All Roads Lead To Jesus - Matthew

Matthew – He is the Messiah King
Reading: Matthew 16

There are four Gospel accounts in the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The first three of those Gospels are called the synoptic Gospels because each writer tells similar stories from their point of view about the work and person of Jesus Christ. From each of these perspectives, the readers learn different aspects of Jesus from the same story.

Matthew was written with the Jewish people in mind. Israel had not heard any new revelation from God for 400 years. In that time period, their kingdom had exchanged hands several times and the throne had never reached the height of David’s reign. At the time of Christ, they had become a subjugated people. They waited for the King that would set them free.

Messianic figures had come and gone while failing to deliver Israel from their earthly oppressors. The hope of the Kingdom God had promised to David was fading.  Even so, a remnant continued to wait faithfully for the King that would set them free.

In Matthew, Jesus is the Messiah King. Matthew used very specific language to convince the Jewish people that Jesus was indeed the King they had longed for during the years of silence. Jesus was the King who had inaugurated the Kingdom that had always been promised. We know Matthew’s intent was to encourage the Jewish people to consider Christ for several reasons. Matthew quoted or alluded to the Old Testament over 130 times, including details in his Gospel that held great to the Jews who had remained faithful to the Scriptures. This is why Matthew often ended a narrative sequence with, “That which was spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled.”

Matthew intended to prove that every single book in the Old Testament, which the Jews called “the Law and the prophets”, was concerned with the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. All the promises, all the prophet's words, all the priestly sacrifices, and all of the kings were just a shadow of the great Messiah King who would establish the Kingdom of God on this Earth.

Jesus was not what Israel had expected. They wanted a military king to lead them out from under the Romans and into an earthly kingdom that was more glorious than any kingdom that had come before. But they had been short-sighted. God’s promise was to reconcile all of His people, from every nation, unto himself. The Messiah would be the perfect prophet, the only truly worth priest, and the King deserving of all glory.

In the middle of the narrative, Jesus asked his disciples, "Who do the people think that I am?" His disciples thought about if for a moment and then reported to Jesus that the crowds thought Jesus might be someone important, a great teacher, or a reborn prophet. Then Jesus turned to his disciples and asked them point-blank, "What about you? Who do you think I am?"

Peter, always being the first to respond said, "You are the Christ." This was a turning point in Matthew's account of the Gospel. According to Peter, and through Jesus' acceptance of Peter's answer, we learn that Jesus was the King Israel had been waiting for.

Matthew is valuable to us because we see that God had always been weaving His story of Redemption with a scarlet thread from the very beginning. Jesus the Messiah King was always the goal from eternity past and into eternity future as well as everything in between.

The question Jesus asked Peter and the disciples continues to echo through time as it reaches us in our current day. Who do you say Jesus is? No matter what faith or background you hold, every human being must reckon with a man who changed the world. We must wrestle with his claims and we must decide how his claims and actions impact our lives. Jesus cannot simply be ignored.

We are now waiting in a period that seems very similar to the 400 years of silence. The last perfect Word given by God was through his disciple John in the prophecies of Revelation. We hear the words of the King and we cling to a certain hope, “I am coming soon.” But we still wait.

Many in Israel had lost hope. Some had abandoned the faith altogether. Others filled in the gaps with false Messiahs and politics. But still, some had remained faithful as they clung to a true and certain hope. God had promised a king.

As our King, Jesus rules over us with a Kingdom ethic of love and mercy. He is not a weak king for he is Lord even over sin, death, and the grave. Jesus has defeated our greatest enemy and continues to crush our current enemies.

It is easy for us to lose faith as we wait for Jesus to return. It is easy for us to turn to lesser kings and to lose hope when our world is falling apart around us. But Jesus has proven to be a faithful king. His resurrection and defeat of death are proof enough that he will do what he says and fulfill what God has promised.

Jesus promised that he would come back in the same way that he ascended. The entire New Testament is full of God’s future promises that when Jesus returns, he will not come back born into a humble nature, but rather riding on a white horse, with a sword in his hand, and victory assured.

When the King returns, he is bringing with him a complete restoration of heaven and earth. Everything that is bad will be wiped away. Everything that is good will remain. As we walk through the various trials that our current day presents, remember, there is a King who is coming again.

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