Scripture reading for October 6th: Matthew 1-4
Wow! We are finally in the New Testament! Four hundred years of silence have passed and God is speaking again! He is fulfilling a number of prophesies that He gave over the years concerning His Son. A virgin, named Mary, gives birth to a son. (Matthew 1:22-23) This virgin and her betrothed husband, Joseph, are descendants of King David and their genealogy is traced back to Abraham. (Matthew 1:1-16) This “Son” was born in Bethlehem, fulfilling what the prophet Micah had predicted nearly 700 years earlier. (Matthew 2:6)
Gentile wise men came to worship Him who was born “king of the Jews.” Gentiles would also be blessed and come to this “king of the Jews” for salvation! They came to Judea and visited King Herod. Herod became jealous and ordered the destruction of all boys 2 years and younger. God had already intervened and warned Joseph and Mary to depart for Egypt. This fulfilled two other prophesies about Rachel weeping for her children and God calling His Son out of Egypt. (Matthew 2:15-18) When Joseph and Mary returned to Israel after Herod’s threat had passed, they settled in Nazareth. Jesus was called a “Nazarene” in fulfillment of prophetic word!
The Book of Malachi had ended with a promise from God that He would send Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of the Lord. (Malachi 4:5-6) Elijah’s message would seek to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers. Matthew records the ministry of John the Baptist preaching in the Desert of Judea and calling God’s people to repentance and water baptism. John was Jesus’ cousin and had a special call from God to prepare the way for His Son in ministry. Repentance was and is a basic requirement to prepare a heart to receive the truth in Jesus. (Matthew 3:1-3) This also fulfilled a prophesy given by Isaiah!
John the Baptist spoke plainly to the religious leaders who came to ridicule him. He warned them that one was coming who would not just baptize with water, but with the Holy Spirit and fire! (Matthew 3:7-11) When Jesus came to the Jordan River to be baptized by John, John tried to reverse the situation. Jesus insisted on his need to be baptized to fulfill “all righteousness.” (Matthew 3:15) Jesus was baptized by John and John, along with the crowd, witnessed an amazing confirmation of Jesus Christ the Son of God! Father, Son, and Holy Spirit together with joy and hope and salvation for the world!
“As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went out of the water. At that moment heaven opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on Him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:16-17