Summary: Many people need proof of the authenticity of Jesus the Christ who was born in a manger long ago. Matthew uses the genealogical record of Jesus in order to show Jesus' royal lineage. He also includes some folks in that lineage to show that the heart of the Lord is open to all!
The Continuing Provenance and Providence of Jesus
Please stand as we read our newest memory Scripture together …
“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder. And His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
And our memory refresher verses for today are …
“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”
Please open your Bibles to Matthew 1:1-17
As I was researching for this message I inadvertently looked up the meaning of the word Provenance instead of Providence, or was it Providence instead of Provenance?
Providence is God’s hand at work in the world or in our lives.
Provenance is being able to determine the origin of something; is it authentic?
Let me give you an example of provenance …
Over the centuries there has been this fascination with what has become known as the Holy Grail. The Holy Grail is supposed to be the cup which Jesus passed among the disciples at the Last Supper.
If someone were to claim that they found such a cup they would have to prove the provenance of the cup in order for it to have any real value.
Without the provenance it would just be an old cup.
The provenance of Jesus is what Matthew is establishing in this genealogy and throughout the Gospel of Matthew;
Matthew is providing the provenance that Jesus is from the authentic lineage from which the Messiah must come and that He is indeed the Christ.
Jesus is authentic.
By the way … do you know what the Bible says about the Holy Grail?
In the Gospel according to Dilbert, Jesus says, “Make sure you get that special cup for the last supper, OK? And, then hide it somewhere real good just so people will spend their lives trying to find it!”
No, He didn’t! He said no such thing.
This is reality!
Even if provenance was provided to prove that such a cup still exists the fact remains that the cup is nothing. Jesus is everything.
By the same token, there is great wonder about the Shroud of Turin which is thought to be the burial cloth of Jesus.
But even if provenance was provided to prove that the Shroud of Turin was actually Jesus’ burial cloth the fact remains that the Shroud of Turing is nothing and Jesus is everything.
Oh, how our hearts yearn after idols!
And, what about the tomb where Jesus was dead and buried for three days?
Do they really know where that tomb is?
National Geographic, NY Times, CBN, CBS, NBC, Daily Mail, Washington Post and others all reported on the grand event when the supposed tomb of Jesus was unsealed in 2016.
Sure, that’s exciting even in a society with an anti-Christ bias.
But, here’s the thing even if provenance was provided that proved that the tomb was actually where Jesus was buried, the fact remains that the tomb is nothing and Jesus is everything!
The so called Holy Grail did not come to show us the way to the Father, Jesus did.
The shroud of Turin did not suffer and die for your sins, Jesus did.
The tomb of Jesus cannot give you eternal life, only Jesus can!
Jesus is all! Jesus is everything!!
We cannot let meaningless trinkets and legends distract us from Jesus the Son of God.
Jesus is all! Jesus is everything!
So, why did Matthew include a genealogy in the Gospel he wrote?
He did it to show provenance as proof that Jesus is the long awaited Messiah and to show the providence of the Lord’s hand at work in bringing the Messiah into the world in the way He foretold through the prophets!
With that in mind let’s go ahead and read Matthew 1:17
Wow! That really stirs your soul, doesn’t it?
Genealogies were important in ancient Israel especially for priests and those in the royal line of David.
And, Matthew starts out with a bang, “This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham.”
Which can also be read this way, “This is an account of the origin of Jesus the Messiah, the Christ, the Anointed One, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham (and Luke includes) the Son of God.”
Now, remember that this was written fifty to sixty years after Jesus’ birth and twenty to thirty years after His death, resurrection and ascension into heaven.
The target of this Gospel is pretty much everyone!