"Son of David, Son of Abraham."
December 12, 2021, 12:00 AM

“Son of David, Son of Abraham.”

Matthew 1: 1-17

In verse one of the Gospel According to Matthew, the author tells us that Jesus Christ is the “son of David, the son of Abraham.” Most of the time we don’t bother to read the genealogy at the beginning of Matthew. Did you skim it, or did you skip it completely? If you skimmed or skipped, I wouldn’t be surprised. We have a hard time remembering all these names and people. Is it because the names are hard? Or is it because we never read the genealogy and so we never give ourselves the opportunity to remember the names? I do not have the genealogy of Jesus memorized. I know its importance and I do read it. Why? It is important because God had it preserved through Matthew. We may be accustomed to staying in a few favorite sections of the Bible, but everything it says is important. Everything including the genealogies.

We go all the way back to Abraham. Abraham, as you may recall was the one that was told his descendants would be the nation known as Israel and that through his descendants the whole world would be blessed. As the history of Israel progresses from Abraham we end up, centuries later, with a King named David. The promise that God made the Abraham is known as a covenant. A covenant is an agreement between two people, but it is significantly more than just an agreement. A covenant is like a modern-day treaty between nations. In those days a superior king would make a covenant with a nation or group of people who were weaker and promise protection in return for taxes, lands, and people for the army. If the weaker group broke the covenant in any way, the superior king would issue punishment. Sometimes this punishment was war.

Throughout the Old Testament God makes many covenants that build upon one another. He made a covenant with Noah (Genesis 8:20-22), a covenant with Abraham (Genesis 15), a covenant with all of Israel (Exodus 19-20:21), and finally a covenant with David (2 Samuel 7). It is this covenant with David that Matthew is drawing our attention to.

I want to mention one aspect of all the covenants that we haven’t touched on yet: God has been faithful to His promises in the covenants, but Israel was not faithful. Israel went into exile in Assyria and in Babylon because they broke the covenants by worshipping other gods. They broke God’s Law, which was part of the covenant given to Israel at Mt. Sinai in Exodus. Because of that, Israel was kicked out of the promised land. Yet, God was faithful to the Israelites. He was faithful because He had made promises and those promises were dependent on His character. That is to say that when God makes a promise, He always keeps it.

Knowing that God keeps His promises, Israel waited for centuries for God to fulfill His covenant with David. But what did God promise to David? God promises a king who would shepherd His people, who would rule with absolute righteousness, who would be considered a Savior, and whose reign would never end. This king, from David’s descendants, would be the Messiah (which means “anointed one” in Hebrew, the Greek word is Christ, which also means “anointed one”). God promised through the prophets that He Himself would also be among His people as their Shepherd and King (Ezekiel 37:15-28).

Israel was waiting for God to send the Messiah, the true King of Israel, the son of David that would be the fulfillment of God’s promise to David. Matthew announces in the first verse of the Gospel that Jesus of Nazareth is the one that Israel had been waiting for. He was the one from David’s line that God had sent. Jesus was the answer to all their hopes and dreams. To call Jesus the son of David was not just about family lines. The details are not trivial. The genealogy may be hard for us to read, but it is important. The genealogy shows the faithfulness of God down through generations. In human standards it took God a long time to fulfill His promise. But we know that Jesus came when He was supposed to.

This was good news for Israel. Their King had finally come! Born in Bethlehem to two parents, the fulfillment of God’s promise was now here. Israel’s Messiah, their Savior, their Shepherd, their King had been born and his name is Jesus.

But what about the rest of the world? God didn’t promise the Messiah to those who weren’t Israelites did He? Why is the news that the Jewish Messiah was born good news to those of us who are not Israelites? Abraham was told that through his descendants God would bless “all nations.” Jesus is the fulfillment of that part of the covenant to Abraham. Jesus is the Savior of all who believe in Him (John 3:16). A man named Simeon recognized this about Jesus when Jesus was an infant presented at the temple in Jerusalem (Luke 2:22-35). Simeon recognized that Jesus was going to be “a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to [God’s] people Israel.”

Jesus did not come just to save Israel from their sins. He came to deliver all who would believe in Him. Jesus said that He came to “seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). When Jesus spoke of Himself as the Good Shepherd, He admitted that He had those who belonged to Him that were from “another flock,” by which He meant those outside of Israel (John 10:16). We, those of us who believe in Jesus who are not ethnically Jewish, are the ones Jesus was talking about. We belong to Him. Anyone who believes in Jesus will be saved no matter what tribe, or language, or culture they belong to. Chapter seven of the Book of Revelation shows us an uncountable number of people “from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed is white robes, with palm branches in their hands” praising God together as one people.

There are not supposed to be divisions in the church. This means that we are not to divide ourselves based on social, economic, ethnic, or political differences. In Jesus we are called to live at peace with one another and be one. Our love for one another is what sets us apart from those who do not know and love God.

I pray that this season of Advent will renew our love for one another. Not just our love for each other here in Omro but renew our love for all our brothers and sisters around the world. Jesus is our King and all those who belong to Him are also called sons and daughters. That means we have countless brothers and sisters living right now across the world. Many of our brothers and sisters are sick, in prison, being persecuted, living in poverty, and waiting for the same thing that we are: a world without sin, corruption, greed, hate, racism, and death. Right now, we are all crying out and longing for the same thing: the return of our King Jesus.

I pray also that this Advent will lead to a renewal of your love and my love of God’s Word to us in Scripture. I pray that all of you reading this will be in awe of how good God is, how faithful God is, and how loving God is toward His people. He has never broken a promise that He has made. That means His promise to be with His people, in good and bad times, is a promise that we can count on. God is faithful, God is providing for you and for me and for all His people right now. It may not seem like it, but God is here, and He is with us. God is also working in the world to make all His promises come true.

God is with us. He will never leave us, nor forsake us. In this season, filled with so many questions and hardships, let that truth be ever-present in your heart. God is with us. Praise be to God!