The Way of Jesus and the Way of Herod

This past weekend we began a new series “Power in Preparation” at Eastbrook Church. This begins the second part of our extended journey through the Gospel of Matthew. This message is a study in contrasts drawn from Matthew 1:18-25 and Matthew 2:1-18.

You can view the message video and outline below. You can follow along with the entire series here and the devotional that accompanies the series here. You could always join us for weekend worship in-person or remotely via Eastbrook at Home.


“When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under.” (Matthew 2:16)

A Conversation about Ways

  • What it means to choose a “way”
  • The consequences of certain ways (Proverbs 14:12)
  • Jesus: “I am the way…” (John 14:6)

The Way of Herod

  • disturbing power (2:1-8)
  • knowledge and deception (2:4-8)
  • controlling through violence (2:16-18)

The Way of Jesus

  • incarnate power (1:18, 20)
  • grace and truth (John 1:14)
  • saving through humility (1:21)

Dig Deeper

This week dig deeper into the contrast between Jesus and Herod in one or more of the following ways:

The Simple Mystery of the Conception: a word from John Chrysostom

I came across this excerpt from a sermon by St. John Chrysostom that illuminated something Kelly and I could not address in our recent message on Mary at Eastbrook Church. Chrysostom was one of the most significant preachers in the history of the church and a powerful voice in the 4th and 5th centuries. This excerpt is taken from Homily 4 on the Gospel of Matthew.

Do not speculate beyond the text. Do not require of it something more than what it simply says. Do not ask, “But precisely how was it that the Spirit accomplished this in a virgin?” For even when nature is at work, it is impossible fully to explain the manner of the formation of the person. How then, when the Spirit is accomplishing miracles, shall we be able to express their precise causes? Lest you should weary the writer or disturb him by continually probing beyond what he says, he has indicated who it was that produced the miracle. He then withdraws from further comment. “I know nothing more,” he in effect says, “but that what was done was the work of the Holy Spirit.”

Shame on those who attempt to pry into the miracle of generation from on high! For this birth can by no means be explained, yet it has witnesses beyond number and has been proclaimed from ancient times as a real birth handled with human hands. What kind of extreme madness afflicts those who busy themselves by curiously prying into the unutterable generation? For neither Gabriel nor Matthew was able to say anything more, but only that the generation was from the Spirit. But how from the Spirit? In what manner? Neither Gabriel nor Matthew has explained, nor is it possible.

Do not imagine that you have untangled the mystery merely by hearing that this is the work of the Spirit. For we remain ignorant of many things, even while learning of them. So how could the infinite One reside in a womb? How could he that contains all be carried as yet unborn by a woman? How could the Virgin bear and continue to be a virgin? Explain to me how the Spirit designed the temple of his body.

[John Chrysostom, Gospel of Matthew, Homily 4.3 from Manlio Simonetti, ed., Matthew 1-13, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture 1a (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2001), 12-13.]

Bibliography for Family Tree series

When I conclude a sermon series, I usually share resources I utilized in my study and preparation for sermons. Here is the bibliography for our recent series, “Family Tree,” which is the first part of an extended walk through the Gospel of Matthew and focused on Matthew, chapters 1-2.

Bibliography for “Family Tree” [Gospel of Matthew, part 1]

Darrell L. Bock. Luke 1:1-9:50. Baker Exegetical Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1994.

Jeannine K. Brown and Kyle Roberts. Matthew. The Two Horizons New Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2018.

Raymond E. Brown. The Birth of the Messiah: A Commentary on the Infancy Narratives in Matthew and Luke. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, 1977.

John Chrysostom. Homilies on the Gospel of Saint Matthew. NPNF, series 1, vol. 10. Edited by Philip Schaff. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2004.

R. T. France. The Gospel of Matthew. NICNT. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2007.

D. S. Huffman. “Genealogy.” In Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, edited by Joel B. Green, Scot McKnight, and I. Howard Marshall, 253-259. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1992.

Craig S. Keener. Matthew. IVPNTC. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1997.

Scot McKnight. “Matthew, Gospel of.” In Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, edited by Joel B. Green, Scot McKnight, and I. Howard Marshall, 526-541. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1992.

C. J. Martin. “Mary’s Song.” In Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, edited by Joel B. Green, Scot McKnight, and I. Howard Marshall, 525-526. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1992.

Manlio Simonetti, editor. Matthew 1-13. ACCS. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2001.

Ben Witherington III. “Birth of Jesus.” In Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, edited by Joel B. Green, Scot McKnight, and I. Howard Marshall, 60-74. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1992.

N. T. Wright. The New Testament and the People of God. Christian Origins and the Question of God, Vol. 1. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1992.

Mary

This past weekend we continued our series “Family Tree” at Eastbrook Church. This is the fourth week in the first part of our extended journey through the Gospel of Matthew. During Advent, we will focus on the genealogy of Jesus found in Matthew, chapters 1 and 2. It was a joy to co-preach this message about Mary with my wife, Kelly. The message is largely drawn from Matthew 1:18-25 and Luke 1:26-38.

You can view the message video and outline below. You can follow along with the entire series here and the devotional that accompanies the series here. You could always join us for weekend worship in-person or remotely via Eastbrook at Home.


“’The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’ (which means ‘God with us’).”  (Matthew 1:23)

The Obedience of Mary

  • Her place in the genealogy
  • Contrast with Eve

The Role of the Holy Spirit

  • God is fully holy and Mary is honored
  • Parallel with Genesis
  • Dignity of the body in the incarnation

Mary the Virgin Mother

  • This is something new and different through God’s power and initiative alone
  • Fulfillment of Isaiah 7:9-11
  • Significance of Immanuel

Mary the Highly Favored One

  • Although she has no position, she is the “favored one”
  • She responds with bold faith, surrender, and humble obedience

Dig Deeper

This week dig deeper into the life of Mary in one or more of the following ways:

  • Memorize Mary’s words in Luke 1:38 and/or 1:46-55
  • Consider reading about Mary in all of the New Testament accounts of her:
    • Matthew 1:16, 18-25; 2:9-12, 13-23; 12:46-50; 13:55
    • Mark 3:31-35; 6:1-3
    • Luke 1:26-56; 2:1-52; 8:19-21; 11:27-28
    • John 2:1-12; 6:41-42; 19:25-27
    • Acts 1:12-14
  • If you want to dig deeper into the life of Mary, consider reading St. John Chrysostom’s Homilies on the Gospel of Matthew, accessible online here
  • Consider watching the Bible Project’s video on the first two chapters of Luke here

Eastbrook at Home – December 20, 2020

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Join us for worship with Eastbrook Church through Eastbrook at Home at 8, 9:30, and 11 AM. This weekend we continue our Advent journey with the series “Family Tree,” which explores the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew, chapters 1-2. This week my wife, Kelly, and I will speak about Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Also, don’t forget to join us for Christmas Eve services at Eastbrook on December 23 (6 & 7:30 PM) and 24 (1, 2:30, 4, 5:30 PM). More info here.

Join in with the Eastbrook 365 daily devotional for this series here.

We also continue in-person services at 8:00, 9:30, and 11:00 AM this weekend at the Eastbrook Campus, but you do need to RSVP ahead of time. Find out more info here.

Each Sunday at 8, 9:30, and 11 AM, you can participate with our weekly worship service at home with your small group, family, or friends. This service will then be available during the week until the next Sunday’s service starts. You can also access the service directly via Vimeo, the Eastbrook app, or Facebook.

If you are not signed up for our church emailing list, please sign up here. Also, please remember that during this time financial support for the church is critical as we continue minister within our congregation and reach out to our neighborhood, city, and the world at this challenging time. Please give online or send in your tithes and offerings to support the ministry of Eastbrook Church.