Matt 1:18-19; John 1:1
Are you ready for Christmas? I am not asking whether you have finished shopping, but I am asking are you making personal preparation so that you can truly celebrate the birthday of the King. As we prepare our hearts for Christmas, we at Mobberly, will spend the next several weeks focusing on understanding the Love of God through the stories of those who would be considered unlovely.
When we are reading the Bible, we tend to skim over those sections that contain genealogies. Matthew’s gospel begins with the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah. So let’s pause a moment to consider its significance. Matthew arranges his genealogy into three sections, each containing fourteen names. The numerical value of the Hebrew letters for David equals fourteen. Matthew focuses on Jesus’ lineage through Joseph, His adoptive father, while Luke will provide Jesus’ bloodline through Mary’s lineage.
Genealogies were important to the Jews. They provided the means for a person to prove their tribal membership and thus establish rights to their inheritance. If one wanted to claim to be “the Son of David” it was important that proof was available. This genealogy not only proves the Davidic lineage of Jesus, it establishes His birth as a vital part of history. God in His great mercy chose to bring redemption to mankind by sending His own Son into the world. This genealogy also demonstrates the amazing grace of God by including four women (Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba). Women were not included in Jewish genealogies, particularly those with a background like that of these four.
But Christmas is all about grace. It is the story of God stooping to become man. In truth, there were many Jewish men who could trace their lineage to David. It required more than earthly lineage for one to be able to restore the throne of David forever. It took divine heredity.
You may have noticed that the language and the order shift when we come to the birth of Jesus. Joseph did not “begat” or “father” Jesus in the same manner as others mentioned in the genealogy. Joseph is introduced as the husband of Mary (Matt. 1:19). This is no ordinary birth. Jesus was born of an earthly mother but without the sexual activity of an earthly father. “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit” (1:18). This is the virgin birth.
Jesus the Christ, being eternally God (John 1:1), existed before Mary and Joseph. If Jesus had been born like any other human baby, He would not be God. It was therefore God’s plan to allow Him to enter the world through an earthly mother through the agency of the Holy Spirit. This earthly and divine lineage indicates that Jesus was fully man and fully God, the only person qualified to redeem sinful humanity.
Matt 1:18-19; John 1:1