By Russ Ramsey
I was a sophomore in high school when I became a Christian. I remember that season well. I received the gospel like it was a gift given especially to me. I was hungry to learn what it meant to live out this new faith, but I had no idea where to begin.
The counsel my youth group leaders gave—read the Bible and pray—has since become what I refer to as “the jeans and t-shirt” of the Christian life. Scripture and prayer are so basic, and yet they never go out of style. No matter what is happening in my life, spiritually or otherwise, I am happiest and healthiest when prayer and Scripture are part of my regular rhythm.
My youth pastor gave me a “Read the Bible in a Year” plan. That little card directed me to start by splitting my time between Genesis and Matthew. I imagine these are the first books of Scripture for many new believers—the beginnings of the Old and New Testaments.
Today’s reading—Matthew’s opening two chapters—are a bridge between the Old and New Testaments. They give the history of those who came before Jesus, and the story of His birth, which changes everything that follows. No one understood this better than Matthew himself.
Matthew was not just an historian. He was a person who knew firsthand the transforming power of the gospel. Matthew was one of Jesus’ twelve disciples, a tax-collector called away from his booth. Jesus called him to stop feeding off the wealth of his countrymen and to give away the riches of God’s kingdom instead.
Many people meet Jesus for the first time through Matthew’s Gospel. This was Matthew’s primary goal: to introduce his readers to Jesus. Matthew also introduces us to the world in which Jesus lived, died, and rose again. In this Gospel, we meet key people and groups involved in the story of salvation, from John the Baptist to Pontius Pilate, from the twelve disciples to the Pharisees. And not only that, we also become familiar with the Promised Land itself—Israel, with the Sea of Galilee in the north and Jerusalem on the mountain in the middle.
As you read, pay attention to these details: the characters, places, and plot points. Ask the Lord to give you eyes to see things you’ve never before noticed or known. Whether you are new to Scripture or reading this Gospel for the tenth time, my prayer is that we would all come to know Jesus better after spending time in these words.
Written by Russ Ramsey
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7 thoughts on "This Is Jesus"
I am thankful for this devotional and look forward to transformation from my time each day in the lessons.
Oh God, it has been a while that I start again the journey with you through listen to your words and pray with you daily Lord. Thank you for coming to this earth and laying down your life for us who will never deserve to be saved. Help me daily to follow your will and through me that many will see you and worship you oh God. I want my life to change from day to day. Help me oh my Holy Spirit, without you I can do anything that I want to do, to be the life that lives up to your name Lord. Not just what people see, but what people can’t see but only you can see Lord. Take me away from my habitual sin with lust and pull me closer to you. Help me Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit.
It’s amazing how much faith kept Jesus alive as a baby. So many attempts to take his life when he could not defend himself. It makes me realize how on purpose his life was and how little things just don’t matter. Jesus came to serve and he did so under threat every day while he saved us all. Reflecting I see so much opportunity in faith. Overcoming fear and recognizing life’s purpose is not about myself, but about those I serve.
I love that Jesus saves us and was born in such turmoil. It makes him a more relatable king. It’s amazing that Isaiah knew what was happening so long before, and that gave hope to the Jews of that time. It’s really amazing.
I do not know if I would be able to act as Joseph did upon finding out my wife is pregnant through some other source besides me.
I also think hard whether I would act on the dreams as they did. I have strong, vivid dreams offer…not of God or angels speaking to me…that I never act on truly. I may have some that I wake up with a sour attitude until I realize they were dreams. Would I believe myself if I saw angels in my dreams? Better yet, would I interpret them to be God speaking to me or providing His guidance.
I pray that His spirit would be so overwhelmingly poured into my soul at that point that I would have zero doubt of what was happening.
Been a very long time since I’ve sat down and read scripture. I’ve been inconsistent for years now and I admit that gap in the basic daily practice of prayer and study have done considerable damage. Going to do my best to get back on track
This is where it all started! So crazy that scripture was fulfilled this way. Even though you could have read what was foretold, it would be difficult to piece this story together before it happened. Just another example that God has a plan, and even if we know some highlights, it’s impossible to comprehend the detail. Just be a part of His journey for you, know He has control.
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