Jesus: Outside of ReligionJesus should have been born in Jerusalem…

He should have been sought by scribes…

He should have been introduced by priests…

He should have been followed by Pharisees…

But he wasn’t. His birth, finding, introduction, and followers were altogether outside of religion. The book of Matthew reveals a Savior that completely, totally, and perfectly breaks all our religious concepts.

Matthew 1: God chooses a virgin girl, from a poor family, from a despised region. Mary from Nazareth of Galilee. He doesn’t tell her to go to the temple. He doesn’t tell her to consult the high priest. But God Himself is incarnated in the conception of her child.

Matthew 2: Jesus is sought out by pagan men from a pagan country. The scribes accurately decipher the prophecy and direct the magi to Bethlehem, where the Christ is to be born (Micah 5:2). The only problem is that the scribes have no heart to seek for the Christ themselves. Content with the knowledge they stay, while the wise men go.

Matthew 3: Jesus is introduced by a wild man in the “wild-erness.” John the Baptist wears no priestly garments. He wears the hair of a camel, an unclean animal (Lev. 11:4). John the Baptist directs no men to the sacrifice bulls and goats. He proclaims repentance, buries men in baptism, and points them to the Lamb of God.

Matthew 4: Coming into His ministry, Jesus calls the 12. These are the men that the very Sovereign God had chosen to follow Him, to hear His teaching, to see His living, to watch His dying, to witness His resurrection, to preach His salvation, to write the Bible, and shake the whole earth (Acts 17:6). Instead of the Pharisees, (who had enough mental capacity + zeal to commit the Pentateuch to memory), Jesus called a doubter, a nationalist, a few fishermen, a tax collector, and a traitor.

What a Christ! He is everything we need and nothing we expect. Instead of being born in a palace, Jesus was born in a trough. Instead of being sought by the best of Judaism, Jesus was sought by heathen Gentiles from afar. Instead of a priestly presentation in the temple, Jesus was hailed by a voice in the wilderness (Isa. 40:3). Instead of calling the “qualified,” Jesus qualified the called.

This is our Jesus. Outside of religion.

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