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Julie Ferwerda Christian Blog and Commentary

OYB March 20

Today's One Year Bible Reading

Yesterday's quiz answer: 3 times per year at the Feast of Unleavened Bread (begins with Passover), Feast of Weeks (Pentecost, 50 days later), Feast of Booths (Tabernacles). Exodus 23:14, 17; Exodus 34:23-24; Deuteronomy 16:16; I Kings 9:25 (Solomon honored these three Feasts).


31:2 "On behalf of the people of Israel, take revenge on the Midianites for leading them into idolatry." I was thinking recently that it seems like the three major sins God destroyed people over in the OT were willful disobedience, idolatry, and unbelief. The unbelief among His own people seems to be the biggest offense to Him, since they have seen His power. There were many nations He left alone and I wonder why. Were some not as idolatrous? Is it possible not to be idolatrous if you are not serving Yahweh?


Jesus' Temptations. These probably sum up many of our temptations. I would only add fear and unbelief (related).

1. Fleshly appetites

2. Power (sorta dumb to tempt The Creator with power if you ask me)

3. Pride

4:14 Then Jesus returned to Galilee, filled with the Holy Spirit's power. What a cool paradox. Fasting precedes "filling."

4:17 Note Jesus kept the Sabbath, proving once again that He did not come to abolish the Torah. But in this verse, He keeps a special divine appointment. The teachers and priests read from a scheduled reading from the Torah in the synagogue each week. Of course, Jesus would have known this schedule, so He likely had a motive showing up at His hometown synagogue this particular day. From what I've read, it was the custom for visiting teachers (Rabbis) to be handed the scroll to read the last portion of the Torah for that day. Jesus takes the scroll and reads the following, probably with more power and command than they had ever heard:

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,

      for He has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.

   He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,

      that the blind will see,

   that the oppressed will be set free,

      and that the time of the Lord's favor has come.

Jesus stops here, rolls up the scroll, and hands it back to the head priest. Can you imagine what was going through the people's minds? No wonder they stared at Him intently. One website gave this perspective (I don't know if it's accurate or not):

In all synagogues in the second Temple days, there was a seat at the front of the synagogue that was called the "Moses Seat" (Deut. 18:15-18, John 5:45). Moses was a great prophet, but Yahveh said He would send even a greater prophet than Moses in latter days. This seat was reserved for the day this great prophet would emerge. No one dared to lean or sit in the Moses seat.

Fast forward. Yeshua came into the synagogue and was asked to read the half-torah for that day—the same lesson in every synagogue everywhere in the world. Yeshua read part of the scroll, closed it up and put it down (verse 20). All eyes were on Him wondering why. He then proceeded to sit in the Moses seat and said (verse 21), "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." The people were insulted that He not only had the nerve to sit in the Moses seat, but that He claimed to be the prophet Isaiah spoke of. To say to Orthodox Jews, "I am the Messiah of whom Isaiah foretold" was blasphemy.

22: Everyone spoke well of him and was amazed by the gracious words that came from his lips. Seems to contradict other accounts as well as the rest of this chapter. In other accounts, people were indignant. Perhaps Luke heard varying reports in his research. Remember, he was not an eyewitness, but interviewed many who were.

25-28: Why were they furious? Jesus had just pointed out that Elijah was sent to the Gentile widow, not the widows of Israel. Though they had many needs, they were unbelieving. I think there was a lot of jealousy and rivalry between Jew and Gentile. The Jews probably felt a bit territorial about their blessing as God's chosen. They did not want to hear that they would be passed over, and their special privileges handed to the Gentiles.

Proverbs 11:21: Evil people will surely be punished, but the children of the godly will go free. What a great promise!

Questions for reflection:

Spend time reflecting upon Psalms today...

  • Do you earnestly search for God?

  • Do you recognize that your thirst and hunger are for Him?

  • Have you been satisfied by His love more than the richest of foods?

  • Do you praise Him? Do you lay awake thinking of Him through the night?

  • Do you recount the ways He has helped you?

  • Do you sing for joy in the shadow of His protective wings?

  • Have you experienced the reality of His unfailing love?