An End

FEBRUARY 24

MATTHEW 5:18_Till heaven and earth pass…

Do you believe there will be an end to the world? Does that mean an end of time? If the world ends, will time continue? If time does not continue, can there be an eternity?

The apostle John brings an end to the present heaven and earth in his book, The Revelation, the final book in the Bible.  In it he refers to a new heaven and a new earth. Revelation 21:1 (KJV), “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.” When there is no more earth, the sea shall also have passed away. It may seem easier to understand the destruction of the earth than the heaven, but this is not the heaven of heavens (I Kings 8:27 KJV).

Jesus made His statement in this verse long before John wrote The Revelation. Jesus knew the current world as we know it would have an end.

The laws God gave to Moses belong to this life. Jesus has already declared He will not destroy the laws, but be their fulfillment. What Jesus says next makes it clear that the Law is not going anywhere as long as we are living in this life.  

PRAYER

Lord Jesus, Thank You that You will bring a new heaven and a new earth. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen. 

Christ knows this life will cease—He offers me new life!

Perk Up, Listen, Pay Attention!

FEBRUARY 23

MATTHEW 5:18_For verily I say unto you…

In this verse Jesus begins His verilies, i.e., verily I say unto you. 

The Greek translation for this is, I solemnly declare unto you. Merriam-Webster defines solemn as, sacred; done or made seriously and thoughtfully. Declare is defined as, to state emphatically – affirm.

Any way you look at it or define it, Jesus is about to make some kind of profound statement. He gives an introduction, a foreword to something. Perk up, listen, and be prepared to pay attention. What Jesus is about to say means a great deal to Him, which means it should to you as well. I believe the reason it means a great deal to Jesus is because He knows it is beneficial to His friends (us), who He loves unconditionally.

So, if you are thinking of leaving off with these devotions, stop for a minute. Think about Jesus’ introduction to His next set of teachings. He is about to declare something sacred, and to state it emphatically.

Jesus wants you to take this seriously and think about it. He wants these teachings affirmed in your heart.

  PRAYER

Almighty Jesus, Cause me to be alert to Your teachings. Even if they sound strange to me, help my heart listen. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen. 

Christ teaches serious truth—I will pay attention!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Jesus’ Destructive Agenda

FEBRUARY 22

MATTHEW 5:17_I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.

There was hardly anything destructive about Jesus’ earthly life. He came to heal the sick, give hope to the destitute, set demonic captives free, raise the dead, and above all else, freely give eternal life. His earthly purpose from beginning to end was mercy and love.

However, He did have one destructive agenda – hypocrisy. This would be hypocrisy among the God followers, salt that’s been contaminated with arrogance and lust, and lost its savor. Lights that shine only to bring self-glory. Those were things for which Jesus showed zero tolerance. 

He did not hesitate to call the guilty appropriate names, and in one instance physically remove their presence from the temple.

To destroy the law or prophets was far from Jesus’ purpose. He made it very clear He was their fulfillment. The balance Jesus brought between the judgment of the Old Testament and the mercy of the New Testament was something Jesus alone could achieve.

To have too much of one and not enough of the other is destructive. Salt and light require the perfect balance of each.

PRAYER

Righteous Jesus, Help me to never fall into hypocrisy. Make me aware if I’m heading in that direction and re-direct my steps. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

 Christ balances judgment and mercy—Praise Him!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

A True Prophet

 FEBRUARY 21

MATTHEW 5:17_or the prophets…

Many prophets of the Old Testament knew persecution – first hand (go back to verse 12). The prophets were men and women God used to speak His words to His people.

To tell a true prophet from a false was simple enough. The true prophet’s prophesies always came true – exactly as God had given. If the prophesy was some type of judgment for disobedience, the result was persecution for the prophet. The power-people of the day resented someone telling them the truth of God’s Word. They were able to discern for themselves what was best – or they had people to do that. Their people were far more gifted and trained than people who called themselves prophets of God … or so they thought!

If the prophesy took decades, centuries, or millenniums to be fulfilled, the recognition of the true prophet could be discounted by the power-people.

Jesus taught from the writings of the prophets. He even taught about Himself – to those who had the heart and wisdom to understand. 

Jesus is the balance between the prophesies of the Old Testament and the truths of the New Testament.  

PRAYER

Great Balancer, Help me balance judgment and mercy in my life. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ is the Great Balancer—He will balance me!    

The Great Balancer

FEBRUARY 20

MATTHEW 5:17_Think not that I am come to destroy the law…

Jesus is many things and all of them are perfection. One thing He does best is balance. Jesus balances the scales better than anyone. The primary reason is because Jesus is balance – it is the crux of His being. 

Jesus’ ministry was not meant to destroy the Law. He makes that clear. That does not mean He did not make changes. Jesus’ death made obsolete the necessity of animal sacrifices. His death also did away with the Holy of Holies. Jesus is the door for all to come into His Father’s presence. 

Jesus fulfills all the laws – by who He is.

A salty disciple never dismisses the Old Testament. To be a Jesus follower is not a New Testament practice. It is a Bible practice. Because you do not find the name Jesus in the Old Testament does not mean He is not there.  As the Creator, Jesus was present from the beginning. As a New Testament Rabbi, Jesus taught the Law. He did not come to destroy it.

Jesus came to balance the Law because Jesus is the balance of judgment and mercy.

PRAYER

Creator God, Please open my eyes to see, my ears to hear, and my heart to receive the truths of the Bible. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen. 

Christ is the Creator—He created me!