As we have been looking at Matthew in more depth this month, I now have a new appreciation for all the “short stories” woven into this book in the Bible. We start with the Birth of Jesus, the beautiful story of the Wise Men, moving on to his baptism, to how Jesus dealt with temptation, to life lessons on how to Fast, to his healing, to teaching us “the Golden Rule”, to building our house on the Rock, and on to all the miracles. What an interesting collection of stories! These writings bring together how to live our lives, with examples of Jesus’ daily works, displaying his journey of growth and how he dealt with the stress of that time. Think of all he had to do each day: he prayed, he formed and worked with his team to continue to promote his message and vision, he sometimes fasted, sometimes ate at others’ homes, he gave hope to others, he healed many, he helped people through difficult times, and he preached so that people could live Christian lives. He must really have needed the Sabbath for his own personal rest. It is truly a reflection of what we sometimes experience throughout our hectic weeks. Do we stay as committed as he did? We can try, we may fail, we confess our sins, and then we try again. It is part of keeping and continuing to build our faith and the faith of others. Just as he rested, he also gives us the chance to rest, reflect and recover on the Sabbath. Do we take advantage of that time?
As you have been reading along through Matthew, have you had a short story or two that impact you the most or resonate with something you needed to hear that day? I know that “Do Not Be Anxious” in Matthew 6 helped me as we started back into the new year of work. “Come To Me and I Will Give You Rest” in Matthew 11 also helps on days where life wears me out juggling work and kids. Just spend a minute reading the headlines back through all the chapters we have covered this far. It is an interesting view, and I know I will go back to Matthew down the road because there are so many relevant stories and messages.
So why did I choose the title “Seeing is Believing?” We all have heard the phrase “well, I’ll believe that when I see it.” In Matthew Chapters 8, 9 and 12 this week, Jesus’ many miracles are recounted. If you count, there are 15 miracles so far which demonstrate how he helped or healed others. Lepers, the Centurion, Calming the Storm, Demons, Blind men, mute, Jonah. So many examples! Yet people did not always believe. They doubted saying, “Can this be the Son of David?” 24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “It is only by Beezelbul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons.” Matthew 12:23-24. However, he knows their thoughts and retorts “1 Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.” He knows some doubt by not seeing but he pumps up those people who have faith without seeing. They believe. Do we believe without seeing all those miracles such as the withered hand? Yes, we have faith! Can we have complete faith in his plan for us? I think it’s harder some days than others. And God knows that. He sends Jesus with all kinds of guidance on how to deal with life’s daily challenges and temptations, he shows his goodness through the miracles, and he even helps us deal with anxiety, giving us a way to rest our weary thoughts by giving them up to him. I can rest easier knowing he is there and all I have to do is stay in tune with my faith and rest on the Sabbath. I have to continue to this faith journey and believe without seeing.
Prayer: The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6)