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The Christ is Come | Matthew 1-2

As preached by Zach Thompson.

Jesus is the Christ and as the Christ...

1) He is the fulfillment of the law and the prophets.

2) He receives those who come to him.

3) He will be victorious.

Matthew 1-2

Good morning Christ Fellowship! My name is Zach, and I am one of the pastors here.

If you haven’t turned there yet, we will be in Matthew chapters 1-2 for our sermon today.

If you are using one of our provided Bibles, that is on page 757.

Now, if you are able, would you please stand in honor of the reading of God’s word?

Matthew 1:18-2:23

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,

and they shall call his name Immanuel”

(which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

2:1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

6 “ ‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,

are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;

for from you shall come a ruler

who will shepherd my people Israel.’ ”

7 Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” 9 After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. 12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” 14 And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt 15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

16 Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:

18 “A voice was heard in Ramah,

weeping and loud lamentation,

Rachel weeping for her children;

she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.”

19 But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 saying, “Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead.” 21 And he rose and took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. 23 And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, so that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, that he would be called a Nazarene.

Let’s pray.

To wait is human. All of us have to experience the agony of forced patience. We have to wait. At the doctors office, we wait. While dinner is being finished, we wait. While the mechanic is doing the repair, we wait.

We all have to wait. And as we wait, all of us anticipate. We anticipate outcomes. We anticipate emotional experiences. We anticipate that moment when the nurse sticks her head out the door and says your name for you to walk back. Or our mouths water after a long day when we smell a delicious dinner that isn’t quite ready. Anticipation walks hand in hand with waiting.

In Genesis 3, God promised that the offspring of Eve would crush the head of the serpent. And since that day, humanity has been waiting–anticipating the one who would come. Abraham is promised that his offspring would bless all of the nations. Moses promised that a prophet would come after him who was greater than him. David is promised that his offspring would have an eternal kingdom. Throughout the prophets, one is foretold who would redeem the people of God–one who would make a way for the nations to be gathered in. One who would suffer and be despised and be victorious.

The gospel of Matthew is written to Jews who knew these promises. It is written to people who are waiting for a Messiah who has already come.

Matthew is writing to tell the reader that the anticipation of millenia has found satisfaction in the person of Jesus, the Christ.

As I was meditating on these realities this week, I wrote a story about a man named Johnny to illustrate some of the Jewish experience for Matthew’s intended audience. I’ll give you the cliff notes version. It’s about a man named Johnny who was separated from his father without any means of contacting him. He finds a note in his old things that his Dad wrote. The note said that they should meet at a local hotdog joint called Franks if they ever got separated. After going to Frank’s hotdog joint for a couple of years, Johnny happens to see an old friend who informs Johnny that his dad has been sitting at the same French restaurant since the day they were separated. Johnny’s Dad has been sitting at a swanky restaurant called Franks (Fronks), and Johnny had read it as Franks, and he assumed it was the hotdog joint. Johnny read the note, but he totally missed it. Tragic.

The Jewish people read the book, and they expected the Messiah, but they totally missed it. The Messiah didn’t come in the way that they expected, but he came, and he fulfilled all that was promised about him.

And this is Matthew’s chief goal. He wants to demonstrate that Jesus is the Christ–the Messiah–the Anointed One.

It’s his chief goal all throughout the book of Matthew.

In our text today, Matthew introduces most of the major themes that run throughout the entire gospel of Matthew.

And everything he says is toward this one reality.

Jesus is the Christ.

This is Matthew’s main point in writing this gospel.

In our time today, we will seek to meditate on some of the realities that surround this claim.

Before we get into our first point, let’s talk about this word “Christ.” The word Christ is not Jesus’ last name. He didn’t inherit that from Joseph. Christ is a title. It means “anointed one.” Christ is the Greek translation for the word Messiah. Christ–Messiah–Anointed One, they all mean the same thing.

In the Old Testament, prophets, priests and kings were ceremonially anointed with oil to show that they had been set apart for a specific task.

But this anointed one was appointed by God to accomplish the work of God. He would suffer and deliver his people and have victory and secure life and peace for the people of God.

In him, all of the promises of God are yes. They are fulfilled. And Matthew’s point is that this promised Christ is Jesus. And this is related to our first point.

Jesus is the Christ, and as the Christ,

  1. He is the fulfillment of the law and the prophets.

We see this all throughout our text today, and it doesn’t stop with the end of our text. Matthew directly quotes the Old Testament more than any of the other gospels. But let’s just survey our text. We didn’t read the genealogy at the beginning, but Matthew is very intentional about that genealogy as an introduction to this book. Look up at the top in verse 1, David is up front about his purpose here. “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.”

Now, in our modern minds, this probably rings a bit hollow. Maybe in your ears, this just sounds like a weird introduction to a typical ancient book. But in the ears of a first century Jew, this is a bold proclamation.

Remember, in their minds, Christ wasn’t concretely associated with Jesus like it is for us today. Matthew is attributing a title to Jesus. He is making the claim that Jesus is the promised Messiah, and this genealogy will lay the foundation for the truth of that claim. The Messiah was promised to be a descendent of David. The Messiah would be the means of fulfilling the promises to Abraham. “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.”

We’ll talk more about the genealogy in a bit, but let’s scan over the rest of the text.

Remember, Matthew isn’t just telling the story of Jesus’ birth because he thought it was super cool that wise men from the east came to worship Jesus. It feels that way when people tell the Christmas story, but that is totally missing the point. He is demonstrating that Jesus is the Christ, and that this is attested by the Scriptures.

That’s why he goes out of his way to say that these things are fulfilling the Scriptures. Glance through this. I want you to see how he writes this.

1:21, “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet.

2:5, “for so it is written by the prophet:”

2:15, “This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet,”

2:17, “Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:”

2:23, “so that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled”

He wants to make it abundantly clear that Jesus is the fulfillment of Ancient promises.

We don’t have time to look at all of them in detail, but I want to look over these quickly so that we can understand what Matthew is claiming here.

Look in 1:22. “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel. “Which means God with Us.” That’s a quote from Isaiah 7:14. He is making a claim here. Jesus is God. Specifically, he is God with us. He was born of a virgin. This gospel isn’t just about morality. It’s about God taking on flesh and dwelling with humanity. There are so many people who say that the Bible is a good place to learn about morality, but they don’t believe what it says about God. Those people have totally missed the point. Morality without right theology is vanity.

Then in 2:6, he quotes Micah 5:2 and makes a reference to 1 Chronicles 11 when he writes, “And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’” Jesus was born in Bethlehem, and this was the known birthplace of the Messiah. Even the Scribes know this when Herod asks them about it.

Then in 2:15, he quotes Hosea 11:1, “Out of Egypt I called my son.” Matthew is doing something interesting here. This wasn’t traditionally thought of as a messianic text. It was about Israel. But what Matthew is doing is he is recognizing Jesus as a new representative for Israel. It’s what we would call typology. Israel is the “type.” Jesus is the “anti-type.” Israel is the shadow. Jesus is the fulfillment. When God called Israel out of Egypt, they quickly failed God and fell into Idolatry and immorality. Jesus was the faithful Son. He came out of Egypt and lived in total obedience. We’ll see more about that later in Matthew.

Then in 2:18, he quotes Jeremiah 31:15. “A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.” Matthew applies this to the tragedy of Herod killing the children in Bethlehem. I remember the first time I looked into this, I was confused. This quote felt like a really random thing to say. This was a horrible event, but why would Matthew include the quote? But I just didn’t know my Bible the way that I should have. The original context was about when Israel was going into exile. We read this for our middle reading. This quote about Rachel weeping is just before the promise of the New Covenant. In the midst of her inconsolable weeping, there was hope, because God was establishing a New Covenant.

Matthew is pointing to this tragedy, and he wants us to see that all of it lines up. In Jeremiah, weeping preceded the promise. And in Jesus weeping preceded the fulfillment.

The Messiah will inaugurate the new covenant.

Then in 2:23, you’ll notice that he doesn’t quote a specific prophet, but he points to a theme in the prophets. Personally, I think that this is a type of word play. “And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, so that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, that he would be called a Nazarene.” In Hebrew and Aramaic, the word Nazareth sounds very similar to the word for Branch. And in Old Testament, Jesus is called the branch (Isaiah 11).

Perhaps, I have belabored the explanation of this point, but this deserves some extra thought because it is such a massive theme in our text today, and for all of the rest of Matthew.

So let’s ask a really simple question that is absolutely essential. Do you believe this?

Matthew has laid it out for us. Jesus is the Christ. He has more to say that we’ll get to as we work through the book. But ask the question.

Do you believe that Jesus really is the anointed one who took on flesh and fulfilled all of the promises of God? Do you believe that he lived a perfect life and died our death and rose in victory? Do you trust that for all who believe, they will be delivered from the penalty of sin and the bondage that comes with it? And they will have eternal life? All who believe will have eternal life.

Is Jesus your Lord? Do you want his morality without his authority? Do you want his satisfaction without his Lordship?

It’s like what CS Lewis writes. Jesus is either a liar, or a lunatic, or he is Lord. There are no other options. If Jesus really is the fulfillment of the law and the prophets, then he really is the Lord of all the earth. Is he your Lord?

If Jesus really is the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets, then everything changes.

There are so many implications, and we’ll start to explore those in our next two points.


  1. He receives those who come to him.

This is clear in both the genealogy and in the Wisemen in this passage.

Isn’t it interesting that as Matthew begins this book that is intended for Jews, he starts his narrative about the Messiah with a genealogy filled with misfits and a record of gentiles who come to worship him while the Jews ignore him or seek to kill him.

The inclusion of those who are far off is echoed all throughout the Old Testament. We saw this several times as we were working through the minor prophets. The nations gathering to worship the Lord.

From the promise of Abraham, we see that the nations will be blessed by his offspring. In the promise to David, there is a king who will rule over nations. All throughout the prophets, we see promises and hints that the nations will come to worship after the Messiah does his work. And in this passage, we see the seeds of fulfillment.

This genealogy and the wise men are a shadow pointing ahead to the rest of Jesus’ life and even into eternity. Let’s talk about both of them.

This genealogy records people who are sinners, Gentiles, and reprobates. People who are so incredibly unworthy are used by the sovereign hand of God as instruments to bring about the one who would accomplish all of these things.

We don’t have time to dive into this, but I want you to notice something. This genealogy includes several women, and that itself is almost unheard of for any ancient genealogy. But these aren’t women like Sarah or Rachel who were the wives of patriarchs. These women seem like strange inclusions for a genealogy introducing the anointed one of God.

You’d think that the writer would want to shine things up a bit and skip over some of the sketchier moments in the narrative. But most of these women are sketchy at best. Tamar impersonated a prostitute and slept with her father in law to produce the heir that is on this list. Rahab was a gentile prostitute. Ruth was a Moabitess—a nation that was a sworn enemy of Israel. Bathsheba is the woman who king David committed adultery with.

If you survey some of the men in this genealogy, you’ll see some of the biggest failures in Israel’s history.

This genealogy is practically screaming that God uses the weak and despised things in the world to show his power.

Do you feel weak? God doesn’t despise the weak. He welcomes the weak.

And we see this with the Wiseman. They were literally far off from Jesus. They are unclean gentiles who come to him (at great expense) while the king and the jewish scribes are hostile or indifferent. Those who seem strong, wise, and worthy are shown to be fools.

But these men from the east—Men who were, very likely pagan Gentiles. They were probably Zoroastrians who didn’t believe anything close to the biblical God. And they came to worship the king of the Jews.

And at the same time, the actual Jews themselves reject him. He is barely out of the manger, and already they reject him.

Herod tries to kill him, and in his rage, he kills all of the children in Bethlehem. The scribes among the Jews know exactly where he’s supposed to be born. They can say the name of the town on command—Bethlehem— but when they hear of this news of the Messiah, they are indifferent. They don’t go to search for him, and over time, they themselves become hostile in the same way that Herod was.

We don’t see evidence here that these wisemen repent and turn to the Biblical God, but where Jesus’ own reject him, the wisemen worship him.

This is an echo of a theme that we will see constantly throughout Matthew and all of the New Testament.

Jesus doesn’t receive the worthy. He receives the humble. And he makes them worthy.

What baker requires a bagel to be already finished when he starts his work? What blacksmith expects the sword to be shaped before he fires up the forge?

Jesus doesn’t say come to me worthy. He says come to me and be made worthy. Be shaped into what you will be. He says come to me and find rest for your soul all you who are weak and heavy laden. And I will give you rest.

We sing about this in the song “Come Ye Sinners.” If you tarry till you’re better, you will never come at all. Not the Righteous, sinners Jesus came to call.”

Jesus didn’t come to save the righteous. He came to save sinners. What doctor rejects his patients because they are sick? The doctor works for their healing because they have come to him sick.

Here I am, speaking to you as if you don’t know Christ. But I know most of you. And you know Christ. You know this already. This point is not new information for you, it’s review!

But oh, how frequently we need to be reminded of this. The Lord receives those who come to him.

Christian, don’t stop coming to him.

People speak of having a “Come to Jesus” moment as if it’s a one time experience. But this is something that we must do Every. Single. Day.

The Christian life is a life of coming to Jesus over and over and over.

Jesus is like oxygen for the Christian. He is like sleep. We need him constantly. What if you tried to front load all of your sleep for the week? On average, you sleep 8 hours per night, so why not just get the entire week’s worth of sleep all at once? 8 hours, 7 days. Why not just sleep for 56 hours at the beginning of the week, then you could be super productive for the other 112 hours.

No, that’s ridiculous. You would crash and burn because that’s not how you are designed to function. We are like this spiritually.

Don’t try to frontload your confession and spiritual rest. Don’t come to Jesus in batches. Don’t act like that one experience back when you first believed is all you’ll ever need.

The Christian life is a life, not a moment that you look back on years ago. It’s a lifestyle. As often as you breathe, breathe in Christ.

So take stock of your heart. Look on the dark shelves in the back of your heart. Is there something that is expired and rotten in the shadows? Can you smell it even though you can’t quite see it?

Maybe you know something is wrong, even if you don’t know exactly what it is, you can still come to Jesus! You can come to him in prayer, and say Lord, there’s something wrong with my heart, but I don’t even know what’s wrong. But I know that I’m bitter. Or I know that I’m angry. Or I know that I’m sad. And I don’t know why. God, help me!

There is room in the Christian life for you to come to God and say, “Lord, I’m weak, and I don’t even know what repentance looks like right now, but do with me what you will. Help me to take the next step.

You don’t have to have all of the answers when you come to him in prayer. Just come to him in humility, and know that he receives the humble! And he gives grace to the humble (James 4)!

Take your confusion and your sin, and come to his word, and come to his people. And he will reveal to you what to do. He will open your eyes as to how you should live. He will reveal the stench in your heart, and he will give you the strength to throw it away.

Ask yourself the question: Do you want to be impressive? Or do you want Jesus? Do you want people to think well of you? Or do you want eternal life?

Are you seeking the approval of man? Or the approval of God? The Jewish Scribes wanted the approval of Herod because he killed everyone who seemed like they were on his bad side.

When we frame it that way, it’s really easy to make excuses for them because we might falter in the same situation. But Jesus addresses this. Don’t fear the one who can kill the body, but fear the one who can destroy both body and soul in hell.

When you feel inclined to make excuses for these scribes, remember, this warning is for us. Don’t ignore the working of God because you are caught up in self preservation or self exaltation.

Come to Christ every day, and find life.

And as we come to Christ, we can come with confidence because of our third point.

  1. He will be victorious.

The Christ will not be thwarted. The God man cannot be defeated. He won’t be thrown off course. He can’t be hindered. There is no force or opposition that would defeat his work.

That’s why he could sleep in the storm.

We have this promise from the earliest chapters of the Bible. Genesis 3:15, “he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” Victory is promised.

But do you remember what else is promised there? Before he gives that promise of victory, there is a different promise.

“I will put enmity between you and the woman,

and between your offspring and her offspring”

He promises enmity. Between the offspring of the woman and the offspring of the serpent.

Timothy has been talking about this as we’ve been going through Genesis. From the first chapters after the fall. This isn’t talking about biological offspring. It’s talk about people who fear God and people who oppose him.

And in our text today, this is on full display.

Herod is the offspring of the serpent. Lead by his own sense of paranoia and self-exaltation, Herod actively sought to destroy Jesus, and in the process, he killed an entire village’s population of children 2 and under. The powerful Jewish scribes knew that he was attempting to kill the Messiah, and they said nothing.


And even apart from the active work of Herod, there were so many things that could have done wrong.

Mary could’ve been stoned as an adulterous woman. Joseph could’ve ignored the angel of God that told him to stay with Mary. The wisemen could’ve foolishly gone back to Herod and exposed Jesus. Joseph could’ve ignored the warning of God and stayed in Bethlehem rather than flee. They could’ve died in the perilous journey to Egypt. They could’ve been found out after their return.

These two chapters are filled with opposition. They are filled with opportunities for the enemy to snuff out the messiah. But none of these things like they might have happened.

Why? His time had not yet come.

Against all odds, Jesus survived and thrived.

The enemy threw dart after dart, but he couldn’t touch him because it wasn’t his time.

Brother and sister, if you are in Christ, then this same reality applies to you.

We serve the God who speaks a word and even the most of rebellious of demons will heed his voice.

When the enemy rages against the sovereign working of God. It’s like an ant shaking it’s tiny fist at a Tsunami that is towering over an entire island.

What God purposes, he fulfills. No opposition can quench God’s purpose.

The sovereign hand that guided the events in these chapters is the sovereign hand that guides every single occurrence in your life.

So let’s get really practical here. I want you to set your feet and be honest with yourself. In the deepest most private corners of your heart, what causes you the most anxiety? What makes you tremble when you think of losing it? Some past memory or future fear. If you are taking notes, write down one word that can be short hand for you to recall that quickly.

As I considered this, the song Lord From Sorrows Deep came to my mind.

That third verse catches my heart every time.

“Should my life be torn from me,

Every worldly pleasure,

When all I possess is grief,

God be then my treasure.”

Every time that I listen to that song or sing it, the same thing comes to my mind. I think of some horrible tragedy where my wife and kids are taken from me. This song and others like it brings tears to my eyes because I feel like begin to wade through a loss that hasn’t even happened. The joy that Courtney and the kids fill my days with is so great, and the thought of losing them is almost paralyzing.

That line, “When all I posses is grief, God be then my treasure.”

The enemy would use your anxieties and fears to snatch you away from the Lord. When your worst fears come to pass, and every worst case scenario becomes your story, the enemy would rejoice in seeing your faith crumble.

But this is one of the reasons we sing songs like that.

Because the enmity of the serpent is still raging against us. But even if we are like Job and all we possess is grief, we are still promised victory.

Even when we have nothing else, we have this treasure in jars of clay, that even if our life looks like death, we are promised victory (2 Cor 4:7)

I want to do something unusual for us. I want end our time by spending a few minutes in Romans 8.

If you are able to, would you turn there?

I’m not going to preach another sermon, but I want to grab onto this truth from Matthew 1, and use Romans 8 as a way for us to see that this same truth is for us.

Romans 8:28, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” It isn’t often that we keep reading past this. But Paul doesn’t just say those words and leave them. They are founded in the sovereign hand of God. Read in verse 29, he writes, “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”

Why can you be confident that all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose?

Because if you are in Christ, then you are in Christ because God sovereignly chose you and called you and holds you and will make you glorious.

After making this point, Paul writes in verse 31, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”

God’s purpose cannot be thwarted. Christ will be victorious. The work of Christ wasn’t ever going to fail, because he was the faithful Son who eternally submits to the Father in Joy.

If God gave his Son to save you, why would he put you through a trial that would destroy you? It doesn’t mean you won’t have trials, but it means he will hold you through them.

And so we can echo Paul’s words in verse 35. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;

we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

I asked you earlier to write down something to jog your memory. What is that deep anxiety in your heart? What thought terrifies you?

Whatever it is, these words are for us. “In all these things, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Nothing can separate us from the Love of God.

Even when his people can’t see far enough to see what he is doing, we can see the one who is doing it.

We can see the Christ—Jesus. The one made all things and who took on flesh and died our death and was raised for our vindication.

Jesus is the Christ. Come to him. And find life and victory.

Let’s pray.


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