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Archive for the tag “Matthew”

The Gospel of Matthew

Dever Book

“Was Jesus more Jew or more new?” This is a question posed by Mark Dever in his book, The Message of the New Testament (Crossway, 2005, pg. 44). As we survey the Gospel of Matthew, I think the answer is “Yes.” The first verses of this book speak about how Jesus comes from decidedly Jewish roots, firmly planted in the Old Testament.

This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham: Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, (Mat 1:1-2 NIV)

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Introducing The Gospels

gospelsIt is my contention that the theme of the Bible is the Kingdom of God. Beginning in Genesis 1, we have the setting, a people to be ruled and the unveiling of the King. God, the King, rules Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. But when sin enters the world, the life of the Kingdom of God is thrown into disarray. The story of the Old Testament is the promise of the restored kingdom, a renewed people, and an exalted eternal King. The story of the New Testament is the promise fulfilled. The first words recorded from the lips of Jesus are found in Mark’s Gospel.

“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15 NIV)

But Jesus does not stop there. In Luke, Jesus not only proclaims that the Kingdom has arrived, but that he is the embodiment of the Kingdom. He, Jesus, has been sent by the Father to proclaim the Kingdom of God.

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, …Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4:18, 21.

“I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent. (Luke 4:43 NIV)

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Praying About Your Mountain

Read Matthew 17:20-21

All of us have issues in our lives that feel like immovable mountains.  We may be facing a circumstance that is so large that it appears that it is there to stay.  You may feel trapped in a relationship or a job where it seems that no matter what you do, you will end up on the short end.  You may be facing an obstacle that blocks the future, an illness or injury that most certainly will change you life, or a loss that has brought such pain that you are having a hard time putting one foot before the other.   You may be standing at the foot of your mountain, looking up and saying to yourself, “there’s no way!”  Listen to the words of Jesus.

Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Mat 17:20-21 NIV)

Here are a few thoughts about this passage.  First, when we discuss faith, we must always discuss the object of our faith.  Jesus says that we must have faith, but faith in what, or better, who?  If we attempt to reach inside of ourselves and speak to our mountain ion the strength of our faith – and it stops there, not a grain of dust will move.  But if we place our faith in God,  even if it is a faith as small as a mustard seed, and speak to our mountain, saying,  “I have faith in God and God is going to move you.”, get out of the way, an earthquake is about to happen.  Our faith does not move our mountains, God moves our mountain.  All we need is a little faith in him and he takes it from there.

Second, notice that God did not say that your mountain is going to disappear. Rather, your mountain will move.  It may remain within the scope of your vision, but it will no longer directly block your path.  God will move it aside.  This is a profound truth to take in.  Hebrews 11:6 says “Without faith it is impossible to please him.”  If God totally destroyed our mountains, there would be no need to continue to trust him.  However, if he moved them aside but left them in our vision, we would be able to continue to progress on our journey, but we would still keep our hand clenched in his.  This then paves the way for the profound promise from this passage, “…nothing will be impossible for you.”  That means that nothing will prevent you from progressing toward the goal that holds the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

What is your mountain?  You may have several.  Put your faith in God, even if it is a weak faith, and watch God move it aside.  Then, continue to press forward by faith, trusting him to provide, even if your maintain remains in the rear view mirror.

Applications of this understanding of this passage abound.

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