Gospels in 40 Days – March 18-19
Welcome to our study of the gospels during the Lenten season. Lent is the Christian tradition of preparing for the resurrection of Jesus by taking intentional steps to grow closer to God during the 40 days before Easter. The tradition mirrors Jesus going into the wilderness to fast and pray for 40 days, where he was tempted by Satan but was able to resist, strengthen, and grow his ministry for the days ahead (Matthew 4). Typical Lenten observances include fasting, repentance, moderation, self-denial, and spiritual discipline.
To join the study, pick a reading plan to follow, journal on the day’s reading using the SOAP method of Bible study (see “What’s SOAP?” on our website for details), and check in for daily posts from our study leaders. We hope you will join us this season, intentionally stepping toward God!
Matthew was a tax collector before he knew Jesus, but once he got the call, he left it all to follow Jesus as one of the twelve apostles. Matthew was raised in the Jewish tradition and knew scripture well. His gospel is placed perfectly at the beginning of the New Testament to connect the Old to the New. He often references Old Testament scriptures that are fulfilled in Jesus, and his gospel’s purpose is to show that Jesus is the Messiah they’ve been waiting for.
Clicking on the following links will take you to the Bible Gateway website where you can read the NIV version of today’s reading:
ALL OF IT: Matthew 23-24
MOST OF IT: Matthew 22:1-14
HIGHLIGHT REEL: Luke 1:26-33
When others face a burden related to their sin, are you crushing them with religion, or bringing them the peace of Jesus?
Crushing Demands or Easing the Burden? | Jess Howell
Matthew 23:4 – “They crush people with unbearable religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden.”
Jesus was tested many times by the religious leaders of his time, and Jesus often responded in small doses noting his disapproval with how they lived, not necessarily what they taught. In Matthew 23, however, Jesus lays it ALL out about their hypocritical nature. Jesus is trying to illustrate how much time they spend “looking” holy rather than being holy. You can bet that was the final straw for them.
This chapter was hard for me to read. I kept feeling so strongly that many churches today fall into the same bucket as these religious leaders did thousands of years ago. As Christians face an ever growing sin-accepting culture, we are often quick to label, judge, and smear our beliefs into the face of others. But we don’t give them a tool to fight against their sin and burden. We have to be able to admit the battles we face with our own sins so as not to appear as the hypocrites like these Pharisees. Don’t put on the appearance of a righteous person!
Father God, I feel like You’re pointing out this verse today for something that’s coming. It was borderline annoying how much You kept pushing this idea into me. I need to prepare myself to lead someone through a burden. I have to fight against the urge to hide and to appear perfect when I know I’m 150% not! I pray this seed stays alive in my heart when it is needed. Amen.
The Discover One Thing main website follows a reading plan that goes through the entire Bible in one year. Click HERE to check out today’s Discover One Thing post.