by Barry Newton
Step with me into the shoes of an educated first century Jew reading the Gospel of Matthew for the very first time. Immediately Matthew confronted him with converging lines of evidence from the cosmos, history, angels and prophecy proclaiming Jesus to be the long-awaited messianic King of Israel.
The wait was over.
Perhaps the year was about A.D. 60 when our ancient friend was handed either an Aramaic or Hebraic copy of Matthew. Did a smile of recognition creep over his face as his eyes ran down Jesus’ genealogy?
To possess a legitimate claim of Messiahship, Jesus needed to be the Son of David.
His mind could have eagerly raced through a string of familiar names, some of whom were kings. Then he came to the deportation to Babylon, where most likely the genealogy became new to him. If he was reading Matthew in Jerusalem, perhaps he glanced out a window toward the Temple thinking, “I’ll confirm these last few names with our records.”
Certainly Matthew’s final genealogical observation caught him by surprise. It is almost as if history itself had agreed to authenticate Jesus as the promised Son of David.
Since the Hebrew alphabet served double duty as letters and numbers, to read “dvd” signified both David and yielded the sum of fourteen. Amazingly, every fourteen generations from Abraham a significant event transpired with the line of David. Now the bounce of history’s fourteen generations had landed squarely in Jesus’ lap!
How does a coincidence like that happen?
Pushing forward into Jesus’ birth narrative, he discovered Matthew describing how angels, the cosmos and even prophecy had all proclaimed Jesus to be much more than just another baby born in Bethlehem. The wise men had gone to Bethlehem searching for “the one born king of the Jews,” while a panicked Herod sought to eliminate this child whom he had come to realize was the promised Messiah.
When the Gospel of Matthew finally drew to a close, the one risen from the grave has been given all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18). The wait is over. The Lord reigns.
If he is Lord, are we his willing servants?