GOD’S UNIQUE SON
Matthew 1:1-2:23 September 2 2007
The Gospel of Matthew appears to be aimed at people with a
Jewish heritage, and they would have wanted to know about
Jesus’ ancestors. Matthew 1:1-17 answer such questions. The
genealogy affirms Jesus descended from Abraham, thus
fulfilling the prophecy that all nations will be blessed through
Abraham (Gen.12:13). Another significant high point in the
ancestry is that Jesus descended from Judah, thus fulfilling
more prophecy. David, of course, is another great name; and
Jesus fulfilled the prophecies that David’s dominion would
Matthew 1:18-25 focuses on events leading up to Jesus’ Birth.
The journey of the wise men and their interaction with Herod
is the focus of Matthew 2:1-18. Fulfillment of prophecy is
once again an important theme as Matthew revealed the Place
of Jesus’ birth was foretold by the prophet Micah.
Matthew 2:29-23 is a closing section concerning the infancy
and early life of Jesus.
1. The Son to Worship (Matt. 1:18-25)
Matt. 1:18 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His
mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they
came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy
Spirit. 1:19 Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and
did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to
divorce her quietly. 1:20 But after he had considered this, an
angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son
of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because
what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 1:21 She will
give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because
he will save his people from their sins.” 1:22 All this took place
to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 1:23 “The
virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will
call him Immanuel “—which means, “God with us.” 1:24 When
Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded
him and took Mary home as his wife. 1:25 But he had no union with
her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
Pledged to be married. There were no sexual relations during a
Jewish betrothal period, but it was a much more binding
relationship than a modern engagement and could be broken
only by divorce (Matt.1:19). In (Deut 22:24) a betrothed woman
is called a “wife,” though the preceding verse speaks of her as
being “pledged to be married.” Matthew uses the terms
“husband” (Matt.1:19) and “wife” (Matt. 1:24) of Joseph and
Mary before they were married.
Righteous. To Jews this meant being zealous in keeping the law. Divorce her quietly. He would sign the necessary legal papers but not have her judged publicly and stoned (Deut. 22:23-24).
In a dream. The phrase occurs five times in the first two chapters of Matthew (here; Matt.2:12-13,19,22) and indicates the means the Lord used for speaking to Joseph. Son of David. Perhaps a hint that the message of the angel related to the expected Messiah.
Take Mary home as your wife . They were legally bound to each
other, but not yet living together as husband and wife. What is
conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. This agrees perfectly
with the announcement to Mary (Luke 1:35), except that the
latter is more specific ( Luke 1:26-35).
Fulfill. Twelve times (here; Matt.2:15,23; 3:15; 4:14; 5:17; 8:17; 12:17; 13:14,35; 21:4; 27:9) Matthew speaks of the OT being fulfilled, of events in NT times that were prophesied in the OT —a powerful testimony to the divine origin of Scripture and its accuracy even in small details. In the fulfillment’s we also see the writer’s concern for linking the gospel with the OT.
( Isa 7:14). This is the first of at least 47 quotations, most of
them Messianic, that Matthew takes from the OT .
2. The Desire to Worship The Son (Matt. 2:1-3,7-8)
Matt. 2:1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the
time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem2:2 and
asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We
saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” 2:3 When
King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.
2:7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them
the exact time the star had appeared. 2:8 He sent them to
Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child.
As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and
Bethlehem in Judea. A village about five miles south of
Jerusalem. Matthew says nothing of the events in Nazareth
(Luke 1:26-56). Possibly wanting to emphasize Jesus’ Davidic
background, he begins with the events that happened in David’s
city. It is called “Bethlehem in Judea,” not to distinguish it
from the town of the same name about seven miles northwest
of Nazareth, but to emphasize that Jesus came from the tribe
and territory that produced the line of Davidic kings. That Jews expected the Messiah to be born in Bethlehem and to be from David’s family is clear from (John 7:42). King Herod. Herod the Great (37-4 B.C.), to be distinguished from the other Herods in the Bible ( “House of Herod,” Matthew 2:1). Herod was a Non-jew, an Idumean, who was appointed king of Judea by the Roman Senate in 40 B.C. and gained control in 37. Like most rulers of the day, he was ruthless, murdering his wife, his three sons, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, uncle and many others —not to mention the babies in Bethlehem (Matt.2:16). His reign was also noted for splendor, as seen in the many theaters, amphitheaters, monuments, pagan altars, fortresses and other buildings he erected or refurbished —including the greatest work of all, the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem, begun in 20 B.C. and finished 68 years after his death. MAGI. Probably astrologers, perhaps from Persia or southern Arabia, both of which are east of Palestine. Jerusalem. Since they were looking for the “king of the Jews” (Matt.2:2), they naturally came to the Jewish capital city .
King of the Jews. Indicates the Magi were Gentiles. Matthew
shows that people of all nations acknowledged Jesus as “king
of the Jews” and came to worship him as Lord. Star. Probably
not an ordinary star, planet or comet, though some scholars
have identified it with the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn.
Chief Priests. Sadducees (Matt.3:7) who were in charge of
worship at the temple in Jerusalem. Teachers of the Law. The
Jewish scholars of the day, professionally trained in the
development, teaching and application of OT law. Their
authority was strictly human and traditional.
This prophecy from Micah had been given seven centuries
3. The Way to Worship the Son (Matt. 2:9-11)
Matt. 2:9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way,
and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it
stopped over the place where the child was. 2:10 When they saw
the star, they were overjoyed. 2:11 On coming to the house, they
saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and
worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented
him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.
House. Contrary to tradition, the Magi did not visit Jesus at
the manger on the night of his birth as did the shepherds. They
came some months later and visited him as a “child” in his
“house.” The child with his Mother Mary . Every time the child
Jesus and his mother are mentioned together, he is mentioned
first (Matt.2:11,13-14,20-21). Gold. . . Incense. . . Myrrh. The
three gifts perhaps gave rise to the legend that there were
three “wise men.” But the Bible does not indicate the number
of the Magi, and they were almost certainly not kings. Myrrh.
The death of Herod. In 4 B.C. Out of Egypt I Called My Son. This
quotation from (Hos 11:1) originally referred to God’s calling
the nation of Israel out of Egypt in the time of Moses. But
Matthew, under the inspiration of the Spirit, applies it also to
Jesus. He sees the history of Israel (God’s children)
recapitulated in the life of Jesus (God’s unique Son). Just as
Israel as an infant nation went down into Egypt, so the child
Jesus went there. And as Israel was led by God out of Egypt,
so also was Jesus. How long Jesus and his parents were in
Egypt is not known.
The physical birth of Jesus was occasioned "by the
Holy Spirit." This phrase underscores Jesus divine nature and
Identity and is at the heart of the doctrine of the virgin birth.
That the manner of His conception fulfils prophecy (Isa.7:14)
further establishes His identity. The miraculous conception of
Jesus also means He retained His divine nature in addition to
having the full experience of being human.
This doctrine should prevent any supposition that
Jesus later became God’s Son or received at a later time the
Holy Spirit and became the Messiah. He was Deity from His
very conception. That he was conceived "by the Holy Spirit"
is critical to understanding who Jesus was and is.