Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Matthew 2: 19-23

In Matthew 2:19-23, the family of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus is still hiding out in Egypt. But an angel drops by to let Joseph know that it's safe to return to Israel. The family ends up in Galilee, in the town of Nazareth.

The problem with setting yourself the task of re-reading the Bible starting with the New Testament when you don't really *like* the New Testament is that it's difficult to stay motivated. Thus, I haven't really read the Bible in months. But recently, another atheist started re-reading the Bible. He's starting with the Old Testament. He blogged briefly about one of my favorite stories in the entire Bible, the story of the Tower of Babel, saying "Once again we learn that knowledge is frowned upon." Well, that's one of the lessons, I suppose. At any rate, because he's blogging about the Bible, I'm inspired to take up the habit again, power through, and read the New Testament so I can get to the good stuff in the Old Testament.

When we were taught about Jesus ending up in Nazareth in Sunday School, we were specifically told that he moved there to fulfill a prophecy, yet another proof that Jesus is the Messiah. I could never find much meaning in the fact that Jesus fulfilled prophecies made in Isaiah and other Old Testament books perhaps because, unlike the ancient Hebrews, I've never been looking for a Messiah or Savior. Whether he was accepted as the Messiah or rejected (e.g., by the Hebrews who didn't convert), it seemed like ancient history because it is. Matthew wasn't thinking about me when he wrote the verses to prove the prophecy; he was speaking to other scholars of the time. Perhaps that's another reason why the prophecy is irrelevant to me.

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