Yesterday, I took on the task of beginning a study of the book of Matthew – the first book of the New Testament of the Bible. Now hear me when I say this, “I am not a scholar, nor am I a formal student.” I am simply a layperson seeking more answers than the sermon on Sunday.
I am attempting to study in the Inductive method of study in which one seeks out God’s truths in the steps of observation, interpretation, and application. I find this hard for me to do simply because I take things at face value as opposed to seeking for a deeper meaning. However, I do believe that there are much deeper meanings behind these passages than just simply reading it as some novel or textbook.
I began with the first set verses of the first chapter as one might do when beginning a study. And of course, I already want to quit. It is a genealogy – a list of “the son of”‘s. Already, I want to skip this altogether and jump to “the Sermon on the Mount” where I can dig out some gems, but these first 17 verses are put here for a reason. This list would not be included if there was not some multi-purposed message to observe, interpret, and apply to God’s people. So I read it and searched out the reason for why this particular set of “son of”‘s is here. And it was revealed to me, not just me, but to anyone seeking it out.
The reason Matthew included this genealogy was to show Jesus’ pedigree, that He is from the lineage of King David and from the lineage of Abraham. Therefore, He is of the nation of family out of which the promised Messiah was to come from. He is the long-awaited King, the great Blessing of the world, our Savior. And by going through the lineage, Matthew is saying to his audience and readers, “He is the King we have been waiting for!”
In Matthew, the lineage is written from Abraham down according to the genealogies recorded in the beginning of the Chronicles. The Chronicles were written to those who were rebuilding Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity, which were from Judah. They recorded their religious and national heritage and history showing its unbroken connection with Abrahamic covenant and the Davidic covenant. Basically, the whole of the Chronicles is dedicated to the life of David. And by taking the genealogy of Christ from Chronicles, Matthew is magnifying Christ as King.
So in beginning the book of Matthew with Christ’s kingship and authority, Matthew is setting a precedent to listen to Christ, His teachings, His wonders, His signs, His walk, and see that the Savior, the Messiah, has indeed come. It sets up how I am to read and interpret the text. Ultimately, Matthew points to Jesus being the true Messiah and the object of Old Testament prophecy and expectation.
In attempting to apply what I have found, one of the resources I have on Inductive Bible study states to answer: what does the Bible teach?, does this sections of Scripture expose any error in my beliefs or in my behavior?, and what is God’s instructions to me as His child? As I have noted before, it teaches that Jesus is King. I did not know that Matthew emphasized Jesus’ kingship throughout this book, which helps when I begin looking for why Matthew may have worded a section one way or why he may have included a detail that most would probably leave out. I think that God’s instructions to me is to remember to see Jesus for who He is, King of kings.
As I go on with the rest of my day, I plan to chew on His kingship in my life.
Gotta go fill up my cup…