Firm

To stand firm to the end, I must stand on the words of Christ

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Read: Matthew 24

“But the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 24:13)

“Heaven and earth¬†will¬†pass away, but my words will never pass away.” (Matthew 24:35)

Reflect:

One day, Jesus will return. I’m not sure I’ve fully understood all the details, but I am sure about that fact. And on that day I will be saved: fully, completely, eternally… if, in the meantime, I stand firm.

How do I ensure I will stand firm? The first thing I need to do is choose my ground. Jesus said (Matthew 7:24-27) that the person who builds their life on his teaching will be like a person who builds their house on a rock – he said this before concrete. I need a firm foundation if I want to stand firm. I need Jesus’ words.

Psalm 1 advises that the person who meditates on God’s word day and night will be like a tree planted by a stream whose leaf does not wither – this was written before hydroponics. I need deep roots that reach down to Living Water if I want to stand firm. I need the whole Bible – morning and evening, waking and walking.

I need Jesus’ words, which will stand to the end.

crux:

In order to stand firm to the end, I must stand on the words of Christ.

Respond:

LORD God Almighty,

You are immortal, eternal, everlasting. You have no beginning and no end. Your words endure forever.

But, like the grass which withers and the flowers that fade, I will pass away. LORD, please enable me to stand firm in my faith until the end. Whether I meet my end in death or in the return of my King, I pray that you will keep me standing firm, holding tight to Jesus, until that end.

Keep me reading your word and responding to it. Keep me loving and enjoying Jesus. May I be satisfied with the blessings that I receive every time I meditate upon your word. Please help me to read it in the mornings as well as the evenings because as you know I’m struggling to get out of bed in the colder, darker mornings of Autumn.

Please help me to stand firm, on the eternal words of your Son.

Amen.

Details

What the LORD said through the prophets was fulfilled in Jesus Christ

Read: Matthew 2

“In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written.” (Matthew 2:5)

And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.” (Matthew 2:15b)

Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled. (Matthew 2:17)

And he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene. (Matthew 2:23)

Reflect:

It can be hard to re-read such a familiar passage in the Bible carefully, without my attention drifting. But when I think of the author of this gospel, Matthew (the disciple also known as Levi, who had once been a tax collector), I realise that this was a man who paid very close attention to his Rabbi’s story.

Matthew had the skills and talents necessary for being a tax collector: he could pay attention to fine detail, he could remember facts and analyse interconnections. He must have had an analytical brain, must have thrived on minutiae, or at least so it seems from his writing.

For Matthew, the most important details of Jesus’ birth and babyhood are found in the connection between the events themselves and Old Testament prophecies. Matthew finds four occasions in Jesus’ early life, five if I count the “virgin will conceive” reference (2:22-23), where the prophets predicted what Jesus’ life fulfilled. And it is not as if Baby Jesus could exert control over any of these events from the womb or his mother’s arms. The prophets’ words all came true by the sovereign will of the Father.

Isaiah, Micah, Hosea and Jeremiah spoke as the LORD spoke through them. They spoke (unknowingly) of Jesus.

Crux:

What the LORD said through the prophets was fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

Respond:

LORD God Almighty,

You are Sovereign: You make plans, you speak promises; you bring your plans to fruition and your promises to fulfilment. You are the Omnipotent God.

Thank you for your promises through the prophets that help me to see your plan and recognise your Son. Thank you for gifting Matthew with the talents and skills necessary to chronicle Jesus’ life and ministry. Thank you for equipping him to research and record the ways and occasions Jesus fulfilled the prophets’ words. Thank you for revealing yourself in the words of the prophets, in the words of Matthew, and in your Word, Jesus Christ.

Thank you for the skills and talents you have given to me. May I be faithful in using them to proclaim your glory, the glory of your Son. May I know the truth of your word as well as the details of your word, and be confident and capable to share this truth in speech and in writing. May I be faithful in obedience to your word so you are glorified by my words.

May you bless everyone who hears or reads my words with a better knowledge of you and a deeper love for you, for your glory.

Amen.