On April 19, 2015, we started a new longterm Sermon Series to preach our way through the entirety of the Gospel according to Matthew. My overarching title for the whole Matthew Sermon Series is “FOR THE KING,” but to keep it fresh and interesting, we will break this extended study into smaller “mini-series.” Our first mini-series covers Matthew 1-3, and I’ve entitled it “THE SNOW GLOBE KINGDOM.”
Why call the first 3 chapters of Matthew’s Gospel, The Snow Globe Kingdom? Good question. I call them The Snow Globe Kingdom, because they are in many ways a miniature version of the entire Gospel. They present to us in introductory fashion, the major points about God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; about humanity at its best and worst; about God’s history of saving the world; about God’s mercy; and about God’s grace. We will see “in miniature” the beauty and the horror of the whole Bible.
In the first sentence, we will see a summary of God’s faithfulness, as we hear of the promises accomplished in Jesus. In the genealogy, we will see God’s judgment on arrogant, idolatrous kings, and his global mercy on repentant, scandalously sinful, pagan women. In the birth of Jesus to Mary, we will see how the Holy Spirit works on human beings, and how God overcomes the impossible. In Joseph’s response to this scandalous birth, we will see the definition of “righteousness.” In the Magi, we see human beings at their very best, idolaters worshiping false gods, and yet we will simultaneous see how God overcomes our ignorance to lead us to worship and adore gladly the King of the Jews. In Herod’s murderous, lying rage, we see ourselves at our worst, usurping, mutinous, and hostile to God, like Adam and Eve, rejecting the King/God inorder to preserve our own authority and sovereignty. In all of this, we will see a baby, named Jesus, who recapitulates the history of Israel, and the history of humanity. We will see a baby, vulnerable, loved and hated aggressively and somehow “God With Us” in our vulnerability and subject to our hostility. In all of it, we will see the bad news about ourselves and the good news about Jesus.
Because of that it reminds me of a Snow Globe, a minute, intricate, beautiful version of a Kingly Palace. I hope in these first 3 chapters to tour the grounds and the chambers of this beautiful lifesaving message.
Questions to Guide You:
- After hearing a sermon on Matt 1:1-17, what stands out in this list?
- Seeing Jesus embarrassing family tree, what parts of your family’s story do you hope to see God redeem?
- How does the Spirit do the same thing in Gen 1 and Matt 1? Gen 17 and Matt 1? How does Jesus fulfill the promise in Gen 12?
- What do you think Joseph and their families thought when Mary was found to be pregnant?
- Why did Joseph want to divorce her quietly? What does it say about marriage, that even engaged people needed a “divorce”?
- The name Jesus is Greek for the Hebrew name Joshua, which means “The LORD saves.” Who was Joshua in the OT and how is Jesus like him and better than him?
- How do you think God would feel if he had to live your life with your family, friends, and job? How would God respond to the pain you’ve suffered? If Jesus is “God with Us”, how was his life like yours?
- What does it mean to be “human”? How was Jesus human?
For a printer-friendly copy of this reading plan, including sample questions to augment your study of Scripture, Download the PDF.