ABC Oct. 2-8

October 2 — Matt. 1; Luke 2:1-38 — The Christ.  We are so accustomed to hearing the term “Jesus Christ” (Matt. 1:1) that we tend to lose the significance that “Jesus” is the name and “Christ” is more of a title.  It is the Greek form of the Hebrew word for “Messiah,” meaning “anointed,” and refers to the much-predicted and long-awaited divine Savior (e.g., Psa. 2:2; Isa. 9:6-7).  When the shepherds were visited that night by an angel of the Lord, they were informed that a Savior was born, “who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).  The announcement was that the Messiah had arrived.  At the manger, the shepherds “made known the saying … concerning the child” (Luke 2:17), which was that “Christ the Lord” had been born.  That is why “all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them” (v. 18)—the Messiah had finally come.  That fact was confirmed soon after by righteous Simeon who took the baby “in his arms and blessed God” (v. 28), saying that the promise to him had been fulfilled that “he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ” (v. 26).  Like Mary, he held the Messiah.  In a different way, we hold Him in our hearts.

October 3 — Matt. 2; Luke 2:39-52 — The King.  There are two very different kings mentioned in our reading for today. The wicked, scheming murderer, King Herod (Matt. 2:1), was called “king of Judea” in Luke 1:5.  The divine Son of God was called the “king of the Jews” (Matt. 2:2).  Notice that when the wise men came from the east looking for Him, it was because they had “come to worship him” (v. 2).  Worship a king?!  Yes, it was both unusual and significant.  Even Herod recognized the divine quality of this searched-for King when he asked the scholars, “where the Christ was to be born” (v. 4).  He connected this King with the divine “Christ” or “Messiah” that we read about yesterday.  This Messiah-King, at the age of 12, suggested his divinity when He asked his searching parents, “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49).  He called God “my Father.”  The “king of the Jews” was God.

O worship the King all-glorious above,
O gratefully sing his power and his love:
Our shield and defender, the Ancient of Days,
Pavilioned in splendor and girded with praise.— Robt. Grant (1833)

October 4 — Matt. 3; Mark 1, Luke 3 — Be Silent!  Jesus commanded silence twice in Mark 1.  The first was to the unclean spirit in a man who attended the Capernaum synagogue.  The evil spirit cried out, “I know who you are—the Holy One of God” (v. 24).  That very public statement was true but Jesus commanded the spirit, “Be silent, and come out of him!” (v. 25).  It was Jesus’ general practice that He “would not permit the demons to speak” (v. 34) and the reason given was, “because they knew him” (v. 34).  We are not told why Jesus didn’t agree with that free advertisement, and there have been many suggested reasons, but we know that the demons obeyed Him.  The other command to be silent was given to a leper who was healed.  Jesus “sternly charged him … say nothing to anyone … But he went out and began to talk freely about it” (vv. 43-45).  The leper did not obey, probably because he didn’t understand the reason Jesus wanted him to be quiet about the greatest thing that had ever happened to him.  The result of his verbal enthusiasm, however, reveals a reason for Jesus’ command for silence: “… Jesus could no longer openly enter a town …” (v. 45).  We also may not understand the reason for every command to us in Scripture but we must remember that God knows what is best.  Let’s just do it and perhaps the reason will become obvious later.

October 5 — Matt. 4; Luke 4-5; John 1:15-51 — Who are you?  The question the Pharisee leaders twice asked John the Baptist was, “Who are you?” (John 1:19, 22).  John mostly told them who he was not, including, “I am not the Christ” (v. 20).  A very similar, but resentful question was asked about Jesus by the Pharisees: “Who is this …?” (Luke 5:21).  Jesus had just said to the paralyzed man lowered through the roof, “your sins are forgiven you” (v. 20).  His accusers were right on target when they asked, “Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (v. 21).  Answer: No one!  But Jesus was “God alone”!  The demon in Capernaum knew it and said, “I know who you are—the Holy One of God” (Luke 4:34).  Satan knew it and challenged Jesus with temptations, saying, “If you are the Son of God …” (Matt. 4:3, 6).  John the Baptist knew who Jesus was (“… this is the Son of God”—John 1:34), and he declared it to others (“Behold, the Lamb of God …”—v. 29).  If someone asks us, “Who are you?” we could respond, “I am not the Christ but Christ is living within me!”

October 6 — John 2-4 — Signs.  The subject of signs is mentioned six times in these chapters.  The first miraculous sign that Jesus did in the northern territory of Galilee was changing the water into wine (2:1-11) at Cana.  He then went to Jerusalem for the Passover feast and performed many miraculous signs there (2:23; 3:2).  Returning to Cana for his second sign performed in that area, he remotely healed the dying son of an official from Capernaum (4:46-54).  These signs for some people were crowd-drawing entertainment but for others, they were needed as evidence to authenticate the person and message of Jesus.  Nicodemus acknowledged that “no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him” (3:2).  The Jewish leaders wanted Jesus to prove that He had the authority to cleanse the temple of merchandizers by asking, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” (2:18).  Jesus expressed concern about those seeking signs: “Unless you see signs … you will not believe” (4:48) but still, “many believed in his name when they saw the signs …” (2:23).  Christians do not need to see miraculous signs from God, and we do not need to seek them.  When they do come, however, in answer to prayer or as an expression of God’s grace and love for us, we rejoice in His power and loving concern.

October 7 — Mark 2 — A Forgiving Spirit.  I was struck by the forgiving spirit of Jesus in this chapter.  It begins with His surprising statement to the paralyzed man who was let down through the roof: “Son, your sins are forgiven” (2:5).  He could have shown His power and concern for his physical needs by just saying, “rise, pick up your bed, and go home” (v. 11) but He chose to focus on the man’s spiritual needs.  He also showed His forgiving spirit by eating with “many tax collectors and sinners” (v. 15).  The scribes criticized Him because that appeared to be an inappropriate association but Jesus said, “I came … to call … sinners” (v. 17).  He was also forgiving by not requiring His disciples to fast during His earthly ministry (v. 18).  Finally, He was forgiving in letting His disciples “harvest” and eat grain as they walked through a field on the Sabbath, saying, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (v. 27).  I have a hard time being that forgiving.  How about you?  Would you be forgiving toward four men who took apart your roof? (Jesus was “at home”—vs.1.)  Are you willing to hang out with obvious sinners in order to deal with their spiritual needs?  Probably all of us ought to be more driven by forgiveness.

October 8 — John 5 — The Father’s Son.  Jesus ruffled the feathers of the Jewish leaders who were criticizing Him for healing the invalid at the Pool of Bethsaida and telling him to carry his bed on a Sabbath day (5:10).  He said, “My Father is working until now, and I am working” (v. 17).  Their response was to seek to kill Him “not only … [for] breaking the Sabbath, but … [for] calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God” (v. 18).  That would be blasphemy—unless it were true.  Then, as if He were intentionally irritating them, He called God “the Father” 13 times in the next 28 verses and referred to Himself as “the Son” ten times, capping it off with “the Son of God” (v. 25) and “the Son of Man” (v. 27).  This was not only a unique son; it was the unique Son!  Jesus didn’t back down from accusers nor did He back down from the truth.  We should also be bold in declaring that Jesus was much more than a good man or even a prophet; He is the Son of God.  Some of the people who challenge us will persist in their attitudes, like those Jewish leaders whom Jesus described as not having “his word abiding in you” (v. 38) nor “the love of God within you” (v. 42).

Published by abibleread

This website honors the Bible as the inspired Word of God through which God speaks to us as we read and study it.

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