Finding the right path to take in life is an ongoing challenge. It?s easy to flail in the realm of possibility rather than face the realities in front of us. Waiting upon the LORD is no easy virtue.
Jesus tells us, ?Enter through the narrow gate, because broad is the gate and spacious is the road that leads to destruction ? narrow is the gate and constricted is the road that leads to life? (Matt 7:13?14).
Although these lines are a proclamation of how we enter God?s kingdom?how we choose salvation back?they?re also a proclamation of how we continue to live for God?s kingdom. Whatever decision we face, and whatever odds that are against us, there is only one solution: following God?s narrow path. He has a providential way, a primary way for us, and we are asked to follow it. When we do, we?re gifted with the understanding that God is using us in the way He saw most fitting to make the most difference for others.
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Hundreds of years of expectation and struggle surrounded Jesus, from his birth through his ascension. Jesus continually redefined expectations, bringing the hopes of God?s people more in line with God?s character. Jesus? agenda was so much larger than simply creating an Israel politically independent of Rome?he wasn?t just a messiah like David?and yet it must have looked so much smaller than all the national hopes and dreams he awakened. This Messiah looks different than we expect.
The kingdom Jesus inaugurated was a reality: where the King?s will is done and his kingdom flourishes?and it was eternal. It wasn?t just earthly restoration?it was eternal restoration in heaven, for all who believe and for creation itself.
Rather than simply teaching the law of Moses, Jesus fulfilled it. And then he taught the true meaning of the law to a world wounded by sin and death; this meant a focus on love, grace, and life.
As Messiah, Jesus brought healing of the soul and body, and to our relationships. Those who heard and did what Jesus said and did would find their lives reflecting God?s peace. Jesus disappointed his contemporaries by offering them a gift far greater than they would have expected: himself, the Savior.
In the same way, we often find that God?s agenda is very different from our expectations. Far too often we find ourselves disappointed by God?s apparent inaction while we are blind to the greatest miracle the world has ever known. God offers himself, inviting us to allow his character and power to flow through us. As we listen to and live Jesus? teachings, we are transformed; when we take action for God, we give our world the opportunity to be transformed through God?s work in us. This is why Jesus? ministry in Matthew comes to a close with: Make disciples of all nations. It is our duty and obligation to show our world?a world desperately in need of Jesus the Messiah, Teacher, and King?God?s kingdom. It is only in this kingdom, the one that is a complete alternative to the ideals of our world, that we find peace and love?here is where we and all others find fulfillment and salvation. God?s kingdom is all that matters.
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Adapted from today?s entry in Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan and from ?Matthew?s Gospel?God?s Messiah Has Arrived? in DIY Bible Study. The Logos edition of Connect the Testaments is free, and DIY Bible Study is 40% off through January 15!