(Disciples of Christ)
a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world

Sing Love!

This weekend’s lesson begins with the words, “Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way.” But Matthew could have easily replaced the word “birth” with “adoption” and the story would have been no less miraculous. It is amazing that Joseph treated Jesus as a son, although he was not his biological father. He put his pride aside and showed remarkable love for God and Mary.

To understand Joseph, we need first to grasp Matthew’s perspectives. Matthew wants to present a version of the Gospel story that will work to change everyone who reads it. All of his images, symbols, half-answered questions, paradoxes and problems are intended to prod us out of merely reading the story. He wants to get us to participate in and wrestle with this miraculous work of God.

The Gospels provide two birth narratives, one from Luke and another from Matthew. Luke’s account is full of poetic tension, dramatic skill and rhetorical flourishes that resound to this day. We will hear that story on Christmas Eve. Matthew’s account is sparse by comparison. He wants us to know that God’s only Son has arrived on planet Earth. 

Matthew and Luke each choose to focus their birth narratives on different actors in the same drama. Consequently, what is essentially the same story takes on a whole new look from these separate perspectives.

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