Matthew Chapter 1

PURPOSE

The purpose of this lesson is to help you to know what the Book of Matthew teaches us.  This is basically a scripture study where each scripture will be analyzed.

THE LESSON

The book of Matthew was written by the Matthew, Jesus' disciple. Though the author of the book is not named, many clues give evidence of Matthews authorship.

Matthew was written between about A.D. 50 and 60 based on the evidence in the book itself.

The purpose of the book of Matthew is twofold.

  1. To show the Jews that Jesus is indeed the Messiah that they were promised in their scriptures.
  2. To provide insight into the Kingdom of God

We note that Matthew uses many references to Hebrew Scripture (our Old Testament Scriptures). It also contains many Jewish overtones (in regards to descriptions and phrases). Matthew uses the phrases, "Kingdom of God" and "Kingdom of Heaven" throughout his gospel.

Note that the terms "Kingdom of God" and "Kingdom of Heaven" are used interchageably in Matthew and in the other gospels.

The Genealogy:  1:1-16

See also the following scriptures

  • Luke 3:23-38 (Parallel)
  • Ruth 4:18-22 (Part of the genealogy)
  • 1 Chronicles 2:1-15 (note the different spelling of Salmon as Salma.  Also called Sala in Luke 3:32)

You could read about each person in the genealogy of Jesus to determine what his or her history tells us.  We are not going to do that in this lesson.

The genealogies of Luke and Matthew are different.  Matthew omits some names.  This was not uncommon where significant generations were included and insignificant (not so famous) generations were omitted.

It is also believed that Matthew could have omitted some names to generate the three groups of fourteen generations or in order to make the genealogy easier to remember.

The name of David calculated to the number of Fourteen.  Letters in Greek and Hebrew were also used as numbers.  Therefore each word or name would have a corresponding number.  The Jews would count the numerical values of word and develop meaning for it.

Dividing history into eras such as this was common.

Genealogies were important for the first century Jews.

  1. It proved they were Israelites
  2. Identified a person’s tribe
  3. Qualified Jews for specific religious service (Levites and Priests for example)

Verse 16

Luke and Matthew were careful not to make Jesus as the physical son of Joseph

The phrase “of whom was born” refers to Mary as Jesus’ mother and not Joseph as Jesus’ father.

Jesus Called the Christ

Jesus comes from the Greek word Iesous and it means “Yahweh is salvation” or “The Lord is salvation.”  It is “Joshua” in the Septuagint and the Apocrypha.  The Hebrew form of the word is Jehoshua.  The Aramaic rendering is Yeshua.

In Acts 7:45 The KJV uses the name Jesus whereas other translations use the name “Joshua.”

In Hebrews 4:8 the KJV uses Jesus instead of Joshua as in other translations

Jehoshua, the Hebrew form of the name Jesus, was actually changed from Hoshea by Moses (See Numbers 13:8,16).

Hoshea is also rendered as Oshea in the Septuagint and Vulgate.

Hoshea means deliverer, salvation.

Hosea means deliverance

There were more than one Jesus in the Bible.

  • Jesus Barabbas:  The prisoner that was released by Pontius Pilate before Jesus of Nazareth (Jesus Christ) was crucified.
  • There was also an ancestor of Christ named Jesus (Jose in the KJV and NKJV, Joshua in the NASB, REB, NIV)
  • The KJV rendering of Joshua, the son of Nun (Acts 7:45, Hebrew 4:8)
  • Jesus Justus (Colossians 4:11)
  • Jesus, son of Mary, i.e., Jesus Christ

Jesus would have been identified something like Jesus of Nazareth Son of Joseph (John 1:45, 6:42)

The name Joseph comes from the Greek Ioseph and Hebrew Yoseph and it means “May he add” or “Let him add”  The Hebrew origin means “Jehovah has added”

The name Mary comes from the Gree Maria or Mariam (Mirjam).  The Hebrew origin is miryam and it means rebelliously or “Their rebellion” or “rebellion.”

We could say that Jesus’ earthly parents’ names add up to “Let the Lord add rebellion.”  The rebellion that they added was salvation, namely Jesus Christ.

The rebellion was against the religious system that had developed and the world system.

The word Christ comes from the Greek Christos and it means anointed.  The Hebrew origin is Messiah, which became a epithet for Jesus Christ.

Anointing signified a couple of things.

  1. God’s choice for a task
  2. God’s authority or empowerment to perform the task.

The anointed person belonged to God and was  specifically called by God for service.

All of Christ’s disciples were said to have been anointed (2 Corinthians 1:21).

Verse 18

Betrothal:  A mutual promise (binding link a contract) for a future marriage.  It was part of the marriage process in Hebrew culture.

A feast and other rituals celebrated betrothals

“Before they came together” – Before they had intercourse.  This establishes the virgin birth of Jesus

“Found with child of the Holy Spirit” –This is a statement after the fact since I doubt if Joseph would have proceeded towards divorce if he knew that God directly and divinely caused Mary’s pregnancy.

Verse 19

“To put her away”  -- This phrase actually comes from one Greek word, apoluo and it means to free fully, relieve, release, dismiss (figuratively) let die, pardon, (specifically) divorce

For the most part the word apoluo seems to indicate Joseph’s desire to pardon and release Mary from the marriage promise since it seems that she violated it (though she did not).  Strictly speaking it was divorce by I don’t think there was malice or harm intended towards Mary by Joseph.  The Bible says that he was a just man.

Some hold that being just in this case means that Joseph was adamant about following the law, and in this case the law concerning divorce.  However, being that her pregnancy would have been discovered, I don’t see how this could have been possible since the Bible says that he didn’t want to make her a public example (by law she would have been stoned).

“To make her a public example”  -- From the Greekparadeigmatizo, which means to put to open shame, expose to infamy (public disgrace).

Verse 20

Message in a dream.  Why did Joseph give credence to a dream?  Perhaps it was part of the culture to give credence to dreams.

“Son of David” – Descendant of David

Why would Joseph have been afraid to take Mary as his wife?

  • He could have been accused of having sex with her before the consummation of the marriage thus bringing judgment on himself as well

The salvation of Jesus Christ was for sin and the corresponding judgment

The first century Jew also thought of the Messiah as one who would deliver (save) them from their Roman oppressors.

Verse 21

Joseph was told to name his son JESUS. He was also told that Jesus would save His people from their sins. . The phrase "his people" comes from the Greek word Laos, which means:

  • A people (as opposed to the general populous or people as a whole, which is the Greek demos)
  • One's own populace
  • People group
  • Tribe
  • Nation
  • All those who are of the same stock and language

We can say that Jesus Christ will save Christians (the believers) from their sins (the penalty of sin, which is death. See Romans 6:23). The word save in the above verse should be placed in the context of the Christian group and not in some group that belongs to God before the people of that group are saved. The later would imply that there are people that belong to God whom God will call and therefore save. The remaining people do not belong to God and therefore cannot be saved. This is not the case; though one might see something like that in the above verse in the fact that Jesus told the religious leaders that they were of their father the Devil (John 8:44). This concept is related to the concepts of predestination and election, which is not covered in this study.

Verses 22-23

Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14

Some say that the word ”virgin” in Isaiah 7:14 means maiden and therefore does not prophecy that Jesus would be born of a virgin.  However, when the OT Scriptures were translated into Greek (the Septuagint), the Hebrew translators used the Greek word corresponding to virgin not maiden.  Therefore, we can say with confidence that Isaiah prophesied a virgin birth for the Lord Jesus Christ.

Immanuel (Emmanuel) means “God with us”

Matthew quotes the LXX, i.e., the Septuagint (means 70 from the belief that 70 elders translated the Pentateuch to Greek)

Verse 24

Joseph did what he was told to do in the dream

When did Joseph mary Mary?  The wording of this scripture is interesting.

Matthew 1:24-25 (NKJV) Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.

It appears that Joseph married Mary before Jesus was born but didn’t have sexual intercourse with Mary until after Jesus was born.

Question:  What happened at the consummation of their marriage?  Their situation was very interesting because having an illegitimate child was serious in this culture.

The general marriage wedding ceremony was as follows.

  1. Groom and friends go to the bride’s home
  2. The Groom, friends, and the bride travel to the groom’s home.  This was usually done at night after partying at the bride’s home
  3. The couple would be ushered to the bridal chamber where they would have sex and consummate the marriage.  Bloodstains on the sheets would indicate that she was a virgin.  The guests waited outside of the bridal chamber.
  4. The wedding party could go on for a week.

The bloodstained sheets could be used as evidence in the event the husband detests his wife and accuses her of not being a virgin in order to divorce her.  The parents could produce the sheets, which would settle the matter and the husband would have to pay a fine and not be allowed to divorce her.  The wife could not initiate a divorce.

Therefore, to answer the question, when Mary and Joseph did get married then they would have produced bloodstained sheets in theory.  However, this might not have been the case from a medical perspective.  No data for their marriage is given.  We do know that there was quiet ridicule about Jesus as being a bastard (See John 8:41).  This evidently followed him his entire life.  He was accused of being conceived out of wedlock.  It appears that some might have believed that Jesus was not really Joseph’s earthly father and that Mary had sex with someone else before here betrothal to Joseph or perhaps afterwards if that were possible.

A betrothal was as good as being married.  It also required a divorce to dissolve the betrothal.

QUESTIONS

The answer to all of the below questions are contained in the text of this lesson. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or need clarification (pastor@pursuingthetruth.org).

  1. What other Gospel contains the genealogy of Jesus Christ?
  2. Why do you suppose the other genealogy is different then Matthew's genealogy?
  3. What happened when Joseph discovered that Mary was pregnant (What was he thinking)?
  4. What did the angel of the Lord tell Joseph to name his child?
  5. How did Mary conceive based on what Matthew tells us?
  6. What do the names Jesus, Mary, and Joseph mean?
  7. Do you remember the Hebrew and Greek renderings of the above names? What are they?
  8. What do the words Emmanuel and Immanuel mean?
  9. Describe a typical Jewish wedding?
  10. Why was the genealogy important to the first century Jew?
  11. How did Matthew (and Luke) identify Joseph in terms of being his father? What about Mary?
  12. Who was the book of Matthew primarily written for?
  13. About when was the book of Matthew Written?
  14. How many chapters are in the book of Matthew?
  15. What does the word "Christ" mean?
  16. What is the Hebrew and Greek rendering of the word "Christ?"
  17. What does the word anointing mean?
  18. Why do you suppose Joseph did not divorce Mary?
  19. What salvation would Jesus bring?
  20. Who are "His people" in Matthew 1:21 referring to?
  21. Who wrote the book of Matthew?
  22. When did Joseph and Mary wed?
  23. Was the wedding consumated in the traditional way? Why or why not?
By: 
William R. Cunningham