In Matthew 6:1-18 Jesus continues His sermon by speaking about proper attitudes when exercising the outward forms of our faith: Charitable deeds, prayer, and fasting.
Concerning prayer, Jesus tells us what NOT TO DO, giving the two negative examples (hypocrites and heathens).
As a positive example of how to pray, Jesus gives what is commonly known as the Lord’s prayer. How should we view this prayer? Is it okay to repeat it verbatim? Do you see it more as a framework after which to model our own prayers? How do you use this prayer?
Today’s reading: Matthew 5:17-48
This is day two of five of Jesus’ sermon on the mount.
In Matthew 5:17-48 Jesus addresses a very important matter, something everyone was probably wondering about: He clarifies His relationship to “the Law and Prophets”. He did not come to destroy them, but to fulfill them. He urges obedience to the Law. He calls for a higher level of righteousness than what the scribes and Pharisees practiced. Then He gives 6 examples of what was commonly being taught in contrast to what God really wanted His people to be and do.
Look closely at the 6 “you have heard it was said…but I say unto you” statements. In a few words, summarize the difference between what they had been taught and what Jesus said they really should be doing.
How does verse 48 summarize what God wants of us?
Today’s Reading: Matthew 5:1-16
Yesterday’s reading said Jesus was teaching and preaching the gospel of the kingdom. Now we will take an in depth look at the specific things He was saying. This is the day one of seven days we will spend looking at what is called “the sermon on the mount”. Today’s reading is the beginning of the sermon and covers the beatitudes (1-12) and then two illustrations of what the followers of Jesus should be like: salt and light (13-16).
Imagine being a Jew in the first century awaiting the Messiah. Some thought Jesus is the One. Then He begins to preach. What He says sheds light on the kind of King He will be and what His kingdom will be like. How do these verses set the “tone” for His kingdom? In what way might this have been far from what many expected from their “messiah”?
Today’s Reading: Matthew 4:12-25
Yesterday we read about how Jesus was rejected at his hometown of Nazareth. Today we read how He relocates to Capernaum near the Sea of Galilee. Here He called four fishermen, Peter, Andrew, James, and John to follow him. Jesus’ fame spreads through the region as he preaches and heals the sick.
Matthew tells us this move to Capernaum fulfilled a prophecy (see verse 14-16). What is the “tone” of the prophecy – is it good news or bad news or just general information? Where in the Old Testament does the prophecy come from?
Beginning tomorrow we will spend 7 days looking at the specific teachings of Jesus.
Today’s Reading: Luke 4:14-30
In today’s reading Jesus makes himself known in his home town of Nazareth. The story starts well but ends ugly. After claiming He is the fulfillment of a Messianic prophecy from Isaiah, it says the people “bore witness to Him and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth”. Later they are “filled with wrath” and try to kill Him. This is another reminder that the life of Jesus is not going to be smooth and pleasant.
Question: What led to this turn around in the attitude of the people at Nazareth?
Question: Consider the text Jesus quotes to announce Himself. How does it describe His work?
Today’s Reading: Luke 3:23-38
This is Luke’s genealogy of Jesus which is a little different from the one in Matthew. The two genealogies are different from Jesus to David but they join up at David and are identical from David to Abraham. Matthew stops at Abraham whereas Luke takes Jesus family tree all the way back to Adam.
The best explanation I have heard is that Luke traces Jesus bloodline through his mothers side of the family. Matthew is the legal bloodline (through his Joseph who legally would have been considered Jesus’ father) and Luke is the actual bloodline (through Mary as Joseph was not his biological father).
Do you agree with this explanation? If it is true, isn’t it an interesting, subtle way of confirming the virgin birth and therefore even the divinity of Jesus?
Today’s Text: John 4:43-54
Jesus returns to Galilee, specifically to Cana, “where He had made the water wine”. While there a certain nobleman from Capernaum comes to him and begs him to heal his son who is dying. Jesus tells him to go his way and that his son lives.
What is unique about the way Jesus performed this miracle?
The manner is somewhat unique, but is it really any surprise that Jesus could do this?
Today’s Text: John 4:31-42
While the woman has gone to tell her friends about Jesus, Jesus speaks to His disciples about how “the fields are white for harvest”. The end result of this visit to the Samaritan city is that many Samaritans believe in Jesus (41).
When Jesus says the fields are “white for harvest” he is referring to the tips of the wheat plant that turns white at harvest time. The application of the metaphor is that all men urgently need to hear the gospel.
Read this chapter carefully and think of it as a teaching about spreading the gospel. What does Jesus interaction with the woman, his teaching to the disciples, and the woman’s behavior teach you about sowing the seed of the kingdom of God?
What confession do the Samaritans make about Jesus? (42).
Today’s Text: John 4:1-30
Jesus is making his way from Judea to Galilee and travels through Samaria. He meets a woman of Samaria and guides her to an understanding of who He is.
Both the woman (8) and the disciples (27) are surprised that Jesus engaged her in a conversation. Verse 27 says the disciples “marveled” at this. Why were they all surprised? What does it teach us about Jesus (and what we should be like) that He was so willing to befriend her?
Today’s Text: John 3:22-36.
The growing popularity of Jesus’ ministry is reported to John the baptist. A lesser man might have been jealous, resentful, or felt threatened, but John understands his role.
What attitudes do you see in John (verses 27-30) that can help us when we see God using and blessing someone else?