Both Matthew and Luke use the Beatitudes with a purpose and in aligning our preaching with their purpose, we can open a world of preaching opportunity. But if we preach on our preference and overly compare these two different Gospels, then we give permission to accept one and throw the other out, when in reality they are used for two entirely different purposes.
Matthew 4:12-23 (3rd Sunday after Epiphany) – January 22, 2023
This is a transitional section in Matthew to get us to the Sermon on the Mount. And because of that, it can feel like there are a thousand things going on and none at all. But, I think if we pick one lane, there are some possibilities for really meaningful topics.
Confusion can be a Gift from God
What the 12-step program tells us, what our readings today tell us, what the season of Advent reminds us, is that the world is always going to try and speed us up and move us toward rapid action. But when that happens, when things are getting chaotic and confusing, we are reminded time and time again to take it one day at a time.
John 1:29-42 (2nd Sunday after Epiphany) – January 15th, 2023
Here in John’s account, there is beautiful room to tell a story of “being known.” After we get the long prologue of John, we the reader should have little doubt as to who Jesus is: the Word, the light, the Messiah. But even though we have this beautiful poetic prologue, this opening scene with John the Baptist immediately has a profound intimacy.
Matthew 3:13-17 (Baptism of Our Lord) – January 8th, 2023
For centuries the question of “Why was Jesus baptized?” has been asked by theologians. John’s was a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. So why was Jesus baptized since he did not need repentance? How does it connect with our baptism?
Matthew 2:13-23 (1st Sunday of Christmas) – January 1st, 2023
Everything in you may be begging you to preach on the “name of Jesus” (Luke 2:15-21) this Sunday rather than the “slaughter of the Holy Innocents” in Matthew’s text. But I implore you to consider preaching this Matthean text.
John 1:1-14 (Christmas Day) – December 25th, 2022
Matthew and John are essential Gospels for our Triune Christology. Obviously, John 1 helps us with the Word in the beginning. But Matthew helps as well with the introduction of the prophecy of Isaiah (7:14), “‘and they shall name him Emmanuel,’ which means, ‘God is with us.’”
Matthew 1:18-25 (4th Sunday of Advent) – December 18th, 2022
I’m not sure that people often think of Matthew as a provocative gospel. I think that designation usually goes to Luke’s gospel as people will cite Jesus’ interactions with women, his stance on money, and the mission to the Gentiles in Acts. However, if you’re willing to sit in the tension, Matthew is a wonderfully provocative gospel.
Matthew 11:2-11 (3rd Sunday of Advent) – December 11th, 2022
We get this question from John, “Are you the one who is to come or are we to wait for another?”
Matthew 3:1-12 (2nd Sunday of Advent) – December 4th, 2022
As I mentioned last week, Matthew portrays Jesus as prophetic figure more than any other Gospel. True to other prophets in the scriptures, there is a handoff that occurs from one prophet to another: Moses to Joshua, Elijah to Elisha. Matthew’s use of this tactic is for the purpose of recognizing the transition of authority from John to Jesus but also to make it abundantly clear that, for Matthew, Jesus is playing the role of a prophet. And as prophet, Jesus will continue speaking the hard truths that we have just heard from John.