I wonder if Matthew, ex-tax collector and publican that he was, identified with these women and men at some level. Through this record God is displaying God’s grace to all people, victims and perpetrators. Even in this genealogy Matthew was already giving us a clue there is something unique and earth-shaking about Jesus.
Zechariah’s twelfth chapter opens with the heart-stopping violence of warfare, a scene of howling destruction.
Melchizedek is a fascinating and mysterious figure in the Bible. Here is the sum total of his appearances in the pages of scripture.
The writer had given nearly three chapters of exhortation, dire warnings in stern language. Now he turned to encouragement, feeling certain his audience would respond to God’s call through his letter.
It is hard to know what exactly was meant by this extreme measure, but it seems this was real, and was intended for ultimate good.
The flow of Hebrews, then, so far, is to begin with Jesus and our right response, then to examine our need. Having pointed to Jesus as both fully God and also fully human, as uniquely able to pull off a God-sized rescue of all creation and also meet you and me right where we are, the writer would now address three great needs he saw among his readers, the Jewish believers.
If Matthew had ransacked the entire Hebrew scriptures he would have been hard-pressed to find four more unlikely candidates for the Messiah’s genealogy!
These last three chapters are Second Zechariah’s second oracle, describing the completion of God’s plan from the beginning, from before the creation of the world. When God gave God’s people the seven feasts described in Exodus, they were each prophetic of God’s plan of salvation. So far, four of those feasts have been fulfilled in Christ, and chapters 12-14 reflect the fulfillment to come of the last three feasts.
Apparently, scientific research has now been able to prove what God has been teaching people since the days of Cain: practicing gratitude can actually make us healthier – literally!!
Greek writers often paired the words mathein (to learn) and pathein (to suffer) together, because not only did they sound alike, it was accepted in antiquity that learning came through suffering.