Daily Word

Matthew 28

Read Matthew 28 – It’s a brand new day!  Beloved, everything matters because of Jesus’s resurrection!  Our Savior lives.  His atoning sacrifice, his very life was given and accepted as payment for my sin and yours. Yet, had he not risen he would have been no more than a good man.  Jesus’s resurrection is the ultimate display of God’s authority over life and death, and it is our assurance that we will also be raised from death to life, covered in Christ Jesus and alive with him for all eternity… but I am getting ahead of myself.

“Early Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb.  Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it.  His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow.” :1-3

Where does one begin with all this great news?  For some reason, it tickles me to picture this mighty and fearsome angel sitting on the stone that had sealed Jesus’s grave…. The grave means nothing, death is conquered.   He speaks great truth to the Mary’s.  Can you recieve his words as if you were there? Don’t be afraid.  He is risen.  See for yourself…. :5-7  

Meanwhile the cover-up is going on in the city.  There are a few things wrong with this plan.  First of all, the guards would have been killed for falling asleep on the job and letting their one duty be taken.  Second, it implies that Jesus remained dead, yet we know he will be seen by many in the coming days.

Now, Jesus gives what we call THE GREAT COMMISSION in verses :18-20.  Go make disciples; baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach them.  I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Hallelujah!  

Beloved, how can one keep quiet in light of this Good News???  May your assurance grow!  May your boldness grow!  Jesus is alive!  Hallelujah!!

Daily Word

Matthew 27, part two

Read Matthew 27:32-65 – take your time and consider each detail.   Jesus was offered sour wine… this would have had a narcotic effect,  but Jesus declined.   In trying times being numb might be tempting to the common man, but Jesus kept his full wits. :34

The humiliation continued throughout Jesus’s crucifixion.  They placed a sarcastic charge above his head which read,  “THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS.”  :37, but truer words were never spoken. 

At midday, the sky darkened for three hours… your bible may say the 6th-9th hour (counting hours from sunrise) or noon to 3.  This was a remarkable darkness. It is said to be,”the agony of creation itself in the Creator’s suffering. ” (David Gusik commentary)

Verse :46, serves as a marker for Psalm 22, and Jesus’s experience of true separation from God, having taken on our punishment for sin. It would have been something he never experienced before. 

Try to wrap your thoughts around the extraordinary events that happened at the moment of Jesus’s death in verses :51-53.  The veil was torn, the earth quaked, rocks were split in two, tombs were opened, godly men and women were raised from the dead and appeared to many… Wow, right?

Jesus is buried in a wealthy man’s tomb, Joseph of Arimathea. It was sealed with a stone and guards.  Those in authority feared Jesus’s words about being raised back to life in three days and took every human precaution against it. 

And many today want Jesus put away.  They want to cling to their illusion of control and will accept nearly anything but Jesus… That is one more reason why we must stay in God’s Word, living close to Jesus; our blessed hope and joy is a light to many.

Daily Word

Matthew 27, part 1

Read Matthew 27:1-31 – This is hard.   It’s hard to imagine this level of corruption as the religious authorities bully the governor to kill Jesus. It’s hard to swallow their callousness when Judas tried to undo his betrayal by returning the silver. Judas killed himself…. He was a disciple of Jesus Christ and sinned so harshly against him that he hanged himself. The religious leaders response is just sickening. :3-10

The people joined the religious leaders,  shouting to crucify him, when Pilot made a last ditch effort to set Jesus free.  And though it was Pilots responsibility to  judge fairly, he instead gave in to mob justice, ordering Jesus flogged and crucified. :11-26 

Beginning in :27 the soldiers mocked Jesus…. Why? Why? Why?  It’s so cruel, yet it is the fulfillment of prophecy and just one more part of the cost Jesus was willing to pay. 

My heart aches at these verses. Our silent Savior let these heinous things play out upon him.  This is Jesus paying the cost of my sin and yours.   

Beloved,  let the weight of these verses sink in.   This is love in action, his love for you.   If there would have been any other way to reconcile us to the LORD,  then these things would not have had to happen. Jesus is the way,  the truth and the life and no one gets to the Father except through him. (From John 14:6)

Daily Word

Matthew 26 part 2

Read Matthew 26:31-35 and :69-75 again. Jesus’s love of Peter is so wonderful to me. I just want to spend a little more time with them.

There is a verse in 1 Corinthians 13 that captures what is going on here. It says: FOR NOW WE SEE ONLY A REFLECTION, AS IN A MIRROR, THEN WE SHALL SEE FACE TO FACE. NOW I KNOW IN PART; THEN I SHALL KNOW IN FULL, EVEN AS I AM FULLY KNOWN. 13:12

Peter thought he knew himself, but Jesus knew him even beyond Peter’s own comprehension. I think I know myself, but sometimes I do things that take me by surprise. Can you relate to that?

Peter told Jesus he would stand with him, even if it meant death. I think that was meant to encourage Jesus. He was probably expecting Jesus to say thank you. It must have been bewildering when Jesus responded the way he did.

Jesus fully knew Peter and loved him still. Jesus fully knows you, and still loves you. Let’s be honest, that is amazing love!

And when Peter starts blending in with the crowd, saying Jesus who? I don’t know him, over and over again like Jesus said he would…. Oh beloved, what did that feel like? Think of a time when you disappointed yourself…. Is shame still ruling in your heart or were you able to bring your fall before the LORD in confession and repentance?

Think about the way Jesus loved and did great things through Peter even though this abandonment happened. What if Peter would have stopped there? What if he would have let shame hold him prisoner? We get to see the difference Peter made through the gift of Scriptures. What will your story say about your love for Jesus? Will you trust him and get up when you fall, knowing He still loves you and has great things to accomplish through your surrendered life?

Daily Word

Matthew 26

Read Matthew 26 – To be humble is to have strength restrained. Jesus, our Lord and Savior, shows us ultimate humility in our chapter. 

As you read, think about Jesus the man, who fully knew and understood the sacrifice that lay before him on this night.  Read these verses and listen like you would if a friend were telling you the story. 

In verses :9-13 Jesus includes the precious moment when a woman comes in and pours expensive perfume on his head. The disciples are indignant and Jesus stops them, calling what she did a beautiful thing. 

Beloved, Jesus cares about every act of love towards him. 

The night progresses, the disciples are told one of them will betray Jesus and all of them will fall away before the night is through. :21-35.  The act we call Communion, is recorded for the first time in :26-29 (it’s also recorded in Mark 14, Luke 22 and 1 Corinthians 11).  May Jesus explaining it here in Scripture always echo in your heart when you take Communion. 

Jesus’s prediction to Peter is very special to me… I’ll share on that tomorrow. 

Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane, asking the disciples to watch and pray, but they kept falling asleep… :36-46. He is betrayed by Judas’ kiss, arrested and handed over to the council.  :47-68. Beloved,  this is BIG stuff.   What pierced your heart as you read what our Savior did for you? 

Daily Word

Matthew 25

Read Matthew 25 – And again, live ready! Jesus gives us two more parables about living ready.

I have a question, why would the five bridesmaids bother waiting for the groom without enough oil? Another question is why do many people hope to go to heaven, without walking with Jesus now? Beloved, faith is not something a person can borrow from another when the time comes. That is why what we are doing is so important. Read God’s Word, pray and seek Jesus, live humbly and ready.

In the parable of the three servants, we read about a man going on a long trip. :14 Jesus has been away from this earth a long time. But he sent the Holy Spirit during his absence, who resides in each believer. The man in the parable gives silver to his three servants to care for in his absence in varying amounts. We all have spiritual gifts to care for and multiply in varying amounts.

When the man returns, he calls his servants into account for what they have done with his money. :19 Which of the three servants best represents you and what you are doing with the spiritual gifts the Lord has given you? Notice what the man said to the one who buried the money, “Why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.” :27 Are you doing even the very least and safest thing to increase the value of what the Lord has entrusted to you?

Beloved, Jesus is coming back in all glory and righteousness, may we each hear him say, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”

Daily Word

Matthew 24

Matthew 24 – Live ready. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength – and love your neighbor as yourself. (a reminder of the greatest and second greatest commands from Matthew 22:37-40) Tough times are ahead… truly, impossible times according to Jesus:

“In fact, unless that time of calamity is shortened, not a single person will survive. But it will be shortened for the sake of God’s chosen ones.” :22

Jesus is describing the events leading to tribulation and the actual tribulation years. There are scholars that believe in the pre-tribulation rapture of the church, others believe rapture happens mid-tribulation, and a third group believe in the post-tribulation rapture. If you don’t yet know your view, and most importantly WHY, set up an appointment with your pastor – please – speak to him prior to any internet searching on this subject.

According to the pre-tribulation view, the church is removed prior to :9, and the earth’s population is all non-believers who are left behind. Chaos ensues, and some will come to Salvation during this time. Hallelujah! They are the chosen ones Jesus is speaking of in verse :22.

We see many things today that fit the birth pain description, earthquakes, famines, war and rumors of war (:6-7). I am not saying we are in the birth pains, only that we could be, that is why the wise believer will always live ready.

“However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows…. So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming.” :36,42

Daily Word

Matthew 23

Read Matthew 23 – Woe! Woe! Woe! It’s honesty day against the Scribes and Pharisees!

Jesus addresses the crowds, telling them to do what the religious leaders say, but not what they do. “For they do not practice what they preach, ” Jesus explains at the end of :3.

He follows up with seven woe’s against them. Jesus is opening the eyes of the crowd to the legalism that had hardened the hearts of these Scribes and Pharisees. Beloved, may your eyes also be opened to your pastor (priest,bishop,minister or title he goes by). Does he practice what he preaches? Is he a servant and humble?

“The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” :11-12

May these harsh and honest rebukes for those who would use religion against people give you one more reason to celebrate Jesus. Jesus stands righteously, bringing freedom, forgiveness, love and mercy to those who put their faith in him. Jesus is mighty to save! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. (Matthew 23:39, Psalm 118:26)

Daily Word

Matthew 22

Read Matthew 22 – What’s love got to do with it?  EVERYTHING. 

Jesus teaches through the parable of the wedding banquet. He showed us three unworthy reactions to the invitation: refusal,  distraction and showing up unchanged.   Those with the invitation refused to come.  The same applies to heaven; no one is getting in based on family religion.  No one is getting in having heard the Gospel and doing nothing with it.   And no one is getting in without being clothed in Jesus Christ.  Beloved,  wear your Jesus- fueled love everywhere you go.   Live dressed and ready for heaven. 

The religious folks keep trying to outsmart Jesus with various questions.   Note that the questions were all hypothetical.  They remind me of my skeptical questions prior to Salvation… there is truly nothing new. Jesus can stand up to any question this world might throw at him.

The best question received the very best answer!  (:36-40) It’s all about love.   When asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus answered it is to love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.   And He added that the second most important command is to love your neighbor as yourself. 

I confess that I misunderstood this second one for quite some time.   I thought I was loving others MORE than myself, by putting myself down. That’s not what Jesus wants from anyone.   

Beloved, life is his gift, and we must take very good care.  You are His gift.   Your crabby relative/ neighbor/ stranger on the street/ person who cut you off in traffic/ etc.  are all made in His image and you are called to love them.

Daily Word

Matthew 21

Read Matthew 21 – Joyful and triumphant – Beloved, this is the only time our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, was recognized by the masses and honored. It is a beautiful scene to picture as the crowds carpeted the road with their cloaks and branches for Jesus.

I get excited by the missing information in :2-3…. Did Jesus have a conversation with the donkeys owner? Were these details worked out in heaven or on earth? Verse :4 says this was the fulfillment of prophecy…. And we know God works outside of time, so maybe all of these details came together way back then?

Heaven is an awesome thing to contemplate. Will it be a grand storytime where details come together in perpetual awe? Will we simply know in an instant? Wondering about it makes me feel like I did as a child counting down the days until Christmas!

Scripture soon changes from celebration to housekeeping as Jesus clears the Temple of those with corrupt purposes (:12-13). And he gives serious warnings about future housekeeping in the encounter with the fruitless fig tree and the wicked tenant parable.

And in between, people keep flocking to him in passionate need of healing. And our precious Savior healed them (:14). Beloved, can you imagine the teaching they would have heard just by being in his presence?

What captured your heart in Matthew 21?