1-3-5-Bridges and Structures
Jesus life had 5 steps: Infancy, Year of Preparation. Year of Popularity, Year of Passion, and Resurrected Life. But do you know where to find them in your Bible? This is made easy by using the system of “Bridges” which we will learn in this lesson.
Matthew 1 is the Introduction to the five steps of Jesus’ life. It tells the events that happened before his birth. Underline the word “king” in Matthew 1:6 with Red in your Bible.
Matthew 2:1 is the first verse of the story of Jesus’ Infancy, which teaches us of the Birth of Jesus’ Infancy, which teaches us the Birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. It is the first bridge because it takes us from the Introduction in Matthew 1 to the Infancy in Matthew 2. Write in your Bible the word “Infancy” above Matthew 2:1. Now underline it in red.
Write carefully in your Bible, above Matthew 3:1, the word “Preparation,” and underline it with red as you did with the first bridge. In ancient times a king had a messenger who went before him in order to prepare the people for his arrival. John the Baptist was the Messenger for Jesus the King during the Year of Preparation.
Write the word “Popularity” over Matthew 4:12 in your Bible and underline it in red. The bridge took place by Jesus moving from Nazareth (where he had lived up to now) to Capernaum.
Write the word “Passion” in your Bible above Matthew 14:1, and underline it in red. Throughout this year, it became more and more evident that the crowds didn’t want the Kingdom of Love and Peace that Jesus offered them. The Year of passion which started with the death of John the Baptist and finished with Jesus’ being crowned as King-but with a crown of mockery.
Write the title “Resurrected Life” above Matthew 28:1 to mark the beginning of the last step. It is the Great Commission that the risen Christ gave to his disciples – to take the gospel to all nations.
Have you ever noticed how people who experienced the Depression years keep harking back to them? They do so with a kind of pride. If you are not irritated by such people, you may be able to observe that the effect of the Depression on them was to toughen and strengthen them and that thinking back to the lean years reinforces their resilience.
If you never thought about it, you might expect that positive and beautiful memories would be the ones to increase our faith. I always believed, for instance, that one or two really dramatic oor miraculous answers to prayer would increase my faith immeasurably. Yet it hasn’t worked out that way…. Tough times, of course, do one of two things to you. They either break you or make you. If you are not utterly crushed by them (in which case you will do all you can to bury their memory), you will be enlarged by them…. If you have only just come to Christ your rough time may not yet have taken place. But if you’ve been longer on the way – think back…. Think well on the rough times in your Christian past.
(From The Fight by John White)
Set aside time this week for reflection. Write down as many examples as you can of how the Lord has led you and of the Lord’s faithfulness. Start a journal of events as they occur. Share these examples, as you are able, with your loved ones. Also, use them to begin a conversation with an unbeliever as you recount God’s faithfulness.
Matthew’s main theme is the Kingdom of Heaven and that the first step in Jesus’ life is His Infancy. Jesus, the promised king was to sit on the throne of his ancestor, King David and therefore He would be born in the town of Bethlehem, which was the city of King David. In the same year as He was born, His messenger John the Baptist was born, and for that reason His birth also corresponds to the step of Infancy. We learned that Matthew relates nothing about Jesus’ youth. We find that during His childhood and youth, Jesus lived nearly 30 years in the town of Nazareth where He worked as a carpenter.
The second step related by Matthew is the Year of Preparation, which was the last year that He lived in the town of Nazareth. Although He lived in the province (state) of Galilee, the main area of His ministry was in the south, by the side of the river Jordan, where He accompanied John the Baptist in the provinces of Judea and Perea. During the Year of Preparation large multitudes came to listen to John the Baptist preaching the message of the kingdom of Heaven. However, Jesus was relatively unknown during the year of Preparation.
After living nearly thirty years in the town of Nazareth, Jesus was thrown out by His neighbors. Thus, at the start of the Year of Popularity, Jesus went to live in the sea-side city of Capernaum by the side of the Sea of Galilee, also in the province of Galilee. At the start of the same Year of Popularity, His trips south to the river Jordan, and instead multitudes came to listen to Him in Capernaum. Because of this, the Year of Popularity is also named Ministry in Galilee. his message was the same as the one John had preached the year before, that is to say, the message of Kingdom of Heaven.
The Year of Passion started with two important events, the death of John the Baptist by King Herod and the feeding of the 5000. The year finished with Jesus death in the city of Jerusalem. Therefore, we have two deaths in the same year, Namely John the Baptist and Jesus. It is therefore called the Year of Passion. Around about the middle of the year, Jesus had to leave the provinces of Judea and Perea. Jesus had spent only one year of His ministry in the south in the provinces of Judea and Perea, that is to say, the Year of Preparation and the year of Passion.
The last step that Matthew talks about is His Ressurrected life, when Jesus, already raised from the dead, commissioned His disciples to take the message of the Kingdom to all people.
In the midst of playing baseball inn the backyard, Jim’s six-year-old son’s best friend, and next door neighbor, came out of his house. “Dad, can I go play with Brad?” he asked. “But son, we’re plying baseball, Don’t you want to play with me?” Jim asked, not really wanting to hear the answer he knew was coming. “Nah, I’d rather plan with Brad,” his son replied, all too honestly. Jim had a rival for his son’s affection, and he was a six-year-old.
As he struggled with that thought knowing that he’d better get a handle on it because it was only going to escalate, he suddenly was reminded that God felt the same way about him. He jealously desires our affection and attention as well. It breaks his heart when we show more interest in cars, sports, newspapers, television, yard work, hobbies, books, and family activities than we do in reading his word and prayer. It saddens him when we are more committed to serving ourselves and pursuing our own interests than we are in serving him.
If God were to examine your heart today, what rivals for his attention would he find?
(From A Dad’s Blessing by Gary Smalley and John Trent)
God loves his people with a jealous love that leaves no room for idolatry or other sin. Idolatry makes anything but God the highest priority in life. Do you value your relationship with God more than anything else? Or have you allowed money, leisure, friendships – or anything else – to rule your life? Smash the idols in your life and make a fresh commitment to put God first. He alone is worthy of this position!
TES:His Nickname is Thunder (Andre Thorton)
His Nickname is Thunder, but even in Cleveland, that is a misnomer.
The only thing outwardly intimidating about Andre Thornton is is size.
He looks like a guy who could snap a bat in half with his bare hands.
But don’t be misled by appearances. His voice is tissue paper soft,
his manner extra polite. Andre Thornton is a deeply religious man who
has found in baseball a vehicle to convey a very special message, even
while he’s terrorizing American league pitchers. That is why the story
of yet another remarkable comeback by the 32 year old first
baseman-designated hitter is unique.
Through his 16 year professional baseball career, Andre Thornton has
survived frustration, rejection and the ultimate tragedy of losing his
wife and a child in a 1977 car accident. For two recent seasons, the
6-foot-2, 205 pound Thornton was in virtual hibernation, chiefly
because of injury. But now he is back. In fact, he’s on a rampage –
Larry Whiteside, Sportswriter for the Boston Globe.
TRAGEDY … TRIUMPH
Obviously, power hitter Andre Thornton has endured much more than
baseball injuries or fickle batting slumps. His most painful experience
began on an icy night in October 1977 when the van he was driving
skidded off the Pennsylvania turnpike. Thornton’s wife and 3 year old
daughter were killed, leaving only Andre and his 4 year old son as
“There is no doubt that the accident was like tearing the insides
right out of me,” says Thornton. “My first wife and I both loved the
Lord. She was a wonderful woman. We spent seven years together. I felt
God’s presence right there on that highway in Pennsylvania I felt God’s
peace. Now I’m thankful that I knew Him years before, that I didn’t
have to come to that point in my life and see my wife and child lying
on a highway and have no hope at all … [Hope] is the essence of life.”
That tragedy was the true test of Andre’s faith. It proved that his
outer composure was more than just a mask – it was the result of a deep
inner stability, a firm spiritual foundation. That’s why he received
the 1978 Danny Thompson award for “exemplary Christian spirit in
baseball,” and the 9th annual Roberto Clemente Award for his
“sportsmanship, character, community involvement and contributions to
team and baseball.”
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
But Thornton remembers how it all began in 1968, just months after
entering professional baseball. He had just joined the National Guard
and was alone in his room. “It was one of the loneliest times of my
life,” he says. “Everything seemed to be so confusing, and questions
about life were boiling inside of me. It wasn’t money I was looking
for. It wasn’t clothes or houses or a profession that had prestige. I
wanted to know what life was all about, why I was here, where I was
going. The questions were demanding an answer. Here I was, experiencing
all the things that most people want, but the world could not give the
true answers that I needed so urgently.”
It was then that Thornton started to read the small tract that his
mother had given him earlier. For the first time Thornton understood
Christ’s words: “I came that they might have life, and might have it
abundantly.” (John 10:10). “I knew that was what I was looking for,”
Thornton says, “life, abundant life. Here was the answer to my
question. First God had a purpose for my life. He created me in order
that I might enjoy Him and serve Him. Second, when I died, I could know
that I would have eternal life with God.”
Thornton realized that he needed a new spiritual life. “The Bible
told me that ‘all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’
(Romans 3:23), and that ‘the wages of sin is death’ (Romans 6:23) which
means spiritual separation from God.” He understood that his sin was
the reason why he wasn’t experiencing abundant life. “Then I read that
there was a solution to this problem,” Thornton recalls. “The key …
was my believing in God’s Son, Jesus Christ. The Bible says, ‘God has
given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son
has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the
life. These things [were] written to you who believe in the name of the
Son of God, in order that you may KNOW that you have eternal life’ (I
John 5:11-13). Believing that Jesus Christ had died on the cross to pay
the penalty for man’s sin, and knowing that He had risen from the dead,
Thornton got down on his knees and asked Christ to be his personal
AN INFINITE RESOURCE
“It’s been more than ten years since I invited Jesus Christ to come
into my life, to forgive me of my sins, and to change my life. And I
have found Him to be the source of joy, peace, love – of all things I
ever wanted in life. There have been trials and tragedies, but God has
brought me through all of them.”
Sometimes we experience problems and trials that we can’t
understand. I’ve learned that there is one thing I can trust and that
is what God says in His Word. That comforts me and reassures me, even
when all of my questions aren’t answered.”
That confident assurance enables Andre Thornton to remain calm
through all the circumstances of life. He has found a stability in God,
and inner foundation which holds him up when life threatens to
overwhelm him. He keeps swinging at life’s tough pitches.