March 7 I Monday
“This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham...” —Matthew 1:1
The Gospel of Matthew was predominantly written with a Jewish audience in mind. There are over 60 quotes from the Old Testament in Matthew, which, compared to all the other Gospels, is more than double! If there was one word used to summarize the Gospel of Matthew, it would be “fulfillment”.
More than any other Gospel, Matthew focused his energy on animating and explaining how Jesus was the fulfillment of God’s promises in the Old Testament, especially to the nation of Israel that had been waiting for their Messiah. Jesus fulfilled what God said to the serpent in Genesis 3:15: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will crush your head, and you will strike His heel.” What God promised to do through thick and thin, through up and down and through the most impossible circumstances, He brought to pass. We can take the Word of God to the bank because it is trustworthy, true and it will not fail.
The opening of Matthew’s Gospel goes, “This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham.” What a theologically loaded statement! Matthew was basically telling his Jewish audience that Jesus was the historical culmination and theological fullness of all of God’s activity over human history. He was the promise of Abraham fulfilled and the promise of David realized. To follow this loaded statement, Matthew presented the genealogy of Jesus.
Some of us, when it comes to reading genealogies in the Bible, tend to skip over them because not only are there names that are hard to pronounce, but it also follows the same pattern: “...the father of...the father of...”. Yet, to skip over the genealogy, we miss out on an important insight about the activity of God throughout human history: God carries out His redemptive purposes through ordinary, flawed, weak and vulnerable human beings just like us, whose faith in God overcame the impossible circumstances that stood opposed to them.
We see this from Matthew’s presentation of real names of individuals from normal families who were a part of carrying out God’s redemptive purposes. What all of this reveals is that God includes us in His work. In other words, we all have a part to play in His redemptive movement. It is both awe-inspiring and completely sobering to realize that Christ’s seeking and saving work throughout the earth is carried out through His people. God works through human agency. Although we may feel ordinary, flawed, weak and vulnerable, God has a role for each of us in His redemptive purposes in our generation.
Prayer: Lord God, thank You that Jesus is the fulfillment of all Your promises. You use ordinary, flawed, weak and vulnerable people to carry out Your redemptive purposes. Help me to understand my role in Your redemptive movement.