Matthew — Fulfilled
The story of Jesus doesn’t begin with Jesus. God had been at work for a long time. Salvation which is the main business of Jesus, is an old business. Jesus is the coming together in final form of themes and energies and movements that had been set in motion before the foundation of the world.
Matthew opens the New Testament by setting the local story of Jesus in its world historical context. He makes sure that as we read his account of the birth life, death and resurrection of Jesus, we see the connection with everything that has gone before. “Fulfilled” is one of Matthew’s favorite words.
Because Matthew wrote for a Jewish audience, he began his Gospel by showing through family records that Jesus was a descendant of both King David and Abraham. Better yet, Matthew tells the story in such a way that no only is everything previous to us completed in Jesus; WE are completed in Jesus Every day we wake up in the middle of something that is already going on, that has been going on for a long time: genealogy and geology, history and culture, the cosmos–GOD.
Joseph is not just a hapless passerby in the story. He is from the line of David, yes, but he is chosen to be the earthly father of the Jesus, the long awaited Messiah. But he doesn’t know that at the time he is “betrothed” to Mary, the love of his life.
The minute a baby is born into a family, we say things like, “Ah, he looks like his dad,” or “she has her mom’s nose”. We inherit physical characteristics, emotions, talents and ways of learning from our family. When Jesus was born, what did the extended family say? How did Joseph feel? Joseph has always been an amazing hero in the story of the birth of Jesus to me. What a unique calling to Joseph from God, the Father in Heaven, to be the earthly father of our Savior and Lord. He was called to protect this babe in arms, the first born, a son, without knowing all the details. “Joseph was a good man” is an understatement. He could have run from this situation, but he did not. He ran to Mary and “fulfilled” what God had planned from the beginning. Yes, Joseph, you are our hero, our example of faith, integrity, trust and obedience to God, our Father.
The Birth of Jesus Christ
18 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. His mother Mary was engaged to marry Joseph, but before they married, she learned she was pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Mary’s husband, Joseph, was a good man, he did not want to disgrace her in public, so he planned to divorce her secretly.
20 While Joseph thought about these things, an angel of the Lord came to him in a dream. The angel said, “Joseph, descendant of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the baby in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
22 All this happened to bring about what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will be pregnant. She will have a son, and they will name him Immanuel,” which means “God is with us.”
24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the Lord’s angel had told him to do. Joseph took Mary as his wife, 25 but he did not have sexual relations with her until she gave birth to the son. And Joseph named him Jesus.
Matthew provides the comprehensive context by which we see all God’s creation and salvation completed in Jesus, and all the part of our lives–work, family, friends, memories, dreams–also completed in Jesus. Jesus is NOT a mere diversion from the concerns of this world announced in media. Nothing could be further from the Truth. We are neither accidental nor incidental to the story. We get orientation, briefing, background, reassurance because of The Story of Jesus, God with us.
I am reminded of an Amy Grant song that touched my heart many years ago…”My Father’s Eyes”…Inherit the idea behind the message of this heart-felt song.
I may not be every mother’s dream for her little girl,
And my face may not grace the mind of everyone in the world.
But that’s all right, as long as I can have one wish I pray:
When people look inside my life, I want to hear them say,
She’s got her father’s eyes,
Her father’s eyes;
Eyes that find the good in things,
When good is not around;
Eyes that find the source of help,
When help just can’t be found;
Eyes full of compassion,
Seeing every pain;
Knowing what you’re going through
And feeling it the same.
Just like my father’s eyes,
My father’s eyes,
My father’s eyes,
Just like my father’s eyes.
May we have our Father’s eyes as we are now complete in Jesus.
In Jesus Name we pray, Amen