January 5, 2012

Today you should read: Matthew 4:1-11

I hope you’re enjoying Matthew so far! It’s a great book for the New Year. Today’s reading is about the temptation of Christ.
A couple of important facts about Temptation…

1) God doesn’t tempt us – Jesus was tempted by the devil

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. (v.1)

2) BUT God does allow it – nothing comes into the life of a believer that God doesn’t first approve.

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28

In this passage we see the three temptations of Christ – that correspond directly to the temptations we experience.

For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. 1 John 2:16

TEMPTATION 1: Craving for Physical Pleasure (v.2-4)
…turn these stones into bread – aren’t you hungry?

– How does Satan use your flesh to tempt you?
– What are your greatest temptations of the flesh (or physical)?

TEMPTATION 2: Pride (v.5-7)
…if you are the Son of God… then you will… (prove it)

– How does your pride trip you up most often?

TEMPTATION 3: Craving for everything we see (v.8-10)
…I’ll give you everything you see

– How does materialism tempt you?

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin. Hebrews 4:15

– How does knowing this bring you peace?

Jesus’ life was designed and recorded to show us how to live. So… how did HE handle temptation? The same way EVERY time …as it is written!

You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. John 15:3

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11

How can a young man keep his way pure? 
By living according to your word. Psalm 119:9

Undoubtedly you will face temptation today – how will you handle it? The same way you have been? What can you learn from today’s reading that will change that?

Posted by: Tim Parsons

January 4, 2012

Today you should read: Matthew 3

Hallelujah, what a Savior…

The world is about to be shaken. Jesus is about to begin His public ministry. In this chapter we see Jesus take His distinctive step into the gaze of the public.

It begins in verses 1 – 12. John does a great job of connecting God’s saving activity in the Old Testament with God’s saving activity in the work of Christ, which is about to come. John is basically saying; “it doesn’t matter what nationality, what family, or what lineage you come from. Those things will not save you. God could have chosen ROCKS to come from Abraham, so don’t think God’s under obligation to save you. Again, those things will not save you and neither will your adherence to the law!”

You see, the Pharisees were a group of common people connected to local synagogues. Most were teachers of the law. Yet, they were characterized by their obedience to extrabiblical traditions. That was where they found their identity.

The Sadducees were characterized by activities in the temple. That is where they derived their authority and that is where they found their identity. The Sadducees usually separated themselves from the rest of the world, in a type of holy pride.

Then, in steps Jesus . . .(v.13)

Today’s “Walk-a-Way”

Jesus steps on the scene and completely shatters people’s ideas of holiness and righteousness. Contrary to how the Pharisees and Sadducees found their “so called righteousness,” Jesus shows us something drastically different.

I want to land on verse 15. It is the idea of Jesus’ baptism, but more specifically it is the idea of Jesus allowing John the Baptist to baptize Him. In doing so, Jesus makes a few statements. First, he gives us an example to follow in baptism. Second, he identifies his ministry with the ministry of John the Baptist, confirming what John had been doing. Third, He inaugurates His public ministry. And lastly, which is utterly amazing, Jesus identifies with us!!

The ESV Study Bible says it well:

“Although He needed no repentance or cleansing, Jesus identifies with the sinful people He came to save through His substitutionary life and death.”

Jesus, the King of the world identifies with sinful people. He doesn’t ride in like a king. He doesn’t separate himself from the world like the Sadducees. He doesn’t lord Himself over us like the Pharisees. But, on the contrary, he identifies with us. When He was born, He was born in the same way we are, He identifies with us. When He is killed, He suffers a human death, He identifies with us. And when He is baptized, He identifies with us. This is why “we do not have a great high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness…” (Hebrews 4:15). The Creator identifying with the people He created. Hallelujah, what a Savior.

Posted by: Sam Cirrincione

January 3, 2012

Today you should read: Matthew 2

“All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet.” (v.22) This seems to be the running theme of this chapter. Five times in this chapter alone we see prophecies being fulfilled, four of which are concerning Christ. This is something we just can’t miss. These prophecies were written long before Jesus was born and yet He meets them perfectly. Not only these but many more, some very detailed and certainly out of His or anyone’s control.

The first prophecy in this chapter we see is in verse 2 when the wise men mention that they saw the star of the king of the Jews. We see references to this in Numbers 24:17 and Isaiah 60:3. The second one is found in verse 6. This is taken directly from Micah 5:2.The third one is in verses 15. This one comes from Hosea 11:1. The final one is found in verse 23.This one coincides with Jeremiah 31:15.

I don’t know about you but this just fuels my faith. This is possibly one of the most solid arguments for Jesus being the Messiah you can find. The mathematical possibility that any one man could fulfill just some of these prophecies would be astronomical. Professor Emeritus of Science at Westmont College, Peter Stoner came up with a probability of one man fulfilling just 8 major prophecies made about the Messiah and this is what He found.

If you mark one of ten tickets, and place all the tickets in a hat, and thoroughly stir them, and then ask a blindfolded man to draw one, his chance of getting the right ticket is one in ten. Suppose that we take 10^17 silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They’ll cover all of the state two feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state. Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up one silver dollar and say that this is the right one. What chance would he have of getting the right one? Just the same chance that the prophets would’ve had of writing these eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man, from their day to the present time, providing they wrote them in their own wisdom (biblebelivers.org)

And that is just 8 prophecies! This is just more evidence we see that Jesus is who He says He is. We certainly have to believe in faith and trust in many things we cannot know, understand or see; but it is always nice when we can look to things such as science, history, and prophecy to say to the world and to ourselves, “See? This is proof. Jesus is who He says He is and the Bible is real and true and accurate.” Ultimately, no amount of proof will sway a person to Christ (Romans 1:25 and 2 Corinthians 4:4). Only the Holy Spirit working in them can do that. However, we are called to be His instruments and the proof of prophecy is a strong one. and I encourage you to look into it and perhaps share it with the lost in your world.

Prophecies Fulfilled: http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/prophchr.html

Posted by: Robbie Byrd

January 2, 2012

Today you should read: Matthew 1

Welcome to 2012! I hope you enjoyed your Christmas vacation, and now you’re back to work and school (at least some of us are). What are your goals for the New Year? I hope one of them is to read JumpStart every day with us.

Today we start the book of Matthew. We’re going to take our time – so we’ll be in it until March. There is so much to remember and to learn in it. Let’s get started with chapter 1…

The story of Jesus birth is fresh on our minds. Matthew 1 begins with the genealogy of Jesus (from Joseph’s side of the family). Remember that Joseph was only Jesus “earthly” father. Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit (v.18). Nevertheless, his side of the genealogy is important – it shows where Jesus family roots are from and fulfills prophecy.

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord, 
“when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, 
a King who will reign wisely 
and do what is just and right in the land. Jeremiah 23:5

…and others. Did you know there were over 100 prophecies about Jesus that ALL CAME true?!? http://100prophecies.org/
Don’t by-pass verses 1-17… these verses do not list everyone in Jesus’ line – but look at some of the people the Holy Spirit chooses to list:

• Tamar (a real character – read her story in Genesis 38)
• Rahab – the prostitute
• Bathsheba (the woman David had an affair with)
• and more

Remember – God loves to use broken people!

The rest of the chapter… well, is as they say – HIS-tory.

Something to remember today…

She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. (v.21)

Never forget why Jesus came. It was to save us from our sins. We needed a Savior. Remember this today – the birth of Jesus was a miracle. God came to us so that we could go to Him. Blessings!

Posted by: Tim Parsons