Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Life and Mission of Jesus, recorded in the Book of Matthew - Part 1


Leading up to Easter time it's good to look at the life and mission of Jesus. So here goes:
In the book of Matthew we first see the fact that Jesus was born of the line of King David. We then read about his miraculous Spirit-inspired birth and an account about his cousin, John the Baptist, who was a voice crying the wilderness, 'Repent!'

Mt 4:1-11 Jesus is led by the Spirit into the wilderness and he is tempted by the devil - an interesting event considering he had just been baptised in the river Jordan.
Then the beginning of Jesus ministry as he calls the motley crew of fisherman and everyday blokes to become his disciples. He then goes up the mountain, and Chapters 5-7 record the great Sermon on the Mount, as we now know it. You know the one: Don't commit adultery, blessed are the poor in spirit, let your light shine.

Chapters 8-9, Matthew wants the reader to understand that Jesus is the Messiah! He's the Christ, the one who comes to heal and restore. Healing after healing, after deliverance, after healing is recorded in those chapters. In amongst the stories of healing, Jesus challenges the Tax Collector Matthew to come follow him. At the end of chapter 9, verses 35-36, Matthew brings the stories to a climax and writes, 'Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd...' This was the mission of Jesus: to bring the good news to people, and to restore humanity to fullness of life.

I love what happens next.

The mission that was Jesus' he then passes on to his disciples. Mt 10:1 - 'He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.'

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