We have begun our journey through the New Testament! Our time in the Old Testament was very valuable and showed how so many parts of the Old Testament were pointing forward to Jesus.
I found our walk through the Old Testament helped us understand and even recognize the longing for the Messiah, Jesus, in our own lives. Thankfully, we live in the New Testament era and have Christ!
Part of that longing was the 400 years of silence when the people of Israel did not hear from God; there were no visions, no dreams, no words from the Lord, no prophets. Our four minute practice of silence in the service gave us a tiny glimpse into that time. And now, we turn our attention to Matthew, the tax collector who left his tax booth at the call of Jesus to follow after Him (Matt. 9:9).
Matthew wrote his gospel to help Jewish and Gentile people recognize that Jesus is the Messiah who was promised by God long ago. Thus Matthew used many Old Testament references to show Him as the Messiah and often included phrases like, “this was to fulfill the prophet..." Jesus' birth, His baptism, His temptation, His sermon on the mount, and His healing of countless sick, hurting, and demon possessed folks all point to Him being the Messiah who brought the Kingdom of God with Him.
Thus everything that folks thought they knew about life, the world, even faith in the Lord was about to change with the Advent of Jesus. His use of parables (see Matt. chap. 13) and focus on the heart (Matt. 5:25, 11:28-30) showed that He wasn’t interested in external religious expressions, but He wanted to speak to human hearts and He wanted people to become part of the Kingdom He was putting into place.
Ultimately, there is no greater expression of the love and power of God than the betrayal, trial, suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Matt. 26-28). His commission of the 11 (Matt. 28:18-20), to take this Good News everywhere and all over the world, is also a commission to us to do the same. Matthew left everything to follow Jesus and gave us his gospel so we could hear about Jesus. As we love Him, put our faith in Him, and follow Him, we must give others the opportunity to hear about Jesus. He truly is the Messiah!
Please join me in being thankful for Jesus!