Monday, May 14, 2012

Those Pesky Red Letters: Book of Matthew - Part 1

   To make each part more easy to digest I am going to try and keep the articles to around 500-800 words or so.  There is no more logical place to start in the New Testament than the Book of Matthew.  Keep in mind that I am going to be quoting from the NIV and though they are generous with allowing quoted material, I would likely be breaking their agreements if I posted every red phrase in the Bible.  I will instead be listing verses for you to look up on your own unless I feel they are really important and then I will post the verse in full.

   The first time we see any red letters in the New Testament is during the baptism of Christ by John the Baptist.  John was very humble in the face of Jesus but the Messiah insisted on being baptized anyway.  This verse is Matt 3:15 and is a reference to Jewish law and custom.  Personally I think that it was a way for Jesus to be "credible" to non believers.

   Moving forward to Matt 4:4 Jesus quotes from the Old Testament (Deut 8:3) when he is being tempted to create food by Satan Matt 4:7 (see Deut 6:16) and Matt 4:10 (see Deut 6:13) also fit the same vein.  When I read this I think it is likely a parable about the temptations within ourselves and the importance in denying the lusts of the flesh when coming to God.  The final verse, Matt 4:10 I think is important enough to actually quote Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'"  Now keep in mind that the word Satan originally meant enemy or adversary.  When I read that verse I really think the the adversary is myself and I am constantly struggling to keep myself clean and pure in the face of God, which my sinful animistic nature is trying to prevent.  To me it is all about denying that primal side so that we can be good people and make proper, intelligent and Godly decisions.

   4:17 is an interesting verse and one that I can feel will hold much more meaning for me in the time to come.  For now, however, it is like trying to grasp water.  I can feel it but I can never hold it.  On face value, though, it means that heaven is for the repentant and not the proud.  If nothing else, we can take that from it.  4:19 Is the call for Simon-Peter and Andrew to follow Jesus.  I don't think it can be stressed enough that these men gave up their entire lively hood to follow Jesus.  It is a testament to sacrifice that would be a good lesson for us all.  The next time you can't make it to church because of some prior engagement ask yourself if you are living up to the example of the teachers before you.  I don't think you are going to burn in hell if you miss service but it is always wise to self reflect when things come between you and God.  Make sure his Will accepts that and it isn't your will that is driving you.

Introduction <-Previous Next-> Part 2

   Matt 5 is where the teachings really start to come.  The next three chapters are nothing but red letters so I think that they will deserve more words than I have left here.  Now that we are primed to study the words of Jesus Christ lets read our Bibles and pray for the wisdom and guidance that they contain.  God Bless you everyone, I'll be writing part 2 soon!

No comments:

Post a Comment