Friday, May 06, 2016

Matthew 1 Sermon Notes

Matthew 1:1-25
Matthew introduction
April 24 and May 1, 2016
Lynchburg, Virginia

         We begin our journey into Matthew. It will take us a while to work through the book. I encourage all of you to read over entire book a few times in the next couple of weeks and months. Become familiar with the arch and story of Matthew.
         Matthew shows his purpose in the opening verse of the book.
Matt. 1:1   The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. 
There is much in this opening verse.
Matthew is about the fulfillment found in Jesus Christ. He shows this by linking Jesus directly to the history of Israel. As we make our way through Matthew we will see the failure that is Israel and the salvation that is the new Israel in Jesus Christ. Matthew wants us to understand that all the promises of God have come together in Jesus.
We see clearly in this opening chapter that Jesus is not only the fulfillment of the promise to Abraham, that He is not only the Anointed One who will sit on David’s throne forever, that He is not only a priest after the order Melchizedek, King of Righteousness, but that He is, in fact, God in the flesh.
This God in the flesh business is completely new. The Angel of the Lord had appeared in the past. These theophanies were appearances of the Second Person of the Trinity. He revealed Himself in the form of a man. However, in these theophanies, the Son was not incarnate. That did not happen until He was born of a virgin.
In the theophanies of the Old Testament, the Son was with us for a short time but left us. In the Incarnation, the Son becomes man forever. Thus, God, in the Son, in the person of Jesus, will be with mankind forever. Jesus is and will always be God with us.

We tend to treat the name Jesus Christ as if it were simply Jesus’s name. Maybe something like His first and last name. But that is not the case. We might think of it more like Jesus, who is Christ. Sometimes we say Christ Jesus.
Think of a man named John Mayor. If that were simply his proper name, he might be a mayor or not. But if we say Mayor John, we now think that John is the Mayor. Such it is with Jesus. Jesus is His name. Christ is His title, the Anointed One, the Messiah. So, Mathew is saying that Jesus is, in fact, the Anointed One, the Messiah.

Jesus- Jesus is a common name. It is Joshua, Yehoshua, or Yahweh Saves. Matthew ties salvation to the Messiah. The Messiah will save us. One of things that Matthew is doing in his gospel is tying all these names and offices to the person of Jesus, the man Jesus, the one born of a woman.

Christ- the Messiah, the Anointed One, the one who was promised.
These names come together in the person of Jesus and are unified in the statement of verse 23, Emmanuel, God with us.

Matthew lays all of his cards on the table in his opening salvo. This man, Jesus, is the Son of David and the Son of Abraham.
Son of David- It is interesting that he lists the Son of David first. David arrives on the scene a thousand years after Abraham but David gets first billing here. Why? The Davidic line makes the role of Jesus clear. All the Hebrews could trace their descent from Abraham but not all of them could trace their lineage to King David. To say that Jesus in in the line of David, is to say that Jesus is in the Kingly line.
Son of Abraham- When we look to Abraham we see not only that Jesus was a Hebrew. That is nothing remarkable for the Messiah, for the Savior. Of course, He would be a Hebrew. It is to say something broad and deep about fulfillment. Abraham was the one who was promised a great kingdom, descendants like the stars in the heavens, descendants as the sands of the sea.
         Later on, Paul gives us more detailed teaching of what it means to be a Son of Abraham. It is not limited to Hebrews, to Jews. Gentiles become Sons of Abraham. This is significant because they are grafted in to the true line of sonship. All those who have faith like Abraham are his seed.
         Furthermore, Paul teaches us in Galatians 3 that the seed 16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
         Thus, Abraham’s seed is all those who believe like Abraham. We can see hints of this even in the Old Testament. The Jews were not an ethnically pure tribe. In the genealogies is a woman who prostituted herself to her father in law, a Moabitess and a woman married to Uriah the Hittite. But if they were believers and brought into the commonwealth of Israel, they were not considered unclean but clean. They could be true daughters and sons. Jesus becomes the promised one through whom God comes to all the world.
2 Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren;  3 And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram;  4 And Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and Naasson begat Salmon;  5 And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse;  6 And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias;
Thamar played the harlot and bore Pharez to Judah, Rachab was a harlot that married Salmon. Ruth was a Moabitess that married Boaz. Solomon’s mother was Bathsheba. She, too, was unfaithful although the fault was strongly on David. The line of the Messiah is rather notorious.
Mary, too, seems notorious. It looks as though she is a tainted woman. And Jesus becomes a notorious figure among the Pharisess and Saducees. Even his own brothers did not believe in Him for a time. But Mary is faithful.  Jesus is born without sin.

7 And Solomon begat Roboam; and Roboam begat Abia; and Abia begat Asa;  8 And Asa begat Josaphat; and Josaphat begat Joram; and Joram begat Ozias;  9 And Ozias begat Joatham; and Joatham begat Achaz; and Achaz begat Ezekias;  10 And Ezekias begat Manasses; and Manasses begat Amon; and Amon begat Josias;  11 And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon:
The Kingly lines are also rather notorious. One thing that rings true in all these names is not the hall of fame but rather a hall of shame. But thank God that Jesus came to take away our shame.
Jesus is the One King who can fulfill the prophecies of the Kingdom without fail. Just as Jesus is the New Patriarch to make pure sons and daughters, so is He the new King who advances His Kingdom to the ends of the Earth. His Kingdom does not fail but grows and grows from the river to the sea.

12 And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel;  13 And Zorobabel begat Abiud; and Abiud begat Eliakim; and Eliakim begat Azor;  14 And Azor begat Sadoc; and Sadoc begat Achim; and Achim begat Eliud;  15 And Eliud begat Eleazar; and Eleazar begat Matthan; and Matthan begat Jacob;  16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. 
The lines in Babylon reveal the reduction of Israel. She is numerically only a small band compared to her historic high points. The pure lines are compromised. Samaria has long since been tainted. The captivity of the southern kingdom has further defiled the holy line. But the Jews tried to keep things straight, even in exile. They return but not to the glorious kingdom. Their numbers are greatly reduced. Their kingdom is in shatters and they are no longer a free people.
Until Mary begets Jesus, who is called Christ.
Mary is a truly glorious figure. Behold, a virgin shall give birth and shall bear a Son. The other women in the lineage of Jesus are not so glorious. A Moabitess, an unfaithful woman who had a child by her father-in-law, an unfaithful woman who married the king. Jesus reverses the curse of mankind. Mary is the proto-type of womankind. In Mary, we see the church. Though women had been unfaithful, God did something about it. He visited Mary and gave her a holy child. Mary was thought to be unfaithful but she was faithful. She is like the church, our mother. Now, please do not misunderstand me. I am not giving Mary any place of redemptive position. She is not the Savior. Jesus is the Savior and we need no other. But she is a type of the church.
In Matthew, we also see types of the Old Testament unfaithful church, the woman at the well who had five husbands whom Jesus forgave, the woman caught in adultery, whom Jesus forgave. They represent the Old Covenant Church, the one that Jesus came to save from their sins. Mary is the counter to this. From her shall issue the true and abiding line, faithful Israel.

17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.
The divisions he makes are helpful, Abraham to David. That is the age of the patriarchs and judges. David to the exile. The high days of the kings. Exile to Jesus. The lows days of the kingdom, hope lost and rekindled.
Of course, whenever we are given specific numbers in the Bible, they always mean something specific. That is the case here. However, it is not clear exactly what Matthews intention is with three fourteens. One writer suggest that three fourteens are six sevens. That is most true. So, this makes Jesus the beginning of the seventh seven. That seems particularly significant.
David is the seventh son. Jesus would be the seventh in this list. This gives rise to some questions of the genealogies. Are they complete? Or, are they listed so as to reveal numerical types of the Davidic line?

Matt. 1:18   Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. 
Mary was betrothed, espoused. Betrothals lasted about a year. During that time, the couple was not married by our modern terms. They lived separately and did not consummate the marriage. However, a betrothal could not be broken unless there was sexual fraud. A betrothal had to be dissolved by divorce.
The Bible tells us that Mary and Joseph had not come together. This clearly refers to their conjugal relations and is the source of conflict between Joseph and Mary.

19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. 
The maximum biblical penalty for adultery is death. Under the Romans, the Jews were not allowed to put anyone to death without the help from the Roman courts. Herod carried out murder against an entire city, Bethlehem. He apparently had the authority from Rome to do so. But the Sanhedrin and local synagogues could not carry out such judgments on their own.
Thus, the condemnation here would have been a ritual death or one carried out without the consent of the Roman courts or Herod’s court. Joseph loved Mary and was devastated that she had committed adultery, as he thought, but he did not desire her death. The penalty here could be death but it need not be. We see a positive commentary here on Joseph’s actions. So, while the law allowed for death as the penalty for adultery, death was not a required penalty.

20 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. 
God, in His kindness, appears to Joseph and reveals the truth. Mary is not unfaithful but faithful. Furthermore, her child is conceived of the Holy Ghost. Thus, He will be a Holy Child.

21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. 
Jesus is the Old Testament name, Joshua. Ye ho shoo uh. The name means Yahweh Saves. We see this directly connected here as we are told that Jesus will be the Savior. Matthew again tips his hand. He does not leave us wondering what the work of Jesus will be. Jesus will not merely save the people from the Romans. He will not rule Jerusalem on the seat of David as a provincial king. That was the expectation of the Jews for the Messiah. No, Jesus would save the people from their sins.
As we think about the lineage of Jesus and the history of Israel, this is their great need. Of course, they have been attacked on every side. They have been conquered by the Syrians, and the Assyrians, and the Persians, and the Greeks, and the Romans. But what is the occasion of all of this carnage? Was it not repeated unfaithfulness? You have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. That is to say, you are unfaithful. You deserve all this trouble. And yet, I have loved you. I will save you from all this suffering. I will cleanse your sins.

22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,  23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. 
Emmanuel, God with us. The culmination of the history of Israel’s failure is that God must birth a new Israel. He does so in Jesus. Man could not save man. And so God must become a man. This is the great reversal.

24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:  25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.
Joseph did not know his wife till she had brought forth her son. Jesus was conceived by Mary when she was a virgin. She remained a virgin until after the birth of Jesus. Mary was not a perpetual virgin as the Roman Catholic Church teaches.

         This is a remarkable start to this gospel. God, the Father, had every reason to be angry with Israel. Israel had failed. She suffered for her sins and was reduced to servitude under pagan rulers.
         Israel was twelve tribes. And then she split. Then northern Kingdom and her ten tribes fell and they were lost. Then Jerusalem fell and all was lost. But God kept a remnant in order to bring forth the Messiah, Jesus, who is the Christ. Jesus, who is Emmanuel. Jesus who is God with us. Jesus, who takes away the sins of the world.
         The Father did not have to do this. His justice was revealed in bringing wrath upon Israel. He had nothing compelling Him to forgiveness and salvation.
         Why did God send His Son to save His people from their sins? Because He wanted to. He did it because He chose to love them and us through them. He did it because He is a God of mercy and love.
         And all that mercy and love is revealed particularly in the person of Jesus. When we see Jesus, we should see God with us. If God is for us, who can be against us? The answer is clear. No one.
And that is exactly what God has declared.  God has sent forth His Son to save His people from their sins so that they could dwell with Him always. God is not only with us.

We are seated with Jesus at the right hand of the Father. The church belongs to Jesus and you belong to the church. Jesus is a faithful husband, faithful Israel. He will be true to His bride forever. Thus, as a member of the bride of Christ, you can rest assured that God will be with you always.

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