2016 Bible in a Year Challenge – week 5

john_chrysostom_and_aelia_eudoxiaOn Jan 27, Liturgical churches remember the great saint John Chrysostom, a great fourth century preacher, leader, and defender of the Christian faith.  Chrysostom’s sermons from his service in Antioch are still fresh and relevant for today, but he is most famed for his tenure as archbishop of Constantinople.  During that office, Chrysostom preached against the luxuries and extravagance of the wealthy.  The emperor’s wife thought he was preaching against her, so she arranged to have him deposed and exiled.  After a few years of political wrangling back and forth, Chrysostom died in exile.  Today he is remembered as a great orator and contender for the faith.  As we read this week’s scripture passages, let us remember the saints of the past who held God’s word dear.

Notes for the Week

Christ the Fulfillment of the Law: Exodus 20:1-17 lists the 10 commandments. We can look on these commandments as a summary on the rest of God’s law, or perhaps we can consider the rest of the law as commentary on the 10 commandments. Either way, Jesus reaffirms the 10 commandments as a guide and rule for life when he speaks to the rich young ruler in Matthew 19. However, the subsequent conversation with the disciples shows that mere observance of the law is not sufficient for salvation (for who can observe the law in its entirety). Jesus points us to faith – faith in God’s loving kindness.

Christ the Provider: After the exodus from Egypt, the Israelites wandered in the wilderness. They began to grumble that they were going to starve, yet despite their complaints, God shows his loving kindness in providing sustenance for them in the form of manna and quail (Exodus 16).   Similarly, Jesus feeds the four thousand in the desert. This time, however, the scene is marked by Jesus giving thanks for God’s provision (Matthew 15:36). Christ instructs us to receive the Lord’s provision with gratitude. Let us be especially aware of God’s gracious and kind providence in our lives this week, and let us live with gratitude.

Christ in the Passover: God shows the extent of his loving kindness in the Passover. Though He took the life of the firstborn son of every family in Egypt, He spared Israel this fate by the blood of a Passover lamb. In the Matthew passages, we see Jesus repeatedly predicting his own death. The dramatic imagery of the Passover points directly to the work of Christ on the cross. God’s Son (Matthew 17:5) is also the sacrificial lamb (Matthew 17:22). This week, let us remember that Christ’s death is God’s costly loving kindness in atoning for our inability to completely fulfill the demands of the law.

Readings for the Week:

Sunday January 24

Old Testament: Exodus 9-11

New Testament: Matthew 15:21-39

Monday January 25

Old Testament: Exodus 12-13

New Testament: Matthew 16

Tuesday January 26

Old Testament: Exodus 14-15

New Testament: Matthew 17

Wednesday January 27

Old Testament: Exodus16-18

New Testament: Matthew 18:1-20

Thursday January 28

Old Testament: Exodus 19-20

New Testament: Matthew 18:21-35

Friday January 29

Old Testament: Exodus 21-22

New Testament: Matthew 19

Saturday January 30

Old Testament: Exodus 23-24

New Testament: Matthew 20:1-16

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