Tag Archives: Matthew

My Delight is the Lord, November 16

Darkness

November 16, Wednesday: Knowing God’s Son

Scripture Reading: Matthew 27:45-66

To say that the day Jesus died was dark is stating the obvious. But it was so in ways we might not think about and is evidenced in several ways. Of course, physical darkness enveloped the land (v. 45). Emotional darkness prompted Jesus’ forlorn cry of abandonment by His Father (v. 46). Ignorance’s darkness was on full display throughout the process (see vv. 47-48). And what about the darkness of deep sadness felt by devoted women (vv. 55-56)? Oh, and how dark is it when supposed spiritual leaders work to thwart the very word of the Lord? (vv. 62-66). That is much darkness. Rather than be overcome by it, we must remember that from it brilliant light shines brightest. It’s the lamp shining in a dark place, the day dawning (2 Pet. 1:19) and the bright morning star rising (Rev. 22:16). Darkness has a place in this world, but not as the final outcome, but that from which we emerge “into his marvelous light” (1 Pet. 2:9).

Questions to Ponder:

  • What happened when Jesus died? (vv. 51-53)
  • What was the Roman soldiers’ conclusion about Jesus? (v. 54)
  • Who witnessed Jesus burial? (v. 61)
  • Why did the Chief Priests and Pharisees make their request of Pilate? (vv. 62-64)

My Delight is the Lord, November 2

What’s Next?

November 2, Wednesday: Knowing God’s Son

Scripture Reading: Matthew 27:3-10, 27-31

There is not a better confession that one can make (well, outside of a confession of faith in Jesus as God’s Son) than, “I have sinned.” Coming to that realization is a major milestone on the road to spiritual healing and forgiveness. It is also turns out to be a major crossroads as well. What a person does immediately after having come to that understanding is of supreme importance. There are, honestly, many options. Even Judas said, “I have sinned” (v. 4). He, of course, did not then choose the right option. Recognizing one has a problem (sin) is all well and good, but unless the correct course of action is taken that can actually remedy it, what, truly, has been accomplished? The path that leads to redemption involves repentance and obedience. Do you acknowledge your sin? If yes, then that’s good. Now, you have a critical decision to make next. Make that a good one too!

Questions to Ponder:

  • What prompted Judas’ change of mind? (v. 3)
  • What is revealed about the chief priests in v. 6?
  • Who was the governor? (v. 27)
  • What is your emotional response to vv. 28-31?

My Delight is the Lord, November 1

First Necessary Step

November 1, Tuesday: Following God’s Way

Scripture Reading: Matthew 16:24-28

It is one thing to decide that you like and agree with an idea, it’s something else completely to then make decisions and take actions consistent with that idea. Following Jesus is an excellent idea. Countless people agree. Here’s the rub; few are willing to take even the first necessary action to be able to do that–deny self. The very first challenge to following Jesus, and in most cases the biggest one, is me. Am I willing to deny self? Am I willing to “lose” my life (v. 25; Matt. 10:39)? Do I see following Jesus as something that would be good for the life I want to live or am I completely surrendering my life to be lived for Him. Following Jesus isn’t self-improving, self-advancing, or self-promoting. It is self-denial.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What does it mean to “save” or “lose” ones’ life? (v. 25)
  • What can one do so that their soul will not be forfeited? (v. 27)
  • According to what will each person be repaid? (v. 27)
  • What time frame does Jesus place on the arrival of His kingdom? (v. 28)

My Delight is the Lord, October 18

A Critical Difference

October 18, Tuesday: Following God’s Way

Scripture Reading: Matthew 25:1-13

Both groups of virgins in Jesus’ parable wanted the very same thing. They both waited in joyful anticipation of the same event. They both took steps toward their intended objective. All ten went out expecting to meet the bridegroom. That’s where the similarities end and the critical distinction becomes evident. A delay in the bridegroom’s arrival evidenced genuine readiness for some and the lack of it for others. Five were “ready” only if everything had gone as anticipated. This is a challenging parable. Jesus isn’t addressing the belligerent, rebellious, or unconcerned. These are interested, involved, and engaged people who are turned away. It is, then, the soberest of warnings, “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour” (v. 13).

Questions to Ponder:

  • What is this parable intended to help us understand better? (v. 1)
  • Why were these virgins waiting for the bridegroom? (v. 1)
  • Can anyone else make spiritual preparations for us? (vv. 8-9)
  • Upon what basis are the foolish virgins turned away? (v. 12)

My Delight is the Lord, October 12

Very Dark

October 12, Wednesday: Knowing God’s Son

Scripture Reading: Matthew 26:36-46

It was dark in Gethsemane. Yes, it was at night when Jesus came there with the disciples. But this night a deeper darkness loomed, not from the absence of the sun’s light, but the presence of the Son’s sorrow and trouble (v. 37)–emotional, not physical, darkness. To His closest confidants He confessed, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death” (Mk. 14:34). It required the support of angelic strength (Lk. 22:43). The sorrowing Savior famously requested deliverance, couched in affirmations of commitment and submission to the Father’s will (v. 39). Days and nights of darkness enter our lives as well. Our struggle is no shame. It requires support and strength. We also pray for deliverance. Jesus’ darkest hour gave way to glorious and brilliant light on the second dawn following. Our emerging from darkness to light hinges, as with Jesus, on our submissive commitment to the Father’s will.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What does “Gethsemane” mean? (v. 1)
  • What does it mean to be “sorrowful, even to death”? (v. 38)
  • What did Jesus want the disciples to do instead of sleep? (vv. 40-41)
  • Why did Jesus pray the same thing three times? (v. 44)

My Delight is the Lord, September 7

Right Understanding

September 7, Wednesday: Knowing God’s Son

Scripture Reading: Matthew 21:12-17

Right understanding doesn’t always reside with those in respected places of leadership. Sometimes these very people have simply become entrenched in their position. They have lost objectivity and their priorities have shifted from true leadership to perpetuating their place. Such were the chief priests and scribes. Children understood better than they the identity of Jesus and His “wonderful” acts had no impact on them. Their response to all of this truth and reality was nothing but indignation (v. 15). Yes, it is sad, tragic, and so unfortunate. And we need to take care it’s not ever true of us.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What’s the lesson of Jesus cleansing the temple? (vv. 12-13)
  • Who sought out Jesus in the temple? (v. 14)
  • What does “Hosanna” mean? (v. 15)
  • What’s the importance of the title “son of David”? (v. 15)

My Delight is the Lord, August 31

God Needed a Donkey

August 31, Wednesday: Knowing God’s Son

Scripture Reading: Matthew 21:1-11

God needed a donkey. So, what should He do? His options are much more numerous and expansive than ours would be. What He did, in the person of Jesus, was send two disciples to the home of a person who had one and asked to use theirs. Now there’s an interesting thought–Jesus borrowed something. But here’s the point, Jesus knew that His request would be honored without hesitation. That donkey was for the Lord’s use. God wants to use what you and I have as well. God has lots of options for caring for the needy, supporting the church, and spreading the gospel. But with regard to what you and I have, the message is the same as it was to that donkey owner, “The Lord needs them” (v. 3). What’s your response?

Questions to Ponder:

  • Where did this crowd come from? (v. 8)
  • What does “Hosanna” mean? (v. 9)
  • What role of Jesus’ is being emphasized here? (vv. 5, 9)
  • How is Jesus identified? (v. 11)

My Delight is the Lord, July 27

Whose Is the Kingdom? 

July 27, Wednesday: Knowing God’s Son

Scripture Reading: Matthew 21:33-46

Well this is quite a sobering thought. People can lay claim to God, His blessings, His will, and His kingdom and yet miss it all completely. The Jewish people were direct descendants of Abraham. They had the land God promised the patriarch. The temple was right there in Jerusalem. For centuries they had been recognized as God’s chosen people. Their history was one long remarkable story of God’s direct interaction with them. They had it all; the lineage, the Scriptures, the covenant, the religious institutions and rituals–it was all theirs! But Jesus said that despite all of this the kingdom would be taken from them and “given to a people producing its fruit” (v. 43). We may lay claim to being God’s kingdom. We have the name, the doctrine, the organization, the worship, and a pretty good story to boot. But all of that, on its own, is not what places the kingdom in our possession. Producing the kingdom’s fruit, that’s where its at!

Questions to Ponder:

  • Whom does the “master of a house” represent? (v. 33)
  • How about the tenants of the vineyard? (v. 33)
  • What about the master’s servants and son? (vv. 34-37)
  • What is “this stone”? (v. 44)

My Delight is the Lord, June 29

Well Prepared

June 29, Wednesday: Knowing God’s Son

Scripture Reading: Matthew 10:1-42

Jesus selected from among His followers twelve men to serve in the very specific role of apostles. He sent them out after instructing them. They knew where they were to go, to whom they were to go, and in what manner (in the sense of attitude, outlook, and disposition) they were to go. He even bestowed empowering authority on them so they could cast out demons and heal disease and sickness. They lacked nothing to be able to accomplish what Jesus sent them to do. Though not apostles, we too are called by Jesus to His service. We are to pray, do good, help ones in need, teach, worship, love, be compassionate and merciful, forgive, and on and on. He has equipped us for our tasks as well. He has “granted us  all things that pertain to life and godliness” and His word makes us “complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Pet. 1:3; 2 Tim. 3:16). If there is ever failure in doing God’s will, it’s no fault of His.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What is an apostle?
  • Where were the apostles forbidden to go? (v. 5)
  • Was Jesus sending the 12 on an easy, safe mission? (v. 16)
  • What did Jesus tell them to anticipate? (vv. 24-25)

My Delight is the Lord, June 15

God Chooses

June 15, Wednesday: Knowing God’s Son

Scripture Reading: Matthew 22:1-14

“For many are called, but few are chosen” (v. 14). Coming at the end of this parable that Jesus says is to help us understand the kingdom of heaven, it’s imperative that we understand His words. On the face of it, it seems to say that God calls many to that kingdom but the only ones in it are there because He has individually selected them. To reach that conclusion, though, we would have to divorce the statement from its context. Notice that those at the wedding feast, as well as those not there, are so because they chose to accept or reject the king’s invitation. But not even everyone who decides to accept it is allowed if they attempt to come on their terms and not the king’s (without the provided wedding garment). Many are called. The chosen few are such not because God decided it for them, but they received the gracious invitation and adhered to the will of the one who invited them.

Questions to Ponder:

  • Who was initially called to the wedding feast? (v. 3)
  • How did the king respond to the original guest’s reception? (v. 7)
  • To whom were the second invitations extended? (v. 9)
  • What was this guest singled out and removed? (vv. 11-13)