A survey of the Gospel of Matthew, of how Christ received his reign.
How do the pieces fit together? With my grandson, we started with a stack of Lego pieces, followed 48 pages of instruction, and finally saw what we set out to see: the assembled car.
Larger books of the Bible can feel like that. You start reading the verses, to understand the paragraphs, and the chapters, and the sections, and eventually you get the big picture, how the whole story fits together.
So here’s a brief guide to Matthew’s Gospel, a simple outline distilled from 5 years of processing and pondering the details, meditations that could fill two books (275 posts). From opening statement (anointed son of David) to closing declaration (all authority in heaven and earth, with the nations being instructed as he commands), Matthew’s message is how heaven’s anointed became earth’s king.
This is how Matthew traces the good news of Jesus as the one who restores heaven’s reign to earth:
Continue reading “Matthew’s Gospel: outline and summary”
Exodus is a kingdom of God story. What does it say?
Exodus provides a powerful revelation of who God is. He is the true ruler. Pharaoh cannot rule God’s people. That’s good news.
While Riverview College is launching, I’ll be posting on what Exodus says about our heavenly sovereign, from an Advance in Faith series (unit 220).
Exodus is about God’s kingship — establishing a nation under his rule and law, living among his people. Continue reading “Exodus: God’s kingdom established”
What’s a parable, and why did Jesus use them?
Open Matthew 13.
Like an otter, but with a bill like a duck. If you don’t know what a platypus is, comparisons can help.
Even if you do know what something is, comparisons change how you think of it. “Listening to gossip is like eating cheap candy; do you really want junk like that in your belly?” (Proverbs 18:8 Msg).
Jesus was famous for his parables, similitudes that describe one thing as like another. Sometimes the comparison was a single sentence; other times he spun a yarn with intrigue.
Matthew pulls seven or eight of his parables together in chapter 13. They’re drawn from everyday life: farming, baking, gardening, buying, selling, fishing, entertaining. But they’re all about the same thing. Can you guess? Continue reading “Parables of the king (Matthew 13)”
How central is the kingdom of God to Matthew’s message?
The Good News according to Matthew is that Jesus is restoring heaven’s reign on the earth. His opening sentence is bursting with good news, “Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham” (1:1). He’s arrived: the divinely appointed ruler (Messiah) from Israel’s royal family (son of David) who restores the blessing of divine rule to the nations (the Abrahamic family commission).
What a revolutionary story! By confronting the powers with self-sacrificial love on behalf of earth’s oppressed people, this king brings God’s two realms back together in himself. Via a staggering trajectory, he receives all authority in heaven and on earth, and commissions his agents to bring all nations under his command, promising his regal presence until it’s done (28:18-20).
Every chapter of Matthew’s Good News tells this story. He wants us to recognize Jesus as our divinely appointed king, the one who implements heaven’s reign (the kingdom of heaven) on earth.
Continue reading “KINGDOM SUMMARY: Matthew 1–10”
The core of the OT narrative is the story of God’s reign.
There’s a plotline that integrates all the little narratives of the Bible into a purposeful story. With all the twists and turns of a suspense thriller, the Bible’s narrative has a single focus: the unfolding story of the kingdom of God.
Over the last five months we’ve traced the meta-narrative of the kingdom through the first half of Genesis. In the previous two years, I’ve personally pursued that journey through the rest of Genesis and Exodus. The integrated picture of God’s kingship and kingdom is absolutely stunning. Want a taste? Continue reading “The kingdom in the Old Testament”
Would you like a summary of all we’ve discovered?
Let’s pause our Genesis series here. Before we begin the Abraham story, it would be good to review why we are using a kingdom perspective, and how the story sounds so far. We will then provide a taste of how this perspective reshapes the way we hear familiar texts like John 3:16.
Why are we reading Scripture from a kingdom perspective? Continue reading “The kingdom story in Genesis 1–11”