02 January 2011

Matthew 1-2

Each Gospel opens with a different take on how to begin the story of Jesus and Matthew is no exception. He opens with seventeen verses dedicated to tracing Jesus' lineage back to Abraham - the "father of nations".

Several interesting notes about what can seem at a glance to be a long list of hard to pronounce names:
1) there are five women mentioned in Jesus' genealogy - Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Uriah's wife (Bathsheeba), and Mary
2) the historical events mentioned in the genealogy - David's reign, the Babylonian exile, and the birth of the Messiah - would have all been items that would have pricked the ears of Matthew's Jewish audience

Unlike Luke's Gospel, Matthew focuses on Joseph's interactions with angels and the Holy Spirit - he has dreams, he names the child, he decides not to divorce Mary, etc. Also unique to Matthew's Gospel is the story of the visit of the magi from the east bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Again Matthew uses the dream motif to move the plot along - magi have dreams, Joseph has several more. All leading to the safe-keeping of the Christ-child and his fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies.

As you read Matthew, keep track of the number of times the Old Testament is quoted - either directly or via allusion - you will be astounded at the great lengths Matthew has gone to in order to root his good news in the Jewish traditions, but more on that later.

What verse(s) stuck out to you the most in reading Matthew 1-2?

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