Jesus Who?

Christmas 2016, Title: Jesus Who?, Text:Matthew 1:1-17

Our text is Matthew 1:1-17. I shall read it for us because most lay people and even some Pastors avoid it. A list of Old Testament names what could be more boring? Or, more difficult? I hope then when we are finished you will see its vital importance to understanding the truth of God’s revelation to us.
1 This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham:
2 Abraham was the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
3 Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar,
Perez the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,
4 Ram the father of Amminadab,
Amminadab the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
5 Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,
Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,
Obed the father of Jesse,
6 and Jesse the father of King David.
David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife,
7 Solomon the father of Rehoboam,
Rehoboam the father of Abijah,
Abijah the father of Asa,
8 Asa the father of Jehoshaphat,
Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram,
Jehoram the father of Uzziah,
9 Uzziah the father of Jotham,
Jotham the father of Ahaz,
Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,
10 Hezekiah the father of Manasseh,
Manasseh the father of Amon,
Amon the father of Josiah,
11 and Josiah the father of Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.
12 After the exile to Babylon:
Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel,
Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
13 Zerubbabel the father of Abihud,
Abihud the father of Eliakim,
Eliakim the father of Azor,
14 Azor the father of Zadok,
Zadok the father of Akim,
Akim the father of Elihud,
15 Elihud the father of Eleazar,
Eleazar the father of Matthan,
Matthan the father of Jacob,
16 and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.
17 Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.

People skip over this passage to get to the good stuff. A Jew would never have done that. It is even organized in 14’s as a memory device. The Hebrew people needed genealogies. They needed them in land sales to guarantee that land stayed in the original tribe. They needed them to determine the proper succession of the priests. And obviously as in Britain today they needed them to ensure the succession of the throne remained in Judah. Now as we look at this long list let us observe something about the The Purpose, The People, and The Plan.

I The Purpose

Simply put the Purpose of this genealogy is basically stated in verse 1. Jesus is the king and the promised seed. In the Jewish mind and also as it should be in ours, this is firmly established by tracing his ancestry. Dorsey has done a lot of computer work trying to trace our personal ancestry. She has met with some success, but it was hard digging them up. If we were first century Hebrews it would have been much easier. Everyone treasured these records. And so we see Jesus called the Son of David many times in the Bible as in Matthew 12:23 “And all the multitudes were amazed and said, "Could this be the Son of David?” Also, many who needed help cried out to Jesus as the Son of David to have mercy. Jesus is the rightful king. Then we know that God promised Abraham that in his seed all the nations of the earth would be blessed. Paul writes in Galatians 3:13-16 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. Brothers and sisters, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,”meaning one person, who is Christ. Thus the purpose is fulfilled. Jesus is the Son of David and the Seed of Abraham and therefore He is the Messiah and Savior.

II The People

I hardly need to state the obvious, but this list of ancestors is not one of which you would be particularly proud. The list of men includes drunks, deceivers, liars, fornicators, adulterers and murderers. If you study these names in detail, it’s almost as if God has pulled together a rogue’s gallery. Nearly all of them had notable moral failures on their spiritual resumes. For instance, Abraham lied about his wife Sarah. Isaac did the same thing. Jacob was a cheater, Judah a fornicator. David was an adulterer and Solomon was a polygamist. Manasseh was the most evil king Israel ever had. And on and on we could go. This is not a list of plaster saints. The best of these men had flaws and some were so flawed that it is impossible to see their good points. This shows the grace of God because people like this make up Jesus’ family tree. Most of these men were very great sinners. But I want to talk a bout the women listed here. There are four Tamar, Tamar: Guilty of Incest, immorality, feigned prostitution, a Gentile. Her husband died and according to Jewish law his brother married her, but refused to raise up an heir, so she pretended to be a prostitute and seduced her Father-in-Law. Rahab was a lying harlot and a Caananite, but she believed in Jahweh and her house was a perfect gathering place for the Israeli spies in Jericho. Ruth was a Moabitess. After the escape from Sodom in which Lot’s wife was turned into a pillar of salt, his daughters, influenced by the morals of Sodom, got him drunk and slept with him. The result was the birth of two who turned out to be the worst enemies of Israel, Ammon and Moab. Ruth came from a nation born of incest, yet she loved the Lord. One mentioned only as the wife of Uriah. Bathsheba was an adulteress plain and simple, but also implicated in the murder of her husband and the first child of David and Bathsheba, born out of the adultery, died. We have seen I believe a list of awful sinners which should remind us of Grace, grace marvelous grace, grace that is greater than all our sin. Amazing grace. The grace which the Apostle Paul extolled when he wrote in I Timothy 1:15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the worst. And in Romans 5:20 he reminds us, But where sin increased, grace increased all the more,


We have reviewed the purpose (proving that Jesus is the true son of David and the Messiah) and the people (who are His progenitors and include wicked sinners) and  now let me comment on the plan. This genealogy is in the Bible to let us know that he had a background a lot like yours and mine. He called himself “the friend of sinners,” and he said he didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. He said in Luke 19:10, “The Son of man has come to seek and to save that which is lost.” This is the good news of Christmas! No matter what you’ve done in the past, Jesus can save you. If a prostitute can be saved, you can be saved. If a murderer can be transformed, you can be transformed. If an incestuous person can be saved, then there is hope for you. No matter what your past looks like, or your present feels like, no matter where you’ve been or what you’ve done, God can give you a fresh start. This marvelous grace is for your comfort and assurance. This is the plan of God from eternity past and it includes us as we stand in awe  of the God who was willing to redeem us, not just by being born in a stable, but also hanging on a cross and we stand in awe.