Monday 16 September 2013

Bible Book:

Matthew 1:18-25 Monday 16 September 2013


The first chapter of Matthew's Gospel makes it quite clear thatthe coming of Jesus into the world was no mere accident. Thegenealogy of 42 generations (Matthew 1:1-17) is followed by verses 18 to 25and a narrative that reinforces the significance of the birth ofJesus. In these verses Matthew's Gospel sets out the Jesus agenda,as revealed in the names that are given to or associated with thenew-born child.

The first of these names is "Jesus". Two thousand years on,perhaps we have almost become too familiar with the name. Jesusmeans 'saviour'. It is the Greek version of the Hebrew Joshua -'the Lord saves'. In a special way, just being called Jesus isalmost a wishing-in of the Messianic age. Many Jews expected theMessiah to usher in a new order; and that new way of living wouldbe preceded by the removal of sin. The Messiah would save peoplefrom their sins. So for the angel to tell Joseph to name his sonJesus is very significant indeed. The association of Jesus with'Christ' (the Greek for 'Messiah' or 'anointed one') simply servesto reinforce the importance.  All leaders needs to have apurpose, and the agenda for Jesus is set by his very name.

The other name that Matthew's Gospel associates with the as yetunborn baby is 'Emmanuel'. The Old Testament reference is Isaiah7:10-17, and the sign that is given to Ahaz was the promise,through the birth of a son, that God was faithful. What Isaiah wassaying was that God's presence is not to be found in the temple,but a living presence with people. Immanuel means "God with us" (v.23), and for the Gospel to make this so explicit at such an earlypoint in the story is very significant.

In a few verses, the baby to be born is given his life's purpose(saving people from their sins) and the power to achieve it (Godwith us). Will such a leader, now named Jesus, live up to suchpromises?

To Ponder

  • Which name for Jesus best describes the relationship that youhave with him today - Messiah, Saviour, Emmanuel, or another?
  • God has a purpose for your life today, and tomorrow. Thinkabout what it might be.
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