April 10, 2012

Lenten Lessons

I have read the Bible from cover to cover at least three times and I am starting my fourth.  I have read other books of the Bible in depth at least once.  Every Easter, I read through one of the gospels. I am not saying this to brag, but to demonstrate the reason I read it so much:  each time I read the Bible, I read something that hasn't caught my attention in the past.

This year has been no different.  For Bridgetender Homeschool, we have been reading through Matthew for the season of Lent.  And the Easter message on Sunday was from Matthew 28:1-10. Here are some of my notes from our readings:
  • Matthew 1:1-16 is a list of Jesus' lineage.  There are four women in the list--Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheeba.  At least three of these women were Gentiles and one, Bathsheeba, was married to a Gentile before becoming David's wife.  If God lets non-Jews to be part of Jesus' human ancestry, wouldn't that foreshadow His desire to bring people from all nations into His family?
  • In Matthew 4:1-11, Satan tempted Jesus three times.  The first time, he tempted Jesus with physical gratification and Jesus answered the temptation with Scripture. Satan counter-attacked Jesus by mis-using Scripture and Jesus refuted it with properly-applied Scripture.  Satan tempted Jesus with worldly power and Jesus replied with Scripture.  Isn't that a good argument for memorizing scripture?
  • In Matthew 4:13-15, Jesus  moved to Capernaum.  In his lifetime, he had three other places that he called home--Nazareth, Bethlehem (birthplace), and Egypt (refuge).  All four of these homes were prophesied hundreds of years before he was born.  Capernaum is the first place in which he was able to choose where he lived.  
  • Matthew 6 begins with Jesus telling people not to make a spectacle of their faith to get other people's approval.  This commandment is to fulfill the commandment to worship God alone.  Then, when he performs his first miracle as recorded by Matthew, he directs the man he has healed to tell no one, but to go to the priests and offer sacrifices to God for being healed.  He actually walks the talk!
  • Jesus never used manipulations or salesmanship when calling his disciples in Matthew 4:17-22.  He just gives a word to follow him and they do.  Then he shows his disciples what to do by preaching God's word, His good news and healing people.  The Word speaks and does, once again.
  • Many times, the Pharisees try to trap Jesus into doing or saying something that will bring the wrath of Rome on him.  They try and trick him into discrediting God (Matthew 12:1-14; 15:1-9; 16:1-4; 19:1-11; 21:23-27; 22:15-40).  Jesus avoids each and every trap and manages to stump the Pharisee with just a few questions (Matthew 21:23-27; 22:41-46).
  • Anyone who thinks Jesus is meek, mild and loving, without anger has not read Matthew 23.
  • In Matthew 28:1-10, the big, burly, Roman soldiers, the terror of the known world, see one of God's angles and faint like delicate flowers in the desert summer sun.  The women who had followed Jesus while he was living come to finish the burial process, see the angel and maintain enough command of their senses to actually listen to him.  I do not think that this is evidence that "girls rule and boys drool."  Instead, I wonder if the men fainted because what they saw as unbelievers is the wrath of God emanating from the angel, while the women saw God's grace and mercy from their time with Jesus.
It was a great season of Lent and a great Easter weekend.  I hope yours was great, too.  Now we have entered the season of Pentecost, when Jesus' disciples wait for the promised Holy Spirit to annoint them with the same power that Jesus has.  Matt Maher has a great blog about Easter and post-Easter here.

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