Matthew 1:1 The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham:
400 years had passed since God had spoken a word in Israel. Not one word of God was heard in all the land or the world. God's hand was working behind the scenes, guiding both history and the specific bloodline of Jesus Christ. In Matthew's Gospel we see a total of 52 names, three sets of 14 generations, depicting the bloodline of Jesus Christ from Abraham up to the birth of the Messiah. Many folks are tempted to skip over these geneaologies that occur in Matthew and Luke, however, all scripture is profitable for instruction, for correction, for rebuke and for training in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16). To get the most out of this first chapter in Matthew, let the reader note the following key features:
1. Abraham, the head of the first 14 names, represents the Promise of salvation.
Abraham heads up both the first leg of this geneaology, as well as the whole list of names mentioned by Matthew. We read of Abraham's life in Genesis 12-25. It was to Him that God promised a nation (Genesis 12) and a ultimate redeemer or "seed" (Genesis 15). God's promise of salvation, first mentioned back in Genesis 3:15, is brought into sharp focus through the life of Abraham. Found over 100 times in the Bible, Abraham is used to illustrate what it means to trust in the Lord by faith (Romans 4) and to live out the life of faith through obedience to the word (Hebrews 11).
2. David, the head of the second 14 names, represents the Prophecy of salvation
In Matthew 1:6-11 records the next fourteen generations of Christ's bloodline, beginning with David. In 2 Samuel 7:13-16 God gives David a prophecy through the prophet Nathan that from his bloodline would come a descendant to rule and reign. This descendant's kingdom would last forever. In other scriptures, such as Psalm 2, 45 and 89 we see God expanding and explaining this prophecy. It is God's prophecy about David that takes the promise of Abraham and gives it flesh and bones. Clearly the promise of salvation will indeed be the Person of Salvation.
3. Jeconiah, the head of the third set of 14 names, represents the Problem addressed by salvation
Anyone who reads the story of Jeconiah will understand the fact that he had been cursed by God as a result of treachery against God and the throne of Israel. His bloodline was cursed and thus he represents the problem being addressed in God's sending of His Son - the curse of sin. Jeremiah 22:24-30 records God's words against Jeconiah and his descendants.
The miracle of Christmas reveals that a sinless Savior would indeed be born from an otherwise long line of sin, treachery and failure. Just as the light of the sun is not affected when it shines upon a trash heap, so it is that the Virgin born Son of God could be sinful despite coming from a curse bloodline. If anything, to bear the curse of sin was the very reason why God the Son came to be born in a stable. (Please compare Galatians 3:10,13)
4. Jesus, the final name in the genealogy, is the solution to the problem of sin, the fullfillment of every prophecy and the personification of the promise of salvation
Therefore it is fitting that even the geneaology of Jesus Christ would tell the saga of salvation: God began with a promise, reinforced it with prophecy, to address the problem of sin with the solution: Jesus Christ. Truly those first words of the New Testament would be God's final word on all that pertains to what He was accomplishing through Jesus Christ.
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Tuesday, December 20, 2011
The beauty of those first words
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