Nowhere in the four gospels do we find a single recorded word that Matthew spoke. Yet in his gospel, Matthew gives us the words and actions of Jesus Christ, “the Son of David, the Son of Abraham” (Matt. 1:1). Matthew did not write to tell us about himself. He wrote so that we would know Jesus, the One who was sent from God, to fulfill the law and commandments of God.
Matthew was a Jewish man who left his family to become a tax collector in his community. To the Jews, this was the most disgusting occupation you could have, robbing from your own people to satisfy the Romans who oppressed them. People ducked when they saw Matthew coming down the street. Imagine getting an official letter in the mail from the IRS today. Because we were audited once, I still cringe seeing any form or letter coming from our tax collecting government organiztion! Even more so in Matthew’s day.
What did Jesus see in Matthew? I love the thoughts of Max Lucado, “At the same time, you gotta wonder what Matthew saw in Jesus. I mean, look at him. Dirt under his nails. Calloused hands. Holes in his sandals. No headquarters. No office. No committee. No clout with the local church. The clergy won’t give him the time of day. His followers look more like dockhands or pool sharks than seminarians.”
“Quite a pair, these two. You gotta wonder what they saw in each other. Whatever it was, it must’ve been something. Matthew heard the call and never went back. He spent the rest of his life convincing folks that the carpenter was the King. Jesus gave the call and never took it back. He spent his life dying for people like Matthew, convincing a lot of us that if he had a place for Matthew, he just might had a place for us.”
Let’s begin reading the testimony of Matthew now that we know him a little better.
Matthew—The Law Fulfilled
Matthew 1, NLT
The Ancestors of Jesus the Messiah
1 This is a record of the ancestors of Jesus the Messiah, a descendant of David and of Abraham:
2 Abraham was the father of Isaac.
Isaac was the father of Jacob.
Jacob was the father of Judah and his brothers.
3 Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah (whose mother was Tamar).
Perez was the father of Hezron.
Hezron was the father of Ram.
4 Ram was the father of Amminadab.
Amminadab was the father of Nahshon.
Nahshon was the father of Salmon.
5 Salmon was the father of Boaz (whose mother was Rahab).
Boaz was the father of Obed (whose mother was Ruth).
Obed was the father of Jesse.
6 Jesse was the father of King David.
David was the father of Solomon (whose mother was Bathsheba, the widow of Uriah).
7 Solomon was the father of Rehoboam.
Rehoboam was the father of Abijah.
Abijah was the father of Asa.
8 Asa was the father of Jehoshaphat.
Jehoshaphat was the father of Jehoram.
Jehoram was the father of Uzziah.
9 Uzziah was the father of Jotham.
Jotham was the father of Ahaz.
Ahaz was the father of Hezekiah.
10 Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh.
Manasseh was the father of Amon.
Amon was the father of Josiah.
11 Josiah was the father of Jehoiachin and his brothers (born at the time of the exile to Babylon).
12 After the Babylonian exile:
Jehoiachin was the father of Shealtiel.
Shealtiel was the father of Zerubbabel.
13 Zerubbabel was the father of Abiud.
Abiud was the father of Eliakim.
Eliakim was the father of Azor.
14 Azor was the father of Zadok.
Zadok was the father of Akim.
Akim was the father of Eliud.
15 Eliud was the father of Eleazar.
Eleazar was the father of Matthan.
Matthan was the father of Jacob.
16 Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary.
Mary gave birth to Jesus, who is called the Messiah.
17 All those listed above include fourteen generations from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the Babylonian exile, and fourteen from the Babylonian exile to the Messiah.
The Birth of Jesus the Messiah
18 This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.
20 As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
22 All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet:
23 “Look! The virgin will conceive a child!
She will give birth to a son,
and they will call him Immanuel,
which means ‘God is with us.’”
24 When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. 25 But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.
THINK ABOUT IT…POINTS TO PONDER
*We will see the word “fulfill” many times in Matthew’s testimony of the Good News of Jesus Christ. Another phrase, “as the prophets said…” will also set the stage for understanding the mission of Jesus from the beginning of God’s creation.
*Because Matthew wrote for a Jewish audience, he began by showing through family records that Jesus as a descendent of both King David and Abraham which drew them in for the purpose of taking them from religious tradition to a relationship with Jesus, The Messiah, The One and Only they had been waiting for all their lives.
*Joseph and Mary were sent in a new direction in their lives that was challenging to say the least. Led by God’s Spirit in them they were the first to follow without question. “Let it be as you say…” answers Mary. “And Joseph named him Jesus” as he had been told. Joseph took his calling seriously. Mary served reverently. Together, they raised Jesus in the Jewish tradition despite the rumors and gossipers.
*As long as we live and breathe the air on this earth, we will all come to a crossroads of belief and followership when it comes to Jesus. His will or ours?
*What do I see in Jesus? What does Jesus see in me? Now, it’s personal.
Abba, Father in Heaven,
Thank you for sending Jesus to save us from our sins. Thank you for looking beyond my behavior to look deep into my heart. I repent of the things that offend you. I believe in your forgiveness and restoration. I want what you want for me. Help us all to hear your voice, “follow Me”, above all others voices, and readily leave the old life for a new life with you forever. No turning back, no turning back. I have decided to follow you.
In Jesus Name, Amen