Matthew Recalls Mother Mary
In preparation for this meditation read: Matthew 1:18-25; and 1:1, 16-17, Matt.2)
Yes, I am Matthew and I know a good amount about Judaism and explored Jesus’ birth in and through that religion which I had embraced up to the time of my conversion. In fact. for the community and church within which I am a leader, this knowledge of Judaism as well as my knowledge of the Good News about Jesus helps me to keep Jew and Gentile together. You ask me about Mary just as you asked Paul and Mark. I read both of them very thoroughly. In fact, I used their own sparse information about her to fill in what I learned and reflected upon about her and her husband Joseph. I may be bold here in mentioning Joseph. I feel he would have been lost to our memories had I not recorded what I learned about him. He and Mary are inseparable in my story about when and how Jesus was born.
I always believe in learning a great deal from the way an author begins his story–all the more so, when it is about the greatest story ever told. That is why I carefully constructed my first leading line which sets up the narrative about the origins of Jesus and his blood-line. You know this is important to us Jewish-Christians. “Toledoth” or genealogies are important to us, though I know you modern readers get bored unless you are recounting your own family tree–then I get bored! My first line shouts out: “An account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” David is the greatest symbol for all Messianic claims; Abraham is the father of all nations and all believers. You know this well from Muslims, Christians, and Jews. I won’t go through the genealogy, for its purpose is to show Davidic lineage. The fourteen generations and three sets mean symbolically the number for David’s name and the three epochs of salvation history up to the centre of salvation history. the birth of Jesus, the Messiah.
Pay attention to line 16. It reads, “…and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah.” This forms an inclusion with line one and shows you that I understand that Mary was the real physical mother of Jesus, but Joseph was not his real father, rather, he was his legal father. And according to my religion as a Jew, this was the equivalent of real paternity once the father accepted and named the child. Notice how I relate that it was Joseph who gave Jesus his name, not Mary. She knew him to be a son from God in a special way. Joseph wrestled with this mystery and an angel or messenger from God unravelled it for him and he, then, affirmed his marriage with Mary and accepted her son even though he was not his physically.
I know I have created problems for modern students of the Scriptures, but I chose to cite Isaiah 7:14 from the Greek text which you call the Septuagint rather than from the Hebrew. In the Greek text the actual word for a VIRGIN is used: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means, God is with us.” I like to cite texts from the Jewish Scriptures to emphasize or illustrate what I am saying. I am getting long-winded. Let me summarize what I wished to record about Mary in a few words. I emphasize her as virgin in my first chapter and I show her to be the spouse of the Davidic Joseph. In the second chapter I emphasize the early events and struggles of the holy family, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Notice I also give them a home in Bethlehem; perhaps I wanted you to see that Jesus is a builder of homes and a strong protector of family values. Oh, yes, one of your modern commentators on Matthew says this about my Marian presentation and line eleven of chapter two: “On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they knelt down and paid him homage.”