Matthew 21: Matthew Is a Music Fan

Matthew is a music fan. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little. However, in Matthew 21 he directly cites the Old Testament at least six times. Three of those times were from the Psalms, an ancient book of music (and the largest book of the Jewish Scriptures). So Matthew likes music.

More specifically, Jesus likes the Psalms a lot. While I’m not about to go into the technical aspects at the moment (Here’s a great article for those interested in doing so), the point is that Matthew mentions Psalms a lot in part because Jesus does.

Yet the history of the church and music has been mixed. Congregations and generations are often divided about which music is “okay” and whether certain instruments make God happpier (As if God like accordians better than cello or drums). Interestingly, Jesus was more concerned about the lyrics of the music than the style. He also cared much more about the motives of his hearers rather than their iPod playlists (Yes, I realize there were no iPods in the First Century. Their loss.).

That said, Matthew 21 covers a lot of ground–coming to Jerusalem and the temple, cursing a fig tree, a few parables–and my wrist ached by the end of writing out its words. But I also grew in my appreciation for the use of the Old Testament in the New Testament. Jesus used it often and in ways that reflected his high view of it.

All of that to say that if by God’s grace I finish my project to handwrite the New Testament this year, I may have to rewind and take on the Old Testament too. My body may not agree, but my soul will simply feel a bit incomplete to reflect for so long on one Testament without the other.

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Dillon Burroughs has written, co-written, or edited over 60 books, including the upcoming devotional work Thirst No More (October 2011). He served as an associate editor for The Apologetics Study Bible for Students and is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary. Find out more at DillonBurroughs.org.

Matthew 20: The Value of Servanthood

“…whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant…” -Matthew 20:26

Jesus repeatedly reminds his followers in Matthew of the need to live as a servant. Why does Matthew focus on this? First, he likely had lived a very selfish lifestyle before following Jesus. He was a tax collector consumed with making money and willing to turn against his own people to work for the occupying government. But when he met Jesus, everything changed. His life became about helping others, not using them.

Second, Matthew probably mentions servanthood a lot because Jesus talked about it a lot. This teaching appealed to the lower class of people who made up the majority of the crowds who followed Jesus. Servanthood was also the corrective call to the religious elite who saw Jesus as a threat.

A third thought, however, is that as a person of Jewish background, Matthew rightly recognized Jesus as the suffering servant of Isaiah 53. Jesus came to serve, called others to serve, and started a revolution of servanthood we know as Christianity.

When you see or hear the word Christianity, servanthood isn’t always what first comes to mind, but it’s a key value of the faith. Let us strive to live as those who bring attention to Jesus through how we serve, and not only by what we say.

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Dillon Burroughs has written, co-written, or edited over 60 books, including the upcoming devotional work Thirst No More (October 2011). He served as an associate editor for The Apologetics Study Bible for Students and is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary. Find out more at DillonBurroughs.org.

Matthew 18: Who Is the Greatest?

“Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” -Matthew 18:4

Jesus measures greatness by humility.

We are only truly great when we truly live a life of service to others.

We are called to meet the needs of others; not only living to meet our own needs.

Jesus knew this, taught this, lived this, died for this, and rose for this.

As he has said, “Go and do likewise.”

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Dillon Burroughs has written, co-written, or edited over 60 books, including the upcoming devotional work Thirst No More (October 2011). He served as an associate editor for The Apologetics Study Bible for Students and is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary. Find out more at DillonBurroughs.org.


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