January 31, 2015: Daily Bible Reading Commentary for Matthew 11-13
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Context: Matthew 11 begins with the fulfillment of another prophecy, which also shows that prophecies will not always be fulfilled in the manner in which we expect them to be fulfilled. Malachi had spoken of the return of Elijah to prepare the way. John shared many similarities with Elijah, from the way he dressed, to the way he lived. Jesus confirms that Malachi’s prophecy has come to pass, that John was sent to prepare the way, if they were willing to accept it. Many were not, and Jesus goes on to lament those cities that witnessed His great miracles, yet refused to repent. The Pharisees refuse to believe the truth of Jesus and instead search for ways which to destroy Him, His ministry, and His disciples. Jesus attempted to withdraw so as not to interfere with His Father’s plan, yet the crowds followed Him. Jesus continued to heal and preach, this time through the use of parables. Parables were lessons wrapped in a story, which people are more apt to remember. Search for the lesson in each parable recorded. Our study on the parable of the Sower is here.
World History: The Pharisees were one of the three main religious sects of Judaism during the time of Jesus. Throughout the gospels, they are opposed to His works and attempt to discredit Him, eventually crucifying Jesus because He claimed to be the Son of God. As shown in today’s reading, the Pharisees were obsessed with following the Law, however, over the years, they had added on many additional rules and requirements to the original Law. These human laws were not binding to Jesus. If you remember the reading from Romans earlier this week, Paul was preaching against becoming so absorbed in following the Law that you miss the reason behind the Law.