Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Key Bible Verse: From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” (Matthew 4:17)
Dig Deeper: Matthew 4:12-25
From the very start [of the Sermon on the Mount], Jesus repeats the same message as John the Baptist — the message that God is calling us to renounce our former way of life and focus more on the inner issues of the heart in order to fall more in love with God and more in love with one another.
In Matthew 4:23, we read, “And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people” (ESV). Here Jesus is giving a tangible expression of what the kingdom will be like in its fullest expression. There will be no death, no sickness, no tears, and we will all be healed. He is giving a firsthand experience of “already, but not yet.”
But, first, he wants his followers to understand that his kingdom is not about outward things; it’s not just about changing the external things and practices in life — the healing, the comforts, etc. The number-one thing God is looking for is a changed heart. That’s his aim. The problem is that too many of us, like the Pharisees and Sadducees, are too busy looking at the outward things and end up missing the whole point.
– Dhati Lewis in Among Wolves
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