With the Bible reading plan we are using, the last days of each month are designated as “free days.” February 26-28 then are intended to allow you to catch up on reading you may have missed or to study passages more in depth that intrigued you during the first 25 days of the month. With this…

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Leviticus 26-27; Psalm 47; Matthew 21:12-22; Acts 28:17-31 Matthew 21:12-22: Jesus’ mission to Jerusalem requires a prophetic word towards the corrupt state of the people of God, and in particular, the temple at the time (21:12-13). God’s people are in constant need of being brought back into line with the truth of the Bible and…

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Leviticus 24-25; Psalm 46; Matthew 21:1-11; Acts 28:1-16 Matthew 21:1-11: Jesus comes to claim his royal throne—and what an extraordinary way to do it.  “Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’” (21:5)  Jesus…

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Leviticus 21-23; Psalm 45; Matthew 20:17-34; Acts 27:27-44 Matthew 20:17-34: This section abounds in irony. First of all, we have Jesus predicting his death. It is not going to be an easy death—mocking, crucifixion—but on the third day he will rise again. What the disciples thought about this prediction is not immediately recorded, but what…

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Leviticus 18-20; Psalm 44; Matthew 20:1-16; Acts 27:1-26 Matthew 20:1-16: Picking up on an apparently fairly enigmatic phrase at the end of the last section (“first, last; last, first,” 19:30), Jesus expounds more on that principle by telling a story to illustrate his meaning. By 20:16 he has explained what it is that he is saying, “So…

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Leviticus 16-17; Psalm 43; Matthew 19:16-30; Acts 26:19-32 Matthew 19:16-30: Another encounter that is well-known, and often misinterpreted. A man comes up to Jesus with what is apparently a genuine, as well as important, question: “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” (19:16). But Jesus notes the precise elements of his question that indicate…

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Leviticus 14-15; Psalm 42; Matthew 19:1-15; Acts 26:1-18 Matthew 19:1-15: The teaching that Jesus gives in this passage about divorce is interpreted in a number of different ways within the Christian church today, and this has led to no small degree of controversy over the years. While we may not always see eye-to-eye with those…

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Leviticus 11-13, Psalm 41, Matthew 18:15-35, Acts 25:13-27 Matthew 18:15-35: This passage in Matthew 18 is much used in church circles, and not always well understood. It is one of only two times that specific word for “church” is used by Jesus in Matthew’s Gospel. One is when he is confirming that the foundation of the church is…

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Leviticus 8-10; Psalm 40; Matthew 18:1-14; Acts 25:1-12 Matthew 18:1-14: The question “who is the greatest?” has plagued Christian communities—and indeed all communities—since the beginning. In our frail humanity and fallenness, we seek for significance in the wrong places. We try to be better, greater, greatest—we do not simply enjoy the thing for the beauty…

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Leviticus 5-7; Psalm 39; Matthew 17:14-27; Acts  24 Matthew 17:14-27: Coming down from the mountain, Jesus is immediately met with a coming-back-to-earth moment of reality. Having been elevated and transfigured (Matt. 17:1-13), he now is back to dealing with the day-to-day realities of life and with people in their weakness, sickness, with demonic tendencies and…

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