Thursday, October 2, 2014

Matthew 1-4

Scripture connections: Mark 1-2, Luke 1-5

I am so excited today about reading.  Today is the start of the New Testament, life with Christ, and Matthew 1-4.  

Up to this point, as we read the Bible cover to cover, heard so many prophecies from the Old Testament.  It's a lot to keep straight.  It is great to see God's promises being fulfilled with the birth and life of Jesus, a reminder that God keeps His promises.  Matthew makes several references (I counted at least 8) to words from Old Testament prophets that prove to be true now that Jesus is here.  

Matthew is full of words that speak to my life, but I am really drawn to Jesus' baptism in the Jordan River (Matthew 3).  John the Baptist is the one who gets to baptize the Messiah.  John the Baptist has been living in the wilderness eating locusts and wild honey.  I imagine him to be a little rough on the eyes, you know.  He preaches and urges people to repent because "the kingdom of heaven is near (3:1)."  People have been coming from far and wide to confess their sins, and John the Baptist has been wading in the Jordan River to baptize them.  His fingers and toes are probably shriveled up and water logged.  Yet, this is the man God has chosen to baptize Jesus.  You'd think the King of Kings would need more pomp and circumstance, you know?  And then again, you wonder why Jesus even needs to be baptized at all.  He is the Son of God.  John the Baptist wonders the same thing. 

14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”

For me, this is an awesome example of how God works and how He calls each of us to be faithful followers.  I mean, this situation doesn't make sense to us from where we stand, as John points out, but it is all part of God's plan.  Jesus is a real person, like you and me.  He is our example, and God gives Him to us so that we can relate to Him and follow him.  Jesus answers John this way,

15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.

In other words, I feel like Jesus is saying "We have to do this, John, for a greater good than you can understand at this very second."  John the Baptist acted in faith.  I am sure He is thankful He did because it turned into a God moment for both him and Jesus.

16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

On a side note, I just have to say, I am glad you are reading with me.  At any given time, God can use the same words to speak to us in ways that are new and much needed, no matter how many times we've read them or not read them before.  I think it's important for me to point out that I highlight God's word that speaks to me in my reading each day.  When you read with me, God might be magnifying something completely different, even though we read the exact same passages.  I love that.  That's how God's speaks to us moment to moment, addressing us personally and our current circumstances.  Any time that happens for you, I hope you'll share your thoughts in the comment section.  There's a good chance you'll be helping and encouraging someone else if you do.

A prayer for today-

Dear Heavenly Father,

I thank you for sending Your Son Jesus to be my example in this crazy. uncertain, confusing, too busy world.  Use Your Word to speak to my heart and transform me to be more like Him.  I trust You, God, and Your plan for my life.  I pray today for those who are facing difficult life circumstances, circumstances that may not make sense right now.  I pray that you will bless them with your healing, peace, and strength.  Give them the courage to act in faith.

In the name of Jesus I pray,

Have a blessed day, friends, and feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section!

*This post is part of A Mind-Maker-Upper's Everyday Reading Project.  Click here to read more.

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