Monday, January 12, 2009

Matthew 1

I was struck that the New Testament would begin with a genealogy. Establishing the lineage of Jesus must be important to Matthew. I suspect it is somewhat like the importance of Barack Obama being a U.S. citizen. Does he have a right to his office?

I was also impressed with the rogues who were present in the genealogy. Why didn't God want a squeaky clean pedigree for His Son?

No two names in all the Bible bring more comfort than the two names mentioned in Joseph's vision, Jesus and Immanuel. This boy will save his people from their sins and he will be God with us!

3 comments:

momby said...

Genealogies are like place-marks in history. From the time when Adam was expelled from the Garden and sin and death were sown among Creation, the promised 'seed' of Genesis 3:15 was sought with every proceeding generation. We as readers are meant to also be searching for that 'seed' that would bring deliverance. Is it Cain or Abel? No, Cain's sin was even greater than Adam's in killing his brother, and his whole line thereafter was a dead end in terms of salvation. Was it Seth? No, he is born in the image of Adam (Gen 5:3), and Seth named his son 'Enosh' which means "mortal'. I think it’s possible that Noah's father, Lamech, thought (hoped?) it might be his son. Note the interruption of the monotonous pattern in the Genesis 5 genealogy at v. 29, where Lamech names him “Noah” saying, “This one shall give us rest from our work and from the toil of our hands arising from the ground which the Lord has cursed”. I think the curse was still felt acutely by the people of God, and they waited expectantly for the Deliverer with each passing generation. As we see in Genesis 9 though, Noah was not that guy. Seemingly the first thing to happen almost when they step off of the boat is that Noah gets drunk and his son Ham takes advantage of the situation to perform a terrible sin resulting in a curse, recalling Cain. The cycle continues as before, still looking for Messiah.

There are other important genealogies in Genesis 10, 36, and 1 Chronicles 1. These are not random lists, they are placed at the ends of the Hebrew Bible (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tanakh) to show the reader that we are still looking for that promised seed. So then, it is no wonder that Matthew begins with a genealogy, and even with the same construction as the ones in Genesis 5 and 10, with the 'Toledoth' at the beginning ("These are the generations of..."). Matthew is only continuing the narration of the Hebrews and the search for Messiah.

RevReav said...

Placemarks in history. Nice. Clearly Matthew is insuring continuity between his book and the ones gone before and building anticipation, like you said. Thanks.

Heidi said...

I have a question about the genealogy listed at the beginning of Matthew. At the end of the list where Jacob is the father of Joseph, who was the husband of Mary, it looked to me like this is the genealogy of Joseph. As Joseph did not make Mary pregnant, Joseph isn't Jesus' father. We're just saying that because Mary and Joseph were married? It seems like the focus should be more on Mary's genealogy as it was she and the Holy Spirit who brought Jesus into the world.