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THE EARTHLY LINEAGE OF JESUS.
MATT, i. 1-17.
The Gospel according to St. Matthew is the first known record of the ministry of Jesus Christ, and is supposed to have been written about eight years after his ascension. The author was an "eye-witness of his majesty." For that equally applies to him, which St. John writes concerning himself : beheld his glory, the glory of the only-begotten of the Father.
That he might first behold this glory, and afterwards bear witness to it, Matthew, or, as he was also called, Levi, was summoned from a very different occupation. He was a Publican, a collector of taxes ; and was exercising this secular vocation, “ sitting at the receipt of custom,”* when “ Jesus saith unto him, Follow me.
And he arose and followed him.' From that period he attended Him throughout his ministry, and now testifies the things which he had seen and heard.
He begins with an account of the generation or descent of Jesus from Abraham and David.
1 2 Pet. i. 16.
2 John i. 14.
8 Matt. ix. 9.
1. The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.
As much as to say, Before relating the history of the Lord Jesus, it is proper to show that his birth agreed with the promise given to our forefathers, to “ Abraham and his seed for ever.”4 For to Abraham was the promise made, that in “ his seed all the nations of the earth should be blessed."5 And of David it had been declared, “I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant, Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations.” So that the Jews, expecting the Messiah, always expected Him to be “ of the house and lineage of David." When the Lord inquired of the Pharisees," saying, What think ye of Christ ? whose son is he? they say unto him Son of David.”
This, therefore, was to be shown, that Jesus was descended from Abraham and from David. And the genealogy recorded by St. Matthew proves that Joseph, the husband of Mary, and the reputed father of Jesus, was born in the direct line of Abraham and David. On the other hand, St. Luke, writing afterwards, traces the descent of Mary the mother; and shows that in this respect also the line was exactly kept, and that Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham, answered all the expectations of the Jewish people concerning “ him who should come, and “ should redeem Israel."
Thus “ with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” The promise now to be fulfilled had been made to Abraham more than eighteen hundred years before. Meanwhile, “ many prophets and righteous men” were anxiously desiring to see the things foretold ; to understand more clearly the mysteries of which they 4 Luke i. 55. 5 Gen. xii. 3.
6 Ps. lxxxix. 4, 5. 7 Matt. xxii, 41.
8 Luke iii. 23–38.
spoke ; to unfold the volume which to themselves was
ages. And now, in the providence of God, the season was arrived when God saw fit to unlock the secrets of prophecy, and to show what lay concealed under Isaiah's encouraging words: “ thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and ye that have no money; come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money, and without price.
He should now appear in the world, who should realize this gracious invitation, and say, “ Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give
And it would be seen, that “ heaven and earth might pass away,” but not one of the promises of God should ever fall to the ground, till all be fulfilled.
BIRTH OF JESUS.
MATT. i. 18. LUKE i, 26-38.
18. “ Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his
mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.”
St. LUKE writes more fully : “ The angel Gabriel was sent from God unto à city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David ; and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with 9 Isa. lv. 1. I Matt. xi. 28.
2 Luke i. 26-38.