‘The King’s response to two men who wanted to be first’ (Matthew 20:17-28)

When James and John (through their Mum) approached Jesus in Matthew 20:17-28, they were clearly men who wanted to put themselves first. The did this even though Jesus had been speaking quite a lot about the inverse principle of His Kingdom, that the ‘first will be last and the last first’. Their request, which made the other disciples angry, was one that Jesus could not grant, but what he did do was point them to his own plans. He was going up to Jerusalem to die and give his life ‘as a ransom for many’.

Message

Outline

• Where we are in the text
• That ‘inverse order’ principle…last & first!
• Three sets of eyes fixed on different things…
• See how Matthew tells us of …

  1. Servant eyes fixed on giving Himself (v.17-19, 28)
  2. Proud eyes fixed on gaining glory (v.21-23)
  3. Angry eyes fixed on getting even (v.24-28)

Disciples who weren’t ‘on the same page’ as Jesus…
The next men in the story
He served you! Who will you serve?

‘The King’s parable about the inverse order of his Kingdom’ (Matthew 20:1-16)

Sometimes chapter breaks in the Scriptures aren’t that helpful. The chapter break that divides the end of Matthew 19 to Matthew 20:1-16 is a prime example. In Matthew 19;30, jesus had just spoken about the ‘inverse order’ of his kingdom, that is, the ‘first will be last and the last first’. And then to illustrate that point, Jesus went on to tell a parable that makes it clear how this ‘inverse order’ principle works… and it all comes back to the same comment in Matthew 20:16, the ‘first will be last and the last first’…because salvation is not a matter of earning anything or of fairness, but is all of grace.

Message

Outline

• When chapter breaks aren’t that helpful!
• Where we were in chapter 19
• The first/last – last/first principle
• See how the parable highlights …

  1. The just & generous nature of the master (v.1-7)
  2. The ungrateful & resentful nature of the workers (v.8-12)
  3. The abundant & unconditional nature of grace (v.13-15)

Are you trying to earn God’s favour?
Do you really understand the size of God’s grace?

‘The King’s response to the would-be convert’ (Matthew 19:16-26)

When the young man came to Jesus in Matthew 19:16-26 to ask about eternal life, it certainly did not go as the disciples expected it would! The young man went away from Jesus, ‘sorrowful’ and without the eternal life that he had asked Jesus for…although he did still have his money. The text is one of the greatest in the Scriptures for many reasons, especially because it brings eternal life and salvation into focus for us all!

Message

Outline

• A really helpful text!
• The ‘rich young ruler’!
• What Jesus has been teaching about being child-like and children
• See how it tells us of the following questions…

  1. About eternal life (v.16)
  2. About the commandments (v.18)
  3. About perfection (v.20)
  4. About salvation (v.25)

Are you thinking about eternal things?
Have you grasped this principle of the gospel?

‘The King’s response to the parents’ request’ (Matthew 19:13-15)

When Matthew records that people were bringing their children to Jesus to bless them in Matthew 19:13-15, he also records that the disciples acted as bodyguards of Jesus and tried to protect him from the children! Mark’s gospel records that at this point Jesus rebuked the disciples and went ahead and blessed the children. There’s a point to note there. Jesus was not unwilling to receive them or bless them. However, the disciples most certainly were … to their loss.

Message

Outline

• Further on into Matthew’s gospel!
• All of us are, or once were, children!
• The context of this event, children in the gospels
• See how these verses tell us of …

  1. The moment Jesus rebuked his disciples (v.13, Mk 10:14)
  2. The lessons Jesus gave to His disciples (v.14)
  3. The blessing Jesus gave to the children (v.15)

Prize highly the family unit!
Prize highly the church family unit!

‘The King’s response to a hot topic’ (Matthew 19:1-12)

When the Pharisees sought to- trap Jesus by their question about divorce in Matthew 19:1-12, Jesus was not backward in coming forward with his response. While the Pharisees tended to be quite lax with regard to laws about divorce, Jesus insisted that God’s good design for marriage in Genesis 2:18-25 was enough! Interestingly, he said all this in the context of helping and healing others. He was no narrow-minded bigot who cared nothing for people around him. Instead, while holding strong to the Word of God, he also backed up his words with caring deeds.

Message

Outline

‘The King’s response to a hot topic’
• Unlimited forgiveness. Always?
• The Pharisees seeking to trap Jesus…
• Jesus unafraid to answer their questions
• See how these verses tell us of …

  1. What Jesus was doing (v.1-2)
  2. How Jesus responded (v.3-9)
  3. How the disciples responded (v.10-12)

Marriage matters!
No additional burdens to those who feel a failure!

‘The King’s measure of forgiveness’ (Matthew 18:21-35)

After Jesus had challenged his disciples to follow certain steps in order to ensure that conflict between them be quickly resolved, Peter was quick to ask a question and Jesus was quick to give him an answer! All this can be found in Matthew 18:21-35. Peter’s question had to do with ‘how many times he ought to forgive his brother for an offence’ and Jesus’ answer was both plain and then couched in terms of a parable. The parable adds weight to Jesus’ answer, that the forgiveness that Peter should offer to his brother when offended has no limits. None at all.

Message

Outline

• The all-important context
• The question Peter thought of and asked…
• Conflict among the 12?
• See how from these verses we can note…

  1. What was implied in Peter’s question (v.21)
  2. What was implied by Jesus’ answer (v.22-34)
  3. What was implied by Jesus’ conclusion (v.35)

What is your debt to God?
Where do all these implications touch you the most?

‘The King’s requirements for greatness’ (2) (Matthew 18:15-20)

Matthew 18:15-20 is not necessarily a hard text to understand. It has no hard words, for example. However, the application of what Jesus said is quite difficult. While still speaking to His disciples about the issue of true greatness and how humility is a necessary aspect of it, in these verses, Jesus spoke further about the inevitable conflict that will arise between disciples when the path of humility is not taken. There is a way to solve conflict. It’s not an easy path to take, but for true greatness, it will be so necessary.

Message

Outline

  • An observation and an apology
  • The context of this
    chapter
  • Humility that path to greatness
  • See how Jesus taught his disciples about …
  1. Self-discipline (v.1-14)
  2. Mutual discipline (v.15-17)
  3. Church discipline (v.18-20)
    A world of conflict…
    The source of forgiveness!

‘The King’s requirements for greatness’ (1) (Matthew 18:7-14)

In speaking to His disciples in the way that He did in Matthew 18:7-14, Jesus was not going on to some new topic. In fact what he taught in these verses are very closely linked to verses 1-6. He is still talking about greatness and the ‘childlike humility’ that will lead His disciples towards it. While some of what He says in verses 7-14 is a little unclear, the implications of it are not. Those who will be great in the Kingdom will need to be like the Shepherd whose care for that one lost sheep was not just a matter of words.

Message

Outline

  • GOAT?
  • The context of this
    chapter
  • Humility the path to greatness
  • See how Jesus urged his disciples to …
  1. Avoid being the source of temptation (v.7)
  2. Avoid committing sin at whatever cost (v.8-9)
  3. Avoid rejecting those whom the Father loves (v.10-14)

A reminder for believers…
An invitation to unbelievers…

‘The King’s measure of greatness’ (Matthew 18:1-6)

When the disciples asked Jesus, “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom?” in Matthew 18:1-6, there was a lot going through their minds. Jesus had just begun to set out for Jerusalem, having told the disciples that there He would be mistreated and killed. What was it then that got the disciples talking together about greatness? Mark’s gospel tells us that at least James and John had designs on the right and left hand side of Jesus’ throne. In answering the question, Jesus gave to them an object lesson… a child. And as he did so, He shattered the notions of greatness in our world.

Message

Outline

  • Picking up from where we left off
  • Matthew’s gospel – about Jesus and the
    twelve…
  • Various reactions from the twelve
  • See how the text tells us of …
  1. The question the disciples asked Jesus (v.1)
  2. The object lesson Jesus gave the disciples (v.2-3)
  3. The implications Jesus taught the disciples (v.4-6)
    So who is the greatest in the Kingdom?
    ‘He came not to be served, but to serve and to give His life…’

‘The coming of the Messiah as told to …King Herod’ (Matthew 2:1-23)

Not everyone enjoys Christmas nor finds it a time of celebration or joy. Herod was certainly in that number. When the wise men rocked up with news about the birth of the Messiah in Matthew 2:1-23, they really rocked Herod’s world in more ways than one! In fact, Herod’s response to the news was quite an exterme one. Harsh too. And yet, even more tragic than the deaths of the innocents was the fact that Herod himself missed out on the salvation this baby came to bring. When people repeat Herod’s mistakes, that tragedy is simply repeated over and over.

Message

Outline

• The last in this series!
• Christmas: not always accompanied by happiness!
• Not a happy time for King Herod…
• See how we are shown Herod’s mistakes and errors…

  1. The dangers of self-centredness (v.1-15)
  2. The fruits of hard-heartedness (v.16-18)
  3. The limits to earthly greatness (v.19-23)

‘We don’t want to live under the rule of this king’
The tragedy of the ‘neglected’ Jesus