God was about to do ‘a new thing’ (Isaiah 43:19). How are we to respond to God’s ‘new thing’? – ‘let it be to me according to Your Word’ (1:38). The birth of John the Baptist (1:57-66) – This was great. The birth of our Saviour – This would be even greater. God is in control! Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Long before it happened, God had it planned (2:1-7; Micah 5:2-3). As you journey through life, don’t ‘lose Jesus’ (2:43-45). Keep close to Him! ‘Flee from the wrath to come’ (3:7). This wasn’t what people wanted to hear. Before we can rejoice in the Good News concerning salvation, we must recognize our sin and our need of salvation. ‘His Word was with power’ (4:32). Where there are hindrances, obstructing the flow of God’s Word, we must pray that God’s Word will be heard for ‘what it really is’ – ‘not the word of men but the Word of God’ (1 Thessalonians 2:13).
We must be obedient to God: ‘at Your Word I will let down the nets’ (5:5). ‘You can make me clean… I will be clean’ (5:12-13). Never doubt either Christ’s power or His desire to save you. ’ God is interested in names (6:14-16): ‘rejoice that your names are written in heaven’ (10:21). Hunger for God (6:21; Matthew 5:6)- This is where being ‘filled with the Spirit’ begins (Ephesians 5:18) Seek and you will find (Matthew 7:7). Seek the Lord with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:13). ‘When he heard of Jesus…’ (7:3): ‘Faith comes from hearing … How can they believe in Him if they have not heard His message? How can they hear if no one tells the Good News?’ (Romans 10:17,14). In Jesus’ parables (8:4-18), we learn from ‘the book of everyday life.’ We learn to hear and obey God’s Word (8:21). ‘The multitudes’ touch Jesus superficially (8:45). They do not touch Him by faith: Without faith, there is no power!
We are to ‘listen’ to God’s beloved Son (9:35). If we do not look and listen, we will not learn. To those who refuse to look, listen and learn, God issues His Word of warning: ‘See that you do not refuse Him who is speaking’ (Hebrews 12:25). Christ’s message – ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you’ (10:9) – calls for our response (10:16). The response of faith comes from God: He reveals Himself to us (10:21). Mary was ‘listening to the Lord’ (10:39). Don’t let anything distract you from this – Getting alone with God. More than anything else, Jesus wants to ‘teach us to pray’ (11:1). The greatest gift that God gives – in answer to prayer – is the Holy Spirit (11:13). We are not to be secret disciples (11:33): ‘Believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead and confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord’ (Romans 10:9).
Many are preoccupied with ‘having a lot of material possessions’ (12:15). What does God say about this? – ‘Fool!’ (12:20). We hear it said, ‘He’s too heavenly-minded to be any earthly good’. You can be ‘too earthly-minded to be any heavenly good’! It’s better to be ‘spiritually minded’ than ‘carnally minded’ (Romans 8:6). God’s blessing is given to those who are faithful (12:42-43). There can be no fruitfulness without faithfulness. Jesus stresses the need for both repentance (13:1-5) and the fruits of repentance (13:6-9). God’s Word is to bear fruit. This requires continual repentance and faith (Colossians 2:6; Galatians 3:1-5). Be salty enough to make others thirsty, and be ready to lead them to Christ when they are thirsty ‘for the living God’ (14:34-35; Psalm 42:2). Remember to give all the glory to God (14:11). People were coming to Jesus (15:1). The critics were murmuring among themselves (15:2). What did Jesus do ? – He kept on preaching the Gospel (15:3-32).
Jesus said, ‘You cannot serve God and money’. The ‘lovers of money’ did not like His teaching (16:13-14)! Don’t let money squeeze Christ out of your life. Life without Christ leads to eternity without Christ (16:19-31). We are always ‘unworthy servants’. We never outgrow our need of ‘God’s mercy’ (17:10; Romans 12:1; 2 Corinthians 4:1). Our commitment can never be a way of earning God’s salvation. He always gives us so much more than we could ever give to Him (18:29-30). Jesus is our Saviour – He came ‘to save us’ (19:10). He is also our Lord – He wants to ‘reign over’ us (19:27). ‘Beware of the scribes…’ (20:46-47). ‘The scribes’ were so taken up with themselves that they failed to take the slightest notice of what the Lord was saying to them. Make sure you don’t miss the most important thing – ‘Jesus Christ is in you’ (2 Corinthians 13:5).
The ‘poor widow’ gave her ‘all’ to the Lord (21:1-4). True giving is a response to ‘the grace of God’. Let us give ourselves to our Lord with ‘abundance of joy’ and ‘wealth of liberality’ (2 Corinthians 8:1-2, 9). ‘Christ our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed for us’ (22:7; 1 Corinthians 5:7). In His suffering is our salvation. Satan – ‘the power of darkness’ – would have his ‘hour’, but Jesus was to be ‘seated at the right hand of the power of God’ (22:53,69). Pilate made his choice. Jesus had to go. Jesus went – but He came back again! There is real human drama here, but there is much more than that: There is God! – Crucified by men, Raised by God (Acts 2:23-24). Jesus has risen from the dead:… ‘believe… be saved’ (24:12; Romans 10:9). Listen to Christ. Consider His suffering for you. Be ‘clothed with power from on high. Worship the Lord ‘with great joy’. Be His ‘witnesses’ (48-53).