Numbers 12-14, Psalm 53, Matthew 23:1-12, Romans 5:1-11 Matthew 23:1-12: Matthew 23 is all one piece of cloth, and it is hard to divide it up into sections and look at each part in turn. Throughout it all, Jesus is denouncing fake “religion,” and not only denouncing it, but bringing forward various principles that reveal the typical characteristics…

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Numbers 9-11, Psalm 52, Matthew 22:34-46, Romans 4 Matthew 22:34-46: Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees get their heads together and decide to try a different tactic (22:34). They’ll test him on some of the more fundamental and essential aspects of the Law—what is the greatest commandment (22:36)—and they send another representative to do the…

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Numbers 7-8; Psalm 51; Matthew 22:15-33; Romans 3   Matthew 22:15-33: Having been called out by Jesus for refusing to accept his invitation to the banquet of the king—to come into the kingdom of God—the Pharisees form an unholy alliance against Jesus. They send their disciples, along with the Herodians, to catch Jesus in his…

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Numbers 5-6; Psalm 50; Matthew 22:1-14; Romans 2   Matthew 22:1-14: At one level this next parable is quite simple. It is another story that illustrates the meaning and reality of the kingdom of heaven (22:1). The point, of course, is that the king has a feast, invites guests to come, they refuse to come…

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Numbers 3-4; Psalm 49; Matthew 21:33-46; Romans 1:18-32 Matthew 21:33-46: To explain further his radical point that it was the unexpected who truly received Jesus’ message of the kingdom, Jesus now tells another parable (21:33). This one is about a vineyard, a typical symbol for God’s people and for Israel, and about an owner of…

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Numbers 1-2; Psalm 48; Matthew 21:23-32; Romans 1:1-17 Matthew 21:23-32: In religious circles, “authority” questions are nearly ubiquitous. Who is in charge is a political issue in many institutions and organizations, and the conflict that such questions can cause has been solved down through history through various political resolutions—in our modern Western age most prevalently…

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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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