“Emmanuel’s Heritage” – Matthew 1:1-17

August 17th, 2014

Matthew 1:1-17

“Emmanuel’s Heritage”

 

Meditation/Preparation: Jesus is the Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham.

 

Bible Memory Verse for the Week: A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham:  — Matthew 1:1

                                                                                                               

Background Information:

  • It is the first of the Gospels, the longest, the most Jewish, the most evangelistic, and, in many ways, the most compelling.  Nowhere does the Gospel name its author, but it has been ascribed to Matthew from the earliest days of church history, and for the first three or four centuries, it was the most highly regarded and most often quoted Gospel of the four.  To some people, now as well as then, Matthew is the most important book ever written.  (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 1, 9)
  • The Hebrew Scriptures–or Christian OT–permeate Matthew’s Gospel.  Approximately 55 references prove close enough in wording for commentators typically to label them “quotations,” compared to about 65 for the other three canonical Gospels put together.  About twenty of these texts are unique to Matthew.  Twelve times Matthew speaks explicitly of a passage or theme of Scripture being “fulfilled.”  In addition to explicit quotations, numerous allusions and echoes of Scripture may be discerned in every part of this Gospel, roughly twice as often as in Mark, Luke, or John.  Virtually every major theological emphasis of Matthew is reinforced with OT support, often by the addition of segments of texts to the sources Matthew employed, most notably Mark.  (G. K. Beale and D.  A. Carson, Commentary on the NT Use of the OT, 1)
  • Matthew’s emphasis on the OT predictions in preparation for the gospel makes it an ideal bridge from the OT to the NT.  (Edward Hindson and James Borland, Matthew: The King is Coming, 5)
  • Matthew presents Jesus as the sovereign, whereas Mark presents Him in the extreme opposite role as servant.  Luke presents Him as the Son of Man, whereas John presents Him as the Son of God.  The same Jesus is shown to be both sovereign God and servant Man.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 1-7, xi)

 

Author of Matthew

  • The author shows unusual familiarity with money and coins, which one would expect from a former tax collector.  In the dispute over paying taxes, Mark and Luke use the common term dēnarion.  Matthew alone uses the more precise term nomisma (state coin).  Matthew also uses three terms for money that occur nowhere else in the NT: “tribute” (didrachmon), “money” (statēr) and “talent” (talanton).  He also uses “gold” (chusos), “silver” (arguros) and “brass” (chalkos), which are used elsewhere in the NT, but do not appear in any other gospels.  In addition, Matthew refers to the “penny” (dēnarion), “silver-piece” (argurion) and “tribute” (kēnsos), which also are used in the other gospels.

Matthew alone records the two parables of the “talents” (large amounts of money of the highest value).  He also includes references to “debt,” reckoning,” and “moneychangers,” which do not occur elsewhere in the Gospels but which would be very familiar to a tax collector (KJV, “publican”).  Matthew also uses numbers and lists with clerical precision.  Alfred Plummer was one of the first to observe that incidents and sayings in Matthew’s gospel are frequently arranged in numerical groups of three, five, or seven.  (Edward Hindson and James Borland, Matthew: The King is Coming, 7)

  • Those collectors had somewhat the same arrangement with the publicani that the publicani had with Rome.  Whatever they managed to collect above the amount demanded by the publicani they kept as their own profit.  Both the publicani and the tax-gatherers, therefore, had strong motivation to exact and collect as much tax as possible–knowing they were backed by the full authority, including the military authority, of Rome.

The tax-gathereres (Greek telōnēs) quite naturally were hated by their own people, not only as extortioners but as traitors.  In Israel they were ranked with the lowest of human society–sinners, prostitutes, and Gentiles (Mt 9:10-11; 18:17; 21:31-32; Mk 2:15-16; Lk 5:30; etc.).  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 1-7, xi)

  • Yet Matthew also focuses most uniquely on the rejection of Jesus as King.  In no other gospel are the attacks against Jesus’ character and Jesus’ claims so bitter and vile as those reported in Matthew.  The shadow of rejection is never lifted from Matthew’s story.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 1-7, xii)

 

Audience to whom Matthew was written:

  • The Jewishness of Matthew is also seen in its attitude to the Law.  Jesus did not come to destroy, but to fulfill the Law.  The least part of the Law will not pass away.  Men must not be taught to break the Law.  The righteousness of the Christian must exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees (5:17-20).  Matthew was written by one who knew and loved the Law, and who saw that even the Law has its place in the Christian economy.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series: Gospel of Matthew, 6)

 

Date of the writing of the book of Matthew:

  • It is generally reckoned that Matthew was written between 58-64 AD.

 

Purpose for the writing of the book of Matthew:

  • Consistent with that purpose of revealing Jesus to be the Christ (Messiah) and the King of the Jews, Matthew begins his gospel by showing Jesus’ lineage from the royal line of Israel.  If Jesus is to be heralded and proclaimed king there must be proof that He comes from the recognized royal family.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 1-7, 2)
  • Christos (Christ) is the Greek form of the Hebrew māshîah (Eng., messiah), which means “anointed one.”  Israel’s prophets, priests, and kings were anointed, and Jesus was anointed as all three.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 1-7, 3-4)
  • The most unique term in Matthew’s gospel is “the kingdom of heaven” (Greek, he basileia tōn ouranōn) which occurs 32 times.  It appears only in Matthew and nowhere else in the NT.  By contrast, “the kingdom of God” occurs 15 times in Mark, 33 times in Luke, and only 5 times in Matthew (6:33 [ESV]; 12:28; 14:28; 21:31, 43).  (Edward Hindson and James Borland, Matthew: The King is Coming, 10)
  • No reader can fully immerse himself in this gospel without emerging with a compelling sense of both the eternal majesty of the Lord Jesus Christ and the strong power that sin and Satan held over the apostate Israel that rejected Christ.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 1-7, xii)
  • Matthew is not giving us a chronological report but a testimony that Jesus is indeed the Christ.  (William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary: Matthew, 119)

 

Genealogy notes:

 

  • A genealogy for a first century Jew was your resume.  Look who Jesus includes in his resume.
  • Believers should not be put off by this long list of names at the beginning of the NT.  Present-day Christians, like their early counterparts, should remember that the roots of their faith lie in Judaism.  Jesus was a Jew, lived among the Jews, and followed their laws (insofar as they were truly God’s laws); and he fulfilled the OT Scriptures as he did so.  Matthew’s many quotations from and allusions to the OT should cause believers to stand in awe at the unfolding of God’s wonderful plan from ages past.  (Bruce Barton, Live Application Bible Commentary: Matthew, 1)
  • Beginning a book with a genealogy seems strange to us, “just a listing of names,” as I said.  But knowing who a man was by knowing his ancestry was important to people in the ancient world, especially Jews, who needed to prove their Jewishness in order to take part in the temple worship.  (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 1, 14)
  • In the Greek the word “genealogy” can be rendered “genesis”–“The book of the ‘Genesis’ of Jesus Christ.”  This is important to note, for with Jesus we have a “New Genesis,” a new beginning, one far greater than the first.  For whereas God in the first Genesis fashioned the deepest oceans and the highest heavens, now in his Son he has poured into those places grace upon grace.  (Douglas Sean O’Donnell, Preaching the Word: Matthew, 38)
  • Noticeable by its absence in Luke’s genealogy is any reference to King Jeconiah, who is mentioned twice in Matthew’s list.  Jeconiah came under the curse of God such that his seed would never be on the throne of David.  This means that if Luke had traced Jesus’ genealogy through Joseph, Jesus couldn’t have been king, but since Jeconiah does not appear in Luke’s list, it is likely that Luke’s list traces the line through Mary.  (RC Sproul, St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary: Matthew, 19)
  • In the OT it (genealogies) is found in such chapters as Genesis 5, 10, 11, 22, 25, 29, 30, 35, 46; Exodus 6; Numbers 1, 2, 7, 10, 13, 26, 34; Joshua 7, 13; Ruth 4; 1 Samuel 1, 14; 2 Samuel 3, 5, 23; 1 Kings 4; 1 Chronicles 1-9, 11, 12, 15, 23-27; 2 Chronicles 23, 29; Ezra 2, 7, 8, 10; Nehemiah 3, 7, 10, 11, 12.  (William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary: Matthew, 106)
  • The suspicion of illegitimacy surrounded these four women’s sexual activity; this fits with the suspicion surrounding Mary, Jesus’ mother–a suspicion that Matthew spent much time refuting.  (Bruce Barton, Live Application Bible Commentary: Matthew, 5)
  • When we study the entire genealogy (verses 1-17) we are impressed with the fact that even the good men stood in need of God’s grace; for they, too, were sinners.  To be sure, many commendable things are reported with reference to Abraham (Gn 13:8, 9; 14:13-16; 15:6; 18:22-23; 22:1-19), but so are certain shameful actions (Gn 12:10-20; 16:1-6; 20).  The same holds with respect to Isaac: good (Gn wr:63, 46; 26:18-25); bad (25:28; 26:1-11).  With Jacob the case is no different: good (28:18-22; 32:1, 2, 22-32; 35:1-7; 49:18); bad (Gn 25:27-34; 27:18-24; 37:3).  Judah, too, is an example both to imitate (43:8, 9; 44:18-34) and to shun (Gn 38).  David is a man after God’s own heart (1 Sm 13:14; 17; 18:5; 24:1-7; 25:32-35, 39-42; 26; 2 Sm 7:18-29; 9; 12:13; 18:5, 33; 23:5; Ps 51 and many other Psalms); nevertheless, a great sinner (in addition to 2 Sm 11, already discussed, see also 1 Sm 24:21, 22; 2 Sm 5:13; 8:3; 12:31; 21:8, 9; 24).  To mention only one more, Hezekiah “did what was right in the eyes of Jehovah, according to all that David his father had done” (2 Kgs 18:3, and see that entire chapter; also 2 Kgs 19:14-19; 20:2, 3; 2 Chr 29:2, and that whole chapter; also chapters 30 and 31); but he, too, was not without flaw (2 Kgs 20:12-15; 2 Chr 32:25).

None was able to save himself.  All, even the best in the list, stood in need of redemption by the blood of the promised Redeemer.  They also confirmed this by means of their humble and strikingly touching confessions (Gn 49:18; 2 Sm 23:5; 2 Kgs 19:14-19; Ps 51; cf. Dan 9:17-19; Lk 18:13; Rom 7:24, 25).  (William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary: Matthew, 118)

  • (v. 16) From this verse it is evident that the evangelist is purposely precluding the possibility that the reader might think of Joseph as being Christ’s physical father.  What he is implying, already here in this genealogy, is that although Mary was indeed Jesus’ mother, Joseph was his father not in the natural but only in the legal sense.  (William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary: Matthew, 107)
  • There is “no pattern of righteousness in the lineage of Jesus.”  Jesus comes from a bunch of sinners.  I don’t just mean Tamar and Rahab.  Look at the list of wicked kings here–e.g., Rehoboam, Abijah, and Ahaz.  Ahaz!  (Douglas Sean O’Donnell, Preaching the Word: Matthew, 37)
  • It is essential to note that in His virgin birth Jesus not only was divinely conceived but through that miracle was protected from regal disqualification because of Joseph’s being a descendant of Jeconiah (v. 12).  Because of that king’s wickedness, God had declared of Jeconiah (also called Jehoiachin or Coniah) that, though he was in David’s line, “no man of his descendants will prosper, sitting on the throne of David or ruling again in Judah” (Jer 22:30).  That curse would have precluded Jesus’ right to kingship had He been the natural son of Joseph, who was in Jeconiah’s line.  Jesus’ legal descent from David, which was always traced through the father, came through Jeconiah to Joseph.  But His blood descent, and His human right to rule, came through Mary, who was not in Jeconiah’s lineage.  Thus the curse on Jeconiah’s offspring was circumvented, while still maintaining the royal privilege.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 1-7, 3)
  • The son produced by Lot’s union with his oldest daughter was Moab, father of a people who became one of Israel’s most implacable enemies.  Mahlon, the Israelite man who married Ruth, did so in violation of the Mosaic law (Dt 7:3; cf. 23:3; Ezra 9:2; Neh 13:23) and many Jewish writers say his early death, and that of his brother, were a divine judgment on their disobedience.  Though she was a Moabite and former pagan, with no right to marry an Israelite, God’s grace not only brought Ruth into the family of Israel, but later, through Boaz, into the royal line.  She became the grandmother of Israel’s great King David.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 1-7, 8)
  • It is both interesting and significant that since the destruction of the Temple in A.D. 70 no genealogies exist that can trace the ancestry of any Jew now living.  The primary significance of that fact is that, for those Jews who still look for the Messiah, his lineage to David could never be established.  Jesus Christ is the last verifiable claimant to the throne of David, and therefore to the messianic line.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 1-7, 3)
  • Jesus Christ is the seventh seven. . . .  What’s that? . . .  Well, God rested on the seventh day.  The Sabbath points to rest.   And every seven years the land had to lie fallow.  You had to give it a chance to replenish its nutrients.   So the seventh year represented rest.

And in the book of Leviticus chapter 25, we’re told that every seventh, seven, every sabbath sabbath, . . . there was a Jubilee year.  And a Jubilee year meant that all the slaves were freed and all the debts were forgiven and all the land and all the people have rest for their weariness and burden.  And what Matthew is trying to say is if you understand that Jesus Christ was born (not once upon a time but was really born in time and space); if you understand that, if you understand that He has accomplished your salvation so that prostitutes and kings sit down at Jesus’s table and He is equally proud of all of you; if you understand all that, that will give you rest.   He is the thing to which all the sevens in the Bible point.  (Tim Keller message, The History of Grace)

 

The question to be answered is . . . Why do so many books of the Bible make a big deal out of genealogies?

 

Answer: Because Christianity(along with Judaism) as opposed to all other religions, is a space/time faith involving real people born in space and time.  The Gospel is not just good teaching to make your life better, it is Good News about One who has come to do what you could never do.  Furthermore, in the Jewish mind, you were nobody unless you could prove where you came from.

 

It looks like the Christmas story is one more story pointing to these underlying realities.  You won’t begin once upon a time.  He says, this is the genealogy of Jesus.   You want to know what the book of Matthew, you know what the Bible does?  Jesus Christ is not one more story pointing to the underlying realities.  Jesus Christ is the underlying reality to which all the stories point.   (Tim Keller message, The History of Grace)

 

The Word for the Day is . . . Emmanuel

 

 

I.  Emmanuel Is The God/Man King:  Prince Charming. (Psa 2; 110; Isa 7:14; Mt 1:23; Jn 18:33-37; 19:8-11)

 

The great announcement in the book of Matthew is that the King is here!  Jesus Christ has broken into a dark and hurting world, bringing healing and forgiveness.  He binds up the brokenhearted, He gives rest to the weary, He gives sight to the blind, and He gives life to the dead.  (David Platt, Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in Matthew, 13)

 

Jesus Christ the King (1:1-2:12; 8:1-10:42; 11:20-12:13; 14:13-36; 15:21-28, 32-39; 17:1-13; 21:12-17, 23-27; 27:37; 28:16-20).  Jesus is revealed as the King of kings: He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin (1:18-25); as a baby, he received gifts and worship from the kings of the east (2:1-12); he was endorsed and affirmed by God the Father (3:16-17); he defeated Satan (4:1-11); he taught with authority (7:28-29); he demonstrated his power over sickness (8:1-13), death (9:23-26), nature (8:23-27), and demons (8:28-34); he triumphed over death (28:1-10).  These dramatic and profound incidents show Jesus’ true identity.  (Bruce Barton, Live Application Bible Commentary: Matthew, xvii)

 

II.  Emmanuel Is The Promised One:  The Messiah, Son of David, Son of Abraham, the Hero of the story.(Gn 3:15; 12:3; 22:18; 2 Sam 7:12-13; Isa 9:6; 11:1-3, 10; Jer 23:5-6; Ezek 37: 24-25; Acts 2:29-36; Rom 1:3; 2 Tm 2:8; Rv 22:16)

 

The Messiah (2:14-15, 21-23; 3:1-4:11; 4:13-16; 12:15-21; 13:13-15; 16:1-4, 13-20; 10:29-21:11; 22:41-46; 24:1-35; 26:1-27:66).  Jesus fulfilled the inspired predictions of the prophets concerning the Messiah, the one for whom the Jews had been waiting for centuries.  Yet tragically, they didn’t recognize their Messiah when he came because they were expecting a conquering king, one who would deliver them from Roman oppression.  If they had read deeper, they would have realized that the “Son of Man” must first suffer and die (17:22-23) as the “suffering Servant” (Isaiah 53) before returning in power and glory.  They would have realized that the true purpose of God’s anointed deliverer was to free people from sin’s oppression, not merely to defeat the Romans and rule an earthly empire.  (Bruce Barton, Live Application Bible Commentary: Matthew, xviii)

 

As a reward for Abraham’s faith in the promise, God intervened miraculously, enabling Abraham, though he had become “as good as dead,” to deposit seed; and making it possible for Sarah, heretofore barren, to conceive (Rom 4:19; Heb 11:11, 12).  It is true, therefore, that the family tree, as recorded by Matthew, begins with a supernatural birth, that of Isaac, and ends with one, that of Christ.  (William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary: Matthew, 113)

 

Q.  Why is he called “Christ,” meaning “anointed”?

A.            Because he has been appointed by God the Father and has been anointed with the Holy Spirit to be our chief prophet and teacher who perfectly reveals to us the secret counsel and will of God for our deliverance; our only high priest who has set us free by the one sacrifice of his body, and who continually pleads our cause with the Father; and our eternal king who governs us by his Word and Spirit, and who guards us and keeps us in the freedom he has won for us.  (Heidelberg Catechism)

 

III.  Emmanuel Made it Possible for Everyone’s Dream to Come True. (Gal 3:26-29; Jn 3:16; Acts 4:12)

 

If Matthew had ransacked the pages of the OT for improbable candidates he could not have discovered four more incredible ancestors for Jesus Christ.  But, surely, there is something very lovely in this.  Here, at the very beginning, Matthew shows us in symbol the essence of the gospel of God in Jesus Christ, for here he shows us the barriers going down.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series: Gospel of Matthew, 17)

 

In addition to the men mentioned earlier, the list of sinful women on Matthew’s list is equally stunning.  The message is clear: Jesus came for (and through) the morally outcast.  Tamar was guilty of incest (Gn 38).  Rahab was a prostitute (Josh 2).  Ruth spent a rather shady night at Boaz’s feet (Ruth 3), but more importantly she was a Moabitess, a people known for their sexual immorality.  Finally, the wife of Uriah is mentioned (Matthew doesn’t actually record her name–Bathsheba), even though she committed adultery with David.  (David Platt, Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in Matthew, 14)

 

We see here the promise to Abraham, that through his seed all the nations of the world would be blessed, including gentiles like Rahab and Ruth.  (RC Sproul, St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary: Matthew, 19)

 

While Bathsheba was likely an Israelite, as she was the daughter of Eliam, the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite (2 Sm 11:3; 23:34), through marriage she legally became a Hittite.

So am I saying that King David’s great-grandmother was a Moabite and his wife, the mother of great King Solomon, a Hittite of sorts?  I’m afraid so.  The bloodline is impure.  It’s as bad as Prince Charles marrying that woman of non-royal stock.  Ah, but again, it’s all part of the plan, a plan that Paul explains most plainly in Gal 3:27-29: “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.”  (Douglas Sean O’Donnell, Preaching the Word: Matthew, 36)

 

The point is “almost too obvious to belabor.”  Matthew wants to show us what Paul will teach us in 1 Tm 1:15: “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”  Jesus came not for the righteous but the unrighteous (cf. 9:13), for sinners–like Matthew the tax collector and Rahab the prostitute.  He came for sinners like you and like me.  (Douglas Sean O’Donnell, Preaching the Word: Matthew, 37)

 

CONCLUSION/APPLICATION:

A-  Because Emmanuel is the Savior of the world, He came to save even you by grace through faith.  (Eph 2:8-9)

 

Jesus is from the Greek equivalent of Jeshua, or Jehoshua, which means “Jehovah (Yahweh) saves.”  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 1-7, 3)

 

Despite prostitution and incest, God’s grace fell on all three of those undeserving persons, including a desperate and deceptive Gentile harlot.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 1-7, 8)

 

These people who were excluded by culture, excluded by society and even excluded by the Law of God, Jesus is bringing in.  And so it doesn’t matter your pedigree, it doesn’t matter how low you are on the social ladder, it doesn’t matter what you’ve done: You’ve killed people.  You’re a hit man for the Mafia.  The grace of Jesus Christ can cover you.

But, on the other hand; you know what its also saying?   Look at this King David.  Look at this great guy:  he’s man not a woman, he’s a Jew not a Gentile, he’s royalty, he’s not poor; yet he has done something worse than any woman in this entire history.   Yet there he is.  Why?   The grace of Jesus Christ.   (Keller, The History of Grace)

 

The name “Jesus” is the Greek form of the name “Joshua” or “Yeshua,” which means “Yahweh saves,” or “The Lord is salvation.”  This theme fits with the angel’s instructions to Joseph later in the chapter: “She [Mary] will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins” (v. 21; emphasis added).  Recall from the OT that Joshua was the leader appointed by God to take His people into the promised land; now, Jesus is the leader appointed by God to take sinful people into eternal life.  (David Platt, Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in Matthew, 8)

 

B-  Because Emmanuel is King of Kings, you cannot blow Him off.  (Mt 10:37-38; 25:31-34; Lk 14:26-27, 33)

 

[Jesus’] claims for himself are very disturbing because they are so self-centered; yet in his behavior he was clothed with humility.  His claims sound proud, but he was humble.  I see this paradox at its sharpest when he was with his disciples in the upper room before he died.  He said he was their Lord, their teacher and their judge, but he took a towel, got on his hands and knees, and washed their feet like a common slave.  Is this not unique in the history of the world?  There have been lots of arrogant people, but they have all behaved like it.  There have also been humble people, but they have not made great claims for themselves.  It is the combination of egocentricity and humility that is so startling–the egocentricity of his teaching and the humility of his behavior.  (John Stott, Why I Am a Christian, 44)

 

Non-Christians don’t mind if we sing to them of Jesus’ compassion or humility–just don’t sing of his exclusive authority.  (Douglas Sean O’Donnell, Preaching the Word: Matthew, 22-23)

 

Matthew’s Gospel is a gospel of discipleship.  It speaks of the call, cost, and content of discipleship.  Time and time again Jesus will say, “Follow me.”  Each time an individual will be met with the same choice we have before us today: Jesus above money?  Jesus above power?  Jesus above reputation?  Jesus above comfort?  Jesus above tradition?  Jesus above family?  Jesus above life and breath?  Those are the choices put before both great governors and lowly lepers.  (Douglas Sean O’Donnell, Preaching the Word: Matthew, 26)

 

Jesus cannot be equated with any person or power.  He is above all as the supreme ruler of time and eternity, heaven and earth, humans and angels.  He lives today, sitting at the right hand of the Father, and he will return as the Judge of all the earth (25:31-46).  Too often we live as though Jesus were merely an impressive historical figure, or we treat him as just a traveling companion on our journey through life.  Instead, we should give him his rightful place as king of our lives, our sovereign ruler to whom we give our total devotion and obedience.  (Bruce Barton, Live Application Bible Commentary: Matthew, xvii-xviii)

 

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a Great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’  That is the one thing we must not say.  A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher.  He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell.  You must make your choice.  Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse.   You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit on Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God.  But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher.  He has not left that open to us.  He did not intend to.”   (C. S. Lewis;  Mere Christianity, 55-56)

 

Kingdom of God (4:17, 23-25; 5:17-20; 9:35; 11:1-19; 12:22-37; 13:10-52; 16:24-27; 18:1-6; 19:13-20:16; 20:20-28; 21:28-22:14; 24:34-25:46).  Jesus came to earth, as God in the flesh, the Messiah, to begin his kingdom.  This kingdom, however, is not earthly, determined by geography, military might, political power, or financial influence.  God’s kingdom is a kingdom of the heart, and his subjects include all who submit to him and acknowledge Christ as their sovereign Lord.  Eventually, God’s full kingdom will be realized at Christ’s return when he comes to annihilate the forces of evil and gather his loyal subjects to himself.  (Bruce Barton, Live Application Bible Commentary: Matthew, xviii)

 

Nobody talks the way Jesus talked.  Those today who have great authority, even if they overestimate their power and over-esteem themselves, do not talk like Jesus talked.  They do not claim to be the king of Heaven and earth.  They do not claim, as they sit on their glorious throne no less(!), that every person from every time and everywhere will one day come before them to be judged.  They do not claim to have authority to forgive sins. They do not claim to be greater than the temple and the Torah or to be the fulfillment and embodiment of the Hebrew Scriptures.  They do not claim that their rule will spread to every corner of the world.  They do not claim to establish an unconquerable church and institute new sacraments that have themselves as the foundation and focus.  They do not claim that all their commandments are to be obeyed.

Yet with that said, as striking as such statements are, the more striking fact about Jesus is not only that he made such claims, but that somehow such claims are believable.  (Douglas Sean O’Donnell, Preaching the Word: Matthew, 20)

 

Worship Point:  Think about what God has done in sending Jesus, the King, the Messiah, Emmanuel.  Then worship the God of the Good News of the Gospel.   He has given us a hope and a confidence that we can get out of this world alive.

 

Gospel Application:  Jesus has entered time and space to save you no matter how sinful you are.  By trusting in Him you now have hope.

 

Spiritual Challenge:  Before you ever worship Jesus as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, you need to realize you must submit yourself to Him and quit trying to compete with Him as Lord of your life.  Confess your sins.  Acknowledge your inability to direct your life so you have a life.   Make Jesus King of your life and enjoy life in His Kingdom. Contemplate the humble sacrifices that the Lord had to make to be Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham.  Contemplate why you fail to trust Him more than you presently do.

 

Clearly, then, Jesus came not because of Israel’s righteousness, but in spite of Israel’s sinfulness.  (David Platt, Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in Matthew, 13-14)

 

 

. . . even though all those stories (Fairy tales) aren’t factually true, the fact is that the true story of Jesus makes all of the best stories true and real.  If you are a Christian and you understand the Gospel and you see some little boy or girl put down a book and say, “I wish there was a noble prince, I wish there was a Superman, I wish there was a Hercules, I wish we could fly, I wish we could live forever . . . you’ve go to be careful.  Because you can’t just blurt out, “We will.”   Especially if their parents are around.  They’ll be upset.

But, there is that place in that . . . movie Hook.   . . . Where Maggie Smith is playing that ole gnarled Wendy from the Peter Pan story.   And she’s old and she’s talking to a grown up Peter Pan who . . . has amnesia.   He senses that the stories are true but . . . na, na, na, He has amnesia.

At one point she looks at him and says, “Peter the stories are true”.

And if you understand the genealogy of Jesus, if you understand what the Bible says;  you will get a thrill.  Because you realize that we are all Peter Pans.  We all have amnesia.  And Matthew is saying, “Peter, the stories are true.” (Tim Keller message, The History of Grace)

 

Someday Jesus will turn this beast into a beauty.  That is what gives you rest.  Not once upon a time.

 

 

Jesus: The King

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