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Sep 7, 2019

There was a rather important shift in Israel’s religious life that happened with David and his plans for temple worship rather than the older pattern of worship at the Tabernacle: It was that the priests and Levites were re-organized into groups appropriate to the new state of affairs, and no longer strictly based on the original family lines. This reordering was still in effect in the beginning of the New Testament, where we read that Zechariah was a member of the priestly division of Abijah. So we have precedent for not always ‘doing it’ the way it was done in the past.

Today’s highlighted verse:

Pro. 21:30 GNT Human wisdom, brilliance, insight—they are of no help if the Lord is against you.

Matthew’s Gospel was perhaps written as early as 50 AD, and some material was based on Mark’s Gospel. Matthew was probably written by Levi Matthew, the tax collector and the disciple of Jesus. He does not identify himself (similarly to John in John’s Gospel), but if he did, he would have started to do so in chapter 9.

It is clear that Matthew was written for the Jewish audience, and indeed, at the time it was written, the Gospel had not yet gone far among the non-Jews. Again and again Matthew points to fulfillments of Scripture. And at times, especially near the end, he does not bother to use the words “This fulfilled …” but just includes a couple of words that would have been obvious allusions to Scripture for his audience.  An odd feature of this gospel is that sometimes ‘one’ thing or person in other Gospels switches to ‘two’ in Matthew. My own original opinion on that feature is this: Every assertion according to the Law needed to be maintained by at least two witnesses. At the times 1 becomes 2, I think Matthew is dropping the hint that he was an eyewitness.

I saved Matthew for the last of the Gospels to be read in our reading calendar because I wanted to group together several New Testament books written to the Jewish audience.

Today we will hear the genealogy of Jesus. [CORRECTION:] Many commentators think that Matthew traces Jesus’ genealogy through Joseph, while Luke traces through Mary. There are hidden treasures to look for in both genealogies.

GNT Translation note:
Mat. 1:18 This was how the birth of Jesus Christ took place. His mother Mary was engaged to Joseph, but before they were married, she found out that she was going to have a baby [supernaturally caused] by the Holy Spirit.
[The meaning is not that the Holy Spirit told Mary about her pregnancy, but that she conceived the baby by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit can rightly be called the Father of the baby, but this was not fathership through a sexual union of any sort with God the Spirit.]