DAY THREE (3 DEC 2020) - COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS
“This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham..”
Matthew 1: 1
Extra readings: Matthew 1
In yesterday’s devotion we saw that it was Matthew’s Jewishness, and the fact that he was writing for a primarily Jewish audience, that dictated the way he structured his Jesus birth narrative. We see this from the very first sentence as he goes to great lengths to assert the Jewishness of Jesus and his legitimacy within the great scheme of God and His chosen people.
You might be tempted to let your eyes drift quickly down the seemingly endless genealogy with which Matthew begins his Gospel in order to get to the real action. But resist that temptation and consider rather that this is the most fitting and compelling way to start the New Testament. Why would Matthew begin his Gospel with a boring list of more than 40 names? Firstly, because it serves as a bridge between the Old and New Testaments. Secondly, because it’s a summary of the Bible story thus far. Jesus. David. Abraham. Boom. The story of God and His people in a nutshell. Thirdly, these names are the real names of real historical people who really existed in space and time. Matthew places Jesus squarely within this march of history, establishing the foundational doctrine of Jesus’ full and true humanity. Fourthly, remember Matthew’s primarily Jewish audience? Genealogies were especially important to the Jewish people. Israel’s king had to be a Jew, and not a foreigner (Deuteronomy 17: 15) and he had to be a descendant of David (2 Samuel 7: 12-16). When the Jews returned from the Babylonian captivity, it was important for these returned exiles to show that their roots were Jewish and could be traced through the genealogies. No one could serve as priest whose name could not be found in the genealogical records (Ezra 2: 62). In providing these genealogies, Matthew is supporting Jesus’ right to be the promised King of the Jews, or, Messiah. Finally, this genealogy tells us that Jesus is none other than the fulfillment of the promises God made to Abraham (through you all the nations of the world will be blessed) and David (his throne would be established forever).
It is not just Jewish believers who can take comfort from Matthew’s opener. We can all draw strength from the overwhelming witness of Scripture to the legitimacy of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. We serve no pretender to the throne. We serve the true and rightful King.
King Jesus, truly you are who you say you are. I bow my knee before you today and give you the rightful worship due to your noble name.
Why don’t you sit together as a family and do this devotional? Here’s a guideline: