Wednesday, July 27, 2016

July 27 - 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?)
  • The author of this book, Matthew, was one of Jesus' twelve disciples. He wrote this account of Jesus' life and teachings to a Jewish audience. The Jews had eagerly been awaiting a Messiah. So Matthew narrates the story of Jesus's life on earth, quoting the Old Testament more than any other New Testament author. 
  • The story of Jesus’ life begins with a genealogy. This was standard in Jewish writing, as genealogies help trace the person's lineage back to the tribe they hailed from. When we look at the lineage of Jesus, we see two things:
    • He descended from Abraham (verse 2), who is considered the father of the Jewish race, which confirms he was also of Jewish descent, and...
    • He descended from David (verse 6) which made him legally eligible to be king. Kings of Israel had to descend from Judah, which he did. 
  • Jesus' genealogy is unique because it includes women. This would have shocked the reader because women were always excluded from ancestry lists.  In this case, not only were they listed, they were considered scandalous and shady characters. You can read more about these women in Genesis 38Joshua 2,  Joshua 6,  Ruth,  and 2 Samuel 11-12.
  • In this chapter we learn that Jesus was no ordinary person. His mother, Mary, was engaged to a man named Joseph. She found out she was pregnant even though she was a virgin. Thus, Jesus was never Joseph's son. The Lord told her and Joseph that the child was from God in order to fulfill a promise made hundreds of years earlier in Isaiah 7:14. Joseph still agreed to marry her, but would not sleep with her until after Jesus was born.
  • In this chapter Jesus was given two important names:
    • 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.

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.