Margin notes: Things I scribbled in the white spaces on Sept. 26, 2K8.


1 – Matthew 1:1 (ESV) The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

RAF: The one-word theme of Matthew is: MESSIAH-KING. Matthew writes his Gospel with this firmly in view – he desires to establish by various means, Jesus’ rightful claim to the throne of David, and His being the divine fulfillment of the Old Testament’s prophecies regarding the Jewish Messiah. One unique feature is to note how many times he appeals to something which either occurred, Jesus said, or Jesus did, “to fulfill” the Scriptures.

2 – Matthew 1:19 (ESV) 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.

RAF: The reality is, that all divorce involves sin – on either one or both of the parties. Yet that does not mean everyone involved in the divorce is sinning. Here, Joseph’s decision to divorce Mary (before understanding the supernatural cause of her pregnant condition) is couched in terms of his being both “just” and merciful toward her. His action is not even hinted at as sinful.

3 – Matthew 1:20 (ESV) 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.

RAF: Joseph is counseled not to fear. He knew the stigma that would come with marrying a pregnant girl. That either she would be thought loose – or he as well. And there is the shame it would bring on his family, and the child to be born. He was to consider all these and enter upon the obviously dangerous waters without fear. Heavenly Father, may me heart be so ready to embrace the fearful things ahead – knowing your faithful appointments, presence and promises.

4 – Matthew 2:11 (ESV) 11 And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.

RAF: That they entered “the house” rather than the manger, and given Herod’s command to kill all the boys in the vicinity from 2 years of age and under (vs. 16) – it would seem indicates the Magi took quite some time to reach Jesus. Possibly 2 years or so.

5 – Matthew 2:14-15 (ESV) 14 And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt 15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

RAF: Israel’s deliverance from Egypt under Moses was but a type of that which was to have its fulfillment in Christ.

6 – Matthew 2:19-23 (ESV) 19 But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 saying, “Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead.” 21 And he rose and took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. 23 And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled: “He shall be called a Nazarene.”

RAF: It is not a lack of faith or disobedience, upon getting further information, to seek God again regarding that which He has already spoken. We may apply to Him over and over as the need arises and situations change. By some mystery, the sovereign, timeless and changeless One moves through life with us.

7 – Matthew 3:1 (ESV) In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea,

RAF: Not only does Jesus pick up this same theme for His own preaching, it is utilized throughout the preaching in the NT. A most blessed example of how it was adapted to different contexts is seen first in Paul’s arguing for Christ’s deity and Messiah-ship in the Synagogues, but also in his preaching on Mars Hill. This reality that the Kingdom is at hand – the King is about to come and take His throne and vanquish His enemies is part and parcel of the Gospel.

8 – Matthew 3:7-10 (ESV) 7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. 10 Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

RAF: A. Vipers: A reference to Psalm 140:3

B. Warning: If this is God – LISTEN!

C. New Life: Which accords with a turning from sin.

D. Put no faith in associations.

E. No righteousness – no salvation. This is why substitutionary atonement is an absolute necessity.

9 – Matthew 3:11-12 (ESV) 11 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

RAF: Jesus will come to:

A. Save (the first time).

B. Judge (The 2nd time) – Hebrews 9:28

10 – Matthew 5:1 (ESV) Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.

RAF: The Sermon on the Mount is an introduction to and exposition of – the Kingdom. It is Christ’s Kingdom Manifesto.

1. 5:1-12 / Describes the Citizens of the Kingdom.

2. 5:13-16 / The Citizen’s Role in this present age.

3. 5:17-48 / The Character of the Kingdom’s Citizens.

4. 6:1-24 / The Citizen’s Life of Service in the Kingdom.

5. 6:25-34 / The Sufficiency of the Kingdom.

6. 7:1-5 / The Humility of the Kingdom.

7. 7:6 / The Otherness of the Kingdom.

8. 7:7-12 / The Privilege of the Kingdom.

9. 7:13-14 / Entrance to the Kingdom.

10. 7:15-27 / The Integrity of the Kingdom.

11 – Matthew 5:2-4 (ESV)

2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

RAF: Jesus did NOT say (as is commonly taught by some) that the poor in spirit, or those who mourn

are blessed BECAUSE they are in such condition – but rather that such conditions are not antithetical to the true blessedness which comes from being a citizen of the Kingdom. This flew in the face of a theological tradition which positively equated external blessings with assurance of God’s favor (spiritually) and external hardships as evidence of sin and divine disfavor. The Law of Moses did indeed promise external blessings as a fruit of obedience. But as Israel’s history shows and the prophets constantly revealed – God was never pleased with mere external obedience, rewarding it with Pavlovian treats. When their hearts were far from Him, irrespective of their ceremonial scrupulousness, He rebuked them. God’s external blessings were often poured out and sustained in the very face of Israel’s gross disobedience. Such mercy is meant to lead to repentance (Rom. 2:4) – to the revelation that God does not anger easily and favors very quickly. Here in this sermon, Jesus clears up the mystery once and for all. Blessedness itself is not located in the external. Externals sometimes reflect chastening (when negative), but more often than not – mercy and grace. There is not a one-for-one inverse correspondence which allows us to automatically read external blessings as God being pleased with us – or hardships as His necessarily being displeased, on a personal scale. Other dynamics are at work. Daniel was in captivity not due to his own sins primarily (he was not perfect), but those of his nation and forefathers. He suffered with them as part of them, though not a partaker in their deviance from God. We are to locate our sense of blessedness in being Christ’s. Being reconciled to God by His blood. Being washed from our sins and guilt – forgiven. In the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. In anticipation of the fullness of the Kingdom. In this light, blessed are we – no matter what we may be enduring.

12 – Matthew 5:13 (ESV) 13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

RAF: Salt never loses its “saltiness” through depletion. It only does so as a result of admixture. When salt is gradually infilrated by particles which are not salt (grains of sand, flour, dust, other sorts of things) – to the point that the salt no longer can do its job – since the substance isn’t primarily salt anymore. This is His warning to us. Do not lose your saltiness. Keep Christ as center. Keep Christ as all. Compromise and syncretism in terms of divine truth will nullify our ability to impact the world around us.

13 – Matthew 5:25-26 (ESV) 25 Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. 26 Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.

RAF: Every man comes into this world at odds with God. Since the Fall, final judgment has been on the way. The Law has accused us if our consciences haven’t and vice versa. Christ’s righteousness accuses us most of all. When we see it, and realize we were made to display it – and how far from it we are – we come to know our guilt. But terms of peace have been offered to us in the Gospel. We can comes to terms with Him if we will hear Him. He is willing to meet with us. He has even sent His emmissaries out into the world announcing His willingness. Forgiveness is to be had. But should we not accept His terms of settlement. Should we not own and confess our sin for what it is; should we not ask for His mercy; should we not trust His death at Calvary as the only acceptable sacrifice for our sins – should we ignore His command to repent, to believe the Gospel and live – we will be handed over to the Judge. And the full weight of our sin will be left upon our own shoulders – with no one to intervene. Ever. Reckon with Christ now – while there is still time. Before the judgment.

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