, but rather He expressed his pity for the miseries of human life, and His sympathy with the afflicted in their afflictions, as one that was Himself touched with the feeling of their infirmities.
He said, “Ephphatha”; that is, “Be opened”. “Be opened”, served both parts of the cure; Let the ears be opened, let the lips be opened, let him hear and speak freely, and let the restraint be taken off. Straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed.
Now this cure was proof of Christ being the Messiah; for it was foretold that by His power the ears of the deaf should be unstopped, and the tongue of the dumb should be made to sing.
Isaiah 35:5-6 5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. 6 Then shall the lame man leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.
Finally, Jesus told him that this healing that he had just received be kept private. However, it was made very public. We should take pleasure in doing good, but not in its being known.
Dear reader – don’t think no one knows what you have either suffered or you are suffering – Jesus knows! That’s why He sighed in front of this man, to let him know he was not alone in his suffering. Jesus knew. Jesus knows your suffering, and it is in His compassion that He touches you. If His healing hasn’t come yet, don’t despair. Hold on to Him; His touch will come in the perfect moment IF it is His will.
Numbers 17:1-111 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and take of every one of them a rod according to the house of their fathers, of all their princes according to the house of their fathers twelve rods: write thou every man’s name upon his rod. 3 And thou shalt write Aaron’s name upon the rod of Levi: for one rod shall be for the head of the house of their fathers. 4 And thou shalt lay them up in the tabernacle of the congregation before the testimony, where I will meet with you. 5 And it shall come to pass, that the man’s rod, whom I shall choose, shall blossom: and I will make to cease from me the murmurings of the children of Israel, whereby they murmur against you. 6 And Moses spake unto the children of Israel, and every one of their princes gave him a rod apiece, for each prince one, according to their fathers’ houses, even twelve rods: and the rod of Aaron was among their rods. 7 And Moses laid up the rods before the LORD in the tabernacle of witness. 8 And it came to pass, that on the morrow Moses went into the tabernacle of witness; and, behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds. 9 And Moses brought out all the rods from before the LORD unto all the children of Israel: and they looked, and took every man his rod. 10 And the LORD said unto Moses, Bring Aaron’s rod again before the testimony, to be kept for a token against the rebels; and thou shalt quite take away their murmurings from Me, that they die not. 11 And Moses did so: as the LORD commanded him, so did he.
This was nothing less than a miracle of regeneration. There was no chance whatever of them sprouting apart from a miracle. Not only did Aaron’s rod sprout, it produced a month’s worth of growth in a single night! It had branches, leaves, flowers, and ripe almonds! Aaron’s rod didn’t just sprout buds; it brought forth flowers and fruit, a clear demonstration of the power of the One who gives life. .
Verse 10 And the LORD said unto Moses, Bring Aaron’s rod again before the testimony, to be kept for a token against the rebels; and thou shalt quite take away their murmurings from Me, that they die not.
It was obvious to anyone who would look to see that God had made it clear – Aaron was the man God had chosen to lead as high priest. Having proven God’s call, God then told Moses to put Aaron’s rod in the Ark of the Covenant.
This meant that in the ark were 3 items; (1) the 2 tablets containing the 10 commandments, (2) a pot of manna, and (3) Aaron’s rod. All 3 of these things were symbols of God’s holiness and the people’s failure. When the blood of the atonement offering was sprinkled on the mercy seat over the ark, then atonement would be provided for the 3 main ways the people sinned against God. (1) The 10 commandments represented God’s righteousness. (2) The pot of manna represented God’s gracious provision & faithfulness. (3) Aaron’s rod represented God’s authority and leadership of the nation.
The people had violated and rebelled against all 3 of these things. By breaking God’s holy law, they had sinned spiritually. In rejecting God’s gracious provision of bread, they sinned in the flesh. In rebelling against the leaders God picked, they sinned in the realm of the soul. Inside the ark were the symbols of the 3 main ways in which we sin, body, soul, & spirit. The blood of the atonement offering covered all these sins.
Hebrews 9:4 Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;
Aaron’s rod was also a reminder that God does not put up with rebellion against Himself or His chosen representatives on earth.
1 Corinthians 10:10 Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.
Those who murmur, complain, and cause division within the Body of Christ are to be rebuked.
James 5:9 Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.
God’s plans on this earth are far beyond any single human being. He desires that we work together, in one accord, to obey Him and reflect His glory.
Acts 9:36-4136 Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and alms deeds which she did. 37 And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber. 38 And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come to them. 39 Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them. 40 But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up. 41 And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive.
After healing the man Aenaeas, Peter next goes to Joppa It is 35 miles (56 kilometres) northwest of Jerusalem, 10-12 miles northwest of Lydda. A much loved disciple Tabitha in Aramaic or Dorcas in Greek has passed away – her name means “Gazelle”. (Both names mean “gazelle” in Aramaic and Greek). The church in Joppa is mourning the loss of a much appreciated and needed servant.
When the church hears that Peter is nearby in Lydda, they send two men to urge him to come to see what he can do. When Peter arrives at Joppa, he is taken to the house where Tabitha is lying in preparation for her burial. Here all the widows are gathered. They are crying and showing Peter the clothing that Tabitha made for the poor. Peter goes upstairs where her body lies. He sends everyone out of the room, and kneels and prays. Finally, turning to the dead woman, he says, “Tabitha, arise”. He takes Tabitha’s hand, helps her to her feet and presents her to the others.
It would appear that Peter is a man of very few words. At the gate of the temple that is called Beautiful in Acts 3 he simply tells the cripple man begging at the gate – “in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk”. In Acts Chapter 9 he tells Aeneas who has been bed ridden for 8 years “Jesus Christ maketh thee whole, arise and make thy bed”. Now here at Joppa after putting forth the audience, he closes the door behind them, kneels down to pray. Finishes praying, he turns to the corpse; he speaks to the corpse “Tabitha arise”. No fanfare. No ceremony. No screaming or shouting. Just speaking in his normal voice “Tabitha, arise”.
There are similarities between this account and the raising of Jairus’ daughter by Jesus Mark 5:21-24 and Luke 8:49-56. Some of the similarities include: (1) The use of messengers to call the person who will raise the dead. (2) The milling about of crying bystanders. (3) The excluding of outsiders from the room. (4) The call to the dead person to rise. (5) The taking of the revived individual by the hand.
The most striking similarity is that both Jesus and Peter issued a command for the dead person to rise, a short sentence in each case.
Mark 5:41 And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise.
Whereas Peter said “Tabitha, arise”(verse 40).
As he had seen Jesus do in the case of Jairus’s daughter, he ordered the mourners out of the room and prayed. The parallel between Mark’s account of the raising of Jairus’ daughter and Peter’s raising of Tabitha is striking. He merely followed what he saw His Master do. Just as Jesus did the works that His Father sent Him to do.
John 5:36 But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.
Both the raising of Tabitha and the healing of Aeneas mirror similar miraculous works performed by Jesus in Luke 5:17-27; 7:11-16.
The accounts in Acts 9 also remind us of the power to heal and to raise the dead exhibited by Elijah and Elisha (1 Kings 17:17-24; 2 Kings 4: 32-37). Taken together, these biblical accounts show God as One who continues to work through His servants – be they prophets or apostles or His Own Son – to show His saving power.
God brings His power to bear on behalf of the less-advantaged people of the world. Among those whom He liberates from death and sickness are widows like Dorcas and the poor and disenfranchised who have no one on whom they can rely. Thank you Father.
Numbers 16:29- 3529 If these men die the common death of all men, or if they be visited after the visitation of all men; then the LORD hath not sent me. 30 But if the LORD make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the LORD. 31 And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them: 32 And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. 33 They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation. 34 And all Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of them: for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up also. 35 And there came out a fire from the LORD, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense.
Korah was the leader of a rebellion against Moses and his brother Aaron, during the journey of the Israelites from Egypt to the Promised Land. As punishment, he met his end by miraculously being swallowed up by the earth.
Korah was a great-grandson of Levi, the third of Jacob’s twelve sons, and a first cousin to Moses and Aaron, the Jewish leader and High Priest, respectively.
Korah was born in Egypt at the time when the Jews were enslaved to King Pharaoh. He experienced the miraculous Exodus from Egypt and journey through the Red Sea on dry land, and received the Torah at Mount Sinai along with the rest of his brethren.
Korah was extremely wealthy, and was a clever and astute individual. His status as a member of the Levite tribe enabled him to participate in the service in the Mishkan, (the Tabernacle residence or dwelling place, was the portable earthly dwelling place of God amongst the children of Israel from the time of the Exodus from Egypt through the conquering of the land of Canaan). It was the portable sanctuary the Jews carried with them throughout their journey to the Promised Land.
Despite and because of his many qualities, Korah felt able to take a stance against Moses and Aaron, which ultimately led to his downfall. Korah was jealous of the fact that Aaron had been chosen as High Priest, to the exclusion of anyone else. Furthermore, his cousin Elitzafan had been chosen as head of the Levite family of Kehot, to which he belonged and Korah felt this position was rightfully his.
These personal grievances led Korah to stage a full-blown rebellion against Moses and Aaron. Accompanied by Dathan and Abiram, troublemakers since their early days in Egypt, he rallied an additional 250 community leaders to his cause. Together, they confronted Moses and Aaron and claimed that he had appointed his brother as High Priest on his own accord, without being instructed to do so by God. They further demanded that they all be allowed to serve as High Priests.
Moses responded that this was impossible, as only one person could assume this sacred post. To demonstrate that Aaron was indeed Heavenly ordained, he instructed them all to take pans the next day and offer incense before God, and God would accept the sacrifice of the one whom He deemed worthy.
Korah’s group grew in size, as throughout the night he lured thousands to his side. The next day, the 250 men approached the sanctuary with their incense-filled pans. At this point, Moses warned the Jews to stay clear of the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram. Addressing the crowd, he foretold of the punishment that would befall them: the earth would open its mouth and swallow them alive. As soon as Moses finished speaking, the earth indeed opened up and swallowed Korah and his two cohorts along with their families and possessions, never to be seen again. At the same time, a Heavenly fire went forth and consumed the 250 incense-bearers.
The lesson of the rebellion of Korah is clear – God appoints the leaders for His work. Ambition is a dangerous thing – IF it is not an ambition for God Himself!!!
Matthew 17:24-2724 And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your Master pay tribute? 25 He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou Simon? Of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? Of their own children, or of strangers?26 Peter saith unto Him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him then are the children free. 27Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast a hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up: and when thou hast opened his mouth: thou shalt find a piece of money: that take and give unto them for Me and thee.
Exodus 30:13 This they shall give, every one that passeth among them that are numbered, half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary: (a shekel is twenty gerahs) an half shekel shall be the offering of the LORD.
In Exodus 30:13 an annual tax to support the temple service was laid down. In Jesus’ day, the tax was equivalent to 2 days’ wages and was collected at the end of March. The authorities used this tax as a way to try to trap Jesus. They were sure He wouldn’t pay because on an earlier trip to Jerusalem He had shown His displeasure for the way the priests were abusing the temple grounds. Jesus’ refusal to pay the tax would become a legitimate cause to have Him arrested. However, when they asked Peter, Peter knowing what they were up to, he said, “Sure, Jesus pays the tax”.
Then he went to Jesus wondering if he was right. Jesus knew what was on his mind and as soon as he came in, he didn’t allow Peter to even greet Him. He immediately gave Peter a little parable. What thinkest thou Simon? Of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? Of their own children, or of strangers? Peter replied from strangers. You see a king does not tax his own family. The temple was the House of God, and because Jesus was God, the temple was the place where worship was rendered to Him! So technically, He didn’t need to pay the tax. But because He was also Man, He would pay it.
Now – how to pay it? Since they’ve not been working for a wage and have no income – how are they going to pay the tax? Jesus knows there is a need. He tells Peter to renew His old occupation for a time so that the provision can be made. Peter goes fishing, catches a fish with a coin in its mouth and paid the tax. “Take up the fish that first cometh up”. This is a MIRACLE! Jesus instructions were simple…….the first fish you catch will have money inside its mouth. Peter was not expected to toil all day fishing and opening up every fish that he caught. NO! The FIRST fish.
Following Jesus does not exempt us from the normal duties of living in this world. We still have taxes to pay, debts to settle, business to conduct. God wants us to be faithful in all our obligations; whether to family, friends, work, and even the government.
Matthew 22:21 They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.
While we trust God to provide for us – the coin in the fish’s mouth; we must also be faithful to work – Peter momentarily went back to work with his fishing line.
Exodus 14:21-3121 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. 22 And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. 23 And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. 24 And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the LORD looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians, 25 And took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the LORD fighteth for them against the Egyptians. 26 And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen. 27 And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. 28 And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them. 29 But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. 30 Thus the LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore. 31 And Israel saw that great work which the LORD did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD, and His servant Moses.
The LORD raised up Moses to deliverer His people. But Pharaoh hardened his heart. So, God sent His Ten plagues to humble Pharaoh that he may set the people free (Exodus 7-11). After the final plague of the death of the first born, Pharaoh finally released the people. But after they left he changed his heart again and chased after the Jews with his army (Exodus 11).
The Israelites were faced with the Sea before them and the army of Pharaoh behind them. Death was certain. However, God once more showed His miraculous powers and sovereignty by parting the Red Sea and they went safely to the other side and the army of pharaoh who pursued them perished in the Sea (Exodus 14).
“Exodus” means “a going out or departure” . The Exodus from Egypt represented delivering God’s children from the slavery of sin.
John 8:34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
John 8:36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
Therefore, the passing through the Red Sea is a symbolic baptism or the death and burial and Resurrection of Christ.
Paul reaffirms this to the Christians in Corinth
1 Corinthians 10:1-4 1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
Every Book in the Old Testament points to the person of Jesus Christ. Paul speaking to the Romans………..
Romans 6:4 Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
While the parting of the Red Sea was a great deliverance to the Israelites from the slavery of Egypt, we as Christians can take comfort from this account, which gives us hope of God’s redemption from the slavery of sin through the work of Christ.
Acts 9:33-3433 And there he found a certain man named Aeneas, which had kept his bed eight years, and was sick of the palsy. 34 And Peter said unto him, Aeneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole: arise, and make thy bed. And he arose immediately.
Christ chose patients whose diseases were incurable in the course of nature; to show how desperate was the case of fallen mankind. When we were wholly without strength, as this poor man, he sent His Word to heal us.
Peter is still forging full steam ahead with his evangelistic work when he arrives at Lydda. Peter is on an evangelistic campaign in Judea. Philip has passed throughout the area of coastal Judea preaching the Gospel on his way from Azotus to Caesarea (Acts 8:40). Peter may be following up Philip’s Judean missionary trip, even as he did for Philip’s work in Samaria.
Peter’s circuit around Judea with his trip to Lydda was to visit the saints, that is, the believers. Lydda is about 25 miles (40 kilometres) northwest of Jerusalem, at the edge of the central highlands.
In Lydda, Peter encounters a man named Aeneas who has been paralyzed and bedridden for eight years. Upon meeting him, Peter says, “Jesus Christ heals you,” and Aeneas immediately gets up and walks.
Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
The Word spoken by Peter produced power. Word quickly spreads of Aeneas’ healing, and it has a powerful influence on the community.
Acts 9:35 And all that dwelt at Lydda and Saron saw him, and turned to the Lord. ALL in Lydda turned to the Lord.
What a powerful and wonderful testimony. Peter does not pretend to heal by any power of his own, but directs Aeneas to look up to Christ for help. Let none say, that because it is Christ, who, by the power of His grace, works all our works in us, therefore we have no work, no duty to do – for though Jesus Christ makes thee whole, yet one must arise, and use the power He gives us.
Exodus 3:3 And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.
The picture of the burning bush is full of symbolism. Firstly, the bush was burning, but it was not consumed. Fire throughout the Bible is seen as a symbol of divine judgement (Genesis 3:24; 1 Kings 18:38, Daniel 3:1-27, and Matthew 25:41).
Hebrews 12:29 For our God is a consuming fire.
The word “bush” means to “prick; a bramble, a thorny bush”. When the LORD cursed the ground that Adam and Eve walked upon after the sin in the garden, He said:
Genesis 3:17-1817 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field.
From henceforth, the ground will produce thorns and thistles. When Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross for our sins, the Roman soldiers platted together a crown of thorns which they placed forcibly on His head.
Matthew 27:29 And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!.
The thorny bush in the desert was a symbol of sin. Sin is being judged by God’s consuming fire. It was at the burning bush that was not consumed, that the LORD called Moses into his ministry. He had seen the affliction of His people. He was now sending them a deliverer in Moses.
Exodus 3:6-10 6 Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God. 7 And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; 8 And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 9 Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. 10 Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.
Moses witnessed a very strange sight that got his attention. . The burning bush did not burn up, which pictures God’s mercy. This is exactly what God was asking Moses to do at his burning bush experience. The LORD was sending Moses to Pharaoh and the ten plagues will be in judgment of Egypt’s sin. However, even in His judgments, God will show mercy to the Egyptians and not consume them.