Thursday, December 23, 2010

What all those names in Matthew's gospel mean

"... Ram the father of Amminadab, Amminadab became the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, Salmon the father of Boaz..." Z-Z-Z-Z-Z-Z-Z-Z-Z-Z-Z-Z-Z-Z-Z-Z-Z-Z-Z-Z-Z-Z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z

Michelangelo's DavidBy Lynn Denson
Ever wonder if Father is trying to put us to sleep with this Gospel reading at Christmas Eve Mass? (Matthew 1:1-25) He's not! Here are a few interesting tidbits that I learned in Our Jeff Cavin’s Bible Study on the book of Matthew on this reading that you will hear Friday evening.

* The author of Matthew's gospel is writing primarily to a Jewish audience who is expecting the Messiah to come from the line of King David. This lineage shows that even through the Babylonian exile, the line of King David was preserved.

* To Jewish readers, numbers are very important and all numbers have meaning assigned to them. The number seven is the number of completion and fullness.

* Matthew groups this blood line into three groups of 14 generations (thus the total number of generations from Abraham to David is 14, from David to the Babylonian exile is 14 and from the exile to Christ is 14 generations)

* So three groups of 14 generations when divided in half, gives you six sets of seven generations that have passed.

* Now begins the seventh set of seven generations with the birth of Christ. Christ is the seventh seven, or the Completion and fullness of time! A Jewish audience would understand the significance of this.

* Notice that only four women are listed in the genealogy before Mary is listed. They are Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and the wife of Uriah (Bathsheba) These four women were "shady ladies."

* Tamar pretended to be a prostitute, Rahab was a harlot in Jericho, Ruth was a Moabite (Moabites had hostile relations with the Israelites) and Bathsheba had an affair with King David.

* Why include these women of questionable background? God is showing us the inclusion of sinners into the people of God. God can make good out of ALL things no matter how bad it may seem to us.

Merry Christmas! Hope you and your family have a wonderful 2011!

Parishioner Lynn Denson wrote this for the Saint Raphael Messenger. She participates in Wednesday Morning Bible Study, which meets at 9 a.m. in Room B. All parishioners are welcome to join the group.

Photo: David by Michelangelo

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