If you’re anything like me, you’ve read through parts of the Bible but didn’t really absorb any of it. I’ve read the Book of Matthew, but I honestly couldn’t tell you what happens in it, aside from the fact that it’s one of four Gospels that tell the live of Jesus Christ from different perspectives. But lately I’ve been feeling the need to learn more about the life of Jesus and what he really did for us. Because of that, I’ve decided to read through it using two different translations of the Bible and another study aid. The two Bibles I’ll be using are the Quest Study Bible which is the New International Version, and The Everyday Bible , which is the Amplified Version.The study aid I’m using is Meditations on the Gospels, which is a devotional with English Standard Version passages.
To start, I’m going to cover some basic facts about the Book of Matthew. For me, it’s pretty helpful to have a historical understanding of the Book before I start reading it; I think it helps me realize everything in it really did happen and I’m not just reading a fairy tale.
First of all, it was written by a man named Matthew (who later becomes one of Jesus’ disciples) sometime between 50 and 70 AD. He wrote it to provide proof that Jesus (the Messiah) really had come to earth.
Each time I’ve read chapter one of Matthew, I thought it was pretty straightforward: Jesus’ genealogy and his birth. But this time I noticed some important things that I didn’t see last time I read it (probably because I was about thirteen years old then). One of the first things I noticed was in Jesus’ genealogy. It seems pretty simple, just a list of regular (although a bit strange-sounding) names. But then I got to 1:6:
and Jesse the father of King David.
David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been
I thought it was a bit strange that out of this entire genealogy, only one person was mentioned as someone else’s wife, and without even mentioning her actual name. So I turned to Meditations on the Gospels and it turns out the Uriah’s wife is mentioned somewhere else in the Bible: 2 Samuel 11.
The second chapter of 2 Samuel tells the story of Bathsheba, Uriah’s wife. She was obviously married, but she had an affair with her king. I wondered for a moment why this would be included. Isn’t Jesus supposed to be pure, including his lineage? Isn’t that why he was immaculately conceived by a virgin? But I think this was included for an important reason: to remind us that even Jesus had sinful ancestors. His family wasn’t perfect. And yet God loves him anyway! I think the message here is that just because someone in our family sins doesn’t mean we have to, and that God isn’t going to punish us for our family’s sins.
In 1:18-19, we see that Joseph, Mary’s fiance, doesn’t want to marry her anymore when he finds out she’s pregnant. But he knows that if he breaks the engagement (divorces her), people are going to shame him and he’s going to be humiliated. While he’s trying to figure out what to do, an angel comes to him and tells him that Mary didn’t cheat on him (which I’m sure was a huge relief to Joseph, although bewildering), and that he should marry her. Without questioning the angel or even asking how a virgin could be pregnant, he does what the angel told him to do: he married her.
But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
Honestly, if it hadn’t been for a footnote in my Bible I wouldn’t have even realized the deeper meaning behind this (pay attention to footnotes!). Apparently ‘Jesus’ is the Greek version of the name ‘Joshua’, which means ‘the Lord saves’. Why is this significant? First, because it means God really did send Jesus to us to save us! Additionally, in the Book of Joshua in the Old Testament, Joshua led the people of Israel into Canaan after they spent forty years wandering in the wilderness. Like Joshua led the lost Israelites, Jesus led–and continues to lead–the spiritually lost into the Kingdom of God. Doesn’t that make you feel wonderful?
My Personal Prayer
Lord, thank you for sending Jesus to save me from wandering, lost and alone, in my sinfulness.