Ask. Seek. Knock. God knows what each of us needs at every moment. He already moves to meet our needs. (Remember Matt 6:24-34.) Like any good father--and infinitely more than the best human fathers--God wants us to ask him for whatever is on our heart. Not that he will grant everything we wish for. But so that he can teach us and relate to us like fathers relate to their children.
Jesus's resurrection proves the reality of the Christian hope for eternal life beyond death. It also demonstrates the divine power available to help Christians live Jesus' way now. Jesus calls Christians to store up treasures in heaven, because that is where our hearts will be. We also hear him saying that our hearts will have immense resources to serve God faithfully and to love others well. We need to be sure that we are investing out devotion, our time, and our money in that eternal hope.
In Matthew 4:1-11 Jesus is tested by Satan as to whether Jesus--unlike Israel before him--would live up to God's acclaim of Jesus as "My son, in whom I am well pleased." Matthew's narrative of how Jesus succeeds against Satan's powerful temptations instructs all of us that righteousness is the fruit of true and total love of the Father.
Why is it so important to the Christian faith that the story of Jesus begins with his conception and birth as a baby? The Christmas season prompts Christians to think more deeply about this element of our faith in Jesus, the Savior. We find in this lesson that the narrative setting in which Matthew includes his Christmas story bears important clues about the ultimate meaning of the fact that the Son of God came as a baby.
Matthew tells us very little about the circumstances of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus' return to Israel from Egypt. What Matthew wants us to focus on is that their settling in Nazareth in Galilee was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophets about the Christ. What could those things have been, since Nazareth is never mentioned in prophecies about the Christ? Why go to Galilee when no prophet comes from Galilee (John 7:52)? In answering these questions by "people watching" Joseph on his journey, we gain insights into the power and faithfulness of the great God and father of Jesus Christ our savior.
Matthew's story of Jesus gives us the tragic tale of Herod's murder of the innocents. Hoping to do away with Jesus' challenge to the throne, Herod orders the murder of all boys in the region of Bethlehem two years old and younger. Matthew gives an important clue to unlock the good news even in this unthinkable moment in history. There is yet hope, because God is already working to fulfill the promised salvation.
Of all the places God could have sent Joseph, Mary, and Jesus to escape King Herod, why Egypt? Looking into this story in Matthew chapter two more closely, we find encouraging insight about those times when we seem to be in a spiritual "desert." Though we cannot see it, our situation somehow fits God's master plan.
Matthew begins his Gospel with a genealogy of Jesus neatly divided into three parts of 14 generations each. But this is obviously inaccurate, according to the precise historical facts. What is Matthew doing? He is pointing us to trust God as the good Father who is able to keep his promises no matter what.
For centuries, the Jews anticipated the revelation of the next king to sit on David's throne. In the Gospel of Matthew, we learn that Jesus is that one that had been promised. This is great news for the whole world.
In the light of Jesus's cross, we see clearly that God the Father is faithful to his promises. We can trust him with our lives forever.