The Gospel of Matthew is the longest and perhaps most quoted narrative of the life of Jesus. We’re studying that book from now until the spring in a series of messages called “The Best Life Ever Lived”. In this first message, using chapters 1 and 2 as a text, we begin to discover the three most important features of His life; and discover ours as well.
*Apologies, the first couple minutes of the sermon are not available.*
This August, Robin and I celebrate our 40th anniversary! We’re thinking about taking a trip together to a place we haven’t ever been. There are a few things I want to know before we leave the house. One is where I’m going, two is how I’m going to get there and three is what’s our purpose.
We’re starting today on a journey of sorts through the Book of Matthew in the New Testament and I want to know some of the same things that I want to know about our Anniversary Trip.
Where are we going? We’re going through the earthly life of One Person, the Lord Jesus Christ. We’re going to start with His beginnings and end with His earthly endings.
How are we going to get there? By following the major points of His Life through the narrative of Matthew. He likely isn’t the Matthew you’re thinking of, but maybe he is. It hardly matters. His story of Jesus’ life is inspired by God Himself, and that’s confirmed through thousands of years of church history. This is the most quoted Gospel and the longest in terms of chapters. We’re going to reference two chapters every week. We won’t go verse by verse every week, but we will pull as much truth as the Lord allows each time we preach. By the month of June we will get to the end, considering guest ministry and such.
What’s our purpose? To get close to and be changed by the best life ever lived. Yes, of all the lives ever lived or will be lived on this planet, this is by very far the best life ever lived. Do you admire a great figure from the past? Jesus’ life is better in every way than the best you can think of.
Here are our Bible texts for the day:
Matthew 1:1-2, 17-18
“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham: Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers…So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, from David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations. Christ Born of Mary. Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.”
Matthew 2:1-2, 23
“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him”…And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, “He shall be called a Nazarene.””
There are three things we learn by getting up close and personal with Matthew’s account of Jesus’ life.
How can this affect your life?
As a human, you have the same three things that He has. Not in exactly the same way or to the same degree of specifics, but you have these also.
First of all, you’re a person. You are a unique creation of God and you’re meant to be here. You were created by God, in His great mind and heart first, but at conception you were a person. Jesus was a human person the moment He was conceived in his Mom by the Holy Spirit. You are meant to be here because God chose to create you. You share human personhood with every other person who has ever lived.
In this church you need to know something, there is no doubt that little ones in the womb of any woman are not blobs of tissue that can be removed without meaning. They are people, scientifically and otherwise different persons than their mothers and therefore deserving of our protection; not our choice or convenience. It’s too late when you find yourself pregnant; a life has been created by God, a person.
You have a pedigree. Even if you don’t know your parents, you have a pedigree. You come from somewhere and it affects you and it enriches you, even if you know that your progenitors weren’t the most exemplary because they affect you with a culture, some personality traits, and a sense of belonging. Now granted you may have to avoid the characteristics of your progenitors, but if there’s any greatness in your background, admire it and adopt it because you can stand on those shoulders. The older I get the more I admire and appreciate the good things that both of my grandfathers gave me – hard work, diligence, common sense, and intelligence are a few of them. You have that too.
Finally, you have purpose. You may not know this about me, but I have struggled with depression to one degree or another over the years. Thank the Lord He’s bringing me out of that pattern more and more as time goes on. But I have struggled in difficult times and it wasn’t easy. I remember in the deepest valley of depression that I read a parable Jesus taught about a landowner and his orchard keeper. The landowner saw a tree that wasn’t bearing any fruit and he instructed the orchard keeper to cut it down. “Why let it use up the soil?” I heard the enemy’s voice say, “Why do you let your fruitless life go on? Just cut it down”. Thankfully he overplayed his hand and I didn’t listen to that, but I was tempted to agree with him because I lost sight of what the Bible teaches. I am a person and I have purpose.
Jesus had obvious purpose, but it wasn’t all that obvious at the time if you looked at him. He was just a regular baby, a little boy, a preteen, a teen, a young man and a mature man. He had and has purpose. You also have purpose. I was reading a book last week and it said this, “Every person does something better than the next ten thousand people”. Why is that? Purpose. You may not have found it yet or completely understand it, but it’s there.
You may be struggling with your life today. What I’ve said may have helped you or not. But here’s my final plea. Your personhood, your pedigree and your purpose can all be found in His personhood, pedigree and purpose. He will give you a new heart and life that brings your humanity to fulfillment.
In Him was life and the life was the light of men (John 1:4). He can be your life and light today.