“Jesus Christ, the son of David”

“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.”

(Matthew 1:1)

Matthew starts his gospel with the clear intention of showing that Jesus Christ is the “true son”. The true son of Adam and the true son of God. Throughout the book of Matthew, Jesus describes Himself as “The son of man.” (Matthew 8:20, 9:6, 11:19) Why does He call Himself this? Well it shows that He is the fulfilment of God’s promise made to everyone who had come before Him. To Adam and Eve God promised a seed who would crush the head of the serpent, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise your head and you shall bruise His heel.”(Genesis 3:15) This promise concerning a seed then continues in the lives of Abraham, Isaac, Moses and David. The entire Old Testament revolves around God’s promise. The promise of God’s blessing through His promised seed, “And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:3) The genealogy of Jesus Christ at the start of Matthew’s gospel is not a who’s who of biblical characters. It is evidence of God’s gracious plan to bring about the God-man – Jesus Christ – through a sinful creation. The characters chosen to carry the lineage of Christ are no different from those chosen to receive salvation. It is by grace, through faith, not of works lest anyone should boast, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-10)They are no different to us. Weak through sin but made strong through the grace which has been given to us through Jesus Christ.

When reading about characters in the Old Testament we must remember that like us they were chosen according to God’s grace. We must read the Old Testament in the light of the New Testament and the coming of Jesus Christ. Reading this list of people we see how flimsy God’s plan often appears. Throughout the Old Testament it appears that God’s plan has been thwarted and frustrated. But when we read the start of Matthew we see that God is sovereign. He has chosen to preserve a group of people so that Jesus Christ could come in our likeness. Nothing could stop the coming of Jesus Christ. As we look back at God’s absolute sovereignty in the Old Testament it encourages us to look ahead to seeing God’s sovereignty in the days ahead.

As we see at the start of Matthew’s gospel everything in the Old Testament is pointing to and finds fulfilment in the coming and work of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the Messiah whom Israel was waiting for and who God had promised. Matthew links Jesus Christ clearly to Abraham and David. Matthew is making the point that Jesus Christ is the rightful heir to the throne of King David and the son of Abraham through whom all nations shall be blessed. At the heart of the Old Testament is the promise of a seed. Matthew states right from the outset that Jesus Christ is the fulfilment of that promise and that the promise has come. Luke also writes in Luke 1:32 about Jesus, “the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.” David’s throne was only established for the coming of the one who would rightfully sit on it. All of the Old Testament is a sign to the coming of the promised saviour. Way back in Genesis 49 Jacob prophesied about his 12 sons who were the beginning of the 12 tribes of Israel. Concerning Judah, the tribe through which Jesus Christ would be born he says, “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet until Shiloh comes.” This description of Jesus Christ – “Shiloh” expresses so much about our Saviour. The word Shiloh literally means “The one to whom it rightfully belongs”. Jacob is prophesying that Judah will bring forth Kings until the day the true King comes. Many would come but then finally the one to whom the throne rightfully belongs will come.

This is the King of Kings Jesus Christ. He is the one to whom the throne of David rightfully belongs. He is the one to whom all honour and glory and power rightfully belongs. He is the one to whom our lives, adoration and praise rightfully belong. Our lives are being established as a throne for Jesus Christ to sit on and for His kingdom to be seen in. This is the coming of the promise – Jesus Christ.

Matthew is trying to explain to his readers that Jesus Christ is it. He is what Israel has been waiting for. God’s promise has been fulfilled. Matthew is beginning his gospel with the truth about Jesus Christ. He is the one. The writer of Hebrews explains this mystery further. In Hebrews 1:2-4 we read, “has in these last days spoken to us by His son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom He also made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power..” Like Matthew, the writer of Hebrews is making the point that Jesus Christ is God. He is the express image of God’s person. He is fully God. Yet as we read in Matthew He is also fully human as the “son of man.” The writer of Hebrews goes on to say, “Therefore ,in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.” (Hebrews 2:17) Jesus Christ brings God to man and He also brings man to God. How? Through his perfectly obedient life, His work on the cross, His resurrection and ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit. Through His work and His work alone God and man have been reconciled, “But now in Christ Jesus you who were once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” (Ephesians 2:13) We will need eternity to think about the mystery of how and why the Holy God who created the universe chose to come to a sinful world and walk as a man like us. Why should the immortal God walk in our shoes. Why should the all powerful God subject Himself to cruel nails and a cross for sinners like you and I. Paul tells us why in Ephesians 1:6-8, “to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” Does the world not need to hear about the riches of God’s grace in Jesus Christ? Does the Church not need to be reminded of the truth that in Jesus Christ all the fullness of the Godhead dwelt in bodily form and that we are compete in Him? (Colossians 2:9) In our churches today we talk about so many different things. New ideas and sermons are everywhere. We have a million and one books about every verse in the Bible but we are quickly losing sight of what Paul saw as he visited the churches all those years ago. Paul was a clever man. He studied the scriptures. He led a good life. Yet he was called by God. In his letters we see Paul’s heart, “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:2), “But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Galatians 6:14) I am done with clever sermons and funny stories. Give me the gospel. Give me Jesus Christ. Give me the truth. Give me the living word – Jesus Christ – who was made flesh and dwelt among us. Change me through faith in His work and obedience to the Holy Spirit. Remind me of the wonder of salvation and the power of the Gospel.

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