Summary: God’s actions confirm His nature. God breaks in our world to give confirmation of His greatness. He does this in this passage and many times in the Old Testament – to confirm Himself as Lord.
’The proof of the pudding is in the eating’ is a very old proverb. The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations dates it back to the early 14th century (albeit without offering any supporting evidence for that assertion.) The phrase is widely attributed to Cervantes in The History of Don Quixote. It means “To fully test something you need to experience it yourself.”
I think Moses in Exodus 33:18 is a good example of a person who wants a proof of the pudding when he prayed to God: “Now show me your glory.” This was after Jehovah promised Moses that His presence will go with him. Thankfully, God backs up His word. As he has shown to Moses so is He going to show the truth of His promises to us His people. For us today, this is a very timely reminded. The message of the sermon today shows God in the business of giving proof of his integrity and power. While many in your life – wrong decisions, bad relationships, stressful workplace, sinful practice – tend to drag you away from believing, God’s Word today reminds us of his ability to prove his trustworthiness and that from these challenges we can still entrust our lives to Him who will prove Himself great in our lives.
Let us pray...
Israel awaited for their Messiah. Their history at this time informs them of a nation, their nation, led by Jewish kings, leaders. Now we are informed in Matthew 2:1 that Israel was under the rule of a Gentile King, King Herod. This brought a lot of discomfort. Messianic expectation was high. There will come a time when
The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned. (Isaiah 9:1)
Imagine this for a moment. There is a foreign guard on the streets ordering your around as you go to work in the morning. He pushes you around. Yell at you. You’d feel oppressed. You’d feel violated. You are a prisoner in your own land. Back in those days they had rebels fighting the foreign government but they were not very successful. But they expect the Messiah to arrive. When the Messiah comes, the reign of the foreigners end.
Enter Jesus. He was the anointed Christ. As a sidenote, however, although he was the Messiah, what the Jewish people thought the Messiah would do would not be what Jesus would do. He will not free Israel from the oppressing nation yet, NOT YET, because He will inaugurate His kingdom which was a spiritual kingdom, a kingdom that will draw people from every tribe and nation. What they thought the Messiah would do now, would be done by Jesus in his second coming.
In this Gospel, Matthew is intent in showing that Jesus is the promised Messiah of old. He will prove to them that He is king of Israel who came to provide salvation for His people. Accompanying the sign of the messiah is His ministry of healing. That is why Matthew took pains in showing the healing ministry of Jesus in this chapter. Matthew said, “This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: ‘He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.’”
Notice that these actions were to back up what was promised by God. The healing confirms His identity as the promised Messiah. God provided the proofs for his glorious promises.
God’s actions confirm His nature. God breaks in our world to give confirmation of His greatness. He does this in this passage and He does this many times in the Old Testament – to confirm Himself as Lord.
STORY IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
He did it with the miracles in Egypt. His purpose was to show He is the great God among the many gods of that nation. It seems like God does this not only to show his greatness but also that His people will trust Him. He is so extravagant in showing that so that His people wouldn’t not doubt that He is the God who will bring them out of Egypt and He is the God who will sustain them. So they did trust Him because of his glory and stepped out of Egypt.
Not so like us these days. Although we have received this glorious saving act of God and that we have been saved from the fires of damnation, yet the last thing we do is trust Him. At the first instance of challenges and stress, instead of submitting in quiet prayer and trust, we grumble, blame, explode, give up. We live like God does not care, like God is some distant tyrant waiting for us to make another mistake so He can punish us – instead of the God we see in our passage, in the miracles in Egypt: involved, caring, promise-keeping. What happens is that our response breaks us even more. What was supposed to be an adult who takes challenges in life and face it, is now a cowardly adult who does not have hope, who is angry, who is ready to call it quits.