Luke 24:13-43; Mark 16:12-13; John 20:19-23; Mark 16:14; John 20:24-21:25; Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:15-18; Luke 24:44-49
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Matthew: The Great Commission at the end of Matthew chapter 28 in verses 18-20 is so important for us as followers of Jesus on Earth today: "Jesus came and told his disciples, "I have been given complete authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age."" I like that we see the Trinity in this commission - the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen! The NIV Study Bible commentary today says that Jesus' Great Commission has three steps: 1. Go 2. Baptize them. 3. Teach them to obey everything Jesus has commanded. I know the Great Commission encourages many to go on mission trips, which is wonderful and makes sense. However, I believe that often times the mission field many of us are called to "go" into is in our own backyards. Our own towns. Our own cities. Maybe even our own homes. Let us go where the Lord calls us to go - near or afar. Will you go?
Johh: John 21 is one of my favorite chapters of the Bible in so many ways! In some ways it is because of a beautiful modern day book written by the late Henri Nouwen titled "In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership", which is based on this chapter and Jesus asking Peter 3 times if he loves him. Has anyone else read this book by Nouwen? If so, please post up reviews in the Comments section below. I know I make a lot of book recommendations on this blog over the course of a year, but if there is just 1 book you read based on my recommendations (other than the One Year Bible of course :), "In the Name of Jesus" by Henri Nouwen would be the book. In this book Henri writes about the end of his life ministry where he is a spiritual director at a L'Arche Daybreak community in Toronto, working amongst mentally handicapped. It is so incredible to read about how Henri learns from what the world would see as "the least of these" and how Henri realizes in his Christian ministry throughout his life he's been fighting 3 temptations:
1. the temptation to be relevant.
2. the temptation to be spectacular.
3. the temptation to be powerful.
I could go on and on about this book, but the last thing I will say is that it is so beautiful how Henri ties his learnings in this book to Jesus and Peter's Q & A here in John 21. If you serve in any way, shape, or form in Christian ministry (or even if you don't :), please pick this book up. You will be blessed by it immensely!
Okay, back to the Bible. :) Below is an image of the risen Jesus from today's readings by the Sea of Galilee (Tiberias is the same Sea, just another name for it) by artist William Hole:
One of my absolute favorite red letter quotes from Jesus in the Gospels arrives today in John 21. Verse 12: ""Now come and have some breakfast!" Jesus said." There is something about the simplicity and beauty and every-day-ness of this command from Jesus to the 7 disciples that I just absolutely love! Can you image Jesus saying this to you? Can you imagine Jesus making breakfast for you on the beach? In the words of the famous Mercy Me song, "I can only imagine..."
Okay, now onto the big question probably for many of us from today's readings is why did Jesus ask Peter 3 times if he loved him? Many commentaries call these passages "the reinstatement of Peter" - meaning that he was reinstated as the rock / confessor of the foundation of Jesus' church based on Matthew 16:16. And that he needed this reinstatement after denying knowing the Lord 3 times before his crucifixion (and the then rooster crowing, as we know...). Interestingly, Tyndale's One Year Bible Companion has the following suggestions on the original Greek used when John wrote about this Q & A exchange between Jesus and Peter: "Two different Greek words are used for "love." The first two times the word agapo, which means devoted love, is used. When Peter refuses to use the same word, Jesus turns to the word phileo, which indicates the love of friendship. Peter accepts this word and admits that he loves Jesus in this way. Peter was humbler now than earlier in his life, and was making no claim to superior love (see John 13:36-37)." In verse 18 Jesus says to Peter: "The truth is, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked and go wherever you wanted to. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will direct you and take you where you don't want to go." The early church understood this as a prophecy of crucifixion. Peter would be a martyr and tradition suggests that he was crucified upside down. Below is a beautiful stained glass image of this exchange between Peter and Jesus in today's readings:
Okay, I realize this has been a long post today... but the last thing I want to point out is that I love Jesus' response to Peter when Peter asks about what will happen to John and Jesus says this is verse 22: "Jesus replied, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You follow me." I think this is a great word from Jesus to both you and me today as well! How often do we worry about others and their relationship with the Lord? How often do we perhaps think that we are so saved, and "they" are so not...? Or how often do we wonder why someone seems like they are so blessed, and perhaps we think that we are not? Well, what does Jesus say to all of this to you and me today? I believe he would say the same words from verse 22: "What is that to you? You follow me." Indeed, let us not worry so very much about others. But let us worry instead about ourselves simply following Jesus!
Bible.org's commentary on today's John readings titled "What is this thing called Love?" is at this link.
Worship God - Today's readings in John about Thomas' doubts reminded me of the FFH song "Come Undone." Here's a great live version of this song:
Have you come undone? Click here and become undone!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on two verses of Scripture today: "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:19-20 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray that you will be an active participant in Jesus' Great Commission this year. Pray that you will go and make disciples, baptizing them and teaching them to obey everything Jesus has commanded us.
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!
p.s. Download our monthly Small Group study notes for our Chronological Bible readings at this link.
p.p.s. Download a schedule of our Chronological Bible readings for the year in PDF format at this link.
p.p.p.s. I would greatly appreciate it if you would pray for this Chronological Bible Blog ministry today. Thanks!
Old Testament - I am fascinated by God's words in Ezekiel chapter 14 verses 13 & 14 today: "Son of man, suppose the people of a country were to sin against me, and I lifted my fist to crush them, cutting off their food supply and sending a famine to destroy both people and animals. Even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were there, their righteousness would save no one but themselves, says the Sovereign Lord." The first thing these verses tell us is that God's judgment upon Jerusalem at this time was certain. Even the righteousness of Noah, Daniel, and Job couldn't change that - only these 3 men would have been saved. However, this got me thinking. Is it possible that sometimes today we try to build up our own righteousness to ensure our own salvation and basically do nothing to try to build up others righteousness and help them toward their salvation? Meaning, do we sometimes retreat into a "Christian bubble" and ignore the rest of "the world." Leave them to their own devices. It just made me think when reading about Noah, Daniel, and Job that my hunch is that these 3 would not just chill out and relax in the glory and certitude of their own righteousness. My hunch is that they would get out there on the streets and try to save others. So, what about you and me? Are we just cocooning in our own righteousness and salvation, or are we taking salvation to the streets? Are we retreating from the battle for others' salvation or are we engaged in it? What say you?
Ezekiel chapter 14 verse 23 tells us today: "When you meet them and see their behavior, you will agree that these things are not being done to Israel without cause, says the Sovereign LORD." I think sometimes we can read some select verses in the Old Testament out of context and think God is being harsh. God here reminds us that he is not being harsh without cause. And we'll see more of the cause in chapter 16 today... Below is an image of Ezekiel prophesying to the elders who visited him in chapter 14 verse 1:
Ezekiel chapter 15 is an interesting one for me today, where God basically calls Jerusalem a useless grape vine. In reading this I am also reminded that Jesus in John 15 uses the grape vine analogy again saying "I am the vine and you are the branches." This tells me that Jesus redeems even useless grape vines! :) However, using this Ezekiel analogy, are we growing in our lives like trees or like vines? How thick are your roots? How solid is your core?
Ezekiel chapter 16 is a fascinating and sad look at the city of Jerusalem. This is the first time I have really spent a little bit of time with this chapter. The question I find for myself in reading this chapter is this: has God blessed us similarly in some ways that he blessed Jerusalem? Have we, perhaps, in some ways used the blessings that God has given us in improper ways? Verse 6 in this chapter stood out to me: "But I came by and saw you there, helplessly kicking about in your own blood. As you lay there, I said, `Live!'" Bible commentaries suggest that this one word - Live! - is God's basic desire for all humans. How powerful is that realization? How very beautiful... Live! Let us Live!
New Testament - Hebrews chapter 7 verse 27 teaches us today: "Jesus does not need to offer sacrifices every day like the other high priests. They did this for their own sins first and then for the sins of the people." I hadn't really thought a lot about this before. In the Old Testament the Levitical priests had to offer sacrifices first for their own sins - and then they would be clean / pure enough to offer sacrifices for others sins. The good news of course in the New Testament and in this chapter is that we now have the perfectly clean and pure High Priest of Jesus Christ - who does not need to purify himself first! He never sinned. Will you take your sins to Jesus, your High Priest?
Psalms - Psalm 106 is a repentive Psalm, likely written by a Levitical priest after returning to Jerusalem after its destruction. Verse 2 stood out to me today - "Who can list the glorious miracles of the LORD? Who can ever praise him half enough?" Can you list all of the glorious miracles of God? Can anyone? Are you praising God today? Every day?
Verse 3 is powerful- "Happy are those who deal justly with others and always do what is right." I think this is such an important thing to know - we will be happy when we deal justly with others and when we do what is right. This is happiness. Not money or fame or power or luxuries. Dealing justly with others and doing what is right is happiness. So, Biblically, are you happy?
Proverbs - Proverbs 27 verse 6 is an interesting one. And indeed true. "Wounds from a friend are better than many kisses from an enemy." Why should we watch out for many kisses from an enemy? Let us thank God for a friend who will speak truth into our life! Even if it hurts at first to hear it. Think about this - is someone being a better friend to you if they tell you a truth about your life that may wound you - or if they say nothing at all and let you keep on keepin' on with something wrong you may be doing? Let us embrace and welcome truthful wounds from our friends! We need this type of iron sharpening iron. Sometimes we need to be lovingly and truthfully wounded by our friends to grow closer to God.
Worship God: Ezekiel 16:6's call to "Live!" reminded me of Casting Crowns wonderful worship tune called "Lifesong." Let this be our prayer today - "Let my lifesong sing to you!"
Is your lifesong singing to God? Click here and start singing!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses." Proverbs 27:6 (NIV)
Prayer Point: Pray that you trust wounds from your friends. Pray that you are a friend that wounds others, in a trustworthy way, to move them away from sins and toward godliness. Pray that you are wary of kisses from an enemy.
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you from today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
Grace, love, peace, and joy!
p.s. Download our monthly Small Group study notes for our One Year Bible readings at this link.
p.p.s. Download a schedule of our One Year Bible readings for the year in PDF format at this link.
p.p.p.s. I would greatly appreciate it if you would pray for this One Year Bible Blog ministry today. Thanks!