March - Reading 24

Discussion in 'Bible Reading Plan 2016' started by Clint Kritzer, Mar 24, 2002.

  1. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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  2. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    From upcoming Sunday School lecture 4/11/04

    Matthew 28

    The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the very base of Christian faith. While this statement may seem overly simplistic and obvious, it is a fact of which we must never lose sight. The Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:12-19:

    12Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. - ESV

    When the New Testament writers spoke of the Resurrection, they did not mean simply a spiritual resurrection or visions or mere appearances. They referred to a continuity of the physical body of the man, Jesus Christ.

    Matthew 28:1-10 The Appearance to the Women

    Matthew is a bit vague in his expression of "toward the dawn of the first day of the week." By Jewish time keeping this could refer to Saturday evening or Sunday morning. However, the other four Gospels clearly place the event on Sunday morning. When we consider the other accounts along with Matthew the picture is painted that Mary Magdalene and at least one other woman arrived at the Tomb after the Sabbath and found it empty. In Matthew we see that the stone was not rolled away from the entrance until the women approached. By this view, we learn that the stone was not rolled away to release Christ from the tomb but rather to let the women in.

    The position of the angel sitting upon the stone demonstrates triumph. The angel proclaims, "He is not here; for He is risen." This summarizes two important points in the Christian faith that must never be obscured: the empty tomb and the Resurrection. While the empty tomb itself was not conclusive proof for friend or foe that Jesus had risen, it was an important element in building the case against His foes. Conclusive proof was found for the followers when He appeared to the faithful as seen in John 20:13-16.

    That the angel tells the women to "tell His Disciples" indicates that at this point the Disciples were still in Jerusalem. That the Sabbath had occurred during the intervening time likely accounts for the fact that they had not begun their return to Galilee. While the term "He is going before you" leaves room for speculation that an appearance would be made in Jerusalem, the conclusion of verse 7 as well as verse 10 indicates that the Disciples would not actually see the Risen Christ until they returned to Galilee.

    The women, on the other hand, as they ran from the tomb, were the first to encounter the Risen Christ. The name Jesus is used by Matthew further reinforcing the fact that this was the same man known by the women before the Crucifixion. Of further significance in this Passage, we must remember that the Resurrection is not something that happened to the believers' faith, it is something that happened first to Jesus. God acted before we became believers.

    Jesus greeted the women with a simple greeting. The KJV renders it as "all hail". Other versions use "greetings" or even "rejoice" to show the simplicity of the greeting. While this may seem a bit mundane or anti-climactic, it underscores the fact that this was the earthly Jesus who met the women. The women respond by falling at His feet and worshipping Him. Here was a body they could touch as well as a God they could worship. Jesus tells them to tell His Disciples to meet Him in Galilee and uses the term "brethren" in reference to them. This is quite significant as we recall how terribly they had failed Him just a few days before.

    [ March 24, 2004, 11:45 AM: Message edited by: Clint Kritzer ]
     
  3. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Sunday School lesson – 2/19/06 (conclusion)

    Romans 15:14-21 Paul’s Gentile Ministry

    Paul’s philosophical and theological treatise has now come to an end and the second half of chapter 15 serves as an epilogue. We learn in these verses a great deal about Paul and get some clues into the early spread of Christianity.

    Though he had never met the Roman Christians personally, Paul had received reports about them and had become persuaded of their “goodness,” their “knowledge,” and their “ability to instruct.” Perhaps Aquila and Priscilla were the sources of this report, though we can not be certain. Despite Catholic legend of Peter founding the Roman church, we are uncertain as to its actual origin. It seems probable that it may have been founded by Pentecost Christians soon after the Resurrection. One of the most notable features of the Roman Letter when compared to the other Pauline Epistles is that at no point are there any elders addressed. To the contrary, Paul repeatedly uses the term “brethren” demonstrating a lack of hierarchy in the church. Nonetheless, the ability of the brethren to instruct one another had served them well enough that paul had never made Rome a high priority on his mission trips.

    Now, however, Paul was writing them in order that they may receive the benefit of one who had been commissioned by Christ to give the message of the Gospel to the Gentiles. Paul viewed himself as a priest and a minister. A priest was one who was sanctified to approach God in service of the believers. It was the priests who gave sacrifices to God. A minister was one who gave support for the church as a civil authority.

    Paul viewed the Gentiles as the sacrifice he was preparing for God as a priest. It was through his apostolic ministry that they were being converted and instructed in the ways that would make them pleasing to God. Though he was the one physically speaking, Paul knew that it was the work of the Holy Spirit that was sanctifying these believers.

    Paul accomplished his missions not only by speech but also by deed. He was given the power of signs and wonders as demonstrations of his authority. Again, though performed by Paul they were the work of Christ, a point Paul makes emphatically. Christ’s work through Paul in the form of words and deeds, signs and wonders were history altering events. The Apostle states that he had preached starting in Jerusalem, the center of the Christian movement all around the Mediterranean reaching even Illyricum, a province bounded on the north by modern Germany. This was no small matter as this encompassed much of the known world.

    Paul’s mission was to preach the Gospel where it had never been heard and so he had left Rome alone for much of his ministry. He cites Isaiah 52:15 as a basis for this ambition. He viewed his work as that of a missionary. It would be other members of the body that would stay behind and build the churches that he helped to found.

    Romans 15:22-29 Paul’s Passing Visit to Rome

    Having covered the Mediterranean Basin to his satisfaction, Paul now had his eyes set on Spain, far to the west. En route to that destination would be Rome and Paul made plans to visit the roman Christians on his way. Some early traditions hold that Paul did in fact make it to Spain and even Gaul before his second Roman imprisonment.

    In the interim, however, as Paul wrote this Letter from Corinth, his immediate itinerary would be taking him back to Jerusalem with the contributions for the poor from the various Gentile churches. Paul here mentions only Macedonia and Achaia but in other Letters he also speaks of contributions from Galatia and Asia.

    This collection mentioned often in the Pauline Epistles was not a legal obligation but a freely given contribution. The impoverished Christian community in Jerusalem is mentioned elsewhere as well. The condition of this community had led to a communal type situation in the early church and the lack of social progress had not lightened their load. Paul was eager to give the contributions of the Gentiles to the Jewish Christians to demonstrate their commitment to harmony with their Jewish born brethren. It had been the Jewish congregation that had first commissioned Paul to go out into the rest of the world. That act had given the Gentiles a great spiritual blessing and now those churches could help the Jerusalem church with a monetary contribution.

    After his delivery of the contribution, Paul intended to immediately set out for Spain by way of Rome.

    Romans 15:30-33 Paul’s Appeal for Prayer

    Paul was not altogether unaware of the dangers that would be facing him when he returned to Jerusalem. The appeal for prayer in this Passage expresses the anxiety he felt. It is of note that Paul phrases his request with a Trinitarian formula. Christ is the Mediator, the Holy Spirit is linked to God’s love for man and God the Father is the object. In their prayers, the Romans are requested to strive together, a term borrowed from athletic events as in striving to win.

    We know from Acts 21 that the Judean adversaries Paul faced were indeed out to get him. Only the intervention of Roman soldiers saved his life at that juncture. There was also a possibility that many of the traditionalists in the Jerusalem church would reject the offering made by the Gentiles and conflict would grow between the different factions.

    If all went well, however, Paul would move on to Rome and would be refreshed by a more welcoming and relaxed visit. In his benediction Paul now refers to God as the “God of peace.” This formally ends the Letter to the Roman church and chapter 16 serves as the letter for Phoebe.
     
  4. Clint Kritzer

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