January 4, 2016: Day 1- Matthew 1

Well, we are back!  If you have been following along then you will notice this entry.  The only negative about the reboot is that we no longer have those wonderful comments that were made previously.  You’ll just have to make them again and we can go from there.  Enjoy the blog and I pray that you will grow from the challenge.

Happy New Year! I am so excited for these next 90 days. I can’t wait to share with you the Gospels and to be able to see what kind of insight God will be giving us in regards to what did we learn about Jesus and what did we learn about being a disciple maker.
As you were reading through chapter 1 I hope you didn’t get lost in the genealogy. With a lot of difficult Greek names it is easy to give up, but don’t. There is a lot of treasure in Matthew’s genealogy. A couple important things that you need to remember. It is crucial to Matthew that Jesus be seen as the Messiah, and so the anointed one who came directly from the throne of David. That is how he begins his Gospel message by mentioning the two most important patriarchs, Abraham and David, in regards to the message that he is trying to get across: Jesus is the Messiah.
Also in the genealogy we find some references to some painful history within the family. We all have some skeletons in the closet in our families, don’t we? What about a Rahab (vs. 5) who is in the lineage and is a prostitute who welcomed the Israelite soldiers into her home (Joshua 2:1). Or what about a relationship with Boaz and Ruth where he was not at first willing to carry through on his responsibilities (Ruth 2-3). Even worse than all of this is a son born from the fruit of an adulterous, maybe even forced, affair with Solomon born, as the text states, “by the wife of Uriah” (vs. 6).
The fact that Jesus is able to use this family with all of its quirks, and all of its sin that runs through it like a red thread, I hope is a relief as we look at the dysfunction of our own families and wonder how in the world is God ever going to use us? We can learn that Jesus is willing to use anyone for His purposes. Any single person is able to carry out God’s will, even if they are a result of sinful action, or even if they have committed egregious sin in their lives in the past. That is comforting to me.
From the genealogy we move to the birth of Jesus and the angel who announces the pregnancy of Mary to Joseph. He certainly was a righteous man. Different from the Gospel of Luke is Matthew in that Gabriel comes to Joseph in this passage, as opposed to Mary. It is a very different perspective from his viewpoint. Not only did he resolve to keep her and not cast her out, but Scripture says that after they were married he held back from marital relations until after Jesus was born. The emphasis on Joseph here is that even in the midst of a mess, you can still find one righteous person who will carry out God’s plan. Here, in the Christmas story, we actually have two, both Mary and Joseph.

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2 Responses to January 4, 2016: Day 1- Matthew 1

  1. carol r says:

    Just a comment, how do people still not believe, Immanuel(the Lord with Us) I found the lineage to mean one thing just to prove the connection between Abraham and David. And the Virgin birth to prove purity of Christ, and to be free of sin. Unlike those in the lineage of David. Christ is pure.

    • kcooper says:

      Some would say that belief is not a choice, but a gift. Certainly the Apostle Paul speaks of faith as gift from God (Ephesians 2:8). This Ephesians Scripture is crucial in our Reformed understanding that God gifts us faith and that belief is not something for which we can in any way take credit. We can choose not to believe, we can choose not to receive a gift given to us, but the act of believing is not considered righteousness on our part. Righteousness only comes from God. This may be a different question than what you asked, but belief is complicated especially in those contexts where you have not grown up in a family that believes. Great comment Carol!

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