Monday, December 20, 2010

The Promise of His Coming (20)

It's not the most exciting way to start a book, is it? Perhaps you've decided that you'll read one of the Gospels, and this one comes first, so you launch in. And immediately, you're confronted with the list of names that are hard to pronounce. It's almost like opening a novel and finding the first chapter is just a phone directory list. Either it puts you off completely, or else you'll just skip over it and get to the real story.

Why does Matthew open his gospel with this big long list of names? His purpose is seen in the very first verse, which explains the whole genealogy, and should help us to get very excited as we hear the list of ancestors and see how God's promises are being fulfilled and worked out in history:

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. (Matthew 1:1)

Who is this Jesus, born in Bethlehem, presented in this gospel account? He is the Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Each of those phrases shouts out the expectations and promises of the Old Testament, now being worked out in the person and work of the Lord Jesus.

The hope of Israel, long-waited-for, has now arrived. The rest of the gospel will show how Jesus fulfills and secures the blessings promised to Abraham and David by being the anointed Christ king, and the seed of Abraham through whom all the families of the earth will be blessed.

Come, O Christ, the hope of Israel.

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