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Matthew 1

Father, help me to seek You more than anything.

Names — they denote people; they can inspire character when their meanings are known.  Since Matthew’s gospel was directed toward Jews, trying to show them that Jesus truly was the Messiah they’d been waiting for, he began his account with a list of names, a genealogy.   Matthew traced Jesus’ legal heritage through Joseph’s lineage, showing how Jesus descended from Abraham, the father of Jews, and from David, the one prophesied as the ancestor of the Messiah.

Lord, You had Matthew include, in the names he chose to highlight, a variety of characters.  (Since genealogies often compress history, the three sets of 14 generations are most likely not inclusive of everyone over the course of history.)  Those heralded as faith heroes are mentioned: Abraham, Isaac, Ruth, and David. Some with questionable reputations (Tamar and Rahab) and some who were just plain evil (Manasseh and Abijah) were noted too.  Even some plain, ordinary folks were listed (Hezron, Ram, Nahshon, Akim) who are hardly spoken of anywhere else in the account of Israel.

LOTS of names are found in this one chapter; yet none of them are as precious as the two that belong to Your son: “Jesus” (v 21) and “Immanuel” (v 23)! “Jesus” is the Greek form of the Hebrew name “Joshua.”  The latter one means “the Lord saves.”  How fitting! “Immanuel” reminds me, each time I speak it, that You, my God, are with me.  For a time, You walked here among us in one of our kind of bodies.  Now, thanks for Your presence through Your Spirit.

I’m so thankful that I know Your names, Jesus.  Thanks for the salvation, the power, and the hope through it! Keep on making me just like the One who bears that name, Father.

“The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” (Prov 18:10 NIV)

“Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”                                                     (Php. 2:9-11 NIV)

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