Matthew 1

Matthew 1 (from the NASB):

1The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham:
2Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers.
3Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez was the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram.
4Ram was the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon.
5Salmon was the father of Boaz by Rahab, Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse.
6Jesse was the father of David the king. David was the father of Solomon by Bathsheba who had been the wife of Uriah.
7Solomon was the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asa.
8Asa was the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah.
9Uzziah was the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah.
10Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amon, and Amon the father of Josiah.
11Josiah became the father of Jeconiah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.
12After the deportation to Babylon: Jeconiah became the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel.
13Zerubbabel was the father of Abihud, Abihud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor.
14Azor was the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud.
15Eliud was the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob.
16Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah.

Wow. The women in this list are not the ones that we would typically pick to highlight! Tamar? Had to pretend to be a prostitute to get Judah (her Father-in-law) to sleep with her because he shirked his responsibility to her when his sons died. Rahab? A prostitute from pagan Jericho. Ruth? A Moabite, faithful, but not a Jewess. Bathsheba? David’s wife because of his greatest sin. Mary? A peasant girl from a tiny village in northern Israel. How many times have we written people off because of their sin? or their lack of prestige? or their being different? or a victim?

Look closer … Rehoboam? Manasseh? Amon? Those aren’t the godly kings we would like to be the ancestors of the Messiah. Yet God chooses to use this line to bring the Messiah to earth. If God can use this cast of characters … he can use me too!

17So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; from David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon to the Messiah, fourteen generations.

Woohoo! God must like math too! Notice the symmetry, how beautiful. And 14 … seems kinda odd to use 14. You hear a lot about three, four, six, seven, twelve, forty … but 14? Wonder if that was significant.

18Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.
19And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly.
20But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of 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.”
22Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
24And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife,
25but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.

Look at Joseph’s reaction. He wants to treat her with honor, even though he suspects the worst. Would I have been so gracious? Then he listens to God’s message, and trusts God’s crazy plan. Think about that message. How INSANE it must have sounded. God has chosen Mary? for this? I’m going to be raising the Messiah? How could he possibly have handled this news? There seems no way that he could have grasped all that this meant without going crazy. Perhaps the angel did more than deliver the message, perhaps there was also strength and comfort, and maybe a gift of the Holy Spirit for Joseph as well as Mary. Certainly, no one in their own power could have done the task they had been given. Do I rely on God for help in the task that I’ve been given?

Lord, may I be ready to accept the small tasks that you give me, but also the great. May I rely on Your strength to raise my children, even as Mary and Joseph must have. May I never be so bold as to step out and try to do it on my own. Make me a vessel, Father, and may I never forget the source of my strength comes from Your Spirit within me, lest I try on my own and fall short of Your plans for me.

2 comments on “Matthew 1

  1. You know, you might be interested, if it’s offered again sometime, to take the course from Biblical Seminary “What’s Bothering Matthew?” I didn’t take it but I know the prof and he’s VERY good at explaining some of the very Jewish things of the Bible AND LOVES the way Biblical narrative works… Notice that in Matthews geneology, there is some telescoping happening… it wasn’t REALLY, if you trace it in the actual OT, 14 actual/factual generations.

    But Matthew wasn’t interested necessarily in actual/factual, but in getting a point across… his point: Jesus was the Jewish Messiah. And Jews of the day LOVED numerology (remember the book “The Chosen” in college?) and the number 14 is significant… it’s twice times 7… so, it’s doubly perfect….

  2. You bring up a debate I’ve had with myself, namely how much of my prior knowledge of Scripture, and perhaps more importantly, the “traditional” interpretation thereof, do I bring with me. I decided to err on the side of taking a fresh look without bringing a lot to this. Sort of asking myself what the main point is, and what would I think of this if I wasn’t being influenced by all of my familiarity with the texts, and my years of growing up a PK who read a lot of what others thought of the Bible and in fact almost had a Bible minor at Messiah (one NT course short). Obviously, I could spend more time cross checking and citing other verses that enlighten this passage, but I’d rather keep that to a minimum, at least until the blog itself has already referenced.

    Thanks for the input. I was aware of most of the points that you made, except of course for the “What’s Bothering Matthew?” course. 😉 Thanks for making that stuff clear though.

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