The Scriptorium

Unto Us a Child Is Born

Matthew 1 swings wide the door for Immanuel's coming. Matthew 1

Matthew 1: Immanuel (7)

Pray Psalm 66.13-16.
I will go into Your house with burnt offerings;
I will pay You my vows,
Which my lips have uttered
And my mouth has spoken when I was in trouble.
I will offer You burnt sacrifices of fat animals,
With the sweet aroma of rams;
I will offer bulls with goats. Selah
Come and hear, all you who fear God,
And I will declare what He has done for my soul.

Sing joyfully Psalm 66.13-16.
(Regent Square: Angels from the Realms of Glory)
To Your house we come with off’rings, what we vowed, Lord, help us do.
O, receive our praise and homage as we give ourselves to You.
Come and listen, all who fear Him: hear what this great God can do!

Read aloud and meditate on Matthew 1.

Prepare.
1. How does Matthew show us that the story of Jesus begins in the Old Testament?

2. This chapter assigns four titles to Jesus. What are they?

Meditate.
Matthew 1 opens the door to the New Testament. It is a hinge on an Old Testament door frame. Thus it enables us to look back and look ahead at the same time.

As we read this chapter, the saying about the Scriptures – sometimes attributed to Augustine – comes alive which goes, “The New is in the Old concealed; the Old is by the New revealed.” Matthew pulls forward, in summary form, important aspects of Old Testament history, literature, and narrative, and deposits them in Jesus. He teaches us that the Old Testament has one guiding purpose – to direct our hearts and hopes to Jesus. And he makes it clear that this is his purpose as well: to introduce us to the God Who has come to be with us always, even to the end of the age.

While his was not the first written gospel – Mark probably has that distinction – the placement of Matthew’s in the canon of Scripture lays down a cornerstone for the next generation of revelation – that of the apostles. Following the lead of Matthew’s gospel, the rest of the New Testament looks back to Jesus in the Old Testament and in His incarnation, and forward to His coming, when we shall realize in full the promise of His being with us always. Matthew reminds us that every word of Scripture matters – even the genealogies – and that what God has spoken in the past will be fulfilled in His time. The rest of the New Testament follows suit.

Here, at the beginning of the New Testament, we gain insight into how God carries out His eternal plan to “save His people from their sins” (v. 21). He intervenes into history, coming to the world in the form of a Man, to bring the reign of sin to an end and inaugurate the day of salvation. History takes on a new aspect from this moment on, as God works through faithful people to establish His Presence and rule on earth, as it is in heaven.

For in Jesus Christ, Son of David and Son of Abraham – Immanuel – God has come to be with His people, and to accomplish all His Word for their salvation. All the disappointments of the past will be replaced with renewed hope; and all the promises of the ages will be put within reach for those who believe, to lay hold on them here, now, and forever. Matthew’s announcement comes like the good news of a Roman runner, breathlessly declaring the evangelion that a great war has been won and a mighty empire has been overthrown and plundered. The Seed of the woman has arrived at last; Immanuel is among us for salvation!

It’s a new day in the world, says Matthew the tax man. And he wants us to understand that, as exciting as this wondrous birth is, we ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Reflect.
1. How does Matthew 1 help us in understanding the Old Testament?

2. What do we learn from Matthew 1 about the role of people in God’s plan for salvation?

3. What do you learn from Matthew 1 to help you know more of God’s Presence with you always?

Do not speculate beyond the text. Do not require of it something more than what it simply says. Do not ask, “But precisely how was it that the Spirit accomplished this in a virgin?” For even when nature is at work, it is impossible fully to explain the manner of the formation of the person. How then, when the Spirit is accomplishing miracles, shall we be able to express their precise causes?
John Chrysostom (344-407), Gospel of Matthew, Homily 4.3

Let me know You with me today, O Immanuel Jesus, that I may be faithful to obey You and bold to…

Pray Psalm 66.1-12.
Thank God for the coming of Immanuel! Praise His Name, and rejoice in Him! Ask Him to give you someone to whom you can proclaim this Good News today.

Sing Psalm 66.1-12.
Psalm 66.1-12 (Regent Square: Angels from the Realms of Glory)
Shout for joy to God, all people, sing the glory of His Name!
Give Him glorious praise and say, “How great Your pow’r and great Your fame!
All the earth shall worship gladly as they praise Your glorious Name!”

Great and awesome is our Savior in the works which He has done.
He the sea and river dried to let His people cross as one.
Then our joy was great to worship Him our mighty, sovereign One.

He the nations watches ever – all you rebels, humbled be.
Bless our God, all men and nations, praise His Name eternally!
He preserves our souls, and He will keep His paths beneath our feet.

You have tried us, Lord, as silver, and have brought us into nets,
made us carry heavy burdens, let men trample o’er our heads.
But through all Your grace sustained us and has brought us through to rest.

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