Monday, June 21, 2010 Matthew 24:1-28
These verses combine events that would happen at the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. with events that would happen at Jesus’ final coming. Compare Mark 13:1-37 and Luke 21:5-36. What events lead the disciples into thinking the end has come (4-7)? What keeps us from being deceived by the false prophets (11, 14)? How does this passage affect your lifestyle? Has your love for God and others grown cold (12)? What does Jesus promise for those who remain firm (13)?
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 Matthew 24:29-51
Verses 36-51 tell us that the day and hour of Christ’s return is unknown. In what way was the flood like the second coming of Christ (37-39)? What does it mean to be ready for Jesus’ return if we do not know when he will come? What does the story of the wise and faithful servant teach you about readiness (45-47)? About stewardship? Judgment? Responsibility for serving and witnessing to others? How does the knowledge that Jesus will return one day affect your decisions and behavior now?
Wednesday, June 23, 2010 Matthew 25
In this passage, Jesus tells three parables to clarify what it means to be ready for his return, and how we are to live until he returns. In the story of the ten virgins (1-13) we learn that of each of us is responsible for our own spiritual condition. What is the “oil” that keeps your “lamp” lit? In the parable of the three talents (14-30), God reminds us of the necessity of using well all that God has entrusted to us. If Jesus returned today, how much of your talents would he say you are using for him right now? In the parable of the sheep and the goats (31-46), God defines our role in serving others. What do these verses teach us about Christian responsibility?
Thursday, June 24, 2010 Matthew 26:1-35
Verses 6-13 relate to us Jesus’ anointing at Bethany. The woman is Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, who lives in Bethany (John 12:1-3). Verse 8 tells that the disciples are indignant, and John 12:4 singles out Judas Iscariot as being especially indignant. What justifies this woman’s act (12)? Why are the disciples, especially Judas, so upset? How does this relate to what happens in 14-16? The woman gives lavishly for Jesus, and Judas wants to see what he can get from him (7). In what ways are you like Judas? Like the woman? What beautiful thing could you do this week for Jesus, or the least of these? Spend some time in prayer.
Friday, June 25, 2010 Matthew 26:36-75
Verses 36-46 tell us about Jesus in Gethsemane. What emotions must Jesus be feeling in Gethsemane? What does he ask of his disciples? Of God? What is God’s will (39,42)? What prayer does Jesus model for us here? How are you at praying “not my will, but thy will, be done?” What has been the Gethsemane in your life, a place where you wrestled with God? Who would you want to watch and pray with you the next time you face a Gethsemane? What do you appreciate the most about Jesus’ emotions and prayers in this story?
Saturday, June 26, 2010 Matthew 27:1-31
Verses 11-26 describe Jesus’ trial before Pilate. (Read also Mark 15:2-5, Luke 23:1-5 and John 18:28-38.) The religious leaders have accused Jesus of blasphemy (claiming to be God), but they need to find a different crime, because that one is meaningless to the Romans. The new charges are: encouraging others to not pay taxes, claiming to be a king, and causing riots. What was Pilate’s real concern in this trial? Identifying the Messiah? Hearing Jesus out? Doing justice? Appeasement? Is Pilate more concerned about his wife? His conscience? How does he know envy is a motive (18)? How concerned is Pilate about Jesus’ innocence? Who do you identify with in this story: Jesus, Pilate, Pilate’s wife, the crowd, the chief priests, or Barabbas? Why? If Jesus came today, who would crucify him? What would be the charge against him? Where would you be? Does reading this passage deepen your appreciation of what Christ did for you? Spend some time in prayer, expressing your feelings to him.
Sunday, June 27, 2010 Psalm 22
This psalm, written by David, carries us from great suffering into great joy. Despite apparent rejection from both his friends and God, David believes that God will lead him out of despair, and that one day God will rule the entire earth. The suffering in this psalm is an amazing description of the suffering the Messiah will endure hundreds of years later. How do you express yourself when you are stricken with grief, feeling even abandoned by God? Tears? Anger? “Woe is me?” Bargaining with God? Faith in spite of a bleak outlook? This psalm reminds us that others have suffered and felt despair, even Jesus! How does that help you? Spend some time in prayer turning all of your grief, fear, anxiety and pain over to God. “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” (1 Peter 5:7).