In Word and Deed

Claudia Elzinga

READ : Matthew 4-6

The structure of the Gospel of Matthew is that he intersperses sections describing the actions of Jesus with those reporting his teachings. Thus Jesus reveals to us what God is like. We must tell people about Jesus in word and deed, and thus model a lifestyle which shows the world how God wants them to live.

Having been baptized as a sign that he identifies himself with the people, even though being sinless he does not need a baptism of repentance, Jesus is led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted. Significantly, he answered each temptation by quoting from the Old Testament, prefacing each rebuttal with “It is written.” The Spirit leads him to face these temptations ahead of time. This is a good lesson for us: before we face specific temptations, we must make our decision to say “No.”

Now we turn to the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. In this sermon, he shows us how those who are saved by grace ought to live. He begins with the Beatitudes, the blessings that come to those who live their lives in the same spirit as he lived his life.

Jesus gives us a model prayer called the Lord’s Prayer. Note that we are first to pray for God’s glory and then make petitions that he meet our needs. Notice we are not instructed to pray for “I” and “me” but for “us” and “we.” We are a part of the church, and we are to pray for each other.

PRAYER

Father, may your name be honored and may our needs be met by your grace. In Jesus' name. Amen.