Skeletons in God’s closet

Over the first 17 verses of the Gospel of Matthew, we meet 46 people whose lives span 2,000 years. Each one waiting for the promise of the Messiah, Jesus. As Matt shares how God used both men and women to fulfill His divine plan. Listing women in Jewish genealogies or the ancient world was very uncommon. Yet God, who does not change, shares the names of four women. The first is Tamar in Matthew 1:3, she was a Canaanite, who seduced her father-in-law Judah. This encounter resulted in twin sons, Perez, and Zerah whose story is shared in Genesis 38. The second woman is Rahab in Matthew 1:5. Hebrews 11:31~By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient. (NIV) 

God’s grace not only spares Rahab’s life but also places her in the messianic line. Rahab, a Gentile, becomes the wife of Salmon, mother of Boaz, and an ancestor of Jesus Christ. This story shares how God can use anyone to fulfill His plan. Isaiah 14:24~The LORD Almighty has sworn, Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will happen. (NIV) God can use you and He wants to build His kingdom with your life. The third woman is Ruth in Matthew 1:5, who was also a Gentile. Salvation is not just for the Jew but also the Gentiles. Ruth becomes the wife of Boaz and great-grandmother of King David. The fourth woman in as many verses is Bathsheba. Though she is not identified by name, God inspires Matthew to write concerning her in Matthew 1:6~David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah. (ESV) Understand David was completely and eternally forgiven, but what he did was completely and eternally wrong. Therefore, listen to Psalm 51:3~For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. (NIV)

Matt traces the lineage of Jesus through Joseph, who is listed as Mary’s husband, not the father of Jesus Matthew 1:16~And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ. (ESV) Now Joseph was not Jesus’ physical father but was His father according to the law. So detailed is our God, that Matt shares the breakdown of how God planned every detail as Jesus’ genealogy revealing the three sets of fourteen generations. Now Matt does not mention every ancestor of Jesus but does share how God works in each generation to bring about His plan and fulfill His holy will. Only the temple held in trust the detailed genealogies for inheritance purposes, but they were all destroyed in 70 AD when the Roman general Titus demolished the temple. So, today, Jesus is the only Jew who knows His genealogy.

Today, at your age, you still may not know who you are, but God does. He planned and purposed a life for you. Jeremiah says it this way in Jeremiah 29:11-14~For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord…(NIV) I like how Paul reminds us that our lives were fashioned as a purposeful masterpiece in Ephesians 2:10~For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (NLT)

Today, why not just give in to God’s plan and be who the creator, Elohim, God has planned you to be. In doing so, you will find the depths of meaning that you have always longed for. Ask God to lead you and let Him know that this time, you will follow. 



Blessed Generation

Have you ever truly considered the genealogy of Jesus? (1:1-17) Matt opens his gospel with Matthew 1:1~The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham: (ESV) Our Lord and Savior’s proper name is Jesus, and it comes from the Hebrew name Joshua, which means Yahweh saves. His title is Christ, which is derived from the Greek word (Χριστός Christos), which means anointed one. It is the Greek equivalent of (מָשִׁיחַ mashiyach) in Hebrew. So when Jesus is called Christ, we are saying Jesus the Messiah, and thereby declaring our faith in Jesus as the long-awaited Anointed One of Israel and the Savior of the world. 

Jesus Christ is declared the son of David, son of Abraham, and for the next sixteen verses, Matt presents Jesus’ genealogy, because to Jews lineage is very important. Therefore, Matt begins his gospel by showing Jesus is a descendant of Abraham, who is the father of all Jews and the first person to whom the messianic promise was given. Genesis 22:18~and through your offspring, all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me. (NIV) 

How are you answering God’s call, obeying rather than sacrificing? Living in the blessing of God is not about new stuff, rather it is the fulfillment of true joy. Living and moving and having our being in the God who created us, and sent His only Son to save us, so that we might live eternally with Him. Once we realize this, we can get busy sharing the truth of Jesus and how we are made free in Christ. 



Who is Jesus?

As the New Testament opens, we meet our first author, Matt. Who offers us a first-hand account of the gospel. All three of the synoptic gospels share how Matty nice, aka Levi the publican, collector of the coin, was called by Christ. Yes, he is the taxman cometh. As Ben Franklin said concerning the permanency of our constitution; but in this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes. Mark 2:14~As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him. (NIV) (Luke 5:29) 

 

Called, as we all are from an egregious life of sin, Matt joins the original dirty dozen. Sinners who are called by Jesus, and saved by grace. Like Marty Stouffer in the wild, we witness the moment his heart is captured by Christ’s call. Matthew 9:9~As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, Follow Me. So he arose and followed. (ESV) If you have not heard His call, may Christ Jesus say those same words to you during our study of Messiah.

 

Matt’s gospel has been strategically placed by our church fathers who listened with intentionality to the Holy Spirit who placed this book between the Old and New Testaments. At the time of its writing, more than 400 years had passed in deafening silence. Jews all over the world are awaiting the promised Messiah. And so Matt, divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit, writes them a gospel uniting the faith in singularity, just as there is only One true God and His name is YHWH, Yehovah, Jehovah. Matt intricately and methodically intertwines, as only an accountant could, referencing Old Testament passages about 60 times. Making it completely clear that Jesus Christ is the promised Messiah of the Old Testament and the eternal King. Matthew 5:17~Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. (ESV) 

 

 

Jesus said we are not here destroying faith, but rather building a bridge to connect us with God, who wants to live in the hearts of men and women. Matt’s gospel places great emphasis on Jesus’ teaching ministry. None of the other gospels contain as much detail of Christ’s teaching. This week we look at Matthew chapter 1, and two ways to understand Who is Jesus? Looking at His Genealogy as we Ponder.