Monthly Archives: February 2015

2/28 – Mustard Seed / Leaven / Tares Explained

Today’s text: Matthew 13:31-43

Today we read two new parables: the mustard seed and leaven. Next we are given another explanation for Jesus use of parables. Finally, in verses 36-43 Jesus explains the parable of the Tares for his disciples.

How is the kingdom like a mustard seed?

How is the kingdom like leaven?

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2/27 – Parable of the Wheat and Tares

Today’s Text: Matthew 13:24-30

Today’s parable, like the Sower yesterday, is the story is about someone planting seed seeking a fruitful harvest.

Yesterday (parable of the Sower) we learned than some seed failed to produce because of unprepared soil and the soils represented the different hearts of men. There is an improper result in today’s parable as well, but for a different reason.

What is the cause of the improper result in the parable of the Tares?

Note: Jesus gives a details application of this parable in 13:36-43 which we will read tomorrow.

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2/26 – Parable Of The Sower

Today’s Reading: Matthew 13:1-23

Matthew describes Jesus sitting in a boat teaching the people who are sitting on the sea shore. Today is the first of 5 days in which we will read some of His parables.

The first is the parable of the Sower (1-9). A farmer scatters seed across four types of soil which results in various outcomes. Only the good soil brings a good plant that bears fruit.  In the application (18-23), the word of God is a seed which is planted in different types of hearts. Only the good and honest heart hears and bears fruit.

In between the parable (1-9) and the application (18-23) Jesus responds to the disciples question: Why do you speak to them in parables?

Jesus concluded the parable in verse 9 by saying “He who has ears to hear, let him hear”. Doesn’t everyone “have ears to hear”?  How do we know if we have “ears to hear”.

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2/25 – Unclean Spirit Returns / Jesus’ Family

Today’s text: Matthew 12:38-50

Three ideas in today’s reading:

1. The Pharisees ask for a sign. (Hadn’t he already given a few? What does this show about their honesty?)

2. A warning about how an unclean spirit that had been cast out of a man may seek to return.

3. Jesus’ own family seems to be worried that he is going too far. Mark’s account (3:21) tells us that shortly before this His own people went to lay hold of him saying “He is out of His mind”.

Question: In response to His families request to see him (presumably to talk some sense into Him), Jesus asks, who is my family?  How does He answer His own question? What does this teach us about our physical families and spiritual families?

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2/24 – The Unpardonable Sin

Today’s Reading: Matthew 12:22-37

This is the famous “unpardonable sin” text and it is important to understand the context of that statement.

The controversy between Jesus and the Pharisees reaches a climax when Jesus heals a demon possessed, blind, and mute man.  The multitudes are amazed but the Pharisees say Jesus is casting out demons by Beelzebub, the ruler of demons.

Jesus gives a logical response as to why this cannot be true and then warns against such blasphemy. He says speaking against the Son of Man will be forgiven, “but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit it will not be forgiven him (32).   The section closes with a warning against corrupt speech in general.

The phenomenon of demon possession raises many questions. What did Jesus say His casting out demons demonstrated? (28-29).

 

Concerning the “Unpardonable Sin”:  I personally believe the ‘unpardonable, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit’ would be if we have the same attitude toward the Spirit’s revelations that these Pharisees had toward Jesus. They blasphemed Jesus saying His work was of the devil.  He said they can be forgiven (32) and many who rejected Jesus were later convicted when the Spirit came and guided the apostles to preach the gospel.  But if we reject the Spirit’s message and consider it to be “of the devil”, what hope is there for us?

I also consider it to be, not a one time event  (if you ever say something blasphemous against the Spirit, you have no hope, there is no forgiveness),  but rather a disposition. As long as we reject the Spirit’s revelation, indeed there is no hope.

 

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2/23 – Withered Hand Healed On Sabbath

Today’s Reading: Luke 6:6-11

The controversy between Jesus and the scribes and Pharisee’s continues. Jesus heals a man with a withered hand. Because of the timing and way Jesus performed the miracle they become “filled with rage” and discuss how they might destroy Him.

Were all Pharisees like these?

Which hand of the man was withered and healed by Jesus?

What work did Jesus actually do in this miracle?

 

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2/22 – Working On The Sabbath?

Today’s reading: Matthew 12:1-8.

Its a sabbath day and Jesus and His disciples are passing through grainfields.  The disciples are hungry so they pluck heads of grain, rub them in their hands (Luke 6:1), and eat.

Once again the Pharisee’s criticize:  “Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath”.

Analyze Jesus’ response – how does He reason with them?  Note that Mark gives an additional thought (Mark 2:27).

After hearing Jesus response what could these Pharisees possible say?

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2/21 – Simon The Pharisee and the Sinful Woman

Today’s text: Luke 7:36-50

Yesterday we saw Jesus invites those who are laboring and are burdened in life. Today we see what I believe is a classic example of such a one.

While Jesus is eating at a certain Pharisee’s house, a sinful woman comes seeking Him. She is crying and washing his feet with her tears.

Simon is bothered by why Jesus would let the sinner touch him and Jesus uses the event to teach him about how we all need forgiveness and how we should respond to God’s grace.

How would you describe Simon’s understanding of our relationships with people who are sinners (see verse 29)?

What do you learn from the woman’s  behavior?

 

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2/20 – Impenitent Cities Condemned

Today’s Reading: Matthew 11:20-30

As this story progresses we see Jesus is becoming more direct concerning who He is, lines are being drawn, and people are making choices.  In today’s reading Jesus rebukes the cities of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum for their refusal to repent. He even compares them to Sodom (actually he says Sodom was more noble in one sense – if Sodom had seen all they saw Jesus says they would have repented).

It may be surprising and disappointing to learn that these cities that Jesus chose as his home (like Capernaum), are rejecting him.  Who does this passage say can and will come to Jesus and receive his blessings?

 

 

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2/19 – John Inquires About Jesus

Today’s Reading: Matthew 11:1-19

John the baptist was imprisoned by Herod because he told him he was in an unlawful marriage (the details are reported later in Matthew 14:3-4).

From prison John hears about Jesus and sends messengers who ask, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?”.  Jesus sends the messengers back to report to John about all the miracles He is performing.

After the messengers of John leave, Jesus praises John to his disciples, but then turns His attention to those in the present generation who were rejecting him.

John’s question to Jesus is surprising. You would think that he would know Jesus was “the one” (the Messiah).  They were related to one another and he had in fact announced Jesus as “the one” several times before he was imprisoned.  Why might he be asking this question now?

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