Gospel Thoughts: Matthew 1
|1 The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. 2 Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren; 3 And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram; 4 And Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and Naasson begat Salmon; 5 And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse; 6 And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias; 7 And Solomon begat Roboam; and Roboam begat Abia; and Abia begat Asa; 8 And Asa begat Josaphat; and Josaphat begat Joram; and Joram begat Ozias; 9 And Ozias begat Joatham; and Joatham begat Achaz; and Achaz begat Ezekias;||10 And Ezekias begat Manasses; and Manasses begat Amon; and Amon begat Josias; 11 And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon: 12 And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel; 13 And Zorobabel begat Abiud; and Abiud begat Eliakim; and Eliakim begat Azor; 14 And Azor begat Sadoc; and Sadoc begat Achim; and Achim begat Eliud; 15 And Eliud begat Eleazar; and Eleazar begat Matthan; and Matthan begat Jacob; 16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. 17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.|
Who is Jesus?
The opening chapter of the New Testament gives the reader the account of who Jesus is. We learn the ancestors of Jesus, which are important for us to know. Jesus is the Christ meaning that he is the promised Messiah. The Messiah was promised to David (2 Samuel 8:16, John 8:42). Jesus is called the Son of David indicating his royal title as King. He is also called Son of Abraham which is referring to Christ as the promised Messiah to the Jewish people (Genesis. 22:18, Galatians 3:16).
David – Beloved, youngest son of Jesse.
Abraham – Father of a multitude, son of Terah.
Jesus – Saviour, God is my Salvation. Greek for the Hebrew Joshua. Christ – Messiah, anointed one.
Here in Matthew 1, we have the account of Jesus’s genealogy from Joseph’s side and the genealogy from Mary his mother side is found in Luke 3: 23-38. Luke’s genealogy is written backwards from Jesus to Adam. The two allow us to read the royal line and the physical line of Jesus.
Sadly, many will skip over these long lists of names in the Bible, thinking that they can learn nothing by reading them. These lists are not useless, and a lot can be learnt from reading them. Look carefully at the text. Nothing is useless in the Bible. God has reasons for giving us these lists of names.
One reason is to teach us that God keeps His promises. He promised to send a Saviour from David’s line. God is faithful and trustworthy. These verses prove to us that Jesus is indeed the Messiah. Take heart, God keeps his word.
|18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. 20 But while he thought on these things,||behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. 21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. 22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,|
The Birth of Jesus Christ
Joseph and Mary did not consummate their marriage until after the birth of Jesus. The word espoused appears in the text the modern-day equivalent would be engaged. The birth of Jesus Christ is supernatural. He was conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary. No-one can explain nor give another example of this miracle. The power of the Holy Ghost in the case of Christ’s birth seems to us to be impossible and beyond the understanding of mankind. His birth is unique in the sense that Christ is the only man to be born in this way.
Jesus Christ was not tainted by the fall of mankind. Original sin did not corrupt his body, nor his soul. In Genesis 3 we learn that the Saviour would not inherit the sin nature of Adam/man. In Gen. 3:15 the Bible says the seed of the woman meaning Mary shall bruise the head of the serpent. Also Gal. 4: 4-5 says, “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” Joseph who is a descendant of King David was a just man and one of integrity. God honoured Joseph’s godly conduct.
Mary – The anglicised version of the Hebrew name Miriam.
Joseph – God has multiplied.
Joseph and Mary’s faithfulness
The Holy Bible is very careful not to call Joseph the physical father of Jesus. Our Lord and Saviour was conceived by the Holy Ghost. Joseph was not the physical father of Jesus, but he was the earthly father or the legal father of Jesus. Joseph did have the responsibility of an earthly father.
Being found with child and unmarried was a very humiliating condition for Mary. In Jewish society, a woman who was in Mary’s situation was frowned upon. This would have been very embarrassing for Mary and her family. As Mary was betrothed to Joseph meaning that Mary was a virgin, she had not known a man. This is a way of saying that Joseph and Mary had not had sexual intercourse.
Joseph wanted to privately divorce Mary. He did not want to make a public example of her as he was a just man with a righteous attitude. The grounds for the divorce was Mary’s suspected infidelity. Under the law infidelity is a just cause for divorce. A marriage covenant had been made so divorce was necessary to dissolve the marriage commitment. Joseph was reassured to marry Mary as the angel of the Lord appeared to him and testified of Mary’s loyalty and faithfulness to him. We learn in St. Luke’s Gospel that the angel of the Lord was Gabriel (Luke 1: 26).
|23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. 24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: 25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.|
God keeps his promises. The prophecy that the Messiah would be born of a virgin came to pass over 700 years after God revealed that truth to his people. See Isa. 8:14.
Jesus was called Emmanuel which means, God with us. Jesus is the promised Messiah. He is God in the flesh. God was manifest in human flesh (1 Tim. 3.:16). God desired to come to earth in the form of a human body and soul and suffer on the cross for the penalty of sin. The blood of the sinless Christ, our Saviour reconciles us to the Father. Christ came to save his people from the penalty, presence and practice of sin. Christ is also with us today. Through the Holy Ghost, he dwells in us as believers.
Joseph’s plan to break the marriage plans with Mary was swiftly thwarted. He heeded to the words of the angel and took Mary as his bride. There must have been a great sense of joy, peace and relief in Joseph’s heart to learn that Mary his wife-to-be remained committed and faithful to him. The causes Joseph had to not marry her sounded logical and reasonable, but God reassured him.
God gives us many reasons to trust him. He daily reassures us of his faithfulness to his people. Even though many times we fail to do what is right and do that which is sinful God still pours out his blessings. He is a great God and worthy of honour. There are great blessings and joys in following Christ and obeying the Word of God. The life of Joseph is one of many found in Scripture. His life is a great testimony of the greatness of God.
God also blessed Mary and Joseph in their marriage with the gift of children. The Bible says that Joseph knew her. This is a substitute for sexual intercourse. Joseph and Mary did not have carnal knowledge of each other until after Jesus’s birth. Jesus was Mary’s firstborn which would indicate that the couple had other children after Jesus, which would have been half-siblings of Jesus Christ.
Let us not try to explain things that are above and beyond our limited understanding. Pro. 3:6 encourages us to acknowledge God in all that we do, and He will direct us in all righteousness. Jesus was named Saviour as He came to save his people and Emmanuel pointing to his divine nature. Jesus is truly God and truly man. This is the foundation of Christianity and the Gospel. Without this fundamental doctrine, the Christian faith would be just another world religion. One man-made religion among many. Christianity is the only religion that teaches a personal God, personal Saviour and personal salvation. Christianity is the one true religion and the Holy Bible is the only book that has been given by God.
Jesus was subject to everything that we are as humans apart from sin. He felt pain, sorrow, temptation, rejection, hunger and thirst. Yet, He was God. This is Good News. God the creator of the earth and everything in it can sympathise with us. He can personally identify with mankind and what is meant to be a real man. He lived among us as one of us and continues to make his presences known on earth. He once dwelt as one of us and now from his heavenly Kingdom pours out his grace, love, mercy and peace on a sin-sick and dying world.