It’s February, so I am on to Mark, but I thought I would share what I have been doing over on Instagram. @thestoneandtheoak, I do a running “now i know” series to share what I learn during my reading. Here is the collection for Matthew:
And did you catch all of those early mentions of fulfillment of prophecy? In the first three chapters alone, there are five direct references to Old Testament prophecies. Then in the fourth chapter, the temptation by Satan, Jesus uses verses from the Old Testament as his protective armor:⠀ ⠀ 1️⃣ “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” Deuteronomy 8.3⠀ My takeaway👉🏻 His words sustain me⠀ .⠀ 2️⃣ “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test” Deuteronomy 6.16⠀ My takeaway 👉🏻 I need faith, not proof⠀ .⠀ 3️⃣ “You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve” Deuteronomy 6.13⠀ My takeaway 👉🏻 I serve Him, earthly pleasures all forsaken⠀ .⠀ In his defense against Satan, Jesus offers us a blueprint for Christian living: stay in the written Word and exchange words through prayer, hold fast to faith, put God above everything else. ⠀ .⠀ I need improvement in all of these areas and He knows it. Here’s to growth in 2020.
This same Matthew was appointed as Jesus’ disciple-apostle and is the author of the first account of the gospel we are reading today. ⠀ .⠀ What profession is detested in our time? Drug dealer? Illegal arms manufacturer? Those who create harmful media at the expense of the youth who consume it? ⠀ .⠀ Jesus was known to share a meal with those whom society considered the worst of the worst. When pressed about this, Jesus says “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick” (Matthew 9.12).⠀ . ⠀ Our church’s Pastor Emeritus, Dean Rutherford, would say “church is not a hotel for saints, but a hospital for sinners.”⠀ .⠀ No one is too far gone to follow Jesus. ⠀ .⠀ We are all limping and coughing our way into the hospital we call church—looking for our healer.
“…And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” ~Matthew 10.30-31 . He knows every single hair on my head. On your head. That’s how precious we are to Him.
I finished Matthew, and I must admit, I felt a lot of different emotions during the reading. . I felt somewhat uncomfortable when I read the parts that depicted Jesus becoming really angry. But after talking it over with my friend, Hilary, she reminded me that it is a righteous anger in defense of God’s kingdom. He was in human form, after all, and with that comes the full range of human emotions. . I felt like crying sweet tears when it talked of Jesus scooping up a child and saying “let the children come to me” and bitter ones when I read of how mercilessly he was tortured and mocked before he was crucified. . I almost laughed out loud (perhaps inappropriately so) when Jesus was hungry and the fig tree didn’t have any fruit, so he cursed it. It’s like some of the earliest evidence of being “hangry.” . But this last line— goodness, this last line penetrated skin and bone and went straight to my heart like it was written for me. And I guess it was, in a way. Jesus said it to his disciples, and now we, you and me, are his followers. . He is with us always, friends.