Bible Reading and Commentary December 22-27, 2014

Bible Reading and Commentary
December 22-27, 2014

The Gospel of Matthew
Because of the many Old Testament prophecies that Matthew quotes, it appears that Matthew chiefly had Jewish people in mind when writing his Gospel. However, his recording of the Magi and Jesus’ great commission also gives his Gospel a universal outlook.

Monday, December 22, Matthew 1
Vv. 3-5 — In the genealogy of Jesus, note the presence of Tamar, Rahab, and Ruth, 2 women with blemished backgrounds, and all 3 Gentiles. Jesus was coming to save all sinners!
Vv. 18-25 — About 700 years before Jesus’ birth, the Prophet Isaiah (Is. 7:14) foretold the virgin birth of Jesus, and that God would come to us through Mary’s womb to save us from our sin. What a mystery and awesome miracle! When Mary became pregnant, Joseph must have been stunned! God came to his rescue and explained to him that the Holy Spirit was responsible for this conception. To keep people centuries later from questioning the virgin birth and discrediting this awesome miracle, Joseph had no relations with Mary until after Jesus was born.

Tuesday, December 23, Matthew 2
Vv. 1-2 — Most of the Jews weren’t wise when Jesus was born. The leaders of the Jews and Herod knew where Christ was born (vv. 4-6), but in unbelief, they ignored the hope of their salvation. Let’s be wise like those Gentile astrologers from the East, today possibly Iraq and Iran, and worship Jesus because He is the Light of the World (John 8:12). How the Wise Men learned about the coming Savior perhaps was through Daniel. Read Dan. 1:3-6 and Num. 24:17.

Wednesday, December 24, Matthew 3
Vv. 1-4 — The purpose of John’s humble appearance was to direct his hearers not to himself, but to his message. He preached repentance. Repentance is being truly sorry for our sins and trusting in Jesus for salvation. Without such repentance, there can be no eternal life. Who works repentance in us is the Holy Spirit. He can make believers out of stone (v. 9). He changes our stony hearts (Ez. 11:19, 20) at Holy Baptism. There He, through Christ’s work of redemption, washes away our sins, brings us to faith, and makes us heirs of salvation (Titus 3:5-7).

Thursday, December 25, Matthew 4
Vv. 4, 7, 10 — Satan and his evil angels are real personal beings. Their purpose in life is to destroy the Christian spiritually. Read Eph. 6:10-12, 12. Our sure defense is to do as Jesus did when He was tempted by the devil. He used the Word of God. The devil is powerless against it.
Vv. 15-16 — This prophecy from Isaiah 9:1,2 found its fulfillment during Jesus’ ministry. During Jesus’ day, Zebulon and Naphtali had become a part of Galilee. This area of land had previously been conquered by the Assyrians. Through intermarriage, the Galileans were a mixture of Jews and Gentiles. That’s why St. Matthew called that territory a Galilee of the Gentiles.

Friday, December 26, Matthew 5
Vv. 1-11 — The Beatitudes, or Blessings, are listed in vv. 3-11. When we strive to live the way Jesus directs us, the happy blessings He’ll give us are in vv. 3-12. Can we live that way perfectly (v. 48)? No! How are we saved? Read Rom. 3:23, 24
Vv. 22, 28 — Jesus, in this chapter, teaches how we are to keep the second (vv. 34-37), fifth, and sixth commandments. He points out to us that even anger (v. 22) and immoral thoughts (v. 28) make us guilty of breaking the fifth and sixth commandments.
Vv. 38, 44 — These verses are not a contradiction in Scripture. What was to replace the revenge of Ex. 21:23-25 was loving our enemy (v. 44). Read also Eph. 4:32.

Saturday, December 27, Matthew 6
Vv. 9-13, 33 — What will take the worry out of our lives? Jesus tells us to seek Him first and He’ll take care of all our earthly needs (v. 33). Besides that, we are to pray the prayer that Jesus taught us, the Lord’s Prayer. Praying it daily, in firm faith, all our earthly and spiritual needs will be met. Look at the footnote to the words of the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6. The words for the Lord’s Prayer are also in Luke 11:2-4.

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