3.24.21 – Daily Dose of Worship. A study on Matthew. Part 54. Recognition.

Yesterday we were talking about the “why” when we do things for the Kingdom. Today, in verse 18, Jesus continues that thought.

Matthew 6:18 says this: “so that your fasting will not be noticed by people but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”

This statement is very similar to comments Jesus made about charity (Matthew 6:4) and prayer (Matthew 6:6). Jesus promised that God the Father sees what His people do in secret. This was not a threat or a warning. His point was that God notices when His faithful people meet the needs of others, or pray or, as stated now, participate in fasting. God is watching and sees when His people honor Him in their hearts even if nobody else ever knows it. Since He is the only One we should seek to please, He is the only One who needs to know.

Jesus goes even further: Not only does God see; He rewards such behavior. Jesus emphasizes over and over in His teaching that God truly cares more about the hearts and motivations of His people than their outward actions. This is a major theme of the Sermon on the Mount, and especially the teachings given in chapter 5.

It’s hard to estimate how this teaching must have affected the original audience. These people had lived their entire lives under a performance-driven religious system where all that mattered was outward actions. Image, reputation, honor and shame were all that mattered. That’s not how the law given by God was supposed to work (Matthew 5:17), but that was how it had come to be practiced. Jesus is correcting the teaching and practice of Israel’s religious leaders (Matthew 5:20).

So, this last paragraph really drives home the state of the world that Jesus was speaking to. These people were so used to this. So used to the show, to the recognition, to the “good vibes” that were expected and probably received when they “showed off” their faith. That’s not how it’s supposed to be. That’s why Jesus is making such a long point of this.

He’s resetting the motives. Resetting the reason that people are involved in a relationship with Him to begin with. It’s all about Him. All about being known and loved by Him. It’s not about what the world wants in our relationship with God. It’s about Jesus.

Don’t seek the world. Seek Jesus.

5 Comments

  1. Peggy F on March 24, 2021 at 7:47 am

    Jesus came to fulfill the law, not abolish it. Remembering a devotion last week reminds me of the fact HE KNOWS ! There is nothing about us , He doesn’t know, our motivations, our desires , our needs, HE KNOWS ! But still………..HE LOVES US SO ! Like Dave’s song , the love of Jesus , how deep, how wide, how strong…….His Love, is our reward.!!!!…..for all we do, think , so yes, Dave it is all about Him, let only His love, motivate everything we do…………………… Jesus……be my everything!

  2. Patti S on March 24, 2021 at 4:57 pm

    This is what I’ve been thinking about today, after reading this devotion,

    The times is scripture, OT, I have read about Jewish leaders tearing their clothes as a reaction to things like, blasphemy.
    But God doesn’t want this outward sign. He wants us to come to Him, with the inward signs of reliance on Him.

    A broken heart, something only He can see and mend, not ripped gestures.

    Because of Him

    • Peggy F on March 24, 2021 at 6:16 pm

      Patti, This is a really great visual here, the drama of the ” tearing of the clothes”. and piling on sackcloth and ashes, compared to coming to Jesus with a broken and contrite heart, knowing He will never turn us away.

  3. Suzanne R on March 24, 2021 at 7:12 pm

    Amen !!

  4. Sherri H on March 26, 2021 at 1:13 am

    amen

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