By Brooke Holt
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:17-19
Since I can remember, I have been quite competitive. As a child in PE class, I wanted to do the most sit-ups, to run the fastest, and to win every game. When it came to sports, I wanted to be great. We all seem to have this drive though it looks different in each of us. One of my nieces longs to be great in musical theatre, the other in dance, one on the soccer field, and yet another in school.
God has planted a desire to be great in all of us. It is a desire that certainly can lead to self-absorption and idolatry; yet, when practiced with the Holy Spirit, this desire can be godly and can motivate the children of God to become who he made us to be and to serve him in the ways he created us to serve. Jesus modeled this way to greatness in everything he did. Think about it. He was known as the greatest teacher and prophet. And Jesus was not only great at upholding the Law but also perfect in every way. Despite his unusual ability to adhere to every aspect of the Law, the religious leaders were frequently criticizing the ways in which they felt Jesus broke the Law – healing and plucking grain on the Sabbath as well as eating before he washed his hands.
The amazing thing is that Jesus not only kept the Law perfectly but also completely fulfilled it. The religious leaders of Jesus day missed that everything in the Law pointed to the Messiah. Jesus taught the significance of the Law and the importance of obedience to the commandments of God. Yet, even greater than the one who obeyed was the one who would put his or her trust in Jesus.
By trusting Jesus and his salvific work, you become the righteousness of Christ. By the world’s standards, this just doesn’t quite make sense; however, the Lord is greater than the world and has provided the way to salvation through the grace poured out through the cross of Christ.
To become great in the kingdom of God will not require you to obey the letter of the Law (though it is still an incredibly good thing to do). Instead, to become great in the kingdom of God, all you must do is put your faith in Jesus and receive his perfect obedience and fulfillment of the Law on your behalf. The way to greatness is the way of the cross.
Are you willing to humble yourself to receive the work of Jesus Christ on your behalf knowing that true greatness in this world and the world to come comes only through him? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Jesus’ great commission to his apostles after his resurrection was to go into all the world to preach, teach, and baptize in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. From the very beginning, baptism has been understood as the doorway into this new kind of family. Explore what Jesus expects of this new family that finds its origin and purpose in him. The baptized are called into a new life of faith. From passages in Matthew to the shining examples of faith in our passage from John, Waters of Baptism is a helpful resource for those seeking the sacrament of baptism or those who want a deeper understanding of their faith. This six week study will help us understand the importance of baptismal living.
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