Day 5: January 5

Matthew 17:22-23 (NLT)

Jesus Again Predicts His Death

22 After they gathered again in Galilee, Jesus told them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of his enemies. 23 He will be killed, but on the third day he will be raised from the dead.” And the disciples were filled with grief.

Again, without drama or fanfare, the Lord Jesus forewarned His disciples that He would be put to death. But again there was that word of vindication and victory—“on the third day He will be raised from the dead”. If He had not told them of His death in advance, they would doubt less have been completely disillusioned when it happened. A death of shame and suffering was not consistent with their expectations of the Messiah. As it was, they were greatly distressed that He was going to leave them and that He would be slain. They heard His passionate prediction, but seemed to have missed His resurrection promise.

Life Application

Even stalwart Christians can miss the plans of God and or what He desires to do or say to His loved ones. Determine to keep yourself alert to His voice and in-tune with His written word.

Matthew 24:30-31 (NLT)

30 And then at last, the sign that the Son of Man is coming will appear in the heavens, and there will be deep mourning among all the peoples of the earth. And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he will send out his angels with the mighty blast of a trumpet, and they will gather his chosen ones from all over the world—from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven.

Some suggest that this is a type of heavenly standard or banner that unfurls in the heavens as Christ returns in “power and great glory,” while others understand it to be the arrival of the Son of Man himself as the sign of the end-time consummation of the age. Either way, we will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven. This most clearly is end-time language that recalls Daniel’s prophecy (Dan. 7:13–14) and points to Jesus ‘return at the end of the age (2 Thess. 1:7–10; Rev. 19:11–16). with power and great glory. Christ will be revealed as the eternal ruler of the kingdom of God, designated by the Ancient of Days to receive worship and to exercise dominion over the earth and all of its inhabitants (Dan. 7:13–14). The return of Christ is a literal event, in which Christ “will come in the same way” that the disciples “saw him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).

“Gather His chosen ones” v30. The rapture of God’s people through angels (Matthew 13:41; 16:27; 25:31) is predicted here. From all the earth they will gather to greet their Messiah and to enjoy His glorious reign.

Mark 1:7-8 (NLT)

7 John announced: “Someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not even worthy to stoop down like a slave and untie the straps of his sandals. 8 I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit!”

The context of the opening scriptural salvo, which presents John the Baptist as the prophesied forerunner of the coming God (Is 40:1- 11; Mal 3:1- 6), implies that “more powerful” one who would come after him is God Himself. Similarly, in the OT it is God who pours out the Holy Spirit (Is 32:15; 44:3; Ezk 36:26- 27; 39:29; Jl 2:28- 29). Mark thus emphasized the divinity of Jesus here.

John’s characteristic message was to promote expectancy and acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ. He said he was not worthy to loosen the Messiah’s sandal strap. Students often performed menial tasks for their rabbis, but even they were not expected to remove someone’s sandals. That task was left to slaves. John humbly understood and accepted his own role in the coming Kingdom.

John’s message was the superiority of the Lord Jesus. He said that Jesus was greater in power, personal excellence, and in ministry. John did not consider himself worthy to lose the Savior’s sandal strap—a menial duty of a slave. Spirit-filled preaching always exalts the Lord Jesus and dethrones self.

John’s baptism was with water. It was an external symbol, but produced no change in a person’s life. Jesus would baptize them with the Holy Spirit; this baptism would produce a great inflow of spiritual power (Acts 1:8). Also it would incorporate all believers into the church, the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13)