So let us get started. Please read and refer to the Gospel of Matthew chapter one.
Verses 1-16. The first thing we see is the genealogy of Yeshua [Hebrew], Joshua or Jesus as most know him by. While Matthew traces Jesus’ line back to Abraham through King David giving Him the legal right to the throne; the Gospel of Luke traces it back through David to Adam giving Jesus the “blood right” to be the kinsman redeemer of mankind. This was very important because as I stated in a prior writing, “The Introduction To Matthew”, Israel had at this point seen its share of “would-be” messiahs. So they would carefully scrutinize everyone who made such claims.
One of the ways they could eliminate false messiahs was by checking their lineage. They had very meticulous records, which were stored in the temple. Other ways were by the more than three hundred prophecies about the coming messiah, all of which Jesus fulfilled. However by the time the true messiah, Jesus had come they were so entrenched in their self-righteousness and religious ritual that they did not want the messiah that God had for them, at least not the way God planned it. They wanted physical deliverance from the rule of Rome, not spiritual deliverance from the bondage of sin.
Another interesting thing about the genealogy is that there are four women listed. This was unusual for that time because they always listed genealogies by the male line. In that culture at that time women were second class citizens. In many cultures today women are still viewed that way. It has been Christianity and the Christian culture that has done the most to elevated women to equal status. Also the fact that two of them are gentile women is very significant. In Deuteronomy 7:3 the LORD forbids the inter-marriage of the Israelites with other non-Jewish peoples. The reason for that was He needed a people separated unto Him to keep the bloodline of the Messiah pure, uncorrupted by the events in Genesis chapter six but that is another story. See my article titled “The Nephilim”.
Now even though there was sin involved with these women and in the relationships which led to our LORD’s genealogy, God can still restore you and use you. The women that are included in Jesus’ genealogy are as follows; Tamar who played the harlot to get pregnant by her father-in-law, Rahab was a prostitute and a gentile, Ruth was a gentile, and Bathsheba who was most likely scared and intimidated into adultery with king David. It just goes to show you the grace and mercy of God no matter what has gone on in your life,
When I was pondering this portion and wondering what the LORD wanted me to share about it that Matthew 12:20 came to mind. “A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoking flax He will not quench, till He sends forth victory. And in His name Gentiles will trust.“ These women were bruised and their fires were going out. Were you ever walking along and came across a group of beautiful flowers just beginning to open up and see that one of them had been bent over, not broken through and you reached down and prop it up against some of the other stems around it thus saving it so that it may blossom fully. That is the picture here. God reaching down and propping us up so we can fully develop into what He has for us. And I think there is a God-incidence that happened here also. I was looking for something to share about these women not knowing that the end of this verse says… “And in His name Gentiles will trust.“ I think that God may have included a gentile woman in His genealogy as a foreshadow sub-sequent to Him grafting in the gentiles as the Church which He calls His bride.
Now let us take a look at verse 16 of chapter 1.We see here that the Holy Spirit is making it clear that Jesus is the son of Mary and not Joseph. The words here “of whom“ translated from the Greek words “ek hos“, are feminine singular and do not in any way allow for Joseph to be the natural father. The father is God and He supernaturally impregnated Mary and thus Jesus is the one and only unique Son of God.
Verse 17… Matthew here gives us a summary of the generations. Now for reasons we do not fully understand yet, the Holy Spirit leaves out some names when compared with the genealogy in the Old Testament. It is interesting the names that do get left out but that is a good little study for extra credit. Jeremiah 22:30 and 1st Chronicles 3:19 will get you started in that direction.
Verse 18… Here the Holy Spirit is again showing that Jesus was born of Mary. Notice “after” Mary was engaged but “before” they came together. This implies that later they did come together as husband and wife. This puts what some churches teach; that Mary was a perpetual virgin contrary to the Scriptures. Later in chapter twelve we will see that Jesus had brothers and sisters and also in the Gospel of Mark3:31 and Luke 1:14, 8:19 they are mentioned. However the fact that God chose her to be the one to birth the Messiah gives her a special place in church history. Also of note here in verse eighteen we find that Mary is with child.
Verse 19… Now according to the law Joseph had the right to “divorce” Mary. That is because what we call engagement is in their culture legally binding and takes a bill of divorcement to end. Also under the law, the fact that Mary was pregnant if not by Joseph would be considered adultery and was punishable by a public stoning.
Now let us put ourselves in Joseph’s shoes. He is going along in life, he is engaged to be married, business is good, and he has a couple of donkeys in the garage, when all of a sudden he finds out that his fiancé is pregnant. We are not sure when Mary told him but shortly after her visitation by the angel Gabriel, if we read in Luke chapters one and two we find out that she goes to her relative Elizabeth’s for three months. So whether or not she told him before or after she went to see Elizabeth we do not know. Either way, he gets the news. “Hi honey how are you? How is your day going? Oh did I mention that I am pregnant, but it is okay it is by the Holy Spirit..”
Now that has got to be pretty hard to swallow. However “Joseph being a just man, not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privately….” . We can see by the text that Joseph does not quite buy her story but he wants to show mercy to Mary. And you know God desires mercy and He wants to show us mercy, which He does on a daily basis. The entire world deserves and is under judgment and the fact that He has not judged the world already shows His mercy.
Verse 20… So Joseph is wrestling with this situation, maybe he is fasting and praying and somewhere along the line he falls asleep. Have you ever been struggling with an issue that is so serious it consumes you mentally and emotionally to the point of exhaustion and you finally just have to shut your brain off and fall asleep? You see I think Joseph loved Mary and because he was a “just” man was torn between what was right, [subjecting her to the law], or sending her away privately. It always seems easier to do nothing than to stand for what is right but the results of doing nothing are what you see in our society today. And because we do not nip things in the bud, the resulting problems are worst than the ones we think we are avoiding. That is why people do not get involved or are afraid to speak out against evil or testify in court against criminals, it is easier. That is one of the reasons we are losing the morality battle.
Getting back to the story, Joseph is really struggling and you know when we need the LORD He will send us help and when we seek direction He will guide us. So if you are going through something, right now, know that the LORD
is with you and in his time He will come through. As it says in Luke 11:9-10…“And I say unto you, Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives; and he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks it will be opened.“ As we continue in verse twenty, the angel tells him not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife because her pregnancy is of the Holy Spirit. In Verse 21 the angel says… “you shall call His name Jesus.“ This is the Greek form of Joshua, which means “God saved.” It is interesting that the definition is past tense. Our salvation was accomplished in a sense by God before the foundation of the world. Ephesians 1:4says… “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.“ Other verses in the New Testament speak of things as though they have already occurred. Ephesians 2:4 says… “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in the heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus,“.
Verse 22… The New Testament is constantly affirming that the Old Testament is the Word of God. Matthew keeps giving us verses from it whenever Jesus, or events surrounding Him fulfill prophecy. Jesus has fulfilled over three hundred prophecies from the Old Testament about the coming Messiah.
Verse 23… So l let us take a look at this one that is from Isaiah 7:14. Now the Holy Spirit has left out the first part of the verse when it is given by Mathew. The part He leaves out says “Therefore the LORD Himself will give you a sign.“Throughout history man has sought to change the word of God to fit their own ideas of what they want God to be and they try to deny the miraculous. In the Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1946 they translated the word for virgin which is “almah” as virgin; and by 1952 they revised it to read young maiden because of their unbelief. This however would not be a sign. Back then, as well as today “young maidens” get pregnant all the time; it is unfortunate but true because most of the pregnancies are out of the bonds of marriage.
Some two to three hundred years before Jesus came there was a group of seventy Hebrew Scholars who translated the Old Testament into Greek and the word they used for the Hebrew word “almah” was “parthenos” which is the word Matthew used and there is no other definition for this Greek word but virgin in the purest sense.
Verse 24… So Joseph is awakened and does as the LORD wills and goes ahead and gets married. It is interesting the phrase the Holy Spirit uses which was,“took to him his wife.“ As I mentioned earlier once they were engaged they were legally married however they would not consummate their marriage until a year of preparation had gone by. In Joseph’s case it was a little different. Let us look at verse twenty-five.
Verse 25… So the way the words read here it is obvious that Joseph did not know her, that is have normal sexual relations with her, until after Jesus was born. You cannot get around it. In fact, let us look at Matthew 12:46-50 “While He was still talking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers stood outside, seeking to speak with Him. Then one said to Him, look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You. But He answered and said to the one who told Him, ‘who is My mother? And who are My brethren? And He stretched forth His hand toward His disciples, and said, ‘here are My mother and My brothers! ‘For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven, are My brother, and sister, and mother.“
It is plain to see that Jesus is making the point that His real family are those who do the will of the Father in contrast to His natural family, ” mother, brother, and sister.” The doctrine that Mary remained a perpetual virgin and never had any children are simply not true. And those who teach such things are deceived or worse, they know what they are teaching and are deliberately doing so. They seek to elevate Mary to be equal to Jesus. Some of titles they have given her are, “Co-redemtris”, “Mediatrix”, “Queen of Heaven,” and many other descriptions of her attributes and capabilities that do not line up with the Bible. These are false doctrines invented by man. Mary can not mediate anything for you and she definitely cannot help in any way to save you. 2nd Timothy 2:5 say… “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus…”. She was just a special woman whom God chose to bear the Messiah.
Research on the meaning and tenses of Greek and Hebrew words can be pursued at the following site: www.blueletterbible.org