Matthew: Follow the King

King’s sit on thrones in palaces.
King’s wear royal clothes and crowns, and enjoy the best things the world has to offer.
King’s make laws and command kingdoms.
King’s don’t live and work among their people.

The Gospel of Matthew is about a King—a different sort of king.  His family tree is traced back to the great king David, but he is born to an unknown young couple.   Rather than a palace, he has nowhere to call home.  He wears a crown, but it is made of thorns.  He commands obedience, a loving obedience that comes from the heart.

Matthew’s King doesn’t sit on a throne surrounded by a royal court; he spends time with sinners and outcasts.  Matthew wants his readers to know one thing above all: Jesus is King.  He is the king who guides his people like a shepherd into his kingdom. He forgives them, offers rest to their souls, and promises never to leave them.  Though he calls his people to follow him in suffering and the cross, he promises that this is the way to eternal life.

Matthew also shows that Jesus is King through his actions.  Storms are silenced by his voice.  Evil spirits are cast out with a word.  The sick are healed by his touch.

The day is coming when he’ll return revealed in all his power and glory—the reigning and ruling, eternal King.  Matthew wants his readers to know, follow, and be like the King.

I want to know this King, how about you? Let’s discover him together through Matthew.

FOLLOW THE KING is a study guide of 111 devotionals through the Gospel of Matthew.

Click here to Downloads the MATTHEW Study Guide

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Jesus Gives Greater Access to God

I live only a few blocks from the sultan’s palace. The sultan is a king who rules over his tribe. Most days he is sitting in his palace, giving counsel, and ruling over matters concerning his people. When visiting the sultan there is a certain protocol. One cannot burst in and demand what he wants without consequences. In order to gain access to the king you first approach the palace and wait for permission to see him. If permission is granted you remove your shoes and hat and sit at a distance. If you wish to speak you wait until you are invited. The sultan is not always accessible. Some days you have to come back and try again.

When gaining access to the King of kings it is different. While he is holy and to be revered, he invites anyone to approach him anytime. He is never too busy to give ear to what you have to say. Isn’t that is incredible? The King of the universe is always accessible.

“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” – Hebrews 4:14-16

How is accessing God possible. First, Jesus makes accessing God possible through his sacrifice (v.14). Without Jesus access to God would be impossible because of sin I am too unholy to be in the presence of the King of kings in the holy of holies. Ironically, the high priest and intercessor for sin also became the sacrifice for sin.

Second, Jesus makes accessing God possible because he is my sympathizer (v.15). Jesus knows what its like to walk in my shoes. He knows the temptations I face, yet he never succumbed to them. Therefore he knows the full weight of temptation because he overcame temptation without sinning. Knowing that God is a sympathetic King means accessing him is a joyful thing not a fearful one.

Finally, Jesus makes it possible to stand before God’s throne with confidence, particularly in my time of need. I may be tempted to think I need a better something, but what I need most is a better Someone. I need Jesus.

One of the greatest stories in the Bible that shows the accessibility of God is in Luke 7:36-50. The main character is a woman who had a sinful reputation. When she learned that Jesus was eating at a Pharisee’s house she confidently enter the room with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind Jesus at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume worthy of a king on them. As the religious leaders balked, the woman bowed knowing who Jesus was. She knew Jesus was her forgiver and sympathizer. She needed Jesus and he was accessible. Through Jesus you too have unlimited access to God anytime, anywhere.

 

Questions for reflection:

  • What does God see as our greatest need if Jesus is given the title great high priest?
  • How is Jesus a greater high priest than the OT priests? How were OT priests inadequate? How does Jesus fulfill what they could not? (Leviticus 16)
  • How can Jesus be sympathetic towards our temptation yet never have succumb to it?
  • Where does the confidence come from to draw near to the throne of God?
  • Read Luke 7:36-50. What does this story teach you about what kind of King Jesus is? How will you approach the him today confidently?