Matthew – Jesus is King of the Jews
Aim: To give an overview of Matthew’s gospel and his presentation of Jesus the Christ.
Text: Matthew 2:1-2
Introduction: Last year we began our journey through the Bible completing an overview of all the Old Testament books, this evening our journey continues into the New Testament and the last 27 books of the Bible. Between Malachi and Matthew we by pass 400 years of Jewish history. These are often referred to as the 400 years of silence, for during that period God spoke not one word. But then just when it seemed like God was indifferent to the affairs of Israel, and to the need of man, He did an amazing thing, He sent His Son Jesus into the world. In the words of the writer of Hebrews, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son.” (Hebrews 1:1-2a).
The Old Testament began with man made in the image of God, but the New begins with God in the image of man. Here we have the first of the Gospels, the good news accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus, and it is fitting that Matthew’s gospel should come first. Why? Because in the first place it has more O.T. references of all the gospels, in the second place it is written to the Jews, and in the third its purpose is to show how Jesus fulfilled the O.T. prophecies and is the Messiah Israel was promised.
Matthew, whose name means “Gift of Jehovah”, was one of the twelve apostles. By trade a tax collector, it is interesting to see his emphasis on money and giving. It is likely that he was well educated and wealthy. Certainly he was called and chosen of the Lord, and no doubt, his meticulous accounting skills were carried over into his biography of Christ’s life, for this is a detailed account of Jesus as the Jewish Messiah. His recurring theme: “that it might be fulfilled…” See 1:22; 2:15; 4:14; 8:17; 12:17; 13:14-15; 21:4; 26:56; 27:9, & 35. Matthew was concerned that his Jewish readers should realise that Jesus Christ satisfied all the predictions of the Messiah made by the Old Testament prophets.
Obviously time will be against us in seeking to discuss Matthew’s Gospel comprehensively, but if you will, we shall hit some of the highlights, as we consider Jesus as the Messiah of Israel, as King of the Jews:
I. The Preparation of the King – Matthew 1:16-17
A. Matthew opens with a genealogy - a list of names tracing the heritage of Jesus Christ.
1. These lists, which often seem tedious to us, are not without purpose.
a. This genealogy establishes that Christ is a descendant of David and Solomon and through Joseph has a legal right to the throne of David.
2. The account of his birth presents Him as the perfect Son of God, born of a virgin, and hence without sin, positioned to be our Saviour.
3. As is typical of Matthew, he wants his readers to know that Jesus fits the bill; that his lineage and the miraculous nature of His birth are no mere accident, but the fulfillment of centuries old prophesies.
a. Like Paul he wanted them to know that, “when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law.”
b. Jesus was a body prepared – it was ever destined that He should come to Bethlehem in human form
II. The Presentation By The King
A. Before Herod
1. Matthew 2:1-2
2. Right from the off in this gospel Jesus is referred to as the King of the Jews.
3. He is the chosen one, God’s anointed, the promised Messiah.
4. It is truly astonishing that the Gentile magi saw it, but the Jewish scribes did not.
5. Of course, it was only natural that they should come to Jerusalem, home of David’s throne, and equally natural that they should find themselves in Herod’s court.
a. They were good students of the Word, they knew that the coming King would someday rule and reign from Jerusalem, it was no mistake on their part.
(i) In fairness to them they had been following that start for the best part of two years.
(ii) They may well have read Micah’s prophecy concerning Bethlehem, but over the course of two years they anticipated the Holy Family to hae settled in Jerusalem in preparation of the kingdom that was to come.
b. God destined it so, that there might be a declaration of intent that all Israel would know Christ had come.
c. How important are those words, “Where is he that is born King of the Jews?”
d. That is how he is first presented to an unsuspecting Herod, that is how He is first brought to the attention of the chief priests and the scribes.
B. By the Herald
1. Matthew 3:1-2
2. Now we have another fulfillment, the promise of a forerunner is complete.
3. John the Baptist appears on the scene, a voice crying in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord.
4. His message is a kingdom message, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
a. Well, one cannot have a kingdom without a king, so John too is presenting Him as the King of the Jews.
C. From the Heavens
1. Matthew 3:16-17
2. Finally, 30 years after Bethlehem he emerges on the banks of the Jordan to be baptised and to initiate His ministry.
3. This time the herald is neither Gentile nor Jew, but the Father Himself declaring from the heavenlies, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17)
III. The Proclamations of the King
A. By Preaching the Kingdom
1. Matthew is the book which records the Sermon on the Mount, with its Beatitudes, lessons on prayer and fasting, its address of temporal cares (Matt 6:33), its focus on the two ways, the broad way and the narrow way, and it warnings of false prophets and false profession.
B. By Parables of the Kingdom
1. This is also a book of parables, most of which have kingdom significance.
C. By Power from the Kingdom
1. In chapter 8 we read of the cleansing of the leper, the healing of he centurion’s servant, the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law, the stilling of the storm, the cleansing of the Gergesene demoniacs.
2. In chapter 9 we find another healing of palsy, the woman with the issue of blood, the raising of Jairus’ daughter, the giving of sight to the blind, a dumb demoniac healed.
3. These sermons and signs were all designed to convince the Jews of Jesus’ claim to be their Messiah, but sadly they were neither looking nor listening.
IV. The Problem for the King
1. It soon becomes clear that the message of Christ is being resisted and soon to be rejected.
2. See chapter 11:16-17 & 20. Chapter 12:10, 14 &v 24
3. The people were unresponsive, unrepentant, unreasonable, and unbelieving.
4. It was becoming increasingly clear that He was to be…
1. He had come on to His own, He had come as King of the Jews, but in the words of Luke, “His citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.” (Luke 19:14)
2. What now of the king and His kingdom?
3. Well the king would ultimately go back to where He came from, but what of His kingdom?
V. The Programme of the King
A. The Coming Age.
1. Matthew 13 presents us with seven “kingdom” parables, each one interconnected with the other, so as to describe the outcome of Israel’s rejection of her Messiah.
2. From the giving of the Great Commission the seed would be sown, the church age would emerge, and as it unfolds Satan sows tares among the wheat, God’s design is momentarily corrupted, a herb becomes a tree, a little flock turns into a mighty Empire, Romanism with its false gospel and ecumenism with its social gospel emerges, meanwhile Israel, God’s peculiar treasure is hidden, and the true church, the Pearl of Great Price is found and purchased until…
B. The Consummation
1. The Dragnet is thrown and Christ’s judgment of the Gentile nations begins.
a. Now He separates the wheat from the tares, and the sheep from the goats, the just and unjust.
b. Now the kingdom as envisaged is restored, and He comes to rule and reign from Jerusalem just as the Magi anticipated.
c. But before He secures the crown, He must first suffer the cross, which brings us to;
VI. The Passion of the King
A. He is Tried.
1. First brought before Caiphas, where Peter, warming himself by the fire denies all knowledge of Him.
2. Then he is taken to Pilate, and what does the governor ask Him? “Art thou the King of the Jews?” (Matt 27:11)
a. There it is again, the same phrase, once more spoken by Gentile lips. Why couldn’t the Jews see it?
3. Pilate sends Him to Herod (Luke 23:7), and Herod sends Him back.
4. Now Matthew tells us of the release of Barabbas, of the washing of Pilate’s hands and so Jesus is delivered to the cross, the long road to Calvary begins.
B. He is Tortured
1. Matthew spares us none of the details.
2. He is scourged, mocked, crowned, spat upon, stripped and beaten.
3. The soldiers humiliate Him, crying out “Hail, King of the Jews”
4. Finally He is crucified on Golgotha’s hill, and what happens?
5. A placard is placed over His head in three languages, Greek, Latin, and Hebrew reading, “THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”
6. These people required a sign, and in the end God gave them one in every common tongue, and hanged right over the head of Jesus.
C. He is Triumphant
1. Thankfully as we are all now aware, the story doesn’t end there, for Matthew tells, as do all the Gospel writers of His resurrection on the third day.
2. This is the Gospel: “That Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” (1Cor 15:3-4)
3. And that is what you must believe in order to be saved, not just that it happened, but that it happened for you, that Christ died for your sin.
4. There has to be a personal acknowledgment of and submission to who Christ is and what Christ did.
5. No one is ever saved without surrender to the truth of the gospel.
6. Have you believed it tonight? I don’t mean historically, but personally?
VII. The Pronouncement By The King – Matthew 28:18-20.
A. Claimed Omnipotence
1. Having defeated sin, Satan and death the Lord now reclaims His Divine prerogatives and proclaims His omnipotence… “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.”
2. Then causing us to focus on His eternal victory and vitality He calls us to the Great Commission
B. Commanding Obedience.
1. “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.”
2. Given all that He has done for us, it is not much He asks us to do for Him.
a. Are we doing it? Are you?
Conclusion: You know sometimes as Christians we feel isolated in our obedience to the Great Commission. Obedience to this command involves immediate severance from all others; it sets me apart as a Christian. The Lord knew that, and so He offers this simple word of encouragement, “and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” “Alway” – lit., “all the days”. That means today and tomorrow. This day, this hour, this second.
The Greek language at this point employs the strongest possible form of expression to convey the phrase “I am.” Its purpose? To show us He is the I AM. That He is God. More than that, the structure of the wording in its original form reads, “I with you AM”. You and I dear friends, who have believed on Him, and are obedient to His call are placed in between the “I” and the “AM”. Ever the centre of His attention. Always the focus of His love. The ancient people of Israel missed that, and so do many modern people in Britain, but as we close the book of Matthew, let us lay hold on that truth tonight and go home happy in the knowledge that He has saved us, He is with us, and that we are at the heart of all that He has done.