Dearest Road Mappers! Ready to continue into our newest road trip?!
Over this past week we should have read the first seven chapters of Matthew, doing so will take us deeper into this first section of the gospel.
If you haven't seen last weeks blog, be sure to scroll down and read some of the background given for the book of Matthew.
The book of Matthew was taught in my School of Biblical Studies by Dan Lewis, a now retired theological professor from the University of Michigan.
The first two chapters tell the birth story in narrative form.
The beginning of chapter one focuses on the genealogy of Jesus. In v 6 we see that David is in the line of genealogy of Jesus, the talk of the line of David is important because the prophet Nathan says that the line of David as kind will never end. From the evidence that this book was written to a mainly Jewish only audience we can assume that the original reader would know this prophecy as it is widely known in Jewish culture. It being written that Jesus is a descendant of David shows that Jesus was a legitimate king of Israel.
One of the major focuses we will study in Matthew is the fulfillment of Jesus. It begins right in chapter two, v 15 there is a quote, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
When God says this about Jesus, he shows that Jesus fulfills all that Israel was supposed to be, but never was.
- This shows when Israel was taken out of Egypt, Jesus also taken out of Egypt
- Israel passes through the Red Sea, Jesus passes through the Jordan
- Israel and Jesus both pass through the desert and are tempted
- Both Israel and Jesus are servants YHWH(Yahweh)
- Jesus suffered exile on the cross, Israel suffered exile when they were taken by Assyria in 722 BC
Jesus went through everything Israel did, but he didn't fail.
These next chapters take us into the first book in Matthew.
Book One: Discipleship.
JOHN THE BAPTIST:
These two chapters tell the stories of John the Baptist, Jesus' baptism, and Jesus' temptation in the desert.
So, a little about John. Baptism was already a part of the ritual before entering the temple precincts, ritual purification baptisms were well-known. John's baptisms were not directly linked to any of these known baptismal practices, but instead was directed towards general “confession of sins,” which in turn implied that the people of Israel were alienated from God.
John is VERY CLEAR in his text: do not depend on your Jewish genealogy.
He tells them not to say, “I'm all good because I'm a son of Abraham.” But God says: “I can make sons of Abraham out of the rocks of the sea.” What this did was it showed the Jews that they needed salvation, they weren't saved by their genealogy.
People came to hear John because he said 'the kingdom of God is near' and everyone believed John to be a prophet.
So, John preaches the time is near and about the one who comes after him will bear the spirit and is the spirit(it's not the thought of the king and spirit being one, but that when one comes, the other will also). However, it was the idea that the Messiah himself would be the bearer of the spirit. Because Messiah means anointed one: so he is the one who bears the spirit and is able to give the spirit.
As John is preaching, Jesus comes to be baptized. Jesus' explanation 'to fulfill all righteousness' probably focuses on Jesus' life of obedience.
Why does Jesus come to be baptized? It is NOT because he is repenting, but because he is fulfilling the righteousness. He is the Son of God, and like God's children he passes through the waters.
This is the Red Sea v the Jordan.
The descent of the dove on Jesus and the heavenly voice in 3:16-17 have long been understood to be the manifestations of Holy Trinity all at the same time
Why does it show righteousness when he is baptized? It fulfills a righteous pattern that ancient Israel was supposed to be God's son, but Israel failed terribly so now there is a righteous son, who is fully obedient.
To help us understand why Jesus was tempted, we need to remember that Jesus is living out the story of Israel. After Israel passed through the sea, they passed through the desert and were tempted.
After Jesus passed through the waters(baptism), he is lead to the desert to be tempted just like the ancient son(Israel)....
WITH ONE MAJOR DIFFERENCE: Israel failed miserably, but Jesus God's obedient son is perfect in obedience.
Matthew continues to refer to Jesus as the true Israel.
The 40 days Jesus spends in the desert matches the 40 years Israel spent in the desert of Sinai, even though Satan is the tempter, it is God who leads Jesus into the desert.
In a sense, everything that ancient Israel experiences: so does Jesus.
A few things about Jesus to keep in mind about Jesus:
- Jesus preached, “repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” (4:17)
- There are three focal points of the gospels
- Jesus' mighty acts
- Jesus' sayings
- Jesus' passion
- When people call Jesus 'lord' it doesn't necessarily mean they are believers, but it is a Greek way of saying 'sir.'
- As far as, what did Jesus look like?
- If you were a Roman, you had buzzed hair.
- If you were Jewish, you had shoulder length hair.
- If you were gay, you had really long hair.
- Most Jewish men had beards.
- In the 21st century as we are obsessed with all things visual, we have to remember it is not an essential part of the character of Jesus.
SERMON ON THE MOUNT:
There are four ways to understand the sermon on the mount:
- Perfectionism: you must do all this in order to be saved.
- Impossible Ideal: you ought to have done all this- see what poor creatures you are.
- Interim Ethic: pull yourselves together, the world will end soon.
- Living Faith: you are forgiven, so live a new life out of thankfulness.
All of the Beatitudes seem to come across as going against Jewish ideas. The poor were not merely the economic poor or the powerless poor, but those who understood their own spiritual bankruptcy.
The mourners were those to whom the evil of the times was a continual grief. The way of meekness and mercy contrasts with the way of power.
Internal purity and peace, not armed resistance, was the way to demonstrate that someone was God's child.
JESUS AND THE TORAH:
What is the Torah?
The Torah is the first five books of The Bible
These books contain the stories of creation, the flood, the first covenant with Abraham, the exodus from Egypt, Moses, the tabernacle, the law, the sacrificial laws, and much more.
Jesus declared that he was not overturning the Torah nor the prophets, rather his mission was to see the Torah and prophets fulfilled out to their full meaning.
The first book here in Matthew focuses on discipleship and Jesus.
For next weeks blog, read Matthew chapters 8-10 and we will come back with a blog on Book Two: Apostleship. I'm excited!
Keep that journal close to you and write notes and questions, and comment your questions here!
Much love and blessings,
I am praying for you all every week.