02 January 2010

Bible in a Year: Day Two

Today's Bible Reading:
Matthew 1-2

Beginning from Abraham, Matthew gives the lineage of ancestors that leads up to Jesus.  At the end of Chapter One, he recounts of Mary being with child through the Holy Spirit according to the prophecy.  Then he tells of an angel visiting Joseph to tell him about the coming birth of Jesus. 

In Chapter Two, wise men from the east visit King Herod in Jerusalem having followed a star pointing them toward the newborn King of the Jews.  The scribes revealed that he would be born in Bethlehem, so Herod told the wise men to find him and come back to Herod so he could go "worship him."  Once the wise men found Jesus and gave their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, God told them in a dream to not return to Herod (who had other plans than to worship the new King); they then told Joseph and Mary to take Jesus to Egypt to escape Herod's wrath.  Herod in the meantime had every child under two years old in Bethlehem killed.  After Herod's death, Joseph and his family returned to live in Nazareth.

What I knew
Though Luke 2 is the most often read Christmas story, Matthew also has an important account that reveals a lot of the prophecy being fulfilled.  It is also the place where the wise men and their gifts are mentioned, as well as the angel coming to Joseph and Herod having the babies killed in Bethlehem.
What I learned
Something I sort of knew before but had forgotten about was in 1:17 when Matthew, from the genealogy he gave, shows that there were 14 generations from Abraham to David, 14 generations from David until Israel was held captive in Babylon, and 14 generations from then until Jesus' birth.

Doctrinal Significance
The virgin birth of Jesus is one of the most important doctrines of Christianity.  In Matthew 1 and 2, we find a lot of prophecies that were fulfilled in Jesus' birth, including historical events, His lineage, the way He was born, the location of His birth, and the events immediately following His birth.  His birth is the beginning of the culmination of much of the Messianic prophecies from the Old Testament.  That so many are fulfilled in Jesus is far more than mere chance.

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