Beginning today reading Matthew 1 – 4.
We have been reading the books of Moses, and now we turn to the first four Gospels of the New Testament. In doing this we will keep a better focus on Whom the whole of the Bible is about.
Matthew is one of four of the gospel presentations and written by Matthew who was at the time of Jesus’s calling a tax collector (9:9). He was doing his work, Jesus comes along and calls him to follow, and he leaves all and follows Jesus.
When we look at Matthew this gospel is related to the King of israel, and His Kingdom. In chapter one is the geneaology of the King; in chapters 5 – 7 we have what could be called His Kingdom Manifesto; chapter 13 are parables – stories which all relate to His Kingdom on earth; chapter eighteen deals with those who would enter His Kingdom having the heart of a child; and chapters 24 – 25 deal with when He sets up His Kingdom on the new earth.
For today let’s look at the following verses,
“And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And He saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed Him. And going on from thence, He saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed Him.” Matthew 4:18-22 (KJV)
Jesus has been to John the Baptist, been baptized by him; and the gospel of John at this point says that the Baptist saw Him coming and says, “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). John was no stranger to Jesus; after all they were cousins according in order of family births. In the beginning of chapter 4 following His baptism Jesus has been “Led of the Spirit into the wilderness” to be tested by the devil. Jesus passes the test with power and authority of the Spirit and the Word of God.
The Word of God was the means by which Jesus rebuked and rejected the lies of the devil. The Word of God is important to Matthew as he writes this gospel account of Jesus. In the first two chapters alone there are at least 17 Old Testament prophecies of the Christ or Messiah, and Matthew relates them to Jesus alone.
Following His temptation in the wilderness Jesus sets out to fulfill His task. His ultimate task as we look at the gospels will be set toward Jerusalem and the cross. While walking by the sea of Galilee on this particular day Jesus sees Peter and Andrew fishing with nets, and calls them to follow Him. They follow. Now this was their way of living, it was Peter’s and Andrew’s business; they caught fish and sold them at the fish market. It wasn’t a lucrative job, but it was an income. Leaving these nets required an act of faith in the One they were going to follow.
Jesus’ s promise was to make them fishers of men. To be a fisher of men is to call others to follow Jesus.
There were two others who were also called “Sons of thunder” (Mark 3:17) and their names were James and John. These four would become close to Jesus, particularly Peter, James and John.
Jesus is still calling people; men, women, boys and girls to follow Him. Have heard that call? Follow Him, and begin a wonderful journey of life, living and eternal life with Him.
We will be in the New Testament through the gospel of John, then return to the Old Testament.
-Tim A. Blankenship