Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Jesus's Family Tree

          Last week, my church started a new series on the book of Matthew.  I've read the book myself before, even attended a Bible class on it, but it's amazing how much I've learned in just 2 weeks.  I love how the pastors at Covenant Life Church familiarize us with the historical background, context, and culture of the scriptures rather than just leaving us to figure it out for ourselves.  The included history lesson helps drive the message home.  Pastor Boisvert's sermon really answered a lot of questions I didn't even realize I had. 

Matthew's Gospel, from May 6, 2012, by Robin Boisvert
-My Notes-
                Matthew is the gospel account that has the largest recorded amount of Jesus's teachings.  It is biographical and historical.  It is not always chronological, but it is nevertheless continual. 
Matthew is:

1.  A Story of Continuity
                We need to get to know Jesus better.  That is our purpose.  How can we love Him if we don't know Him?  And, how can we know Him unless we read His Word?

2.  A Story of Conflict
                 Jesus's persecution and crucifixion.
                Will you follow Him or ignore Him?  You can't be "uncommitted."  There is no middle ground.  Jesus said, "If you're not with Me, you're against Me."  (Matthew 12:30; again in Luke 11:23)
                In verses 1-16, Jesus's genealogy is given to us in a compressed or telescoped list.  "Father of" does not literally mean "the biological father of the following person," but rather "grandfather of" or "great grandfather of."  Basically, not every father or generation is listed.  Matthew is selective in making his list of Jesus's ancestors.  I always wondered how literal this list was.  I’m grateful for the clarification! 
                Interested in your roots?  It's a natural interest.  These are Jesus's roots:  "Son of David, the Son of Abraham."  (Verse 1)  Abraham was the Father of the Jews; David was the greatest King of Israel.  The title "Son of David" is associated with the "Messiah" or the “political savior.”  Jesus is immediately linked to these two important men.  
                It is interesting to note the five women who are mentioned in this passage.  Back then, women had no social status, so it is very strange, against norms even, for Matthew to mention them.  On top of that, the women themselves are controversial.
·        Tamar committed incest
·        Rahab was a prostitute
·        Ruth was a Gentile
·        Bathsheeba was an adulterer
·        Mary delivered Jesus via a virgin birth
                I never realized how much controversy surrounded these women.  Not all of the controversy was caused by sin –Mary’s obedience to God in bearing Jesus, for example – but even in the instances where that was the case, God, in His Infinite Wisdom and Ultimate Design, used them to bring to us the Savior of the world.

3.  A Story of Comfort
                As it says in verse 23 of chapter 1, Jesus's name, Immanuel, means, "God with us."  In Matthew 28:20, the last verse of the book of Matthew, Jesus's last words are, "I am with you always, to the end of the age."  What comfort we can find in this promise!  And He extends an invitation to us:  "Come to me.  I will give you rest."  For every prodigal son and daughter, there is a way back to the Father. 

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