December 14, 2022
The Genealogy Of Christmas – Matthew 1:1-17
Listen to last week’s sermon: The Genealogy of Christmas found in Matthew 1:1-17
As Christmas approaches, we are reminded of the significance of Jesus’ birth. As we engage in biblical discussions, share the gospel, sing Christian songs, and read the Scriptures, we generally place particular emphasis on certain factors, people, and elements associated with the birth of Christ. Discussions revolve around a variety of biblical themes. We may also discuss the Old Testament prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah. As we come to understand the true meaning of Christmas, Scripture fills us with a sense of hope, joy, peace, and excitement. The holiday season is an excellent time to reflect on the aspects related to the birth of Jesus.
According to Pastor Eric, we often overlook one of the most significant aspects of the biblical Christmas narrative found in the first pages of the New Testament – the genealogy of Jesus Christ. Matthew 1:1 states, “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.”
Read Luke 19:10
Given that many of us come from dysfunctional families, Pastor Eric came to tell us today that the Messiah’s family tree also appears to be somewhat dysfunctional. The point to be made here is that Jesus did not come to help those who were in a state of ease, but rather to seek out and save the lost. It is those of us who come from dysfunctional families who are the story of Christmas, and the ones He came to save.
Read 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Jesus’ genealogy contains a powerful message as well as valuable lessons that can be applied to our lives today. No part of the Bible is wasted. With the exception of certain chapters and verses that were added later on, or perhaps an introduction, some commentary, or footnotes, all of the Scriptures are inspired by God. It is stated in 2 Timothy that the entire Bible is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, for exposing wrongdoings in our lives, for correcting erroneous behaviours, and for instructing us how to live a righteous life. It further states that the servant of God will possess all the necessary abilities to carry out every good work.
Read Matthew 1:1-17
Jesus’ genealogy provides us with a great deal of valuable information. In light of this, let us examine what the genealogy of Christmas reveals to us in 2022.
Pastor Eric provided three powerful insights from the genealogy of Jesus that will enable us to approach the Christmas season with a sense of assurance. They are as follows:
1 – The Bible is reliable.
Read Luke 18:16
From Jesus’ genealogy listed in the first book of the New Testament, it is evident that the Bible is neither a fairy tale nor the work of human imagination.The Bible is reliable. A great deal of importance was placed on genealogy in those days since it had a significant impact on one’s identity. Status was determined by one’s place of origin and the people in his or her family tree. Furthermore, the New Testament’s introduction includes several references to individuals by name. It is possible to verify its accuracy by referring to other historical sources. It is unlikely that the names of individuals would appear in the Bible if it was fabricated. Moreover, Matthew was writing to a Jewish audience, and according to the Talmud, an authoritative and extensive collection of writings that covers the entirety of Jewish law, women were not considered credible witnesses in a court of law. In most cases, if a woman witnessed a crime being committed, her testimony would not be taken into account. The same applied to the testimonies of children. It was a custom that was common to the Jewish culture, but not to Jesus Himself. As a matter of fact, many of Jesus’ actions were at odds with the culture of His day. In many instances, children desired to be with Jesus, but His disciples rebuked them. As a result, Christ became angry. See Luke 18:16.
Despite our commitment to our roots and culture, we must, first and foremost, remain faithful to the culture of the Kingdom of God.
If the story of Jesus’ birth was fabricated, why would non-Jewish women with questionable reputations be included in Jesus’ genealogy? Would this not lessen the credibility of the story?
Clearly, this is not the only piece of evidence supporting the truthfulness of Scripture, but we find a source of encouragement in this genealogy that confirms its authenticity. Having said that, we can rest assured that the Bible is not a fabrication. It is not a fairy tale. As a result of all the details surrounding the Bible, and the fact that it was written over a period of approximately 1500 -2000 years by 40 different authors who were mostly unknown to one another, and the fact that we have discovered ancient manuscripts that echo and authenticate the copies we possess, Pastor Eric believes that it requires more faith to believe that the Bible is a fabrication than to believe that it is the true Word of God.
For over 2,000 years, so-called experts have attempted to disprove and discredit the Bible, but according to Guinness World Records, it continues to be the world’s best-selling book.
The genealogy of Jesus Christ confirms the reliability of the Bible.
2 – God is faithful.
Read Matthew 1:2, Genesis 12:3, 18:18, and Galatians 3:8
We can place our trust in both the Word of God and the God of the Bible. Matthew 1:2 illustrates the connection between Abraham and Jesus. Though it may not seem significant to us, it is actually the fulfillment of a promise God made to Abraham many years ago. As stated in the first book of the Bible, the Lord stood by Abraham and his people. Genesis 12:3 states,
I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you, and the entire world will be blessed because of you.
What a wonderful promise! See also Genesis 18:18 and Galatians 3:8.
Read Galatians 3:29 and Matthew 1:6
In all of history, there has been no greater blessing than the birth of a Saviour in Abraham’s family tree. In Galatians 3:29, the apostle Paul writes,
And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
The apostle Paul also points out that Scripture does not refer to, “Abraham’s seeds” (a large number of people), but to “Abraham’s seed” (Jesus Christ). In the genealogy, we see that God not only honoured His promise to Abraham, but also to David. According to Matthew 1:6,
Jesse [was] the father of David the king, David [was] the father of Solomon and Solomon [was] the father of Rehoboam.
Therefore, David and Solomon are also in Jesus’ family tree.
1 Chronicles 22:8 and 2 Samuel 7:12-13
Do we remember David’s desire to build a house for the Lord? God resided in the Tabernacle (tent) while King David lived in a palace. David believed the time had come to construct a house for the Lord. However, he had failed to recognize that God actually preferred to reside in a tent because of its portability and expandability. God preferred the Tabernacle to the Temple. Furthermore, the Lord told David that since he had shed much blood and had fought many wars, he was not permitted to build Him a house. His son, Solomon, would. In 2 Samuel 7:12, God says,
For when you die, I will put one of your sons upon your throne, and I will make his kingdom strong. He is the one who shall build me a temple. And I will continue his kingdom into eternity.
Reread the last sentence. “And I will continue his kingdom into eternity.” An important point needs to be emphasized: an eternal Kingdom cannot exist without an eternal king. Jesus Christ, our Saviour, is the King of kings and the Lord of lords.
Read Romans 10:17 and Matthew 24:35
Pastor Eric reminds us today that we can rest assured that God will fulfill his promises to us as He did with Abraham and David. It is ultimately up to us to decide whether we are going to believe the opinions of others, the falsehoods of Satan, or what the God of Truth proclaims. As faith comes from hearing, it is our responsibility as Christians to hear what the Bible has to say, believe it, act upon it, and pray it through. The heavens and the earth will pass away, but His Words will endure forever.
Read Psalm 119:105 and John 14:26
It is unfortunate that too many Christians use the Bible merely as a means of debate and argumentation. Pastor Eric is in no way implying that debates are inappropriate. He is merely reminding us that the primary purpose of God’s Word is to illuminate our path, direct us to Christ, and for us to share the Good News with others. Every passage in the Bible points to Jesus.
As Christians, the Holy Spirit resides within us. He, who teaches us all things, reminds us of what Jesus said and points us to Him. Pastor Eric is in agreement with Leonard Ravenhill who said,
We have adopted the convenient theory that the Bible is a Book to be explained, whereas first and foremost it is a Book to be believed (and after that to be obeyed.)
Read Hebrews 13:8 and Matthew 11:28-30
This Christmas, there are many people around us who may be feeling discouraged, disappointed, or even depressed as a result of past hurts. This Christmas season, we have an excellent opportunity to introduce them to Jesus, the faithful One. The Lord Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is reliable, unchanging, and truthful. Jesus invites all those who are weary and burdened with heavy loads to rest in Him. The teaching that He asks us to accept is easy and the load He gives us to carry is light.
3 – Our God is merciful.
Jesus’ genealogy demonstrates God’s mercy, as some of the people listed are not those we would have chosen, nor would the Jewish culture, nor would anyone else. Our Saviour chose us despite our sins and flaws, and that is the beauty of the Christmas story. Mercy is one of the hallmarks of His character.
We would think that the Messiah would have a family tree full of superheroes, but when we examine Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew 1, it is more akin to a dysfunctional family.
Read Genesis 38:12-16, Hebrews 11:31, and James 2:25
Jesus’ genealogy lists four women. However, some of the most inspiring female figures in the Bible, such as Sarah, Rebekah, and Leah, who are outstanding examples of faith, are not mentioned. Rather, God chose to list four Gentile women with questionable backgrounds. First is Tamar. By dressing up as a prostitute, she tricked her father-in-law into sleeping with her. Also, among the women listed is a harlot named Rahab. Hebrews 11:31 describes her as a woman of faith. As a result of her belief in the God of Israel and her concealment of the two spies, she is also mentioned in James 2:25. It is also noteworthy that Ruth, who was not an Israelite, but rather a Moabite woman, a foreigner, is also listed in Jesus’ genealogy. Lastly, there is Bathsheba who is not described as the wife of David, but as the wife of Uriah. Uriah’s death was orchestrated by David in order to steal his wife. We would think that God would only include exemplary individuals in Jesus’ genealogy; people who started and finished well. Yet, we see that God has no qualms about using people with questionable backgrounds.
It is important to remember that we are not perfect and that we require a little mercy from time to time. In essence, that is the message of Christmas: we are not given what we truly deserve. Despite our messes, God shows us mercy. When we are willing to say, “Here I am, Lord. Use me”, God can incorporate us into his day-to-day plans. One of the most beautiful aspects of Christmas is the fact that Jesus came to forgive the sins of our past. Pastor Eric is not implying that we are free to live as we please without incurring any consequences because our God is merciful. However, if we believe that God cannot use us because of the sins we have committed in the past, Pastor Eric came to tell us today that he knows all about mercy.
It is Pastor Eric’s hope that today’s message will remind us of God’s mercy and grace, both of which he has personally experienced. Technically, Pastor Eric should not be standing in front of us this morning. The fact that he is present among us today indicates that God is also capable of doing something equally amazing in our lives. The Christmas message can be summarized as follows:
The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. (Luke 19:10)
A woman like Rahab is considered to be an example of faith along with Moses, David, Samson, and Samuel. Thus, Pastor Eric reminds us that our past does not have to define our future. Jesus is an expert at drawing the line and declaring a matter resolved. If we believe that we cannot be used by God, Pastor Eric has come to offer us hope.