The Son of Promise
Christmas is just around the corner so we are taking a few weeks to look at the early life of Jesus. We are in Matthew 1. Every word of Scripture is there for a reason. Some passages the meaning is more apparent than others. Sometimes we have to dig a little. That means we are always growing in our knowledge of God. Today’s pass is extremely encouraging, but we are going to have to work a little to get there. You ready!
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. 2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, 3 and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, 4 and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, 5 and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, 6 and Jesse the father of David the king.
And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, 7 and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, 8 and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, 9 and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, 10 and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, 11 and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.
12 And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, 13 and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, 14 and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, 15 and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, 16 and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ. 17 So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations. (Matthew 1:1-17 ESV)
- A Child of Promise
These are unusual names. They are ancient Jewish names. If you look at your Bible you are probably ¾ of the way through. These genealogies represent what God did before Jesus. Jesus didn’t just appear out of nowhere.
Jewish culture was very concerned with genealogies and the connection to their past. One of their reasons for this is their hope for salvation. When Adam and Eve sinned God brought a curse on the world: pain in childbearing, life with pain, hardship, working through the sweat of their brow, thorns and thistle all around. But in the curse God made a promise that the work of Satan would be destroyed. The gospel of Luke gives a genealogy of Jesus that goes back to Adam.
Interestingly Matthew connects the line of Jesus to Abraham. After the fall, people are removed from the Garden of Eden which is where they walked with God. They also experienced sin and judgment in the world. In time (2000bc) God speaks to Abraham and tells him to go to a new land and
“Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." (Genesis 12:1-3 ESV)
The reversal of the curse goes from Adam to Abraham, and in Abraham the hope is passed down. ^If God made a promise that one of your descendants would be the means by which the world is blessed you would keep up with that line. If me or my family heard a guy promised $50 to a descendant we would be checking the family tree. 10% off to El Felix. God chooses a particular person through which he will bless the world. Abraham is a huge figure and sets the pattern for how God will bless the world through Jesus.
This promise guided the hopes and expectation of the people of God then. They did have a responsibility in it though. They were to walk before God and be blameless (Gen 17:3). This connects the promise given to Abraham to Jesus. He is in that line of expectation.
- A Child of Royalty
We mentioned the connection to Abraham. A pivotal focus of this is as the descendant of David. Abraham and David are the two main foci. David was a king. He was the one that God promised in about 940 bc that he would have a descendant who reign over a kingdom forever.
“I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 1 (2Sa 7:1 ESV)”
Once again a promise is made that will come to a descendant. This time it is a kingdom. David will have a son whose throne will last forever.
Christ means messiah or anointed one. Jesus is the Christ the anointed one. Significant people were anointed with oil. It was a way of showing the special calling, it was also a way to show the hope they had as a way to signal the Holy Spirit coming upon them for their role. There was a hoped for “anointed one” from David’s line, one who would rule forever by the Spirit of God.
There are some great people in this list. David was a king, a mighty warrior who in faith fought giants like Goliath. He wrote the worship manual for the church (Psalms). You have Boaz who is a noble man who keeps his word, cares for others, and is even willing to sacrifice himself for the good other others, even wandering widows. You have Solomon the son of David who was the wisest man in the world. People traveled from all over to hear him speak. You have Josiah who cleansed the temple when it was corrupted by false prophets and priest. Zerubbabel who led the rebuilding of the temple of Israel after the exile. This is an impressive list.
Me doing ancestry.com. 5* general. Davy Crockett.
- A Child of Hope.
The third main grouping here is after the exile. Remember in 586bc God people were removed from their promised land because of their unfaithfulness. They had no land, no king, no kingdom. It seemed like God’s plan was over. But God gave promises throughout that time that he would deliver them from their disobedience and shame.
Impressive people. But you also have some scoundrels. This is where it gets interesting. Manasseh “And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to the despicable practices of the nations whom the LORD drove out before the people of Israel.” (2Ki 21:2 ESV). He created altars for others gods, acted wickedly, and even burned his son as an offering. You have Rehoboam, the son of Solomon who when the people asked him to lighten their load he replied, “Your father made our yoke heavy, but you lighten it for us,' thus shall you say to them, 'My little finger is thicker than my father's thighs. (1Ki 12:10 ESV)”. You have Ahaz who it is said, “Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. And he did not do what was right in the eyes of the LORD, as his father David had done” (2Ch 28:1 ESV).
You have a lot of gray people. We want to know were the good or bad. We like black and white verdicts. But there are several people like Jothan that it says, “And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD according to all that his father Uzziah had done, except he did not enter the temple of the LORD. But the people still followed corrupt practices. (2Ch 27:2 ESV).
You have to remember that even king David, a man after God’s own heart committed adultery and had a man killed so that his adultery might not be discovered. Hezekiah was a good king but he didn’t trust God completely and sought political alliances rather than his God.
This genealogy is mainly men. That was a common geneaology. Men were considered heads of houses. But also note the first promise was that it was the “seed of the woman who would crush Satan.” The Bible calls men to lovingly lead their families, but it is in no way completely dependent on them. Woman play a huge role. Women of heroic faith have their place in this genealogy, and it is also a woman who will bring the Son of God into the world.
Rahab, one of the ladies mentioned was a prostitute. She was converted at some point, but she had been a gentile prostitute. If you are a king and have a genealogy made it would be easy to cut her out. Just give the men. Ruth was the grandmother to king David and she was a Moabite who was widowed before she married Boaz. Tamar is a widow two times over because her husbands were wicked. She is not taken care of by others and so she sleeps with her father in law and become pregnant with twins. If you are with your family for Christmas and it feels pretty jacked up. Jesus knew how you felt.
You also have Eliud and Mattham that we know absolutely nothing about. They are not mentioned in the Bible, and we must presume the didn’t do anything particularly noteworthy. They were nobodies.
- Salvation is by grace from first to last.
Jesus comes in the line of God’s promise. All these people failed to obey God. They fell short. The promise was given to people, and God interrupts the natural order to bring his Son into the world to do what no other could do. Rule righteously. This is the king we needed. This king lays down his life for us.
What hope do you have of being included in the family of God? It cannot be based on how great we are. We all fall short. You may be the owner of a fortune 500 company, the president of the united states, but you are still going to have gray spots of sin in your life. We all do. No one is perfect. These men and women were saved because of their faith in the promise of God. We too have to believe, and the Bible says we are grafted into the family of God by believing in Jesus as our king and messiah.
If you think being a widow, a refugee, a victim of abuse or neglect, sexually immoral, rebellious, prevents you from becoming a part of God’s family you are wrong. God is doing something that is far greater than all our problems. He has come that we might be blessed through him. He is the promised one.
No one deserves salvation but grace makes it possible for us to receive it. The amazing thing is that now with Jesus coming, we are being adopted as children into his line and into his inheritance. Ever want to be a part of something significant, something that overshadows your mess ups.
- God’s plan moves forward in spite of failure.
There is a lot of inflamed rhetoric today about political offices. One person gets elected and you have one group of people acting like this is the messiah. You have another group of people saying it is the end of the world. I don’t want to minimize the importance and privilege of us voting. But Christians need to see there is only one messiah, and it’s Jesus. No political figure is going to bring God’s kingdom to bear on earth. Jesus does that. We also need to see from this list that God’s plan moves forward even when there are dark times. Doesn’t mean we sit passive during those times, but as we share political opinions let’s make sure that our trust is in the only one who can save.
What is your dark spot in life? Algebra I. Lost boyfriend. Marriage that you can’t handle anymore. What is the thing that seems to be stopping God’s blessings from coming into your life. God’s purposes are greater than whatever that is.
Swimmer. Could have made if could only see the end.
Jesus comes as the Messiah, and God sends him because all other people failed to be blameless before God. God interrupts the normal order of the family line to do what could not be done by others.
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" (Galatians 4:4-6 ESV)
Jesus is the messiah, the Son of David. He is the chosen one. When he was born shepherds came to worship him. Angels adored him.
We are coming up on the holidays. Its a wonderful season, but it is also a time you reflect on life. Those are good to do at the turn of a the year. You may feel a sense of sadness, a sense of loss, a sense of wishing things were different. Remember that God has blessed us through this Savior. He is reversing the effects of sin. You have hope, an incredible hope. Jesus makes it possible for your name to be written on here.
Today passage doesn’t lend toward here are five things you need to go do. It leads us to reflect on the amazing love of God, his faithfulness when everyone else is unfaithful. You may be used to religion that tells you do these things. Then you are either proud because you did them or depressed because you didn’t. This shows us, and the gospel shows us, that God doesn’t want us propping up our lifes with toothpicks of what we have done. He wants to completely overwhelm us with his grace. Let’s throw the toothpicks away, stop trying to defend yourself, acknowledge your mistakes, and proclaim that it is only by his grace you are here and only by his grace you have hope. Embrace your brokenness because grace is overwhelming.