Matthew records the genealogy of Jesus Christ through Joseph. Though there appears to be increased interest these days in uncovering our family tree, there still seems to be a general disinterest when it comes to understanding why there are genealogies in the Scriptures. Perhaps this is related to our misunderstanding of the value of uncovering the riches of our spiritual family tree. Matthew’s genealogy records over 40 male names and 5 women. The presence of any women is unusual and would have been culturally controversial, but the presence of these 5 women borders on scandalous. For some reason God, through Matthew, included these 5 women in the genealogy of Jesus, drawing our attention to their stories found in the pages of Scripture. Through the stories of these women we learn that sometimes God works His will in the midst of the whispers of scandal, illuminating His grace.
Genesis 38 is a sad story of what happens when people live self-centered lives, that are nearly void of any concern for one another or for God. By the end of the story everyone has in some way wronged everyone else and there is not a person in sight who walks away unscathed or un-scarred by the selfish acts of themselves and others. Yet, both Judah and Tamar are included in the genealogy of Jesus Christ found in Matthew 1. Why would God draw anyone’s attention to such a sad story? In the midst of this mess we find a truth worth treasuring, that what God purposes He will perform.
Sustainability is a popular term these days, but when we throw it around do we really understand what we are saying? As followers of Jesus Christ do we recognize what Scripture says about sustainability and its source? This message looks at the foundational source our efforts at sustaining and uncovers the reality that God’s sustaining grace undergirds and enables our efforts at sustainability.
As Jesus progresses through His final week the conflict with the religious leaders intensifies. Jesus’ responses to the religious leaders questions that are meant to trap Him become more and more direct and reveal the reality that not all who witness lives of sacrifice for the glory of God will rejoice and celebrate. Yet, Mark also drives home the truth that God will remember and empower those who live sacrificially for Him.
Jesus is now set on journey to Jerusalem to complete the purpose for which He came. As He sets out on this final phase of His earthly ministry He is committed to guiding the disciples in understanding not only that He is the Son of God but that His kingdom will be established by way of the cross. They, and we, must understand this in order to understand the path of true discipleship and the power of profound servanthood in everyday life.
Jesus wraps up His teaching to the disciples on how to pray with two illustrations and one central theme. The focus of the illustrations is the highlight the truth of the central theme, which is Jesus wants His followers to simply be persistent and regular in their prayer. The key to effectiveness is persisting in the principles Jesus has taught in His model prayer.
This second request of God is focused on God’s guidance and protection in our lives. If we are left to guide ourselves we may end up wandering into places we do not really want to be and finding ourselves overcome by an enemy that wants to deceive and destroy. The only certain way to navigate through this live safely is to rely on God’s divine guidance and protection to lead us through the temptations and evils of this life.