Mark 13:32-37; Matthew 24:36-51; Luke 21:34-38; Matthew 25:1-46
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Matthew: Jesus' teaching in Matthew chapter 24 verse 36 has always stood out to me - particularly when my friends today want to dive into conversations about "if" the end is near: "However, no one knows the day or the hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows." No one knows the day or the hour - only God. Good for us to keep in mind. We're not God. :) For more commentary on "The Textual Problem Of oujdeV oJ uiJov" In Matthew 24:36" at bible.org click on this link. No, I don't think oujdeV oJ uiJov is a typo. :) Can someone tell me - is this the original Greek? I think so.
Today in Matthew chapter 25 we read about the 10 bridesmaids and verse 13 certainly stands out as Jesus teaches: ""So stay awake and be prepared, because you do not know the day or hour of my return." What do you think it means in our lives today to be "awake" and ready for Jesus' return? Are you "awake" this very moment and ready for Jesus' return? One of the most important points of this parable is that when Jesus returns you won't be able to barter or buy your way into the Kingdom. (as the 5 un-wise bridesmaids tried to do). You yourself will be ultimately responsible for your own spiritual condition! Have you owned up to this responsibility? Below is a watercolor by William Blake from 1822 of the parable of the ten bridesmaids:
Today we read in Matthew chapter 25 verses 14 through 30 Jesus’ “Parable of the Talents.” This story of the three servants has often been a parable I have struggled with. For a long time I didn't get what was so wrong about the guy who buried the money. "He at least gave back to the master the same amount he was originally given," I thought. "What's so wrong with that?" Well, as I read this parable again, the thing that really stands out to me is that this parable is not talking about simply money. . . but I think it is talking about our very lives and our time here on earth. I read it now as if God gives each of us a certain amount of time to live on this earth and a certain amount of gifts and skills. And then, we have to ask ourselves - will we simply just go through life very stably & comfortably with those gifts and skills – perhaps even just going through the motions and serving ourselves – to the extent that when God calls us home, we have really not produced much of anything in our lives? What if we spend our time & gifts in such a way that by the end of it we haven't really blessed or served others? We simply give back to God at the end of our lives what God gave to us and nothing more. OR - is it possible that God is calling each of us to do so much more with our lives? Is God calling us to really use the time, gifts and skills he has given us for something bigger than ourselves? Is God calling us to produce a great harvest of loving and serving and blessing others in our lives? So that when we arrive at heaven's gate at the end of our lives we will hear verse 21 from God Himself - "The master was full of praise. `Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let's celebrate together!'" How about your life today? Are you multiplying the skills and gifts that God has given you in your life? Are you investing your skills and gifts in loving service of others? Are you at least "doubling" God's investment in you?
Great commentary on Matthew chapter 25 titled "The Parables in the Olivet Discourse" is online at bible.org at this link.
Today in Matthew chapter 25 we read about the Final Judgment. Verses 34 is an amazing thing to imagine coming in the future: "`Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." What a beautiful thought - come and inherit the Kingdom prepared for YOU from the foundation of the world! Do you believe in this inheritance? Do you look forward to this inheritance?
Verses 37 through 40 are so powerful for each of us to consider while we are still here on earth: "Then these righteous ones will reply, `Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison, and visit you?' And the King will tell them, `I assure you, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!'" Whatever we do for one of the least among us, we do for Jesus. And - what we do not do for the least among us, we do not do for Jesus. Is God calling you in any way to give food, give water, show hospitality, give clothing, visit the sick, or visit those in prison for the least among us? Will you do this for Jesus?
Worship God: Today's readings in Matthew today about the Parable of the Talents reminded me of the fantastic Matthew West song called "The Motions." Here are two video versions of this song, below. The first video is a great live version of the song. The second video is from a documentary shows Matthew going through vocal cord surgery, which is quite a scary thing for any of us to go through, much less a singer..
Are you just going through the Motions? Click here for Eternal Motion!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on three verses of Scripture today: "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'" Matthew 25:34-36
Prayer Point: Pray that you will be on Jesus' right hand side when He comes again to judge the living and the dead. Pray that you will feed, clothe, visit in prison, care for and provide hospitality to the "least of these" here on Earth today, in Jesus' name.
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!