A few years ago, we took a Journey Through Mark spending a day in each chapter. You can revisit that Journey starting HERE.
Last week I began looking at Matthew and think we can take a similar journey as Matthew introduces his readers to the Messiah. I hope you will join me on this journey. My plan is to do at least a chapter a week.
Matthew 1: Introducing Jesus, son of David.
When Matthew writes his narrative account, he mostly writes to those with a Jewish background. The people who would through the messages of the prophets, through the poetry of the Psalms, and the promises of the Pentateuch (the Law of Moses) would be looking for the promised King, the Messiah, the anointed Son of God. Most would be looing for a king of a physical nation. Matthew demonstrates how Jesus of Nazareth is the Messianic King.
Matthew begins with legal evidence (a genealogy) of Jesus to establish His line as a legal son of David. He connects Abraham to David, David to the Babylonian captivity listing Jechoniah as the last king before deportation. Then Matthew shows Jesus as a son of David through Shealtiel (legal son of Jechoniah) through Joseph (the legal father of Jesus). Through the legal record, Jesus has the right to claim the “Throne of David” to be the Messiah.
Joseph, according to Matthew’s account was a just (fair, thoughtful, righteous) man. When he discovers that Mary is with child, he knows he is not the father since they are betrothed, but not yet married. He considers breaking the engagement quietly to limit her embarrassment and the embarrassment of her family. “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. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.'” (Matthew 1:20-21). Joseph marries Mary, takes the child, Jesus as his own.
There a couple of things I want to point out:
- Look back into the genealogy. You find a few imperfect people. Abraham who lied, Isaac who lied, Jacob who deceived, David who had an affair and tried to cover it up with murder, and others. None of these men are examples of perfection. They are flawed individuals. They sinned in different ways. Yes, they had great moments of faith, but they also had times of failure. Yet, God uses them to bring about the PERFECT Messiah. A lesson for me is that even with my weaknesses, God can use me.
- Look at the women mentioned in Christ’s ancestry. Of all the women he could have mentioned Matthew selects: Tamar the prostitute and her child by her father-in-law, Rahab the harlot who hid the spies, Ruth a Moabite who all but threw herself at Boaz, Bathsheeba whom Matthew reminds us was the wife of Uriah, not David when she went into the king’s chamber, and Mary, an unmarried teenager who is pregnant. (The reader knows that her pregnancy is miraculous, but what would her neighbors think about her?) One possible lesson is that my family past does not determine who I am. I can be different. Another lesson is that God can use the mistakes we make and turn them into something good, if we will trust Him.
- Jesus’ name means salvation. Just as there is hope for the sinners in his genealogy, there is hope for all in Him. He will (does) save us from sin.
Jesus, the Savior, the Messiah. Immanuel, God is with us.
What lessons do you see in Matthew’s introduction of Jesus?