It's during Advent I’m reminded of the duality of waiting—remembering the Hebrews who waited eagerly for the birth of their Messiah, but also the waiting we endure for the second coming of Christ.
One thing quickly becomes apparent to anyone who reads the gospels, the pages of Scripture that contain Jesus' words and actions: no one who heard His words failed to react. Some who listened shook their fists at Him. Others marvelled at a depth of wisdom they'd never heard before. And some believed His words, choosing to follow Him. Whatever the reaction, no one left His presence unaffected by the encounter.
Jesus easily stands as the most influential person in history. Even today, millions call Him Saviour. Why? What was it about His short time on earth that shook the world so? What did He say to grab people's hearts the way He did? Why do so many believe in Him as the Son of God?
Embark on an eye-opening journey into the life and times of this carpenter from Nazareth. Just don't expect to be unstirred after your encounter with Jesus.
Let’s focus our attention on what the Lord said in His Great Commission in Matthew 28:16–20 and learn what it means to live as a true disciple.
In this section of Matthew’s gospel, Jesus is with His disciples on the Mount of Olives, just east of Jerusalem across the Kidron Valley. They are full of questions, and He graciously responds to their concerns.
The parable we are considering today appears on the surface to be to be about a man and his slaves, but it actuality symbolizes the Saviour and His followers. Read it closely. Think it through. See if you don’t agree that it has a great deal to say about how we are to respond to the blessings of God.
When a baby comes into our lives as parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, or sisters, we rejoice in the magnificence of God’s gift of life. But how much more did the family rejoice in wonderment when the child was Emmanuel, God with us? When God took on human flesh at the birth of Jesus, He brought a wonder to the world that had yet to be seen.
Sometimes cast aside as a minor player in the retelling of the Christmas story, Joseph’s story mirrored that of his wife in many ways. He sat with her marvelling at this baby. He wondered about the baby’s origin. And yet, Joseph was forced to make a choice that not even Mary had to make. Where Mary carried the baby within her, Joseph had to choose to stay, to involve himself in the baby’s life.
Christians need to take time to answer the significant biblical questions people have. And many of those questions have to do with the identity of Jesus. Who is He? Why did He come? What did He teach? How can I connect with Him? These are the same questions asked centuries ago by people who lived when Jesus did. Let’s see how Matthew’s gospel answers these questions.
The teaching of Jesus and the apostles is unmistakable. Heaven is for those who have been saved from their sin by trusting in Jesus. Heaven is not a mythical place for all people regardless of their background.
Many fall prey to the temptation of attending church only on those high Christian holidays such as Christmas and, of course, Easter. Sitting in the congregation only once or twice a year, a visitor might wonder just what all the hubbub is about. An hour-long meeting with a little singing and a little preaching is nice but certainly not life-changing!
When was the last time you gave a gift to a loved one expecting a payment in return? Probably never because if you receive payment for a gift, it ceases to be a gift! Likewise, God’s gift of salvation has been freely given. We can’t earn it and He doesn’t expect payment for it. God wrapped His indescribable gift in eternity, equality, deity, and humility. Open it today!