Advent: The Genealogy of The King
“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” (Matthew 1:1)
“All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the prophet ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel which means, God with us.'” (Matthew 1:22-23)
Read: Matthew 1:1-17; 2 Samuel 1-29
The genealogy of Christ is read often at Christmas, but too many of us breeze right through. We forget that lives are attached to the names included in Matthew’s list. In all reality, not every one of Jesus’ ancestors are actually mentioned. Matthew’s goal is to highlight Christ’s kingship in the Davidic line. He also included several non-Israelites and many Israelites with less-than-desirable backgrounds. It’s worth noting that Matthew includes five women (unusual for this time).
Matthew was writing his gospel account for Jews, so he used stories and people that the average Jew would recognize and understand. Notice he highlights the fathers of the faith: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Matthew 1:2). Matthew starts the second section with David, pointing to Christ’s kingly role through David’s family. Jesus fulfilled God’s promise in the Davidic covenant (Matthew 1:6; 1 Samuel 16:1-2; 2 Samuel 7:1-17).
Everything about Christ’s ancestral line screams anything but holiness and divine kingship. Even the Hebrew patriarchs were full of scandal! Matthew doesn’t highlight people because of their holiness or perfect pedigree. Rather, he traces the path to God’s covenant promises. Christ will not be deterred from coming to rescue His people (from all nations).
The Ancestors of Jesus
David, whom God called “a man after my own heart,” committed adultery with Bathsheba and murdered her husband, Uriah (1 Samuel 13:14; 2 Samuel 11). Sin and brokenness ran rampant through the line of Israel. Likewise, sin runs through every other family since Adam and Eve took the forbidden fruit and rebelled against our Creator. But this doesn’t stop God’s plan. Yahweh is not driven off track by the sins of man, but rather redeems the darkest realities through the light of Christ!
In this male-ruled society, it’s a big statement for the Bible to include women in the family line. Christ’s Advent not only crossed gender barriers but also bridged ethnic divisions. Rahab was the Canaanite prostitute who aided Israel’s victory over Jericho, and Ruth was a Moabite. And, finally, the angel came to Mary and announced that Jesus would come as a baby out of wedlock. The virgin would give birth to the miraculous Son of God (Isaiah 7:14). These women were grafted into the lineage of Christ, and Christ will continue grafting people from all nations into the family of God. Praise God that He is not concerned about cultural appearances or ethnic boundaries.
The Advent of Christ proclaims the wonder of God’s grace to a sinful world.
- Watch the Honor & Shame video included at the bottom of this post. Have you considered the cultural shame that Jesus was born into? More personally, have you ever felt the shame of society bearing down on you? Christ provides grace and freedom in spite of it. The honor of Jesus overcomes any shame this world can place on anyone — because He bore the weight of our shame at Calvary.
- Do you know people living in the shame of culture? If not, you should invest in new friendships with those tossed out by the world. After all, Jesus came to heal the sick and shamed—not those who think themselves well. Jesus Christ came to save those who are sinners, ready to admit their guilt and repent. Find ways to remove shame from others by investing in new relationships this year. Sit down and share a meal with new people who don’t know Jesus personally. Spend time with those who don’t have friends or family nearby, and point to the Gospel which can reconcile us all into the family of God.
Jesus, you are the promised King of Kings. I praise you for not shuddering at my own sin or the sin of others. Rather than fleeing the presence of sin, you came and inserted yourself into the depths of human depravity. Instead of running from darkness you chose to come as the Light of the World. Thank you for loving me in spite of my shame. Thank you for making a way fo people of all nations, all families, and all ethnicities to join in your Kingdom plan.
Family Discipleship Time
- Do you recognize any of these names from the Old Testament? What do you remember about them?
- Do any these people seem like the perfect family members for Jesus to be born into? Are there any perfect families or perfect people that Jesus could have come from? (No, every person and every family is sinful. Jesus is the only perfect and holy person because He is Immanuel, “God with us.”)
- The Jesus Storybook Bible – “The Girl No One Wanted”
- Song – “Matthew’s Begats” by Andrew Peterson
- Video – “Honor & Shame 101” in world cultures
- Sermon – “The Genealogy of Jesus” by Alistair Begg
Free Advent Bible Study (2023)
Let’s stand back and marvel at God’s grace and sovereignty, and focus on God this Christmas. May we join with the angels singing, “Glory to God in the highest” (Luke 2:14).
Join this 25-day Advent journey as we worship Christ and celebrate his coming.
John Ragon is Snowbird’s website manager. He lives in Western NC with his wife and six amazing kids, and began serving at Snowbird in 2009 after graduating from Union University.
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