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Matthew's Perspective on the Christmas Story

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Introduction

Welcome to Advent. A time of reflection on the Advent of the messiah coming into the world. For some of you Advent may be something new. Candles , singing, but during the next few weeks we are going to take some time and reflect upon the coming of Christ into the world.
For the people back over 2000 years ago this was a long awaited time.
God appeared to be silent, silent for over 400 years.
Can you image waiting 400 years?
Waiting.
Have you been waiting for God for something?
Have you been on your knees in prayer, asking God for something?
Advent is a time of reflection on the waiting period people experienced as they waited for the coming Christ.
What should we really be waiting for in our lives.
There is a second advent. The 2nd coming of Christ is what should be on our minds daily, like those waiting for the Advent of the Messiah, we too should be waiting for the day Christ will return to gather His followers.
Waiting
Waiting like a child.
Remember
as a child waiting for the coming of Christmas.
I remember as a child, growing up in the church, to me Christmas was a time to receive presents.
I was a child after all.
Sure we had the Sunday School Pageant, The time I got to wear my housecoat in public as a shepherd. I was never picked to be Joseph, always a shepherd.
Funny as today, God has called me to be a shepherd, a role I got stuck with as child in our church’s plays.
Waiting,
As a child of a city transit worker, we waited for the annual Christmas event where we received presents from my dad’s work. We were never allowed to open the presents until Christmas, but we knew what we were getting as other children opened the same size boxes wrapped the same way as ours, but we still waited.
Waiting,
As a child we would wait for the Simpson’s store big reveal of there Christmas window display. Each window was filled with moving parts, decorations and a sight to behold. It’s no wonder why I passionately set up my Christmas village each year.
Waiting,
Waiting to see the excitement of my own children on Christmas morning as we spent time as a family celebrating.
Waiting,
Waiting to see how God was going to move in a situation that was far from my control.
What are you waiting for in your life?
Over the next four weeks we are going to look at the Christmas story differently than I have ever looked at it before.
We are going to look at the four evangelist, the writers of the 4 gospels to see their perspective on coming messiah.
I encourage you, if you haven’t seen in the weekly email, there is a daily Advent reading document that you can download, or we have printed out a few copies, and we can make more if needed, but it is a document to follow along with the sermon series.
waiting,
The four evangelist all waiting in a different way and their report on the greatest Christmas story in four different ways with 4 different perspectives.
I believe when we look through the four different Gospels we see an entire picture of what the wait was all about.
Matthew, the good Jew, turned Tax collector, turned follower of Christ tells us the story through the eyes of the Chosen people.
It was a story of promise, promise that the coming messiah would come through the chosen people, the Jews.
Mark, The gentile, He is one of us. Grafted into the people of God. We will find out his perspective as an outsider accepted into the family.
Luke, the doctor. Detail, details, details. This is often the source of our story, read out loud during Christmas, even made into the focal point of the Charlie Brown Christmas cartoon, that is played faithfully every year.
John, The one called the Disciple who was dearly beloved by Jesus. He began walking with Christ, talk directly by Christ, and his perspective is who is really this Child and why all the fuss.

Matthew

The advent is here so let’s begin by looking at the perspective of Matthew
A fulfilled promise to the people.
Open your Bibles, log into your Bible app and we are going to begin at the very beginning of Matthew’s narrative.
Matthew 1:1 ESV
1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
Matthew begins not with a description of Jesus’ birth but his lineage.
In other words, written to a primary Jewish audience,
He was simply saying.
He is family. He is one of us........
Three Parts of the lineage description, generations to Jesus, generations to David, and generations back to Abraham.
Matthew points out,
Remember family,
pause
Abraham was delivered a promise that God was going to bless the world through us.
We were the chosen people of God.
Abraham was told,
from Him would be a child of promise.
Matthew begins to list family after family around 14 generations to David Another 14 generations to take the people through the rough years, then the last group through to the Christ.
Grouped in major portions of Israel’s history, but it was a reminder to the readers that this Christ was the messiah as he was of the one promised throughout the entire Old Testament.

Behind these events, the highest and lowest points in the history of Israel, stands the sovereignty of God, who works out all things in accordance with his purpose and timing

I am not going to spend time reading through the entire list, because it’s not my family and I would most defiantly get some of the names wrong, but it was Matthew’s family.
If you have a paper Bible open, scan over the names, if you are reading your app, scroll through.
Did you notice something different that was added to the genealogy? Something most often would not be added in most genealogy of the day?
There are women mentioned in the list.
For some of you that may seem common but it was not the common practice of the day, so why did Matthew even give a mention.
Do you see the names? Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and you know, … that women… the mother of Solomon, Uriah’s wife.
Like most families I know of and talk with there is always someone in the family like you don’t like to talk about.
pause
But why did Matthew bring these names forward.
If you read the story of the Old Testament, it is filled with names of women of importance, why these names.
Scholars, who love to debate this very question come up with several conclusions. Some make sense, others are a stretch. The conclusions range from their apparent sins, their gentile status.
The one that appeals to me and I believe that it brings to light the reason for Christ’s coming.
First, he came into a family that was a mess to save them from their mess.
The people didn't have to be perfect before Christ came, He came even knowing the mess, our mess. His earthly lineage was a mess.
I like how one commentary puts it,
Word Biblical Commentary, Volume 33A: Matthew 1–13 (Comment)
The women listed, centers on the way in which the women prefigure Mary by calling attention to the abundant presence of both surprise and scandal in the Messiah’s lineage. The sovereign plan and purpose of God are often worked out in and through the most unlikely turn of events, and even through women who, though Gentiles or harlots, are receptive to God’s will. The virgin birth and the importance of Mary are just such surprising and scandalous (though in Mary’s case only seemingly scandalous) ways through which God brings his purposes to realization in the story of Jesus. The women then serve as reminders that God often works in the most unusual ways and that to be open to his sovereign activity is to be prepared for the surprising.
waiting
Are you waiting for God to work in a marvelous way out of the extraordinary?
God can work in your life today.
If you haven’t accepted God’s greatest gift of Salvation by believing that you are a mess, and he came to this world, died on a cross, rose again, so that through believing in Him you can be restored from your mess and be made right with God.
today is the day you can
it is time to stop waiting, come to him today,
Matthew's wait was over
You see Matthew begins by a narrative of family, then says
Matthew 1:18 ESV
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.
Now the birth took place this way.
Matthew’s description of the birth of Christ is simple and with a few details that may or may not be included in other stories.
It gives the readers the facts surrounding the potential messiness of the beginning of Jesus’ earthly parents.
Found to be with child, Not married yet, almost. Just about,
One person wrote,

To understand this one must recognize that in Jewish marriage there were three steps. The first step was the engagement, a contract arranged by family members who determined whether the couple would be well suited for each other and for a future marriage. Second, there was the betrothal, the public ratification of the engagement, with a period of one year for the couple to become known as belonging to each other, but not having the rights of living together as husband and wife. The only way a betrothal could be terminated was by a divorce. In Jewish law there is a phrase which states that a young woman whose fiancé dies during the period of betrothal is called “a virgin who is a widow.” Mary and Joseph were in the second stage in the account of this text. The third stage is the marriage proper, which took place at the end of the year of betrothal.

Matthew gives the reader a reminder that this event was God’s plan from the beginning.
God planned that His announcement into the world, the Immanuel would come into this world
in the only way possible for the Saviour of the World.
Christ, the soon to be saviour of the world would need to come not through man as sin is passed on through the man, but brought through the direct working of God.
Philippians 2:6–7 ESV
6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
Not the likeness of his earthly father, but the likeness of mankind. The created form.
The creator becomes one like his creation.
Matthew highlights that the occasion of Christ’s entrance into this world was planned and ordained from God in the beginning.
stated this way,

The Incarnation is God’s greatest affirmation of humanness. In the Incarnation God demonstrated that He could become human without becoming sinful. Humanness and sinfulness are not synonymous. Sinfulness is the perversion of the truly human, the perversion of the Imago Dei (the image of God) in which we were created. Salvation is, among other things, the restoration of the truly human in our lives, the correction of perversion so that we may be persons who express again the image of God.

Following is an outline on the Incarnation from this passage: Jesus was (1) conceived by the Holy Spirit, 1:18–20; (2) confirmed by the Holy Angel, 1:20–21; and (3) contextualized by the Holy Scriptures, 1:22–23.

Matthew ends his chapter with a description of the Christ Child.
His name was Jesus.
Jesus birth was ushered into the story of Matthew with the name that we have come to know and love.
Matthew move on,
The second chapter begins with a new chapter in the life of the young family.
Matthew 2:1 ESV
1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem,
Now after Jesus was born. he moves on with the story, but wait
What Christmas story doesn’t include the three wise guys.
Wiseman.
Magi,
Star watchers.
Over the years many descriptions of who they were and what they were doing.
There has been discussion of where they came from but the likely understanding is that they men from the East were most likely from Babylon.
Why were wise man even a part of the story.
What purpose do they serve in the Christmas narrative?
It has been said,

This is at best an undertone of the passage, since Matthew gives no hint that this was in his mind. What is in Matthew’s mind is that Gentiles, those considered alien to God’s purposes, exhibit an openness to God’s purposes (even through the instrumentality of their own craft) and an eager receptivity toward the newborn king.

On thing is for certain about the Christmas story.
Right from the beginning, this child that would change the course of history of God’s interactions with his creation He was called a king.
For the Jews, who studied the Old Testament, they knew where He would come from.
I guess 400 years of silence they stopped looking.
they stopped waiting
But as these wise men came, following a star, knowing that they came to see this new King, the most logical place would be to go to the place where the palace is found. Jerusalem.
So they arrive in the city and begin asking, “Where is the king?”
Think of someone who went on to be famous. We look back and explore their childhood, explore there upbringing and marvel.
This was happening in real time, they weren’t time travellers they were moved by God to come and see, and worship.
Can you image the talk that this would create.
Scripture doesn’t specifically tell us who they asked, but I am sure they spent most of their time asking anyone who may know and seeking out the answer to their question.
Where is the newborn king?

Matthew tells us that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the City of David, emphasizing the royal lineage. His emphasis is clearly focused on the kingly lineage of the Christ even in the lowly circumstances of His birth. Again, the quotation from the Old Testament prophet is the bridge from the old covenant to the new and a further testimony to salvation history, the fulfillment of God’s plan predicted through the ages by His prophets.

waiting for the fulfillment.
Are you this morning seeking God.
Do you come to church hearing about the good news of Jesus’s work but are still asking Who is Jesus.
This Christmas season, as we walk through the Advent of Christ, may I challenge you to look for the Christ in your life.
Have you given your life to God to come into your life and change your eternal destiny, change your life for the better.
This Child we celebrate in this season is more than a holiday or a time to give presents, its a celebration of new life.
A transformational life and I hope that each one of us in this room has come to the realization of what this Christ child has become for the entire world and that we come to worship this child.
What do you do when you come into the presence of the almighty?
When these men came into the presence of God in the form of a child, they recognized His greatness.
In a sign of submission, a sign of things to come.
Folks a day is coming when all heads and knees will bow to this Christ,
One day, the Christ child of the Christmas story, who grew up and died on the cross, was risen from the Grave by God’s power and is now at the right hand of the father on our behalf will one day come again.
Are you waiting for that day. Are you ready for Him.
He will not come as a child, but a conquering King.
The Advent of the Second coming draws closer every day.
Scripture tells us that
Philippians 2:10–11 ESV
10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Matthew reminds us in his recounting of the Christmas story that there is coming a day that you will bow.
That day came for the wisemen, that day comes for us.
I hope that day has come for you.
That you have approached the saviour and bowed before Him and given your life to serve him and him alone.
As I was reading and preparing for this passage today,
I came across an interesting part of the story that i never thought of before.
It comes in the last part of the story,
The story that brings care for the saviour, but at the expense of the innocent.’
Matthew 2:12 ESV
12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.
God spoke to the gentiles, directed the wisemen not to go to fulfill their promise to Herod and tell what they discovered.
I would assume that Herod felt he convinced the men to return, but God had different plans.
Plans to watch over and save the Christ Child in the hands of his earthly parents.
Even though they were in Egypt, the God that we serve, had His plan in motion.
Matthew reminds us of this fact.
Matthew 2:15 ESV
15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
Once again we are reminded by Matthew, who wrote this Gospel with a focus on the Fellow members of his Clan,
God’s prophecy is being fulfilled in the birth of this child.
Herod’s Actions, the pain of lost children, God wept not only at that time, but also as He instructed His prophet to prepare the people.
Jeremiah 31:15 ESV
15 Thus says the Lord: “A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more.”
This is a reminder as we face the holidays with loss of loved ones that God is right there beside you weeping along with you.
His compassion is never ending and even though our loved ones are in a better place, we still weep as we journey with the loss of their presence with us.
Waiting
This Christmas season, are you waiting on God?
Is God waiting for you?
While we wait for Christ to return , He asked us to do something.
Communion together
What a great way to start Advent together than to have communion till we Advent for the second coming of Christ.

In Communion

Response to Worship

Benediction

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