Summary: The first in a series of messages on Matthew’s unique accounting of Christ’s life tells about the conflict between King Herod and baby Jesus who were both called "King of the Jews"
Matthew’s Unique Message #1
A Tale of Two Kings
(Title and background on Herod from : A Tale of Two Kings by Brian Bill www.sermoncentral.com)
Matthew 1:1-17; 2:1-18
CHCC: June 3, 2007
This summer I plan to preach a series of messages taken from the Gospel of Matthew. Matthew was one of Jesus’ 12 Disciples. He tells about his own call in 3rd person in Matthew 9:9. As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. "Follow me," he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.
Matthew left a good “government job” as a Tax Collector to travel with Jesus during the three years of his public ministry. Matthew was an eyewitness to his death, burial, and post-resurrection appearances as well as to his ascension into heaven. Matthew was present on Pentecost Sunday when the Church was born, and he was involved in the work of the early church in Jerusalem.
Matthew is the longest of the four Gospels. Because he wrote specifically for Jewish readers, Matthew’s Gospel is full of references to prophecies from the Old Testament that Jesus fulfilled. I thought it would be interesting for us to look at the things Matthew wrote about Jesus that none of the other Gospels recorded. I didn’t come across any book that told me what parts were unique to Matthew, so I got a Bible that put the 4 Gospels side by side and found them myself.
We’re going to look at the things we would not have known about Jesus if we didn’t have the book of Matthew. The first thing I found was that Matthew gave some details about the Birth of Christ that no one else recorded.
None of the other writers mentioned the visit of the Wise Men. (If it wasn’t for Matthew, your Nativity scene at Christmas would be lopsided. There would be Shepherds on one side, but no Wise Men on the other.)
Only the Gospel of Matthew tells about the clash between King Herod and the newborn baby King. You see, both King Herod and the baby Jesus were given the Title: KING OF THE JEWS. But Matthew makes it clear that only Jesus had a LEGITIMATE claim to that title.
1. Herod – Illegitimate KING / Jesus – Legitimate KING
King Herod ruled over Israel at the time of Jesus’ birth. Herod had been born into a family of wealth and privilege, and at the age of 25 the Roman Occupiers named Herod as Governor of the Jewish region. The Roman Senate was so impressed with the way Herod managed to control the rebellious Jews that they gave Herod the title KING OF THE JEWS in about 40 BC.
For the 40 years before the birth of Christ, Herod went by the lofty title: HEROD THE GREAT, KING OF THE JEWS. But then the day came when Herod heard that some unusual Visitors had come into Jerusalem. These Strangers from the East asked Herod a question that threatened his Political Position. They asked him, “Where is the one who has been born King of the Jews? We saw his star in the East and have come to worship Him.” Matthew 2:2
Herod knew he held the TITLE King of the Jews … but he had not been BORN King of the Jews. The Jews viewed Herod as an ILLIGITIMATE King --- a King who got his Authority from the hated Romans … and who held onto power through terror and tyranny. Because of this, Herod was always on guard against anyone who might claim to be a Legitimate Heir to the Throne of David.
If you’ve read the New Testament (which I hope you have) you may have wondered why two of the Gospels (Matthew and Luke) contain long lists of the names of Jesus’ ancestors. In Jewish culture, when a boy was born, his Lineage would be recited, going back as far as possible. The early church modified this practice by reading a person’s Lineage at their Baptism.
It’s interesting that Matthew, who wrote for a Jewish audience, placed his Genealogy at the BIRTH of Christ --- while Luke, who wrote for the Gentile Christians, placed his Genealogy at the BAPTISM of Jesus. The two genealogies differ in other ways, also. Luke traces Jesus lineage all the way back to Adam. Luke was writing to all Believers, of every race and nationality. He traced Jesus lineage from MARY who was his actual genetic parent … all the way back to DAVID and then ABRAHAM and then to ADAM. Luke was showing that Jesus was born as the “Second Adam.” He was reinforcing the teaching of his dear friend Paul. The Apostle Paul taught that sin and death came into the world through Adam and that Forgiveness and Eternal life came through Jesus Christ. (Romans 5)