jump to navigation

Christmas According to Matthew (Jesus the Messiah is King) December 9, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in Christmas, Matthew, Religion, Sermons.
trackback

CHRISTMAS, SALVATION FOR THE SINFUL GENERATIONS

Matthew 1:1-7, 17, 21-23

Matthew could have ended his genealogy with verse 1 and claimed just as easily that Jesus was the fulfillment of God’s promises to both Abraham and David. That is not, however, the way Matthew wrote. To establish Jesus’ credibility, he needed to make clear that the bloodline of Jesus was directly from both David and Abraham. Matthew, who is giving the royal genealogy, goes through the line of Solomon. Luke, who gives the genealogy of Joseph, Jesus’ adoptive father, follows the actual bloodline through another son of David, Nathan.

THE GENEALOGY

Today we are looking at the second part of the royal genealogy. This genealogy is divided into three parts, each with fourteen generations (Matthew 1:17). The first set of fourteen generations contained Abraham and David. The second set of fourteen generations are the kings of Judah, the men who sat on the eternal throne that had been promised to David (2 Samuel 7).

Now God promised David that even if his family turned to sin, God would not withhold his mercy from them. In other words, the covenant that God had made with David would never be broken. God did, however, promise consequences to those who did not follow God. We saw this in David’s life. Despite the adultery and murder which he committed and the bloody judgment that God brought upon David and his family and his kingdom, God gave David a son to sit on the throne.

This son, Solomon was an amazing man. God gave him wisdom in answer to his prayer. God gave him as side benefits great financial wealth and political power. God expanded his territories. God made him the talk of the ancient world. God allowed him to build a temple which he had not allowed his father, David, to do.

SOLOMON IN ALL HIS GLORY, POWER, AND WISDOM DID NOT FULFILL THE COVENANT OF DAVID.

After Solomon built the temple (1 Kings 9:1-9) God appeared to Solomon and warned him not to serve other gods. He promised that he would remove Israel from the land if he want after other gods. This was a standing threat over Israel since the time of Moses in Deuteronomy 29 but God specifically warned Solomon about this matter. 1 Kings 11:1 says, “But Solomon loved many foreign women…” Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines but the problem according to 1 Kings is not the number of wives he had (although that is certainly not to be recommended) but rather who those wives were. They were women who served other, false gods. These women turned his heart to following the gods of the Sidonians and the Ammonites and the Moabites. God was angry with Solomon and told him, I am going to tear away ten tribes from your kingdom and from you family and give them to another. Under Solomon’s son, Rehoboam that was exactly what happened.

HAS GOD ALREADY FAILED?

What is happening here? Can God not keep his promise? He promised an eternal kingdom to David and already in two generations ten tribes, way over half of the kingdom, has been removed from his family. The word that God spoke to Solomon, however, was this, “‘And I will afflict the descendants of David because of this, but not forever.’ (1 Kings 11:39)” God’s punishment is harsh but his mercy to sinners has not been withheld.

As we go on through this genealogy, we come to Solomon’s grandson, Abijam of whom God says in 1 Kings 15:3-15, “And he walked in all the sins of his father [speaking of Rehobaom], which he had done before him; his heart was not loyal to the LORD his God, as was the heart of his father David. Nevertheless for David’s sake the LORD his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem, by setting up his son after him and by establishing Jerusalem; because David did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, and had not turned aside from anything that He commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.” These men were sinners but God’s mercy towards David and his house endures forever.

Not all of these men were evil as Solomon and Rehoboam and Abijah had been. Asa was loyal to God, even to the point where he removed his grandmother from her exalted place as queen mother and destroyed the idols which she worshiped. There were even times of revival in Judah but God did not restore the ten tribes to the house of David. The judgment on the house of David was a continual judgment.

However, the mercy of God was also continual. Of the kings mentioned in verse 8, all were loyal to the Lord except for Joram, the son-in-law of Jezebel. “Yet the LORD would not destroy Judah, for the sake of his servant David, as He promised him to give a lamp to him and his sons forever” (1 Kings 8:19).

THE TIMES OF ISAIAH

Matthew skips a few generations in order to keep the numerical division even. This was not uncommon in genealogies. He was able to do this because the intervening generations were well known to the Jews to whom he was writing. Verse 9 corresponds roughly to the ministry of Isaiah. It was at this time that God began to reveal to Judah his plan more clearly. God through Isaiah told King Ahaz to ask for a sign. Ahaz refused but God gave him a sign anyway, the sign of a virgin! “Behold, the virgin shall concevie and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14b). Matthew quotes this verse in verses 22 and 23, pointing out that God had not forgotten nor forsaken His covenant with David.

At the same time that God is pointing out the coming of the Messiah through Isaiah and other prophets, through those same prophets God lets Judah know that her days as a kingdom are numbered. God tells Hezekiah that after his lifetime the Babylonians are going to come and take Judah and the house of David captive into Babylon. This prediction was repeated to Manasseh and Josiah and all the kings who followed after Hezekiah. In fact, the Bible says that God would not pardon Judah for the innocent blood shed under Manasseh in Jerusalem.

AND THEN THINGS GET WORSE…

Things look pretty bad. Ten of the twelve tribes gone. Those ten have been taken captive and scattered by the Assyrian Empire. Judgment has been pronounced on the remaining two tribes in the kingdom of Judah. And yet God has continued to show mercy to the house of David. Then comes Jeconiah. Jeconiah was king for only three months. God through Jeremiah brings some horrible news to Jeconiah and to his brethren.

Jeremiah 22:24 As I live,” says the LORD, “though Coniah {Also called Jeconiah and Jehoiachin} the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, were the signet on My right hand, yet I would pluck you off;

25 “and I will give you into the hand of those who seek your life, and into the hand of those whose face you fear––the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and the hand of the Chaldeans.

26 “So I will cast you out, and your mother who bore you, into another country where you were not born; and there you shall die.

27 “But to the land to which they desire to return, there they shall not return.

28 “Is this man Coniah a despised, broken idol––A vessel in which is no pleasure? Why are they cast out, he and his descendants, And cast into a land which they do not know?

29 O earth, earth, earth, Hear the word of the LORD!

30 Thus says the LORD: ‘Write this man down as childless, A man who shall not prosper in his days; For none of his descendants shall prosper, Sitting on the throne of David, And ruling anymore in Judah.’”

God’s mercy appears to be at an end. God has had it with the house of David. The royal line has been cursed. Has God made it impossible to keep His own promises? Is God really someone who can be depended on if He is going to react so rashly and without mercy?

GOD IS STILL ABLE TO KEEP HIS PROMISE TO DAVID.

There is an answer. Jesus, through the royal line recorded here, has through Joseph a legal right to the throne of David. His DNA is perfectly Davidic. But his DNA does not come directly through Jehoiachin. From verse 2 through verse 16 we find begot, begot, begot but Jesus was not begotten of the royal line but rather born of the virgin Mary becoming the adoptive son of Joseph. This is the fulfillment of the sign that God gave to Ahaz. God provided that Jesus be adopted into the kingly line listed here so that no one would be able to say that Jesus had no legal right to the throne. Only God is capable of showing both mercy and judgment continually and He does it justly.

GOD IS MERCIFUL TO SINNERS.

What about all these men? What about sinful David, sinful Solomon, sinful Abijam, sinful Ahaz and Manasseh and Jehoiachin? How is it that God can be merciful to them? The reason is two-fold. God keeps His promises and God finds a way to provide salvation. Verse 21 says that Jesus shall save His people from their sins. How did Jesus do that? Hebrews 9:15-17 explains how as well as why, “And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives.”

REMEMBER THESE THREE THINGS! 

There are three facts mentioned here that are important for us to remember. First, the inheritance, the kingdom of God is an eternal inheritance. God intends to keep His promise to the house of David.

Second, the transgressions or sins must be taken care of. David’s sin problem was no different from my sin problem or your sin problem. Solomon was born condemned just as you and I are born condemned. God, because there is no one else who can, must provide a way to solve our sin problem.

Finally, the solution is the death of Christ. The writer of Hebrews is saying that no one receives their inheritance until the one from which they are inheriting dies first. This eternal inheritance is available because Christ died that we might receive His inheritance, eternal life.

Did all these men in Jesus’ line receive the inheritance? The evidence indicates that several did not. The difference is that some put their faith in God and some did not. That is the same difference today. Have you put your faith in Jesus? Are you counting on him alone for salvation? Are you relying totally on him? You can today.

Verse 2 of “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded” says what you must believe if you are going to be saved from your sin by Jesus Christ:

What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered was all for sinners’ gain.

Mine, mine was the transgression, But Thine the deadly pain.

Lo, here I fall, my Savior! ‘Tis I deserve Thy place.

Look on me with Thy favor; and grant to my Thy grace”

Is that your prayer today? Do you want to be free from your sin? Do you want mercy? God has promised it to all who trust Christ as Savior.

Advertisements

Comments»

No comments yet — be the first.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: