5x5x5 Matthew and the Parables

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Dear 5x5x5 Readers,

We started this week reading Matthew 13.  You can go ahead and draw a big line in your Bible at the chapter break between Matthew 12 and 13, since it is a significant turning point and I don’t want you to miss it!  A good Bible study student sometimes needs to step back and look at the outline of the whole book.  This is what we find for Matthew:

Ch 1-2  Genealogy, birth, younger years
Ch 3-4  Baptism, temptation, start of Jesus’ public ministry (Year 1)
Ch 5-7  Sermon on the Mount
Ch 8-9  Many miracles, healings, casting out demons, and raising the dead
Ch 10   Disciples sent out to do ministry
Ch 11   More preaching and teaching
Ch 12   Huge conflict with Pharisees over the Sabbath, they begin to plot to kill him (end of Year 2)
Ch 13   Jesus begins to teach in parables (Year 3)

Throughout years 1-2 of His public ministry Jesus taught in a straightforward manner so that everyone could understand.  His sermons were full of Old Testament references, and his miracles gave evidence to all that He was the Son of God.  Jesus’ teaching style shifts after the conflict with the Pharisees, and from chapter 13 on He will teach primarily in parables.  For those who seek truth, Jesus is delighted to explain the meaning behind his parables.  But for those who seek only to agitate the crowds and who are not interested in learning, the meaning is veiled.  In fact, “Their hearts have become calloused, they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes.” Mt 13:15

There are nearly 40 parables in the gospels, mostly in Matthew and Luke.  If you are intrigued by them, I recommend reading John Macarthur’s recent book Parables: The Mysteries of God’s Kingdom Revealed Through the Stories Jesus Told.

Happy reading!

5x5x5 intro to Matthew

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If you’re on track with our 5x5x5 plan, we have just finished the book of James, and are starting Matthew.  Though we have already read one account of Jesus’ life in the book of Mark, you will find that Matthew’s story is from a different point of view.  Imagine two of your close friends – if an outsider asked each of them to tell your life story, they would probably tell it slightly differently, each highlighting things they thought were important or particularly memorable.  Your life story hasn’t changed, it is simply told from a different perspective!

Matthew was a Jew, a tax collector who became a disciple of Jesus.  He writes to a Jewish audience using metaphors and references they would be familiar with.  In fact, Matthew quotes the Old Testament more than any other New Testament author. The book of Matthew is the first in our New testament because it serves a bridge from the Old to New Testament.  From the very first sentence Matthew makes it clear, he is connecting Jesus’ arrival with the Old Testament story line… a story that begins back with Abraham, Moses, the people of Israel, and a line of kings.

The Jews had been waiting thousands of years for a Messiah, a King – but Jesus and His kingdom were completely different from what the Jews expected.  We learn more about the King (Jesus) and the Kingdom of God in Matthew’s collection of Jesus’ teachings including the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5-7), Jesus’ interaction with people, and the parables (Mt 13-25).

As you read and reflect on Matthew here are some ideas to help you discover the riches of this gospel:  Look up some the references to the Old Testament, highlight all of the commands Jesus gives, mark the word “kingdom” as you read, or simply ask the question, “Who is Jesus? What is he like?” and record what you discover in jour journal.

Persevere in your reading!  One chapter a day is not too much!  — Mindy

 

365 Challenge – Matthew

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Dear 365 Readers,

Congratulations, today (9/28) we start reading in the New Testament!

Matthew, one of the four gospels we will read, is the first book of the New Testament because it serves as a bridge from the Old to New Testament.  From the very first sentence Matthew makes it clear, he is connecting Jesus’ arrival with the Old Testament story line… a story that begins back with Abraham, Moses, the people of Israel, and a line of kings.

Matthew was a Jew himself, a tax collector who became a disciple of Jesus.  He writes to a Jewish audience using metaphors and references they would be familiar with.  In fact, Matthew quotes the Old Testament more than any other New Testament author.

The Jews had been waiting thousands of years for a Messiah, a King – but Jesus and His kingdom were completely different from what the Jews expected.  We learn more about the King (Jesus) and the Kingdom of God in Matthew’s collection of Jesus’ teachings including the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5-7), Jesus’ interaction with people, and the majority of the parables (Mt 13-25).  If you’re curious about the Kingdom of God, highlight the word “kingdom” as you read through Matthew!