2nd Sunday in Advent LSB #’s 331:1-4, 331:5-6, 348
Text – Matthew 1:1, 6, 17
A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David… & Jesse the father of King David… Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, & fourteen from the exile to the Christ.
JESUS IS THE SON OF DAVID
Since the dawn of time, around 60 billion people have walked on Planet Earth. Of those 60 billion, only a handful have made any real, lasting impression. In that handful of people, one stands far above all the others. His name, you know it well, is Jesus.
He never wrote a book, yet millions of books have been written about Him. He never painted a picture, yet the world’s greatest art has Jesus as its source for inspiration. Jesus never raised an army, but millions of His followers have fought & died for Him. Jesus never traveled far from His birthplace – yet His testimony has gone around the world.
Jesus had only a handful of followers, yet today over 30% of the world’s population follows Him. To ignore Jesus is disastrous. To reject Jesus is fatal. But to know Jesus is to love Him; to love Him is to trust Him; to trust Jesus is to be radically, dramatically & eternally changed by Him. The most important question, then, that we can ever ask is this:
“Who is Jesus?” It’s the name of the sermon series for Advent & Christmas. Who is Jesus? Matthew wants you to know! That’s what Matthew’s genealogy is all about – he writes it so you can know Jesus. Today we begin with this truth – Jesus is the Son of David.
“A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David… & Jesse the father of King David… Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, & fourteen from the exile to the Christ.” (Matthew 1:1, 6, 17)
Jesus is the Son of David, & David is a king. That makes Jesus the King. When we confess that Jesus is the King we dare not confuse Him with American politicians. While both are rulers, they are very different! American politicians make big, crazy promises! Here are some of the recent ones. In 2004 John Edwards said, “We will stop Diabetes, Parkinson’s & Alzheimer’s!” In 2012 Newt Gingrich said, “We will put a colony on the moon by 2020!” In 2012, Michelle Bachman said, “I will pull American troops out of Libya & Africa!”
Politicians say almost anything to get elected, don’t they? And I didn’t mention the promises for 2020! In America we are accustomed to leaders who say what the public wants them to say. No one’s campaign slogan is, “Slow, arduous change” or “Realistic compromises.” No. We want leaders who promise the moon – or at least a colony on the moon!
When we look at Jesus, we see a completely different kind of leader – a different sort of king. He is the promised King.
“A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ” (Mt 1:1). Hearing the term “Jesus Christ,” we sometimes misunderstand it. When Jesus went in for a physical, the doctor didn’t say, “Ok, let’s see. Last Name: Christ. First Name: Jesus.” No. “Christ,” is a title. It’s the Greek translation of the Hebrew word “Messiah,” which means “anointed one.” “Christ” is not Jesus’s last name.
The OT foretells of a coming Messiah – a King who would be anointed with the Holy Spirit to accomplish God’s mission. Messiah would come from the line of David. He’d be born in David’s city & sit on David’s throne. Matthew labors to demonstrate that Jesus is this king – He is Christ. He is Messiah. He is the Son of David!
When Matthew writes, Israel had been without a legitimate king for hundreds of years. Now, Matthew declares, “a king has finally come to sit on David’s throne. It is Jesus!” Matthew hammers this truth home by citing ten specific OT promises – writing, “that what was spoken might be fulfilled.” He cites the OT ten times, & alludes to it over 250 times!
Jesus is, indeed, the promised King. He is also the compassionate King. Jesus doesn’t
come to drive out Israel’s enemies. He comes to bring in the outcast. It’s evident in Matthew’s genealogy. In the ancient world, people traced their ancestry through the father. It comes as no surprise, then, that Matthew’s genealogy is predominantly male. Yet, it is not exclusively male.
Did you notice that Matthew also mentions four women? There’s Tamar in verse 3, Rahab & Ruth in verse 5, & then Bathsheba in verse 6. Matthew doesn’t highlight Jesus’s connection to any of Israel’s matriarchs – Sarah, Rebekah, or Rachel. All four of the women in Matthew’s genealogy are outsiders to Israel.
Tamar was a Canaanite & so was Rahab. Ruth was a Moabite. And Bathsheba was a Hittite like her husband – Uriah the Hittite. Each of these women were outsiders to Israel. Moreover, each of these women had a stigma attached to her.
Tamar was dishonored by her brother-in-law. Later, she deceived her father-in-law into sleeping with her so she could conceive a child. Rahab was a prostitute. Bathsheba committed adultery with King David. Ruth once worshiped the false god Chemosh.
The Jews expected a Messiah who would come to drive out their Roman oppressors, & crush the nations to establish God’s rule with power. But at His 1st coming, Jesus doesn’t arrive to judge the nations. He comes to save them. Jesus brings outcasts home to God, & He removes the shame of marginalized people – like Tamar, Rahab, Ruth & Bathsheba.
This is a preview of the rest of Matthew’s Gospel. Who does Jesus spend His time with? Outcasts. Jesus gets close to the diseased, to people who were quarantined from society, & He touches them. The Son of God in the flesh gets close enough to contract their diseases.
Another telling aspect of God’s love for His creatures is that three of the four women in Matthew’s genealogy were sexually exploited? According to current research, one in four women, & one in six men will be sexually abused or exploited at some point in their lives. Some in this congregation may carry profound wounds in this area of their lives. And often, those wounds are deepened by the shame that others inflict upon us. Jesus welcomes & heals people who carry these wounds, even the unnecessary wounds of shame.
And that finally includes all of us. The ugly shame. The haunting shame. Jesus not only takes away our guilt, which is sin done by us. Jesus also takes away the shame, which is sin done to us. We don’t have to drink away our shame, or work our shame away. No need to explain away our shame, eat our shame away, cry our shame away, or bury our shame away.
Jesus is not a King who sits on His throne & says, “Try harder.” He is a King who steps down from His throne, filled with compassion. The Son of God identifies with us in the pit of shame. He Himself was there under Pontius Pilate & the Roman soldiers. So at our darkest point – when we feel the ugliest, & the greatest amount of despair – Jesus says, “I love you!”
What other people said & thought & did to us does not define who we are. We don’t have to live in shame. We are not worthless. We are not damaged goods. We are clean. We are whole. We are brothers & sisters of the King – the most compassionate King, because Jesus is also the rejected King. He understands what it is to be shamed & humiliated in rejection.
To the Jewish elites of His day, Jesus was simply the wrong kind of king. He lived in the wrong place, associated with the wrong people, preached the wrong message, appointed the wrong leaders, carried out the wrong mission, & offered the wrong redemption. The whole thing came to a head on Good Friday. Matthew wrote:
“Above His head they placed the written charge against Him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS” (27:37). But risen on the 3rd day Jesus says this in Matthew 28:18, “All authority in heaven & on earth has been given to me.” That’s what we would expect of a King – to have all authority. As our King Jesus makes demands of us. After all, Jesus, the King, has all authority in heaven & on earth. But before Jesus makes any demands of us, first He comes to rescue us. Jesus lives for us, dies for us, & rises for us. Christ Jesus gives everything for us. That’s a king worth following all the days of our lives!
In chapter 9:9 of his Gospel, Matthew wrote: “As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. ‘Follow me,’ He told him, & Matthew got up & followed Him.” Who is Jesus? Jesus is the King that we follow all the days of our lives, because He came from heaven to rescue us from the brokenness & despair of sin. Amen.
Before the dawning day let sin’s dark deeds be gone, the sinful self be put away, the new self now put on. All glory to the Son, Who comes to set us free, with Father, Spirit, ever one through all eternity. Amen. LSB 331:5-6.
Pastor Dean R. Poellet