Vs. 10, “…your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” We see the foundation of what prayer is to be. When we pray according to God’s will not our will…I don’t think we’ll ever fail. We see the topics of giving, prayer & fasting in the first half of the chapter and transist into the perspective of how we view this life. When we seek God first, we never have to worry about our finances and future….I thnk we allow this to affect us more than we realize.
Regarding application…Righteous Prayer. Vs. 7, “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.” So many young Christians are afraid to pray because of the eloquence of those who are seasoned prayers. It’s not about fancy words, memorized prayers, or babbling tongues that mimics the pagans…it was about a prayer that sought God’s will. The Lord’s prayer is a pattern for us…remember the acronym A.C.T.S. (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving & Supplication.) Those four aspects encompass though are not exhaustive the Lord’s prayer. It is a privilidge to pray…I’m reminded of Chuck Swindoll (Pastor) whose father told him it’s time to start praying at the supper table at the age of seven. It’s time we all start praying in private and as a community to uplift the Lord and His will!
Vs. 17, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” We see Jesus begin to reveal to us the true character of what believers are to be. The famed Sermon on the Mount helps us to see what the intent of the law was fully intended to be. It was to outline for us what righteousness…true righteousness was to look like. It seems almost an injustice to write this QT response on this chapter that covers so many things.
Regarding application…Heart Matter. Vs. 20 “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” The key word that jumps out is “righteousness”. To me…righteousness is something that begins within and shows itself in words & deeds. The heart is what motivates our righteousness. Each day, I make a choice….each day you make a choice….to live our lives as Jesus taught us….or to choose our own selfish motives. Jesus shows us that righteousness is more than just deeds…righteousness comes from the heart.
Vs. 16, “the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” I love this quote from Isaiah as we see Jesus fufilling this prophecy. In order for Jesus to publicly find success, He needed find victory and set the foundation in defeating the enemy right at the start of His ministry. Satan would find out quickly that Jesus was not to be someone to be taken lightly. Jesus would overcome a stronger temptation than any of us would ever understand and because He was tempted, He understands the struggles we go through.
Regarding application…To Follow or Not Follow. Vs. 20, “At once they left their nets and followed him.” At one point…everyone makes the decision to follow or not follow. Yet, the folly of so many of us is that we think that the monumental decision lies right at the beginning. But the decision or shall we say decisions…does not end at the beginning. The decision lies with us each and everyday. Notice how we end the chapter how many people ended up following Jesus at the beginining…but in the end, many of them would stop following Jesus. May we be children who follow the great light all the days of our lives!
Vs. 1, “In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea.” The prophet Malachi had said that the messenger would come ahead to prepare the way for the coming of the King (Mal. 3:1)…this messenger was John the Baptist. John the Baptist made it very clear that he was just the messenger…he was a very deliberate man he was never intimidated to announce God’s messages. John’s baptism was pointing the way to Christ. And we also see the baptism of Christ fulfilled from Scripture. In this scene we are given the picture of the trinity (God – The Father, Jesus – The Son – Holy Spirit (The dove).
Regarding application…Repent. Vs. 2, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” Repent is an expression that always has been given to God’s people as a challenge to turn around. Repent in the original Greek is “metanoia”: meaning to change your mind. You are going in one direction…turn around and go in another direction. Turn from your sins, for Jesus is coming soon! Not only do we take God for granted…I think it is easy for all of us to assume that we have time to turn back to Christ. I made that incredibly selfish mistake to not repent and turn back to Christ for my late teenage years…and part of it was because I thought I would have time…. Fortunately for me…I did. But that won’t be the case for everyone…at some point God will come back and the Kingdom of Heaven will be here! Let us do our part to share in the message of repentance!