“For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:26-29
February of 2015, we began our sermon series in Matthew entitled 33 Years. We set out to preach verse by verse through all 28 chapters and we now finish this sermon series on Sunday. After having put 15 to 20 hours of time each week in sermon preparation, I’ve had a lot of time to spend over the last 18 months studying the life of Jesus through the writings of Matthew. What a privilege it has been.
There have been so many themes that we have encountered as we’ve studied this book. We’ve seen God’s creativity in telling stories. We’ve seen the wickedness and evil of sin. We’ve seen the sovereignty of God in bringing about his divine plan. We’ve seen the worth and beauty of Jesus, God’s Son. We’ve seen how Jesus made disciples. We’ve seen Jesus go toe to toe with the religious elite of his day. All of those themes have stuck out to me throughout our time.
The one theme that I see very clearly when I do a higher overview of the book is God’s wisdom and creativity in bringing about redemption. A few years ago, we walked through the entire Bible as we watched God’s history of redemption unfold. In this sermon series in Matthew, we’ve seen his story of redemption wisely unfolded in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
God’s wisdom has been obvious, especially when you compare it to the so-called wisdom of man. God truly destroys conventional human wisdom in sending His Son to earth to live, die, and be raised from the grave. We would have written this story in such a different way. Who but God would have Jesus’ lineage be filled with so much corruption and sin? Who but God would have the Son of God born in a manger? Who but God would have Jesus born to a family found in the lowest of social classes? Think about Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you…” (Matthew 5:11). Who but God could turn the law upside down as he did, yet in the process perfectly fulfill it? Who but God would redefine greatness as not being served, but instead sacrificially serving? Fast forward to the end and you see one story after the next of the wickedness of man seeming to triumph over the Son of God. Yet, in God’s wisdom and sovereignty, Jesus was put on the cross by the wicked as a way of fulfilling the exact purpose he was there for in the first place.
The wisdom and creativity and beauty of God are all over the book of Matthew. Of course they are! Matthew is a telling of the gospel story. It is the greatest story ever told. As we look at the wisdom and creativity of God, let us be reminded simply that we are not God. Our ways are not God’s ways. Our wisdom is not God’s wisdom. We wouldn’t have written the story as God wrote the story. Praise God that he is so far above us!