Sunday, November 04, 2012

November 4, 2012 … Jesus, Setting Things Straight

Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Day 309

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Matthew, Chapters 23 To study these chapters, go to this link -

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Luke, Chapters 20-21 To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Passages: Matthew 23: 11-13; : [NLT] … { Jesus grieved to see the religious leaders, the Rabbis, the Pharisees, and the Jewish political leaders as hypcrites, conning the controlling the people with their religious hypocrisy. Hence His condemnation of their behavior and teaching. }  
10 “… And don’t let anyone call you ‘Master,’ for there is only one master, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you must be a servant. 12 But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. 13 “How terrible it will be for you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you won’t let others enter the Kingdom of Heaven, and you won’t go in yourselves. … [And to all the people] … “39 For I tell you this, you will never see me again until you say, ‘Bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord!’” [quoting Psalm 118: 26]
Highlight Passages: Luke 20: 45-47 : [NLT] … { Being an Elder in our church and a teacher of God’s word, these warnings take on a very personal meaning. }  
45 Then, with the crowds listening, He turned to his disciples and said, 46 “Beware of these teachers of religious law! For they love to parade in flowing robes and to have everyone bow to them as they walk in the marketplaces. And how they love the seats of honor in the synagogues and at banquets. 47 But they shamelessly cheat widows out of their property, and then, to cover up the kind of people they really are, they make long prayers in public. Because of this, their punishment will be the greater.”  
Highlight Passages: Luke 21: 5-11 : [NLT] … { Jesus tried to help His disciples (and you and me) prepare ourselves for His second coming by leaving some instructions on those end times. }  
5 Some of his disciples began talking about the beautiful stonework of the Temple and the memorial decorations on the walls. But Jesus said, 6 “The time is coming when all these things will be so completely demolished that not one stone will be left on top of another.” 
7 “Teacher,” they asked, “when will all this take place? And will there be any sign ahead of time?”  8 He replied, “Don’t let anyone mislead you. For many will come in my name, claiming to be the Messiah and saying, ‘the time has come!’ But don’t believe them. 9 And when you hear of wars and insurrections, don’t panic. Yes, these things must come, but the end won’t follow immediately.” 10 Then he added, “Nations and kingdoms will proclaim war against each other. 11 There will be great earthquakes, and there will be famines and epidemics in many lands, and there will be terrifying things and great miraculous signs in the heavens.” … 

My Journal for Today: There are some important end-times prophesies from Jesus in the last chapter of today’s chronological NT reading segment, i.e., in Luke 21. However, it is from Matthew 23 and Luke 20 about which I’d like to focus my journaling this morning.

In these two chapters there are some parallel and stinging rebukes from Jesus, leveled at the Religious Leaders of His day, about whom Jesus called “hypocrites.” And as I said above (in the bold comment for Luke 10: 45-47), I would be called a “religious leader” in our local body of believers (i.e., Central Church in Collierville, TN – see Central Church website ). And so, when I read through the so-called “seven woes” in Matthew 23, which were directed toward the religious leaders of His day, Jesus is definitely setting some standards for which religious leaders in His day were held accountable; and they are “woes” for which any religious leaders – in any age – should pay attention. In my Parsons Commentary, which I use almost every morning in my Bible study, these seven woes are outlined and referenced; so, let me copy that reference here for any who might be reading this: …

The Seven Woes from Matthew 23 … 
23:13 …      Not letting others enter the Kingdom of Heaven and not entering yourselves 
23:15 …      Converting people away from God to be like yourselves 
23:16-22 … Blindly leading God’s people to follow man-made traditions instead of God’s Word 
23:23, 24 … Involved in details and ignoring what is really important: justice, mercy and faith 
23:25, 26 … Keeping up appearances while your private world is corrupt 
23:27, 28 …Acting spiritual to cover up sin 
23:29, 36 … Pretending to have learned from history, but behavior shows you have learned nothing.
Parsons Commentary: Jesus mentioned seven ways to guarantee God’s anger, often called the “seven woes.” These seven statements about the religious leaders must have been spoken with a mixed tone of judgment and sorrow. They were strong and unforgettable. They are still applicable anytime we become so involved in perfecting the practice or religion that we forget that God is also concerned with mercy, real love, and forgiveness.

Reading this commentary is daunting for yours truly; because I don’t want Jesus to be rebuking my heart and my actual behavior, as well as for any of the leadership of our church … we Elders, preachers, and teachers who provide for and lead our local body of Christian disciples. Jesus’ Commission charges me (from Acts 1: 8) to be Christ’s witness; and the Great Commission (in Matt. 28: 19-20) charges me to “make disciples” in the church’s outreach to the world, “… teaching them to observed everything [Jesus] has commanded [from His word}.” And most certainly I don’t want to be a “hypocrite,” as Jesus was rebuking those leaders in His day.

So, I take the God-leveled instructions from today’s reading segment a bit more personally than I might otherwise. I so want to be one who fulfills the words to the song performed by Steve Green – linked here in a You Tube segment  – singing, “… may all who come behind me … Find Us Faithful.”

My Prayer Today: … Lord, as I fulfill the role of Elder and Teacher in Your Kingdom, may I be Your faithful servant. Amen

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