Welcome to Week 14 of the Higher Hope Church 2018 New Testament Reading Plan! If you haven’t already, go pick up your 5x5x5 Reading Plan and join our private Facebook group for daily interaction and discussion. This week we finished James and started Gospel of Matthew!
James proclaims the importance of taming the tongue. It is capable of corrupting the whole body. It is used to praise our Heavenly Father and also used to curse other human beings, are also made in God’s image like the rest of us. The tongue is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. We must be careful what comes out of our mouths. James goes on to explain that there are two types of wisdom – one that is earthly, unspiritual, and demonic which produces bitter envy and selfish ambition. The other wisdom is from Heaven and is pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy, impartial, and sincere.
James begins the chapter by discussing submission to God. We are at war with our own desires and our friendship with the world is at odds with God’s ways. We must resist, turn from our selfish ways, and humble ourselves before the Lord. We must also be careful of boasting in ourselves and give all glory to God. If we know the good we should be doing and don’t do it, then it is considered sin.
James launches into the final chapter with a warning against the rich oppressor. He tells them of the misery coming for hoarding wealth, failing to pay wages, and living in self-indulgence.
He tells his fellow brothers and sisters to be patient in their suffering for the Lord is coming and He is a righteous Judge, full of compassion and mercy. He tells them not to swear by anything on heaven or earth, a simple yes or no will suffice. He encourages them to pray in faith as the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. He also exhorts them to help each other if one should drift from the truth.
The Gospel of Matthew opens with the genealogy of Jesus, the Messiah – the son of David, the son of Abraham. Matthew recounts the story of Joseph and Mary and how they were going to be married but Mary found herself pregnant through the Holy Spirit. He planned to leave her quietly so as to not disgrace her publicly; however, the angel of the Lord came to Joseph and explained the situation. This had to happen to fulfill the prophecy from the Old Testament. So, Joseph took Mary as his wife and she gave birth to a son who was named Jesus.
After Jesus was born, the Magi came from the east to worship Him. King Herod plotted to kill Jesus (by killing all boys under age 2) but Joseph escaped with Mary and Jesus to Egypt. Upon Herod’s death, Joseph took Mary and Jesus to Israel per the Lord’s instructions. They resided in the district of Galilee, in the town of Nazareth, fulfilling the prophecy that the Messiah would be called a Nazarene.
Have a great week!