The believers at Thessalonica were to become among Paul’s most beloved friends and supporters, a living model to all the surrounding area of what it meant to belong to Jesus and live by faith.
This world is not our final home. When terrible things happen, as happened to these shocked and grieving families so long ago, it is good to remember this fallen, broken world, riddled with evil, is not our final home. We were created for eternity, and tragedy can never change that.
Having, in faith, followed God’s guidance and having accepted and worshiped the Messiah, the wise men gained a deeper sensitivity for God’s voice. God took the Magi into His protection and guided them more directly,
among all these pilgrims, the Magi’s opulent and exoticly laden camels, their turbans and jewels, their royal purple robes, their leopard skins and strange accents, would have parted the crowds and drawn gasps of awe.
He was born in the hamlet of Bethlehem, an inconsequential dot on the map, but it was the birthplace of Kings, the very root and stump of Jesse, and from it now sprang this young shoot, the ruler who would sit on the throne of Judah forever.
the most important name given to Jesus is the one Matthew used in his genealogy, in verse 1, verse 16, verse 17 and verse 18: Christ, Messiah, the anointed one.
When I was a young girl, there was an enormous social stigma attached to having a baby when you weren’t married. You got sent away to extended family, had the baby in secret, started another life, or gave the baby up for adoption, very privately. Children raised out of wedlock didn’t have the same legal rights as children born to or adopted by a married couple.
But, if Matthew had ransacked the whole Old Testament, he’d have been hard pressed to find four more unlikely candidates for the Messiah’s genealogy than the following women.
Beginning Monday, Grace and Peace will present seven posts on Jesus’ heritage and birth, bringing the nativity narrative through Matthew’s gospel.
Crazily enough, these verses mean exactly the opposite of what you and I have been lead to think.