Yesterday, we kicked off the second half of our 40 Day Bible Challenge with the gospel of Matthew.
Matthew tells the good news about Jesus from a distinctly Jewish perspective, drawing all kinds of parallels between Jesus and the Hebrew Scriptures (a.k.a. the Old Testament). Case in point:
- Matthew presents Jesus as a newer and better Israel. Both wandered in the desert and faced temptation. The only difference is, Jesus succeeded where Israel failed.
- Jesus is also like a newer and better Moses. Both came to liberate people from bondage. (And for what it’s worth, both survived attempts on their lives as infants.)
- Most of all, Jesus is like a newer and better Torah.
The Torah, also known as the Law of Moses or the Pentateuch, was everything to ancient Israel. Matthew’s gospel is organized into five major sections, imitating the composition of the Torah (which consists of five books). Each section of Matthew includes a serious dose of teaching from Jesus, in which he’s almost always interacting with (you guessed it) the Torah.
No wonder some scholars have said Jesus is the personification of the Torah. And no wonder Jesus himself said that he came not to abolish the Torah but to fulfill it. (See page 247.)
Today, we’ll read pages 251-262 from Matthew.
Pages 251 – 262 from Matthew
When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
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