Weekly Reading: Matthew 21-25 | Proverbs 9-10
Wisdom has prepared a great banquet, mixed the wines, and set the table. She has sent her servants to invite everyone to come (Proverbs 9: 1-2).
The Lord will not let the godly go hungry, but he refuses to satisfy the craving of the wicked (Proverbs 10:3).
As we contemplate the Gospel of Matthew, let’s appreciate God’s mercy and consider if we are being fed from the bountiful table Christ has prepared for us.
Weekly Reading: Matthew 21-25
The Gospel of Matthew was written to the Jewish people to prove that Jesus is the Messiah and to explain God’s Kingdom. Through Jesus’s life and ministry, we learn that God’s Kingdom is different from the kingdoms of the world. In God’s Kingdom, a person receives honor by serving others, forgiving his enemies, and gaining true wealth by giving it away. Chapters 21-25 focus on the clash of God’s Kingdom with the world’s kingdoms.
In earlier chapters of the book of Matthew, Jesus is primarily giving instructions for living a Kingdom life, telling parables, and performing miracles. There is a shift that takes place in Chapter 21, however, beginning with Jesus affirming his royal status through His triumphal entry into Jerusalem for Passover (Matthew 21: 1-11). Jesus subsequently asserts His royal authority over the Temple, challenging the authority of the Jewish leaders. He goes to the Temple and creates a huge disturbance that ultimately brings the activity in the Temple to a halt (Matthew 21: 12-13). This angers the Jewish leaders (Matthew 21: 23-27) and in Chapter 22, they attempt to trap and shame Jesus (Matthew 22: 15-22, 23-33, 34-40 & 41-46). When they fail, they decide to have Jesus captured and killed.
In response, Jesus temporarily retreats with His disciples where He offers His final block of teachings (Matthew 23-25).
In Chapter 23, Jesus criticizes the Pharisees, calling them hypocrites:
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees are the official interpreters of the law of Moses. So, practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they preach.
And He grieves over Jerusalem:
“Jerusalem! Jerusalem! You kill the prophets and throw stones in order to kill those who are sent to you. Many times I have wanted to gather your people together. I have wanted to be like a hen who gathers her chicks under her wings. But you would not let me! Look, your house is left empty. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.’ “
In Chapter 24, Jesus speaks of the future and cations His disciples to remain watchful:
Jesus told them, ‘Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
Finally, in Chapter 25, Jesus tells three parables to clarify further what it means to be ready for His return and how to live until He comes again. In the story of the 10 bridesmaids (25:1-3), Jesus teaches that every believer should live wisely in anticipation of His return. The story of the three servants (25:14-30) shows the necessity of using well what God has entrusted to us. The parable of the sheep and goats (25:31-46) stresses the importance of serving others in need.
Dear Father, we love You and love Your Word. Thank you for the opportunity to learn and understand how to live wisely, in accordance with Your Truth. We pray that we surrender ourselves to the Holy Spirit and live in a way that reflects your Heavenly Kingdom here on earth; that we serve others, share Your love, and show respect to all people while displaying the joy we have in You. Amen. –Andrea Payton