Day 15: Matthew 22-24 (NEW TESTAMENT 90)

Today’s reading comes from Matthew 22-24 follow the link provided here to read the ESV online.

In the midst of addressing the religious crowd about their hypocrisy, Jesus tells a parable about a wedding feast that illustrates that those who should have been excited about the wedding didn’t take it seriously (22:5) or were completely unprepared (22:11).

A couple of interesting points  for those of you following along with the Ten Commandment series at Little Escambia Baptist Church. The question from the Pharisees about taxes is answered by Jesus holding up on of their coins (he didn’t have one) and asking, “whose image and inscription is this?” (22:20) Then when they reply Jesus says,  “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (22:21) We usually catch on that Cesar’s image is on the coin, but sometimes we are slow to recognize that People are made in God’s image. We owe Cesar the coin, but we owe God our lives.

Jesus summarizes the great commandment, He uses two. Love God and Love your Neighbor. Loving God relates to the first four commandments and loving your neighbor relates to the other six. The reason Jesus doesn’t just say to love God, is because then we would be tempted to think we are loving God even when we neglect our neighbor and vice versa.

In chapter 23 Jesus really doesn’t let up on the scribes and pharisees. What popped out to me was how many times he calls them blind while he pronounces the woes. This leads to his sorrow over Jerusalem and his pronouncement in chapter 24… Hold on to this, because this context is important. I think a lot of people get Matthew 24 a little bit wrong, or misconstrue a few things. It is important to read the chapter in context. There is a tendency to read the entire chapter as an essay on what will the end times be like, but as I have studied this passage I think a great deal of what Jesus says here speaks more directly to the destruction of the temple (notice the context of 24:1-2).

Matthew 24:3, The Disciples ask three questions of Jesus…

1.Tell us, when will these things be,

2.and what will be the sign of your coming

3. and of the end of the age?”

Matthew 24:15-16, The Abomination of Desolation is something that can only happen in the temple in Jerusalem. Jesus warns those in “Judea” to flee… so this is in reference to the destruction of the temple and all that is attached to this passage such as pray that it doesn’t take place on the sabbath, etc. is related to the destruction of the temple.

Matthew 24:23, After this event if someone tells you they are the Christ, or that Christ has returned… be wary.

Matthew 24:27, when Jesus returns you will know it. It won’t be like the first time.

Matthew 24:34, This now appears to be the bookend that ties this all together with the destruction of the temple, “this generation will not pass away.” The temple was destroyed in AD 70 a round about forty years after Jesus made this statement.

The real point to these chapters is that Jesus will return and it will be when we least expect it. He will judge the world and reward those who have been faithful to follow Him. I look forward to His return and I hope to be found me faithful.

Here is how I am praying through this passage today:

FATHER, Thank you for the gift of your word! I pray we would all be prepared for what ever events will unfold in our lifetime. Thank you for what it means to be made in your image and thank you for the gracious commands you have given us to love you and to love one another. I pray that we would continue to grow in our love on both accounts. Today I pray for those who are lost apart from you and are unprepared. I pray that they would come to faith in you. I lift up those who are sick and longing for relief, I pray that you would provide healing. I ask you to keep us vigilant in our anticipation of what you have in store for us. I pray that I do all of my part in presenting everyone complete who you have put in my care as a pastor. IN JESUS NAME, AMEN.

What did you take away from today’s reading? What are your thoughts or questions? Feel free to comment below and enter the discussion.

Find out about New Testament 90 – Here

new-in-90-sheet

Mark 1: this is just the beginning

I was struck this morning with the words,”the beginning of the gospel.” As if to say, “This is just the beginning.” Though the work of Christ in saving sinners is finished and complete, sinners are still hearing the gospel, repenting of sin and believing on Jesus Christ. The gospel moves forward. Though we rely on the historical realities of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection… The good news is still heard today and believed for the first time. Jesus still delivers people from sin and shame to hope and freedom! The good news is still good news long after this gospel was written. Though it appears ancient, it is still fresh! This is just the beginning of how God made the way for men to come to Him. He is still delivering people from their sin today! Have you ever considered the gospel and trusted Christ to remove all your guilt and shame? Is the gospel still good news to you? Have you been actively taking up your part in the gospel and been sharing it with others? (Colossians 1:24).

I also saw the word “immediately” was used several times to describe the actions that were taking place. It was a time to move with great sobriety and urgency. Jesus had come to save all those who would ultimately trust him. When he called his disciples would leave everything with urgency and sobriety. What is God calling you to do that requires you to act today with great urgency and sobriety? Are you being immediately obedient to him?

If you hang out long enough at my house you will hear the phrase, “delayed obedience is disobedience.” when leading my children it’s important for them to act swiftly on my commands, not because I am a cruel dictator, but because I love my kids and I really only offer the commands for their safety and ultimate joy. I know a penny in the power outlet can earn a child a trip to the emergency room. So when I say, “put the penny down.” I’m not trying to steal my Kids joy, I’m actually acting to preserve her safety. A delay on her part can lead her to great pain and harm. She may rationalize that it’s just a penny and she really wants to put it in the wall. She may even be committed to putting the penny down after she trys this one thing.

Delayed obedience is really at it’s core disobedience. It’s saying, “I know better than you how things will work out for me.” It is a subtle attack on the character of God when we delay with our obedience to his call or command. We doubt His goodness, we doubt His ability to see what we can’t see, we doubt his love. Delayed obedience can be costly

Last, at the end of the chapter Jesus heals a man and urges him not to tell others, but rather go fulfill the customs and obligations of the day. The man ends up telling people and Jesus becomes famous. Jesus wasn’t looking for fame, Jesus was looking to honor the father. I’m sure to this one so miraculously healed it seemed contrary not to tell the whole town, he went with his gut instead. Sometimes if we aren’t careful we will follow our gut rather than obeying the Lord. How about you? Are you trusting the Lord? Are you trusting what God says about relationships? Money? Work? Etc…

Review: John (St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary) By R.C. Sproul

John (St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary) by R. C. Sproul is a great commentary on the Scriptural book of John.  For years I have appreciated Dr. Sproul’s ability to communicate difficult truths in easy to understand ways.  I have appreciated his skills as a bible scholar, pastor, and teacher from afar by listening to him on the radio.  I was thrilled when I got a PDF copy of this commentary to review.  Dr. Sproul has applied his keen expositional skills to the book of John and has produced a very readable and reliable guide to this beloved book of Scripture.

The commentary is divided up into 57 chapters that focus on the various portions of scripture.  The chapters work in order through the book of John.  Each chapter appears as a written sermon complete with illustrations and pertinent background information (similar to the commentaries by James Montgomery Boice in his commentary,  Gospel of John, The (5 Vol. Set), though Sproul covers John in one volume and it takes Boice five).

This commentary has several practical uses.  I can see it being a great benefit for those who are looking for a devotional guide to the book of John.  It also functions well as a commentary for those who are looking for some basic background information on a passage.  When preparing a message, one of the last things I do is see how other pastors and teachers have approached a text, especially when considering a difficult passage… This volume has been extremely helpful in allowing me to see how a seasoned expositor handles the expression of the text.

This was a great commentary and I would highly recommend it pastors and laymen alike.  The book is easy to read, follows a predictable pattern and draws a steady point of application. John (St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary) is an excellent resource. The retail price is $27.00 (Hardcover), and is available at a discount at steep discount at  Amazon.com for $17.82. I gave it five stars.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Reformation Trust Publishers as part of their Blog for a Free Book Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”