Monday, June 14, 2010 Matthew 18
One of the greatest barriers to spiritual growth is knowing what to do about forgiveness. The rabbis taught that people should forgive those who had offended them three times. Peter raised that number to seven times. What does Jesus’ answer say about forgiveness in the Kingdom (22)? How does the parable of the unmerciful servant extend Jesus’ teaching on forgiveness (23-35)? What do we deny ourselves when we refuse to forgive (31-35)? What is helpful to you when forgiving those who have wronged you? What keeps you from forgiving? Is there a connection between forgiveness and health and wholeness?
Tuesday, June 15, 2010 Matthew 19
The focus is on verses 16-30. What appears to be the young man’s view on how to obtain eternal life? What is Jesus’ reply (17-19; also read Exodus 20)? What is the general subject of the six commandments that Jesus mentions? When the young man says that he has kept the commandments, what does Jesus ask him to do (21)? Why is it so difficult for the rich to enter the Kingdom? On what basis, rich or poor, is it possible for anyone to enter the Kingdom of heaven (26-30)? Jesus hit the young man where it hurts: his wallet. If Jesus were to address you where it hurts, where would that be? What have you given up to follow Jesus? How is your life different because of it?
Wednesday, June 16, 2010 Matthew 20
Do you ever get frustrated when life just isn’t fair? The focus today is on verses 1-16. We learn that God’s grace and mercy transcend all human ideas of fairness. If you had been one of the first workers hired, how would you have felt at pay time? Why is this parable told here (see 19:30 and 20:16)? In this parable, Jesus is the landowner and the believers are the workers. Have you ever been jealous of what God has given to another person? How do you feel about last-minute converts getting the same benefits as you in the Kingdom? Would you recommend that people wait until they are dying to accept Christ, so that they won’t have to work so hard and give up so much? Why or why not? Lift up your heart in praise and thanksgiving for the generosity of our God. Thank him for his gracious benefits to you; be thankful for what you have.
Thursday, June 17, 2010 Matthew 21
Today’s focus is on verses 33-46 (read also Mark 12:1-12 and Luke 20:9-19). In this parable, the main elements are: 1. the landowner – God; 2. the vineyard – Israel; 3. the tenant farmers – the Jewish religious leaders; 4. the landowner’s servants – the prophets and priests who remained faithful to God and preached to Israel; 5. the Son – Jesus; and 6. the other tenants – the Gentiles. To whom does Jesus direct the parable? Jesus uses this parable to show that one truth can affect people in different ways, depending on how they relate to it (see Isaiah 8:14-15 and 28:16; also Daniel 2:34, 44-45). At different times in your life, how have you received Jesus? Is Jesus the cornerstone of your life?
Friday, June 18, 2010 Matthew 22
Verses 34-40 are the focus for today. Here an expert in religious law asks Jesus to identify the most important law. Jesus quotes from Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18. What is his answer? Why does Jesus emphasize loving God with all of our heart, mind and soul? How is loving God related to loving people? If we truly love God and our neighbor, will we naturally keep the commandments? In what way do you want to grow right now? Toward God? Toward those in your family? Toward the needy? Toward yourself? Pray about how you might do so.
Saturday, June 19, 2010 Matthew 23
What, according to Jesus, is the Pharisees’ main evil? How can the disciples keep from falling into the same evil? What distinction does Jesus make between his followers and the Pharisees? Compare the path to greatness followed by the Pharisees with that taught by Jesus (5-12). In what way are the religious leaders condemned to repeat the past, because of their failure to learn from their forefathers (29-36)? What is Jesus saying to you in this passage? How can you avoid “talking the talk” but not “walking the walk”? What does this passage say to today’s leaders and pastors?
Sunday, June 20, 2010 Psalm 84
This psalm reminds us that God’s living presence is our greatest joy! Going into his dwelling place helps us step aside from the busyness of life and quiet our souls through meditation and prayer. We find joy, strength, and fellowship with other believers. What a special place it is. Praise God for our freedom of religion and our temple!