Summary: God gave some incredible, unmistakable signs about who would save, and how he would save. It's important not to miss the signs concerning the most important event in all of history, and the most important person in all of history--the signs that show us that God came to save us through Jesus!
The Divine Advent(ure)
All You Could Want for Christmas
Matthew 1:16; 18-25
After many failed attempts in November and December of 1803, Orville and Wilbur Wright finally got their flying machine off the ground. The airplane was born. In their excitement, they sent a quick telegraph to their sister, Katherine. It said simply, "Flew 120 feet. Will be home for Christmas."
When Katherine got the news, she ran to the local newspaper and showed the telegraph to the editor.
He glanced at it and said, "How nice, the boys will be home for Christmas." Of course, he completely missed the point, and the scoop of the century, as any newspaperman should know. The Age of Flight had been inaugurated, and by two home-town boys.
Yes, it was nice that the boys would be home for Christmas, but man had flown an airplane for the first time. That was the big news.
And by the same token, how often do we miss the big news at Christmas time? All too often we get caught up in the lights, the tinsel, the Christmas trees, the gifts, and family. Those things are nice and they're fun. Just like it would be nice that the Wright brothers would be home for Christmas.
But that's not the big news. The big news is that an ultimate gift has been given—it is eternal life, through the gift of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Now this morning if you're here, and you have a ho-hum attitude toward the spiritual significance of Christmas—and if you have such a ho-hum attitude, you know who you are—I want you to know that this message is especially for you. Don't get distracted, don't miss the incredible sign that Christmas represents—that God came as a man to save you from your sins.
And this morning as we continue in our series, the Divine Advent(ure)—viewing the events surrounding the incarnation chronologically, we come to the next event of the advent. We've seen how God revealed and confirmed to Mary that she was about to have an incredible child who would come about as a result of an incredible conception. Now, it's Joseph's turn to get the news, Joseph, the step-day, so to speak, of Jesus, the only begotten Son of God.
These events are found in Matthew 1:18-25 as we have read. But before we go there, it's important this morning to give attention to the context of the story. The Apostle Matthew, a Jew, has written a Gospel especially designed for Jewish people, Jewish people who understood from the Old Testament that families and genealogies would play a critical role in determining precisely who the coming Messiah, the Savior, Deliverer and Great King of the Jews whom they had long been waiting for, would be.
And so Matthew gives special attention to the genealogy of Jesus—who Jesus descended from—because it had been specifically predicted, among other things, that the Messiah and Deliverer of the Jews would descend from very specific family lines in Israel. If a Jew wanted to identify, or discount, that someone could possibly be the Messiah, he had only to look at prophecies which identified which family he would come from, and then check out a prospective Messiah and see if he came from that family. That's why the genealogy of Jesus Christ begins in Matthew 1:1 in this way—"The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham." The Jews understood from Genesis 12:3 that the Messiah would come from their race—that He would be a Son of Abraham. They also knew from II Samuel 7 and II Chronicles 17 that He would be a descendant of the great king David. In fact, a common name for the Messiah in Jesus' time was "Son of David." And so we have this genealogy as proof from Matthew, a Jew, that Jesus qualified as Messiah, because both Abraham and David were among his ancestors.
When we come to verse 16 of the Genealogy, we find a very extraordinary phenomenon. If you've ever tried reading genealogies in the King James Version, you know how they go. Abraham begat Isaac, and Isaac began Jacob, and Jacob begat, well 12 sons. In our more modern translation, the NASB as we read the genealogy it goes like this, throughout, though we'll pick it up in verse 15: Eliud was the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of Matthan and Matthan the father of Jacob. Jacob was the father of Joseph, and then where we would expect to find that Joseph was the father of Jesus, instead we find this unique description: Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, by whom Jesus was born, who is called Messiah."
Now what you need to realize here is that something very extraordinary has happened here both in terms of genealogies and human history. For the very first time in all Biblical genealogies, absolutely no human father is attributed to Jesus. A man was begotten without a human father. Yes, he had a human mother. But never in Biblical genealogies, and never in human history anywhere or anytime apart from Adam and Eve was there ever a man begotten who did not have a human father.