Advent Midweek 3 LSB #’s 341:1-2, 341:3-5, 375
Text – Matthew 1:6
JESUS IS THE SON OF SOLOMON
This Advent we’re asking the question, Who is Jesus? Matthew’s genealogy is helping us find the answers. So far – from Matthew 1:1 – we’ve learned that Jesus is the Son of David, & Jesus is the Son of Abraham. Tonight, we continue with these verses in Matthew 1:5–6:
“Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, & Jesse the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah.” Who is Jesus? He is the Son of Solomon. Does it mean something for us?
“It’s easy as pie to begin. It’s tougher than nails to finish. Pick your pie.” It seemed that easy for Solomon. Pretenders to the throne included his half-brothers Amnon, Absalom & Adonijah. God had them eliminated with the greatest of ease. Solomon’s enemies included Joab, Abiathar & Shimei. They had been slam-dunked – no problem.
Anointed by Zadok as king of Israel at the Gihon Spring, Solomon came out of the starting blocks like a greyhound after jackrabbits. All the money was on Solomon, he the 10th of David’s 17 sons.
In 1 Kings 3:7 Solomon calls himself – in Hebrew, a naar – just a kid. But we would call Solomon a kid wonder. He spoke 3,000 proverbs & his songs numbered 1,005. This son of David described plant life from the cedars of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of walls.
As king, he gained control of two main international trading routes – the Via Maris along the Mediterranean Coast, & the King’s Highway connecting Elath to the south with Damascus to the north. The result was “From Dan to Beersheba, Judah & Israel lived in safety, each man under his own vine & fig tree” (1 Kings 4:25). That’s an OT way of saying that the stock market was up; unemployment was down; & everyone was living high on the hog!
Solomon needed no lessons in Greek or Hebrew; no lectures on eschatology or angelology, no fieldwork, & no vicarage. LWM problems? He says, “Cut the living child in two & give half to one & half to the other” (1 Kings 3:25). Problem solved!
Building problems? The scourge of the ministry? He says to Hiram, King of Tyre, “My people will talk with your people.” This corporate merger brings about – among other projects – the Jerusalem temple, the royal palace & the chariot cities of Hazar, Meggido, & Gezer.
If there was ever a sure-fire candidate for the ministry, it was Solomon! For the initial ten chapters of 1 Kings, Solomon is awesome! But – in the 11th chapter of 1 Kings we hear: “Solomon had 700 wives of royal birth & 300 concubines, & his wives led him astray” (11:3).
It reminds me of the mid-1980s. I was an electrician then & people where hiring us everywhere to install outdoor electrical outlets to plug in those newfangled bug zappers. A light attracts them, they fly in & zap! You’d think bugs would see the tray littered with other bugs & say: “Wait a minute, I’m not going to blindly follow my desires toward that light.”
But you know what? Bugs don’t do that. And you know what else? Neither does Solomon! Forgetting the words of his father David in Psalm 27:1, “The LORD is my light & my salvation,” Solomon flies toward other lights – 1,000 to be exact. The result? ZAP! 1 Kings 11:3 says that “his wives turned his heart.”
They turned his heart to follow Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, & Molech the detestable god of the Ammonites, & Chemosh the detestable god of Moab. Zap, goes Solomon in all his glory. Zap, goes his kingdom. It’s cut in two in 1 Kings 12.
It’s easy as pie to begin. It’s tougher than nails to finish. Like Solomon, you & I are
great at beginning! We begin with unbridled enthusiasm, high energy, a never-say-die attitude. Like hot knives into butter, we tear into new projects, new classes, new relationships. But - as time goes on, we get weary, fatigued, impatient & bored. Then we zoom toward different lights, dazzling lights, deadly lights – at least 1,000 of them.
Lights of pride, power, position, prestige, prominence, even pouting over poor, poor pitiful me. Zap goes the joy of our salvation. Zap goes passion for the lost. Zap goes zeal for the Word. Each of us knows what it’s like to fly toward those godless lights. Suddenly we find ourselves lying in a tray littered with dead bugs.
The Gospel of Matthew reports: “One greater than Solomon is here.” (12:42) That would be Jesus – the son of Solomon – but greater than Solomon! He too was surrounded by dazzling lights, but Jesus not only began strong, He finished strong. For Jesus it was tougher than nails.
In addition to the nails, there was scourging, mocking, spitting, beating, slapping, sweating, bleeding, & crowning with thorns. Still, Jesus finished. Despite His disciple’s kiss of betrayal; in spite of his friends running for cover; in spite of his countrymen clamoring for His death; in spite of His Father’s abandonment – Jesus finished.
Look. Listen. The sky is dark. The other two are moaning. There’s Jesus, taking a deep breath & speaking the words: “It is finished!” (John 19:30). The veil rent. The blood poured. The curse removed. The sacrifice complete. Death defeated. Paradise restored. “It is finished!”
Was this a cry of defeat? By no means! Had it not been for the nails I dare say that a triumphant fist would have lifted toward the sky. That was a cry of victory. So today, here & now, lackluster finishers like you & me get no zap from ‘on high.’ Instead, we receive the Father’s welcome, a Shepherd’s embrace, the infinite love of our Friend Jesus.
The life of Solomon shows it can be as easy as pie to begin. The life, death, &
resurrection of Jesus proves that though it was tougher than nails, He took our place & finished for us.
“Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us run with endurance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Beginner & Finisher of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, & sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men so that you will not grow weary & lose heart” (Hebrews 12:1–2).
Moses is in that cloud, though he murdered an Egyptian slave master & spent 40 years herding sheep for his father-in-law in return. Still, he finished strong: “Moses was 120 years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone.” (Deuteronomy 34:7)
Also in this cloud is Joshua surrounded by ten spies who had no spine. His 1st job was a 40 year stint in the Sinai desert – but he finished strong, stating, “Choose this day whom you will serve. As for me & my house we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15)
And then these words for the ages: “Five times I received from the Jews 40 lashes minus one, three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night & a day in the open sea” (2 Corinthians 11:24–25). Paul also finished strong: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7)
The entire cloud of witnesses demonstrates that in the fight between the stream & the rock the stream always wins – not through strength, but through endurance. Finishing strong does not mean finishing first. It doesn’t mean finishing without blood, sweat & tears.
Finishing strong means daily fixing our eyes on the world’s only true Light, Jesus, the Son greater than Solomon. And here is what Jesus’ promise means for us, “He who began a good work in you, will finish it on the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6). Amen.
Redeemer, come & open wide my heart to Thee; here, Lord, abide! O enter with Thy grace divine; Thy face of mercy on me shine. Thy Holy Spirit guide us on until our glorious goal is won. Eternal praise & fame we offer to Thy name. Amen. LSB 341:5.
Pastor Dean R. Poellet