Unlikely Characters by Dave Wilson
The Gospel of Matthew begins the New Testament by presenting Jesus as the Messiah for Israel. Likely written in A.D. 50 or 60, it begins with a genealogy that traces the lineage of Jesus all the way back to Abraham. As Matthew develops his lineage, there are some fascinating stories that spring from the page of an otherwise boring list of names. As you read this passage, take the time to think about the famous (and often infamous) names that are presented as ancestors of the Savior of the world.
A few examples to consider are: Jacob, the one who deceived his own family members and lived on the run for a period of time until he wrestled with God and was restored by God’s amazing grace. Ruth, a Moabite woman, whose story is set in a time when Israel sought to purify their race, but God used her situation to declare his love and care for the Gentiles who loved and followed Him. David, the king who could have had anything his heart desired, yet he chose to greedily take the wife of another man and then have the man killed. Yet, he is still referred to as a “man after God’s own heart.” (Acts 13:22)
As the Gospel develops, this list of unlikely characters continues. There are wise men, non-Jewish wise men, who came from a far-off land in the celestial quest for a King of the Jews. And then there was John the Baptist. Matthew believed that only one sentence was enough of a description to capture the true essence of this prophet, “John wore a garment of camel’s hair, and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey.” (Matthew 3:4) Wow, what a character! Our imaginations can fill in the rest.
As we continue our road trip on this portion of the Bible highway, I have asked a few mission friends to join me as we discover the Gospel of Matthew. Various leaders from the mission department at Trinity have studied segments of this book, and then I interviewed them to capture beautiful images of God’s glorious appearing as Immanuel.
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