Matthew Introduction – Part 6: Jesus Was Not An Insurrectionist

Speaker: Scott Jarrett | Jan 24, 2016
  1. (Why?) did Matthew NOT write his gospel?

 Traditionally, inquiry into the author’s purpose is stated in the positive versus the negative as it is here. However, this particular dialectic approach to Matthew’s gospel has enormous value – especially when attempting to “root out” modern misconceptions about Jesus, His ministry or the Christian Faith in general. As such, what follows serves as both an explicit apologetic (against the heresies of our day) as well as an implicit guide to Matthew’s purpose and intent in writing.

5.1. To proclaim that the dispensation of law is over. [DISCUSSED]

5.2. To reveal that God was now good with having a whore for a wife or at least one on the side. [DISCUSSED]

5.3. To portray God the Father as a child abuser. [DISCUSSED]

5.4. To identify Jesus as an insurrectionist.

Today, it is not uncommon to hear Jesus’ name mentioned by those in opposition to the United States government as though He approves of their activity (e.g. Ammon Bundy). In no small way, Jesus has become the new spokesperson (or poster child?) for all forms of American insurrection, anarchy and political non-conformity. The theology behind such thinking is two-fold. The first is related to Jesus’ mission. Like the Jews of Jesus’ day, this American version of Christianity is only interested in a Messiah who stands against the tyranny of big government or heavy taxation and the corruption of the moral code (e.g. Mat 22:12-13 = Jesus’ stand against the tyranny of big govt and her corruption of morality). The second is related to the Kingdom of God. For these individuals, the United States is the new Zion and democracy (i.e. the people are the boss; life, liberty and equality for all) her new gospel.  As such, Christianity is more an ideology than a religion. And the battle more constitutional than canonical[1].

How we know this was NOT the purpose behind Matthew’s gospel nor the Jesus presented in the Scriptures:


5.4.1. The gospel writers portray Jesus as having little to no concern for what the secular government was doing (good or bad), nor any desire to change its policies. Rather His concern was with people’s spiritual states and the spiritual state of the covenant community (Luk 13:1-9)

5.4.2. Jesus did not stand against the secular government, but the heretical church of His day (i.e. Apostate Judaism, Mat 22:12-13 = The location of this event is the Temple in Jerusalem not the capital in Rome)

5.4.3. Jesus also had no problem submitting to the laws or taxes imposed by the secular government (Mat 5:38-41, 22:15-22)

5.4.4. Jesus taught His disciples that all secular government is established by God and therefore is to be respected and obeyed, even if they are corrupt (Rom 13:1-4)[2]

5.4.5. Jesus taught His disciples that only the church is the Kingdom of God/Heaven on earth and possesses no jurisdiction over or real threat to the secular government (Rev 1:4-6; Mat 16:18-19, 21:43; Luk 12:32, 17:20-21, 22:29-30; Joh 18:36; 1Ti 2:8; 2Ti 2:3-4; 1Pe 2:13-17)

5.4.6. At the same time, Jesus saw the gospel and becoming a part of God’s Kingdom (i.e. the church/covenant community) as the only way to make life better in a world run by secular governments (Mat 16:16, 18)

5.4.7. The Kingdom of God has never been a democracy and never will. It is instead a theocracy – the ultimate in big government (Col 1:18; Eph 1:22 w/5:23-24)!

[1] “America is no secular republic; it’s a biblical republic. Americanism is no civic religion; it’s a biblical religion. Americanism doesn’t merely announce the nation’s ideals on its own authority; it speaks on behalf of the Bible and the Bible’s God as did Lincoln in his Second Inaugural Address. That America is a biblical religion is supported by a mountain of evidence. America is an idea that results from focusing the Bible and Judeo-Christian faith on this life. The ideas that emerge in a blaze of light center on liberty, equality and democracy for all mankind. The great achievement of Americanism is to proclaim these three principles and their biblical origins, to proclaim them in America’s own new scriptures [i.e. the constitution].” – David Gelernter, Americanism, the Fourth Great Western Religion.

[2] Civil disobedience is only valid where what is being required of the Christian would cause us to be in rebellion (i.e. guilty of sin) before God.