Let the Revolution begin!
Over the next several weeks we’ll be navigating through a Sunday series called Revolution! And we’ll be tackling some pretty big topics – politics, sexuality, materialism, racism, and more! Take a deep breath and get ready for the ride!
Some of these topics might make you feel uncomfortable. But we need to talk about them. Because Jesus talked about them. A lot. And when He did, he revolutionized the way people thought about and lived in light of these things. So, over the course of the next couple months, we’re going to read through a biography of Jesus, written by Matthew. He was one of those people that had been completely changed by Jesus. He had been a turncoat tax-collector, extorting money from his own people on behalf of their Roman oppressors (and for his own gain). But Jesus revolutionized his life. And Matthew gave it all up to follow Him.
So Matthew wrote his biography not just to give us a historical account of what took place in Jesus’ life. But to spread the revolution – the very same one that was happening in his own life – on to others, in hopes that it would do the same for them.
So let the revolution begin!
Day 1: Read Matthew 28
Most revolutions end with the death of their leader. But this was a revolution like no other. The death of Jesus was just the beginning! Because even death itself couldn’t stop Him. And when He rose from the dead, it meant that nothing could stop this revolution either – not even the gates of hell (Mt. 16:18).
Resurrection Day – that first Easter Sunday – meant that our great Revolutionary would never leave us. He would always be there to lead and empower us in His New Way, no matter how grim things seemed (28:20). And it meant that He would ensure that the revolution would continue to spread, even as Jesus commissioned His followers with this revolutionary purpose…
…make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you (28:19-20a).
It was a revolution that was meant to spread WIDER – as new followers from every people group and nation discovered Jesus as a worthy Saviour, and were baptized – fully immersed – into His Kingdom.
It was a revolution that was meant to go DEEPER into every one of us – as we learn to obey Jesus as Lord, and give him the right to teach and shape every part of our lives.
Take a moment, and consider what it looks like to allow Jesus to work his revolution out in your life…
- What does it look like for you to bring his revolution with you to the variety of people you interact with? Is there anyone in particular that Jesus is putting on your mind? How might their life be changed if they became “fully immersed” in His Way?
- What does it look like for Jesus’ revolution to become more real IN you? Ask Jesus to point out to you any way He wants you to give more Lordship (leadership, control, the final word)? What will it look like to obey what He’s saying to you?
Day 2: Mt. 1:1-17
I get it. For most of us, this has gotta be a pretty dry start to a revolution story.
A genealogy? Be honest, did you even read through it all?
Maybe there were a couple names in that list that you were familiar with, but even so, what’s the point of this?
It may seem odd to us, but the original readers of Matthew’s biography were not only accustomed to reading genealogies like this – they would have been fascinated by this genealogy in particular!
Because it told a story in itself. And the story was all about a revolution!
It was about God’s plan from the beginning, to make a revolutionary people out of one man – Abraham (v. 2) – who would become a transforming light to all people.
Sadly, the people were more interested in becoming more like the nations around them than the other way around. So they asked for a king, just like all the other nations had. But God wasn’t finished with His revolution. So He gave them David (v. 6) – to be a revolutionary leader who would lead them into peace and prosperity. But more than that, David was raised up to lead them to have hearts like his own – hearts that were after God’s own heart.
If only the revolution had taken root. Instead, the people continued to rebel against God’s transforming Way. And it led to their own destruction. They were overtaken by foreign nations and exiled right out of their home land (v. 12).
But God would not give up on His people. So he came Himself, in the person of Jesus – the Messiah.
Though his predecessors didn’t have the power to make God’s revolution stick, they were each pointing to the One who would. Jesus, the Great Revolutionary, had arrived. And the story of His own lineage tells us exactly what He was coming to do.
- Take a moment and reflect on your own life story, and even your own family history. What are some ways you have experienced brokenness through your own family line?
- Ask Jesus how He can be the One to bring healing, restoration, and even revolution in your life as you move forward from here.
Day 3: Mt. 1:18-25
The name given to this newborn Revolutionary tells us a lot about just what it was that He had come to do…
Jesus (v. 21). This was a common name among the Jewish people of that day. It was the same name as “Joshua”, a reminder of their ancestor, who led Israel out from their slavery in Egypt and into a promised land. This “Joshua” however, had come not merely to save His people out of Egypt, but out from the slavery of sin itself.
Immanual (v. 23). “God is with us.” This would have been a very uncommon name among people of that day. Unheard of, even. No self-respecting – or God-fearing – Jew would dare to say this about their own child. It would be blasphemy. But for this child alone, it was true.
And the truth is, a revolution can happen in our lives if we believe these names.
That we are sinners and Jesus came to save us from our sins.
That we are never alone — Immanuel is God who is always with us.
- Reflect for a moment. In what ways might you be struggling to believe either, or both of these things?
- How might your life look differently if you were to fully believe these two truths?
- Spend some time in prayer. Invite Jesus to more fully take His revolutionary place in your life.
Day 4: Mt. 2:1-12
Magi would not have been people who anyone from Israel would have expected – or welcomed – onto the same scene as the Messiah. We often call them wise men. And there must be some truth to that, since they knew who Jesus really was! But they were also “magicians”. That’s where the term “magi” comes from. They were people who practiced magic arts and astrology. They looked to the stars for their direction – possibly even worshipped them. These weren’t merely practices that were different from the people of Israel, they were downright condemned by God (Deut. 18:10-14).
But this is exactly where we see one more revolutionary piece to God’s plan. God somehow chose to lead these Magi to His Son through these very same practices. They studied and worshipped the stars. But God used their worship of the stars to lead them to worship the true Light of the world. God didn’t wait for them to get their worship “right”, to get things in order, before He felt comfortable enough to draw them near. No. God crossed every bridge, spoke to them in the language they could fully understand, and drew them to Jesus so that they could be brought to a whole new understanding – a revolution in their own lives – to worship the King of kings. This revolution was not just for Israel alone. It was for everyone, near and far.
- Reflect on God’s revolutionary approach with the Magi. Does this break any paradigms that you might have around how He works?
- Consider others you know who may worship other gods, practice other religions, or don’t practice any religion at all. Pray for them. Ask God to speak to them in a language that they can understand, in order for them to see the one who can revolutionize their lives.
Day 5: Mt. 2:13-23
Herod could smell a revolutionary a mile away. This guy had a reputation for paranoia. By the time he died, he had had several sons and his own wife put to death out of suspicion that they were trying to usurp his thrown. It was even a common Jewish saying, “It’s safer to be Herod’s pig than it is to be his son!”
So, when the magi came to his palace searching for the “king of the Jews”, they had no of the political bombshell that they had just ignited. Even as a child, Jesus was a massive threat to Herod. And like Herod, those with power were often threatened by Jesus’ presence. So, he devised his plan to use the magi for his own purposes and make quick work of this “newborn king.” When his plan failed and the magi didn’t return, the plan turned ugly quickly. The only way to rid himself of the threat of this one child, was to kill all the male children of Bethlehem.
Jesus and his family escaped. But Herod succeeded in his hard-hearted attempt to keep Jesus as far away from him as possible.
- Take a moment and prayerfully reflect with Jesus. Are there any ways Jesus threatens your own sense of comfort, control, security, or identity? Are there any areas in your own life that have essentially “eradicated” Jesus’ presence or influence? What makes you want to keep him away?