Through the Bible Week 41, Matthew 13 – 26


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In Matthew 26, we come to the arrest, betrayal, and trial of Jesus. Simon Peter has an interesting place during these events. At the passover dinner, Jesus proclaims that all of the disciples will abandon him.

Matthew 26:31–35 (NKJV) — 31 Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: ‘I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ 32 But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.” 33 Peter answered and said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.” 34 Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” 35 Peter said to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” And so said all the disciples.

Peter proclaims that even if everyone else stumbles, he will never stumble. Jesus then tells Peter that he will deny Jesus three times that very night. We can see that Peter’s intent is good. He really does believe he won’t stumble. Later in the night, we see Peter even boldly decide he is going to fight for Jesus.

Matthew 26:51 (NKJV) — 51 And suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear.

The Gospel of John gives the same account and tells us that the one with the sword is Peter.

John 18:10 (NKJV) — 10 Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.

It is interesting that Peter, against all these guards, has the courage to start swinging a sword. Yet, Jesus stops him and proclaims that he doesn’t need Peter’s help.

Matthew 26:52–54 (NKJV) — 52 But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53 Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? 54 How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?”

Jesus tells Peter, “I can call on my Father and get twelve legions of angels. Peter, you really can’t help me and I don’t want you to help me. Peter, this has been the plan all along.”  Now, later, during Jesus’ trial before the elders of Israel, Peter no longer is so brave.

Matthew 26:69–75 (NKJV) — 69 Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came to him, saying, “You also were with Jesus of Galilee.” 70 But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you are saying.” 71 And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth.” 72 But again he denied with an oath, “I do not know the Man!” 73 And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, “Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you.” 74 Then he began to curse and swear, saying, “I do not know the Man!” Immediately a rooster crowed. 75 And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So he went out and wept bitterly.

What happened? Why the change in Peter? In one case, he is willing to swing a sword and fight outstanding odds of guards. In the second case, Peter seems afraid of even the servants knowing he was a disciple of Jesus.

I find that we can all be like this. We are all zealous for the Lord at times and at others we cower. What is it? If we look closely at the two cases, we see a distinct difference. In the case where Peter is courageous, Jesus is standing there, not bound, and showing His great power (John 18 tells us that Jesus makes the multitude of guards fall back with the power of his voice).  Yet, in the case were Peter denies Jesus, Jesus is bound, being tried, being struck by officials, and is silent and not defending Himself. Peter is brave when he thinks Jesus is going to fight. Peter is a coward when he thinks Jesus is powerless.

We often think we need to fight for Jesus, or fight through a trial, or make sure we do the exact right thing or say the exact right thing. It’s easy when things seem to be going right. But, when it doesn’t look like the Lord is doing what we want, we get nervous or afraid that we will get it wrong. We fear that someone won’t be saved because we don’t have the right words. We think someone can’t be healed if we don’t pray enough. We need to remember what Jesus told Peter about legions of Angels. Jesus doesn’t need any of us. Jesus isn’t going to leave someone’s salvation up to us. Jesus isn’t going to let someone’s healing be up to us. Yes, Jesus does answer prayers. He often uses our prayers to prove Himself to us. But, Jesus doesn’t need me and He doesn’t need you. True faith is knowing this simple truth. And in knowing this, you can really be free to serve him.

In His Service, Scott

This Week’s Reading Plan:

  1. Day 1 – Matthew 27-28
  2. Day 2 – Mark 1-3
  3. Day 3 – Mark 4-5
  4. Day 4 – Mark 6-7
  5. Day 5 – Mark 8-9
  6. Day 6 – Mark 10-11
  7. Day 7 – Mark 12-13

Through the Bible Week 40, Zechariah 8 – Matthew 12


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Through this section of scripture, we see the closing of pre-Christ prophecy. However, it is a closing only of the Old-Testament prophets, not a complete fulfillment or even and end to new prophecy. After this, what we see with the book of Matthew is the beginning of the fulfillment of all of that prophecy. The coming of Christ is the beginning of the end of the old age and a beginning of the coming of a new age.

In the very last chapter of the Old-Testament, Malachi repeats some words he hears from God. These words are prophesying of the final triumphant coming of Lord to rule the earth. Immediately following this, in the New-Testament, we have the coming of the Lord as an infant, as a fragile, needy baby. In Malachi is a conquering King and in Matthew is a helpless babe. Buried in the Malachi passage that talks of the Lord’s return, where the day is “Burning like an oven” and the wicked fall, there is a grace and hope poured out.

Malachi 4:2 (NKJV)2 But to you who fear My name The Sun of Righteousness shall arise With healing in His wings…

A promise is given to the children of Israel. The Lord will come with healing. He will heal His people. He will heal from infirmary and He will heal all the sin of the nation. That is the specific promise. Yet, in this specific promise is a general promise to the whole earth. The Lord is coming to heal us.

The very next chapter in the Bible occurs over 400 years later, but in this chapter is the same promise. An angel comes to a man named Joseph in a dream to tell him that he should go ahead and take Mary as his wife because the child she is carrying is conceived of the Holy Spirit. The angel makes the same promise that was made to Malachi.

Matthew 1:21 (NKJV) — 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

Do you get this theme? It is a theme found throughout all scripture. The Lord saves. That is His heart and His purpose towards you. Again, the specific promise is to the nation of Israel, but the general promise is to each of us. Even later, we who aren’t of the nation of Israel, are also clearly given this promise. In Matthew 8, Jesus says something about the gentiles in contrast to the unbelievers among the Jews.

Matthew 8:11 (NKJV) — 11 And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.

Many who are not the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will be in the kingdom. It is a promise to all who believe, no matter your background. This is reiterated much in scripture.

Ephesians 3:6 (NKJV) — 6 that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel,

We are called to be fellow heirs. Back in our reading, Jesus calls each of us with some of the most graceful words I have ever heard or read.

Matthew 11:28–30 (NKJV) — 28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Come to Jesus and find rest. Come to Jesus and find peace. Come to Jesus and find everlasting life.

In His Service, Scott

This Week’s Reading Plan:

  1. Day 1 – Matthew 13-14
  2. Day 2 – Matthew 15-17
  3. Day 3 – Matthew 18-19
  4. Day 4 – Matthew 20-21
  5. Day 5 – Matthew 22-23
  6. Day 6 – Matthew 24-25
  7. Day 7 – Mathew 26

Through the Bible Week 39, Obediah – Zechariah 7


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In this section of scripture, we come across a few of the prophets. It is here that God starts providing a glimpse of a glorious future. A future to which the nation of Israel looks. It is a future to which I look and a future to which I hope every christian looks.

In the very first chapter of Zechariah, Zechariah is in Jerusalem with a number of people that were allowed to return after their 70 year captivity. Zechariah receives a vision from God in which an angel asks God how long it will be before He has mercy on Jerusalem again. The Lord gives the following answer.

Zechariah 1:16–17 (NKJV) —
16 ‘Therefore thus says the Lord: “I am returning to Jerusalem with mercy; My house shall be built in it,” says the Lord of hosts, “And a surveyor’s line shall be stretched out over Jerusalem.” ’
17 “Again proclaim, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: “My cities shall again spread out through prosperity; The Lord will again comfort Zion, And will again choose Jerusalem.” ’ ”

The promise that sticks out to me in this is “I am returning to Jerusalem with mercy”. The Lord is going to return to Jerusalem with mercy. Jerusalem needed a lot of mercy. We need a lot of mercy. It is not long after these events that the Bible goes silent for a period of time. The next major event we see in scripture is the coming of Jesus Christ. This first coming of Jesus was a moment of God returning to Jerusalem with mercy. Yet, it is not the complete fulfillment of this promise. Zechariah sees another vision in which the Lord says a little more about this.

Zechariah 2:10–11 (NKJV) —
10 “Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion! For behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,” says the Lord.
11 “Many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day, and they shall become My people. And I will dwell in your midst. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you.

“Sing and rejoice” God says! Sing and rejoice. The Lord is coming to dwell in the midst of His people Israel. And, many nations will be joined to the Lord in that day and they will be His people. Those nations are you and me. Jesus is returning. Jesus is returning for me. Jesus is returning for you. Jesus is returning for His people. He is returning in mercy and He will be crowned both King and High Priest. He is our ruler and our intermediator. His atonement for our sins covers us now and then. What a blessed promise from God. Come Lord Jesus.

 

In His Service, Scott

This Week’s Reading Plan:

  1. Day 1 – Zechariah 8-14
  2. Day 2 – Malachi 1-4
  3. Day 3 – Matthew 1-4
  4. Day 4 – Matthew 5-6
  5. Day 5 – Matthew 7-8
  6. Day 6 – Matthew 9-10
  7. Day 7 – Mathew 11-12

Through the Bible Week 38, Daniel 7 – Amos 9


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Daniel was a man wholly devoted to God. His every thought and being was focused on obedience and righteousness. He was man beloved by God as well. Because he was beloved, God gave him many visions of the glorious future, a future where Jesus reigns supremely on this earth. In one of his visions, Daniel sees God the Father and God the Son together. In the middle of his vision of the great beasts, foretelling the nations of gentiles that would rule over Israel, Daniel saw this:

Daniel 7:9–10 (NKJV) —
9 “I watched till thrones were put in place,
And the Ancient of Days was seated;
His garment was white as snow,
And the hair of His head was like pure wool.
His throne was a fiery flame,
Its wheels a burning fire;
10 A fiery stream issued
And came forth from before Him.
A thousand thousands ministered to Him;
Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him.
The court was seated,
And the books were opened.

What a glorious vision! Daniel sees God, the Ancient of Days, seated in absolute glory. His garments and hair were white signifying His righteousness. His throne was a fiery flame signifying His refining power to sift through all things. Millions worshipped before him. In this vision, God will judge the wicked. But even more importantly He will give all power and dominion to God the Son, Jesus Christ.

Daniel 7:13–14 (NKJV) —
13 “I was watching in the night visions,
And behold, One like the Son of Man,
Coming with the clouds of heaven!
He came to the Ancient of Days,
And they brought Him near before Him.
14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,
That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
Which shall not pass away,
And His kingdom the one
Which shall not be destroyed.

Jesus will receive all dominion of the earth. He will set up an everlasting kingdom that is made up of all people, nations, and languages. This kingdom will never pass away and cannot be destroyed. I look to this every day. It is the thing that I pray for and hope for and long for. I think Daniel did as well. After this and one more vision that was explained to him by Gabriel, Daniel had only one reaction…repentance. Daniel, at this time, also understood the book of Jeremiah and knew that the time of Israel’s exile from the land was coming to an end. So what does he do. He prays.

Daniel 9:4–19 (NKJV) —4 And I prayed to the LORD my God, and made confession, and said, “O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments, 5 we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments…18 O my God, incline Your ear and hear; open Your eyes and see our desolations, and the city which is called by Your name; for we do not present our supplications before You because of our righteous deeds, but because of Your great mercies. 19 O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name.”

What a prayer Daniel makes! I hope you will open your Bible and read the whole prayer for yourself. This is the heart of a true worshiper. This is the heart of a true believer. It is a heart of humility and repentance. It is a heart crying out for the mercy of a merciful God.

In His Service, Scott

This Week’s Reading Plan:

  1. Day 1 – Obediah
  2. Day 2 – Jonah 1-4
  3. Day 3 – Micha 1-7
  4. Day 4 – Nahum 1-3
  5. Day 5 – Habakkuk 1 – Zephaniah 3
  6. Day 6 – Haggai 1-2
  7. Day 7 – Zechariah 1-7

Through the Bible Week 37, Ezekiel 34 – Daniel 6


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Daniel 1:8 (NKJV) — 8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.

Daniel is one of those great men of faith from the Bible. At the very beginning of Daniel, we are told that he is one of the selected young men of Israel that were carried off to Babylon to serve King Nebuchadnezzar as a royal official. These young men went through a three year training in the language and customs of the Chaldeans. While they were going through this training, they received portions of meat and drink from the King’s own table. The problem is that many of these things were considered unclean according to God’s law, either because they were unclean animals or because they had been dedicated to pagan gods.

But Daniel, the Bible says, purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself by partaking in these things. What a statement this makes about Daniel! How many of us can say we purpose in our heart to follow God, even when the world tells us to do something different. Usually, even for the christian, we tend to go along with the world. We join the same conversations, we go to the same parties, we watch the same defiling things on TV and at the movies. How much better the Church would be if christians only purposed in their heart to always seek after the Lord and His Kingdom.

Daniel could have purposed in his heart to get into the King’s favor and be the perfect Chaldean. He could have played office politics and been the perfect student. But he didn’t. He chose in his heart to follow the Lord. The great thing is what the Lord did with this heart of Daniel. Daniel eventually becomes the King’s most trusted advisor. And Daniel never has to do it with worldly ways. He followed God and God did it all. In fact, Daniel wasn’t even in a position to refuse the food. The Bible says he “requested” to not be forced to eat the food. Daniel was even submitting to the authority God had put over him. Submitting to authority, whether that authority is evil or not, is part of following God. The truth is that Daniel would not have defiled himself even if the authority refused him. But, God even put it in the heart of the authority over him to allow Daniel’s request.

We do see later where Daniel does refuse to follow a royal order. He continues to pray to God when it is forbidden. The flip side is that Daniel was also willing to take whatever punishment came at him for following God. Again, how much better would the Church be today if we had the same heart? Even more simple than that, how much better off would you be today if you had the same heart? Jesus even speaks of this same heart.

Matthew 6:33 (NKJV) — 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. If we are seeking God’s will first, we have no need to worry about anything. God will lift us up. God will give us all we need. God will protect us. In the end, all these other things will pass away. Our job will pass away. Our standing in the community will pass away. The suits we wear to look holy will pass away. Everything else will pass away, but God’s kingdom will never pass away.

Let’s seek after the only thing that will last. Daniel understood that. He even understood that a permanent kingdom was coming, a kingdom greater than Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom, greater than any kingdom known to man.

Daniel 2:44 (NKJV) — 44 And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.

The Kingdom of Jesus as Lord over the whole earth is the kingdom to which Daniel was looking. It’s to what Jesus said we should look.

Let us seek first the kingdom of God.

In His Service, Scott

This Week’s Reading Plan:

  1. Day 1 – Daniel 7-9
  2. Day 2 – Daniel 10-12
  3. Day 3 – Hosea 1-7
  4. Day 4 – Hosea 8-14
  5. Day 5 – Joel 1-3
  6. Day 6 – Amos 1-5
  7. Day 7 – Amos 6-9

Through the Bible Week 36, Ezekiel 16 – 33


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At the same time Jeremiah was prophesying in Jerusalem, Ezekiel was in the land of the Chaldeans as part of the first exiles from Judah to Babylon. He was also prophesying to the people in that land. Their prophecies were the same and even travelled back and forth from Jerusalem and Babylon. Both were prophesying doom on Israel and Judah. But in those proclamations of doom, God also gave many calls to repentance. Through Ezekiel, we see God calling out to His people to turn from their evil ways and He would give them mercy.

Ezekiel 18:21–23 (NKJV) — 21 “But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 22 None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him; because of the righteousness which he has done, he shall live. 23 Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord GOD, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live?

God says that if a wicked man turns from all his sin and turns to the Lord, he will not die. None of his sin will be remembered against him. Because he has done righteously in following the Lord, His sins will all be wiped clean. God wants to have mercy. God says He has no pleasure in punishing the wicked. But God also says that we shouldn’t be fooled by thinking we are righteous all by ourselves because we “do good”.

Ezekiel 18:24 (NKJV) — 24 “But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? All the righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; because of the unfaithfulness of which he is guilty and the sin which he has committed, because of them he shall die.

If a man thinks he is righteous but turns and commits sin, he will be held responsible for that sin. God is not saying that if someone stumbles into sin that they are suddenly condemned. He is saying that a person who looks to God in faith is righteous because of God’s righteousness. But, if a person turns away from God and wants to live a life of sin, he is not righteous and will die the death of the wicked. God explains this a little more to Ezekiel and the people later.

Ezekiel 33:13 (NKJV) — 13 When I say to the righteous that he shall surely live, but he trusts in his own righteousness and commits iniquity, none of his righteous works shall be remembered; but because of the iniquity that he has committed, he shall die.

There it is. There is the answer. When a man trusts in his own righteousness, he will fall. We are born sinners. We don’t have any righteousness in us. But God says just before this,

Ezekiel 33:11 (NKJV) — 11 Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’

If God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked but wants us to turn and live, but we have no righteousness in us, then how can we turn and live? The answer is only found in Jesus. The answer is in not trusting in our own righteousness, but in His righteousness.

Romans 3:21–26 (NKJV) — 21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

All have sinned and are falling short of the Glory of God (we have no righteousness in us). But, the righteousness of God has been revealed in Jesus. And this righteousness is enough for us all. Jesus was the propitiation or the payment for our sins. His death payed the price for all our sin. Jesus is just but He is also our justifier if we have faith in Him. This means that Jesus makes us righteous and all that is required is faith. By believing and following Jesus in faith, we are saved. We are born again. Our sins are washed from us and we will not be held accountable for them. Simply put…Jesus saves!

In His Service, Scott

This Week’s Reading Plan:

  1. Day 1 – Ezekiel 34-36
  2. Day 2 – Ezekiel 37-39
  3. Day 3 – Ezekiel 40-42
  4. Day 4 – Ezekiel 43-45
  5. Day 5 – Ezekiel 46-48
  6. Day 6 – Daniel 1-3
  7. Day 7 – Daniel 4-6

Through the Bible Week 35, Jeremiah 51 – Ezekiel 15


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As Jeremiah was receiving and writing prophecies from God, he was also writing the lamentations. His heart was broken at the destruction of Jerusalem and the fall of his people. As Israel and Judah fell farther and farther away from the Lord, the Lord resorted to the only thing that ever worked with His people. He brought on them calamity. Jeremiah was torn by this. He was one of the many mouthpieces for God declaring this end was coming. He was one of those that had the job of calling people to repentance.

After all is done and Judah is conquered and destroyed, Jeremiah is in the midst of despair, but a hope rises in him. He knows the Lord and he knows the Lord’s mercy. In the middle of writing about his gloom, he writes this:

Lamentations 3:21–26 (NKJV) — 21 This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.
22 Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
24 “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”
25 The LORD is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him.
26 It is good that one should hope and wait quietly
For the salvation of the LORD.

Though all seemed lost to the eye, Jeremiah had a hope. He remembered the Lord’s mercies. He knew he and a remnant remained because of the Lord’s mercies. The Lord had also given him prophecy of a future salvation of his people. Jeremiah knew he would have to wait. He knew Israel would have to wait. The Lord was his portion and the Lord was Israel’s portion. But there must be a time of waiting.

Jeremiah knew to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. He was looking forward to the Lord’s coming. Jesus would come and die on the cross for all Israel. But, it was much bigger. Jesus came to die for the whole world. For those who wait for Him, the soul who seeks Him, He will be found.

John 3:16–17 (NKJV) — 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

From that great old hymn that is written from this passage in Lamentations, I can hear those wonderful words now.

“Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy faithfulness!“
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
“Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!

In His Service, Scott

This Week’s Reading Plan:

  1. Day 1 – Ezekiel 16-17
  2. Day 2 – Ezekiel 18-20
  3. Day 3 – Ezekiel 21-22
  4. Day 4 – Ezekiel 23-24
  5. Day 5 – Ezekiel 25-27
  6. Day 6 – Ezekiel 28-30
  7. Day 7 – Ezekiel 31-33