The book opens with a genealogy. When I bought my first Bible I remember thinking…who in the world would want to read these names? No one knows who they are. If you read through the OT, look closely…I bet you know MANY of them. Crazy good.
The Old Testament prophets predicted that the Messiah would be born of a woman (Gen. 3:15), of the seed of Abraham (Gen. 22:18), through the tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:10), and of the family of David (2 Sam. 7:12-13). Jesus qualified in every respect.
Matthew deliberately constructed his genealogy in three groups of 14 names.
- 1st 14- The Patriarchs
- 2nd 14-The Kings
- 3rd 14- The Exiles
#14 on the list is King David- The Focal Point.
17 Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.
The genealogy tells us 3 things:
- Jesus is the Messiah
- Jesus is the Descendant of David
- Jesus is a descendant of Abraham.
Note that 4 women are included in the Geneology, This is not typical but highlights that Gentiles were included.
- Tamar and Rehab-both Canaanites! (gentile)
- Ruth -a Moabite (gentile)
- Uriah’s wife (Uriah was a Hittite so legally she was a gentile)
Joseph was “engaged”. He could have disgraced Mary but instead, he planned a quiet divorce “from their engagement”. But God interceded in a dream. Not only was Joseph instructed to marry her BUT was also told the name he was to give. We learned yesterday that the “Name” was the family identity. He was told NOT to name him a family name but to name him Jesus (Salvation).
She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus because he will save his people from their sins.
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
Micha 5:2–“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times.”
So the Lord moves on the mind of Caesar Agustus to decree a census ( tax purposes). Well, actually to fulfill Micah. Jesus needs to be born 90 miles away to fulfill scripture. That’s a long walk when you are pregnant. Bethlehem is the “House of Bread” in translation.
I am going to keep this a light post (I will go deeper in Matthew)
Then the reading ends with a Prophecy of Simeon.
29“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you now dismiss your servant in peace.
30For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31which you have prepared in the sight of all people,
32a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel.”
At the Birth of Jesus, we already are talking about Revelation! The Greek word in this text is apokalypsis. (Apocalypse) and the definition is: a very serious event resulting in great destruction and change
I want to take a little time on the Circumcision: VERY important background here. Jesus was not born above the law, instead, He filled it perfectly! So these paragraphs are very important.
- Circumcision is part of the Abrahamic Covenant. In Genesis 12 God promises that through Moses ALL people on earth will be blessed. In Genesis 15 God makes that promise a Covenant. With every covenant there must be a death and blood must be shed. (why Jesus had to sacrifice himself). So if you go to Genesis 17 the Jewish part of that Covenant was circumcision. It represented being set apart from all others and their relationship with the Lord.
- Luke 2:23 talks of the consecration of the firstborn. Why? WOW, this is awesome, go back way back to Exodus 11-13. Remember when the Jews were delivered out of Egypt. Do you remember how? Yes! The Plagues. Each one to combat a false god. The last plague was the death of the firstborn children, and God sent an angel of death to take them all but the Jewish children were spared called the Passover. In remembrance of God’s deliverance and mercy, the Jews consecrate their firstborn to the Lord acknowledging that it is all His!