Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Matthew 1: Something About That Name

Matthew begins his story of Jesus with a recap of the Old Testament genealogy of the Jewish people leading up to the birth of their Messiah.  From Abraham to King David, 14 generations.  From David to the Exile, 14 generations.  And from the Exile to the Christ, 14 generations.  It is clear that Matthew believes God is doing something BIG in the life of Jesus.

Even Jesus' beginnings are miraculous.  The Gospel of Matthew, full of Old Testament citations and allusions, references its first prophecy in 1:23, quoting from Isaiah.  "The virgin" will be with child.  Matthew identifies Mary as that virgin.  That must have come as quite a shock to her betrothed (more than a fiance, but not yet a husband), a man named Joseph.

Have you ever wondered what Joseph thought of all of this?  Not given a choice, he was handed a rather dramatic role in human history - being the earthly father of Jesus.  (Jesus' "other" father was the Father Himself!)  But Joseph shouldered his role willingly. 

While it was Mary's job to bear the Messiah, it was Joseph's privilege to name Him.  We hear several names and titles for Jesus already in Matthew 1.  Messiah.  Emmanuel.  Both are important and meaningful on their own, but Joseph was given the name "Jesus" to give to the baby - signifying that "He will save His people from their sins." 

An apt name if there ever was one.  Certainly there is and always has been "something about that name."

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