(Photo: a replica of an animal stable as the birth place of Baby Jesus-from Biblical History Center, La Grange, GA)
Matthew Chapter 1
Day 1- to download the study guide
Reading: Matthew 1:1-17
v.17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, from David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations. (This is the main verse that spoke to me in the passage)
Matthew, the writer of the Gospel of Matthew, began his account of the life of Christ by listing all the ancestors of Jesus beginning with Abraham. In the Old Testament, the covenant of God, or the promise to the nation of Israel, started with the life of Abraham.
I will make you a great nation; I will bless you. And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing.3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:2-3)
Matthew also mentioned that Jesus is the Son of David. (Matthew 1:1)
In Psalm 89:28-29, the Lord God made His covenant and His sure mercies to David:
My mercy I will keep for him forever, And My covenant shall stand firm with him.29 His seed also I will make to endure forever, And his throne as the days of heaven.
In between Abraham and David were different men who carried on the legacy and the fulfillment of God’s Words and promise from Abraham to Isaac, to Jacob, and to the children of Jacob. And from the children of Jacob, the family grew into the nation of Israel. From the children of Abraham came David who became the greatest king of Israel. From King David came his sons and their descendants who also became kings in Israel. Some were good and some were not. Some followed the ways of God and some did not – until the kingdom was taken from them and the people of Israel were carried away to Babylon. After the Babylonian captivity, when the children of Israel returned to their land, new descendants of David ruled Israel including Jeconiah, Shealtiel, and Zerubbabel until Joseph the father of Jesus was born.
“So, all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, from David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations.” (Matthew 1:17)
Reading the story of the ancestors of Jesus, from Abraham to David and their descendants, reminded me that a lot of them messed up and made horrible mistakes. Yet the promise of God to Abraham and to David remained true. Jesus Christ came from the line of Abraham and David. It is encouraging to me to know that God is faithful and sovereign over the lives of His people, and in my life too.
Lord, I thank you that You are in control, and that You set the times and the seasons. I praise You Lord, that You are merciful and faithful. You control the timeline, and you have history in Your hands. What hope and encouragement we have in You! You’ve got my future too – and the future of the world! You are Sovereign Lord, and our lives are in Your hands. You see and control the big picture. I praise You Jesus!
Day 2- download the study guide
Matthew 1:20 “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit”.
Reading: Matthew 1:18-20
In this chapter in Matthew, he mentioned that one of the children of Abraham and David’s children’s children was Joseph. V. 16 says, “And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ”.
At that point of history, Joseph was a young man and was engaged to a young lady named Mary. However, before they got officially married, Joseph found out that Mary was pregnant.
v.19 “Then Joseph, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly”. However, the Lord God intervened in the situation. The Lord sent His angel to speak to Joseph in his dream.
v.20 “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.”
I guess when Joseph found out that Mary was pregnant, he was upset and heartbroken. Perhaps they had a heart to heart talk. Maybe Mary tried to explain to Joseph that the baby in her womb is from God. And that could have been very difficult for Joseph to believe her. Joseph may have felt betrayed. In their culture that time, if somebody was found in adultery, the person could be punished by the law. So, Joseph, though feeling hurt and betrayed, still had compassion on Mary. So, he made plans to put off the engagement quietly. He did not want to embarrass Mary in the public or be punished by their law. And Joseph ‘s mind was made up, he could not believe Mary’s explanation. Thank the Lord that He is sovereign and had a plan. So, God sent His angel to speak to Joseph in his dream. Thus, Joseph then believed what Mary told him already. “…for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit”. V.21
God is s sovereign over the life of His people and His plan of salvation. Mary obeyed God when Joseph almost missed it. Joseph could have had missed God’s big plan for Jesus ‘s life, and the salvation of the world. Thank the Lord that He sent His angel to speak to Joseph. When the angel of God spoke to Mary about His plan for Jesus, Mary willingly obeyed. So, God took care of Mary as she obeyed His leading. Thank the Lord, that Joseph listened and obeyed too in the end.
Lord help me do Your will. Help us your children to heed and listen to Your voice. Please help us follow and obey Your leading, empower us to do Your will like Joseph and Mary , to follow Your ways. In Jesus’ name.
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Matthew 1:21 “His name is Jesus; for He will save His people from their sins.”
Reading: Matthew 1:18-21
The story continues with Joseph and Mary. When Joseph found out that Mary was already carrying a baby in her womb, he was disappointed. So Joseph made plans to break up the engagement from Mary. However, God intervened and sent His angel to speak to Joseph in his dream. The angel told Joseph that the baby Mary had in her womb is of the Holy Spirit. The angel further said, that
“And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name [h]Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” V. 21
The name of Jesus literally means “Savior”. The angel was clear to Mary and Joseph when he said, Jesus will save His people from their sins, and not from the Roman rule and oppression, but from SIN. The people of Israel at that time of history was ruled by the Roman government. And according to history, many of the people suffered and were oppressed by the tyranny of the Roman rule. So many of the Jews or people of Israel were expecting and waiting for their Messiah, their Deliverer. They were expecting somebody that maybe similar to Moses or King David in the Old Testament who delivered the people of Israel from slavery and oppression. King David had fought many battles against the enemies of Israel- neighboring countries who tried to oppress them. So, many of the people of Israel on Jesus time on earth were waiting for their Messiah, someone to deliver them from the oppression of the Roman rule.
However, from the start and the plan of God was to send Jesus to save His people from their sins- from the bondage of sins. Jesus came to seek and save the lost. John 1:29 says, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! “
Reflection: Only Jesus can save Israel and the people of the world from sin.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank you that You came to save us from our sins! I thank you for Your forgiveness and mercy. I praise You that you are the lamb that was slain and the only atonement for our sins.
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“ So, all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet”.
Reading: Matthew 1:18-24
The coming of Christ was foretold by some of the prophets in the Old Testament many years before. One of the prophets that spoke of the coming of Messiah was the Prophet Isaiah.
Isaiah 7:14 says, “Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel”.
Joseph and Mary were the chosen biological parents of Jesus. At that time, before they got officially married, Mary had the baby Jesus already in her womb. Mary having a baby was not from a union with a man, but a divine intervention from heaven. Mary that time was considered a virgin, and yet she conceived a Son. God put a seed in her womb. That became the fulfillment of the words spoken by the prophet Isaiah, 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:23)
God did not forget what He promised to His people Israel. Even though it took many, many years , about 700 years, yet God in Hi sovereignty and power fulfilled His plan of salvation, Jesus Christ was born. The Lord fulfilled His promise when Christ came to the world as a baby to save the people from sins.
Reflection: God keeps His promises. What He says, He will do. It is an encouragement to me that God keeps His words. God’s words say, someday Jesus will come back again, not as a baby but as the King and I will be with Him forever in eternity.
Prayer: Lord God, thank You that You are faithful and true. I praise You that I could trust You for the fulfillment of Your Word.
Day 5-download the study guide
“Behold the virgin shall be with child, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, God with us.”
Reading: Matthew 1:18-25
We are still in the story of the biological parents of Jesus, Joseph and Mary. An angel of God spoke to Joseph in his dream about the child that Mary his fiancée was carrying in her womb. The angel told Joseph the Mary will bring forth a son, and His name will be Jesus, v.21. And it was written that the birth of Jesus is the fulfillment of the words of God through the prophets in the Old Testament, Isaiah 7:14.
“Behold the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, ‘God with us’.
Since Christ came to earth 2000 years ago, God’s presence through the Holy Spirit has been with men. When Jesus came to earth, God literally came down to earth because of His love, His compassion, and His mercy. He chose to come and live among men, when Jesus returned to heaven physically, He sent His Holy Spirit, thus He still lives among us. Through the Holy Spirit we have the seal of salvation, a personal connection to the Father and with the Son. We have the power to overcome because God is with us.
Reflection: The Lord Jesus Christ came from heaven to earth so that God could dwell with His people. For me, as a follower of Jesus, it is an encouragement and comfort to me to know that God is always with me because Christ lives in my heart.
Prayer: Thank you Lord for sending your Son to us so that You could be with us always and forever, Amen!