06.3 BSF Matthew, Week 6, Day 3

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

1. I didn’t know for sure what the word meant so I looked it up: Raca: vain, empty, worthless, only found in Matt. 5:22. The Jews used it as a word of contempt. It is derived from a root meaning “to spit.”

2. I was moved by the 1 John 2:11 passage, “But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.”

The thought it brought to mind was the realization that anger and hatred that I carry in my are like a dark spot in my eye.  That spot is blacked out and doesn’t absorb any light.  Clearly greed and lust are the same way.

So, I looked up how big of a dark spot would it take to affect my vision.  Literally.  Here is what I learned:  The receptors in our eyes are in an area called the macula.  At the center of the macula is the fovea centralis.  This is the “point of sharpest, most acute visual acuity.”  At the center of the fovea centralis is the foveola.  The closer ones cones are clustered  to this are, the better your vision.  A dark spot in this are, something blocking the cones, would have a significant impact on the ability to see and could cause blindness.  The foveola is about 0.35 mm.  In other words, a little less than half the size of this period.

So, how much anger and hatred can I allow to reside in my heart and in my eye?  This was a good visual for me (no pun intended).

I want to see.  I want to be able to see the world with Jesus’ eyes.

3. I had a whole part on trying to explain Matthew 5:25-26 but I moved it to Day 5

My Answers:

5.
a.
Deut 5:17 (Also Exodus 20:13)

b.
They separated the hands from the heart.  Hatred and desire to murder someone was fine as long as they didn’t physically do it.  They followed the letter of the law but not the intent

6.
Anger and hatred are in me as darkness.  It is impossible to be filled with the light if I have darkness in me.  Even a little darkness is blinding.

7.
Pray, forgive, reconcile if possible – but regardless, take it out of my heart

8.
What can I do to love and save my brother? vs. What can I do to get what is rightfully mine? Cain’s Protection (Gen 4:15) Lamech’s Arrogance (Gen 4:23-24) Eye for eye (Ex 21:23-25)

06.2 BSF Matthew, Week 6, Day 2

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

In our discussion this week about moral law, ceremonial law and prophecies foretold I did some digging into the old testament prophecies and found these two great resources:

The first is a side by side list of over 350 old testament prophecies and the corresponding new testament references demonstrating Christ’s fulfillment: 351 Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus Christ

The second is a “school house rock” style video that demonstrates the probability of any of this just being “chance.”

In particular, today, I was struck by the question about the bible becoming living to me.  When I mechanically do my study, I get the mechanics of the scriptures.  I see the words.  I see the do’s and don’ts and the blessings and the warnings.  But that is all I see.  However, when I pray first and really put my mind and spirit in a time of openness to God’s revelation, I experience God’s word in such a deeper way. For example, in Sunday School recently we discussed Isaac and the blessings to Jacob and Esau (Genesis 26).  Through that study I was struck by the fact that Isaac didn’t just “take back” the blessing that Jacob received and it made me realize none of us can ever truly “take back” words that we speak.  They carry forward with a life of their own.  We can try to explain them, soften them, translate them, but once spoken we can’t unspeak them.  Then, tie that Old Testament lesson to the New Testament lesson this week about knowing the old testament teachings and speaking the truth always.

It brought to mind a good steak.  The old testament is the breed of the animal, the feed that went into it, the aging process, the marinade used, the perfect temperature of the flame, the hand of the experienced chef.  Sure, with out any of that, the steak (new testament) could still be nourishment and something for me to chew on.  But without the old testament I lose the flavor and the full experience that God intended.

My Answers:

3.
a.
Respect and honor.  He did not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.  They are to be practiced and taught.

b.
Through BSF and Sunday School teaching, my love of the old testament has grown in the past few years.  I have too often viewed it as out-dated and difficult – as a rule book that doesn’t apply now.

c.
Begin with prayer.  Ask for Jesus’ help through the Holy Spirit to open my eyes and heart to how these ancient words point to Jesus and how they apply to my life today.

d.
Study of Isaac’s blessing of Jacob and Esau – I am too casual with words, treating them like something I can take back or erase, but that isn’t the case.  Once words are spoken they take on a life of their own and carry weight.

4.
a.
Heb 9:27 die once and then face judgment.  Ephesians 2:9 Not by works, so that no one can boast.  Luke 18:18-27 “you know the commandments…” and “then come follow me.”

b.
Heb 8:7-13 (quoting Jeremiah 31) Jesus is the new covenant, the old is obsolete.  For Christ is the end of the law, that everyone who has faith may be justified” (Rom 10:4), Mark 12: 28-34 – Love God and Neighbor more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices

c.
In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. (Hebrews 1:1-2)
“Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me” (Psalm 40:7).
“The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:10).
“…all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me” (Jesus Christ, Luke 24:44)