Welcome to Week 15 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 further into the Gospel of Matthew!
John the Baptist came to prepare the way for Jesus. He preached repentance and baptized people in the Jordan River. He announced that One was coming after him who was more powerful and would baptize them with the Holy Spirit. Jesus then arrived and John baptized Him. At that moment, the heavens opened and the Spirit of God descended upon Jesus. A voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
Jesus was then led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Jesus endured three tests from the devil, using the Word of God to rebuke satan. The devil then left and the angels attended to Him. Jesus then begins His ministry and preaches a gospel of repentance. He called his first disciples – Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. He began teaching and preaching throughout Galilee and healing the sick. Large crowds followed him.
When Jesus saw the crowds, he withdrew to the mountainside with his disciples and began to teach them. He recounts the Beatitudes and discusses how they are blessed when people persecute them because of Him. He encourages them to be salt and light to the world and not to hide. He has come not to abolish the Law but to fulfill it. Jesus specifically discusses the topics of murder, adultery, divorce, oaths, revenge, and loving your enemy.
Jesus continues his discourse from chapter 5, discussing the topics of: giving to the needy, prayer, fasting, treasures in Heaven, and worry. He specifically admonishes those who give, pray, and fast to make themselves look better in front of others. These activities should be done in secret between you and your Father in Heaven. We should also be careful to store up treasures in Heaven and not treasures here on earth that will waste away. He ends the chapter with an encouragement not to worry – that the Lord takes care of the birds of the air so He will surely care for each one of us.
Jesus continues on to discuss the topics of judging others, asking/seeking/knocking, the narrow and wide gate, true and false prophets, true and false disciples, and the wise and foolish builders. He begins by exhorting us to look at the plank in our own eye before looking at the speck of sawdust in someone else’s. He encourages us to do to others what you would have them do to you. This sums up the Law and the Prophets. We must be on guard for false prophets who will be known by their fruit. Jesus ends the chapter by stating that anyone who hears His words and puts them into practice is wise. The crowds were amazed at His teaching because He taught as one who had authority.
Have a great week!