Lesson 1: The Genealogy Of The Promised King (Matthew 1:1-17)Related Media
I. Introduction to Matthew
a. This is actually a fun message to start with because when we read a genealogy our expectations are low. But God’s Word is inspired and there is always food for the hungry.
i. Ron Blankley a former area director for Campus Crusade for Christ (CRU) was walking through the student union of the U of Penn and saw a student reading the Bible. He remembered Phillip’s approach to the Ethiopian so he walked over to the student, introduced himself, and said, “Do you understand what you’re reading?”
ii. The student said, “No, as a matter of fact, I don’t. I’m reading the genealogies of Matthew and Luke, and I don’t understand them because they seem so different.”
iii. Blankley explained it and as a result of that whole experience, the student came to saving faith in Christ.
iv. It’s like the down and out man who was without a home and without a job and found himself in a motel room. He found a Gideon’s Bible, looked in the introduction and contents and saw the book of Job. He thought to himself, “Well, I need a job, so he read Job, and ended up trusting Christ.”
v. The Word of God is inspired. All of it.
b. Author and date:
i. When Jesus was born Israel had been under Roman control for about 60 years.
1. Remember Nebuchadnezzar’s dream?
a. The head of gold- Babylon
b. The arms of silver- Medes and Persians
c. The torso of bronze- Greece
d. The legs of Iron- Rome.
ii. One of the black eyes of the Roman government was its heavy taxation.
iii. There were two main taxes:
1. Toll tax= which was basically like income tax.
2. Property Tax.
iv. The elite (senators and rich folks) could buy at a public auction, the right to collect the toll taxes in a given area, at a fixed rate for a five year period.
v. Whatever was collected beyond that fixed rate was profit.
vi. So if you held the rights to a specific area, you would then hire people to actually collect the money. And you would usually hire people citizens of that country or regions to collect the money.
vii. And any money they collected, above and beyond their requirement, was profit for them.
viii. So there was a HUGE incentive to tax as much as possible, AND you had the backing of the Roman government and the Roman army.
ix. So naturally, if you are a Jew collecting money for Rome, at a rate that handsomely pads your wallet, you are not going to win the popularity contest at the local synagogue.
x. Usually tax collectors were not allowed in the synagogue. Rabbis did not associate with them.
xi. In fact they were seen as traitors. They were on the same level as prostitutes and Gentiles.
xii. That’s Matthew. Or Levi as he is called else ware. He is a tax collector and Jesus calls Him to be one of his 12 disciples.
xiii. Matthew’s gospel was written sometime before Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD.
c. Why did we choose Matthew?
i. One of the major themes of Matthew of the Kingdom of God, or “The Kingdom of Heaven” as Matthew calls it.
ii. We just finished Daniel, which makes a case for the coming kingdom of God, and Matthew picks this theme up.
iii. It’s almost like Daniel Part 2.
iv. In fact, Matthew is the most Jewish book in the New Testament. He quotes the Old Testament more than any other gospel. It is a continuation of the Old Testament.
d. The Four Gospels all tell the same story in a different way:
i. Mark is a bird’s-eye view. It shows Jesus as the Suffering Servant.
ii. Luke is a Doctor and shows Jesus as being compassionate to the outsiders and outcasts.
iii. John is different. 92% of John is unique. Emphasizes that Jesus as the Son of God.
iv. Matthew is catered to the Jews. He makes a case that Jesus is the Promised Messiah, the King. He is the fulfillment of the OT. Almost every paragraph in Matthew points to His Kingship.
v. So this is how Matthew starts off. He starts off with a genealogy!
vi. Now at first this might sound like a great way to put people to sleep, but it’s actually fundamental. Because if Jesus is NOT the fulfillment of God’s covenant to Abraham and David, then this isn’t the right person.
e. The main point of this genealogy is this:
i. Jesus Christ is the Promised Messiah. The Promised King.
II. Matthew 1:1-18 (Four Highlights)
a. #1- Jesus is the Promised King.
i. The main point of these 17 verses is that the promised King is on the scene.
ii. So Matthew begins his book with a genealogy.
1. Genealogy lit. mean “genesis” or beginning or origin.
2. So this account is about the earthly origin of Jesus.
3. The first two chapters will give us the earthly origin of Jesus.
iii. The importance of ancestry and origin.
1. Let me ask a question, “How far can you trace your ancestry?”
a. Most people can only go back grandma and grandpa or great grandma and great grandpa.
b. Even if we are interested in genealogies, we still can’t go back more than three or four generations.
c. But family history is important.
2. This summer we had our grand finale Anderson Family reunion at our farm in MN.
a. The oldest member of the family, uncle Tom gave a nice report and told the story of our ancestors immigrating, starting farms, settling down in Wisconsin, then MN.
b. Very interesting.
c. I grew up in a culture that was naturally interested in heritage.
i. There were small towns that were predominantly Norwegian, or German, or Polish. Almost all 2nd and 3rd generation immigrants.
ii. So there was cultural interest in last names and family trees.
3. Moving in to college here in CO, and my roommates last name was Westerhoof.
a. I asked if he was German, and he looked at be totally befuddled.
b. He had no idea.
c. I had another friend at college and she was Jewish. Her name was Edith Zang, and she could tell you all about her heritage.
4. If you understand where a person comes from, you understand more about the person.
5. Family Trees are important, but they are REALLY important if you are royalty.
6. So keep in mind that we are not the audience, first-century Jews are the audience, and they cared a great deal about their family history.
iv. Genealogies were really important to Jews.
1. The Jews are and were notorious for keeping accurate genealogies.
2. The temple had an archive of ancestry that was meticulously documented.
3. There were practical and legal purposes to these genealogies.
a. For instance…
b. It was legal proof of inheritance, of rights, kingship, etc.
c. It was used to settle disputes over land, property, etc.
4. So Matthew is basically making a legal case for Jesus.
5. He is saying, “look at the records…go to the temple…read it yourself…this is public information…this is not a scam…reason with me…”
v. “of Jesus Christ”
1. Jesus was the name given to Joseph by the angel.
2. Jesus meant “He will save His people from their sins”
a. Mat. 1:21
b. Yeshua was a common name, but there is more to it.
c. This name was synonymous with Joshua who led the people to the Promised Land.
d. So this name indicates the type of person Jesus will be. He will save His people, like Joshua did.
a. Meant messiah, or the “anointed one.”
b. Israel’s prophets, priests, and kings were all anointed.
c. Jesus is all of those.
vi. “The son of David”
1. 2 Sam. 7:12-16, “When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever…16 And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.”
2. This promises was NOT fulfilled on Solomon.
3. The Jews hung on to this promise, this covenant!
vii. “The son of Abraham”
1. Abraham was a moon worshiping pagan just like everyone else, when God called him out of UR, and made a covenant with him.
2. God made a covenant with Abraham and told him that through Abraham’s line the entire world would be blessed. So it makes sense that Matthew mentions this. To NOT mention it would almost seem like a denial of the main theme of the Old Testament.
3. These words are a summary of the Old Testament.
4. What Matthew is saying is that if you don’t understand and appreciate the background of Jesus, you won’t understand and appreciate the person of Jesus.
5. The long-awaited, promised Messiah, the restorer of God’s kingdom and the redeemer of his people, is Jesus himself. This is Matthew’s central message, his purpose for writing his book.
6. The Old Testament culminates with Jesus!
a. World History is marked by the coming of Jesus.
b. The whole of the Old Testament is coming together at this point in time.
c. The whole Old Testament points to Jesus!
7. Both Abraham and David received covenantal promises from God.
8. Matthew is implying that these covenants find their fulfillment in Jesus, the new King of Israel who will extend these blessings to all nations.
9. So when Matthew starts off with Abraham and David, he is essentially saying that God has remained faithful even though they haven’t.
viii. Matthew’s first point is that Jesus is the theme of this book. Jesus is the Promised King. Jesus is essential.
1. You can take away Buddha and you still have Buddhism.
2. But you can’t take away Jesus and have Christianity.
3. He is essential!
4. Jesus is essential to forgiveness of sins, essential to our reconciliation to God, essential to our Eternal Life. Essential to Joy.
5. This is why Matthew starts off his gospel by saying this book is about Jesus Christ.
6. Abraham was a great Patriarch, David was a great King, but this book isn’t about them, this book is about Jesus.
b. #2- There are three sections of 14 generations.
i. Why three sections? (v. 17)
1. The three sections:
a. 14 generations from Abe to David (1:2-6a).
b. 14 generations from David to the exile (1:6b-11).
c. 14 generations from the exile to Jesus (1:12-16).
ii. Why does he do this?
1. For memorization.
a. Believe it or not, it was not uncommon to memorize genealogies.
b. It’s not a complete list, but it serves Matthew’s purpose.
2. For Kingly significance.
a. There was a Jewish practice of assigning significance to numbers.
i. It was called “gematria.”
b. Each Hebrew consonant had a number assigned to it.
i. DVD= 4+6+4
c. So the name David would correspond to the number 14 in Hebrew.
d. So by alluding to the number 14 three different times, the interested student would have no doubt been pointed to the fact that this Jesus is the Son of David, the Promised One.
e. It’s also deliberate that David’s name is the 14th name listed.
f. And David is referred to as the “King.”
g. And, the title “Son of David” occurs more in Matthew than anywhere else.
h. Clearly there is a special emphasis on the fact that Jesus is King.
1. Jesus is the son of David. If Jesus were to wear a jersey, His Jersey would have the number 14.
c. #3- There is a difference between Luke’s genealogy and Matthew’s genealogy.
i. Lots could be said about this, and I cannot answer all of the questions between the differences between the two genealogies, but let me propose this…
ii. Matthew’s genealogy highlights Jesus as the King by showing his legal descent from David to Joseph. Joseph is the legal father, but not his natural father.
iii. Luke’s genealogy traces Jesus royal decent through his mother, Mary. He traces it all the way back to David.
iv. Luke emphasizes the royal blood descent, and Matthew emphasizes the legal line.
v. In both cases, Jesus is doubly qualified to be the fulfillment of the Old Testament Covenants and Promises.
vi. One interesting fact:
1. Notice in verse 16 Joseph is not the father, but is referred to as the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born.
2. The virgin birth of Jesus was significant for a number of reasons, but one of them is that Jesus would have been disqualified if He was born of Joseph, his earthly, legal father.
3. One of the great grandfathers, Jeconiah (Jehoiachin) was a really wicked king and God said, “
a. Jer. 22:30, Thus says the Lord: “…for none of his offspring shall succeed in sitting on the throne of David and ruling again in Judah.”
4. That would have disqualified Jesus as being a possibility of the promised King if he were the natural biological son of Joseph who was a great, great….grandson of Jehoiachin.
vii. So Jesus is circumvented from being disqualified as the King. He does not come from the same blood line.
viii. His human, biological right to the throne comes through Mary, not Joseph. (Luke 3)
ix. So Jesus is both protected from being disqualified, but he is also uniquely qualified to be the promised King.
1. He is legally qualified through Joseph and he is regally qualified through Mary.
d. #4- Jesus is a friend of sinners.
i. Martin Luther summarized it well when he said, “Christ is the kind of person who is not ashamed of sinners—in fact, he even puts them in his family tree!”
ii. Why does Matthew highlight the skeletons in the royal closet?
1. Because Jesus is a friend of sinners?
2. You might be tempted to say, “If God knows the skeletons in my closet, he won’t want anything to do with me.”
3. Matthew is deliberately making the point that that is not true!
iii. The significance of women in the genealogy:
1. It’s worth noting that Matthew mentions five different women in this list (which was rare).
2. Tamar, Rahab, and Bathsheba were all women of questionable behavior.
a. Odd people to highlight in your family tree, for sure.
b. Tamar was a woman who was wrongfully denied motherhood by her husband and after he died, then her brother-in-law. They both refused to sleep with her, which was immoral and illegal. She disguises herself as a prostitute and ends up sleeping with Judah, the son of Jacob…
i. And this is Jesus’ family tree!
c. Rahab was a professional prostitute in Jericho. She’s a Gentile.
d. Bathsheba, was complicit in one of the most notorious adulteries of all time, not resisting the advances of the king while her husband risked his very life on their behalf. Hmmm.
e. Ruth is a godly woman, but she is a Moabite.
3. Interestingly, these women mentioned represent different time-periods in Jewish history where a Gentile displayed great faith when the Jews didn’t.
a. Tamar verses Judah’s disloyalty.
b. Rahab verses a faithless generation of Jews.
c. Ruth verses the period of the Judges when everyone did what was right in their own eyes.
d. Uriah’s (a Gentile Hittite) faithfulness even when David was unfaithful.
iv. So it’s probable that Matthew is doing a couple things here.
1. He is showing us that the grace of God is wide.
a. Jesus is a friend of sinners.
b. His grace condescends to the lowest.
c. His grace reaches to the Gentiles.
d. He is suitable to be a King of Gentiles as well as a King of Jews.
2. There is no pattern of righteousness in the line of Jesus.
a. There are adulterers, prostitutes, warriors, heroes, and Gentiles. Wicked kings and good kings.
v. So that’s the gospel of According to Matthew! Jesus came for sinners!
1. Pastor Matt Chandler writes about a time he and a couple of his friends invited a young woman named Kim to a gospel concert. Matt was hopeful that Kim would come to Christ that evening; however, what occurred was a "train wreck." In retrospect, Matt was grateful for the experience because it changed the way he saw how to proclaim holiness in light of the cross of Jesus. Chandler writes:
a. The preacher took the stage, and disaster ensued …. He gave a lot of statistics about STDs. There was a lot of, "You don't want syphilis, do you?" …. His big illustration was to take out a single red rose. He smelled the rose dramatically … caressed its petals, and talked about how beautiful this rose was and how it had been fresh cut that day. [Then] he threw the rose out into the crowd, and he encouraged everyone to pass it around. As he neared the end of his message, he asked for the rose back …. [But by now] it was broken and drooping, and the petals were falling off. He held up this now-ugly rose for all to see, and his big finish was this: "Now who in the world would want this?" His word and his tone were merciless. His essential message, which was supposed to represent Jesus' message to a world of sinners, was this: "Hey, don't be a dirty rose."
b. Matt didn't hear from Kim for a few weeks, until one day her mother called Matt to inform him that Kim had been in an accident. Matt immediately went to visit her.
c. In the middle of our conversation, seemingly out of nowhere, she asked me, "Do you think I'm a dirty rose?" My heart sank inside of me, and I began to explain to her the whole weight of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that Jesus wants the rose.
d. It's Jesus' desire to save, redeem, and restore the dirty rose.
e. He WANTS the ROSE!
vi. In Luke’s gospel there was a sign given to the shepherd’s…
1. 2:10, “And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.’”
vii. The sign will be a “baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a feeding trough.”
1. He enters the world with the lowliest in the lowliest of places:
a. This was spoken to the shepherd’s.
b. God has been incarnated into human flesh and He chooses to identify with the shepherd’s.
c. Think about it, His first residence is a feeding trough rapped in rags.
2. Jesus enters into the dirt! He makes his family tree a group of questionable riff-raffs.
viii. The Incarnation of Jesus into this world is a message that Jesus is not afraid of sin.
1. He enters our dirty hearts.
2. He is drawn to your inadequacies, and weaknesses, and sins.
3. He wraps himself up in swaddling cloths our wicked hearts and takes up residence there.
4. He enters the dirty mangers of our hearts.
ix. It is a holy invasion!
1. He doesn’t ask you to clean up first.
2. He’s not put off by us and our sin, rather He enters into it!
3. He’s isn’t put off by our dysfunctional families, He becomes part of it!
4. He seeks us out. He comes to us.
5. He becomes part of our family, that we might become part of His!
x. Jesus is for all people and He came to rescue us!
1. “He did not sit in heaven pitying us from a distance: He did not stand upon the shore and see the wreck, and behold poor drowning sinners struggling in vain to get to shore. He plunged into the waters Himself: He came off to the wreck and took part with us in our weakness and infirmity becoming a man to save our souls. As man, He bore our sins and carried our transgressions; as man, He endured all that men can endure, and went through everything in man’s experience; as man He lived; as man He went to the cross; as man He died. As man He shed His blood, in order that He might save us, poor shipwrecked sinners, and establish a communication between earth and heaven! As man He became a curse for us, in order that He might bridge the gulf, and make a way by which you and I might draw near to God with boldness, and have access to God without fear.” J.C. Ryle ‘Old Paths’
xi. Someone might ask the question, “How exactly is Jesus a friend of sinners? How is for all people?”
1. There is a clear link between this first verse of Matthew and the last section of Matthew, the Great Commission.
2. In the very last section of the very last chapter in Matthew Jesus tells his disciples to make disciples of “all nations.”
a. “All Nations” is comprehensive of Gentiles and Jews.
i. This picks up on the first verse of the book 1:1 “Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham.”
ii. God promised Abraham that the people would be blessed in his “seed.” Jesus now fulfills this.
iii. This is how all nations will be blessed through the Abrahamic Covenant.
iv. The Bible is coming together in this passage.
III. Application (What are some take-aways from this?)
a. What’s your Legacy?
i. There are 42 names listed. The list is not complete, but it’s full of all kinds.
ii. Some of these people we know very little about, and some of them we know nothing about.
iii. It brings up the question (even if it’s not the main point) of legacy and generations.
iv. It’s at least worth asking, “How will you be remembered?” “What are you living for?
1. John MacArthur’s father (Jack) died about five years ago and John pointed out, with great emotion… “Never a sexual scandal, never a financial scandal. Just faithfulness and integrity to God’s Word and God’s people.”
2. Don Carson wrote a biography on his father entitled, “Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor.” In the final pages of the book Don says this about his father who was a pastor all his life. He pastored small struggling churches of about 40-50 people in Canada.
a. “When he died, there were no crowds outside the hospital, no editorial comments in the papers, no announcement on television, no mention in Parliament, no attention paid by the nation. In his hospital room there was no one by his bedside. There was only the quiet hiss of oxygen, vainly venting because he had stopped breathing and would never need it again…But on the other side all the trumpets sounded. Dad won entrance to the only throne room that matters, not because he was a good man or a great man—he was, after all, a most ordinary pastor—but because he was a forgiven man. And he heard the voice of him whom he longed to hear saying, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; enter into the joy of your Lord.’”
3. It’s okay to be obscure by the way! But what is your legacy?
v. Sarah Edwards (Married to Jonathon Edwards, the Great American Preacher and Theologian) Sarah was quite a woman.
1. Beginning on August 25, 1728, children came into the family—eleven in all—at about two-year intervals, this was the beginning of Sarah’s motherhood.
2. In 1900, A. E. Winship made a study contrasting two families. One had hundreds of descendants who were a drain on society. The other, descendants of Jonathan and Sarah Edwards, were outstanding for their contributions to society. He wrote of the Edwards clan:
a. Whatever the family has done, it has done ably and nobly. . . . And much of the capacity and talent, intelligence and character of the more than 1400 of the Edwards family is due to Mrs. Edwards.
3. By 1900 when Winship made his study, this marriage had produced:
a. 13 college presidents
b. 65 professors
c. 100 lawyers and a dean of a law school
d. 30 judges
e. 66 physicians and a dean of a medical school
f. 80 holders of public office, including:
i. 3 US senators
ii. mayors of 3 large cities
iii. governors of 3 states
iv. a vice president of the US
v. a controller of the US Treasury
4. Members of the family wrote 135 books. . . . edited 18 journals and periodicals. They entered the ministry in platoons and sent one hundred missionaries overseas. Winship goes on to list kinds of institutions, industries, and businesses that have been owned or directed by the Edwardses’ descendants.
5. We might well ask with Elisabeth Dodds, “Has any other mother contributed more vitally to the leadership of a nation?”
vi. The book “Embracing Obscurity.” (written by “anonymous”)
1. “The thought of being just another of the roughly one hundred billion people to have ever graced this planet offends us— whether we realize it or not.”
a. Webster’s defines obscurity as, “relatively unknown: as . . . (b) not prominent or famous.”
b. That pretty much sums it up doesn’t it?
2. “Even those rare men and women who make a mark on our society— a passionate speaker, a star athlete, an active politician, a gifted musician, an empathetic humanitarian— they’re still “relatively unknown” in the grand scope of the world’s consciousness and especially in light of history.”
3. Even when an overarching, global obscurity has been assigned to us, we still have a choice of whether to embrace personal obscurity— an obscurity of heart as much as position. And that is the message I believe God has for us, a message He modeled as well as taught.”
vii. It’s okay to be obscure. In fact it’s good to embrace it. Jesus did. But what is your legacy?
1. How will you spend your time and your life? To what end?
b. Let us worship the King!
i. We will together spend the next year and a half beholding Jesus. And I invite you to “Come and let us adore Him! Come let us worship the King!”
ii. We are not a religion that primarily follows a code of ethics.
iii. We are not primarily a people committed to a specific philosophy.
iv. We are a people who follow, obey, worship, and enjoy a person. The King Jesus Christ.
v. So let’s get back to basics. Let’s get back to the simplicity of knowing, following, obeying, worshiping, and enjoying Jesus Christ.
vi. Become fascinated with Jesus!
vii. He is the fountain of everything good.
viii. He is the incarnation of every precious truth.
ix. Come and behold Him!
1. May your capacity to appreciate and enjoy Christ only increase.
2. May your fondness for Jesus Christ grow and increase.
3. Let us enjoy and appreciate Jesus!
4. “What makes one man more spiritual than another…appreciation for Christ.” William Kelly
x. Lloyd-Jones and the “paying the bill” illustration.
1. “Imagine that a friend of mine comes to see me and says, “Hey, I was at your house the other day, and a bill came due, and you weren’t there, so I paid it.”
2. How should I respond? The answer is that I have no idea how to respond until I know how big that bill was. Was it just postage due? Just a few cents. Then I would say thank you. But what if the IRS finally found you? What it was ten years of back taxes? What if it was an enormous debt? Until I know how much he paid, I don’t know whether to shake his hand or fall down on the ground and kiss his feet.”
c. Let’s re-commit ourselves to conforming ourselves to Jesus.
i. He is the King!
ii. If He were to walk down this aisle right now would we all fall down and pay homage?
iii. If He were to stand before us this morning, we would all pledge our lives to Him?
iv. We are about to spend over the next year with Jesus.
v. We will listen to what He taught.
vi. We will learn what he did.
vii. We will be challenged and confronted by Jesus, loved and accepted by Jesus.
viii. At the beginning of this study Matthew wants us to know that this is the Son of David, the King! The Lord!
ix. And people will respond to Him in different ways…(The four soils)
1. Some will respond to this Gospel at first with excitement and anticipation, but then fizzle out.
2. Some people will respond with excitement, but then be lulled away by drink, by money, and by pleasure.
3. Some people will outright reject it.
4. But a few will here this gospel of the kingdom, and respond, and bear fruit, and their lives will be totally different.
5. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
d. You can be a part of Christ’s inheritance!
i. The genealogy doesn’t end with Jesus…
1. You can be a child of God.
2. John 1:11-13, “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
3. Mat. 12:49-50, “And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
ii. No matter what your background is, no matter what your pedigree is, no matter what your last name is, you can be counted as one of God’s children.
IV. The Gospel.
a. Come talk to us about the gospel.