Bible Commentaries
Matthew 1

Bell's Commentary on the BibleBell's Commentary

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Verses 1-25

  1. Intro: Knots in Jesus’ Family Tree
    1. If the ladies can do Christmas in July then I can do it in September.
      1. Once a year you & I go on pilgrimage to a transfigured barn, we call a Nativity, but it demands our adoration much more than a hurried annual patronage.
        1. Wouldn’t you agree the Incarnation calls for undistracted contemplation void of Christmas’ merchandise & merriment?
    1. The OT/NT Linkage - OT written over 1000 yrs, NT in 1 lifetime. The new is in the old concealed, the old is in the new revealed. [400 silent years (silent from God, but a lot happened)]
      1. OT ends with Medo-Persian empire - NT starts w/Rome in charge.
      2. OT ends with Aramaic language - NT starts with Greek language, the lingua franca of the day. [GK language, was so exact & complete, w/its tenses & cases, became the trade language everywhere. It was so imp that 70 scholars translated the OT into Gk, & that’s why it is quoted more than the Heb in NT]
      3. OT never speaks of a synagogue, then because of the captivity (where they didn’t have a temple) we hear of it often in the NT. [so now we know...]
    1. The Bridge - This book is appropriately placed at the beginning of the N.T. - right next to the O.T. - for it bridges the two.
      1. Matt. quotes from or alludes to the O.T. 129 times.
      2. He also shows fulfilled Prophecy, & that Jesus is the Messiah.
        1. This book does Not unfold Chronologically but Topically.
    1. 4 Gospels (4 diff camera angles) - Mt(Sov/King/Lord) Mrk(Servant) Lk(Son of man) Jn(Son of God)
      1. Mt (to Jews) Mrk (Romans) Lk (to Greeks) Jn (whole world). Mt (what Jesus said) Mrk (did) Lk (felt) Jn (who He was).
    2. The Author - (Matthew, aka Levi)
    3. Lets read of his conversion in Lk.5:27-32. [Jesus visits the IRS office]
      1. Tax office – This was a tax station in Capernaum on an important trade route. Tax collectors were also used to excise taxes for port duties & fishing tolls.
        1. Traveling from the Roman province to the N/E the 1st town a traveler would come to was Capernaum. Thus the tax office was placed on this busy thoroughfare.
      1. There were 2 kinds of taxes in those days: Stated Taxes & Duties.
        1. Stated Taxes – Poll Tax (all men 14-65 & women 12-65 had to pay just for being alive). Ground Tax (1/10th of all grain. 1/5th all wine/oil produced. Also a Tax on fish - which is what Capernaum was famous for). Income Tax (1% of annual income).
        2. Duties – Here was the most opportunity for abuse.
          1. These were taxes for: using roads, harbor docks, sales tax, import/ export duties. A Tax was even paid on a cart…each wheel was taxed.
          2. If you didn’t have the money to pay NO PROBLEM...they also loaned money…at an exorbitant rate.
      2. Tax collectors – Were outcasts from society.
        1. The name Tax collector always linked sinners/harlots.
        2. They collaborated w/a foreign government.
          1. The Romans collected their taxes through a system called “Tax Farming”. (like our Franchises today)
          2. They would pay the government for the right to collect taxes, & then collected far more than was really due.
          3. Known as leeches. “Gorging themselves w/money in the process of gathering money for the Caesars…” (Lockyer, All the Men of the Bible, pg.232.)
        3. They were swindlers, money-hungry, & despised.
        4. Barclay said, “So rare was honesty in the profession that a Roman writer said he once saw a monument to an honest Tax collector.
      3. ​​​​​​​​Follow me – (Levi = join or adhesion) His original name linked with the Tribe/Levi, yet he couldn’t have gotten farther away.
        1. No longer a patriot of his country. Often would have to work on the Sabbath, thus they were forbidden to enter the synagogue.
        2. Once joined to this foreign power & to crooked ways, now Levi, join Me! (did Jesus change his name, or did he change it himself?)
          1. Matthew = Gift of the Lord (Jehovah)
        3. Join me in the way, & travel with me. He asked for complete submission, but he asked for it, in fellowship. Come & travel with me; take my road, be My friend, be my companion. (Morgan)
      4. (28) James & John, Peter & Andrew could always go back to fishing…as they did later. But not for Matthew, he burned his bridges completely.
        1. He staked everything on Christ. “God never goes back on the man who stakes his all on Him.”
        2. Matthew left everything…except his Pen & Ink!!! Writing one of the most important documents of all time.
    1. After opening his Heart, he opened his Home [Matthew wanted his friends saved]
      After opening his Home, he opened his Hand.
      1. Matthew kept records by’s only fitting he would grab a pen & keep a new record. Whatever is in our hands presently...God will use:
        1. Moses/rod. David/sling shot. Peter/net. Matthew/pen.
  1. GOD COMING TO US / GENEALOGY (1-17) [2nd Part: GOD WITH US]
    1. Discovering your ancestry has become big $ [Tag Line:Discover your story in history]
      1. Now even AncestryDNA. ($99, small saliva sample, 6-8weeks, voila!)
    2. Jesus’ Foster Father’s Genealogy
    3. (1) Matthew starts by saying, Jesus is the rightful heir to the throne of Israel.
      1. Racially - thru Abraham (Ab. seed would be blest)
      2. Royally - thru David (couldn’t build God a house, but God would build a house thru him. 2 Sam.7:13) *[Luke’s genealogy shows Jesus’ genetic line thru Mary]
        1. God’s 1st announcement of the coming of the Savior was given in Gen.3:15, informing us the Savior would be a human being not an angel (her seed). Next, in Gen.12:3 He tells us He would be Jewish. Then in Gen.49:10 He wouldcome through the tribe of Judah. Now we learn here that Messiah would come through David’s family.
        1. Then Micah would add (in ch.5:2) His birth place would be in Bethlehem, so He’d be able to fill out His Passport.
        2. No wonder David gets elated (in 2 Sam.7:18-29) when he learned that Messiah would be known as the Son of David. (Mt.1:1)
      1. Since Herod destroyed all genealogies in A.D.70, There is no Jew today who can claim w/certainty & authority to be a son of Abraham & a son of David except Jesus. Here, is the only preserved genealogy in the world today.
    1. Knots in Jesus’ Family Tree
    2. (4) Women in a Genealogy?
      1. Tamar - Mentioned for those Jews proud of their male superiority.
        1. Judah - Er (God kills). Onan (levirate, coitus interuptus, killed). Wait for Shelah (Judah withholds, she plays harlot, deceives Judah. becomes preg by him. Burn Her! Opps signet/cord & staff). Zelah/scarlet & Perez/breach.
      2. Rahab - (the x-prostitute) For those proud of their sexual purity.
      3. Ruth - (Gentile/Moabite) For those proud of their racial purity.
      4. Bathsheba - For those proud of the history of their great king.
        1. Song, Air I Breathe, by Mat Kearney Is it any wonder Shame comes callin my first name
        2. Don’t ever say God can’t use you because of what you’ve done...whether 10 min. ago, or 10 yrs. ago.
          1. Tamar would say, but I’ve deceived. Rahab but I’ve got a bad reputation. Ruth but I wasn't raised a Christian.
      5. Don’t be a Scab Picker...leave the past as just that.....the Past.
      6. We say we can’t pick our relatives, but Jesus could & did. Obviously to show His incredible Love for Sinners. That’s, Good News.
    3. The stage is now set for God to do a New Thing & it would be broader than Israel.
    4. Note: vs.16 - All the begots...till Joseph is mentioned.
  1. GOD WITH US (18-25)
    1. (18) We are introduced to Mary & we try to imagine one of our sophomore girls in our High School saying, I’m pregnant, but it’s not what you think, it’s a God thing.
    2. (19) We are introduced to Joseph who takes a stand for righteousness, but he is also merciful. What a Man. What an obedient man.
    1. A brief glimpse at 3 names for Jesus: [They express: the mystery, meaning & message of the incarnation]
      1. The Mystery. A descriptive name of His earthly ministry. Immanuel/God with us
        1. *** Invite up worship team to share a new song with us.
        2. This is union of the Creator w/the creature.
        3. John Wesley died w/this on his tongue. Let us live w/it on our hearts. God is w/us.
          1. (after song) God w/us in our world, now in our lives...think about it... God can’t adequately be expressed to our world through 1 Christian mechanic, or 1 Christian nurse.
            1. Christ in us the hope of glory. Christ for me (Christ dying on the cross) Christ in me (living in my heart) Christ through me (Christ speaking by my life)
            2. God in each of us, lived out through each of us. Do we get it?
      2. The Meaning. An official name/Title. Christ - The Gk form of the Heb. Mashiach or Messiah, The Anointed one.
        1. In the O.T. 3 groups were anointed: Prophets, Priests, & Kings.
      3. The Message. His human name. Jesus - The Greek form of the Hebrew Joshua (a very popular name) Savior - His mission was to save.
        1. Mary didn’t whip out her baby book, “Oh Joseph lets call him Jesus, I just love the sound of it.” - No, it meant something...Jehovah is Salvation.
        2. All the names/titles of Jesus are sweet in the believer’s ear. Whether he be called the Husband of the Church, her Bridegroom, her Friend. Whether he be called the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, the King, the Prophet, or the Priest. Every title of our Master, Shiloh, Emmanuel, Wonderful, the Mighty Counsellor, every name is like the honeycomb dripping with honey. But if there be one name sweeter than another in the believer’s ear, it is the name of Jesus. Jesus! it is the name which moves the harps of heaven to melody. Jesus! [adapted from Spurgeon]
    1. (21) He will save His people from their sins.
    2. Which Sins will He save us from?
    3. There are many different words used for sin:
      1. Transgression (parabasis - παραβασισ) An overstepping/breaking of the law Rm2:23
      2. Iniquity (anomia - ανοµια) Lawlessness. Whether by being ignorant to it or because of violating it. 1Jn.3:4
      3. Error (plane - πλανη) A departure from righteousness. “A wandering, a forsaking of the right path.” James 5:20
      4. Trespass (paraptoma - παραπτοµα) A false step, a blunder. Lit. a fall beside. A deviation from uprightness & truth. Eph.2:1
      5. Unbelief (apistia - απιστια) Faithless, lack of faith. Rom.11:20, 3:3
      6. Sin (hamartia - αµαρτια) Missing the mark. A failure to meet the divine standards.Rom.3:23 & Mt.1:21 & our text here.
        1. No one has Hit the mark on there own. It’s impossible.
        2. Many a procrastinator counts the cost of following Jesus but fails to count the cost of NOT following Him.
        3. D.L.Moody said, To create, God had only to speak; To Redeem, He had to suffer.
    4. Man’s sin is 3-fold: Our sinful nature is enmity toward God (Rom.5:12).
      Our sinful state is the absence of Righteousness (Rom.3:21,22).
      Our sinful actions are proof, when we violate or disobey the revealed will of God (Rom.2:4-11).
      1. If you haven’t let go of your sins, you are holding onto a hand grenade w/the pin pulled out.
    5. Centuries ago a number of workmen were seen dragging a great marble block into the city of Florence, Italy. It had come from the famous marble quarry of Carrara, & was intended to be made into a statue of a great OT prophet. But it contained imperfections, & when the great sculptor Donatello saw it, he refused it at once. So there it lay in the cathedral yard, a useless block. 1 day another sculptor caught sight of the flawed block. But as he examined it, there rose in his mind something of immense beauty, & he resolved to sculpt it. For 2 years the artist worked feverishly on the work of art. Finally, on Jan.25, 1504, the greatest artists of the day assembled to see what he had made of the despised & rejected block. Among them were Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, & Pietro Perugino, the teacher of Raphael. As the veil dropped to the floor, the statue was met w/a chorus of praise. It was a masterpiece! The succeeding centuries have confirmed that judgment. Michelangelo’s David is 1 of the greatest works of art the world has ever known.
      1. Jesus saw in the flawed life of Levi…a Matthew (a writer, an evangelist)
      2. Jesus sees in us what no one else sees.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Matthew 1". "Bell's Commentary". 2017.