Flee from God’s wrath: Matthew 3.1–12 (22 June 2020)

Bible Society's Daily Reflections follow the M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, designed for those who want to read the whole Bible in one year. Each reflection focuses on one of its four daily chapters. Darllenwch rhain yn Gymraeg.

Pray

Pray

Lord, prepare me to receive your word. Clear my mind and warm my heart. Assure me of your loving purposes for me, and speak into my life today.

Reflect

Daily reflection: Matthew 3

The book of Isaiah has sometimes been called the 'fifth Gospel' because of its foreshadowings of the story of Jesus. It's here at the beginning of Jesus' ministry, describing John the Baptist in his proclamation of the coming Messiah: he is the one 'shouting in the desert, "Prepare a road for the Lord; make a straight path for him to travel!"' (verse 2).

John is a wild and strange figure, an outsider whose fiery message has a huge impact on the people. His message is one of judgement: 'The axe is ready to cut down the trees at the roots; every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown in the fire,' he says (verse 10).

The one who will fulfil his prophecy, of course, is Jesus. John's message is not a comfortable one, particularly in our own day when perhaps we focus more on the loving and caring Jesus. Acceptance and tolerance are the great values of our time, and talk of judgement is rare.

Every age tends to remake Jesus in its own image, which is why paying careful attention to Scripture is so important. When we do this, we find there's an edge to Jesus we sometimes miss. He fully expresses the character of God, who is love. But love isn't just a warm feeling of general goodwill; it's a hot rage against evil, too. We shouldn't be afraid of anger; we just need to be sure we're angry at the right things.

Pray

Pray

God, keep me from anger that's sinful; but give me the passion for righteousness that makes me angry at the things that offend you.

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