Tuesday, January 7, 2014

NO ORDINARY MAN (Matthew chapter 1)

Amongst life’s most important questions is the question asked by Christmas Hymn, “Who is He in yonder stall?”  It is more than a matter of academic concern for one’s eternal destiny is to some extent dependent on a right understanding of the truth about Jesus (Cf. John 20:31; 1 John 4:2). 
Matthew chapter 1 clearly sets forth the identity of Jesus.  He is “Jesus Christ” (Matthew 1:1).  Both names mean much.  He is the Christ, the anointed One--the promised Messiah of Israel, “THE son of David.”  David had many sons, but Jesus is called “THE Son.”  God made a promise to David, “I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom.  He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever” (2 Samuel 7:12-13).  In Jesus Christ, God’s promise to David—the Davidic Covenant—is fulfilled.
Jesus Christ is “THE Son of Abraham.”  God also made a promise to Abraham—the Abrahamic Covenant—of a land, a nation, and a blessing (Genesis 12:1-3).  That promise was likewise fulfilled in Christ (Cf. Galatians 3:7-9, 15-16).  The genealogy of Matthew chapter 1 traces the lineage of Jesus, the Christ, through Joseph back to David and ultimately to Abraham.  
Jesus was unique in His birth. He was virgin born. That which was conceived in Mary was “from the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:20).  He was born as a man, but did not come into existence in His birth.  He is the eternal Son of God and creator of all things (Cf. John 1:1-3).  Being born as a man He fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, “’Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’ (which means, God with us)” (Matthew 1:23).  He is “God with us.”
He was given the name Jesus because “he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).  “Jesus” is a transliteration of the Hebrew name “Joshua” which means “Jehovah is salvation.” In that sense His very name spoke to the reason for which He came as Savior.   Vine’s Expository Dictionary notes that it was “the name given to the Son of God in Incarnation as His personal name.”  The very first verse of the New Testament affirms these important truths about Jesus Christ: 1) He is the promised Messiah; 2) He came to save sinners.
Jesus Christ was a man, but no ordinary man.  He was fully God and fully man.  He is the Messiah of Israel.  He is the Heaven-sent Savior.  He is the fulfillment of covenants and countless prophecies.  He is unique in His genealogy, birth, identity, person, death, resurrection, and reign.  He is the glorious Son of God who became flesh and dwelt among us and ultimately died on a cross for our sins.  “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God” (John 20:31).  Salvation is promised to those who believe in Him. Have you trusted in Him for salvation?
It is appropriate that our reading through the New Testament should begin in this fashion—with this focus on the identity of Jesus--for what is the New Testament but an unveiling of the truth about Jesus?  In the gospels we read of His life, in the book of Acts we read of the beginnings of His church.  In the epistles we read of His instructions to His church.  In the book of Revelation we read of His future return and the unveiling of His glory to all.  Read to know Him better for nothing in life matters more than this (Cf. Philippians 3:8; 2 Peter 3:18). 

‘Tis the Lord! O wondrous story!
‘Tis the Lord! The King of glory!
At His feet we humbly fall,
Crown Him! Crown Him, Lord of all!

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