I think most of us came to scientology through the back door. And that back door has a name: Tom Cruise.
Science-fiction writer – ‘Ron Hubbard’. (1986)
When asked about Jesus he said:
“Jesus never existed as a person but rather he is an electronic idea, implanted by the true powers of the universe into the mind of someone between incarnations about 600 B.C. This implant is labeled R6 and occurred while this person between incarnations was watching a mad man, or something. Jesus is nothing more than an electronic, mystical, biological implant and the implant has all the characteristics of a pedophile.”
I know that’s incredibly bazar and blasphemous.
But my point is that if we don’t accept Jesus for who he truly was and is, then we’re free to do exactly what Ron Hubbard did: Create our own Jesus. That looks how we want him to look. Or worse, looks just like us.
So it’s important that we get Jesus right.
Newsies Movie Jordan and I this past weekend watched the movie ‘Newsies’. Came out in 1992. I was amazed after all this time how much I still remember of it. I’m sad to say the average Christian can’t say the same thing for the story of Jesus. If I was to misquote your favorite movie or TV show, I bet a lot of us would be like ‘Uhhhh… That’s not what he said!!!’ But then if someone came and misquotes Jesus, a huge amount of Christians wouldn’t even know enough to call them on it.
Jesus is surprising.
It’s amazing that God’s people, by and large rejected Jesus because he wasn’t the God they were expecting.
“You would expect a god to have a pride fighter’s tattoo carved into his leg. But Jesus’ feet were covered in dust from walking among us. You would expect a god to wield a sword in his hand, distributing vengeance on all his enemies. But Jesus’ hands healed his enemies who’d been wounded by the sword. For a moment it had seemed like he would be the god we had always imagined – overthrowing the Empire, leading a victory parade through the city streets, planting his flag in Jerusalem. Instead, He was betrayed with a kiss, arrested without a fight, and prosecuted without cause.” (Micah Murray – Christian author)
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! (Galatians 1:8)
As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse! (Galatians 1:9)
So here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to spend the next 4 months going through the life of Jesus.
And we’ll be specifically following the gospel of Matthew.
And I want to encourage and challenge you in this new year to read along with us. And here’s what that would look like.
Matthew has 28 chapters and so we’re going to split the book up into 4 7 chapter chunks. And so what we’re going to do is spend:
- January – Matthew 1-7
- February – Matthew 8-14
- March – Matthew 15-21
- April – Matthew 22-28
So what I’ve committed to doing is all during this month, I’m going to read Matthew 1-7 every day. All month. February the next 7 chapters every day all month, march the next 7 every day, all month, and April the last 7 every day, all month.
IF you want to do that with me, that would be AMAZING!!! At the end of our series, you will have read the gospel of Matthew all the way through approx 30 times. Which is awesome.
And if you’re thinking: Yeah, that’s not gonna happen, here’s my second offer: Read chapters 1-7 once per week for the whole month. You could read all 7 on your Saturday, or read 1 chapter a day. And then at the end of the series, you will have read through the book of Matthew about 4 times. Which is amazing!
Either way I believe if you do that, you’ll actually start to get a grasp of the life and ministry of Jesus.
I’ll be reading and preaching from the NIV, I’ve prayed about it and I think that’s the best choice, since if you have a bible at home, there’s a good chance it’s an NIV. The NIV outsells all other translations by at least 3 to 1.
This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham: (Matthew 1:1)
Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, (Matthew 1:2)
Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, (Matthew 1:3)
Ram the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, (Matthew 1:4)
Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, (Matthew 1:5)
and Jesse the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife, (Matthew 1:6)
Solomon the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asa, (Matthew 1:7)
Asa the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram, Jehoram the father of Uzziah, (Matthew 1:8)
Uzziah the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, (Matthew 1:9)
Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amon, Amon the father of Josiah, (Matthew 1:10)
and Josiah the father of Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon. (Matthew 1:11)
After the exile to Babylon: Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, (Matthew 1:12)
Zerubbabel the father of Abihud, Abihud the father of Eliakim, Eliakim the father of Azor, (Matthew 1:13)
Azor the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Akim, Akim the father of Elihud, (Matthew 1:14)
Elihud the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob, (Matthew 1:15)
and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah. (Matthew 1:16)
Let me start off be addressing the elephant in the room: This would appear to be a boring way to start the New Testament. God is silent for 400 years, and then we finally get a new book and it starts with this huge genealogy.
The question is why.
Of course there’s the reason that Matthew is providing evidence that Jesus is the messiah that the Old Testament had prophesied about. But there’s more happening than just that.
1. The Genealogy of Matthew shows us that through Jesus, humanity has a new beginning.
I wonder if you noticed that the names were grouped into sections of 14. And if you missed it, the next verse, verse 17 just tells you.
Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah. (Matthew 1:17)
1st ends : The first one ends with King David – Israel was at the pinnacle of their existence, everything was great!
2nd ends : Babylonian Captivity – lowest.
3rd ends : Jesus – restores.
He’s communicating that before Jesus, humanity was literally doomed. But Jesus comes and makes all things new.
In fact, Matthew — ‘New Moses’.
Moses – father – Prophets // Jesus – father – Church
- Pharaoh killed all the the male Hebrew babies, but Moses was saved (Exodus 1:22; 2:1-2).
- Herod killed all the male babies in and around Bethlehem, but Jesus escaped (Matthew 2:16-18).
- Moses fled from Egypt, but later returned (Exodus 2:15; 4:18)
- Jesus fled to Egypt and later returned to Israel (Matthew 2:13-23)
- Moses went up the mountain to receive the Law (Exodus 24:1-3)
- Jesus delivered the New Law at the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-3)
- Moses was the mediator of the Old Covenant through the blood of young bulls (Exodus 24:8)
- Jesus is the mediator of the New Covenant through His own blood (Matthew 26:28)
- Moses did not eat or drink for forty days and forty nights (Exodus 34:28)
- Jesus also fasted while being tempted in the desert (Matthew 4:2)
- Moses delivers the first five books of the Bible (Genesis – Deuteronomy)
- In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus gives five extended sermons (Matthew 5-7, 10, 13, 18, 24-25)
- Moses lifted up the bronze snake in the wilderness (Numbers 21:9)
- Jesus said that, in a similar way, He Himself would be “lifted up” (John 3:14).
2. The Genealogy of Matthew shows us that God’s plan is not always accomplished through admirable people, but through shameful scoundrels.
In this genealogy, there are 4 woman listed: Tamar / Rahab / Ruth / Bathsheba
Very unusual! Women were ignored in genealogies back then.
Women didn’t count. Remember the story of Jesus feeding the 5000. Well it was actually 5000 men PLUS women and children. But they didn’t count them. It’s like if we were going to count how many people came to church and we just counted the guys. How horrible would that be?!
All mattered : Father – son – father – son.
TAMAR SLEPT WITH HER FATHER-IN-LAW (Genesis 38)
Judah had chosen Tamar as a wife for his son, Er. But Er was such a wicked man that God killed him. Judah (the dad) then ordered Er’s brother, Onan, to marry the widow Tamar in order to produce an heir, as was the legal custom of the time. Onan was happy to have sex with Tamar repeatedly, but he refused to impregnate or marry her, and so she was forced to live as a widow.
Eventually, Judah’s (the dad’s) wife died, and Tamar disguised herself as a prostitute and waited for her father-in-law by the side of the road. Judah picked her up and had sex with her, impregnating her with twin boys. Judah still didn’t know the identity of the prostitute (that it was Tamar his daughter in law) when he found out that Tamar was pregnant, so he ordered that she be put to death. In a great Jerry Springer-like plot twist, however, Tamar revealed that Judah was grandpa-daddy, so he cancelled the death sentence.
RAHAB WAS A LYING PROSTITUTE – (JOSHUA 1–2)
The name Rahab means pride, insolence, savagery. She was a Canaanite, people who were great enemies of God and his people. Vocationally, she was a prostitute, but is best known for being a good liar.
God had promised he would deliver Rahab’s city of Jericho to Joshua. Joshua sent two spies to Jericho for reconnaissance. The spies were pursued by enemy soldiers, but Rahab hid the men in her home, lied to the soldiers, and spared the lives of God’s spies. She began to follow God and eventually became the great-great-grandma of King David.
RUTH WAS THE RESULT OF INCEST – (Book of RUTH)
Ruth was a Moabite, an entire race of people who came about through incest. A man named Lot thought the world was about to end, so he headed for the hills (literally) with his two daughters. There weren’t any other men in the mountains, so his daughters got their father drunk and had sex with him, and the Moabite people came out of those children conceived by Lot’s daughters.
The Moabite people carried that stigma into Ruth’s day, but she began to follow God after her Jewish husband died, and she became one of the godliest women in the Bible. She got married again, this time to a godly man named Boaz, and became King David’s great-grandma.
BATHSHEBA COMMITTED ADULTERY WITH KING DAVID – 2 SAMUEL 11
Uriah the Hittite, a soldier in King David’s army, was married to a beautiful woman: Bathsheba. Uriah went off to battle while David remained safe at home. While David was strolling on his rooftop one day, he saw Bathsheba bathing. He was so taken with the woman that he had her brought to his palace, where he seduced her. She later informed David that she was pregnant.
After a botched attempt to cover up the scandal, David conspired to abandon Bathsheba’s husband on the front lines so that he would be murdered by the enemy. David’s plan was successful, and Bathsheba the adulteress became the wife of King David and mother to King Solomon.
All 4: non-jews – involved sexual immorality or are a product of it.
Men aren’t much better!
The men aren’t much better!
- Jacob (always entertaining) won his position in the line that leads to Christ by lying and cheating his blind father
- David, the ruthless and highly successful bandit, unites the tribes of Israel through murder
- Rehoboam son of Solomon loses most of David’s gains through arrogance and greed
- Ahaziah (Aya-ziah) son of Ahab continued his father’s ways as a sadistic mass murderer.
And this just goes on and on and on.
- Matthew 9 tells us that Jesus is a friend of sinners,
- Matthew 1 tells us that Jesus came THROUGH sinners.
3. The Genealogy of Matthew destroys the worlds categories and labels.
When he comes to bring us a new beginning, and he does it though scandalous people, I think it tells us something.
He specifically mentions gentiles.
These were the dogs of this culture. And unless you’re of jewish nationality, you’re a gentile. He says ‘Just because you come from the other side of the tracks, that doesn’t matter at all. I welcome you into my family.’
Specifically mentions women.
Women didn’t matter.
This is Jesus saying that he’s proud of the women in his family.
Historically: “The status of women was forever changed by the coming of Jesus.”
So just know this: It doesn’t matter who you are, it doesn’t matter what you’ve done, Jesus came for you. And his story is your story.
(As – prepare for communion)
- The Genealogy of Matthew : shows us that through Jesus, humanity has a new beginning.
- The Genealogy of Matthew shows us that God’s plan is not always accomplished through admirable people, but through shameful scoundrels.
- The Genealogy of Matthew destroys the worlds categories and labels.
The genealogy of Matthew is not just there for historical reference. Rather, it’s making a point about who Jesus is and what he came to bring. He is the one who was prophesied about. He is the perfect God, and the perfect man. Even through tremendous human imperfection, God’s plan remained unchanged. And his plan was this: to give a broken world a new beginning. And a way of living with each other that doesn’t just result in death and violence, and hatred. He’s showing us a new way to live, and giving us a way to actually live it. And He chose and continues to choose to use broken, imperfect people to bring about his plan. He isn’t intimidated by the sin that is in all of our lives, he’s not repulsed by us, he’s not frustrated with us, and His plans are not sabotaged by our failures. So take heart, and enjoy the simple fact that you’re a part of his family. You’re a precious child of God. You’re in His genealogy, and he’s proud to have you.
The Lords Table – Status, race, position, means nothing here.
As we close – If you feel far from God tonight – Jesus comes and offers you a seat at his table. Yes it’s scandalous. Yes it makes the religious people nervous, but that’s who his is.
And so we receive his invitation and eat the bread and drink from the cup, and it’s not LIKE meeting with Jesus. It IS meeting with Jesus.
You come, as the crook, gambling on his grace, and it meets you there every time.
The table of the Lord is the great equalizer. Because no matter how Holy you are, no matter how long you’ve been following God, you come to his table simply because he invites you.
The Good News of the Gospel of grace cries out: we are all equally, privileged but unentitled beggars at the door of God’s mercy! (Brennan Manning)
As they pass, spend a minute with Him – finding your way to gratitude. – We’re all capable of gratitude, and we all have much to be grateful for, but we’re all much less grateful than we should be. So spend a minute remembering God’s goodness. What do you have to be grateful for. And sit there, and feel it, and thank him for it. As they pass, spend a minute with Him – finding your way to gratitude. – We’re all capable of gratitude, and we all have much to be grateful for, but we’re all much less grateful than we should be. So spend a minute remembering God’s goodness. What do you have to be grateful for. And sit there, and feel it, and thank him for it.