Mathew 2 Lesson

Perseverance And Obedience

PERSEVERING THROUGH ADVERSITY

Life is going to be hard sometimes.

There is nothing in the Bible that says the life of a Christian is going to be easy. All we need to do is look at the life that Jesus and the apostles lived, and we will understand that.

But how do we manage adversity when it comes?

Are we able to persevereand remain obedientto God’s commands, or do our circumstances sometimes get the best of us and we end up in sin?

Life’s hardships, while difficult to go through, can teach us a lot about ourselves, our faith, and the type of Christians that God wants us to become.

Yes, the way we handle adversity, from a Spiritual standpoint, is important to our faith and therefore to our salvation. Consider the following scripture written by the Apostle Paul to the Romans:

  • “And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” – Romans 5:3-4.

And through it all, the ups and the downs, we need to understand that Satan is the ruler of the earth for the unbeliever. In Virtual Bible Study’s lesson from Romans Chapter 7, we made the following two points:

  1. Satan is permitted to have power on earth for a period, and then his reign will end. The Bible does not provide us with an explanation of why God allows this to happen, therefore, we must accept this reality as God’s will and plan accordingly.
  2. The Book of Revelation tells us that after his reign, Satan will be defeated and condemned for all eternity in the following scripture: “And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” - Revelation 20:10.

It is incredibly important for us to understand these two points because they help to explain why bad things happen to good people. Satan is wreaking havoc on earth and causing so much heartache and destruction along the way. God is watching how we react to these hardships, and He is wanting us to persevere and remain obedient through them all.

THE PERSEVERANCE OF JESUS, MARY, AND JOSEPH

In Mathew Chapter 2, we read about the birth and early childhood of Jesus. The events that are recorded show us just like us, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph were asked to persevere and remain obedient in challenging circumstances.

Shortly before the birth of Jesus, Joseph and Mary had to leave their home in Nazareth to register for the Roman census. The unpaved, hilly trails would have been a challenge for anyone, but for somebody in Mary’s condition, the 90-mile trip had to be especially difficult.

When Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem, Mary was going into labor and there was no room for them at the inn. Luke’s Gospel records the events as follows:

  • “While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth.  And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” – Luke 2:6-7.

If we put ourselves in the place of Joseph, and Mary, we can only imagine how difficult this journey must have been. And it was about to get even harder! Nobody is exempt from sufferingwhile on earth.

  • Not Jesus,
  • Not the apostles,
  • Not Joseph and Mary,
  • And not us!

Mathew writes that an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said:

  • “Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him.” – Mathew 2:13.

Joseph obeyed the angel and did exactly what he was asked to do. So the three of them departed for Egypt immediately to escape the wrath of King Herod. Herod had previously asked a group of magi that were traveling to see Jesus to let him know where Jesus was. He lied to the magi and said that he wanted to worship Jesus, but he was planning to kill Him.

The magi did not comply with Herod's plan.

Mathew records the events that happened next in the second chapter of his gospel:

  • “Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi. Then what had been spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: ‘A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children; And she refused to be comforted, because they were no more.” – Mathew 2:16-18.

CONCLUSION

There was nothing easy about Jesus’ time on earth. Adversity on earth for Jesus began with his birth and culminated at the cross. What we can learn from them is the way they persevered through adversity and remained obedient to God. No matter how difficult things got, they obeyed God and did what He asked them to do. No matter how difficult things get, we need to persevere and remain obedient to the commandments that God teaches us in the Bible.

We will end today’s lesson by revisiting the following quote from the book of Romans. It teaches us about how God uses adversity to strengthen, teach, and sculpt us into the Christians that He created us to be:

  • “And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” – Romans 5:3-5.

Comments

Dan

Great comments here! I think about the "Rachel weeping for her children" narrative which gives us the big picture. In God's unfolding plan there will be some who rebel against Him. Their rebellion causes God's people pain. However, God sees the pain of the righteous and He will bring good out of the evil that people commit.

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John B
Dan

Amen Dan!

No tears in heaven!

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