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Dave Dealy: What’s In a Name? Matthew 1:1-3:17

January 8, 2024

Audio Recording

Matthew introduces us to the genealogy that leads to Jesus, including the good, the bad, and the ugly. He sets up the story for us: Jesus is the new Moses, Jesus is greater than Moses, and most of all, Jesus is Immanuel: “God with us.”

Westside Church Podcast
Westside Church Podcast
Dave Dealy: What's In a Name? Matthew 1:1-3:17
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Sermon Transcript:

You're listening to a live recording from westside church in Bend, oregon. Thanks for joining us.

Today we launch into a new series I'm so excited about. And this series is going to take us all the way to Easter. We are going to go through the gospel of matthew together, and we begin today. And I'm excited for this series because as we're going to unpack today, you, if you grew up in the church and you've heard these stories and you've heard these scriptures before, I want you to know that there's more. There's more that God has for us. There's this phrase that familiarity breeds contempt and that can happen to our hearts with scripture. When we've heard things over and over, I want to tell you there's good new things. And if you're new to Jesus and you're new to this journey, you are going to learn so much about who Jesus is and what he meant to do and the teachings and the new life he gives us. It's going to be great. And just to prove it to you, we're going to jump into the book of matthew in the middle for a moment. All right, so, matthew, chapter 13. If any of you brought a bible, you can turn there. If not, it'll be up on the screen. This is a little wink, a little nod, a little thesis statement that matthew drops directly in the center of his book. And it's the words of Jesus. And he says this, jesus said to them, therefore, every teacher of the law who's studying scripture, the ways of God, any teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old. New treasures as well as old. My uncle is a big wine guy, super into wine, and has a wine cellar in his house. He's a roller. He's a high roller. And when we hang out with him, we go to dinner with him or we go over to his house, he brings out new stuff that he's really excited about. Oh, check this out. It's new label, it's new, whatever, blah, blah, blah. I don't get any of it. Just pour it. That's great.

But then he ends with the old stuff. Oh, this is the good stuff. And as we go into Matthew, I want you to have that mindset. That mindset. If this is all new to you, this journey, all of its new treasures, all of its new treasures that you're going to learn. But if you've been in this a while. Then I have this for you that I felt like God was just putting on my heart for us. That may become just overly familiar with some of these scriptures.

One, I think that God can give us ears to hear, ears to hear what he has to say now in this moment.

Two, I believe that your experiences expand your capacity to hold what God wants to give you. The good and the bad, the hardship and the victory, the joys and the sadness, all of it expands your capacity to hold what God wants to give you.

And you're in a new place this season. Maybe it's been a hard 2023, maybe it's been a great 2023. You are expanding and you have new things God wants to give you. And finally, we believe that this book of the Bible is not just a bunch of pages and ink. We believe this is alive with the Holy Spirit that has words to speak to you today, that are unique, has wisdom, counsel, healing to give us. So with all of that, today we're going to dig into the book of Matthew. New treasures and old come with an open heart. And today we're going to explore three things. We're going to explore who Matthew was as a person.

We're going to explore what Matthew wrote to us, to introduce us to Jesus in the beginning of his book.

And then we're going to talk about why Matthew introduces Jesus the way he does, because it's so unique, so who Matthew was, what he wrote in an introduction to Jesus, and then why he wrote it the way he did, which has purpose. But before we get there, we're going to pull up 30,000ft and just look at. There is a theme that runs through all of Matthew, all of this gospel.

It starts literally in the first chapter and finishes literally in the last sentence. And it is this idea, this theme that is Emmanuel.

God is with us. God is with us. Now, we've sung this a bunch at Christmas time, so I'm glad we're coming back to it to begin because we kind of lose it sometimes. The meaning, the weight of it, the very beginning. Angels proclaim at the birth of Jesus, this is the one you've been waiting for. This is the one you've been talking about. This is the one all those stories brought you.

This is it. God is with us. He's arrived. And then the meat of Matthew's book is explaining to us what this means. There's a new kingdom, there's a new way of being human. There's new perceptions of who God is and who we are. He messes with politics, and he messes with faith and everything in between.

And then at the very end, the literal last sentence of the book of Matthew says, now, go into all the nations, baptizing, making disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And the closing line is, and I will be with you always, always to the end of the age.

Let's pray with that heart in mind. Heavenly Father, would you breathe on our time together? Lord Jesus, I am convinced that only you can change the heart of a human.

Not my words, not our songs, not the air conditioning or media here, lord, just you.

So, God, would you give us ears to hear?

Would you give us hearts open and spirit, would you speak to us in the way only you can? You know our heart, speak to us in Jesus'name. Amen.

We, as humans, are by nature narrative creatures. We love stories. And I love this about humans. We love stories. If someone hands you some data, you can look at that data. But you need to create a story to understand what this means, how this affects me, what that means about our past and what we're going to do in the future.

We think in narrative, we reflect in narrative, we communicate. Obviously, in narrative, if someone asks me, how was your day yesterday? And I say, 47 degrees wind coming out of the south, 27% precipitation, you would be like, you're an idiot, and I'm not going to talk to you anymore.

That's just data.

If you ask me truly how my day was, I am a chronic oversharer. And I'll tell you about my girls and my family and my home and what was really hard last week. But what I'm kind of looking forward to next week. I can see this in our sermon prep meetings. I get going, and I can watch as their teams kind of with me as we begin. And then there's this clear moment where everybody glazes over and I've lost the crowd, and I'm not seeing that now, am I?

We are a people of stories.

And in social science, they would even say that every ism that exists in humanity is just a narrative plot. It's just a storyline. Capitalism, socialism, communism, these are all stories that are trying to explain to us how humanity should work, how we should work together, how the economy should work, where we should be going.

Consumerism or minimalism is just stories about what things are and what meaning they have.

Environmentalism, rationalism, escapism. Every ism that you can imagine is just a theory, just a story that we are trying to plug into our world. To understand what's happening, where we sit in it and where we go from here. I would even venture to guess that you, who are those brave souls making resolutions, there's a story narrative to why you're choosing what you choose, right? You're going for the Hugh Jackman body, all right? There is a narrative there. There is a purpose. What you do with your finances and your family and your schedule, all of those are stories coming to life.

Matthew's doing the same thing. Matthew is making a case that there is a story that should shape our lives.

But this isn't just a novel. This isn't just an idea. This is Matthew's lived experience.

One of the things we can't miss as we get into the Bible and get familiar with it is we can't forget that this is a human story. These are people like us who encounter God, encounter one another, encounter the enemy, and it's all this beautiful story of a human experience. And that's what Matthew is doing. Matthew's a person, and his journey with God has its ups and has its downs.

We meet Matthew as a tax collector. Now, that is different than your accountant.

Matthew is in a position that meant he would have been really well educated.

And him being well educated meant that he must have come from a family of influence, resources that trained him, that could afford for him to learn to read and write and record, understand these concepts.

And Matthew not only is a tax collector who is well off himself and comes from a family of influence and education, but he's also a traitor.

He's also a traitor. He is someone who would have been reviled in his community, absolutely hated by his neighbors. See, Matthew wasn't just collecting taxes. He was making himself rich while making his community poor and making Rome more powerful.

And there's not many people who'd be more hated than that.

He's a traitor, a traitor to his people. But he's not just a traitor to his people. Matthew is also a traitor to God.

See, God intended his people to be a blessing and a light to all nations.

And Matthew has betrayed that, has completely betrayed it for his own gain. And you have to imagine that every day Matthew lives in this. When he walks down the street, he feels it. When he sits in his tax collecting booth, extracting money from poor, holding it in his own pocket, helping the empire he's living in, that he's reminded of it, which makes it so incredible that while he sits in that booth, being reviled by his community and making himself rich, Jesus comes and he gives the same invitation that you're given and that I'm given.

Jesus shows up and simply says two words, follow me.

Follow me.

And what that would have meant is not just leaving the booth.

It means leaving the riches.

It means leaving the past.

It means leaving your identity at the door to have a new identity created in Jesus. It's the same invitation you're given and I'm given. Matthew was a person, and he had all of his junk and all of his mess, and Jesus met him right in the middle of it and invites him out. So Jesus, or Matthew, was a tax collector, a trader who became a disciple and a Follower of Jesus. And Matthew is a great storyteller.

Matthew is a great storyteller. This book that he has put together is a beautiful work of writing, and we're going to unpack what that is and what that means. Why we can see he's such a good author.

So what did Matthew write to us about? If we know his story a little bit, then let's look at what Matthew wrote.

Matthew's is a living testimony. This is his story. But notice it's not called the story of Matthew, and it's not called Matthew a life and reflection.

It's called the gospel according to Matthew.

The gospel. And that word gospel is so important to understand what we're interacting with here.

That word gospel in Greek is ewanglion. Can you say yuangalion?

Okay, you guys, come on now. Just give me a little bit more. All right, here we go. This is yuangalion.

Yeah. Do you know why it's important to say it like that? Because that word means good news.

Good news. And it's a word picture that when people hear that word yuangalion, it's not just, oh, my, oh, we don't use those anymore. Twitter. Oh, ding. It's not that. This is a word picture of a messenger writing into your town.

And you're remote, and you don't have newspapers and tv and Twitter or X or whatever it is now. You don't have any of that.

You don't know what's going on, and someone rides into your town and they say, I have you on gelian. I have good news. And everyone would leave whatever else they were doing and come to the center of the town.

And this would be a proclamation of a war that was won or perhaps peace that was made between two nations, or maybe even the great news of a new king who's taken the throne. This is the idea of gospel. It's more than just information. It's a declaration.

Good new news.

This is what Matthew is portraying to us, his lived experience interacting with this really good news that completely changes his life.

And he's got a story to tell about it now. Every gospel, there's four gospels in the Bible, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Every gospel has an opening line that tells you what the intention of the author is.

It's really important. The opening line is like the drum roll in Mark. Chapter one, verse one. Mark says this, the beginning of the good news about Jesus, the messiah, the son of God. Matthew doesn't waste words. Matthew is like a comic book. Like, it's just the little bubbles. Like wham, bam, take that. It just, like, moves really, really fast. He's not trying to be eloquent. He's just telling you the facts. John's different. John, chapter one, verse one. He writes a poem, says, in the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God.

And this would have just brought the language of Genesis and the beginning story of who God was and this new idea of that God becoming present.

Luke is a surgeon, and he's wordy.

Luke says this in his opening line. Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that we have seen fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who were from the first eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I decide to write an orderly account to you. All right. He's just a nerd. Luke's a nerd. He's just too much information. Luke.

But Matthew. Matthew does something totally different. Totally different.

Matthew starts with a genealogy, this history of a people.

He says, this is the genealogy of Jesus, the messiah, the son of God, the son of Abraham.

Now, let's be honest. We skip the genealogies. I know you do. It's okay. You're safe here. We all skip the genealogies. It's just long lists of weird names that we don't understand.

It's like the equivalent of when Evan hands me a spreadsheet. When Evan hands me a spreadsheet, my soul leaves my body.

I must be somewhere else other than this place with the spreadsheet. God bless Evan and the spreadsheets. Super important.

But this is how we kind of feel about the genealogy. It's like, I'm just going to jump past this and get into the story. But what if you guys just go with me here. What if that genealogy was really meaningful? What if it was actually really purposeful and artistic in the way that Matthew presents it. You see, when we hear the genealogy as we click, often our soul leaves our body.

When the people of Israel hear, this is the genealogy of Jesus the messiah, son of David, son of Abraham, they would lean in. They would lean in. This was the music at the start of the movie, right? So if I go, dun da da da da da da da da da da da da da da da, you know what's happening.

Oh, my gosh, you guys, coffee?

Okay. When you see this, let's make it easier. When you see this, what's happening?

Star wars.

You know exactly what story we're talking about. You know what's going to happen if you hear that music, if you see that, you know, oh, Star wars is happening. This is how it would have been for them. A genealogy of Jesus, the messiah, the son of David, son of Abraham. Ooh, story's coming.

They lean in.

So Matthew begins this account, this genealogy, with this idea. He challenges us with what's in a name?

What's in a name, what's the purpose? What's the value of a name? Now we're going to do something where I hope your soul doesn't leave your body. I'm going to read the genealogy. We're going to read it together. It's going to be up there. If you need to drift off to la la land, I'll call you back in, like, a minute and a half.

But if you're willing, stay with me, because there are nuggets of beauty in what seems to be a spreadsheet to us. Okay?

All right, here we go. This is the genealogy of Jesus, the messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Abraham was the father of Isaac. Isaac, the father of Jacob. Jacob, the father of Judah and his brothers.

Judah, the father of Perez and Zarah, whose mother was Tamar. Whoa. Market.

I lost my thought. Perez, the father of Hezron. Hezron, the father of Ram. Ram, the father of Abinadab. Abinadab, the father of Naishom. Naishom, the father of Salmon. Salmon, the father of Boaz, whose mother was. Hmm. Mark that. Boaz, the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth. Weird. Mark that. Obed, the father of Jesse. And Jesse, the father of King David. You with me? Okay.

David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah's wife.

Not normal to put that in a genealogy.

Solomon, the father of Rehoam, Rehoboam, the father of Abijah. Abijah, the father of Asa. Asa, the father of Jehoshaphat. Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram. Jehoram, the father of Uzziah. Uzziah, the father of Jotham. Jotham, the father of Ahaz. Ahaz, the father of Hezekiah. Hezekiah, the father of Manasseh. Manasseh, the father of Amon. Amon, the father of Josiah. And Josiah, the father of Jaconium and his brothers. At the time of the exile of Babylon. Almost there.

After the exile of Babylon, Jaconia was the father of Sheritil. Sherithil was the father of Zerababel. Zerababel, the father of Abinahub. Abahub, the father of Iliacum. Iliacum, the father of Azor. Azor, the father of Zodak. Zodak, the father of Achim. Achim, the father of Ilahud, the father of Elazor. Elazor, the father of Mathem. Mathem, the father of Jacob, and Jacob, the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. And Mary was the mother of Jesus, who's called the Messiah. Weird ending.

Weird ending. Okay, good job, you guys. We did genealogy. Come on back, souls.

All right, here's the deal.

Names matter. Names carry weight.

Names give identity.

Names give a history.

Names even give a purpose.

Names give an identity. When you meet me, the first thing you're going to meet is Dave. You don't know I'm a pastor, husband. You don't know I love Notre Dame football. You don't know any of that. You just know, Dave. It's an identity marker.

But names also carry a history. Good, bad or ugly, names are a history, not just of your life story, but hundreds that came before you.

And names give purpose.

I had a rough childhood, and we're going to talk about that in a minute. A piece of that. But one distinct memory that I have from growing up. That was my mother. Good, bad or ugly, she would say this to me in an awkwardly high volume amount of times.

Do you know what your name means?

Loved by God. Do you know what your name means? Loved by God. This is my son, David. Do you know what his name means? It means love by God. It was awkward. It was weird. But I'll tell you what, from a very young age, I just kind of understood. Well, I'm Dave and I'm loved by God. And I would say that never left me. Never left me.

Good, bad. I have wrestled with God. I have doubted God, but I have never lost that identity.

I'm loved by God. It's in my name. It's a piece of my identity.

So when Noel and I were choosing the names of our girls. We have three daughters and we really wrestled with names. And I don't know if everybody does this or not. I don't know if they still have the baby books. Is that still a thing? Does AI just stamp our children as they come out? Now we have these books with hundreds of names. Hundreds of names. And of course, you go through the process of like, oh, I like the sound of that. But it means that weird thing, so I'm not going to do that. I like that one, but it reminds you of this person, so that's definitely out.

You kind of wrestle with the baby names. And so we were doing this when my wife was pregnant with her first daughter. And I was working in sales in LA at the time. And I had this long commute into the city and I had a devotional on my desk. I was pretty particular about my desk being in a certain way and arranged all the time. And I come to work on a Monday morning, and my devotional is literally ripped open. Like, torn open, just hanging on by the binding. And it's sitting there right in front of my desk. And this devotional was by topic, and the topic was Grace.

And I remember calling Noelle and saying, I think this is her name.

And grace means gift.

And she is such a gift. Such a gift.

And then we were having our second daughter, and we chose the name Reagan. And Reagan means wise ruler. Now, she's 17, so we're working on the wise part.

But she is no doubt a leader. It is just absolutely just seeps out of who she is.

And then our youngest, her name, you know her as Maggie, but her name is Magdalene.

And Magdalene means pure of heart.

And just, if you spend any time with Maggie, you know that's true.

These names have weight and purpose and identity.

And that means that sometimes names are messy.

Sometimes names are messy. You know me, if you've gotten to know me at all or been around here, you know me as Dave Daley. But that was not the name I was born with.

At eight years old, my parents had been divorced for less than a year.

And my mom was driving us on a Friday night from her little apartment in Encinitas. This is a town, north San Diego to my father's apartment in Lucadia, another little small town in north San Diego. It was a Friday night, and I can remember driving over there, and we pull up to my dad's apartment and the lights are off. That's weird. We walk up to the door and there's just a note taped and it says, I don't want to do this anymore.

And I have not seen my father since that day.

I'm 47, and I can tell you that the identity of what happened that night has been a wrestling for me. There's a question of, am I lovable?

Do I have value?

What's my name? What history do you have if your father walks out and doesn't want you?

My mom got married a couple of years later, and my stepfather adopted myself and my younger brother, and we took his name and it quite honestly was a wrestling. I had a tumultuous relationship with my stepfather, but my grandfather was an angel, grandpa Bill, who passed away over the Christmas break.

Bill loved me as his own grandson, never treated me as if I were something else other than a daily.

And it let me hold an identity, create an identity, have be anchored to an identity that wanted me.

So redemptive.

I tell you all this because Matthew's not messing around. He's not being silly, he's not being just formal.

He's giving you a story of Jesus, the names passed down over hundreds of years, an identity of a nation that points to this person, God, with us.

And it's messy.

It's messy in this genealogy that we just unpacked. There's people that shouldn't be in here.

You wouldn't do this if you were trying to get some leverage, trying to make an impression like, no, this guy's the real deal, the new king. You remember David, the archetype. He's that and more. If you're trying to make that impression. Do you put Tamar.

Tamar was a young woman who dressed up like a prostitute and seduced her father in law to sleep with her so she could carry on the line and participate in the family line. Do you include that?

Rahab.

Rahab was a canaanite, not even a jewish woman, and she was a sex worker in Jericho. You include that.

Ruth.

Ruth was a moabite, hated. Hated by jewish people and non jewish people, the least desirable people group.

You include that.

And this killer line. Oh, my gosh. David, the father of Solomon, whose mother was someone else's wife.

You're not hiding the dirt.

These names matter.

David, the archetype, the warrior poet, the conquering king. Everything we wish we could be and more. It's like in America. It's like Captain America, like, yes, that. All of that. That's who we are wrapped up in a person that was King David. And Matthew says, yes, king David, father of Solomon, who took another man's wife what this means, you guys, is all of our stories are included in the story of Jesus.

We don't have to hide.

We don't have to be ashamed.

We don't have to feel less than all of your story, the good, the bad, the ugly, your worst day and your best day, all of it, come to the story of Jesus. It's his story, too.

It's his story, too.

And Matthew does this thing at the end that should provoke us and definitely provoke the people who are listening to this, his closing line of the genealogy. He says this.

And Jacob, the father of Joseph, who was the husband of Mary, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, who was called the Messiah. And what this should question, that should stir in us and definitely stirred there is wait. Joseph, the husband of Mary, who was the mother everyone else was so and so, the father of so and so, so and so, the father of so and so.

Joseph, the husband of Mary, who was the mother of Jesus, who's the father?

Who's the father?

That's the question.

Who's the father? What is this name? What is this kingship passed down? Where does it come from?

Who's the dad?

And Matthew resolves this for us in chapter three, where we're going to land today.

It says, as soon as Jesus was baptized, he came up out of the water.

And at that moment, heaven opened and the spirit of God descended like a dove alighting on him.

And a voice from heaven said, this is my son, whom I love, with whom I am well pleased.

Who's the Father?

God himself.

God himself, with all of the mess of humanity, comes into all of the goodness and glory of God, and it arrives in Jesus Emmanuel with us.

God doesn't look at you from a distance.

God doesn't judge you and hold you apart from himself.

God put on his boots and he stepped right into the crap, right into the mess, right into the muck, and he just wades right through it to us, to us in this moment when heaven breaks open and there's no more separation in this moment from everything that heaven is and all the mess that earth is now, there's no brokenness, there's no barrier. It's opened in Jesus.

And Jesus hasn't preached a sermon, and Jesus hasn't healed anyone, and Jesus doesn't have a following or influence.

It's before all of that. And God says, I love him. I am so pleased with him.

And here is you guys. Just the magical, powerful, the story that Matthew experienced, that is the invitation for you. Jesus says this in John, chapter 15, verse nine, he says, as the father has loved me, so I have loved you and now remain in my love always.

That voice from heaven that breaks open and enters into the messyness of earth and all the histories and stories, my broken family line, your worst parts of your family line, it breaks through that to Jesus and says, I love you and I'm pleased with you. And Jesus says, and that voice is now to you through me, I love you.

You are mine. My son, my daughter.

That is the beauty of Emmanuel.

The whole point of everything Matthew is contending and bringing to us is this is a story about God pursuing you.

You don't have to ascend to him, you just have to receive him.

He comes to your booth in the shame of your town, in the worst of what you've done.

And all he says is, come along, let's go for a walk.

Follow me. And as you do, I'll give you a new name.

And all of the best of me becomes you.

And all the best of what I have is yours. You're adopted into my family.

You get a new name.

Would you just close your eyes with me?

Heavenly Father, we just receive those words that were declared from the angels.

You are here. You are with us.

The long awaited promise, the best story we ever could have hoped for.

There is no barrier any longer. You are here, Emmanuel, in this room in Bend, Oregon, at Westside Church, in this building.

You are with us.

I just want you to, as you sit in that idea, just want you to pay attention to any voice that wants to tell you differently.

Tell you you are not worthy of this name.

Tell you you are not valuable. You are not lovable. You've done too much.

You are too far gone.

God doesn't see you.

I just want to say, in the name of Jesus, get out of here.

Get out of here. You have no place here.

You have no place here. We are the sons and daughters of the king.

Jesus, come and minister to us as we receive communion, as we worship, as we pray.

Make these, this identity whole in you, for all of us. In Jesus name, amen.