March 20, 2023

Peachtree Church is reading through both the Gospel of Matthew and Paul’s Epistle to the Romans in 2023 with New: Rediscovering the Story and Significance of Jesus.  Devotionals are sent by email three days each week. Monday’s email includes additional background, history, and cultural information to help us better understand the texts. On Tuesday and Thursday you will receive a devotional based on one portion of the texts for this week.

Text for this week

Introduction to the  Texts

Matthew 11 begins by noting that Jesus prepared and instructed His disciples to minister in His name in preparation for His death and resurrection. John the Baptist, who was jailed, sent word inquiring whether Jesus was really the Messiah. From John’s vantage point in jail, Jesus did not appear to be prevailing as the conquering King, nor was His Kingdom reigning and ruling as John had hoped it would. John’s doubts grew. Jesus responded to John’s line of questioning with a report of miraculous happenings: he had been healing the blind, the lame, the lepers, and the deaf, and had raised the dead. Jesus reminded John that He indeed was who John thought He was.


Jesus then said that John the Baptist was the greatest man of his time, because john had introduced the Savior to the world. The Israelites heard and knew of the prophecies about this Savior, and they heard and saw the miracles that he performed, yet it was not enough to lead them to believe that Jesus was in fact the One.


The chapter continues with more rejection of Jesus. The Israelites were not ready to repent, and Jesus did not fulfill their expectations for a Messiah. Jesus offered them a different way to relate to God that did not include their religious leaders.


Instead, Jesus offers himself to all of us. We all have the option to believe, just like the Israelites did, and to receive the Savior and enter the Kingdom of heaven.


Some days, I think to myself, “Am I crazy to have bet my life and work on faith in God and His son, Jesus?” And then, on the days that I sit down and read scripture, I am reminded that I am not crazy. God has woven His scriptures all together. His word is true. Jesus is real. The Old Testament points to the New Testament, and the New Testament reflects the Old. It all miraculously goes together and holds together.


As we read about the life of John the Baptist, we are reminded that he was the son of Elizabeth, cousin of Jesus’ mother, Mary. On the day they “met in the womb,” John the Baptist leapt! We find that he was the one pointed to in Isaiah 40:3. He was the voice calling in the wilderness preparing the way of the Lord. He was the one who baptized Jesus and heard God’s voice.


Then John the Baptist, the one who had known Jesus since the beginning, began to question his thoughts on the validity of Jesus as the Messiah. Apparently, it is perfectly normal for all of us—both those who saw Jesus face to face and those who have not done so—to doubt and to have questions.

For Reflection

What doubts or hard questions do you have about Jesus?


What helps remind you that Jesus is real? Reading Scripture? Being in creation? Gathering with others in worship?


Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for revealing in your word that it is normal to doubt. Help me to converse with you when I have questions. Give me wisdom as I open your word and discover your truth that you are the King. I am honored to be living in and a part of your Kingdom. AMEN.

Rebecca Madden
Director of Connections & Women’s Ministry