Matthew – Jesus is our King!

Matthew – Jesus is our King!

We are all familiar with the words of Jesus in the great commission.  In fact, I believe many of us could say these words by memory.  But just in case – Here they are on a slide.  Say them with me:

Slide – All authority has been given me in heaven and on earth.  Go, therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

This week you have been reading the life of Jesus as recorded in Matthew’s gospel.   Did you ever wonder why Matthew is the first book of the New Testament?  You may not know this, but Matthew is also the most widely quoted of the four gospel accounts in early Christian writings.  In fact, some scholars argue that Matthew wrote his gospel in Hebrew around A.D. 44 and later it was translated into Greek around sixty-something A.D.   Why would anyone think that?  Jerome, who gave us the Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible said that Matthew was the first gospel to be written and it was for Jewish converts, and he adds that he did not know who translated it later into Greek.  Adam Clarke’s introduction to Matthew states this same thing and also inserts that he believes Matthew translated his own gospel into Greek for the wider use in the church as it spread throughout the Greek speaking world.  Many more recent scholars think Mark was written first and that Matthew and Luke copied from it. God’s honest truth is that we don’t know these things for sure.  If it were not for an ancient document by Papias of 160 A.D. and later Irenaeus of the late second century we would not have any information as to who wrote Matthew, since Matthew nowhere tells us that he did.  The early church accepted Matthew as Holy Scripture and its record as historic and divine truth.

As a Christian I believe the Holy Spirit inspired the writing of Matthew and that God preserved this record of Jesus for His people with a divine purpose.  That purpose is to show us Jesus who is our reigning King and give us in orderly fashion the instructions and example of His majesty, so that we may submit ourselves in humble surrender to His divine authority.  Ultimately, Matthew urges us to stand faithful awaiting the bridegroom, knowing the reward will far outshine any weariness or trials that we must endure.  The great commission sums it up:

Slide – Jesus is authorized so we will be mobilized that the nations will be evangelized and disciples be made as they are baptized, instructed and stabilized as Jesus presence keeps us energized till the judgment day is realized.

Tasker of the Tyndale Commentary series calls Matthew the “Royal gospel.”   He shows how Matthew is the apologetic gospel proving Jesus is the Messiah of prophecy.  Matthew is the liturgical gospel in that it is systematic in arrangement with clear collected messages of Jesus alongside the works of Jesus in a way that is most suited to reading in church.  Matthew is also the ecclesiastical gospel giving the church a tool to defend its beliefs against attacks from Jewish opponents, instruct converts from paganism in the ethical implications of Christianity, and help build discipline into the life of fellowship based on weekly readings from the life of their Lord in church assemblies.  Then Tasker states: If we are looking for a single epithet to describe its dominant characteristic perhaps the best available for our purpose is the word “royal.”  The special impression that Matthew embodies is that of royalty.  The great concepts of the “Messiah” and the “kingdom” are the heart of the gospel of Matthew.

Let’s do a quick survey of the royal message of Matthew concerning Jesus our Messiah.

Slide – Born a King

Jesus is called Son of David 10 times in Matthew, more than all the other books of the New Testament combined.

He was born to be King.  The Stars led wise men from the east in search of Him, and they came to worship Him.  Matthew notes 12 times how Jesus fulfilled the prophets words concerning the coming King who is the Messiah.

Slide – Worshipped

The kingdom of heaven is mentioned in Matthew 54 times.  That is more than any other New Testament book.  From start to finish there is a focus on this concept of the kingdom of heaven.  Jesus makes it clear in parables and in other teachings that NOTHING can compare with the glory, reward and blessing of receiving entry into the eternal kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the earth.  Jesus is the King who is worshipped.

Slide – Anointed

Jesus is Messiah.  That means anointed.  Jesus is anointed uniquely at His baptism when the Holy Spirit comes down upon Him like a dove, and the Father announces: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.  He is the Messiah for Israel, but also for all mankind.

Slide – Empowered

Jesus demonstrated divine authority over and over again throughout the account of Matthew.  Jesus authority reached into the spiritual world as He cast out demons.  He rules the weather as we witness Him calming the storm.  He controls the laws of nature: He walks on the water of the sea.  He has power over sickness and even death: He heals all sicknesses and diseases, and even raises the dead.  Jesus has authority over the Sabbath.  He has authority to forgive sins.

Jesus last message in Matthew is in chapter 25.  Matthew closes the record of Jesus instructions with this final image of Jesus coming as King to judge the nations as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

The King will say to those on his right, “Welcome you who are blessed by my Father, enter the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the earth!”   And to those on His left, the King will say: “Depart from me you who are cursed into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

Matthew over and over raises the question: do you submit to Jesus’ authority?

Song – In Christ Alone

Say the words of Jesus with me again:

Slide – All authority has been given me in heaven and on earth.  Go, therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

Remember our mission statement:

Seeking – Do you seek first His kingdom and His righteousness?

Saving – Are you obeying the commands of Jesus to make disciples of others bringing them to salvation in Christ?

Serving – Will you serve your King by serving others?