We will continue our journey through the Gospel of Matthew in worship this Sunday. Worship will focus on the wisdom teachings of Jesus found throughout Matthew in chapters 5 – 25. We’ll focus in particular on Jesus’ experience in the wilderness and the Sermon on the Mount.
Alexander Shaia writes,
“…Jesus was led into the wilderness…After fasting for 40 days in the wilderness, Jesus became famished, and in his deep exhaustion, the tempter arrived…and challenged Jesus to make bread from stones….[the writer of] Matthew is telling [the hearers of the Gospel], equally wearied after the fall of the Temple, that they are at risk of a similar temptation, of picking up the old ways” (The Hidden Power of the Gospels, 70-1).
What tempts you to go “backward” instead of “forward?” What triggers you to want to seek the comfort of old behaviors, even when those behaviors are harmful to you and your neighbors?
Alexander Shaia continues,
“[the writer of Matthew’s] goal is to convince the [hearers of the Gospel] of the need to think in new ways about rules of conduct….learning, reflection, and evaluation reveal the essence of “rules,” enabling them to become a meaningful practice flowing naturally from love and compassion” (The Hidden Power of the Gospels, 77).
How have you been moved to rethink how you stay in love with God by practicing the Christian disciples? What practices have become regular and hold meaning for you? What are the areas you still want to explore?