Monday, October 19, 2015

Matthew, Day 1 Readings

Jesus' Birth, the Magi & John the Baptist 

Today's first reading is from the Gospel of Matthew, the first book of the New Testament, which explores the life and times, and especially the teachings, of Jesus of Nazareth.  For Matthew, Jesus is the Jewish Messiah that had been promised by the prophets, and he never misses an opportunity to show how Jesus' fulfills this prophecy.

Before Jesus' birth, an angel visits Joseph, quotes a prophecy of Isaiah, and says that Mary's child will fulfill this prophecy.  Even more astonishing, after Jesus' birth, a group of magi, based on an astronomical sign, traveled to present the infant with gifts fit for a new king.  This too is proof that this is the long-awaited Messiah.

Read Matthew 1:18-2:15  (NIV)   (NRSV)   (CEB)
[links to Bible Gateway open in a new window]

The second reading fulfills a key part of the prophecy of the coming Messiah, that another person would be sent by God to prepare for and announce his arrival.  For Jesus, this person was John the Baptist (whom we discover was Jesus' cousin in the Gospel of Luke).  John was a radical preacher with an unequivocal message -- Repent!  He baptized those who did repent.  But John hesitated to baptize Jesus, knowing his identity.  At Jesus' insistence, John did baptize Jesus, and a heavenly voice pronounced God's blessing on Jesus.

Read Matthew 3:1-17  (NIV)   (NRSV)   (CEB)
[links to Bible Gateway open in a new window]

Reading the Bible in Its Entirety

If you are planning to read the Bible in its entirety, you should read Matthew 1-7 today.