By Luke Johnson | November 18, 2014
Have you ever been given a nickname or a ‘code name’?
Do you have a favourite one? Who gave it to you?
Can you think of nicknames that people in the Bible had?
- Simon “Peter”, aka, “the Rock” (or “Rocky”)
- James and John, “Sons of Thunder”
- Jesus renames Saul “Paul” (“Saul” means “great”, “Paul” means “small”)
- John might be “the disciple Jesus loved” in the gospel of John
- Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz (Isaiah’s son), “Quick-to-the-plunder”
- Lo-Ammi (Isaiah’s son), “Not-my-people”
- Simon “the Zealot”
Jesus has a ‘nickname’ or a ‘code name’ of his own -- can you guess what it is? (“Christ”)
Do you know what “Christ” means?
(chosen one/anointed one/messiah)
How do you think Jesus got that name? Where does it come from?
LOOK IT UP - Who does “anointed” refer to in these verses?
- 1 Samuel 24:4-6 (“Lord’s anointed” is Saul, the king)
- Psalm 2 (v. 2, ref. to “son” and “king” later on)
- Psalm 18:50 (ref. to the king)
- Psalm 132:17 (“horn of David” / descendant of King David)
How does the Gospel of Matthew understand Jesus?
READ Matt 1:1 - how does Matthew describe Jesus?
(“Jesus the Anointed/Messiah/Christ”, son of David)
READ Matt 3:16-17 - Anything sound familiar from Psalm 2?
(“You are my Son…”) What does Matthew want us to know about Jesus?
READ Matthew 4:17 - What is Jesus preaching about?
(“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near!”)
So, in Matthew, the Anointed One is preaching that the Kingdom of Heaven has come.
How do you think Matthew wants us to understand Jesus?
Jesus is the king of the universe -- and by coming into our little world, he changed all the rules on how ‘power’ works. He’s a weird king. He didn’t save the world by charging down his enemies with a huge army -- he died instead. He took his place as king by hanging on a cross instead of sitting on a throne.
In the same way, Jesus is inviting all of us all the time into his mission of opposites -- of changing all the rules on how the world works.
Take a look at how things work where Jesus is king:
READ Matthew 5:1-12
Did anything in this passage pop out to you? What did you find interesting?
What do you think it means to be “blessed”?
What kinds of things does Jesus say you are blessed for in his kingdom? (Who does God ‘approve’ in his kingdom?)
God ‘approves’: 1) the poor in spirit (the humble); 2) those who mourn; 3) the meek; 4) those who hunger and thirst for righteousness; 5) the merciful; 6) the pure in heart; 7) the peacemakers; 8) those who are persecuted because of righteousness
What do you notice about the “blessing” these people receive in return?
(Is the “Blessed are the ___” line related to the “for they will ___” line?)
Life in Jesus’ kingdom is shaped by Jesus’ own life. Jesus didn’t come to take over the world -- he came to give his life for it.
Jesus didn’t say, “Blessed are those who have it all together,” or “Blessed are those who are strong enough to win.”
He says, “Blessed are the people who refuse to just go along with what the world says is normal, for when God judges the world, you will be the ones who win.”
By keeping faithful to his mission, Jesus was killed. But because he was faithful, God raised him back to life. That’s the same promise Jesus makes in the Beatitudes. “Follow after me, and your life will look like mine.”