Valentine’s Day, 2015: Some of my friends and colleagues have done similar works as this where they study a particular book in the Bible. Then each day they read a few verses, then procedure to explain or write out what that text, or group of texts means to them or what is trying to be conveyed by the author of that book. I too in the past have made similar attempts to accomplish the same thing. In the past, many of those studies have resulted in a sermon being preached on that subject. At other times the students in my Sabbath School class have benefited with a better understanding of a particular Bible text or story.
The problem in the past is the failure to consistently devote the time each day in the study of God’s word. Don’t get me wrong, there is rarely a day goes by in which God’s word is not read or studied. It is just preparing to teach or preach often gets in the way of personal Bible study. All three, teaching, preaching and personal study are important. But of the three, personal study is the most important and the most rewarding. It made teaching and preaching easier because the information is already learned, waiting to be used.
The second reason for inconsistent study on a particular book is not that I don’t want to but the body is willing but the flesh is weak. It take discipline to create the time each day. My intentions are good, but the reality often falls short of my expectations and desires.
Shall we begin:
Matthew An Introduction:
This Gospel does not name its author, but it does contain clues. The author knew the geography of Palestine well (2:1; 8:5; 20:29; 26:6). He was familiar with Jewish history, customs, ideas, and classes of people (1:18, 19; 2:1; 14:1; 26:3; 27:2). He was well acquainted with the Old Testament (1:2–16, 22, 23; 2:6; 4:14–16; 12:17–21; 13:35; 21:4; 27:9). And the terminology of the book suggests that the author was a Palestinian Jew (2:20; 4:5; 5:35; 10:6; 15:24; 17:24–27; 18:17; 27:53).
Other details point specifically to Jesus’ disciple Matthew as the writer of this Gospel. As a tax collector, Matthew would have been literate and familiar with keeping records of money. Appropriately, this Gospel contains more references to money than any of the others. Furthermore, Matthew’s hometown was Capernaum, a village that is given special attention in this Gospel. When Capernaum is mentioned, some special description is usually attached to it (4:13; 11:23).
Matthew wrote the Gospel before the destruction of Jerusalem in a.d. 70. He describes Jerusalem in the book as the “holy city” and as though it was still standing (4:5; 27:53), and he speaks of the customs of the Jews as continuing until “this day” (27:8; 28:15). Furthermore, Jesus’ prophecy (recorded in 24:2) of Jerusalem’s destruction includes no indication that it had already occurred when Matthew wrote Jesus’ words. In light of all of this, it is reasonable to conclude that the book was written sometime between a.d. 50 and 60.
Succession to a throne is often a time of conflict and uncertainty. David’s son Absalom tried to usurp the throne (2 Sam. 15:1–18:18). Solomon’s choice of successor lost more than half the kingdom to a traitor (1 Kin. 12:20). Menahem assassinated his predecessor in Israel (2 Kin. 15:14). Royalty is a dangerous business.
This is no less true when the heir is the King of kings. If ever there was a high-stakes succession, this was it. A Man claims to be Israel’s own Messiah; of course all Israel sits up and takes notice. Of course He must prove His credentials: Who wants an impostor? The Book of Matthew presents Jesus’ credentials. It presents Jesus as the King, but King of a totally different kingdom—the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew Chapter 1.
Vs 1-17: Both Luke and Matthew present before us the Genealogy of Jesus. Both genealogy lists are not the same. Luke takes the list all the way back to Adam while Matthew starts with Abraham and works his way to Joseph. The genealogy as presented by Luke also differs in that there are sometimes different names listed than Matthew.
One might say, this discounts the entire genealogy as present by both Matthew and Luke. Caution should be our rule lest we be too hasty to discount a very important detail. Matthew presents a Genealogy of Christ through the lineage of Solomon the son of David, King of Israel.
David as we will remember commits adultery by sleeping with the wife of another man. This one night of indiscretion conceived a child resulting in the husband of Bathsheba being sent to the front lines in battle and being killed. That baby who was conceived out of wedlock, attempted to hide with murder of Bathsheba’s husband died soon after child birth. Yet the Bible says that four other children were born by Bathsheba. I Chronicles 3:5 says: And these were born to him (David) in Jerusalem: Shimea, Shobab, Nathan, and Solomon – four by Bathshua and daughter of Ammiel. Bathshua was another name for Bathsheba.
Of course we know that Solomon became King when David was an old man. The son listed next to David is Nathan. Nathan who was a son of David by Bathsheba is listed in the genealogy of Christ in Luke 3:31; the son of Mattathah, the son of Nathan, the son of David. With verse 32 giving us further proof that this David is King David by saying: 32 the son of Jesse the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Salmon, the son of Nashshon. This is the same list as now presented in both Matthew chapter 1 and Ruth chapter 4 verses 18 – 22.
Why do to gospel writers present two different genealogical lists? The answer is really quite simple. Although Joseph is listed as being the father of Jesus in both lists, the list as presented by Matthew is the lineage of Christ leading up to Joseph his earthly Father.
Luke on the other hand presents a different list starting with Nathan the son of David the King. Why? Because Luke presented the Genealogy of Christ through Mary the Mother of Jesus. It should be stated that Mary although betrothed to Joseph, was still a virgin at the time she and Joseph became married, Matthew 1:18. And as verse 18 of Matthew 1 states, she was already found with child.
Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus, yet Jesus was the linage of David the King and thus rightful err of the throne of David. If Joseph was not a biological father of Christ, then how is Jesus related to David. Through Mary his mother, who was of the line of Nathan, the brother of Solomon, who were the sons of David the King of Israel.
Matthew also give another fascinating feature in his list of genealogy that Luke does not. Matthew lists four women. Listing of women in a list of genealogy was something very unusual in Jewish culture. Yet Matthew lists four different women. Their names are Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and Bathsheba. Also verse 6 does not specifically list the name of Bathsheba, it is very clear the author wants us to know that she who was the wife of Uriah, who David committed adultery with is the mother of Solomon who became King of Israel and through eventually the lineage of Christ was born.
Why were these four women mentioned? Let’s first review who these women were, and why this is significant. Perez the son of Judah and Tamar. Who was Tamar? She had been the wife of one of Judah’s sons. His first son had died and so she was married to the next oldest son and he also died. Judah had one son left but he was younger and he had not married Tamar to him. She then played the part of a prostitute and slept with Judah and had twin sons. You can read the story Genesis chapter 38.
Rahab was a prostitute in Jericho who hid the spies, then helped the escape. These spies came to examine the land just before the fall of Jericho. She asked that she and her family be saved and the spies promised that God would spare them if they hung a scarlet cord from her window. And when the walls of Jericho came down, only the portion of the wall where Rahab and her family were at was spared. The Story in Joshua chapter 2 and Joshua chapter 6:22-25.
The third woman mentioned was Ruth. Her story is told in the book of Ruth found in the Old Testament. Ruth who was a Moabite women, through the influence of her mother-in-law, came to accept the God of the Israelites as her God and to accept the Israelite people as her people. The story of Ruth is a wonderful love story that takes place through the process of conversion.
So far, all three women have not been Israelite women. They were not decadents of Abraham. Ruth was somewhat for she was descended through the line of Lot the nephew of Abraham. God had given strict council to his people in dealing with the people of Moab, yet Ruth was welcomed into Israel and married Boaz. She was the great, great grandmother of David the King.
Then Bathsheba. She must have been beautiful for King David fell for her like a ton of bricks. He fell so hard that he committed both adultery and murder because of her. Yet she is mentioned as well in the genealogy of Christ. Why would that be?
Although Christ was born of Jewish ancestry, the gospel message is for all people of the earth. It is not exclusive to just one group or another. It is open to those who have prostituted themselves to sin. But the Gospel message is also open to God’s true followers and that fall into the quagmire of sin. David sins with Bathsheba, yet God forgave. We all have sinned and the saving grace of God is open for us all, both Jew and Gentile.
Genealogies are certainly not entertaining reading. They are in fact quite boring unless you enjoy genealogies. However, genealogies give us biblical proof of Christ’s lineage and also validate the Bible promises that Christ would rise and sit upon the throne of David. Genealogies in the Bible also gives us continuity and understanding how things are inter-related in the Bible.
Christ would sit upon the throne of David, if only they had better understood this prophecy. From this point forward Matthew is calling us to follow Christ the King of the lineage of David the King.
One last item to mention before we continue our study of Matthew. Matthew lists the generation of Jesus in multiples of 7. In the Bible the 7 denotes completeness or perfection and also restoration. Genesis chapter 1 give us the creation story, while Genesis chapter 2 verses 1-3 gives us the completing of creation on the 7th day.
Matthew is attempting to point out that through Christ salvation is complete. Through Christ, David’s throne will be restored. Through Christ all who believe on Him will be restored.