We’re about to start a six-month walk through the gospels of Matthew and John, and I thought we ought to start with a week-long study of the genealogy found in chapter one. Kidding! I'd actually like to keep people reading, so we won’t do that. But I would like to spend today talking about why this list of names in Jesus’ ancestry is so important.
The first word that comes to my mind is fidelity. We read back in Genesis 12 when God promised Abraham that through his seed the entire world would be blessed. The Lord promised David that he'd always have an heir on the throne of Israel. All of his promises came true in the Person of Jesus. As believers we need to brand this on our brains: He always keeps his word to the letter. That can be a source of great comfort or a source of major concern to you, but it’s true.
The other word I think of is condescension. It’s usually used in a bad sense, but here I mean it in the best possible way. One of Jesus’ names is Immanuel-“God with us” and this is perfectly illustrated here. None of these people in Jesus' lineage were perfect people-the best were still sinners in need of God’s grace, and the worst, well . . . Let’s just say that I wouldn’t be too proud if I had people like this in my ancestry. If you know your Bible, you know some of the shameful history behind some of those names listed in Matthew’s first chapter. Murderers. Adulterers. Idolaters. Thieves. But Jesus isn't ashamed to list them here, and the good news is that he’s not ashamed to call me his brother either. He's not ashamed to associate with sinful humanity. We might have sins as black as some of these people, but we can take comfort that he’s perfectly willing to link his name with ours and welcome us into his family.
That’s what we celebrate every Christmastime, and we ought to celebrate it everyday. Our Lord Jesus was "in very nature God,
[but] did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.”
That’s for your sake and mine, friend.
Lord Jesus, you did this for me? You’re not ashamed to call ME your brother? Wow.
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