As you read each passage, pray for God’s help. Ask yourself:
- What does God reveal about Himself?
- How is your own heart revealed?
- How does this passage underline the wonder of God’s love for us in Jesus Christ, and your own need of Christ as Saviour and Lord?
Turn these truths into prayer and praise.
8 May Mt 25:1-13
The three parables in this chapter support the teaching of ch.24 that we must wait patiently for our Lord’s return, serving faithfully meanwhile. The first parable teaches us to be ready to wait longer than we may have anticipated (v.5). Neither the wise nor the foolish virgins are blamed for needing some sleep (v.5), but the wise have made provision for the groom’s coming whenever that might be, whereas the foolish have not. Are you ready for the long haul, if that is what Christ demands?
9 May Mt 25:14-30
This parable shows us that our “waiting” for the Lord’s return is not passive, but active. He gives us different gifts to use in His service, and will assess our efforts accordingly. Not all are given the same ability or opportunity, but faithfulness is expected of all, and is lavishly rewarded by our Master who is generous (vv.21,23 – not at all the “hard man” suggested by the wicked servant, v.24). Whether God has given us great gifts or small ones, He will graciously reward our faithful service.
10 May Mt 25:31-46
Although the Bible elsewhere teaches us to love all people, here the focus is narrower. Jesus’ “brothers and sisters” are not all people, but His disciples (Mt 12:50). Neither the sheep nor the goats seem to have realized that by their treatment of Christians, they were actually showing their love – or contempt – for the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet here is the irrefutable proof of their loyalty to the King – or their treason. We are saved by grace through faith in Christ, but faith is shown by deeds.
11 May Mt 26:1-16
Those who conspire to kill Jesus (vv.1-5) value Him at 30 pieces of silver (v.15) – the compensation price for a dead slave (Ex 21:32). Contrast this with the value placed on Jesus by the woman who anoints Him with expensive perfume (vv.6-7). She acts in love, and Jesus affirms her in the face of all her critics (vv.8-11). Indeed, He immortalizes her example (vv.12-13). We can never give too much in our devotion to the Lord of glory. Our best remains “an offering far too small.”
12 May Mt 26:17-30
Despite the evil plotting of His enemies, everything in the text points to Jesus as the One in control of His destiny. God’s love, not man’s hatred, will triumph. The Passover had marked God’s deliverance of His people from slavery in Egypt. Jesus now redirects the meal so that it speaks of His people’s deliverance from the guilt and penalty of sin through His sacrifice of Himself (vv.26-28). What Judas and others meant for evil, God intended for the greatest good: our salvation.
13 May Mt 26:31-35
There is something touching, if tragic, about Peter’s declaration of loyalty (v.33). He meant well, as did the other disciples who echoed him (v.35). Jesus knew better. He is neither surprised nor dismayed by our weakness (vv.31,34); nor is His love for us destroyed by our failures. God had foretold it all (v.31), and Jesus knows that the story will ultimately end in triumph, not defeat (v.32). Our Lord’s hold on us is much more reliable than our hold on Him. Rest on that today, and walk humbly with God.
14 May Mt 26:36-46
Rejecting our Lord’s warning of their weakness (vv.34-35), the disciples failed to pray (vv.40-41,43). So when the test arrived, they were not able to meet it (v.56). Jesus, in His agony of anticipation, threw Himself wholly on God (v.39,42) and was enabled to do God’s will. If we want strength, we must pray. The first Adam failed the testing in the garden and so paradise was lost and a world fell. Praise God, the second Adam (Jesus) succeeded for us, and won our redemption! He gave us life, and a future.