- Consider the names in the genealogy and note how sinful some of them were. How does this chapter indicate that the coming of Jesus was in God’s plan from the beginning? In what ways does it demonstrate that in Jesus Old Testament prophecy is fulfilled? What truths are indicated here concerning his person and work?
- What do verses 18-25 teach us about the virgin birth? What is the importance of this truth for the Christian?
- Examine the character of Joseph as revealed in these verses (cf. 2:13-23). What can we learn from his courageous obedience?
- Verse 17. This arrangement into three periods of fourteen generations each is not exact, some generations being omitted. Possibly this artificial arrangement is for easy memorizing.
- Verse 19. According to Jewish law, Mary, being betrothed to Joseph, was already legally regarded as his wife.
- Consider the significance of the coming of the wise men from the East in the light of such passages as Isaiah 49:6; Luke 2:32; John 10:16.
- Note the different reactions to the birth of Jesus from the wise men, the chief priests and scribes, and Herod. How does this prove the truth of John 9:39; 18:37?
- Notice the accuracy of fulfillment of prophecy in our Lord’s infancy (verses 15; 17; 18; 23). What does this teach us about the nature and authority of prophecy?
- Verse 1. The word ‘Magi’ refers to learned astrologers or those who practiced magical arts. There is noting but tradition to make them kings.
- Verse 23. There is no Old Testament quotation about the Messiah as a Nazarene. Matthew may be making a play on the Hebrew word ‘netser’ meaning ‘branch’ from Isa. 11:1 and Jer. 23:5. Or the phrase may refer to the contempt associated with Christ’s home back-ground. Cf. John 1:46; Isaiah 53:2, 3.
- John the Baptist saw himself as preparing the way for Christ (verse 3). In what ways did he do this through: (a) his preaching, and (b) his administration of baptism?
- What do verses 13-15 tell us about the importance of his baptism to Jesus? How do you link this moment with the cross? Cf. Ps. 40:7-8; Luke 12:50; 2 Cor. 5:21. Can you see the Trinity clearly at work in these verses?
- Consider the temptations of Jesus as a testing of the kind of ministry he was going to exercise. What was the special point of appeal in each temptation? Can you link these three typical temptations with the threefold division of 1 John 2:16?
- In what way do verses 1-11 help us to understand the meaning of temptation and the way in which Satan may be defeated?
- What was Christ’s first message? Try to define repentance. Cf. Acts 2:38; 20:21; Luke 15:18; Matt. 3:8. What further demand did he make on those who became disciples, and why? Has your response to Christ been of this kind?
Note. The incidents recorded in John 1:29-4:3 must have happened between verses 11 and 12 of this chapter.