So today kicks off The Bridge’s New Testament Challenge! Today’s reading is Matthew 1-2 and Acts 1-3. Matthew starts out with the genealogy of Jesus – his family tree. You might remember that we did a brief message series on a few of the characters in Jesus’ genealogy in December in our Christmas series. Week 1 of that series might give you a little insight into why Matthew began his telling of Jesus’ story with the genealogy. Give it a listen if you get the chance.
While I was praying this morning, I was reminded of the time in Acts 16 when Paul and Silas were in prison because of their faith. Despite their seemingly desperate situation, in verse 25 it says:
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God…” (ESV)
I’ve never been imprisoned or put in jail, but sometimes I seem to put myself into prisons of my own making. As I thought of Paul and Silas singing hymns in prison, my thoughts turned to one of my favorite hymns, I Love to Tell the Story. The final stanza is my favorite:
I love to tell the story, for those who know it best Seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest; And when in scenes of glory I sing the new, new song, ‘Twill be the old, old story that I have loved so long.
As you begin the New Testament Challenge, you are going to be reading “the story” – the story of Jesus, the Messiah. Pray and ask God, as you start out, to help you to enter into the story. Ask God to use His Word to penetrate your heart and to grow you from where you are to a deeper life of faith.
And don’t forget our memory/reflection verse this week is Hebrews 4:12:
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (NIV)
Enjoy the story!