Matthew

For the next four weeks we will be going through the four Gospels. This may seem like we are going to be talking about the same story/good news for four meetings. Yes, the Gospels all talk about Jesus, but they also have their own flavor.  The difference is where things get interesting, which what we will be talking about.

Mark was the first Gospel written, and Matthew is based very closely to Mark. Yet, Matthew is twice as long as Mark. We will talk about this a little later.

To open our night together we talked about context through telling jokes (clean). Just think if we only heard the punchline to a joke without the lead up. Things may be confusing right? Of course! Or at the very least it wouldn’t be as funny or meaningful. How does this tie into Matthew?

Matthew was written to Jewish Christians, or people who have heard about Jesus, but never met Him or knew as much about Him as others. This time for the Jewish Christians was very difficult and confusing. They no longer had control of the temple due to it being destroyed. This rattled them to the core of their beliefs. Matthew was writing to reassure the Jewish people who God was still with them and Jesus was the fulfillment of prophecy.

Think About:

What if suddenly there was no church building, no central place to gather, worship, and learn about God? What would you do if this was your reality?

When Matthew wrote the Gospel, this was the reality of the people he was writing to.  Why does this matter?! Context matters to help give us a fuller understanding of what we are reading in the Bible.

Let’s look at some fulfillment of prophecy that Matthew is sharing with the Jewish people, who are waiting for their savior to come. Matthew 1:22-23 talks about a virgin giving birth to the savior. This was the fulfillment of prophecy from Isaiah 7:14.

Questions:

What does “God with us” mean to you today?

Why is it important for Matthew to relate to the Jewish people?

Now, lets look at Matthew 5:1-12. This is a section called the Beatitudes is an introduction to the Sermon on the Mount.

Questions:

Which Beatitude would you choose to live out?

There is so much more to Matthew and the life of Jesus that you can read. Each of the Gospels will take a different look at the life of Jesus, and have different perspectives. My hope is that as we go through the Gospels we will develop a fuller view of Jesus and learn more about what we believe as Christians.

Jesus

Last night we talked about Jesus. This seems like a “duh, it’s confirmation” but as we have gone through this year we have looked at some of the prophesies about Jesus, but never looked at his nature and who Jesus was.

Jesus was 100% human and yet 100% God/divine. Let’s not get hung up on the math of this though, but look at the nature of Jesus.

Philippians 2:5-8 talks about God humbling himself to become a human. Think about all the qualities of God and the power that he holds, God loves us so much that he came to earth through Jesus. Jesus was human, so he had human emotions and feelings, but Jesus never sinned. Jesus started as a baby like all of us, he learned to walk, talk, how to be a carpenter, interacted with his parents, got mad, was sad, you name it Jesus lived the human life. Yet, he was sinless, hence the fully God nature of him too. Jesus also performed many miracles. There is so much comfort in knowing that God knows who we are and understands us, even more than we understand ourselves. God was here with us on earth through Jesus.

When we pray to God, God understands and hears us. As we continue through this season of expectant waiting we call Advent we are preparing ourselves for the coming of our savior. Emmanuel, God with us; Jesus was with us and is with us. Throughout this Advent and into Christmas season I would encourage you to think about ways that we can share Jesus with others, and the qualities that Jesus had with others.

Questions to wonder about:

  • Since Jesus is fully human and fully God, how would you views change if he wasn’t 100% of each?
  • What qualities do you see in humans that we share with God?
  • What qualities do you wish we had more of that God has?