We are ramping up to Matthew 13 for our new sermon series beginning June 10. Prepare yourself with a little background study!
The book of Matthew was written to show that Jesus Christ is the promised King from David’s line (2 Samuel 7), the Son of God, and the Messiah. You see an element of Jesus’ Kingship in every chapter!
Chapter 1 – Jesus Christ’s kingship is confirmed in His lineage, as He is born through the messianic line.
Chapter 2 – Jesus Christ’s kingship is confirmed by the magi, or wise men, who themselves were king-makers.
Chapter 3 – Jesus Christ’s kingship is confirmed by John the Baptist, the preordained forerunner to the King.
Chapter 4 - Jesus Christ’s kingship is confirmed by His conflict with Satan, resisting temptation and conquering the kingdom of darkness.
Chapters 5-7 - Jesus Christ’s kingship is confirmed through His teaching.
Chapters 8-10 - Jesus Christ’s kingship is confirmed through His miracles. Many really begin to reject the King, and the greater the evidence given, the greater the rejection becomes.
Chapter 11 - Jesus Christ denounces Israel for rejecting Him as their King (and Savior) and promises severe judgment. Yet the invitation to come to Him is still given (vs 25-30).
Chapter 12 – The rejection of Jesus Christ reaches a climax, and so does the pronouncement of judgment. The rejection goes to the point that Jesus us accused of being satanic. Jesus points out that such a mindset indicates someone beyond the point of being forgiven (vs 31-32). There is still yet another invitation given (v 50).
To sum up: Christ is proven to be the King, but He is rejected as King, so He pronounces judgment on those who have rejected Him. Yet the invitation is still open to those who would receive Him.
Israel has rejected the King, therefore, the kingdom is also rejected. For centuries, the Jews were looking for the Messiah to establish God’s kingdom on earth. At last it was offered to them, but they refused it. When we get to chapter 13 in Matthew, we see a new perspective in the ministry of Christ.
Three big questions need answered about all of this:
Big question #1: If Jesus came to establish the kingdom of God on earth, which was promised through Israel, but Israel refused Him and His kingdom, then what happened to the kingdom? Matthew 13 has the answer. The kingdom cannot come until Israel receives the King. Until then, the kingdom has to be postponed in terms of its complete fulfillment. It has to be postponed to a future time. What time is that? The second coming of Christ. Jesus is coming a second time because His kingdom was rejected the first time He came. Jesus, John the Baptist, and the apostles all preached that “the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17, 3:2, 10:7), but because the King and kingdom were rejected, this kingdom is postponed.
Big Question #2: Why didn’t God just eliminate the kingdom? Because He promised Israel a future kingdom! Now there is an internal aspect of the kingdom for those who have received Christ, but there will be an external aspect someday as well (Zechariah 12:10, Zechariah 13:1, Romans 11:26, Revelation 20). At Christ’s reign on the earth during the Millennium, the kingdom will be fulfilled – internally AND externally.
Big Question #3: What happens in the time between the rejection of Christ and the Second Coming of Christ? There are different names for this time period: the parenthesis, the interim, the interregnum (yeah, my favorite). As discussed earlier, it is a period not seen in the Old Testament. In fact, in Mark 4:11, Jesus calls it a “mystery”, that is, “what was hidden is now revealed”. Part of mystery is that in this period of the kingdom, Jews and Gentiles would be part of a combined identity (Ephesians 3:5-6), something else not seen in OT.
So Matthew 13 has 7 parables that describe what the interim period will be like. During the interim, the kingdom goes on while the king is absent. Jesus, at this point, is in heaven, at the right hand of the Father, but that doesn’t mean He isn’t present in our midst...the Bible says He is!
I am so excited to be exploring this passage with you, starting this Sunday (June 10)!
p.s. - class dismissed!
(Note: This material adapted from John MacArthur‘s The Kingdom of Heaven)