Year of Scripture – Day 275

Readings for the next few days:
Wednesday, October 2: Matthew 1 – 4

“An account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah,
the son of David, the son of Abraham.”

(Matthew 1:1)

With these words our reading through the New Testament begins. Thanks be to God we finally get some Jesus in our reading!

Over the past few weeks I’ve been teaching a conference wide study (Diakonia) on the New Testament. My mind is full of great bits of wisdom to share on the Gospels. Perhaps a little bit too much so, because I could write for pages on Matthew, just introducing the background of his story of Jesus. So here is some need to know information before we dig into today’s text:

  • Matthew is not the first of the four gospels. Scholars used to think that Matthew was written first, but thanks to archaeological findings, and further study we now believe that Mark was first, with Mark being written around 70 C.E. (that stands for “Common Era” and is timed the same as “A.D.”) and Matthew being written around 80 – 90 C.E..
  • Most believe that Matthew used Mark as a source, in fact nearly 600 verses of Matthew’s 1071 verses are the same as Mark.
  • Another source that Matthew might have used is an unknown source called “Q”. There is no written proof of this document, however Matthew and Luke must have known the source because nearly 200 verses are shared between Matthew and Luke.
  • Doing the math, that leaves around 300 verses of material that is unique to Matthew.
  • Some of these unique stories include:
    • The Genealogy of Jesus from Abraham
    • Joseph’s version of Jesus birth
    • Stories of Peter walking on the water, being blessed, and paying the temple tax
    • Some parables
    • The death of Judas
    • Pilate washing his hands of Jesus’ death
    • And The Great Commission.

Good stuff, and I could bore you with more details, but that’s enough for now. On to the reading . . . .

“An account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah,
the son of David, the son of Abraham.”

(Matthew 1:1)

Three sets of 14 generations are shared linking Jesus to Abraham. As we read there are some interesting individuals to take note of. Rahab (v.5) the prostitute who assisted the spies on there search into the promised land, and Uriah (v.7) not a direct descendant, but notable that Bathsheba isn’t mentioned, instead she’s left out and the husband that David had put on the front line to die is. Then of course, following the line of Kings, there are some real dozies in there . . . Ahaz, Manasseh . . . if Jesus can come out of a family tree like that, there is definite hope for you and me! Lastly, this is Joseph’s family tree, even though Jesus isn’t flesh and blood of Jesus. Joseph still matters, because it connects Jesus to the line of the Kings of Israel.

Then Jesus is born and told through a slightly less common Christmas story. There are no shepherds. There is no trip to Bethlehem. There are no angels, at least not as we think of the whole host of heaven being opened up on that starry night. Instead, we get one angel who visits Joseph three different times (What a blessing for Joseph! Can you name anyone else in scripture who sees that many angels? ) Three different messages, “your wife is with child,” “your child is in danger, flee to Egypt,” and “it’s safe to go back home.” To each of these heavenly commands, Joseph follows the will and direction of God. Then of course you get the Magi, with their very odd, yet precious gifts given to Jesus, and we ponder if we had a gift to give, what would it be?

From there we move quickly from baby Jesus, to his baptism, temptation, and the call of the first Disciples. If only, just for a day, to have seen, and been a part of the wonderful acts of God taking place through Christ. If only . . . gratefully we follow his words as we continue to read.

Looking forward to sharing more as we continue our journey!
Pastor Bailey

Readings for the next few days:
Thursday, October 3: Matthew 5 – 6
Friday, October 4: Matthew 7 – 8
Saturday, October 5: Matthew 9 – 10
Sunday, October 6: Matthew 11 – 12

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