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Lesson 1: Son of David *

Introduction: We start a new series about the Gospel of Matthew. Matthew was a disciple of Jesus who had been a tax collector for the Romans - a profession despised by the Jews. What a miraculous turn-around that Matthew should write one of the accounts of Jesus! What an interesting background for Matthew's writing. Let's dive into our study and learn more!

  1. Background

    1. Read Matthew 9:9. What skills does a tax collector bring to Jesus' mission? (Tax collectors "bid" to collect the taxes for a certain region. Matthew's profit was the difference between what he paid the Romans for the right to collect taxes and the amount he collected. This requires someone who keeps careful records, has initiative and intelligence.)

    2. Read Matthew 9:10-11. Why would the Pharisees ask this question of the disciples, rather than Jesus? (They probably thought the disciples had the same low view of tax collectors as they did. This teaches us something else about Matthew, he didn't care what others thought about him - or at least he cared less than he cared about having money.)

      1. If Matthew cared so much about money, why did he leave his tax collector's booth and follow Jesus? (Apparently, he had decided it was time for a change. Are you ready for change?)

  2. The Genealogy of Jesus

    1. Quickly scan Matthew 1:1-16. Put yourself in Matthew's place, how would you start a book about Jesus? Would you want it to be dull and tedious?(That would not be my goal. But, since Matthew was already detail oriented, that would be a part of how he normally looked at things. This is obviously a lot of detail.)

    2. Read Matthew 1:1. Why would Matthew decide to start out naming these two men as being in Jesus' ancestry? (If, like Matthew, you have a bad background, you might decide to start out showing that Jesus has a great background. Matthew links Jesus to the two most prominent men in Jewish history. Abraham is the great man of righteousness and David is the great warrior king.)

      1. Read Isaiah 11:1-2. Who is Jesse? ( Matthew 1:6 reveals Jesse is the "father of King David.")

        1. Matthew's readers would be familiar with Isaiah 11. What is the importance of this link to King David? (Isaiah 11 is a prophecy about the coming Messiah.)

        2. Read Revelation 5:5. What does this reveal about the preaching of the disciples? (They linked the triumphant Jesus to King David.)

      2. Read Acts 2:29-33. Peter ( Acts 2:14) made this statement on Pentecost. What does this tell us about the Spirit-directed understanding of Jesus' disciples? (Jesus fulfills the prophecies pointing to the Messiah.)

      3. Read Genesis 12:1-3. Explain the last part of this promise to Abraham? (This is a promise that the Messiah will come through Abraham. Matthew is not just connecting Jesus with important people in Jewish history, he begins his argument by making these links to show that Jesus is the Messiah.)

    3. We won't go through all of the detail that Matthew lays out to show the human ancestry of Jesus, but does this detail make sense for a man who is used to keeping meticulous records? (Yes. Matthew provides proof to those who doubt the bona fides of Jesus' heritage. Let's peek at a couple of interesting points in this detailed proof.)

      1. Read Matthew 1:3 and Matthew 1:5-6. We see three women listed, Tamar, Rahab and "Uriah's wife." What do you know about these three women? (Genesis 38 reveals that Tamar posed as a prostitute. Joshua 6 discloses that Rahab was a prostitute. 2 Samuel 11 tells us that Bathsheba (Uriah's wife) was involved in a sex scandal with King David.)

      2. Matthew does not need to name these three women. Since he is trying to show Jesus' bona fides, why would he add them to Jesus' human history? (Recall that Matthew has a dubious background. Matthew probably added them to show that Jesus could sympathize with someone like him and the rest of us sinners.)

    4. Read Matthew 1:17. Consider how the Jews were doing during those three periods of time. If Abraham and David represented the time the nation was moving towards greatness, what about the next two periods? (The nation is not doing well.)

      1. What point is Matthew making about Jesus? (By pointing to the downhill slide of Jewish fortunes, Matthew underscores the need for Jesus, for a Messiah to rescue them.)

  3. Birth of Jesus

    1. Read Matthew 1:18-19. What amazing fact does Matthew reveal? (Jesus not only has a fabulous human ancestry, but Jesus is also God. The Holy Spirit is His "Father.")

      1. Why add the part about Joseph's thoughts of a quiet divorce? (It shows that Joseph is a good man, and it makes Matthew think that Jesus has something in common with him - a background which others will question.)

    2. Read Matthew 1:20-21. What claim is Matthew making about Jesus? (Jesus, fully man and fully God, will save His people from their sins. This is the Messiah. We now have an additional witness to the angelic testimony.)

    3. Read Matthew 1:22-23. Matthew faces a real challenge. A man with an unsavory background is writing a book about a man who was crucified by the Roman authorities. His story is that Jesus was born unlike any other person in history. Credibility is Matthew's greatest problem. How does he try to meet that challenge? (Once again, he directs the attention of his readers to a Messianic prophecy of Isaiah, specifically Isaiah 7:14.)

      1. Would this convince you? (Put yourself in the place of Matthew's Jewish audience. He shows Jesus' genealogical bona fides, and He links Jesus to the Messianic prophecies that these people have already accepted. Virgin birth is something Isaiah has already told them to expect - so this is not a story too fantastic for his audience.)

    4. Read Matthew 2:1-2. What kind of people are these Magi? (Commentators tell us that they were intellectuals "from the east" who studied science and the movements of the stars. King Herod gave them an audience which shows that he considered them worthy of his time.)

      1. Why would Matthew add this detail for us? (He wants us to know that scientists saw something in the heavens that pointed to the birth of Jesus. Do you see how Matthew draws all of the strings of proof together to convince us that Jesus is the Messiah?)

    5. Read Matthew 2:3. What is important about the nature of this disturbance? (Everyone, from the King on down, gave credence to the report of the Magi. This is not an incredible story.)

    6. Read Matthew 2:4-7. On what basis is King Herod convinced that the Messiah has been born? (Credible scientists have discovered a star pointing toward Jesus. The religious teachers confirm, based on prophetic scripture, that the Messiah is to be born in Bethlehem. The message to us is that if the King and the scientists believed, you should believe.)

    7. Read Matthew 2:9-13. If you were a lawyer arguing evidence to a jury about who Jesus is, what are the most important points from these last verses that you would argue? (A "star" points to the place where Jesus is born. The magi are so certain of their finding that they worship Jesus and give Him valuable gifts. This shows they understood Jesus to be a someone to worship. Supernatural forces save Jesus from danger, since Herod believes the story so thoroughly, that he is willing to commit murder.)

    8. Read Matthew 2:14-18. We see again that Scripture points to Jesus and that Herod is convinced that Jesus is the Messiah. In the context of the murders that resulted, what new element is introduced here? (Who suggests evil to Herod? There are supernatural forces opposed to Jesus. If you believe in a controversy between good and evil, evil knows that Jesus is the Messiah who must be destroyed.)

    9. Friend, how about you? Are you convinced by Matthew that Jesus is the Messiah? Why not accept Him as your Savior right now?

  4. Next week: The Ministry Begins.
* Copr. 2016, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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