Part of a weekly series on Matthew. This week: Matthew 1:1-17.
From the top.
A homeless man, schemer and incestuous sexual predator. Then a prostitute and a Gentile woman. An adulterer and murderer. Devout kings and apostate rulers. Slaves and masters. Poor and rich. Men and women.
This, my friends, is Jesus’ family tree.
It would be a gross understatement to say that it was dysfunctional. In fact, it’s an indictment on the human race. An illustration of how far we’ve fallen. And the very reason we need the gospel.
So what is Matthew trying to do with this twisted genealogy? Pastor Thabiti Anyabwile says five things.
1. Fulfilment of prophecy
Matthew is demonstrating that Jesus is accomplishing what was foretold in the prophets–that the Messiah will come through the line of Abraham.
Matthew and Luke are the only Gospels that present a genealogy. In fact, these are the only genealogies on world historical record that point to a Messiah.
Matthew is saying, “Here is the fingerprint of God. The ancestors of the Messiah.”
2. God is sovereign
No matter how corrupt the world becomes, God is in control.
He will use the child of a woman seduced by God’s beloved (and who murdered her husband) to advance His cause–even if that child indulges in the wickedness of the world.
He will use an eight-year old king who ruled for 31 years and instituted major reforms to bring back the rebellious people to their God (even if the reforms were not enough to turn the tide of unrestrained sin) to advance His cause.
In the end, God is the monarch of history.
3. God is humble
God chose to send His son to redeem a wicked people, and He chose to use that very line of human corruption and sin to bring about His son’s birth.
Furthermore, God, as Jesus Christ, “did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:6-7).
This is a glorious illustration of the humility of our God.
And why did he do this? That he might be acquainted with our weaknesses. That he might be familiar with the dregs of society.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15
4. God heals the broken-hearted
The first seventeen lines of Matthew is an exhibition of the fallen and flawed. And the very people who God has come to save. But what is important is not what they do. As we’ve seen they are prone to kill, lie and adulterate.
What is important is how they respond.
David fell at the feet of God and begged for mercy when confronted with his sin. Ruth, a Moabite (the clan that refused Israel permission to cross their land during the Exodus), proclaimed, “Your people shall be my people, and Your God, my God.”
God showed mercy on those with broken and contrite hearts. On the other hand, he was merciless to those who hardened their hearts.
The message to you and I: stop loving our sin and love our Saviour.
5. The gospel is for all people
God came to save a dysfunctional people. And if the list of Jesus’ ancestors should tell us anything, you and I are not beyond reconciliation. God has not given up on us. And He wishes that we will not give up on him.
He wishes that our pride will not choose sin over our Saviour. He invites us to humble ourselves, repent of our sins, trust in Him and delight in this Jesus.
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