At the beginning of our ministry year, we want to start by introducing Jesus, his message, and his mission – which are central to our own identity, message, and mission.
This year, we’ll be focusing on the first half of the Gospel according to Matthew. On 9/12, I’ll introduce the series by highlighting the way Matthew identifies Jesus as the successor of Abraham, Moses, and David and the fulfillment of the covenant promises made to them. The names given to him in chapter 1 identify him as the Messiah (which implies both King and Saviour) and strongly foreshadow that he is God himself come to dwell among his people. What follows is a series in three main sections, each concluded by a significant teaching:
In chapters 4-7, Jesus comes proclaiming and demonstrating the Kingdom. What is the Kingdom of Heaven, and how is it related to the Good News about Jesus? This section ends with the Sermon on the Mount, a description of what it looks like to live in his Kingdom.
In chapters 8-10, we get stories of Jesus bringing his Kingdom into the lives of ordinary people and see the transforming effect it/he has on their lives. This unit ends with Jesus’ instruction to his disciples about how to announce the Kingdom and what to expect when they do.
In chapters 11-13, we see how people respond to Jesus in very different ways – and how this is, in a sense, normal. Not everyone loves Jesus and wants to follow him; some are cautious and confused, while others reject and oppose him. The section ends with a whole set of parables of the Kingdom which illustrate and give insight to these dynamics.