Matthew 1

Morning Reading: Matthew 1

“Do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that
which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.”

Matthew 1:20

Until this declaration by the angel, Joseph was ashamed, afraid, and apologetic. He was ashamed because of the apparent embarrassment into which he had been plunged; he was afraid to go through with the solemn vows previously made; he was apologetic in trying to explain away the great mistake; and he resolved to divorce her quietly. “But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared” (v. 20). This made all the difference.

When God manifestly reveals that a certain thing or procedure is of the Holy Spirit, there are only three things to be done:

Stand fast. “Take to you Mary your wife.” In other words, stand by all your original vows and decisions. Shun fear. “Do not be afraid.” Whatever man may or may not say must not distract or distress. Show faith. “That… is of the Holy Spirit.” Demonstrate without apology that Christ is in and with you.

Lord, You have spoken; give me grace to obey. Amen.

Matthew 2

Evening Reading: Matthew 2

“When they… saw the young Child… [they] fell down
and worshiped Him.”—Matthew 2:11

Paul says, “Great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh” (1 Tim. 3:16). “The young Child”—God manifest in the flesh!

Is it any wonder the wise men worshipped? They “fell down and worshipped Him.” Notice how often men fell at the feet of Jesus:

There are even more occasions, but at each they fell in worship, wonder, and awe.

Lord, give me these visions by faith,
that I may similarly worship.

Matthew 3

Morning Reading: Matthew 3

“It is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.”
—Matthew 3:15

The word “righteousness” here means “rightness” or “justice.” The standard of the Lord Jesus Christ (right through His life) was to fulfill right. At twelve years of age, He is heard to say, “Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?” (Luke 2:49). When He uttered the words here in Matthew, the Lord Jesus was just about to step out on His three and half years of public ministry and His standard was still the fulfilling of righteousness (the will of God).

A little later on, He says, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work” (John 4:34). Then, towards the end, “I have finished the work which You have given Me to do” (John 17:4). Then finally, “It is finished” (John 19:30). He fulfilled “all righteousness.” But notice also, He says, “It is fitting for us.” Surely, this is what the apostle directs when he writes, “Walk worthy [becomingly] of the calling with which you were called” (Eph. 4:1).

Lord, help me to walk worthily,
that I might fulfill all righteousness.

Matthew 4

Evening Reading: Matthew 4

“It is written…”—Matthew 4:4, 7, 10

How wonderfully the Lord Jesus wielded the sword of the Spirit on this occasion!

There is obviously great significance in the fact that Christ met this temptation (and the tempter) with the Word of God. The apostle John, in his first epistle, writes to the young men because they were strong, the Word of God abode in them, and they had overcome the wicked one. Revelation 12:11 says, “They overcame him [the Devil] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.” Here, in Matthew, are three instances at least where the Word of God is definitely regarded as the only successful weapon against the Devil (notice also Ephesians 6). The blood of the Lamb, of course, is the only basis upon which the Word can be rightly used.

Lord, may the Word abide in me.

Matthew 5

Morning Reading: Matthew 5

“Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they shall see God.”—Matthew 5:8

The word “pure” can mean “clean,” “pure” or “clear.” Happy are the clean in heart for they shall see God. “How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word” (Ps. 119:9). The Lord Jesus said on one occasion to His disciples, “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you” (John 15:3). In that wonderful prayer of His, He says, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17).

God demands holiness—“Be holy, for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16).

O Lord, allow the cleansing Blood, the cleansing Word,
and the cleansing Hope by the operation of the Holy
Spirit to make me pure “just as He is pure” (1 John 3:3).

Matthew 6

Evening Reading: Matthew 6

“For where your treasure is, there your
heart will be also.”—Matthew 6:21

How necessary then to “lay up… treasures in heaven” (v. 20). The apostle Paul expresses the same truth when he says, “Storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life” (1 Tim. 6:19).

It would seem from the last quoted Scripture and its context, that laying up treasure really means:

But, as to heaven, laying up treasure means:

This is the real treasure—the center of heart affections.

May I set my affections on things above, Lord,
and not on things of the earth. Amen.

Matthew 7

Morning Reading: Matthew 7

“Whatever you want men to do to you,
do also to them.”—Matthew 7:12

Herein is the true Christian principle of living. It was certainly the standard the Lord Jesus set when here upon earth, for He lived a life of self-abnegation. “Even Christ did not please Himself” (Rom. 15:3). Christ spent, and was spent, entirely on others. With that standard in view, the apostle writes, “Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification” (Rom. 15:2), “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another” (Rom. 12:10), “Be of the same mind toward one another” (Rom. 12:16), “For none of us lives to himself” (Rom. 14:7). In fact, the trend of all the teaching of the Epistles has this principle intertwined in it.

Work this principle into my life by
Your Holy Spirit, O Lord. Amen.

Matthew 8

Evening Reading: Matthew 8

“Only speak a word.”—Matthew 8:8

“The word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword” (Heb. 4:12).

He brought the worlds into existence by speaking a Word. He upholds all things by the Word of His power. He spoke and the dead were raised. At His Word, men and women were healed.

Even though it was faith that revealed it to him, it is a wonder that this man could utter such a statement: “Only speak a word.” Peter likewise, on one occasion, had to set aside experience and knowledge and by faith say, “Nevertheless at Your word” (Luke 5:5). People marveled at the gracious words that proceeded out of the Lord's mouth. He spoke as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

I praise You, O Lord, for Your wonderful and
powerful Word. May I trust Your Word
and act upon it more fully.

Matthew 9

Morning Reading: Matthew 9

“It was never seen like this.”—Matthew 9:33

What a difference the presence and power of the Lord Jesus makes! This chapter, in itself, contains a remarkable record of Christ's miraculous power:

This amazing demonstration of power called forth, from the marveling multitudes, the very true statement and testimony: “It was never seen like this.” And yet, there is no limit to the power of the Lord Jesus. It is beyond man's finite comprehension. What He did in each of these five cases recorded here, He can do in the life of any man. In fact, to use the words of another, “It is yet to be seen what God can do with the man… wholly surrendered to Him.”

What joy the promise of my Savior:
“You will see greater things than these” (John 1:50).

Matthew 10

Evening Reading: Matthew 10

“Do not worry about how or what you should speak.
For it will be given to you in that hour what you should
speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your
Father who speaks in you.”—Matthew 10:19-20

Personally, I feel that in these two verses is a principle that should always operate in public speaking. By that, I mean that the inference here is not exclusively for the servant of the Lord who is delivered up. Notice also, “Behold, I have put My words in your mouth” (Jer. 1:9); “The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me, And His word was on my tongue” (2 Sam. 23:2); “I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say” (Ex. 4:12). These are just a few of the many instances where the above principle obviously operates.

Speak in living echoes of Your tone.