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Study Notes:

Matthew 11

Misunderstanding Jesus

Summary: Jesus addresses questions about His identity, responds to rejection, and issues a call for the weary and worn-out to come find rest in Him.

So far we’ve seen the person of Jesus in Matthew 1-4, we read about His family tree, the events surrounding His birth, and His early life.  Then, we read about His principles in 5-7 where we found the famous Sermon on the Mount.  In chapters 8-9 we learned about His power as we were told about the miracles He performed, and in chapter 10 we saw His people as the 12 disciples were called, commissioned, and sent out with the message that the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand.

This morning we are reminded that the message was not always well received. Some misunderstood who Jesus was or what the kingdom was, and others violently resisted Him despite all the miracles they had seen and the teaching they had heard.  And yet, by the end of the chapter we see Jesus remains patient and calm, mercifully calling for people to come and find rest and relief in Him.

We pick things up in:

Matthew 11:1 Now it came to pass, when Jesus finished commanding His twelve disciples, that He departed from there to teach and to preach in their cities.

2 And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples 3 and said to Him, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?”

This is John the Baptist.  We read about him in chapters 3 and 4.  John was sent by God as a prophet to announce Christ was coming.  Large crowds came out to hear John preaching by the Jordan River.  His plain and direct style of speech was well received by some but agitated others, including a few very powerful people like Herod.

Herod was the political leader of Israel at the time, under the authority of Rome.  And if you think political headlines are disappointing today, you need to know they’re really nothing new – Herod made news when he took his brother’s wife as his own.  In other words, he married his sister-in-law.  And John had the audacity to call him out on it and say it was wrong.  This agitated the woman who pressed Herod to have John arrested and plotted to have him eventually beheaded.

So John is sitting in jail because of his preaching.  But that’s confusing because his preaching included the message that the Chosen One was coming – the Christ, the Messiah.  And John told people, the Messiah will bring judgment.  He said the coming Messiah had

Matt 3:12 “His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

John expected the Coming One to bring blessings on those who would repent and judgment on those who did not.  But, if that was true, where was the judgment on Herod who had arrested John?  And didn’t Jesus say He had come to ‘bring sight to the blind and set the captives free?’ 

Do you understand how things could have been very confusing for John, sitting in jail asking “Why am I still in captivity?  Am I missing something? This was not the plan!”  So, he sent his disciples to verify what’s going on.

I’m sure some of you can relate – I know I can – we think God is going to do something for us, and He doesn’t, at least not immediately.  And it doesn’t make sense at first.  Well, I can tell you, God has never let me down.  But there are times I’ve had to ask Him, like John, “What’s going on?”  Fortunately, I can tell you, sooner or later it has all made sense.  Even when things got worse before they got better.

So here’s some practical help for those situations: if you find yourself questioning the present or the future, fall back on what you know of the past – the past is the fuel for future faith.  John knew he had seen the dove descend on Jesus at His baptism.  He knew he had heard God’s voice say, “this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”  John knew all the other times and events when God had commissioned him for ministry and instructed him how to live and dress and what to say and do.  He had past faithfulness to fall back on. 

And so do you – you might not understand what God is doing right now, but you know what He has done and said in the past, so let that be an anchor to hold you in place right now.  Go back to His Word, which has not changed, and will not change – remind yourself of truth, and hold on tight.

Prov 3:5 ​​Trust in the LORD with all your heart,

​​And lean not on your own understanding;

6 ​​In all your ways acknowledge Him,

​​And He shall direct your paths.

In this case, Jesus directs John’s disciples to go back and report what’s happening.

4 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: 5 The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 6 And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”

These are all things prophets like Isaiah said the Messiah would do.  And, they were things no one else had done or could do.  So, if these miracles were happening, and everyone agreed they were, then something very important must be occurring in human history and people should be listening to the One responsible for it all.

Jesus was announcing the arrival of a new day – the beginning of a kingdom even greater than that of David, Israel’s greatest king.  But people where confused because Jesus aimed to build citizens before building cities.  In God’s kingdom, the focus is always on people and what is happening in their hearts, minds, and souls.  Remember He just told us, in the Sermon on the Mount,

Matt 6:31 … do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

The number one priority in our lives should be the orientation of our hearts and desires.  The material, physical, and political aspects of the kingdom will come one day, but first our hearts have to be in the right place to handle them.

And this has a very practical application that God has been pressing on me lately regarding our church.

Here at City Gates we are blessed.  We have seen God do tremendous things over the past several years.  We are growing; we are increasing in number and maturity.  We are seeing people make professions of faith in Christ and be baptized.  We are running out of comfortable seating in the rear of the sanctuary.  People are stepping up and serving in ministry and starting new ministries and those ministries are bearing fruit.

But we must remember – spiritual growth and progress will always be opposed.  And we are starting to see that.  There is opposition at times, sometimes there is conflict, and there is friction and frustration.  It can happen with and among people, or with technology and materials, or with space and calendars and communications.  As we grow, the flesh and it’s desire for comfort and predictability or it’s opinions and preferences can get in the way.  And that says nothing about the fact that there is a very real spiritual enemy who opposes us and hates losing ground as we advance.

So, those of us who serve in any ministry related to The City Gates Church need to remember that what we do is inherently spiritual.  Whatever it is you do, however it is that you serve, you’re serving with and reaching out to people who are spiritual beings first and foremost. Reaching their souls was the priority of Jesus’ ministry and kingdom.

So, if you want to be effective in ministry, if you want to see things continue to grow, if you want to see people continually reached and lives continue to be transformed, please, please, please remember the inherently spiritual nature of your service as a matter of first importance.  Pray for yourself, for your ministry, for the people you’re serving and for everyone else.

  • If you serve on the security team – remember we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers in the heavenly places.
  • If you serve in a teaching capacity – remember that it’s not about your illustrations, or lesson plan, or crafts or outline, the people you’re speaking to need ears to hear
  • If you serve at the welcome table or as an usher or greeter – remember you may be the first face someone sees as they enter for worship and they may need to be reminded to come to Jesus whose yoke is easy and burden is light
  • If you serve on the counting team or deal with the church’s funds in any way remember that you are touching someone’s act of worship – their gift and sacrifice to the Lord, it’s more than just dollars and decimals.
  • If you serve on the worship team, remember this is more than chords, progressions, and harmonies, this is more than getting the mix right for a concert or presentation, this is worship for the living God who wants to hear us more than angels

Brothers and sisters, for the sake of the church and for the sake of our souls, I’m asking us to remember the inherently spiritual nature of our ministry.  There is more to doing church than meets the eye – the real work is happening down in the soul as God builds citizens for His new kingdom.  Look around, take note of what He is doing – God is at work in our midst just as He was when John sent his disciples to ask what’s happening – we need to see it and embrace it, and give thanks for it, even if we’re experiencing some personal difficulties like John.

Which brings me to one last point: John served well in ministry, and it wound up getting him a room in prison.  So, don’t expect things to be easy as you serve.  But if you make yourself available to Jesus He will notice, as He did with John.  Listen to what He says next, as He validates John’s ministry and offers a glowing tribute of the man.

7 As they departed, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 8 But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. 9 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet. 10 For this is he of whom it is written:

‘​Behold, I send My messenger before Your face,

​​Who will prepare Your way before You.’

11 “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

John had a greater ministry because all the other prophets said a Savior was coming, but John actually saw Jesus, baptized Jesus, and pointed to Jesus in an immediate way – he could send people to go ask Jesus questions.  No other prophet had this privilege.   

And even though John had a question about how things were going, even though He was trying to understand why ministry wasn’t shaping up the way he thought it was supposed to, Jesus still had great things to say about him.

But notice this – Jesus said it after John’s disciples left.  They never heard Him say all this, which means John probably never heard it either.

And so too with you – Jesus might have great things to say about you, even as you’re battling depression and pulled down by your circumstances, questioning everything that’s going on.  Are you sure He’s not telling the angels what a great servant you are?  Are you sure He’s not pointing out to His father the way you’ve prayed, the way you’ve served, the way you’ve been helpful and encouraging to the people around you? 

Jesus may be giving others a great report on your life and service even though you can’t hear a word of it.  He notices everything, there’s nothing that escapes Him, and one day He will reward you for even the smallest acts of obedience and worship.

But notice too that Jesus says he who least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than John.  What does that mean?  Well, Jesus is saying that anyone who has accepted Him and found forgiveness and acceptance, anyone who has been reborn in Christ, anyone who has been adopted by God and become a citizen of heaven is greater than those who were waiting for this to be possible.

In the Old Testament people, including the prophets, were always looking forward to the day when God would provide a Savior.  Now that day has come and we all look back to the day when it happened. 

Of course, as we’ve mentioned, not everyone responds well to what God is doing.  Jesus goes on to say:

Matthew 11:12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. 13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. 14 And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come. 15 He who has ears to hear, let him hear!

There are two main views on how to understand this passage – some say the violent who take the kingdom are those who enthusiastically, vigorously receive the gospel and plunge forward in the love of God as if nothing will stop them.  That is possible.

But, based on the context here, it seems more likely that Jesus means the kingdom is being resisted, just as we experience today. 

From the very beginning God’s efforts to establish the kingdom have been resisted and suffered violent opposition.  Shortly after Jesus was born Herod killed all the male babies and toddlers in Bethlehem.  Now John the Baptist is in jail, and he’ll soon be beheaded.  A crowd has already tried to push Jesus off a cliff in Nazareth, and some have begun to plot His death.  There is no doubt that at this moment, as Jesus is speaking, God’s kingdom has been subjected to violence and violent people have been attacking it.

They’ll have a victory or two, but they will not ultimately prevail.  God’s will will be done.  As Jesus points out – the kingdom continues to move forward – John is the fulfillment of the prophecy of one who would come in the spirit of Elijah.  He was not a reincarnation or resurrection of Elijah, as John himself pointed out, but he was the fulfillment of Malachi’s prophecy (Mal 3:1, 4:5).

Jesus then goes on to describe how people sometimes resist the kingdom with apathy instead of direct violence, but it’s still rejection none-the-less.

Matthew 11:16 “But to what shall I liken this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their companions, 17 and saying:

​‘​We played the flute for you,

​​And you did not dance;

​​We mourned to you,

​​And you did not lament.’

18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ But wisdom is justified by her children.”

The point here is: if you don’t want to receive the message, you’ll always find an excuse to reject or oppose it.  This should really just emphasize for us the inherently spiritual nature of the work we’re doing as we live for God and serve Him.  For some people, it doesn’t matter what you do, or say, or what you wear or where you go, they’re going to criticize it all because their opposition is not based on purely physical things, it’s spiritual.  Their heart and soul do not want to accept what is being said or happening.  So you have to pray, pray for them to receive what’s happening and for God to open their eyes and ears.  Friends do not overlook the very real spiritual nature of our lives! 

Jesus continues to make the point:

Matthew 11:20 Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent: 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you.

Jesus contrasts Chorazin and Bethsaida with Tyre and Sidon, prominent coastal cities from the era of the Phoenicians that had been judged by God hundreds of years earlier. But Jesus predicts the greatest judgment will be on Capernaum where He lived – where people had the chance to see Him day in and day out, where they knew Him well.  The people there would have no excuse for not accepting what God was trying to tell them and therefore their judgment would be even worse than that of Sodom, one of the most wicked cities of the ancient world.

23 And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you.”

Here is what this should say to us: it’s not enough merely to be here.  It’s not enough merely to come, listen, sing, and maybe even like what you hear – there must be a point in your life when you repented of your sins and your soul was converted.  There were people in Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum who heard Jesus teach, saw Him do miracles, maybe even experienced one themselves, and yet they were not converted, they did not believe, and they were not in His kingdom.

There are two groups in here this morning – there is a crowd of around 300, and we’re all a part of that.  But there is also a congregation, a number less than 300 that includes everyone who is actually a citizen of the kingdom of heaven.  Don’t assume that because you’re a part of the crowd that you’re also a citizen.  You must be converted.  You must be saved. 

And you can be.  Listen to what Jesus says next:

25 At that time Jesus answered and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. 26 Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight. 27 All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. 28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

It is not for us to try to understand who gets to hear the gospel and who does not, who is saved and who is not.  But this should strike us as interesting: those who resist, reject, and refuse the gospel (or Christian growth for that matter) are often those we could describe as wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight – people who think much of themselves in other words.  Meanwhile, those who receive the gospel are most often humble, open, and willing to learn.  Nothing keeps men and women farther from heaven than pride.

So, you can pretend to be wise and prudent – self-reliant, self-sufficient, a sophisticated man or woman full of worldly wisdom and know how, and miss out on what God wants to do.  God loves and reaches out to ordinary people.

When Peter and John were arrested after the resurrection and brought before the religious leaders for interrogation, the Bible says

Acts 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.

Being with Jesus does something to you.  It has an affect that others can recognize.

Why is that?  Perhaps it’s because He has everything we need.

He says “all things have been given to me by the Father,” a point He’ll repeat in the famous Great Commission when He tells the disciples to go into all the world making disciples of other nations (Matt 28).

This idea that Jesus is the supply of every need and the answer to every issue is a common one in Scripture which tells us: Jesus has the keys to Heaven, He is the door, He is the light, He is the Shepherd, He is the great Physician, He is the bread of life, He is the fountain of Living Water, His blood cleanses us from all sins and on and on it goes.

But He’s not greedy, He wants to share.  In fact, He calls out to us in this passage where one commentator (Wycliffe) noted His “invitation vibrates with opportunity.”

Jesus says, “Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.”

Notice that.  He says “Come to Me” – not to the church, not to a pastor, counselor, or therapist, not to a book or a blog – though all of those things can be helpful, Jesus tells you come to Him.  Come to the person of Jesus Christ.

Some of us may need to come to Jesus for the first time this morning; others may have picked up heavy loads over time and need to drop them.  But all of us need to remember: this is the God who forgave Peter for his denial, the God who felt the pain of Mary and Martha at the death of their brother, the God who endured the doubts of Thomas – they all came to Him with their issues, and He showed them His meekness and tenderness as well as His power and strength.

This very morning, right now, Jesus is calling to us and offering us refreshment for our souls.  Will you come to Him today? 

In John 6:37 Jesus said:

“the one who comes to Me, I will by no means cast out.”

We’re going to close our service now with prayer.  This is us talking to God.  He’s been speaking to us through His Word and now it’s our time to respond.  Maybe you need to respond by coming to Jesus for the first time to go from being a part of the crowd to a citizen of the kingdom.  Maybe this is the morning when you’re ready to surrender your life to Jesus Christ; it’s been enough to hear about Him, now you want to actually belong to Him.  If so, just tell Him.  He sees what’s in your heart and mind, He knows your thoughts and motives, so just tell Him something like this:

God, I know You’re there and I know you’re listening.  Would you please forgive me for all the wrongs I have ever done and all the good that I tried that was never good enough.  Would you accept me, would you have me, would you let me be yours?  Jesus said to come so here I am.  I want to be yours.  Will you put your yoke on me and teach me how to live from this day forward?  I love you, and I thank you, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

If you pray a prayer like that you could experience sudden, radical change in your life, or it may be subtle, God works differently in different people, but this you can know for sure – God does hear, He does forgive, and He does welcome you in.  So tell somebody that you prayed that prayer this morning.  And let us know, we have some materials we want to give you to help you get to know God more.

And for the rest of us, we can get weary and heavy laden too. We can wonder, like John, ‘what’s going on?’ and need to be reminded of what has already happened and what Jesus is doing, so let all of us who already belong to Him pray as well.

h, Obed begot Jesse, 6 and Jesse begot David the king.

David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah. 7 Solomon begot Rehoboam, Rehoboam begot Abijah, and Abijah begot Asa. 8 Asa begot Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat begot Joram, and Joram begot Uzziah. 9 Uzziah begot Jotham, Jotham begot Ahaz, and Ahaz begot Hezekiah. 10 Hezekiah begot Manasseh, Manasseh begot Amon, and Amon begot Josiah. 11 Josiah begot Jeconiah and his brothers about the time they were carried away to Babylon.
12 And after they were brought to Babylon, Jeconiah begot Shealtiel, and Shealtiel begot Zerubbabel. 13 Zerubbabel begot Abiud, Abiud begot Eliakim, and Eliakim begot Azor. 14 Azor begot Zadok, Zadok begot Achim, and Achim begot Eliud. 15 Eliud begot Eleazar, Eleazar begot Matthan, and Matthan begot Jacob. 16 And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ.
17 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.

Now if you take a class on communication, public speaking, or writing, they will tell you how important it is to grab the attention of your audience.  This doesn’t quite seem to hit that mark for us, does it?  So why does Matthew choose to start off this way?

And the answer is: because he didn’t write it just for us.  This is God’s Word, it’s what God wants all people to know – people from every tribe, and language, and county and jungle and village on the planet – people who lived in the 1800s and the 800s, all over the world and all throughout time.  And those people did not, and do not, live in the same media-saturated culture as we do.

To most of them, to most of the people in the history of the world, family is important.  If you meet someone new, you want to know where they fit – who is their family, where do they come from, what’s their connection?  Today, we meet people in total isolation, as if their past and their lineage have nothing to do with who they are.  For most of the world though, and for much of history, people were understood to have a place where they fit.  Matthew is showing people where Jesus fits.

And that was very important, especially for the Jews who were the first to read what Matthew had written.  They knew what God had said in the past, so they expected the Messiah to come through a particular family line, to come through the line of Abraham and also be a descendant of David.  This genealogy shows that Jesus does both.  It proves that God kept His promises and did what He said – Jesus is the fulfillment of what Jewish people had been hoping for centuries.  That’s why it’s so important to open the book with a family tree.

And actually, if you think about it, we do still care about connection and family today.  Some of the most popular stories of our time are about family.  Think of Star Wars, Harry Potter, even Downton Abbey, they’re about family: who is related to whom and who is the descendent of whom, who is the father of whom?  What family are you in?

And then, think of the popularity of DNA kits where you take a swab of your saliva and send it in for analysis to learn where your ancestors came from, or the popularity of sites like ancestry.com.  It turns out there is something in each of us that really wants to know: where did I come from, who am I connected to, and how do I fit in?  Sometimes, for all of our modern independence, like Matthew, we wonder if it’s worth the cost of being alone.

Of course, the problem with families is: they’re messy.  We might have some family members and ancestors that we’re proud of and get along with, but we’ve also got some people we don’t exactly like, or aren’t exactly proud of, or that we’re disappointed about or tired of.  Well, you find the same thing in the line of Jesus: heroes and harlots, victims and victors, role models and rogues.

Take a look at the ladies in this list.  Now, first of all, you have to know that it was extremely rare for women to be included in a genealogy, but these ladies are, and when you get to know at a little more about them, you might be shocked that this is line of Jesus.

First you have Tamar, you meet her in Genesis 28 where she put on a disguise and sold herself as a prostitute to her father-in-law Judah because he wasn’t keeping up his responsibility to take care of her, in the process she got pregnant and gave birth to the twins Perez and Zerah. So yeah, you’ve got a bit of a mess right there.

Then you have Rahab who really was a prostitute, and she wasn’t a Jew, she was a Canaanite, a different ethnicity. We meet her in Joshua 2 where God takes extraordinary measures to save her and her family from the destruction of Jericho and bring them into His blessing and promises for Israel.  And this is a common thing, to see God adopting people in, bringing people that you would not expect into His family.

It’s the same thing that happened with Ruth who we meet in the book of Ruth – she was from Moab, a nation the Jews hated.  She had been married to a man who was a Jew, but he died along with all the other men of the family leaving Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi in a precarious position.  But God changed her life and her destiny through the kindness of Boaz, and the woman who once felt as though she had nothing, eventually had a grandson who sat on the throne of Israel: King David, Israel’s most beloved king.

Of course, David didn’t always make the best choices.  He’s famous for things like slaying the giant Goliath, but he’s also infamous for stealing the wife of another man.  Bathsheba “had been the wife of Uriah” until David used his position of power to take advantage of her, which you can read about in 2 Samuel 11.

Each of these women were in a vulnerable place – Tamar couldn’t get the support she was entitled to, Rahab was a citizen of a city facing destruction, Ruth had lost her husband and all economic security along with him, and Bathsheba was the victim of a predator.  Some of them brought difficulty on themselves, others were just victims of circumstance or the choices of others, but God redeemed them all and turned their stories into part of the lineage of Christ.

And then you have the kings – they’re a mixed bag as well.  From King David on you have a list of rulers who had a spotty record of righteousness and debauchery.  We just mentioned David’s highlights and humiliations, but then you have men like his grandson Rehoboam who was a wicked ruler – so bad in fact that it led to a split in the Kingdom.  His son Abijah was wicked like dad, but then things turned around with Asa who was good, and so was his son, Jehoshaphat, but Joram his son was wicked and then he had Uzziah who had some good moments, but was also struck down with leprosy for attempting to enter the temple and burn incense, something only the priests were allowed to do (2 Chronicles 26:16-21).

What’s the lesson here?  It’s this: politicians will never be our saviors, it doesn’t matter what party they represent, they’re still human beings and human beings are tempted to make bad choices because of power.  They don’t, and can’t know everything, do everything, or fix everything. And even if things are good for a season, they’re going to be bad again sooner or later because human beings are still involved.  No political party is ever going to save us or be 100% reliable.

The flip and flop of the character of the kings also shows us that good parents can have bad kids and bad parents can have good kids because we all, every generation, need to have our own relationship with God.  You can’t ride on your parent’s coattails on the one hand, but neither are you doomed by your parents on the other.  We all need Jesus and we can all have Jesus.

So, what we find in the genealogy is God fulfilling His promises – doing what He said He would do: provide a savior through Abraham and David who would be a blessing to all humanity.

But we also find a sample of the kind of people Jesus came to save: Jews like Jacob, Jesse, and Josiah, Moabites like Ruth and Canaanites like Rahab, men like Solomon and women like Tamar, saints like Boaz and sinners like Uzziah, rulers like David and carpenters like Joseph.  People like you, and people like me.  We all need Jesus.

This genealogy shows us that no one has it together enough, no is popular enough, no one is powerful enough to create their own forgiveness and salvation.

But it also shows us that no one is too far gone, no one has too much or sinned too big to be forgiven.  We all need Jesus who came to call sinners to salvation, and to give us a new identity in Christ.

This genealogy presents God’s extravagant grace on display and we see it again in the life of the man who wrote it down.  There is a God who brings the outsiders in.

This morning if you will turn to Jesus He will include you in His family – where your sin abounds grace abounds much more.  And if you will make yourself available to Him, He will go to work in your life like He did in Matthew and redeem and transform your skills and abilities for His glory.  Will you do that?

We’re about to celebrate communion, and as the men distribute the elements, I want to encourage you to take a moment and pray.  Confess your sins to God, ask for forgiveness, and offer Him your life once again – to make of it whatever He pleases.  For His glory, and your satisfaction and joy.

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