Monday, January 2, 2023

MOBC New Testament 2023

Welcome to the Mt. Olive Baptist Church New Testament Read-through for 2023! 

Our read-through-the-New Testament plan starts here: Matthew 1:1-2:12

And some thoughts:

Good morning and Happy New Year! We are starting off 2023 with the goal of reading through the New Testament and Proverbs this year.

We’re going to start by tackling the Gospel of Matthew. If you have a study Bible, you can look at the information about authorship and audience for the Gospel’s original intention. For our purposes, we will stick with the tradition that Matthew was written by Matthew the Apostle, also known as Levi. He was called by Jesus from his work as a tax collector (Matthew 9 includes this event) and church tradition suggests to us that he was killed for his faith in Jesus.

He starts with the genealogy of Jesus, tracing the heritage of the Messiah back from Abraham down. That gives the placement of the Incarnation in the overall context of God’s work in the life of the world through the people of Israel. It also establishes Jesus’ lineage as heir to the throne of David.

These kinds of things are often considered less important by those of us who live in democratic nations, but for the 1st Century, this was a big deal. Further, the connections are noted throughout the changes in Israel’s life. Special note should be taken of the women mentioned explicitly in the life of Jesus. None of them matched the “ideal” of the era--and likely would never be featured as “ideal” Biblical women by some even today.

The passage does not stop with the genealogy, though, but goes on to record one of the two birth narratives of Jesus. Matthew gives us the story of the angel appearing to Joseph and the visit of the Magi, two subjects well worth your further reading.

To summarize it all, briefly, though, is this: the birth records show Jesus as the King of Israel, the Virgin Birth shows Jesus as fully human, and the visit of the Magi reminds us that He is with not only Israel but all humanity.

As Matthew 1:23 reminds us: He is called Emmanuel, which means “God with us.”

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