C2C Oct. 16-22

October 16 — Expectations — Matt. 11-13.  The beginning and end of our passage for today speak of someone being “offended” by Jesus.  Both involved expectations about Him.  John the Baptist was in prison and sent some disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another” (11:3).  At the end of Jesus’ response to them, He said, “blessed is the one who is not offended by me” (11:6).  It seems that John expected more of Jesus.  In the other case, the people from Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth “took offense at him” (13:57) because they expected less of Him.  They saw Jesus as just an ordinary man, thinking He was the son of Joseph the carpenter, and they knew the names of his four younger half-brothers.  In their minds, He couldn’t be the Messiah because he was “one of them.”  How about us?  Do we expect more of Jesus, like answering our prayers in our way and in our time?  Or do we underestimate who He is, Yahweh, the Creator of the universe, and the sovereign, sacrificing Savior for the world?

October 17 —Who Are You?! — Matt. 14-16.  Yesterday in our reading, the disciples’ response to Jesus’ calming the stormy sea was, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?” (8:27).  Maybe there was some thought of a coincidence when the wind stopped after Jesus rebuked it.  But in today’s reading, we find the same disciples, again in a boat on the stormy sea, who had just seen Jesus and Peter walking on the water.  No possible coincidence there!  Then, when the water-walkers got into the boat, the sea became calm.  Their response this time was that they “worshiped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God’ ” (14:32).  A third evaluation of who Jesus was came in Peter’s famous declaration, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (16:16).  Let us live in wonder today as we think about who Jesus is.

October 18 — Humility — Matt. 17-20.  The Gospel of Matthew is one of the similar Synoptic (= “view together”) Gospels, along with Mark and Luke.  Mark was apparently written first, and Matthew and Luke had access to it as they wrote their own accounts.  They often give somewhat different, but still true, versions of the same events and teachings of Jesus.  One emphasis in our reading for today relates to humility: “Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (18:4).  Peter demonstrated a lack of humility when he said to Jesus, “See, we have left everything and followed you.  What then will we have?” (19:27).  He bragged about his sacrifice and wanted a prize for it.  But Jesus reminds us that “the last will be first” (20:15) and “whoever would be great among you must be your servant” (20:26).  Ask God to remind you of these things today as you catch yourself being proud or selfish.

October 19 — Woe! — Matt. 21-23.  Jesus really gives the Jewish religious leaders a hard time in these chapters, pronouncing seven “woes” on them in 23:13-36, warning of judgment.  Why?  Because they were hypocrites, pretending to be righteous while their hearts were evil.  They were leading people astray and preventing others from sincerely coming to God.  The crowds following Jesus were calling Him “the prophet” (21:11) and the children cried out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” (21:15), acknowledging Him as the Messiah.  But the scribes (experts of the Law) and Pharisees did not believe that John the Baptist was sent by God (22:25-27).  They told Jesus, “…you are true and teach the way of God truthfully” (22:16) but they didn’t believe it.  God hates hypocrisy.  We must be clean on the inside as well as genuine on the outside.

October 20 — Beautiful Waste — Matt. 24-26.  Jesus gave His fifth and final discourse in Matthew, the Olivet Discourse, in chapters 24-25.  He also predicted for the fourth and final time in Matthew (26:2) that He would be arrested and killed.  Now the predicted time had come.  When He was extravagantly anointed with expensive oil, the disciples declared, “Why this waste?” (26:8).  But Jesus’ perspective was quite different: “She has done a beautiful thing to me” (26:10).  The world around us also sees the commitment of our time (attending church every Sunday) and our finances (giving a tenth or more of our income) as being a waste.  But Jesus sees those acts, and others, as beautiful things.  Most outsiders understand neither His value nor our joy. 

October 21 — Ridicule or Worship? — Matt. 27-28.  The crucifixion of Jesus was initiated by Jews and carried out by Romans but God was involved as well.  Miraculously, God darkened the sun’s effect (27:46) from noon until 3:00 p.m.—normally the brightest time of the day.  It wasn’t a solar eclipse, which lasts only a few minutes; it was caused by God to mark this history-changing event and to show His displeasure with man’s injustice in killing His Innocent Son.  When Jesus breathed His last, the massive curtain (60 feet [18.3 m] high) that shielded the Most Holy Place in the temple, was miraculously ripped from top to bottom (27:51).  The centurion, who saw only part of these events, was “filled with awe and said, ‘Truly this was the Son of God!’” (27:54).  However, the chief priests and Pharisees who saw it all, had a much different response, calling Jesus “that impostor” (27:63).  Which will it be—ridicule or worship?

October 22 — Mark — Mark 1-3.  The Gospel of Mark was the first to be written of the four, about 20 years after the death of Jesus.  It is the shortest Gospel and the most dramatic, following a general chronology by piecing together significant events and teachings surrounding Jesus.  It was written with a wider audience in mind than that of Matthew, often explaining Jewish terms and practices.  It starts with John the Baptist, whose basic message was “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (1:4).  Jesus’ ministry followed with the proclamation to, “repent and believe in the gospel” (1:14).  Repenting might be pictured as the butt-end of an arrow—the sin from which you turned away.  Believing is the point-end of an arrow—turning toward God.  That happens not only at our initial conversion experience but should continue throughout our Christian lives because we are still prone to sin.

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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