The Gospel of Matthew

This devotional is written by Matt Coombs. Matt is one of the leaders at St Mary's and is married to Pip.

Matthew 1:1-17

The Genealogy of Jesus the Messiah 1 This is the genealogy[a] of Jesus the Messiah[b] the son of David, the son of Abraham:

2 Abraham was the father of Isaac,

Isaac the father of Jacob,

Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,

3 Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar,

Perez the father of Hezron,

Hezron the father of Ram,

4 Ram the father of Amminadab,

Amminadab the father of Nahshon,

Nahshon the father of Salmon,

5 Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,

Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,

Obed the father of Jesse,

6 and Jesse the father of King David.

David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah's wife,

7 Solomon the father of Rehoboam,

Rehoboam the father of Abijah,

Abijah the father of Asa,

8 Asa the father of Jehoshaphat,

Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram,

Jehoram the father of Uzziah,

9 Uzziah the father of Jotham,

Jotham the father of Ahaz,

Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,

10 Hezekiah the father of Manasseh,

Manasseh the father of Amon,

Amon the father of Josiah,

11 and Josiah the father of Jeconiah[c] and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.

12 After the exile to Babylon:

Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel,

Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,

13 Zerubbabel the father of Abihud,

Abihud the father of Eliakim,

Eliakim the father of Azor,

14 Azor the father of Zadok,

Zadok the father of Akim,

Akim the father of Elihud,

15 Elihud the father of Eleazar,

Eleazar the father of Matthan,

Matthan the father of Jacob,

16 and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.

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.


Reflection

Have you ever noticed when you meet up with old friends that you retell old shared stories and experiences, but each person shares them slightly differently? They each have their own perspective on the event.

This is what the four gospels are a bit like. Each writer tells the story of Jesus with their distinctive style that reveals Jesus in varied ways.
We will be reading Matthew together at the start of 2021 and it will take us all the way until Easter. So there is a little goal for you. Especially if you struggle to read the Bible, why not set an alarm on your phone to start the day hearing Matthew’s (and someone in our church’s) perspective on Jesus.

There are a number of things to look out for when you read the passages.

  1. The fulfilment of scripture. Matthew is always linking what Jesus is doing to the story of the people of Israel. It’s not always clear to us, but if you’re reading in a Bible there are footnotes that help you cross reference and to see what Matthew (or Jesus) is alluding to.
  2. Teaching. Matthew includes much more teaching than the other gospels. The Sermon on the Mount being the most obvious. While this links with the Jewish background (Moses on the mountain receiving the law/Jesus on the mount explaining this teaching teaching “You have heard it said, but I say to you…”) This is also worth our attention because Matthew wants his readers to know that those who find their life and identity in Jesus are part of a community that live like their king.
  3. New identity. The scholar Michael Card believes that Matthew’s gospel was written into a time when the new Judeo-Christians were trying to work out some very important questions: Who is Jesus? Who are we? For the Jewish audience it was important to know - is Jesus the Messiah, and what kind? They needed to know he was greater than any priest, prophet, king they had ever known. But also who are they? As the early church emerged and gentiles were responding to apostles announcement about Jesus, what started as a Jewish-sect now needed a frame what that to be a follower of Jesus involved not adherence to the law/bloodline (what previously had been the marker), but now the mark of this community would be belief in a Messiah who died and rose from death, and in its radical obedience to his commands.
This introductory family tree is easy to overlook, but it reveals important information for the first hearers of the gospel and to us today.
Matthew leads his readers all the way back to David from whose line the Messiah was expected to come (2 Samuel 7), but then even further to Abraham. Jesus' roots are found deeply in the Jewish history. He comes to fulfil the promises given to those who came before him.
His genealogy also includes some rather unlikely people too. Rahab was a prostitute. Ruth was a moabite (the mortal enemies of the Jews). Women wouldn’t normally be included in ancient lists like this. This new community centred on Jesus will welcome and include everyone. Those who were considered enemies, would become siblings.
This would have been a surprise to the first readers. They had been taught one thing. But as we'll see, Jesus comes saying: You have heard it said, but I say unto you.

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