Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Matthew 1 - Jesus Genealogy and Joseph

Rose window on south end of transpet arm, St. Denis Cathedral, St. Denis, France. The stained glass depicts the Tree of Jesse (ancestors of Christ from Jesse onwards) in the Art Nouveau style. From Wikimedia Commons
LINK: Matthew 1 

BIBLE STORYTELLING

I am including links to 3-5 minute stories that I made that relate to these stories. They are great to tell everyone!

Prophet Bridge from Old to the New Testament 

Angels to Mary and Joseph


The number at the beginning of this section is the number for a chronological order of events in the life of Jesus. Here is a list of all the events:

250 Events in the Life of Christ 

3. The record of Jesus' ancestors: 
Matthew 1:1-17, Luke 3:23-38

Matthew was a Jewish tax collector, and he wrote this gospel for a Jewish audience that awaited the Messiah who was to be the "son of David, the son of Abraham." That is why this genealogy is the first thing you read in the book of Matthew. This is very significant!

Matthew traces the legal or royal ancestry of the Messiah through Joseph, Jesus' legal (if not biological) father.  The beginning point is Abraham.

If you have been part of the Bible Book Club Old Testament readings, this genealogy will contain many familiar names. One example is Ruth, our family reads the book of Ruth every year for our Jesse Tree Christmas devotional (see REFLECTION and APPLICATION below for an explanation), and we reviewed that Ruth, a Gentile, was the great grandmother of King David and King David was Jesus' grandfather times 28 greats!

It was common for generations to be left out as Matthew did when he arranged the genealogy in groups of 14 ("son of" can mean son or descendant). 


It should be noted that Jews have never questioned the lineage of Jesus.


It is also interesting to note that five women are mentioned in Matthew's genealogy: Tamar (Genesis 18:15-30), Rahab (Joshua 2:1-24, 6:21-25), Ruth (Ruth 1:1-19; 4:13-17), Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11), Mary (Luke 1:26-38). You can read backgrounds about them in a group of previous Bible Book Club posts HERE.

Genealogy of Jesus according to Matthew through Joseph's Line
  1. Abraham
  2. Isaac
  3. Jacob
  4. Judah & Tamar
  5. Pharez
  6. Hezron
  7. Ram
  1. Amminadab
  2. Nahshon
  3. Salmon & Rahab
  4. Boaz & Ruth
  5. Obed
  6. Jesse
  7. David & Wife of Uriah
  1. Solomon
  2. Rehoboam
  3. Abijam
  4. Asa
  5. Jehosaphat
  6. Jehoram
  7. Uzziah
  1. Jotham
  2. Ahaz
  3. Hezekiah
  4. Manasseh
  5. Amon
  6. Josiah
  7. Jeconiah -  CAPTIVITY
  1. Shealtiel
  2. Zerubbabel
  3. Abiud
  4. Eliakim
  5. Azor
  6. Zadok
  7. Achim
  1. Eliud
  2. Eleazar
  3. Matthan
  4. Jacob
  5. Joseph & Mary *
  6. Jesus
from "Genealogy of Jesus" at Wikipedia.org

8. An angel appears to Joseph: 1:18-25

In Hebrew custom, the marriage contract was negotiated between parents, and the woman continued to live with her parents and the man with his parents for a year so the bride could demonstrate her purity. If she got pregnant, she was considered impure, and the marriage contract could be annulled. 

Obviously, Mary and Joseph were in this waiting period, and Mary became pregnant. What was Joseph to think? He must have been an exceptional man because he wanted to kindly break the contract secretly. If he had done it publicly, Mary might have been subject to stoning (Deuteronomy 22:23-24). 

As we have seen with Mary and Zechariah, angels have a way of making all things clear, and this angel did that for Joseph. The angel declared a Scarlet Thread of Redemption verse from a prophet who proclaimed God's eternal plan 700 years before:
Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel. . . (Isaiah 7:14) which translated means "God with us." (Matthew 1:23)
(Let those words wash over you, dear reader. If you have not done so, join us for YEAR TWO of the Bible Book Club because we read through all the prophets, and they are FULL of prophecies like the one above!  It is so fun to tie the Old Testament and New Testament together in one big Christmas bow!)

Remember, Matthew was writing to Jews. So, they would know about this Old Testament prophecy about Immanuel.  But let's do a little bit more of an Old Testament word study since most of us are Gentiles:
עִמָּנוֵּל (˓immānûēl). With us is God. This proper name occurs twice. It is the name to be given to the child to be born of the virgin (Isa 7:14). Isaiah addresses Judah’s king, of Davidic lineage, as Immanuel (8:8). The prophet also gives the meaning and application of the name by stressing that, in spite of what a disobedient king does, God will be with his covenant people (Isa 8:10). 
The name Immanuel gives expression to the truth God had expressed in various ways to his covenant people in times previous to Isaiah. He had specifically said that he would be God to Abraham and his seed (Gen 17:7). He would go with Jacob (Gen 28:15) and Moses (Ex 3:12). God identified with his people saying he had taken them to be his possession (Ex 19:5–6). The angel of his name would go with and guard his people (Ex 23:20. 24). To Joshua the word came, “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you” (Josh 1:5). To David God said, “I have been with you” (II Sam 7:9). 
Solomon earnestly prayed that the Lord would be with him and Israel as he had been with David (I Kgs 8:57). By various visible means, i.e. cloud, pillar of fire, and the ark of the covenant the Lord confirmed his word. He was with his people [emphasis mine]. He led, upheld, and blessed them. 
Isaiah, speaking to Ahaz, assured him that the faithful covenant God was present as he had been and as he would be in the incarnate Son to be born of the virgin. Thus the past, present, and future intimate relationship of God’s presence with his people is summed up in the name Im-manuel.
Harris, R. L., Harris, R. L., Archer, G. L., & Waltke, B. K. (1999, c1980). Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (electronic ed.) (677). Chicago: Moody Press.
I don't know about you, but that makes my heart sing: GOD IS WITH US! Praise God that Joseph "did as the angel of the Lord commanded" (1:24).

REFLECTION

Genealogies may seem boring to some, but once you understand why they are there, it is quite exciting! To really understand the phenomenal thing about Jesus and The Scarlet Thread of Redemption, it is important to know His lineage. 

Every Christmas we do a "Jesse Tree" reading of Scripture where we trace the line of Jesus all the way back to Creation! Do you see Jesse (#13) in the genealogy above?

Here is a little more about the history of the Jesse tree:
In the old days, in the front of any family Bible, a record was kept of that family's history: the marriages, the children born of those marriages, the marriages and offspring of those children. Over the course of generations, those fading, spidery lines spread outwards like branches and twigs from a single trunk. That is why we call such a record a "family tree." 
Similarly, there would have been in any number of churches, a "Jesse tree" -- a depiction of Jesus' family tree in wood, or stone, or stained glass (see picture above). Church garments might even have been embroidered with a tree. 
Even thousands of years ago, when the stories of the Old Testament were first told, families were pictured as trees branching out from a single trunk.
"A shoot will spring from the stock of Jesse, and from his roots a bud will blossom." said the prophet Isaiah in the Bible (Isaiah 11:1-5), foretelling the birth of Jesus. It is this verse which gave rise to the tradition of Jesse trees in churches. 
Jesse trees were the Bible-storybooks of unlettered people. A priest could point to the figures or symbols, and tell the stories of those Old Testament kings, prophets, heroines, warriors. And the tree itself served to show how the New Testament grew out of the Old Testament; how, for Christians, the birth of Jesus was not just a beginning, but a completion. He was the flowering of a tree planted long before, by God's own design. By tracing his earthly ancestry back to King David and beyond, it was easy, too, to see Jesus as a real historical figure.  
That forest of ancient Jesse trees fashioned in the Middle Ages is long gone. Puritan vandals of the seventeenth century, in their attempt to destroy "graven images," smashed the heads from saints, the wings from angels, the figures from Jesse trees. No tree survives undamaged.
But in recent times, a new tradition has grown up -- a new strain of Jesse tree "grown" at home. Still planted for the sake of its stories, symbols are added day by day during the season of Advent, and day by day the old stories are retold, culminating in the stories of the first Christmas. ("Introduction," The Jesse Tree by Geraldine McCaughrean)

We love our "grown at home" version that we have done since Christmas 1997 when my kids were three and five. Even though both my kids adults, they still love to read each story (when they are home) and put the corresponding "ornament" on the tree. And this does not have to be for only those of you with children at home. It is for anyone, no matter what age. 

Here is a picture of ours:


APPLICATION

You might like to start your own Jesse Tree tradition next December 1. The whole month of November in YEAR THREE of the Bible Book Club is devoted to making your own Jesse Tree. But you can start anytime by going to the posts here:

The Jesse Tree 

I have also put all the posts in a downloadable devotional so you don't have to read it in reverse order: 

The Jesse Tree Devotional


Here is a link to a handout with just the Scripture readings and activities for the family that can be tucked in your Bible for easy reference. I adapted it from an anonymous source several years ago. 

Jesse Tree 2013 Update


PRAYER


Lord, thank You for sending Jesus at just the right time in history to fulfill Your sovereign plan of salvation for the whole earth. Amen


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