The Way Prepares

January 1, 2024 | Brandon Cooper

Jesus prepares the way for a new kingdom by being the new man who overcomes temptation. He calls disciples to follow him and teaches with authority, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing many. His ministry fulfills prophecy and shows what life in the kingdom will be like, calling us to repent and follow him in living out the new message, values and power of the kingdom.


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Good morning church, just a word of warning before we get going I’m have a fair bit shy of full strength today. So I will do my best. But if I collapse on stage or something sorry about that. So we’re back. Go ahead grab your Bibles open up the Matthew chapter four, as we’ll wrap up our short series here, Kingdom Come, in preparation for our longer series on the Sermon on the Mount. So as you’re turning there to Matthew four, no doubt some of you perhaps all of you made some new year’s resolutions recently. And of course, there are a lot of jokes that attend to New Year’s resolutions, you know, the gyms are very full this week. And by February, they’re empty again, you know, all that kind of stuff. Because what are New Year’s resolutions, in a lot of ways they are this, this hope that we will become a new person without really changing anything, nothing fundamental about us, at least is so you know, we’re all of a sudden, for the first time in 20 years going to start exercising regularly, even though there’s been no change in our discipline habits, or something like that. That’s just normally how it goes. So we need a fundamental change first, and then that, you know, the practical outworking things come from that. So somebody might actually start exercising regularly for the first time in 20 years, if they’ve had a health scare, for example. And they just realize they need to make some changes at this point. I bring this up, because that’s how it is with the kingdom of God as well, the new kingdom that Jesus is bringing, we all want things to be different than they are now. Like, we understand that the world is not as it should be, but how is it going to change? Exactly. And I think we’re, we’re assuming we can just make a couple of tweaks here and then the you know, the new kingdom will come like, you know, what, if we got to a second David on the throne of Israel, that was the expectation in Jesus’s time at least to get somebody like David, and then we’ll be will be what? We’ll right back where we started, honestly, like, you know, think about who David was great military King. Yeah, adulterer. Uh huh, murderer, yet prone to idolatry. Absolutely. That whole sense of thing, also a terrible father, which is why the kingdom collapsed within a generation or two, we’re going to need something better if we’re going to prepare for what’s coming. So that change will actually stick. And so that’s kind of our main idea for this morning. It’s that the way, Jesus the way prepares the way for this new kingdom to dawn, the way prepares the way for this new kingdom to dawn. And so we’re gonna look at the question what is needed for this new kingdom to come, we’ll see kind of three necessities that we’ll look at. Now, you’ll notice that this main idea, there’s no real takeaway for you in that, and that’s bad. This is the sign of a bad main idea. I’ll get dinged on this in my sermon evaluation tomorrow. I know. But it’s because I want us to see what’s new with Jesus first, and then we can discern our response. And so I’ll close with kind of a modified main idea that will give you your takeaway, but for now, what exactly is needed for this new kingdom to dawn? First of all, we need a new man and that’s from verses one to 11. So a new man, let me read Matthew chapter four, verses one to 11. For us. When Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil, after fasting, 40 days and 40 nights, he was hungry, the tempter came to him and said, If you are the Son of God, tell the stones to become bread. Jesus answered, It is written, Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. The devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. If you are the Son of God, he said, throw yourself down for it is written, He will command as angels concerning you, they will lift you up in their hands, that you will not strike your foot against a stone. Jesus answered him, it is also written, do not put the Lord your God to the test. Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. All this I will give you He said, If you will bow down and worship me. Jesus said to him away from me, Satan, for it is written, Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only, no double left him, and angels came and attended him. You notice this starts with the word then says immediately following Jesus’s baptism, and it’s it’s closely linked to that story that Kyle walked us through last week. It’s linked by the presence of the Spirit. Of course, the Spirit descends on Jesus at His baptism, and also the repetition of that phrase, Son of God, Satan keeps saying, if you’re the Son of God, the Son of God, the Son of God, well, that’s what we just heard at the end of the last chapter when God the Father speaks from heaven and says, This is my son. So it’s almost like Satan was there at the river and he you know, he’s talking Jesus gonna hurt your dad. said and let’s, let’s test these claims here. So immediately after the baptism, Jesus is led into the wilderness, which is often a place of testing in Scripture. He’s led by the Spirit. And then he’s tested or tempted by the devil. So that’s two passive constructions in a row, if you’re, if you, you know, like grammar and all of that, which kind of shows Jesus’s submission, especially to the Father’s will. So he’s not going his own way, he is allowing himself to be led here. But I think that second passive is really key to right. The Spirit leads Jesus, he’s led by the Spirit into the wilderness, but the spirit is not the one doing the tempting. And that’s key God ordains the testing, but he doesn’t inflict it. God doesn’t tempt us, James tells us. So that’s a subtle distinction, but really important that God allows or permits this to happen. But at the same time, you don’t make no mistake, God will lead us into testing. And that’s a clear takeaway from this passage. You can see it throughout the Bible even see it in Jesus’s life. A good illustration of this is the number of times it happens at least twice, where Jesus commands His disciples to get in a boat and go across the Sea of Galilee. And then they’re caught in a tremendous storm and almost killed. They’re there in the storm, not because of disobedience, but because they obeyed Jesus’s command. So Jesus will lead us into storms into tests and trials. Why? Good question, when he probably asked when you’re in the middle of a storm, that’s because that’s where we grow. Of course, it’s similar to our physical strengthening, you know, if you want to get stronger, you got to actually work out your muscles, you need to strain them, you need to put them to the test, you know, you’re not going to get stronger, sitting on a couch, reading a book about exercise, you may learn what you need to do, but you’re still gonna have to get off the couch. Kind of similar to us spiritually, right. Like there is tremendous value in sitting in a cozy armchair, meditating on the Word of God. But at a certain point, we have to get out of the armchair and strain ourselves spiritually to put what we’ve learned to the test. I don’t think that’s the main point of what’s happening here, though. So what exactly is happening? Like Moses, Jesus fast for 40 days and 40 Nights, Moses does this on the top of Mount Sinai. It’s part of the story that’s recounted for us in Deuteronomy, which is the book Jesus keeps quoting. So he fasted for 40 days and 40 Nights. By the end of that, of course, he is weak and hungry, as you would expect. This is a really tough time to resist temptation, which Satan knows. Now I can share something about this personally, I feel very weak right now. I don’t feel well, I haven’t for about the last four days. It has been very easy for Satan to tempt me in this time, you can ask my wife and children if I’ve snapped at them more than usual recently, and the answer is, yeah, absolutely. It’s much harder to resist when we don’t feel well. And that’s what Satan’s waiting for. Here. He waits until Jesus is hungry. He’s always looking for an opportune time to strike. And not only that he then temps in this area, you’re hungry, aren’t you? You could fix that you could turn stones into bread. Some of you are probably wondering, what’s the big deal here anyway? Is it sinful to eat? Of course not. What’s let’s dig in a little bit. Notice that Jesus that the Satan assumes Jesus really is God’s son. He’s using what’s known as a first class conditional if you really want your grammar lesson for the day, which means you’re assuming the truth of the condition, we could almost translate it as since you are God’s Son. Of course, Satan knows that Jesus is God’s Son, since you are God’s Son. That’s really where the temptation is coming in. It’s the temptation to use the perks of sonship for himself. It would be similar to a friend of some member of a royal family going Look, why don’t we really open her up? Okay, you can hit 200 in this car on the highway, no problem.
What are they gonna do? arrest you, you own the police? It’s that same kind of temptation, right? You’re the king. So you can do whatever you want the way Don Carson puts it as he’s being tempted to use his sonship in ways that are inconsistent with his God ordained mission. So to be the son but not actually live like what the son is supposed to be. He is a hungry because at that moment, God willed for him that he be hungry, that he fast in the wilderness. And so the question is, will he use his power for his own ends to remove this pain from his life? And that’s why he quotes Deuteronomy. The issue isn’t bread, right? You can’t live on bread alone. but on every word that God speaks, that’s the issue. It’s God’s revealed will will he do what God has said for him to do? So Jesus says, later in John, chapter four, verse 34, My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, that’s what he’s saying to Satan here, as well. So Satan tries again, takes him to the pinnacle of the temple, throw yourself off, the angels are going to catch you. I mean, you do believe God’s faithful to His promises, don’t you? That’s the question. And especially because he is the Son of God. So if he were to fall off the highest point of the temple, there goes, you know, the whole plan of redemption, can’t die without fulfilling his mission. Now, of course, God is faithful to His promises. That doesn’t mean we should put ourselves in circumstances where miraculous deliverance is required. That would be to make God Your servant, you got to catch me now, right? That’s what you’re there for. That’s the temptation that Jesus faces here and why he says, You’re not supposed to test the Lord your God. Of course, we often do this, we actually often do this with temptation. In particular, here’s the promise of God, that is a precious promise of God. First Corinthians 10, verse 13, God is faithful, He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it to Okay, I can’t be tempted beyond what I can bear. So that means I could watch all of these ads or scroll through them without coveting, right? Or I could walk into a bar as a semi recovered alcoholic and not drink. Or I could hang out with my significant other late at night in a dark room with no one else around. And there’s no dangerous sexual immorality, because God’s got to give me a way out, right? No, God gave you the way out. Long time before that, now you’re just putting him to the test. And that’s not how this works. Right? Believing God is faithful means you don’t need to test him to see if he’ll keep his word. That’s actually the sign of a weak relationship. Right? If you’ve got a woman who’s always saying to her boyfriend, well, if you really loved me, you know, you wouldn’t go out with your friends tonight. That’s not a strong relationship. Or that’s a weak relationship. We can do better than that with God, because we know He loves us. So then Satan’s got one last attempt. And this one really strikes at the heart of the matter, takes him to a high peak shows Him the kingdoms of the world. And to quote the Grey Havens, he basically says that your bended knee, you will have everything you see, you can have all of this. It’s, of course, it’s going to be Jesus’s ultimately, anyway, I mean, His is the kingdom, right? But at what cost? Because to get it all now would mean that he wasn’t going to deal with the sin issue, which is the whole reason key came, or it is not just to receive the kingdom, but to renew the kingdom. And so his purpose is there. In fact, it’s in the passages that were quoted at His baptism, Kyle walked it through it last week, where yes, he is the royal messiah of Psalm two, he is that king who gets all the kingdoms and all the glory, but he’s also the suffering servant of Isaias prophecy. And he’s got to be the one in order to be the other in the way he came to be. So the temptation here is for Jesus to get the glory without the cross to skip the hard part. Again, a temptation we face as well. America’s one great contribution to theology is the prosperity gospel, which is a heresy of course, what is the prosperity gospel? It’s the glory without the cross. So it’s the same temptation, right? We gotta be aware of this. But this is the main temptation that Jesus faces throughout his life. It’s what he’s praying through in get somebody if it’s possible, take this cup from me, right? That’s him battling with the temptation, even as he’s on the cross. We looked at this in Matthew 27. People are saying, you know, if you’re really the deliverer, why don’t you deliver yourself? Yes, that’s what he’s being tempted to do. Again. It’s also why Jesus gets so upset with Peter and Matthew 16. When Peter, you know, Jesus says, Yes, I am the Christ, the Son of God. That’s right, Peter, good job. And here’s what’s gonna happen. The Son of Man is gonna be delivered. He’s gonna be tortured. He’s going to be killed. And Peter says, we don’t talk like that. that, like that’s not right, we can skip all that. And Jesus goes, I’ve heard that before. I’ve heard that before, Get behind Me, Satan. Because this is Satan’s temptation right here. The good news is the king said, No, the only reason we can be saved is because he said no to this temptation, he went through the cross on his way to glory, the way we’ll prepare the way has prepared the way for us to come into His kingdom. So those are the three temptations but let’s take a step back and look at it all together. Notice this is not the first time we’ve seen this story. Three times Jesus quotes Deuteronomy, in response to Satan. We keeps quoting Deuteronomy, because that is the record of Israel’s unfaithfulness, Israel, by the way, which is often referred to as God’s son in the Old Testament. So there’s God’s son, who is repeatedly unfaithful, succumbs to these exact temptations in the wilderness, as they’re wandering about for 40 years, but where Israel failed, rejecting God’s word, testing, God falling into idolatry, Jesus succeeded. That’s why we have the HOPE of salvation. But it’s another story too. So this is actually the third time we’ve seen this story. Because that same shirt serpent shows up, not in a wilderness, but in a garden. Which is kind of interesting, too, because Adam was not hungry. He had all the food he needed. And actually, he’d just been given all the kingdoms of Earth, right? Isn’t that what God said to Adam, fill the earth subdue it, it’s yours. And still, the first Adam was seduced. So it wasn’t that he wanted the glory without the cross. He just wanted the glory without the gratitude. He wanted the garden without God, but not the second, Adam. And that’s what I mean. By the way, when I say we need a new man, the word Adam just means, man, we need a new Adam, a second Adam, a new man, and he has come. And he was tempted beyond what we’ve ever been tempted. And yet he did not fall, sympathetic high priests test in every way, just as we are yet he did not sin. In fact, he’s been tempted beyond what we’ve ever been tempted, because we always succumb. We have never resisted to the end the way Jesus has. So this is important. And that means that these 11 verses this is not a not just let me say a moralistic story about how to resist temptation. That might be how you’ve been taught this before. Like the whole key here is that when you’re tempted, you need to have memorized enough Scripture so that you can quote it to resist temptation. Yes, sure, by all means, I’m for that very pro scripture memory. Yes, we use the word of God to defend ourselves against Satan’s attacks. The sword of the Spirit is the word of God. After all, we want to know God’s promises, know them well, so that we can apply them in the right ways. Yes. But that’s not primarily what this is about. Primarily, this is a new chapter in the story of redemption, because that last one has overcome temptation, and defeated the devil. The way that second Adam from above the way prepares the way for a new kingdom to dawn. Because He was sinless, tempted, yet did not sin, so that he could then be that sacrificial lamb without blemish on our behalf. The kingdom of the cross is the kingdom, the resurrection, the kingdom of glory, that he’s preparing for us because he forged that path. Was Hebrews tell us, right? He’s the pioneer and perfecter of our faith pioneer. He’s the one who blazed the trail because he forged that path we can follow in his footsteps and resist to if he didn’t do that, we’re going to walk in the first Adam’s path and Israel’s footsteps. And what does that look like? That’s like getting a gym membership without any change in your desire or discipline, but a new man has come second thing we need if we’re gonna have a new kingdom is we need a new message as well.
So let’s keep reading Matthew chapter four, verses 12 to 17. When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he withdrew to Galilee, leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun, and Naphtali. To fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah, land of Zebulun, and land of Naphtali, the way of the sea beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles. The people living in darkness have seen a great light on those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned. From that time on Jesus began to preach Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven has come near. So John, at this point has sadly been taken off stage, he’s been arrested by Herod to be put to death. In a short while. To borrow Kyle’s analogy from last week, the opening act, they finish they’re set at this point. And so it’s time for the headliner, to take the spotlight fully. Except and this is where the analogy breaks, it breaks down. It involves a change of venue as well. So what happens here, Jesus moves from Nazareth, where he grew up to Galilee, which is a region and specifically in Capernaum. Town, they’re in Galilee. Now. You might not all have your Bible maps memorized. So let’s talk about this a little bit. If this is Jerusalem, Nazareth is northwest of Jerusalem. So I’m going to give you really imprecise American analogies here. Okay, Jerusalem, that’s like DC, right? The Capitol, all that. So this is like moving to Heartland USA. So I’m picturing like, middle of Pennsylvania, between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg kind of place where you can’t tell people where you’re from, you can only tell people where you’re by, you know, because they don’t know any of the names of any of the places. So that’s Nazareth, middle of nowhere, Heartland Israel, what not? Well, all of a sudden, now he’s moving straight north of Jerusalem. And in our analogy here, this is gonna be like moving to Buffalo. Now, why buffalo? Because if you go to Buffalo, you’re gonna meet a lot of Canadians. Not saying it’s a bad thing, by the way, okay, don’t get me wrong. Because you know, buffalo, it’s right there, right, just a bridge. That’s all it takes. And so if you’re in Buffalo, you know, you might live in Buffalo and work in Canada and have friends who live in Canada and work in Buffalo. And that’s where Jesus is now. Because where he is in Capernaum. It’s one of those like, if you lean the wrong direction, you’re in Gentile territory, in the Decapolis, that the region of the 10 cities, so there are a lot of Gentiles around. And the description that Matthew gives us of where Jesus has gone prepares us for how important that is when he says, you know, if he lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake or by the sea, and the area of Zebby, going to Naphtali. That’s a lot of information. That’s all just to prepare us for this quote that we get. Jesus did this in order to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah, Isaiah chapter nine verses one and two lands nebulin land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, right, that’s the Sea of Galilee, beyond the Jordan and Galilee of the Gentiles. Now, Isaiah nine is a familiar passage to a lot of us, especially just after the Advent and Christmas ended yesterday, right with epiphany, we’re just now out of the Christmas season, 12 days of Christmas and all of that. So we can still talk about Isaiah nine, verse six, I’m gonna say it too. You’re gonna hear Handel’s Messiah in the background as you go right? For unto us. A son is born, For unto us a child is given. And he will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. But it goes on to talk about what this child is going to do. He’s going to rain on David’s throne. And his reign will be characterized by righteousness and justice and of the increase of His government and the peace that results there will be no end. You see, the point, Jesus here is not fulfilling geography. He’s fulfilling a messianic prophecy. Jesus by moving to Capernaum is doing what he came to do, to bring in this new kingdom that is coming, but that requires that he be in Galilee, of the Gentiles. Why? Because Jesus came for all people, not just the lost sheep of Israel, but for all of us. In fact, how does Matthew’s Gospel conclude, go and make disciples of all nations? Word for nations is the same as the word for Gentiles. It’s where we get our word ethnic from. It just means you know them basically. This is the passage that Ali read for us earlier. Right, Simeon? I mean, as he meets the baby Jesus, even he sees this is what’s coming. This is what this is all about. My eyes have seen your salvation which you were prepared in the sight of all nations, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people, Israel. Now, what does Isaiah say about Galilee of the Gentiles? This is interesting to the second part of the quote, the people living in darkness have seen a great light on those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned. So let’s not miss the point in the obscure geography. The point here is that the light dawns, where it’s darkest. Capernaum is about as far away from Jerusalem as You can get and still be in Israel. So the light is dawning away from the temple, away from the priests away from the whole cultic system. And It’s dawning, in fact, kind of among the nations because there’s a whole bunch of Canadians, they’re Gentiles. What that means is that this can’t possibly be earned or deserved. Right? If it had dawned in Jerusalem, people would go, of course, of course, we’re the ones doing what we should be doing here. Yes, this makes sense. But because it’s over there, and the darkness by the Gentiles now we know it’s all about grace. It is the people who deserve it. least the people who wouldn’t even know it, when it came, they are the ones who see the light first. And so then we have to read verse 17. And Jesus’s preaching in this light, because I said what’s needed for a new kingdom is a new message. And some of you are going objection. He says the exact same thing as John, this isn’t a new message. This is examine word for word, what John said last week, in Matthew chapter three, Objection overruled, because Jesus says it in a whole new context. If I can put it in kind of simplistic terms, John says this in an Old Testament context. repent, the kingdom of heaven has come near and who comes to him to repent, people from Judea, and Jerusalem, Jews, in other words, so what’s happening with John is you have Jews recommitting to the law. I have not kept the law perfectly. I own it, acknowledge it, I need to be washed, I need to start over. But when Jesus says that Jesus says it in light of Isaiah nine, it is for the Gentiles to Jesus’s message is for those who can’t earn it. recommitment is not going to be enough people who don’t deserve it. It’s going to be all of grace. So when Jesus says repent, doesn’t involve a turning from sin and attorney from law breaking? Yes, absolutely. But fundamentally it is is a turning from godlessness in the sense of I can do this on my own. It’s a turning from performance, and false righteousness. You want to enter the new kingdom that Jesus is bringing repentance is key. But as the repentance in the words of the famous him nothing in my hand, I bring simply to the Cross I cling. That’s it. That’s all I have to offer here. And of course, we’re still living in this context, called a New Testament context. If we want Jesus’s words are for us still today, repent and receive grace. Instead of trying to earn this by works. And by the way, that’s for all of us whether you’re come from a religious background where the temptation is to earn this by doing good, or in your religious background, more of like a secular background, where the temptation is to earn this by doing your own thing, forging your own identity, repentance looks the same in both cases. I couldn’t do it couldn’t possibly can’t say myself. I need you Jesus, the way he prepares the way for a new kingdom to dawn and the key there is that he is in fact the way we enter through him. You were here last summer you remember Jake preaching how Jesus is the door right? The red door. You guys remember that? Some of you exactly. That’s what we’re talking about here as well. We enter through him not through our effort. Third thing we need for new kingdoms dawn that is a new method. So let’s keep reading chapter four verses 18 to 25. As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They’re casting a net into the lake for they were fishermen. Come follow me, Jesus said and I will send you out to fish for people at once they left their nets and followed him going on. From there. He saw two other brothers James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing the nuts. Jesus called them in immediately they left the boat and their father and followed Him.
Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness among the people. news about Him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon possessed those having seizures and the paralyzed and he healed them. Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and the region across the Jordan followed him. Alright, so there’s a slight danger with Evan Gela calls. And that is that we spend so much time asking and answering the question Why did Jesus die that sometimes we forget to ask the question, How did Jesus live? There’s plenty to learn from what he did. It’s like he didn’t just come to say enough controversial things that he’d get himself executed to make atonement for our sins. No, he came to inaugurate this new kingdom that is coming with him. And that’s why passages like this, which kind of summarize Jesus’s everyday ministry are so helpful for us, they give us the flavor of the kingdom that he’s bringing. So Jesus begins by calling some disciples, two sets of brothers, Andrew, and Peter, and then James, and John. Now, these are brothers with whom he’s had prior contact, just so we’re clear, this is not the first time he meets them, you can read about, especially in John’s gospel, which starts a little bit farther back in terms of Jesus’s public ministry, so they’ve had prior contact with them. In fact, Luke’s gospel records a story that happens right before this moment, when Peter comes back from fishing, they all come back from fishing and they’ve caught nothing. And Jesus, by the way, who’s just an MDiv right? So he’s got nothing to do with fishing says you should try fishing right there right now. And Peter goes, That’s dumb. Okay, that’s dumb. I’m sorry, man. Like you may be smart when it comes to Old Testament theology. But I know how to fish and that’s the wrong place at the wrong time. But whatever, I’ll do it boom, miraculous catch all that stuff. Peter falls on his knees, Lord Depart from me, I’m a sinful man, right? So they know something of Jesus that explains the immediate response. Because I know some of you you feel guilty. As soon as you read this passage, we’re like, Man, I did not do that when Jesus came knocking on my door. Okay, it took Peter a little while to write but but still, the fact that they’ve already met him, doesn’t change just how impressive their willingness to follow Him is. This is a picture of true discipleship, which is really what we’re gonna unpack in this next series on the Sermon on the Mount. This is a radical reorientation, their lives are forever changed after this moment. Now, it isn’t absolute, what they just do. You can see them all fishing again, later on. Even after Jesus’s resurrection. They’re out fishing again. So it’s not a question of okay, that’s it. I’ve never touched a fishing ever again. But it’s a question of priorities. For these men now hear on out, Jesus is first, and they will leave whatever they need to in order to follow him. That’s the key. Now for us, it’s unlikely to be nuts, though some of us love to fish maybe more than we should. But the real question here is what vies for first place in your heart? The question is, what is it that you would be unwilling to give up if Jesus asked you to? When you become a Christian, Will Jesus make you change careers? No, probably not. Maybe, but probably not. We did a whole series on vocation and how important that is, and everything. But if Jesus asked you to change careers, what would you say? Is Jesus gonna have you leave certain relationships, friendships, dating, relationships, something like that, when you begin to follow him? Maybe? Is there any relationship where you would go? But if it’s that one, then no, I won’t follow you. Or it’s this hobby, or it’s this, whatever. As soon as there’s a moment where you go, I won’t leave this Jesus is second in your heart. That’s what’s being talked about here. So kind of drawing on the language of that last section in Jesus’s preaching, how do you know that you’ve truly repented? It’s that question. Right? Have you made this radical break with your past or not? Are your hands opening, I will drop whatever you need me to drop in order to follow you. As the two sets of brothers respond in this story. So must we. But the good news is that as they do this, they’re given new purpose in Christ, they are given a mission. And Jesus draws on their past experience, you know, their career of fishing to explain it. You’ve been fishing for fish? Well, I’m gonna send you out now to be fishers of people instead. And most of us don’t have this as a career. So I’ll give it to you in a generic form. Instead, what does that new mission, that new purpose that we’re given what we’re made to magnify, and send to serve, and that’s the new purpose. We’re made to magnify Christ so that he is that first in our hearts. And then we’re sent to serve others by helping them to magnify Christ, so that he’s first in their hearts as well. But I love this. This is so encouraging. These are some of the most encouraging words in the Gospel. When Jesus says, This is verse 19. Read it literally it says, Come follow me, Jesus said and I will make make you fishers of people. The word that you’re there, I will make you. And I love that we are being remade, renewed. Because so often what it feels like is Jesus says, You need to go do this. And now you’re on your own. No, Jesus gives us what we need to do what he’s called us to do. He makes us into what we need to be in order to follow Him. It is if we can use our our analogy that we keep going back to Jesus buys us the gym membership, sure. But he also gives us new desires, new habits, a new discipline, all the sorts of things by the way that we’ll see next week in the Beatitudes. Well, what do these men see then as they follow Jesus, again, we get this summary of his ministry at the outset, which kind of makes sense of all the episodes we’ll see, as you know, you keep reading in Matthew’s Gospel, okay, this healing makes sense, because that’s just kind of what he did. There are three main elements that Matthew lists for what Jesus’s everyday ministry looked like he was teaching, first of all, teaching. And there we mean, in the synagogues, especially, it’s even what’s mentioned. And so teaching in their synagogues, in other words, he’s unpacking the meaning of Torah, unpacking the meaning of what we would call the Old Testament, which is exactly what we’re going to see in chapters five to seven in the Sermon on the Mount, this is just an extended treatment of the law. So he’s teaching, then he’s also proclaiming, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, what we would call the gospel, the kingdom has come near salvation is dawning in Christ. And then he’s healing. And he’s healing every disease, every kind of sickness. In fact, we get this long list to show the extent of his healing, like all these different things are what about people with severe pain? Yes. Okay. How about the demon possessed Aha, you know, just on down the line. And he even says that they all these different regions brought all the sick, and Jesus was he healing them all. So we get tremendous healing ministry. Now, all of these are closely connected. And these aren’t really three separate activities. But it’s really just all of a piece. Because Jesus shows from the Old Testament, what he proclaims what we would again, called almost the New Testament ministry, and then inax lives out. So this is all about the in breaking of his sovereign reign in the world. He’s saying what was prophesied is now happening. And here’s what it looks like.
And that’s why healing is central to his ministry, not peripheral, because these miracles attest to the king’s presence. And to that future kingdom, the miracles that he’s doing here, they’re like a trailer for a new movie. Like you’re coming soon. So like, this is what it’s going to look like, when the kingdom is consummated. There’ll be no more sickness or death or mourning or pain. Because remember, all sickness and death ultimately result from sin? Not necessarily directly, sometimes, yes, you can be wildly sexually immoral and end up with an STD Okay, one to one connection, right? Between sin and sickness. But other times, you know, you get those stories where like, like, this was the best guy I knew, how did he get cancer, like I don’t see a one to one connection. But it all relates to the brokenness of the world that we brought in by our sin. So in healing, Jesus is dealing with the brokenness of the world at its deepest point, right, he’s going to deal with the sin issue, which then takes care of the sickness issue. If he doesn’t deal with sin and conquered, ultimately, we end up in the same place again, right? If Jesus allows any sin into the New Kingdom, into glory into what we might call heaven, well, we’re going to be right back where we are now all the wickedness, all the evil, all the injustice, yes, but all the sickness and pain and dying too. But I can keep going my analogy and really imprecise at this point. You know, this would be like taking the shortcut, you know, just to heal everybody kind of thing. That’s like, instead of losing the weight the hard way, getting plastic surgery, liposuction. If you don’t change your habits, guess what happens? All the weight comes right back. And that’s what Jesus isn’t willing to do is you can actually change us so that we are really healed. We don’t just look like we’re healed at this point. All of this then his ministry is related to the calling of his disciples, including us, because these men that he’s called, truly follow Jesus. They want walk in His footsteps, doing what he did. A disciple is in many ways an apprentice, and they’re apprenticing with Jesus at this point. What did the disciples do as you keep reading in the Gospels and the book of Acts, they teach in the synagogue showing the Old Testament, that Jesus is the Promised Deliverer, they proclaim the good news of the kingdom, and they even heal quite a few diseases. And guys, like Peter and Paul, where they bring all the six same sort of thing, and they’re doing it ultimately among the nations. Jesus sends out the 70, to the nations of that point. And of course, the book of Acts is all about the church reaching the nations. So this call is a call to follow, right not to go it alone. And that’s what I mean by a new method. A new method is that it’s no longer about following a list of rules, but about following a person. Not trying to forge our own way, but following in the footsteps of our Master. And why would we do that? Why would we follow three reasons that we see right here? Why the brothers would do this, why we would we see the truth of the new message is really short here. But Mira, see, the crowds are gonna be awestruck at the end of chapter seven, when he’s done with a sermon on the mountain. Absolutely. We should be awestruck by the truth of this teaching. Second, they saw the the value the the worth of the new method, that we get to participate in it, first of all, right that we are God’s method. We’re not passive spectators in redemption, but active participants in it. But we’re being sent out as people, for people to rescue people, that seems worthwhile. And then third, it’s the power of the new man, the miracles that he does, and of course, especially the resurrection, the way prepares the way for a new kingdom to dawn. Jesus does what we could not. And then he calls us to do what he does. And he overcame temptation, where we succumb where Adam succumbed. But now in Christ, we have that same spirit to resist temptation. His light dawns far from anyone who deserves it, which is, of course, no one says grace not works. So that means we can repent and trust in His finished work. Instead of frenetically trying to accomplish it on our own. He blazes, a new trail embodies the teaching values and power of this new kingdom. And we don’t then forge a different trail, but follow in his. But we really do follow. Right. I mean, that’s the point. He invites us to enter his kingdom. And then to serve in it, to go fishing for people to teach and preach and heal. And so there’s our modified main idea I promised you it was coming. Here it is. So we’re the way prepares the way for new kingdom New Dawn, but but here it is updated now with our takeaway, the way he prepares the way for us to follow, to live in and for the kingdom, the way prepares the way for us to follow to live in and for the kingdom, and really to live in and for the king. So with that in mind, let’s just ask ourselves a few questions as we close, kind of from the three segments here. First, are you fighting temptation in your own strength? Like Adam? Or are you leaning on the second Adam? Who can change your heart so that you can resist? Man, I guess a follow up there is do you need to dig into Scripture to learn not just you know, these fighter verses that help you with temptation, but the story of God’s promise unfolding and our redemption? Second question, and the second section, do you have a Jerusalem spirit? By which I mean, are you assuming that light will dawn on you because you’re so good? So of course you’ve earned this or are you aware of the direct darkness surrounding but also in you, so that you are repenting? And trusting in Jesus and Jesus alone? A third question from that last section, do you still have nuts that you were supposed to leave behind? Is there some area where you’re clinging to your former life? You’re kind of straddling two worlds at this point? Or are you following Jesus truly living out the message and values and power of the New Kingdom, the way it prepares the way for us to follow to live in and for his new kingdom. So let’s follow let’s pray now. Jesus, we are so grateful that you came as the pioneer and perfecter of our faith to blaze this new trail. You don’t send us off on our own to try and figure it out on our own but you have given us a path to follow. You have given us a way to walk in, you are the way that we walk in. And so Lord, our prayer is simple that you would help us to follow in your footsteps, to walk as you walked where you walked for the reason you walked there, that we would be about our Father’s business that we would teach and preach and bring to whatever extent we can the newness of the kingdom into the here and now that you might be glorified in us and that others might see and respond. And you’d be glorified in them as well. It’s in Christ’s name that we pray, Amen.

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