Tell it, Lord!
by Shawn McEvoy
He saw a man, called Matthew, sitting in the tax office; and He said to him, "Follow me!" Matthew 9:9
"I love verses with exclamation points!"
That particular verse, in case you were wondering, says, "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!"
I wonder why editors chose an exclamation point there, and not a question mark. I also wish I knew the inspiration or emotion that prompted me to make the notation. All I know is that it would have been made during the first or second week of my sophomore year of college, and at the time I was a Youth Ministry major. And that the sentiment has continued.
Coming across that notation again recently prompted me to look up more verses in which Jesus is credited with having expressed some extra "oomph." Of course, the original manuscripts were not inscribed with modern punctuation marks. Those have been left up to various translators through the years. In my New American Standard version of Matthew's Gospel, however, the emphasis has been added to several statements the Lord made, and some of those may be categorized as follows:
Rebuke of Temptation
Matthew 4:10-11: Then Jesus said to him, "Begone, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.'" Then the devil left Him...
Matthew 16:23: But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's."
Rebuke of Hypocrisy
Matthew 23:23-39: "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!... You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!... Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!... Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!... O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her!... Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! For I say to you, from now on you shall not see Me until you say, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!"
Matthew 11:18-19: "For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon!' The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax-gatherers and sinners!' Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds."
Matthew 12:12: "Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep! So then, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath."
Matthew 9:30: "And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them, saying, "See here, let no one know about this!"
Matthew 6:23: "But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!"
Regarding Spiritual Warfare
Matthew 8:32: And he said to them, "Begone!" And they came out, and went into the swine..."
Matthew 10:24-25: "A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. It is enough for the disciple that he become as his teacher, and the slave as his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more the members of the house!"
Stirring to Faith in Action
Matthew 12:13: Then He said to the man, "Stretch out your hand!" And he stretched it out, and it was restored to normal, like the other.
Matthew 14:16: But Jesus said to them, "They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!"
Matthew 14:29: And He said, "Come!" And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
Matthew 9:9: He saw a man, called Matthew, sitting in the tax office; and He said to him, "Follow me!"
Remembering the Father's Provision
"If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!"
Making a Radical Point
Matthew 12:49-50: "And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, "Behold, My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother."
Matthew 26:24, 46: "The Son of Man is to go, just as it is written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed!... Arise, let us be going; behold, the one who betrays me is at hand!"
Matthew 18:7: "Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!"
Regarding the End Times
Matthew 24:19: "But woe to those who are with child and to those who nurse babes in those days!"
The Father's Confirmation of His Son
Matthew 17:5: Behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and behold, a voice out of the cloud, saying, "This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!"
Listen to Him indeed. What is He saying? How emphatically is he saying it?
Don't mess around when temptation comes.
Don't disgredard the spiritual realm and the forces that oppose you.
Be stirred to action.
Recognize once and for all that God has provided for you like the loving Father He is, so that you are free to do His will without worry.
Following Christ is a radical road, but those that betray the Way and put stumbling blocks in the road will be left to God's judgment.
Dangerous days are coming.
But in the end, your belief is in the Son of Almighty God!
Intersecting Faith & Life: Pick another one of the Gospels and study the points of emphasis you find the Lord saying there.