Farmville Enterprise December 19, 2018
The gospel writer Matthew, also called Levi, worked as a tax collector before Jesus called him as a disciple. He wrote largely for a Jewish audience and therefore made obvious connections between the Old and New Testaments. He and Luke were the two gospel writers who included a genealogy of Jesus, although in different formats. Matthew began, “A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham: Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers…” (Matthew 1:1-2) and ended with “Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.” (Matthew 1:16)
Several Old Testament prophecies indicated that the long-awaited promised Messiah would come from the line of David. “The Lord swore an oath to David, a sure oath he will not revoke: ‘One of your descendants I will place on your throne.’” (Psalm 132:11) “’The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The Lord Our Righteous Savior.’” (Jeremiah 23:5-6)
After the genealogy Matthew went on to describe how Mary came to be with child and that Joseph considered divorcing her quietly out of respect and decency. “But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’ All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’ – which means, ‘God with us.’” (Matthew 1:20-23)
This week we joyfully celebrate the fulfillment of the Old Testament promises for a Messiah who would save God’s people from their sins. He is Immanuel, God with us, Jesus the Christ.