February 18, 2023
DAY 49 JOURNEY THROUGH THE BIBLE IN A YEAR
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Focus Verses For Today: Matthew 18:21-35
As we continue our journey through the Gospel of Matthew, we continue to study Jesus’ teachings, all of which remain applicable today and forever more.
Take a moment to pray for God’s understanding of His Word for our journey. Today our journey takes us through the Gospel of Matthew chapters 17-19. Are you ready? Let’s begin!
Matthew 17-19: Our journey today begins with Jesus’ Transfiguration on top of a high mountain, witnessed by Peter, James, and John. The Transfiguration is God confirming and acknowledging Jesus as Lord and God. After coming down from the mountain, Jesus heals a demon-possessed boy whom His disciples could not heal. Jesus told His disciples they couldn’t heal the boy because they had “so little faith.” This is sobering. Jesus is talking to His disciples. This gives us something to think about. Jesus predicts His death and being restored to life. His disciples are confused. Jesus tells Peter to pay the temple tax. When the disciples question who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven, Jesus instructs them (and us!) to become like children, placing unwavering faith in our Heavenly Father. Jesus warns of the consequence that will be faced by anyone who causes a person to forsake Him. Think about the number of interactions with people we encounter every day: scary verses! The Parable of The Wondering Sheep concerns followers of God who wander away from their faith. Jesus compares God’s love for a straying believer to that of a man who had a sheep wander off. He rejoices when He finds him. Jesus continues with instructions for dealing with sin in the church. Jesus is questioned by the Pharisees regarding divorce. Consider Jesus’ response and compare it to how divorce is viewed and used in the world today. Jesus shows His love for little children, confirming that bringing little children up in the way of the Lord is a parental obligation. Our reading today concludes with the story of the rich and Heaven. (Matthew 17:1-19:30)
Our focus verses for today:
21Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
22Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
23“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. 25Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
26“At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
28“But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.
29“His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’
30“But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.
32“Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
35“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
(Matthew 18:21-35 NIV)
Peter’s question to Jesus is one, no doubt, we have all asked at times. In truth, Jesus’ answer is simple, the hard part is putting it into practice. Jesus’ answer is that we have to forgive everyone who has wronged us just as God has forgiven us for the wrongs we have imposed on Him. Living in ill will, wanting revenge exacted upon someone who has wronged you, is Satan’s response to your situation. God’s response is forgiveness. The message in today’s focus verse is simple. God’s forgiveness of your sin is predicated on your forgiving others who have wronged you. Have you forgiven, from your heart, everyone who has sinned (wronged) you? This can be hard. Make a list of their names. Once you complete the list, pray, asking God to remove your hard feelings toward them. Pray for God to bless them. (Matthew 5:43-44) Do this prayer every day until you are no longer bound with ungodly thoughts toward them! If you are seeking God’s help to forgive someone: you have taken the first step toward freedom from the bondage of an unforgiving heart. Forgiveness is not optional.
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