Welcome to Week 17 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 into the Gospel of Matthew!
Jesus speaks to the people in parables, telling them the parable of the sower, the parable of the weeds, the parables of the mustard seed and yeast, the parables of the hidden treasure and the pearl, and the parable of the net. Once he finished telling the parables, he left that place and returned to his hometown where he began teaching the people in the synagogue. The people were amazed but also took offense at him because they knew him and his family. They didn’t understand where he got the ability to do everything. Jesus did not perform many miracles there due to their lack of faith.
Herod ordered the beheading of John the Baptist in prison at the request of the daughter of Herodias. When Jesus heard this, he withdrew to a solitary place, but the crowds followed him. He had compassion on them and healed their sick. He then fed over 5,000 men plus women and children using only five loaves of bread and two fish. Afterward, he ordered the disciples to get in the boat and go ahead of him while he went by himself to the moutainside to pray. Jesus later went out to the boat, walking on water. The disciples were terrified. Peter walked toward Jesus on the water but when he became scared, he began to sink. Jesus rescued him and admonished him to not doubt. They crossed the lake, landing at Gennesaret.
The Pharisees questioned Jesus asking why his disciples do not wash their hands before they eat. Jesus explains what defiles a person – the things that come out of the mouth from the heart, not eating with unwashed hands. He then left that place and moved on to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman came to him asking him to help her daughter who was possessed by a demon. Jesus recognized her great faith and granted her request. He then moved along to the Sea of Galilee and healed all of the blind, lame, mute and crippled who were brought to him. He then fed the crowd of four thousand men plus women and children using only seven loaves of bread and a few fish.
The Pharisees and Sadducees demanded that Jesus show them a sign from Heaven. Jesus refuses and says that none will be given except the sign of Jonah. Jesus warned his disciples to be on guard against the teaching (yeast) of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Peter declares that Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus says that his church will be built on Peter, the rock. From that point, Jesus began predicting his death and the suffering that he would endure.
Six days later, Jesus took Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There Jesus was transfigured. Moses and Elijah appeared before them, talking with Jesus. A voice from a cloud said “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” The disciples were terrified and fell facedown. Jesus told them to not be afraid. When they looked up, only Jesus was there. Jesus told them not to tell anyone what they had seen until he was raised from the dead. When they returned to the crowd, Jesus heals a demon-possessed boy that the disciples were unable to heal. He then predicts his death a second time.
Have a great week!