Week of April 15 - Day 5

Day 5   Read: Malachi 3:1

“Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts.

Reflect: What is the promise of God through the prophet?

Consider: The Lord, whom ye seek, refers back to the preceding verse, where is the God of Judgment? The word Lord, with the article, is applied only to God. In the parallel clause, even the angel of the covenant, he is designated by a peculiar title expressing his office, as this is the only place where this official title occurs, it requires explanation.5

Respond: Think about the prophecy spoken through Malachi and the way the religious leaders (whose descendants received the prophecy centuries before) received Jesus. Where did they miss the mark? Why were they reluctant to accept him as the Messiah? What were they placing their faith and hope in? In what ways is your life similar? Where are you wanting to use your good works or acts of worship to justify yourself and your actions?

 

 

 

5 John Peter Lange, Philip Schaff, and Joseph Packard, A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Malachi (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2008), 19.

 

Week of April 15 - Day 4

Day 4   Read: Isaiah 42:1-4

Behold my servant, whom I uphold,
    my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my Spirit upon him;
    he will bring forth justice to the nations.
2 He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice,
    or make it heard in the street;
3 a bruised reed he will not break,
    and a faintly burning wick he will not quench;
    he will faithfully bring forth justice.
4 He will not grow faint or be discouraged
    till he has established justice in the earth;
    and the coastlands wait for his law.

Reflect: In Isaiah’s time, a king’s personally selected servant stood in a position of great importance. What words describe the servant’s relationship to God? What words describe the servant’s character and mission? Which verses point directly to the coming of Jesus as the Savior for sinners?

Consider:my servant”—The law of prophetic suggestion leads Isaiah from Cyrus to the far greater Deliverer, behind whom the former is lost sight of. The express quotation in Mt 12:18–20, and the description can apply to Messiah alone (Ps 40:6; with which compare Ex 21:6; Jn 6:38; Php 2:7). Israel, also, in its highest ideal, is called the “servant” of God (Is 49:3). But this ideal is realized only in the antitypical Israel, its representative-man and Head, Messiah (compare Mt 2:15, with Ho 11:1). “Servant” was the position assumed by the Son of God throughout His humiliation.4

Respond: Which of those descriptors of Jesus, the servant, speaks to you the most? Authority (v1)? Justice (v1)? Steadfast and unwavering (v2)? Patient and everlasting (v3)? Strength (v4)?

 

 

4 Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown, Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, vol. 1 (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), 476.

 

Week of April 15 - Day 3

Day 3   Read: Matthew 12:9-13

9 He went on from there and entered their synagogue. 10 And a man was there with a withered hand. And they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—so that they might accuse him. 11 He said to them, “Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out? 12 Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” 13 Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy like the other.

Reflect: How did the Pharisees try to trap Jesus? What were the circumstances surrounding their accusations?

Consider: The first controversy (vv. 1–8) was barely over when Jesus arrived in the synagogue. Since it was the Sabbath Day, one would expect Jesus to be in the synagogue. A man with a shriveled hand was there. Since the Pharisees were continually looking for some way to accuse Jesus, they undoubtedly planted this man in the synagogue to create an incident.3

Reflect: What most often gets in the way of you responding to the needs of others? Read Mark 3:5, from the parallel account of this event. What emotions did Jesus feel toward the people who were watching Him? Why do you think the religious leaders’ attitudes angered Jesus?

 

 

3 Louis A. Barbieri, Jr., “Matthew,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 45.

 

Week of April 15 - Day 2

Day 2   Read: Matthew 12:7-8

 7 And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. 8 For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”

Reflect: When Jesus says, “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,” what is He really saying?

Consider: In line with the prophetic perspective of the Sermon on the Mount (see at 5:17), here the Matthean Jesus clarifies the Law from a prophetic perspective. Drawing support from Ho. 6:6, Jesus declares that needy people who pluck grain to eat on the sabbath are guiltless.2

Respond: What does Jesus mean when He says “The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath?

 

 

2 John Nolland, The Gospel of Matthew: A Commentary on the Greek Text, New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press, 2005), 485.

 

Week of April 15 - Day 1

Scripture to Memorize: Matthew 12:8

For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.

Day 1   Read: Matthew 12:1-6

At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. 2 But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.” 3 He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him: 4 how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? 5 Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless? 6 I tell you, something greater than the temple is here.

Reflect: When you were growing up, what traditions did your family observe? Which ones have you kept? Which ones did you like the best?

Consider: In first-century Judaism rest meant, above all, observing the Sabbath—ceasing from all work on Saturday, the seventh day of the week. Sabbath observance was in fact one of the three most important and distinctive badges of Jewish life, along with circumcision and the dietary laws. If coming to Jesus provided rest for the whole of life, then it is not surprising that he should come into conflict with regulations that prevented various kinds of work on one specific day out of seven. At the very least, Jesus shows that he feels free to disregard the oral laws that had grown up around the Sabbath.1

Respond: What traditions in church have you observed and kept through the years? How do these help your walk with Christ? Are there any that could be considered a hindrance now?

 

 

1 Craig Blomberg, Matthew, vol. 22, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992), 195–196.

 

Week of April 8 - Day 5

Day 5  Read: Romans 8:3-4

3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Reflect: What do you learn about the law from these verses? What do you learn about yourself?

Consider: The law was powerless to conquer sin (v. 3).122 The Greek verb in the second sentence of the verse refers not only to the pronouncement of judgment but to the execution of the sentence as well.123 Law was unable to overpower the malignant dynamism of sin. Legislation is ill-equipped to conquer a vital force. The problem, however, did not lie in any inherent weakness in the law itself. Its demands were thwarted by the debilitating influence of our fallen nature. The NEB says that “our lower nature robbed it of all potency.” Law can stimulate sin; but when it comes to overcoming it, our sinful nature undermines its best efforts.5

Respond: How does this week’s study of Jesus’ willingness to take on your sin so you can be righteous in God’s eyes sit with you? How do you need to respond?

 

 

5 Robert H. Mounce, Romans, vol. 27, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1995), 175.

 

Week of April 8 - Day 4

Day 4  Read: 2 Corinthians 5:21

21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Reflect: What did Jesus take on for us? What was the ultimate purpose?

Consider: To be sin: this expression has led to much discussion among interpreters of 2 Corinthians. What does it mean to say that a person (Christ) became an object (sin)? Is Paul using the abstract noun sin for the concrete noun “sinner”? Surely Paul is not saying that Christ became a sinner, for that contradicts the very next words in this verse. Some understand Paul to be saying that God made Christ to be a “sin offering”. Perhaps the most likely explanation is that Paul is saying that Christ identified in some way with sinful humanity. Barclay says “God identified Christ … with human sin.” One African language has “God caused him to enter the ranks of sinners in our place.…” Another has “God laid the blame for people’s sin on Christ.” Whatever decision seems best for the translator should, if possible, be coordinated with the way in which the other difficult expression is translated, become the righteousness.4

Respond: Read 1 Corinthians 1:30-31. What is the biggest challenge for you regarding how you acknowledge the righteousness you inherit through Christ versus your own talents and abilities? How do you handle praise? Is there an area you tend to take more credit?

 

 

4  Roger L. Omanson and John Ellington, A Handbook on Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians, UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 1993), 107.

 

Week of April 8 - Day 3

Day 3  Read: Hebrews 9:13-14

 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

Reflect: What kind of cleansing did the old system provide?

Consider: This “eternal redemption” through which the blessings of the New Covenant (cf. 8:10–12) have reached all believers, should affect the way believers serve God. Old-Covenant rituals served for the ceremonially unclean and only made them outwardly clean. But the blood of Christ can do much more. His was a sacrifice of infinite value because through the eternal Spirit He offered Himself unblemished to God. With this lovely assertion, the writer of Hebrews involved all three Persons of the Godhead in the sacrifice of Christ, which magnifies the greatness of His redemptive offering.[1]

Reflect: Why does Christ’s sacrifice have the more significant, everlasting result? List some common religious attitudes or rituals we depend on, thinking they will keep us right with God. Which one is a personal struggle for you? How can you lay this aside and trust more fully in Christ? How do we prevent reading the Bible, praying, and practicing other spiritual discipline from becoming rituals that we only perform with no heart or commitment?

 

[1] Zane C. Hodges, “Hebrews,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 801.

Week of April 8 - Day 2

Day 2  Read: Hebrews 9:11-12

11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.

Reflect: How does Jesus’ sacrifice compare to the old system? Why is it superior?

Consider: The writer will discuss the inferiority of animal sacrifices in Hebrews 10, but here he begins to lay the foundation. We need no proof that the blood of Jesus Christ is far superior to that of animal sacrifices. How can the blood of animals ever solve the problem of humans’ sins? Jesus Christ became a Man that He might be able to die for people’s sins. His death was voluntary; it is doubtful that any Old Testament sacrifice volunteered for the job! An animal’s blood was carried by the high priest into the holy of holies, but Jesus Christ presented Himself in the presence of God as the final and complete sacrifice for sins. Of course, the animal sacrifices were repeated, while Jesus Christ offered Himself but once. Finally, no animal sacrifices ever purchased “eternal redemption.” Their blood could only “cover” sin until the time when Christ’s blood would “take away sin” (John 1:29).[1]

Respond: What are some things that people have done in efforts to make themselves right before God? What about you? Are you ever tempted to try and make yourself right before God based on something you’ve done? Why do you think we have that tendency?

 

[1] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 310.

Week of April 8 - Day 1

Scripture to Memorize: Hebrews 9:11-12

Day 1  Read: Hebrews 9:11-12

11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.

Reflect: In speaking to a Jewish audience, how does the writer explain the role of Jesus?

Consider: As the Jewish high priest passed through the anterior tabernacle into the holiest place, so Christ passed through heaven into the inner abode of the unseen and unapproachable God. Thus, “the tabernacle” here is the heavens through which He passed (see on Heb 4:14). But “the tabernacle” is also the glorified body of Christ (see on Heb 8:2), “not of this building” (not of the mere natural “creation, but of the spiritual and heavenly, the new creation”), the Head of the mystical body, the Church.[1]

Respond: To what does “good things” (v. 11) refer? How have you experienced “good things” from Jesus in your life? How did Jesus eliminate the need for the ritual of sacrifice? Why is this significant for believers?

 

[1] Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown, Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, vol. 2 (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), 461.

Week of April 1 - Day 5

Day 5  Read: Revelation 22:6-21

6 And he said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place.”

7 “And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”

8 I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me, 9 but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.”

10 And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. 11 Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.”

12 “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates.15 Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”

17 The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.

18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.”Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

Reflect: What hope awaits every believer who has been justified by the blood of Christ? As you read the final words of scripture, what gives you the most encouragement?

Consider: The Apocalypse has already called God “the Alpha and the Omega” (1:8; 21:6) and “the Beginning and the End” (21:6), and Christ has been called “the First and the Last” (1:17; 2:8). Now all these titles, which are used in the OT of God, are combined and applied to Christ to highlight his deity. The titles figuratively connote the totality of polarity: Christ’s presence at and sovereignty over the beginning of creation and over the end of creation are boldly stated in order to indicate that he is also present at and sovereign over all events in between. The emphasis of the bipolar names here at the end of the book is to underscore Christ’s divine ability to conclude history at his coming.5

Respond: How will you celebrate the certainty of what Christ has done for you and what that assures for your future? How will it affect the way you live today?

 

 

5  G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text, New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle, Cumbria: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press, 1999), 1138.

 

Week of April 1 - Day 4

Day 4  Read: Romans 5:11

11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Reflect: What final piece of the puzzle is complete through Christ?

Consider: It is agreed that reconciliation came through the death of Christ. The line of reasoning continues. How much more shall we be “saved through his life” (the “lesser” statement). Some take this as a reference to the life of Christ in the believer (for instance Philippians 1:21, “For to me, to live is Christ”; Col 1:27, “Christ in you, the hope of glory”). It is better to understand it in connection with the intercessory ministry of the resurrected Christ. The author of Hebrews said that Christ “always lives to intercede for … those who come to God through him” (Hebrews 7:25). In the immediate context, the promised deliverance is more than eschatological. It is a daily deliverance from the power and dominion of sin. God has made every provision for us to live out our lives in holiness. His abiding presence provides the power to break free from the control of sin (6:18).[1]

Respond: Think about the journey from enemy to reconciled. Can you think of an example in our culture today where two parties have been at odds with each other and found peace? Why is that so rare today? What does the truth of Romans 5:11 say about the power of the resurrection?

 

[1]  Robert H. Mounce, Romans, vol. 27, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1995), 138.

Week of April 1 - Day 3

Day 3  Read: Romans 5:9-10

9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

Reflect: What single act initiates justification for us? What does that act also guarantee for us in the future?

Consider: When Paul speaks of “the blood of Christ,” he is, of course, drawing from the language of the Jewish sacrificial system, which placed two emphases on the experience of the sacrificial death: (1) the initial, violent aspect of the death itself, and (2) the release of life for another purpose through the shedding of the blood (the Jews understood that the life of a person or animal was in his blood).[1]

Reflect: In what ways do you attempt to justify yourself before God? How does that fall short?

 

[1] Ibid, 99.

Week of April 1 - Day 2

Day 2  Read: Romans 5:7-8

7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Reflect:  To what extent does God demonstrate His love for us?

Consider: But God has shown us how much he loves us is literally “but God shows his own love for us.” Several things should be said about this part of the verse. The verb rendered “shows” appears in 3:5 with the meaning “to show clearly.” In Greek, the verb appears in the present tense, which is to indicate for the readers that God’s love for us is not limited to the past, but has its relevance for the present as well. It is interesting to note, in this light, that the verb used in verse 5, has poured out, is in the perfect tense in Greek as in English. In Greek, this tense always throws emphasis on the relevance of a past action for the present.[1]

Respond: As you think about the words used to describe the relationship between God and man in verses 6, 8, and 10 of chapter 5, how does the death of Christ change that relationship? How would you describe the gap God has crossed to show his love for you?

 

[1] Barclay Moon Newman and Eugene Albert Nida, A Handbook on Paul’s Letter to the Romans, UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 1973), 98.

Week of April 1 - Day 1

Scripture to Memorize: Romans 5:6

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.

Day 1 Read: Romans 5:6

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.

Reflect: What two words describe the condition of humanity according to Paul?

Consider: asthenōn, “without strength, feeble”; this word is used in John 5:5 to describe the man who had been sitting by the pool at Bethesda for 38 years; asebōn, “impious”; used also in Romans 4:5 to distinguish between someone who does acts of righteousness for the sole purpose of appearing religious versus the one who has no works, but recognizes their need for Jesus and places faith in Him.[1]

Respond: In what situations do you feel helpless? Is that the same as what Paul was referring to in this verse? Have you experienced that helplessness? If not, what could that say about your salvation experience? Spend time this week recognizing your desperate need for Christ as your Savior and give thanks for all He has done for you.

 

[1] John A. Witmer, “Romans,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 457.

Week of March 25 - Day 5

Day 5  Read: Ephesians 3:20-21

0 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Reflect: To what extent is God able to do great things in our lives through the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling within the believer?

Consider: After contemplating such a marvelous spiritual experience, it is no wonder Paul bursts forth in a doxology, a fitting benediction to such a prayer. Note again the trinitarian emphasis in this benediction: Paul prays to God the Father, concerning the indwelling power of God the Spirit, made available through God the Son.

Perhaps the best way for us to grasp some of the greatness of this doxology is to look at it in outlined form:

            Now unto Him that is

            able to do all

            above all

            abundantly above all

            exceeding abundantly above all

Paul seems to want to use every word possible to convey to us the vastness of God’s power as found in Jesus Christ.5

Respond: How does God want to reconcile Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 7 with Paul’s application of this principle in Ephesians 3 in your life? What do you need to be diligently and consistently praying for? How do you want to see God do exceedingly, abundantly above all in your life?

 

 

5  Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 33.

 

 

Week of March 25 - Day 4

Day 4  Read: Jeremiah 29:10-14

10 “For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.

Reflect: What must happen for the Israelites to experience God’s rescue?

Consider: The restoration of the exiles to Judah would happen only when God’s 70 years of judgment were completed (see Jer. 25:11–12). Then God would fulfill His gracious promise to restore the exiles to their land. The 70-year Exile was a part of God’s plans to give Judah hope and a future. The judgment prompted the exiles to seek God wholeheartedly (see Daniel 9:2–3, 15–19). Once they had turned back to their God He would gather them from all the nations where they had been banished and return them to their land. The larger purpose of the Exile was to force Israel back to her God (see Deut. 30:1–10).[1]

Respond: While God desires to give us good things, sometimes He brings us through a period of trial and testing first. As you consider a season of waiting or expectation, how is God testing your patience? What is He trying to teach you in the process?

 

[1]  Charles H. Dyer, “Jeremiah,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 1166.

Week of March 25 - Day 3

Day 3 Read: Psalm 14:1-3

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
    They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds;
    there is none who does good.

2 The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man,
    to see if there are any who understand,
    who seek after God.

3 They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt;
    there is none who does good,
    not even one.

Reflect: What conclusion has the Psalmist reached regarding humanity?

Consider: They are all gone aside. Hacôl (הַכֹּל), “the totality”—one and all of them had turned aside, like the Israelites at Sinai (Exod. 32:8); they had quitted the way of righteousness, and turned to wicked courses. The expression “denotes a general—all but universal—corruption” (‘Speaker’s Commentary’). They are all together become filthy; literally, sour, rancid—like milk that has turned, or butter that has become bad. [1]

Respond: In what ways do you settle for man’s “good” in place of God’s “good”? How has that prevented you from experiencing God’s very best in your life? How does this Psalm alongside the focal passage in Matthew 7 help you understand the nature of what God wants to do in your life compared to what we often settle for?

 

[1] H. D. M. Spence-Jones, ed., Psalms, vol. 1, The Pulpit Commentary (London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1909), 86.

Week of March 25 - Day 2

Day 2  Read: Matthew 7:9-11

9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

Reflect:  How does Jesus illustrate the Father’s desire to give to His children?

Consider: The comparisons (bread with stone and fish with serpent) were used for perhaps two reasons: (1) bread and fish were the foods that would be most common near the Sea of Galilee, and (2) bread is shaped somewhat like a stone, and a fish has scales and other features similar to those of a snake. One commentator in fact notes that a certain species of fish (barbut) even has the appearance of a snake.[1]

Respond: Based on these verses, why can we have confidence in God’s answers to our prayers? Read Luke 11:13. What additional insight does this verse give us into the good gifts of God?

 

[1] Barclay Moon Newman and Philip C. Stine, A Handbook on the Gospel of Matthew, UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 1992), 200.

Week of March 25 - Day 1

Scripture to Memorize: Matthew 7:7-8

7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.

Day 1  Read: Matthew 7:7-8

Reflect: What is Jesus teaching His audience? What lesson is there for the one who is faithful to pray?

Consider: Earlier in this sermon Jesus had given the disciples a model prayer (Matt. 6:9–13). Now He assured them that God welcomes prayer, and urged them to come to Him continuously and persistently. This is emphasized by the present tenses in the verbs: “keep on asking”; “keep on seeking”; “keep on knocking” (7:7). Why? Because your Father in heaven (v. 11) delights in giving good gifts to those who persist in prayer.[1]

Respond: What have you given up praying for? Why do you think God has delayed answering your prayer? What might He be trying to teach you through the process?

 

[1] Louis A. Barbieri, Jr., “Matthew,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 34.