On Sunday, December 17th, we explored the first book of the New Testament. As we explore this Gospel, we will discover its unique purpose and significance. Just as different types of screwdrivers serve various purposes, the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) each contribute uniquely to our understanding of God's glory. Today, we focus on the Gospel of Matthew and the story of the wise men, exploring its relevance to us today.
Matthew's Gospel was initially intended for the Jewish community, emphasizing Jewish practices and traditions. Although the Gospels now serve a broader audience, it's crucial to consider the original target audience. Understanding this context helps us appreciate the importance of the story of the wise men's journey to meet Jesus, the Messiah.
The account of the wise men, or astrologers, visiting Bethlehem to meet the infant Jesus, is exclusive to the Gospel of Matthew. This narrative highlights the significance of recognizing Jesus as the King and Messiah of the world. Today, this story extends its relevance to us, the Gentiles, who are included in the promises of the Gospel.
Two Key Lessons to Consider: As we delve into the Gospel of Matthew, there are two essential lessons we must reflect upon
1. Self-Inflicted Struggles:
Often, our struggles are self-inflicted. We need to conduct a self-examination to determine whether our actions, like detours, have caused the difficulties we face. Just as the wise men mistakenly stopped in Jerusalem instead of following the guiding star to Bethlehem, we too can make decisions that lead us away from our intended path. Paying attention to our choices and course corrections is vital to avoid self-inflicted troubles.
2. Recognizing Those Threatened by Joy:
Some individuals are threatened by the joy and success of others. Just as King Herod was disturbed by the news of a newborn king, there are people in our lives who may not appreciate our happiness. In such cases, it's essential to discern when to disengage and walk away. Like the wise men who chose not to return to Herod, we should protect our joy and peace by distancing ourselves from those who seek to steal our happiness.
Staying Focused on the Real King:
Throughout our daily struggles, it's crucial to keep our eyes on the ultimate goal. Just as Lucy attempted to take the ball from Charlie Brown for over 50 years, distractions and obstacles may hinder our progress. However, we must remain prepared to meet the real King, the Savior, who can remove the barriers to our joy.
As we journey through life, we must remember the valuable lessons found in the Gospel of Matthew. We must evaluate whether our struggles are self-inflicted and learn to discern those who threaten our joy. Most importantly, we must stay focused on the real King, Jesus Christ, who can transform our lives and bring us true happiness. May these insights from Matthew's Gospel guide us on our journey of faith. Amen.
Sermon Slides from December 17th 2023 - Link Below