Devotions 2015

Mat 11

October 12, 2015

Devotions October|

What does it say?

Matthew 11 finds Jesus once again on a preaching tour of Galilee. As opposition to Jesus’ ministry grows, even John the Baptist wrestles with doubt and sends messengers to Jesus to ask if he is really the Messiah. Jesus responds by pointing to the works that he is […]

Mat 9; Luk 7

October 11, 2015

Devotions October|

What does it say?

The paralyzed man brought by his friends to Jesus is the same as in Mark 2 and Luke 5. This story is clearly out of chronological order, because Matthew’s interest is to string together a series of powerful miracles and healings in Matthew 8-9 that affirm Jesus’ identity […]

Mat 5-7

October 10, 2015

Devotions October|

What does it say?

Matthew 5-7 presents the famous Sermon on the Mount. Even many who do not believe are drawn to the simplicity, power and depth of these teachings. Certain elements of these teachings appear elsewhere in the Gospels, but there is no other account of this particular sermon in its […]

Mat 12; Mar 3; Luk 6

October 9, 2015

Devotions October|

What does it say?

The Pharisees attack Jesus and his disciples for gleaning from the grain fields to satisfy their hunger. Jesus responds with scripture and heals a man to further infuriate the religious leaders. Jesus is greater than the Sabbath. Either Jesus is the hope of the nations or, as the […]

Joh 5

October 8, 2015

Devotions October|

What does it say?

John 5 centers on the third of the seven miracles recorded in John. Going to Jerusalem for the feasts, Jesus visits the pool of Bethesda by the sheep market where people seeking healing would gather. Of the multitude gathered there, Jesus chose to heal a man that had […]

Mat 8; Mar 2

October 7, 2015

Devotions October|

What does it say?

Matthew 8 begins a rapid-fire series of miracles and healings. This will continue into chapter 9. The passage is straightforward and presents no great difficulty as far as understanding what it says. Pay careful attention to details.

Mark 2 presents the touching story of four men who […]

Joh 2-4

October 6, 2015

Devotions October|

What does it say?

John 2 opens with the miracle of turning the water into wine at a marriage feast in Cana of Galilee. Jesus then visits the temple in Jerusalem and chases out those who were profiting personally by selling animals for sacrifice at elevated prices, having a monopoly, and exchanging […]

Mat 4; Luk 4-5

October 5, 2015

Devotions October|

What does it say?

Immediately after God’s confirmation of Jesus upon his baptism by John, Matthew 4 tells the story of Jesus being tempted by the Devil following 40 days of fasting. The remainder of the chapter focuses on Jesus calling Peter, Andrew, James and John to be his disciples and on […]

Mat 3; Mar 1; Luk 3

October 4, 2015

Devotions October|

What does it say?

These three chapters are mostly parallel. We already saw Jesus’ baptism by John in John 1. Luke 3 concludes with Luke’s version of Jesus’ genealogical record. From the time following king Solomon, Luke’s record differs from Matthew. Several explanations are possible, but many think that Luke is giving […]

Mat 2

October 3, 2015

Devotions October|

What does it say?

Matthew chapter two provides information unique to Matthew. Joseph, Mary and Jesus remain in Jerusalem for several months before thinking to return to Nazareth. While they are still there, wise men from the East arrive to worship Christ, called here a young child, not a newborn infant. A […]

Mat 1; Luk 2

October 2, 2015

Devotions October|

What does it say?

Each of the four Gospels has a distinct emphasis, Matthew writes his Gospel with fellow Jews in mind. He shows that Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promises through the prophets of the Messiah to come. His material is very similar to Mark’s.

Matthew begins immediately […]

Luk 1; Joh 1

October 1, 2015

Devotions October|

What does it say?

Luke’s name does not appear in the book, but tradition has always assigned this gospel to this medical doctor that accompanied Paul on some of his journeys. Writing in Greek, Luke’s Gospel is filled with technical medical terms not used by the other writers.  Luke and Acts are […]

Mal 1-4

September 30, 2015

Devotions September|

What does it say?

Malachi is the last of the prophets, probably uttering these prophecies either right before Nehemiah arrives in Jerusalem the first time, or more probably during the time of his visit to Persia before instituting the reforms we saw in Nehemiah 13. He is one of three post-exilic prophets […]

Neh 11-13; Psa 126

September 29, 2015

Devotions September|

What does it say?

Now that Jerusalem is a functioning city, some of the Jews that had remained after Jerusalem’s fall want to move in from surrounding rural areas (Neh 11). Nehemiah 13:3-19 probably lists those already living in Jerusalem.  Nehemiah sets up a lottery system allowing one family in ten the […]

Neh 8-10

September 28, 2015

Devotions September|

What does it say?

More than a mere building campaign, this project brings spiritual renewal as the people are in awe of what God has done through them. They assemble in the street and ask Ezra to minister God’s words to them (Neh 8). Standing on a wooden platform to be seen […]

Neh 6-7

September 27, 2015

Devotions September|

What does it say?

The enemy attacks continue, focusing directly on Nehemiah (Neh 6). He refuses an attempt to be distracted from the work. Then Sanballat attempts to discredit him with an open letter designed to cause gossip and division. Failing at that, they then claim to have received prophecy of an […]

Neh 1-5

September 26, 2015

Devotions September|

What does it say?

Nehemiah’s brother has just returned from Jerusalem and reports that the city walls still lie in ruins (Neh 1).  The news devastates Nehemiah and he immediately intercedes for his people. An ancient maxim says that a city without walls is no city at all – defenseless. Nehemiah is […]

Ezr 7-10

September 25, 2015

Devotions September|

What does it say?

Since the story of Esther occurs chronologically in the time gap between Ezra 6 and 7, we now return to finish the Book of Ezra. The first wave of returning exiles has now completed the temple, but a priest with proper genealogical credentials was needed to fully restore […]

Est 6-10

September 24, 2015

Devotions September|

What does it say?

A sleepless night drives the king to read from the court records – a sure way to be put to sleep! There he discovers how Mordecai saved him from assassination and also that Mordecai was never rewarded (Est 6). He hurriedly asks Haman how to bestow greatest honor […]

Est 1-5

September 23, 2015

Devotions September|

What does it say?

The book named after the main character. The storyline is a conspiracy against the Jewish people. Their climatic salvation here is the origin of the Feast of Purim. The story is set during the reign of Persian king Ahasuerus (Xerxes) not long after the first wave of Jewish […]