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Moments with Matthew revisited

2020-08-28T13:41:21-04:00August 28th, 2020|Categories: Moments with Matthew|

Moments with Matthew revisited

The synod’s Engage the Bible Task Group is grateful that so many of you joined this summer’s Bible reading plan, Moments with Matthew. We hope you were challenged and inspired! To see any of the readings you missed or to read them again, they are gathered on our website. Also, if you’d like it printed, all of the readings have been gathered into a PDF.

Thanks be to God for all of the women who wrote this year in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the ordination of women.

Reading 30 – The Light of Faithfulness—Conclusion

2020-07-29T11:16:20-04:00August 3rd, 2020|Categories: Moments with Matthew|

Reading 30
The Light of Faithfulness—Conclusion

I am a lover of Scripture. I find great comfort in knowing that the hope and guidance found in Scripture will never expire or be exhausted. The entrance of the word of God brings light and that light will never be extinguished. No expiration, no exhausting, no extinguishing.

Reading 28 – Two Kingdoms—Matthew 27

2020-07-29T11:04:23-04:00August 1st, 2020|Categories: Moments with Matthew|

Reading 28
Two Kingdoms—Matthew 27

Read Chapter 27

The vivid portrayal of Jesus’ death on the cross serves as a reminder that the fully divine Jesus is also fully human. He struggles with the fear of death and abandonment. And yet the story of Jesus’ suffering and death is something that the Gospel of Matthew portrays as a crucial victory, the triumph of the Kingdom of God. Throughout the gospel—starting at the very beginning with a family tree that shows Jesus to be a descendant of King David (Matt. 1:1-17)—the author is persuading his largely Jewish audience that the man, Jesus of

Reading 27 – Dropping the Ball—Matthew 26

2020-07-29T10:59:10-04:00July 31st, 2020|Categories: Moments with Matthew|

Reading 27
Dropping the Ball—Matthew 26

Read Chapter 26

Matthew chapter 26 includes the Last Supper, Jesus praying in Gethsemane, Judas’ betrayal of Jesus, and Peter’s denial of Jesus. These aren’t easy topics to cover. We take away different lessons each time we have read these stories. As I read this in quarantine, Jesus’s prayer and Peter’s denial stuck out to me.

Reading 25 – Follow Me and Do Not Fear—Matthew 24

2020-07-27T07:59:04-04:00July 29th, 2020|Categories: Moments with Matthew|

Reading 25
Follow Me and Do Not Fear—Matthew 24

Read Chapter 24

Upon hearing about the chaos, darkness and destruction that will mark the end of the age, one by one, the disciples reveal their anxiety and fear as they approach Jesus privately. They ask big questions such as “How long, O Lord?” and “How will we know the time is here?” Jesus both reassures and challenges the disciples in his response—follow me and do not fear, but it will be painful.

Reading 24 – Where Is God in the Woe?—Matthew 23

2020-07-24T08:44:41-04:00July 28th, 2020|Categories: Moments with Matthew|

Reading 24
Where Is God in the Woe?—Matthew 23

Read Chapter 23

Jesus used the word more than anyone else in the Bible, woe is used seven times in this chapter. What is Jesus trying to say? I believe Jesus is trying to get us to wake up and take notice of our choices. Calling each of us to stop living without concern for others and stop accepting and justifying bad behavior. Jesus invites us to start self-examining our actions and our motives. He is calling us to live lives filled with justice, mercy, and faith.

Reading 23 – Questions. Questions. Questions.—Matthew 22

2020-07-24T08:35:03-04:00July 27th, 2020|Categories: Moments with Matthew|

Reading 23
Questions. Questions. Questions.—Matthew 22

Read Chapter 22

A chapter of questions confronts us. For some we know the answer and others raise even more questions.

The chapter begins with a wedding feast to which many have been invited but did not come. Most commentaries believe this was a reference to the Jews having been given the first chance at belief in the Messiah and they turned it down. The people off the street are those who are not Jews, but Gentiles, but who is the person with no wedding garment?

Reading 22 – Important Questions—Matthew 21

2020-07-24T08:21:15-04:00July 26th, 2020|Categories: Moments with Matthew|

Reading 22
Important Questions—Matthew 21

Read Chapter 21

Sometimes questions are more important than answers.

I am a middle school English teacher. I spend a lot of time either answering or asking questions. Sometime when a student asks me a question, even if I can easily answer it, I tell the student “Go find out, and let me know the answer.” Usually, I get a sigh and an “Okay.” Sometimes I answer with another question. I do this to involve them in their own learning, or to point to something they already know. I want to make them responsible for their own learning.

Reading 19 – Living Forgiveness—Matthew 18

2020-07-22T11:53:47-04:00July 23rd, 2020|Categories: Moments with Matthew|

Reading 19
Living Forgiveness—Matthew 18

Read Chapter 18

“I forgive you.”

These three small words came out of the mouths of my nieces and nephews often as I visited family earlier this summer. Days were filled with normal sibling behaviorstealing toys, stepping on fingers, eating each other’s snacks, or just looking at a sister the wrong way. Their parents have

Reading 18 – High on the Mountain—Matthew 17

2020-07-21T13:31:19-04:00July 22nd, 2020|Categories: Moments with Matthew|

Reading 18
High on the Mountain—Matthew 17

Read Chapter 17

There is a lot going on in Matthew 17. The chapter begins with a narrative of the Transfiguration, Jesus curing an epileptic man, and forewarning the disciples about what would happen to him, among other things; but the high point (pun intended) for me is the experience on the mountaintop. Many important things happen on mountaintops. Moses received the tablets containing the law on a mountain. Jesus was tempted by Satan high up on a mountain peak. And Jesus preached a sermon from the mountain, commonly referred to as the Sermon on

Reading 17 – One Bite at a Time—Matthew 16

2020-07-16T10:48:10-04:00July 21st, 2020|Categories: Moments with Matthew|

Reading 17
One Bite at a Time—Matthew 16

Read Chapter 16

For years, humans have been trying to boil down the Bible into bite-sized, easily-digestible chunks. One of the more infamous attempts to make the Bible easier to digest comes from Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson sat at his desk with a razor, carefully cutting out the chunks of text that detailed the seemingly indescribable pieces of Jesus’ life, namely his miracles and resurrection.

Reading 16 – The Faith to Persevere, the Courage to Show God’s Love to All—Matthew 15

2020-07-16T10:40:55-04:00July 20th, 2020|Categories: Moments with Matthew|

Reading 16
The Faith to Persevere, the Courage to Show God’s Love to All—Matthew 15

Read Chapter 15

Has your faith been tested by the completely unexpected pandemic? Because of the coronavirus, we find ourselves filled with uncertainty, anxiety, fear, or for many maybe even panic with things changing quickly and a constant barrage of distressing news reports. We fear for ourselves and for our loved ones, especially if we or they are in vulnerable populations or are at risk.

Reading 15 – Human Pride and Christ’s Love—Matthew 14

2020-07-16T10:29:13-04:00July 19th, 2020|Categories: Moments with Matthew|

Reading 15
Human Pride and Christ’s Love—Matthew 14

Read Chapter 14

Herod is pretty sure this Jesus he keeps hearing about is John the Baptist raised from the dead. Herod remembers John’s death because he ordered it. John told Herod to his face that it was unlawful for Herod to be “having” his brother’s wife, so Herod used the power vested in his political position and had John imprisoned. At Herod’s birthday party, he is so delighted by the dance of a young woman that he promises her anything she wants. She wants John’s head.

Reading 14 – Parables and Powerful Questions—Matthew 13

2020-07-14T09:05:28-04:00July 18th, 2020|Categories: Moments with Matthew|

Reading 14
Parables and Powerful Questions—Matthew 13

Read Chapter 13

Chapter 13 introduces parables for the first time in this gospel. It comes at a precarious time for Jesus. In Chapter 12 we learned the Pharisees were beginning to plot to kill him and in Chapter 14 (spoiler alert) we will learn of the execution of John the Baptist. Here we find Jesus sitting in a boat on the sea speaking of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God through parables. A parable is defined as a simple story using everyday things to convey a message often about major religious themes (the

Reading 13 – Recognized by Our Fruit—Matthew 12

2020-07-13T13:58:25-04:00July 17th, 2020|Categories: Moments with Matthew|

Reading 13
Recognized by Our Fruit—Matthew 12

Read Chapter 12

Make a tree good, and its fruit will be good. Or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. Matthew 12:33

How many times have you gone to a produce stand or farmers’ market and purchased fruit? You pick out what looks good. You take it home, wash it, cut it open. You take that first bite and realize that this fruit tastes horrible! You think to yourself why is this fruit so bad? Then you realize that perhaps it came from a

Reading 12 – The Love between Cousins—Matthew 11

2020-07-13T13:50:23-04:00July 16th, 2020|Categories: Moments with Matthew|

Reading 12
The Love between Cousins—Matthew 11

Read Chapter 11

My grandparents had nine children, eight of whom survived to adulthood, so I have many first cousins. My cousin Tom introduced me to my husband Jim, so we’re close. Sometimes cousins are close to one another because they are close in age. Tom and I are only a year apart. Sometimes cousins are close because they live near one another. Since I have married and moved to Raleigh, Tom and I live close to one another. With Jesus and John the Baptist, both reasons may also be true.

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