Readings for This Week
Genesis 21-27 & Matthew 20-26
Where We Are In The Story ~ Old Testament (Genesis)
As the first book of the Bible, Genesis explains that God is the all-powerful Creator who cares about His creation even when they disobey Him, and it teaches that God takes evil and transforms it for His glory (Gen. 50:20). Written by Moses when Israel was wandering in the wilderness, Genesis 12-50 emphasizes the development of the nation of Israel by focusing on their founding fathers – Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This week’s readings specifically focus on the lives of Abraham and Isaac. God keeps His promise to Abraham and Sarah by giving them a son (Gen. 15; 17), and when Isaac is young, God tests Abraham’s faith by asking him to trust God enough to obey Him even though he does not understand the reason for the command (Gen. 22). Abraham demonstrates great faith in God by obeying Him and sacrificing Isaac and by relying on God to later provide a wife for Isaac (Gen. 24). Although God promised to use Abraham’s family to bless the nations, Abraham and his descendants were sinners, and Jacob’s deception in Genesis 25-27 demonstrates the sinfulness of man. However, God chose this family knowing their sinfulness, and His choice was not based on what they had to offer or what they could do for Him. Nor did their actions catch Him by surprise. God’s plan is unstoppable and perfect, even if we do not understand what He is doing.
Where We Are In The Story ~ New Testament (Matthew)
Matthew is the first of four Gospels that tell about the life of Christ. As one of the twelve disciples (Matt. 9:9-13), Matthew focuses on demonstrating how Jesus fulfills Old Testament promises concerning the Messiah. With regard to structure, Matthew includes five collections of Jesus’ teaching (Matt. 5-7; 10; 13; 18; 24-25), and each of these sections concludes with a statement saying “And when Jesus finished these sayings...” Matthew 21-25 tells of the week leading up to Jesus’ death (Passion Week), and during this week, Jesus taught the contents of the fifth collection of teachings recorded in Matthew (Matt. 24-25), which focuses on the second coming and on the end of the age. Matthew 26 begins with Jesus celebrating the Passover meal with His disciples when He establishes the new covenant (Matt. 26:26-29), and it focuses on the night of Jesus’ betrayal, arrest, and trial.