A Sermon Soundbite from “God Never Misses” by John Onwuchekwa.
[Painting Jesus Series on the Gospel of Matthew]
An account of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.Matthew 1:1
Everyone’s family history is complex, convoluted, and complicated, even Jesus’. It’s oddly encouraging to know that no one has any control over their family history, except Jesus. Genealogies in the Bible are very important because they tell us a seemingly contradicting and confusing story that ends up being one that is tantalizing and amazing. Jesus genealogy is real, and I mean it in both ways. Real in that this has really happened. And real in the sense that it doesn’t hide what actually happened, regardless of how messy it is.
In the ancient world, genealogies served as resumes. They were a person’s credentials. A person’s ancestry was closely tied to their identity. As we look carefully on who Jesus comes from we learn this: Jesus’ muddy pedigree shows us that he came to save messy people. Have you made a mess of your life? Has sin jumped in the driver seat? If so, I have good news: Jesus had personally invited you to the family reunion.
We often skim or skip over these portions of scripture in a hurry to get to the “good stuff” such as miracles, lofty theology, great acts of deliverance and prophecy. All of these things are nice and good (and true). But we shouldn’t miss the deep wells of truth God communicates in our Lord’s genealogy. Although many things are present in Matthew 1:1-17. I think the biggest thing to take note of here is that no sort of stumbling block, no amount of sin, no kind of scandal, and no type of suffering can sidetrack God’s salvation purposes in the Savior.
Don’t believe it? Take Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Matt. 1:2) for example. They don’t hold all things in common but something that they all hold in common is the barrenness of their wives. They were all unable to conceive and receive a child from the Lord. The fathers of the faith to the naked eye seemed like they wouldn’t be fathers at all. The eyes of faith, however, show that not only would they be given a promised son but they’d further the line of the promised Son.
Another thing that catches the eye is the women that are all mentioned. In the Greco-Roman world and in antiquity women didn’t make the genealogies. They were seen as second-class citizens. They didn’t bolster status due to the fact that they didn’t hold noteworthy positions. However, Tamar, Rahab, and Ruth are mentioned. Why? Well, it shows that God has no second class citizenship in the kingdom (Gal. 3:28). Based on their different ethnic backgrounds we are pointed to God’s desire all along to receive worship from all the nations. And finally, our bad performance doesn’t snuff out his good promises. The sin and scandal that they found themselves in were no match for God’s faithful love and kindness. All foreigners. All caught in some type of scandal. All loved by God in Christ.
Then finally, as we look at the Davidic epoch so many things pop off the page. Jesus, while coming from a royal line of Kings, comes from many who have defiled the throne. It’s hard to not look at all of those on the list and expect a tragic ending. But Jesus, oh Jesus, his death burial and resurrection show that God turns this into a new beginning.
The Genealogy of Jesus is so significant because we see that Christ is such the focal point of history that his ancestors need him to derive their meaning. In God’s goodness, he in his very own son, in birth more miraculous than a barren woman but a virgin woman comes to take away sins but not to take away sinners.
We see that Lord himself identifies first with those who everyone else would pick last. Jesus doesn’t take role players and wins games. He takes losers and conquers the world. In scripture, the perfect number is 7. It’s the number of completion. Well, when we tally up the generations we see that Jesus comes in the 7th seven generations. He comes at the perfect time, or at the fullness of time (Gal. 4:4). Christ isn’t only the perfect man, but comes at the perfect moment, for imperfect men. He shows that Israel’s controversial story doesn’t end with Him but finds its consummate end in Him.