I've been struggling to find a way to blog regularly about anything in particular, between my work schedule, church schedule, and just generally busy life. However, I found it imperative I get back into my devotionals and get closer to Jesus. No longer will I intentionally stray from the path laid out for me, and I will let God strengthen my walk daily.
Part of my devotionals will be a blog, after I take time with the Word. Here is the first. I started the book of Matthew recently, and tonight I read Matthew 3 and 4.
Matthew 3 is primarily about John the Baptist preparing the way for our coming Savior. John the Baptist's role in the proclamation of our Lord fulfilled the Old Testament prophecy. John spent his time preaching, asking for people to "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near." He does this in spite of the pharisees, who were known to be corrupt and selfish, rather than selfless. He even warns them that they are just trees waiting to be cut down unless they repent and change.
John's preparations were not in vain, as Jesus traveled from Galilee to be baptized. Despite the protests of John, Jesus taught it was necessary for him to be baptized. God opened the Heavens to praise this act, and proclaim Jesus His Son. Reading through the chapter, I think it was so important that Jesus gave us his example of baptism. It completely validated what John the Baptist was doing, and gave us an example of what all Christians must do.
Jesus begins his ministry, overcomes the devil, calls on his first disciples, and heals the sick in Matthew 4. Pretty busy guy for just getting started! That's what happens when you are God...not only can you do the most startling, amazing and incredibly moving miracles, but you can multitask as well!
Jesus overcoming the devil is a very famous bible story, but it doesn't get any less moving when you read it again. The devil attempts to tempt Christ with the riches of the world, and with every temptation, Jesus calls upon scripture to strike him down. For me, even it isn't explicitly stated, this is example of why it's important to be strong in faithful in the Word. Any sin can be answered through the Word, and can be prevented. Going through seasons away from it, I found myself in sin daily. However, the word was there, waiting for me to come back to it. Now that I am back with it, I can use scripture in life like Jesus used it to withstand temptation. If being Christlike is the goal, what can be the easier if not to follow his example?
The rest of Matthew 4 is concerned with the beginnings of Jesus's ministry. He preached as John did, that the Kingdom of Heaven was near. It was an urgent call for repentance. His first disciples were Peter, Andrew, James and John. He explained to them they would be fishers of men. They just gave up what they were doing to follow Him. Who could blame them? In the very next breath, Christ was healing the sick. People from far and wide sought Him, and he was generating large crowds. I wish I was there. To be a direct disciple of Him would be something incredible to experience. Christ came to heal sin, and he started with sickness of the most unfortunate to begin to show us.
"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." These words really made an impact on me, realizing how much of a dot we are in time, and how little time there is to truly make a positive impact on people. I feel like as important it is to spread the good news, Jesus shows here why its important to walk the walk as well.
Matthew 5 and 6 tomorrow.