Fourth Suneday of Advent

Pastor's Summary of Matthew 1:18-25

Matthew has told us of Jesus' descend from David. He is the anointed ("Messiah") king God has promised. Joseph's and Mary's families ("engaged") have signed a marriage contract but Joseph has not yet taken her (v. 20) into his house. If Mosaic law on sexual relations was fully observed then, Joseph could have brought charges against her, and she could have been stoned to death ("public disgrace", v. 19) for adultery (then including pre-marital sex). Joseph, while observant of the Law ("righteous"), is compassionate: he "planned to dismiss [divorce] her quietly". God had intervened in the birth of some he has chosen--Isaac, Jacob and Samuel--but never before has he replaced the whole male role. Even so, the messenger from God points out Joseph's role: Jesus is legally descended from David through him. In Aramaic and Hebrew, "Jesus" (v. 21) and "he will save" sound similar. Matthew is keen to show that Jesus fulfills God's promise made through Isaiah (v. 22). In v. 23, the Greek word translated "virgin", parthenos, is rendered as unmarried daughter in Acts 21:9. Perhaps maiden is a better translation; it has the same range of meanings as parthenos. Through Jesus "God is with us" (v. 23) but Joseph names him Jesus, not Immanuel.

 

  September 2018  
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