27 BSF Matthew Week 27

27.3 BSF Matthew Week 27, Day 3

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

There is an old saying about not being able to see the forest because all of these trees are in the way.  That was the challenge for the high priests.  Their day-to-day reality was that of a nation living in the presence of a more powerful occupying army.  They were the religious leaders, but also the leaders of real, flesh and blood people and families all of a shared ancestry and nationality.  They lead, but they did not have power or authority.  That, in their view, belonged to Rome.

To set the stage for our study today, we really need to step back in time to John 11.  This is the story about Jesus coming at the call or Mary and Martha and then calling Lazarus out from the tomb.  He raised him from the dead in the presence of lots and lots of witnesses right outside of Jerusalem.  Picking this up in John 11 starting in verse 45: “

45 Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin.

“What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.”

49 Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! 50 You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”

51 He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, 52 and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. 53 So from that day on they plotted to take his life.

 

See, this is the story within the story – the trees within the forest.  Never does the high priest, whether the puppet master (Annas) or the current high priest (Caiaphas), ever contradict Jesus.  Their words and actions do not once deny that He is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.  They do not say that this man, Jesus, is not the messiah.  Jesus points out that their words and actions actually do the opposite.  Matt 26:63-64, “Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”  “You have said so,” Jesus replied.

Maybe they had doubts.  Maybe they didn’t want to believe.  Maybe their hearts were hardened.  Maybe they could not picture this man standing in front of them being the same one who would come on a cloud.  But I think as much as anything, in their little world, it simply didn’t matter if Jesus was the Messiah.  He wasn’t going to set them free from Rome.  If He kept going, Rome was simply going to come in and take away their temple and their nation and where would they be then?  In their world, it was better that one innocent man die than risk that happening.

It just so happened that their solution (Jesus’ death) and God’s solution (Jesus’ death) coincided.  But their plans ended in death and Jesus’ plans did not.  He had already shown, with Lazarus, his power over death.  His viewpoint of the forest was one from the vantage point of heaven and eternity.

My Answers:

5.
a.
Annas

b.
the father in law of Caiaphas

6.
a.
(1) false witnesses, “I am able to destroy temple and rebuild”, no answer? (2) oath, are you God? you say so (3) spit, strike

b.
made plans how to have Jesus executed, bound Him, led Him to Pilate

7.
a.
The son of man coming with the clouds of heaven – the one with authority, glory, power, worshiped, dominion

b.
It is a transition from Jesus work on earth to His glory in heaven. Their words and actions have led to prophecy fulfilled.

c.
He was the one, the Messiah, the Son of Man spoken of in prophecy – not blasphemy if true

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27 BSF Matthew Week 27

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?

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26 BSF Matthew Week 26

26 BSF Matthew Week 26, Day 5

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

Jesus made the choice to be killed on the cross.  It wasn’t forced on Him.  It wasn’t a surprise.  He made the choice to yield completely to His Father’s will.  And the fulfillment of that will was for His death and resurrection.

But that did not mean Jesus ran blindly into the fray.  He worked incredibly hard to ensure He stayed firmly in the will of Abba, Father.  He prayed intensely.  Not trying to change God.  Not trying to make a deal or to get out of something.  He prayed to completely and clearly understand God’s timing.

The scriptures imply that He prayed for approximately an hour at a time, with 3 trips.  Each time He asked a question and He listened, intensely.  I don’t have any issue asking God questions, but I struggle to listen.  My mind wanders, my stomach grows, my knees ache, and I get distracted.  The spirit is willing but the body is weak.

How can we follow Christ’s example?  We can bring a friend for support.  We can find a quiet place away from the normal situations of life.  We can be focused and keep it simple.  We can not negotiate but concentrate on being fully in God’s will.

There is peace in prayer, a peace that comes not from our own understanding, but comes from submission to God’s design.

 

My Answers:

11.
a.
joy, life, self-determination/will, justice, reputation, Enough!

b.
watch and pray so you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Still sleeping? The hour has com

c.
distress, despair, a branch bending completely to the will of the Father but not breaking

12.
Abba, everything is possible with you, “couldn’t you keep watch 1 hour?” withdrew about a stone’s throw, knelt down, angel appeared and strengthened Him, prayed more earnestly and his sweat was like drops of blood falling, exhausted from sorrow

13.
a.
Abba, everything is possible with you, “couldn’t you keep watch 1 hour?” withdrew about a stone’s throw, knelt down, angel appeared and strengthened Him, prayed more earnestly and his sweat was like drops of blood falling, exhausted from sorrow

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25 BSF Matthew Week 25

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.

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24 BSF Matthew Week 24

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)

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24 BSF Matthew Week 24

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

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23 BSF Matthew Week 23

23 BSF Matthew Week 23, Day 2

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

There is a very simple axiom.  Right thinking leads to right living, while wrong thinking leads to wrong living.  Athletes recognize this.  Nutritionists, psychologists, sociologists, scientists, business executives, all recognize this.

The question is “where does right thinking come from?”

If I wanted to learn to be a brain surgeon, I would not turn to my co-leader (an engineer) to teach me, and if I did, you would not want to be my patient.  He is a wonderful and knowledgeable man, who is great with his hands and very careful and methodical.  In other words, he has the characteristics of a brain surgeon, but he doesn’t have the specific knowledge and experience.

Jesus pointed out the same thing in the Sadduccees.  They learned from each other, like someone reading every self-help book ever written.  It wasn’t that all of their education was wrong, but they did not know the scriptures or the power of God.  They were so focused on the messiness of human life, that they plugged in to their own interpretations which were built on taking that messiness down a “logical path”.  Their roots were in legalism built to try to organize messiness, but at heart, it was just that, organized messiness.  In that process, they had unplugged from the scriptures and the power of God and veered off into the weeds.

There is only one source for Right Thinking and Right Living and that is to open the text of the creator and turn to the experience of the only man to have ever lived a perfect life, Jesus.

My Answers:

3.
a.
The people lived under the protection and economy of Rome, but wanted to be exempt from taxes

b.
taxation, equality, sovereignty of other nations

c.
earthly authority, submission, taxes, governance to Caesar, To God: heart, soul, mind, strength

4.
a.
They did not know the Scriptures or the power of God

b.
People do what is right in their own eyes, trusting their wisdom/judgment and that of others

5.
a.
God is the God of the living – Abraham, Isaac and Jacob lived

b.
The dead will rise and live like the angels in heaven

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