Week of Mar 10th

Walking Through the Book of Matthew

Matthew, Chap 1-7: Birth, Baptism,

Wilderness, Sermon on the Mount, & Teachings

Sunday- Matthew 1 & 2, focused on 1:18-25

Although some might consider this “scandal” tame in today’s society, this was a matter of life or death for Marry in the first century.  In the eyes of the community, Mary has committed adultery, which was a sin punishable by death, usually stoning.  Joseph was afraid to take her as his wife because it was equivalent to admitting that he was the father of the child.  Do so would have brought him social disgrace and caused him to become religiously impure.  On one would have wanted to associate with him for fear of becoming contaminated, which would also have had a direct impact on his carpentry business. 

Monday – Matthew 3, focused on 3:1-12

Did John the Baptist invent baptism?  No, but John’s baptism was unique. After Judah’s exile to Babylon in 586 BC, Jewish rabbis used baptism as a rite of cleansing.  John redefined this sacred use of water as a public sign of repentance.

Tuesday- Matthew 4, focused on 4:1-11

What would have been wrong with turning stones into bread?  The issues was not the temptation itself but the motive behind it.  The devil often appeals to our pride, hoping that we will take matters into our own hands rather than trust in God.  If Jesus had turned the stones into bread, he would not have been depending on his Father in heaven. 

Wednesday- Matthew 4, focused on 4:18-25

Could you imagine the courage and faith it took to visit Jesus and hope to be healed?  The news about him certainly spread and many came to witness his teaching and seek healing.  We frequently (i.e. incorrectly) attribute to Biblical stories as a time when Jesus was “truly” among us and healing.  God continues to do amazing miracles in our lives today, yet why don’t we hear these stories as frequently?   

Thursday- Matthew 5, focused on 5:1-12

Why did Jesus turn our value system upside down?  He wanted to disrupt the conventional wisdom of the time that said the wealthy and influential enjoyed more of God’s blessing than the poor and powerless did.  Jesus wanted his followers to see that material things are only temporary and certainly not the only reality.  He didn’t want them to think of their current situation as signs of God’s bl4essing or judgement.  Instead, he wanted them to see that the poor can be spiritually wealthy.

Friday- Matthew 6, focused on 6:5-15

Why pray for God’s will to be done?  When we do, we yield to God’s authority.  It is a humble admission that God knows better than we do about what is right.  This prayer also acknowledges our desire to see God’s kingdom (the realm where his will is always done) fully manifested.

Saturday- Matthew 7, focused on 7:15-23

How do we guard against false prophets without judging?  Jesus’ command not to judge is a caution against condemning others.  Pointing out heresy, however is not condemning others but merely discerning an obvious error.  In this case, Jesus urges us to be on the lookout for those whose lifestyle and teaching stand as an indictment against them.