The Heredity Of Christ
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The Heredity Of Christ

Matthew 1
Luke 1: 26-38; 3: 23-38

Do you know your pedigree?
Are you proud of your genealogy?
If you were to investigate your family's past, how many skeletons do you think you might find in your closet?
I imagined many would just as soon some of the facts about ancestors would remain buried.

James Farmer tells about a wealthy woman who hired an author to write her biography.
The author discovered that one of her grandfathers had died in the electric chair at Sing Sing.
The woman wanted that information so written that the black spot in her family's past would not be obvious.
So the author put the facts together in this way:

"Her grandfather occupied the chair of electricity in one of America's most noted institutions.
He was very much attached to his position and literally died in the harness
."

Jesus' genealogy had a few black spots in it, but Jesus didn't ask His biographers to hide them.
He was not ashamed to make public His human pedigree, and this suggests
that He will never be ashamed of His present or future family tree, which include you and me.
The fact that He did not seek to erase some of the names from His genealogy is proof
that He is not interested in erasing our names from the Book of Life, just because we are not perfect.
So, we must not think that we are too bad for Jesus to accept us into his family,
or to publicly admit His relationship to us.

Jesus' genealogy appears in two places.
We find it in Matthew 1: 1-17, and in Luke 3: 23-38.
The two lists are not the same.
Luke traced Jesus' family through Mary.
Matthew traced it through Joseph.
It is through these two lists that we find hope for the entire human race.

For the benefit of the Jews, Matthew traced Jesus' ancestry back to Abraham. (Matthew 1: 1)
A true Jew must be able to trace his roots back to Abraham, the father of all the Jews. (John 8: 33)
Part of the Jewish hope that the Messiah would be their eternal high priest, rested upon
His connection to Abraham, to whom God had said, "In your descendants
all the nations of the earth shall be blessed
." (Genesis 22-18)

The family tree of Jesus contains hope for all peoples.
Luke traced Jesus' ancestry beyond Abraham through Noah (Luke 3: 36),
the father of all humanity after the flood, and back to Adam (Luke 3: 38), the father of all
humanity before the flood, and all the way back to God (Luke 3: 38), the Creator of
every nation of mankind (Acts 17: 26).

There is no way to lock Jesus into being the Saviour for just one ethnic group of people.
His heredity crossed all human groups.
He is the Saviour for every nation.
Jesus is for all races and situations.

The big question concerns us.
Are we as open to all races and situations as Jesus?
His commission to us is to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28: 19).
The Greek word for nations (ethnos) is the basis of our word, ethnic.
Jesus was not talking about geographical boundaries only.
He was talking about crossing all ethnic barriers with the gospel.
To carry out the commission of Jesus, we must go to every corner of the earth to make disciples.

But what about the hopeless and godless sinners in every group of people?
Jesus does not turn His back on them leaving them in their sin, just as He did not hide
the godless sinners in His family tree.
One of the Jewish leaders in Jesus' genealogy led God's people to do more evil
than all the surrounding pagan nations.
His name was Manasseh (Matthew 1: 10; 2 Kings 21: 1, 2,10, 11).

Rehoboam acted so selfishly and sinfully that the united people of God were split
into two groups (Matthew 1: 7; 1 Kings 12: 1-16).

It is remarkable to find four women in Jesus' family tree -- Tamar, Rahab, Ruth,
and Bathsheba (Matt. 1: 3-6).
If you could select four Old Testament women to be in your family tree, whom would you choose?
Sarah, Hannah, Deborah, and Esther would be good choices.
I doubt that you would choose a harlot or an adulteress, but such women were in Jesus' ancestry.

Two of the women, Rahab and Ruth were not even Jews.
Ruth was a Moabite, one of a nation of people whose enmity barred them from the
"assembly of the Lord" (Deuteronomy 23: 3).
Rahab belonged to a pagan nation and lived in Jericho.
If she signed in on the old TV program, "What's My Line?", how would she register?
Would it be as a harlot, a prostitute?

Tamar was no jewel, either.
She tricked her father-in-law into a sexual liaison and gave birth to twin boys
as the result (Genesis 38: 12-18, 27-30).

Bathsheba committed adultery with her neighbor, while her husband was away serving
his country in the military.
Realizing that the resultant pregnancy could not be attributed to her husband, the neighbor (David)
arranged to have her husband killed in battle.

The presence of these people in Jesus' family tree may be taken as symbolic of the great truth
that in Jesus all barriers are broken down.
The barriers between male and female, between Jews and Gentile, and between sinners
and upright people -- all gone in Christ!

All people need God's grace.
In Jesus God's grace is greater than any one's circumstances.
There is no reason for anyone to shy away from Jesus because of his or her family
or because of his or her past life.
Jesus came to close the door on our past, and to open the door to our future with Him.
He can cleanse us from all our sin.
We can call Jesus our Saviour, for He came to save His people from their sins (Matt. 1: 21).
Luke 3: 23-38 relates that He is related to all the descendants of Adam, and He offers salvation to all.

Jesus is our Saviour, not only because of His human pedigree, but also because of His divine pedigree.
Jesus' birth was unique, just as was His pre-existence at Mary's conception,
or at the time of His birth in Bethlehem.
He existed with God from the beginning (John 1: 1).
He existed before any created thing existed: "He is before all things, and in Him
all things hold together
." (Colossians 1: 17)

Matthew traces His lineage to Abraham, but Jesus stated that He existed before Abraham (John 8: 58).
Jesus shared in the creation of the world: "All things came into being through Him;
and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being
." (John 1: 3)

"For in Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth,
visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities -- all things have been
created through Him and for Him
." (Colossians 1: 16)

In Jesus' prayer to God in John 17, He spoke about the glory He had with the Father
before the world existed (John 17: 5).
As God the Father is eternal, so is Jesus the Son eternal.
Jesus is called the first and last (Revelation 1: 17).
Though born of the virgin Mary, Jesus existed before Mary did.
In fact, He was the Creator of Mary.
He came to live for a brief time in the human body that was formed in Mary's womb.

Of course, we don't understand the "how" of it any more than Mary did.
But the angel's word is still the best answer: "For nothing will be impossible with God"
(Luke 1: 37).
It was no human being, no physical substance, and no material thing that caused Mary to conceive.
It was the Holy Spirit of God (Luke 1:35; Matt. 1:20).
Therefore, Jesus was called the Son of God (Luke 1: 35), and He called God, His Father (John 17: 1).
Even Jesus' worst enemies knew this meant He was divine (John 3: 18).

God sent Jesus, who lived with Him not only before He was born in Bethlehem, but also before
the world came into being (John 17: 5).
Jesus experienced a natural birth after a supernatural conception.
Without the virgin birth, He would have been only a man.
Through the action of the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary, He was the God-man.
The miraculous conception was God's means of executing the incarnation -- the process of
Jesus coming into flesh.
The preexistent Jesus (John 1: 1) became flesh (John 1: 14) by taking the form of a human
(Philippians 2: 6, 7) in the womb of Mary (Matt. 1: 21; Galatians 4: 4).
If Jesus were only a man, we would have no eternal hope in Him.

A person could have many kinds of people in his family tree and be able to cross all barriers
between people, but only Jesus can point also to a divine family tree, and to His conception
by the Holy Spirit.

We can have hope in Jesus because of His divine nature.

To watch Jesus in action was to watch God in action.
"I and the Father are one." (John 10: 30)
No wonder the angel declared Jesus to be Immanuel, "God with us". (Matt. 1: 23)

When we see Jesus feed the hungry, touch the untouchables, love the unlovables,
forgive the sinners, raise the dead, overcome Satan and death, and can realize that He is not
just man, but that He is both God and man -- then we truly know we have a lasting and eternal hope!
We can know that God is not only with us, but He is also for us.
That is good news!

That gospel deserves to be received, proclaimed, and practiced.

Sermon by Dr. Harold L. White
Email Dr. White at hleewhite@AOL.com