MATTHEW’S ACCOUNT OF THE BIRTH OF JESUS
Matthew’s account of the birth of Jesus is not the one we typically read at Christmas, so it’s a good one to read when it’s not Christmas, as we are starting The Bible Project.
Matthew’s account is not like the song, “Silent Night, Holy Night, all is calm, all is bright.” No, Matthew tells of family scandal in Matthew 1. Joseph learns Mary is pregnant and has no reason or prior experience that would lead him to believe her story of the birth being “through the Holy Spirit,” and neither would their busybody neighbors have reason to believe Mary’s likely story (1:18-19).
Matthew moves from a domestic scandal, turning to political scandal in chapter 2. Here Matthew tells about political power plays and atrocities. We get this fine picture of Magi bringing gifts, but we often skip or miss the international espionage of the story. The Jewish King Herod is so threatened by a poor family’s baby he sends troops to kill babies around the same age, to try and get Jesus.
When Jesus becomes king, when as Andre Resner says, “God breaks decisively into the world, it always causes turmoil, great joy, profound misunderstanding, defensive posturing of people in powerful places, dividing even households against one another, and forcing unprecedented and lifelong decisions of faith.”
Resner continues: “Having Christmas at Matthew’s house, we aren’t completely surprised if we experience such upheaval ourselves, but over-awed, humbled, and expectant that in such times of tumult God is acting in ways that will forever change the way humans have viewed Him.
Lord, help us to see Jesus not as a baby but as one who entered decisively into the world as one who is eternal and wanted to step into time as “Immanuel,” God with us, and show us how much you truly care about us.
Write down in your calendar, journal, or even a to-do list some emotions you want God to help you with: anger, stress, fear, anxiety, worry. How does God entering our world change and address our human emotions, and how can writing these into our day and seeing how God is addressing them change our lives?
Greg Taylor is the preacher for THE JOURNEY: A NEW GENERATION CHURCH OF CHRIST. He’s been with the church since 2005 and has preached since 2009. Greg’s wife, Jill, teaches math at Broken Arrow High School and Tulsa Community College. Greg and Jill have three adult children, Ashley, Anna, and Jacob. Greg is the author of many books, including his latest co-authored with Randy Harris, Daring Faith: Meeting Jesus in the Book of John.