Genesis 50, Psalm 23, Matthew 10:1-20, Acts 15:1-21 Matthew 10:1-20: Famously, Jesus now calls the twelve to him (10:1), and then sends the twelve out from him (10:5). The apostles, therefore, are both uniquely called to Christ and uniquely sent out by Christ—“sending” being the root meaning of “apostle” etymologically. They are given a particular…

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Genesis 49, Psalm 22:12-31, Matthew 9:27-38, Acts 14 Matthew 9:27-38:  Jesus continues his ministry of going about healing and saving—while at the same time aware that the culmination of this ministry is at the cross, a culmination that was not yet widely understood (if at all), and so he is careful to ensure that his…

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Genesis 48, Psalm 22:1-11, Matthew 9:14-26, Acts 13:26-52 Matthew 9:14-26:  First a question from the disciples of John about fasting. Jesus’ disciples are not fasting: why? (9:14). Jesus’ answer is that they are not fasting yet. He is with them, but one day they will fast (9:15). This leads him to a make a more profound…

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Genesis 46-47, Psalm 21, Matthew 9:1-13,  Acts 13:1-25 Matthew 9:1-13: Sin is a word that is rarely used in contemporary culture. We do not “sin”; we make “mistakes”—“my bad,” “whoops.” And when it is something more heinous that we have done, we are rare, if at all, to use terms such as evil, sin, wickedness. Yet when…

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Genesis 44-45, Psalm 20, Matthew 8:23-34, Acts 12 Matthew 8:23-34:  Jesus is typically presented as “meek and mild,” a sort of easy-going fellow, hail-fellow-well-met type, who will go with the flow, kiss babies like a good politician, and generally fit in with other people. Christians, those who follow Jesus, are likewise often viewed as being…

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Genesis 42-43, Psalm 19, Matthew 8:14-22, Acts 11:19-30  Matthew 8:14-22: We see now the beauty and the sacrifice of following Jesus. First, we meet Jesus among a family—Peter’s family. Jesus is not distant from the earthly realities of life, he does not sneer or act superior towards the needs of family, child, nursery, and mother-in-law. He was welcome…

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Genesis 41, Psalm 18:25-50, Matthew 8:1-13, Acts 11:1-18 Matthew 8:1-13: Having taught so powerfully, Jesus “now comes down from the mountain” (8:1) and puts his teaching into practice—in powerful and amazing ways. First a leper is healed, at a word from Jesus, and “immediately.” No lengthy course of treatment. No weird magical incantation. God incarnate,…

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Genesis 39-40, Psalm 18:1-24, Matthew 7:15-29, Acts 10:24-48   Matthew 7:15-29:  Having explained his main teaching throughout this Sermon on the Mount, Jesus now moves towards the closing of the Sermon. And as he does so he strikes a note of warning, or “beware.” Given all that he has said about what makes a real…

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Genesis 37-38, Psalm 17, Matthew 7:1-14, Acts 10:1-23 Matthew 7:1-14: Having orientated us towards seeking first God’s kingdom, Jesus now turns his attention to what this means in practice—interspersed with a call to ask God as our heavenly Father for what we need.  The sentence “Judge not, that you be not judged” (7:1) is probably…

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Genesis 36, Psalm 16, Matthew 6:25-34, Acts 9:20-43 Matthew 6:25-34: This section is justly famous, wonderfully practical, and precious to Christians down through the ages. It begins with “therefore,” and as always when we see a “therefore,” we should ask “What is it there for?” In other words, what is this instruction building from in…

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