Journey through the Bible in 13 months – Weeks 46-58 New Testament

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Update: July 22, 2018

Weeks 46 to 49

Dear friends: I’m very excited to embarking on this section of our Journey- The New Testament. Due to summer commitments,  the first four weeks of the New Testament are posted below. Enjoy my friends!

Week 48 Day 2: https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/468

Week 49 Day 5: https://www.gotquestions.org/Sadducees.html

Day Of   Journey

 Week Daily Readings

Nugget

316

Week 46

1

John 1:1-18; Luke 1;  Matthew 1

 

1 Oh how the words of Zechariah in Luke and John’s words prophesy the coming of the Messiah and the purpose of John, the Baptizer…

And you, [John] my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun [Jesus, the Light] will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” (Luke 1:76-79) … In him [Jesus, the Light] was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:4-5)

2 The genealogy of Jesus is very important again as a witness and proof to the validity of Jesus’ life. There is no denying that the Saviour was born!

3 Did you take a close look at the genealogy of Jesus? He did not come from a line of goodie-two-shoes. He has gentiles (Ruth) and prostitutes (Rahab) and deceivers (Judah and Tamar) in his line. The thing they all had in common, besides their sinfulness, was faith. Those who believe on him – have faith – are considered righteous. It goes to show that, in faith, God does not turn any of us away. In faith, we too are part of the line of Jesus!

 

317

2

Luke 2:1-40; Matthew 2;  Luke 2:41-51

 

The Birth of Jesus

1 Giving birth in a farm animals’ barn… the best sky show ever only viewed by lowly shepherds. What is going on? … Take heart and learn of the ways of the Lord. Our Lord came into this world to save the lost, the lowly, the sinners – you and me. It is there where he started his life and where he ended it. It is to the lowly to whom he was first proclaimed by the angels and where we was last proclaimed the angels.

2 What peace the words of Simeon are. We too, through God’s word have seen and by faith know, God’s salvation in Christ for whom Simeon had long awaited. We too can depart in peace knowing we have life with him to look forward to.

3 The reference to the Old Testament prophesies are prevalent. This is important because the Israelites/Jewish nation knew/know these promises, and it is a means by which they could/can know that their long awaited saviour has come. How can you profess the truth of the Old Testament and yet deny the Messiah?

 

318

3

Luke 3;        Mark 1:1-13; Matthew 3

 

John The Baptist Prepares The Way and the Baptism of Jesus

Although the Israelites had had a history of prophets, it had been quite some time since the final prophet of the Old Testament, Malachi had spoken to the people. So hearing John proclaiming would have drawn crowds, however, what he proclaimed was different than others. He proclaimed a baptism of repentance in addition to just turning from your sinful ways.

How awesome it would have been to know you were baptizing the Saviour of the world, the Messiah! It seems strange that the sinless, perfect Messiah needed to receive a baptism of repentance as he had no sin to repent of. However, he did not omit doing anything that we, mankind, were required to do or that would benefit us in order to walk in God’s ways.

 

319

4

Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13; John 1:19-42

Jesus Tested in the Wilderness

How weak Jesus must have been after 40 days in the wilderness fasting. Then to be tempted the severest of temptations by Satan himself. Oh to have the trust in God as Christ did. Although Christ was true God, he was also true man; he got hungry, he had emotions, he felt the pull of temptation but he 100% of the time trusted in God the Father’s provision and he knew scripture 100%. In fact, he emulated the words of scripture, for he himself is the Word made flesh.  (How awesome it would be to be able to pull any scripture to mind at any time.)

 

320

5

Luke 4:12-44; Matthew      4:12-25;       Mark 1:14-44; John 1:43-51

Jesus begins his ministry and calls his disciples

1 Right off the hop Jesus’ home town wants to kill him. Can you hear the elders saying things like, “ What a disrespectful young man. He needs to learn a lesson!” or “Mary and Joseph raised him better than that. The nerve he has to tell us we won’t be saved.” Instead of hearing and understanding what Jesus was saying, they acted exactly the way Jesus said they would and kept from having him proclaim God’s words to them.

2 What would you have done if Jesus had called you to leave everything and follow him? It’s easy to say, “I’d go with him, of course!” Yet, if actually faced with the request, it is hard to say. I pray I would and trust that the Holy Spirit stirred within me to want to do nothing else except follow him. Even then, despite the nudging of the Holy Spirit, Jesus is patient and understands our need to be understood and handled gently. It seems in each case Jesus did talk with them a bit before asking them to follow him, except for John’s disciples who just left John to follow Jesus. I can’t imagine that any of the disciples had in mind the final outcome of what it meant to follow Jesus.

 

321

6

Matthew 9:1-17; Mark 2; Luke 5; John 2

1 Oh the faith of the friends of the paralyzed man. Besides forgiving and healing the man, Jesus forgave the friends because of their faith in him. Once again we see God blessing the intercessory acts of people of faith. Oh to love our family and friends so much as to present them to the Lord and to share with them his love and salvation.

2 …many people saw the signs he was performing and believed in his name. But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person. (John 2:23b-25)

The above passage cuts through the heart with the fact that God knows the depth of our sin- yours and mine. He was not fooled and he would not entrust himself to us. Yet, he loved/loves us, beyond measure.

 

322

7

John 3,4,5

1 In 3:19 God reminds us again of his knowledge of our sinfulness, but prior to that he shares the depths of God’s love in Christ in 3:16-18:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. (3:16-18)

2 in Chapter 4, when reading the story of the Samaritan woman, did you make the connection between the Jews and the Samaritans, from the Old Testament?

3 Jesus tells the Jewish leaders in plain words that he is the Messiah that God foretold them about. Yet they still are scheming ways to persecute Jesus. These leaders and the Pharisees covet God’s Law but have forgotten to love. Did it start getting so law focussed following the rebuilding of the temple following their Babylonian captivity? Were they so afraid of God’s punishment again for turning from his ways, that they just focussed on his law, but in so doing forgot that God desires a loving relationship with them? It is hard to say. Those Jewish leaders upon the Israelites’ return to Jerusalem – Ezra, Nehemiah – were devout and faithful to the Lord, but somewhere along the way, they forgot the Lord and his love for his people were more important than just following the laws. May we and our Church Leaders learn from them, and place the law where it belongs and seek the Lord first with all our hearts.

 

Day Of   Journey

 Week Daily Readings

Nugget

323

Week 47

1

Matthew 12; Mark 3;        Luke 6:1-16

1I prefer how Mark and Luke presents Jesus’ question:  “…Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” (Mark 3:4)

Really?!? No response? It’s not that the church leaders didn’t know the proper answer. It is simply their pride which kept them from answering… and ultimately, kept them in their sin.

2 “Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.” Mark 3:28-29

For many people, this passage is such a comfort, but one that many church leaders seem to have dismissed over the years. Dear friend, find comfort in knowing that there is no sin or act this side of heaven for which you cannot be forgiven nor any temptation or weakness with which God won’t help you work through. The rejection/denial of the Holy Spirit and the gift of faith in Christ that he desires to plant your heart – i.e. not believing in Christ, our Saviour, and his redemption- is the only thing that is not forgiven.

3 The 12 Apostles – Thaddaeus (in Mark) and Judas, son of James (in Luke) are the same person.

 

324

2

Luke 6:17-49

Matthew 5,7;

 

The Beatitudes and Jesus’ teachings –What is there to say that Jesus didn’t already explain. In summary, Seek the Lord first and foremost, for he loves you beyond measure, and he will guide you and keep you. Strive to follow his commands and lean on him when temptations and weaknesses are strong. Don’t be devoured by them, but cling to the Lord and trust his strength to be yours through them. Then LOVE others. Treat all with the utmost dignity and care, even those who hate you. There is no place for hatred, revenge, or judgement. You may be the only reflection of Jesus they have ever seen.

 

325

3

Matthew 6; Mark 13;      Luke 11, 12

1 The Lord’s Prayer is instituted in today’s readings. It is good to heed the importance of forgiving others. It is a necessity! Who are we to hold a grudge and be unwilling to forgive others when Christ our Lord went to his death to have our sins forgiven? Are we above our Saviour? By no means! If he desires to forgive us all our sins, we can certainly forgive others their sins against us.

2 What comfort it is to take rest in the Lord and not worry. If he cares about each hair on my head, how much more will he care about my every need. It takes much courage to trust, but as the old saying goes, “Let go and let God handle it.”

 

326

4

Matthew 8:1-22; Luke 7;  Matthew 11

1 The Centurion’s story gives such great comfort and assurance for us living with faith on this side of the cross. Even though he could see the Lord, he knew that the Lord did not need to be present or visible to receive his blessings. In the same way, we can trust that, although we may not see him, Jesus is present and healing and forgiving and bestowing upon us his goodness!

2 The story of the woman at Jesus’ feet too gives such conviction for us to share Jesus’ saving love to everyone, no matter how deep and tragic their sin is. For it is these souls that appreciate it and cling to it the closest.

3  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

May you take comfort in finding rest in Christ from the burdens of this world today and always!

 

327

5

Matthew 13; Mark 4:1-34: Luke 8:1-21

Jesus tells parables – earthly related stories with heavenly meanings. The Parable of the Sower is especially important as it explains the limitations and reasons for weak faith and strong faith. May you nurture that gracious seed of faith in Jesus by being in the Word and receiving the sacraments – baptism, communion – as instituted by Christ, so that you may stand firm when trials and hardships come.

 

328

6

Matthew 8:23-34, 9:18-38; Mark 4:35-41, 5; Luke 8:22-56

The miracles in Luke- calming the storm, driving out demons, healing the chronically ill and raising the dead- are really getting people talking and believing that Jesus is the long awaited Messiah. However, others remain in their unbelief, especially those in Jesus’ home town. Woe to them!

 

329

7

Matthew 10; Mark 6:1-13; Luke 9:1-9

 

 

 

Jesus sends out the 12 Disciples

Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.  (Matthew 10:8)

What a wonderful passage for us to heed. Who are we to withhold the blessings of the Lord, especially his forgiveness when we have so freely received them. Now for the disciples they were able to do so much more… or so we think. As we believe, so let it be….

 

Day Of

Journey

 

Week

Daily Readings Nugget

330

Week 48

1

Matthew 14; Mark 6:14-56; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-24

 

John the Baptist beheaded

It is interesting to see how Herod was drawn to John. Even though John was correcting Herod, Herod was drawn to him. It’s too bad that Herodias led Herod down the wrong path.

Jesus Feeds 5000+

Could you imagine witnessing this miracle? Only 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish to start, but able to feed, I would bet, over 10,000 people including women and children, and then have more than what you started with as left overs. …And yet we worry when we hold a pot blessing (I don’t call in Pot Luck) meal at church and worry if we have enough food for the people who attend… Again, as we believe, so let it be…

Jesus Walks on Water

Another miracle that defies the laws of nature. Would we be any different if we saw Jesus, or anyone really, walking towards us on water while we sat in a boat in the middle of a lake? I don’t think so! Yet Peter’s trust to get out of the boat is growing but when the wind and waves got stronger, Peter’s faith wavered. But Christ was there to reach down and save him. In the same way, may we step out in faith with full trust in the Lord, and know that when trials or temptations come that we too just need to call out, “Lord, save me!” and trust that Christ will draw us into him.

 

331

2

John 6:25-71; Matthew 15; Mark 7,8

1 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”              John 6:28-29

Above all, cling to Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. Believe on him. It is not your works, nor the saints, nor the law that will save you; but only faith in Christ Jesus, alone.

2 May we too proclaim the words of  Peter when we can’t explain the ways of the Lord or when our faith is tested:

Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” John 6:68-69

2 Both Matthew and Mark speak of the same incident but refer to the origin of the woman differently. Mark refers to her as the specific region – Syrophoenician- from which she comes; whereas, Matthew uses the term Canaanite in reference to the pagan inhabitants of the promised land as used in the Old Testament. For more details, see the link posted for today at the start of weeks 46-49 posting.

332

3

Matthew 16, 17; Mark 9;        Luke 9:18-62

1 The Pharisees and Sadducees ask for a sign but that just shows how blind and hard hearted they are. Jesus has been performing miracles, of which each one is a sign of the coming Messiah. So sad! Yet Peter, a simple fisherman, exclaims the truth of Jesus being the Messiah. God reveals himself to the simple. Lord may I be among those to whom you are revealed!

2 How frustrated Jesus must have gotten with his disciples. I can imagine him looking at his disciples with the ‘whaaaat? Are you serious?’ look, when he heard the disciples’ response to his warning about the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees. “Bread really? You’re talking about bread right now?” …lol

3 Transfiguration

How awesome is that: to see Moses, Elijah, and Jesus glowing like the sun. Then to hear God speak. It would have been scary for the disciples but, at the same time, so gloriously unbelievable and overwhelming. What a mountain top experience! It is understandable why Peter did not want to leave that place, but wanted to stay and build shelters.

4  “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:24

The response of the boy’s father is so very honest. It is a response that we can pray during trying times when God’s presence is not felt and we are quavering in our faith.

 

333

4

Matthew 18; John 7,8

1 How comforting it is reading the Parable of the Wandering Sheep; to be the lost sheep and have God, my Shepherd, come to find me, bring me home and to rejoice over my return. Currently, for those lost souls of family and friends, continue to pray to the Good Shepherd to seek, find, and bring them home to be with him.

2 Then there is the unmerciful servant whose story is good for us to heed. Be merciful- in receiving but especially in extending mercy.

3 Boy the crowds and Pharisees are really putting on the pressure. Jesus says some pretty harsh, but truthful, words but they just cannot stand to hear it. Oh how disheartened Jesus must have felt at their hard-heartedness and stubbornness.

 

334

5

Luke 10;       John 9, 10

1 The Parable of the Good Samaritan is such a great lesson to love and help all. Everyone is our neighbour. There is no room for judgement or excuse when there is an opportunity to extend love and care.

2 Oh how it is so easy to be like Martha; busy, busy, busy. May we take the time to be like Martha, seeking and hungering to listen to God’s word.

3 How difficult it would have been on the other side of the cross; knowing a Messiah was to come but witnessing a man like you and me. Even for those living at the time of and hearing Jesus, it was a difficult step to take; to believe that he was the long awaited Messiah. Even in his presence, it took faith to believe that what they were seeing and to whom they were listening was the Son of God. God was not descending in a cloud upon Jesus (except in private, like at his Transfiguration) or sending down bolts of fire to set an altar ablaze, like with Elijah. They had to take Jesus at his word and by his actions, which should seem to be enough, but for many it wasn’t. ….But where would you be? How would you be responding?  How important it is for us to continue to pray for those who experience a stumbling block when it comes to Jesus’ words and his redemption. May they come to see clearly by his words and actions in us.

 

335

6

Matthew      22:1-14;        Luke 13,14,15;

 

1 We have read many stories of Jesus healing on the Sabbath, and the Pharisees’ dispute and anger towards these particular healings. How sad it is to see the leaders of the church so caught up in their laws and so unwilling to listen and hear what Jesus has to say about God’s love for the people and desire to heal them of all infirmities and all their sins.

2 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” (Luke 13:34)

This passage is such a beautiful statement of Christ’s desire to hold us close and care for us, but our unwillingness to go to him. Let yourself be cared for and carried in the arms of your Saviour.

3 In Luke 13:35 Jesus predicts his entrance into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.

4 The Parable of the Prodigal Son and all the other parables of Chapter 15 share the joy that the Lord has when a lost, unbelieving soul comes to faith. What rejoicing there is in heaven over this one soul! It doesn’t change the person’s earthly situations, i.e. the prodigal son will still not receive any earthly wealth once his father is dead since he squandered his portion already, but he and all those who have been found have acquired a heavenly home and their peace in the Lord as they walk their remaining earthly days until they reach heaven’s door.

 

336

7

Luke 16, 17; John 11

1 May we learn from the parable of Lazarus and the Rich man. Life may be hard and have its struggles, but trust in the Lord for life eternal. Do not fall prey to the temptations of living only for wealth and riches and in so doing turn your back on the Lord and trust in your money. Your earthly life may be easy but life eternal apart from the Lord is hell.

2 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26

May we answer Jesus’ question as Mary does:

 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” John 11:27

 

Day Of   Journey

 Week Daily Readings

Nugget

337

Week 49

1

Luke 18; Matthew 19; Mark 10:1-31

1 The story of the prayers of the tax collector and the Pharisee is a good reminder that God wants our humble hearts. Even in the midst of the most sinful acts, a sincerely repentant heart will be forgiven, but arrogance will not.

2 We ask the Lord for so many things in prayer. How many times do we go back to him and give him thanks and praise for answering those prayers, like the one out of 10 men who had leprosy? God is not a good luck charm, but our God who gives us even the smallest request because it pleases him to bless us. Let us give him thanks for even the smallest requests.

3 In the story of the Rich man and the Kingdom of Heaven, we see how difficult it is to give up/deny ourselves worldly possessions and wealth in order to follow Christ. Do not envy those with much but be thankful and pray that what you have permits you to remain faithful.

 

338

2

Matthew 20; Mark 10:32-52; Luke 19:1-27;   John 12:1-11

Parable of the Workers

This parable really makes you see the graciousness of God. Even in the last hour, God will grant the full extent of his promise of Salvation to a soul who comes to faith in Christ’s redeeming sacrifice.

Parable of the 10 Minas

This parable tells us that whatever God blesses us with, a little or plenty, we are to care for it with the utmost care. In other words, be content with what you have and care for it as a good steward for their master’s belongings. It is summed in these verse:

“He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what they have will be taken away.’” Luke 19:26

 

339

3

Matthew      21:1-27;       Mark 11;     Luke          19:28-20:19;    John 12:12-50

Jesus enters Jerusalem as King (Palm Sunday)

It’s the last week of Jesus’ earthly life. He enters Jerusalem and the crowds have gathered to praise him. He is loved by the people, yet he knows that many will turn on him in only a few days, for whatever reasons– fear of the Pharisees? Unbelief? Payment to testify against Jesus?… We do not know why they do. Oh how the tension must be mounting in him for the upcoming painful events he knows will be taking place. Jesus’ anger is peaked when he enters the temple courts and sees the market activities. The tension certainly is rising!

 

340

4

Matthew    21:28-46;     Mark 12:1-12; Luke 20:1-19

Jesus certainly is not holding anything back anymore with the Pharisees. The Parable of the Tenants would have convicted the Pharisees, and in their arrogance, it is easy to see how they would have begun putting into full force their desire to kill Jesus. Yes, the tension is mounting!

However, let us not be so prideful like the Pharisees to reject the discipline and guidance of the Lord when he confronts us and his Word convicts us of our sinfulness.

 

341

5

Matthew    22:15-46, 23;    Mark 12:13-44;    Luke 20:20-21:4

Boy, Jesus stops the Sadducees and Pharisees in their tracks and makes them speechless! What an amazing time it would have been listening to Jesus respond to their questions. They tried to stump Jesus, but Jesus just left them amazed.

In particular, Jesus’ response to the question about paying taxes is brilliant.

“So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” Matthew 22:21b

Then, Jesus when Jesus shuts down the Sadducees, everyone is amazed. The Sadducees were known more for their political slant on behalf of the Temple in Jerusalem and their relations with Rome. They mingled with the wealthy and walked around high and mighty. So for Jesus to basically tell these arrogant Sadducees that they didn’t know what they were talking about was totally humiliating for them. (for more on the Sadducees see the link posted for today at the start of weeks 46-49 posting.

Then Jesus states the Seven woes of the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees. They are quite condemning. Instead of heeding his words and believing Christ,  the Pharisees and leaders of the Law used these condemnations to hate Jesus and plot to kill him. However, these words are good for our church leaders and us to heed. We must remember to respond to God and others in love first, while not denying the law for ourselves.

342 6 Matthew 24, 25; Mark 13; Luke 21:5-38 1 Jesus talks about the end times. Simply put, do not worry about knowing when the end will come, but rather, just be ready for that day. When Christ comes, be ready to stand before him and present yourself as one who has lived in and is proclaiming his saving grace.

2 In the Parable of the Ten Virgins, and the end times, Jesus is just stating the point again that you must be ready. You are responsible for your own actions, your own faith. Take the time to prepare yourself. The faith of another will not get you a place in eternity. You are accountable for yourself, no one else. The five who prepared themselves by bringing enough oil to keep their lamps lit was justified in saying ‘no’. For the light of their lamps could represent the light of Christ in our lives, and the oil is the Holy Spirit in our hearts, sanctifying us, that keeps the light lit. We cannot give it away. Everyone will have their own light and oil with God- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – working in their life. Be ready!

 

343

7

Matthew      26:1-35;       Mark 14:1-31;   Luke 22:1-38;   John 13, 14

The Last Supper

Here Jesus institutes the Lord’s Supper saying:

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”

 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. Matthew 26:26-28

What a wonderful blessing it is to receive Jesus’ body and blood, in the bread and wine, for the forgiveness of sins, each and every time we come to communion.

2 Jesus predicts Judas’ betrayal. What an emotional, anxiety filled time knowing that one of your own was desiring to betray you and to hand you over to the authorities.

3 The washing of the disciples’ feet by Jesus is meant to be an example for us. In the culture of Jesus’ day, the servant of the house washed the owners’ and guests’ feet. It was a very lowly job done by the lowliest in the house: a paid servant. Therefore, we are to be humble and to serve others. If our Lord can wash the dirty feet of others, who are we to think we are too good to do such a lowly thing.

 

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