John August Swanson, "Psalm 23." Used by permission.
Image © Luther Seminary Fine Arts Collection, St. Paul, Minn.
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Jesus as Immanuel
Birth of Jesus
Matthew 1:18-25 Commentary
by Holly Hearon
How is the birth of a Messiah supposed to take place?
Should friends gather for a baby shower? Is it important to identify the gender beforehand? Who will be in the delivery room? Will the press be invited?
These twenty-first century questions aren’t much help when reading Matthew’s first-century story about the birth of Jesus. What they reveal is that Matthew isn’t so much concerned with the birth of a baby as with the birth of a Messiah. This is quite another matter.
The passage begins, “Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way” (1:18). This verse marks a shift in the text from genealogy to narrative, but the two belong together. Already, in v. 16, we have heard about Joseph, the husband of Mary, from whom was born Jesus, the one who is called the Messiah. This easily overlooked verse actually serves as a prelude to the story that begins in v. 18. It is an important verse because it breaks pattern with the preceding entries in the genealogy where each new generation is begat by the preceding ...
| Bible Text
Sept. 7, 2014 - May 24, 2015
2014-2015 readings 2014-2015 worship resources
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. On the Sundays from September through May each year the texts follow the sweep of the biblical story, from Creation through the early Christian church. Read more...
NL155: Jesus as Immanuel
December 21, 2014
Narrative Lectionary podcast on readings for Dec. 21, 2014: Matthew 1:18-25 (Accompanying text: Psalm 23:1-4, or 23:4).
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