It is good to be in the Gospels for this day. I went to bed a little spent, but I was refreshed today as I was in the first 2 chapters of the book of Matthew.
Some little insights that are interesting: Matthew’s primary audience were the Jews. This is revealed right in the first verse,
“The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham:”
This verse is revealing Jesus as King, “the son of David,” which was very important to the Jewish people.
Affirming this or connecting this kingship is verse 17,
“Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.”
If you dig deep on this I’ll just give you a heads-up there are more than 14 generations. Matthew skips some names. Why does he do this? Is the Bible inaccurate? Not at all! Many commentators believe that the divisions of 14 generations is simply a literary structure by Matthew not intended to set forth a strict biological lineage. The purpose of a genealogy is to document the proof of ancestry from the origin of the line to the person under discussion. Every individual need not be included, but only those necessary to establish descending relationship. Why then 14? Because 14 is the number of King David. The letters of the ancient alphabet had numeric value, D = 4 V = 6 D = 4 which all together equals 14. Thus again setting Jesus up as the King of the Jews.
Another evidence of Matthews desire to convince the Jews of Jesus’ Messianic fulfillment is seen throughout the book, but we see this phrase 4 times just in chapter 2, “took place to fulfill” or something very near that. And if we count the prophecy the Magi shared with Herod there are 5 prophetic references in chapter 2. Again all of this would be important to convince Jews of Jesus’ Messianic fulfillment.
All of this is more than just cool information it is a fine example to us of how to witness.
Three Questions this story teaches us to ask in our witnessing:
- Who are we talking to?
- What is important to them?
- What in relationship to Jesus’ story would appeal to them?
After we have the answer to those three questions start there (where they are at) and share that first! Don’t start with what you like or feel is important. Scratch where they’re itching.
Each of the Gospels is to a specific group and each tells the story in a way that would appeal to that group. Great witnessing technique!
If there were nothing else in this chapter that were interesting there would be still three things about Jesus that I praise Him for.
- Jesus = Save His people from their sins. First of all I am so grateful that even as a sinner He considers me HIS, and secondly that His mission is to save me.
- Immanuel = God with us. The ministry of presence is one of the most important ministries. Just knowing that God is with us. And yes this was thousands of years ago, but God is still with us, He sent us another, “the comforter” “the Holy Spirit.” God is still with us!
- “And out of you shall come forth a ruler who will shepherd My people Israel.” (2:6). = Not a ruler that dictates or rules with an iron fist. Not a ruler that simply pronounces judgments and decrees. A ruler that shepherds! What a different world we would live in all rulers led through shepherding.
I am so grateful for Jesus!
Tomorrow’s Reading: Romans 3 & 4