Summary: Matthew 8 demonstrates Jesus’ authority in miracles and ministry. Jesus’ words and works show us the depth and extent of His authority. Our call is to walk under that suthority as we hear and heed his instruction.
Matthew 7 ends with the amazement of the crowds who heard Jesus teachings. They observed that Jesus spoke with authority and not as their teachers of the law or scribes.
We noticed several passages last week about the fear of the Lord and its importance to our lives as Christians. Without the fear of God, we walk about in darkness and deception. One of the passages we noted was Isaiah 11:1 Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, And a branch from his roots will bear fruit. 2 And the Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. 3 And He will delight in the fear of the LORD, And He will not judge by what His eyes see, Nor make a decision by what His ears hear; 4 But with righteousness He will judge the poor, And decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked. 5 Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins, And faithfulness the belt about His waist.
This is a prophecy about Jesus. In it we see that Jesus Christ delighted in the fear of the Lord. Isn’t that amusing? That’s what you and I are supposed to do too!
I argued last week that the fear of the Lord is something our present culture is in desperate need of. We have wandered off course into another path that is destroying our children, our families, our communities, our nation and our world. Many are not walking in the fear of the Lord. But we must determine to repent and return to it, no matter how hard this may be. We must! If we would be Christians today, we must! Jesus said, “Enter the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad the path that leads to destruction and many go that way. But small is the gate and narrow the path that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
Jesus said, “Not everyone that says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” God’s will is that we walk in the fear of the Lord!
I know that I read this a few weeks ago, but this statement reveals more clearly than any other words what is obviously true about how we have strayed from the fear of the Lord as an entire nation.
Proclamation and address of President Lincoln for a national day of prayer:
Whereas, the Senate of the United States, devoutly recognizing the Supreme Authority and just Government of Almighty God, in all the affairs of men and of nations, has, by a resolution, requested the President to designate and set apart a day for National prayer and humiliation.
And whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.
And, insomuch as we know that, by His divine law, nations like individuals are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war, which now desolates the land, may be but a punishment, inflicted upon us, for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole People? We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!
It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.
Those words reveal a national fear of God, do they not? This national fear of God was awakened by a national crisis. Nine years ago this September 11, we had a national crisis that stirred up a surface level response and return to the fear of the Lord. But it was very short lived.