Skip to comments."The Genealogy of Jesus Christ: From Abraham to David" (Sermon on Matthew 1:1-6a)
Posted on 12/05/2007 5:17:49 PM PST by Charles Henrickson
The Genealogy of Jesus Christ: From Abraham to David (Matthew 1:1-6a)
Thirty years ago, all of America was watching a television mini-series called, Roots. Roots was the story of author Alex Haleys family, his ancestors, the generations that led up to his own life. Basically, it was a genealogy fleshed out. And it made for fascinating viewing. We humans are naturally interested in roots, in family histories and genealogies. A persons family history will tell us a lot about that person--where he came from, who he is.
Today we begin a series on the roots, the family history, of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The Genealogy of Jesus Christ will tell us a lot about our Lord--where he came from, who he is. And in so doing, it will also tell us a lot about who we are in Christ.
Our text for this Advent series is from Matthew chapter 1. This is how St. Matthew begins his gospel, begins telling the story of Jesus. His opening words are carefully chosen: The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
The book of the genealogy. The Greek here is Biblos geneseos, the word biblos meaning book or record, and geneseos or genesis meaning generation or genealogy or origin. You could really translate it, the book of the generation, or even, the book of the genesis. Yes, Matthew is deliberately choosing words that recall the first book of the Bible, the Book of Genesis. In fact, that same exact phrase is used a number of times in the Book of Genesis--you know, where you have all those lists of begats. What Matthew is saying by choosing these words is that Jesus Christ sums up--brings to completion, brings to fulfillment--the salvation history that God began way back in the Book of Genesis.
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. What else is Matthew saying with these words? Hes saying that Jesus Christ is true man, truly human. Jesus has human ancestors, real people who led flesh-and-blood lives in real human history. He is no stranger, no phantom visitor from the spirit world who doesnt know what human life is all about. No, Jesus had these human ancestors, you see. Here are their names. You can look it up.
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ. Jesus is his name. Christ is his title. His name, Jesus, means Savior. The term, Christ, tells us of his office, that he is the Messiah, the Anointed One, the God-sent Deliverer promised from long ago.
Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Now thats interesting. Out of all the many ancestors he could choose from, Matthew focuses on these two in particular, Abraham and David. Jesus is the son of David, who in turn was a descendant of Abraham. These two get special attention. The son of David tells us that Jesus is indeed the Messiah. Son of David had that technical sense. Then it says, the son of Abraham. Notice that Matthew does not go all the way back to Adam in his genealogy, like Luke does. Rather, Matthew takes us back as far as Abraham, the patriarch, the father of the nation of Israel, the chosen people.
By saying, son of Abraham, Matthew is recalling the promise made to Abraham back in Genesis 12. The Lord called Abram, as he was then known, out of paganism and promised to bless him. And he promised to make him a blessing, and said that through him--that is, through Abraham and his seed, his offspring--all the nations of the earth would be blessed.
So Abraham became the father of a line of promise, a family line that would bear the Lords promise to bless all mankind. This line of promise would be very precise, very particular. And it would be clear that it was all by the Lords doing.
Our text says, Abraham was the father of Isaac, which is true, but remember that Abraham first had another son, didnt he? Ishmael was the son of Abrahams own efforts, but not the son of promise. That would be the Lords miraculous doing, and that son was Isaac. Likewise, Isaac was the father of Jacob, who continued the line of promise, whereas Isaacs other son, Esau, did not. You see, all depends on the Lords doing, the Lords choosing, the Lords word of promise.
Then it says, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers. Do you notice the extra information that Matthew puts in here? He could have just said, Jacob the father of Judah, but he adds the phrase, and his brothers. This means the whole nation, the whole twelve tribes of Israel. The point is that all of Israels history, all of Israels status as the chosen people of God, would come funneled down into this one son of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, namely, Jesus. Jesus is the fulfillment of Gods plan of salvation. He is Israel reduced to one.
The genealogy continues: Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar. Again, theres extra information included here. Not just, Judah the father of Perez, but the father of Perez and Zerah by their mother Tamar. This extra information--the mention of Tamar--recalls a particularly sordid affair by which those children were born. The point here is that God is able to work through weak and sinful human beings to bring about something good. The Savior of sinners would come through a line of sinners, in order to rescue them. And that means God is able to deal with your sins, my friend. Even the great patriarch Judah, the father of kings, was such a man, a sinner like you and I.
The line of promise continues: Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab. Now were kind of fast-forwarding through the genealogy. But notice the mention of Rahab. Another woman, like Tamar. Keep in mind, the women would not need to be mentioned in this type of father-to-son genealogy. But this one, Rahab, a second woman now, is mentioned. Rahab the gentile. Rahab the prostitute. You see, God is acting to bring into his people those gentiles he promised to bless through Abrahams seed. And again, this includes real-live sinners. If God can rescue a harlot and make her an ancestress of the Messiah, he can certainly deal with the likes of you and me. God is in the business of rescuing sinners and turning outsiders into insiders.
Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth. Another woman is mentioned, this time, Ruth. Ruth the Moabitess. Another foreigner brought into Gods people and into the line of the Messiah. In your seed, Abraham, all the nations of the earth shall be blessed.
Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king. Now there appears a king coming out of this somewhat dysfunctional family. But David wasnt the most prominent son of Jesse. He wasnt the one youd predict to become king. Yet God works through weak and lowly means to accomplish his purposes. His ways are not our ways. This shows that all the glory goes to God. Its not by our might or strength that salvation is accomplished. Its Gods doing.
This then is our first stopping point along the way. We have come from Abraham to David. Next week well hear more about Jesus as the son of David, as we move from David forward, during the time of the kings. But the main message for today, the thing that Matthew is telling us up to this point, is that Jesus is the son of Abraham. That is to say, Jesus is the fulfillment of the great promise made to Abraham, Gods promise to bless all the families of the earth through Abrahams seed.
During this Advent season, Jesus, the son of Abraham, comes to bless you and your family. He blesses you by forgiving your sins, whatever they may be. He can deal with your sordid past, the family secrets, the skeletons in the closet, those things youre ashamed of. He forgives you, and he renews your life. Jesus won your forgiveness by dying in your place, as your substitute, even as God provided a substitute--that ram caught in the thicket--when Abraham was about to sacrifice his son Isaac. God has provided his only Son, Jesus Christ, to be the sacrifice for all sin, as the substitute for all sinners.
The Genealogy of Jesus Christ is a line of promise, a line of blessing. The line of promise comes down to you and your family and your address, right here today. For Jesus is the son of Abraham. That tells us that God takes in outcasts and outsiders and sinners, people like you and me, and he makes us part of his family. Yes, in Jesus Christ, the son of Abraham, you shall be blessed!
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king.
Wonderful advent sermon! Thanks.
I'm looking forward to next week's sermon as my son's name is David.....David Charles to be exact.
My late father's name is Charles David.
Give me that old time religion and old time names!
I prefer the genealogy of Luke 3 that goes back to Adam.
Well, the Holy Ghost prefers that we have both! :-)
I agree...however, when people use the Matthew account, which begins with Abraham, there is a tacit ignoring of the first 11 chapters of Genesis. I have been teaching a Genesis class for 5 years, and we have only gotten to chapter 6. I am amazed at how the early chapters have been ignored...and how very important they are.
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