New Testament In a Year: February 17 – Matthew 28

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Matthew 28
(1-10) The Resurrection
The earthquake that took place at Jesus’ crucifixion was one of sorrow at the suffering of the righteous one, but the earthquake that took place at His resurrection was one of joy. The earth mourned at the death of its Creator, and rejoiced at His new and eternal life.

When He was alive, Jesus the Christ repeatedly told His disciples that after three days He would rise again. Why were they not at the tomb on the third day waiting to welcome Him when He came out? Because they did not believe His words. The angel reminded the women that the tomb was empty “as he said” it would be. The disciples should not have doubted that Jesus was risen. They should have expected it. Just like the disciples, it is possible to spend a lot of time with God, without ever actually believing what He tells us. Every word of God is true and every promise He ever made will come to pass – believe it.

(11-15) The Report of the Guard
We shouldn’t be surprised at those who try to discredit the resurrection of Jesus the Christ today. They were doing it back then. The chief priests knew the truth, and they outright rejected it. The lies they made up are harder to believe than the fact that a man permanently came back from the dead.

(16-20) The Great Commission
We can be fearless in fulfilling the Great Commission because Christ is with us and will be with us always, even to the end of time.

Favorite verse: (6) He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.

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New Testament In a Year: February 16 – Matthew 27:51-66

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Matthew 27:51-66
(51-56) The temple curtain was what separated the holy place from the most holy place. This was symbolic of the separation between God and humanity. The death (and subsequent resurrection and ascension) of Jesus the Christ did away with that separation forever. Now, not only are holy priests the only ones able to go before God, but ordinary people – like me and you – can go boldly to the throne of our gracious God and receive His mercy, and find grace to help us when we need it.

Notice also that even nature was affected by Christ’s death. The earth shook and rocks split at the sight of the Creator of the universe hanging helpless on a cross.

(57-61) Jesus Is Buried
The tomb that Joseph of Arimathea put Jesus in was new and expensive. He actually had it built for his own burial, but decided to lend it to the Son of Man who had no place to lay His head while He was alive. Joseph of Arimathea did not have to give the tomb away completely, he only had to lend it, because Jesus only needed it for three days.

(62-66) The Guard at the Tomb
By asking Pilate for soldiers to guard the tomb, the chief priests and the Pharisees were actually showing belief in the words of Jesus the Christ. They had more faith that Jesus would rise from the dead than His own disciples.

Favorite verse: (51) And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.

New Testament In a Year: February 15 – Matthew 27:27-50

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Matthew 27:27-50
(27-31) Jesus Is Mocked
Even throughout this mock-glorified humiliation, Jesus the Christ remained silent. He did not retaliate in words, actions, or attitude.

(32-44) The Crucifixion
The scribes and elders mocked Jesus the Christ by saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself.” They did not understand that by losing His life, He saved it, and not only His life, but also the lives of all those who believe in Him.

The scribes and elders also said, “He trusts in God; let God deliver him now.” Trusting in God does not mean He will deliver us from every difficulty, but He will give us the strength to get through it. We trust in God because we know that He is able to answer every prayer, save us from every trouble, and do all that we ask of Him – if He finds it fit to do so.

(45-50) The Death of Jesus
The darkness that came over the land was no ordinary darkness. Christ hanging on the cross was the lowest point in human history. The only perfectly innocent person to ever live was put to death by our sins. It was also a dark moment because God turned His back on His Son. Because He is completely holy and righteousness, He could not bear to look at the bruised and battered body of Jesus, weighed down by immorality and evil.

Jesus the Christ knew the reason He was forsaken by His Father, but He still asked the ‘why’ question. We should never question God in a spirit of arrogance or hate, but in moments of despair and pain, we should not be ashamed or hesitant to ask Him ‘why’. No question is too big or hard for God.

Favorite verse: (46) And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

New Testament In a Year: February 14 – Matthew 27:1-26

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Matthew 27:1-26
(3-10) Judas Hangs Himself
Realizing the evil of his actions, Judas brings back the thirty pieces of silver that he was given to betray Jesus the Christ. We see that he is regretful, but not repentant. Being sorry over sin only causes us to wallow in remorse and shame. Only when we repent of our sin can we experience forgiveness, mercy, and grace. Perhaps if Judas had repented and pleaded with God for mercy, even he could have been saved.

(11-14) Jesus Before Pilate
Pilate was amazed that Jesus the Christ did not respond to the barrage of accusations coming against Him. Despite being under great stress, ridicule, and hate, He remains our perfect example. When we know we are in the right, it is often better to be silent and let God defend us if He so chooses.

Why was Pilate amazed at Jesus’ calm demeanor amid the crowd’s chaos and their cries for Him to be crucified? C. H. Spurgeon writes that Pilate was amazed because: “He had seen in captured Jews the fierce courage of fanaticism; but there was no fanaticism in Christ. He had also seen in many prisoners the meanness which will do or say anything to escape from death; but he saw nothing of that about our Lord. He saw in him unusual gentleness and humility combined with majestic dignity. He beheld submission blended with innocence.”

(15-23) The Crowd Chooses Barabbas
Pilate himself knew that Jesus the Christ was an innocent man who was only being accused out of envy. He was warned by his wife not to have nothing to do with “that righteous man”. Pilate listened neither to his wife or his own conscience. Instead, he listened to the crowd.

(24-26) Pilate Delivers Jesus to Be Crucified
Pilate pretended that he was innocent of Jesus’ blood and that he was not responsible for His crucifixion, but nothing was further from the truth.

Favorite verse: (11) Now Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus said, “You have said so.”

New Testament In a Year: February 13 – Matthew 26:51-75

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Matthew 26:51-75
(51-56) Even though His prayer was not answered in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus the Christ knew that His Father was able to answer it. He knew that His Father was able to send legions of angels to rescue Him, but in order for the Scriptures to be fulfilled, He humbled Himself and was obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

(57-68) Jesus Before Caiaphas and the Council
Many false witnesses came forward during this mock trial, but none of the accusations they made against Jesus the Christ was enough to condemn Him to death. Finally, two witnesses came forward and said, “This man said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to rebuild it in three days.'” This statement was only partially true. In John 2:19, after Jesus cleansed the temple, He said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

Jesus did not say that He would destroy the temple. He only said that He would raise it up. After all, the temple of God that He was talking about was not a brick-and-mortar building used for worship. He was talking about His body. Jesus was saying, “(You) destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” These two witnesses misconstrued Jesus’ words to make it sound like He wanted to destroy the temple when, in fact, they were the ones aiding in its destruction.

(69-75) Peter Denies Jesus
When he remembered the words of Jesus, Peter was immediately grieved by his acts of denial and wept. Because he was truly repentant, God was later able to use his life in a big way.

Favorite verse: (53) Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?

New Testament In a Year: February 12 – Matthew 26:26-50

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Matthew 26:26-50
(26-29) Institution of the Lord’s Supper
The broken bread is Jesus’ broken body. The poured out cup is Jesus’ shed blood.

(30-35) Jesus Foretells Peter’s Denial
All of the disciples (sans Judas) promised to never deny or leave Jesus the Christ, but none of them (sans John) kept their word. As soon as Jesus was seized, they fled. And later on during His mock trial, Peter denied Christ three times – just as He predicted he would. When times are calm, it is one thing to say ‘I will follow’ Christ; but in times of chaos, it is quite another thing to actually do so. Better for us to be humble and follow through, then presumptuous and fall apart.

(36-46) Jesus Prays in Gethsemane
In Mark 11:24, Jesus the Christ tells us that whatever we ask in prayer, if we believe that we have received it, it will be ours. In this scene, however, Christ prays to His Father for the cup of suffering and death to pass, and as we all know, God DOES NOT answer the prayer of His only begotten Son. The only perfect man to ever live did not receive what He asked for in prayer.

When God does not answer our prayers or is slow in answering our prayers, we must not think it is because He does not hear us or because He hates us. God’s will encompasses all of humanity, while our will often only encircles ourselves. If the cup had been removed, only Christ would have been saved and God’s divine mission to bring salvation to the entire world would have failed. We are redeemed people with a future and a hope because Christ was more concerned about the will of His Father being done.

Favorite verse: (31) Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’

New Testament In a Year: February 11 – Matthew 26:1-25

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Matthew 26:1-25
(1-5) The Plot to Kill Jesus
Once again, Jesus the Christ forewarns His disciples of His coming crucifixion.

(6-13) Jesus Anointed at Bethany
Perhaps this woman had also heard that people were out to kill Jesus. She was aware of His coming crucifixion and by pouring the ointment on His head, she prepared Him for burial. Without any regard to the criticism of others, she lavishly gave to the One Who was about to die for her sins. Because Christ has done the greatest work for us, we should do good work for Him.

(14-16) Judas to Betray Jesus
When Jesus the Christ called Judas Iscariot to be one of His disciples, He knew that Judas would betray Him. Christ did not make Judas betray Him for thirty pieces of silver. Judas made that decision on his own. However, all the decisions and choices of humanity – whether good or bad – are taken and bended by God for His plan and purpose to be accomplished on earth as it is in Heaven.

Favorite verse: (10) But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me.

New Testament In a Year: February 10 – Matthew 25:31-46

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Matthew 25:31-46
(31-46) The Final Judgment
When we love others through our actions we show our love for God. Each person who we have an opportunity to help is Jesus in disguise. Every good deed, no matter how small, is noticed by God.

Favorite verse: (36) I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’

New Testament In a Year: February 9 – Matthew 25:1-30

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Matthew 25:1-30
(1-13) The Parable of the Ten Virgins
I thought of The Lion King‘s Scar when I read this passage:

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Since we don’t know when Jesus the Christ is coming back, we must always be prepared. Always be ready. Always be watching.

(14-30) The Parable of the Talents
For several years now, the following words from Erma Bombeck have been my life quote:

“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and I could say, ‘I used everything that you gave me.'”

God has given each of us talent (some have only one talent, others have a few talents, and still others are men and women of many talents). However many talents one may have, God wants us to use our talents to the max. He doesn’t want us to bury them, hide them, or let them lay dormant. Ultimately, the talent God gives us belongs to Him. At the end of our life, He wants to receive back what is His own, but with interest.

Favorite verse: (21) His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’