You can download Saturday’s reading HERE.
400 years. Since the creation of man, the Jews had continually heard from God…until now. They had endured oppression, war, independence, and peace, but they had not heard from God in 400 years. And then a young virgin girl carried within her the Promised One, the Messiah.
It’s no surprise that the Jews expected an earthly kingdom. After all, they had ruled and conquered, and they had been oppressed and exiled. An earthly kingdom made sense. So they waited for what they thought was coming. And they continued to follow the same rituals and empty sacrifices that defiled the altar of the Lord (Malachi 1).
And then the day came…the day that would change absolutely everything for all eternity. I wonder what went through Joseph’s mind the night that the angel appeared to him? I wonder how he felt every time he gazed at Mary’s growing belly? After all, he was just Joseph. And she was just Mary. They were not royalty. They were not wealthy. They did not have power.
Yet God chose them. Nothing about His choice makes sense from an earthly perspective. How could the King of Kings be born in a manger?
Because every single word of God is true, down to the tiniest tidbit of prophecy… and Jesus would fulfill every single Messianic prophecy because He was the Messiah. Matthew recognized this, and he implored the Jews to see it. Throughout his book, he reminded the Jews of everything that they believed in, every word of Scripture that they professed to be true…and then he measured that Scripture by THE Truth: Jesus.
If Matthew’s book could have a title other than “Matthew,” I think it might look something like this:
OPEN YOUR EYES!!!
Over and over, Matthew says, “This is what the Old Testament says about the Messiah.” And over and over, Jesus fulfills the prophecy. Even with the crazy circumstances surrounding Jesus birth, at some point, the Jews (and everyone else for that matter) had to come to a place where they believed in their hearts what they professed with their mouths.
It would have been easy to say that they were waiting in anticipation for the Messiah. It would have been much harder for them to open their hearts in faith and see Him right in front of them, especially when He came wrapped up in a package they didn’t expect.
I think the same holds true for us. God doesn’t always show up in ways that we expect, yet if we just open our eyes…we realize that He is there with us…and has been all along.
Matthew’s method likewise holds true–measuring truth with Truth. How do we expect to see God in our lives if we aren’t reading His Word? Are we having one-way conversations?
Perhaps we need to stop merely speaking the words and start actually meaning them…
“Open the eyes of my heart Lord; Open the eyes of my heart…I want to see You…I want to see You…”