Over the last 11 months, we've been going through the gospel of Matthew. We've now reached the events which we've steadily been heading towards since the beginning of Matthew. While the events we will be discussing this month aren't "rainbows and butterflies" like you might want to hear as we head into the Christmas season, they are the events that give us hope and the reason we celebrate the birth of Jesus. Just like in previous months, I will not be covering all of chapters 26-28, but I encourage you to read the chapters on your own.
As you read the last three chapters of Matthew, here's a short summary of what you'll see:
- The political and religious leaders are going to arrest, try, convict, flog, and crucify Jesus.
- Jesus' disciples are going to betray and abandon him, starting with Judas.
- And finally, Jesus is going to predict his death (like he's previously done), explain its meaning, endure the pain/suffering, and defeat death.
We're going to take a look at specific sections and discuss it further.
Weakness & sinfulness of humans
A lot of people have heard how Judas, one of Jesus' disciples, betrayed Jesus. But do you know why he decided to betray him?
Thirty pieces of silver. Judas was willing to betray Jesus for some money. Judas isn't the first and only human who has let money influence their decisions.
People's weaknesses and sinfulness are so bad that they will betray people closest to them. We see in this section that Judas wouldn't be the only one of Jesus' disciples who would betray/abandon him.
Jesus warned Peter of coming temptation, but he didn’t listen. You will see later in this chapter, that Peter will deny Jesus three times.
The last section we're going to look at for seeing humans' weaknesses is when Jesus prays in Gethsemane.
While Jesus is experiencing a time of overwhelming sorrow and distress as He gets closer to his crucifixion, He asks His disciples, Peter, James, and John, to be with Him. Jesus wants them to just stay awake ("watch") with Him. Whenever Jesus goes away to humbly pray to God, He comes back to find the disciples succumbing to physical sleep. They couldn't even support Jesus while He was struggling. Verse 41 is key for us to remember, as it is true for all of us:
"Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
The Passover & the Lord's supper
We're going to jump back a bit to look at the Passover with Jesus' disciples. Jesus' last meal with His disciples will be the Passover meal – He will use this to explain the meaning of His death. The Passover was first instituted in Exodus 12. This was where each household would sacrifice a lamb to save their firstborn sons.
Throughout the Old Testament, Jesus is foreshadowed often. In this case, Jesus is our Passover lamb. His death and resurrection is necessary because a payment needs to be made for our sins. Jesus covers us so we don't have to face God's wrath.
The Lord's Supper or communion is something we partake in today as believers. The bread represents Jesus' body and drinking from the cup represents Jesus' blood which was shed for our sins.
Death & Resurrection
After all of Jesus' suffering, it was finally finished.
Can you imagine the curtain of the temple being torn in two? This is what separated the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place (which was the separation between us and God). This curtain was 60ft high and 30ft wide. The curtain being torn in two signifies the end of the separation between us and God. After Jesus' death, we were able to have a personal relationship with Him -- the old covenant was over. It was known that Jesus was the Son of God after His death.
The historical reality of Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection is seen in Matthew 27:57-28:15. In my blog post from April 2021, I answer the question: did the resurrection actually happen? Here's why it is so important that this actually happened.
What should we be doing today because of the events found in the gospel of Matthew? The Great Commission answers that for us!
Jesus commands us to disciple others. We are to tell the gospel to others around us. This isn't just a suggestion Jesus is giving us if we feel like it. This is a command that we must obey if we are a follower of Christ. Are you living out this command in your life?
I hope you all have a great Christmas! Stay tuned as we start the year off with a new Bible study!
Cornerstone Impact Update
Eventide recently shared the video below about their investing ideals:
I've mentioned this before in blogs, but Biblically responsible investing has three mandates: avoid, embrace, and engage. All of these have an important role in investment selections. In July, I shared more information about the second mandate, embrace.
Your Faith & the Workplace
For the last several months, we've had Saturday social media posts for our Timothy Keller book study. We finished the second of three parts a few weeks ago. If you missed it, you can check out all the posts in part two here:
We're in the last part of the study now, but it's not too late to jump in! The Saturday morning posts will be on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. You can purchase the book, Every Good Endeavor on Amazon if you'd like to dive deeper into connecting your work to God's work.
Free Cornerstone Shirt!
Our new Cornerstone shirt is still available in most sizes! The shirt is the same super-soft material as the other designs, but this time it's burgundy. See below for the design.
If you'd like to order one of the new shirts (or one of the old shirts) fill out the form below. [Note: not all sizes are available in every design.]