(this transcript has been lightly edited for readability)
Well, this series we’ve been working on is called, “The Gospel: One Chapter at a Time.” And we have walked through the Old Testament and seen that the gospel is not only present, but the gospel is evident in every book in the Old Testament. It's very encouraging and reminds us that the Bible is not a collection of stories. The Bible is one story, one theme. It's God's great and glorious plan of redemption.
And the Bible has one main character; it's the Lord Jesus Christ, and that chord goes from Genesis to Revelation. And so, our work has been, not to summarize the total content or the history of each passage of the Word of God, but to focus on that central gospel theme in every book.
Well, we want to do that with the New Testament. And as I've done before, I like to title each one of these, give it the title, the gospel theme. And Matthew, the title I’ve given Matthew is the arrival of the King, that's what Matthew is about. It’s the good news that the King that has been promised in the Old Testament has come. There are loads of kingdom language in Matthew. Probably the most famous kingdom passage in all of Scripture is that call to “seek first God's kingdom and His righteousness.”
Well, if you read Matthew, that call just makes perfect sense because the whole theme of Matthew is the King and His kingdom. Listen how that is an emphasis. We begin with the genealogy of the King. And you know, if you think of a genealogy, it's sort of so-and-so begat so-and-so, begat so-and-so and it's the kind of biblical literature that you would be tempted just to jump over. But the gospel explodes in this genealogy. One of the things that you see is all of a sudden, you realize that God's plan is not just limited to the people of Israel but will explode beyond them. You have the name Ruth there who becomes one of the ladies in that genealogy.
Probably the one that is the most exciting and comforting is the name Rahab. Rahab was a prostitute! How could it be that she is in the genealogy of Jesus? And we’re reminded that no one can buy their way into God's favor; no one earns their way into God's favor because they're a good person. It's only ever by grace; and if God could include Rahab into His family, there is hope for every one of us.
In Matthew, we see the display of the power of the King. There's no effect of the fall that is beyond His power and His grace. I think of that Christmas hymn, it says, “Far as the curse is found.” That's how great the reach of His grace is.
We see the King beginning to collect His disciples because He’s established His kingdom. He's going to send His people out to represent His message and His method and His character. We get to sit and listen to the wisdom of the King; probably the longest teaching of Christ that's been retained for us is the Sermon on the Mount. It is expansive in its wisdom; it changes everything you think about life as you listen to the wisdom of the King.
We see the mercy of the King…Jesus’s heart for the poor, for the grieving, for those suffering injustice, and for those longing for forgiveness. We see the tender heartedness of the King. We see the King's enemies and, surprisingly, His enemies are religious leaders who have distorted what it looks like to believe and have burdened people with a legalism. Christ goes after them in ways that are almost shocking.
And then finally, we see the commission of the King. The King says, “You go, and you represent my kingdom on earth. You make kingdom disciples, and oh, by the way, when you go, I go with you, and you'll never go to a place that isn’t ruled by my kingdom because all power has been given to me.
Listen, the kingdoms of this earth will fail us. We don't need to be afraid because we are the citizens of a greater kingdom. We’re the sons and daughters of a King who will never ever fail us.