Preaching God's Word: Matthew's Gospel

A Journey with Christ (Matthew 1:5-6; John 8:1-11)

(1) Christ’s Journey through history 
Before we even reach the opening chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, the Old Testament proclaims this message of hope: Christ is coming. The journey through the Old Testament  paves the way for the coming of Christ. The first 17 verses of Matthew’s Gospel gives us a brief outline of Old Testament history as a preparation for the coming of Christ. These verses present us with a family tree. It’s not particularly interesting reading. For this reason, these verses are often overlooked. There are, however, important lessons which we must not miss! Here are two interesting names in Christ’s family tree - Rahab (Matthew 1:5) and Solomon (Matthew 1:6). Who was Rahab? - a prostitute! Who was Solomon? - a child born out of an adulterous relationship! How did they get into Christ’s family tree? Was there some kind of mistake? - No! It must be stresses that the names of Rahab - a - prostitute - and Solomon - the child of an adulterous relationship - are found in Christ’s family tree so that we might learn that the love of God is greater than the sin of man. God forgives sinners! God restores the fallen. This is the message proclaimed to us by the inclusion of Rahab - the prostitute - in Christ’s family tree. God gives a new beginning.  This is the message proclaimed to us by the inclusion of Solomon - the son of an adulterous relationship - in Christ’s family tree.with the “meek soul”. Let us not think that Christ is brash and insensitive. He does not disregard our temperament and personality. He does not ignore our natural feelings. He does not take delight in embarrassing  us.
The circumstances can be so ordinary, yet the new birth is a miracle!

(2) Christ’s Journey to the Cross 
God restores the fallen. God gives a new beginning. These lessons are emphasized even more strongly when we turn our attention to Christ’s Journey to the Cross.
Throughout Jesus’ ministry, there is the conflict between Jesus and the religious leaders of his day. These religious leaders were so proud of themselves, so proud of their religion, so proud of their morality.
One instance of this conflict concerned “a woman caught in the very act of adultery” (John 8:3).”The scribes and the Pharisees” despised the poor woman. They were arrogant in their condemnation of her - “this woman has been caught in the very act of adultery” (John 8:4). They brought the woman to Jesus for one reason only. They brought her to Jesus for condemned. Jesus, however, did not condemn her. No condemnation! Forgiveness! This is the Good News of God’s grace.
The scribes and the Pharisees saw the woman as a no-hoper. She was beyond hope - so they thought! They wanted to stone her.
With one simple yet devastating sentence, Jesus exposed their hypocrisy: “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7). With the strikingly simple and devastatingly direct sentence, Jesus brought the proud accusers down to earth - “when they heard it, they went away, one by one” (John 8:9) .
Jesus was left alone with the woman. He did not condemn her, but He did say to her, “Do not sin again” (John 8:9-11).
This conflict continued throughout Jesus’ life as He made His way to the Cross. The scribes and the Pharisees sent Christ - the sinless Son of God - to the Cross. There Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them …".

(3) Christ’s Journey into our lives 
This is beautifully described in the words of the Christmas carol, “O little town of Bethlehem”:
“How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His heaven.
No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in.”
Jesus’ way is so unlike the way of the world. He is not demonstrative. He is not showy. He does not make a fuss. There is nothing spectacular about His way with us. There is nothing sensational about His entrance into our lives.
The world, obsessed with the dramatic, might say of Jesus’ way, “How cold! How unexciting! How uneventful! How unimpressive!” Let us  not be preoccupied with outward appearances. Let us recognize the presence of Christ in the quiet way - “No ear may hear His coming.” This is Christ’s way.
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Jesus Christ - “God with us” (Matthew 1:23) - is truly God and truly Man.

Jesus Christ is not merely the greatest man who ever lived. He is “God with us” - truly God and truly Man.
* God says, “I am who I am” (Exodus 3:14). Jesus says, “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58).
We cannot how Jesus Christ can be “God with us”. We cannot understand how He can be truly God and truly man.
We do not, however, have the right to say, “A true man cannot at the same time be truly God.”
We must acknowledge the truth of God’s Word which says, “”With God nothing will be impossible” (Luke 1:37).
Looking at the Man, Jesus Christ, we have no right to say that His life began at Bethlehem.
We must acknowledge the truth of Jesus’ words, “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58). These words indicate to us that Jesus Christ is the eternal God.
We have no right to say that God cannot take on human form. Who are we to say what God can do and what God cannot do?
If we believe that God is Almighty, how can we doubt His power to become Man in the person of Jesus Christ?
Scripture makes it clear that Jesus Christ is more than a mere man since He is no less than God Almighty.
The words of Karl Barth are helpful - “in countless passages the New Testament speaks about Jesus of Nazareth as the Lord Jesus … using the same word which the Old Testament expresses by ‘Jehovah’. This Jesus of Nazareth, who passes through the cities and villages of Galilee and wanders to Jerusalem, who is there accused and condemned and crucified, this man is the Jehovah of the Old Testament … the Creator …God Himself … yet (He) does not cease to be a human being … The Creator Himself (remaining fully God) becomes not an angel, but … very really a man” (Dogmatics in Outline, p. 84).
* God is “the Saviour” (Isaiah 45:15). Jesus saves the people from their sins (Matthew 1:21).
Jesus Christ came down from heaven for us - men and women - and for our salvation.
The personal name, “Jesus”, means “Saviour” or “Jehovah (the God of Israel) helps.” Jesus does not simply point to the God of salvation. Jesus is the God of salvation: “He is God the Saviour. He is Christ the Lord, ever to be worshipped, trusted and adored.”
If Jesus Christ was no more than the greatest man who ever lived, the greatest witness to God’s salvation, it would be utterly blasphemous to call Him, “the Saviour.” By calling Jesus “Saviour”, we are not saying that man saves himself. We are saying that the Man, Jesus, is God the Saviour: “When we call Him Saviour, we call Him by His Name.”
When the Bible says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31), this is entirely different from a call to have the same faith which Jesus had. We are called to put our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ was not a sinner, who, like us, needed to receive salvation from God. Jesus Christ is the perfect Saviour from whom believing sinners receive eternal salvation.
* In Isaiah 40:8, we learn that “the Word of our God will stand for ever”. Jesus says, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away” (Mark 13:31).
The Word which Jesus Christ speaks to us now is nothing less than the Word of God.
- We are born again through His Word (1 Peter 1:23-25).
- We grow in Christ through His Word (1 Peter 2:1-3).
- There must be no compromising of our faithfulness to His Word (2 John 7-11).

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