Have you ever waited for something or someone a long time? Perhaps the return of a loved one you haven’t seen in years, relief from extended suffering, or the setting right of a world gone wrong. Wouldn’t it be good news to hear your waiting was finally coming to an end and your expected hope had arrived?
As we enter this season of Advent, we remember Israel’s waiting, century after century, for the coming of the Messiah, the promised king who would one day arrive to usher in the kingdom of heaven, bringing restoration and salvation to God’s people. We remember their longing and their waiting. Yet we do so looking forward to Christmas, where we celebrate the good news that the promised Messiah king has arrived. His name is Jesus. It is this good news that the Gospel of Matthew clearly declares, and which we will focus on as we begin our series in the book of Matthew this Advent season.
Matthew’s gospel clearly proclaims the good news that Jesus is the long-expected Messiah king in whom God’s promises are fulfilled, that he is the one who ushers in the kingdom of heaven, bringing restoration and salvation to God’s people and blessing to all peoples. Yet it is also the proclamation of an unexpected king who confounds expectations, taking on himself a crown of thorns and ushering in an upside-down kingdom very different from the kingdoms of this world. It is the story of a king who elicits polarized responses―repentance and obedience from some, but rejection and hostility from others―forcing us to grapple with his claims and call on us, and our own response to him. It is also the declaration of a crucified and risen king to whom all authority is given, who sends us out as his ambassadors to all nations, showing us our place in this story, even now as we wait and long for his future return.
King of Heaven Series
Due to the Gospel of Matthew’s length, we will not be tackling the whole book in one continuous series, but will be breaking it up into various mini-series over the next year and half. These mini-series are as follows:
The (Un)expected King (Matthew 1-4, Advent/Christmas 2020)
The King’s Authority (Matthew 5-9, Early Spring 2021)
Mission and Opposition (Matthew 9:36-16:20, Missions Month/Summer 2021)
The (Un)expected Kingdom (Matthew 16:21-25:46, Early Fall 2021)
The Crucified, Risen, Returning King (Matthew 26-28, Easter 2022)
How to Make the Most of This Series
As we walk through the Gospel of Matthew together, we hope you will engage deeply. Here are a few practical ways to do this:
Read the book of Matthew in advance of the series. One of the best ways to become familiar with a book of the Bible is simply to read it all the way through, preferably in one sitting. Matthew normally takes about two and a half hours to read. (That’s a little longer than a typical movie.) You could also listen to the book as you do your dishes or work around the house.
Read each week’s passage in advance. Each week we list the upcoming passage in our bulletin, and on the livestream page. Reading the passage in advance will help you better understand the passage, make sense of the sermon, and put God’s Word into practice. We’ll be starting off the series this week with the genealogy in the first seventeen verses.
Commit to gathering regularly for worship. We are meant to worship God together as we read, hear, pray, preach, and sing his Word. Consistently joining us for weekly worship (online or in-person) will help you grow as we walk through the book of Matthew.
Join a community group. Many of our community groups meet to discuss the Sunday sermon and its implications for our lives. We learn and grow best in community, and a community group provides an ideal venue to digest and discuss the truths of Scripture, building one another up in love. If you’d like to get connected with a community group, contact our Connections Pastor, Jordan Green.
We are confident the Gospel of Matthew will encourage us and challenge us with the reality of who the King of Heaven is, and who he calls us to be as his disciples. We hope you’ll join us on this journey through Matthew.