Summary: There are many nativity stories. Matthew has one too. Every story has its own focus. Matthew focuses on David's lineage, fulfilled prophecies, Jesus' name and love.
Many Nativity stories
- Matthew has one too
- every story has its own focus
- Mark starts with grown-up Jesus getting baptized by John, heading right into ministry and his final days in Jerusalem
- Luke makes sure he has the history right, dating it while Quirinius was governor of Syria with a special focus on the shepherds sharing the good news
- John stresses that the real Word of God became real human flesh
- The most famous miraculous birth in the Hebrew Bible would be Isaak - his old parents laughed
- Graeco-Roman mythology knows Mithras to be born from a rock struck by a lightning
- all of them are right and make a point
- Let me tell you another one: In 1958, a New York City father named Robert Lane decided to call his baby son Winner. The Lanes, who lived in a housing project in Harlem, already had several children, each with a fairly typical name. But this boy—well, Robert Lane apparently had a special feeling about him. Winner Lane: How could he fail with a name like that? Three years later, the Lanes had another baby boy, their seventh and last child. For reasons that no one can quite pin down today, Robert decided to name this boy Loser. Robert wasn't unhappy about the new baby; he just seemed to get a kick out of the name's bookend effect. First a Winner, now a Loser. But if Winner Lane could hardly be expected to fail, could Loser Lane possibly succeed?
Matthew focuses on David's lineage
- "Joseph, son of David, don't be afraid." (including Joseph)
- God establishes a powerful kingdom
- Situations in which we lack power
- When we have no helper, just need a break from the daily routine, but no one is there to grant us some free time. When we are stuck with a responsibility that is hard to bear and makes us wanna give up. That's when a powerful king comes to the rescue. The kinda guy we need every now and then.
Matthew focuses on fulfilled prophecies
- "Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son." (promised to the prophet Isaiah: God is true)
- God is faithful, God will stick to God's promises
- Situations in which we are not faithful or let down by others
- We tend to brake our promises, to overpromise or to underpromise. We tend to disappoint the ones we love and we have a hard time dealing with this kinda disappointment ourselves. That's when God's faithfulness is really good news. God walks God's talk.
Matthew focuses on Jesus' name
- "You are to name him Jesus for he will save his people from their sins" = Joshua = God saves
- This baby is our savior
- Situations in which we try to save ourselves
- This baby is a powerful reminder that there is nothing we can add to or take away from our salvation. Everyone loves to be in control. I wanna know what's gonna happen and I wanna control my own destiny preferably for all eternity. Well: Ain't gonna happen. Jesus has got your back. You cannot enter the promised land on your own terms. He has to do that for you and he is going to.
Matthew focuses on Jesus' name
- "They shall name him Emmanuel," which means, "God is with us."
- God IS with us, no matter what
- As a matter of fact "Emmanuel" frames the entire Gospel of Matthew: it begins with a baby who is "God with us," and ends with that child, grown, promising to be Emmanuel for the rest of human history as well
Matthew focuses on love
- Jesus was not conceived from an angel but from the Holy Spirit
- Jesus was conceived from the love of God (avoiding Joseph)
- With human parents as part of the equation the story could have ended like the one of Loser Lane and his brother Winner
- Loser Lane did in fact succeed. He went to prep school on a scholarship, graduated from Lafayette College in Pennsylvania, and joined the New York Police Department, where he made detective and, eventually, sergeant. Although he never hid his name, many people were uncomfortable using it. To his police colleagues today, he is known as Lou. And what of his brother? The most noteworthy achievement of Winner Lane, now in his late 40s, is the sheer length of his criminal record: more than 30 arrests for burglary, domestic violence, trespassing, resisting arrest, and other mayhem. These days, Loser and Winner barely speak. The father who named them is no longer alive.
- Jesus' siblings
8. Finally let's take a look at poor Joseph
- He had a hard time registering the birth of baby Jesus. Most likely the registrar felt sorry for him because he believed the story of immaculate conception. Joseph really must have had a "love that believes all things" as Paul puts it (1 Corinthians 13:7).