The birth of a King
I know it’s about a month ago that we celebrated Christmas but I thought that we could do with a bit of a refresher course on King Jesus. And discuss The reason why Mathew starts in the book of Mathew with Jesus’ lineage and why the Jews were tenacious regarding their own lineage. Jesus had to come from the line of David if he was to have any credentials as being a King or Messiah.
Most of us, myself included, normally brush right over these genealogy verses when reading the Bible but we don’t realise that these verses have another story behind each of them which we will see a bit later in this sermon.. A couple of examples of how lineage was important to the Jews in those days are:- When the Jews entered into the land of milk and honey ( after they conquered Canaan)they had to know from which tribe they descended in order to know where to pitch their tent as the land was divided into tribes. In Numbers chapter 26 we read that God told them to claim their land according to their tribe.
Then in Ruth chapter 3 and 4 we read that transfer of property needed accurate knowledge of your family tree.
In Ezra chapter 2 we read that when the Jews were released by Nebuchadnezzar to go back to Jerusalem, It actually says, “each to his own city” In verse 62 it actually talks about a book of genealogy. The Jews had accurate records of each person’s lineage and it was important for them to identify with their tribe.
There are plenty more examples in the Bible where it shows how the Jews in those days regarded lineage as crucial. This is why Mathew starts his book with Jesus lineage to show that he is a direct descendant from King David and is therefore of Royal blood and heir to the throne. This had to be to fulfil Isiah 11:10 10 "And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, Who shall stand as a banner to the people;
For the Gentiles shall seek Him, And His resting place shall be glorious." Plus of course the many other prophecies concerning the fact that the Messiah would come from the lineage of King David.
One more example is the census, Joseph and Mary had to go to Bethlehem or as we read in Luke 2: 4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David.
One last example is in Romans 11:1 Paul tells us, “I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.”
I think we all get the picture of how important it was in those days for the Jews to know their lineage and again, Mathew starts with Christ’s lineage to show that he is from the root of Jesse as prophesied.
Today the orthodox Jews don’t have these official genealogy records and that actually poses a problem for them, ( this is taking their point of view that Jesus was not the Messiah) how will they ever recognise their Messiah as they will not be able to prove his lineage from King David. There are no official genealogy records available anywhere for any Jew today as the official records were burnt in ad74 when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem. So if anyone were to say that he is the Messiah, they will not be able to prove or disprove it as they can’t show any lineage. A lot of Jews at that time had their own records and even today there are a lot who have a family tree, but without those official records it is difficult to prove or disprove a person’s lineage. This also tells us that Jesus is the last person that could be proven to be from David’s royal line. Maybe this is why Jesus tells to watch out for the many false prophets that will come.
An interesting point that I need to add here is that not only is the genealogy of Jesus given to us in Mathew but also in Luke chapter 3. What is interesting here is that in Mathew we have the genealogy of Jesus through his father Joseph to David and beyond, but, in Luke we have the Genealogy of Jesus through Mary to David and beyond. In Mathew it is a descending genealogy to Jesus and in Luke we have an ascending Genealogy beginning with Jesus through Mary. We not going to go into big detail here or I’ll keep you here for a couple of hours, but to keep it short, The genealogy through Joseph comes from King David through Solomon and the genealogy through Mary goes through Solomon’s brother Nathan to King David.
What we have in these two genealogies is, Mathew shows us the legal descent to Jesus as King and Luke is giving us the bloodline descent to King Jesus. So any way that you look at it, Jesus is a direct descendant of King David and is therefore eligible to be a King. If we have had a look at Mathew’s version of Jesus’ lineage you would have seen a big problem regarding a person in that lineage. I’m am refering to Jesus lineage through Joseph, In Mathew chapter 1 verse 12 you will see the name of Jeconiah also known as Jehoiachin or Coniah. This person who was King of Judah was such a bad person that God cursed him.We read In Jeremiah chapter 22: 29 O earth, earth, earth, Hear the word of the Lord!
30 Thus says the Lord: Write this man down as childless,
A man who shall not prosper in his days; For none of his descendants shall prosper,
Sitting on the throne of David, And ruling anymore in Judah. "
The curse on this person creates a situation where a lot of religions claim that Jesus could not be the Messiah as he is a descendant of David through Jeconiah and therefore falls under the curse. Jesus had to fall under the line of Joseph to be the Messiah, he had to be as Isiah chapter 11:1
There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse,
And a Branch shall grow out of his roots.
2 The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him,
The Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The Spirit of counsel and might,
The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.
So in order for Jesus to be the messiah he had to come from Joseph’s lineage but bypass the curse. Is God not amazing? He gives us the Virgin birth, and not just any Virgin birth, He uses Mary who is also from the direct lineage of David. Now, as we know What most people fail to see is that Joseph was not His biological father but He had all the rights as an adopted son. This may have taken a lot of time for me to fathom this out but all the Jews had to do was read the message and they would have understood it all immediately as they were accustomed to knowing and understanding how lineage worked. You will find that the Bible never refers to Joseph as the father of Jesus an example is in Mathew 1:16 where Mathew writes “And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ.”
Everyone in that day knew that Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus, most thought that Jesus was born from an affair that Mary had and that Joseph adopted Jesus as his own son. This is why I say that if the Jews had just sat down and read the message, they would have put the pieces together in a flash and seen that this is the Messiah that they were waiting for that was told to watch out for by the prophets. This is why we have Mathew’s lineage through Joseph for legal purposes and Luke’s listing through Mary to show us that he was from the bloodline of David. This again means that Jesus had all the legitimate rights of lineage from his adopted father’s lineage and he was the actual root of Jesse through his Mother’s bloodline Mary.
The crux of this sermon is basically to show you that everything including the genealogies of people are in the bible for a reason, when reading the Bible and we come to a point that seems uninteresting we should ask ourselves, “why would God put this in here?” Nothing should be taken for granted as God is sovereign and we don’t always understand why he does certain things but he always does everything for a reason. Nothing in the Bible is unimportant, if it’s there, it is there for a reason.