Devotional # 114. 12/8/14. Matthew 1:1-25. Christmas 2014, part 2.
Intro. If you have been a Christian for a long time than you are used to the story of how Jesus was born. You’ve probably heard a sermon on every aspect of the Christmas story. Alastair Begg jokes that he’s looked at Jesus’ birth from a sermon standpoint in so many different ways that he’s thought about doing it from the donkey’s perspective! But even if it’s been told 1 million times in 1 million ways it’s nevertheless powerful. This week I’d like for you to simply read the story. This week the work is on you, it will be you who has to pick up the Bible and read these 25 verses on your own. Why now? Because you still have three weeks to meditate on these things, to share them with your family and to recognize the awesome power of God!
I do want to make a note on the genealogy of Jesus. A genealogy is recording a person’s family, their lineage. This is important because some people say that there is a contradiction here in the Bible and others say that if Mary was impregnated by the Holy Spirit then Joseph’s lineage doesn’t matter. The list of weird thoughts about Jesus’ earthly parents goes on and on so let’s look at that.
In Matthew 1:1-17 we read Joseph’s lineage (specifically verse 6 says “David the king” and later in verse 20 the angel calls Joseph by the title “son of David”). So Joseph did come from David. But notice verse 11 mentions “Jeconiah” as Joseph’s bloodline. Technically if Joesph was Jesus’ biological father than Jesus couldn’t be the Messiah because in Jeremiah 22:24-30, “Jeconiah” (“Coniah“) is cursed, he and his sons can’t sit on the throne.
In Luke 3:23-38 we read Mary’s bloodline. It’s initially confusing because it says “the son of Joseph, the son of Heli.” So we find that Mary’s dad was “Eli.” There are several possibilities: 1. Jesus could be called “son of Eli” because Eli was his maternal grandfather, his nearest male ancestor (Source 1) or 2. “Joseph son of Eli” could mean “son-in-law” (Source 2) or 3. an adoptive heir through his only daughter, Mary (an example is in 1 Chronicles 2:21-23; 7:14 we see Jair, called “Jair son of Manasseh” but is actually “son of Manasseh’s granddaughter” (Source 3). Also of note: in Numbers 27:7 we find God gave a unique gift to Israelites. Bloodline, and therefore kingship, could pass through women. Other nations didn’t practice this. Interestingly later in Numbers (36:4) when it’s questioned, Moses says the inheritance belongs to the women as long as she marries within her tribe. So we see something truly impossible happen: Jesus has the right to reign on earth because of Mary’s bloodline, as long as she marries from her tribe, and Joseph was! And Jesus had the right to reign in heaven because He is God, born of the Holy Spirit!
Conclusion. According to Hebrews 10:5 (which actually comes from Psalm 40:6), 1 Peter 1:20-21 and Revelation 13:8, etc. we see that the Father had prepared the Son to come to earth before the earth was even created! We worship a God who works miracles and keeps His word. If I was God – layering on the prophesies for thousands of years, knowing that men like Jeconiah would sin, I would be a nervous wreck! I would be stressed that everything work out perfectly, but thankfully I’m not God. He knows everything and still chooses to weave impossible odds and wicked men’s hearts into His ultimate goal: that men would be saved from the sin that they crave. Next week I am going to re-send a Devotional from last year. It is the one about the origins of Christmas (as we know it).
Source 1: Maas, Genealogy of Christ, 1913.
Source 2: Lightfoot, Horae Hebraicæ et Talmudicæ, 1859.
Source 3: Nolland, The Gospel of Matthew, 2005.