Summary: A call to worship the King of all Kings
We are reading Matthew 1 – the bit that everyone skips over to get to the real stuff in verse 18. This on the face of it is no way to start the New Testament. Genealogy is quite juicy. But it still appears a boring list of names, what is the point? You may have heard the coronation anthem “Zadok the Priest” it was sung when the Queen was crowned – well Matthew 1 is a bit like that, all the names building to a climax of the declaration of Christ the King. So I’m going to read it to music hopeful making it more interesting.
Did you notice how the music builds, gradually, as does the genealogy. A high point is when David is king, the music goes into a minor key when the people are in exile, it builds to the great declaration of Jesus, the Christ, in other words the King who was promised who has now arrived. As in so many carols we are worshipping Christ the King this morning.
Matthew’s whole gospel is basically a coronation anthem. Matthew has one purpose, to declare that Jesus is the King. In starting his Gospel as he does, he is drawing us in to see that this baby was the heir to the throne of David, the Messiah. By the end he has shown that he is not merely king of the Jews. We are being invited by this Gospel to join in and worship this one who has been born king of the Jews but who is in fact King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Matthew reveals to us the true king, who stands in contrast to all other kings e.g. Herod who desperately wanted to hold onto power. Caesar Augustus who through sheer might ruled the Roman Empire and called himself a god and saviour of the whole world, bringer of peace but to achieve it had to kill an awful lot of people.
Who is this king?
HUMBLE KING - Clip of coronation of the Queen
We saw a clip of the coronation of the queen in great splendour and majesty. Each year with great pomp the Queen’s birthday is celebrated in the Trooping of the colour. Well today it is the King’s turn. We have come to worship him. Later today the Queen will make her annual address to the nation, but first let us see the King’s message. When the Queen went to America she took 4 tons of luggage. 2 outfits for every occasion, 40 pints of plasma, white kid leather toilet seat covers. She brought her own hairdresser, 2 valets & a host of other attendants. The whole can cost millions. This is a king without ostentation, a humble king. He has to flee Herod, he lives in obscurity, in the end his own race conspire to have him killed. He does not have an entourage or servants, rather he tells us he came not to be served but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many. This is a king who is not ashamed of people like us in his family – look again at that genealogy. In those days women were not important in genealogies but this one includes some women, not obvious ones like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel. But Tamar (who seduced her father-in-law), Ruth (a refugee, a foreigner), Bathsheba (an adulteress). He isn’t ashamed of sinners in his family!! People like us!
SAVING RULE – Matthew also introduces us to this king as “Jesus” - the Lord saves. This king is to be a true saviour, his rule is a saving rule – By end of Gospel this Jesus has been crucified and risen again to save the world from the power of evil. This king is the Saviour of the world. Every day we are reminded that this world needs saving, he will save his people from their sins, the destructive force that is present in us and in the world and wreaks its havoc in lives and in the world. His rule is a saving one, to have Christ as your king is to know his saving power in our lives.
ROYAL PRESENCE - He will be called Emmanuel – God with us – we are told at the outset of his Gospel, this king comes to be with us, so we can know his royal presence. I commented last week when all the fuss was being made over Prince William and his girlfriend Kate Middleton how daunting is must have been for a very young woman to meet and spend time with the Queen. Could you imagine having the Queen to Christmas dinner? It can be hard enough having your mother-in-law!! Perhaps Her Majesty is good at putting people at their ease. Read Matthew and you will find one in whose presence we can be at ease, who says “my yoke is easy and my burden is light…”. The Gospel ends with the words “and lo I am with you always…”. See how Matthew ties up the theme in the Christmas story with the promise at the end. The king is with us forever now, no longer a baby, he sent his Spirit so that we can know his royal presence.