I am taking up the challenge to read a gospel a month and wondered if there were others out there who would like to join me. My aim is to do this at least until Christmas but possibly for the rest of my life. Whatever other bible reading programme I am following I figure it shouldn’t take too long to read a gospel as well. For me, it’s about getting to know Jesus better and making sure that He is first and central in my life.

This month is Matthew.

Matthew introduces Jesus, as a Jew of that time would expect him to be introduced, with his genealogy followed by stories of his father Joseph.

I remember reading this genealogy as a new Christian and thinking “How boring.” Now I read it and remember all the stories associated with those names. Abraham, Rahab, Tamar… good kings, bad kings, mixed up people, all real people with interesting characters and messy life stories, people who mattered to God and whose lives teach us about how God works in our world.

The people who first heard Matthew’s gospel were people who had grown up with these names and these stories. This rooted Jesus in their own soil, their own culture. Matthew is saying “Jesus is real, he was born here, he lived here and here and here. He is the Messiah you have been looking forward to. He is the one the prophets spoke about.”

    As you are reading with me, here are some questions for you to consider!

An angel came to Joseph in a dream and gave him a message from God. The magi were also warned in a dream. Has God ever spoken to you through a dream? Did you act on what He told you to do? Do you have a story to share?

Jesus’ contemporaries who were looking for a ‘Messiah’ met Jesus and found that he fulfilled many of the old prophecies but often did not fit their expectations of what Messiah would be like. What are your expectations of Jesus? Does your image of Jesus fit the real Jesus?