Welcome to Week 18 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 continued the Gospel of Matthew!
Jesus answers the question, “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?” by answering that it is anyone who is humble like a child. We should not hinder any child from coming to Jesus. In fact, anything that causes us to sin should be cut off. Jesus then moves into the parable of the lost sheep. Our Father in Heaven will chase after every one of the lost like a farmer who loses one of his sheep. Jesus then moves into a discussion of how to handle sin in the church – specifically how to handle an issue with a brother or sister in Christ. Peter then asks Jesus how many times he should forgive a brother or sister who sins against him. Jesus answers, “not seven times, but seventy-seven times”. He then launches into the parable of the unmerciful servant which illustrates the point that the Lord forgave us so we should have mercy and forgive others.
The Pharisees question Jesus about divorce asking if it is lawful to divorce for any reason. Jesus explains the covenant of marriage from Genesis and that Moses allowed divorce because of the Israelites hard hearts. Later, many people brought their children to Jesus but the disciples tried to stop them, apparently forgetting the conversation from chapter 18! Jesus tells them to let the children come for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to them. Right after, a rich man approaches Jesus and asks how he can enter the Kingdom. Jesus tells him to keep the commandments which the man says he has done. Jesus then tells him to sell everything he owns, give to the poor, and follow Him. The man was unable to do this. Jesus explains that it is difficult for the rich to to be saved but with God all things are possible.
The chapter begins with Jesus telling the parable of the workers in the vineyard. The landowner pays the same wage to each worker no matter what time they started during the day. God will also save any one of who calls on Jesus and puts our faith and truth in Him at any point during our life, even on our deathbed. Jesus again predicts his death and resurrection. The mother of Zebedee’s sons asks Jesus if her children can sit on the right and left of Him in Heaven. Jesus says that it is up to His Father who sits in those seats. He says whoever wants to be greatest must be a servant. As He was leaving Jericho, he healed two blind men.
Jesus enters Jerusalem on a donkey, fulfilling the prophecy from Zechariah. The crowds went ahead of him chanting “Hosannah”. When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city asked, “Who is this?” The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.” (v. 11) Jesus entered the temple and drove out all of those who were buying and selling, saying that His house is a house of prayer. As he was teaching in the temple courts, the chief priests and elders questioned his authority. He tells two parables – one about the two sons and one about the tenants. The Pharisees knew he was talking about them and looked for a way to arrest him.
Jesus tells the parable of the wedding banquet. The Pharisees try to trap Jesus in his words regarding paying taxes to Caesar. Jesus says to, “give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” Jesus explains marriage at the resurrection to the Sadducees who do not believe in bodily resurrection. Jesus sums up the law by saying to love God and love people.
Have a great week!