Thank you for a great bible study meeting this Wednesday, everyone!
This week we dug into Matthew 1:1-17, the genealogy of Jesus. Here are a few highlights of that conversation:
- Jesus’ genealogy includes some less-than-perfect characters.
- Two titles of Jesus are immediately given to us, “Son of Abraham” and “Son of David.” These point us towards Jesus’ humanity, and that he is both an Israelite and a kingly figure. We’ll see a third title soon: Son of God.
- Four women highlighted in the genealogy (Tamar, Rehab, Ruth, and Bathsheba). Why these four? Why not other heroic women of scripture, say Sarah, Rachel, and Rebekah? These four hold in common both stories involving some kind of sexual impropriety as well as their status as outsiders. What might Matthew be telling us about Jesus (and Mary) with these included in the genealogy?
- The genealogy is broken into three groupings of 14 (well, the third is actually 13): Abraham-David, David-Exile, Exile-Jesus. Remember that the final period begins with the first temple’s destruction in Jerusalem, and that Matthew’s Gospel was written around 10 years after the second temple’s destruction. That is probably not a coincidence.
- We got the sense that Matthew is trying to prove something to his readers, to authenticate Jesus somehow.
- We also noticed that Matthew seems to be setting us up to hear the scriptures from the Hebrew bible (our Old Testament) through Jesus. He’ll continue to do so later, quoting prophets frequently. In setting Jesus’ story within the context of Israel’s history, we’re invited to begin seeing Jesus as a continuation of that same story, instead of set-apart from it.
For Wednesday, May 27, read 1:18-2:12. For a little extra reading, go back and read Luke’s account of Jesus’ birth. Notice the difference around how Mary is treated. Luke lets Mary speak and sing, whereas Matthew’s Mary is silent. How might the inclusion of Tamar, Ruth, Rehab, and Bathsheba in the genealogy help us interpret this?
This passage will also set up a major theological theme of Matthew: Jesus as Immanuel, which means “God is with us.” Go check out the END of the story, and see how Matthew brings this around in the very last verses of the Gospel in chapter 28.
For extra credit, check out Isaiah 7. How does Isaiah’s context fit with Matthew’s? What do these stories have to do with one another? Why would Matthew be drawn to quoting Isaiah here?
Please don’t hesitate to invite others to our group. Peace!