(34 verses, 3:20 to read)
What I am about to READ
Our Lord continues his teaching on the Kingdom of God
MARK and LEARN
Our Lord’s teaching on giving to the needy, prayer, and fasting are all linked by the common thread of practicing such things in order to appear righteous. Righteousness is not secured by right action, but by the faith which trusts in God’s graciousness toward them. This plays out in what Jesus says about prayer “Do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they believe that they will be heard for their many words” rather, he says “pray then like this Our Father…” God knows what we need before we ask. That faith which believes and trusts in God’s graciousness toward them does not need to “heap of phrases” but simply trusts in God love of them. From the privilege of calling God “Father” through the merits of Jesus, comes the joy of living within his precepts.
Feeding the poor or fasting are good works done in faith, but as long as they are thought to be meritorious, they lose their character of being good. But when the love and mercy of God are known and trusted, then that person will do good works from a thankful heart.
Our Lord speaks to our anxiety over earthly things in vss.19-34. Here he moves from the works that are the evidence of faith, to that with which every Christian can sympathize in times of spiritual weakness: worry and doubt. Again he shows the mercy and love of God. Creation is cared for, so how can we, God’s children expect any less? Chapter 6 in its entirety is about God’s faithfulness to his promises to us in Jesus.
Lord God we often worry about so many things. Life catches up with us and are left doubting whether we have everything together. Lives and relationships are messy. Work is sometimes a burden. But in Jesus you have given us peace. Give to us that peace which surpasses all understanding as we call on you and pray “Our Father…” Amen.