Matthew wrap-up

One down, 26 to go!
Today, March 3 will, conclude the book of Matthew. We read chapters 19-28 today. As you are reading, use a highlighter or write some notes in the margin of your Bible. Ideas, concepts, what the Holy Spirit is saying to you…these will all come in handy later as you are reflecting on what God did during this time of spiritual growth in your life.

Is anyone else rocked by the discussion between Jesus and the rich young ruler in 19:16-25?. A great question on the part of the disciples: “who then can be saved?” Better answer on the part of Jesus: “with man, this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible”. There is hope for us!

In Chapter 20, there is an exchange between Jesus and the mother of a couple of His disciples. It is kind of funny, in that we see a typical mom wanting to arrange favorable treatment for her kids. Little did she understand that what she was asking was a little more than she was prepared to live through. Jesus uses this opportunity to teach us the value of humility and servanthood.

Chapter 21 marks the beginning of last days of ministry for Jesus. Is it a good idea to cross-reference some of these stories with what the other Gospel writers have to say. Jesus’ prophecies about the last days of earth is also an interesting read. I hope it brings comfort and confidence to you all. Here is a group that I want to be sure to be a part of: Matthew 24:31 “And He will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.” (NIV)

Maybe as you read the account of the institution of the Lord’s Supper in Matthew 26, you will be inspired to celebrate communion individually.

One final thought as we conclude Matthew:
I am sad about the tendency that we have to follow the example of the Disciples in 26:56 and of Peter in 26:69-74.

On a side note, between my commitment to read through the New Testament with everyone and my preparations for preaching through the series, I am spending a LOT more time in scripture than normal. I can already tell the difference.

Tomorrow (Wednesday): Mark 1-8

Matthew 10-18

Today’s chapters for Quest (complete the New Testament in 31 days!):
Matthew 10-18

A few things caught my attention today as I was reading:

Jesus spoke some very difficult and challenging things in the early chapters of our reading, very challenging to say the least. But then He followed with the very familiar, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light” (11:30). It doesn’t always feel easy and light, does it?

In 14:13-14, we see Jesus ministering through deep personal pain. His cousin and friend (John the Baptist) had just been killed and Jesus tried to go to a private place, I assume to mourn His loss. The people followed Him. And He ministered to them even though he was in sorrow. Very moving.

I also noticed how, on several occasions, Jesus seemed to run out of patience with His disciples. Makes me wonder about how He feels about me when I just don’t get it, even after walking with Him for so long…

Thanks for staying up with the reading. We will complete Matthew tomorrow!

Quest

Well, today marks the beginning of a 31 day journey through the New Testament. The people of Maranatha Church (and a few others) are accepting the challenge placed on us by God to know more about His Word. Be forewarned: QUEST will be a significant undertaking. If you decide to read the scriptures, not only will you have to discipline yourself to stay up with the reading, but you will need to continue to humble yourself “under” the Word. This simply means to read with the intent to actually do what the Word is saying. This is one of the reasons that I am so excited about this journey. I am convinced that those who make it to the end will recognize real spiritual movement in their lives. I think the same will be true of our church. When March is over and the Quest is completed, we will be enjoying a new season of renewal and growth. While I can’t wait to see what is on the other side, I do plan to enjoy every step of the journey.

Today’s reading: Matthew 1-9.
I laugh, thinking about all the people who are, with great enthusiasm, beginning their read through the New Testament…and come out of the gate with Matthew 1. Genealogy! – how riveting! But really, the early chapters of the New Testament are very important to understanding the life and ministry of Christ. The birth of Jesus, His early life, His baptism and the inauguration of His ministry are all chronicled. The Sermon on the Mount in chapters 5-7 is especially significant. This time through, I got new insight on the giving to poor ideas taught in chapter 6, probably because this is where God has me right now.

Thanks for committing to read with us.
Set aside time tomorrow to stay current with the reading. God bless you while you absorb His Word.