Jesus presence, message and the beginning of his ministry inaugurate the Kingdom of God in a way never before experienced on earth. Not only is Jesus calling for repentance, he is inviting us to participate in the Kingdom of God in an extraordinary way.
We see Jesus begin his ministry as he’s going to finish. His message and the obedience we see in the first disciples show us God’s purpose and how follows are called to gathering those who are lost.
In Matthew 4, Jesus is led into the wilderness to experience what we all experience, temptation. Immediately after being baptized, Jesus is tempted by the devil. Satan uses familiar techniques in tempting Jesus; He perverts the Word of God and calls Jesus sonship into question. However, Jesus proves himself as the faithful Son of God.
God asks Israel to step out in faith and prepare to receive more children into the family of God. This Orphan Sunday, we examine God’s call to care for the orphan and behold the beautiful promises of God for those who participate in this call.
In an astonishing act of humility, Jesus comes forward to be baptized by John the Baptist to “fulfill all righteousness”. Indeed, this was the reason Jesus came, to perfectly fulfill the requirements of the law so that we might become the righteousness of God.
After 400 years of silence since the prophet Malichi, God speaks to the people of Israel. John the Baptist comes onto the scene proclaiming a message of repentance and pointing to the coming ministry of Christ. This message described how God would draw near to his people and identify them, no longer through ethnicity, but through his awesome act of mercy received by repentance and faith. This message spread beyond the boundaries of Israel to the world and continues still today as God calls all nations to confess, repent, and be baptized.
Though Herod sought to destroy Jesus, God protected him and directed his path that salvation would come to his people. In this passage we continue to see how Jesus was the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies.
Herod sought Jesus with selfish motives. Rather than worship Jesus and meet the King of glory, he became obsessed with his own prideful ambitions. Often we too seek Jesus not to worship Him for who He is, but instead we seek Him to get something from him. Blessed are they that seek Jesus to know and worship Him.
In Matthew 1:18-25, the Son of God is given two names, Jesus and Immanuel. In this message, we focus on the name Immanuel, which means, God with us. In the person of Jesus, God is present, having drawn near to be with us, his redeemed people.
In Matthew chapter one we read the reason for which Jesus was sent, "he will save his people from their sins". Jesus is the only one who could redeem us from our sin because he is magnificently unique as being simultaneously God and man. Matthew describes Jesus' birth as the fulfillment of God's prophecy through Isaiah.