The Scriptorium

Long Time Coming

With Matthew's gospel, the promised Messiah arrives. Matthew 1.1

Matthew 1: Immanuel (1)

Pray Psalm 22.23-25.
You who fear the LORD, praise Him!
All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him,
And fear Him, all you offspring of Israel!
For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted;
Nor has He hidden His face from Him;
But when He cried to Him, He heard.
My praise shall be of You in the great assembly;
I will pay My vows before those who fear Him.

Sing joyously Psalm 22.23-25.
(Darwall: Rejoice, the Lord is King)
All you who fear the Lord, now praise His holy Name!
You children of His glorious Word, declare His fame!
We stand in awe of our eternal God, and on His mercy call.

For He has not despised the anguish of our King,
Nor from Him hid His eyes, Who knew such suffering.
Let praise arise from all who love and serve the Ruler of the skies!

Read Matthew 1; meditate on Matthew 1.1.

1. How many different ways is Jesus described in this verse?

2. What is a genealogy, and why do we need to have a genealogy of Jesus?

The Gospel of Matthew is aptly placed at the beginning of the New Testament. From the beginning, it reaches back into Old Testament revelation to reconnect with God’s covenant and to bring forward those precious and very great promises, to demonstrate how they are all fulfilled in Jesus.

Verse 1 is an ascending genealogy in summary. It begins with Jesus and works back through David then Abraham – the one to whom God outlined the promises of His covenant, including the promise that all the families of the earth will be blessed (Gen. 12.1-3). The theme of this book is clearly and boldly stated: Jesus the Christ, the Anointed One of God. Matthew declares his proposition at the beginning, and he will support that claim with Old Testament revelation and the teaching and works of Jesus. The promised Messiah has been a long time coming, but the Good News from Matthew is that He has finally arrived.

The early chapters of Matthew’s gospel are reminiscent of the early chapters of Genesis. Here is a genealogy – a toledoth – many of which appear in Genesis from chapter 5 on. A man and woman become the object of God’s attention and favor, as in Genesis 1 and 2. God communicates with the man, to reveal His will, not unlike God did with Adam in Genesis 2. A promise of life (salvation) is given, as was true for the couple in the garden in Eden.

But from this point on, the similarities end. Adam disobeyed; Joseph obeyed. Eve lost a son; Mary gained an eternal Son and Savior. Blessing was forfeit; now blessing will be secured. Sin entered the world; through Jesus Christ, sin will be destroyed. The garden was lost; a world of lost sinners, and the entire creation, are to be gained.

Jesus is immediately set forth as the Son of David – thus, heir to the Davidic promise of an eternal Kingdom – and the Son of Abraham – the One Who brings the promises to their full realization. If you were a Jew, living in the first century, and you heard someone read this one verse aloud, you would gasp, your heart rate would increase, you would turn your ears to hear, and as the rest of the “book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ was read”, your mind will fill either with hope or with hate. And as we shall see, there’s no middle ground when Jesus is in focus. People either find Him a source of great hope, or an object of great hatred.

Let’s pray that, as we work our way through Matthew’s gospel, our hope will be greatly enlarged, and we will be emboldened like Joseph and Mary to be vessels through whom the exceeding great and precious promises of God in Jesus Christ may come to realization in our time.

1. Why are David and Abraham so central to the story of the Old Testament?

2. What is the effect of directly connecting Jesus with David and Abraham?

3. What does “Christ” mean? Why do you suppose Matthew wanted that title in the very first verse of his gospel?

He is before the centuries and of one substance with the Father himself, from the standpoint of eternity. But by this genealogy he is also numbered among the families of humanity according to the flesh. For in truth, while remaining God, Christ became man without ceasing to be God, unaltered till the end of time.
Severus (488-538), Cathedral Sermons, Homily 94

Thank You, Father, for sending Jesus Christ for my salvation. Help me to live for Him today as I…

Pray Psalm 22.27-31.
Immanuel came among us to reconcile the world to God; now He sends us to restore that reconciled world by the Good News of the Gospel. Pray that these verses will light your path and focus your activities for the day ahead.

Sing Psalm 22.28-31.
Psalm 22.28 (Darwall: Rejoice, the Lord is King)
All nations shall repent and hasten to the Lord;
All those to whom His truth is sent shall praise His Word.
The Lord is King!  His sovereign rule on high now we His people sing!

Psalm 22.29-31 (Dix: For the Beauty of the Earth)
All the prosp’rous of the earth shall before His mercy fall;
Bending low before His worth, hear them humbly on Him call.
Even those low in the grave He will by His mercy save.

Let the generations all witness to His saving grace;
Let them to all nations call, “Bow before His holy face!”
Let the children of the earth hear of Jesus’ saving worth!

T. M. Moore

The Gospel of Matthew will help us grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Two companion books can supplement our study of Matthew. To Know Him examines what it means to belong to Jesus and to love and serve Him (click here), while Be Thou My Vision enables us to gain an even larger perspective on Jesus (click here).

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from
The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore