February 2014

Post date: Jan 28, 2014 7:33:7 PM

Throughout the month of February we are in the season of Epiphany: the season of light in the church year: the light of Jesus Christ. The Epiphany season is a little longer this year because Lent and Easter are later. Ash Wednesday is not until March 5th and Easter, the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus is celebrated on April 20th. Looking ahead I noticed that all the Sunday gospel readings in February are from Matthew 5 and Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.

On Sunday, February 2nd, the gospel reading begins Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount with the beatitudes in Matthew 5:1-12. Jesus says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” Jesus says that a lot of folks are blessed, who are not considered blessed by worldly standards. And they are blessed because they trust in God in difficult circumstances and are already a part of the kingdom of God (Matthew says “heaven”), the reign of God, the gracious ruling activity of God, which Jesus has begun on earth.

Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount certainly shows Jesus to be the teacher, full of the Holy Spirit. Jesus has already called Peter, Andrew, James and John to be his disciples in Matthew 4. Now he teaches them, the crowds and us about the higher righteousness of God’s kingdom ways.

Currently, in the adult Sunday Class, we are using John Hiigel’s book “Partnering with the King” to help us read and discuss major portions of the Gospel of Matthew. Hiigel says, “The Gospel of Matthew is more than a grand announcement of good news about Jesus the Messiah; it is a call to respond. At the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, as he announces God’s kingdom, he calls some individuals to be his disciples. At the end, he commands them to go about and make more disciples all over the world. By narrating Jesus’ story, the Gospel tells us what we need to know in order to follow him and to be involved with him in his merciful work. We get to see him in action, hear his voice, and watch what his on-the-scene disciples are learning and doing. As we do, we discover what Jesus intends for us.”

Although Jesus is definitely the Teacher in Matthew and it’s important for us to take his words to heart, it’s also clear that we are invited to do much more than listen. Matthew’s gospel would definitely favor, “Be doers of the word, and not only hearers.” As Christians, we are invited, even expected to act. Jesus promises to be with us and gives us the great command. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20.”

Even the name Matthew, in Greek Matheteis, means “disciple, pupil, follower”. We are all invited to be Matheteis, to be disciples of Jesus and to help make more disciples for Jesus.

Serving God and neighbor together with you,

Pastor Dennis