On Sunday, I started a new teaching series at Cornerstone Bible Church on Matthew 1-4. The purpose of the series is to introduce us to the King of all Kings, the King of the Jews--Jesus Christ. What events led to His coming to this earth? What was His family like? How did His ministry begin? And a whole list of other questions.
I began the series by looking at one of those sections of Scripture that we tend to quickly pass over. We looked at the King's family, the genealogy of Jesus Christ. There are many things that we have to realize as we come to a section of Scripture like this. The main thing that will help us understand it is if we understand the purpose of the book of Matthew. This gospel was written to declare to the Jewish people that Jesus of Nazareth was the King of the Jews. It is a very Jewish book written by an average Jew to the average Jew.
There are many questions about this genealogy that I tried to answer at the beginning of my sermon. I tried to explain how Matthew says there are 3 segments of 14 generations from Abraham to Jesus. I tried to explain how the genealogy of Matthew and Luke are different (check out my sermon notes for my answer to these questions). But the bulk of my time was spent on trying to be practical. What can we learn from this genealogy that is important for our life. We believe in the sufficiency of Scripture. We believe that every portion of Scripture is inspired and useful for our life. Therefore, this has to be more than a list of names.
To Help Us Trust God's Word
God had promised to Abraham that through his lineage a messiah would come that would bless the world. God had promised David that through his lineage a king would come that would rule eternally. And while there certainly were times when that looked in question (at least from an earthly perspective), God was moving behind the scenes, preparing for the coming of the messianic king. God promised and God delivered. If God is going to keep His word in the coming of the king that fulfills perfectly what He has said, it should instill in us trust in the other things He has said to us.
To Help Us Patiently Wait For His Second Coming
It took a really long time from God's promise to Abraham until the coming of Jesus. I wonder if they ever were impatient? We know from human experience that they probably were. Galatians 4:4 says that Jesus came "when the fullness of time had come." It was in God's perfect timing. And God continues to work in His perfect timing. That might be the reason why this can help instill in us patience to wait on the Lord's timing for things in our life that we want on our timetable. But also for His second coming. He has now promised that He will return. But when? At His perfect time.
To Help Us Have Perspective In Our Tragedies
Go back and read Matthew 1:1-17 sometime and you will realize that those people were consumed with hard lives. They will filled with hard choices. God told Abraham to sacrifice his son. David had been appointed king and then had to run for his life. Solomon grew up knowing that his mom was the wife of another man that his father stole. Ruth was a pagan woman trying to scavenge the fields in Israel to simply survive. And Joseph is engaged to a woman who ends up pregnant. Some of these people responded well. Some didn't. But they tell us that life can be difficult. But if were to zoom the lens away from our tragedy, we might just realize that God is doing something that can't be explained.
To Show Us Our Need For A Savior
This account reads as a "who's who of sinners." The family of Jesus highlights to us why God needed to come and rescue people. He had to come and rescue His own family. Abraham was a liar and mocker of God. Isaac also lies and is partial to one son. Jacob stole a blessing from his brother. Tamar tricked her father-in-law (Judah) into have sex which led to the birth of Perez. Rahab was a prostitute by trade. Ruth was a pagan woman who turned to follow the Israelite God. David was a chief of sinners, committing adultery, murder, and many others. Bathsheba was an adulterer. Ahaz offered his son as a sacrifice to the Assyrian gods. Manasseh killed so many innocent people that blood filled Jerusalem.
The list can continue, one after another. The point? Even in the genealogy of Jesus Christ, we see His grace. He came to redeem His ancestors. And He came to redeem those that would come after Him. He indeed is gracious.