All posts by JT

Christian. Husband. Dad. 911 dispatcher. Baseball fan. Horror nut. Music nerd. Bookworm. Time Magazine's 2006 Person of the Year.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 26/260: Read Acts 2

How do you react when someone confronts you about something you have done? Are you defensive, or penitent? How we react to the awareness of sin in our lives says a lot about our hearts and our desire to be right with God.

After giving a brief history lesson, including prophecy that pointed to the very day they were witnessing, Peter tells the Jews on Pentecost that they had crucified the Lord and Christ sent from God. What was their reaction? Luke says, “They were cut to the heart,” then they asked, “What shall we do?”

They were genuinely concerned about the atrocious act they had participated in and wanted to correct it. Obviously, they could not undo the act, but by the grace of God they could be forgiven.

It is interesting to note that Peter responded definitively: “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.” Without obedience to this command, their sins would not be remitted.

What do you lack in your relationship with God? Have you repented of your sins and been baptized? Are you obediently faithful to the revealed Word?

Memory (Read aloud 5-10 times)

Acts 2:38. Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Pray

Pray for forgiveness, but do not neglect obedience. Pray for stronger faith.

God’s Suffering Servant (Isaiah 52:13-53:12)

Isaiah A Study of Selected Texts

God’s Suffering Servant (Isaiah 52:13-53:12)

  • 52:13-15 – Exaltation of the Servant
    • “Exalted and extolled and be very high”
    • Exaltation followed severe maltreatment (Luke 23:14; John 1:1,14; Philippians 2:7)
  • 53:1-3 – The Servant despised and rejected
    • “Who has believed our report” (John 12:37-38; Romans 10:14-17)
    • He wasn’t what they expected (Mark 6:2-4; John 1:46)
    • He can still be despised today (John 12:42-43, 49-50; Romans 8:17; Matthew 25:31-46)
  • 53:4-6 – Vicarious suffering
    • Because of our sins (Isaiah 59:2)
    • Wounded or pierced (Psalm 22:16; John 19:34; Zechariah 12:10; John 19:37)
    • The folly of following human wisdom (Proverbs 3:5; Jeremiah 10:23; Judges 17:6; 21:25; Proverbs 14:12)
  • 53:7-9 – Silence of the Servant
    • Before Pilate (Matthew 27:11-14)
    • Joseph of Arimathea (Matthew 27:57-60)
    • Jesus as an example of suffering (1 Peter 2:18-25)
  • 53:10-12 – Victory and Reward
    • “The fruit of his suffering is the redemption of men effected by the offering for sin which Christ made when he went to the cross.” (Guy N. Woods)
    • “He shall prolong His days” – resurrection from the dead (Revelation 1:18)

Discussion Questions

1. Why is this passage so often read as we prepare to observe the Lord’s Supper?

2. Why was the Messiah “despised and rejected by men” in the first century? What are some reasons men today still reject Him and His message?

3. What phrases indicate the vicarious nature of Christ’s suffering?

4. In what way was the Lord’s days prolonged?

5. Identify some of the specific prophecies in this chapter and their fulfillments in the New Testament.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 25/260: Read Acts 1

For three years, Jesus prepared His closest followers for the mission of taking His gospel all over the world. That mission was to begin in Jerusalem, but it was never meant to stay there. They were to preach the truth “in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Two things absolutely necessary to accomplish this mission were unity with each other and communication with God. Luke tells us, “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication.” Without unity with each other (“one accord”) and communication with God (“prayer and supplication”), these men could have never accomplished their mission.

We still need that unity and communication today. The will of God will be accomplished, but if we are to be involved (and all faithful Christians should desire involvement) then we need to be united in the truth and constant in prayer. These two fundamental facts are repeated throughout inspiration (Ephesians 4:1-6; 1 Corinthians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:17).

Do you endeavor for unity and peace among the brethren? Are you praying without ceasing?

Memory (Recite to a friend without looking)

Acts 1:11. “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”

Pray

Pray that God will use you in His service; pray for unity in the local congregation and the brotherhood at large.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 24/260: Read Luke 24

Jesus is risen! His disciples did not understand at first, despite all He had taught them. They failed to connect the dots between the Old Testament prophecies and the life of Jesus.

He admonished them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!” He said, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.”

Let’s not be too hard on those disciples, though; we are often the same way today! Too often we have a tendency to be short-sighted, not comprehending the spiritual blessings God has in store for His faithful children in eternity. Discouraged by the temporal, we forget the permanent promises of Christ. Too often we are the foolish ones; we are slow of heart to believe.

Here’s the big picture: the Son of God came to this world, dwelt among men, and was killed by His own creation. But the story doesn’t end there! He rose from the dead, and because He conquered death, remission of sins is involved to penitent believers today! What a wonderful covenant He has made with His people!

Memory (Fill in the blanks)

Acts 1:11. “Men of _______________, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same _______________, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like _______________ as you saw Him go into heaven.”

Pray

Pray for patience in the promises of God; pray for confidence in the covenant of Christ.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 23/260: Read Luke 23

Life is full of difficult decisions. If given the choice between love and hatred, we would obviously choose love, right? The Jews in our reading today, however, did the exact opposite.

The love of Jesus was on display every single day while He walked this earth, but He was rejected. He taught truth, showed mercy, granted grace, but was ultimately rejected. He was brought before Pilate, accused of misleading the people. Even though there was “no fault” found in Him, the crowd demanded His death by crucifixion.

Instead of the love of Jesus, the people chose the hatred of Barabbas. This man “had been thrown into prison for a certain rebellion made in the city, and for murder.” There is no record of remorse on his part, but when given the choice between the Savior and a murderer, the murderer was set free and the Son of God was killed.

We have decisions to make every day. Many times, those decisions involve Jesus. We have to choose if we will stand for Him, or if we will compromise with the world. We have to choose between the love of God and the hatred of Satan. What will you choose?

Memory (Fill in the blanks)

Acts 1:11. “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into _______________? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into _______________, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into _______________.”

Pray

Pray for the courage to choose Christ without compromise in the face of opposition in this hate-filled world.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 22/260: Read Luke 22

How much distance have you put between yourself and the Christ? When the authorities took Jesus into custody, Peter continued to follow, but “at a distance.” He was not as close as he should have been.

Distancing himself from the Savior weakened Peter’s resolve. Three times he was identified as one of the Lord’s disciples, and three times he denied it. Mark’s gospel says the apostle “began to curse and swear, ‘I do not know this Man of whom you speak!’” (Mark 14:71).

Do your co-workers know that you are a Christian? Can they identify you as a follower due to your speech and your way of life? Or have you distanced yourself so far from the doctrine of Christ that no one would ever guess you called yourself a Christian? The further away we distance ourselves, the easier it is to deny the Lord in our words and actions. Rather, we should give God the preeminent position in our heart and live according to His example.

This same Peter who denied Christ later wrote, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15).

Memory (Copy into a notebook 5-10 times)

Acts 1:11. “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”

Pray

Pray for a closer walk with Christ, recognizing your own weakness and His strength.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 21/260: Read Luke 21

Isn’t it amazing how God can use something negative to accomplish His will? Jesus told His disciples that persecution would come, and that they would imprisoned and “brought before kings and rulers” for the sake of Christ. Then He said, “But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony.”

How do we use the opportunities God grants us every day? We may not be thrown in jail or dragged before the President, but we have several “occasions for testimony” each day. Are we using them? Are we telling our friends about Jesus? About God’s blessings? About the salvation available to all men?

Sometimes we get into a rut. Wake up, go to work, come home, go to bed…repeat. We need to spend more time in a study of the Scriptures, and we need to look for more opportunities to apply His truth in our life and share it with our neighbors.

When bad things happen, don’t get on Facebook and belly-ache about it. Use it as an opportunity to praise God and to show His grace and mercy. Your attitude in the face of adversity will impact your influence over others.

Always remember Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

Memory (Read aloud 5-10 times)

Acts 1:11. “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”

Pray

Pray for a positive attitude even when things aren’t going your way. Look for the good and praise God for it.

God’s Chosen Servant (Isaiah 42:1-10)

Isaiah A Study of Selected Texts

God’s Chosen Servant (Isaiah 42:1-10)

  • 42:1-4 – The Servant’s ministry
    • The Servant is Jesus (Matthew 12:9-21)
    • Jesus became the Servant by choice (Philippians 2:5-7; Matthew 20:25-28)
    • “I have put My Spirit upon Him” (Luke 3:21-22)
    • Jesus’ ministry style (John 8:32; 2 Corinthians 5:11; John 5:41; John 8:50; Zechariah 9:9)
    • The grace of Christ does not negate the law of Christ
  • 42:5-9 – The Servant’s success
    • God’s power (Genesis 1:1)
    • The Servant’s righteousness (Matthew 3:15; John 5:30; Luke 23:47)
    • The new covenant (Hebrews 8:8-12; Jeremiah 31:31-34)
    • Warning against idolatry (Exodus 20:2-5; 1 Corinthians 10:14; Galatians 5:19-21; 1 Peter 4:3; Colossians 3:5)
    • The proof of prophecy
  • 42:10 – The new song
    • Motivation for the new song (Psalm 98:1-2; James 5:16)
    • “Saved people who really appreciate their situation are happy people; and what greater privilege could come to them than the opportunity to express their feeling to God in song?” (Leslie Thomas)

Discussion Questions

1. How do we know the Servant of Isaiah’s prophecy is Jesus?

2. Describe the nature of Jesus’ ministry as revealed in this chapter.

3. How is Jesus’ ministry different than that which we see among “pretenders”?

4. How does God describe Himself? Why is this description significant?

5. What is the motivation for the new song of Isaiah 42:10? Should we be motivated today as we sing?

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 20/260: Read Luke 20

It is remarkable how Jesus’ enemies approached Him. First, Luke says they “confronted Him” (20:1). Then, after reasoning “among themselves” (rather than investigating the Scriptures), they refused to give Him a straight answer (20:5-7). In their minds, something had to be done to stop the spread of His popularity, but that very popularity prevented them from doing anything because “they feared the people” (20:19).

Ultimately, they planted spies among the Lord’s disciples, people “who pretended to be righteous” (20:20). All they were really doing was looking for Him to make a mistake in His teaching. They wanted a reason to pounce on Him and declare to the people, “You see!? He’s not so great after all!”

Sadly, the same spirit exists in the religious world today. The Bible is clear in what it teaches, but so many want to find loopholes and excuse themselves from obedience.

If you have heard the gospel and believe that Jesus is the Son of God, don’t look for exceptions to the rules in order to ignore His plain teachings. Repent of your sins, confess your belief in Christ, and be immersed for the remission of sins. If you are a child of God, seek His righteousness and live accordingly.

Don’t be an enemy of Jesus; be His obedient, faithful follower.

Memory (Recite to a friend without looking)

Luke 19:10, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Pray

Pray for your attitude when dealing with the doctrine of Christ, looking for answers and guidance rather than loopholes.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 19/260: Read Luke 19

Who needs the gospel? Who needs to be saved? Everyone! There is not a single person who can be saved without the blood of Christ.

Tax collectors of the first century were often dishonest in their work; they would collect more than was required by the government, and line their pockets with the extra. The people had an especially low opinion of Jewish tax collectors as they were considered traitors, stealing from their own people. It is no surprise they were upset Jesus visited with Zacchaeus on this day.

Yet, Zacchaeus was willing to do something that the rich ruler of the previous chapter refused. “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” Not only did this man want to do good, he wanted to fix the bad things he committed.

What was Jesus’ response to Zacchaeus’ attitude? “Today salvation has come to this house.” The tax collector was a sinner, but he was penitent and desired righteousness. His change of heart would not be ignored by Jesus.

Zacchaeus was a prime example of the reason Jesus came. Sin needed to be dealt with in the tax collector’s life; sin also needs to be dealt with in our lives. Jesus wants to save you.

Memory (Fill in the blanks)

Luke 19:10, “For the Son of Man has come to ____________ and to _____________ that which was lost.”

Pray

Pray for forgiveness with a penitent, restorative attitude. Pray for opportunities to right your wrongs, giving glory to God.