Four Witnesses (part 2)

Mat 1:1-17 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. (2) Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, (3) and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, (4) and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, (5) and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, (6) and Jesse the father of David the king. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, (7) and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, (8) and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, (9) and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, (10) and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, (11) and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon. (12) And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, (13) and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, (14) and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, (15) and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, (16) and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ. (17) So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.

Matthew wants us to know the genealogy of Jesus whose name means “The Lord is Salvation.” Where did this salvation come from? It came from the Lord. AND, it came through this lineage. It is a royal lineage, Son of David… and all the way back to the patriarch as Son of Abraham. As prophesied the messiah would be king of the Jews.

Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Judah who bore a son Perez through Tamar. If this genealogy is meant to cover over any supposed scandal about the pregnancy of Mary, a virgin who conceived, it will not do so by avoiding the controversies of life. The story of Judah and Tamar, his daughter in law who tricked him into impregnating her by pretending to be a prostitute. Our Holy God was stepping into the darkness of a world corrupted by sin.

Perez begot Hezron and Hezron Ram. Ram, then Amminidab, Nahshon, Salmon begat Boaz by Rahab. The genealogy does not include every individual, but skips over lesser known people to keep the symmetrical feature of 14 names included from Abraham to David, 14 names from Solomon to captivity, and then 14 more to Jesus. But Rahab is mentioned as mother, or grandmother of Boaz. He comes in her line. She was a foreigner who attached herself to God’s people and was included in the blessing. And she is a hope to all the nations that the Jewish Messiah is coming to bring salvation to all the world.

Boaz was faithful to obey the word of the Lord. And consequently a family tree that had come nearly to its dead end from Naomi and Ruth was redeemed and restored. From this nearly dead branch would bloom in a few generations, David, who was , in many respects, Israel’s greatest king.

Great as he was, he was flawed. And His son Solomon came through the wife he married after murdering her husband to hide his affair with her. Rehoboam, Abijah, Asaph…these kings were righteous or wicked, at best mixed in their obedience. Did the kings bring the people down or did the people bring the king down? Yes. Both are happening. The culture and the government spiraled in moral decline until they were carried away into Babylonian captivity.

But God was with them in their exile. He protected his people and provided for them. He allowed them to return under Zerubbabel, a descendent of the kings before him. As Israel was rebuilt the monarchy declined. Simultaneously, many began to again compromise with the world in idolatry and wickedness and others set on obeying the law began to add to it many rules and regulations and demands. Until the birth of the king. The long awaited messiah. Jacob fathered Joseph the husband of Mary of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.

You look around yourself and even within yourself and you see the brokenness and the compromise, and the frailty, of it all. My heart has been heavy as I consider the broken marriages, illnesses, death, sliding morality, self righteousness pouring out in endless condemnation of people who sin differently. Pandemic causing pain. Government responses to it exasperating that pain. The world needs a savior. He has come. It is Christmas. Jesus was born, who is called Christ. Regain your hope. He made this right! He is making this right! He will make this right!

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