I find it very interesting that Matthew draws on so much Old Testament prophecy to tell the story. Here, he quotes Isaiah 7:14 and links it to Jesus’ birth. I can’t imagine anyone at the time of Isaiah had the slightest clue what these words would later mean.
“…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).
As an angel unveils what God has done, Joseph discovers he’s right in the middle of it. God’s plan includes him. He is to marry Mary, name her son and be his father. Just a few moments before, Joseph was ready to walk away. Not so fast, Joseph! You’ve got an important role. You’re the connection with David. You’ve got a wife to take care of. You get to name the Savior. Continue reading
“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. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 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 1:18-21).
Here are a couple of people who are just trying to do the right thing. They plan to get married, have children, start their life together. God shows up and upsets their plans. (After all, his plans aren’t our plans and his ways aren’t our ways.) So, Joseph tries to do the right thing with a quiet divorce, adhering to the law while sparing his fiancee some very severe consequences. But then Joseph learns in a dream that the right thing is indeed marriage, children and a life with Mary. He received the assurance, “It’s OK. And it’s going to be OK.” Continue reading
“So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations” (Matthew 1:17).
Lot of numbers in the Bible have significance: six days of creation, twelve disciples, forty days and nights of rain. But what about fourteen? Why does Matthew make us notice the three sets of generations in the ancestry of Jesus Christ? Actually, Matthew skips a few names so that it will fit this pattern. Why? Continue reading
As if the inclusion of Tamar in Jesus’ family tree wasn’t enough, Matthew includes three more women: Rahab, Ruth and “the wife of Uriah” whom we know as Bathsheba.
A few years ago, Richard wandered into church and worshiped with us for a few months. He dabbled in genealogies and asked me for a few birthdates and places so he could do a little research on my family. Several weeks later he presented me with two binders of material that traced the Douthwaite family back to the 1500’s in Wales. It was interesting to see the names, places, dates and wives of the Douthwaite line – for me, anyway. I doubt too many outside the family would find it compelling.
It’s tempting to skip past Jesus’ family tree at the beginning of Matthew’s gospel. The genealogy might be interesting those in the family, but any long list of names in the Bible really doesn’t capture the imagination. (It was a little more fun when we read King James Bibles and got to say the word “begat” over and over, but days are pretty much gone.)
“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1 ESV).
That’s an interesting way to begin your version of the greatest story ever told! Actually, it’s a pretty boring way to begin the story if you ask me. Do you want people to read your gospel? Give them something more interesting than a family tree. Continue reading