04 March – Additional Notes

MATTHEW 4 – Unravelling History

One of my favourite movies is Back to the Future with Michael J. Fox. Using a time machine over three movies, Marty and Doc take themselves on a complicated ride that messes up the space/time continuum.

If it were possible to go back in time, then Chapter Four of the Book of Matthew is like Jesus going back to the end of the Book of Deuteronomy. Unravelling all the years between, it’s as if He uses the same yarn to reweave the relationship between God and Man – as the story should have turned out, had we listened to Moses warnings at the end of his book and did what it was that he told us to do.

In a private enactment of 40 days in the desert (a day for every year[a]), Jesus is first tested over basic hunger. [v3-4] This represents the Children of Israel grumbled against God when He gave them manna (bread) in the desert.[b] Next, He was tested over the system, the structure and the words of what God had set up – to see if Jesus would twist their meaning and act differently to what was said. [v5-7] Unlike those before him, Jesus’ does what Moses said and pushes back even the temptation to test God to the limit.[c] Finally, on a high mountain, God showed Moses the whole nation[d], but satan shows Jesus the whole world. The hope is that Jesus would break the first commandment [v8-10] just as they did in the desert when they made the golden calf.[e]

Having passed the test in the desert, Jesus comes to the Jordan river and enters into what God has set before Him. Following on from John’s message [v17], the first thing Jesus talks about is the Good News of eternal life in God’s Kingdom. [v23] It’s here that I can’t help but notice Moses’ prophetic song before he died, in what Jesus is bringing to the world:

“Let [the first born] live and not die, nor his people be few…Hear, Lord, the cry of Judah; bring Him to His people. With His own hands He defends His cause…. Your Thummim and Urim belongs to Your faithful servant. You tested Him at Massah; You contended with Him at the waters of Meribah…”[f]

Proved now that He’s up for the job set before Him, Jesus takes the unravelled yarn of the tribes of Israel brother-by-brother and begins to reweave a story that will fulfil the law and make things right[g] – not just between a nation and their God, but between humankind and the One whose image they bear. So one of the first things Jesus does when He crosses the Jordan, is set about finding Himself twelve living memory stones[h] – story keepers, on which He’ll write all over, with God’s Good News story. [v18-22]

“He said of his father and mother, ‘I have no regard for them.’[i]  He did not recognize his brothers or acknowledge his own children[j], but He watched over Your word and guarded Your covenant. He teaches Your precepts to Jacob and Your law to Israel.[k]  He offers incense before You and whole burnt offerings on Your altar. Bless all His skills, Lord, and be pleased with the work of His hands. Strike down those who rise against Him, His foes till they rise no more….Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in Him, for He shields him all day long[l], and the one the Lord loves rests between His shoulders.”[m]

CLICK to return to today’s “Daily Breadcrumbs”

 

[a] Numbers 14:26-35 (Ref v34)

[b] Deuteronomy 8:1-3

[c] Numbers 14:20-23

[d] Deuteronomy 34:1-4

[e] Deuteronomy 9:7-21

[f] Deuteronomy 33:6-8

[g] Matthew 5:17

[h] Deuteronomy 27:2,3&8 and Joshua 4:1-9 (Ref v6) see also Matthew 16:18

[i] Luke 2:46-50

[j] Matthew 12:46-50

[k] Mark 10:17-31

[l] John 10:1-18

[m] Deuteronomy 33:9-12

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