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Though we often complicate it and make things far more difficult than they should be, Jesus gives us one job as his parting words – go and make disciples. So that’s it – tell other people about Jesus and help them follow him.
- God cares about the details.
- It is significant that women were the first to witness Jesus’ resurrection and disappearance from the grave. Women’s testimonies did not count in court.
- 11-12 – The chief priests immediately try to discount the account of Jesus’ resurrection. At the time Matthew was written, the rumor they started was still being spread.
- 18-20 – This is known as The Great Commission. This passage is used as reason for evangelism.
- 11 – “Fear of the Lord” refers to a type of awe and respect.
Moses spends 40 days in the presence of God, fasting the entire time. Jesus, too, completed a 40 day fast. Fasting is a fairly foreign concept to us American consumers. It’s not just about powering through the time and not eating. We are supposed to allow our desire for food, or whatever we’ve given up, to remind us of our need for God. As much as we want food, we want God more.
- 10 – God makes another covenant with Israel.
- God was very explicit not to leave any remnants of other gods in their land so they weren’t tempted to worship them.
- 26 – We are called to give to God off the top. Give to him first before we buy or pay for other things.
- 28 – Jesus also did a 40 day fast.
- 30-35 – It is believed that Moses’ face shone from the glory of the Lord.
- 15-23 – It must have been so hurtful to Jesus that the crowds asked for a criminal to be released instead of him.
- Crucifixion was already a humiliating punishment, but the soldiers saw to it that Jesus was even more humiliated than normal.
- 16-17 – Just like today, people of ancient Israel put their hope in everything but the Lord.
- Wisdom is something we can all gain if willing.
When Jesus died the temple curtain tore down the middle. The temple curtain separated the Holy of Holies, where the Ark of the Covenant was kept, which represented God’s presence, from the rest of the temple, where people were allowed. Jesus’ death took away any need for separation between God and humanity. Jesus’ sinless life and unfair death bridged the gap.
- 1 – God gave Bezalel and Oholiab the skills they needed for the task at hand. He does this for us as well.
- 3-7 – The Israelites worked together to provide all that was needed and more. No one held back or assumed their contribution wasn’t significant enough. This is a beautiful picture of how God’s people can come together to do great things.
- 39-43 – Jesus most likely had similar thoughts. He had saved so many others and definitely had the power to save himself.
- 48 – Sour wine was used similarly to an anesthetic.
- 51 – The temple curtain was the separation between the holiness of God and the sinfulness of man. This is how these were symbolically separated. Jesus’ death broke down any separation between man and God.
- 54 – It is significant that the centurion was not a Jew and was one of the first to recognize Jesus as the Messiah.
- When Psalms are attributed to a certain experience in David’s life it can remind us that we too can praise, lament, or call on God in specific moments of our lives.
- 8 – “Taste and see that the Lord is good!” We are to experience God fully with all our senses and abilities.
- Good advice is wasted on those who insist on folly, but folks who want to learn and grow wiser are willing to listen to criticism and rebuke.
Really Israelites? Did you really, so quickly, believe that Moses wouldn’t come down from the mountain? Really? And had you really already forgotten the whole parting the sea incident? Really? I mean, come on. A golden calf? Really?
- 1-6 – When the Israelites feel abandoned, they are quick to demand some form of god. Aaron, the head priest, and brother and right-hand-man of Moses, obliges.
- 11-14 – Proof that God does listen to prayer.
- 18-20 – Moses must have been so disappointed. He had put in so much effort to lead these people from slavery and eventually to the Promised Land. It must have been like a parent finding out their teenager is on drugs.
- 24 – A lie. Vs. 4 explains that Aaron fashioned the calf with tools.
- 11 – Seeing God face to face is pretty incredible considering the glory of the Lord was so great that most of the Israelites weren’t even allowed to touch Mt. Sinai when God met with Moses on the top of it.
- 16 – It is God’s presence with them that makes the Israelites distinct.
- 19-23 – Even though it’s just his back, Moses is the only person to actually see God.
- 69-75 – Even after being warned, Peter denies Jesus 3 times. On the flip side, though, Peter is the only disciple who goes to where Jesus is despite the danger.
- 3-8 – Judas feels regret to the point of returning the money and killing himself.
- 14 – Jesus did not respond to allegations. This was to fulfill a prophecy.
- The first Psalm not attributed to David.
Today’s proverb paints a beautiful picture of the intricacy and wisdom with which God created the earth. As you read, picture what it’s describing in your mind.
- 15 – How had people become rich or poor since they all came out of slavery and all have been wandering in the desert? Possibly some had plundered the Egyptians more fiercely than others.
- 1-6 – Bezalel and Oholiab probably thought their talents were going to waste as they made bricks in Egypt and wandered in the desert, but God had a plan to use them.
- 16 – Keeping the Sabbath holy is resting and dedicating a day to only worship God.
- 51-54 – How often do we take matters into our own hands instead of trusting God’s plan for us?
- 59-64 – The religious leaders have been trying to trick Jesus into saying something they can arrest him for throughout his ministry. Jesus calling himself the Son of Man and referencing that he would sit at the right hand of Power seems to be enough.
- This is one of many Psalms where David references various ways God protects him. David was often at war and many nations were against Israel so it makes sense that he would relate to God in this way.
- God created the earth with wisdom – this makes sense because of the complex balance and intricacies in the environment.
It’s easy to forget that Jesus was a man with feelings. It’s also easy to forget that the disciples were his friends – those he had spent all his time with teaching and training them. And one of them turns him over to be killed. Can you imagine the hurt you would feel if you were Jesus?
- At this time the priesthood was passed down generation to generation. Priests came from the tribe of Levi.
- We are in the middle of a series of very detailed descriptions. These are actually great blessings because we want to be able to worship God in a way that is honoring and pleasing to him. Detailed instructions make that much more likely.
- 1-10 – God begins to instruct the priests on how they should intercede for the people and lead worship and sacrifices.
- It’s sad that Judas wasn’t coerced or forced into betraying Jesus. He sought the opportunity out himself.
- 20 – People literally reclined for meals. The original Passover was in a rush and people were not to recline or get comfortable as normal.
- 26-28 – Our practice of communion relates back to the last supper, which relates back to Passover.
- 39 – People often wonder how to pray for the things they want. We can ask for anything we want or need, but it is healthiest when we pray for these things while surrendering to God’s will first.
We would all like to identify with the sheep in Matthew 25, but there are still hungry people, those who are cold in the winter, and those who sit lonely in prison. So who are we really? Read and find out.
- 1 – Aaron and his sons become Israel’s priests.
- 2 – The priestly garments are made “for glory and for beauty.” The tabernacle was built in similar fashion as are sanctuaries today. Places and things that represent God should do so to reflect who God is including his majesty and beauty.
- 42- Other than the fig leaves in the garden, this is the first time underwear is mentioned.
- 31-46 – A famous passage calling us to serve those who are the least in our society as if we were serving Christ.
- 6-13 – Interesting placement after the mandate to serve the least of these and then the woman is praised for using expensive things on Jesus that could have been used for the poor. This is a case of doing what is good versus doing what is best.
- Encouragement to call on and trust in God even in the worst of circumstances.
- 33-34 – Only certain people were allowed in certain areas of the tabernacle. In the Holy Place, only priests were allowed and in the Most Holy Place, only one priest, who was chosen each time someone needed to enter, could go in.
- If you were building a dwelling place for God, wouldn’t you want specific instructions?
- 1-13 – We need to be continually prepared for the coming of Christ. We cannot rely on the faith, work, and preparedness of others.
- 14-30 – We are to use what God has given for his glory and the good of others, not just keep our knowledge, skills, and faith to ourselves. Having “much” here is not necessarily about financial resources.
- In the Luke account of Jesus’ crucifixion, he quotes verse 5.
- We’ve learned how folly cries out to us and entices us into sin and temptation. This passage reminds us that wisdom calls out too and gives us the opportunity to choose that instead.
We require clear instructions. Otherwise, we tend to find ways to mess up. Though they may seem tedious, God gives the Israelites very specific instructions on how to construct the Tabernacle. This was basically a portable temple, or place of worship, that they could pack up and move whenever they needed to wander to a new location in the desert.
- 15 – Feast of Unleavened Bread is Passover
- 1-7 – These were special offerings requested so the Israelites could build a tabernacle for God.
- 8-9 – The Tabernacle was God’s mobile house. The Israelites couldn’t build a temple yet because they were still nomadic.
- 9-40 – Like with Noah, when building his ark, God gives Moses very specific construction instructions.
- 34 – This tends to be problematic for people because clearly all the people in that generation have since died. Some people interpret it to mean that the Jews will still be in existence until the second coming. Others believe that fulfillment simply requires the beginning of the age and not the full second coming. Of course, no one knows for sure.
- 40-42 – verses like these are where ideas for things like the “Left Behind” series come from
- 44 – Jesus’ warning is for those of us who know the truths of Jesus. He warns us not to neglect those truths but be faithful even as we wait and don’t know how long we’ll be waiting.
- 5 – Encouragement that trouble is always temporary
- 11-12 – Beautiful imagery of God’s restoration through our trials. What if we all were so aware of God’s part in our getting through difficult times?