"But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!Matthew 6:30(NASB)
The eternal Son of God came to earth as the perfect Son of Man to fulfil prophecy, set up His kingdom on earth, and sit on the throne of David. Matthew is the Gospel that places its foremost focus on the kingship of Christ. He opens with the genealogy of the Lord Jesus through David and Abraham, which confirms His royal qualification. And as we take a peep into His birth and early childhood, we are presented with many prophecies to authenticate His Messianic claims.
With the arrival of John the Baptist and his public preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, we are fast-forwarded to the start of Christ's own ministry, where His authority is demonstrated and His qualifications validated - through His ministry to the lost sheep of the house of Israel and His message that the kingdom of heaven was 'at hand'.
With the King's arrival and the authentic testimony of His Messianic claims, the Lord Jesus set about detailing the necessary requirements to enter His coming kingdom and the blessings that would be extended to His subjects. He did this through the teaching of His Sermon on the Mount - which has become familiar to so many, yet still remains elusive to those who do not believe.
The extensive presentation of His famous Sermon on the Mount was given to an extended group of disciples, when the Lord of the harvest saw the needy multitude. There are many views on the target audience of this treatise, and although some consider it is Christ's manifesto for His Millennial kingdom - it appears to include all true disciples who desire to be holy for His name's sake.
Although Christ's earthly ministry was primarily towards Israel, this teaching appears to have relevance for a larger group - those who are living between His first advent and His second (i.e. from the start of Christ's ministry to His return, at the end of the Great Tribulation) - because it predicts persecution and false prophets, encourages fruitful-bearing and godly works, details righteous living through prayer and other godly commitments, and speaks of service and a promise of rewards for faithfulness which covers this entire period. Persecution, false teachers, godly service, fruit-bearing, promised rewards, and effective prayer... accompanied by a life of faith and a total dependence on the Lord, are required of all Christ's disciples, throughout this extended period.
One element that is also necessary for disciples who die to self and live for Christ, is a trusting heart that is actively dependent on the Lord and refuses to be fretful. All disciples are called to be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer, praise, and thanksgiving, are to rely on the Lord for all our needs. And Jesus uses the grass of the field as a beautiful illustration of living by faith and not by sight or works, "For if God so clothes the grass of the field which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you?" he inquires. "Oh ye of little faith!"
A life of faith and dependent trust was Christ's call, both before and after the Cross. Today we live by faith and not by sight or works of the flesh, for although we do not see Him, we love Him because He first loved us. And faith in the Word of truth will be equally necessary in that coming, terrible time of Great Tribulation - the 70th week of Daniel.
God knows the heart of man and Jesus no doubt could recognise fear and fretfulness in its many forms, deep in the hearts of His disciples as He examined each one in this little band of faithful followers. He used lilies of the valley, birds of the air, and the grass of the field, to show the futility of worry and to calm each soul. Every little blade of grass or any simple wild flower or fauna, provides a beautiful example of God's abundant provision for his children and the constant care He shows to those that are His. If the Lord is sufficiently interested in clothing the grass and dressing wild flowers in their lovely colourful garments that are alive one day and shrivelled up the next... how much more must He care for His born-again children.
Oh ye of little faith, was Christ's examination of these disciples. Christ knew the importance of faith, in the lives of His children, and how quickly our hearts can become discouraged and anxiety can set in. But those who have been declared righteous by God are called to live by faith... for without faith it is impossible to please Him.
All of us can testify to the goodness and grace of God in our lives. Can we not simply trust Him in all things as we wait in faith for our blessed hope?
How I praise and thank You that You are my Heavenly Father Who has promised to provide all I need, and for the lovely illustration of the simple grass of the field which is clothed so beautifully because of Your gracious provision. Lord, I confess that worry within and fears without can so quickly cause my faith to falter. Help me trust in You with all my heart and not to rely on my own understanding or allow things to destroy my peace. I also pray that I may become a mature disciple of Christ who is ready and willing to die daily to my own desires and live each day for You. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.