JESUS CHRIST: of royal descent
Reading: Matthew 1:18-25
This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham:
Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, Ram the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David.
David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife, Solomon the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asa, Asa the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram, Jehoram the father of Uzziah, Uzziah the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amon, Amon the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jeconiah (Jehoiachin) and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.
After the exile to Babylon: Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel , Zerubbabel the father of Abihud, Abihud the father of Eliakim, Eliakim the father of Azor, Azor the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Akim, Akim the father of Elihud, Elihud the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.
Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder. For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor. Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.
Knowing about your family history becomes more important to you as you get older
- You are probably not terribly interested in my family history
- But are likely to be fascinated by your own!
Have you got any skeletons in the cupboard?
~ Family secrets from the past: exciting… or perhaps shameful
~ Jesus had plenty! Look at the opening verses of Matthew’s Gospel…
- For example, Jacob was known as a deceiver
- King David sent a man (Uzziah) to his death in order to marry his widow (Bathsheba)!
- King Rehoboam refused good advice and almost provoked a Civil War
- King Manasseh reigned longer than any of the Kings of Judah but unfortunately behaved in a godless way for most of the time
Jesus could do nothing about the failings of his forebears… and neither can you do anything about yours…
- Perhaps your ancestors did not behave impeccably…
- Perhaps your father or your mother was far from perfect!
For some of us, it’s time to put our family history behind us … your individual worth is not measured by the failings or successes of your ancestors
- As the song goes: “I am a new creation; no more in condemnation; here in the grace of God I stand”
- The Apostle Paul writes: “Forgetting what is behind and straining for what lies ahead, I press on…”
When we look at the ancestors of Jesus Christ, we see that His genealogy is very important, both looking back and looking forward
I’m focusing on what is arguably the single most important doctrine in Christianity yet hardly ever preached about… the deity of Christ
However, note that he was also of royal descent as a human being:
- A look at the genealogy tells you that!
- Look at the number of kings in Jesus’ line, commencing with King David
The Bible clearly reveals that Jesus was both divine and human at the same time
- The truth of this statement is the core of Christianity
- If it is not true, then Christianity is nothing more than ‘another religion’… of human origin but with divine ‘approval’
- It also makes Jesus to be a liar (more in a moment)
Someone has reflected on how difficult it is to believe that God lived as a man…
“That a man who was born out of a woman’s womb and died on a cross—a man who got tired and hungry and angry and agitated and wept at his friend’s tomb—that this man who got dirt under his fingernails should be God was, quite simply, the most astonishing, incredible, crazy-sounding idea that had ever entered the mind of man in all human history.” Yet it’s true!
We sing that Jesus “laid aside His majesty” to become a man, which is a perfectly correct statement
- But some might argue that it was easy for Jesus because he could at any moment “change from human to divine”, thereby avoiding the challenges and difficulties that we have to face…
But Jesus never used His power for His own benefit… they were only ever used for the advantage of other people
- He didn’t use His divine powers to be born in a palace instead of a stable
- He didn’t use His divine power to gain prestige by doing miracles
- He didn’t use divine power to sort out the rabble or the antagonistic religious leaders
- He didn’t use His divine power to destroy the troops that were searching to kill him
- He didn’t use His divine power against the soldiers or Pilate or those who nailed Him to the Cross…
- He didn’t use His divine power to come down from the Cross
In fact, He “learned obedience” to the Father and declared: “Nevertheless, not my will but yours be done”
- Just as WE have constant choices to make about whether we submit to the will of the Father or go our own way
And Jesus also allowed his human condition to take precedence over his godly attributes…
- So when he was a baby, he accepted a baby’s limitations
- When he was a toddler, he accepted the limitations of being a toddler…
Jesus DID use his divine powers to heal the sick, comfort the downhearted, forgive sins and raise the dead
- We can do nothing of ourselves… only the Spirit within us can achieve anything of real worth
- It’s a pity that we don’t say more often: “Lord God, move in power in me and through me… and reveal your glory”
I suspect that one reason that church has little appeal to the man and woman in the street is that there is little evidence of the supernatural power of God at work
- We seem willing to settle for the ‘ordinary’ with a spiritual veneer rather than anticipate the extraordinary
- Little wonder that a trip to the seaside or cinema has more appeal to many people than being part of church
What must it have been like for the spotless Son of God to carry the world’s burden of sin in His body?
- Someone once commented to me that it was nothing for Jesus to go to the Cross because He knew that He would be resurrected…
- I replied, “Can you imagine what it is like to carry the burden of the world’s sin in your body, heart and mind?”
For Jesus made himself to be sin, who knew no sin… in other words He “set aside” His divinity… for as God is incapable of sinning, when Jesus “became sin for us”, he was in ‘fully human’ mode
- All our guilty consciences, failings, hasty words, selfish behaviour, disobedience, bad attitudes… were carried by Jesus to the cross
When Jesus the man was laid to rest “in the grave”… his spirit went first to Paradise then to Sheol, preaching to those in prison… he forfeited his human life but ‘lay in the belly of the whale’ for three days
- On the third day he was resurrected in bodily form—still fully human (“he showed the disciples his hands and side”) and fully God… but he was no longer Jesus of Nazareth… now he was the divine Christ walking the earth as He had done with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden
- He now moved between the human form and the divine form, as he passed through walls…appeared from nowhere… heard the disciples’ conversations… became invisible… revealed the thoughts of their hearts and spoke peace into their troubled minds
Sceptics and atheists might reluctantly acknowledge that Jesus was a “good man”…
- But if He claimed to be God (as he did) and he wasn’t, then he wasn’t a good man at all… he was a liar!
- On the other hand, if what Jesus said about himself is true then he is God
Either Jesus was speaking the truth or he wasn’t…!
Josh McDowell has put the matter simply… Jesus is either Lord, liar or lunatic!
Moslems accept Jesus as a sage and a prophet but not as God…
- But sages and prophets by definition speak what is true
- So if Jesus is a prophet, his claims to divinity must be true!
Moslems counter this argument by claiming that Jesus never specifically said that he was God… others said it of him…
Well, so they do; for example: In Christ the fullness of Deity resides in bodily form [Col 2:9]
However, as we read the Old Testament (such as in Isaiah 9) we quickly realise that it wasn’t just the events in Jesus’ life but also the multitude of prophecies that point to His divine, as well as human, status … even to specifying the place of his birth!
Someone has said: “There are many religious books in the world that have many good things to say, but only the Bible has fulfilled prophecies—with more fulfilments to come”
And everything about Jesus’ earthly life demonstrates His God-status… for example:
- Worshipped by the Magi
- “Before Abraham was, I am” said Jesus, using God’s unique name “I am”
- When Thomas referred to the resurrected Christ as “my Lord and my God”, Jesus made no attempt to correct him
- And in Revelation, Christ is referred to as the Alpha and Omega… again, a title uniquely reserved for God
To be realistic, it doesn’t matter what Jesus SAID about himself… it’s what he DID that matters… though Jesus warned that some people will not believe, even if someone should rise from the dead!
- I could claim to be God… but if my deeds didn’t match my words, you would rightly conclude that I was deluded!
Perhaps Jesus was deluded… or the Gospel writers exaggerated to make an impression and promote their cause…
- But no one who reads the accounts of Jesus life can be left in any doubt that they are truthful
- And how did four ‘ignorant men’ write such amazing accounts of Jesus’ life that have transformed billions of lives down the centuries?
Most importantly, unlike other religions, Jesus didn’t claim to be able to show people the way to God… He said I AM the way…
I began by referring to our family histories…
- Whatever they might be—because of who Jesus is and what He did, we can have a wonderful hope, now and always
- Because He is King of kings, we can say that, by the grace of God, “I’m a child of the king!” I am of Royal Descent, too!“
- Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!