In this message, Ryan Smith explores the vital question of ‘What is the Gospel?’ from 1 Corinthians 15:1-8.
In this great doxology from the pen of the Apostle Paul in Romans 11:33-36, we find how Paul gave glory and praise to God because of certain aspects of His character, namely His wisdom and knowledge. As we come to the end of the year and with uncertainty ahead of us, it’s good to be reminded that God knows more than we do and is able to be trusted in all that He has promised.
As Matthew’s presentation of Jesus was originally written for the Jews of his day, it’s no surprise that he relied heavily on the fulfilment of the Old Testament as he reflected upon the birth of the Messiah. This fact is quite clear in Matthew 2:13-23 where many Old Testament allusions to and prophecies about the coming Messiah all come together. Set against the backdrop of King Herod’s rage and eventual murder of innocent children in Bethlehem, Matthew presents Jesus as the true hope of Israel.
The wise men feature only in Matthew’s presentation of the life of Jesus, and while who were they and were they come from are questions that largely remain unanswered, even yet Matthew 2:1-12, gives us sufficient information to state some thing and learn others from their appearing, their actions and who it was that they found.
The story of the birth of Jesus in Matthew 1:18-25, has plenty in it that people of all generations can relate to. Mary’s surprise pregnancy must have been a shock to her just as it was for Joseph, but both persisted in faith regarding what God had told them. But in the end Mary and Joseph’s story is not the main point, for the text points us to the Saviour who is named as Jesus, Christ (Messiah) and Immanuel. He is the one that all mankind must relate and respond to, this Christmas or any time!
After dealing kindly with Mephibosheth, 2 Samuel 10:1-19 tells us how David also dealt kindly with Hanun, son of Nahash the Ammonite King on the occasion of the death of Nahash. However, advisors for Hanun got into his ear and planted seeds of suspicion and fear and David’s ambassadors were treated with contempt. An all out war soon arose with inevitable consequences. Whenever God’s grace and kindness to mankind is rejected, those inevitable consequences still happen. We call it judgement and we must pray that people will repent before that judgement comes.
After God made a covenant with David in chapter 7, in turn, David remembered the covenant he had earlier made with Saul to never wipe out Saul’s descendants. In a lovely part of the unfolding tapestry of God’s grace, 2 Samuel 9:1-13 records how David showed loving kindness (Hebrew: chesed) to one of Jonathon’s sons, Mephiboseth. To many people this may come as a surprise as the Old Testament is often characterised as being all about law or war. But in the story of David’s kindness to this cripple, the heart of the gospel can be seen.
After God established his covenant with David in 2 Samuel 7, the next chapter, 2 Samuel 8:1-18, tells of the evident blessing that came upon David’s kingdom. It not only grew in size, reaching out in all the directions of the campass as a fulfillment of the promises given to Abraham, but it also grew in wealth as God continued to give David’s army much success. But more than that, the nature of David’s kingdom reflected the righteous rule of God. His laws were honoured and it was a good place to be…but not a patch on what it’s going to be like when Jesus comes back as King of Kings. He is the King we need!
All chapters of Scripture are important, but some are more important than others! 2 Samuel 7:1-29 is one of those chapters. After David had settled the ark of the covenant in a tent in Jerusalem, he expressed a desire to God that he would like build something more permanent. Was he concerned about the fact that he lived in a palace while the ark remained in a tent? We really don’t know, but what we do know is that God said ‘no’ to David while also promising David his own ‘house’ – his very own royal line. How did David respond to such a promise? And what does this promise have to do with the fulfillment of God’s plans for His people through David’s greater Son, Jesus?