Wednesday, January 1, 2014

January 1, 2014 – Matthew 1 – Establishing the Veracity of Jesus

Below are my thoughts from the daily Bible reading of the West Side Church of Christ. Today’s reading comes from Matthew 1. Before reading I invite you to pray and asked God to speak to you as you read his word. Also above in the tabs is a link to the Bible reading plan.

What Does this Passage Say

  • The writer of this book … Matthew (The name of the books is not overly creative) … begins by listing the genealogy of Jesus. This is sort of a boring way to begin a book of the Bible, especially the first one in the New Testament. However, when Matthew wrote it he never knew he would get the opportunity to write the opening lines of the New Testament. Had he known that, he still probably would have started his book this way.
  • Matthew’s audience was first century Jewish people who had converted or Jewish people they were trying convert to a life changing relationship with Jesus Christ. Jewish people loved geologies for a multitude of reasons.
    • Genealogies gave them belonging. Their heritage made them receipts of the promise that they were God’s people.
    • Genealogies also gave them rights and access to their family inheritance in the Promised Land.
    • If they could not trace their genealogy, they were often discounted from the nation of Israel, which was a pretty big deal.
  • By listing a genealogy Matthew established that Jesus was in fact a Jew and that he descended from the line of David. The David part was a big deal because God promised to David that his heir would reign forever and the prophets predicted the Messiah would come from David.
  • In verse eighteen we find the traditional Christmas story.
    • A young girl named Mary is engaged to a man named Joseph.
    • She conceives in an unconventional way … through the Holy Spirit
    • Instead of shaming Mary, Joseph decides to quietly divorce her (Engagement in first century Israel could only be broken by death or divorce) until an angel appears to him in a dream.
What is this passage teaching?

  • The rest of Matthew, and for that matter the rest of the New Testament, is going to focus on the life of Jesus and all that means to the world. This genealogy leaves little doubt that Jesus was indeed Jewish and a rightful heir to David’s throne. It establishes the veracity for everything else this writing will contain.
  • We learn a valuable lesson from Joseph. When he found out that his fiancée was pregnant and he knew he was not the father it must have been a hurtful blow. But Joseph did not overreact. He could have had Mary put to death for adultery (Leviticus 20:10). He chose a noble route … to quietly divorce her. This would have made things less messy. This is a noble and righteous attitude that we would be wise to learn from. Now his choice is negated due to the visit of the angel, but still he had a noble reaction to hurtful news.
How can I apply this passage to my life?

  • How do we react when people have wronged us? How do we treat them? Do we humiliate them? Joseph chose to be noble, to do what was right instead of what was wrong. We would be wise to slow down, take time to think, and allow God to speak to us. More than likely he will not send an angel to our dreams, but He might just speak to us through other ways especially His written word. 

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