A History of Hope and Love
Isn’t it interesting how if you ask four different people about the same event, they tend to tell the same story but maybe they highlight different things? I think that is because we all have different perspectives based off our experiences, values, or even who we are trying to tell a story to. When we read the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) which are the stories of Jesus’ life and ministry, they each tell the same story but in different ways and for different audiences. Over the next few weeks, we are going to be looking at the story of Christmas from the perspective of each Gospel writer and we began this first Sunday with Matthew. The Gospel of Matthew is written to a primarily Jewish audience who would have deeply cared about and known their peoples history, which meant that part of Matthew’s goal was to connect the history of the Israelite people to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The first verse of the Gospel of Matthew begins by making three bold proclamations, “This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham…”, Matthew makes the claim first that Jesus is in fact the long awaited, promised Messiah. Plus He comes from the line of both Abraham and King David. Now let’s break this down, by calling Jesus the "son of Abraham,” the author is connecting Jesus to the father of the people of Israel. Abraham represents the moment when God selected and separated his family from the rest of the nations all the way back in the book of Genesis. In Genesis 12:1-3, we learn that God promised that, “all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Connecting Jesus to Abraham helps connecting the faithfulness of God and His promises from long ago to the present and future. Jesus points us to a God who keeps His promises.
Jesus’ identity as a descendant of David is a major focus of Matthew’s gospel. “Son of David,” is a term that the author of Matthew is very fond of. Verse one is the first of ten appearances of the phrase in the book, and it draws our attention to the royal line of King David. Abraham’s name pointed to a belonging amongst the people of Israel. David’s name tells us that Jesus was royalty. In 2 Samuel 7:12-14 we find this promise/prophecy, “When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son.” Jesus is the Messiah King long awaited whose reign will not end.
We read the genealogy of Matthew and see the royal lineage of Jesus. He’s the one who will bring the blessing of Abraham to the whole world. He’s the royal son of David that all of Israel has been waiting for. He’s the ONE that the prophets wrote about, and the psalmists sang about. He will be the king of Israel who blesses all of the nations of the world, especially the outsiders. When carefully look at the names in genealogy we find sinners and saints, outcast and outliers, and very ordinary people and we know God’s extraordinary is always done through the ordinary.
We know all of this because Matthew tells us in a genealogy that carefully reveals the hope that has arrived in Jesus. Now that is Good News. You see when we understand the history of God’s faithfulness and promises, it makes them all the more beautiful and impressive how He loves us. Now let’s go out into our world and share that love with others.