Summary: Matthew reminds his readers that the coming of Jesus was anticipated for centuries.
Sing We Now of Christmas 2
“Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus”:
The King was Expected
Introduction: Christmas is a time of expectations. We expect family to be together for better or worse! We expect to get a gift and sometimes even have expectations for that gift thus sometimes meaning an unfulfilled expectation. I believe in Christmas being a time of continual expectation and so I put off gift buying until the last minute and then wrap a picture of what will be arriving by mail sometime after Christmas!
Matthew’s gospel account of Jesus begins with that same concept. A gift is coming but it will not arrive for several centuries (so my family should be appreciative that it is only days!). He begins his story of Jesus with a genealogy! If there is a more boring way to start a book I am not sure what it would be, but Matthew is writing to Jews to whom ancestry was important to let them know the King is coming! He traces Jesus’ ancestry back to Abraham and David to remind them and us that “the King was expected”.
1. The King came despite man’s sinfulness.
v. 1 – Prequel – The story of a promised King!
First, we get the back story of His earthly beginnings.
Jesus – “Jehovah saves”
Christ – not His last name - “anointed or promised One”
The fulfiller of prophecy.
He is a Jewish man – traced His lineage to Abraham.
v. 2 – “begot” – typical Jewish ancestral language.
“Jacob” – not the first born. Jacob stole the birthright and was a schemer and liar like his dad and grandfather.
“Judah” – Jacob’s fourth son through whom Messiah would come.
Matthew then does something highly unheard of in Jewish genealogies; he introduces the names of women! Jewish men thought little of women and would daily pray, “I thank God I am not a Gentile dog, a slave, or a woman.” Not only are they women but some are Gentile women and most have some sordid sexual past.
v. 3 – “Tamar” – Her story is in Genesis 38. She was a Gentile married to Judah’s son but he died before they had children and so his brother was supposed to father children with her but he refused and God killed him. She dressed up like a prostitute and seduced Judah, her father-in-law and ended up getting pregnant from him!
No one looks good in this story, which reeks of greed, deception, illegitimacy, prostitution, sexual lust, and even the hint of incest.
-- Rob Salvato, pastor, Calvary Chapel, Vista, CA
v. 5 – “Rahab” – Gentile prostitute that helped Israelite spies in Jericho in Joshua 2.
“Ruth” – Another Gentile from a cursed people, the Moabites. They were cursed because their tribe began when Lot’s daughters got him drunk and slept with him in order to have children through incest. YUCK!
v. 6 – Bathsheba (unnamed) committed adultery with David and her husband was murdered to cover it up.
These are the only women referenced until we get to Mary in verse 16 and to say they each come with some baggage would be an understatement, so why are they mentioned rather than some of the nobler ones?
Perhaps, I believe, for a couple of reasons. 1) Women are important in God’s kingdom, so they are not to be ignored. 2) To remind us that God’s work will go forward despite man’s sin or our past. Grace wins!
Matthew was a tax collector so naturally he would be drawn to focus on God’s grace for sinners. In fact, that was one of the Pharisees complaints with Jesus was that He spent time with sinners.
And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, “How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” Mark 2:16-17
Too many times we want to avoid people that need the love of Jesus and His grace or we try and hide our past or ignore it, but God says let me use your past for My glory. The hero in this story is God and not man!
WOW! What a messy genealogy and we just started! This shows that the King’s closet is full of skeletons, but we know from Ezekiel that even God can use dry bones for His glory. BUT we must give our skeletons to Him so that He might breathe new life into our old dead ones!
2. The King fulfilled God’s promise. (vv. 6-11)