Monday, October 10, 2011

New Year: Matt 1-2 for Oct 10

The coming of the Messiah is good news for the Jews of Matthew's time -- pending investigation of the claim, that is. That is how Matthew approaches it. He gives the very important geneology, and starts with what is already known to be the case by the OT-steeped readers: Abraham, his descendants, and the names known in the history of Israel.

Thus Matthew doesn't assume the case of Jesus' Messiahship, but sets forth the facts to the reader, with all the awareness that one should not assume the thing one is trying to prove (1:16): "who is called the Messiah" is very circumspect language, and is right in the middle of the deployment of the evidence.

People who have trouble counting the fourteens can be helped by the following acronyms, which show the three sets of fourteens in 1:17: [AIJJPHRANSBOJD], [SRAAJJUJAHMAJ"D"], [JSZAEAZAEEMJJ"M"].

The logical steps of Matthew 1-2 are very clear: genealogy, birth, and parentage of the Messiah. Layed on top of this history is interwoven, with no apology whatsover, a staggering set of facts about the Messiah that are only explainable in two ways: that they are from God, and that they are from the Old Testament. But to the Jew, this is an OF COURSE, something to be expected, when and if God sends Messiah.

1. Stars guiding Gentiles, who seem to know something about the "born king of the Jews." Contra Herod and Jerusalem in toto. Their skillset, astronomy, is used by God, but in a totally divinely ordained way, and obviously so: they get guided by the star, lose track of it and have to detour to Jerusalem to get directions, from of all people, Herod! then, they find the star again, not knowing at that point the danger to the Messiah they have seemingly caused, yet God superintending this all!

2. This no normal birth, and Messiah is not merely David's son, but God's! All handled by the intervention of God not only with Mary, but into Joseph's life, guiding him in detail on what to do, from the beginning to the end. Old Testament prophecy confirms to the reader as well (1:23).

3. Most importantly of all, Matthew reports, not as his own theological reflection on Jesus, but as the pre-birth words of the angel, and thus as a message of divine origin, that Jesus, the child's name, is what Joseph will call Him, ... BECAUSE He will save His people from their sins! (1:21). Matthew reports this, as one of the details of an announcement to Joseph, and this conclusion has been the master of thousands of years of the best efforts at theology and the significance of Christianity. All wrapped up in one comment by an angel to Joseph, which Matthew reports.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love the thoughts you bring out on these chapters, including the fact that God used the astrologers' "skillset" in leading them by His revelation!

Like you say, so much is packed in the name "Jesus" (Yeshu'a), the One Who saves...



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