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The Gospel of Matthew

Ancestry and Birth – Discussion Questions

Interpretation Questions:

  1. How do the unique aspects of Matthew’s version of the nativity story reflect Matthew’s unique message? Do you find it useful to distinguish between Matthew’s version and the one found in Luke?
  2. In the genealogy and birth story, Matthew emphasizes Jesus’ Jewishness, but he also includes key examples of Gentiles who are incorporated into God’s plan. What are the implications of these features of Matthew’s story for today’s world?
  3. John the Baptist preached a message of repentance and chastised the Pharisees and Sadducees for not bearing fruit “worthy of repentance” (3:8). He warned of the coming judgment and eternal punishment for the unrepentant, who are destined for destruction. How is repentance a part of the “good news” of the gospel?
  4. Matthew’s genealogy mentions several women from the Hebrew Bible. Why does Matthew take pains to include these women in his explanation of Jesus’ ancestry?

Application Questions:

  1. A voice from heaven says Jesus is “my son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased” (3:17). Is this a description that applies only to Jesus, or do you think it also applies to us today?
  2. Joseph briefly considers dismissing Mary when he finds out that she is pregnant but changes his mind after the angel’s visit. How do you perceive Joseph within the story as Matthew tells it?
  3. In Matthew 1 and 2, the author repeatedly affirms each step of the story with scriptural references from the Old Testament. How do these citations affect your understanding of the story?

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Take notes on this lesson

2 Notes

  1. Ed

    1. It applies uniquely to Jesus as the Incarnate Son of God, but also to all baptized Christians as they become sons and daughters of the Father of Jesus.
    2. Joseph performs all of the tasks that a good Jewish father would do, even though his “fatherhood” was in name only. He needs to do this for the Matthean family tree of Jesus to make any sense at all. He is truly a righteous man, but his righteousness is based on trusting in the God who has given him a role in the revelation of the Promised One.
    3. Matthew’s audience cares deeply about how Jesus fulfills the messianic promises to Israel. I marvel at the pains Matthew takes to show how Jesus is both Messiah and Lord.

  2. Glenn

    If Matthew’s community was the church in Antioch, Matthew’s particular connection with Jewish ancestry which includes Gentiles would be a statement as to Matthew’s belief that Jews and Gentiles can exist at peace with one another in the same community. Still the question of how to define the Christian perspective or how or whether Gentiles need to follow Mosaic Law seems open.

    Joseph is an interesting ambiguous Jewish character in Matthew. Not necessarily righteous in strict adherence to the letter of the law, but seeing his faithful following of Torah from a perspective of mercy and following revelations through dreams and being visited by God’s messengers. Jesus is somewhat like Joseph in his outlook.