This is last week’s summary – my apologies for the delay!
Welcome to Week 19 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 warns against hypocrisy. He tells the crowd that they should listen to the teachers of the law but they should not do what they do because they do not practice what they preach. Everything they do is for people to see. Jesus says that the greatest among them will be their servant. “Those who exalt themselves will be humbled and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Jesus goes on to share the seven woes on the teachers of the law and Pharisees.
The disciples ask Jesus what will be the sign of His coming and the end of the age. Jesus responds that they should watch that no one deceives them. He says that many will come claiming to be the Messiah and deceive many. Wars and rumors of wars must happen; nation against nation; kingdom against kingdom. Famines and earthquakes, too, all of this signaling the beginning of birth pains. Jesus continues and says that they will be persecuted and put to death and hated. Many will turn away from the faith. False prophets will rise up and deceive many. Love for others will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And when the gospel is preached to the whole world, the end will come. They should not believe anyone else who rises up and claims that the Messiah has come. Only the Father knows the day and hour that all this will happen. They should always be ready, though, for the Son of Man will come at a time when they do not expect it.
Jesus tells two parables – the ten virgins and the bags of gold. We must always be prepared for the coming of the Messiah. Whoever is faithful with what the Lord has given to him will be given more. Jesus explains that whatever they did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of His, they did for Him.
The elders and chief priests scheme to arrest Jesus. A woman anoints Jesus with an alabaster jar of expensive perfume. Judas Iscariot goes to the chief priests and agrees to betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. Jesus brings His disciples together for the Last Supper and explains that one of them will betray Him. Jesus also predicts that Peter will deny Him three times. Then Jesus went with His disciples to Gethsemane. He took Peter and two sons of Zebedee with Him while He prayed, asking them to keep watch. Jesus prayed three separate times to His Father, asking for the cup to be taken from Him but for His Father’s will to be done. The disciples who were keeping watch kept falling asleep. Judas then arrived with a large crowd and he kissed Jesus on the cheek, signaling it was Him to be arrested. Jesus was taken into custody and brought before the Sanhedrin. They could not find any evidence to put Him to death but convicted Him anyway by saying He committed blasphemy. Peter denies Jesus three times.
Judas is filled with remorse and returns the thirty pieces of silver and hangs himself. The chief priests use the blood money to buy a field as a burial place for foreigners. Meanwhile, Jesus stood before Pilate, the governor. Pilate asked the crowd which prisoner they wanted him to release and they demanded the release of Barabbas. Jesus was sentenced to die by crucifixion despite the lack of evidence. The soldiers mocked Jesus by putting a crown of thorns on Him and a scarlet robe. They spit on Him and beat Him. Jesus is crucified with two other prisoners, one on His right and one on His left. People walked by, hurling insults at Him. When He gave up His Spirit, the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom and the earth shook, rocks split, and tombs broke open. When the centurion and those guarding Jesus saw what happened, they were terrified and exclaimed that He was the Son of God. Joseph of Arimathea prepared Jesus body for burial, placed it in a new tomb, and rolled a big rock in front of the tomb. The chief priests and Pharisees made the tomb secure and posted a guard.
Have a great week!