Matthew 1

** Matthew, surnamed Levi, before his conversion was a publican,

or tax-gatherer under the Romans at Capernaum. He is generally

allowed to have written his Gospel before any other of the

evangelists. The contents of this Gospel, and the evidence of

ancient writers, show that it was written primarily for the use

of the Jewish nation. The fulfilment of prophecy was regarded by

the Jews as strong evidence, therefore this is especially dwelt

upon by St. Matthew. Here are particularly selected such parts

of our Saviour's history and discourses as were best suited to

awaken the Jewish nation to a sense of their sins; to remove

their erroneous expectations of an earthly kingdom; to abate

their pride and self-conceit; to teach them the spiritual nature

and extent of the gospel; and to prepare them for the admission

of the Gentiles into the church.

* The genealogy of Jesus. (1-17) An angel appears to Joseph.


1-17 Concerning this genealogy of our Saviour, observe the

chief intention. It is not a needless genealogy. It is not a

vain-glorious one, as those of great men often are. It proves

that our Lord Jesus is of the nation and family out of which the

Messiah was to arise. The promise of the blessing was made to

Abraham and his seed; of the dominion, to David and his seed. It

was promised to Abraham that Christ should descend from him, #Ge

12:3; 22:18|; and to David that he should descend from him, #2Sa

7:12; Ps 89:3, &c.; 132:11|; and, therefore, unless Jesus is a

son of David, and a son of Abraham, he is not the Messiah. Now

this is here proved from well-known records. When the Son of God

was pleased to take our nature, he came near to us, in our

fallen, wretched condition; but he was perfectly free from sin:

and while we read the names in his genealogy, we should not

forget how low the Lord of glory stooped to save the human race.
18-25 Let us look to the circumstances under which the Son of

God entered into this lower world, till we learn to despise the

vain honours of this world, when compared with piety and

holiness. The mystery of Christ's becoming man is to be adored,

not curiously inquired into. It was so ordered that Christ

should partake of our nature, yet that he should be pure from

the defilement of original sin, which has been communicated to

all the race of Adam. Observe, it is the thoughtful, not the

unthinking, whom God will guide. God's time to come with

instruction to his people, is when they are at a loss. Divine

comforts most delight the soul when under the pressure of

perplexed thoughts. Joseph is told that Mary should bring forth

the Saviour of the world. He was to call his name Jesus, a

Saviour. Jesus is the same name with Joshua. And the reason of

that name is clear, for those whom Christ saves, he saves from

their sins; from the guilt of sin by the merit of his death, and

from the power of sin by the Spirit of his grace. In saving them

from sin, he saves them from wrath and the curse, and all

misery, here and hereafter. Christ came to save his people, not

in their sins, but from their sins; and so to redeem them from

among men, to himself, who is separate from sinners. Joseph did

as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, speedily, without

delay, and cheerfully, without dispute. By applying the general

rules of the written word, we should in all the steps of our

lives, particularly the great turns of them, take direction from

God, and we shall find this safe and comfortable.
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