March - Reading 23

Discussion in 'Bible Reading Plan 2016' started by Clint Kritzer, Mar 23, 2002.

  1. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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  2. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Good evening once again -

    A few notes on our reading in Matthew tonight. To my recollection, tonight was the first mention of Mary Magdalene. She will figure prominently in Luke as a woman who followed Christ through His ministry after he healed her of demon possession.

    Also, we met Joseph who asked for Christ's body for burial. We also learn more about him in Luke 23:50-53. This was a bold move on his part. He was a member of the council, the Sanhedrin. It was this same council that voted to have Christ crucified. The Gospel of Mark suggest that Joseph was not present at the meeting since the decision was approved by "all." Joseph was obviously a man who had watched Christ's ministry and was waiting for the Kingdom of God.

    The lesson in Romans is so blatantly obvious that it defies further commentary! Perhaps it should become the motto for the BB.

    May God bless you

    - Clint
     
  3. Helen

    Helen
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    Joseph of Arimathea -- why was the body given to him? Thre is a very good bit of evidence extra-biblically that this man was Mary's brother, and therefore Jesus' uncle. The body would have been remanded to a family member, first of all. The head of the family clan or group -- the 'kinsman redeemer' in Jewish terminology -- would have been the first in line for the claim. Jesus' body was put in Joseph's own tomb. This is something else to be expected from a family member. It is almost certain that Jesus' body would not have been given to His disciples for fear of some kind of uprising; nor to a stranger, for the same reason.

    There are traditional places in England where it is said Jesus went as a boy with his uncle, and that Joseph was a merchant in metals. Tin was mined in England almost exclusively.

    Some interesting possibilities with this tiny section of Scripture...

    The Pharisees and the chief priests expected deception -- they would have protested mightily and loudly had Jesus' body NOT been given to a relative as was legally right.

    And so Pilate gives the order to make the tomb secure. As secure as they can.

    =======================

    There is a funny kind of 'religious snobbery' that can come to some Christians. They become so proud of the freedoms they have been given that they then turn and, instead of teaching others to follow the teachings of Jesus as Jesus ordered in the Great Commission, they look down on new Christians for a variety of reasons: one being legalism. It is very common for immature or new Christians to not understand the degree of freedom they really have in Christ and to prefer instead churches or groups which impose extra regulations; or perhaps they simply cannot escape, yet, many of the regulations of a life they lived before salvation. And so Paul deals with this type of "free" and yet judgemental Christian in Romans 15.

    "We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up."

    He will say the same to the church at Corinth -- we are all one body and need to follow Christ while supporting and building up one another. He will say the same kind of thing again and again to different churches. Cut the snobbery. Consider the others as better than yourselves. Be a servant. Have the same attitude in you Christ had in Himself, not considering Himself to be exalted...

    And so in Romans 15:7, Paul pleads, "Accept one another then, just as Christ accepted you, IN ORDER TO BRING PRAISE TO GOD."

    Consider the words I capitalized. We are not to accept others out of a sense of depriving ourselves of better company or of freedom. We are to do that so that God will get the praise. This is the only right motive for anything we do, actually. Our acceptance and building up of one another cause people to recognize that we are different, and we are different because of our God and the Holy Spirit within us. If this is not the effect our lives are having, we are having the wrong effect on the world!

    This part of Romans closes with this wonderful benediction:

    May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

    ========================

    So many look at Psalms like the section we read today and wonder if it is "Christian" to wish harm on your enemies. Doesn't it seem to contradict what Jesus said about loving one's enemies?

    David is not doing quite that. He is recounting the distress these people have caused him.

    Now, he is the king. He can do anything to them he wants. He is in a position to have them enslaved, imprisoned, killed.... whatever he would like.

    He does none of that. Instead he hands them over to God for God to deal with them. And David asks God to do just that -- to deal with them GOD's way.

    David is speaking from a position of strength. He is refusing to do what he could easily have done to these people. He is trusting God.

    And, as most of his psalms do, David ends on a note of encouragement and praise. It is a psalm well worth the read and contemplation.

    ======================

    In Deuteronomy we read today Moses' last speech. Read it. It is an important one.

    Check this section in 30:11-20. In my homeschooling years, I required all my students to memorize a significant portion of Scripture each week. This section was one of the required memorizations:

    Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, "Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?" Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, "Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?" No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.

    See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.

    But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.

    This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham and Jacob.
     
  4. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Sunday School lesson – 2/19/06

    Romans 15

    Though our modern Bible arranges Paul’s thoughts into two chapters, hiss discussion of the weak and the strong in chapter 14 naturally leads into the topic of the duty of the mature in chapter 15. The Christian who has reached spiritual maturity can set aside both scruples and knowledge and follow the example of love set forth by Christ.

    Paul will draw upon three sources to exhort the mature in his audience to the duty they have: the example of Christ, the Scriptures, and a prayer for unity.

    Romans 15:1-6 The Way of Christ

    Paul identifies himself with the strong, those who have overcome their scruples by the knowledge of the Gospel. Now, however, Paul returns to the theme of the debt of love we have towards our neighbor that can never be paid. The weak are identified by failings to understand the broader implications of Christ’s sacrifice and the strong are called upon to “bear with” them. The verb for “bear” carries the connotation of both enduring and lifting up.

    Bearing with the weaker brother by accommodating his weaker faith is done by showing respect in love for their convictions. Love by the strong for the weak does more for his edification than argument and criticism do. Jesus did not undertake His mission here on earth for His own benefit but for ours. He was willing to endure the pain and torment of a corporeal existence and execution in order that we who are so much weaker than He could attain salvation. This act of love stands as the ultimate example of why a strong Christian must exercise endurance of a weaker.

    The appeal from Scriptures comes from Psalm 69:9. In that context, the sufferer is the righteous one and the reproach of the righteous by the evil are shown to be disdain towards God. Jesus could have chosen to forego all of His suffering had it not been for His great love of mankind. Instead He came to earth and suffered the disdain of most of those He came to save.

    Verse 4 is a parenthetical insert showing once again the great respect Paul had for the Old testament scriptures and confirming the role they have in salvation history. The lessons taught to us by the Old Testament are still of great benefit to the Christian as they serve to instruct us and give us hope. Paul seems to be struck here by the notion that the Passage from Psalms he has just quoted about suffering has its final end in the hope of Christianity. In this way the Bible serves to comfort us in our trials.

    The prayer for unity with which this section ends is called forth from the God revealed by the study of the Scriptures. He Himself was steadfast and encouraging to man in the days before the Gospel. If God could bear with our infirmities and weaknesses, so too should we bear with one another’s. The peace we have with God should be reflected in the harmony we have with one another. Through such harmony we act as one voice and give glory to God.

    Romans 15:7-13 The Welcome of Christ

    This section follows the same threefold pattern as the last: Christ as an example, an appeal to Scriptures and a prayer, this time for peace.

    The welcome we extend to one another is not mere toleration. It is an acceptance with an open heart and an open mind. This type of welcome is what will result in the unity that brings glory to God. Christ is the ultimate example for welcoming one another. Each of us has been called to be here, to be a member of a fellowship of which He is the Head.

    In verse 8 it becomes clear that Paul’s reference to the weak has been towards those who still held to the scruples of Judaism. Jesus came to the Jews first as this was what had been promised to the Patriarchs. Christ became a servant, a man, in order to fulfill this promise. But the end result was not limited to just the Jews. It had been in God’s plan all along that the Gentiles would be included in the plan.

    To prove this, Paul turns once again to the Old Testament. The four Passages cited are linked together by the word “Gentiles.” Romans had begun with the premise that sin was universal and it now shows us that salvation is as well. It is not an exclusive element offered only to those who had born Jews but was freely offered to those who believed in Jesus as Lord. This same welcome given to all of mankind is reflected in the welcome we give to each other.

    The prayer that ends this section names God as the God of hope. The hope with which He fills us leads to joy and peace. Such joy and peace negates bickering over trivial matters and leads to the harmony we should display as a brotherhood. Such hope is given to us by the Holy Spirit, both in our consciences and in the preserved Scriptures.

    continued
     
  5. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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