Daily Bible readings from Matthew, week commencing 15th Jan

Sheep at roadside

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.

15 January Mt 9:35-38, Mt 10:1-4

The failure of Israel’s leaders to follow the Lord had left the people like sheep without a shepherd (9:36). Jesus’ compassionate response was to raise up more shepherds (10:1-4). The mix of personalities and backgrounds among the disciples reflects the tensions of a fallen world. They must first be redeemed and reconciled by Jesus if they are to be His agents of reconciliation. They must learn to pray (9:38); then Jesus will turn them into the answer to their prayers (10:1). Do you pray 9:38 too?

16 January Mt 10:5-15

The disciples are given a first taste of mission. It is local, limited and brief, reflecting the urgency of the moment: Jesus’ time in Israel will be short. Now is the time to respond. The mission takes priority over the missionaries’ personal comfort: they must travel light in order to travel quickly (vv.9-10), and must not waste time flitting from house to house looking for better accommodation (v.11). More important matters are at stake (v.15). Does your lifestyle reflect gospel priorities?

17 January Mt 10:16-23

Why does Jesus send His much-loved disciples out among wolves? Because He loves even the wolves, and know that some will yet become His sheep (1Tim 1:15-16). But not all will be converted, and Jesus is neither naïve nor indifferent concerning His people’s sufferings which have often been brutal (v.17) and heartbreaking (v.21). He promises the unfailing support of God’s Spirit (v.20) and a limit to their trials (vv.22-23). But never forget it was for enemies Christ died (Ro 5:8,10) – including us.

18 January Mt 10:24-33

If we follow Jesus we can expect to be treated like Him by a hostile world (vv.24-25). Yet Jesus tells us not to be afraid (vv.26,28,31) – the most oft-repeated command in the Bible. God will make it known to the world that we are indeed His people (v.26). Even those who seek to take our life from us can do nothing outside of God’s permission, and cannot thwart His plans (vv.28-31). God’s verdict on us is the one that matters, and Jesus Himself will gladly acknowledge His own people.

19 January Mt 10:34-42

Strife is part and parcel of Jesus’ mission (v.34). He does not bring an indiscriminate peace, but rather effects a separation between people who welcome Him as King and those who don’t, even within families (vv.35-36). No language could make the absolute demands of Jesus more plain than vv.37-38, but these demands are justified by what is at stake (v.39). So do not hesitate to follow Jesus: despite all opposition, He is going to bless many people through our witness (vv.40-42)

20 January Mt 11:1-6

John the Baptist was disappointed with Jesus (vv.2-3). Was He really the Messiah? He expected Jesus to clean out the wicked (3:12); instead, he found himself unjustly imprisoned by Herod. Jesus replies in the words of Isa 35:5-6 and 61:1, but makes no reference to the judgement Isaiah also promises in those contexts (see Isa 35:4 and 61:2). “John, the day of Messiah’s blessings has arrived; Messiah’s judgement has not yet come.” We need to trust in God’s timing (v.6), and not demand our own.

21 January Mt 11:7-15

Why was John the Baptist the greatest person up to that time (v.11)? Certainly not because of his wardrobe or property portfolio (vv.7-8). In God’s eyes, all true greatness relates to Jesus, who is the centre of all things. And of all who paved the way for Jesus, John stood nearest, at the end of the line (vv.9-10). Yet the least Christian can witness to Jesus more clearly still because we live this side of His coming. So while some rage against God’s kingdom, let us celebrate our privileges (vv.12-15).