Jesus walked right through several religious barriers in order to reach those who were sick and dying from sin. Then he turned and rebuked the Pharisees who had erected those barriers. Jesus’ method of evangelism challenges us all to examine our own hearts. Are we more like Pharisees than we’re ready to admit? Do we really understand Jesus’ mission?
In the parables previous to this, Jesus has said much about how His followers are to wait for His return, always ready, prepared to wait, and making use of His resources for His purposes. Now, in the concluding section of the Olivet Discourse, Jesus describes what His followers look like as they wait: Jesus’s disciples love those Jesus loves, not out of seeking reward (though there will be reward for his people) or out of fear of punishment (though there will be punishment for those who are not), but in accordance with their new nature.
The Parable of the Talents is in many ways a culmination of Jesus describing how his disciples are to wait for his return. Having told us to be ready at any time, and to be ready to wait longer than we expect, he goes on to describe his expectations of specifically how we are to wait. These expectations are exacting, but encouraging, as they hold out hope of great reward for faithful servants.
Who was responsible for Jesus’ death? Beginning at the foot of the cross, we trace backwards through the final hours of Jesus’ life to find the answer. There are several culpable persons, but they all force us to answer a much bigger question.
The second chapter of Matthew’s account presents some challenges in understanding the concept of fulfillment of Scripture. The apparent difficulties of the four fulfillments Matthew records force us to take a look at how to read our Bibles, and moreover bring us face to face with a very difficult question indeed about how and why God acts in history – a question that brings us ultimately to one of the most basic and astounding truths in the whole of God’s revealed word for His people.
Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:31-35
If Jesus is the legal son of Joseph, then he is the birth son of the virgin Mary. We all echo Mary’s response to this news, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”. Drawing upon a few texts, we’ll seek to answer two large questions about the birth of Christ: how can a virgin give birth? and can God become a man?
Throughout his ministry, Jesus was recognized as the son of Joseph. Many times in the Gospels we read of statements like the one made in the synagogue of Nazareth, “Is this not Joseph’s son?” (Lk.4:22). In Matthew’s account of Christ’s birth, he strategically avoids calling Jesus the son of Joseph. Instead, he is “Immanuel, which means ‘God with us.'”
A survey of the Gospels reveal a Messianic expectation among the Jewish people. For example, Luke tells us that “the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ…” (Lk.3:15). The most important question among the Jewish people was, When would the Messiah come? Using this strategic genealogy, Matthew answers two questions about the Messiah: who was he? and what did he come to do?
Christ’s command to go and proclaim his gospel is clear enough. There are, however, several barriers that stand in the way of his church fulfilling their mission. In this text, we’ll look at several barriers the first disciples faced–and the present day church faces as well. Christ answers those barriers and fears with two powerful statements about himself.
In this last sermon in the series on Radical Stewardship, Jesus explains what he considers faithful stewardship. It isn’t what you’d expect, however, for the one who plays it safe is rebuked while the ones who take risks are commended. This parable challenges those who follow Christ to ask whether we will be commended or rebuked as stewards.