2016 Bible in a Year Challenge – week 3

the-baptism-of-christ.jpg!BlogThis Sunday, liturgical churches across the world commemorate the Baptism of Christ.  This is a time to recognize Christ’s humility and submission to the Father.  The One who had no need to repent submitted to a penitent’s ritual;  the One who was perfectly clean humbled himself to receive a sinner’s bath.  As we go through this week’s reading, let us consider how the scriptures point us to the Glorious One who humbled Himself.

Notes for the Week

Calling: In the Old Testament readings, we see God calling the patriarchs to follow Him (Genesis 26:23-25, Genesis 28:10-17, Genesis 35:1 and 11-13). Similarly, in the New Testament readings, we see Jesus calling followers, both through face to face interactions (Matthew 9:9-13) and through sending his disciples out on preaching missions (Matthew 10). The calling, however, is the same – come, be in relationship with God and follow Him. Calling isn’t just for religious professionals; every Christian is called to know God and follow Him.

Honest Portrait of the Saints: As you read through Genesis, you’ll see that the saints of the past were colorful characters, to say the least. Deception, betrayal, polygamy, pride, jealousy, family discord – the Bible portrays all of this with arresting honesty. When we read these stories, we are confronted with the fact that the heroes of our faith, though called by God, were all flawed and sinful characters. This truth, however, does not negate our faith. Rather it shows God’s goodness, mercy, and loving-kindness all the more. If God extended grace to this motley bunch of characters, then we can have confidence in the grace that He extends to us as well.

Struggle: Note how the saints all struggle with immense burdens: Jacob is terrified of Esau’s rage; Dinah is abused by a neighbor; Tamar is neglected by her in-laws; Joseph is sold into slavery and then thrown into prison. Jesus prepares his disciples for their preaching mission with a warning that they are as “sheep amongst wolves.” The Bible doesn’t promise freedom from struggle, rather, it promises that God does not abandon us in our struggles.

Readings for this Week:

Sunday January 10

Old Testament: Genesis 25 & 26

New Testament: Matthew 8:1-17

Monday January 11

Old Testament: Genesis 27 & 28

New Testament: Matthew 8:18-34

Tuesday January 12

Old Testament: Genesis 29 & 30

New Testament: Matthew 9:1-17

Wednesday January 13

Old Testament: Genesis 31 & 32

New Testament: Matthew 9:18-38

Thursday January 14

Old Testament: Genesis 33 -35

New Testament: Matthew 10:1-20

Friday January 15

Old Testament: Genesis 36-38

New Testament: Matthew 10:21-42

Saturday January 16

Old Testament: Genesis 39-40

New Testament: Matthew 11

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