28.2 BSF Matthew Week 28, Day 2

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

From Cyrene to Jerusalem by land was 783 miles.  Walking ~4 miles per hour for 8 hours a day, it would have taken 32 days to make the journey to arrive in the holy city for passover.  On the day of passover a crowd lines the steets and Simon of Cyrene is in the crowd.  We don’t know if he is actively participating in the mocking words of the crowd to Jesus, but suddenly he is being pulled from the crowd and ordered by the Roman soldiers to help Jesus carry the cross.

The moment he comes in contact with the blood on the cross he would be deemed to be ceremonially unclean and no longer able to participate in passover.  There is no time to perform the ceremonies to become clean.

Being unable to participate in passover carried a huge burden.  In a culture and religion where adherence to the the law and participation in the feasts was paramount to salvation, his inability to participate would be carried with him through the entire following year and possibly forever.  There was no “make-up” date for passover.

Regardless of where his heart was at that moment, we catch insight into where his heart went.  We know from Mark 15 that his sons were active members in the the church of Christians following Christ’s resurrection.  We know from Romans 16 that his wife was like a mother to the apostle Paul.

Simon learned first hand that adherence to laws and feasts does not work.  Despite best intentions things go wrong.  We are not perfect.  But Jesus was perfect and His perfect sacrifice redeemed us fully now and forever.  We see later in our story that Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus and the jewish women who followed Jesus also gave up their ability to participate in passover.  But by willing letting go of their place in the crowd, they stepped into a personal relationship with Jesus, one that lasts into eternity.

Where are you standing in the crowd?  Where do you need to step out and be willing to let go of “looking proper” or “doing good things” to actually serve Jesus?

My Answers:

3.
a.
Lev 4: Our sin offeringLev 4: The offering which we lay hands on to transfer our guilt and sin
Deut: Someone who took on our capital offense, was put to death on a pole – God’s curse
2 Cor: One who had no sin to be sin for us so that in him we might become righteous
Heb: Suffered outside the gate, like a burnt offering, sin offering, made holy through His blood
1 Peter: Redemption through precious blood of Christ, the lamb without blemish or defect
1 Peter: bore our sins so that we might die to sins and live to righteousness, healed by his wounds

b.
took on our capital offense, put to death on a pole and received God’s curse – taken down to not desecrate the land

4.
a.
Unclear in scripture.  He would have traveled for almost a month to Jerusalem for passover only to become unclean on that very day.  Anger, fear turning to compassion, wonder and appreciation.  2 sons became missionaries and wife was “like a mother” to Paul.

b.
More than just an angry, frustrated, Judean Jew.  He had been touched and moved to faith through the experience he had of being pulled out of the crowd.

c.
Christ’s passion for us did not just involve a quick death.  Death was preceded by pain and degradation that led to fully taking on the weight of our sin even unto death

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27.2 BSF Matthew Week 27, Day 2

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

A large crowd had made its way to Jerusalem for celebration of the passover.  They had begun arriving the week before.  5 days before Jesus had been all the buzz and a large crowd had gone out to find him at the dinner at Lazarus’ house.  This was when Mary had anointed Jesus with the perfume.  4 days before Jesus had ridden into Jerusalem to the cheers of the crowd.  Hosanna!  Blessed is the King of Israel.  Tonight they show up as an armed mob with torches and clubs and betrayal and hatred on their lips. Tomorrow they will be screaming for his execution in the most brutal and demeaning manner possible.

What did Jesus do in less than 4 days time that went from triumphant and joyful arrival to rejection and hatred of him?  It isn’t what He did that was the problem.  It is what He didn’t do.  He didn’t change who He was to become who they wanted him to be.

God is immutable.  Unlike the crowd and popular opinion, He doesn’t change; never has, never will, and we humans get frustrated by that.  Why doesn’t God…?  How can God….?  That… may have been true back then but we know….

Our challenge today is the same challenge of that day.  All too often the basis of our perception of God is in what we think or what we have been told rather than what the bible actually says.  According to a 2013 research study by the Barna Group, more Americans had read Twilight, the Hunger Games and 50 Shades of Grey than had read the bible cover to cover.  Of those who do read the bible only 26% read it regularly with 57% touching it less than 4 times per year.  Yet, we have no limit to our opinions about who God is and how He should behave and what He would or should say!

Beware of crowds.  Beware of the “wisdom of our age”.  Beware of popular opinion.  Beware of your own strength and your own opinion.  There is only one place in which to place your trust, one source that will last beyond both earth and heaven because it is true and unchanging: the word of our Lord.

We are quickly approaching the end of our study of Matthew – what will you do this summer to not fall into temptation?

My Answers:

3.
a.
Peter

b.
battle between the large crowd with sword and clubs and the handful of apostles

c.
Jesus had outlined what would happen – He was in control, but Peter was in denial of that control over the situation

d.
mostly in the form of worry and stress. They don’t yield results but submitting to God does

4.
a.
betrayed with a kiss, captured with swords and clubs, deserted by apostles

b.
attackers drew back and fell to the ground

c.
let these men go, I have not lost one of those you gave me, healed the man’s ear

d.
shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?

26 BSF Matthew Week 26, Day 4

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

I love Peter because I can see my own dimwitted self reflected in his approach to things.  I have no doubt of his immense love and admiration for Jesus.  I have no doubt that he recognized, through the power of the holy spirit, who Christ was, just as it is written in the scriptures.  But he gets in his own way.

Basically he says, I know you are the Christ, the Son of the Living God, Creator of all, All-Knowing, All-Powerful, Eternal, but, uh, you’re wrong.  I know better than you do.

Jesus didn’t ask them, he told them what would happen.  But instead of accepting this and using this knowledge as strength, Peter jumps into denial.  In his journal down the river of denial he and the other apostles miss the promise of a risen Lord to meet with them in Galilee.  They want to take up arms to prevent this from happening.  While they think they will raise up arms to be standing for Jesus, they in fact are standing in direct opposition to the words and promise he has just made.  This is not a surprise to Jesus.  He is not a victim.  He knows who, what, when, where, why and how.  There is no mystery.  There is simply a gift.

How often do I argue with God?  Every time I insist on doing things my way first, I tell Him I know better.  Every time I rely on myself more than on Him, I yield to temptation.

But, there is one other amazing part in these verses and that is Jesus prayer for Peter in Luke 22:32 – “But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”  Temptation and testing is not something to just be endured and survived, it is something that strengthens us so that we can strengthen others.  Like exercise, it may tear us down and wear us out temporarily, but when we heal, we heal stronger.

My Answers:

8.
a.
Contradicted Jesus – Convicting that I will never fall away while simultaneously doubting Jesus’ word

b.
33. Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will

c.
Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you (other disciples agreed)

9.
a.
i.
There are no surprises – Satan is only allowed to tempt/test God’s people as God allows

ii.
Self confidence will not prevail, only trust in the Lord

iii.
Prays for us and directs us to use strength given through trials

b.
Reluctance to be a cheerful giver has given me insight into understanding the traps of “wealth management”

10.
a.
you will all fall away on account of me

b.
After I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee

26 BSF Matthew Week 26, Day 3

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

From the beginning of time God had designed the feast of passover to be a forebearing of the gift of salvation and life through His son.  The chief priests and elders were plotting to murder Jesus, “but not during the festival.”  However, there plans were no mystery to Christ and their timing was not how things were to be.

For them passover had become a meal and a time of reflection of looking back.  We do this today with our own feasts and celebrations.  We prepare for weeks for a big party or to host a big dinner and then we just want to crash, to take a nap.

But that wasn’t what passover was supposed to be about.  Yes, it was a time of remembrance, but they were to remember the entire thing.  Look at Exodus 12:11 – This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover.  The passover meal wasn’t the ending.  The day of passover wasn’t the goal.  It was the doorway that was to be passed through to enter freedom and salvation, to live as a people set apart for God.  It is a time of looking forward to the promise.

That is also the message of the cross.  Jesus’ death at passover wasn’t an ending, it was an opening of a doorway.  We can get so busy and focuses on the event and the meal that we, too, can forget, when the sun rises we are to be ready to go out into the world and proclaim the good news of freedom.

My Answers:

6.
a.
Passover

b.
Final Egypt plague, death of first born, the angel of death passed over the household’s marked with lamb’s blood

c.
perfect lamb, without blemish, family/community, killed at twilight (not sunset), hyssop branches used to paint blood over door (same branches used to give vinegar to Jesus), that night judgment brought upon all false gods, households saved by the blood of the lamb

7.
a.
Luke: He took, gave thanks, broke it, gave it, “body given for you, remember, cup new cov. blood, for U.
John: I am living bread, eat and live forever, unless you remember you have no life, but do and live
1Pete1: precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect
1Pete2: He himself bore our sins, might die to sin, live in righteousness, by his wounds have been healed
1John: walk in light, fellowship with one another, purified of sin by blood of Jesus

b.
It is a new covenant and when you eat and drink, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes again

c.
Focus is not just on my sin and forgiveness, but a joy of salvation, His return and eternity through this promise

25 BSF Matthew Week 25, Day 3

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

What do your actions say about what you truly believe?  I found it interesting the steward who had been given one talent very interesting.  He said he believed one thing, but the returning master looked not only at his statement but at his actions.

This steward had a very negative view of the master.  He paid no attention to the master’s investment, his work, his land, his seed, his housing room and board, his servants, his provision.  He couldn’t see beyond the reach of his own hands.  ‘You are not out in the fields sowing or scattering the seed, yet you expect part of the harvest.’  To this steward, his self dialogue was that the master was a “hard man”, someone to fear.  But the master called him on that.  If that is what he truly believed, then he would have at least taken steps to put the money in the bank.  This steward’s statement of belief was a lie.  It had nothing to do with the master and everything to do with his self justification.  The man was simply wicked and lazy.  But it is easier and more satisfying to blame the master than to take ownership of his own character.

How many do the same today?  I can’t believe in a God who…  If that is what God is then…  But this truly has nothing to do with God, no more than the third steward’s statement had to do with the master.  It is simply a way of shifting responsibility, avoiding accountability.  It didn’t work then and I have a feeling it isn’t going to work any better when we face Jesus.

Turning to the other stewards (5 and 2), I found their lack of negotiation and commission very telling of their view of the master.  Both had earned a 100% ROI.  Although the master was away for a long time, that is still a huge profit margin.  But when the master returned, every penny was turned over to the master.  No negotiation, no reimbursement of fees and expenses.

This tells me of their complete faith and trust in the provision of the master.  The best thing they could do was hand it all back to the master.  They didn’t try for “what is fair”, they trusted that the joy and blessing of the master would far outweigh “fair”.  And, at the end of each tale, that is exactly what we see.  Both receive promotions.  Both are invited to share fully in the master’s happiness.  This happiness was far greater than the sums of money, it was in the value of finding a faithful servant.  Anyone who has worked in management knows the value of a faithful employee is far greater than the return on any one investment they may have managed.  I think the trust of these servants speaks volumes to the true nature and character of the master!

My Answers:

6.
a.
Prov 3: wisdom to gain understanding, nothing physical is more preciousMatt 13: teacher of law who is a disciple brings out treasure both new and old
Matt 28: go make disciples, baptizing, teaching
John 1: Himself, His son, His light, to receive Him and become children of God
John 13: an example – do as He has done for me
John 21: Love Him and work to do; care for and feed His sheep
2 Tim Scripture: teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness

b.
Gift of BSF, bible, church, story telling, children to lead and teach and a blog with a readership that compares to some of the largest churches

7.
5 Talent: According to his ability – went at once and put money to work, gained 5 more, brought all 10 to master, received praise and shared in joy

2 Talent: Same as 5 – faithful with few, put in charge of many, come and share in master’s happiness

1 Talent: Resentment of master, reap where don’t sow, “afraid”, the 1 take from him, sent out, gnashing of teeth

8.
a.
wicked heart – resentful

b.
repaid for times of hardship with plenty

c.
My past few years in BSF and church – the joy of seeing the bounty in our children

9.
Whoever has will be given more – whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken.  If you value you, you must invest it.

25 BSF Matthew Week 25, Day 2

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

The greek word used for lamp in this parable is lampas.  That is important because it isn’t lychnos.  The distinction is that lampas is more of a torch than a candle or desk lamp.  This is the same word used when the soldiers came to the garden to arrest Jesus carrying torches.  It is like the difference between hi-beam headlights and a penlight.  The word that is translated as trimmed their lamps is Kosmeo which means to assemble.

I bring this up because when we think of the virgins with lamps we think of them holding small lamps about the size of their palms, not torches.  We can easily think about someone not having enough oil.

But that is not what the scriptures explain.  Matthew 25 says they brought NO oil.  This would be like someone bringing a lightbulb, a spotlight case, but no battery.  When it came time to assemble the parts, they were blatantly unprepared.

We needn’t worry if we have enough oil.  We don’t need to be concerned if our faith is sufficient or we have enough indwelling of the spirit.  The quantity is not the point.  The fact that we have any is sufficient.  The fact that we cared enough to bring some oil shows our preparation.  Once the torches were prepared, the groom arrived and they were escorted in.

But we need our own oil.  We will not receive salvation and forgiveness because we have christian friends or belong to a christian organization.  We don’t get a pass because our parents or spouse was a believer.  When the our comes, we will have either cared enough to prepare ourselves or we will have missed the time.  After that it will be too late.

 

My Answers:

3.
a.
All remained virgins, all invited, all showed up, all brought torches and wicks

b.
people who call themselves christians, wise were filled with spirit and the word, foolish were “in name only”

4.
a.
Matt 7: avoid broad gate, enter the narrow gate to life even though only few will find it
Matt 7: build on solid foundation
Matt 24: don’t be deceived by false messiahs, keep watch, be ready
John 1: Receive Him and become children of God
1 Thes: Live in light, don’t be afraid
1 Thes, May god sanctify you – be kept blameless

b.
John 3: cannot enter heaven unless born of water and spirit, flesh to flesh but spirit to spirit
Rom 8: If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ
Eph 1: Marked with a seal, the promise of the H/S, deposit guaranteeing inheritance

5.
The spirit testifies for us, Christ knows His sheep and they know Him – have no concern of being “shut out” – I know His voice and follow

24 BSF Matthew Week 24, Day 4

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

What does it mean to mourn?  Why will all peoples of the earth mourn?  Won’t this be a joyful time of Christ’s second return?

English is such a limited language that we sometime can’t see the way words were used.  In Greek, the word used for mourn in this passage and in Revelation 1:7 is kopto (Strong’s G2875).  It does translate to mourn or lament.  It, like the Hebrew word used in Zechariah 12:10, caphad (Strong’s H5594) does mean to weep, wail, lament, and the beating of the chest in grief.

But here is what is interesting.  This is the same word used in Mark 11:8, “Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields.”  Did you catch it?  It is that last part, “which they had cut.”

When Jesus returns it will be a parallel to his arrival into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.  But this time, instead of palm branches, it will be all people of the world themselves who, every one of them, fall down at His feet on His triumphant entry back into the world.

My Answers:

8.
a.
False prophets appear and perform great signs to deceive, sun will darken, moon not give light, stars will fall, heavenly bodies shaken, sign of the Son of Man appear in heaven, all people of earth will mourn.

b.
Zech: pour out spirit of grace and supplication, look and mourn the one they pierced
Matt: sign will appear and all the people of earth will mourn when they see Him coming on cloud
Rev: Look – every eye will see Him, all peoples will mourn because of Him

c.
No one knows, not even the angels nor the Son – only the Father

9.
The signs are visible, evident and known, not deeply clouded in mystery to make them invisible in the present.  When you see the signs of spring, you know summer will follow. (Rom 1:19-20)

24 BSF Matthew Week 24, Day 3

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal

The tipping point.  Like when water is cooling and it reaches 32F/0C.  Everything changes.  Like when the maximum weight a bridge can carry is exceeded. Everything changes.  So it will be.

As christians living in a fallen world, we see a study decline around us.  Today the gospel, the good news, is still being preached.  Today missionaries are reaching out to people across the world and here at home who have never had the opportunity to truly hear and understand the promise of salvation in Jesus Christ.  But while that is going on, we also see an increasing moral decline.  We see blatant sin becoming not only the norm but something people celebrate and endorse.  We see a slow slide.

But Jesus explains it will only be a slow slide to a point, and then it will tip.  There will be a tipping point, an abomination that causes desolation.  A time when the last vestige of hope for a better existence on this world is extinguished.

The bible is filled with “do not fears.”  Over an over again in both new and old testaments believers are told “do not be afraid.”  But when that event occurs that tips the boat, Jesus tells all those still in Judea to get out, don’t look back, don’t return.  As in the days of Lot, but this time instead of a redeeming storm on a sinful city, the storm is one of increased sin and dread.

New and expectant mothers always hope for a better life for their children, but in those days, that hope is gone.

But even within this time of dread, God has not given up or relinquished control.  And as bad as things will get, the time will be cut short by the triumphant return of the promised one.  There will be no mistaking the real deal, no need to seek Him out in a room or in the wilderness.  When Christ comes again every one know.

My Answers:

6.
a.
‘the abomination that causes desolation,’spoken of through the prophet Daniel

b.
flee to the mountains, do not return

c.
Daniel, Daniel 9:27; 11:31; 12:11

7.
a.
How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers!

b.
Because they will be cut short for the sake of the elect

24 BSF Matthew Week 24, Day 2

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

From the old testament scriptures and prophecies, the faithful were expecting a Messiah who would rule as King.  As Jesus approaches His final days it has become important for clarification.

There are only 3 possibilities.

1. The scriptures and prophecies were wrong

2. The followers understanding and interpretation of the scriptures and prophecies was wrong

3. Jesus was not the Messiah

Jesus clarified that the prophecies are true and all will be fulfilled, through Him.  However, instead of this happening in a single event, as followers thought they understood, He explained to them about His second coming.  This was in no way a contradiction or a change to anything in the scriptures, it was, instead, an illumination on a perspective that they had not previously understood.

They had put their faith and trust in the physical church; the building (temple), the infrastructure of the pharisees and teachers of the law, the courts and offerings.  So Jesus started with that.  It would all be destroyed, but His word would live forever.

My Answers:

3.
a.
2. not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.

b.
when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?

c.
End of the age = That Christ’s reign as King and Lord would not be a continuation, but a new beginning

d.
70 AD

4.
a.
1. Persecution of the believers, trials and betrayal (12-19); 2. Desolation of the temple, flee (20-21); 3. Time of punishment(22-24) 4. Signs in the Heavens and the return of the Son of Man (25-28)

b.
Until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled

5.
a.
(from Luke) seize, persecute, handed over to synagogues and prison, trials, betrayal, everyone will hate you, dread, distress, tramples, faint with terror, apprehension, (from Matt): False christs, wars, rumors of war, nation rise against nation, famines, earthquakes, persecution, death, hatred, false prophets, deceit, wickedness, love of most will grow cold.

b.
this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations

c.
Missionaries have reached almost every unreached group -  Local/International Missions

23 BSF Matthew Week 23, Day 4

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

This discussion reminds me so much of my golf game. 

The religious leaders were trying to pull Jesus off into the weeds to trip Him up.  Everything they asked Him about was on the far fringes of the course of life.  That is where they played, going from patch of weeds to patch of weeds.

Jesus wasn’t afraid of the weeds, but His response was always the same.  The solution is not to go from weed-patch to weed-patch, but to get the game back on the fairway.  Return to the scriptures.  Return to the power of God.  Return to right thinking and right living.

No where is that more evident than in Matthew 22:42.  The leaders are gathered.  They had plotted and planned and asked questions, all attempting to get Jesus into their weeds.  And now, Jesus asks them a question.  But Jesus question isn’t in the weeds.  It isn’t on the fringe.  It is at the very heart of the green.  What do you think about the Messiah?

That is the core question, isn’t it?  That is the question all of religion hinges on.  We know we need a savior.  What do you think about the Messiah?  In the game of life, that is the hole-in-one shot, that is where we should play.

My Answers:

8.
a.
What do you think about the Messiah?  Whose son is he?

b.
Shows that while He was a descendent of David, he was Lord, the son of the Living God

c.
To address Him as my Lord and Master, not only in word but in action

9.
a.
what the teachers and Pharisees who sit in Moses’ seat say to do

b.
Do not do what they do

c.
done for people to see

d.
To be humble and ensure the honor and glory are God’s alone

10.
To be humble, to not take on titles belonging to God (Rabbi, father, instructor)