Scripture reading for October 7th: Matthew 5-7
Matthew is writing his Gospel primarily to the Jews who knew the Old Testament law and prophets. That’s why he quotes so many passages of the Old Testament and tries to speak to them in ways that relate to their background and heritage. Matthew records one of the longest discourses of Jesus in the Bible. It is also one of the most famous and contains a rich wealth of teaching for those who are followers of the great Rabbi and teacher who is the Son of God. It is hard to pick out just one area for our devotion today but I have chosen to focus on the blessedness of those who embrace the King and His kingdom!
The kingdom of heaven was the subject of this great teaching and this term is used several times. A kingdom implies a king. God was to be King over the nation of Israel and they were to be His loyal subjects. Jesus begins with an opening to this message that we know as the “beatitudes”. This section speaks of the blessedness of those who will be subjects of the King. They are blessed when they are poor in spirit because theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3) Kingdom people are not proud and boastful and self-sufficient. Their sufficiency comes from their King in their midst.
Kingdom people are meek and merciful. They are humbly under their merciful King’s authority and guided by His Spirit. They hunger and thirst for righteousness and are satisfied by their King with a banquet of bread and wine. Kingdom kids are pure in heart because they have a new heart given as a gift from their King! They are peacemakers for they are sons of their Father who gives peace that the world can’t understand! These kids are blessed when they are persecuted for their righteousness because they have heavenly vision and know that the best is yet to come! They have a reward in heaven that no one can steal or destroy. (Matthew 5:7-12) They will see their King’s face one day and bask in His glory!
Kingdom kids are blessed to be the light of the world. They reflect the glory of their King everywhere they go. They are the salt of the earth! They bring out the “God-flavors” of this world according to the Message Bible! (Matthew 5:13-16) They help stop the corruption of sin and bring out God’s saving and preserving message of Gospel hope. They are a people who live out the law by loving God and loving their neighbors from their hearts. God’s law is written there and His Spirit empowers them to live righteously in a wicked world.
God’s kingdom kids do not have to worry about tomorrow or fret over provisions. They know how to talk to God in prayer and trust Him for everything. He is their provider and protector. They are blessed with all they need as they seek their King and His righteousness! (Matthew 6:33) They have built their houses on a Rock, their King and God! Storms may come, but they will be secure and safe in Him! What a blessed life! I’m so glad to be a “Kingdom Kid”!
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