Reading | Week 21

Day 1 // Matthew 19:13-15

Spend some time thinking about whether anyone has ever turned you away from approaching Jesus. While I hope that’s never happened, we can take time now to think of those times or maybe when we’ve accidentally or purposefully rebuked people like the disciples rebuke the little children. Pray for grace and forgiveness.

Day 2 // Matthew 19:16-22

What earthly possessions distract you from seeking Jesus?

Day 3 // Matthew 19:23-24

Reflect on Jesus’ metaphor and apply it to your life.

Day 4 // Matthew 19:25-26

Why is it so important to remember that we people cannot save ourselves?

Day 5 // Matthew 19:27-30

How can you take last place today?

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Study | Therefore

Matthew 28:18-20

Because Jesus has all authority, we are to GO!

In this story from the Bible, Jesus gives a command that is just as relevant today as it was when Peter and the other disciples heard it 2,000 years ago.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

The word “therefore” is used all throughout the Bible, and in our lives today. “Therefore” means that x leads directly to y. Simple cause and effect, right?

Even though Jesus speaks clearly, his command is not the easiest to carry out.

Jesus says that because he has complete authority, the disciples and all his followers are to go and continue going for all their days to make disciples in every place on earth. The Kingdom of God is not limited to peoples of certain races, upbringing, geographical locations, anything. Jesus is sure to say, make disciples of all nations!

He gives distinct instructions on how to make more disciples, expanding the Kingdom. Jesus directs the disciples to grow their numbers by baptizing people in the name of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. He also tells the disciples to raise new believers up by teaching them to obey everything he has commanded during his time on Earth.

Jesus, speaking from his place of power as conqueror of death, confers the holy purpose of growing God’s Kingdom to his disciples. He has established the Kingdom on Earth and now hands his mission to the eleven. Jesus gives them the blueprints, the plans to continue growing the Kingdom – by making disciples, and baptizing and teaching new followers. But beyond all this, Jesus provides sustenance to follow through on all these commands.

Jesus gives the disciples the promise of his presence. “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Be encouraged as you go to carry out this mission!

Questions for discussion:

  1. What is the Kingdom of God? What does it mean to you?
  2. How do you grow the Kingdom? Look at the main action verbs of the passage.
  3. What are we saying to Jesus if we do not follow through on those verbs? What does inaction say of Jesus’ authority over your life?

Reading | Week 20

Day 1 // Matthew 18:10-14

At this point in time are you the one the Shepard seeks, or one of the ninety-nine in full community with the flock? Do you feel like you’re a combination of both?

Day 2 // Matthew 18:15-20

Why do you think it’s so important that the church have a method of correcting its members?

Day 3 // Matthew 18:21-22

Do you ever get tired of forgiving? Pray for renewal and grace.

Day 4 // Matthew 18:23-35

Take time to read through this parable slowly. How can you take this lesson to heart and apply it?

Day 5 // Matthew 19:1-12

Jesus brings Genesis into modern context in this passage. How can you apply Old Testament truths like purity to your daily life?

Reading | Week 19

Day 1 // Matthew 17:14-21

Jesus says that a person with faith so small as that of a tiny mustard seed can move mountains! How can you cultivate true, deep faith this week?

Day 2 // Matthew 17:22-23

Jesus knew suffering was on its way to him, and we can be sure that we will encounter struggles in our lives, too. But Jesus also kept in mind that he would rise from the dead! Find reassurance that despite any season you face, you will triumph with Jesus in the end.

Day 3 // Matthew 17:24-27

How has Jesus provided for you in the past? Write it down and say a word of thanks to God!

Day 4 // Matthew 18:1-5

Jesus praises the faith of a child. What are the traits of a child that you would like to imitate in your relationship with Christ?

Day 5 // Matthew 18:6-9

Jesus uses strong language to describe how we must separate ourselves from that which distracts us from keeping close to him. Take some time to evaluate anything (or anyone) that you need to break free from to grow in Christ.

Reading | Week 18

Day 1 // Matthew 16:16-20

Let the knowledge that the church will not be overcome encourage you today!

Day 2 // Matthew 16:21-23

We can certainly be shortsighted, failing to trust in God’s plan and purpose for our lives. Be reassured that despite any circumstances we face, we can fully rely on God.

Day 3 // Matthew 16:24-25

What does it mean for you personally to deny yourself?

Day 4 // Matthew 16:26-28

The hardest thing about the gospel of grace is that we can literally bring nothing to exchange for the fate of our souls (v.26b). Only Jesus can afford the cost to save us. Thank Jesus for this incredible gift of grace.

Day 5 // Matthew 17:1-13

Who are some leaders in faith who you look up to? Write down those names and consider what makes them such great examples for you. Strive to reflect those descriptions and/or attributes to your own life today.

Reading | Week 17

Day 1 // Matthew 15:32

Thank God for how he provides for you spiritually, emotionally, and physically. He doesn’t forget our needs!

Day 2 // Matthew 15:33-38

It’s easy to forget all the ways Jesus works in our lives. The disciples had already witnessed Jesus feed 5,000 with limited provisions, and yet they doubt his ability to produce food enough for 4,000! Write down some of the blessings you’ve received so that you can remember God’s goodness when you face struggles. God is always good.

Day 3 // Matthew 15:39-16:4

Jesus explains that the only sign the Pharisees will witness is that of Jonah. In Matthew 12:38-41, Jesus says that just as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for 3 days and 3 nights, so he would be 3 days and 3 nights in the earth. While the book of Jonah in the Old Testament is positive in that Jonah delivers the message of repentance and saves that generation in the sinful city of Nineveh, the book of Nahum records Nineveh’s return to sin and fall from God’s grace.

What parallels can you draw between the story of Nineveh and the story of all people during and after the times of Jesus?

Day 4 // Matthew 16:5-12

How do you recognize false teaching?

Day 5 // Matthew 16:13-16

How is Jesus greater than John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or other prophets?

Reading | Week 16

Day 1 // Matthew 14:34-36

When you see hurting or sick people, is your first instinct to share Jesus with them? Why or why not?

Day 2 // Matthew 15:1-9

Here Jesus makes the argument that people who take their money or possessions and refuse to share with their parents by merely saying “it is to be used for the church” (which, it’s not) are not honoring their parents or God.

Have you ever paid lip service to God? Pray you recognize it for what it is and that you can glorify God now.

Day 3 // Matthew 15:10-20

Think and pray over Jesus’ words here. Do your words match your heart and actions? How can you speak life?

Day 4 // Matthew 15:21-28

This woman knows her priorities and Jesus blesses her by healing her daughter. Write out what you prioritize. Do you have your priorities in order?

Day 5 // Matthew 15:29-31

When people see and hear the testimony of your life, how do you direct them to Jesus?