January 13

Matthew 4-5

Reading from the Modern English Version

Today we are cruising through two chapters of the book of Matthew. Last week we read through the genealogy of Abraham to Jesus, through His birth, and ended with His baptism.

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“Jesus, you have plans to touch and heal the world.  You want us to be transformed first so that we can join with you in this miraculous new plan to bring the Kingdom of God to earth as it is in heaven.  Remake us Lord and bless us to serve you whole-heartedly.  Amen.”

Jesus was baptized and it is time for ministry.  And yet there is a bit of a gauntlet to walk through before Jesus goes public in a big way.

Chapter 4

04 – (Jesus’ temptation is given two verses in Mark 1, 13 verses in Luke 4, 11 verses in Mat. 4.) Jesus is led into the desert and encounters the Devil who questions His identity, first thing.  Did you hear all the “if” talk?  If so and so, if you are this, if you bow to me…  Jesus fired right back with scripture.  Jesus’ temptation by the Devil appealed to three realms: 1] appetite, 2] fanciful displays, and 3] power.  Jesus replies basically, 1] “bread? at your suggestion? God feeds me – you’ll never be my waiter!” 2] cast myself down? for a show? for you? God cast you down from heaven. I’m not your fool – vice versa – you play my fool.  3] You will give me the kingdoms? really?! After Calvary, all guilt goes to you and all authority goes to me.  I own this all finally – soon enough.  You will bow to me and call me “Lord”, just wait.  Jesus experienced temptation so we can know that God understands our temptation, AND that we can overcome it.  See, Jesus resisted the Devil and the Devil fled.  We’ve heard that before, haven’t we?

In Matthew, there is about a year between the end of the temptation and Jesus’ Galilee ministry.  Matthew leaves it out.  This ‘year’ is found in John 1:19 – John 2, 3, 4.

So in v. 12ff Jesus is in Galilee and we get the details of calling Peter and Andrew, James and John from their fishing occupations.  Jesus implies their new vocation would be similar yet with a terribly heightened significance added.  The listing of the entire dozen is found in Matt. 10:1ff.  Matthew is writing to the Jews and yet he is particular to state that Jesus’ healing ministry explodes international as people are coming over 100 miles from north, east, and south to be touched by Jesus!  Even the Syrians and Roman citizens from Greek cities come to Jesus in a stampede.

Chapter 5

05 – The crowd is easily in the tens of thousands.  Is it 100K?  Don’t think Jesus couldn’t amplify.  We know old folks and saints who were at crusades before WWII where a powerful preacher talked to 50K – and the back rows could hear – no sound system!  Here’s a cursory review of Mt. 5:  Jesus tells us we’d be happy with nine traits/activities/attitudes/reactions. All are total opposite the world’s values.  He states that those who follow God give preservation and guidance (salt/light).  The Law will now pivot from Jesus’ words – from Jesus Himself.  Don’t even think along any path that may remotely lead to murder; get along.  Even pondering adultery is wrong. Stop the divorce stuff. Stop pledging oaths and silly drama that goes with – answer honestly.  Revenge? no more!  Don’t even have enemies – change your heart.

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