Author Archives: John Mahaffy

Your Sins Are Forgiven!

“Jesus then proclaims the good news that another and and better righteousness is needed than that of the Pharisees ([Matt.] 5:20), that this righteousness is is a good gift from God (6:33), and that God grants this benefit, not to the righteous, bu to publicans and sinners, to the lost, to the burdened and heavy laden, to children who do not look for salvation in themselves but expect all their well being from God. As proof of all this, he himself, as the Messiah of the kingdom distributes the benefit of forgiveness of sins (Matt. 9:2ff.; Luke 7:48ff.). Indeed, he gives his life as a ransom for many (Matt. 20:28), creates the new covenant in his blood, allows his body to be broken and his blood to be shed fo rthe forgiveness of sins(26:26ff.), and promises eternal life to all who become his disciples (10:37ff.; 16:24ff.).” Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 4., p. 183).

“The feeling of awe was in keeping with the unique demonstration of the supernatural they had just witnessed in Jesus, while the glorifying arose from the reflection that this had been mediated through a man.” (Geerhardus Vos The Self-Disclosure of Jesus, p. 53).

Quotes from the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC.

Kingdoms in Conflict

Nations jockey for military and economic influence. Matthew 8:28–34 describes a far greater conflict—one that impacts you.

“When Christ appeared on earth, this ‘prince’ [Satan] concentrated his power against him, not only by assaulting him personally and persecuting him relentlessly, but also by surrounding him on all sides with demonic forces in order to thus break down and resist this work. The (demon-)possessed in the New Testament were not ordinary sick folk. . . . The exceptional features of the (demon-)possessed are that out of their mouths speaks a subject other than themselves, that this subject recognizes Jesus as the Son of God, is totally hostile toward him, and leaves the patient only at Jesus’ command (Matt. 8:29, 31; Mark 1:26, 34; 3:11; Luke 4:34, 41; 8:2, 30; Acts 16:17–18; 19:15).” (Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 3, pages 189–190).

“Jesus does not negotiate with the demons. Nor is their entry into the swine their undoing, but rather, the (provisional) self-maintenance of the demons. For their purpose and work is the destruction of God’s creation. Jesus’ compliance with their request is due to the fact, we think, that also in Jesus’ opinion ‘the time’ of the torment of the demons has indeed not yet come.” (Herman Ridderbos, The Coming of the Kingdom, p. 112).

Quotes from the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC

Even the Wind and the Waves Obey Him!

What do you think about Jesus? Who is he, really? A wonderful teacher? A great example? Both true, but Matthew points you to something even more important about who he is.

“[T]his miracle of the sea. . . irresistibly focused the attention upon the transcendent person with whom the disciples had to do. . . .” (Ned B. Stonehouse, The Witness of Matthew and Mark to Christ, p.138).

[The certainty of faith] “is grounded in the promises of God, not in changing experiences or imperfect good works. Doubts and fears certainly do arise from time to time in the believer’s heart (Matt. 8:25; 14:30; Mark 9:24), and believers must certainly fight against them throughout their lives. However, they can only wage that struggle and only prevail in that struggle by the power of the faith that holds onto God’s promise, rests in the completed work of Christ, and is thus by nature certain.” (Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 4, pages 131–132).

Quotes from the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC.

“Follow Me!”

“In the saying that contrasts the shelterless Son of man with the foxes and birds the contrast loses its point if Jesus is set over against these animals merely as a man, generically, and even more so if He is set over against them as a weak, humiliated subject per se. The very point of the saying obviously is that the highest of the high, according to the name borne by Him, should nevertheless have to do without such common creature comforts as even foxes and birds enjoy.” (Geerhardus Vos, The Self-Disclosure of Jesus, p. 237).

“So then Jesus chose this name for himself to make known: (1) that he was not just the Son of David and King of Israel but the Son of Man, connected with all humans and giving his life as a ransom for many: (2) that he nonetheless occupied an utterly unique place among all humans, because he had descended from above, from heaven, lived in constant communion with the Father during his stay on earth, and had the power to forgive sins, to bestow eternal life, to distribute to his own all the goods of he kingdom; (3) that he could not grasp this power by violence, as the Jews expected their Messiah to do, but that as the Servant of the Lord, he had to suffer and die for his people; and (4) that precisely by taking this road he would attain to the glory of the resurrection and the ascension, the elevation to God’s right hand, and the coming again for judgment.” (Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 3, pages 250–251).

Quotes from the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC