MATTHEW 5:1_he went up into a mountain: and when he was set…
Have you ever heard, “On your mark, get set, go?” In this verse Jesus reaches His mark, which is up on a mountain. You must reach your mark before you can begin the race, and you must have prepared yourself before you reach the mark. Once the mark is reached you get set—ready to begin the work.
Baptism was a part of Jesus’ preparation for His mark. Another was testing and endurance. Jesus endured a wilderness experience away from home, family, and friends. He suffered.
He suffered physically because He chose to fast during this time—to deny the body in order to strengthen the spirit.
He suffered temptation of the flesh to break the fast—in order to satisfy the physical over the spiritual.
He suffered a power struggle—to test God’s Word rather than believe it. He suffered the struggle of fame—to seek the praise of men over the praise of God.
You will face tests and sufferings throughout life. Suffering can break you or make you. The making or breaking is a decision, and the decision is yours.
Holy Great God, Help me endure my struggles in life. Let Your Word teach me wisdom that I may reach the mark and be set for Your go. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ suffered—He will help me be strong in suffering!
MATTHEW 5:1_And seeing the multitudes…
Jesus also had been baptized. John the Baptist did not want to baptize Jesus. He did not feel worthy (Matthew 3:13-17). As the Son of God, Jesus chose to become the Son of Man—baptism was necessary. John was the appointed baptizer.
John was also one whose birth may have caused much ridicule. He was born to parents who were old enough to be grandparents.
You may have been born into this same situation, or perhaps raised by your grandparents. You certainly should not let anyone cause you to feel shame. You were born for a unique purpose, regardless of how you got here. And grandparents are awesome, wise people!
God is excited about the incredible works He can accomplish through your life – if you will let Him. The very fact you are reading this post in this blog is not by chance. This is a part of God’s plan, a message from God to you.
Your life is not about the circumstances into which you were born. Your life is about the decisions you make and being responsible for those decisions.
Dear Heavenly Father, Help me trust in You as I live the life You’ve given me. Help me live it in a way which pleases You. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ taught multitudes—many were just like me!
MATTHEW 6:18_That thou appear not unto men to fast…
We have discussed how after His baptism, Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into a time of great self-denial. Matthew 4:1-4 (KJV), “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. 2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. 3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, ‘If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.’ 4 But he [Jesus] answered and said, ‘It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.'”
There were no people in this wilderness experience. Jesus did not have anyone to show-off His great piety for God. The devil came up with another form of temptation, since his, “See how good I am,” scheme would not work. The devil tempts Jesus to break the fast and eat. Jesus overcame the temptation because He knew the truth – “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
Jesus understood the purpose for His fast. He was led to fast in preparation for His earthly ministry. Jesus knew He needed this set-apart time.
You may think the cross was the only sacrifice Jesus made for you – but there is so much more.
Lord God, Praise You for all the sacrifices You made for me. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ gave all of Himself—He did it to love me!
MATTHEW 6:17_But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head…
Count on Jesus to teach the truth! He will not leave you dangling with a question mark. Once again, He has taught the wrong way, now He will teach the right way.
Anointing may sound a little unusual but it is all through the Bible. Anointing, performed with oil, was generally performed by priests. The purpose was to set-apart, or consecrate, or designate someone or something to/for God.
I am going to stray from fasting and hypocrites just for today. This is a good place to discuss another viewpoint of anointing. I view baptism as a type of anointing. Baptism is all about set-apartness, designation, and consecration. It is a way to seal a contract of belonging to God. Baptism should be viewed as a serious act – as serious as your dedication to becoming a disciple of Jesus.
Baptism can be another sad case of church bickering – how it is performed and at what age. Jesus was thirty years old before He was baptized. What’s important is baptism goes with belonging to God. Count on the Holy Spirit to direct you to be baptized, or to apply your new faith to an old baptism. Or if you feel so led – have a re-do.
Trust and obey – don’t bicker and argue.
Lord Jesus, I want an anointing in my life as a way of belonging to You. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ was baptized—It is part of discipleship!