The Sunday before Ash Wednesday is the day that liturgical churches celebrate Transfiguration Sunday (known in some circles by the catchy name “Quinquagesima Sunday”). On this day, we recall when Jesus’ full glory was revealed to Peter, James, and John (pictured here in a painting by Raphael). The texts we read this week are from the Levitical sacrifices and from the chapters leading up to the crucifixion. As we enter into the season of Lent, let us remember that Christ’s full glory was made perfect in his sacrifice for us.
Notes for the Week
This week’s readings are laden with controversial topics: end times, Old Testament purity laws, the judgment of God, proper worship practices, etc. When dealing with difficult passages, keep some basic principles in mind:
The whole Bible is God’s revelation: The pieces fit together and complement one another – sometimes by contrast, sometimes by development. One of the advantages to a Bible in a year program is that you begin to read the work as a whole and see how. You don’t have to have answers immediately on any given passage – be patient and keep meditating on the scriptures.
Christ is the interpretive key to all the scriptures: Jesus teaches that he didn’t come to abolish the law and the prophets, but to fulfill them (Matthew 5:17). As you read the Old Testament scriptures, as yourself “how does this passage point me to Christ?” For instance, as you consider all the sacrifices and burnt offerings of Leviticus, meditate on how every sacrifice points to the work of Christ on the cross.
Christ makes the main things plain: Remember that Jesus teaches the two great commandments are to love God with all your heart, soul and mind, and to love your neighbor as yourself. He then punctuates that statement with “All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:34-40). This helps ground us through disagreements. Christians disagree a lot about how the end times will play out. There are many different ways to interpret passages like Matthew 24. However, Jesus clarifies what is important through the parables of Matthew 25 (especially the parable of the sheep and goats): kindness to the needy, service to the frail, loving those in need.
Sunday February 7
Old Testament: Leviticus 1-3
New Testament: Matthew 24:1-28
Monday February 8
Old Testament: Leviticus 4-5
New Testament: Matthew 24:29-51
Tuesday February 9
Old Testament: Leviticus 6-7
New Testament: Matthew 25:1-30
Wednesday February 10
Old Testament: Leviticus 8-10
New Testament: Matthew 25:31-46
Thursday February 11
Old Testament: Leviticus 11-12
New Testament: Matthew 26:1-25
Friday February 12
Old Testament: Leviticus 13
New Testament: Matthew 26:26-50
Saturday February 13
Old Testament: Leviticus 14
New Testament: Matthew 26:51-75