Matthew's Gospel began by asserting that no one was more fully Jewish than Jesus.

Wednesday, 12/ 17/14

In pu Gospel Matthew gave us a list of the ancestors of Joseph and Mary, and it differs greatly from the list that St. Luke gives us.

Matthew did not mean for it to be taken as an accurate account. He did not try to make the figures fit. He wrote that there were just fourteen generations for the eight hundred years tine span between Jacob and David; the just fourteen generations in the time span between David and the captivity; and fourteen generations for the six hundred year time span between the captivity and Joseph.

For understanding Matthew’s account we need to know what moved him to write it. Let me explain. After the destruction of Jerusalem in the year 70 A.D. the surviving Pharisees began reshaping Judaism. They began to say that since the religion no longer had its temple the essential core of being Jewish had to be observing Kosher.

With that, they turned against Christians who neglected Kosher to eat with pagans. Further, they were saying the Jesus who the Christians worshipped, was not a true Jew, since he mixed with pagans.

On two levels, this genealogy with which Matthew he opened his Gospel rejected the   accusations of  the Pharisees on two levels. First it established Jesus as the direct descended of the founders of Judaism. Secondly, by bringing Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and Bathsheba, four pagan ladies, into the ancestry of Solomon, Matthew pointed out that mixing with foreigners is not all bad.

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