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February 25, 2021

Matthew 1:23  Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel (which means, God with us).

"God with us" is the theme of Matthew's gospel. The promise appears in the beginning: Matthew 1:23. Then in the middle: "Matthew 18:20, "Where two or three gather in my name, there I am in their midst." Then at the end: "I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matthew 28:20).

Jesus, the Son of Mary, is Immanuel - God with us. Jesus is God, up close and personal. He enters our muck and mire, our chaos and our deep confusion.

We see it most profoundly on the day of deepest darkness. On that day we all grabbed hold of Immanuel, nailed him to a cross and cried out, "Leave us alone!" To this day, our every sin demands just that - for God to leave us alone forever. On the other side of Good Friday, though, Immanuel lives! There was the cradle and there was the cross. But, conquering death, Immanuel now wers a golden, kingly crown!
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Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,

February 24, 2021

Matthew 1:21  She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.

Mary conceives Jesus through the Holy Spirit. Joseph is hesitant to believe it. We can't blame him! So God sends an angel who speaks to Joseph in a dream. Joseph is convinced. He believes the unbelievable.

Joseph and Mary live together and share a home. This certainly raised some eyebrows in the hometown of Nazareth. Busybodies stood on the street corner, assuming that Joseph and Mary conceived the child during their engagement instead of waiting to be married. "What nerve, those two!" This sort of gossip traveled quickly.

The angel also tells Joseph the child's name: Jesus. Jesus is the English form of the Hebrew name Joshua. Joshua means "Yahweh (the Lord) saves." The child's name is Joshua-or Jesus-because this Son will save his people from their sins. Jesus will forgive all sin, for all people, for all time - lock, stock, and barrell!

And we need it! O God, we all need it!
 


 

February 23, 2021

Matthew 1:17   Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.

Who is Jesus? Some say Jesus is a spiritual guru who says, "Imagine a world without religion and remember all you need is love." Others say Jesus is a revolutionary who teaches us to rebel against the status quo and blame everything on "the system."


 

Who is Jesus? Matthew's genealogy answers that question. Matthew summarizes biblical history in three sets of fourteen - or six sevens. That's not a complete story. There must be another seven - the seventh seven. This is a story that lacks an ending. That's Matthew's point.


 

Jesus brings the biblical story to completion. Jesus ushers in the final stage in God's plan of salvation. Jesus also brings our story to completion. This is great news because we all know something is missing. We all know that there has to be more to life than jobs, bills, and vacations. Jesus completes our lives. Jesus is the Seventh Seven!
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Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,
 

February 21, 2021

"Who is Jesus?" That's the most important question we can ever ask. Just who is Jesus? Matthew says that Jesus is the son of Abraham. Who is the most famous son of Abraham? Isaac. Isaac is the son of sacrifice. So is Jesus - even more so.

Just like Isaac, Jesus willingly took wood and marched up a mount - not Mt. Moriah - but Mt. Calvary. Yet, unlike Isaac, Jesus had no substitute ram. Arrested ruthlessly. Beaten brutally. Crucified barbarously. But risen triumphantly! Christ is alive, never to die again.

After Isaac was miraculously spared, Abraham didn't call the mount "Mt. Impossible" or "Mt. Disaster" or "Mt. I Didn't Ever Think I'd Make It." Abraham calls the mountain "The Lord Will Provide." How doe we know God provides for us? The Son of Abraham. His name is Jesus.
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Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,

February 22, 2021

Matthew 1:7

Let's rank what Americans have difficulty finishing. Number one: diets. Number two: exercise regimens. Number three: saving money. What's the point? It's easy as pie to begin. It's tougher than nails to finish.
 

Let's face it: we all have unfinished business. Yet whatever it is that we want to finish, help is on the way! Jesus is the Son of Solomon.

Solomon began strong. When his father David died, rivals to the throne included his half-brothers Amnon, Absalom and Adonijah. Solomon had all three eliminated - with the greatest of ease. Anointed as the Gihon Spring by the high priest Zakok as Israel's third king, Solomon came out of the starting blocks running like a greyhound after jackrabbits. It's easy as pie to begin. With time, though, it became difficult for Solomon to finish. Much of his later life became one huge mess.

Christ says, "Something greater than Solomon is here." (Matthew 12:42). Jesus not only begins strong. Jesus finishes strong. For who? You!!!! And for Jesus it was tougher than nails.

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Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,
 

February20, 2021

Matthew 1:1

Do you see what Matthew does? He places David before Abraham. David lived one thousand years after Abraham. What gives? Matthew places David before everyone in Christ's genealogy to announce that Christ is King - the King.
 

But Jewish elites rejected Jesus. They thought he was the wrong kind of King. He associated with the wrong kind of people, preached the wrong kind of message and carried out the wrong kind of mission. The whole thing came to a head on Good Friday.

"Above his head they placed the written charge against him: This Is Jesus, The King of the Jews" (Matthew 27;37). After Golgatha, there was Galilee, where Christ showed himself alive! Then he said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me" (Matthew 28:18).

That's what we would expect of a King - to have all authority. Our King Jesus makes demands of us. But before he makes demands of us, he gives everything for us. That's a king worth following all our days!

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Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,
 

February, 19, 2021

Matthew 1:3-6

Matthew 1:1-17 reads much like a telephone book. Back in the dark ages, you'd actually have to look up someone's phone number in a book. That's what Matthew 1:1-17 sounds like - a big, fat, dulkl, dry telephone book!

Yesterday we saw that Jesus is David's Son - a King. Today we marvel that Jesus is a compassionate King. Christ doesn't come to drive out enemies. He comes to bring in outcasts.

In the ancient world, people traced their ancestry through their fathers. It comes as no surprise, then, that Matthew's genealogy is predominately male. However, do you see that Matthew also mentions four women? They aren't the sweethearts and darlings of the Old Testament like Sarah, Rebekah and Rachael. No. They are outcast names Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and Bathsheba. These women are all Gentiles!

The Jews expected a Messiah who would drive out their Roman oppressors and crush the Gentiles. Jesus doesn't drive out enemies. Jesus welcomes outcasts. Jesus welcomes you.
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Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,

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