Day 236 – Thru the Bible
Today we start the New Testament in Matthew. Here’s the first overview video on Matthew.
Video – Read Scripture: Matthew 1-13
Watch on YouTube – here.
How does this video help you understand the first part of Mathew better?
Matthew 1 – Matthew begins his Gospel with a genealogy, echoing the genealogies of the Old Testament. He thought of his work as a continuation of the Old Testament story of God’s gracious redemption of His wayward people. His genealogy begins and ends with three great names in Israelite history: Abraham, David, and Jesus. Interspersed with the names of the great patriarchs that recount the progression from Abraham to Jesus are reminders of God’s acceptance of the sinful and marginalized.
Five women appear in the genealogy: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, “the wife of Uriah” (Bathsheba), and Mary, all of whom faced great social difficulty in life, but all of whom God treated mercifully and used to carry forward His saving purposes for His people. Tamar, Rahab, and Bathsheba were involved in sexual sin (Genesis 38; Joshua 2; 2 Samuel 11:1–12:23), a point that Matthew especially emphasizes when he calls Bathsheba “the wife of Uriah.” This phrase recalls the sordid story of adultery and murder that blighted Bathsheba’s relationship with David. Ruth was a desperately poor immigrant field-worker (Ruth 2:2), and Mary, although innocent of sexual wrongdoing, was thought to have been unfaithful to her fiancé, Joseph (Matthew 1:19).
Despite lives made difficult by poverty and sin (whether their own or others’), God aided these women and gave them important places in His plan to “save His people from their sins.” This reminds Believers that “the power of God for salvation” comes “to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16) and that “God shows no partiality” (Romans 2:11). God “justifies the ungodly” (Romans 4:5) and uses for His saving purposes those whom the powerful institutions of the unbelieving world have oppressed and marginalized (1 Corinthians 1:26–30; 2 Corinthians 12:9). The way in which God helps the needy person is most often through the generosity of those among His people who have themselves experienced His grace and who have the resources to help those in need (Exodus 22:21; 23:9; Deuteronomy 10:19; Acts 20:35; 2 Corinthians 8:1–6; Ephesians 4:28).
The angel’s message to Joseph is good news. Jesus, as the meaning of His Hebrew name “Joshua” indicates, brings the salvation of the Lord. He will save people not merely in the physical sense (8:25; 10:22) but in the most fundamental sense because He will bring salvation from sins. Everyone has sinned against God, failing to give Him the thanks He deserves and creating chaos within human society (Romans 1:18–32; 3:9–20, 23), but in Jesus God has displayed with great clarity the merciful and forgiving character that He also exhibited in the Old Testament (Psalm 130:3–4, 7–8).
When Jesus came, He could be described as the fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14 because He was God, and so when He was among His people, God was with them (Matthew 8:23–27). God dwelling with His people was the climactic and greatest blessing in the Old Testament (Exodus 29:46; Leviticus 26:11–12), but a blessing hindered by their rebellion against Him. In Jesus, God has provided for salvation from sin and has healed the broken relationship between Himself and His people, making it possible for God, in Jesus, to be “with” His disciples “always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
How does knowing the God is always with you bring you comfort?
Matthew 2 – The “wise men” who saw what they called the “star” of the “king of the Jews” and came searching for Him would have been pagan astrologers from regions to the east of Israel. The journey of these non-Israelites to Jerusalem to worship the King of the Jews recalls the vision expressed in the Prophets of “all nations” and “many peoples” converging on Mount Zion in the future and seeking to learn God’s “ways” and “walk in His paths” (Isaiah 2:3; Micah 4:2; see also Isaiah 19:19–25; 66:18–21).
The Wise Men stand as a reminder that there is only one God, the Creator of the universe (Romans 1:18–21; 3:30; 1 Corinthians 8:6), and that He desires all people to worship Him from the heart (John 4:23). Although God chose Abraham’s descendants as His special people, they were to serve as a kingdom of priests mediating to the rest of the world God’s identity as creator and His character as a merciful and forgiving God (Exodus 19:6). Here Matthew hints that this multinational blessing has started to be fulfilled. As the church reaches out with the gospel to a wide variety of social and ethnic groups, it fulfills the plan of God for His creation and works for the defeat of the forces of evil ranged against God and His people (Ephesians 3:7–10).
The three steps in the religious quest of the Wise Men are all significant: God took the initiative, meeting the Wise Men in their own context and communicating with them in a way they could understand (Matthew 2:2, 9). Once the Wise Men found Jesus, they spontaneously and freely worshiped Him as the object of their religious quest. The offerings they gave to Jesus were likewise free and natural expressions of the overwhelming joy they experienced at finding Someone worthy of their worship.
How is Jesus worthy of your worship?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s video and reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
Videos produced by www.TheGospelProject.com.
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