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for Jessica, Mt. 1

some introductory notes on Matthew chapter 1.

The author of Matthew is Matthew (Levi) the Disciple. We know this because the original manuscripts were titled "According to Matthew". This was the same Matthew who was the tax collector.

The purpose of this book is to show Jesus as the Jewish Messiah. This book was written to the church that was composed primarily of Jews at the time who were running into conflict with the mainline Judeaism religion and thus breaking away from the mainline Jewish religion.

Who/what is the Messiah? The Messiah, or the Christ in Greek, is a Hebrew word for the "Annointed One", the person whom God promised would come and lead the nation of Israel in the establishment of the Kingdom of God. He would redeem them from their sins by His own righteousness. Most of the Jewish people missed the point about this person and thought He would be a litteral political leader someone who would come in military power like David and free them from their captors. Instead Jesus came as a Spiritual leader and established a spiritual Kingdom. The Kingdom of God was a major theme for Matthew, this is likely because he was trying to correct this flawed idea of what the Jewish people thought the Kingdom of God was like.

Verses 1-17

Here is the geneology of Jesus Christ from Abraham to Jesus. Why is this important? Because Matthew was trying to show that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah, the first step is to prove that He was in fact Jewish. By virtue of being a descendant of Abraham He was a Jew. Then He was also a descendant of David, which was also necessary to be the Messiah because prophecy stated that the Messiah would come from David's line.

I personnaly think it is worth mentioning that there were listed exactly 14 generations between each major break in history of the geneology. Fourteen between Abraham and David, 14 between David and the Exile, and 14 between the Exile and Jesus. Abraham was the father of the Jewish people, David the father of the line that would produce the Messiah, the Exile was prophecied by Jerermiah and happened on his watch and in those same prophecies he told of a branch that would rule in righteousness and redeem Israel -- the Messiah. Matthew was a tax collector, an accountant in todays terms, numbers were his thing. If anyone would think of numbers and their pattern it would be Matthew. There is some question as to whether Matthew skipped generations to attain this pattern in order to show completeness by the multiples of 7 (skipping generations in the recitation of geneology was an acceptible practice in Hebrew culture). I don't know about that, but if that is true it serves its purpose well. Another take on it is to indicate design, that the coming Messiah was planned in advance and that Jesus was that Messiah.

Verses 17ff

The next section of this chapter deal with the birth of Jesus, but unlike Luke who deals with it from Mary's perspective, Matthew gives it from Joseph' perspective. This is an interesting and (I think) important observation because the lineage above is believed to be the royal line, the legal lineage, or the lineage Jesus through Joseph. It is through this line that the Messiah would expected to come. In Luke, a geneology is given with some variance from this one, and is believed to be the lineage of Jesus through Mary (although there are some other possible options as well) that also traces Him back to David. So Jesus was related to David both legally through His adopted father and genetically through His mother.

The events portrayed in this passage tell us some very important details:

A:) Joseph didn't father Jesus, nor did he have sexual relations with her until after Jesus' birth.
B:) The Holy Spirit caused Mary to concieve (without sexual relations we learn in other Gospels)
C:) Jesus' purpose was made known from the very beginning.
D:) God Himself gave Jesus His name, through Joseph.
E:) God was active in the events leading up to the birth of Jesus.

All of those things are fullfillments of Old Testement prophecies concerning the Messiah, all of which Jesus fulfilled, something that no other figure throughout all of history has done.

Notice that Joseph knowing that Mary pregnant not of him, suspected that Mary was unfaithful to him and was going to divorce her. Why was that necessary when they were only engaged? Because in Hebrew culture marriage was very sacred and an engagement was legally binding, in order to break it you had to have a divorce. Technically, if he wanted to, Joseph was within his rights to make a public spectical of her and have her stoned to death. But because he loved her, and he was a "righteous" man he sought to protect her dignity by divorcing her privately. When he took her as his wife he took her perceived shame on his own shoulders and accepted the public ridicule. He comprimised his own reputation because God told him too. I think this shows that Joseph was the right man for the job. After all, God was entrusting HIS own Son to his care.


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Are you going to a book by book, chapter by chapter overview of the new testament?!?!I would read it!


Why not?

no time

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