Today’s reading in the gospel of Matthew deals with the events the two days before Jesus was crucified. In addition we read the last chapter of Leviticus.
February 21: Matthew 26, Leviticus 27 (click on the chapter to begin reading)
Matthew 26 is enormous. It begins with the plot against Jesus, continuing with his anointing at Bethany, then Judas agreeing to betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver, continuing with the Lord’s supper being initiated, Jesus predicting who is going to betray him, moving on to the Mount of Olives, where Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane, where he prayed “Not my will, but yours be done,”after which he predicted Peter’s denial. Jesus prayed three times and then came the betrayal and arrest of Jesus and he wss taken to the Sanhedrin to be interrogated. The chapter ends with Peter’s denial.
Leviticus 27 deals with redeeming people and property and what is to be dedicated to God.
Today’s chapter in Matthew deals with parables about the kingdom of heaven, and the two chapters in Leviticus deal with the Sabbath year, the Year of the Jubilee, and rewards and punishments.
February 20: Matthew 25, Leviticus 25, Leviticus 26 (click on the chapter to begin reading)
Matthew 25 begins with the parable of the ten virgins, five with oil, five without oil. (Give me oil in my lamp, keep it burning). After that Jesus told the parable of the five, two and one talent given to three different people, the one with five made ten, the one with two doubled his talents, but the one with only one talent buried his. Jesus had his one talent taken away and be given to the one with ten talents. The moral of this parable is: Equal opportunity, not equal outcome. Finally Jesus gives the parable of the sheep and the goats, and the sheep are defined as those who do God’s will “You did it for me.”
Leviticus 25 defines the Sabbath year, a year of rest for the land, and the year of the jubilee, the year when property is restored, rights redeemed, and slaves are set free. (As far as I know the year of the jubilee was never implemented)
Leviticus 26 tells of blessing for obedience and punishment for disobedience.
The Chapter in Matthew that is chosen for today is one of the most talked about among people expecting Jesus’ return. There are also two chapters from Leviticus to conplete the reading.
February 19: Matthew 24, Leviticus 23, Leviticus 24 (click on the chapter to begin reading)
Matthew 24 is knocking at the door is a song popularized by Johnny Cash and gives a description of what is coming. Jesus predicted the destruction of the Temple and the events that will occur just before his return. He even quoted Daniel the prophet: “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation.” Then he described his coming return to gather his people. He assured us that heaven and earth will pass away, but not his words. However, nobody knows the time or the day of his coming. Many have tried to predict it, and so far all have failed. This makes sense since we are supposed to watch and wait, and with this admonition the chapter ends.
Leviticus 23 describes the feasts of the LORD, the Sabbath, the Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Firstfruits, the Feast of Weeks, the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles.
Leviticus 24 describes how to care for the Tabernacle Lamps and the Tabernacle Bread. Then it defines the Penalty for Blasphemy, and the Penalty for intentional injuries: “An eye for an eye.” is a direct quote from the Law, and so is “
Today there are three chapters.
February 18: Matthew 23, Leviticus 21, Leviticus 22 (click on the chapter to begin reading)
In Matthew 23 Jesus warned the people about the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees. At that time they had formulated the Talmud, which regulated every aspect of Jewish life. He did it in the form of telling of seven woes. Read the chapter carefully and draw your own conclusions.
Leviticus 21 continues the regulations for priests, and
Leviticus 22 completes the regulations for the priests and lists acceptable and unacceptable offerings.
Today there are three chapters.
February 17: Matthew 22, Leviticus 19, Leviticus 20 (click on the chapter to begin reading)
In Matthew 22 Jesus continued to talk in parables. He was in Jerusalem teaching about the Kingdom of Heaven and told the parable of the wedding banquet, from which we have the expression “many are called but few are chosen.” The Pharisees tried to entrap him with the question “is it legal to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” Jesus answered by the famous quote: “Give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s,” an early call to separation of Church and state. Jesus did not say “let the Romans do it”. The Sadducees also tried to entrap him with the riddle “if there is no resurrection and seven brothers have had a woman as his wife on after another, who would marry her in the resurrection?” Jesus answered with another, now made famous, saying: “God is not the God of the dead but of the living.” They continued to try to entrap him by asking which is the greatest commandment. Jesus answered with the first commandment and added another: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Once more they tried to entrap him with the question: Whose son is the Christ? Jesus answered: “ The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?” That shut them up.
Leviticus 19 is a continuation of moral and ceremonial laws, one of the lesser known is that tattoos are forbidden, and
Leviticus 20 outlines the penalties for breaking the law.
In today’s reading, the chapter of Matthew contains many events, beginning with the triumphal entry. The two chapters of Leviticus deal with blood and sexual immorality.
February 16: Matthew 21, Leviticus 17, Leviticus 18 (click on the chapter to begin reading)
Matthew 21 starts with the triumphal entry, and that event begins what is called the “holy week” Jesus rode in to Jerusalem on an unbroken colt. In Jerusalem Jesus cleansed the temple and threw out the money changers. The spiritual leaders were offended that people sang “Hosanna in the highest” at the triumphal entry, even that little children sang it. As an object lesson Jesus cursed a fig tree, the symbol of Israel, and it withered. The spiritual leaders also questioned Jesus authority. Instead of giving an answer Jesus gave two parables, the one about the two sons and the parable about the wicked tenants. Moving on, Jesus quoted scripture by saying :The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone” meaning that the kingdom of God will be inherited by another people.
Leviticus 17 deals with the sanctity of blood and why eating of blood is forbidden in the Mosaic Law.
Leviticus 18 defines the laws of sexual morality, and especially to stay away from Molech, a Pagan god who enticed the people through sexual orgies, made them pass through the fire and offer child sacrifices (the result of those sexual orgies.)
In the three chapters for today Jesus explained further the kingdom of heaven in the gospel of Matthew. The two chapters of Leviticus deal with bodily discharges and the Day of Atonement.
February 15: Matthew 20, Leviticus 15, Leviticus 16 (click on the chapter to begin reading)
In Matthew 20 Jesus told the parable of the workers in the vineyard, that God is always fair even when we don’t think so. Then he predicted his death. After that the mother of Zebedee’s sons asked Jesus to have her sons be the seated with Jesus in the kingdom of heaven, but Jesus answer was that is only for the Father to decide. The other disciples got angry, but Jesus admonished them all that the kingdom of heaven means to be a servant. The chapter ends with Jesus, out of compassion healed two blind men.
Leviticus 15 deals with bodily discharges.
Leviticus 16 is the apex of Leviticus and tells of all the things Aaron must do on the day of Atonement to atone for his own sins and for the sins of the people during the year that was past.
The three chapters for today are: First a fantastic chapter in Matthew, often quoted, and then two chapters in Leviticus that deal with leprosy and mildew, and the actions necessary for the person and the Priest to perform the cleansing.
February 14: Matthew 19, Leviticus 13, Leviticus 14 (click on the chapter to begin reading)
Matthew 19 is relatively short but contains some of the most important aspects of life, such as marriage and divorce. “What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.” Another jewel: “Let the little children come to me…” After Jesus gave that lesson, a rich young ruler asked what good thing he must do to get eternal life. Jesus answered: “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.” This he could not do, so he sighed and walked away. Jesus then commented “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God,” in other words, impossible. But cheer up, “with God all things are possible.” And God’s pecking order is not economic or based on power. Instead, sometimes “the first shall be last, and the last shall be first.” There are many idioms in the English language taken from the Bible. Yet the origin of these quotations are not allowed to be mentioned in public schools. Ponder that.
Leviticus 13 and Leviticus 14 deal with leprosy and mildew and what to do with both. Things like that are complicated.
In the four chapters chosen for today, the one from the gospel of Matthew is full of promises, forgiveness and reconciliation, but also warning. The three chapters of Leviticus are more Mosaic law and regulations.
February 13: Matthew 18, Leviticus 10, Leviticus 11, Leviticus 12 (click on the chapter to begin reading)
Matthew 18. To the question: “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Jesus called a little child. Then he expanded the question and elaborated on the subject of sin. This chapter also contains the parable of the lost sheep, which leads naturally into the subject of forgiveness, reconciliation and church discipline. Jesus also promised that “where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them”. The chapter ends with the parable of the unmerciful servant.
In Leviticus 10 two of Aaron’s sons were killed by fire for violating the command of God. But Aaron’s uncle had two sons and together with two other sons of Aaron they became the new priests and the rest of the chapter deals with how they should behave.
Leviticus 11 deals with clean (kosher) and unclean food and clean and unclean animals. (Locusts and grasshoppers are o.k.)
Finally Leviticus 12 is a short chapter and deals with purification after childbirth.
Today’s reading starts with the transfiguration from the gospel of Matthew. It continues with the fact that healing is associated with faith, and finally deals with tax matters. The three chapters from Leviticus deal with offerings and the duties of priests.
February 12: Matthew 17, Leviticus 7, Leviticus 8, Leviticus 9 (click on the chapter to begin reading)
Matthew 17 begins with telling of the transfiguration. Then the disciples tried to heal a boy with epilepsy but failed. Jesus healed him immediately. The disciples could not do it because they had so little faith. Jesus also predicted his death, and the tax collectors came to Peter to collect the poll tax. Jesus solved this by telling Peter to go fishing and from the first fish he caught he would take the four drachma coin swallowed by the fish. That did take care of the tax for both Peter and Jesus.
Leviticus 7 defines the guilt offering and the peace(fellowship) offering. It furthermore forbids the people to eat fat or blood. In a fellowship offering the priest must get his share, and the share is specified.
Leviticus 8 goes into some length on how the ordination of Aaron and his sons was done.
In Leviticus 9 the priestly ministry begins.