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Jesus is Everything

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December 2, 2007

Introduction:

It is the Christmas season.  I like Christmas and this season.  You know what I would love?  I would love to have a new truck.  I would like to have one of those GPS’s for my car.  I would love to have a new deer rifle.  I want a new DVD player from Clearplay.  I want some more fishing gear.  A nail gun would be nice too.  Just in case you wanted to know what I want for Christmas – there is my list - my partial list that is.  There are a whole lot of other things that I feel a desire for – time, money, vacations, accomplishments, recognition, success…  And it just seems that the Christmas season brings all that stuff to the surface.  All the ads.  All the sales.  All the marketing.  I can’t help but want a lot of stuff.  Don’t we all have a lot of wants?  Who here does not have wants?  Maybe it is health, a fresh start, a spouse, a job, something for your kids, a new house, pay off debt, a new toy – we all have wants.  Our hearts are full of desire.  They are.  We cannot deny it.  We want.  Our souls desire. 

I love Christmas but Christmas can be a tragic experience.  The tragedy of Christmas is not in receiving the gifts you want.  I hope we all receive some nice gifts this Christmas.  The tragedy of Christmas is believing that getting the things we want or the circumstances we desire will answer the longing of our hearts and souls.  We could get everything on our wish lists, everything, just as we want it and we would still find ourselves empty, still longing if we are outside of Jesus Christ.  Satisfaction has never been found in abundance or health or riches.  You cannot find that for which your soul longs unless you look to Jesus.  That is the glory of the Christmas message.  Jesus Christ is the gift for whom we all long.  He is on top of all our wish lists, the wish list of our souls.  The question is will we see Him for who He is or will we be distracted by our inferior desires and then left empty.  Jesus is every thing we have ever needed and everything we have ever truly wanted.  He alone satisfies our souls.  He is on the throne of God and he alone secures the promises of God.  He alone is worthy to follow and worship.  We do not need to look any further for which our soul longs than Jesus.

I. That is exactly what Matthew points out when he begins his gospel.    

A. Matthew

1. “At the time Christ was born, Israel had been under Roman domination for some sixty years. One of the worst aspects of Roman oppression was the system of taxation, which was methodical, relentless, and ruthless. Two basic taxes were levied-the toll tax, which was comparable to the modern income tax, and the ground tax, a property and land tax. Roman senators and various other high-ranking officials would buy from the central government at public auction the right of collecting the toll taxes in a given country, province, or region at a fixed rate for a period of five years. Whatever was collected above that amount was kept as profit. Those who held such taxing rights were called publicani. The publicani would hire others, usually citizens of the country being taxed, to do the actual collecting.  Those collectors had somewhat the same arrangement with the publicani that the publicani had with Rome. Whatever they managed to collect above the amount demanded by the publicani they kept as their own profit. Both the publicani and the tax-gatherers, therefore, had strong motivation to exact and collect as much tax as possible-knowing they were backed by the full authority, including the military authority, of Rome.  The tax-gatherers (Greek telōnēs) quite naturally were hated by their own people, not only as extortioners but as traitors. In Israel they were ranked with the lowest of human society-sinners, prostitutes, and Gentiles (Matt. 9:10–11; 18:17; 21:31–32;Mark 2:15–16;Luke 5:30; etc.).  Matthew, who was also called Levi, was a tax-gatherer when Jesus called him to be one of the twelve disciples (Matt. 9:9; Mark 2:14). We have little idea as to what sort of person Matthew was before Jesus called him. It is doubtful that he was very religious, because tax-gatherers were ostracized, practically if not officially, from many synagogues and sometimes even from the Temple. It was no doubt partly for that reason that Matthew so quickly responded to Jesus’ invitation and that so many other tax-gatherers were attracted to Him (Matt. 9:9–10; 11:19; Luke 15:1). It was rare that they were accepted and befriended by a fellow Jew, especially by a rabbi, or teacher, such as Jesus.”[1]

2. On that day when Matthew was sitting at his tax booth collecting money to satisfy his wants, Jesus came by and said to Matthew, “Follow me.”  It was as if Jesus were saying, “I am everything you want.  Leave all this and follow me.”  Matthew left everything and got up and followed Jesus.  Do you know where they ended up?  They ended up at Matthew’s house where Matthew made a great feast.  Guess who came.  A whole bunch of Matthew’s friends, none other than the tax collectors association.  They all had one big party with Jesus.  Jesus loved Matthew.  He was rejected and he was a traitor but Jesus loved him.  Matthew never turned back.  He followed Jesus as his Lord and Savior.

3. After Jesus ascended to heaven, Matthew, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit wrote this gospel.  It was some time around AD 50 to AD 70.  It was definitely before the destruction of the temple in AD 70.  Matthew wrote this gospel to a Jewish audience in order to communicate the truth that Jesus is everything anyone could ever want, especially the Jew.  He is the King and the Savior, the only one who can satisfy our souls.  Matthew found his life and his joy in Christ and Christ alone, the King of the Jews. In following Jesus Christ, Matthew went in to Ethiopia and Egypt sharing this gospel and seeing many converted to Christianity.  The king of Egypt ordered his servants to kill Matthew because of his evangelizing and one of the kings servants came to Matthew and killed him with a spear.  Matthew lived and died for Jesus Christ because in Christ he found everything for which his soul longed.

Matthew begins his declaration of Jesus Christ in Matthew 1:1, The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.  ESV

II. Matthew begins his declaration with a clear proclamation that Jesus is everything we could ever want.  He alone can satisfy our souls.  He alone can give eternal life.  He alone is King and Savior.  We do not need to look any further.

A. Jesus is the son of David, the rightful king.

1. Around sixteen times in Matthew we will read the phrase, “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet.”  We will see over 90 OT quotations.  Much of what the prophets were prophesying and so much of what the OT was pointing to was to a coming King.

2. Listen to what the prophet Nathan said to King David in II Samuel 7, “I [God] will establish the throne of his [your son] forever….Your kingdom shall be made sure forever.”  There is a king that is to reign forever in the line of King David.  Jesus is that King.  Jesus is the one who is reigning and will reign forever.  He is the only one and there is no other.  He is the King of kings.

3. The prophets revealed that the King would be born in Bethlehem, that he would be born of a virgin, that he would be despised, forsaken, pierced, scourged, that he would be called Immanuel, God with us.  The prophets told the Jews and Jesus came and fulfilled every one of the prophecies. 

a) In his book, Science Speaks, Peter Stoner applies the modern science of probability to just eight prophecies regarding Christ. He says, “The chance that any man might have ...fulfilled all eight prophecies is one in 10 to the 17th. That would be 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000.” (one hundred quadrillion).  Stoner suggests that “we take 10 to the 17th silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover all of the state 2 feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly... Blindfold a man and tell him he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up [that one marked silver dollar.] What chance would he have of getting the right one?” Stoner concludes, “Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing those eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man,...providing they wrote them in their own wisdom.”[2]  Dr. Charles Ryrie says that according to the laws of chance, it would require two hundred billion earths, populated with four billion people each, to come up with one person whose life could fulfill one hundred accurate prophecies without any errors in sequence. Yet the Scriptures record not one hundred, but over three hundred prophecies that were fulfilled in Christ’s first coming alone. [3]

b) Jesus is from the line of David, the one true King of kings and Lord of lords.  We need look no further.  He alone is the King. By the way, even if we wanted to look further, we have no where to look.  When the temple was destroyed in AD 70, all the genealogical records were destroyed.  There is no way to ever trace anyone else to the kingly line of David after Jesus Christ.  Perhaps that is God’s way of placing an exclamation point on the truth – Jesus Christ is the King of kings and we need look no further.

B. Jesus is also the Savior of the world – Heir to the promises given to Abraham and the only avenue to participation in those promises of God.  He alone is the Savior.

1. Jesus is the son of Abraham.  In Genesis 12, God calls Abraham and tells him that he will bless those who bless him and curse those who dishonor him.  Then he says that in him all the families of the earth will be blessed. Later in Genesis 22 we see again that the Lord tells Abraham that in his offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed. 

2. That blessing promised to the nations of the earth through the offspring of Abraham is found only in Jesus.  He is the avenue of that blessing, he is the offspring of Abraham, and that blessing ultimately is salvation by grace through faith, it is the righteousness that comes by faith in Jesus Christ, that blessing is found in the truth that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world who saves by grace alone through faith alone. 

3. You must listen to Romans 4:9-13, 18-25 to understand the greatness of this little phrase, “son of Abraham”, 9 Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. 10 How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. 11 He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well, 12 and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised. 13 For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. 18 In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 20 No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” 23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.

4. Because Jesus is the son of Abraham we can receive the blessing of salvation through faith alone in Jesus Christ.  Jesus can be our savior by grace through faith.  Jesus Christ is the son of Abraham, the Savior of the world who saves all those who place their faith in him, who follow Him.  Jesus is all we really need and everything we could ever want.  In him and him alone do we find life, joy, peace, hope, eternity.  He is everything for which our souls long.  We need look no further but we do need to follow Him.

III. He is the one to follow. 

A. Matthew will emphasize time and time again that Jesus is the King of kings and the Savior of the world.  He begins with the opening verse.  Genealogical lists in Scripture usually begin with the oldest and progress to the most recent.  It is usual to start a genealogical list with the first person in the list and end with the most recent and last.  Matthew, however, begins with Jesus and then lists his ancestors, ending with Jesus.  Even this is done to make a point.  Jesus is the focal point of all history.  He is the one to follow.  We should follow Jesus Christ.  Only following Him will bring true life, eternal life.

B. Matthew more than any other gospel details how Jesus was rejected and brutally crucified for our sins.  The King of kings laid down his life for each one of us so that we might know him both as King and as Savior.  He is King over all no matter what you about following him but he will only be your savior if you follow him, if you believe in him and trust him for the forgiveness of your sins.  He is everything you have ever wanted.  He is your King and to him every knee will bow so please trust Him as your Savior and follow Him. 

C. In Jesus’ day people would often bury their valuables to protect them from seizure.  Jesus told a story of a man who found a great treasure in a field that had been buried and lost for unknown reasons.  This person who found the unknown treasure then went and sold everything he had in order to purchase the field and obtain that treasure.  When you find Jesus, you find that buried treasure, when you follow Him, leaving all other pursuits behind, you obtain the hidden treasure for which you soul longs.  When you follow Jesus you find the treasure of life, eternal life.

D. Jesus told another story about a merchant who spent his days in search of find pearls.  One day he found the one pearl he had been looking for his whole life.  He went and sold everything, every inferior pearl he owned, everything he had he sold that he might buy that one pearl.  Jesus Christ is that pearl.  Each person in Jesus’ story gave up everything to obtain their treasure.  That is exactly what it means to follow Jesus.  You give up your life and you follow Him.  Do you think that after the man gave up all to get the field he felt like he had given up anything?  Do you think that the man who sold all he had to buy the pearl, after he had the pearl, had given up anything?  No.  They now had the treasure.  Following Jesus Christ means that you give him your life but when you follow Him you have obtained the treasure of real life, joy, peace, you have given up everything and gained so much more.  Jesus is our treasure. 

E. Jesus is everything.  By virtue of the message of the gospel, like with Matthew, Jesus has walked by the “booth” of your heart.  He has turned and looked you in the eyes, seeing into your soul, and asked the question, “Will you follow Me?” Everything you want can really only be found in Jesus.  He alone is the King of kings and the Savior of the world, the son of David and the son of Abraham.  And He loves you.  Will you follow Him?


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[1]MacArthur, J. (1989). Matthew (0). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2]10,000 sermon illustrations. 2000 (electronic ed.). Dallas: Biblical Studies Press.

[3]10,000 sermon illustrations. 2000 (electronic ed.). Dallas: Biblical Studies Press.

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