A Brief Update
For those of you who are unable to gather corporately with us this Sunday, you are loved and missed! If this is you, we are providing the songs we are singing together this morning and a devotional based on the sermon being preached.
Songs We are Singing Together
Devotional on Matthew 1:1
Matthew 1:1 - The book of the geneaology of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
The book of Matthew tells us a story. It is the story of God’s affection revealed in his son Jesus Christ. This story reminds us of God’s affection for his creation revealed in this gospel; the story of the birth, the life, the death, the resurrection, and the ascension of Jesus Christ. It is a story of good news that God came to earth in the person of Jesus Christ.
Throughout most of Israel’s history it was harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd. They endured wars from without and wars among themselves, enslavement by Persians and Babylonians, suffered under Egyptian and Roman rule, and their only hope was a ‘promised’ “Messiah” who would deliver them from all their enemies, and rule over them as their ultimate king. Many Old Testament prophecies promised them hope that this day would one day come, and God’s covenant promise to them would finally be fulfilled.
Matthew tells his readers that the day has finally come. God’s covenant promises to Abraham and David have been fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
As a disciple of Christ Matthew had first-hand knowledge of Jesus, and his gospel reflects that experience. Jesus’ teachings, his marvelous miracles, and his perplexing and challenging parables will show us who Jesus is. Matthew will show us the “righteous man” of Psalm 1 in his gospel.
As a man well acquainted with the Old Testament Matthew was well aware of God’s covenant promise to Israel to send a “Messiah”, a savior, and like every Jew he was hoping for and awaiting a conqueror who would crush the Roman oppression they suffered under. As a follower of Christ his perspective radically changed. He saw in Jesus the fulfillment of God’s covenant promises made to Abraham and David not in the way he had originally expected, but fulfilled nonetheless, and that is how he begins his gospel. He reminds his readers of the covenant promises God has made.
First, Matthew points to the promise God made to David.
“. . . the son of David . . .”
Matthew begins with Jesus’ genealogy, and he starts with King David.
In 2 Samuel 7:12-16 God makes a promise to David: “When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.”
God promised a future, righteous, and perfect king to rule, and that this king would come through Israel’s greatest king, David. This is where the Messiah’s royal line began, and Matthew is quick to establish that fact. It could not and would not be an earthly king because no earthly king could rule forever. It had to be a heavenly king who was both God and man. As a son of David Jesus was that earthly and heavenly king.
David was a mighty warrior and the greatest of Israel’s kings so it makes sense why Jewish expectations hoped in a Messiah who would come and conquer their oppressors. The Messiah would conquer their greatest oppressor, but most did not understand that their oppressors were sin, the devil, and death. They misunderstood why Jesus came. They lost sight of the whole purpose of the tabernacle, the blood sacrifices, and the most holy place where God alone dwelled. They had forgotten that their sin needed a sacrifice to make things right with God.
Matthew’s gospel to a primarily Jewish audience affirmed that Jesus is the rightful and true king who conquered sin and death, and whose throne is established forever.
Second, Matthew highlights the promise God made to Abraham.
“. . . the son of Abraham.”
Before man’s fall into sin God had a plan to rescue humanity. He revealed that plan through a man named Abraham by making a covenant with him. Even though he was old and childless God promised Abraham a son, and a family through whom all the peoples of the earth would be blessed (Genesis 12:1-3). The promised son was Isaac, and the promised family became the nation of Israel who God chose as his special people.
The story of the First Testament is the outworking of both God’s promise to David and to Abraham. These covenant promises are the story of God’s glory revealed through his chosen people, and it’s that story reaches its climax in Jesus, the son of David, the son of Abraham. He was the promised offspring of Abraham, and the promised son of David.
Although a book written with his Jewish readers in mind, Matthew also is aware that God’s covenant with Abraham extends far beyond the Jewish people. God told Abraham that he would be a father of many nations, and the world would be blessed through him. Matthew affirms that promise when he records Jesus’ final words in 28:19 – “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…”
Matthew’s gospel is in effect a survey of the history of the people of God from its very beginning with Abraham, the father of Israel, to the coming of the Messiah, the ‘son of David.’ Matthew tells us that the time of preparation is over and all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in the incarnate Christ. All that has been promised, prophesied, and longed for is fulfilled in Jesus.
Third, Matthew points to the fulfillment of God’s promises seen in Jesus Christ.
“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ . . .”
Matthew begins his gospel by introducing us to the hero of his story.
The book of Genesis begins with; “In the beginning” and tells the story of God’s original creation that was marred and ruined by sin. The first two words of Matthew’s gospel are literally the “book of genesis”. Like the creation account in Genesis 1 these opening words reveal that a “new creation” has taken place. Matthew’s gospel is a new creation story that affirms God’s promise to send a “Messiah”, a deliverer to his people who is Jesus Christ.
The word “genealogy” literally means “genesis”, and Matthew is telling his readers that the coming of Jesus Christ (Christ meaning, anointed one, for in the Old Testament only prophets, priests, and kings were anointed, and Jesus fulfills all three), is all about the “new creation”.
It is in this “new creation” account (Matthew’s gospel), that God’s grace is on full display in the coming of Christ. Even as Matthew details Jesus’ lineage of liars, adulterers, murderers, prostitutes, and wickedness in every form his ancestry is overshadowed and overwhelmed by God’s grace as we see his covenant promise fulfilled.
That plan was always to send his son into the world to become a man, bearing the weight of humanity’s sickness, sin, frailty, and judgment. He left the glory of heaven to live in the filth of this world that he might fulfill God’s promise to rescue and restore his relationship to his beloved creation. The coming of Christ was a new beginning for all humanity.
As we read through Matthew, we will see that he knew the OT well. Most of those who heard Matthew’s stories would have been illiterate, and even those who could read would have had little access to the OT books. But the early church was well fed on Matthew’s gospel as they listened to or read story after story of the true Messiah.
Matthew’s gospel has rich teaching, gripping stories, compelling historical scenes, and divine truths that all of us must be willing to obey if we are to be a follower of Christ, and it also provides sober warnings for those who don’t. There is much to learn from this telling story.
Most of all, Matthew wants his readers to know that the climax of all human history has now come in the person of Jesus Christ.
Song of Response