Advent is here!
This Sunday marks the First Sunday of Advent. Advent marks the Christian New Year. It is the Year of Matthew! And we get a birth narrative. Matthew has a genealogy and it’s important because this tells us the core of the story that Matthew intends to tell. There are women and men. Jesus is the messiah or anointed one. Meaning that God has anointed this person to rule over the Kingdom of God. Jesus is tracked back to the line of David. God promised that David’s line would never end. And God used all manner of means to fulfil that promise despite Israel’s leaders forgetting the least, migrants, widows, and orphans. Jesus is fulfilling the promise God made to Abraham to bless his descendants and to make them as numerous as grains of sand.
Matthew lumps his generations into groups of 14 generations which in Hebrew religion makes the seventh, seven. This is critical. The world was created in 6 days and in Hebrew, on the 7th day, God is in rest and continues to be in rest ruling and reigning over Creation. 7 is essential so God is involved when you see a pattern of 7.
Matthew includes people who are less than perfect. In the list of people, there are gentiles, prostitutes and people who have committed massive sins like adultery, and murder. Jesus is coming for all people not just for religiously perfect people, not for just the righteous, not the moral or the ethical, not only for good people but for everyone.
Matthew through Jesus will emphasize his role as a prophet. He references prophets (Amos specifically who reestablished the Second Temple after God returns Israel from exile in Babylon) and psalmists.
So Jesus in Matthew will be an anointed prophet, who will reestablish the Abrahamic covenant, rebuild a new temple in each of us and extend it into all of the world to Romans, Jews, Greek, sinners and saints alike meeting us where we are and seeking relationships and through that relationship changing our lives. Jesus is here to rescue us…all of us. And this rescue mission culminates when God through Jesus sacrifices God’s self as a final temple sacrifice for all of our sins. All of us and all sins…because this is God involve not humans.