The miracle of Jesus’ feeding of the multitudes is one that is found in all of the gospels. It served as a sign that he was Israel’s Messiah, the living Bread, who came down from heaven. In this message on that miracle found in Matthew 14:13-21, Chris (surname withheld) explores what the miracle might have meant for the disciples back then and for disciples in this age. What attitude is required for us to be able to do ‘ministry’? And what is that we learn most of all about the one who was able to feed the multitude, but also said, “You give them something to eat”?
A lot of people have made far too much of what is called the ‘Golden rule’ found in Matthew 7:12. While this verses is important in the whole context of all that Jesus said and taught, it is not, nor was it ever, the be-all and end-all of His teaching. The Golden rule can never save us – only God can do that! However, the Godlen rule does remain an important expression of what it means to ‘love our neighbour’ as God’s Word consistently teaches us. The danger comes when we place the Golden rule as the most important and neglect to love God (the first and greatest commandment).
After instructing His disciples on how to avoid being careless in making evaluations of one another and then how to be careful with His Word and so make wise judgments, in Matthew 7:7-11, he then spoke about prayer. While it may at first glance seem that there is no connection between what Jesus had been saying in the previous verses and these ones, the connection is there and it is a strong one. If we are ever going to come close to doing what Jesus taught in verses 1-6, we’re also going to have to do verses 7-11 very well!
After Jesus warned his disciples to be careful of passing judgment on one another (Matthew 7:1-5), Jesus went on in Matthew 7:6 to say some words that are a little bit harder to understand. What is it about pigs and dogs that we must take note of? And, what did he mean by warning us ‘to be careful with what we do with our ‘pearls’? HIs words are weighty and they require some thought and some application!
The words of the Lord Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew 7:1-5 are heavy and soul-searching, but they also require a great deal of thought and consideration if they are to be put into practise. These words have been misunderstood over time and probably also badly applied, but this does not excuse us from tackling both their implications and their correct application – which again (like so much in the Sermon on the Mount) is a matter of the heart.
As Matthew’s presentation of Jesus was originally written for the Jews of his day, it’s no surprise that he relied heavily on the fulfilment of the Old Testament as he reflected upon the birth of the Messiah. This fact is quite clear in Matthew 2:13-23 where many Old Testament allusions to and prophecies about the coming Messiah all come together. Set against the backdrop of King Herod’s rage and eventual murder of innocent children in Bethlehem, Matthew presents Jesus as the true hope of Israel.
The wise men feature only in Matthew’s presentation of the life of Jesus, and while who were they and were they come from are questions that largely remain unanswered, even yet Matthew 2:1-12, gives us sufficient information to state some thing and learn others from their appearing, their actions and who it was that they found.
The story of the birth of Jesus in Matthew 1:18-25, has plenty in it that people of all generations can relate to. Mary’s surprise pregnancy must have been a shock to her just as it was for Joseph, but both persisted in faith regarding what God had told them. But in the end Mary and Joseph’s story is not the main point, for the text points us to the Saviour who is named as Jesus, Christ (Messiah) and Immanuel. He is the one that all mankind must relate and respond to, this Christmas or any time!
As part of Christian Union Sunday, Steve Blyth from CU preached from Matthew 11:1-15. In this passage, John the Baptist introduces Jesus to the world but is a confused messenger. He asks to check if Jesus is the one we’ve been waiting for and what he has come to do. Jesus reassures him from the Old Testament prophecies concerning himself and commends John’s message as he prepared the way. Yet we now have a greater perspective than even John as we live on the other side of the cross and Jesus’ resurrection. We have the privilege of introducing Jesus to others as we share the hope that we have in him.