When Christians talk about the birth of Jesus one of the things that is often underappreciated is his Davidic lineage. In both nativity stories what makes Jesus birth significant is that he is the true heir of David. Matthew and Luke are careful to emphasise his royal ancestry and that his birthplace was the ancestral home of the family of David. In those and other ways, both writers were indicating that the circumstances of Jesus’ birth fulfilled the scriptural prophecies about who the long awaited Messiah was going to be. Continue reading “All Hail the Heir of David!”
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
Matthew 1:1 ESV
There is much to unpack in this opening line but first of all we see here an explicit messianic connection between Abraham and David. We have already established in the previous post how there is strong scriptural precedent for including Abraham in messianic discourse. Therefore Matthew and other New Testament writers are not just making it up but they are interpreting the Hebrew Scriptures in the light of the story of Jesus.
As it is commonly known the title Christ, which is the Greek for the Hebrew Messiah, literally means “the anointed one.” To anoint is to rub or smear with oil. Among other things, anointing was done as part of an ancient ceremony where a new leader was designated by having oil smeared on their head. In ancient Israel they also anointed the leaders of their nation including priests and prophets but “the Anointed One” became a title specifically used for kings. Continue reading “The Christ Story”
The following is a brief excerpt from the first chapter of The Apostolic Preaching and its Development by C.H. Dodd, who was one of the leading New Testament scholars of the 20th century. Dodd examines what was the earliest message that the New Testament church preached:
The nativity stories are some of the most beloved and well-known stories about Jesus in the world. Interestingly though, only two gospels contain those narratives and Jesus’ birth is no where else referenced in the rest of the New Testament. It’s a glaring absence and there are a number of reasons that have been put forth to explain it. I want to quickly explore a very important reason why Matthew and Luke’s gospels include nativity accounts which are not so readily apparent to the average read of scripture. Continue reading “The Start of Good News”