The book of Genesis is about “beginnings,” and the book opens with the beginning and the creation of the world — all things visible and invisible – by the word and power of God. The Bible does not begin with an argument for the existence of God. Instead, it merely asserts that “in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). This chapter highlights the first week of the universe and gives to us, in successive and literal days, God’s work of creation by the word of his power:
Day One: Light (1:3-5)
Day Two: Sky and Water (1:6-8)
Day Three: Land and Vegetation (1:9-11)
Day Four: The Luminaries (sun, moon, and stars) (1:14-19)
Day Five: Fish and Birds (1:20-23)
Day Six: Land Animals and Humans (1:24-30)
The first key verse of this chapter is Gen. 1:1, as noted above. The other critical verse in this chapter is 1:27, where we read that man was made in the image of God. The creation of man was different from all the other things God made. With man, God fashioned him body and soul and breathed into him the breath of life. The conclusion of the chapter highlights the command to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and take dominion over all other aspects of the created order. Lastly, we find the gracious provision of God for food to sustain the crown jewel of his creation — mankind.
We live in a world that seeks to dismantle the very foundation of Gen. 1 by asserting and insisting on other theories and views as to the origin of the universe. Yet, the Bible makes it clear that it was God who made all things out of nothing by the word of his power. As Christians, we will be challenged in these areas by those who refuse to submit to the Word of GoHowever. However, we must not allow that to shake our faith or reason. The Word of God is his mind to his creatures, and we only need to trust him and believe what he has said.
The Gospel of Matthew opens with a lengthy genealogy of Jesus Christ (1:1-16). That genealogy is divided into three groups of fourteen generations (making it easy to remember). Unlike Luke’s genealogy (see Luke 3), it begins at the beginning (with Abraham) and traces the line of the Savior forward through redemptive history. It ends with 1:16 with these theologically charged words, “and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ. I draw attention to this verse because it stands in contrast to the preceding entries of the genealogy. In 1:2, we read, “Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers” and so on. Yet, when we come to the birth of Jesus Christ, the language changes to avoid referring to Joseph as the father of Jesus. that shift is vital to a proper understanding of the person and nature of Christ. He was born of a woman (Mary) and possessed all the natural properties of being in her womb, but he did not receive a sin nature as the Holy Spirit conceived him. Therefore, Joseph was not his biological father.
Matthew 1:18-25 details the birth of Christ. There are a few items to note in this section:
- Mary and Joseph are “betrothed.” That is not the same as being engaged. They were contractually obligated to one another. Yet, they had not consummated the relationship (1:18).
- Joseph is alarmed at the discovery of Mary’s pregnancy (1:19).
- Joseph is comforted by the angel in a dream to take Mary as his wife (1:20).
- The angel tells Joseph what to name the child (1:21), fulfilling prophecy (1:22-23)
- Another assertion of the deity of Christ is offered: “they shall call his name Immanuel (which means ‘God with us’).” (1:23)
- Joseph was obedient (1:24-25)
Key Verse: Matthew 1:21
The birth of Jesus Christ is unlike any the world has ever known and will ever know. Yet, the doctrine of the virgin birth is essential to the historic Christian faith. Without it, Jesus could not be our Savior as he would need one himself. In this chapter, the Holy Spirit wisely and instructively guides us through this vitally important truth and assures us that Jesus is indeed the Christ — two natures and one person — who alone saves sinners.