Musings on Matthew

December 16, 2009

On Monday, True North finished going through the book of Matthew on Scripture of the Day. As we began this journey through the first gospel, I was preparing to preach a sermon in which the main idea was “Christianity it all about Christ.” With this thought central of my mind, I longed more than ever to sit at the feet of Christ by reading about his life and found myself hungry each day for another bite of Matthew.

The feast on Matthew may be over now, but the digestion is only beginning. This morning, I wanted to take some time and capture in writing some of my thoughts from the past month of SOTD before they fly away.

Perhaps the main idea that stood out to me from taking a close look at Christ in Scripture was this: reading about Jesus life THEN should strengthen my faith NOW.

Matthew reveals two major responses to Jesus: faith and unbelief. The main personifications of unbelief are the Pharisees–so caught up in their system of works righteousness and spiritual pride that they fail to see the Messiah. The disciples also display flashes of unbelief in moments of doubt, fear, or misunderstanding.

On the other hand, examples of faith appear all over this book, from the Magi who travel the world to see Christ to the little old lady who pushes through the crowd to just touch the edge of Jesus’ robe to Peter when he confidently proclaims Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the living God.” More than examples, faith is also central to the teaching of Jesus.

So the question I must ask myself after reading through Matthew–which is the same question anyone who encounters Jesus in Scripture must ask–is, “What is my response: unbelief or faith?” Even more precisely, how will my faith be strengthened because of what I have learned about Jesus?

Two specific things stood out to me in response to this question. The first is an increased commitment and fervor to wage the war against sin. Jesus described this fight in the most radical terms (gouging out your eyes and taking up your cross.) Do I view my fight against sin this way? And after seeing Jesus revealed in the Word, am I so enraptured with him that I will gladly sacrifice anything to be with him?

The second proper response is prayer. Jesus makes it clear that faith and prayer go together. Not only should faith drive me to spend more time in prayer, it should affect the way I pray. Faith (as opposed to doubting) describes proper prayer; these kind of prayers will be confident and fervent.

I am grateful for God’s Word and how it reveals God’s Son! Join us as we read through John on Scripture of the Day!

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