THOUGHTS FROM MATTHEW

December 8

Text: Matthew 5:17, 18

"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill.  For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished.Ē  (NASB)

Matthew saw Jesus as one who saw the connection between all of Godís acts.  It is too easy today to view the events where God interacted with our world as isolated, interesting stories that are unconnected.  If we view these incidents as isolated and unconnected, they have very limited meaning or message for us today. 

To many, just to trust that God acted is, of itself, the ďgreat act of faith.Ē  In that view, Godís past acts had no meaning or message.

Godís creative acts, the introduction of evil in this world, the flood, the division of languages at Babel, the promises to Abraham, the deliverance of Israel, the wilderness wanderings of Israel, Canaan, the judges, the united kingdom of Israel, the divided kingdom of Israel, the captivities, the return of a small group, Jesusí birth and ministry, Jesusí crucifixion and resurrection, and the spread of Christianity are all connected.  And all of them are connected to the judgment.  They all declare the reality of human need and Godís persistence. 

Centuries before Jesus was born, God through Isaiah said in Isaiah 49:6 "It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also make You a light of the nations so that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth" (NASB).

Jesus said that if the Israel of his day did not see him as a part of the unfolding acts of God, they did not and could not grasp that God was functioning through him.  He did not exist to be understood apart from all that God did in the past.  He did not exist as the destroyer but as the fulfiller of Godís intent. He did not come to destroy the Law and the prophets.  He came to achieve their divinely intended purpose.  His teachings did not suddenly make the law and the prophets bad or evil.  He came to be the fruit of all a determined God had nurtured in the past.

Suggestion for reflection: In view of Godís acts prior to Jesusí birth, how do you see Jesus?  (Read Colossians 1:13-23.)

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