Friends, even as we keep our brothers and sisters in Christ in northeast Florida, southeast Georgia and coastal South Carolina in our continued prayers, we give thanks to God that what was a major hurricane stayed largely off-shore, sparing a number of major cities and installations.
But having to go through this experience, even from a distance, was eye-opening. It reminds us what living in Florida does mean. But it also reminds us that even the weather is part of a fallen world that bears the stain and trouble of sin. As I write this, at the same time the southeast was watching a hurricane, areas in the Ohio Valley will be facing tornado watches, and areas of the upper Midwest are already preparing for an October blizzard (!!).
It is interesting that the hurricane was named Matthew. That is because a tax collector named Matthew wrote a Gospel that came in like a hurricane almost 2,000 years ago. For those who wanted to reject Jesus as the chosen Messiah, Matthew wrote a powerful, inspired book that showed, time and again, how Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophecy.
By now, we probably know more about Matthew the hurricane than we might care to, though we are grateful that, at least so far, it is not associated with a ton of destruction. The Matthew in the Bible was not interested in destruction of a religion, but in the saving of people in the Christ who died to save them.
While Matthew was penned as an apologetic to Jews pondering becoming Christians, he wrote a message that was truly universal. Matthew was the Gospel that told us about the story (associated with Christmas) of the gentile Magi visiting the Christ-child. Matthew alone includes the ‘Beatitudes’ (“Blessed are the …”) at the beginning of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. And Matthew alone gave us the words of Jesus’ “Great Commission” at the end of His earthly ministry.
Because the hurricane stayed largely out at sea, the effects of Matthew, except for the preparations for it, will quickly become forgotten. But the effect of the Gospel of Matthew will truly last until our Lord returns. His may have been only one of the four Gospels but what was given to us by His pen will truly last as part of the (TRULY!) Good News.
PEACE to all of you!