Consider this an all things Easter bonus edition of our blog! Today is THE GREATEST DAY of the year!! Today is the day we celebrate God’s triumph over sin and death and recognize that Jesus truly is the Savior of the World.
Finally, enjoy this explanation of the foretelling and fulfillment of the Messiah, Jesus – Our Savior!
There have been a number of famous declarations throughout human history, a personal favorite is the Declaration of Independence, which our forefathers signed in 1776. But in today’s Luke reading, we find a declaration far more significant in the life of one man as well as human history. Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples, is the first of his followers to recognize and vocalize that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah the people were expecting. Each of us, in our own ways, must also make this declaration confessing Jesus as the Christ and as our Savior. If you want to talk about that, let me know.
- 5-6 – Eventually God will choose Jerusalem as the place where the Israelites were to offer Passover sacrifices.
- 21 – Asherah poles were built in homage to another god.
- 2-5 – Keeping the Israelites worship pure was a high priority and taken very seriously.
- Later, when the Israelites actually ask for a king, God says it is because they are rejecting him. They want to be like the other countries around them when God has set them apart to be different.
- 10-17 – This story is also found in Matthew and Mark. Matthew, Mark, and Luke are known as the synoptic gospels. The writers most likely worked from each others accounts to help create their gospels.
- 18-20 – Peter is the first of Jesus’ followers to declare him as the Messiah.
- 23-24 – A powerful image of following after Christ even to the greatest of lengths. It does us no good ultimately to live a good life but never know or follow Christ.
- Solomon was the son of David who took over as king after him. He was known for his wisdom.
- 1-7 – A prayer all leaders should pray.
In today’s Deuteronomy reading we find the passage our children’s ministry is based on: Deuteronomy 6:4-9. It encourages us to be so immersed in the Bible that it is natural to teach it to our children as we spend time with them daily. I’d say reading the Bible every day for a year is a pretty great way to start the immersion.
- Moses reminds the Israelites of the 10 Commandments the Lord gave them. This is a bit of an extended version of the commandments.
- 4-9 – This is the passage our children’s ministry uses as a guide. It encourages parents to pass down to the faith to their children and encourages families to keep God’s Word at the forefront.
- 10-15 – We often take pride in the things we have even when we did not earn or work for them. This often leads to relying on entities other than God.
- 16 – Jesus quotes this when he is tempted by the devil in the desert.
- 25 – When we put our faith into action, it is counted to us as righteousness.
- 11-17 – This woman would have been in bad shape. Widows relied on male relatives to take care of them after their husbands died and this was her only son who had just died.
- 18-19 – John believed that Jesus was the Messiah but needed confirmation.
- 22-23 – Jesus quotes the same part of Isaiah that he did in the synagogue in chapter 4. But he leaves one significant line out: that the prisoners would be set free. John was in prison at the time and would most likely understand that Jesus was saying he would not be released, but that Jesus was the Messiah.
- 26-27 – Jesus confirms that John was the messenger the prophets foretold and he is the Messiah for whom the messenger was to prepare the way.
A theme you may have noticed, which will be prevalent this week, is that God did not want the Israelites to associate with other people groups in any significant way. To us this may seem exclusive and even hateful towards those people. Entire people groups were wiped out in order to avoid these associations. But these people groups weren’t victims of McCarthyism. God wasn’t accusing or attacking these people without substantial evidence. We see, over and over, the Israelites engaging with other nations and beginning to take on their customs and even worship their gods. God knew the Israelites would be easily swayed and would lose their loyalty to him. Setting the Israelites apart was a way of protecting them.
This week’s Luke readings will definitely keep you engaged with parables, healings, and tons more! Two cool things to look for and think about for a while are:
1) Peter’s recognition and admission of Jesus as the Messiah – Peter’s admission is the first of any of Jesus’ followers. People were still saying he might be Elijah or some other prophet, and obviously many people were thinking he was a heretic. Peter, as he tended to do, steps out in faith and declares Jesus’ identity.
2) Jesus telling a woman that her faith has healed her – Throughout Scripture there are different explanations of why people are healed. Some just seem to be miracles from God without any other explanation. Some are based on the faith of someone else asking for a friend or loved one and others, like the healing we’ll read about on Thursday, are attributed to the faith of the person healed. What do you notice as the difference between the healings? Is there any? If so, why?
Finally, some of our Psalms this week are very raw. They are filled with rage and malice and can be jarring to us. Try to remember that these Psalms are not God talking, but a human, like you and me. This is not necessarily something to model ourselves after, but to remind us that God knows us at our best and worst, and we are sinful.
Keep up the good reading! You’re doing great!!
You’ve heard this story every Christmas Eve of your life, but it’s easy to overlook some of the fascinating details. Check them out here:
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.
Today’s psalm is simply beautiful. Read verse 4 a couple of times. It’s worth it. Can you imagine if you had one and only one focus – and that focus was to be in the presence of God? How different would your life look?
- 24 – Just 3 days after God parted the Red Sea to protect the Israelites, they complain because of a lack of drinkable water
- 26 – God often offers us rules and limits to protect us. It is our job to decide if we will accept and follow or not.
- 3-21 – God provides food through quails and manna. He asks them to only take enough for a day. Many still don’t trust and take more to assure they’ll have some for the next day.
- 29 – God offers people a Sabbath. The 10 Commandments, which have 1 commandment about the Sabbath have not been written yet.
- 32 – Remembering things from generation to generation was frequent.
- Be sure to read the footnotes. They can be helpful.
- 1-14 – a parable explaining the peoples’ contempt for and rejection of Jesus’ message. The person at the end without the wedding garment represents the judgment of those who did not accept Jesus as the Messiah.
- 17-22 – Caesar’s image was on the coin. It belongs to Caesar. God’s image is on all of us. We belong to God.
- 29-33 – The Sadducees try to stump Jesus but he explains that there question is irrelevant because terms need to be redefined in light of the resurrection.
- 1 – One of the most comforting verses in all of Scripture.
- 4 – 1 thing – singular focus is seeking God
- 21-22 referring back to Deuteronomy 6
- This proverb offers encouragement to put in the time before you’re tested to know, trust, and believe God’s commandments will pay off
Genesis 50:1-Exodus 2:10:
- 15-21 – Our sinfulness has long-lasting consequences. We often face them long after the actual situation is over. Joseph’s brothers still have guilt and shame on them and assume their brother will now pay back evil for evil. Instead, Joseph recognizes his place in the situation and recognizes that God redeemed to good what his brother meant for evil.
- 26 – Unlike his father, Joseph had made Egypt his home and was fine with being buried there.
- 7-14 – With a new king and the death of Joseph, the Egyptians quickly forget the good Joseph did for them. As the Israelites grow in size and strength while they live in Egypt, the Egyptians grow fearful of them and eventually enslave them to keep them under control.
- 15-16 – Pharaoh is trying to control the Israelite population and their ability to join enemies in war.
- 17-21 – Sometimes faithfulness seems impossible. The midwives chose faithfulness even though it was in direct disobedience to the king.
- 1-10 – Moses’ mother finds a way to give him a chance at life. Moses’ sister’s quick thinking allows his mother to nurse and care for him.
- 13-20 – Peter is the first of the disciples to identify Jesus as the Messiah. Jesus blesses him because this was clearly revealed to Peter by the Father. Peter becomes the rock of the church and is given great authority going forward.
- 21-23 – This is a quick transition between Peter being told he would lead the church to being called Satan. In this section, Peter puts his own plans for Jesus ahead of God’s.
- 24-25 – Note that no one knew Jesus would take up an actual cross at his death. He is calling them to be willing to make the same kind of sacrifice he will soon make.
- 28 – Though somewhat confusing, this is not intended to mean that some of the people standing there would still be alive when Jesus returned a second time. Though there are many interpretations, one feasible one is that Jesus is saying that some people would live to see Christ reign in the world. Many were alive as Pentecost and then the spread of the church began. Some even led it.
- 5 – This is the same phrase recorded from Jesus’ baptism.
- Note that many psalms filled with violence and seeking revenge still end with praise and exultation of God. Clearly praise was a fallback whether times were good or bad.
- This section gives a great description of just how seductive temptation can be. We would much more easily avoid temptation if it wasn’t attractive and sneaky. Before we know it, we have followed temptation into destruction.