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Sermon24-10 Mt1 Guide

Matthew 1:1,2,16-25, theme verse Matthew 1:23

The praise and honor and glory be to our heavenly Father who seeks true worshipers who worship Him with the Spirit and truth.

Today in the fifth Sunday of 2024, I pray that God may bless you all in His love, grace and blessings. During last few weeks, we learned that the good news Mark proclaimed was that “the kingdom of God arrived so that we have to repent and believe in that Gospel,” and then, Mark tried to comfort and encourage those contemporary Christians in suffering by saying that His disciples also could not understand and live well the life of the kingdom of God, yet after following Him, finally they could grow till they could take their cross finally. From this week, after we look at the similarity and difference between the Gospel of Matthew from the gospel of Mark, we would like to learn few lessons together.

1)    The Gospel of Matthew is a Gospel written by Levi Matthew who is also known as tax collector Matthew for the Judeo-Christian community from Syria or Palestine around AD 75-80. And the 56% of the Gospel of Matthew reuses the Gospel of Mark and 24% shares with the Gospel of Luke, and about 20% contains stories unique to Matthew. In this way, since the Gospel of Matthew reuses 90% of the contents of the Gospel of Mark and the Gospel of Luke reuses 80% of the contents of the Gospel of Mark, these three gospels are called the synoptic gospels. And the recipients were mainly converts from Judaism, and in the context that they were increasingly becoming independent from the Jewish synagogue and forming a Christian church community at the end of the 1st century, the author Matthew recorded this gospel as a theologian pastor, not as the history recorder who recorded what he witnessed about the life of Jesus, in order to establish a church community by strengthening the identity of the community of Jesus' disciples and helping them shape their way of life. In other words, the Gospel of Matthew, starting from the perspective that Jesus is the Messiah who was prophesied to come in Jewish tradition, provided Jesus' teachings emphasizing good behavior to the new church community of his disciples and furthermore, concluded with a great commission to make disciples all the nations.

2)    In that sense, while Mark tried to comfort and encourage contemporary Christians in suffering with the full of failure stories of His disciples and people in the understanding the secret of the kingdom of God and living of the kingdom life, as author Mark himself, growing up in Jerusalem to meet Jesus by the influence of his mother Maria and uncle Barnabas who were wealthy and had good faith, experienced the failure to overcome the difficulty when he joined in the first mission trip of Paul and Barnabas, yet after growing by becoming Peter’s disciple, he could finally wrote the Gospel of Mark, Matthew confesses that he could lay the theological foundation for the newly formed Christian church community and the lifestyle of the first century Christians inside the church through the gospel of Matthew, since the author Matthew even was a tax collector, but after being called by Jesus, could use His good religious education as a Levi and also Roman education for accounting and languages, and also God-given intelligence and God-cultivated intuition for the theological establishment of the kingdom of God. Through these facts, we become to know that God uses our good or even bad experiences to establish and build His kingdom.

3)    And the overall story development of the Gospel of Matthew can be clearly seen in the structure of the Gospel of Matthew. Starting from the story of the birth of Jesus as the Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament and the story of His anointment with the Holy Spirit, the story of Jesus performing miracles and calling his disciples are followed, and then the story of the rejection by  the Jews and the story of acknowledgement of Jesus as the Messiah by His disciples followed. Then after challenging whether to accept or reject, finally Matthew layed out the narratives of Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection. And then between those stories, Matthew placed five sermons, I mean, a) The first sermon on the inauguration  of the kingdom of God and the beatitudes in the kingdom of God, b) And the second sermon on the mission of the disciples and the suffering they will experience in the future. c) And the third Sermon on the secrets of the kingdom of God, d) then the fourth sermon on the church as the community of disciples and the style of life within that community. e) And finally, the fifth sermon on the consummation of His kingdom is recorded.

4)    In particular, since the majority of Christians at the time were made up of disciples who had converted from Judaism, Matthew recorded it by focusing on the fact that Jesus is the one who fulfilled various prophecies of the Old Testament on the Messiah. So, to summarize few among over 30 Old Testament prophecies: a) Jesus Christ is the Son of God and is Emmanuel, I mean, “God with us” as prophesied in Isaiah 7:14 and Psalm 2:7, b) and as prophesied in Genesis 21, 49, Numbers 24, Isaiah 11, and Jeremiah 31, Jesus is a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, a tribe of Judah, and a family of Jesse and a house of David, c) and as prophesied in Micah 5:2, Psalm 72:10, and Jeremiah 31:15, Jesus was born in Bethlehem and received gifts from the Magi, but when Herod tried to kill him, He could escape but Herod killed all the children in the area. d) And then, when the time has come, as prophesied in Isa 11:2 and Psalm 110:1 and Deut 18:18, Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit and called as the Lord and the Prophet, and e) as prophesied in Isaiah 9:1, 35:5-6, 40:3, and Psalm 78:2, after John the Baptist came before him as a messenger and prepared his way, Jesus began his ministry from Galilee and performed various miracles and taught parables about the kingdom of God. And then f) as prophesied in Zechariah 9:9 and Mal 3:1, after He entered Jerusalem on a donkey and entered taught in the temple, g) as Zechariah 11:12,13, 13:7, Psalm 22:1,7-8, 35:11-12, 69:21, 109:25 and Isaiah 50:6, 53:5,7,9,12 and Amos 8:9  prophesied, due to His disciple's betrayal, Jesus was sold for 30 shekels of silver and accused by false witnesses, so that after all the disciples fled, Jesus remained silent, and after being bruised, stabbed, beaten, spit on, and ridiculed, Jesus was crucified with a thief, and then died after drinking sour wine and at that time, darkness fell on the earth and Jesus was buried in the rich man's tomb. So, by revealing that the Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah were fulfilled, Matthew clearly proves that Jesus was the Messiah the Christ.

5)    By the way, the Gospel of Matthew contains and develops the story through three important theological tensions, in other words, firstly, the particularism vs the universalism of the gospel, and secondly the Israeli Jewish community versus church community, and thirdly the theological tension between the law and the grace is unfolding through foreshadowing in the stories of the entire Gospel.

6)    To elaborate further, regarding the particularism versus universalism of the gospel, when we first read the Gospel of Matthew, we were very surprised and even shocked by Jesus’ exclusive emphasis and orientation toward the Jews that Jesus forbid the twelve disciples to go to the Gentiles or Samaritans (10:5) or Jesus responded to a gentile woman who asked for healing of her daughter who is possessed by an evil spirit, saying “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” to any other place but to be the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” but starting with the story of the wise men from gentile region in chapter 2, through the story of the Roman centurion's servant’s healing by his faith in chapter 8 (8:5-13), and the parable of the tenant farmers in chapter 21, and the parable of the wedding feast in chapter 22, and finally the Great Commission to go to all nations and make disciples, we can see that Matthew eventually expanded and ended up with the universalism of the gospel, started from the particularism of the gospel for the Jews. In this perspective, when Jesus said Mt 13:52 that “Therefore, every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of house who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old”, we could now understand that He is mentioning the particularism and unversalism of the gospel.

7)    And secondly, the tension between the Israeli Jewish community and the church community is well developed in the Gospel of Matthew. I mean, as you can see in the screen, when the Messiah whom Israel had been longing for came and began his ministry by performing miracles at first, Jewish people chased after Him, but after Jesus said that new wine should be put in new wineskins, and on the Sabbath, He healed a man with a withered hand, so that when he challenged religious traditions and religious authorities, they turned into an enemy of Jesus and eventually planned to kill Jesus, and even committed the sin of blasphemy, saying that Jesus cast out demons with the help of Beelzebub. So through the Jesus’ saying of chapter 8, “The descendants of the kingdom will be driven out into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” and of chapter 11 that the unbelieving Israelites would be judged and of chapter 22 that “many are called, but few are chosen,” Matthew clearly  showed that the kingdom of God is being transferred from Israel to the church, the community of believers. Even, in chapter 27, by recording the words that the Israelites who rejected and crucified Jesus even said, “His blood be on us and on our children,” Matthew clearly testified that the Kingdom of God moved from Israel to the “true” Israeli church due to Jewish disbelief.

8)    And finally, we clearly knew that the Gospel of Matthew especially focuses on the faithfulness to the laws, as Mt 5:17-20 says “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law and the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them,” and “Until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will not pass from the Law until it is accomplished. Therefore whoever does them  and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” This is not the legalism, rather the explanation of true meaning of the law and shows that the church composed of first-century Jewish converts is the true successor to Moses. Matthew's emphasis on this law ultimately shows that the good news of the coming of God's kingdom exists in a dynamic tension between God's preceding grace and the emphasis on living a life according to God's will as a grateful response to that grace.

9)    In this way, the Gospel of Matthew expresses the themes in various tensions, but as can be seen in today's text, it brings one unique theme to the forefront, which is that it expresses the Messiah as Emmanuel, I mean, God who is with his disciples. What this means is that, as we have seen over the past few weeks, Jesus, the Messiah in the Gospel of Mark, as both God and the Son of God, is mainly depicted as the Divine One who causes people wonder and fear, and is therefore difficult for human beings to understand or approach. On the other hand, in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus Christ, or Messiah, is described as Immanuel, God with us, and a true teacher of the law who interprets the true meaning of the Old Testament law of Moses to his disciples. In this way, God, who walked with Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden in creation, as He was with His people of Israel through the tent of meeting, or temple, in the Old Testament, in the New Testament, Jesus, the Son of God, is with His disciples, bearing their burdens together, and He promises in Matthew 28:20, “I will be with you always to the end of the age” which results in His presence through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us in the church age, and in His eternal presence finally, at the end of the world, as Revelation 21 said, “God will be with His people forever in the new heaven and new earth.”

10) Through these, we can learn few things. First, we would like to think of the meaning of Immanuel. I mean, This God of Immanuel clearly revels Himself through the whole histories in the Bible. God, who walked with Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden in creation, as He was with His people of Israel through the tent of meeting, or temple, in the Old Testament, in the New Testament, Jesus, the Son of God, is with His disciples, bearing their burdens together, and He promises in Matthew 28:20, “I will be with you always to the end of the age” which results in His presence through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us in the church age, and in His eternal presence finally, at the end of the world, as Revelation 21 said, “God will be with His people forever in the new heaven and new earth.” So, secondly, we would like to think about whether we really believe in the gospel of Immanuel, that is, the gospel of God who is with us, and do we live with the Lord who is with us as God of Immanuel, and fully enjoy the blessings of His presence and also whether, even though the Lord is already within us, we just let Him sleep in the stern and endure the hardships and hardships we have to because of the gospel on our own. Therefore, if there are someone who still walking alone and fearful in the valley of death, not even realizing that the Lord is within us through his Holy Spirit, then I pray that we could call Jesus who sleeps within us, whom Mark called “Teacher,” yet, as Matthew called “the Lord” and cried out for help while rocking on a boat on the Sea of Galilee, where there was a storm and big waves, wouldn’t you like to call upon the Lord at that time and wake Him up to help us.

Key Questions as Small Group Activity

Q1 In today’s text, we can know that our Lord is with us as God of Immanuel and takes our burden together with us and gives us rest and comfort. After reflecting your life, you could find any experience in which you met Him, I hope you can share your thought with grace each other.

Q2 And also, even though the disciples in the gospel of Mark called Jesus as their teacher, yet, as the disciples of the Gospel of Matthew called Jesus as the Lord, so after reflecting who Jesus is to me, I mean, He is my teacher or my Lord, I hope you can share your thought with your team members to share God’s grace together.

Love you. Thank you. God bless you.

Prayer Note

Dear ( God’s attribute which you found Today ) God!

Thanks for ( something you received through the sermon or  even during the week )

Praise, gratitude and glory be to You, Lord!

Today, I realized my sin (pains) that ( the sin God reminded through the sermon ),

please forgive (or heal) me and help me not to repeat ( the sins you recognized   ).

I learned that ( something you learned through the sermon                                    )

Please help me to live in that (  learned way of life                                                )

I pray in ( Jesus’ attribute you find ) Jesus’ name. Amen.


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