Saturday, April 20, 2019 -
We had a great Bible study this afternoon, and we began to study the book of Matthew. There were eight of us all together today - - a record for the weekly Bible study! I had prepared for the first four chapters, but we never got out of chapter one, and that was spent mostly going through Jesus’ genealogy, which was through Joseph’s line. I had never given it any thought, but Luke’s genealogy, which is Mary’s, intersects at King David, from whom all the promises of the Messiah emanate!
We looked in more depth at some of the “flawed” characters in Jesus’ genealogy, and the flawed relationships that resulted in the birth of those ancestors. Matthew’s genealogy also includes several women, which is unusual. It includes Tamar, Judah’s daughter-in-law who disguised herself as a prostitute in order to lure Judah to having sex with her, resulting in a child, Perez, who was an ancestor of Jesus. Then there was Rahab, a gentile and a harlot, to whom was born Obed, the great grandfather of King David. Not only that, Obed was born to Ruth, another gentile - - a Moabite!
The interesting point of Joseph and Mary’s family tree was indeed David but through different mothers. Joseph’s line included Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah whom David lusted and slept with, resulting in God’s wrath, judgment, and a truly contrite heart of David once the prophet Nathan was led by God to point the finger at King David. David repented not just of his lust, and his adultery, but his murder of Uriah (after trying unsuccessfully to cover his tracks). Read Psalm 51 for David’s prayer of repentance. The point is, God can turn around and use any situation for His purpose - - even when we sin in defiance of God.
Solomon, David and Bathsheba’s son, who David divinely appointed as his successor even though he wasn’t the oldest of his sons, had his share of problems. He started out well, but the fame and his pride got the best of him. Pride, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of wealth became his downfall. Solomon wholly repented and wrote the book of Ecclesiastes so that we might learn from his mistakes. But Solomon, too, with all his faults, was in the line of the Messiah.
Also in Jesus’s line there in Matthew 1 are listed the evil kings of Judah: Rehoboam (II Chron. 12:3-14), Jehoram (II Chron. 21:4-7), Ahaz (II Chron. 28:2-4, 22-25), Manasseh (II Chron. 33:4-9), Amon (II Chron. 33:22-23), and Jeconiah (II Chron. 36:5-9). It was at this point God had said “enough!” Yet all of these men were in the ancestry of Jesus.
The point is, God, can use anyone for His purpose and His service - - no matter what we’ve done. He merely wants us to be like David, with a truly contrite heart when we recognize our own sinful nature.
And with that background, God sent His Son into the world through a young virgin - - Mary, who was found pregnant by the Holy Spirit. We spoke at some length about the Holy Spirit’s role, and how He had been present since the creation, and how when Jesus left for heaven at His ascension, he left the Holy Spirit to indwell us.
We also spoke extensively about how the Jews, to whom Matthew was written, who were looking for a Messiah Who would rule over them, likely in a way in which He would overthrow the occupying Romans. Yet Matthew 1:21 is very clear why God sent the Messiah: “He will SAVE His people from their sins.” That is our Redeemer’s sole purpose. The Jews did not carefully read their own Scriptures, which Matthew clearly brings out throughout His account of Jesus’ life. He uses the word “fulfillment” 15 times regarding the Old Testament prophecy. And he quotes the Old Testament Scriptures a total of 129 pages throughout the gospel! He clearly reveals how the religious and pious Jewish leaders got it all wrong!
There were other topics of discussion, as well, and the men all seemed to really get into it! They seem to love studying God’s Word, and it is such a joy and privilege to lead them in studying it. There were two who were there as first-timers, both men I’ve been praying for - - one since December! Today, particularly as a result of everyone’s prayers, I could really sense that God is beginning to move here in our unit. Thank you for continuing to pray! I thank the Lord for the opportunity to help speak into the lives of these men.