Today there are four chapters to read, ponder the significance of the resurrection in Matthew 28. The three first chapters in Numbers are interesting for historians.
February 23: Matthew 28, Numbers 2, Numbers 3, Numbers 4 (click on the chapter to begin reading)
Matthew 28 begins with Jesus being in the grave for the two adjoining sabbaths, the first day of unleavened bread followed by the normal sabbath, then there was an earthquake and the stone was rolled away. Jesus was no longer in the grave. The guards were bribed to tell the story that the disciples took the body, but two women, the two Marys met the resurrected Jesus. He told them to tell the remaining disciples that he was risen from the dead. The Gospel of Matthew ends with Jesus giving the great commission: “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
Numbers 2 tells how the tribes are to be arranged around the tabernacle, three to the east, three to the south, three to the west and three to the north and the Levites in the middle.
Numbers 3 lists the sons of Aaron and the Levites by clan.
Numbers 4 tells of the duties of the Kohathites, the Gershonites and the Merarites. Then these Levite clans are numbered.
February 22: Matthew 27, Numbers 1 (click on the chapter to begin reading)
Matthew 27 depicts the longest day, beginning with Jesus being handed over to Pilate, the Roman governor; since the Jews did not have right to execute capital punishment. Judas hanged himself and the thirty pieces of silver given him in exchange for the betrayal of Jesus was used to buy the Potter’s field. Pilate tried to wiggle out of his role as a judge, his wife had warned him, so he came up with the idea to release one prisoner at Passover which was the custom. Pilate chose Jesus or Barabbas to be released and of the two the people chose Barabbas to be released and Jesus to be crucified. Pilate acquiesced to the mob and so Jesus was flogged by the soldiers for a public spectacle and then he was led away, but after the flogging Jesus was too weak to carry his own cross, so they forced Simon from Cyrene to carry Jesus cross all the way to the place of the skull, and there Jesus was crucified together with two criminals. To identify Jesus they put an inscription on the top of the cross “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” A number of prophecies were fulfilled during the crucifixion, and Jesus finally died on the cross. At that very moment the Temple veil was torn in two, from bottom to top and for the first time the holy of holiest was revealed. Jesus, now being dead was taken down from the cross and put in a tomb, a stone was rolled in front of the entrance and the tomb was sealed, and – this is important, they put up a guard to secure the tomb. Why did they do that? Think about that.
Numbers 1 consists of a listing of the heads of the people that left Egypt, the first census.
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.