This past week began our journey into the New Testament…I must admit, it is nice to be in the New Testament…although I fear that it is not going to be any easier writing my recaps…so bear with me as I work out my growing pains and try to find a groove that will work.
Reading the Word in chronological order continues to thrill me…although we did a lot of flipping between the 4 gospels it was really intriguing to see which gospels have the same accounts…word for word…which ones are more brief in content and which ones have more details or dialogue.
In the first days, it just gave me chills to know that God thinks of everything…not that I had doubted that reatlity but in reading this week…it just confirms it yet again. Why would we need 4 gospels? Why 4 different writers? Yes, I have often been told that it was to give us accounts from 4 different points of view and I see all that Christ did completely. What I also saw this week was that God also provided accounts to different groups of people…God doesn’t leave anyone out. It could be really tempting to wade through the Old Testament and feel that you are not apart of those chosen ones…but reading the gospels shows us that God wants to reach all people with the saving works of His Son.
Matthew: written to the Jews to show that Jesus is the Messiah, the King of the Jews.
His geneology begins with Abraham and shows that there were 14 generations from
Abraham to David…14 generations from David to the exile…14 generations from the exile
Mark: Mark is the shortest gospel book, action packed but the most chronological. His audience was
Christians in Rome. He wanted to show that Jesus is the true Son of God.
Luke: His geneology extends all the way to Adam. He wanted to show that Jesus was the perfect human
and Savior, the Son of God. He addressed his book to “Theophilus” which means “one who loves
God” and also to Gentiles.
John: John writes to new Christians and searching non-Christians. He wanted all to know that Jesus is
the Son of God and all who believe will have eternal life.
We can all find ourselves in the audience of one of the gospels and we can learn from the other audience members as well.
This week, I feel a bit scattered to come together with a whole concise (ha) post, so I am going to take it one day at a time. The above was most of my thoughts from Monday. So once again, let me open up my journal…
“Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” (Matt. 3:8 and Luke 3:8)
“The ax is already at the root of the trees and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Matt. 3:10 and Luke 3:9)
These were the words of John the Baptist and in both books the response from the people was…What should we do?
He told the crowd…to share their material goods.
He told the tax collectors to not collect more than was required and not to be greedy or to cheat.
He told the soldiers to not extort or make false accusations and to be content with their pay.
The exhortation to the crowd spoke to me especially during these difficult financial times…we need to be willing to share what we have with others even if we think we don’t have a lot. When repentance comes, the outflow of our hearts is to say…what can we do?
The end of Tuesday I read John 1: 16 and you can read about it here. It has not left my mind all week and was very present as we celebrated the Lord’s Table this morning.
“Jesus was led by the Spirit” (Matt. 4: 1)
“Jesus was filled with the Spirit and led by the Spirit in the desert.” (Luke 4:1)
1. If Jesus can be filled with the Spirit AND led by the Spirit in the desert…then so can we…we can still be
filled with the Spirit in our most dry times…and we can be led to that place by the Lord. I know this…but
was more aware of how Christ went from a time of great joy…He was baptized and praised and present-
ed by God publicly and immediately He was taken into the wilderness. No complains on His part…just
obedience and a vast knowledge of His Father’s Words.
“When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.” (Luke 4:13)
2. We must remember that the enemy is always waiting for a more opportune time to tempt us…especially
if we have had a victory.
“When Simon Peter saw this [the miraculous fish catch], he fell at Jesus’ knees and said,
“Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” (Luke 5:8)
3. Peter’s response after witnessing a miracle was to be aware of his own condition. I wonder if that
would be my first response or would I be more inclined to stand in awe and think nothing of my own
The wedding celebration at Cana in Galilee marks Jesus’ first miracle…changing water to wine.
“This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.” (John 2:11)
“Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well.” (John 4:6)
“I who speak to you am he.” (John 4:26)
Our Savior…the glory…the fatigue…the Messiah!
John the Baptist preached:
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” (Matt. 3:2)
This is what Jesus preached after John was put in prison:
“The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news.” (Mark 1:15)
John foretold that he would become lesser as Christ became greater…Jesus fulfilled the message that John had been proclaiming.
In Luke 4, we read that all the people spoke well of him and were amazed with his gracious words (4:22) but when He began to speak with a bit more boldness…all the people in the synagogue became furious with him. (4:28)
In Mark 1, the people were amazed…so amazed by all that he did…in Matthew 8, He healed fevers as well as cast out demons…he touched the hands of lepers…I love that the Word tells us that Jesus was just as concerned with a mom having a fever as someone afflicted with leprosy or demon possessed.
Jesus rose early in the morning to pray…in solitary places. (Mark 1:35) How else could He prepare for whatever each day would present…and as He healed more and more…He couldn’t enter the towns openly “but stayed outside in lonely places.” (Mark 1:40-45)
Totally and completely breaks my heart…
All four gospels tell of Jesus explaining the folly of putting new wine in old wine skins with the exact same phrasing except for in Luke, he adds:
“And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, “The old is better.” (Luke 5:39)
That seems so silly to me…but maybe because I am not a wine drinker…but I believe that we are to not become so comfortable in our walks that we don’t want newness…let’s seek the freshness that is apart of that abundant life that Christ offers us.
Mark 2: 27,28 spoke to me because I have been desiring to be more intentional about taking a Sabbath rest…
“The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
What does the Sabbath mean to me? What does it mean to you? Do I realize that God made the Sabbath for my own good? If He commanded me to honor the Sabbath and keep it holy, why is it so easy to ignore His Words?
I am finding that when I am intentional about keeping the Sabbath, I don’t worry about keeping the “rules” of the Sabbath…I truly do not want to be like the Pharisees…I want to worship and rest and let God restore me body and soul. Today Carl and I made a very simple meal together…one that included just a few ingredients…it didn’t feel like work because we didn’t treat it as work…we forgot to put it together on Saturday but all was not lost…we just had fun being together and being somewhat goofy, pretending we were on Food TV…and then I took a nap!
A healing on the Sabbath…another reminder to not be consumed with the rules that we would risk not helping someone in need.
The beattitudes…I want them to “be” my “attitudes” (Matt.5)
The importance of prayer…Jesus went to a mountainside and spent the night in prayer to God before he selected the 12 disciples…His inner circle. How careful am I in praying about those that are in my closest circle? I think for many of us the people in our lives can change over the course of time…it is important to ask God what His thoughts are about the company we keep and who we are to share our most private thoughts…I have found that many times it is not always the one that I think is the obvious choice.
There is still time to join us in walking through the New Testament. Bev has a new blog that is dedicated to just this NT cover to cover journey…check it out here.
Have a blessed week in the Word,