Prayer: Oh LORD, I long for a Jacob's ladder experience. I long for an encounter with YOU! But most of all, I long for an abiding relationship with YOU! I need to make time for YOU!
Matt 4:18-22 The calling of the first disciples
I am still amazed by the quickness of Peter's, Andrew's, James' and John's responses to Jesus when He called them. Surely they would have heard of Him and His ministry. They must have recognized something really significant about Him and being associated with Him. It must have been like Elijah and Elisha. They had a company of prophets. To be called by a prophet of God to become an "intern" or an understudy must have been a really great thing for them, for immediately, they just dropped everything.
Matt 3:13-17 The Baptism of Jesus
In the Old Testamant (OT) the sign of the covenant in the flesh was
1. circumcision - 8 days after birth or any day for adults who convert to Judaism.
2. tithing would be another sign
3. observance of the Law (sacrifices, assemblies, etc)
3 feasts in a year - Passover / Feast of Unleavened Bread
Feast of Harvest
Feast of Ingathering
Notice that these ordinances were introduced to the Hebrews one at a time, gradually.
Yet, more new things were coming.
In the New Testament (NT), yet again two very new things:
1. baptism which is immersion in water - symbol of repentance and a new spiritual birth
2. the breaking of bread - eating the flesh and blood of Jesus
Again, these two things were totally new, and the drinking of blood (of animals) contrasted the OT. The drinking of blood or eating meat with blood in it, these two are "anathema." They are totally prohibited in the OT. And yet, in the NT, the believers are made to drink the blood of Jesus, not to mention, eat His flesh as well. This was shocking and offensive to the Jews.
In the OT the eating / drinking of blood was a practice of the pagan nations around Israel. It was witchcraft. And God totally prohibits them from doing that, "for life is in the blood." (Which means that when you ingest the blood of the meat you're eating you're partaking of the life of that animal so you can have "more" life.) Blood was always poured back to the ground whenever there was a butchering / killing of animals in the OT. (That's why the "blood of Abel cries out to me from the ground.")
And then came Jesus in the NT, the real manna from Heaven, and believers are to be eating and drinking Him. What does that mean? We are not supposed to be drinking or eating any blood, except the blood of Jesus! We are not supposed to be partaking of any life apart from the life of Jesus!
Matt 5: 17,18
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, nor the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished."
The whole passage of verses 17-20 ties up with Exodus 20:1-4. The whole OT preaches on these 4 verses. The gist of the OT is in these four verses of Exodus, which are actually the first two commandments of God. That means, the above four verses from the book of Matthew ties up with the whole OT. The rest of the NT (except for the book of Revelations) only expounds on what Jesus already taught; the disciples lived out what Jesus taught and expounded on His life and teachings. That's how the epistles and the book of Acts came into being. The book of Revelations on the other hand, focuses on the end-time prophecies also talked about to a certain extent by the OT prophets like Daniel, Ezekiel, Joel, Zechariah, Enoch, etc.)
1And God spake all these words, saying,
2I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
4Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.