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Matthew 4:12-25 Part 1

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Review

Last week we finished looking at Jesus’ testing and temptation in the wilderness. If you remember we talked about the purpose of testing from a biblical perspective. That God is sits in the heavens as the teacher and we are his students, that while it’s perfectly within the bounds of Scripture for God to test us it is clearly out of the bounds of Scripture for us to put him to the test as the Israelites put God to the test in the wilderness. That we are not in the position to demand anything from God but rather we are commanded to trust him both in little and in plenty.
We also examined the Scriptures and found when he tests us that it is not for his benefit but for ours. That he doesn’t test us in order to discover something about our hearts that he doesn’t already know, rather the testing is so that we might know what is in our hearts. We affirmed that God is omniscient, that is he’s all knowing.
Then we looked at the last two temptations that Jesus endured. How he was tempted to test his Father’s competence and dependability, yet he resisted and rebuked the devil. How he was tempted to exalt himself and avoid the Father’s plan of redemption at the cost of bowing down and worshipping satan, but again, Jesus resisted and rebuked the devil. All of the temptations Jesus faced were categorically the same kinds of temptations we’re faced with every day, and while we may stumble in our pursuit of holiness, we have one who was tempted in every way that we are, that stood in our place and attained a righteous we could not attain for ourselves. It’s an alien righteousness that we posses by faith in Christ.
This week we’re going to follow Matthew as his narrative concerning Christ turns now to his earthly ministry.

Jesus begins his ministry

This week we’re going to follow Matthew as his narrative concerning Jesus turns now to his earthly ministry. In verse 12 we read, “Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee.” Now if we only had the Gospel of Matthew then we might conclude that John the Baptist is almost immediately arrested after Jesus’ testing in the wilderness, but that’s not quite the whole story. Matthew abbreviates this portion of Jesus’ life in order to get to a particular point which we’ll look at here a little bit later, but remember that every Gospel writer has a particular aim in mind, so what they’ve included in their narratives is hand selected to highlight particular aspects of Jesus’ life. Each gospel writer often had different audiences in mind when they wrote, but you and I have the benefit of being able to examine all four of the written Gospels.
Now it’s not recorded here in Matthew’s account but it’s believed that approximately a year or so goes by between Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness and “when [Jesus] had heard that John had been arrested” here in verse 12. The beginning of Jesus’ ministry would certainly begin in large part here in Galilee, but before that would happen there would be a transitional period between the ministries of John the Baptist and Jesus.

Between Jesus’ temptation and John’s arrest

Jesus returns to the Jordan River
During this time Jesus would first travel back to the Jordan River, to the place where John was baptizing, and presumably the site of his own baptism. We can pickup the story in John’s Gospel, in chapter 1 starting in verse 19,
19 And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22 So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”
24 (Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.) 25 They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26 John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, 27 even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” 28 These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
Jesus the Son of God
If you notice in verse 26 John tells these priests and Levites that there is someone that stands among them, even now, that they do not know, they’re unaware that the Messiah himself is present within the crowd of people. We read on starting in verse 29,
29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.
John exclaims that this man in the crowd with whom he witnessed the “Spirit [descending] from heaven like a dove” coming to rest upon him is the very the Son of God himself. If you remember the words recorded in it’s obvious why John calls him the Son of God, “and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.'” God had already publicly declared that this was is his beloved Son.
Disciples Peter and Andrew follow Jesus
The Apostle John continues in verse 35 of chapter 1 by saying,
The
35 The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. 40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). 42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).
Jesus is found for a third time amongst the crowd at the Jordan River, and John the Baptist again sees Jesus and declares, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” And it’s at this time that two of John’s disciples hear John and follow Jesus. They realize that this is the Messiah that John has been pointing them to, so they spend the day with Jesus. These disciples are of course very familiar to us, they are Simon Peter and his brother Andrew. We’ll hear more about them as we read on, but this appears to be Jesus’ first encounter with them.
Disciples Philip and Nathanael found along the way to Galilee
“The next day Jesus decided to to Galilee.”
We continue in verse 43,
Jesus is making his way back toward home and along the way he find Philip and Nathanael
43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”
Jesus decides to make his way back toward Galilee, his home, and along the way he finds Philip and Nathanael, and brings them with him. In fact, these men happen to be from Peter and Andrew’s hometown of Bethsaida on the north side of the Sea of Galilee. The Scriptures don’t mention it specifically but it seems to be fair assumption to think that both Peter and Andrew are with Jesus as he makes his way back to Galilee.
to the Sea of Galilee, or what we might call in our modern times the Lake of Galilee, from the wilderness to where John was baptizing at the Jordan river.
Jesus turns water into wine
When Jesus arrives in Galilee we find him in the town of Cana with the disciples and his mother attending a wedding. It’s here where most of us recall Jesus performs his first miracle of turning water into wine.
Jesus travels to Jerusalem for Passover
Next we read in John chapter 2 verse 13,
13 The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. 15 And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
It’s after this that we see after Jesus has arrived in Galilee that he’s attending a wedding at Cana with his mother.
13 The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. 15 And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Jn 2:13–17). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
to the Sea of Galilee, or what we might call in our modern times the Lake of Galilee, from the wilderness to where John was baptizing at the Jordan river.
Jesus travels south and goes up to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. When he arrives he finds the temple full of money-changers selling oxen and sheep and pigeons for sacrifices, and filled with zeal for his Father’s house he makes a whip and drives them out of the temple. And while Jesus is in Jerusalem he performs many signs among the people and many believed in his name.
Jesus travels south and goes up to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. When he arrives he finds the temple full of money-changers selling oxen and sheep and pigeons for sacrifices, and filled with zeal for his Father’s house he makes a whip and drives them out of the temple. And while Jesus is in Jerusalem he performs many signs among the people and many believed in his name.
It was also at this time that a Pharisee by the name of Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, comes to Jesus by night, alone. Jesus famously teaches Nicodemus that if one is not born again, or born from above, that he cannot see the kingdom of God.
And it’s during this time a
Overlap between John and Jesus’ ministries
The Scriptures go one in verse 22 of chapter 3 and say,
22 After this Jesus and his disciples went into the Judean countryside, and he remained there with them and was baptizing. 23 John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because water was plentiful there, and people were coming and being baptized 24 (for John had not yet been put in prison).
At this point we can clearly see the overlap between John the Baptist’s ministry and Jesus’ ministry. We also see at this point, as explicitly mentioned by the Apostle John, that John the Baptist has not yet been put in prison. This is how we know that these things took place prior to Jesus moving to Capernaum as recorded in Matthew chapter 4.
Now I want us to see something here in verses 25-30,
25 Now a discussion arose between some of John’s disciples and a Jew over purification. 26 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” 27 John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. 28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ 29 The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”
Notice John’s words in verse 30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” John is perfectly aware of his purpose, that he is to prepare the way for the Messiah, to lay down the red carpet and then get out of the way. Now let’s jump to verse 1 of chapter 4 which clearly demonstrates this,
Now let’s jump to verse 1 of chapter 4,
Now let’s jump to verse 1 of chapter 4,
4 Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2(although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), 3 he left Judea and departed again for Galilee.
Jesus’ ministry at this point had surpassed the ministry of John the Baptist and the time of John’s arrest is drawing near, in fact, this is probably about the time that Herod arrests John, which prompts Jesus to withdraw into Galilee, so we read in chapter 4 here that Jesus leaves Judea and travels to Galilee.
Jesus encounters the Samaritan woman at the well
to the Sea of Galilee, or what we might call in our modern times the Lake of Galilee, from the wilderness to where John was baptizing at the Jordan river.
And it’s along the way that he stops for water at Jacob’s well and encounters a Samaritan woman. Now the region of Samaria was mostly made up of what the Jews considered half-breeds, they were Jewish men and women who were descended from both Israel and the surrounding Gentile nations. They were despised and looked down upon by the Jews, yet in the following passages we see Jesus giving hope to this woman, and when she mentions the Christ who is to come he says to her, “I who speak to you am he.” He tells her in plain speech that his is the Messiah
But before that happens we read in chapter 4 here that Jesus leaves Judea and travels again to Galilee
to the Sea of Galilee, or what we might call in our modern times the Lake of Galilee, from the wilderness to where John was baptizing at the Jordan river.
And it would be because of this encounter with this Samaritan woman that many Samaritans from that nearby town would believe in him. In fact, we read that Jesus stays at Sychar for two days speaking with the Samaritans, and before he leaves they exclaim, “we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.” It’s a hint of what’s to come, a hint that this gospel would also be, in time, for the Gentiles. Notice when Matthew quotes back in chapter 4:15 from the OT,
15  “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— he Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 4:15). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
15  “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles
It’s what appears to be a hint that not only would this great light, namely Jesus, be a great light to the Jews but ultimately to the Gentiles as well.
Jesus rejected at Nazareth
Now it’s hard to determine exactly how much time passes from Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritans until Jesus is rejected at Nazareth, his hometown, but I don’t think it was too long. We’ll have to jump to the book of Luke chapter 4 to read about what exactly happens at Nazareth and how that eventually leads Jesus to move to Capernaum.
We’ll start in Luke chapter 4 verse 14,
Jesus Begins His Ministry 14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. 15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. Jesus Rejected at Nazareth 16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. 17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, 18  “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19  to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 20 And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” 22 And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” 23 And he said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘ “Physician, heal yourself.” What we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.’ ” 24 And he said, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown. 25 But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land, 26 and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. 27 And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” 28 When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. 29 And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff. 30 But passing through their midst, he went away.
14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. 15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. Jesus Rejected at Nazareth 16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. 17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, 18  “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19  to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 20 And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” 22 And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” 23 And he said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘ “Physician, heal yourself.” What we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.’ ” 24 And he said, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown. 25 But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land, 26 and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. 27 And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” 28 When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. 29 And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff. 30 But passing through their midst, he went away.
Jesus Heals a Man with an Unclean Demon 31 And he went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee. And he was teaching them on the Sabbath, 32 and they were astonished at his teaching, for his word possessed authority.
14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. 15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. Jesus Rejected at Nazareth 16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. 17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, 18  “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19  to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 20 And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” 22 And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” 23 And he said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘ “Physician, heal yourself.” What we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.’ ” 24 And he said, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown. 25 But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land, 26 and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. 27 And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” 28 When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. 29 And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff. 30 But passing through their midst, he went away.
It’s Jesus’ rejection at Nazareth that drives him to the city of Capernaum by the Sea of Galilee just west of Bethsaida. And

Jesus begins his ministry

Jesus moves to Capernaum
Now it’s Jesus’ rejection at Nazareth that drives him to move to the city of Capernaum, located by the Sea of Galilee, just west of Bethsaida where Peter and Andrew where from. And it’s at this point we pickup in Matthew’s Gospel in verse 12 of chapter 4.
Now it’s Jesus’ rejection at Nazareth that drives him to move to the city of Capernaum, located by the Sea of Galilee, just west of Bethsaida where Peter and Andrew where from. And it’s at this point we pickup in Matthew’s Gospel in verse 12 of chapter 4.
Jesus Begins His Ministry 12 Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee.
So we can see at some point during his last time in Judea he’s gotten word that John the Baptist has been arrested, so likely, in and effort to avoid the what’s happened to John, Jesus travels back to Galilee. When he arrives in Nazareth, which is in Galilee, he’s thrown out of town which prompts him to move to Capernaum, so let’s continue with verse 13,
13 And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: 15  “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— 16  the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.” 17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Jesus the great light
Now Matthew quotes from in the OT because it’s a prophecy that reminds Matthew that the greater light anticipated by this text would be the Messiah himself. He sees how Jesus is the greater fulfillment of what Isaiah wrote about in chapter 9 verses 1 and 2. The lands of Zebulun and Naphtali were tribal lands of Israel, and Nazareth and Capernaum were located in these same lands, so Matthew sees Jesus’ ministry coming out of Capernaum as symbolic of these people in Zebulun and Naphtali having seen a great light. This is even reminiscent of the light, or the star, seen by the Magi back in chapter 2.
We hate the light
Now the metaphor of light and darkness is used throughout the Scriptures, especially in the NT, and while we can see here that Christ clearly represents the light it’s important that we’re reminded that the darkness is representative of the evil and the hopelessness of our own hearts. In fact, it’s because we hate the light and love the darkness that Jesus was put to death. says this,
9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.
Why do many not receive Christ? Because our hearts love darkness. While this people dwelling darkness had seen a great light, the question would be whether they would run to it or remain in darkness? And ultimately that’s the question for us, will we run to the light, will be remain in the light? Will this light be our great hope or our great condemnation. says this,
18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
And what does Matthew say that Jesus does? He says that “from that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” This is the very same message that John the Baptist was proclaiming at the beginning of chapter 3.
We are all commanded to repent and believe in the Son of God, to come into the light, and I pray that we would, and I pray that we would remain in the light, as he is in the light.
to the Sea of Galilee, or what we might call in our modern times the Lake of Galilee, from the wilderness to where John was baptizing at the Jordan river.
Why does Jesus ultimately start his ministry in Capernaum? In order to fulfill Isaiah 9:1-2
When he hears that John has been arrested Jesus travels back to Galilee and moves to Capernum and begins preaching, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Jesus almost immediately picks up where John had left off, proclaiming the same message of the kingdom and repentance.

God’s providence in Jesus’ ministry and in John’s life

Prayer

And from a strictly earthly perspective we might find it odd, or even frustrating, that Jesus doesn’t do something about the incarceration of John the Baptist. Instead Jesus takes his arrest as a cue to begin his own public ministry. Now this might even seem outrageous from a purely human perspective because we’re so prone to question God’s competence and dependability when difficult, or hard, situations befall us (someone close to us dies, we lose our job, we’re injured in an accident, an injustice has been done to us, or to someone we love, and so on); as if when things seemingly go wrong in our lives that God must have had a lapse in attention or left the helm and accidentally let these things happen that otherwise ought not to happen, so we’re tempted to petition God to tell us why these things have happened (we demand an answer), we may even levy a charge against his judgement.
When we looked last week at some of the OT passages quoted by Christ in Deuteronomy chapter 6 we saw that Moses referenced an incident at Massah recorded in . If you remember the congregation of Isreal quarrelled with Moses and grumbled against him because they lacked water, and tested the Lord by saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?” In Deuteronomy Moses rebukes and warns Israel for this by saying, “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah.” So I pray that we remember that we are not permitted to force God’s hand or to put him to the test, but rather we are to humble ourselves under his hand and trust that he knows what is best - even when the current circumstances don’t appear to be what’s best from our finite perspective.
Because if instead we can see that God is always governing the affairs of men, even amidst their evil intentions (), we find that there is a purpose to even the seemingly purposeless events in our lives. This is what theologians have called the doctrine of God’s providence, and the Scriptures teach us that his purposes are altogether righteous and just, and more comfortingly for us as Christians that he causes all things to work together for our good, to those who love Him and are called according to his purpose (). My point is that there’s no suffering no pain that isn’t first ordained by our wise and loving God, and that isn’t ultimately meant for your good as a Christian, and we must be constantly reminded of this truth because we so easily forget it, so memorize it, think upon it often, write it down, put it on your mirror, somehow just do whatever it takes to get it in your heart, believe it and cherish it!
Scripture teaches us that his purposes are altogether righteous and just, and more comfortingly for us as Christians that he causes all things to work together for our good, to those who love Him and are called according to his purpose (). My point is that there’s no suffering no pain that isn’t ordained by God, and that isn’t ultimately meant for your good Christian, and we must be constantly reminded of this truth because we so easily forget it, so memorize it, think upon it often, write it down, put it on your mirror, somehow just do whatever it takes to get it in your heart, and believe it - cherish it!
Once minister put it this way,
“Christian! there is no sweeter pillow than providence; and when providence seems adverse, believe it still, lay it under your head, for depend upon it there is comfort in its bosom. There is hope for you, child of God!" - Spurgeon
Because there
When John the Baptist is put into prison Jesus doesn’t skip a beat, he see’s his Father’s hand at work, even in the midst of wicked men, and entrusts himself and his ministry to God. He isn’t guided merely by the seemingly disastrous and unpredictable circumstances of the world but instead he’s faithful to what his Father has sent him to do. He understands that this is all necessary to accomplish his Father’s purposes, and he submits himself to it, even as he watches John the Baptist, his friend, be delivered over to the authorities.
Heavenly Father we’re grateful for you Son, who is indeed the light of the world. I pray that your word would not fall on deaf ears today. I pray that we would receive it with all eagerness and joy. I pray that we would be quick to confess our sin and bear fruit in keeping with repentance. We’re grateful that you’ve made us sons and daughters of your kingdom. I pray that you would help us to live in the light, that you would conform us into the image of your son. Help us to turn from sin and to come to the light. Humble us and discipline us that we might be more like you. Give us a boldness to share this good news to the unbelievers around us. I ask that your Holy Spirit would give them a hearts of flesh, that they might turn.
Amen.
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