Today’s Text: Matthew 17:1-13
Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up on a mountain where they witness one of the most fantastic and important events recorded in the Bible.
The text says that while Jesus was praying He was transfigured (the appearance of his face and clothes is changed – they became white and glistening like light).
Then Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus! Luke’s account tells us that they spoke with Jesus about His death soon to be accomplished in Jerusalem (Luke 9:31).
Peter suggested 3 altars be built, one for Moses, one for Elijah, and one for Jesus. Then a cloud over shadowed them, and God said, “This is my beloved Son, Hear Him”. When the cloud left Moses and Elijah were taken away.
As they descend the mountain the disciples ask Jesus about a popular idea that Elijah must come before the Messiah. Jesus explained the scripture in question (Malachi 4:5-6) was referring to John the Baptist. The then told them again that he was going to be put to death.
How might this event have helped the disciples? (Consider also 2 Peter 1:16-18).
How might it have helped Jesus?
Today’s Text: Mark 8:34-38, Mark 9:1
Jesus had just told his disciples He was going to die. Now he speaks to “the people” about the severe nature of what it means to be one of His followers. Those who profess to follow Jesus today should carefully consider these words. If we desire to save our life we will lose it. If we are willing to lose our life (for Jesus) we will save it! The reading closes with Jesus declaring that some will not die till the Kingdom comes (Mark 9:1).
What does it mean to save or lose our lives?
The people had been following Jesus for various reasons: hoping He would be king, hoping to be fed, or to see and experience miracles. How does this teaching help us understand what it really means to be a part of Jesus’ kingdom?
Today’s Text: Matthew 16:13-23
Jesus and His disciples go to Caesarea Philippi, where Jesus inquires as to who people are saying He is. Peter understands who Jesus is and confesses it and Jesus commends Him. Jesus says His church will be built on this Rock and that the gates of hades will not prevail against it. Jesus comments on the authority of Peter (which may apply all the apostles, compare Matthew 18:18 and Ephesians 2:20).
Next, Jesus tells them plainly that He is going to be killed. Peter objects to this revelation but Jesus corrects him.
Peter is an interesting study always, but especially in this reading. He goes from being “Blessed are you Simon” (17) to “get behind me Satan” (23) in the span of just a few verses! What do you make of the statements about Peter’s authority?
Today’s Reading: Mark 8:22-26
Another blind man is healed by Jesus. Again we see Jesus used different methods to do His miracles. Interesting in this case is that the healing was progressive. He was partially healed, evaluated, then completely made well.
Some see this “progressive healing” as an imperfection on Jesus part. Could Jesus have healed this man with a single word? Why might He have chosen to heal him in stages? Could there be an application to how some are healed spiritually?
Today’s Text: Matthew 16:1-12
First the Pharisees and Sadducees come to Jesus testing Him, asking for a sign. He rebukes them sharply for not discerning the signs of the times and because of their evil hearts.
Next Jesus rebukes His own disciples their lack of perception. He warns them about the “leaven (doctrine) of the Pharisees” but they think he is talking about physical bread.
What are the “times” that Jesus says the Pharisees should have understood? What time was it for the nation of Israel?
Today’s text: Matthew 15:29-39
Matthew (like the reading from Mark yesterday) records miracles Jesus performed and the excited response of the multitudes: they “marveled” and “glorified the God of Israel”.
Naturally great multitudes follow Jesus and as a result they are away from home with no food. Jesus has compassion on them and using 5 loaves and 2 fish He feeds 4000 men (not counting women and children) and there are 7 baskets left over.
In light of the fact that Jesus had just recently fed the 5000, how do you understand the disciples response, “Where could we get enough bread in the wilderness to feed such a great multitude?” Had they forgotten that quickly? Were they afraid to presume Jesus would repeat the miracle? What do you think? More to come about this tomorrow…
Today’s Reading: Mark 7:31-37
Jesus comes back the the Sea of Galilee and heals a deaf, mute man.
Note the unusual method Jesus uses to heal this man. We have seen that Jesus used a great variety of methods – not just one way of performing His miracles, but this one is rather unique.
It says they were “astonished beyond measure”, and “He does all things well”. What was the purpose of the miracles Jesus performed?
Today’s reading: Matthew 15:21-28
Jesus travels away from Galilee into the area of Tyre and Sidon. There he meets a Greek woman whose daughter is demon possessed. He first resists her pleas for help, and even uses what sounds to us like unkind language. Finally he commends her faith and heals her daughter.
Recently in a study about why we believe Jesus is the Son of God we talked about the sinlessness of Jesus and asked who could charge Him with wrong doing? I suppose some may look at His treatment of this woman as a mean, perhaps prejudiced act. How would you explain the way Jesus responds to this woman’s request?
Today’s Reading: Mark 7:14-23
Today’s reading is clearly a follow-up to yesterday’s confrontation with the Pharisee’s from Jerusalem. Jesus explains that external things entering our bodies do not cause defilement. Yet this is what the Pharisee’s were so focused on: “why do you not wash your hands like we do?” is what they found fault with in Jesus.
Jesus says its not what comes in from the outside but what comes out from the inside (from our heart) that defiles us and He give 13 examples.
Let’s try to simplify Jesus teaching here. What is true defilement?
Today’s Text: Mark 7:1-13
Pharisees from Jerusalem come to check out Jesus and find fault with Him and His disciples because they do not live according to the traditions of the elders. Jesus tells them they honor God with their lips, but their heart is far from God. Jews in the past had done the same and He quotes Isaiah who said the same thing in his day. He then shows how some of their traditions actually disregard God’s law.
Question: Are commandments and traditions of men necessarily wrong? (For example, was there anything wrong with washing cups and pitchers and vessels? If not, when do they become wrong?