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I consciously humble myself before the Lord reminding myself I have nothing to bring to him except my response to his love.
“ Yes I am the Ancient of Days – none before Me none beyond Me – I bracket the time I created. And in the middle – the centrepoint is the gospel – the only true good news – the gospel that brings you peace – the gospel that brings anyone who embraces it peace. This is governed by one factor – My love – My holiness which exudes My love and it embraces all My creation. And it is in that love that I hold the future, your future and the future of the entire universe. The knowledge and understanding of all this is what holds the key to your peace and sense of security – so despite the apparent darkness of the night – within all that My love holds you in its steely yet warm grip. Don’t waste time trying to peer into the future, just relax and experience my peace today.”
Back to Matthew. Despite the fact that the so called “Sermon on the Mount” is written as an apparent complete message in chapters 5-7, it seems the entire message extends beyond that. In Mat 4:23 he writes that Jesus was, “Teaching …and preaching the good news of the kingdom”. In 8:35 he brackets that with the statement “Jesus went through all the villages teaching….and preaching the good news of the kingdom.” So this message of the good news of the kingdom, the “gospel” as we know it, extends a bit beyond what is written under the sermon.
That makes sense as we follow the two chapters after the sermon which are demonstrating the practical application of the Sermon and how to participate in that good news.
So firstly we see various messages on healing. Is that not what Jesus has come to do? To restore the damage of the curse and make us whole as the first fruits, as it were of the Messianic age which lead to the ultimate consummation of the kingdom. Within those stories of healing there is an emphasis on faith, which is the key factor for the “news” to become experientially real for anyone. There are a variety of expressions of faith, from a distance, by a word, through a touch, there is no fixed way that we could say, “That is the way”. The only thing that is constant is trust which Jesus follows by acting on it.
Then the last story in this cameo is in 9:27 ff where Jesus heals two blind men. Is this not a visible reminder that we are blind to this good news till Jesus opens our eyes? He also needs to open our ears and mouth. This supernatural work of revelation is implicit in our understanding of the spiritual dimension of the kingdom.
Then there are various stories of exorcism. That surely is demonstrating Jesus’ victory over the demonic world and the fact that through the gospel He delivers us from the Evil One.
Central to the stories is the question of forgiveness of sin, 9:1-8. Immediately after that Matthew, in telling of his own story, reminds us that coming to Jesus for forgiveness requires a recognition of one’s sinfulness and your need for God’s forgiveness. So implicit in the act of forgiveness we are reminded of the need for repentance. What a beautiful way to demonstrated that as Matthew tells of his response to Jesus call. He turns away from his old sinful life and leaves that to follow Jesus. Then just to underline this we are told the story of fasting. In the Old Testament the act of fasting was most commonly an outward sign of repentance.
I can go on about the reaction of the crowds which demonstrate Jesus’ deity. The reminder of the New Covenant, wineskins and cloth, which makes this action possible and more. But why don’t you go back and explore what else you can see which reveals aspects of the gospel.
So returning to 6:3 and the instruction to ‘enter through the ‘Narrow Way’.’ Entry through this way is on the one hand so easy. The way has been opened by Jesus and He does all the work. All He expects from us is a genuine desire, a recognition of our lostness and a desire to follow Him by turning your lives over to Him. At the same time it is extremely difficult because of people’s pride and insisting on doing things their own way rather than God’s way. That is surely why so few people find this way and enter in. Hence the admonition that it is only by doing it God’s way that there is access into the Kingdom. (7:21b)
Imbibe all this and let it enrich your understanding of the wonderful gospel of peace through Jesus and allow it to prepare you even more to be able to speak it to others, because the fields are white unto harvest.
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