Though, at the end of today’s reading in John, Jesus is referring to himself as the temple, the actual temple really was destroyed, twice, in fact. In 586 B.C. the temple was destroyed when the Babylonians defeated and deported the Israelites. The Israelites then spent decades in exile. It was rebuilt but then destroyed in 70 A.D., after Jesus’ death, by the Romans. It has yet to be rebuilt. Currently a mosque is on that site and all that remains of the temple is the Western Wall also known as “The Wailing Wall”.
11-16 – Samson was known for his incredible strength.
18-20 – It is a common theme that Biblical characters have some sort of extreme, miraculous experience with God and then panic and cry out to God for something that seems like an easy fix. God always comes through in both the easy and the hard.
4-17 – Clearly Samson is smitten by Delilah because she continually betrays him and tries to trap him into being overtaken by the Philistines even though she acts like he is in the wrong for lying to her about his source of strength.
25-30 – Samson’s strength is restored and he’s able to use it to take down thousands of Philistines. His death is seen as honorable and as retribution for how the Philistines treated him.
1-11 – This is considered Jesus’ first miracle. It seems clear that Jesus does not feel ready to begin his ministry of miracles.
13-17 – In Matthew this story occurs in the last week of Jesus’ ministry, but also during Passover. This story is often referenced when confirming that Jesus felt true human emotions.
18-23 – The temple was in fact destroyed after Jesus’ death, in 70 AD, but here, Jesus is referring to himself as the temple.
A beautiful Psalm. One to focus on in a variety of situations, but particularly as a reminder of God’s abundant grace and great love for us.
9-10 – Even though Jesus had not come yet, God still offered grace. Though people received some punishments, the punishment for sin is death, so most Israelites were given the opportunity to repent and receive a second chance.
11-12 – A beautiful image of how God does not hold our past sins against us.
17 – There are several references in the Proverbs that equate quick decisions with foolishness. This would suggest that steadiness and quality of thought is considered more prudent in almost all cases.
Do you find yourself saying the same thing over and over in prayer? It’s fine if there’s a specific, ongoing prayer request, but what about the fairly meaningless fillers? Do you tend to drone on and on without a whole lot of meaning or thought behind it? Why not try to pray like Psalm 98:1 encourages us to? Try to offer God a new praise for each new blessing you receive. You will end up feeling much more connected to him through prayer.
2-8 – The Midianites were a powerful fighting nation, but God only sent Gideon with 300 men to fight them because he did not want them to be able to say that they defeated Midian by their own power. This sounds extreme, but it is extremely easy to believe we succeed on our own power.
20-25 – The trumpets and jars were used to scare the Midianite army into fleeing and God blessed the Israelites’ swords as they pursued the Midianites.
4-9 – The men of Succoth and Penuel did not believe that Gideon would defeat the kings of Midian so they refused to help the Israelite army. Because of this Gideon explains that he will repay them once he overtakes the Midianite kings.
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.
27 – Not everyone had turned against Jesus. He still had a faithful following who were distraught over his impending death.
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.
34 – Even when he’s about to be crucified, he’s still offering forgiveness.
43 – An unlikely candidate, this is the only person, other than the disciples, Jesus explicitly tells that they will be in heaven with him.
1 – Though God loves to hear our prayers, it seemingly would honor him more if we offer new praise with each blessing instead of a generic blanket prayer for all our blessings.
4-9 – We can all find a joyful song to sing in praise to God. Even the oceans and rivers have their way of praising. No matter what ours sounds like, we should make a joyful noise to God.
8 – Our wisdom is not simply for good looks or just convenient. Our wisdom should be used to discern where God is calling us and where we should go.
Note the significance of Jesus, the lamb of God, shedding his blood for the people on Passover in relation to what happened on the first Passover.
Judges, for many generations, were the leaders of Israelites. It was not normally an authoritarian leader, but one who relayed God’s plans for the people and helped guide them in following God’s commands. They often led the Israelites into battles as well.
2 – Judah is the appointed leader after Joshua’s death.
6-7 – Based on the information in verse 7, Adoni-Bezek had his fingers and toes cut off because he had performed the same punishment on many other kings.
21-36 – The Israelites had been clearly instructed to remove the current inhabitants from their land, but many of the tribes allowed Canaanites to remain in their land. God wanted the Canaanites out of the promised land because they would influence the Israelites to form allegiances with other gods.
1-5 – God remains faithful in his part of the covenant, but the Israelites fail to do their part so though God will not forsake them, he will also not be able to protect them from the influences of the Canaanites.
6-9 – Joshua doesn’t die twice, it’s just two accounts of the same event.
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.
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.
1-7 – God can protect us from so many of our hardships and struggles. When we choose to abide in his shelter, we don’t have to worry about the consequences of sin, because we’re not choosing to sin. This is not to be mistaken as saying, when we abide in God nothing bad will ever happen to us.
This proverb encourages boundaries and discipline for children to assure they know and follow the Lord throughout their lives.
We all had an awkward adolescence…even George Clooney. Yikes! In today’s reading, we find the only story in the Bible about Jesus’ adolescence. Don’t get too nervous about the ending. No surprise, he finds himself in church.
The Israelites were meticulous with their record keeping.
41-45 – The pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the Passover would have been a journey of several days and whole extended families and friends would travel together. It is not unusual that Mary and Joseph would assume that Jesus was somewhere in the group. But can you imagine the panic they must have felt when they thought they had lost the Son of God?
51 – This verse is placed here to assure the reader/hearer that Jesus wasn’t unkind or disrespectful of his parents. He was simply engaged in his long-term call.
This passage is the only canonical recording of Jesus’ childhood or adolescence.
This is warning not to make promises you can’t keep and specifically not to promise something that someone else is intended to keep because you can never guarantee it.
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 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?
This week, it all comes full circle. Last week, in Exodus, we read about God releasing the Israelites from slavery and saving their first-born children through the Passover. This week, we’ll read about the Last Supper, which Jesus offered to his closest companions, the disciples, just before his arrest and death.
Do you see the connection? Is it starting to become clear just how carefully the story of God’s love and redemption for humanity has been in the works over time?
In Exodus the Israelites experience the first Passover and make unleavened bread so they can leave quickly if needed. In Matthew, Jesus eats the Passover meal with his disciples. In Exodus a flawless lamb’s blood could save you from the death of your first-born. In Matthew, Jesus offers up his own blood to save us all. In Exodus God makes a way for his people to receive freedom. In Matthew, he does the same.
The first Passover directly connects to the Last Supper and Jesus’ death, which directly connects to our experiencing Holy Communion on Sundays. This is not just a series of unrelated stories, but one centuries long story of God continually working to achieve our redemption.
Don’t get bogged down in the details of how to build the tabernacle – they can get tedious. Think of the tabernacle as a traveling temple. The Israelites wanted a home for God that they could pack up and move as they wandered. The tabernacle was the solution. Practical, eh?
In today’s reading, we see Jesus get angry and act out in anger flipping the tables of those selling birds for sinners to purchase and sacrifice. Sometimes it’s hard to see Jesus as a human because we focus on him as God and Savior. Today, don’t sugarcoat his anger. It was real just like the deep anguish he felt when his friend Lazarus died. If we can’t see Jesus as a human who felt like any other human does, we cannot fully comprehend the sacrifice he made on the cross.
14-17 – Passover – feast of unleavened bread – used as a remembrance of the good God had done in saving the Israelites’ first borns and leading them out of Egypt.
18-20 – Bread is unleavened because the Israelites had to get out of Egypt quickly and there wasn’t time for bread to rise
25 – God tells them about the Promised Land (land of milk and honey) but does not tell them it will take 40 years of wandering in order to get there
1-2 – Our offering to God should come off the top – firstborn
29 – Jericho – the oldest continually lasting city – over 10,000 years old
1 – Many times heading towards Jerusalem has been referenced thus far in Matthew, now they are finally arriving. This is done to show that getting to Jerusalem was a purposeful, planned event. Jesus was not surprised by what was to come.
7 – Some ancient Jews believed the Messiah would come as a military hero, yet he arrived on a borrowed donkey
9 – Hosanna means “Save us!”
12 – is often referenced when confirming that Jesus had human emotions
12 – Pigeons were being sold so people could use them to sacrifice. The religious authorities were trying to profit off of the sinfulness of their constituents.
David not only asks for God’s protection and provision, but he also commits to integrity, uprightness, and waiting on the Lord to hold up his end of the bargain
The Passover is brutal. First borns of every creature die and you save your own family from this destruction by slaughtering a flawless lamb and wiping its blood above your door. But Passover is an expression of mercy and justice still celebrated today. The Passover and final plague bring the story of the enslaved Israelites in Egypt full circle. In Exodus chapter 1 we read of the Pharaoh exterminating every male Israelite born. At The Passover, the Egyptians felt the consequences of their sins.
God continues to call Moses to enact the plagues, “lift your hand, etc.” God does not need us but calls us and uses us for his purposes
24 – Pharaoh sends Moses away but God doesn’t seem to be convinced he will actually let him go
11:7 – God makes it clear that Israel, not Egypt, is his chosen nation
11 – Eating normally happened in a relaxed, reclined position – fast food was not a thing
1-13 – The Passover becomes an annual celebration – it is the festival Jesus was celebrating when he was arrested and crucified – he became the sacrificial lamb like each household needed. This is why some people say phrases like “covered by the blood of the lamb”
A parable aimed at those who have been faithful over time and those who come to faith in the last hour – both receive salvation – do we begrudge those who came to faith at the last hour and receive the same reward?
Jesus predicted his death multiple times but no one believed him
26-28 – we want status and acknowledgement, Jesus calls us to humble ourselves instead
Continue to work for the things that are important. When you stop doing those things, you’ll be left behind.