Rejected by His own

As we return to our study on the gospel of Matthew from a bird’s eye view we begin with the King Rejected (Chapter 14-18). Chapter 14 is marked with both sadness (the death of John the Baptist) and joy (the feeding of the 5,000). This feeding of the 5,000 is the only miracle recorded in all four gospels and marks the peak in Jesus’ popularity. From this point on, the rejection of Jesus as King mounts. A significant passage in this section is Matthew 16:17-18~Jesus answered, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church (ἐκκλησία ekklēsia), and the gates of hell shall not prevail…(ESV). 

Matt’s the only gospel writer to use the word (ἐκκλησία ekklēsia) church. When teaching concerning the kingdom is rejected, Jesus begins to talk about the church. This word means called-out ones or assembly. As Jesus shares the life of faith with His followers, He takes the inner-circle to a transfiguring place in Matthew 17. Where Peter, James, and John witness a let’s camp out moment. Have you ever had a let us campout moment in your life? Matthew 17:4~And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (ESV) The purpose of these moments is not to camp out but reveal what God is doing and how we were chosen to help.

The Great King in Judea (Ch 19-28) In Matthew 19, Jesus travels to Judea, where He remains for the rest of His earthly ministry. Staying in the north will set Him up for His triumphal entry into Jerusalem (21). This is followed by several days of teaching in the temple and great controversy with the Pharisees, Sadducees, and scribes. His final denunciation of these Jewish groups is found in Matthew 23 where Jesus speaks 7 woes over them. Then shares the now famous Olivet Discourse about the future in Matthew 24-25. These parables teach us that faith as they knew it was ending, the Temple was closing and moving to our hearts, God was taking up residence in our lives. So get ready, and remain ready for these coming events. 

Like a deathbed confession, Matthew 26-27 contain the very heart of the Gospel—the work of redemption at the cross. With great detail, Matthew describes the Last Supper, Jesus in Gethsemane, the Jewish trial, the Roman trial. Our Lord’s crucifixion, and His burial. Then comes the supreme test of the kingship of Jesus. What, He is dead? Is this the end? No, chapter 28 tells us Jesus rises from the dead and then commissions His followers to carry on His work.

Our Takeaway this week is: How are we endeavoring for the Gospel? Matt shares how Jesus has called each of us into a personal relationship with God. How God desires us to continue the work of His only begotten Son who said in Matthew 28:18-19~…All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples…(ESV). As you go out into the world today, I am challenging each of us to carry the gospel to at least 10 people who need to know that Messiah has come, that they may have eternal life.

Remember what Psalm 37:23~The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way. (NKJ)

Very Short Stories

Have you ever thought about the opposition to the Kingdom’s power? Matthew does this in his gospel in (Chapter 8-12). If our walk of faith has not revealed that there is opposition to the Kingdom of heaven, we come to a section where Matt shares the power of Jesus by recording His miracles. In chapters 8 & 9, Matt groups together a series of ten miracles to prove to his readers that Jesus possesses the powers of the Messiah which were promised in the Old Testament. Then in chapters 10-11, Jesus calls His twelve disciples, and gives them His power, and warns them of the coming opposition. Matthew 10:16-17 & 26~Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you…So have no fear of them (ESV). 

John 16:33~”I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (NIV) Don’t you just love how the Lord shares with us that trouble is coming and then reminds us not to fear it! Takes me back to childhood where the promise was, son this is going to hurt me more than it does you. If that were true who would ever go to the dentist? And some would sue the proctologist over the effervescent colonoscopy. It’s just going to tingle a bit. Jesus is a straight shooter and reminds us that we will face opposition and, that opposition will become aggressive. 

Matthew 12:14 & 37~But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him…for by your words you will be justified, and by your words, you will be condemned. (ESV)

Kingdom Parables (Chapter 13). The word kingdom is used over 50 times in Matt’s gospel, and he records the phrase kingdom of heaven over 30 times in Matthew, but not at all in the other three gospels. Of the more than 20 parables recorded in Matthew, about half open with the phrase, The kingdom of heaven is like…The growing opposition to Jesus’ message causes Him to adopt a new method of proclaiming His message—using parables. Jesus explains His use of parables for us in Matthew 13:10-14 ~To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven…For the one who has, more will be given…an abundance…This is why I speak to them in parables…(ESV) Matthew 13:15-17~For this people’s heart has grown dull…But blessed are your eyes, for they see…many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see (ESV). 

What do you long to see the Lord do in your life, family, our city and country? Let’s take time to pray for the community around us today. To ask God to send us a harvest of souls and the opportunity to become disciple makers.

The Kingdom

Today, we look at a sermon that outlines the Kingdom Heaven (Chapter 5-7). Before being called by Jesus, Matt was a publican and therefore was accustomed to keeping detailed records. This trait is evident in his meticulous gospel because Matt includes many details omitted by the other gospel writers. One example is his how he shares the Sermon on the Mount. The most famous passages found in the Sermon on the Mount are: The blessed sayings, the Lord’s prayer, and the golden rule. In Matthew 5:3-12~3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. 6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. 8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (ESV) 

Jesus shares what true blessing in our lives looks like. The contrast is stark. Where Ole Mo gives us commands of Thou Shalt Not, reminding that the evil one wants to usurp our lives. Jesus delivers a message of humility, charity, and brotherly love. Of what it means to be a good citizen in the Kingdom of Heaven. To complete the revolution Jesus teaches us that transformation is to come to our inner person. Thus the Beatitudes share a positive message of life’s virtues, which ultimately lead to reward. Matt’s copious notes reveal how Love becomes the motivation for the Christian believer. The blessing of God is not really the house we call home, rather it is found in the lives we live. The Beatitudes of Jesus provide a way of life that promises salvation, as they bring peace in the midst of our trials and tribulations on earth.

Then in Matthew 6:9-13, Jesus shares how we are to pray. How we must always begin with God, who He is and then work our way through the muddled lives we live, being reminded that there is an enemy of our soul who’d love nothing more than to destroy us and wreck God’s plan. Matthew 7:12~So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. (ESV) 

Today, as you pray and head out into the wide world around us, how can you be a blessing and share heaven’s blessing with those you meet?