January 16, 2021
DAY 14: JOURNEY THROUGH THE BIBLE IN A YEAR
Today, our journey continues through the Gospel of Matthew. Can you imagine being Matthew? He knew the incarnate Jesus Christ. He went fishing with Him. He watched, and learned evangelism from Jesus Christ. He was persecuted with Him. Matthew believed that Jesus was the risen Savior of the World. He believed this so much that he became a missionary. On a mission trip to Ethiopia, in Africa – a place so remote that few historians or Christians ventured – Matthew was impaled with spears to the ground and beheaded for his faith in Jesus, the risen Christ.
Ask the Lord for His understanding of Matthew 3-4. Read Matthew 3-4. Let’s journey!
The Gospel of Matthew appears to have been written with Jews as the intended recipients. It contains many references to Old Testament prophecies, linking them to Jesus and demonstrating that Jesus was the awaited, prophesied Messiah. During the time of today’s reading, Rome was under a time of change, adjusting to the rule of an Emperor instead of being ruled by the Senate. Julius Caesar had been killed in 44 BC, plunging Rome into civil wars, civil unrest, and civil lawlessness. Julius’ nephew, Gaius Octavian, who later became Caesar Augustus, consolidated his power and became the first Emperor of Rome in 27 BC, and remained in power until his death in AD 14. Upon the death of Augustus, Tiberius became Emperor. King Herod, ruling Judah as a client king for Rome, was near the end of his life at the time Jesus was born. Herod died between 4 and 1 BC, after which, his sons divided the region.
Matthew 3-4: You will discover, as you read through today’s journey, there were two groups of Jews, two denominations if you will, who had differing views on the Jewish faith, the Pharisees and the Sadducees. The Pharisees believed in life after death. The Sadducees believed when a person died they ceased to be. The one thing the two groups had in common was they were prideful and self righteous. Both believing they were better than the other. (Matthew 3:1-4:25)
Read chapters 3 and 4 and ask yourself these questions: What prophesies were fulfilled in todays reading? Why is it important to recognize the prophesies fulfilled? What does it mean to repent? Of what do you need to repent?
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