Reading the Scriptures Together: Week of March 25, 2018

Monday: Matthew 21

On the Sunday before His death Jesus enters Jerusalem. The city is full of those who have come to celebrate Passover, and as Jesus rides into town (on a donkey to fulfill the Scriptures) the crowds begin to praise Him as the Messiah. Then on Monday He cleanses the Temple, further establishing His authority and also the cause of those who were against Him. Consider this:

Up to this point in Jesus’s ministry, He still could have managed to live a long, happy, peaceful life, but His actions on Sunday set in motion a series of events that could result only in either His overthrow of the Romans and the current religious establishment—or His brutal death. He has crossed the point of no return; there would be no turning back. Caesar would allow no rival kings. – The Final Days of Jesus, Andreas Kostenberger and Justin Taylor

Tuesday: Matthew 24-25

On Tuesday and Wednesday of the week of His death Jesus continued teaching. In Matthew 24-25 we have some of this teaching and it is full of references to His death, resurrection and future return. These chapters take on fuller meaning when we remember that this is one of the final times Jesus taught prior to His crucifixion. He is preparing us for what is to come. As the week continues the stage is being set for what is to come.

The stage is set for the final act. The characters are in place. Their goals, motives, and intentions are clear. The king has come for his kingdom and has issued a clear and direct challenge to the reigning structures of political, economic, and religious power. The drama can end in only one of two ways. Either Jesus will topple the reigning powers and establish His messianic kingdom—or He will be killed. No one at that time could possible comprehend that in God’s mysterious plan, there was a third option. – The Final Days of Jesus, Andreas Kostenberger and Justin Taylor

Wednesday: Matthew 26:1-46

In Matthew 26 we have events from Wednesday through early Friday morning, including the plots against Jesus, the Passover (Last Supper), Jesus’s prayer in the garden, His betrayal, arrest and part of the trials. This chapter has been divided into two days so we can read slowly and think about all that happened in the days just before the death of Christ.

Thursday: Matthew 26:47-75; Isaiah 53

It is hard to consider the emotions that must have been present on that Thursday evening and Friday morning. Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s denial are evidence of how the Scriptures were fulfilled; Jesus was betrayed, rejected and even abandoned by His closest followers. He went to the cross alone.

Isaiah 53 is incredible prophecy of the death of Christ. It tells us of His suffering, but it also tells us about the significance of His death. When Jesus died He took on our sin and took the wrath of God in our place.

Friday: Matthew 27; Psalm 22:1-21

In Matthew 27 we have the final stages of the trials of Jesus and His crucifixion. This can be a difficult chapter to read, but it is important for us to carefully consider all that Jesus did on our behalf.

Psalm 22 is the Psalm that we considered on Sunday and paints a fuller picture of the events of Matthew 27 and the death of Christ. Consider the sufferings of Christ on your behalf. He took on your sin and bore the wrath of God in your place.  

In the ninth hour, Jesus utters a despairing cry: ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ [quoting Psalm 22] . . . In some mysterious way beyond our human understanding, Jesus, the second person of the Trinity, is cut off and separated from God because He is bearing the sin of humanity and enduring God’s wrath as a substitute for and in place of sinful humans. Of course, Jesus knows how Psalm 22 ends—in vindication—and may be reminding us that forsakenness is not the end of the story. – The Final Days of Jesus, Andreas Kostenberger and Justin Taylor

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