The King has Come!

Posted: November 12, 2015 in Matthew, Route 66

Route 66: Matthew, “The King has Come!”

What’s the grandest ceremony you’ve ever attended?  We’ve attended many weddings & graduations – and for many of us, that may be the most formal ceremony we’ll ever witness.  What about a Presidential inauguration?  Or better yet – what about a royal coronation?  That’s pomp & circumstance to the extreme! 

As Christians, we have a King, and His name is Jesus, and He is more deserving of glory than any royalty here on planet earth.  And the fact is, He HAS received His coronation (so to speak) because He has received all authority in heaven and on earth.  When did it happen?  When He rose from the dead.  The King of all the Universe came unto the world, and though He was not broadly recognized at the time, He received all of the glory of God.

The gospel according to Matthew is this story.  Jesus comes as the King of the Jews, though He comes in the most humble of ways.  He shows His authority as the King throughout His ministry in both His words and deeds.  His is revealed in glory as the King of the world, when although He is rejected by the Jews, He rises in power and victory out of the grave.  The King has come, and it is a story that must be shared.

BACKGROUND:
The Gospel according to Matthew is not only an introduction to Jesus as the King of the Jews, but it’s the introduction to gospel genre in general, as well as to the entire New Testament.  Thus, it requires a bit of additional background that we may not find with some of the other books of the Bible.

First of all, it opens up the canon of the New Testament.  Chronologically speaking, it was not the first book written.  It seems likely to have been written after the gospel of Mark, which puts it in the late 50’s to 60’s at the earliest.  By contrast, the book of Mark was likely written in the early 50’s, 1 Thessalonians perhaps in 51, and Galatians around 48-49.  Even so, the early church recognized the importance of Matthew’s picture of the Lord Jesus, and it is not by accident that this gospel is placed first in the New Testament.

Of course, by way of the narrative, the life of Jesus comes before anything else that is communicated to the church in the New Testament.  Thus, the prophetic voice of God had not been heard for 400 years among the Jews, ending with Malachi.  Malachi had proclaimed the future king, as well as prophesied of the forerunner of that king, leaving the reader on edge on when to expect him.  That forerunner came in the person of John the Baptist – someone that figures heavily within the gospel narratives.  All of a sudden the prophetic voice of God is loud and clear, and calls attention to the King who had arrived.

It’s that presentation of a King that the gospel of Matthew portrays.  Each of the gospel narratives have a bit of a different slant on Jesus, which only makes sense considering each author presented a different point of view.  The authors (by and large) came from differing backgrounds, and were writing to different audiences, so it is only reasonable that some of the information they present is different.  Matthew as the King, Mark as the Servant, Luke as the Son of Man, John as the Son of God (generally speaking). 

Of course, even with all of the differences between the gospel accounts, the similarities between them (especially the first three) are impossible to overlook.  Matthew, Mark, and Luke are called the “Synoptic Gospels,” because they share much of the same view “Syn = together, + Optic = visual.”  Various theories abound as to why they have this similarity.  Some place Matthew as the primary text, most other scholars assume Mark to have priority (I would agree).  It would seem that Mark was written first (based off of the ministry of Peter), and Matthew & Luke each relied heavily upon Mark as a guide for their own books.  That said, there is information that Matthew & Luke each share that does not originate from Mark.  Because of this, many scholars theorize an additional lost document they label as “Q,” which would provide this common source.  Personally, I believe Q is unnecessary, in light of several considerations.

  • The early church was extraordinarily careful to preserve the documents they recognized as Scripture.  So much so, that the NT is unique among all other ancient books in history.  It’s strange that if an account of Jesus existed that was so valuable and accurate that two gospel writers relied upon it, that the church would not have preserved this book in any way.
  • The commonality between Matthew and Luke is easily explained by the common history they researched & wrote.  Matthew was present for the events, and Luke likely spoke to many of the same people who were present.  Verbal tradition was extremely important in ancient days, so it’s not unusual that people would recount stories using the same language.  Plus, it’s possible that Luke pulled much of his language from Matthew, perhaps being written later.
  • The need for a Q document disappears when the doctrine of inspiration is recognized.  Ultimately, the authors of the gospels were not Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, but the Holy Spirit of God.  That the Holy Spirit brought the words and events of Jesus to the memories of the apostles was something that Jesus specifically said the Spirit would do (Jn 14:26).  If we believe in inspiration (as we have every reason to do), then there is no need to theorize about an additional, external, lost document.

With all of that said, what about the gospel of Matthew itself?  Although the book is technically anonymous, the early church fathers unanimously affirmed that it was written by the apostle Matthew (Levi), the former tax-collector who left everything behind when he was called by Jesus to follow Him as a disciple.  A tax-collector would have been the last person imagined to be a disciple of the Son of David.  Someone who collected taxes for the Romans was a traitor to the kingdom of Israel.  Yet it all goes to demonstrate the grace of God.  The Messiah reached out in grace to the least deserving of us – even the tax-collectors – giving us the opportunity to come to faith in Him as the true King of the Jews.

The book seems to have been written in the late 50’s to 60’s, (again) being heavily dependent upon the gospel of Mark.  Matthew gives a broader picture of Jesus, going more into Jesus’ background & ministry than Mark does.  Matthew also has more of a Jewish flavor than Mark (and especially Luke)…so much so, that some theorize that Matthew originally wrote in Hebrew.  No evidence exists to support the claim, and the theory actually works against the doctrine of inspiration.  But there’s no doubt that Matthew uses Jewish terms and ideas to communicate the gospel.  But that’s the point.  Matthew purposefully presents Jesus to be the King of the Jews.  But there’s more to the King of the Jews than only the kingdom of Israel.  The King of the Jews is the King of the world.

One aspect of Matthew that is somewhat unique among the gospels is the emphasis on Jesus’ fulfillment of OT prophecy.  By some counts, there are over 65 references to the OT, 2/3 of these being direct quotations.  Thus, Jesus is not merely the fulfillment of the Messianic promise to Israel; Jesus is the fulfillment of the plan of God for the entire world.

GENERAL OUTLINE
Many have pointed out that Matthew seems to have arranged his gospel account around 5 main discourses of Jesus, along with an introduction and conclusion on either side.  Typically, Matthew narrates some ministry activity that takes place, and then concludes that activity with Jesus’ own teaching.  Mountaintops seem to punctuate the teaching along the way, with much of the teaching taking place there.  (HT: Jim Johnson)

  • Arrival of the King (1-2): The basic genealogy & birth narrative.
  • Teaching of the Kingdom (3-7): Begins with John the Baptist & ends with the Sermon on the Mount
  • Authority of the King (8-10): Begins with healings from Jesus & ends with a sermon on mission as Jesus sends out the disciples.
  • Hiddenness of the Kingdom (11-13): Questions from John the Baptist, debates over Jesus’ power & authority, ending with parables of the Kingdom.
  • Identity of the King (14-18): Jesus performs more miracles, such as the feeding of 5000 & 4000, Peter confesses Jesus as the Christ, and it ends with the sermon on the Church.
  • Rejection of the King (19-25): Jesus is tested by the Pharisees, prophesies His death & resurrection, enters Jerusalem, and gives the Olivet Discourse.
  • Passion & Triumph of the King (26-28).  The whole passion narrative is included, with no major teaching other than the resurrection which speaks beyond words!

 

Arrival of the King
Genealogy & Birth (1)
Jesus’ genealogy is often overlooked, but it’s actually quite important.  From the very beginning of his book, Matthew sets out to show Jesus as the rightful King of Israel, and much of that is dependent on His ancestry.  Matthew 1:1, "The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham:"  That Jesus is a son of Abraham shows that He (like the rest of the nation) is a Hebrew, and inherits the covenant promises made to all of Abraham’s descendants.  That Jesus is the Son of David shows that He is the Messianic King, per the Davidic covenant.  Matthew actually seems to follow Joseph’s lineage, as Joseph was a direct descendant of Solomon’s line (unlike Mary, which Luke documents).  Once the family tree is listed (which includes some most unlikely choices for the family of Messiah), the account of Jesus’ birth is given from Joseph’s perspective.  He is approached in a dream by an angel, who tells him to adopt Jesus and care for His mother, since the child to come was to be “God with us.” (1:23)

Childhood & Danger (2)
The actual Christmas story is left to Luke, while Matthew picks up beyond the birth with the visit of the Magi.  Matthew is the only Biblical writer to address this, but it shows from the very beginnings of Jesus’ life how Jesus was not given only for the Jews, but for all the world.  By the time the Magi arrived, Jesus was a toddler, but His life was already in danger.  Joseph, once more warned by an angel, fled to Egypt & remained there until it was safe to return.

  • Joseph often gets shortchanged in our telling of the gospel story, but what a wonderful example of faithfulness!  He followed God’s calling, despite great personal cost to his reputation & (potentially) his life & health.  Whatever God called him to do, Joseph was willing to fulfill.  May God raise up a generation of Josephs!

Teaching of the Kingdom
Announcement & Testing (3-4)
Matthew skips ahead to Jesus’ adulthood & the beginning of His ministry, and that’s when Matthew picks up with Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist.  John served as a royal herald, proclaiming the arrival of Jesus (exactly as Malachi prophesied that he would).  Once Jesus presented Himself for baptism (and His identity was confirmed by God the Father & God the Holy Spirit), He was led out to the wilderness.  There, the devil tempted Jesus with evil and failed as Jesus proved His worth.  (How did Jesus do it?  By repeatedly turning to the Scriptures!  We fight the lies of temptation with the truth of God.)  Once victorious, Jesus chose His first disciples & began His Galilean ministry.

Sermon on the Mount (5-7)
The King teaches about His kingdom.  During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught what it looks like to be a citizen in the kingdom of God.  Jesus showed the intent of God behind the law, and began to show how Jesus is the only one who can perfectly fulfill the law.  We are dependent upon the grace of God, and we are to humbly seek Him and His righteousness.

  • The Beatitudes (5:3-12).  The blessing of being citizens of the Kingdom.  What are the character traits of a citizen of the kingdom of heaven?  We find them in the Beatitudes.
  • The Purpose of Jesus & the Church (5:12-20).  We are salt & light.  Jesus is the fulfillment of the law.
  • The Heart of the Law (5:21-48).  Contrast between legalistic tradition & the intent of the law given by God.  “You have heard it said…” vs. “But I say to you…”  Jesus has the authority to teach such things!
  • Sincerity vs. Hypocrisy (6:1-18).  Sincere giving, prayer (including the model of the Lord’s Prayer), and fasting.
  • Trusting God’s Provision (6:19-34).  Treasure in heaven – serving God vs. money – don’t worry about tomorrow, but trust God.
  • Judge rightly (7:1-6).  Consider yourself before judging others, but judge rightly.
  • Seek God (7:7-14).  Ask, seek, knock – go by the narrow way.
  • False teachers & False converts (7:15-23).  Look for fruit – be known by Jesus.
  • Apply the word (7:24-27).  Don’t just hear Jesus’ words; do them.  Build upon the rock.

Authority of the King
Jesus’ Power (8-9) 
The King demonstrates His authority.  Jesus has the power to cleanse lepers, heal the sick, command the wind & waves, cast out demons, give sight to the blind, and even raise the dead.  Earlier, it was observed that Jesus taught with authority…it wasn’t only His doctrine; it was His action!

Jesus’ Commissioning (10)
He sent His apostles all over the land as His emissaries, proclaiming the gospel message that the King had arrived.  This is when Jesus gave His sermon on mission.

  • Sent freely to Israel (10:5-15).  Only to Israel at this time – the Gentile world would come later, after the resurrection.  Told to continue the same ministry as Jesus: heal, cleanse, raise the dead, cast out demons…preach the gospel of the kingdom to those willing to hear.
  • Warned of persecutions (10:16-26).  They were to be as sheep in the midst of wolves, but they would be empowered by the Spirit.
  • Fear God & confess Christ (10:27-33).  Man wasn’t to be feared; God is.  God knew them & would help them, so they were to be faithful in their confession of Jesus.
  • The division of the gospel (10:34-39).  Jesus brought a sword – families would be divided.  Whatever the personal cost, Jesus is worth it.
  • The reception of the gospel (10:40-42).  Not everyone would reject the message.  Some would receive them & thus receive Jesus.  A cup of cold water offered would be a welcome gift.

Hiddenness of the Kingdom
Questions & general ministry (11-12). 
It begins with once more with John the Baptist.  Was Jesus truly the one John was to expect?  Yes!  And it was proven by His works.  Jesus took the opportunity to tell the people of John’s role within the kingdom, as the prophesied Elijah to come.  Yet the people hadn’t accepted John, and neither would they accept Jesus.  Thus Jesus declared woe to those who did not repent, while still inviting those who still listened to Him to come humbly & rest in Jesus’ work and power.  (Jesus still invites people to come to Him in faith!) Chapter 12 goes on to highlight Jesus’ healing work on the Sabbath, His power over the demons & all of the controversy each caused.  The Pharisees are already shown in opposition to Jesus, even accusing Him of being empowered by the devil (12:24).  It obviously was not true, and the Pharisees were in danger of committing the unpardonable sin.  Who Jesus is & who the Pharisees were was obvious: all the people needed to do was look at their fruit.  (Fruit is evident in Christians!)

Parables of the Kingdom (13)
The Pharisees showed themselves to have been hard of heart, but they weren’t the only ones.  Many in Judea were hardened to the good news of the kingdom, and thus it was hidden from them as Jesus taught in parables (simple stories illustrating a spiritual truth).

  • The Seed & Sower (13:3-9, 19-23).  All the seed was the same (the word of God), but it fell on various soils.  Most would reject it, but some would take it in & bear much fruit.  What kind of soil is that of our hearts?
  • The Purpose of Parables (13:10-17).  Here, Jesus specifically states that the reason He spoke in parables was to hide the truth of God from the masses.  It’s not that God doesn’t want people to be saved; it’s that people need to first humble themselves before God in order to gladly receive His truth.  Arrogant hard-hearted people will always reject the gospel of Christ. 
  • The Wheat & Tares (13:24-30, 36-43).  Both grow together in the world, but only one belongs to God in His kingdom.  All will be reaped, but only one would be kept.  (Direct refutation of universal salvation!)  The key point: make certain you belong to God!
  • The Mustard Seed (13:31-32).  It starts small, but grows into something grand.  God can do something amazing from very humble beginnings…just as He did with Jesus Christ & the gospel.
  • The Leaven (13:33).  Another parable of growth, though Bible teachers debate what’s growing.  Is it sin, or the kingdom?  Perhaps it could be said of both – contextually, it seems better suited for the kingdom.  We (as kingdom citizens) are to affect our world from the inside-out with the gospel.
  • Hidden Treasure – Great Pearl – Dragnet (13:44-52).  The final three parables in the series all speak of something similar: an item of great value, recognized by the one who found it.  In the last case, the valuable item (the catch of good fish) was interspersed with bad fish.  God knows His own & keeps His own, while the rest are thrown out.  Again, those who have hard hearts to the gospel will find themselves rejected by God in the judgment.

Identity of the King
The Authority of the King (14-15)
Yet again Matthew turns to the ministry of John the Baptist, though this is the final section that John’s ministry can begin, as it is the narrative of his death.  Even this is couched in the greater ministry of Jesus, as Herod feared that Jesus was John risen from the dead (14:1-2).  Jesus is far greater than John, and Matthew illustrates it by showing Jesus performing one of His greatest miracles: the feeding of the 5000.  Jesus has the power of the Creator God, and shows it in multiple ways as He walks on the water, continues to heal the sick, and go on to a 2nd feeding – this time of 4000 people.  By this point, Jesus had ministered to both Jews & Gentiles, and He had compassion on all of them. (15:32)

The Revelation of the King (16-17)
Having departed from the Pharisees once more (after repeating the sign of the prophet of Jonah), Jesus took His disciples to Caesarea Philippi & there asked them who they believed He was.  Here, Matthew brings one of the grand climaxes of the book: Matthew 16:16, "Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”" God had revealed this to Peter, and it would be upon this rock of revelation that Jesus would build His church.  The truth of the King may have been hidden from the hard-hearted Pharisees, but it was fully revealed to Jesus’ humble disciples.  Peter’s confession was soon confirmed as he, James, and John accompanied Jesus on a high mountain & witnessed Him transfigured before their very eyes (17:1-2).  God spoke from heaven, declaring that what they visually saw in the glorified Jesus was indeed the Son of God.  As if the disciples needed any further confirmation, Jesus continued to cast out demons, even when the disciples themselves were powerless to do anything about it.

Servants of the King (18).
This is the Sermon on the Church – given by Jesus in response to the arguments among the disciples regarding who was greatest among them.  The short answer was: no one!  Jesus was the one revealed as God; not them.  They didn’t need to jockey over position, and Jesus called them to keep things in perspective.

  • Humility & Greatness (18:1-5).  God sees greatness differently than the world.  We need to humble ourselves as little children if we are to be great in the kingdom of God.  The only way the salvation of God is received is through humble hearts.
  • Personal offenses (18:6-9). There are times WE cause offense, and we need to beware.  How terrible it would be for one of us to be responsible for another person stumbling away from Christ.  We need to put our own egos aside and think about eternity.
  • Parable of lost sheep (18:10-14).  Again, the egotistical are not sought out by God, but the humble & lost are.  God will leave 99 to go find 1 that needs to be saved, because God wants none to be lost.
  • Personally offended (18:15-20).  Sometimes we are the ones who have been hurt, and Jesus tells us how to deal with it in godly humility.  Tell the person directly – deal with it among godly counselors – tell it to the church – treat them as an unbeliever.  God will guide us through the process, but we have to trust Him and do it His way.
  • Parable of Unforgiving Servant (18:21-35).  Sometimes we don’t have to walk through the steps of discipline, if we would just be willing to forgive in the first place.  We don’t have the right to hold grudges against our neighbors.  God has forgiven us of more than we can imagine – certainly we can (and should) forgive others.

Rejection of the King
The Approach of the King (19-21)
Jesus is making His journey south to Jerusalem, and He encounters people the entire way.  First were Pharisees who tried to discredit Him in a question about divorce (deftly handled by Jesus).  Later, a rich ruler comes and relies on his good deeds to guarantee his place in the kingdom.  Jesus shows him that none are truly righteous & that it is impossible for anyone to save themselves.  We must be saved by God alone.  In response to this man, Peter takes a bit of pride in his relationship with Jesus, and Jesus shows them that all of them are saved by grace.  It doesn’t matter how late someone comes to faith in Christ, as long as they come.

Finally, Jesus arrives at Jerusalem, and approaches the city in grandeur.  He had just opened the eyes of the blind (20:34), and a multitude was following Him at this point.  He approaches the city in fulfillment of prophecy (21:5), and at first the people are glad to see Him.  The people; not the Pharisees or priests.  Jesus goes on to cleanse the temple, throwing out the money changers, and the priests are upset that their corruption was made known.  Using parables, Jesus shows the priests and Pharisees that they were corrupt caretakers of the people of God, and this time, the audience understood Him well & they wanted Him dead.

Testing the King (22-23)
Knowing they had to do something, the Pharisees & Sadducees each tried to trap Jesus in a series of theological questions.  But the Son of God cannot be fooled, and He answered each one perfectly, showing their own hypocrisy through it all.  Jesus turns the tables upon them, giving Scriptural proof for His own deity, and they are left dumbstruck, unable to answer Him.

At this point, Jesus launches into a grand rebuke of the scribes & Pharisees.  They had engaged in sinful hypocrisy long enough.  They caused others to stumble in their faith long enough & they received a well-deserved lashing from the Son of God.  Jesus reserved His harshest words for those who engaged in legalistic religious hypocrisy & spiritual abuse.  Outwardly, their doctrine would have seemed quite good; inwardly their hearts were corrupt.

  • As easy as it is to point this out in the Pharisees, it’s all too common among Christian believers as well.  How careful we need to be not to engage in Pharisaic hypocrisy & sin!

The Future of the King (24-25). 
As Jesus ended His confrontation with the Pharisees, He had prophesied the future destruction fo the Jerusalem temple.  Understandably worried about this, the disciples spoke up asking Him about it, and that’s when Jesus gives some of His most detailed teaching about the end times: the Olivet Discourse.

  • Temple Destruction & Signs (24:1-14).  He affirms that the temple would indeed be torn down brick by brick, and then launches into the 2nd part of the disciples’ question: Matthew 24:3, "Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”"  The 1st question was answered in 70AD when the temple was torn down, but Jesus obviously did not return at that time.  Thus, everything Jesus says in relation to the other questions is still future.  Jesus spoke about general signs that would occur throughout history (wars & rumors of wars, etc.), but those things were not the end.  There would be a series of worldwide events that are just the beginnings of sorrows, but the end would not come until a terrible tribulation came upon the Jews & the gospel was preached to every nation.
  • Great Tribulation (24:15-28).  The sign of the end would be what Jesus (and Daniel) called “the abomination of desolation,” (24:15).  This would be an act of Antichrist within the Jerusalem temple, desecrating the holy place of God.  That tells us at least two very important things: (1) It’s still future, because it never took place prior to 70AD when the temple was destroyed, and (2) the Jerusalem temple will need to be rebuilt before it can take place.  Again, this is more proof that Jesus is speaking of future things – things that the Jewish people needed to watch for.  When they saw it, it would be time to run!  The time of Jesus’ coming would be near, and they needed to be careful not to be deceived.
  • Second Coming (24:29-31).  The glorious coming of Jesus would be something unmistakable by the world.  Massive worldwide events would take place, and Jesus would be perfectly visible to the Jewish nation.  He will gather His own to Himself (just as He spoke in the parables), and the judgment would begin.
  • Be ready (24:32-51).  In light of all of this, Jesus called His followers to be ready.  Those would be on earth during that time of Tribulation would need to watch carefully.  Once the Great Tribulation began, not a single generation would pass before it ended (24:34).  No one could know the exact moment of Jesus’ coming, so they needed to be ready at all times, lest they be swept up in the judgment.  The call is to watch & be faithful.
  • Parable of the Virgins (25:1-13).  Jesus illustrates the need to watch through a series of parables.  One was comparing wise & foolish virgins (bridesmaids).  Some were ready for the wedding to take place at any time; others were not.  Though they had all been originally extended an invitation, only a few had been prepared to respond.
  • Parable of the Talents (25:14-29).  This is a teaching on stewardship in the middle of Jesus’ teaching on the end-times.  Those days of Tribulation were not days to do nothing, but to be faithful with whatever it was God entrusted to them…primarily the gospel message.  It wasn’t something to hide away, but something to use in order that others might be saved.
  • Judgment of the Nations (25:31-46).  The final message is not so much a parable as it is a prophecy.  After Jesus’ return, the nations will be gathered before Him.  Just as Jesus taught in the parable of the wheat & tares, the nations will be separated into sheep & goats.  Those who had demonstrated the fruit of their faith would be saved; those who didn’t would be judged.

Passion & Triumph of the King
The Suffering of the King (26-27)
The Olivet Discourse ends the major teachings of Jesus, and Matthew proceeds to narrate His sacrificial service at the cross.  The familiar (to us) events are told of the plot against Jesus’ life – His anointing by Mary at Bethany – Judas’ agreement to betray Jesus – the celebration of Passover & the Last Supper.  Peter is predicted to deny Jesus – the disciples go to the Garden of Gethsemane where all of them fall asleep as Jesus alone prays in agony.  Judas shows up with a mob & temple officers, has Jesus arrested, and the disciples flee.  Jesus endures a show trial while Peter vehemently denies ever knowing the Lord.

That’s when Jesus is turned over from the Jewish leadership to the Roman government.  Pilate reluctantly takes the case from the Jewish priests, and though he finds no fault in Jesus, he coldly turns Jesus over to be executed.  Jesus is beaten, whipped, nailed to a cross, mocked by the Jews, and dies in agony.  In the evening, His body is taken down from the cross & buried by Joseph of Arimathea.

In a normal biography of a normal man, that would be the end.  But this isn’t any normal man!  Ch. 28…

The Victory of the King (28)
Sunday morning comes and the women who believed in Jesus came to the tomb, hoping to complete the Jewish rites of burial.  They expected to find a contingent of Roman soldiers, but an angel had arrived there first, scaring them (almost literally) to death.  The angel was still there when the women arrived, and showed to them the empty tomb.  The women hurried back to the disciples, per the angel’s instructions (with a quick stop by Jesus who assured them of His life).

Matthew doesn’t speak of the disciples’ initial reaction to the resurrected Jesus, but he does include some information about the Roman guards.  Normally the guards would have been killed for failing in their duties, but instead they lived to tell the tale that they had fallen asleep & the disciples stole the body.  Matthew explains that they had been bribed by the Jewish priests, and the evidence for bribery is the rumor itself.  (1) It was totally implausible, and (2) No guard would have survived to tell the story.  Thus even the Romans testified to Jesus’ resurrection.

The final event Matthew gives is Jesus’ commission to His disciples.  Once more, He met them upon a mountain, and He tells them what He had not only demonstrated throughout His ministry, but what was confirmed in the resurrection: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” (28:18)  Jesus IS the King of the Jews, and He is the King of the Universe as well.  And what did our King command His followers to do?  Make disciples of the world.  Go tell others about Him, and see them become disciples as well.

Conclusion:
We have the glorious privilege of serving the King of the Universe!  Jesus showed Himself to be the fulfillment of God’s plan for the world – one that had been set in place from before the foundations of the world itself.  He has revealed Himself as the King, and proven it through His resurrection from the dead.  How have we been making disciples?  How have you been making disciples?

May we take heed to the words of our King & proclaim Him to all the world!

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