The Birth of Our King

Open your Bibles in Matthew chapter one verse one. Yes, you heard me right. Matthew chapter one verse one. When I began reading the New Testament, I admit that I found chapter one of Matthew boring, particularly the genealogy of Jesus Christ. I mean, I was not that excited to read that this person begat another who begat another and on and on and on. I think you felt the same way also.

It is also challenging for pastors like me to preach an interesting sermon on the genealogy or the family tree of Jesus Christ. Yet I believe God has a reason why He placed it in the Bible. It says in 2 Timothy 3:16, “Everything in the Scriptures is God's Word. All of it is useful for teaching and helping people and for correcting them and showing them how to live.” (Contemporary English Version) Notice that it says “everything” or “all of it is useful.” That includes the genealogy in Matthew chapter one.

Family trees are important. When we buy dogs, we want to check its pedigree. Or, let us say your surname is “Lee Kwan.” Let’s assume you read in the newspaper that a multi-millionaire whose surname is “Lee Kwan” died without an heir. Wouldn’t you be interested in tracing your family tree?

I think we will only appreciate genealogies if we look at it from the Jewish point of view. At that time, no one can serve as priests in the temple unless he can prove that he belong to the tribe of Levi. They also subdivided all the Promised Land according to tribes. So no one can sell real estate unless he can prove that his family owns the land. And after seventy years they return the land to the family. So the Jews heavily guarded their family tree. But, more than that, genealogies prove who has the right to be king over the land.

That’s why the title of our message is “The Birth of Our King.”

With that in mind, let’s read Matthew 1:1 and 16: “A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham… and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.” (New Int’l Version)

Note that Jesus is a direct descendant of King David. This leads us to our first point: HIS FAMILY TREE IS THE EVIDENCE OF HIS ROYALTY. Anyone who claims a right to the throne must prove that he is royal blood. Now, in the year 70, the Roman army destroyed the temple where they kept the genealogies. But it is very significant that Matthew wrote his Gospel years before its destruction. So the Jews who read Matthew can actually verify the records if Jesus really was a descendant of King David. The fact that even the critics could not deny it proves that Jesus has a full claim to the throne. He is the rightful king! I like how Dr. S.M. Lockridge described Jesus: “The Bible says my king is the king of the Jews. He is the king of Israel. He is the king of righteousness. He is the king of the ages. He is the king of heaven. He is the king of glory. He is the King of kings and He is the Lord of lords. That’s my king. Well, I wonder if you know Him. Do you know Him? My king is a sovereign king. No means of measure can define His limitless love. He’s enduringly strong. He’s entirely sincere. He’s eternally steadfast. He’s immortally graceful. He’s imperially powerful. He’s impartially merciful. Do you know Him? He’s the greatest phenomenon that ever crossed the horizon of this world. He’s God’s Son. He’s a sinner’s Savior. He’s the centerpiece of civilization. He’s unparalleled. He’s unprecedented. He’s the loftiest idea in literature. He’s the highest personality in philosophy. He’s the fundamental doctrine of true theology. He’s the only one qualified to be an all-sufficient Savior. He supplies strength for the weak. He’s available for the tempted and the tried. He sympathizes and He saves. He strengthens and sustains. He guards and He guides. He heals the sick. He cleans the lepers. He forgives sinners. He discharges debtors. He delivers the captives.
He defends the feeble. He blesses the young. He serves the unfortunate. He regards the aged. He rewards the diligent. He beautifies the meek. He is the key to knowledge. He’s the well-spring of wisdom. He’s the doorway of deliverance. He’s the pathway of peace. He’s the roadway of righteousness. He’s the highway of holiness He’s the gateway of glory. His life is matchless. His goodness is limitless. His mercy is everlasting. His love never changes. His word is enough. His grace is sufficient. His reign is righteous. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. I wish I could describe Him to you. But He’s indescribable. Yes. He’s incomprehensible. He’s invincible, He’s irresistible. You can’t get Him out of your mind. You can’t get Him off of your hands. You can’t outlive Him, and you can’t live without Him. The Pharisees couldn’t stand Him, but they found out they couldn’t stop Him. Pilate couldn’t find any fault in Him. Herod couldn’t kill Him. Death couldn’t handle Him and the grave couldn’t hold Him. That’s my king! ”

Second, HIS FAMILY TREE IS THE EXHIBIT OF HIS FAITHFULNESS. Notice that in verse 12 Matthew mentioned a king named Jeconiah. God cursed Jeconiah because of his wickedness. In Jeremiah 22:30 it says, “This is what the LORD says: "Record this man as if childless, a man who will not prosper in his lifetime, for none of his offspring will prosper, none will sit on the throne of David or rule anymore in Judah.” So there was a divine curse upon his descendants. Now, we have a problem here. Dr. John MacArthur wrote, “Though Jesus was in David's line through Joseph, He would have been unable to reign because there was a divine curse that had been placed upon Jeconiah's offspring. If Jesus had been the real son of Joseph, He never could have sat on the throne of David, because He would have been under the curse. And yet, He had to be the legal son of Joseph to have the right. So God had to devise a plan by which Jesus would be the legal heir to the throne, but, at the same time, would not be in the bloodline of David descending through Jeconiah. God did it by the virgin birth bypassing the cursed bloodline of Jeconiah, and yet still maintaining Jesus' royal right to reign. It’s a fantastic thing how God guarded every single detail without contradiction through the miracle of the virgin birth.” (The Gracious King, GC 2180) Remember that Mary conceived Jesus without the help of Joseph. This is the miracle of the virgin birth. Because of this, Jesus got the legal right to the throne without the curse on Jeconiah touching Him. Also, because of the virgin birth, Jesus was never tainted with the original sin. That is why He alone can redeem us from our sins. Second Corinthians 5:21 says, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” The fact that God meticulously took care of every detail affirms His faithfulness. Jesus is not only our King, He is also our Savior. Someone wrote, “If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator. If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist.
If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist. If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer. But our greatest need was forgiveness, so God sent us a Savior.”

So, first, His family tree is the evidence of His royalty. Second, His family tree is the exhibit of His faithfulness.

Third, HIS FAMILY TREE IS THE EXPRESSION OF HIS GRACE. People say the problem with genealogies is that you end up finding some “skeletons in the closet.” That some of your ancestors were not good people. They were far from perfect.

The Bible did not hide the fact about the people listed in the genealogy of Jesus. You will be surprised about the sordid details. This is PG-13 stuff. The telenovelas and the gossip columns today are nothing compared to what the Bible revealed about its people. For example, Abraham lied twice about his wife. Isaac was also a liar. Jacob was a thief who stole his brother’s inheritance. Judah sold his brother Joseph to slavery. David was a polygamist. He also killed a man to get his wife. His son, Solomon, had many wives also. He was the wisest man. But he ended up becoming the greatest fool of all when he turned his back from God to worship false gods. These men were great men. But they were also weak. They were sinners like you and me.

Usually, Jewish family trees did not list women. But in the genealogy of Christ we find four women other than Mary, the mother of Jesus.

In verse 3, we find this: “Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar”. Who was Tamar? According to Genesis 38, she was the daughter-in-law of Judah. But her husband died. Judah was supposed to give one of his sons to her. But he failed to do so. What did she do then? Tamar disguised as a prostitute and tempted her father-in-law. Judah and Tamar committed incest.

In verse 5, we read: “Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse”. We find in Joshua chapter two that Rahab was a prostitute. Also, she was not a Jew but a Canaanite, that is, a pagan.

Ruth was a noble woman. But she was a Moabite. In Genesis 19, after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot became drunk. Then he had sex with his two daughters. And the Moabites came from that union. They were products of incest.

For the Jews, people like the Canaanites and the Moabites are unclean outcasts.

Then, in verse 6, we find this: “David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah's wife”. That was Bathsheba. Her husband Uriah was a soldier in King David’s army. In Second Samuel eleven, we find that one night David was taking a stroll on the roof of his palace. Then he saw her taking a bath. He coveted her. He committed adultery with her. She became pregnant. David at first made Uriah drunk. He tried to send him home. David was hoping that something would happen between Uriah and his wife. But that night a drunken Uriah was more sober than David. Uriah did not touch his wife. So David had him killed. Then David married Bathsheba.

As you can see, the bloodline of Jesus was full of sinners. Yet God graciously chose them to become the ancestors of Jesus. In First Corinthians 1:26-29, the Apostle Paul wrote, “Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.”

I like how The Message translated this passage: “Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God.”

From a human point of view, this family tree is a disgrace. From the divine point of view, this is an expression of His grace. And, if God can use those people, He can use you and me. It is because we are on the same level with them. We are all sinners saved by His grace.

In closing, let me share the story of a wise, good king who ruled in Persia. He loved his people so much he decided to visit them. He also wanted to know about their hardships. So he disguised himself as a beggar and visited the poor. No one whom he visited thought that he was their ruler. One time he met a very poor man. He ate the food the poor man ate. He spoke cheerful, kind words to him. This time he revealed his identity. “I am your king!” he said to the poor man. The king thought the man would surely ask for some gift or favor, but he didn’t. Instead he said, “You left your palace and your glory to visit me in this dark, dreary place. You ate the food I ate. You brought gladness to my heart! To others you gave rich gifts. To me you gave yourself!”

Brethren, the King of glory, the Lord Jesus Christ, gave himself to you and me. He came to die for our sins. We must accept Him as our Lord and Savior. If we have already accepted Him, let us live our lives in such a way that would glorify Him. He is our gracious King and Savior.
This is the Christmas message Pastor Eyriche Cortez preached in the Joint Christmas Worship Service (Chinese and English congregation) of Makati Gospel Church on December 25, 2005.


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