One of the amazing things about scripture is that we can read it countless times and still find new things that we have not noticed in previous readings. Even if we are familiar with the stories of Jesus in one of the gospels, we might miss repeating words, phrases and organizational or structural elements. One of those easy-to-overlook phrases in the gospel of Matthew is “when Jesus finished.” Guided by the Spirit, Matthew uses this phrase five times to transition between the teachings of Jesus and the next part of the story.
  • Matthew 7:28 – “And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching.” Here Jesus finishes the Sermon on the Mount and begins a series of miracles.
  • Matthew 11:1 – “When Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in their cities.” After preparing and sending out the 12, Jesus teaches throughout the area, primarily through a series of parables.
  • Matthew 13:53 – “And when Jesus had finished these parables, he went away from there.” Following two chapters of teaching, Jesus spends the next five chapters moving between miracles and interactions with the Pharisees.
  • Matthew 19:1 – “Now when Jesus had finished these sayings, he went away from Galilee and entered the region of Judea beyond the Jordan.” Jesus teaches about eternity and His purpose as He moves toward the beginning of His final week.
  • Matthew 26:1 – “When Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said to his disciples, ‘You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.’” After two chapters talking about the destruction of the temple, His return and the judgment, Jesus will be betrayed, tried, beaten, executed and buried.
Matthew 27 seems like a final ending, but we know that in the tomb Jesus had not finished. He would rise again. His resurrection provides an opportunity for transition for all of us.

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