Last week, we began a new sermon series on the Gospel of Matthew. We’re calling it “The King and His Kingdom.” In my sermon, I mentioned that one of the core values of our church is that we are Christ-centered, and for that reason it’s a wise and healthy practice to preach through one of the four gospels on a regular basis in the life and rhythm of our congregation. When I first came to First Pres five years ago, I preached through the Gospel of Mark. And now as I begin my sixth year, we’re going to study Matthew. I’m excited about looking more closely at the life and ministry of Jesus with you.

Most scholars believe that the Gospel of Matthew was used in the early church for catechizing, or teaching, people in the faith. If you look at it closely, the gospel is divided into five sections – one that is a narrative about the life and ministry of Jesus which is then followed by a section of teaching, or discourse, from the public ministry of preaching by Jesus. For example, the Sermon on the Mount is the first teaching or discourse section, and it represents the First Principles of the Kingdom.

The Greek word which is translated “gospel” is the word euongelion. It literally means “good news.” It is a fascinating word that was used in antiquity when announcing a message of victory in war or other political or personal news that caused great joy. For example, when a new emperor ascended to the throne, the “good news” went throughout the land to announce the beginning of a new era of the emperor’s reign. It’s interesting that Luke uses this actual word when the angel announces the birth of Christ to the shepherds in Luke 2: “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news (euangelion) of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord!”

As we study the good news of Matthew, let’s ask God to give us new insight into the life and ministry of Jesus. But let’s also ask Him to cause us to fall more in love with the Lord too. Mind and heart deepened together will lead us deeper into the life of Christ.