The Choice

JUNE 7

MATTHEW 6:10_Thy will be done…

You can learn from Jesus’ prayer life. Matthew chapter 26 (KJV), 38Then saith he unto them [Peter, James, John], ‘My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.'”Jesus shares a prayer request.

Jesus knew He was facing rejection, ridicule, abuse, and death. Does He cry out for mercy? How specific is He?  39And he went a little further [to be alone], and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, ‘O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.’” Jesus asks to be released from what He is about to experience. “42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, ‘O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.’ 44And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.” Jesus prayed the same request three times, but each time He asked God’s will over His own.  When Jesus knew it was not God’s will to deliver Him, He made the choice to fulfill His purpose. 

Jesus entered His prayer closet, prayed the same request repeatedly, and added two more aspects in how to pray – ask for prayer support, and God’s will to be done.

If Jesus had not placed the Father’s will above His own, no one could be saved.         

 PRAYER

God Who Hears, Give me the wisdom and courage to pray for Your will. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ chose God’s will—I ask for that courage!

If They Only Knew

MARCH 15

MATTHEW 5:21_Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time…

I don’t believe there is happenstance in anything Jesus says including the order in which He teaches. Let’s take a look at Jesus’ style of order.

The sermon began with the attitudes and life styles that cause you to be blessed. It transferred to the purpose of the blessed – to be salt and light in the world. Next, Jesus made clear He was not about the destruction of the Law, but its fulfillment.

Some in the multitude listening to this sermon were only there to make Jesus out to be a heretic. Those particular ones may not have liked Jesus teaching He was not there to destroy the Law. Being for the Law might make it appear Jesus was on their side. They did not want that!

Jesus proceeded on in His sermon and discredited the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees. Oh, my! To be sure some fits were thrown! They aren’t about to stand for that!

The Scribes and Pharisees begin to become a bit antsy. They have no way to know what Jesus will teach. To be in control of religious teaching was everything to the Scribes and Pharisees. And Jesus was not in their clique.

If they only knew. Jesus is about to transform the Law!

PRAYER

Lord Jesus, Help me listen to Your teachings with my heart. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                             

  Christ’s teachings are perfect—I need to learn them!

The Right Track

MARCH 10

MATTHEW 5:20_But I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and the Pharisees…

Jesus is love – true, genuine, unconditional love from head to toe. He is the purest form of mercy. He is grace at its greatest. If Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law, then the purpose of the Law must be love, mercy, and grace.

Make the Bible your best friend. The wisdom from it is far beyond awesome. If you don’t spend time with your best friends – they won’t be your best friends for very long. The more time you spend in the Bible, the more you gain understanding of wisdom.

The Scribes and Pharisees spent a lot of time studying the Law, but they failed to gain wisdom and understanding. Why? The heart. If your time in the Bible results in knowledge which lets you appear better than your friends, your righteousness will never exceed that of the Scribes or Pharisees.

If your Bible time results in your heart breaking from your own sin, and the cruelties of the world, and you want to do something to make the world a better place – you’re on the right track!

 PRAYER

God of Mercy, Please help me learn the Bible with my heart, not my head. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ is the heart of the Law—He wants it in my heart!                                    

Minuteness Gives Emphasis

FEBRUARY 25

MATTHEW 5:18_one jot or one tittle shall in no wise…

Okay, so we have a couple of odd words in this verse. What in the world is a jot, or a tittle? 

A jot is the smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet. A very tiny symbol. It looks rather similar to our comma.

A tittle is just a stroke used in the Hebrew alphabet to distinguish between the letters. In the Greek, it may have been considered as something like an accent mark.

The minuteness of these symbols is Jesus’ way of placing emphasis on the importance of the Law. Think about His emphasis. Even the tiniest strokes of a pen made in the writing of the laws will stand as long as the heaven and the earth.

The laws were written for instruction.

The coming of Jesus to the earth did not destroy the importance, or the power, of the Law. His earthly presence gave purpose to the Law as it gave purpose to all life as we know it. We have previously mentioned there are portions of the Law which Jesus’ earthly presence caused to become irrelevant.

Best of all, Jesus’ earthly presence gave purpose for a life yet to come, a new heaven and a new earth.  

PRAYER

Holy Jesus, I don’t want to miss one jot or one tittle of Your teachings. I want to gain all the wisdom, understanding, and knowledge You offer me in this life. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ knows what endures for eternity—My life!

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 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!