The NEW Movement: Matthew, Conclusion
Each Saturday, we send out a weekly recap of our NEW Movement readings, and a brief look ahead to the coming week’s assignments. Most weeks involve completing one chapter a day; Sunday can be your day off, or a day to catch up on what you’ve missed.
Here’s a video summary of the second half of the Gospel of Matthew:
Through this Holy Week, we have been reading about the last week of Jesus’ pre-resurrection life. So much is packed into these seven days; the triumphant entry, the cleansing of the Temple, Jesus’ debates and teachings in the Temple, the Eschatological Discourse (Sermon on the End Times), and of course the account of Christ’s final meal, betrayal, death and resurrection.
The Kingdom of Heaven about which Jesus has taught so relentlessly has finally come; the Messiah has finally been revealed. And yet some doubted. After everything that happened, after the miracle of the Resurrection itself, some doubted - even some of the apostles.
At times, doubt can be stronger the faith. Faith requires us to integrate our experience with our lives through the lens of Christ; doubt requires us to reject our experience and truth to maintain our preconceived notions. Change was hard for the disciples; it is hard for us today. But a man rose from the dead, and never died again. After this week, everything changed. Going back to life before the resurrection is like sticking our heads in the sand and hoping we won’t be noticed.
What has to change, for you, in light of the truth of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead?
James is written by Jesus’ half-brother, who goes on to become the bishop of the Jerusalem church (see, for example, Acts 15). James is not one of the two apostles with the same name; in fact, he becomes more significant than either of them in the context of the New Testament.
The Letter of James offers few theological insights; it focuses primarily on behavioral choices. Many believe it is one of the earliest (perhaps the first) books of the New Testament. As you read, notice that the first chapter is something like a table of contents for the rest of the letter. Which aspect of James 1 most captured your attention?
Keep reading and I’ll see you for Easter!