October 31, 2021
Master vs Servant
WELCOME back to our amazing study of Matthew.
Today, I’d like to preach the message, “God feels your pain, but His plans are bigger than your problems.”
Many years ago, I faced a huge crisis that was pushing me to depression.
That’s when I decided to share what was happening to me with my small group. (We call these small groups “Light Groups” or “Feast Lights”).
Even if this happened almost a decade ago, I still remember that day like it was only yesterday.
When I was sharing my story, out of the 12 persons in the room, 11 had tears in their eyes. I’m not the crying type, so, I was the only one who was not crying. My friends felt my pain and they were crying for me.
That day, I felt so loved. And the burden that I was carrying alone, 11 other people were now carrying it with me.
May I insert a side-message? I invite you to join a small group. I’ve been part of small groups for the past 40+ years of my life. It will change your life. Send us a message in Messenger and tell us you need a small group.
We Need To Know We’re Not Alone
Truth: Deep inside us, we want to know that another person feels what we’re feeling—and cares for us deeply.
The Bible says,
–Genesis 1:18 NLT
This statement was written 3000+ years ago. It was true then and it’s true now. Psychologists say you know if you’re an
introvert if you experience an energy leak when you’re with people — but get recharged when you’re alone. That’s me.
But even if I’m a card-carrying, true-blooded, official introvert, I need at least one person
to feel what I’m feeling and to care for me.
Let me declare this spiritual truth to you:
And even if you hallucinate that no human cares, the God who created you and designed you in the womb of your mother cares for you.
By the way, I haven’t yet finished my story…
‘He Will Use You More!’
My friends didn’t just feel my pain and carry my burden.
Yes, that was what they did at the start.
But as the weeks and months went by, at the right time, they challenged me. Let me summarize their message to me: “God is not finished with you yet. After this crisis, He will use you more!”
I thank God for my friends.
Let me declare again our one big message: “God feels your pain, but His plans are bigger than your problems.” Don’t get trapped in your problems. You have a Divine Calling.
The Confusing, Complicated, Convoluted Old Testament
Before we open the sacred text, let’s start with a question…
Here’s my guess. You didn’t start with Genesis. You started with Matthew, or Mark, or Luke, or John. And rightly so, because the Gospels are about Jesus.
Let’s face it…
Especially the violent parts. Stories of murder and massacres.
Especially the X-rated parts. Stories of incest and rape and concubines.
Why would Abraham have a wife named Sarah and then have a baby with her servant Hagar? Plus, another wife named Keturah? Isn’t Abraham supposed to be a holy dude?
And did you know that King David had eight wives? Thankfully, not as bad as his son King Solomon. I remember a 6- year-old girl wrote, “King Solomon had 300 wives and 700 porcupines!”
Another thing. Have you ever wondered, “Hmm, is the God of the Old Testament different than the God of the New Testament?”
Because the first One seems cruel and punitive, but Jesus is so merciful. Answer: The God of the OT is merciful. We just don’t know how to read the Bible.
But that’s why you’re at The Feast, right? We’re learning together.
That’s why Christians want to forget the first three-fourths of the Bible and focus on the last one-fourth section.
But it was Bishop Barron who said, Meaning: You wouldn’t be able to fully understand the New Testament if you don’t understand the Old.
Let me give you my favorite analogy…
Last Year, We Had a Marvel Marathon
During the first lockdown of the Pandemic, my kids and I decided to watch all 21 Marvel movies, one movie per night. From Ironman 1 to the last Avenger movie.
It was so amazing. Because all 21 movies were one gigantic story.
Here’s the thing. I bet if you just watched the last movie, the Avengers: Endgame, without watching the first 20 movies before that, I’m sure you’d still enjoy it. And kinda get the story. But I’m also sure you wouldn’t understand a huge chunk of that last movie. (For example, what caused Thor to change from hunk to habba.)
In the same way, the New Testament is the last movie of the Bible. The Old Testament is the long build-up.
For example, our Matthew passage for today is about the Mashiach or Messiah. To unlock its full meaning, you must understand what the Mashiach means in the Old Testament…
The Plot of the Entire Bible!
The Mashiach is not just one of the nice topics of the Old Testament.
The whole Old Testament is an elaborate set-up for the coming Messiah.
And this set-up started from Genesis.
Here’s the Bible’s entire plot: God created us as in His image; But we did a horrible job as His Representatives. So, God promised He’d send the perfect Image, the Mashiach, who would restore us as Image-Bearers.
That’s it. That’s the entire storyline of the Bible.
God’s Promise: The Mashiach
When did God start talking about the Messiah in the Bible?
When Adam and Eve fell, God already told the serpent:
“And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.” (Genesis 3:15 NLT, emphasis mine)
And every time God used a special guy in the Bible, people got excited and their expectations went up.
The first Messiah-like guy was Noah. Will he be the Messiah? Sadly, right after the flood, he failed.
Will it be Abraham? Surely it must be him. He was the father of many nations. But alas, he turned out to be a liar and a coward.
Perhaps it’s Jacob, whose new name was Israel. They named the country after him. Is he the One? But sadly, he was a deceiver from Day 1.
Maybe it’s Moses? But he wasn’t even worthy to enter the Promised Land. Surely, it must be the great King David, the greatest King of the Israel. But he was an adulterer and murderer.
I could go on and on all the way to the very end of the Old Testament. But that’s when Jesus appeared on the scene…
The Messiah Will Come from David
After the Pharisees and Sadducees asked Jesus three questions designed to trap Him, it was His turn to ask them a question:
–Matthew 22:41-42 NLT
To the Pharisees, the question was too easy. It was a question for kids in kindergarten. They gave Jesus the textbook answer: They replied, “He is the son of David.” (v.42)
Who was David? He was the slingshot kid who killed Goliath. And the greatest king of Israel. Under his leadership, the nation became a regional superpower.
But he was also a Man of God. Despite his grievous sins, David was known to be a man “after God’s own heart” (see 1 Samuel 13:14). He was one of the major authors of the book of Psalms. And God promised He’ll raise up a Messiah King from the descendants of David (see 2 Samuel 7:1-17). So, the Pharisees were right. At least, partially.
Why partial? In their mind, they were expecting a Messiah King like David who would kick out the Romans and make Israel a superpower again.
Two Lords Talking
Jesus asked them another question:
Here, Jesus quoted Psalm 110:1. Sadly, the English translation is confusing. King David was talking in third person and mentions “Lord” twice. Who was talking to who? Were there two Lords?
In Hebrew, it’s very clear. The first Lord is translated Yahweh and the second Lord is translated Adonai, which means Superior or King or Master.
So, what does this mean?
The Son of David Is The Son of God
Here’s a rephrase of the question of Jesus: “If the Messiah is David’s son, why does David imply that this guy is greater than him?”
Listen carefully. In ancient Jewish culture, a first century Jew might call his father “lord”. But a Jewish father would never address his son ‘lord”. Thus, when David calls his son Adonai (Lord), this only means one thing—that the Messiah will be greater than David.
But the Pharisees and Sadducees didn’t see Jesus as the Messiah because He didn’t fit their needs. They needed a Captain America.
But Jesus is a zillion times more than what they wanted Him to be. He is both fully God and fully man. The Son of David is the Son of God.
Their problem, the Romans, were small fry. God’s agenda was cosmic.
Jesus is the Messiah-King who is building a Kingdom bigger than the universe, but the Jewish Leaders were fixated on a tiny patch of land in the Middle East that’s one-fifth the size of Luzon.
After Jesus answered them, Matthew said there was a Mic-drop moment:
Your Mashiach Is Here
Friend, are you in pain right now?
God feels your pain.
Are you carrying a burden right now?
God carries that burden with you.
Why do I know? Because Jesus, the
Mashiach, experienced your pain on earth. This is the mystery of the Incarnation. I repeat: He was fully God and fully man. He tasted the same temptations. He cried the same tears.
But God doesn’t want you to stay in your pain.
May I preach to you? God is not finished with you yet. After this crisis, He will use you more!
His plans are bigger than your problems.
He wants you to be His embrace to the hurting, nourishment for the hungry, and healing for the heartbroken.
My dear friend, Jesus is here, right here, right now.
Give yourself to the Mashiach in the same way He gave Himself to you on the Cross.
Let us pray…
Father, thank You for bringing Heaven down to Earth today. Thank You for making Your Presence felt in our heart.
In the midst of all that is happening in our life, Lord, we are simply opening our life to You. We are opening ourselves because we believe, Lord, that You are the only Script Writer that we need… We are declaring that You’ve got a beautiful plan for us and we’re going to just walk right into it. Thank You, Jesus! We worship You. In Your Name. Amen.