October 12th

Acts 13-14

  • 13:16-25 – Paul sums up the grace of God and the failures of the Israelites from Jacob to John the Baptist.
  • 13:26-41 – Paul explains how Jesus fulfilled all the prophecies the Jews read so frequently and longed to have fulfilled. He also warns them not to be the ones who fulfilled the prophecy that many people would not see and understand.
  • 13:44-47 – The Jews, who were jealous of Paul and Barnabas’ crowd, denounced what Paul was saying. Paul reminds them that Jesus came for them first but was rejected. The gentiles now had a shot.
  • 14:1-7 – Though the readings can be misinterpreted as such, the Jews weren’t bad. Throughout Acts, many come to faith. Some of the Jewish religious leaders, however, did oppose Jesus’ mission and ministry and cause problems.
  • 14:8-10 – Healings often happened because of faith. This one is simply because Paul saw faith in the crippled man.
  • 14:11-18 – The people assumed that Paul and Barnabas were their gods in human form. This, for obvious reasons, greatly distressed the men of God.
  • 14:19-23 – When Paul later writes about suffering for the sake of Christ, he is not speaking figuratively. He truly had suffered greatly to share the gospel.

October 11th

Acts 11-12

  • 11:2 – Yes, the “circumcision party” sounds like a terrible party, but this isn’t actually referring to a party with balloons and confetti. This is simply referring to a group of people who held to Jewish law and custom, but were believers in Christ.
  • 11:4-18 – It’s beautiful that these Jewish believers find great joy in God extending his grace and salvation to gentiles as well.
  • 11:26 – The term “Christian” means “little Christs”.
  • 12:3 – Passover was also when Jesus was arrested and killed.
  • 12:6-11 – A thrilling, 80’s, musical rendition of this story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNIO9KH3UC8.
  • 12:12-17 – They assumed that Peter would die in prison and were not expecting to see him.

October 10th

Acts 9-10

  • 9:2 – “The Way” is what early Christians were called.
  • 9:3-16 – Certainly there were many people who persecuted the early Christians. God had a specific purpose for Saul – to minister to the gentiles – so he converted him dramatically.
  • 9:20-22 – Saul’s conversion was so dramatic because he was well known for persecuting Christians. We know him as Paul, a faithful disciple, so it’s easy for us to believe what he says about practicing our faith, but those who had heard of him previously would have had a difficult time.
  • 9:26 – Sometimes the consequences of our previous sins linger.
  • 9:36-43 – Despite an unfortunate nickname, Tabitha was a great asset to those around her. She served and provided for those around her. Her resurrection also brought many people to faith.
  • 10:9-16 – Peter, though a dedicated follower of Jesus, was still culturally a Jew and still followed their laws. He feared eating something that was previously forbidden, but God made it clear that he was now allowed to.
  • 10:23-29 – Traditionally, a Jew wouldn’t enter the home of another people group. God made it clear to Peter that this was now ok and he no longer needed to keep these types of divisions.
  • 10:34-35 – Remember, Jesus explained that his first mission was to “the lost sheep of Israel” or Israelites who were not faithful. Peter continued that ministry, but now it is clear that ministry has been opened up to people other than the Israelites.

10:44-48 – The Holy Spirit coming to the gentile believers was even more proof than Peter’s words that salvation was available for all.

October 9th

Acts 7-8

  • 7:30-38 – Stephen continues to recount Moses’ journey and experience.
  • 7:39-50 – Stephen continues to describe times when the Israelites’ ancestors interacted with God. He highlights their unfaithfulness at times.
  • 7:51-53 – Stephen is addressing a Jewish audience, which is why he speaks of their fathers not listening to the prophets. Saying they have uncircumcised hearts and ears would directly accuse them of not being God’s people. Circumcision was part of their culture and identity as Jews.
  • 7:58 – This is the same Saul who becomes Paul. The Jews laying their garments at Saul’s feet shows that he was heavily involved in Stephen’s death.
  • 7:60 – Stephen was the first martyr for Christ.
  • 8:1 – The early Christians were scattered around 70 A.D. when the temple was destroyed.
  • 8:3 – Saul was a terrifying persecutor of Christians. He was a devout Jew.
  • 8:14-17 – It seems odd that the Samarians received Christ and chose to be baptized but weren’t able to have the Holy Spirit until the apostles came.
  • 8:26-38 – Philip was led into a clear evangelism opportunity by listening to the Spirit. We often wonder if we are supposed to share our faith or not in certain situations, but if we trust the Spirit to guide us, it will become clear.

October 8th

Acts 5-6

  • 5:1-6 – Ananias did not die because he only gave part, but because he presented it as the whole while holding some back. He lied about his gift to God.
  • 5:17-18 – They are arrested because the religious leaders told them not to teach in Jesus’ name.
  • 5:33-42 – Gamaliel gives wise counsel that the religious authorities ought to just leave the disciples alone because the effort will die unless it’s from God and if it’s from God they won’t be able to stop it.
  • 6:8-15 – Like with Jesus, some folks opposed Stephen, twisting his words, to say he had committed blasphemy.

October 7th

Acts 3-4

  • 3:1-10 – Note that when Jesus was alive, the disciples often had trouble healing people because of their lack of faith. Here, the disciples’ faith is strong enough to heal because their faith has been strengthened by the fulfillment of Jesus’ words and the presence of the Holy Spirit.
  • 3:16 – It wasn’t necessarily the faith of the lame man that caused him to be healed. It isn’t made clear if he had faith, but the disciples had faith enough for him.
  • 4:1-22 – The religious leaders assumed Jesus’ message would die with him. Unfortunately for them, Jesus’ disciples continued his ministry, which allowed it to spread further faster.
  • 4:25-31 – The disciples earnest prayer for favor in sharing the message of Christ is granted.
  • 4:32-37 – All the new Christians took care of one another. Their faith was so great it was moved to sacrificial action.

October 6th

Acts 1-2

  • 1:1 – Acts is considered a second section of the gospel of Luke, most likely written by the same author.
  • 1:11 – Jesus doesn’t die again after his resurrection. He simply ascends to heaven on a cloud and the disciples are told that this is how he will return as well. This is what we are to watch for.
  • 1:12-14 – The disciples continued to pray and meet together after Jesus left.
  • 1:21-26 – Matthias is chosen as the new 12th disciple to fill Judas’ place.
  • 2:1-4 – At the end of the gospels, Jesus tells the disciples he is going away but will send a Helper who is even better than him. The entrance of the Holy Spirit is the fulfillment of that promise.
  • 2:17-21 – Peter interprets the prophecy from Joel correctly. Now that the Holy Spirit is present, the disciples began to see even more miracles and powerful conversions.
  • 2:22-36 – Peter speaks directly to Israelites who did not believe in Jesus but who revered David. David was a national hero and all the connections the Messiah was supposed to have to David were fulfilled in Jesus.
  • 2:37-41 – About 3,000 of the Israelites confessed Christ as Savior and were baptized. Whether they were convinced by the resurrection, guidance of the Holy Spirit, or proven connection to David doesn’t matter. They’re conversions are a testament to the lengths to which God will go to be in connection with humanity.
  • 2:42-47 – These new believers became the first Christian church. These verses are often used as a basis for how we should run churches today.

October 5th

Luke 23-24

  • 23:1 – Pilate was a low-level Roman leader. He was basically like the mayor of Longview, TX.
  • 23:7 – This is not the same Herod that wanted to kill him when he was born.
  • 23:18-25 – It was custom for Pilate to release one prisoner at Passover. The crowds chose a murderer and asked that Jesus still be killed even though no fault was found in him.
  • 23:27 – Not everyone had turned against Jesus. He still had a faithful following who were distraught over his impending death.
  • 23:28-31 – Jesus is saying that if these people will reject and crucify Jesus when he’s on earth, how much less will they honor him when he’s not present. In a way he’s saying, it would be better to not even have children than to have to watch them dishonor Christ so greatly.
  • 23:34 – Even when he’s about to be crucified, he’s still offering forgiveness.
  • 23:43 – An unlikely candidate, this is the only person, other than the disciples, Jesus explicitly tells that they will be in heaven with him.
  • 23:46 – The temple curtain was designed to separate the holiness of God from the sin of the people. Jesus’ death both symbolically and literally removed this barrier.
  • 23:50-51 – The council had approved Jesus’ death, but Joseph of Arimathea dissented.
  • 23:1-11 – It is significant that it was women who first witnessed Jesus’ resurrection because the testimony of women did not count.
  • 23:12 – Once again, it is Peter who is first to seek out Christ.
  • 24:13-27 – Though the prophets had foretold what would happen to Jesus and Jesus tried to explain it himself before his death, many Jews thought he could not possibly be the Messiah because he died. They had had such hope before and now had lost it.
  • 24:28-35 – Though quickly, the resurrected Jesus revealed himself to Cleopas and his friend.
  • 24:36-44 – Obviously a resurrection is hard to believe because it doesn’t happen often. The disciples convinced themselves that Jesus was just a spirit, so he not only showed his scars, but also ate food, which a spirit wouldn’t do.
  • 24:49 – The disciples were instructed to keep their work contained to Jerusalem until they received power from on high, which was the Holy Spirit, which they received on Pentecost.

October 4th

Luke 21-22

  • 21:1-4 – God does not care about the amount we give but about our faithfulness in trusting him enough to give.
  • 21:14-15 – We know this to be true because he continually is able to confound the religious authorities when they attempt to stump him with impossible questions.
  • 21:20-24 – Just a few decades after Jesus’ death, the Romans destroy Jerusalem and persecute the Christians. Jesus is foretelling this and letting people know that it truly will be terrible.
  • 22:3-6 – Though Jesus knew it had to happen, it still must have been extremely hurtful to Jesus that one of his chosen, closest friends and followers not only betrayed him, but sought out an opportunity to betray him.
  • 22:7-13 – It is quite symbolic that Jesus is killed at the Passover. During the original Passover, the Israelites’ first born were saved by the blood of a lamb that was wiped on the doorframe. Christ’s blood, through his death, also saved all of us who choose to be covered by it.
  • 22:20 – There were several covenants between God and the Israelites in the Old Testament. This is the first found in the New Testament and is through the blood of Christ and is offered to everyone, not just the Israelites.
  • 22:28-30 – For the first time Jesus offers his disciples a position in eternity.
  • 22:31-34 – Peter is the most zealous disciple. He is committed to following Jesus anywhere, but Jesus knows that he even he has limits and weaknesses and he too will deny Jesus.

October 3rd

Luke 19-20

  • 19:1-10 – Tax collectors were hated figures because they collected taxes required by the Roman government (already disliked) and added considerable charges on top of the taxes for their own profit. It felt like betrayal to the Jews for Jesus to befriend a tax collector. Note that an encounter with Jesus was all it took for Zacchaeus to change his ways and repent double and even fourfold.
  • 19:11-27 – There is a lot going in this parable. A few key things to note are 1) The parable parallels the coming of the kingdom. Because the king goes away for a while, this explains that Jesus will be gone for a time and the kingdom of God will not be immediate on earth. 2) The nobleman represents Jesus. 3) All followers of Jesus are given callings/commissions and some day we will have to answer for what we did in those realms.
  • 19:28-35 – After 10 chapters of heading towards Jerusalem, Jesus finally enters the city. He rode an unridden colt to fulfill Scripture.
  • 19:36-38 – During this scene, which we celebrate on Palm Sunday, Jesus’ followers are showing him many signs of praise and honor.
  • 19:39-40 – Jesus answers the Pharisees explaining that someone was going to praise him and reveal his identity whether it be his disciples or even if rocks had to do it.
  • 19:41-44 – Jesus is foretelling when the Romans would destroy Jerusalem in 70 A.D.
  • 19:46 – Merchants were selling animals to be used for sacrifices. Jesus did not like that people were seeking to profit off others’ sins.
  • 20:1-8 – Jesus frequently answers a question with a question to avoid falling into the traps of religious leaders.
  • 20:9-18 – This parable represents God sending multiple prophets to try and bring the Israelites back to God, but each was rejected. Finally God sends his Son, Jesus, and he is not only rejected but killed.
  • 20:21-26 – Jesus shows that Caesar’s image was on the coin so it’s fine to give Caesar the coin, but God’s image is on each of us so we are to give ourselves fully to him.
  • 20:27-40 – Once again, Jesus goes beyond the Mosaic Law. He doesn’t discount it, but moves beyond it. Where the Sadducees, who were known for putting a very heavy emphasis on the Torah (the first 5 books of the Bible), were focused on the details of the law, Jesus shifts to what it will be like during the resurrection. At the time, the issue they brought up will no longer be an issue.
  • 20:41-44 – David was a highly respected legend to the Jews of Jesus’ time. Here, because of their admiration for David, he makes it clear that even David submitted to the authority of the Messiah.