There is debate over who wrote this book (Just letting you know). It does not matter much to me since it was God breathed, but I am going to assume Peter since most scholars do.
The 1 Peter book was about consoling and encouraging Christians, from persecution from without. The 2 Peter is a book of WARNING from within! (Are you as shocked as I am about this theme being a huge part of almost every NT book!) God KNOWS the false teachings in the Church. People wake up and smell the Bible…There is NOTHING wrong with comparing your church to the Bible and seeing the errs.)
This book will confirm that the BEST and ONLY way to overcome false teaching that creeps into the walls of Church is knowledge of His Word. Do not neglect your Bible.
This book was written by Peter in 62 A.D. The last few books we read focused on the internal problems of the Church such as division, false teaching, heresy etc. Now let’s look at what was going on outside the church for a minute. Nero was the emperor in Rome and he was a horrible ruler that not only killed members of his own family but also was an extreme persecutor of the Christian sect. Persecutions were political: worship of local deities or to participate in worshipping of their statues (Christians would not bow down to this…remember Daniel). So Christianity became illegal as a threat to the safety of the empire. Persecutions were social: Christianity had great appeal to the lower classes, wich caused the upper class to fear it, especially because Christianity taught we are all equal in Christ. Christianity was hated for economic reasons because much of the economy was based on selling carved or made images to be worshipped, and Christianity forbids this. (Bite your tongue Trish)
While this book was written, Nero was trying to make Rome a cultural capital of the world, so he set fire to much of the town to make room for new construction. The fire burned for a week and the Christians were blamed for it. Evidently they confessed to it, but under EXTREME torture tactics. SO upon that omission Christians were persecuted again and it was Peter and Paul that may have died under Nero’s reign here.
I want you to have all that so when you read 1 Peter (maybe for the 100th time you fully understand the setting). God also has foreknowledge what was to come and in 95 A.D. the Jews (Christians were lumped in) refused to pay an extra tax to support roman gods, under Emperor Domitian, and under this persecution John was boiled in oil and then sent to be exiled on an Island in Greece (do you know what happened there?? stay tuned).
Since then Christianity was under state ban until about 250A.D. In 112 the roman governor Pliny wrote to the current emperor asking for clarification of “christian policy” and the emperor answered that they were not to seek out Christians BUT if anyone was to point out or allude to someone being a Christian they should be questioned (there was not don’t ask don’t tell policy back then). They were asked 3 times to confess (I don’t want to imagine what this torture looked like) and if they said Yes finally they were sentenced to death.
Sooooo now that we have the setting I pray that you read 1 Peter with Fresh eyes, and an open heart. We as Christians WILL have trials.
If anyone needs a recap on who Peter was please ask me. I would be happy to write-up a little summary. Just know that this is the Peter that followed Jesus so closely that he saw all the amazing signs and miracles Jesus performed. Unfortunately, he was also the disciple that refused to know Jesus during the trial (3 times). Peter gave the first ever Sermon just after Pentecost. Peter had originally been Simon but Jesus changed his name to mean Rock. Peter layed the foundation at that sermon for the church. Fulfilling the scripture on this Rock I will build my church. Peter was sentenced to crucifixion and his only request was that he was hung upside down. He put Jesus in a category of his own and respectfully did not want to die as He did. So if you ever see an upside down cross (they have them in Church’s in Rome all over, it is in reference to Peter’s death.
We are mid week now of Jesus’ final week. His words are aggressive and very pointed here in Matthew to the Jewish Leaders. What stood out to me was the great authority in which Jesus spoke. I have heard the people say it in the reading but now, WOW what He talks about is clearly from the Father. In Matthew 23 much stood out, but 2 I underlined:
- Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.(23)
- And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. I tell you the truth, all this will come upon this generation. (35)
The second made me wish I had made a list of every disobedient act His children had done from the first to the last in the Old Testament. Not as a reminder of how bad the people (us) were but a reminder of how patient, and forgiving, and warning, and saving God was for thousands of years.
Luke 21 starts a whole new message from Jesus. It starts with the foretelling of the Destruction of the Temple. Let me make this modern for you. This is not Solomons temple, this is not the little temple that Cyrus helped rebuild after the exile, this is Herod’s Temple. It is HUGE and magnificent. It will take a half a century to build it. The people in Jerusalem are looking at it AS Jesus says EVERY STONE will be thrown down of it. And they are thinking “Nahhhh, not in my time”. Well we know that in a single day 40 years later it happens (70 A.D.).
Well we turn the page now to Jesus talking about another great event, this is all part of the message called The Great Discourse. Jesus will talk about His Return, and are we like the Jews? DO you sit here and say “Nahhh not in my time”.
Well the overall message in today’s reading was to live as if it will happen today. It will happen suddenly and without a moments notice. Yes, there will be signs of the times that the end is near (we are living it) but Jesus is very clear to say that NO ONE will be able to predict it and YES it will happen. Well you best be prepared as if it were today
Familiar reads make me nervous. I don’t want to skim them and say “Yeah, I know that” because truth be told in my heart I don’t most of the time. I have them in my head…but that is about as far as it goes.
Causes anyone to stumble… Did you read this? The tone in God’s voice is extremely serious! I am not going to get into a long thing here but I want to just say from my heart that a lot of sins occurred in my life due to “drinking”, even as a teenager or college student. Thoughts, actions, words….. because I was not “myself”. ANyway, I say al that to say I I pray because I do not drinkand i pray my kids won’t either. I truly believe that it is a stumbling block leading to sin. But this scripture is NOT about drinking, it is about being a witness.
The lost sheep. Sometimes I don’t always agree with some of the things my church does however here is what God pressed on me one day “We are going for that ONE lost sheep, you don’t have to like what we do today”. Since that moment I rejoice when I don’t aways agree with my church.
Forgiveness. This is not lip service, catch the last word….from the heart. Again, we hear the scriptures “this is what the Kingdom on Heaven is like (verse 23). We can forgive IF Christ is in Us.
I kept it short, but trust me are are heading back into JOHN tomorrow…I always write a lot on John days
The Transfiguration! If any of you grew up in a church with stained glass windows (I love them!!) probably one of the windows was this. Anyway, take the whole scene in today (not just the window). They went to the top of Mt Tabor, not a high mountain, so trust me no one was lacking oxygen, and Jesus did something he had never done before, gave a small glimpse of who He really was, God. See the word transfigured used in verse 2 means metamorphoō in Greek, I immediately thought of the word metamorphosis. A caterpillar and a butterfly are the same insect, with just a different appearance. That is what Jesus was. He was showing these 3 apostles an affirmation that He was the Christ. A small glimpse of Heaven’s Glory!
So why were Moses and Elijah present? Moses represented the Law. Moses wrote, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Those 5 books, represent the Torah. Jesus came to fulfill the Scriptures. Reread Deuteronomy and you will see a recap of the first 4 books, all prophesying the Messiah to come. Elijah was the Prophet that represented all prophets. The prophet’s message confirmed that Jesus was not Elijah, but the one Elijah spoke of. See, the Jews are expecting a Prophet to proclaim that the King, the Messiah, Jesus is coming, they now know that Jesus was not the prophet but John the Baptist was. Moses and Elijah’s presence confirmed the Scriptures, and the transfiguration was a vision of who truly Jesus was, God himself, in a different form.
The Second Prediction of Jesus’ Death (there are 5 all together). This one speaks of the Resurrection. Can you feel the timeline closing in. The Transfiguration, Jesus’ bold words, not talk of a Resurrection. We are getting close. Jesus knows the time is near and is prepping His disciples. However PLEASE pick up on the scriptures about God reveals to us what HE wants revealed to us. So don’t get discouraged when someone who has been studying God’s Word for years does have more revealed to them. Look at Luke 9:49…it was hidden from them. God uses His Word when He needs to use it in us.
Mark 9. When I go from Matthew to Mark I am usually like, this will be the same and I could not be more WRONG! When Jesus heals the Demon possessed boy, did you catch the last verse. OUCH. OUCH. OUCH. My weakest discipline is prayer. I often fall into “Well, if God is going to heal her….he will heal her” Uggggg I am very somber right now.
I am sorry this is long, you can tell I am trying to be short BUT when I went to LUKE again I though REPETITION and AGAIN God AWES ME. Starting in Luke verse 51..the time is approaching. Look at your maps, He is descending finally back down to Jerusalem, where he Knows what will happen soon. WHen you read of James and John personality did you not just giggle (Luke verse 54) . This is the comment that gives them the nickname “sons of Thunder!” Ohh I love their passion (even though I had the Sermon on the Mount ringing in my head….Love your enemy), the Samaritans have been a long time enemy since the return of the exile.
God is calling people to follow Him. The scriptures show you
- it will be difficult
- it will never be good timing
- it will be against family wishes
- you will not have comfort
- the list goes on….
Notes: you may not need them, just thought I would take each section and make a little note of interest today. Sorry for the late post.
The read today will open up with the Pharisees and the Sadducees coming to Jesus. Wee need to realize how strong a message that sends. That is like saying The Republicans AND the Democrats came together to talk to someone. That is how strong a figure Jesus was when he preached, the political and religious stir He was creating was incredible! And in the P’s and S’s wanted it stopped!
Also, I never really picked up the reference to Jonah so much in Jesus’ Ministry. Anyway, the book of Jonah may be only 4 chapters but people it is CHOCK FULL O’ GOD’s Message! Every year I read it God allows me to see more and more. Obedience, repentance, Salvation…today is Resurrection. The Sign of Jonah (3 days in the Belly) refers here with Jesus words, the death and resurrection (3 days)!
Peter HUGE READ TODAY (they all are though) . First let’s go back to John 6, the last paragraph. Many Jews, including the disciples categorized Jesus as the great Prophet, such as Elijah or Jeremiah. Peter called Jesus A Holy One of God back in John 6, but here, months later, Peter refers to Jesus as The Christ! The Son of the Living God. WOW. Now that is music to Jesus’ ears! Peter (Simon) has just professed the key to Heaven! So for 2.5 years even the disciples questioned who Jesus was. They knew he was a Holy one from God, and the scriptures said that a great Prophet (Elijah) would come a proclaim that the Messiah was to come. Was Jesus the Prophet or the Messiah? Peter finally professes here that He is the Messiah. Jesus is the Christ! So maybe tomorrow a little transfiguration will bring 2 or 3 witnesses to believe (by the way that is a Levitical law)
On this Rock I will build my Church. There is more than 1 layer to this. First, let’s get our geography lesson. Caesarea Philippi. Well this week we looked at the Herod Family Tree print out as well as Maps of the tetrarch area right? (sure you did) So Jesus obviously headed north and just by the Name including the word Caesar you can imagine the type of living that went on there (ummm picture Vegas, Caesar Palace), anyway it is also situated on a huge ROCK cliff and we all know that when Jesus preached He was a very very visual teacher (most of us are visual learners right?) so picture Jesus standing there, not only on a Rock but on the Profession of faith (thats is a big ROCK) and (Peter “Simon” name was changed to Cephas meaning the Rock), as well as a foundation illustration (did you get all that) Here is a picture of the location
Notice the grotto, a place of sacrifice to the god Pan, also believed to be hades or the place of the dead. They would sacrifice their children to appease Pan. This is where Matt 16 took place, vs. 18: “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.”
Then finally The Prediciton! WOW. But here is the deal…I think we as Christians are afraid to humble ourselves and ask others “what does that mean? Or I am not sure I get that”. Listen to me, if you think so much of yourself that you think you can peel off ALL of God’s Word in one, two, or 10 reads…think again.
Hello! Am I the only one that wakes up excited about what we might be reading today click it? Another awesome day of Jesus’ teachings. A few thing in background I want to touch on that will put some extra depth into the reading (not that it needs it of course) but here are a few background points.
- When the Jews came out of captivity and returned to Jerusalem religious parties such as Pharisees, Teachers (Scribes), Sadducees…made laws around the laws to not come NEAR breaking the actual law. Having centuries of this you can imagine some major man-made “religion” was made. Most often when a man made law is created, people are more concerned with that law than God’s Law.
- Tradition. Good or Bad? Depends. Tradition should be created to help us understand and celebrate God’s perfect law and history. We never should add or take away from it, often times the tradition becomes the focal point, not God.
- Corban (Korban). Corban meaning “offering” is a practice or vow that gives the money that would normally go to their parents to support them to the temple instead. It was a way of neglecting their responsibility of taking care of their elders. I am not trying to make a parallel here for you, but have you ever been prompted to help someone OR an organization and you say “well, I give money to the church…let them handle it”. Corban.
- Clean vs. Unclean. Very important to understand that Jesus is not coming on the scene like a renegade disputing God’s Law layed out in Leviticus on ‘unclean’ food. That was a very necessary law for the Jews to be Set Apart from the rest of the world. They were to eat different, look different, act different…to be Holy, Set Apart. Not to conform! Are you hearing me…it wasn’t the food that made them unclean it was the conformity to the rest of the world that polluted them. Here Jesus is saying…the food doesn’t make you “unclean” it is what is on your heart! Hard concept for ‘Task Oriented’ religions.
Next we read about the woman. Tyre and Sidon…sound familiar?? If you read the Old Testament with us it would. In 2 Samuel, the life of King David, Tyre was a wealthy city that was friendly with the Jewish nation, however being a strong Canaanite city over time they became so wicked they even called their own kings ‘gods’. When Jerusalem was destroyed finally in 586 B.C. Tyre celebrated and rejoiced (in Ezekiel 28) because now they would flourish even more without competition. When we read the Prophecy books all summer we read over and over about the punishment Tyre and Sidon would receive for their evil ways. So here we have Jesus heading NORTH out of Capernaum and going even further from Jerusalem towards Tyre then Sidon. Does it amaze you that the persons furthest from a temple, 3o miles away from the seen miracles, even further from the Temple…would have more Faith then the ones that saw it all! By the way this is NOT the first time this happened here!!!
- Go back to 1 Kings 17, Click here to read, remember the great Prophet Elijah! He went to Zarpetheth, Sidon and was with a widow (a Canaanite woman) and her sick daughter. Foreshadow is incredible isn’t it!!
Finally, I am hoping that reading this chronologically although frustrating in “flipping” around shows us the journey Jesus took in order to fulfill the scriptures. I am amazed at how many miracles he actually performed (and these are just the recorded ones), I am realizing how much time Jesus spent in the Gentile nations, using the Jewish Disciples, as instruments for his message to ALL. The read ends with ANOTHER (I didn’t realize Jesus did this twice) feeding of the masses! And it ends with Jesus headed back to the Sea of Galilee)
John 6. Click here. A unique read because it is the only one of Jesus miracles that is in all 4 Gospels. It says in verse 4: The Jewish Passover Feast was near. So we know it is celebrated on the 15th day of the month called Nissan (like the Car Manufacturer) first month of the Jewish year (on the Hebrew calendar). So we are in March/April on our calendar. Anyway, Jesus since he was 12 (remember him sitting on the steps of His “Fathers’ house) would go to Jerusalem for to observe the holiday. Well back on Oct 8th (John 5) we read about the last time Jesus was in Jerusalem they plotted to kill him soooooo He will hang here at the Sea of Galilee for the Holiday because it is not time for him to allow himself to be sacrificed. Sad to think though that this will be the Passover before HE is the Passover. We are only 1 year away from the Crucifixion. (I love reading this Chronologically)
We are only reading 1 Chapter today but so incredibly important and I hope you all write to me something that caught you this time. This is not a light conversation between Jesus and the 12. This is now time to get serious. MANY awesome Scriptures caught my heart but from an evangelist point of view this one made me write WOW in my margin. The followers ask a VERY important question “What must we DO to do the works God REQUIRES”. Depending on your denomination MANY things might come to mind. Baptism, to be “good”, 10 commandments, confession, repentence…hmmmm. What came to mind? Well God leaves nothing open-ended of such importance. Jesus answers in verse 29:
Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
everything else Jesus “asks” us to do is not Required. This is required. Anyway, there is so much more great stuff to the read, for example how the followers really started to lose interest when Jesus was now talking about healing the soul rather than external healing…do we?
If you lived back then where would you be? Let me tell you, this was not easy for the Disciples. When Jesus preached He said some SHOCKING stuff! Besides the questionable blasphemy when Jesus goes into the “eat my flesh drink my blood” even though it was imagery you must know that this was completely detestable from a Jewish Law standpoint. Leviticus 17 clearly states how forbidden this would be. If you did not read the Old Testament with us, please email me so I can give you the story and purpose of the MANNA from Heaven.
So often the disciple’s desert him for different reasons
- they were following the “miracles” and “blessings”. Hmmmm hello!!
- they wanted a KING that would feed them Daily!
- they wanted a “deed” based Faith….so much easier. (think about it)
- learning was difficult
Anyway, as usual I beg you not to leave a single scriptures unturned or confused. These are the words not just from Jesus but from the Lord himself.
I emailed you the Herod Family tree…if you did not get it let me know.
This reading opens up with Herod the Tetrarch. A Tetrarch is a ruler of a Quarter of a Territory. Herod the Great was this Herod’s Father. Herod the Great was the Herod that ordered all the babies to be killed in Bethlehem. He died the year Jesus was born (4 B.C.) and his 4 sons divided the land of Palestine into regions:
This Herod we are reading is Antipas, ruler of Galilee and Perea (purple). This will also be the same Herod that will later hear Jesus mock trial. Anyway, his half brother Philip’s (ruler of Iturea) wife (Herodias) left Philip and moved in with Antipas. John the Baptist had condemned the family for their immoral living (Mark 6:16-17) so he was put in prison. So this is where today’s reading starts.
Much of these readings will be familiar to you BUT there is a huge difference between hearing a Sermon from a book or Church verse reading the Word of God. Huge difference. Three writers were used for the same stories for a reason, God knew that we all respond differently. I seem to love Matthew for the history and detail but Mark for the blunt easy read. My favorite scripture of the day was
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. ” Matthew 14:29-32
I was reminded of the Parting of the Red Sea, God didn’t do anything until Moses took the first step into the Water, just like here with Peter. It wasn’t until Peter stepped out did he walk with Jesus, and when he took his eyes off of him he began to sink (ohhh that is me) and the wind died down when THEY climbed into the boat TOGETHER ( ohhh so reminded me of Jesus in the furnace with Daniel!) Ok ok ok I am logging off before I really geta goin!
Lastly, the Mark Reading: Notice he sent out the disciples 2 by 2! Do you have a person you are accountable with? God knows we need support, encouragement, discernment…we are not to be doing life without it. I have one for support and prayer, another for wisdom, and another to study with.
Read today like you have NEVER read this before. God’s message NEVER changes. We need to read the Word of God and be changed TO the Scripture not the other way around. Have pen in hand today…for sure this will be read with a receptive heart! With that said, some of it will surly stir us uncomfortable. I know it is the middle of the week but find a quiet time today, you are gonna need it on this one.
Chap 9. Jesus is in Capernaum (if you are keeping to a map). Very wealthy city, a sort of melting pot of cultures. First read was a SALVATION story through FAITH. (And the Law makers are really starting to get mad now). Then we have the story again of Jesus eating with the sinners. Anyone who knows my testimony knows this is a special read for me. Anyway, something caught my eye “again” and this time I dug deeper. “I desire Mercy, not Sacrifice.” I know we talked about this earlier this week but for those who don’t blog everyday this is for you. In a culture where many people associate Christianity with having to sacrifice something Jesus is saying (to me) he desires us to ” have mercy”. Can anyone define that word? I couldn’t put my finger on it so I looked it up…here is are definitions of what I found..
- Compassion, forgiving
- Showing more love or kindness to a person than he or she expects or deserves
- And Strong’s Lexicon: kindness or good will towards the miserable and the afflicted, joined with a desire to help them
Wow, this is what the Lord desires from us. Who can we have mercy for?
LOVED LOVED LOVED the Blind man reading. If you have time later read this blog Click on it I wrote many many moons ago.
Soooooo much good stuff in this read. “The Harvest is plentiful but the workers are few”. Are you working for the Kingdom? Well, are you? I am not talking about a little day care volunteering, I am talking HARVESTING God’s Crop!
Chapter 10: He called the 12 Disciples. It’s time to preach and bring the Good News to the Jew first and then the Gentile (that’s why in the read Jesus sends them to the lost in Israel first).
Shake the Dust off your feet was something Jews would do when leaving Gentiles showing their “separation” from other nations. SO for the Disciples do this when leaving “unbelieving” other Jews was a very loud message of “you are not with us”.
Please please never think a deed equals Salvation. It is the Evidence of salvation. In Matthew 10:22 it says “but he who stands firm to the end will be saved”. As my Preacher says “IF you are saved” there will be evidence in your life. Endurance is a byproduct of Salvation. Make sense?
Now for the uncomfortable part. How much do you love the Lord? To know Him is to Love Him…Do you know Him? As you finish out CHapter 10, Jesus clearly says that you pick the Lord over ALL other relationships in your life. More than ANY earthly relationship. So here is the deal, if you truly cannot say that in your heart then maybe you don’t spend enough quality time with Him.