It All Leads to Jesus

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MATTHEW 1:1-17 | IT ALL LEADS TO JESUS RHCC | November 25, 2018 ICE BREAKER Do you have any interesting knowledge of your family tree? Examples: Any famous or infamous family member? Are you named for someone in your lineage? DISCUSSION The Old Testament ends with the messianic promise unfulfilled, looking ahead to God’s future action of bringing salvation. From what the reader sees, the promised offspring of the woman has not (yet) come. The world has not yet been set right. Blessing has not come to the world through Abraham’s descendants. The scepter has departed from the line of Judah. David’s kingdom has been defeated and lost, and no Davidic ruler reigns to mediate God’s blessings to the nations. The Old Testament ends looking to the future for closure and fulfillment. While the Second Temple period is anything but silent, the prophetic voice has ceased. The waiting has begun. TURN OF THE ERA With this background in place, we read the opening words of Matthew’s Gospel with new eyes: “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” The entire New Testament begins with a verse that declares Jesus to be the Son of David, the Son of Abraham, the long-awaited Messiah! Jesus’s descent from David would turn out to be foundational for later New Testament theology. Matthew traces Jesus’ human ancestry back to Abraham, the patriarch of the Jews to whom God’s covenant of promise and of grace was originally given. A. THE ABRAHAM CONNECTION What are the covenant promises God made to Abraham? Genesis 12:2 Genesis 12:3


Gen 15:4-5 Genesis 15:6 In connecting Jesus with Abraham, Matthew is connecting him with the covenant promises made by God to Abraham, and presenting to us the fact that Jesus is the promised offspring of Abraham through whom God would bless all nations. He is also putting before us the fact that this blessing would come to us through Jesus by the same means that God’s blessing of imputed righteousness came to Abraham, that is, by faith. B. THE DAVID CONNECTION David, the second king of the Israelites, was the most famous – he won the most victories, he extended the kingdom to its maximum territory, he was the ‘man after God’s own heart’, the writer of dozens of spiritual songs. It was to David that God made promises of a kingdom that would never end and an unending succession of his descendants on the throne. Yet David died. His kingdom was divided and conquered. His descendants lost his kingdom. Today, there is no David king and no Davidic kingdom. In his covenant with David God looked beyond the physical and temporal to the spiritual and eternal. God looked to the future, when his own Son, born as a human being in the lineage of David, would rule over an eternal spiritual kingdom. This connection with David identifies Jesus as both King and Messiah. How do these verses look beyond any earthly king to the great King and Messiah, Jesus Christ? 2 Samuel 7:12-17 2 Samuel 23:5 Psalm 89:3,4 Psalm 89: 26-37 Psalm 132:11-18 Isaiah 55:3,4 C. THE ‘LEFT FIELD’ CONNECTION While connecting Jesus with Abraham and David is rational and expected, the third significant connection Matthew makes is totally unexpected. He throws four people into this genealogy whom no one would have bothered to mention, firstly because they are women, and women had little significance to the Jewish male and did not normally feature in genealogies, and secondly because in one way or another each of them suffered a bad reputation.


Look up the following women and describe her background. Tamar – Genesis 38 Rahab – Joshua 2; 6:25 Ruth

Pretended to be a prostitute and deliberately tricked her father-in-law into having sex with her. A prostitute by profession

Bathsheba – 2Samuel 1112

The wife of Uriah the Hittite with whom David committed adultery.

Was a Moabite [non-Jew] and a widow

The inclusion of these women into this introduction which focuses on covenant and kingdom anticipates a key gospel perspective: that the covenant and the kingdom that is inaugurated by Jesus is also trans-national and redemptive: By this covenant and in this kingdom: It is God’s purpose to take hold of sinners and make them his own. It is God’s purpose to take hold of the outcasts and include them in his family. It is God’s purpose to take hold of the Gentiles and make them the people of God. Not by their own actions but by his action in his Son. Not by their merit but by his mercy. Not because of their performance but because of his pleasure. Just as out of these four wrecked lives the Messiah is born, so God, through this Messiah, redeems the sinner, not only Jewish sinners, but non-Jewish sinners also. The covenant and the kingdom he inaugurates are not based on human merit but on the will and the grace of God. This is the Jesus whose story and whose kingdom Matthew is about to record and describe. DIFFERENCES IN THE GENEALOGIES OF MATTEW AND LUKE There are differences between the genealogies in Matthew and Luke (Luke 3:23-28), as well as how they differ from Old Testament genealogies of Jewish history. Many today feel Matthew’s genealogy is described as a dynastic document focused on the royal line while Luke’s is linked more closely with a biological family tree. THE MYSTERY REVEALED With Matthew’s genealogy, God has at last revealed the identity of the hero of his story. We know who the long-awaited deliverer is. In this way, Matthew strikes a note of fulfillment, climax, and consummation. The messianic hope has found its fulfillment in Jesus. The Messiah has come!


PRAYER TIME Pass out notecards to each person. Ask each person to write down a prayer request and/or praise related to their family tree. They can sign it or now. Collect them and have each person draw a card. Pray for each other during the week. Lead the group in a closing prayer.

Resources: God's Word for You by Rosemary Bardsley How to Read Jesus' Genealogy in the Gospel of Matthew by Andreas J. Kostenberger, Alexander E. Stewart