Matthew 1 v 1 - 6

The list of names which generally are right at the start of some books of the Bible may be one of the things that, if you are like me, you whizz through, although they were considered highly important by Jewish readers. There is also a genealogy in Luke, but it is placed after the Nativity story, so we won't be studying that. So, I think the first thing is to consciously slow down and think of the names here. Many of them you will have heard of and they are men and women of faith. Some of them bring back reminders of harsh lives: Tamar disguised herself as a prostitute and conceived a son for her father-in-law, Rahab was a prostitute in Jericho, but her act of faith gave victory to Israel; Bathsheba had likely been raped by King Solomon and had conceived a son through that; Ruth was from Moab, an alien in a strange land when she met Boaz. Matthew gives evidence that Jesus was the descendant both of Abraham-which every pure Jew was-and King David: the prophecies which acclaimed David's son could rightly be attributed to Him. All in all, Matthew, in starting his Gospel in this way, was asserting to the Jewish reader that Jesus was born as a Jew. His lineage demonstrated unequivocally that He was 100% Jewish. For Christians, Jesus’ Jewishness is critically connected to his familiar role as Christ—more than an ethereal spiritual role, but a role rooted in the history of the people of Israel. Discovering the Jewish Jesus is a challenge that can give Christians a better understanding of Jesus.

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