Sunday, October 30, 2011

Looking at the Gospels

This fall I had the opportunity to sit under the teaching of an older and wiser woman, Vida Farrar. She led us through a 7 week course on Growing in personal holiness. We did read through 3 of the 4 gospels for some of our homework. Here are my brief reflections on the first 14 chapters of Matthew's Gospel.

Matthew the Taxman called to be a disciple left his money collecting in exchange for the riches that can only be found in bowing the knee to the King of Kings, the Lord Jesus Christ.

“King of the Jews,” is found only at the beginning of the gospel of Matthew referring to the child Jesus who was born to save his people from their sins. The rest of the gospel writers use this title toward the end of their gospels during the Passion of the Christ . Looking to Jesus as my King through the eyes of His servant Matthew is welcomed meat to this growing Christian. In SO many ways, I still have a lot of growing up to do and again, I am finding myself in a season that I just can’t seem to get enough of God’s Word.

During the reading of these first 14 chapters of Matthew, I did more reading and pondering than actual writing. Although, I did write something down for each chapter. Unlike other weeks, I could probably fit it all here on one page. However, I want to just reflect on this office of the Lord. In the Westminster Catechism its says in the answer, “Christ executeth the office of a king, in subduing us to himself, in ruling and defending us, and in restraining and conquering all his and our enemies.”

In Matthew after the Incarnation, wise men come to worship the Baby born King. In the Jordan Jesus is baptized by John and with the Holy Spirit descending upon Him, the Father declares Him as His Beloved Son! In the desert Jesus wages War with the devil in a battle of biblical proportion with all that He is through His Very Words. In Capernaum, Jesus proclaimed that the Kingdom (His Kingdom) of heaven was at hand. In the streets, on the sea, and upon the mountains Jesus heals diseases, casts out demons, astonishes the crowds, the Scribes and Pharisees and his disciples with His authoritative and totally outside the box teachings.

Through this part of the gospel I see the King who provides, heals, teaches, defends, rescues and calls out the disciples to Himself. This tax collector who was formerly employed under Herod the tetrarch, now found himself under the authority of a King whose kingdom, was the very Kingdom of God. Matthew helps me to be in awe, reading straight through helps me to be amazed at the One I call, Savior, Lord, Brother and Friend, is my ruling King. There is No One like Him. How can I help but bow!

Also, in the gospel of Matthew I see how far I have to go along the pilgrim highway, the LORD holds up a standard that in my own power, I cannot even begin to scratch the surface. My first step toward the Savior is to repent of my sin, my inability to do what the Word of God says, even though I have died and my life is now hid with Christ, I frequently suffer from identity crisis and find myself in the middle of my sin and with Paul I cry out what a wretch I am! But thanks and glory be to God who rescues me from myself. There is so much in this gospel that I love but I will just point out two things: what I grew up calling “The Our Father” for it is indeed our prayer to our Heavenly Father. Jesus the one who gives us access to the Father gives us words to say in prayer. Secondly, at the end of chapter 11, Jesus declares again His position with the Father and then those tender words, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (v. 28-30 NIV)

A humble King who often carries me is walking beside me enabling me to learn to walk in His ways. May I continue to sit at His Feet as well as walk along the way with Jesus.

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