Peace on Earth | Peace Arrives | Matthew 1
Topic: Gospel Passage: Matthew 1:2–1:8, Matthew 1:9–1:25
PEACE ARRIVES 1
Good morning, Mercy Fellowship. Hope you are well this morning. If you don’t know me, my name is Curtis, I’m an elder candidate and am honored to be preaching to you this morning. We’re going to be in Matthew 1 this morning as we are continuing our sermon series on Peace on Earth. I love the idea behind this series, because it speaks to our greatest need right now, which is peace. We are surrounded by chaos from outside ourselves and from within, so we are in desperate need of something to calm the storms of life, so we need peace! I want us to consider a question though. How did we get to the place where we need peace? You could reply “it’s 2020, that’s how.” 2020 or not, we want peace, so how did we get to this place?
We have to go all the way back to Genesis, where we see that God created all things good, and He created our first parents Adam and Eve, and provided for their joy and flourishing by giving the tasks to work and keep the land and to grow in number, literally discipleship. God created everything good and they sinned. Adam and Eve chose to disobey God despite all the good that He had set up for them and provided for them, and still they thought and we think that we are better on our own without God. Ever since the fall we have been as humans in a constant pursuit of peace, trying anything and everything. From one extreme of people mutilating their flesh, to another of people using essential oils. We are in need of peace.
So where do you look for peace? I want to lay before you two extremes that some groups practice to try and find peace, and maybe you land somewhere in between. Buddhism: Buddhist don’t believe in a god and they believe that all of life is suffering, and the reason for suffering is because of desire. So how do we get rid of suffering? We get rid of desire. And once we get rid of desire, then we have found peace. Millions of people in this group say this is the way to find peace.
Hedonism: Hedonism is the pursuit of all pleasure and that by maximizing pleasure, we can minimize suffering. Nothing is held back. If you desire it, go after it. The thought is, once you have fulfilled your desire than you’ll have peace. What’s the repeated testimony of Hedonists? It doesn’t work. (St. Augustine)
These are two extremes, but where on the spectrum from these two points do you look for peace? Do you chase after things to give you peace? Do you starve yourself of things to give you peace? When we look for peace, what’s our process and have we found it?
The beauty of the gospel of Jesus is this, that I don’t need to search the world for peace, but rather the Prince of Peace has come down and found us! And what confidence does Jesus give us of this? “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” - John 14:27
Matt.1:1 - PURSUED BY PEACE
“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.”
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Matthew is writing to a Jewish audience throughout this entire book and what he is doing is constantly tying his book to the OT. So much so that He is repeating the exodus narrative in in the following chapters, as well as the creation account. He does this throughout all of his gospel, but specifically in this first verse, where the word genealogy in greek means ‘genesis’ which is
translated as beginning.
What seems to be communicated here, is that a section of history has closed and a new one has opened. A new beginning is taking place because of Jesus and more personally, new beginnings are found in Jesus for us. That He never runs out of new life to be given to us. Some of your marriages and relationships are straining and in need of life; there’s new life found in Christ. Maybe you yourself are exhausted from this year, there’s life to be found in Jesus. What I am trying to communicate to you, is that we believe that Jesus has eternal life for us but it’s someday in the future, not now. What Matthew is saying, is that Jesus is a constant source of new beginnings for us. Some of you this morning are wanting a new year but Jesus wants to give you a new life in Him.
We often associate Christ as a last name of Jesus and yet that’s not what Matthew is doing here. He is explaining the office the Jesus holds as the Jewish Messiah. Think of the president for a second. When you hear the title ‘President,’ there is a select group of people that have had the honor of holding that office not only that though they had to meet the credentials. When it comes to the office of Christ, one person would hold that position, but they had to meet the credentials. What were those credentials?
A covenants, are promises that are made between two parties, vowing to fulfill them despite circumstances. So if you’re married, you made a promise for better for worse, rich or poor, sickness and health. Regardless of which way things go for us, I’m committed! So God made two covenants, one with Abraham and one with David. With Abraham, He said in the book of Genesis “From your offspring will come one, who will bless all the nations.” Another covenant was made with King David in the book of Chronicles, and God said to him, “11 When your days are fulfilled to walk with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. 12 He shall build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever. 13 I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. I will not take my steadfast love from him, as I took it from him who was before you, 14 but I will confirm him in my house and in my kingdom forever, and his throne shall be established forever.” (1 Chronicles 17:11-14) This is written about a 1000 years before Jesus arrives.
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I’ve thrown a lot at you all and I’m sure you’re wondering what the point of all of this is, and here’s what it is. In Jesus day, their OT was structured differently than ours. Meaning, they started with Genesis like we do, but they finished with the book of Chronicles. And why’s that important? Because Matthew is making the point, that the Jews has searched their scriptures from beginning to end, trying to find the one who would fulfill these covenants and would be the Prince of Peace. The Jews were asking the question? “Who is going to come and bring peace on earth? Where is He?” Matthew is saying ‘He has come, and His name is Jesus. He has found us!’
So where do you look for peace? Personally, when I’m anxious my first reaction is not to God for peace, but to go to my phone to distract myself, thinking it’ll bring me peace, but it doesn’t. And phones are great tools but they’re horrible masters. It distracts me for a time and then when I’ve calmed down, I go back to what I was doing, but it actually never fixes the problem as to why I was anxious in the first place. I need something greater than a distraction, I need someone that can take me through the valley and see me on the other side, and that’s what we see in this genealogy coming up, that we have a Faithful God who we can trust.
Matt. 1:2-17 - FAITHFUL GOD
When we get to genealogies, we often find them to be pointless and want to move on, to something else, but we do so because we don’t understand them. The point of genealogies is to show that a fulfillment has taken place, either of property or position. The Jews may have asked “What’s the proof that Jesus is actually the Christ?” The proof is found in the genealogy, that He fulfills the two covenants of David and Abraham.
2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, 3 and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram,4 and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, 5 and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, 6 and Jesse the father of David the king.
And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, 7 and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, 8 and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, 9 and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, 10 and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, 11 and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.
12 And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, 13 and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, 14 and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, 15 and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, 16 and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.
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17 So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.
The fulfillment/evidence of Jesus as the Christ is seen here, where the genealogy traces from Abraham and David down to Jesus. So many names here, with stories and backgrounds, but I have a list of things we should take away from this list as an encouragement.
1) God is faithful in keeping His word
What was the covenant that God made with David? ‘There will be a son of yours that sits on a throne and of his rule and reign there will be no end.’ we already said was a 1000 plus years before Jesus was born. But what about the covenant with Abraham? God said ‘From your offspring will come one who will bless the nations.’ was about 2000 plus years before Jesus is born. These promises coming to fulfillment in the person of Jesus should give us confidence that God is faithful in keeping His word. When Jesus says “My peace I leave you, my peace I give to you…” We should be able to have confidence that God is faithful in keeping His word. If God said He will provide, then I believe He will.
When Paul tells us in Philippians 4 to “Don’t be anxious about anything but in everything pray to God and the peace of God, will guard your heart and mind.” We should have confidence that God’s word is trustworthy and we can rest in His promises.
2) God’s family is inclusive
*Not everyone on the list is a follower of God. Who were the people in this list of the genealogy? Not just first borns but second borns. Not just wealthy kings, but poor peasants. There was both men and women, 5 to be exact. Not only were they men and women, they was both Jew and gentile. Along with this point though we should also note…
3) God’s family is made up of broken sinners
Not only would the list catch the eye of a Jewish reader as un-ordinary, because of women and gentiles being on the list, but it would also catch their attention because of the character of these people.
Abraham and David both have covenants with God and yet Abraham didn’t trust God’s promise so he had a child with another women. David, slept with a women and found out he messed up, because she was pregnant and then had her husband murdered. What about the women?
Two of them, were gentiles, meaning they had no part in the family of God. Rahab the prostitute from Jericho, most likely had Boaz out of wedlock. And Ruth, a Moabite. Moabites along with people from Jericho were enemies to the people of God. Tamar, a Jewish women slept with her father-in-law, by tricking him.
We could go on and on uncovering the sins of every person on this genealogy and what we discover is that it’s a dirty list. Not perfect, stains that you would be ashamed of if one of them were a part of your family line. *Contrast a clean list vs. this list. *
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*Rudolph - island of misfit toys
We are misfits, rejects and to the world we are useless leftovers. But how does God view us? ….rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious.. (1 Peter 2:4) God could have chosen to have a pure line and yet He allowed stains to be put all over it. “God, is the God of the humble, the miserable, the afflicted, the oppressed, the desperate and those who have been brought to nothing.” - Martin Luther
4) Jesus is the fulfilled King of these people
Where does this genealogy find its climax? In the person of Jesus the Christ. And He is the one who leads us sinful, broken people. A point of emphasis comes at this point in this chapter. Repeatedly, we’ve scene Christ is brought up in V.1, V.16, V.17, V. 18 I don’t think it’s a coincidence that after showing the list of people that are found in the genealogy, the emphasis of Jesus being their messiah is brought up. Matthew is emphasizing that Jesus is the messiah, the King, and the savior of such people.
And as king, He doesn’t arrive in a chariot surrounded by armies, or descend from heaven on a cloud, but rather Jesus the King comes to us as a baby. Completely vulnerable born of Mary.
Matt. 1:18-25 - PEACE ARRIVES
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
When you think of nativity scenes, even the one that is out in the entry way, it’s one that is peaceful, everyone is happy and at ease. However, the scene of Mary and Joseph here is a messy one. No one is making toys or characters of Mary finding our she’s pregnant and the shock of that. No one is making beautiful pictures of Mary telling Joseph, she’s pregnant, him reacting poorly and saying he wants a divorce. Divorce and Peace on earth are not synonymous terms. And yet, this is what God brought them into, not divorce but a messy situation. And as Joseph is contemplating divorce and wants to do so quietly, so as to not put her to shame, because He cares for Mary, an Angel visits Joseph, why? To bring peace, so that what Mary had said about being pregnant by the Holy Spirit is true.
A question worth asking is what his point of this? Because it sounds crazy, doesn’t it? The H. S. Impregnating Mary and through this young lady, would come the God who created the
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universe. What’s the point of Jesus arrival to earth? V. 21 “She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” The name Jesus, was a common name, because in Hebrew it’s translated Joshua, which means ‘The Lord/Yahweh saves.’
Let’s not miss this though. The Angel says to Joseph, “Mary will bear a son and His name will be called Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” The angel is proclaiming the identity of Jesus as Lord and His purpose as to why He came to earth is clearly laid out here. That Jesus is God, who takes away our sins. But Jesus doesn’t just take away our sins from a distance. He is present with us in every moment. What’s the other name that is attributed to Jesus? Immanuel, which means God with us. In the messiness and death filled existence of humanity, He enters into it.
Now here’s an issue that arises from this that the church has always had to fight against. The question is How much of Jesus is God, who can save, and how much of Jesus is human who is with us? Is there a 50/50 split, Is He God with only an appearance of humanity? Is He human who claims to be God? We would hold as a bible believing confessing church that Jesus was fully God and fully man and I’ll tell you why this is important.
God only: If Jesus is only God, then His suffering is not really suffering that he went through, and as the Bible makes mention of Him sympathizing with us in our sufferings, He can’t actually sympathize with us, because He never actually went through it suffering or death. The result leads to something called deism, which believes in a supreme being or creator, but one who never intervenes in human affairs, so if Jesus is God only, then He is never with us. And if He’s never with us, then we will never have peace. We started this sermon talking about Adam and Eve in the garden with God and we could ask the question, did they have peace? Yes. Why? Because God was with them in their midst.
Man only: If Jesus is only a man, then He may be able to sympathize with us in our sufferings, but He can never help us out of them. He can never save us from our sins, which is a work that only God can do, no man can set us free from our sins.
So who is Jesus then? Jesus is the God man. Truly God and truly man. He is the Son of God, mighty to save, and the Son of man, able to feel. Jesus knows us. He knows our needs, He sympathizes with us in our weaknesses, He knows all of our losses, fears our anxieties, He knows. And He has come to save us and bring us peace.
Meaning this, that He takes our sin, when we trust in Him as savior of the world so that we may have peace with God first. No peace is possible if we don’t have it with God first. What follows is the possibility of having peace with others that we have broken relationships with. Now I’m not talking about all relationships, such as abusive and manipulative ones, I think that would be pastoral malpractice to suggest pursuing peace with such people. But between people who have hurt you in some way or maybe you’ve hurt someone, peace is possible. If we consider
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Joseph, who wants to divorce Mary, that sounds like a broken relationship to me, but what follows in the verses we read? “24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.”
Not only does the coming of Jesus bring peace between God and man, but it brings peace between each other as well. When we’re met with peace from God, He commands us to live differently in light of what He has done.
So in light of the peace that arrives in Jesus I have a few questions for us to ponder this week?
- Where do I look for peace, why do I look there, and what does that mean? - Where do I need the peace of God in my life?
- What relationships can that are strained/broken can be restored with the peace of God?
As we consider these things moving forward, let’s be reminded of this. As followers of Jesus and imitators of Him, He wasn’t ashamed to have stains all over His family genealogy, became uncomfortable and vulnerable for us by leaving the glories of heaven and entering into the brokenness of human existence, as a baby, so that we may have peace.
Is peace on earth possible? I think part of that question is asking is change possible? The answer is yes. When we repent from our sin and turn to Jesus in faith, the Bible says He gives us a new heart and places His Spirit within us. After that Paul tells us to be transformed by our mind being bathed in God’s word. And the suit that comes from all of this? Paul says in Gal. 5 you’ll bear the fruits of ‘love, joy and peace…’
Without God, absolutely not. *Lewis quote* With God, absolutely yes! We’ve been found by the Prince of Peace, and given the Holy Spirit, that indwells us for the purpose of changing us. So that we may have peace, and share this peace to wherever we may find ourselves.
More in Peace On Earth
December 20, 2020Peace on Earth | Peace Perseveres | Matthew 2
December 13, 2020Peace on Earth | Peace Triumphs | Luke 2:1-20 & Isaiah 9:2-7
November 29, 2020Peace on Earth | Peace Surrenders | Luke 1