“All the kingdoms of the world!” Satan claims to have them. He offers them to Jesus. History is full of people who would kill for that! Empires will do anything for that kind of power!
But how can Satan claim to have the kingdoms of the world anyway? The Jewish hymns declare that YHWH rules the whole earth and advise the nations to acknowledge him (e.g. Psalms 2, 8, 45, 72, 79, 97, 99, 110, 149). Does Satan really have all the kingdoms in his grasp? Well, … sort of. Continue reading “All the kingdoms of the world (Matthew 4:8-11)”
Psalm 91:1–2 (NIV) 1Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” 3Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.
We love the psalms of trust. They calm our concerns. Fear subsides; faith soars. Beyond our immediate struggle, they help us see the unchanging love of our sovereign. We hold onto the one who holds us securely.
Imagine standing on the banks of the Jordan as Jesus surfaced, hearing a voice proclaiming, “This is my Son, the one I love, who pleases me.” What would that mean to you?
You would not have thought, “Just look at that! The Father called him the Son, and the Spirit descended on him. There must be a trinity!” That understanding didn’t come until much later. So how would a first century Jew have understood the heavenly announcement? Continue reading “Heaven’s proclamation of Jesus (Matthew 3:17)”
Politics and religion were so intertwined in the ancient world that if you wanted to become king (other than by birth), you needed a prophet to announce that you were God’s chosen leader. Samuel was the king-maker for Saul and David (1 Samuel 10:1; 16:13). Nathan anointed Solomon (1 Kings 1:34). There’s an awkward moment when Jeroboam takes most of the realm from Solomon, but it could not have happened unless YHWH decreed it, so Jeroboam had his prophet (1 Kings 11:29-40). Nehemiah’s enemies accused him of sedition, claiming he had lined up prophets to proclaim him king (Nehemiah 6:7). So if Jesus is to be the king of the Jews, he needs a prophet to announce him.Continue reading “A king announced by a prophet (Matthew 3:7-12)”
Christian baptism has its origins in John’s baptism, but why did John baptize?
Why did Jewish people come out to John to be “baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins” (3:6)? There’s nothing about baptism in the Old Testament. Sure, John would have been a curiosity: there were few prophets in living memory. But why did people take the plunge with John? Continue reading “Where did baptism come from? (Matthew 3:6)”