March 02, 2010

Hear the Grace

Matthew 8:14-17

[As] spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.”
Matthew 8:17


Have you ever wondered why the last twelve books of the Old Testament are known as the “minor” prophets? It’s not because they aren’t important books. They’re just shorter than most of the other books in the Bible. These twelve books may be small, but they have a lot to teach us about who Jesus is and what his suffering on the cross means for you and me.

As we read from those books this month, it’s important that we sense the pain being described there. But it’s also important that we hear the message of God’s grace recorded there too. No matter how much anger, judgment, or lament we find in the books of the prophets, the grace of God is always most important.

It’s true that God punishes those who forsake him. But the prophets also assure us that God is compassionate, merciful, and slow to anger. God’s grace and forgiveness are freely offered to all who humbly seek him.

The minor prophets include some of the most beautiful testimonies of hope and God’s faithful love found in the Bible. The grace of God conveyed in these passages finds its ultimate revelation in Jesus Christ. He is the one who took all our suffering upon himself. There is nothing “minor” about a message like that. The announcement of God’s grace in Jesus is the most important news anyone will ever hear.

Thank you, Lord, for showing us such amazing grace. May the good news of salvation continue to change our hearts and help us to obey your Word. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Peter Hoytema

Peter Hoytema has been a pastor for nearly 30 years and has served congregations in Ontario and New Jersey. He is currently the pastor of a congregation in Strathroy, Ontario. He is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary and San Francisco Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Grace, are the parents of four adult children.

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