I've been saying for a while now that the time I spend creating the blog every day keeps me from authoring books, because it satisfies my need for expression with instant gratification. 2008 is the first year since the millennium that I haven't written anything, and it's because I'm doing this every day. So, since I don't want to give up the blog (I love it, and so it's not going anywhere), I've decided to make it work for me in the area of book writing.
I am (finally) writing Matthew In The Now, and as I finish each chapter, I'm going to post it here...sort of like a series. It won't be on here every day, because I probably won't be able to write a chapter a day. But the pressure of having to come up with a daily topic for the blog will actually be good for me, because it will force me to stay on task with MITN (I'm still planning on doing at least the whole New Testament, BTW).
I need your support on this...paraphrasing the Bible is a huge undertaking, but it's something I really believe that I'm supposed to do. Your feedback on this project will be appreciated.
OK, let's get started...
Matthew In The Now
1. This is the genealogy, or natural family tree through His step-father, Joseph, of Jesus, the Christ…the Messiah, who was revealed and understood in the physical world as both the son of David, and the son of Abraham.
2. To begin with, Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
3. Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah, (whose mother was Tamar); Perez the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram,
4. Ram was the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon,
5. Salmon the father of Boaz, (whose mother was Rahab), Boaz the father of Obed, (whose mother was Ruth), Obed the father of Jesse,
6. and Jesse was the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon, (whose mother had been Uriah's wife),
7. Solomon the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asa,
8. Asa the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram, Jehoram the father of Uzziah,
9. Uzziah the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,
10. Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amon, Amon the father of Josiah,
11. and Josiah the father of Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.
12. After the exile to Babylon: Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
13. Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, Abiud the father of Eliakim, Eliakim the father of Azor,
14. Azor the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Akim, Akim the father of Eliud,
15. Eliud the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob,
16. and Jacob was the father of Joseph, who became the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus, who was and is called the Messiah.
17. And so it turns out that there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen generations from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen generations from the exile to the Messiah.
18. Now, this is how the physical birth of Jesus took place – how the eternal Word
in the now became an actual human being who lived and moved on the earth. A young woman named Mary was engaged to be married to a man from King David's family whose name was Joseph. But before they were married, and before they ever had any sexual relations, she discovered that she was pregnant. But her pregnancy was not a natural occurrence – she had been impregnated by the Holy Spirit.
19. Understandably, Joseph did not believe Mary's story about the supernatural pregnancy, but because he was a good man and did not want to publicly embarrass her, he decided to quietly call off the wedding and move on with his life.
20. But while he was thinking about the best way to break off the engagement, an angel from the Lord came to Joseph in a dream and said, “Joseph, Mary is telling you the truth; as hard as it may be for you to believe, she is still a virgin, even though she is definitely pregnant. She did not ask for this to happen, and she has not been unfaithful to you…she was chosen by God for this miracle. Go ahead and marry her, because the Holy Spirit did, in fact, impregnate her, and she is going to need your support through this.
21. “She will give birth to a boy, and you, Joseph, are to personally name Him as if He were your own Son; and you are to give Him the derivative of the name Joshua which is Jesus - the name that in Hebrew means Savior, or, literally ‘God saves.' This name will be prophetic for Him, for He will save His people (all the people who live on His earth) from their sins.”
22. All of this happened to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:
23. “Look for this to happen - a virgin will get pregnant and still maintain her virginity…and she will give birth to a Son; and they will call His name Immanuel which literally means in the Hebrew language ‘God is with us.'”
24. When Joseph awoke from this unusual and profound dream he did exactly what the angel of the Lord had commanded him to do, and took Mary home with him so that he could marry her.
25. But even after their private wedding ceremony they did not physically consummate the marriage until after she gave birth to the promised Son. And when the Son was finally born, Joseph named Him Jesus.