Wednesday, July 24, 2013

July 24 - Matthew 1

Today's reading in our daily plan is Matthew 1. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • Matthew (the author of this book) was one of Jesus' twelve disciples. He wrote this account of Jesus' life and teachings to a Jewish audience. Matthew writes of Jesus as King, and focuses often on the "Kingdom of Heaven" - the people who choose to live under the reign of King Jesus.
  • This account of Jesus’ life begins in typical Jewish fashion with a genealogy. Genealogies were extremely important to the Jewish people who traced their lineages back to which tribe (son of Jacob) they belonged. And this also showed two important aspects of Jesus:
    • He descended from Abraham (verse 2), which made him Jewish, and...
    • He descended from David (verse 6) which made him legally eligible to be king. Kings of Israel had to descend from Judah and a promise was specially given to king David which pertained to Jesus (see 2 Samuel 7 and 1 Chronicles 17).
  • This genealogy is different from typical Jewish ones because it includes women. Also interesting is that the lives of these women were marked by scandal. For further reading on their stories see: Genesis 38, Joshua 2, Ruth and 2 Samuel 11-12.
  • In this chapter Jesus is given two names, both with important meanings:
    • Jesus:  The Greek form of Joshua, which means "The LORD saves." The word LORD in all caps refers to the name that God gave himself in Exodus 3:13-14.
    • Immanuel, which means "God with us." God sent Himself in the form of His Son to live among us.
  • Jesus was not Joseph's son. He was born from Mary, who was a virgin. This is what god promised hundreds of years earlier in Isaiah 7:14 (which Matthew notes in verses 22 and 23).

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • Jesus was not an ordinary person. He was the eternal Son of God come down, in the flesh, to save us, as God had promised throughout the Old Testament. This makes Jesus worthy of our worship.
  • Jesus' family history was littered with scandal. But these negative situations in his family's situation did not define him. He was not a victim of the past.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • How well do you know Jesus? Do you worship Him? If the answer to either is "not so much" reading the book of Matthew should help a lot! Commit to reading every day (or at least weekday) for the next month.
  • Do you ever feel like a victim, or "less than," or broken or stained because of your parents or someone else from your family history. Jesus, the King and Savior of the world, had a family history full of scandal, but it did not mark him. In Jesus, you can totally overcome whatever is in your past or your family's past. You are an overcomer.