December 6, 2018
“For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.” Hebrews 2:16.
When the Christmas season comes around we usually take time to think of Jesus’ birth. This shouldn’t be a once a year ritual, but we should be joyous over His birth always. People have decided to set aside a day in December to remember that God became flesh and entered His creation, so when the tree goes up and gifts are exchanged we say it’s to celebrate our Lord’s birth. Too often, though, we get so caught up in the angels and shepherds and all the miracles of that blessed event that we might miss some important facts. Jesus’ birth was a fulfillment of prophecy. Not one prophecy, but many. The Gospel of Matthew begins with the genealogy of Jesus through His step-father, Joseph, which is important in light of prophecy. “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” Matthew 1:1. Although Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus, God chose him to be the earthly father to provide for and protect Jesus and Mary in those early years. Aside from being an obedient Jewish man who willingly shouldered the task which God laid before him, he also had to be a descendant of the royal line of King David (the son of David). The genealogy in the first chapter of Matthew shows clearly that Joseph was from the royal line of King David through King Solomon.
Matthew’s genealogy begins with Abraham and follows the line through Isaac to Jacob to Judah and directly through the generations to King David and Solomon. The kings listed in Joseph’s genealogy establish that Joseph was of the royal line and legally an heir to the throne of David. Scripture reveals that in spite of failures, King David loved the Lord and wanted to build a Temple for Him. God was pleased, but because David was a man of war God wouldn’t allow him to build it. The Temple would be built by David’s son, King Solomon, whose name means peace. Although David couldn’t build the Temple, God did make a promise to him. “And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established forever.” 2 Samuel 7:16. The royal line continued from Solomon to his son Rehoboam. Then the kingdom was divided, but the royal line from David continued until the Southern Kingdom was taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar. It looked as if the eternal throne of David wouldn’t come to pass.
When God makes a promise it will always be fulfilled. The prophet Isaiah was given many prophecies about Jesus, including one that said the Messiah would sit eternally upon the throne of David. “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” Isaiah 9:6-7. The Child that was born and the Son that was given is Jesus Christ. This promise was repeated to Mary. When the angel visited her and told her that she would give birth to a son he also gave her a promise. “And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” Luke 1:31-33. Mary was a descendent of King David, but not through the royal line, but Joseph was. God has a plan and His promise to David will be fulfilled when Jesus returns and establishes the eternal kingdom. This is possible because Joseph was a descendent through the royal line.
God had also made a promise to Abraham, who is known by the Jewish people as Father Abraham. It’s through him that the Jewish nation had its beginning. In his old age, Abraham was visited by the Lord and given a specific promise that he would be the father of nations. As time passed and it didn’t seem that his wife, Sarai, would be the mother of children, they decided to “help” God. They decided that Sarai’s servant should lie with Abraham. A son was conceived, but he was not the son that God had promised. When Ishmael was born his birth caused trouble in Abraham’s camp. Ishmael’s descendents continue to trouble the world today. God hadn’t meant for Hagar to bear a son, but Abraham’s wife, Sarai was to be the mother of the promised son. “And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her.” Genesis 17:15-16. It’s always a good idea to believe what God says even if we don’t understand how He will accomplish His promises. God always means what He says.
Eventually, Sarah did become pregnant just as God promised. Isaac, the promised son, was born. God used Abraham and Isaac to demonstrate His own love for people. God had promised Abraham a son but then directed him to sacrifice that son of the promise. “And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell the of.” Genesis 22:2. Although he couldn’t understand how it would turn out, Abraham was obedient and Isaac was willing. At the last moment, God stopped the offering and provided a ram as an offering instead. God doesn’t accept human blood as a sacrifice, but this was a “picture” of Jesus, God’s only Son, shedding His blood for our salvation. “That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.” Genesis 22:17-18. The entire world is blessed because of Abraham and the Jewish nation.
Matthew clearly shows Joseph’s Abrahamic lineage and his royal right to the throne of David. Joseph probably didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about his heritage, and when he and Mary became engaged he just set about making himself ready to be a husband and provide for his wife. Then the unthinkable happened. Mary was pregnant. He hadn’t had marital relations with her so that meant she had been with someone else. He could have had her stoned, but Joseph didn’t want that to happen. “Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.” Matthew 1:19. This verse says “her husband”, but at that time the meaning was different than today. Joseph and Mary were engaged but hadn’t come together as man and wife. Joseph gave some serious thought about how to handle the situation. “But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:20-21. Joseph didn’t hesitate. He knew the prophecy of Isaiah that a virgin would give birth to the Messiah, and when he understood that he was chosen for the very important purpose of being the step-father of the Messiah, he did what was right. “Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: and knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus.” Matthew 1:24-25. Joseph was the “legal” father of Jesus. Because of that fact, Jesus is the “legal” heir to the throne of David. The prophecy was fulfilled.
When an adoption takes place, the child becomes the legal heir of the parent. Through Joseph, Jesus was the legal heir to David’s throne. What about us? Are we heirs? Absolutely. Our faith gives us rights. “He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:11-13. The word “power” comes from the Greek word “exousia”, which means “right”. Most modern translations of Scripture say “right” instead of “power”. If you receive Him, you have the right to become a son of God. When Jesus walked this earth He was fully human and fully God. He willingly laid down His life for our salvation as pictured when Isaac was a willing part of the sacrifice Abraham was told to make. Jesus is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Our faith in Him makes us His adopted children and we have an inheritance. “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” Revelation 1:5-6.
Are you prepared to be a king and priest? If you’ve accepted His sacrifice for your salvation, now is the time to begin learning to take your place in the eternal Kingdom of God. We have Scripture to teach us, the Holy Spirit to guide us, and the Eternal King as our example. Follow Him.
God bless you all,
Ron and Nathele Graham’s previous commentaries can be found at our Home Page under the Newsletter Archive tab.
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.
If you’d like to be on my mailing list to receive the commentaries just drop me an email and let me know.