I just finished the book of Matthew. I’ve been reading and re-reading it most mornings for about two years (with a few breaks in the mix). I feel just a little more Jewish now which makes me happy. But before I move on to the next book, from the Old Testament this time (which to choose??), I wanted to stop and remember what I learned. Thought you might want to know, too. Maybe it’ll inspire you to spend some time in Matthew yourself. Oh, and it’s a list of eleven instead of ten because I am an odd person who can’t be tied down to social conventions like ‘ten.’ So, here they are, my eleven lessons from Matthew. Enjoy!
- Jesus really lived on this earth. You can almost hear Him talking, smell the dust on the roads, see the crowds pressing to get a look at Him. This story is nothing if not authentic.
- Jesus rebuked well and loved well. There is a time for both.
- He fulfilled prophecies. Lots of them.
- He was the Teacher. He gave people more than they could fully take in at the time. So they would have things to ponder and continue taking in later. So that He could miraculously cause the gospel writers to remember and record it all in ways that coordinate perfectly. So that the church would have enough of His words to last us a lifetime on earth. So that the seeds of truth would be sown widely!
- He LOVED. He loved His apostles, Jews, Gentiles, men, women, the educated and sophisticated and the unschooled and uninformed. He simply loved.
- Jesus never failed to protect and defend those who couldn’t stand up for themselves.
- Demons exist and they sure couldn’t stand Jesus.
- He prepared people for His death and return to Heaven.
- He taught His children to be brave and not to fear.
- He fought religion with its focus on letter versus the heart. Nothing made Him angrier than people making it harder for others to know God.
- He left His people with two gifts: a command (‘teach others what you’ve learned’) and a promise (‘I’ll never leave you alone in this world’).
What I have realized anew: This Jesus is the Jesus I KNOW. As I read, I feel I am hearing a close friend described by a mutual friend (thanks, Matthew). The last year or so, He has been a little quieter than usual and I, in my short-sightedness, sort of forgot some of what I love about my Friend and Savior. Matthew helped me remember that He is a Person who is real and good and great. He is gentle and mighty and powerful and meek. I really like Him a lot.