Sermons on Matthew
To leave family and job to follow Jesus seems counter-intuitive behavior. The Great Commission, Jesus’ last command, calls every follower of Jesus to go teach and make disciples by our life-style and words. 70% of Americans are not involved with church. But our task is not to fill up church pews, but to fill up heaven with souls who have accepted the Good News.
And like that baptism marked the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, so baptism marks our new beginning. Baptism is not the finish line, but baptism, after receiving the Holy Spirit’s power, marks the launching of our ministry to do God’s work by His Spirit.
The Wise Men followed a star to the place where the Christ Child was. Jesus came to give light so that we do not have to stumble in the darkness without hope. He gives us light and hope.
Hearing what Jesus was doing, John, in prison and in chains, was wondering if Jesus was really the promised Messiah. God manifested himself as Jesus so we would know that he is with us. He tells us not to fear or be dismayed for “I am with you and will uphold you with my victorious right hand.”
The Bible teaches that our life here on Earth is all about preparing for the coming back of Jesus and being with him. We want to hear Jesus say, “Well done good and faithful servant.” Everyone wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to go today. We need to be ready!
In Lent we are called to pay attention to our inner life. The symbols associated with Lent are to help us meditate on the sacrifice of Jesus and our need for forgiveness.
God is the owner; we are the managers. In gratitude we give back to God for the advancement of the Kingdom. The tithe was to remind people that God was the owner. We live in gratitude because Jesus gave his life for us.