Bible Study

The coming of the King: Matthew 1:18-25

The coming of the King: Matthew 1:18-25

The Jewish Wedding

In Matthew’s account of Christ’s birth, he focuses on Joseph. To understand what was going on, we must look at the Jewish wedding customs of this time period. When a man wanted to marry a woman he would save money to purchase a gift. He would then go to the father of the woman and give the family his gift. At that same time, he would have written his bride-to-be a note. In this love letter, he would have told her how he felt about her and his plans he had for her. If the father was pleased with this gentleman, he would allow the wedding to take place. Before they could make this commitment before God, the groom had to go prepare a place for the couple to live. Once the father said they could get married there was a commitment that could not be broken. During this period of time, the couple is betrothed. To break off the engagement at this point, one would have to write a certificate of divorce. This was the situation of Mary and Joseph. They had made the commitment to get married, and by law, had to go to through with the marriage. When looking at a Jewish wedding you can see the symbolism of God throughout it. Think of the gift the groom gives to the father. Christ also gives his Father a gift to purchase His bride, the church. Also, the letter that is groom wrote to his bride.  We have a letter of love written from our groom, Jesus, it is the Bible. To take it one step further, we are in the betrothed stage. Jesus left to go prepare a place for us, and one day He is returning to take His bride home.

She is Pregnant

Consider Joseph for a moment. Joseph being a young man, probably seventeen or eighteen years old, was trying to prepare a life for his bride. Then his world changed. He got word that his soon to be wife was pregnant. How devastating this must have been to him. “How could she,” he must have thought? Mary must not have been the girl he thought she was. The anguish that went through Joseph’s mind, there had to be a whirlwind of emotions. He would have gone through his options over and over again. “Do I have her dragged out in this streets and stoned because that is what she deserves?” Then he would have thought about the life he was going to have, “But I love her and don’t want any harm to come to her.” He was legally bound to this woman, and now what? Finally, after debating with himself, Joseph decided to the right thing. He will divorce her quietly. That way no harm will come to her.

God is in Control

Then something amazing happened, God broke His silence and sent and angel to comfort Joseph and tell him what to do. Joseph did what God had a commanded. God had a plan and that plan involved Joseph raising the Son of God. When the angel told Joseph that his name was to be “Emmanuel,” he must have shouted with joy. That word means “God is with us.” If you had to pin down the theme of Matthew to one verse, it would be verse 23. Matthew wanted us to know that God has now come in the babe Jesus, and now He is with us. God came in the humble form of a baby so that He would one day grow into the man that would die for all of our sins. In the Old Testament God first came in a Tabernacle. He would travel with the Israelites. Then He moved to the Temple, and people would go and see Him. Now, God is with us. No matter where you are in your life, God is with you. No matter how low you might be, no matter how much you think you do not need him. God is with you. You might feel alone, but if you look to Him, God is with you. You might be rebelling, allowing the hate in your heart to drive you. Friend, put down your arms, God loves you and wants to be with you.  He is there waiting on us.

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The Bloodline of the King:Matthew 1:1-17

The Bloodline of the King:Matthew 1:1-17

     In modern writing, this is not how you would start a book. Most authors today would want to start off with something exciting to catch the reader’s attention. Most people would want to skip the first seventeen verses of Matthew. Let’s face it genealogies are boring. I remember being on a mission trip, and as a joke, the leaders would sing genealogies to us to put us to sleep. They can repetitive and hard to read, so, why did Matthew start his Gospel with something so boring? There are two points that we can take way from these passages. One, it tells us about Matthew. Matthew was a Jew. He would have grown up going to the Synagogues hearing stories of the coming Messiah. He knew that the Messiah, the coming Christ, was to come from the family line the great King David. The author wanted the Jewish reader to be drawn in by the fulfilling of the prophecy. Even though it bores us, to the Jewish reader in the first century, this would have connected the story between the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah and the story to come. This would have grabbed the attention of the reader it was intended for. It was important that the Son of God came from Abraham. This was to fulfill the first covenant that God gave to Abraham, that Abraham’s decedents would be as numerous as the stars in the sky. Secondly, Matthew connects Jesus with David. This is important to the Jewish reader because it is told in the Old Testament that David’s throne will rule forever. This is known as the Davidic Covenant. Jesus fulfilled both of these promised of God.

 You might think a family line like this would be fit for the Kingdom of Heaven. It must be full of Saint who leads to the pentacle of perfection in Jesus Christ. A quick glance through Jesus genealogy shows the truth, it full of despicable people. It starts with Abraham, who was a liar; Jacob who was a thief; Rehab was a prostitute who betrayed her nation; and David, who was an adulterous murder. This is not a perfect pedigree. A quick study of each name would show fault of some sort. What can we take from this? It is evident in these first seventeen verses that God is willing to use you, not the “you” think you have to become. God want to use you! We need to come to Him, and he will do the work in us. Despite your past or your failures, those do not matter now. What matter now is God is willing to use you today if you allow Him. The question is, for what? From the beginning of Matthew to the end of the story, we are to share the Gospel with everyone we can. God has called us to use us for his glory.

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Shaun D. Lee

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