Devotional thoughts tagged as: 'Matthew'


In several of the parables of Jesus, it would seem we must draw near to God with a determination to obtain the things we seek and not be put to shame by the seeming refusal or delay on God's part.

Consider the case of the Syro-Phoenician woman, Jesus seemed to put her request down with an uncharacteristic rudeness. Yet she continued to persist with the request. Finally, Jesus replied, "O woman, great is thy faith; be it unto thee as thou wilt." Matthew 15:28.

God does not always give us what we want at our first request. Rather it seems God trains us to work harder for the best things. He compels us to pray with determination. We need to keep hammering away at our prayer request until we obtain what we have requested.


It is impossible to live a spiritual life without solitude. Solitude is about setting aside a time and place for God. If we believe God exists and God is active in our lives – healing, teaching and guiding then solitude with God is a must. We need to give God our undivided attention. Jesus put it this way, "Go to your private room and when you have shut the door, pray to your father who is in that secret place." Matthew 6:6.

Prayer for a Privileged Position

This scripture can be found in Matthew 20: 20-28, and Mark 10: 35-45.

Then came to him the mother of Zebedee's children with her sons, worshiping him, and desiring a certain thing of him. And he said unto her, "What wilt thou?" She said unto him, "Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand and the other on the left, in thy kingdom."

The request of Salome, mother of James and John, was one Christ could not answer and it produced indignation among the other ten disciples.

Salome probably felt she had some basis for her petition. One of her sons, John was known as the disciple whom Jesus loved. Her other son James was one of three who witnessed the Transfiguration of Christ.

Yet Jesus answered Salome, "Ye know not what you ask." James endured the baptism of blood (see Acts 12:2) and John endured persecution and loneliness on Patmos (Revelation 1:9). Let us be careful how we pray. Some answers to our prayer petitions may be costly.

Jesus was a refugee

Have you ever thought about Jesus being a refugee? He was, according to the Christmas story in Matthew 2:13-15. Though his parent were Asia born Jesus and his family sought safety in Africa, avoiding the infanticide ordered by King Herod, the ruler of Palestine.

The text does not say where the family stayed. Wherever they ended up, we know Jesus, perhaps close to two years old at the start of the journey (2:16). spent at least some of his formative years in Egypt. Then when the family moved back to Palestine, they settled in Nazareth.

Examining the Gospel of Matthew

The Gospel of Matthew contains five key teaching sections by Jesus.

  1. Matthew 5:1-7:27 — The Sermon on the Mount — given to a large crowd.
  2. Matthew 9:35 to 10:42 — Instructions to the Twelve disciples chosen by Jesus.
  3. Matthew 13:1-52 — Parables of the kingdom — given on a crowded beach.
  4. Matthew 18:1-35 — Instructions on community — given to the disciples.
  5. Matthew 24:1-25:46 — The Olivet Discourse, also given to the disciples.

Before and after each of these teaching sections there follows action sections by Jesus and his followers as they carry out God's Word. The Gospel of Matthew ends with what is called the Great Commission — Teach them to observe all things that I have commanded you. It seems the Gospel of Matthew is making a statement about Discipleship. Discipleship involves not only truth believed but truth applied.

What is a Family?

In The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck the focus is on the plight of the poor families during the dust bowl days. It shows how the concept of the family enlarged during this period of crisis. Steinbeck tells this story using the Joad family's trials and challenges.

At the end of the book, the Joad family has been torn apart. The authority of the father was replaced with the leadership of Mrs. Joad and she, in turn, had her authority taken away by the younger generation. This turn of affairs leads to a different understanding of what it means to be a family They established bonds of kinship with other migrant families.

The Joads merge with the Wainrights and Wilsons because each family needs the other. The members do not share last names but they give support and sustenance to each in the form of food, blankets and a kind word.

Jesus redefined the concept of family by saying "Whoever does the will of my father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother." (Matthew 12:50)

How do you define family? What does it mean to be part of the family of God?

Ask, knock, seek and receive

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks it will be opened.
Matthew 7:7-8

Our personal relationship with Jesus requires us to be his hands, feet and eyes. Part of the challenge of being a disciple of Jesus Christ is to possess what I call "Mission Ambition."

When you have mission ambition realize there is a biblical step by step approach for each mission project selected.

You begin this process by asking God for guidance and help. Next you seek a group of interested people to help spread the word about what you are doing.

Last of all Mission Ambition is about knocking on doors and asking more people to help.

This is part of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.

Peacemakers: A Full-Time Vocation

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.
Matthew 5:9

As peacemakers we are all called to say, think and dream about how we might bring peace to this world. None of us is excused from being a peacemaker. It is not something limited to specialists who are competent in political and military matters, or to radicals who have dedicated themselves to demonstrating and civil disobedience. The undeniable vocation of each Christian is to be a peacemaker. Peacemaking is a full time vocation for all God's people. We must follow Jesus, who was the greatest peacemaker of all.

Insight into the Gospel of Matthew: Discipleship

Matthew presents a portrait of Jesus as the Christ, showing how the ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus is tied together with his role as Messiah. However, what separates Matthew from the other Gospel writers, is the focus on the church, its way of life in response to the message of Jesus.

In chapter 10 of Matthew verses 26-42, the rewards and cost of discipleship are presented. Disciples are to proclaim openly the Kingdom of God. Those who bear witness will be vindicated before God. Those who deny Jesus will be denied by the father.

So great are the demands of being a disciple of Jesus, it will lead to conflict with one's family and parents. This is in contrast to the Jewish faith where the family is the center of existence. This was a radical view. However, full conformity to live the authentic life God has intended may require disciples to give up their lives. To be a disciple of Jesus is very costly. You must leave behind your family and you must be willing to give up your life.

The last two verses of this text lay out the rewards to those who are kind to the disciples of Jesus.

The Christian Lifestyle

Consider Matthew's Sermon on the Mount and Luke's Sermon on the Plain. What was the purpose of these sermons? It would seem the focus is on those people who had already decided to follow Jesus. He was giving them a way of life that he expected them to follow. Guidelines for Kingdom living. For example, Jesus emphasized a type of forgiveness which went beyond the Jewish understanding of forgiveness. If a person speaks ill of you, shake it off. If someone slaps your face, turn your face to receive the second slap. However, you need to understand the reason for your actions. It was because God is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful just as your father is merciful (Luke 6:35-36).

It seems the goal of these sermons was to develop a Christian lifestyle which is gracious and generous to others. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give and it will be given to you (Luke 6:37-38).

Insight into the Gospel of Matthew: Focus on the Church

Matthew presents a portrait of Jesus as the Christ, showing how the ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus is tied together with his role as Messiah. However, what separates Matthew from the other Gospel writers, is the focus on the church, its way of life in response to the message of Jesus.

In Matthew chapter 13 verses 24 to 30 we have the parable of the weeds. It is similar in focus to the parable of the sower. The message here is carry on your work faithfully in spite of mixed results. However, the results you achieve will be judged by God on Judgment day.

In verses 36 to 43 of chapter 13, we have an interpretation which does not come out of the tradition of the church but from the author, Matthew. Verse 41 gives us a clue about the author's purpose, The phrase Kingdom of the son of man is the church. It is contrasted with the kingdom of the father in verse 43. At present the church is a mixed body, containing both good and bad. These individuals will be judged by god at the end of the age. They are not to be judged by the church in this present time.

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