God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

October 2 - Matthew 1; Luke 2:1-38: Jesus is Born to Praise from Shepherds

Today’s Reading: Matthew 1; Luke 2:1-38

The Message

English Standard Version

Thought to Guide Your Reading

God has moved into the neighborhood.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

There were 42 generations between Abraham and Jesus.
An angel told Joseph that Mary was pregnant by the Holy Spirit and her son would save Israel from their sins—fulfilling the virgin-birth prophecy. Joseph believed the angel.
Mary gave birth to Jesus and laid him in a manger, since there was no room for them in hotels. Nearby shepherds heard angels praising God and came to see the baby.
Joseph and Mary took Jesus to the Temple to offer the sacrifice to redeem the firstborn son. Two elderly people, Simeon and Anna, praised God for letting them see the Messiah.

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

God moved into the neighborhood.

(Repeat of yesterday's comment) God was in the Garden at the beginning. When God came to Israel in the wilderness they asked that He use Moses as an intermediary. The intermediary way of communicating with Israel lasted over a thousand years. With Jesus, God not only interacted with His Chosen People face-to-face again, He came in human form and lived among them to set His relationship with Israel right. He also came to make us what we should be—"God-begotten" (John 1:13, The Message). This means Jesus came to help us understand we are much greater than the son or daughter of humans. By submitting to Him we become our true selves—children of God. God came to Earth in human form to set our relationship right and make us what we should be—Children of God.

Joseph had faith that God would set things right.

Joseph was a good man, not willing to make a spectacle of his fiancé's infidelity. When God's angel spoke to him in a dream, Joseph had to trust that God would bring Jesus safely into the world and keep them safe from any zealot that wanted to make them an example. Because of his faith, Mary and Jesus lived secure lives. When God's Chosen Men have full faith in God, God can set things right for their family.

The shepherds told everyone they met what they saw.

This is the first example that will become a theme in the New Testament. When God's Chosen People tell others what they have seen God doing, others will praise God, too.

Matthew's purpose is to show how the Old Testament proves Jesus' authenticity and contrasts the Scriptures to the Jews' expectations of the Messiah.

You will see some form of the phrase "this fulfilled prophecy" many, many times in this Gospel. Matthew wanted the Jews to understand how Jesus fits the description of the Messiah the prophets wanted Israel to wait for. The Jews, on the other hand, were expecting a much different Messiah. Matthew is showing how their view is a misreading of the Prophets. Jesus' authenticity was founded on more than His teachings and miracles. His authenticity included everything Israel considered sacred.

Remember Simeon's words.

Simeon's words are prophetic:
God, you can now release your servant;
   release me in peace as you promised.
With my own eyes I’ve seen your salvation;
   it’s now out in the open for everyone to see:
A God-revealing light to the non-Jewish nations,
   and of glory for your people Israel.

This child marks both the failure and
   the recovery of many in Israel,
A figure misunderstood and contradicted—
   the pain of a sword-thrust through you—
But the rejection will force honesty,
   as God reveals who they really are. (Luke 2:29-32, 34-35, The Message)
I would love to write on each one of these here, but they will be written about as we go through the rest of the New Testament.

Do you want God to reveal who you really are?

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