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Week 10: Matthew 21–25, Mark 11–13, Luke 19:28–21:38, John 11:1–13:17

Sunday (John 11:1–12:11)

The Death of Lazarus

11:1 Now a certain man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village where Mary and her sister Martha lived. 11:2 (Now it was Mary who anointed the Lord with perfumed oil and wiped his feet dry with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.) 11:3 So the sisters sent a message to Jesus, “Lord, look, the one you love is sick.” 11:4 When Jesus heard this, he said, “This sickness will not lead to death, but to God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” 11:5 (Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.)

11:6 So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he remained in the place where he was for two more days. 11:7 Then after this, he said to his disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” 11:8 The disciples replied, “Rabbi, the Jewish leaders were just now trying to stone you to death! Are you going there again?” 11:9 Jesus replied, “Are there not twelve hours in a day? If anyone walks around in the daytime, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 11:10 But if anyone walks around at night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.”

11:11 After he said this, he added, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep. But I am going there to awaken him.” 11:12 Then the disciples replied, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” 11:13 (Now Jesus had been talking about his death, but they thought he had been talking about real sleep.)

11:14 Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, 11:15 and I am glad for your sake that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” 11:16 So Thomas (called Didymus) said to his fellow disciples, “Let us go too, so that we may die with him.”

Speaking with Martha and Mary

11:17 When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had been in the tomb four days already. 11:18 (Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, 11:19 so many of the Jewish people of the region had come to Martha and Mary to console them over the loss of their brother.) 11:20 So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary was sitting in the house. 11:21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 11:22 But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will grant you.”

11:23 Jesus replied, “Your brother will come back to life again.” 11:24 Martha said, “I know that he will come back to life again in the resurrection at the last day.” 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live even if he dies, 11:26 and the one who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” 11:27 She replied, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God who comes into the world.”

11:28 And when she had said this, Martha went and called her sister Mary, saying privately, “The Teacher is here and is asking for you.” 11:29 So when Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 11:30 (Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still in the place where Martha had come out to meet him.) 11:31 Then the people who were with Mary in the house consoling her saw her get up quickly and go out. They followed her, because they thought she was going to the tomb to weep there.

11:32 Now when Mary came to the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 11:33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the people who had come with her weeping, he was intensely moved in spirit and greatly distressed. 11:34 He asked, “Where have you laid him?” They replied, “Lord, come and see.” 11:35 Jesus wept. 11:36 Thus the people who had come to mourn said, “Look how much he loved him!” 11:37 But some of them said, “This is the man who caused the blind man to see! Couldn’t he have done something to keep Lazarus from dying?”

Lazarus Raised from the Dead

11:38 Jesus, intensely moved again, came to the tomb. (Now it was a cave, and a stone was placed across it.) 11:39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the deceased, replied, “Lord, by this time the body will have a bad smell, because he has been buried four days.” 11:40 Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believe, you would see the glory of God?” 11:41 So they took away the stone. Jesus looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you that you have listened to me. 11:42 I knew that you always listen to me, but I said this for the sake of the crowd standing around here, that they may believe that you sent me.” 11:43 When he had said this, he shouted in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 11:44 The one who had died came out, his feet and hands tied up with strips of cloth, and a cloth wrapped around his face. Jesus said to them, “Unwrap him and let him go.”

The Response of the Jewish Leaders

11:45 Then many of the people, who had come with Mary and had seen the things Jesus did, believed in him. 11:46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and reported to them what Jesus had done. 11:47 So the chief priests and the Pharisees called the council together and said, “What are we doing? For this man is performing many miraculous signs. 11:48 If we allow him to go on in this way, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away our sanctuary and our nation.”

11:49 Then one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said, “You know nothing at all! 11:50 You do not realize that it is more to your advantage to have one man die for the people than for the whole nation to perish.” 11:51 (Now he did not say this on his own, but because he was high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the Jewish nation, 11:52 and not for the Jewish nation only, but to gather together into one the children of God who are scattered.) 11:53 So from that day they planned together to kill him.

11:54 Thus Jesus no longer went around publicly among the Judeans, but went away from there to the region near the wilderness, to a town called Ephraim, and stayed there with his disciples. 11:55 Now the Jewish feast of Passover was near, and many people went up to Jerusalem from the rural areas before the Passover to cleanse themselves ritually. 11:56 Thus they were looking for Jesus, and saying to one another as they stood in the temple courts, “What do you think? That he won’t come to the feast?” 11:57 (Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that anyone who knew where Jesus was should report it, so that they could arrest him.)

Jesus’ Anointing

12:1 Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom he had raised from the dead. 12:2 So they prepared a dinner for Jesus there. Martha was serving, and Lazarus was among those present at the table with him. 12:3 Then Mary took three quarters of a pound of expensive aromatic oil from pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus. She then wiped his feet dry with her hair. (Now the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfumed oil.) 12:4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was going to betray him) said, 12:5 “Why wasn’t this oil sold for three hundred silver coins and the money given to the poor?” 12:6 (Now Judas said this not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief. As keeper of the money box, he used to steal what was put into it.) 12:7 So Jesus said, “Leave her alone. She has kept it for the day of my burial. 12:8 For you will always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me!”

12:9 Now a large crowd of Judeans learned that Jesus was there, and so they came not only because of him but also to see Lazarus whom he had raised from the dead. 12:10 So the chief priests planned to kill Lazarus too, 12:11 for on account of him many of the Jewish people from Jerusalem were going away and believing in Jesus.

Prayer

Lord, every moment is a teachable moment for those who recognize Your presence and see You working. May I be humble enough to remain constantly teachable, quiet enough to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying to me, and healed of my spiritual blindness so that I may see what He is showing me.

Scripture In Perspective

Jesus tells His disciples that Lazarus’ death has been permitted so as to create a teachable moment, “so that you may believe” (John 11:15). [Note: Jesus makes this statement because, at this point in time, the disciples’ belief was in development: “Their concept of who Jesus really was is continually being expanded and challenged; they are undergoing spiritual growth; the climax is reached in the confession of Thomas in John 20:28” (NET sn) — ‘My Lord and my God!’]

Jesus prays “for the sake of the crowd standing around” (John 11:42), so that they may know by Whose power He has been sent and is about to act. He then resurrects Lazarus with words of power: “Lazarus, come out!” (vs. 43).

The Jewish leaders hear of this and are troubled, not only that their religious traditions be upheld, but by the possible Roman reaction to Jesus’ growing ministry. The high priest Caiaphas declares that it would be profitable for “one man [Jesus] to die for the people” (John 11:50), which would neutralize the threat to the captive nation-state Israel — Caiaphas is unaware that his words (unintentionally) echo the prophesy of Jesus, that He was to “give His life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).

Mary anointing the feet of Jesus triggers a fascinating revelation of the heart of Judas Iscariot, who exclaims that she should have sold the oil and given the money to the poor. John notes that Judas’ motivation is “not because he was concerned about the poor” (12:6), rather that there be more money in the collection for him to steal. Jesus corrects Judas, saying that the poor will always be around and in need, but that Mary’s anointing is in anticipation of His imminent death — “you will not always have Me!” (vs. 8). [Note: It is interesting that this is the second time Mary focuses on the presence of Jesus more so than are others do.

Faith In Action

Consider

How do we typically experience the tragedies of life here in this fallen and temporary world: acknowledging our loss and resultant sadness, then looking expectantly for how, when, or where Jesus may redeem it; or allowing ourselves to be trapped in a cycle of despair?

Are we controlled by worry over the social or political consequences of living in Truth, or do we follow Jesus fearlessly?

Reflect

Do we “steal” from God’s ministry by hording when we should share? Do we misuse the resources we have been given and ignore the concerns of God by prioritizing the building of religious organizations which create self-employment and give us recognition?

Are you aware that you live in the presence of God and that your worship of Him at all times (not only when you are in a gathering of Believers) is to be through sacrificial and intentional actions?

Pray

Ask the Holy Spirit to make you aware of a moment in your day when He is working through you, so that you may fully appreciate it.

Act

Today I will pause to recognize and celebrate in worship the amazing power and presence of God in my life. It may be that He encourages someone through me, or that I am encouraged by another. It may be that He shares His salvation story with another through my witness. I will not fail to worship Him and share with another Believer.

Be Specific ____________________________________________

Monday (Matthew 21:1-22; Mark 11:1-26; Luke 19:28-48; John 12:12-43)

Matthew

The Triumphal Entry

21:1 Now when they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 21:2 telling them, “Go to the village ahead of you. Right away you will find a donkey tied there, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. 21:3 If anyone says anything to you, you are to say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” 21:4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet:

21:5 “Tell the people of Zion,

‘Look, your king is coming to you, unassuming and seated on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”

21:6 So the disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. 21:7 They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. 21:8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road. Others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 21:9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those following kept shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” 21:10 As he entered Jerusalem the whole city was thrown into an uproar, saying, “Who is this?” 21:11 And the crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Cleansing the Temple

21:12 Then Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all those who were selling and buying in the temple courts, and turned over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves. 21:13 And he said to them, “It is written, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are turning it into a den of robbers!”

21:14 The blind and lame came to him in the temple courts, and he healed them. 21:15 But when the chief priests and the experts in the law saw the wonderful things he did and heard the children crying out in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they became indignant 21:16 and said to him, “Do you hear what they are saying?” Jesus said to them, “Yes. Have you never read, ‘Out of the mouths of children and nursing infants you have prepared praise for yourself’?” 21:17 And leaving them, he went out of the city to Bethany and spent the night there.

The Withered Fig Tree

21:18 Now early in the morning, as he returned to the city, he was hungry. 21:19 After noticing a fig tree by the road he went to it, but found nothing on it except leaves. He said to it, “Never again will there be fruit from you!” And the fig tree withered at once. 21:20 When the disciples saw it they were amazed, saying, “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” 21:21 Jesus answered them, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only will you do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. 21:22 And whatever you ask in prayer, if you believe, you will receive.”

Mark

The Triumphal Entry

11:1 Now as they approached Jerusalem, near Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples 11:2 and said to them, “Go to the village ahead of you. As soon as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 11:3 If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here soon.’” 11:4 So they went and found a colt tied at a door, outside in the street, and untied it. 11:5 Some people standing there said to them, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” 11:6 They replied as Jesus had told them, and the bystanders let them go. 11:7 Then they brought the colt to Jesus, threw their cloaks on it, and he sat on it. 11:8 Many spread their cloaks on the road and others spread branches they had cut in the fields. 11:9 Both those who went ahead and those who followed kept shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! 11:10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!” 11:11 Then Jesus entered Jerusalem and went to the temple. And after looking around at everything, he went out to Bethany with the twelve since it was already late.

Cursing of the Fig Tree

11:12 Now the next day, as they went out from Bethany, he was hungry. 11:13 After noticing in the distance a fig tree with leaves, he went to see if he could find any fruit on it. When he came to it he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 11:14 He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it.

Cleansing the Temple

11:15 Then they came to Jerusalem. Jesus entered the temple area and began to drive out those who were selling and buying in the temple courts. He turned over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves, 11:16 and he would not permit anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. 11:17 Then he began to teach them and said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have turned it into a den of robbers!” 11:18 The chief priests and the experts in the law heard it and they considered how they could assassinate him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed by his teaching. 11:19 When evening came, Jesus and his disciples went out of the city.

The Withered Fig Tree

11:20 In the morning as they passed by, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. 11:21 Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered.” 11:22 Jesus said to them, “Have faith in God. 11:23 I tell you the truth, if someone says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. 11:24 For this reason I tell you, whatever you pray and ask for, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 11:25 Whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you your sins.”

11:26 [[EMPTY]]

Luke

The Triumphal Entry

19:28 After Jesus had said this, he continued on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 19:29 Now when he approached Bethphage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of the disciples, 19:30 telling them, “Go to the village ahead of you. When you enter it, you will find a colt tied there that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 19:31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ just say, ‘The Lord needs it.’” 19:32 So those who were sent ahead found it exactly as he had told them. 19:33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying that colt?” 19:34 They replied, “The Lord needs it.” 19:35 Then they brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt, and had Jesus get on it. 19:36 As he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. 19:37 As he approached the road leading down from the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen: 19:38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 19:39 But some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 19:40 He answered, “I tell you, if they keep silent, the very stones will cry out!”

Jesus Weeps for Jerusalem under Judgment

19:41 Now when Jesus approached and saw the city, he wept over it, 19:42 saying, “If you had only known on this day, even you, the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 19:43 For the days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and surround you and close in on you from every side. 19:44 They will demolish you – you and your children within your walls – and they will not leave within you one stone on top of another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation from God.”

Cleansing the Temple

19:45 Then Jesus entered the temple courts and began to drive out those who were selling things there, 19:46 saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house will be a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of robbers!”

19:47 Jesus was teaching daily in the temple courts. The chief priests and the experts in the law and the prominent leaders among the people were seeking to assassinate him, 19:48 but they could not find a way to do it, for all the people hung on his words.

John

The Triumphal Entry

12:12 The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 12:13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him. They began to shout, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the king of Israel!” 12:14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written, 12:15 “Do not be afraid, people of Zion; look, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt!” 12:16 (His disciples did not understand these things when they first happened, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written about him and that these things had happened to him.)

12:17 So the crowd who had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead were continuing to testify about it. 12:18 Because they had heard that Jesus had performed this miraculous sign, the crowd went out to meet him. 12:19 Thus the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you can do nothing. Look, the world has run off after him!”

Seekers

12:20 Now some Greeks were among those who had gone up to worship at the feast. 12:21 So these approached Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and requested, “Sir, we would like to see Jesus.” 12:22 Philip went and told Andrew, and they both went and told Jesus. 12:23 Jesus replied, “The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 12:24 I tell you the solemn truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains by itself alone. But if it dies, it produces much grain. 12:25 The one who loves his life destroys it, and the one who hates his life in this world guards it for eternal life. 12:26 If anyone wants to serve me, he must follow me, and where I am, my servant will be too. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.

12:27 “Now my soul is greatly distressed. And what should I say? ‘Father, deliver me from this hour’? No, but for this very reason I have come to this hour. 12:28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 12:29 The crowd that stood there and heard the voice said that it had thundered. Others said that an angel had spoken to him. 12:30 Jesus said, “This voice has not come for my benefit but for yours. 12:31 Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. 12:32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 12:33 (Now he said this to indicate clearly what kind of death he was going to die.)

12:34 Then the crowd responded, “We have heard from the law that the Christ will remain forever. How can you say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this Son of Man?” 12:35 Jesus replied, “The light is with you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. 12:36 While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become sons of light.” When Jesus had said these things, he went away and hid himself from them.

The Outcome of Jesus’ Public Ministry Foretold

12:37 Although Jesus had performed so many miraculous signs before them, they still refused to believe in him, 12:38 so that the word of Isaiah the prophet would be fulfilled. He said, “Lord, who has believed our message, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” 12:39 For this reason they could not believe, because again Isaiah said,

12:40 “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, so that they would not see with their eyes and understand with their heart, and turn to me, and I would heal them.”

12:41 Isaiah said these things because he saw Christ’s glory, and spoke about him.

12:42 Nevertheless, even among the rulers many believed in him, but because of the Pharisees they would not confess Jesus to be the Christ, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue. 12:43 For they loved praise from men more than praise from God.

Prayer

When You, the incarnate Jesus Christ, entered the city You were fulfilling prophesy, yet most of the people were so blinded by their worldly notions of Who You were suppose to be that they missed Who You really are. Lord, may I humble myself and submit to the teachings of Your Word, that I may not be deceived and also miss You.

Scripture In Perspective

The triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem is cause for excitement among the Jews, who see Him as a liberating King, and it creates great consternation in the religious leaders, who are fearful of their loss of power and the reaction of the Romans. Notable is Jesus’ reply to the challenge of the religious leaders that He silence those who worship Him — “if they keep silent, the very stones will cry out!” (Luke 19:40). It is His time and He is God.

Jesus weeps for Jerusalem, because they had been given the unmistakable prophesy of His coming and yet remain blindly rebellious. They not only miss out on His presence, He laments, but they will suffer greatly because, “you did not recognize the time of your visitation from God” (Luke 19:44). Affirmation that Jesus is God is found in the usage of the term “visitation” with the qualifier “from God”: Jesus is the earthly presence of God.

Cursing the fruitless fig tree, not in season to bear fruit, Jesus uses as a twofold teachable moment. First, the faithful Believer must be ready, whatever the season, to bear fruit. And second, the power of prayer is in what is requested in faith by a Believer, who “does not doubt...but does not doubt...but believes...it will be done for him” (Mark 11:23). The conditional to answered prayer is that one with an unforgiving heart toward a fellow Believer may not anticipate receiving a blessing — forgive him first, “so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you” (vs. 25).

Jesus cleanses the Temple, indicative of His indignation with the religious leaders who presume to misuse the Temple by “selling and buying in the temple courts” (Matt. 21:12) — selling doves (needed to perform a sacrifice) and converting money to a Jewish coin (the only currency accepted by the religious leaders). Jesus reminds those gathered that God said His Temple was “a house of prayer” (vs. 13).

When the religious leaders ask Him to silence the children in the Temple courts who are calling out, “Hosanna to the Son of David” (Matt. 21:15), Jesus again affirms His divinity by quoting from the ancient Scriptures: “Out of the mouths of children and nursing infants You have prepared praise for Yourself” (Ps. 8:2). [Pause a moment to read Psalm 8 to acquire the full context.]

A group of Gentiles, in Jerusalem for the Passover Feast (possibly out of curiosity, or because they heard that Jesus might be there), present themselves to the disciples and ask to meet Jesus. These “Greeks” (John 12:20) were probably God-fearers there to worship and were fortunate to be there to hear Jesus’ discourse regarding true seekers of “the light” (vs. 35).

To the crowd gathered (both Jew and Greek alike), Jesus speaks of both His need to die to save them and their need to die to the things of this world in order to be saved. He prays out loud to His Father, so all may hear, and the Father answers the Son in a voice that “thundered” (John 12:29). Jesus says “when I am lifted up....to indicate clearly what kind of death he was going to die” (vss. 32-33). The people, confused that the Messiah will be lifted up (because they understand from the law that the Christ will “remain forever,” vs. 34), fail to comprehend the need of the Cross to provide the way for salvation.

Jesus foretells His ministry’s outcome for most Jews: Due to their resistance and rebellion, God amplifies the hardness of their hearts — even their witness to His miracles will not move them to return to Him. Jesus wants genuine relational-faith relationships, not mere miracle groupies or religious-cult followers. Some of the Jewish leaders believe in Him yet fail to publicly confess Him, as they fear the retribution of religious leaders — “they loved praise from men more than praise from God” (John 12:43).

Faith In Action

Consider

Do we bear the fruit of faith in all seasons, not just on Christmas, Easter, Sunday morning or in response to a Christian event?

Are we bold in confessing Christ and joyful in naming Jesus as Lord, without fear of retribution or loss of praise from mere man?

Reflect

Do we get excited and cry out “Hosanna!” when we see God moving in a community or the life of an individual, both displacing Satan and establishing His Kingdom one heart at a time?

Have you experienced a gathering where the people seemed unable to acknowledge or praise God unless there was some sort of “miracle” performed? In light of these verses, does that trouble you?

Pray

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you if you serve or worship the Lord God mostly when other people are watching, instead of always.

Act

Today I will prayerfully contemplate if I tend to drift into a time of fruit-dormancy, or if I am intentionally faithful to bear fruit no matter the context or the season.

I will be watchful for opportunity to praise God when I see His hand at work and to confess Him when He prompts me to.

Be Specific _____________________________________________

Tuesday (Matthew 21:23-46; 22:15-33; Mark 11:27–12:27; Luke 20:1-40)

Matthew

The Authority of Jesus

21:23 Now after Jesus entered the temple courts, the chief priests and elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” 21:24 Jesus answered them, “I will also ask you one question. If you answer me then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. 21:25 Where did John’s baptism come from? From heaven or from people?” They discussed this among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Then why did you not believe him?’ 21:26 But if we say, ‘From people,’ we fear the crowd, for they all consider John to be a prophet.” 21:27 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.” Then he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.

The Parable of the Two Sons

21:28 “What do you think? A man had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 21:29 The boy answered, ‘I will not.’ But later he had a change of heart and went. 21:30 The father went to the other son and said the same thing. This boy answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but did not go. 21:31 Which of the two did his father’s will?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, tax collectors and prostitutes will go ahead of you into the kingdom of God! 21:32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him. But the tax collectors and prostitutes did believe. Although you saw this, you did not later change your minds and believe him.

The Parable of the Tenants

21:33 “Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a fence around it, dug a pit for its winepress, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenant farmers and went on a journey. 21:34 When the harvest time was near, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his portion of the crop. 21:35 But the tenants seized his slaves, beat one, killed another, and stoned another. 21:36 Again he sent other slaves, more than the first, and they treated them the same way. 21:37 Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 21:38 But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and get his inheritance!’ 21:39 So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. 21:40 Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” 21:41 They said to him, “He will utterly destroy those evil men! Then he will lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him his portion at the harvest.”

21:42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the scriptures:

‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is from the Lord, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?

21:43 For this reason I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. 21:44 The one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, and the one on whom it falls will be crushed.” 21:45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they realized that he was speaking about them. 21:46 They wanted to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowds, because the crowds regarded him as a prophet.

[Note: Matthew 22:1-14 discussed in following day’s study.]

Paying Taxes to Caesar

22:15 Then the Pharisees went out and planned together to entrap him with his own words. 22:16 They sent to him their disciples along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are truthful, and teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You do not court anyone’s favor because you show no partiality. 22:17 Tell us then, what do you think? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

22:18 But Jesus realized their evil intentions and said, “Hypocrites! Why are you testing me? 22:19 Show me the coin used for the tax.” So they brought him a denarius. 22:20 Jesus said to them, “Whose image is this, and whose inscription?” 22:21 They replied, “Caesar’s.” He said to them, “Then give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 22:22 Now when they heard this they were stunned, and they left him and went away.

Marriage and the Resurrection

22:23 The same day Sadducees (who say there is no resurrection) came to him and asked him, 22:24 “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and father children for his brother.’ 22:25 Now there were seven brothers among us. The first one married and died, and since he had no children he left his wife to his brother. 22:26 The second did the same, and the third, down to the seventh. 22:27 Last of all, the woman died. 22:28 In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had married her.” 22:29 Jesus answered them, “You are deceived, because you don’t know the scriptures or the power of God. 22:30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 22:31 Now as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, 22:32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living!” 22:33 When the crowds heard this, they were amazed at his teaching.

Mark

The Authority of Jesus

11:27 They came again to Jerusalem. While Jesus was walking in the temple courts, the chief priests, the experts in the law, and the elders came up to him 11:28 and said, “By what authority are you doing these things? Or who gave you this authority to do these things?” 11:29 Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question. Answer me and I will tell you by what authority I do these things: 11:30 John’s baptism – was it from heaven or from people? Answer me.” 11:31 They discussed with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Then why did you not believe him?’ 11:32 But if we say, ‘From people – ‘” (they feared the crowd, for they all considered John to be truly a prophet). 11:33 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.” Then Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”

The Parable of the Tenants

12:1 Then he began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard. He put a fence around it, dug a pit for its winepress, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenant farmers and went on a journey. 12:2 At harvest time he sent a slave to the tenants to collect from them his portion of the crop. 12:3 But those tenants seized his slave, beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. 12:4 So he sent another slave to them again. This one they struck on the head and treated outrageously. 12:5 He sent another, and that one they killed. This happened to many others, some of whom were beaten, others killed. 12:6 He had one left, his one dear son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 12:7 But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and the inheritance will be ours!’ 12:8 So they seized him, killed him, and threw his body out of the vineyard. 12:9 What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others. 12:10 Have you not read this scripture:

‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.

12:11 This is from the Lord, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”

12:12 Now they wanted to arrest him (but they feared the crowd), because they realized that he told this parable against them. So they left him and went away.

Paying Taxes to Caesar

12:13 Then they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to trap him with his own words. 12:14 When they came they said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are truthful and do not court anyone’s favor, because you show no partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay or shouldn’t we?” 12:15 But he saw through their hypocrisy and said to them, “Why are you testing me? Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” 12:16 So they brought one, and he said to them, “Whose image is this, and whose inscription?” They replied, “Caesar’s.” 12:17 Then Jesus said to them, “Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they were utterly amazed at him.

Marriage and the Resurrection

12:18 Sadducees (who say there is no resurrection) also came to him and asked him, 12:19 “Teacher, Moses wrote for us: ‘If a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, that man must marry the widow and father children for his brother.’ 12:20 There were seven brothers. The first one married, and when he died he had no children. 12:21 The second married her and died without any children, and likewise the third. 12:22 None of the seven had children. Finally, the woman died too. 12:23 In the resurrection, when they rise again, whose wife will she be? For all seven had married her.” 12:24 Jesus said to them, “Aren’t you deceived for this reason, because you don’t know the scriptures or the power of God? 12:25 For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 12:26 Now as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? 12:27 He is not the God of the dead but of the living. You are badly mistaken!”

Luke

The Authority of Jesus

20:1 Now one day, as Jesus was teaching the people in the temple courts and proclaiming the gospel, the chief priests and the experts in the law with the elders came up 20:2 and said to him, “Tell us: By what authority are you doing these things? Or who it is who gave you this authority?” 20:3 He answered them, “I will also ask you a question, and you tell me: 20:4 John’s baptism – was it from heaven or from people?” 20:5 So they discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why did you not believe him?’ 20:6 But if we say, ‘From people,’ all the people will stone us, because they are convinced that John was a prophet.” 20:7 So they replied that they did not know where it came from. 20:8 Then Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by whose authority I do these things.”

The Parable of the Tenants

20:9 Then he began to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard, leased it to tenant farmers, and went on a journey for a long time. 20:10 When harvest time came, he sent a slave to the tenants so that they would give him his portion of the crop. However, the tenants beat his slave and sent him away empty-handed. 20:11 So he sent another slave. They beat this one too, treated him outrageously, and sent him away empty-handed. 20:12 So he sent still a third. They even wounded this one, and threw him out. 20:13 Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What should I do? I will send my one dear son; perhaps they will respect him.’ 20:14 But when the tenants saw him, they said to one another, ‘This is the heir; let’s kill him so the inheritance will be ours!’ 20:15 So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? 20:16 He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others.” When the people heard this, they said, “May this never happen!” 20:17 But Jesus looked straight at them and said, “Then what is the meaning of that which is written: ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’? 20:18 Everyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, and the one on whom it falls will be crushed.” 20:19 Then the experts in the law and the chief priests wanted to arrest him that very hour, because they realized he had told this parable against them. But they were afraid of the people.

Paying Taxes to Caesar

20:20 Then they watched him carefully and sent spies who pretended to be sincere. They wanted to take advantage of what he might say so that they could deliver him up to the authority and jurisdiction of the governor. 20:21 Thus they asked him, “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach correctly, and show no partiality, but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. 20:22 Is it right for us to pay the tribute tax to Caesar or not?” 20:23 But Jesus perceived their deceit and said to them, 20:24 “Show me a denarius. Whose image and inscription are on it?” They said, “Caesar’s.” 20:25 So he said to them, “Then give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 20:26 Thus they were unable in the presence of the people to trap him with his own words. And stunned by his answer, they fell silent.

Marriage and the Resurrection

20:27 Now some Sadducees (who contend that there is no resurrection) came to him. 20:28 They asked him, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies leaving a wife but no children, that man must marry the widow and father children for his brother. 20:29 Now there were seven brothers. The first one married a woman and died without children. 20:30 The second 20:31 and then the third married her, and in this same way all seven died, leaving no children. 20:32 Finally the woman died too. 20:33 In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For all seven had married her.”

20:34 So Jesus said to them, “The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. 20:35 But those who are regarded as worthy to share in that age and in the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. 20:36 In fact, they can no longer die, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, since they are sons of the resurrection. 20:37 But even Moses revealed that the dead are raised in the passage about the bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. 20:38 Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live before him.” 20:39 Then some of the experts in the law answered, “Teacher, you have spoken well!” 20:40 For they did not dare any longer to ask him anything.

Prayer

Lord, Your Word clearly teaches that both the unsaved and the saved alike are given choices, to either repent of the things of the world and be saved, or cling to the world and die. You do not reward disobedience. May I seek Your will and never allow the world to dictate a path that is contrary to Your desire for me.

Scripture In Perspective

The religious authorities challenge Jesus to state by whose authority He does miracles, preaches, and disrupts the Temple. Jesus, knowing their evil hearts, answers their question with His own question as to John’s authority to minister baptism: “Was as it from heaven or from people?” (Luke 20:4). The religious authorities, knowing that the latter would spark a riot among the people who believed John a prophet of God, reply that they do not know. Jesus tells them, “Neither will I tell you by whose authority I do these things” (vs. 8) — although it is obvious to all the people that mere man could not grant Him such power.

Jesus tells the Parable of the Two Sons: One initially disobeyed his father, then repented and obeyed; the other promised to obey, but never did. Jesus asks the gathered chief priests and elders, “Which of the two did his fathers’ will?” (Matt. 21:31). His teaching point: Although they had seen God’s power in John’s ministry with their own eyes, they did not repent and obey the Father, believing in His Son Who comes with power from on high and of Whom John spoke as coming soon.

In the telling of the Parable of the Tenants, Jesus illustrates the violent rebellion of the religious leaders (the Jewish tenant farmers) against God (the owner of the vineyard) — He will “destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others” (Mark 12:9), the Gentiles.

Challenged by the Pharisees on the paying of taxes to Caesar, Jesus turns it back on them with the wisdom that one should “give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matt. 22:21). The latter is more challenging to a fallen person than is the first to arrogant religious leaders. Jesus’ words explain the important boundary between the things of the world and the things of God — our obligations as citizens of an earthly civilization and to the Lord God.

Jesus responds to a question from the Sadducees, “who contend that there is no resurrection,” Luke 20:27, intended to entrap Him: “In the resurrection, whose wife will the woman be?” (Luke 20:33). The Pharisees, who do believe in resurrection, listen closely. Jesus uses it as a teachable moment to show both of the groups their ignorance of God’s Word: The institution of marriage, Jesus explains, is for mankind’s time on earth and does not exist “in the resurrection” (Matt. 22:30), Heaven. The righteous, He assures them, will rise from the dead — “He is not the God of the dead but of the living” (Mark 12:27).

Faith In Action

Consider

God knows our hearts. No matter our fallen words and deeds, He knows who are truly His and who are pretenders.

In matters of temporary citizenship, we are to be ethical and responsible; in matters related to God, faithful and righteous. Righteous living for the faithful can often be extraordinarily difficult — what are some helpful ways to handle decision making?

Reflect

Be encouraged knowing that God, while offended by our rebellion, waits patiently while encouraging us to reconsider and blesses us when are obedient. Only those who surrender everything are welcome in Heaven.

Have you experienced a ministry outreach which was chronically unresponsive to God’s leading, and another which was responsive? Was the first group left for a time for the Holy Spirit to “prepare” for ministry, while the second group was already “harvesting”?

Pray

Ask the Holy Spirit to seek out a place in your heart where you may be deceiving others or yourself and trying to deceive God. Ask for the truth to be revealed to displace the deception, a revelation which will move you down the path of righteousness.

Act

Today I will celebrate a forgiving God and will tell a back-slidden Believer the story of His forgiveness and restoration in my life.

Today I will pray for the leaders of the government under whose secular authority I live. I will be a good citizen in participating in the governmental process. I commit to being more faithful as a citizen of the eternal Kingdom of God and to obeying His call upon my life.

Be Specific _____________________________________________

Wednesday (Matthew 22:1-14; 22:34–23:39; Mark 12:28-44; Luke 20:41–21:4)

Matthew

The Parable of the Wedding Banquet

22:1 Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: 22:2 “The kingdom of heaven can be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. 22:3 He sent his slaves to summon those who had been invited to the banquet, but they would not come. 22:4 Again he sent other slaves, saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited, “Look! The feast I have prepared for you is ready. My oxen and fattened cattle have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.”‘ 22:5 But they were indifferent and went away, one to his farm, another to his business. 22:6 The rest seized his slaves, insolently mistreated them, and killed them. 22:7 The king was furious! He sent his soldiers, and they put those murderers to death and set their city on fire. 22:8 Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but the ones who had been invited were not worthy. 22:9 So go into the main streets and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.’ 22:10 And those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all they found, both bad and good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. 22:11 But when the king came in to see the wedding guests, he saw a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 22:12 And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ But he had nothing to say. 22:13 Then the king said to his attendants, ‘Tie him up hand and foot and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth!’ 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.’

[Note: Matthew 22:15-33 discussed in prior day’s study.]

The Greatest Commandment

22:34 Now when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they assembled together. 22:35 And one of them, an expert in religious law, asked him a question to test him: 22:36 “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 22:37 Jesus said to him, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 22:38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 22:39 The second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 22:40 All the law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”

The Messiah: David’s Son and Lord

22:41 While the Pharisees were assembled, Jesus asked them a question: 22:42 “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said, “The son of David.” 22:43 He said to them, “How then does David by the Spirit call him ‘Lord,’ saying,

22:44 ‘The Lord said to my lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet”‘?

22:45 If David then calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?” 22:46 No one was able to answer him a word, and from that day on no one dared to question him any longer.

Seven Woes

23:1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 23:2 “The experts in the law and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat. 23:3 Therefore pay attention to what they tell you and do it. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they teach. 23:4 They tie up heavy loads, hard to carry, and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing even to lift a finger to move them. 23:5 They do all their deeds to be seen by people, for they make their phylacteries wide and their tassels long. 23:6 They love the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues 23:7 and elaborate greetings in the marketplaces, and to have people call them ‘Rabbi.’ 23:8 But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher and you are all brothers. 23:9 And call no one your ‘father’ on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. 23:10 Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one teacher, the Christ. 23:11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 23:12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

23:13 “But woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You keep locking people out of the kingdom of heaven! For you neither enter nor permit those trying to enter to go in.

23:14 [[EMPTY]]

23:15 “Woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You cross land and sea to make one convert, and when you get one, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves!

23:16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple is bound by nothing. But whoever swears by the gold of the temple is bound by the oath.’ 23:17 Blind fools! Which is greater, the gold or the temple that makes the gold sacred? 23:18 And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar is bound by nothing. But if anyone swears by the gift on it he is bound by the oath.’ 23:19 You are blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 23:20 So whoever swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. 23:21 And whoever swears by the temple swears by it and the one who dwells in it. 23:22 And whoever swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and the one who sits on it.

23:23 “Woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You give a tenth of mint, dill, and cumin, yet you neglect what is more important in the law – justice, mercy, and faithfulness! You should have done these things without neglecting the others. 23:24 Blind guides! You strain out a gnat yet swallow a camel!

23:25 “Woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 23:26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside may become clean too!

23:27 “Woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs that look beautiful on the outside but inside are full of the bones of the dead and of everything unclean. 23:28 In the same way, on the outside you look righteous to people, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

23:29 “Woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. 23:30 And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have participated with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 23:31 By saying this you testify against yourselves that you are descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 23:32 Fill up then the measure of your ancestors! 23:33 You snakes, you offspring of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?

23:34 “For this reason I am sending you prophets and wise men and experts in the law, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town, 23:35 so that on you will come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 23:36 I tell you the truth, this generation will be held responsible for all these things!

Judgment on Israel

23:37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those who are sent to you! How often I have longed to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you would have none of it! 23:38 Look, your house is left to you desolate! 23:39 For I tell you, you will not see me from now until you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!’”

Mark

The Greatest Commandment

12:28 Now one of the experts in the law came and heard them debating. When he saw that Jesus answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 12:29 Jesus answered, “The most important is: ‘Listen, Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 12:30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 12:31 The second is: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 12:32 The expert in the law said to him, “That is true, Teacher; you are right to say that he is one, and there is no one else besides him. 12:33 And to love him with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your strength and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 12:34 When Jesus saw that he had answered thoughtfully, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” Then no one dared any longer to question him.

The Messiah: David’s Son and Lord

12:35 While Jesus was teaching in the temple courts, he said, “How is it that the experts in the law say that the Christ is David’s son? 12:36 David himself, by the Holy Spirit, said,

‘The Lord said to my lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet.”‘

12:37 If David himself calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?” And the large crowd was listening to him with delight.

Warnings About Experts in the Law

12:38 In his teaching Jesus also said, “Watch out for the experts in the law. They like walking around in long robes and elaborate greetings in the marketplaces, 12:39 and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. 12:40 They devour widows’ property, and as a show make long prayers. These men will receive a more severe punishment.”

The Widow’s Offering

12:41 Then he sat down opposite the offering box, and watched the crowd putting coins into it. Many rich people were throwing in large amounts. 12:42 And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, worth less than a penny. 12:43 He called his disciples and said to them, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the offering box than all the others. 12:44 For they all gave out of their wealth. But she, out of her poverty, put in what she had to live on, everything she had.”

Luke

The Messiah: David’s Son and Lord

20:41 But he said to them, “How is it that they say that the Christ is David’s son? 20:42 For David himself says in the book of Psalms,

‘The Lord said to my lord, “Sit at my right hand,

20:43 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”‘

20:44 If David then calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?”

Jesus Warns the Disciples against Pride

20:45 As all the people were listening, Jesus said to his disciples, 20:46 “Beware of the experts in the law. They like walking around in long robes, and they love elaborate greetings in the marketplaces and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. 20:47 They devour widows’ property, and as a show make long prayers. They will receive a more severe punishment.”

The Widow’s Offering

21:1 Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box. 21:2 He also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. 21:3 He said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. 21:4 For they all offered their gifts out of their wealth. But she, out of her poverty, put in everything she had to live on.”

Prayer

Lord, You were not gentle with the religious leaders who did harm with their false doctrine and evil hearts, and You showed that the simple faith of one poor woman represented more of what You desire in us than all the money and power of the worldly and wealthy. May I be careful in what I teach, careful about my attitude, and humbly sacrificial in giving all that You have given me back to You in service.

Scripture In Perspective

Jesus shares the parable of the Wedding Banquet, wherein He illustrates the principle that the Jews are the first invited, but their rebellion closes the door on their salvation. All are called without regard to Jew or Gentile, but only those who arrive in wedding clothes (the righteousness of Christ) will be permitted to enjoy the celebration. “For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matt. 22:14) echoes Jesus’ prior teachings that there are God-defined conditions for salvation.

Another ill-intended question from the religious authorities, “Which commandment in the law is the greatest?” (Matt. 22:36), Jesus turns in to a teachable moment by first telling them to love the Lord your God and your neighbor as yourself. By saying “all the law and prophets depend on these two commandments,” (vs. 40), Jesus intentionally uses the qualifier “all” to note that love is God’s filter through which everything related to the law and the prophets must be viewed.

Jesus poses a challenging question to the religious leaders by rhetorically asking, “How is it that they say that the Christ is David’s son?” (Luke 20:41). Asking, “If David then calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?” (vs. 44), Jesus implies that He is both man and God.

Although they carry authority as the descendants of the lawgiving role of Moses, Jesus pronounces seven woes upon the religious leaders, who block every effort by the people to respond to God and instead breed deception. He prophesies that He will send wise men whom they will “kill and crucify” (Matt. 23:34), and in so doing they will seal their own fate (“be held responsible,” vs. 36) — at the same time creating martyrs to the Truth in the spilling of righteous blood.

Jesus warns His disciples to “Beware of the experts in the Law” (Luke 20:46), pointing out their selfishness and impending punishment, and to not drift into similar pride.

The widow’s tiny offering of two small copper coins, “worth less than a penny” (Mark 12:42), was all that she had and was of comparatively little value contrasted with the gifts of the rich who merely gave a small fraction of their wealth. Jesus noted that hers was superior, because it was truly sacrificial giving.

Faith In Action

Consider

Have you observed, or perhaps been guilty and repented of, pride due to position or title, fame or wealth, power or prestige? How does our pride mislead others, to whom we should be showing a humble servant’s heart, about the teaching of Jesus?

Reflect

Filter something from the Old Testament law and prophets through what Jesus said — all must be about loving God and ones neighbor as oneself. Consider how that changes the sloppy understanding many have of the intent of God’s law. Consider especially what it means of Him, since all of the Law and the prophets pointed to Jesus the Christ.

Have you experienced those who defend man’s traditions, thereby planting spiritual weeds in the hearts of Believers and drowning out the Holy Spirit’s call to their continual discipleship and growth.

Pray

Ask the Holy Spirit where in the Old Testament you have misunderstood His intended meaning, in light of loving God and others.

Act

I will pray for protection from pride for the leaders among Believers, as well as for myself, and that if any have drifted into pride, they will discern, repent, and be healed.

Be Specific _____________________________________________

Thursday (Matthew 24:1-35; Mark 13:1-31; Luke 21:5-33)

Matthew

The Destruction of the Temple

24:1 Now as Jesus was going out of the temple courts and walking away, his disciples came to show him the temple buildings. 24:2 And he said to them, “Do you see all these things? I tell you the truth, not one stone will be left on another. All will be torn down!”

Signs of the End of the Age

24:3 As he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, his disciples came to him privately and said, “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” 24:4 Jesus answered them, “Watch out that no one misleads you. 24:5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will mislead many. 24:6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. Make sure that you are not alarmed, for this must happen, but the end is still to come. 24:7 For nation will rise up in arms against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 24:8 All these things are the beginning of birth pains.

Persecution of Disciples

24:9 “Then they will hand you over to be persecuted and will kill you. You will be hated by all the nations because of my name. 24:10 Then many will be led into sin, and they will betray one another and hate one another. 24:11 And many false prophets will appear and deceive many, 24:12 and because lawlessness will increase so much, the love of many will grow cold. 24:13 But the person who endures to the end will be saved. 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole inhabited earth as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.

The Abomination of Desolation

24:15 “So when you see the abomination of desolation – spoken about by Daniel the prophet – standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), 24:16 then those in Judea must flee to the mountains. 24:17 The one on the roof must not come down to take anything out of his house, 24:18 and the one in the field must not turn back to get his cloak. 24:19 Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing their babies in those days! 24:20 Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath. 24:21 For then there will be great suffering unlike anything that has happened from the beginning of the world until now, or ever will happen. 24:22 And if those days had not been cut short, no one would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. 24:23 Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe him. 24:24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 24:25 Remember, I have told you ahead of time. 24:26 So then, if someone says to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out, or ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe him. 24:27 For just like the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so the coming of the Son of Man will be. 24:28 Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.

The Arrival of the Son of Man

24:29 “Immediately after the suffering of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven will be shaken. 24:30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man arriving on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 24:31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet blast, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

The Parable of the Fig Tree

24:32 “Learn this parable from the fig tree: Whenever its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. 24:33 So also you, when you see all these things, know that he is near, right at the door. 24:34 I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. 24:35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

Mark

The Destruction of the Temple

13:1 Now as Jesus was going out of the temple courts, one of his disciples said to him, “Teacher, look at these tremendous stones and buildings!” 13:2 Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left on another. All will be torn down!”

Signs of the End of the Age

13:3 So while he was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked him privately, 13:4 “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that all these things are about to take place?” 13:5 Jesus began to say to them, “Watch out that no one misleads you. 13:6 Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and they will mislead many. 13:7 When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. These things must happen, but the end is still to come. 13:8 For nation will rise up in arms against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines. These are but the beginning of birth pains.

Persecution of Disciples

13:9 “You must watch out for yourselves. You will be handed over to councils and beaten in the synagogues. You will stand before governors and kings because of me, as a witness to them. 13:10 First the gospel must be preached to all nations. 13:11 When they arrest you and hand you over for trial, do not worry about what to speak. But say whatever is given you at that time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit. 13:12 Brother will hand over brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rise against parents and have them put to death. 13:13 You will be hated by everyone because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

The Abomination of Desolation

13:14 “But when you see the abomination of desolation standing where it should not be (let the reader understand), then those in Judea must flee to the mountains. 13:15 The one on the roof must not come down or go inside to take anything out of his house. 13:16 The one in the field must not turn back to get his cloak. 13:17 Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing their babies in those days! 13:18 Pray that it may not be in winter. 13:19 For in those days there will be suffering unlike anything that has happened from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, or ever will happen. 13:20 And if the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would be saved. But because of the elect, whom he chose, he has cut them short. 13:21 Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe him. 13:22 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, the elect. 13:23 Be careful! I have told you everything ahead of time.

The Arrival of the Son of Man

13:24 “But in those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light; 13:25 the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 13:26 Then everyone will see the Son of Man arriving in the clouds with great power and glory. 13:27 Then he will send angels and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.

The Parable of the Fig Tree

13:28 “Learn this parable from the fig tree: Whenever its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. 13:29 So also you, when you see these things happening, know that he is near, right at the door. 13:30 I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. 13:31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

Luke

The Signs of the End of the Age

21:5 Now while some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and offerings, Jesus said, 21:6 “As for these things that you are gazing at, the days will come when not one stone will be left on another. All will be torn down!” 21:7 So they asked him, “Teacher, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that these things are about to take place?” 21:8 He said, “Watch out that you are not misled. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them! 21:9 And when you hear of wars and rebellions, do not be afraid. For these things must happen first, but the end will not come at once.”

Persecution of Disciples

21:10 Then he said to them, “Nation will rise up in arms against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 21:11 There will be great earthquakes, and famines and plagues in various places, and there will be terrifying sights and great signs from heaven. 21:12 But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you, handing you over to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. 21:13 This will be a time for you to serve as witnesses. 21:14 Therefore be resolved not to rehearse ahead of time how to make your defense. 21:15 For I will give you the words along with the wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. 21:16 You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will have some of you put to death. 21:17 You will be hated by everyone because of my name. 21:18 Yet not a hair of your head will perish. 21:19 By your endurance you will gain your lives.

The Desolation of Jerusalem

21:20 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. 21:21 Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains. Those who are inside the city must depart. Those who are out in the country must not enter it, 21:22 because these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written. 21:23 Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing their babies in those days! For there will be great distress on the earth and wrath against this people. 21:24 They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led away as captives among all nations. Jerusalem will be trampled down by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

The Arrival of the Son of Man

21:25 “And there will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and on the earth nations will be in distress, anxious over the roaring of the sea and the surging waves. 21:26 People will be fainting from fear and from the expectation of what is coming on the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 21:27 Then they will see the Son of Man arriving in a cloud with power and great glory. 21:28 But when these things begin to happen, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

The Parable of the Fig Tree

21:29 Then he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the other trees. 21:30 When they sprout leaves, you see for yourselves and know that summer is now near. 21:31 So also you, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. 21:32 I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. 21:33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

Prayer

Lord, Your Word and Your instruction are always true. May I faithfully trust in You and obey Truth.

Scripture In Perspective

Jesus prophesies that the Temple will be utterly destroyed, a continuation of the punishment of rebellious Jerusalem: “Not one stone will be left on another. All will be torn down!” (Matt. 24:2). [Note: The Temple was destroyed in 70AD.]

Peter, James, John, and Andrew question Jesus as to when these things will happen, the Temple’s destruction being understood as a sign of the end times “about to take place” (Mark 13:4). Jesus warns them of so-called false Messiahs who will arise saying I am He and also provides a list of several other signs — He warns them not to be alarmed, because “these are but the beginnings of birth pains” (vs. 8). [Luke states a conditional that is rarely mentioned by those in a rush to forecast the timeframe of the last days of the End Times: “For these things must happen first, but the end will not come at once” (21:9b) means that all of the signs will come to pass and still a great deal of time will remain before the End of Time.]

Jesus describes future attacks (“they will seize you and persecute you,” Luke 21:12) against the disciples and other Believers by the religious leaders and anti-Biblical Christian zealots of many kinds. [It is notable that this was stated as a continuum both for the immediate experience of His disciples in the first Century and for those in the times following the coming of “many false prophets” (Matt. 24:11), when “lawlessness will increase so much” (vs. 12).]

Describing the “abomination of desolation,” (Mark 13:14), Jesus notes the obliteration of Jerusalem and the Tribulation (tribulation as ‘faith-related troubles’ and the Great Tribulation, or The Great Sifting of the faithful from the unrepentant-rebels) is yet to come.

Several important notes concerning these times are distributed across the Matthew, Mark, and Luke Gospel texts:

1) The Great Tribulation (or the Great Sifting) will be “cut short” (Matt. 24:22) so that the saved are not so overwhelmed that they are also destroyed. [This parallels the promise of 1 Corinthians 10:13, that the Lord God will not allow those who are His to be “tried beyond what you are able to bear.”]

2) Jesus reminds that He will return in such a way that “everyone will see” (Mark 13:26) at once that it is He, thus any isolated claims of the Messiah’s return others also ‘witnessed’ would be false.

3) The false messiahs and prophets will perform “great signs and wonders to deceive” (Matt. 24:24), but Jesus encourages Believers that they have been warned and “I have told you ahead of time” (vs. 25).

Jesus describes His return as “the Son of Man arriving in a cloud” (Luke 21:27) to bring final judgment and redemption. This will come at the height of the Great Tribulation, when the spiritual battle in the spiritual realm has reached its peak and darkness falls across the Heavens and the Earth. Jesus promises that He will send His angels with a great “trumpet blast” (Matt. 24:31) to announce His return — there will be no mistaking the true Messiah when He returns!

Using His “parable from the fig tree” (Mark 13:28), Jesus parallels the evidence of summer drawing near by a fig tree budding with the evidence of His own return — “when you see all these things, know that He is near” (Matt. 24:33). Notable is “this generation will not pass away until all these things take place,” (vs. 34): all these things refers to all the prophesies which preceded; and this generation refers to the end-times populace, an “unbelieving and perverse generation” (Matt. 17:17). Also notable is “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away”“ (Mark 13:31) — Jesus’ words “are more stable and lasting than creation itself!” (NET sn).

Faith In Action

Consider

The “signs of the times” are only one phase in the long journey from His resurrection to the Believers’ redemption. Severe troubles are prophesied for all people — including the Saved —during the Great Tribulation. The Lord God’s promise is that He will rescue His before they are overwhelmed, not that He will prevent them from experiencing any tribulation. How does that impact you?

As post-Fall Creation disintegrates it has led to chaos and conflict. Immediately following the ascension of Jesus a time of tribulation – challenges to believers for their faith – began, but the major sifting of the faithful from unrepentent-rebels during the Great Tribulation escalates the already raging spiritual battle and eventually comes to an end at the End of Time. Knowing what the end holds for Believers, eternity in Heaven, makes life in the present fallen world more bearable.

Reflect

Jesus warns of false Messiah’s and prophets, difficult times, persecution from unexpected sources, and the need for patience. Do you find it very difficult or easily-bearable to trust in His timing and that His ways are always perfect, so as to be patient despite your own idea as to what God should do and when?

Have you ever felt overwhelmed, then unexpectedly rescued by what could only have been the intervention of the Lord God? Does this assure you that, no matter what the world throws your way, God is with you?

Pray

Ask the Holy Spirit to empower you with a richer fellowship with Him, in both your prayer life, service, study, and worship.

Act

Today I commit myself to fellowship, prayer, service, study, and worship, so that I am both a valuable tool for His ministry and prepared to bear up in hard times. I will pray with and for a fellow Believer, that they will likewise be prepared in this way— together we will encourage one another to press on.

Be Specific ____________________________________________

Friday (Matthew 24:36–25:46; Mark 13:32-37; Luke 21:34-38; John 12:44-50)

Matthew

Be Ready!

24:36 “But as for that day and hour no one knows it – not even the angels in heaven – except the Father alone. 24:37 For just like the days of Noah were, so the coming of the Son of Man will be. 24:38 For in those days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark. 24:39 And they knew nothing until the flood came and took them all away. It will be the same at the coming of the Son of Man. 24:40 Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one left. 24:41 There will be two women grinding grain with a mill; one will be taken and one left.

24:42 “Therefore stay alert, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 24:43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have been alert and would not have let his house be broken into. 24:44 Therefore you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

The Faithful and Wise Slave

24:45 “Who then is the faithful and wise slave, whom the master has put in charge of his household, to give the other slaves their food at the proper time? 24:46 Blessed is that slave whom the master finds at work when he comes. 24:47 I tell you the truth, the master will put him in charge of all his possessions. 24:48 But if that evil slave should say to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ 24:49 and he begins to beat his fellow slaves and to eat and drink with drunkards, 24:50 then the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not foresee, 24:51 and will cut him in two, and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

The Parable of the Ten Virgins

25:1 “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 25:2 Five of the virgins were foolish, and five were wise. 25:3 When the foolish ones took their lamps, they did not take extra olive oil with them. 25:4 But the wise ones took flasks of olive oil with their lamps. 25:5 When the bridegroom was delayed a long time, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. 25:6 But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look, the bridegroom is here! Come out to meet him.’ 25:7 Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 25:8 The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, because our lamps are going out.’ 25:9 ‘No,’ they replied. ‘There won’t be enough for you and for us. Go instead to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ 25:10 But while they had gone to buy it, the bridegroom arrived, and those who were ready went inside with him to the wedding banquet. Then the door was shut. 25:11 Later, the other virgins came too, saying, ‘Lord, lord! Let us in!’ 25:12 But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I do not know you!’ 25:13 Therefore stay alert, because you do not know the day or the hour.

The Parable of the Talents

25:14 “For it is like a man going on a journey, who summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them. 25:15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 25:16 The one who had received five talents went off right away and put his money to work and gained five more. 25:17 In the same way, the one who had two gained two more. 25:18 But the one who had received one talent went out and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money in it. 25:19 After a long time, the master of those slaves came and settled his accounts with them. 25:20 The one who had received the five talents came and brought five more, saying, ‘Sir, you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’ 25:21 His master answered, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave! You have been faithful in a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 25:22 The one with the two talents also came and said, ‘Sir, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more.’ 25:23 His master answered, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave! You have been faithful with a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 25:24 Then the one who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Sir, I knew that you were a hard man, harvesting where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed, 25:25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’ 25:26 But his master answered, ‘Evil and lazy slave! So you knew that I harvest where I didn’t sow and gather where I didn’t scatter? 25:27 Then you should have deposited my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received my money back with interest! 25:28 Therefore take the talent from him and give it to the one who has ten. 25:29 For the one who has will be given more, and he will have more than enough. But the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 25:30 And throw that worthless slave into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

The Judgment

25:31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 25:32 All the nations will be assembled before him, and he will separate people one from another like a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 25:33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 25:34 Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 25:35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 25:36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 25:37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 25:38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or naked and clothe you? 25:39 When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 25:40 And the king will answer them, ‘I tell you the truth, just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did it for me.’

25:41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire that has been prepared for the devil and his angels! 25:42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink. 25:43 I was a stranger and you did not receive me as a guest, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 25:44 Then they too will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not give you whatever you needed?’ 25:45 Then he will answer them, ‘I tell you the truth, just as you did not do it for one of the least of these, you did not do it for me.’ 25:46 And these will depart into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Mark

Be Ready!

13:32 “But as for that day or hour no one knows it – neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son – except the Father. 13:33 Watch out! Stay alert! For you do not know when the time will come. 13:34 It is like a man going on a journey. He left his house and put his slaves in charge, assigning to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to stay alert. 13:35 Stay alert, then, because you do not know when the owner of the house will return – whether during evening, at midnight, when the rooster crows, or at dawn – 13:36 or else he might find you asleep when he returns suddenly. 13:37 What I say to you I say to everyone: Stay alert!”

Luke

Be Ready!

21:34 “But be on your guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day close down upon you suddenly like a trap. 21:35 For it will overtake all who live on the face of the whole earth. 21:36 But stay alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that must happen, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

21:37 So every day Jesus was teaching in the temple courts, but at night he went and stayed on the Mount of Olives. 21:38 And all the people came to him early in the morning to listen to him in the temple courts.

John

Jesus’ Final Public Words

12:44 But Jesus shouted out, “The one who believes in me does not believe in me, but in the one who sent me, 12:45 and the one who sees me sees the one who sent me. 12:46 I have come as a light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in darkness. 12:47 If anyone hears my words and does not obey them, I do not judge him. For I have not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 12:48 The one who rejects me and does not accept my words has a judge; the word I have spoken will judge him at the last day. 12:49 For I have not spoken from my own authority, but the Father himself who sent me has commanded me what I should say and what I should speak. 12:50 And I know that his commandment is eternal life. Thus the things I say, I say just as the Father has told me.”

Prayer

Lord, Your teaching presses upon us our responsibility to love one another and share Your good news with all the world. May I be found faithful, through the equipping of Your Holy Spirit, in doing both.

Scripture In Perspective

Calling upon His children “to be on your guard” (Luke 21:34) every day for His sudden return and to not be weighed down by the worries of this life, Jesus cautions that they “do not know when the time will come” (Mark 13:33). His return may be at the end of the Tribulation or immediately prior to the Judgment (“at midnight...or at dawn,” vs. 35).

Jesus uses the parable of the Faithful and Wise Slave to reinforce His expectation that His children are to be “faithful and wise” (Matt. 24:45) stewards of their resources, and to be His hands in humbly and lovingly touching the hungry and hurting amongst them.

In the telling of The Parable of the Ten Virgins, Jesus emphasizes God’s children being ready “to meet the bridegroom” (Matt. 25:1) and staying active. Five virgins are wise and prepared with the “olive oil” (vs. 4) of faithfulness, which they had stored up as if a treasure in Heaven — they therefore stand ready to shine the light of their worship. Five are careless and shallow, without testimony or treasure, and unable to shine their light, for they have no stored oil of faithfulness.

Jesus shares a parable of servants entrusted with “talents” (Matt. 25:15) to wisely manage for their master in his absence. Two of the servants invest his talents and produce gains upon their master’s return, one makes no effort. The master rewards the two and punishes the one. Jesus’ message is that He has delegated authority and responsibility to us to manage His Kingdom on Earth in His absence. He will judge us based on our faithfulness to use our time and resources wisely. Those who share His heart’s desire to multiply His Kingdom will “enter in to the joy” (Matt. 25:23) of their Master when He returns; those who merely act religious, yet lack His heart for ministry, will be thrown in to “the outer darkness” (vs. 30), absent His light.

God’s standard at Judgment is the transformed heart-life of those who are truly saved and function sacrificially, loving God by loving others: “as you did it for one of the least of these...you did it for Me” (Matt. 25:40). The converse being, those who fail to live in such a manner are absent the mark of salvation (which is evidenced by the fruits which flow from the indwelling Holy Spirit).

Sharing His final public words, Jesus restates His standing as God (“the one who sees Me sees the One Who sent Me,” John 12:45) and the consequences of rebellion (“the word I have spoken will judge him at the last day,” (vs. 48). Jesus declares that the words He speaks are “just as the Father has told me” (vs. 50).

Faith In Action

Consider

Jesus expects His children to express their loving gratitude to Him by sharing His love with others. Does that seem too much for Him to ask?

Do we have a ready answer for the one who asks the reason for our faith? Or are we like the careless and shallow five virgins, without testimony or treasure to shine as light in a dark world?

Reflect

The Creator God provides for the salvation of those who will give up that which is worth nothing in order to accept that which is worth everything, the free gift of eternal life.

Recall an opportunity given to you by God to share His Word with the unsaved or to encourage discipleship in Believers. Did you invest yourself and your time in them or hold back with fear-induced caution?

Pray

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you where you have chosen to make yourself available for service as His instrument of blessing.

Act

Today I will reflect upon the past twelve months and prayerfully make a list of at least twelve acts of sacrificial service I made, as God’s hands and feet in this broken and dying world.

Be Specific _____________________________________________

Saturday (John 13:1-17)

Washing the Disciples’ Feet

13:1 Just before the Passover feast, Jesus knew that his time had come to depart from this world to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now loved them to the very end. 13:2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, that he should betray Jesus. 13:3 Because Jesus knew that the Father had handed all things over to him, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 13:4 he got up from the meal, removed his outer clothes, took a towel and tied it around himself. 13:5 He poured water into the washbasin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel he had wrapped around himself.

13:6 Then he came to Simon Peter. Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 13:7 Jesus replied, “You do not understand what I am doing now, but you will understand after these things.” 13:8 Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet!” Jesus replied, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” 13:9 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head!” 13:10 Jesus replied, “The one who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean. And you disciples are clean, but not every one of you.” 13:11 (For Jesus knew the one who was going to betray him. For this reason he said, “Not every one of you is clean.”)

13:12 So when Jesus had washed their feet and put his outer clothing back on, he took his place at the table again and said to them, “Do you understand what I have done for you? 13:13 You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and do so correctly, for that is what I am. 13:14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you too ought to wash one another’s feet. 13:15 For I have given you an example – you should do just as I have done for you. 13:16 I tell you the solemn truth, the slave is not greater than his master, nor is the one who is sent as a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 13:17 If you understand these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

Prayer

Lord, You model humility and are the only One Who has no need to seek humility. You also remind us that Your teaching is the final Word and no man is to ever alter it. May I learn greater humility from You and teach humility, by way of example, to others.

Scripture In Perspective

Jesus illustrates the depth of His love through the washing of His disciples’ feet. Peter questions why He is humbling Himself in this way. Jesus tells him that they will all understand ‘after these things” (John 13:7): The things He had been teaching them, which they had struggled to understand and accept, in explanation of what He would soon endure and why. By the washing of their feet, He shows just how humble He is to be for the sake of providing for their salvation.

Declaring that the disciples were right to call Him “‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord’“ (vs. 13), something He had previously taught must only be reserved for God, Jesus once again affirms His deity.

In explanation of why He is washing their feet, Jesus points out that it illustrates what is expected of His followers, to serve one another in love. He tells them to do “just as I have done for you” (vs. 15), humbly serving others as in the symbolic washing of others’ feet.

Jesus reminds that He is sending them out as His messengers and the one sent is never “greater than the One who sent him” (vs. 16). Making no changes to His priorities, loving God first and then others, Jesus says, “you will be blessed if you do them” (vs. 17).

Faith In Action

Consider

The Creator God kneels to wash the feet of His followers, as a role model for their walk with Him. How often have we been so humble in the teaching of those who look to us as an example?

When have you observed some who claim the name of Christ, assert that they are His messengers, but then exalt themselves in prideful arrogance — despite His clear warning?

Reflect

In many ways mankind has placed his own preferences and priorities, superstitions and traditions on a par with, and even above, the Word of God. Jesus warns against this. Contemplate the harm to the testimony of Christ, to Truth, and to a witness that could have lead to another’s salvation — all have been compromised.

When has knowledge of the deity of Christ motivated you to lift His perspective and priorities above those of any world view?

Pray

Ask the Holy Spirit to empower you in demonstrating the loving humility of a child of God to a doubting world.

Act

Today I will seek opportunity to demonstrate humility and a servant’s heart of love by symbolically washing the feet of a brother or sister whom I have found it difficult to love. This may be through offering to assist them with an unpleasant task, doing them an unexpected favor, or exhibiting another practical expression of love.

Be Specific ____________________________________________

All Bible text is from the NET unless otherwise indicated - http://bible.org

Note 1: These Studies often rely upon the guidance of the NET Translators from their associated notes. Careful attention has been given to cite that source where it has been quoted directly or closely paraphrased. Feedback is encouraged where credit has not been sufficiently assigned.

Note 2: When NET text is quoted in commentary and discussion all pronouns referring to God are capitalized, though they are lower-case in the original NET text.

Commentary text is from David M. Colburn, D.Min. unless otherwise noted.

Copyright © 2012 by David M. Colburn. This is a BibleSeven Study –“The Chronological Gospels” – “Week 10 of 12” - prepared by David M. Colburn and edited for bible.org in July of 2012. This text may be used for non-profit educational purposes only, with credit; all other usage requires prior written consent of the author.

 

Related Topics: Devotionals, Curriculum