Matthew 1:1 — Promise Made. Promise Kept. That’s My God!

Posted: August 18, 2015 in Gospel of Matthew

Matthew 1:1 — As we discussed yesterday, it was Matthew aim in writing his Gospel to his Jewish audience to establish that Jesus was the long-awaited, long-promised Messiah. He wastes no time in doing that. Beginning at Matthew 1:2, He gives us a genealogy of Jesus Christ back to the father of the Jewish nation. But before giving His pedigree, Matthew opens in v. 1 by saying, “This is the genealogy of Jesus, the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham”. Let us look to day at the three adjectives that Matthew uses, the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” What we learn from this first verse alone is that God is a promise keeper. He never lies. He never changes. He is always trustworthy. This fact is important for us to remember as we go through our own trials and tribulations and as we live in a generation where truth has become relative. What’s true today may not be true tomorrow. What’s true for may not be true for me. My truth is different from your truth. Let us remember that God is truth and what He says will remain true forever. Every promise God has made He has kept.

What does the term, Messiah, mean, really? We say it all the time but what does it really mean. Messiah comes from the Hebrew word “mashiach” and means “anointed one” or “chosen one.” The Greek equivalent is the word “Christos” or, in English, Christ. The name “Jesus Christ” is the same as “Jesus the Messiah.” In biblical times, anointing someone with oil was a sign that God was consecrating or setting apart that person for a particular role. Thus, an “anointed one” was someone with a special, God-ordained purpose. Jesus was the Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament. The evidences of his messiahship are in the miracles that He performed. Peter proclaims Him to be the Son of the Living God later in this Gospel of Matthew. The ultimate evidence of Him being the Messiah was His resurrection from the dead as witnessed by thousands, as noted in Acts. Jesus fulfills the role of Prophet, Priest, and King, which is further evidence to His being the Messiah. He is a prophet, because He embodied and preached the Word of God (see John 1:1–18; 14:24; and Luke 24:19); a priest, because in His death he offered up the sacrifice that atones for our sins and reconciles us to the Father (see Hebrews 2:17; 4:14); and a king, because after His resurrection God gave all authority to Him (see John 18:36; Ephesians 1:20–23; and Revelation 19:16). The Jews wanted this Messiah to be a conquering hero who would overthrow the Roman occupation government, and his disciples themselves believed that until His resurrection proved that He was the promised biblical Messiah not the popular one the Jews desired. Jesus is the culmination and the focal point of all Scripture. All of it was leading to Him and from Him. He is the Messiah that will liberate our souls from the shackles of sin and death. He is the Anointed One who solves the sin problem of this world in relationship to a perfect and holy God. Jesus is the Messiah, son of the Living God, in whom we can place our trust for deliverance from our own mistakes that have condemned us to separation from God.

What about “son of David”? What does that mean? What significance does that have? The answer is that Christ (the Messiah) was the fulfillment of the prophecy of the seed of David (2 Samuel 7:14–16). Jesus is the promised Messiah, which means He had to be of the lineage of David. David was considered to be the greatest of the Jewish kings. He was, though a flawed man who made many mistakes and paid dearly for them, a man after God’s own heart. God promised Him that it would be through Him that the King who would rule forever would come. Jesus as we shall see is a direct descendant of David. Because of the 2 Samuel reference, another nickname for the Messiah among the Jewish people was that He was and would be “the son of David”, their most revered king. Primarily, the title “Son of David” is more than a statement of physical genealogy. It is a Messianic title. When people referred to Jesus as the Son of David, they meant that He was the long-awaited Deliverer, the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies. he woman whose daughter was being tormented by a demon (Matthew 15:22) and the two blind men by the wayside (Matthew 20:30) all cried out to the Son of David for help. The titles of honor they gave Him declared their faith in Him. Calling Him “Lord” expressed their sense of His deity, dominion, and power, and calling Him “Son of David,” expressed their faith that He was the Messiah. Calling Him the son of David reminds us that Jesus is the fulfillment of a promise made to David almost 1,000 years earlier. It shows us that God is working out His plan in His sovereignty. We may think we are in control but it is God who is in control. He guides His plan through the actions of men. Men who think they are the masters of their own destiny are simply part of our God’s grand plan for mankind. This gives me great comfort in knowing and therefore trusting that God has my back. He keeps His promises. It may not always be on my timetable, but in His Sovereignty, God is working, working, working His plan in my life and in yours and in all of mankind. Trust in that. Make bank on that.

Finally, Matthew calls Jesus “the Son of Abraham.” Jesus comes as the fulfillment of all God’s earlier promises to His chosen people Israel. Jesus is the point of Israel being God’s chosen people. Matthew wants us to know in this prologue, that while Jesus is specially born “through the Holy Spirit,” He is a true Israelite, descended from the founding father of the Jewish people, Abraham (see Matthew 1:20). And he wants us to see Jesus as the fulfillment of God’s covenant with Abraham. God had promised Abraham: “in your descendants all the nations of the earth shall find blessing” (see Genesis 22:18). Jesus, “the Son of Abraham,” will bring that to pass. And we’ll see throughout Matthew’s Gospel that Jesus has a mission, not only to Israel, but to “make disciples of all nations” (see Matthew 8:10-12; 28:18-20). Through you all nations will be blessed. Jesus came from God’s chosen people, the Israelites, which began with Abraham. Jesus is how the nations will be blessed. It is through Jesus that all nations have the opportunity to be reconciled with a perfect and holy God. Israel had to be set apart by God as a holy nation because it is through this line that the Savior would come. Jesus makes sense of the Old Testament. Jesus makes sense of all that came before. Jesus makes sense of the promise made to Abraham millenia before Christ was born into this world. What does this mean for you and me? To me, it means that even when I am in a long, deep, dark valley and I have been in them in my life, God will deliver me. No matter how long it takes, He will deliver me. No matter how weak my faith gets, He will deliver me. Just think of the faith of generations of oppressed people in this country who could never taste freedom, but they knew God would deliver them and set them on a high place. That is faith in a God who promises us wonders unknown to us at His side if only we have faith in Jesus Christ. Whether it be in heaven at our death or in this life, God will deliver. He will snatch me from the valley and set me on the mountaintop. No matter what I go through God will deliver me.

Messiah, Son of David, Son of Abraham. Jesus is all of these things. He is the promise fulfilled. He is the real deal. He is the one in whom I can place my faith as being the Son of the Living God. For I believe in a God who keeps his promises. I believe in a God who is in control when everything seems chaos. I believe in a God who will deliver me from myself. I believe in a God who will deliver me from my oppressors. I believe in a God who has never failed. I believe in a God who has never failed to keep His promises. I believe in a God who promised me the Messiah, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham—and He delivered. Amen and Amen.

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