Joseph was a righteous man – Matthew 1:19

Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on Matthew 1:19-2:22

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Joseph was a righteous man – Matthew 1:19

Her husband, Joseph, was a righteous man, and he did not want to disgrace her publicly. One of the most important themes in the Gospel of Matthew is righteousness (Matt. 5:20; 6:1). Joseph is the first person in Matthew to be described as righteous. He is called righteous because he showed compassion to Mary by planning to divorce her mercifully without shaming her, even though it seemed clear that she has wronged him. Showing mercy or compassion for others is what Jesus describes as true righteousness (Matt. 5:7; 9:13; 18:21-35).

You will call his name Jesus - Matthew 1:21

You will call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. Jesus' name is the Greek equivalent of Joshua and both names mean "God saves." Jesus saving people from their sins is the biggest idea in the Gospels. This is why each of the Gospels puts a lot of emphasis on Jesus dying on the cross and rising from the dead as the means of salvation. See WLC 40,41; BC 21,22; HC 29

All this happened to fulfill what was spoken – Matthew 1:22

All this happened to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord. After giving Jesus' genealogy, Matthew tells five stories about Jesus' birth and childhood, each of which has a "fulfillment quotation" (Matt. 1:23; 2:5-6; 2:15; 2:17-18; 2:23). These are quotations from the OT that connect Jesus' story with God's work in Israel's history, illustrating the inner-connections. God is doing something new through Jesus, but it is built on and completes everything he did before.

Where is he who was born King of the Jews? - Matthew 2:2

Where is he who was born King of the Jews? These learned, non-Jewish men who probably came from Babylon in the East, correctly identified who Jesus was – the Jewish King whom God had promised to send to bring his kingdom to the world. The learned men came to Jerusalem, the Jewish capital, because they assumed this is where the infant king would be. Instead they found a false and evil king, Herod, who will try to kill the infant Jesus (Matt. 2:16).

Chief priests and scribes - Matthew 2:4

All the chief priests and scribes of the people. Judaism had two main emphases, God's written Word and the system of sacrifices in the temple in Jerusalem. Therefore, the most important leaders were the priests who were in charge of the temple and the scribes who studied and taught God's Word. Herod asked these people to explain to him the prophecies about the Jewish king, the Christ. These two groups of people will turn out to be Jesus' greatest enemies.

The star in the east - Matthew 2:9

The star that they had seen in the east went before them. These learned men from the east were experts in interpreting signs in the heavens such as stars and this led them to come to Jerusalem to find Jesus (Matt. 2:2). In the ancient world stars were often connected with angels. It seems that the star must have been some sort of angelic being because it led them to the specific house where Jesus and Mary were.

An angel appeared to Joseph - Matthew 2:13

An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. Throughout the opening stories of Matthew 1–2 an angel gives instructions to people through a dream, usually to Joseph (Matt. 1:20; 2:13, 19, 22), but also to the learned men (Matt. 2:12). These instructions guided people to do the right thing and warn them of danger. Visions and dreams are not very common throughout the Bible but God does speak this way sometimes. In each instance in Matthew 1–2 the instructions guided people to do specific actions for their good, not to tell other people what to do or to teach doctrine. Angelic instructions in a dream do not occur again in Matthew until at the end of Jesus' life Pilate's wife had a dream warning her that Jesus was an innocent man (Matt. 27:19).

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