Scripture of the Month- For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Matthew 1:1-17 1 A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham: 2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, 3 Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, 4 Ram 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 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 the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. 17 Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Christ.
Are you excited about the Word of God this morning? I could just stop right now, and I know the altars would be filled! ?
Matthew’s Gospel opens with this record, with this genealogy of Jesus from Joseph’s lineage. Think of this as Matthew’s attempt at “ancestory.com.” Has anyone here traced their ancestry using ancestry.com or some other method? Are you related to anyone famous? I asked on FB Friday who the most famous person was that anyone might be related to and I got answers ranging from Abraham Lincoln and William Shakespeare to Bach, Elvis, Minnie Pearl, Lucille Ball and Jesse James. One of our church members’ late husband had a country hit called Dark Hollow. His name was Bill Browning. Listen to it on Youtube! It was later made popular by the Grateful Dead. He also wrote “Golden Toys” that was recorded by the Kingsmen Quartet. From the Grateful Dead to the Kingsman Quartet. That is quite a genre span! Our church is full of famous connections!
It’s pretty cool to look back and learn about our heritage. This record in Matthew is more than a list of names. It is an historical record from which we can learn much. Not only do genealogies confirm the actual existence of the people of the Bible substantiating that the Bible is not a fairy tale or fable, but there are also connections to make and conclusions to draw which help us understand God’s purposes in history.
Biblical genealogies prove the ancestry of a person. Interestingly enough, every person in the biblical line doesn’t have to be listed in order to establish a descending relationship. Some genealogies have been abridged to establish a point or to make it cleaner and simpler. (It didn’t sound simpler when I read it, did it? Thank Heaven a few were left out.)
What specifically does Matthew’s genealogy reveal to us?
Let the record show:
- The Word (Jesus) became flesh.
It happened. It is on the record. It isn’t a figment of someone’s imagination. The promised and prophesied Messiah, Jesus Christ, was born! He was a real person. God put skin on. He came into the world as we do in that He was born of a woman. He experienced life as we do. He was fully man in that He laid aside the attributes of His divinity to don human skin and bones. He was also fully God, having been placed in Mary’s womb miraculously by the power of the Holy Spirit. He was the God-man, come to earth. Fully God and fully man at the same time. It happened. That is why time is marked by the entrance of Jesus into the world. We use the letters, “B.C.” and “A.D.” to measure time. B.C. stands for “Before Christ” and A.D. an abbreviation for “Anno Domini” which means in the Year of our Lord.
John 1:1-2 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning.
We see in this verse that the One named the “Word” was not only with God in the beginning of time, but the Word was also God, Himself. Verse 14 of this chapter gives us understanding about just Who the Word was. He was the One who became flesh. He was the part of the God-head who became human.
John 1:14 14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
The One John was referring to was Jesus. This verse tells us we have seen the glory of God in the Person of Jesus. If we want to know what God looks like, we can simply look at Jesus. Matthew’s genealogy confirms what John and the other Gospel writers said. Jesus came. God came. Emmanuel, God came to be with us that we might also be with Him forever.
Jesus cannot be erased from history because the record proves He was born.
Second, let the record show:
- The bloodline of Jesus (Via Joseph) proves why we need the blood of Jesus.
This is one messed-up family tree. Abraham lied about his relationship with his wife two times because of fear for himself. Isaac did exactly the same thing. Jacob was a deceiver, cheater, and swindler. People were a means to an end for him. He lied to his dad, stole from his brother, and cheated his father-in-law.
Judah ruthlessly sold his own brother into slavery in Egypt and later had a sexual encounter with his daughter-in-law, Tamar, who tricked him into believing she was a prostitute.
Rahab herself was a prostitute and wasn’t even Jewish. Ruth wasn’t Jewish either. She hailed from a country the Jews despised. It was Moab. Their entire race was a perpetual reminder of incest that had been committed between Lot and his oldest daughter. According to Deuteronomy 23:3, Moabites weren’t even allowed to participate in any of the worship life in Israel.
David was an adulterer and murderer. His affair was with Bathsheba who is also listed here in Matthew’s Gospel. She is called “Uriah’s wife.” David gets a bad rap, but Bathsheba was a willing participant in the story, at least the affair part.
Solomon was led into the worship of false gods and was a polygamist to the max. Rehoboam split Israel into two with his harsh leadership. Several kings in Jesus linage were evil and wicked, worshipping false gods and treating people cruelly. One of those kings, Manasseh, even killed his own son as a sacrifice to an idol among other wicked and despicable things.
Don’t most people try to cover up the messes in their family history? To avoid embarrassment and shame, aren’t there some names we just choose not to bring up? Aren’t some of those topics off limits? Don’t we want to distance ourselves from the screw ups and ruthless sinners in our bloodline? Surely, a royal King such as Jesus shouldn’t have such a transparent family tree, but Matthew didn’t try to hide or sugarcoat anything. It is human nature to want to gloss over the scandals in our families, but there was no glossing over those in the formal record of Jesus ancestry.
There is a story told about a letter that was written by the first publisher of the Bible. It read:
We feel it is important to present to you some editorial suggestions for the sake of your book’s marketability. Our review board thought it would be best to leave out some of the less-believable material like talking donkeys, floating ax heads, parting of the sea, and things like that. Also, we left out some other things, even though they are factual. Clearly, you haven’t included everything that ever happened, so why not omit a few features that might otherwise harm your book’s sales? For instance, the inclusion in Joshua of the story of a prostitute named Rahab. Why make such a character a key figure in your main story line? To bring her name up again in the New Testament as an illustration of good living seems to be using poor judgment too. Worst of all is her name appearing in the genealogy of Jesus along with two other women of questionable background. We are simply interested in your work being polished in a way that it will be widely read and accepted. Thank You for working with us. (Source Unknown) http://www.family-times.net/illustration/Genealogy/202388/
The record of these names, the listing of these names, is really a listing of sinner after sinner after sinner after sinner. The brokenness in these people’s lives exposes the needed for a Savior. They could not be left out. God would not leave them out. They explain why a Savior would be needed. They justified the shed blood of Jesus on the cross for the sins of the world.
Furthermore, let the record show:
- God’s plans aren’t hindered by human failures.
When God has purposed to do something, no person, no monarch, no mess-up, no man, no woman, can thwart His plans. Redemption’s plan was in place before the first person ever sinned. For Revelation 13:8 tells us Jesus is the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world. Before we even sinned, God had a remedy.
Job said this in Job 42:2-“I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.”
How about Isaiah 14:27? 27 For the LORD Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him? His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back? Isaiah 14:27
”The Lord foils the plans of the nations [the wicked]; He thwarts the purposes of the [wicked] peoples. But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations.” (Ps. 33:10,11)
Listen, God doesn’t have to work around our failures. He works through them. It is mind boggling, but it is true. This genealogical record shows us how big God is in spite of how awful and flawed and sinful we are.
Even if you think you have monumentally messed up, you cannot wreck God’s sovereign plans. He can work in and through your brokenness to bring about miracles that turn out for your good and for the good of tens, hundreds, and thousands of people as they watch God work in and through your story. If the Savior can come from sinners listed in Jesus’ genealogy, surely God can do wonderful things in our lives and in our futures in spite of who we are and in spite of what we have done.
In addition, as we read this record in Matthew we see:
- God is a covenant-keeping God. The faithfulness of God is all over this ancestral
Notice how Matthew 1:1 and 1:17 emphasizes two specific names as the chapter opens. Don’t miss this. Matthew 1:1 1 A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham:
17 Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Christ.
Both Abraham and David were highlighted again at the end of the list, along with the number 14. I’ll get to the number 14 in just a moment, but let’s remember that God had made a covenant with Abraham. God had also made a covenant with David. They were the two men in Old Testament history through which God made the most important covenants, at least where the coming Messiah was concerned.
God told Abraham in Genesis 12 that those who would come from his linage would form a great nation. Through a promised son, miraculously conceived in the very advanced and elderly age of Abraham and Sarah, through this “seed” all nations on earth would be blessed. This “seed” that was talked about was Jesus Christ.
God declared to David in II Samuel 7 God promised David that there would proceed from King David a dynasty that would be eternal. Through David’s “seed” the Messiah will forever reign. That is why Jesus is referred to as a Son of Abraham and a Son of David. He IS the Son of both covenants because He is the fulfillment of both of the covenants. Jesus is the King of Israel. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. His Kingdom shall have no end.
We can be encouraged and take courage because we serve a promise-keeping God. If He says it, He will do it. No matter how many years pass, no matter how people behave, no matter what they believe, God is always faithful. He finishes what He starts. That is why we can have confidence in His words from the cross as He breathed His last breath and exclaimed, “It is FINISHED!”
I love how one person talked about God’s covenant-keeping ability when they said:
We see that Jesus was the fruit or fulfillment of all God’s promises: He was the Son of David–the true king; He was son of Abraham–the true Jew; He was the son of Adam–the true man; He was the Son of God–the divine man, the beginning of a new spiritual race. (Edited KMG)
I mentioned the number 14. It is definitely emphasized here in Matthew’s account. Verse 17 says, Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Christ.
The number 14 represents deliverance or salvation and is used twenty-two times in the Bible. The term “14th” is found 24 times in scriptures.
The fourteenth day of the first month is the Passover, when God delivered the firstborn of Israel from death. Some 430 years earlier, on the night of the 14th day of the first month, God made two covenant promises to Abraham — one of the physical seed, Isaac, and his descendants, and one of the spiritual seed, Jesus Christ, and the sons of God who would come through Him, who would shine like the stars of heaven (Matthew 13:43). On the day portion of the 14th, God confirmed the promises with a special covenant sacrifice.
On the 14th day of the first month in 30 A.D. Jesus Christ, God manifested in the flesh, the only begotten Son of God the Father, and the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world, was crucified as the perfect sacrifice to save mankind from sin. Jesus’ death on Passover completed His ministry in the flesh.
Seven represents completion – thus 7 + 7 = 14, indicating a double completion:
- Jesus’ ministry in the flesh was completed.
- Jesus’ sacrifice ended or fulfilled or “completed” the need for animal sacrifices.
Finally, let the record show that:
- Salvation is for all people!
All kinds of people were ancestors of Jesus. Three of the women listed were Gentiles by birth, and Bathsheba was kind of a virtual Gentile as a result of her marriage to Uriah. The prophet Isaiah predicted the Messiah’s worldwide ministry, saying He “will bring forth justice to the Gentiles” and would be “a light to the Gentiles” (Isaiah 42:1, 6, NKJV). The fact that women were mentioned at all was a break from the status quo, revealing the wideness of God’s mission in the midst of a very patriarchal society.
The real matriarchs in Jewish history were Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel and Leah. They were the wives of the Jewish patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but for some strange reason they are absent from the genealogy. Their husbands made the cut. These upstanding, “good wives” could have been included, but Matthew decided to highlight four new matriarchs which show how wide and inclusive God’s mercy truly is. All people, regardless of their ethnicity, background, status, gender, and sin are those for whom Christ has come to save.
And He has come for you. Have you become part of the spiritual ancestry of Jesus? I want you to know about another record. It isn’t the record of those who preceded Jesus. It is the record of those who have accepted Him as Savior and Lord. It is a record book called the “Lamb’s Book of Life.” It is mentioned 3 places in the book of Revelation. It is the most important record ever kept. It is the names of every person who has accepted Christ as Savior and has become part of His spiritual ancestry. I pray this morning that the record will show your name is there.