May 1 – Matthew 20
LOOK: Jesus tells the story about workers in a vineyard and how they were paid by the owner. Some worked all day for a days wage and others only an hour for the same wage. The workers that worked all day were upset, feeling like they deserved more pay (I would be upset too!). Jesus makes a point about forgiveness and future reward as a matter of grace from God that only He can give and choose to lavish on whoever He chooses. Next a mother requests prominent positions in the future kingdom for her sons. Jesus explains that the request was inappropriate and then deals with the other disciples who were upset about the request. Jesus reminds His disciples for the third time that He was heading to Jerusalem to suffer and die. Jesus takes the time to heal two blind men on the roadside.
LISTEN: The story from the vineyard is a great reminder of the nature of grace. Grace is undeserved favor and unwarranted forgiveness. Grace is not getting what you deserve (Hell) and instead getting what you don’t deserve (Heaven). Who are we to consider judging the fairness of God? We should be thankful that God chooses to be gracious and not “fair”.
LEARN: Have you thanked God lately for His grace? Have you stopped to consider what your eternal destiny would be if not for the grace of God?
May 1 – Matthew 20
April 30 – Matthew 19
LOOK: Divorce is the next topic and we’ve been debating what Jesus meant ever since…I don’t think it should be so confusing…God takes oaths and vows very seriously. These chapters end with a rich man wanting to know what good thing he must do to earn heaven. The man leaves sad because he is not willing to give everything up for Jesus…He’s too attached to what he has to get what he really needs.
LISTEN: there is so much to learn from these chapters…take the time to listen and learn.
LEARN: What do you have a hard time surrendering to Jesus? Is anything in this life more important than eternal life to you?
April 28 – Matthew 17 & 18 (error on schedule)
LOOK: The Transfiguration happens in this chapter. Peter, James and John are with Jesus when they experience this incredible happening. They are astonished and not sure how to react. How awesome this had to have been for these guys to experience the relationship between God the Father and God the Son. Jesus then heals a man’s demon-possessed son because of the man’s faith. I love the temple tax section because it reveals that all the disciples but Peter and Jesus were teenagers!! In Chapter 18 shows God’s love for young people…first showing a child as the answer to “who is the greatest in heaven?” then warning about causing any child to sin. He continues by talking about how much heaven rejoices when any “little one” comes to God.
LISTEN: The story of Jesus healing the man’s demon-possessed son is amazing! The disciples were not able to help this family and I’m sure they had to be frustrated. Jesus rebukes the crowd for their unbelief and proceeds to heal the boy. He then uses the experience to teach His disciples about faith. In chapter 18 Jesus talks about sin…causing others to sin, when someone sins against you and forgiving others in this sin cursed world.
LEARN: Do you have the faith of a mustard seed? Any mountains move lately? How are you making every effort to let the “little ones” know about God? How are you handling your sin and the sins against you?
April 27 – Proverbs 17
LOOK: “Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.”
“Better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than a fool bent on folly.”
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”
LISTEN: These are a few of the great proverbs from this passage.
LEARN: Which are your favorites?
April 26 – Matthew 16
LOOK: “Red at night…sailor’s delight. Red in the morning…sailor’s take warning.” This famous line used by fisherman is used by Jesus to rebuke those who were asking for a sign from heaven. Jesus warns the disciples to watch out for people like the Pharisees who were religious but lost. Peter gets commended for answering correctly about Who Jesus was and then later is rebuked for not understanding that Jesus came to suffer and die for our sins. Jesus is preparing His disciples for the fact that His death was coming soon.
LISTEN: I really like the fact that Peter gets it right one minute and the next Jesus is saying, “Get behind me, Satan”. I can definitely relate to Peter and appreciate his experience of highs and lows in his journey with Christ. Remember, at one point he was the only one with enough faith to get out of the boat and walk on water but the next minute he’s heading down about to drown.
LEARN: How’s your journey with Christ? Are you experiencing some highs and lows? Don’t be discouraged…it’s all part of the journey. Keep growing!