July 16, 2021 – Matthew 2-4

Several thoughts, this morning. The visit of the wise men. Wise men, from the East, have heard about the birth of the Messiah, and they come looking for him. Of course, the news came to other ears, also; in particular to Herod's ears. Same news – different responses. The wise men would be led to the child and would worship. Herod would do his utmost to kill the child, but would fail. God's purposes could not be thwarted.

Before Jesus embarked on his ministry, “John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea” (3:2). He “wore a garment of camel's hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey”(3:4). I suppose that would be something akin, in our day, to a mountain man coming out of the mountains, bearded and clothed in deer skins, wild in his appearance, and beginning to speak to “proper society.” Amazing how God uses the humble and outcast of this world, often, to accomplish his purposes.

But this story is not about John, it’s about Jesus! Baptized by John, Jesus was approved by his Father: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (3:17). And what an amazing and wonderful story it is! The Savior has come!

Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where he was tempted by the devil. I think this episode took place for three reasons: one, to demonstrate Christ's oneness with us (like us, he, also, faced temptation); two, to approve Jesus and to show his mastery over Satan; and three, to show us how to answer Satan and his temptations (we fight him with the Word of God and with God's promises). Afterward, Jesus began his ministry, a ministry of light bringing, which was foretold by the prophets. Jesus called his first disciples, and great crowds began to gather around him, so much that his fame spread throughout all the region. He healed the sick and cast out demons as many were brought to him. What a wonderful Savior!

A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord;

he taketh my burden away.

He holdeth me up, and I shall not be moved;

he giveth me strength as my day.

He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock

that shadows a dry, thirsty land.

He hideth my life in the depths of his love,

and covers me there with his hand,

and covers me there with his hand. –Fanny Crosby, 1890

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