On Palm Sunday, we think of the crowd waving palm branches as Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey as described in the Gospel accounts.   Why the palm branches?   In many ways it goes right back to the beginning of the story of the Bible. In Genesis, in paradise, it is thought there were many beautiful trees, among them palm branches. Later in the biblical story,…

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In keeping with the Bible reading plan we are using, the last days of each month are designated as “free days.” March 26-31 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.…

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Deuteronomy 33-34, Psalm 71, Matthew 28:11-20, Romans 16 Matthew 28:11-20: The famous Great Commission is preceded by an explanation for one of the common attempts to explain away the resurrection. “The guards fell asleep.” The guards were paid to tell this story. What kind of blindness—or fear—is it that will bribe someone to hide the truth of a…

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Deuteronomy 32, Psalm 70, Matthew 28:1-10, Romans 15:14-33 Matthew 28:1-10: Miracle of miracles, the resurrection. Many people have protested that we cannot possibly believe that Jesus came back from the dead. Sophisticated apologetics have been put together that make the case that however many eyewitnesses there are for Christ’s resurrection, such eyewitness account is insufficient—in the same way…

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Deuteronomy 29-31, Psalm 69:19-36, Matthew 27:57-66, Romans 15:1-13 Matthew 27:57-66: Here we see first how a rich man expresses his commitment to Christ. If anyone thinks that you cannot be rich and follow Jesus, here is Joseph of Arimathea, a “rich man” (27:57), and “also a disciple of Jesus.” He uses his influence to gain an audience with…

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Deuteronomy 27-28, Psalm 69:1-18, Matthew 27:45-56, Romans 14 Matthew 27:45-56: Ne’er was love like this. The very land itself mourns: darkness hangs over the earth. Jesus cries out in a loud voice, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me!” (27:46). Misunderstood ‘til the end, some think he is calling Elijah (“Eli, Eli, Lema, sabachthani”) (27:47). Jesus cried out again with…

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Deuteronomy 22-26, Psalm 68, Matthew 27:27-44, Romans 13 Matthew 27:27-44: Being reviled and treated as nothing is hard enough without excruciating pain thrown in too—but add to that the anguish of bearing the sins of the world. The moral curse that was ours is to be borne by him. The biblical account is sparing in its description of…

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Deuteronomy 18-21, Psalm 67, Matthew 27:11-26, Romans 12:9-21   Matthew 27:11-26: The crucifixion is getting closer and closer. Jesus gives no answer to the accusations brought against him. The governor was amazed that Jesus gave no answer. Led like a lamb to the slaughter.   Pilate’s discomfort at the possible innocence of Jesus is greatly increased by an apparently…

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Deuteronomy 13-17, Psalm 66, Matthew 27:1-10, Romans 12:1-8 Matthew 27:1-10: How extraordinary it is to find the leaders of God’s people “taking counsel” together to oppose the work of God, and to do so in such a gross manner as to actually seek to kill the Son of God (27:1)! The truth is that all of us are…

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Deuteronomy 9-12, Psalm 65, Matthew 26:57-75, Romans 11:25-38   Matthew 26:57-75: In an illegal court, the high priest gathers to bring false accusations against Jesus to be able to take him to the Roman governors to ensure he is crucified. Peter follows at a distance (26:58). Many false witnesses come to accuse Jesus, but nothing wrong can be…

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